Ralph the Mutant
By Douglas E. Gogerty
My name is Ralph Horatio Logan IV, and I am a mutant. Now, I do not shoot laser beams from my eyes, or have long claws shoot out of my wrists. I cannot even summon giant killer squids from outer space. Nonetheless I am a mutant, and I am saving the human race. I guess I should start at the beginning.
I was born in Cincinnati Ohio to Jennifer and Ralph H. Logan III. (Imagine that!) I am the oldest of three, but I am the only one still living. My siblings died as a result of the event. Because I am a mutant, I survived. That is the nature of being a mutant I guess.
Prior to this event, I led a pretty average life. For most of my life, no one knew I was a mutant. In fact, I did not even know. It is probably because we are all mutants in one form or another. It is just that most of our mutations do not provide a big advantage over everyone else.
For instance, suppose you had a mutation that made you extra immune to the influenza virus. In normal circumstances, this is not going to give you a big advantage over everyone else. It is just going to save you from suffering from the flu. However, ordinarily no one will notice that you have this mutation, and they will not consider you a mutant. On the other hand, if it does give you a big advantage, then that is a different story.
I guess I am saying that if you have a big advantage over others, you can claim that you are a mutant. Otherwise, your mutations are just run of the mill things. They do not give you any noticeable advantages; hence, you are not a mutant like me.
As you may have guessed, the biggest problem I had to overcome in childhood was my name. It is difficult to go around with such a name. It is a family name as you may have noticed. Many people in my situation go by their middle names. This prevents confusion when father and son have the same name. However, Horatio is worse than Ralph. Also, R.H. does not exactly roll off the tongue. Thus, for a majority of my life I went by Four. It is not a great nickname, but it beats the alternatives.
In any event, my childhood was pretty uneventful. So were my junior high days. That is, apart from people making fun of my name. Come to think of it, high school was pretty quiet. I guess so was college, and the time I moved back in with my folks after that. To be honest, my entire life until that day was mostly uneventful.
That is not to say that things did not happen. Once, I saw a guy lying on the side of the road. From what I could make out, he was biking along and he did not see a bar poking out from a parked dump truck. He was not wearing a helmet, and he hit his head and crashed. Wear your helmet kids! He was on the ground when I walked up, and I called 911. Maybe I saved his life. Probably not, but it could be true. Isn't that you want from a superhero tale?
Anyway, like many superheros in comic books, I struggled with regular life. For most of my life, I had to deal with the mundane. I was just like everyone else. I was just waiting for the moment when I could shine. I was waiting for my powers to become evident. I was living my ordinary life until my time in the sun -- so to speak.
Thus, I had a regular, ordinary, boring life for quite a long time. Sometimes, I miss it. Anyway, I went from a fairly unremarkable child into a fairly unremarkable adult. I was a pudgy, balding adult. Alright, that still describes me. No one would have thought that I would be partially responsible for saving the human race. Actually, if you pointed at me and said that I would have to save the world, many people would collapse in despair. Nevertheless, it is true.
After the uneventful events of my early life, the world changed. We can point to the day that it all changed, but it really had been building for quite some time. It was just on one day when the big change occurred. Everything before that day is often referred to as the before time.
Up until the event, people living in the United States worried about nuclear proliferation in other parts of the world. Specifically, they worried about nuclear weapons falling into the hands of religious extremists abroad. There had been attacks on U.S. interests, and many worried about these escalating. These concerns were well founded. There were a great deal of changes to our way of life to prevent these forces from ruining the American way. No one would have suspected what actually happened.
We were winding down a pretty awful year. The economy was terrible. Unemployment was high. There were abandoned houses all over major cities. Everyone was struggling making a living. It was another year of a tough economy.
Despite all that, we had a very popular president. While some called him the anti-Christ, most people laughed this off. It was just unbalanced people blowing off steam. There were some media outlets proclaiming it as a valid point of view, but most thought they were completely harmless. This kind of talk was becoming common for political rivalries.
While the economy was still struggling, it promised to be a Christmas season like all of the rest. It might have been a bit slow, but still of the season. There was the usual talk of the War on Christmas. However, it was completely in the imaginations of a some conservative crazies. You know, the same group that believed the president was the anti-Christ. At least, a majority of Americans did not give any of that talk any serious consideration. In our wildest dreams we would have never thought that there was a group who took this quite seriously. We all thought it was just a way of the talking heads to build ratings. However, it turns out that they were actually feeding a fire.
For several years, there was talk that we were living in the end of times. There were lots of people waiting for the second coming, and they believed the rapture would occur at any moment. Who would have guessed that they would become tired of waiting? No one thought they would actually attempt to bring forth Armageddon. Nevertheless, this is exactly what they did.