Low Profile

for Simon and Stephen

The good doctor was evasive about where he’d gotten the armor. “It’s spidersilk, that’s all you need to know. Lighter than regular silk, stronger than kevlar; it stops bullets, knives, breathes like it’s not there, won’t burn, keeps you warm at night, etcetera, etcetera.”

“I dunno, Doc,” said Dan, “sounds like science fiction to me. I thought nobody could get enough spidersilk together to make a washcloth, nevermind a whole set of long underwear.” He scratched the back of his neck where the hair tapered off. Wouldn’t the heat ever break?

The doctor laughed and wouldn’t look him in the eye. He was a shifty sort, but he’d saved Dan’s life, so he felt like he owed the old coot something. “Listen, my boy, don’t you worry about any of that. It’s my little secret. Hrm, yes! A special kind of new vitamin, makes the little darlings pump out silk a mile a minute. But no one will believe me, not after… after…” He trailed off and muttered into his patchy beard, slobbering at the fringe around his mouth. “Anyway, you’re going to be my proof. You’re going to be my living legend!”

“Well, maybe,” said Dan. “Doesn’t sound too bad. And the punks in this town have been getting out of hand. I’m not going to wear your longjohns and nothing else, though. That’s out. I’ve got an old army duster that I could use. If anyone asks, though, I’ll let ’em know about my magic underwear.”

The doctor capered in delight, and Dan dripped sweat and cursed the old monkey and the city equally. Wouldn’t this heat wave ever break?