by Rod Drake
Jerry Shuster didn’t know where his special ability came from, or how long he had actually had it, but one day he realized that he could hear through walls, understand hushed whispers uttered fifty feet away and focus on one specific conversation in a huge, noisy crowd. It was great; eavesdropping for fun and laughs, learning personal secrets from private conversations, listening in to intimate details on all sorts of subjects, including tips on money-making ventures, of which Jerry took very profitable advantage. Flush with cash, and a success at his job since he could discover other employees’ ideas and steal them for his own, Shuster was happy with his life, needing only one thing to make it complete; a girlfriend. He found her when he singled out her erotic, whispered cell phone conversation on a crowded subway platform, listening long enough to know what she liked and wanted to hear from a man, then took her train and charmed her during the ride, ending up spending the night with her in a classy uptown hotel. Next morning, while still in bed with Marie, he confessed the secret of his amazing hearing ability and how it had brought him fame, fortune and fun. Marie, who had sensed he was “special” when he approached her at the subway station, used her own unique power - permanently stealing others’ abilities - on Jerry and then called up another power she had recently collected to wipe Jerry’s mind clean, leaving him blank and drooling like an infant for the hotel maid to find.
Rod Drake, whose full catalog is here, is the Official 6S Author of Friday the 13th. Check out his longer stories in Flashes of Speculation, Fictional Musings, Flash Flooding, Flash Forward, MicroHorror, and AcmeShorts.