one of them remember the last time they’ve all been together. Close enough to touch, to hug awkwardly. None of them live on the same continent, and flights being what they are these days, well. Plus, Linka’s been in jail since that Pussy Riot thing, so in the end, it’s easier just to get together on Skype.
They’ve almost given up on Wheeler when he finally signs on with some excuse about it being too early in Brooklyn. Like every American, the world should revolve around him. They play a little of the catch-up game. Kwame has just divorced for the second time, Gi’s latest insemination has taken. It’s the kind of small talk strangers make when still masquerading as friends.
They finally get to business. The pipeline, of course. In the old days, they’d organize a field trip, stage some rallies, sit down with the bigwigs and try to talk some sense into them. But it always ended up in the same bottleneck. Older and wiser, probably lazier, they now just skip to the point and pull out the big guns.
One at a time, they angle laptop cameras to focus on their rings. The boys make sure their tattoos are showing, the girls make their best duck-faces before they shout the words. They’ll let their powers combine and settle back while the Captain minces about and does whatever needs doing. Smash the pipeline, educate the masses, coif his mullet.
But when it gets to Ma-Ti, small and simpering as ever, something’s missing. His ring. The one they all used to snicker about. He had to pawn it to put the down payment on his new condominium in Rio.
They get a bit exasperated, he whines about nobody respecting him. They talk about back-up plans, but they’re surprised to find that none of them really care. Who needs the aggravation? It’s all so 80’s spandex and 90’s grunge and Y2K. Now, you can fight it from inside the system. Slowly. Buy local, eat organic, say Monsanto in thinly veiled disgust at not-too-expensive restaurants. They have the power to make the kind of difference no one will notice.
Remember when you were a minipop, and you saw that film, you know, the one you loved that never had a sequel? Well, let's say it did. And it was just like you imagined it, only a little bit worse.