Sally Floyd is having a pleasant dream. She is at the seaside with her daughter, Minnie, who is enjoying a good splash around in the water. Sally picks up her daughter, who suddenly points to something in the sky. Sally covers her eyes as she looks towards the sun, and sees a bird silhouetted against it. When she looks back at Minnie, she is back in the water being helplessly taken out to sea. With tears edging down her cheek, Sally rushes into the water to rescue her, but Minnie fades away into the darkness, calling for her mom.
(New York City)
The phone rings, and Sally wakes from her nightmare, with tears hitting her pillow. “Please don’t go,” she whispers as the painful memories fade. She picks up the receiver and asks who it is. On the other end, a stranger whose voice she hasn’t heard before tells her that she can call him the Ghoul, the name society has given him. He wants to know why Sally won’t tell his story… the one where not enough died.
Sally reaches for the record button and replies that, if he wants a story, then she’ll help him write one and get his message out. She asks him to remain calm while she grabs a pen. The Ghoul tells Sally that words are not enough. The mutant filth needs to be shown. He asks how many more will die before she puts him in print. He then hangs up before Sally can respond.
(later, at the Alternative)
Sally informs her editor, Neil, that after giving them the tape, the police traced the cell phone to Brooklyn. At least that’s where the last transmission came from. It belongs to a missing person named Violet Sanchez, an ex-mutant. Despite the glaringly obvious fact that she has the face of a Shar Pei, she hasn’t been seen in over a week. Chances are she won’t be if this guy has anything to do with it.
Neil tells her that he’s worried. He wishes she’d taken Detective Izzo up on his offer of police protection. Sally filters her mail, and says he knows her better than that. This guy wants her for his story. He won’t go after her if it jeopardizes his chance for attention. She thinks he’ll leave her alone until she gives him a reason. Neil tells her that’s what he’s worried about. She’s good at giving people reasons.
He asks if she spoke to Xavier’s people. Sally tells him she’s working on it. He must have a little patience. He asks her to stay on it, and in the meantime, he’s found a nice little angle for the diaries. What kind of angle? Sally asks. “Well, you know how I’m always after you to attend a support group…”
A story in Sally’s Mutant Diaries column focuses on life after M-Day. As the masses settle down into their old routines, those suddenly without power find themselves directionless and helpless. Her first visit is with a support group for ex-mutants, or ‘survivors’ as they prefer to be called. They’re known as the Former Order of Mutants or FOOM for short. Each member of the group wears a black T-shirt with ‘Escape Committee’ written on it in red. The group allows ex-mutants like Kevin E. and Bertram K., both of whom have lost their powers, to whine about their misfortune in front of a bunch of relative strangers. Yet, despite the pain and confusion, a genuine camaraderie present glimmers of hope to those who had suffered so much.
The meeting’s host, who fancies himself as a bit of a comedian, thanks a guy named Ralph for sharing his story and introduces a new member to the group. His name is Joey V. He’s a cameraman from Philadelphia, originally, but he won’t hold that against him. He passes a microphone to the bespectacled ex-mutant who nervously addresses the group. He admits that the weird thing about losing his powers is that he didn’t know he had them in the first place. He’s a photographer, working freelance mostly on sports and human interest stories. He did pretty well, really. He had a knack for getting just the right shot. What he didn’t know is that his talent wasn’t just talent. He thought everyone could do it.
To him it was just natural. He could always ‘see’ a shot as it was beginning to develop. He’d stand in exactly the right place at exactly the right time and hold his frame until everything unfolded before him. He’d see events before they happened. He’d even see himself as being a part of them. Everyone would come into shot and all he did was press the button at the right time. Now, he hasn’t taken a decent picture in two weeks. He doesn’t even know how to set one up anymore. He guesses he didn’t know what he had until he lost it.
A young blond woman with pigtails cuts in, and adds that she didn’t know what she had either. She kept trying to tell her landlord, Mister Frederick, that she was tired of fighting crime and not being appreciated for it. He would say she was crazy, but then that’s what ‘they’ wanted him to think. Sally whispers to her neighbor and asks what her story is. He tells her that it’s Elaine. Her alien abduction group got disbanded last week. Now she wants people to think she was a mutant, even though she wasn’t. They get lots of crackpots like that. The host thanks Joey and Elaine, and introduces Michael who’s been living a secret life.
As Michael begins his story about how he now pretends that he’s still a mutant when he isn’t, just to please his parents, Sally makes for the exit. Outside, she thinks about how a pattern is emerging. These mutants weren’t different; they were as pathetic as the next person. They needed someone to listen to their woe and wipe their butts and bring them in from the cold. That’s the problem with the disease that is their free-thinking, liberal society, she thinks. No one is immune.
As she stands in the rain thinking about this stuff, a voice calls her name from down an alleyway. Sally is surprised, and replies that she’s got mace. A figure approaches her. His skin is saggy and he looks a pathetic excuse for a man. It’s Fred J. Dukes, better known as the Blob. He tells Sally that she wants to tell their story, but she only knows the half of it. Sally is unsure whether to trust him. Fred informs her that he read her fluff article. He asks how people are expected to understand what’s really happening if she covers everything with roses.
Sally doesn’t like her location, and asks him to introduce himself and say his piece, or she walks. He laughs, and asks her to relax. He’s only a danger to himself. He admits that his problem is he has no credibility. He’s been in trouble a few times, so who’s going to listen to his story? Does she think it hurts any less ‘cause he’s done some bad things?
He explains that he used to be called the Blob. He used to work in a carnival, and had this thing where no one could kick his butt, but he could kick theirs. As long as he maintained contact with the ground, he was virtually impossible to move. He figured this would set him up for life. Eventually, he was offered a couple of choices, and chose the wrong one. He says he never figured that something like this could happen, as he looks at the folds of skin hanging from his arm. He’s Blob lite now - half the fat with none of the flavor.
Sally listens with interest and patience, as he adds that the worst thing is that he’s now lost his invulnerability. He’s got all the medical symptoms from overeating he shoulda had in the first place. He’s got the blood pressure of a ninety-year old and his arteries are clogged up like the Holland Tunnel at rush hour. Sally reaches for her notepad, but Fred asks her top put it away. He doesn’t want any publicity, especially as the cops won’t hesitate to snatch him. Besides, he’s heard about someone killing ex-mutants and doesn’t plan on advertising the fact that he went from shooter to target. No one cares about his story. However, he asks, “Do you ever consider what’s happening at the asylum?”
Later, Sally attends her A.A. meeting, sporting a nametag that reads, ‘Hello. My name is irrelevant.’ She stays at the back and keeps her tale of woe to herself, but at least she stays until the end. She then returns home feeling pretty good. She hasn’t had a drink all day, but then, good days are nature’s way of telling us that things are about to go to hell.
As she enters her apartment, she notices something’s wrong. He puts her bag down, grabs a bottle of vodka as a weapon and rushes into the bedroom screaming. A man inside is startled, and he drops the framed photograph of Minnie he was holding. “Whoa Sally, it’s me!” the man screams. It’s Ken, Sally’s ex-husband.
Sally asks what he’s doing. She could have killed him. She should have. Ken apologizes, but he still has a key. Sally picks up the photograph. The glass has smashed, and she looks at her daughter. She reminds Ken he shouldn’t have a key because he left and jumped ship. He replies that he didn’t jump; he was pushed. He didn’t come to have a fight, and admits that he just realized about Minnie. Sally isn’t interested in hearing him out. She become angry and tells him to go home. She says he made his choice and stuck with it. That doesn’t become unstuck just because he just realized. Her daughter… their daughter got sick and he turned tail and ran like a rabbit. She watched her die! Alone!
Ken replies that he didn’t run, but Sally says he left. He left her to watch their child die because he was too chicken to face it. The only thing he did right was to grant her a divorce. She walks to her window. She adds that Minnie never gave up. She fought with everything she had until the very end. He never had the honor of seeing it because he was gone. Why doesn’t he do them both a favor and leave again? “It’s what you’re best at.” She picks up a small orange Muppet doll from the windowsill and gives it a hug.
Ken tells her that she thinks she dealt with it, but drinking yourself into a haze isn’t dealing with it. “At least I was here,” Sally replies. Ken points out that actually she wasn’t. She checked out. She can’t take real life and so she drinks and stands in judgment on the rest of those who don’t live up to her martyrdom. She drives people away. Sally tells him she hasn’t had a drink all day. Ken asks what the difference is. It’s just a matter of time. She drank yesterday and she’ll drink tomorrow and say it was his fault. Sally thanks him for showing her the error of her ways, and orders him to get out. Ken leaves, and Sally seats herself at the window, with the Muppet in one hand and a bottle of booze in the other. “Jerk.”
The next day is a cold one with snow settling on the ground. The sad thing is that Ken was right. She did drive him away. She did it because she knew he was leaving anyway. She wanted to save herself the trouble of watching him do it slowly. By now she’s forgotten the argument, courtesy of a half-gallon of Jack. Her splitting headache made Ken’s visit difficult to remember. Neil had called in a favor with the mayor and set her up with a visitors pass to the asylum.
The Mutant Diaries column reports on Ravencroft, an asylum for the Criminally Insane in New York. The inmates are the lowest of the low and have been forgotten about. Some are criminals, some are insane beyond help, but they are human beings, all. How quickly the outside world forgets their plight given the ‘throw-away-the-key’ mentality of today’s community leaders.
Time was, she reports, that you offered a man with a broken brain a square meal and a chance at rehabilitation; a chance to repair and make good. That isn’t the case here. An assistant warden led her to a viewing chamber and she was allowed a rare glimpse of the surprisingly sterile environment in which were housed several of the country’s vilest and most dangerous minds. All she could see was a power vacuum.
Sally walks up to gates of Ravencroft Asylum. She realizes she’s come to the right place. The assistant warden leads her through the building on the way to the viewing chamber. He tells her they’ve had it pretty strange since M-Day. She looks though the window and down into the room. Many of the inmates are playing ball, whilst one floats above them and Prism, or a clone of the former Marauder anyways, wanders the floor in a superior manner.
The warden informs Sally that, up until the flash, they had seventy-seven mutants with varying degrees of power. Now they have three. As she can imagine, that’s radically changed the structure of power down there. Those who have lost their powers huddle together for security. The patient who can levitate went from being number seventy-eight to number one in the space of a few hours. One man, kneeling on the floor and clearly suffering in this environment, had a mental illness and murdered four people. They suspect his mutation caused his mental illness. Now that he’s sane, the warden can’t persuade the state examiners to provide a hearing so he has to stay there and fend for himself.
A scene begins to unfold as Sally watches. Prism points at a small man named Nelson Cragg and orders him to turn around or die where he stands. It seems Cragg had eaten a rat that Prism had befriended, and Prism isn’t too happy about it. He ignores Cragg’s attempts to make nice, and blasts him in the face, killing him instantly. Four uniformed guards with guns burst open the door and order Prism to get on the ground, now! Prism then roars at Nelson, “Tell me something, Nelson Cragg. Who has the power now?”
Sally drives away from the asylum. The murder makes for a great piece. The little guys suddenly get one over on the former big guys; a heart-warming human interest story if ever there was one. But, in the end, the inside of the nuthouse was exactly like the outside. Ravencroft has its problems, and Sally has hers.
Suddenly, her windscreen shatters and Sally covers her face as shards of glass are thrown into the car. She hits the brakes and brings the car to a sliding halt. Sally stares in disbelief at the dead body of Violet Sanchez, which lies on her car’s bonnet. A sign around her neck reads, ‘Not enough died!”