There are many things I have learned in this world and all are equally as important. I have travelled to lands that most people would find hard enough to pronounce, let alone spell, and found them to be the same. Everyone likes to think they’re complicated in order to give themselves a bit of dignity, but I have learned better.
I sit in groups and listen as conversations go on around me. People ignore me, declare me weird, and soon forget me, but still I listen, because I believe you learn more by listening than by talking. Like a ghost in limbo, I can leave the table and return any time without being noticed. They often debate different points of view, and sometimes; when they can’t agree, they ask my opinion, if only to laugh at me.
“What do you think Will?” The big man asked me gruffly.
“No person is overly more intelligent than another.” I said simply.
“How’s that?” He demanded.
“Nearly all of us have an equal portion, it’s only a matter of where you channel it. If I know all there is to know about cabinet making, people would only call me a skilled tradesman. If I channel my efforts into science, I would be called a great intellect.”
“And where have you channelled your intellect?” He asked sarcastically.
“My knowledge is more shotgun. I know a bit about everything, but not a lot on any one subject.”
“I still think one person can be a lot more intelligent than another,” said the bored looking girl.
I snort at the suggestion.
“The only difference between a scholar and a layman is a good memory.”
They laughed as predicted.
“I could go to the same school and sit in the same classes you. The same amount of information has passed through my mind as yours, but let’s say my memory only allows me to retain ten percent, while yours allows you to retain thirty percent. When it comes to testing time, you will score so much higher than me, and it will then be accepted that you are so much more intelligent.”
“So you think you’re a genius, do you?” sideburns asked.
It is a ridiculous question, but by the looks of their faces, I am expected to give an answer.
“The mark of a true genius is someone who excels in more than one area. Einstein for instance, was both a great mathematician and scientist.”
“You’re weird Will.”
I look down at the glass in my hand and smile to myself at the insult, before draining it and leaving. Why do I keep vigil over them? People pass me everyday, holding me in contempt, because my thoughts are too deep for them, or worse still, too simplistic to be believed.
A man in a dark suit trails me at a distance, but I know he’s there.
“You followed me into the bar and watched me the whole night,” I said over my shoulder.
“How did you know?”
“I never tell anyone how I know something. I prefer the other person keeps thinking they're clever. That way it’s easier to keep an eye on them.”
“What do you want?”
“I want you to know that you’re not alone.”
“Weird is a subjective word. It takes at least three experts to declare you insane, but only one person to write you off as weird, and usually because you don’t conform to behaviour they are comfortable with.”
I remain silent, unable to fault the logic.
“But still you help them. You still protect them. I know you Will Baxter. I know of your gift.”
“Do you just?”
I hear gunfire. The spinning projectiles zip into my back, but I feel no pain. I have always been able to absorb kinetic energy. They are sucked into my coat, which seals over their entry, before I turn. Energy channels down my sleeve and I return his own ammunition in anger, leaving a pitted silhouette of his head in the brick wall.
He smiles at me.
“We are like you in different ways. Join us to protect humanity from others like yourself. Leave the common criminals for the police.”
Again, I can’t fight his logic and nod in agreement as he places his hand on my shoulder and leads me away.
“Do you have a name?”
I know he refers to the name whispered fearfully by the criminal caste in darkened lanes.
“They call me Shotgun.”
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