"I'm not what I seem. I mean, it's pretty clear. Obvious really. You're a dolt for not realizing it. See, I'm a superhero. I can fly, just not while you're watching. It's easy, just have to get the knack. I'm not lying, it's true, last night while everyone was asleep I stepped off the roof and flew over the whole town. I watched the streets below me, dark in that way only nighttime streets are. You know, they look a little wet, but they're not. And pools of yellow phosphorescence from the streetlights. The neon signs too, they flickered and told me the secrets that Simon and Garfunkel sang about. And then I flew on, and this one guy saw me. He was just walking, alone, no dog or anything, and he just turned and walked again. People will believe anything at night. And I flew and I flew, and if there had been any crime I would have stopped it. I have super strength too you see. Yeah, I'm Superman. Why won't you believe me? I fell 40 stories, and picked myself back up. Not a scratch. I'm a superhero. What's my origin? I was just destined for something greater I guess. I can fly. Please believe me."
They never did. Quentin Karaii would watch them as they (who is 'they'? where are 'they'?) walked away. Faster than a walk though, slower than a sprint. Don't let the crazy know that they think he (being Quentin) is crazy. It's sad. Really sad. Though they're right in one way: Quentin's a liar. He believes he's telling the truth though, honest! Ironic, too. Since, you see, Quentin does have powers. But he can't fly. Most of the time. Or lift tons. Usually. What he can do is separate the chaff from the wheat. Find the heart of a thing. And take it for his own.
Doesn't keep girlfriends for very long though. He's not easy to deal with.
But what Quentin does is an odd form of mimicry. Not quite shapeshifting, not quite camouflage. Like now. He's just watched the latest in a string of nonbelievers walk away, and he's frustrated. So he punches a car (which is minding its own business, naturally), letting his hand linger a moment. First his skin takes on a blue laquer, a sheen only metal can hold. His eyes blink, and shine light in front of him. He rolls off down the street on tired feet. People stare. He doesn't care. Maybe they'll realize he's a hero. He can fly. Honest. Sometimes anyway.
He should have been at work two hours ago. At two locations. He's forgotten entirely, and they don't interest him right now anyway. Last month he would have said that he had been DYING to be a barrista. And a merchandiser. Now he thinks it must be amazing to dress mannequins.
If you asked he'd say he was happy, but there's something eating at the back of his brain, a nagging worry, a NEED to get something done. Maybe just ideas. Too many of them to contain or use, but they're so perfect.
His phone rings, and it's almost certainly his aunt (he hasn't been at home for a week now), and he takes it up. Not answers...he puts his hand on the phone and feels the radio waves infuse his head with a million conversations. And he rings too, his favorite song. Plantetary (GO!), thanks for asking.
He pops one of the blue pills that taste like batteries. The world dims.
Quentin Karaii is a young jack-of-all-trades who lives in Detroit, Michigan. He has his own apartment, except when he forgets to pay rent. Then he lives with his Auntie Gail. He works, a lot, but he can't hold down a job. He follows his dreams, but they slip between his grasp, and leave him empty. Then he won't budge from the couch for weeks, unless he does. That's rarely good. Quentin Karaii is severely bipolar (also known as manic-depressive). Sometimes he's the hero Quintessence. Sometimes he's the petty villain Quintessence. He means well. Usually. Quentin is working on treatment, but the doctors never believe him.
The pills cloud his mind, he knows he should take them, but he can't.
It's just quintessential. Er...No, a quandary. His life's a quandary, and a quagmire, and he feels himself sinking into the quicksand and he doesn't know how he'll get out but he knows he has to Aunt Gail won't life forever. She had a stroke last year. Quentin is frightened.
He's a superhero. Won't someone believe him?