Fiction: Practice Makes Perfect by Brian Joseph Johns

This short poetic story, Practice Makes Perfect highlights the challenges faced by caregivers and those seeking to tackle life challenging health issues by way of allegory and metaphor. Alicia Westin, Quantum Biochemist/Biologist aka the super powered Night Style and best friend forever of The Butterfly Dragon, takes on a danger that thwarts a politician in the absence of the Butterfly.

 Some things happen in order for us to learn.

Some challenges happen in order for us to better ourselves.

And yet, some things happen for no good reason at all.

In this world. In the field. That's the way. That's the deal.

Two people so very similar yet so very distant.

They started the same yet sometimes the difference is:

Words that nurture and inspire or words of torture and ire.

With one you're freed to sew the future's seed.

With the other a spate that determines your fate.

This is the tale of two such people for whom practice makes perfect...

On an old grove in the north outback.

It used to be a farm before his Uncle got hold of it.

He lines up the shot. Bang.

The phony is dead. Simple as that.

Plain as day.

When you keep at something, you become good at it.

His Uncle used to tell him.


Another one falls. A hundred meters this time.

No blood. Just broken glass.

Another bottle that used to be its neighbour.

One day.

He goes inside and prepares.

She is elsewhere. Somewhere in the city.

Her day job. The only one she ever knew.

Fixing things. Fixing people.

With her mind. The more she does the better she gets.

Chemistry. Quantum Physics. Quantum-transmography. All better.

One day. Cancer gone. Maybe.

For good.

When you keep at something, you become good at it.

Because practice makes perfect.

Her lab coat would tell the story.

But remains silent after she removes it.

She looks plain but she is anything but.

Plain is just a word. The night is about to come.

That's her time to become herself.

Become the style. A Night Style.

Miles away in his car.

A gas guzzler from a different era.

Long before smart phones.


Reagan? Gorbachev?

Maybe. Still running.

Like his Uncle through his brain.

Make it to the prize phony.

The real phony. That's a contradiction in terms?

"No its not. Its the veil of the phony lifted." his Uncle answered from the grave.

Tonight. No bottles this time. Bodies?

Only words.

And bullets.

They're so much alike, aren't they?

Bang, he points and shoots with his finger.

Someone dies in his mind.

Someone cuts him off in reality.

Damned phonies!

He's back in his car.

His middle finger raised in salute.

He shoots with words.

But misses.

There's always tonight. With bullets.

She's out the door.

As quick as she arrived.

Too late at work.

She might miss it.

For her its not a problem.

Off and out into the air. Into gravity's clutches.

She works with it rather than against landing safely.

Too fast. Agile.

Running. Into an alley.

Up a wall. Parts of the fire escape.

She almost misses a jump.

Then lands.

Twenty stories below.

The hotel.

Too far to jump. But not to climb.

A view rarely seen by most.

Appreciated by even fewer.

The Dragon told her. Walter Wisp?


In her sleep.

Be there or miss.

The cold iron kiss.

The Butterfly's too far, she needs you to cover.

Night Style's the star: the gunman discover.

Before its too late and wins fate.

The words of spate that punctuated in hate.

The field again. It flew above them.

Walter Wisp? Its wings stretched star to star.

Her dream ends and she awakes.

High on the window ledge of the hotel.

His car double parked. Someone's snide remark.

He ignores it. They're just sheep.

They eat the crap they're fed by the phonies.

They don't know what lurks in the hearts of them.

His Uncle used to tell him.

In the dark. There's things that will take you.

All of us. They will.

They lead. The sheep follow.

Know this and you are removed from the flock.

Be ready for the day.

Bang. They're dead.

His Uncle. Used to say.

Before he went. Bang.

His Uncle never telling of what was absent from his own.


Into the ballroom discretely. Up the stairs.

He blends in and waits. For the main attraction.

This is a circus. He wants the ring master.

Not the sheep.

She runs down the hall. Someone shouts.

Hey! There's that one from the news!

She ignores him. The stairs up a flight at a time.

Flight by flight. She jumps.

Bang. As she hits each landing.

He imagines the shot.

Just like the bottles. He might get three or four.

Before they stop him. Not the sheep.

The phonies have protectors.

She runs as fast as she can.

Down the hall. Next floor.

Twentieth? Thirtieth?

She finds the service elevator.

She's not used to waiting.

She learns patience impatiently.

The sheep have a speaker on stage.

They introduce the feast for him.

The phony master. His feast.

The feast of his Uncle's thirty ought six.

Like he imagined it so many times.

He pulls the rifle from his long jacket.

Levels it from the darkness.

The elevator opens. She's a blur to the staff.

Down another hall and in boldly yet quietly to the ballroom.

On stage. The speech.

He delivers it impeccably. She hears the practice.

Ears listening. Security too.

She scans the room until she sees him.

The grim reaper. The one Walter Wisp spoke of.

She has eyes for the night.

She can smell death from a mile away.

He wreaks of it.

She leaps.


Something crossed his sights.

Too fast. Screams.

Did any bottles fall? He fires again.

His aim way off. Bang. Bang. Then darkness.

She holds him having broken him.

Not dead. But definitely broken.

His gun falls. Security have guns too.

Don't move they tell her.

She doesn't listen.

Too fast she's out again.

They take him as their prize instead.

A good catch from her work.

On her way home. The hard way.

Avoiding sirens. Sticking to the shadows.

Nobody will know what she did.

Except Weltherwithsp.

And the Butterfly, Butterfly.

In the night. In the sky.

The Eclipse too.

The water runs over her body.

Plain. Slightly overweight to her eyes but nobody else's.

But still beautiful. She does her part.

Drying on the couch. Hair up in towel.

The news station tells the story.

The Politician was saved. But not the speech.

Maybe he'll deliver it another day.

She rubs the spot on her chest.

Bang. The grim reaper's shot.

Mostly healed, but still sore.

She was fast enough because she keeps at it.

Like her job at the lab. She keeps going though nobody knows.

She gets better.

Because practice makes perfect.

Copyright © 2014 Brian Joseph Johns