Chapter One Hundred and One: Wanton as Water

David floated on his back in the open seas, letting the sun bake his wet skin. He was bored. That happened to him a lot. It wasn’t altogether unpleasant. More of an opportunity, really. He considered courses of action:

Dolphin wrestling? Did that yesterday. Be naked in front of Arn’s mum? Eh, she’s getting too good at pretending I’m not there. Kiss Brit again? Nah, too soon. Don’t want her getting sick of it. Arn and Mabes? They’re at work. Why the heck do they work? 

Allison. Always Allison. 

David melted into the seawater and let the waves and tide push him back to shore. It took nearly twenty minutes, but that was okay. David had nothing but time. As soon as the foam that carried his being crashed into the beach, he noticed someone standing on the sand. A freckled boy with curly brown hair in a blue and black wetsuit. Said wetsuit appeared to have survived an attack by a kindergarten art-class, armed to the milk-teeth with glitter and glue. 

David rose from the surf in front of him, brightly calling, “Hey! Haven’t seen you around. You a new kid?” He had to assume the kid was from Catalpa. Where else in a hundred miles would you find white boys?

The child looked at David and gulped. David detected some blush. “Ah, hi. Yeah, I came with the last lot. Name’s Greg.”

David grinned and waved. “Welcome to Catalpa!” 

“Thanks… so, you’re David Barthe, right?”

David puffed out his chest. “Yep! Also Venter, but eh.”

“You fought that wizard guy in Melbourne back in Jan?”

David grinned. “Double-yep.” His legend was spreading. He’d managed to forget that he’d lost that fight. “So, super, right?”

“Yeah,” said Greg. He was kneading his hands. It struck David as… familiar. 

“So, what do you do?”

“I… the science lady called me an elementalist.”

“Oh, like, hydrogen, plutonium, that kinda stuff?”

Gregory shook his head. “Nah, more like—well, here.”

Greg opened his hands. Fire plumed from his palms. Sand swirled up around him on a non-existent breeze. Then a very real gust of air lifted the boy a few feet into the air.

“Also…” 

He pointed behind David. A tendril of water slapped him in the back.


David startled, falling face first in the sand. A wave washed over him before he got back up. For the first time in his life, the sea had surprised him.

Greg winced. Some of the other kids said David could get scary when he was mad.

But then, the water-sprite laughed. “You can do water? That’s great!” He dissolved into mist.

Greg rubbed the back of his neck. “Ah, thanks?”

David coalesced behind him, peering at the other boy quizzically. “Can you turn into water?” Absently, he added, “Or any of the other things?”

Gregory jerked at the sudden guest in his personal space. “Nope. Just make them do stuff.”

Poor kid, thought David. That must be annoying. “Can you do stuff like blood? Or air in people’s lungs?”

“Ah, pretty sure nope.”

“Was your mum or dad a… monster I guess?”

“Just dickheads.”

“Sorry about that. Can you breathe underwater?”

“If I take air with me.”

“Close enough! Your powers sound pretty cool.” 

“Not compared to you. Aren’t you like, indestructible and stuff?”

“Yeah. But most people are way less cool than me. You’re fine. Better than fine.”

Gregory smiled shyly. “Ah, yeah, that’s kinda why I’m here.”

“Hmm?”

“Could you”—Gregory took a deep breath—“teach me to be like you?”

David tilted his head. “You want to be like me?”

“Yeah! I mean, you fight wizards and do whatever you want!” He looked down at his costume. “Sounds way more fun than being a superhero, honestly.”

“…I like you Greg. A lot.”

Gregory squeaked, “Really?”

“Yep. Consider me your sensei.”

“Great! Can we start now?”

“Sure!”

“…What first?”

David rubbed his chin. “You ran away from home, right?”

“Yeah. They tried to”—Gregory searched for something he was willing to say aloud—“…fix me.

“Sucks. Still, that’s step one out the way.” David went back to pondering. “I guess if you wanted to be just like me, you’d lose the costume.”

Gregory shrunk a little. “Do I have to?”

David shrugged. “Not really. I’m a state of mind, not a costume. Or a no-costume, I guess.”

Gregory smiled crookedly. “Gee, thanks, sensei.”

“Also, don’t keep calling me that. It’s David. Or Dave. Or Beachmaster.” 

Greg raised an eyebrow. “Beachmaster?”

The water-sprite frowned. Was this peasant doubting his sensei? A wave loomed out of the ocean and pounced on Gregory, knocking the boy to his back.

David stood smugly above him. “Beachmaster.” 

Something inside Greg twitched. The ground rumbled under David’s feet. A pillar of sand erupted from beneath him, pushing him ten meters into the air and forming into a clenched fist around him. 

Greg got to his feet, another sand pillar lifting him up to David’s eye-level. “No,” he said curtly. “You can be Oceanmaster. I’m Beachmaster.”

David laughed. “Thank God.”

“What?”

An icey David exploded out of Gregory’s sandy grip and tackled him off his platform. The wind rose to catch the boys as they tumbled in the air.

“Already teaching the tiger-kid to have balls. Didn’t need another one.”

“Git!”

“Yep!”  

Gregory growled. The winds pried him and David apart, flinging the ice-sculpture boy into the ocean. 

Gregory tumbled happily in the air for a bit, awaiting the inevitable counterattack. Half a mile out to sea, a hole opened in the water’s glassy blue surface. 

Greg grinned to himself. The wind pushed him out towards the vortex.

David was standing at the bottom of a funnel of water, feet planted in a fighting stance on the suddenly dry sea-floor. He grinned wickedly up at Gregory.

“That the best you got?”

 Clouds formed in Greg’s eyes, and clouds gathered in the sky above him. 

“Nope.” 

The seabed shook. Craggy stone giants tore themselves out of the rock and circled David like hungry trolls. 

David giggled madly and switched to ice. The ocean vibrated with his voice:

Hell yeah!” 

The sea warred with the sky. The birds and fish shared in a mutual, perfect terror. The clouds wept spears of ice. The ocean spewed geysers of steam. Fires burned bright beneath the waves.

David flew up out of the sea, riding a glittering Möbius strip. He caught sight of Gregory and laughed. “Okay, good fight. No more playing now.”

David and his water-ribbon dropped back into the ocean.

Greg called down, “That a surrender?”

In answer, the sea’s surface swelled and deformed. A fist the size of a fishing boat emerged. Then an arm a fathom long. A giant, grinning boy formed of green-blue water pulled itself out the ocean, his upper-legs trailing off into sea-foam. 

A musical glass echo boomed from the ocean:

Bet you can’t do this.” 

Gregory stared at what his new friend had become. He thought he could make out a shark swimming behind David’s eye. And had he kept his junk on purpose1? Why

David slammed one of his enormous hands down on top of Greg. He swerved out of the way, just as the giant arched his back and spat a salty, boulder sized globule right at him. That hit Greg front and centre.

Gregory spun head over heels, the wind struggling to stabilize him again. 

“Gross, gross, gross…”

Come on, it’s not real spit. 

David didn’t bother with the lip movements. Somehow, that offended Greg more than the spit. Or the water-junk. 

Surrender? No shame in losing to a god…”     

Gregory roared and soared at David, plunging right into his chest. A fire lit inside the boy. A fire lit within the giant. Gregory burst into flames hotter than the sea was wet. David exploded into a mountain of steam. 

Greg lay laughing on a powerful updraft, a child shaped ember glowing in the centre of an inferno. The ashes of his costume fell like snow down into the ocean. 

A wisp of steam floated up from the water, forming again into David’s image. “Nice one, Greg—”  

David’s synthetic voice trailed off. He’d caught sight of the half-healed bruises marring Greg’s skin. 

Greg looked down at himself and tried to cover them. “I—”

David cut him off, “I’ll get you some clothes. Back in a bit.”

The water-sprite rode the wind back to Catalpa, back to Sarah’s house. He reformed on her doorstep, running through the front-door yelling, “Sarah! I need my dinner clothes.” 

Sarah was in her shanty’s kitchen cutting vegetables. “Folded on your bed, same as always. You’re not going to try and hide them again, are you?”

David streaked through the kitchen into his room. “Not for me! A friend!” He left through the window.

Sarah went back to her vegetables. She tried to decide which was more of a surprise: David demanding clothes; or aiding and abetting someone else’s modesty.

The round-trip took David about half an hour. When he reached the cove again, Greg was sitting on the shore, knees against his chest. 

David tossed his shorts and t-shirt at his back. “Here.”

“Thanks.” 


David turned around while Greg redressed. It seemed silly to him, he’d already seen everything, but humans were generally quite silly. 

“…The guy who owned me beat me up too,” he said. “Not much, but when he did, he did it hard. In front of everyone—”

“Please don’t,” said Greg.

“Hmm?”

“If you talk about your stuff, I’ll have to talk about mine. Don’t wanna.”

David sighed with relief. “Okay.”

“You can turn around now.”

David did. Luckily, the baby-blue shirt and shorts he wore for dinner with Sarah fit Greg fine. David smirked. “Better you than me.”

Greg grinned. “Shut up.” 

David jabbed his thumb at the wall of bush behind them. “Wanna head back to town? Get some lunch.”

“Sure.”

“Cool.” David started walking towards the greenery.

“What are you doing?”

David looked back over his shoulder. “…Heading into town.”

“Dude, I’m the boss of the wind.”

The pair screamed with laughter as they were buffeted across the sky, riding a roller-coaster whose rails were built of jetstreams and windcurrents, with absolutely no restraints. David suddenly knew what being a leaf in a storm felt like. It felt great. Like skydiving, sideways

The trees and scrub below the boys gave way to the rust and red dirt of Catalpa. There was a lot of silver, gold and green, too. Christmas was only a few days away. Didn’t make much of a difference to David. Lawrence wasn’t big on celebrating “human” holidays at the Institute. He’d wanted the new race to cultivate their own sacred days and festivals. Except for his old college’s, of course. Besides, David was hoping to God he didn’t qualify as a good boy in 1966.  

The streets were surprisingly sparse for the middle of the day, not that either child noticed in their whirling private hurricane. David pointed down at the tinsel-trimmed pancake that was Libertalia Tavern. “Set us down there!”

The wind thinned slowly under David and Greg. The former managed a perfect three point superhero landing. The latter settled for tucking and rolling. Either way, it would have been more impressive if they hadn’t landed halfway down the street from the pub. 

David barged into the packed, sodium lit tavern, loudly declaring, “Lunchtime! Fish and chips for me and Greg! And cook some of the fish for him!”

Everyone in the pub glared at David. Most were standing facing the small stage set against the building’s east wall in case someone got drunk enough to start singing. At the moment it played host to Drina Kinsey, who looked far too nervous to be drunk. 

David’s eyes darted around the room. “…What? I got the fish in the first place!”

Gregory wandered in behind the water-sprite. “Ah, sorry. We interrupting something?”

David saw Allison’s pale hand wave above the crowd. She called, “Just a town meeting. Didn’t think you’d be interested.”

David folded his arms. “Well we are.”

“We are?” asked Greg. 

David felt Allie shrug. “Stay then.”

“Still think he should have to wear clothes in here,” Angela Barnes grumbled loudly from some corner of the bar2

“Tough,” said David, wading into the crowd, Greg in tow. He found Allison standing with the other two Watercolours near the rudimentary restrooms3. For whatever reason, Mabel and Arnold looked vaguely uncomfortable.  

“So what’s this about?” David asked. 


Allison shushed him with an almost serpentine hiss. “My mum is talking.”   

“…As I was saying,” said Drina. “I think it’s an issue when children are running around the streets unsupervised at eleven at night.”

David didn’t pay too much attention to the lady. He was too busy looking for opportunities. He found Close-Cut standing with his arm around Ralph, nursing a pint of beer. Said pint proceeded to throw itself in the old man’s face.

David snorted.  

“…And is anyone doing anything to give these kids a Merry Christmas? There isn’t even a tree in the dorms!”

Wallace muttered under his breath, “I’m going to sew that little shit into some goddamn pants.”

Ralph chuckled. “You’d never taste a drop again.”

“It’d be worth it.”

“…No sane city should be so dependent on child labour.”

A woman’s voice called from the crowd. “Who are you to come in and give us a sermon on child-welfare? Your daughter was here for nine months before you bothered showing up.”

Allison yelled, “Don’t talk to my mum like that, Jenny.”

“It’s Miss-Demeanor!”

David was really hoping for a bar-fight. He could do so much with all the liquor and beer lying around.

“I’m not here to defend my track-record as a mother,” said Drina. “I didn’t realize my daughter had superpowers for nearly ten years. I’m just saying I think the children could do with some structure.”

Mabel rolled her eyes. “Excuse me, Mrs Kinsey. Some of us aren’t lazing around all day like this one.” She pointed at David.

“Eh? I’m chief fisherman.”

“That’s just what you’d be doing anyway.” Mabel pulled Arnold into her side, smiling proudly. “Me and Arn here have full-time jobs.”

Drina shook her head. “That’s my point! You’re eleven, Mabel! You shouldn’t have a job.” She cast her gaze about the crowd, searching out its smallest members. “You should be in school!”

The children present let out an almost-universal groan. 

Allison floated above the crowd, raising her hand like she was already back in a classroom. “Ah, Mum. I kinda don’t… need school.”

“Said every little girl ever,” commented Fred Barnes. 

“But I don’t!”

Drina raised a hand. “I’m not just talking about you, Allie. Everyone needs an education.”

“I agree,” said Mistress Quickly, leaning against one of the fishnets that hung on the walls. “Nobody should grow up ignorant.” 

“Seconded,” said Angela. 

Mabel protested, “We’re not ignorant.” She looked at Arnold. “Tell ‘em, Arn!”

Arnold opened his mouth to speak, but his mother managed to lock eyes with him. He smiled brittly “…I don’t know.”

Mabel huffed. 

David wasn’t sure why Mabel was getting so cross. They’d both been good at school. School meant company. Attention. Admittedly it also implied sitting still and wearing clothes, but David figured those were negotiable.       

From behind the bar, Hettie Haldor added, “Not all the children here are super, either.”

Hettie and her husband Paul were one of the few intact married couples to have made their way to Catalpa, not even for the sake of a powered child. Hettie had been a normal wife and mother before she’d suddenly and inexplicably transformed into stone and crystal. At first she’d fled from her family, even joined up with two other future Catalpa residents as a supervillain, but she’d found her way back to them. Eventually.  

“My kids can’t coast on superpowers like Davie or Allison can.”

David wondered if he should’ve been offended by that. He decided to not be. His powers were great.  

A squeaking, teenage voice called, “Gee, thanks, Mum.”

“Come on, Steven, your ma’s just thinking about your future…” said Fo-Fum, his great frame balanced precariously on a barstool. 

“Robbing banks with my mum doesn’t make you my uncle!”

Hettie snapped, “Don’t talk to Barry like that, young man!”

 “Right,” said Drina, trying to grab the reins of the meeting again. “It looks like most of us agree there needs to be a school—”

“No we don’t!” Mabel insisted.

Drina threw a hand up, blinking hard with frustration. “…Do we have anyone qualified to teach.”

An awkward silence fell upon the crowd. There was sadly little higher education—let alone pedagogical expertise—to be found in that collection of ex-criminals, vigilantes, asylum inmates in burnouts.  

Mabel smiled with satisfaction. Saved by grown-up incompetence. That or being doomed by it was pretty much the story of her life.

Ralph said, “I’ll happily teach sports. Maybe Wally here could pitch in. He’d make a great science teacher—”

Wally shook his head silently.

“Oh. Nevermind.”

Doc Danny climbed up onto the bar bench, declaring, “Put me in a school and I will burn this fucking town to the ground!”

“Language, boy!” cried Angela. 

Hettie perfunctorily yanked the child down. “Get down from there!”

Mabel shouted, “I’m calling a general children’s strike until this dumb idea is abandoned! Who’s with me?”

Most of the children started pumping their fists and yelling, “Strike! Strike! Strike!” pushing and shoving their way outside.

Eventually, the only kids left in Libertalia were: Allison (for her mother’s sake), Arnold (in deep fear of his mother), Billy (ever the good boy), Tom (because the “strike” was the dumbest thing he’d ever heard, even after a childhood spent in Herbert Lawrence’s care), Gregory (because he was just confused), and David (who was barely listening.)

Fred Barnes took a long sip from his beer. “A strike, eh? Guess her dad was a miner…” 

David sat himself down on the stool in front of Hettie. “So, fish now?” 

“It’s not a bad idea,” remarked Therese Fletcher’s companion, watching the tavern from a dozen different angles of widely varying quality. He had an odd fondness for the reflection in one old man’s false eye. “Maybe you should volunteer.”

“I was never a great teacher. Not for super-kids, at least. Too much of a pushover.”

“You killed ten of the Coven’s guys.”

“It’s easier when they’re bastards. Why not you? You were a teacher once, too.”

The man tilted his hand. “Things were a lot more… home-spun back then. I ducked out before things got too scholastic. Or strange. Plus, I don’t think I could look Mrs Barnes in the eye. Or Allison.”

“They’ll find someone,” said Therese. “There’s kids out there who need me more.” 

Still, the pair stood together in the void of mirrors. Watching. 

⬗ 

The Great Catalpa Children’s Strike of 1966 might’ve had more of an impact if it wasn’t so close to Christmas. Not like anyone was in much of a mood to work with Father Christmas on his way. It also might’ve been more convenient for Doc Danny if he hadn’t stopped working on getting Miri into her new body. And if Miri hadn’t been an implacable, indestructible, impatient ghost. He spent most of the strike hiding in his makeshift bedroom in Freedom’s Point, wearing a tinfoil armoured helmet and clutching a golf-club covered in sparking electronics:

“Can’t get me, can’t get me…”

Mabel moved back into the Children’s Hall. Fourteen year old Steven Haldor also decided to take up residence there, becoming its only baseline resident. First night, he woke up on the ceiling. This would be the high point of his stay.

David remained firmly neutral. As he saw it, if a Catalpa got a school, he could go and outshine the other children whenever he wanted. And when he didn’t want to go to school, what were they going to do? Send a submarine after him?

As for his opinion on the strike, David broadly approved. It meant Mabel spent a lot more time with him. Unfortunately, she spent much of that time grumbling. 

Mabel stabbed at the guttering campfire with a stick. “…Bet she isn’t going to make Allie go to school. Bloody hypocrite…” 

Steve Haldor was sitting on a log across from her, munching sullenly on stale marshmallows. “At least her mum came to her. Mine ran off, then came back and dragged us all up to woop-woop!”

Mabel frowned. “What’s wrong with Catalpa?”

“Nothing, if you have powers.” Steve spat in the sand. “If you don’t, you get beaten up by freaking nine year old girls!”

“You were the one who challenged Brit.”

Steve picked up a stick and started smacking the embers, sending up sparks with every strike. “Got no friends! Got no TV! Got no powers! Got no nothing!”

“Double negative,” Mabel said, hand under her chin.

“And now she wants me to sit all day in a classroom with a bunch of little kids!” 

Mabel was wondering if Steve ought to be part of this strike. Maybe he, specifically, did need to go to school. Mabel could create life and make it dig holes for people. Arnold could teleport crap to the moon. What good was Steve to anyone if nobody taught him how to be an accountant or something? Plus, he was a teen. And not a cool teen like Tom Long. Why couldn’t he have joined the strike?

“Yeah,” Mabel said, badly pretending to pay attention to Steve’s rant. “It’s a load of crap. I’m gonna go see what the others are doing.”

“The others” were David, Brit, and Greg. Right then, they were down the beach. Gregory was conducting gale force winds directly into Brit, letting her power gorge itself on the kinetic energy. 

Brit stood with her arms outstretched, back facing Gregory, glowing so bright she might as well have been carved from plasma, a thin layer of frost building on her shoulders. By the time it passed over her, there wasn’t enough energy left in the air to ruffle her hair.

David stood in front of the girl, squinting at the ocean before them and gently nudging the currents. He raised a hand, holding it in the air for a moment before crying, “Now!”

Brit made a great pantherine leap forward, landing in the surf on her knees and slamming her fist down in the water.

The sea turned into a solid wall of foam, roaring up above the children’s heads before raining back down. A second later, dozens of dead fish bobbed to the troubled surface. 

“Heck yeah!” yelled David. 

Brit—thoroughly soaked—stood up, clapping her hands together theatrically. She looked back at Gregory. “Told you it would work. You owe me”—Brit looked out to sea, mouthing numbers as she counted—“Forty-two chickens!”

Gregory folded his arms. “Sure.”

The ocean ejected a fish from its surface, right into Brit’s hair.

Brit shrieked. The boys both laughed, at least until Brit pulled the mackerel out of her hair and charged screaming at them with it. 

“Furthering the cause are we?” Mabel asked sourly, walking up to the three with her hands in her costume pockets. It would’ve made a decent album cover if anyone had had a camera.   

David looked up from amidst the scuffle. “Hey Mabes!” he shouted, grabbing the mackerel Brit was currently hitting him with. “We got fish!”

Mabel grunted. “I’m sick of fish.”

“Then go get something at the tavern,” Brit suggested, hammering her fists against David’s chest.

Mabel sighed. “Brit, we’re on strike. That means we don’t let the grown-ups make us dinner.”

“I was wondering,” said Gregory, trying to pin Brit by the legs, “can we really have a strike when we don’t have money here?”

“Yeah,” said David. “Not like Hettie’s going to go out of business or starve or something if you don’t eat her shepherd’s pie.”

Mabel didn’t like being lectured on economics by a naked sea-fairy, even if he was her best friend. Her best friend that wasn’t busy sucking up to his mother because Arnold was a big massive wimp, anyway. 

“I could maybe hunt something,” said Brit, tossing both the boys off her. “I used to do that sometimes when me and Tom were on our own.” She smiled proudly. “I once snapped a bull’s neck.”


“Ah, sure,” said Mabel. She noticed something out the corner of her eye. “You might want to start with Steve.”

Brit grimaced. “You want to hunt Steve?”

Mabel shook her head. “No—I mean”—she pointed back at the campfire. “Steve’s gone.”

She was right. The fire was deserted. The children could make out a set of footprints in the sand leading into the bush.

Brit glanced up at the sky. It was getting dark. “We should probably go find him,” she said. “Hettie’s probably not gonna negotiate if her son gets eaten by a crocodile.”

“Or a buffalo,” said Gregory. “I heard they have those up there.”

“Do buffalo eat meat?” asked Brit.

“Nope,” said David. He grinned. “But marsh-spiders do.”

“There’s no such thing!” insisted Brit.

“Is so!”

Mabel pinched the bridge of her nose. Little kids, thought the eleven year old. “Can you track him?” she asked David.

“Yep.”

The four children made their way to the footprints. As they neared the bush, a sound drifted through the greenery. Woodwinds and cheerful percussion. It carried scents with it, too. Peanut oil and hot sugar.

Brit spoke first. “Is that—”

“Circus music?” finished David.

For a moment, David’s heart jumped. A memory struggled to reach the surface of his mind, but was drowned by a kind of drowsy excitement. “Bet that’s where Steve’s going.”

David led them through the bush, following the water in Steve’s blood. They soon crossed into open grass.

Mabel said, “Wasn’t this bush be—”

Her voice trailed off. A perfectly classical, red and white circus tent stood against the tangerine sky and amber clouds, surrounded by stalls, carts, and rides. The shadow of a ferris wheel loomed over the fairgrounds, the setting sun caged in its girders.

Brit shouted, “Circus!” running towards the tent at half the speed of sound.

“Showoff,” Mabel muttered. She started walking after the other girl, grumbling all the while at her frustratingly human pace.

David followed. “Weird place for a circus,” he said. 

“Maybe it’s for Noongar4 kids,” Mabel said. “Mostly them who live out here.”

As soon as she suggested the idea, neither child needed any other explanation.

Brit was waiting for the other two at the ticket booth. It was under a wooden sign that read.

FAMILY CIRCUS

The words were off-center. The wood next to “Family” was heavily scratched. 

“That sign doesn’t look right,” commented David. 

“Bet they had the clowns paint it,” Mabel suggested.

Again, the explanation seemed diamond-solid. 

Brit was hopping up and down, only occasionally sailing ten feet into the air. “The ticket-girl says Steve’s in there, so we have to go in too!”

Mabel looked at the ticket-booth. The girl manning it was a pale redhead, only a year or two older than herself. Carnie family, she guessed. “Do we need any money?”

“No,” the girl said dejectedly. “Special Christmas price. Or no price, I guess.”

Mabel looked back at the other kids. David could suck it up and put on his costume, but all Brit had was her shorts. “Do they need clothes?”

“Nope,” said the girl. “No rules in this circus. Or grown-ups.”

Mabel rubbed her chin. She could smell the popcorn from there. She hadn’t had popcorn in a year. “I guess we’re not on strike against a circus—”

David and Brit ran past Mabel into the yellow light of the circus, the former clipping her in the shoulder. Mabel proceeded to run right after them.

Ávrá Lieroinen watched them go, sighing. “Poor, dumb donkeys.”

She wondered if Pinocchio was a thing on this Earth.   

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1. Pure psychological warfare.

2. It is worth noting that women in Australia only gained the right to drink in public bars the year before. Some of the more traditionalist men in Catalpa suggested going back to the prior state of affairs, only to be reminded that most Catalpa women also had superpowers.

3. Twin lean-toos housing chemical toilets, fitted with miniature egg portals at the bottom leading to the upper atmosphere above Catalpa. Tourists are advised not to ask why the town has so many shooting stars.

4. This is a mistake on Mabel Henderson’s part, as “Noongar” specifically refers to various Aboriginal nations in Western Australia, not the Yolngu peoples of the Northern Territory.

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