Short Stories on Tall And True

The Power of Two - a nighttime alley.

The Power of Two

  12+  I'm a lone-wolf superhero. Heck, I'm not called Solo Shield for nothing! So, I wasn't keen when Long Vision suggested we buddy up as a "dynamic duo".

"I don't know, Viz," I replied. "Neither of us wants to play Robin to Batman."

"It won't be like the comics, Solo," he asserted. "We'll be equals, battling bad guys and keeping the streets safe. It'll be the power of two!" Viz added, passing his hand across the space between us as if conjuring a banner.

I sighed. Viz had the gift of the gab, which was lucky for him, given his superpower was spotting criminal activity in the far distance. I mean, it's not as impressive as wielding a shield against bad guys with guns and knives, is it?

There were rumours in the superhero fraternity that Viz's eyesight was failing, and he needed a partner to keep him employed in the crime-fighting business. Despite being a loner, I've got a soft spot for the frat. We cop a lot of bad press, and we're underappreciated. 

And between you and me, some long-sighted backup would be handy. My shield's a solid defence for frontal attacks, but not from behind, and the doctor recently warned I'd have to retire from the game if I got too many more knocks to the head.  

"Okay, Viz," I sighed again. "Let's give it a trial."

"Thanks, Solo!" Viz beamed his winning smile. "You won't regret it."

What's that saying about famous last words? First, Viz insisted we coordinate our superhero costumes or "uniforms", as he called them.

"Viz, I'm happy with my costume, sorry, uniform and cape. They complement my shield," I argued.

"Capes are so yesterday," Viz countered, "and they get caught in things. Besides, you can spray paint your shield to match our new colour combo."

Then there were the press conferences after we'd captured the bad guys. "Let me do the talking," Viz said. "I know how to work the media."

Viz was good at fielding questions and smiling into cameras. And as a duo, we soon achieved a higher public profile than I'd enjoyed as Solo Shield. But the whisperings at press conferences and among other superheroes began to needle me.

"Teaming up with Long Vision has prolonged Solo Shield's career."

Hang on! I don't think our Vision Shield stats (I hated the branding, but Viz talked me into it) were much better than my lone-wolf days. Though I'll admit I wasn't getting hit from behind so often, and superhero or not, it's best to avoid concussions.

Share your writing on Tall And True


Share and showcase your writing — fiction, nonfiction and reviews — as a Guest Writer on Tall And True.

Read more: Share Your Writing

However, the viral social media post claiming I'd be nothing without Long Vision finally pushed me over the edge. So I asked Viz to meet me to discuss my grievances, intending to keep the door slightly ajar but ready to end our "power of two" partnership.

Viz entered the room, beaming his smile and sporting a new pair of glasses, and I sighed and changed my mind about what I'd planned to say.

© 2024 Robert Fairhead

Thanks to Paul Macallan for sharing the nighttime alley image on Pixabay.

I wrote The Power of Two (originally titled The Duo) for the Australian Writers' Centre's June 2024 Furious Fiction writing challenge. The brief was:

  • Your story must strongly feature a relationship between TWO characters: a dynamic duo, a couple, a rivalry, siblings, or anything! 
  • It must include someone whispering.
  • Your story must include the words JAR, UNIFORM, NEEDLE, and EDGE. (Longer words are okay if the exact spelling of the shorter words is maintained.)

In a section headed The Power of Two, the Writers' Centre expanded on the first part of the brief, the TWO characters, again mentioning they could be a duo, superhero or otherwise. And this inspired me to write a story about an unlikely pairing of superheroes, Long Vision and Solo Shield, with the reluctant "lone-wolf" partner, Solo, as our narrator.

I had fun researching the superheroes' names and powers. But there are so many Marvel and DC comics with Long-something, Vision-this, Solo-that and Shield-thingy that finding unique names with powers to fit my story took longer than I'd estimated.

Writers have 55 hours from Friday afternoon, when the Writers' Centre releases the brief, until Sunday's midnight deadline to write their stories. However, I had Tasmanian friends visiting my hometown, Sydney, on the Furious Fiction weekend. We enjoyed dinner on Friday, lunch on Saturday and footy on Sunday. So, I didn't have a free 55 hours to write my story, let alone research superheroes (and get some sleep!).

Fortunately, I sketched an outline with possible plot, characters, and places for the required words on the train to and from dinner on Friday (pencilling in to leave a door aJAR!), had a late night writing the first draft on Saturday, and squeezed in edits and rewrites on Sunday before final proofreading and submitting my story with an hour to spare before the midnight deadline.

"The Duo" didn't get a guernsey (Sorry, Viz, a uniform!) from the Furious Fiction showcase and longlist judges for June. But I still loved what I'd created on a furious weekend of writing, so I revisited the story, made a few more edits (while respecting the brief and word count), and retitled and shared it on Tall And True. 

I hope you like The Power of Two, too!

N.B. You might like to read a story that did get a "uniform" with the Furious Fiction judges, Family Reflections

Proofread by Grammarly

Robert is a writer and editor at Tall And True and blogs on his eponymous website, He also writes and narrates episodes for the Tall And True Short Reads storytelling podcast, featuring his short stories, blog posts and other writing from Tall And True.

Robert's book reviews and other writing have appeared in print and online media. In 2020, he published his début collection of short stories, Both Sides of the Story. In 2021, Robert published his first twelve short stories for the Furious Fiction writing competition, Twelve Furious Months, and in 2022, his second collection of Furious Fictions, Twelve More Furious Months. And in 2023, he published an anthology of his microfiction, Tall And True Microfiction.

Besides writing, Robert's favourite pastimes include reading, watching Aussie Rules football with his son and walking his dog.

He has also enjoyed a one-night stand as a stand-up comic.

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you. ~ Maya Angelou

Tall And True showcases the writing — fiction, nonfiction and reviews — of a dad and dog owner, writer and podcaster, Robert Fairhead. Guest Writers are also invited to share and showcase their writing on the website.

tallandtrue pixabay freeimages