I never enter Twitter competitions. Well, hardly ever – except for last week. A freak encounter with a Caroline Smailes tweet while sitting on the loo started it.
Promoting the publication of Freaks (a collection of short stories by Caroline and Nik Perring with illustrations by Darren Craske, each featuring a character with an unusual superpower) I’d caught the back end of the competition, the dying minutes. I had to think fast if I wanted to enter.
Sitting on the loo is a great place to think and when I saw Caroline’s tweet I had to think, so I stayed sat.
What would your superpower be?
The ultimate question to my inner eleven year old. The one that would’ve taken only a second to answer – flying, of course. How could it not be? Doesn’t every human dream of running and flapping arms, taking off and soaring above the trees? Swimming in the air, peddling to go higher, whizzing round the globe like Superman bringing Lois Lane back from the dead…
My legs were getting tingly. The just-before-numbness-kicks-in tingly. When you know if you get up from the loo your feet will feel like someone else’s. But flying wasn’t imaginative enough – flying is the dream, what’s the superpower? Something that’s useful, something that stops injustice in its tracks, something that gives voice to the voiceless.
The day before I’d been to an animal sanctuary hunting for a buddy wabbit (mine needs a companion). One beautiful 7 month old was extremely timid. He’d only been there a month after being found by a neighbour of his original owners who’d moved house and left timid Casper in a hutch in the garden. How can you leave an animal behind when you move house? That infuriated me. Madness had to come to cope with the mayhem.
(You already know how that’s necessary.)
A very big cat and a hat
Shape-shifting – that would be the superpower, shape-shifting into a giant lion and appearing whenever animal cruelty occurred. But that wasn’t enough. Cruelty to animals is occurring every minute of every day somewhere on the planet. To be useful I’d have to be omnipresent too.
An omnipresent shape-shifting giant lion to stop the mayhem. With a hat on, The Hat. Oh yes, there has to be The Hat.
So I tweeted it, and won. The prize? My superpower brought to life by the illustration magic of Darren.
The Big Cat in The Stripy Hat disapproves of your animal cruelty
(Yes, feet were someone else’s when I finally got up from the loo.)
With thanks to Caroline, Nik, Darren and Scott Pack.