you will believe a man can fly
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by Martin Green


 My older brother Jake is a genius.    I was still in high school when he came home for the summer from college.    He was majoring in computer science with a minor in chemistry or maybe it was the other way around.    He called me up to his room and closed the door.    “What’s up?” I asked him.

 “Have you ever wanted to fly?” he asked me.


If anyone else had asked me that I would have been surprised but not Jake.    “I don’t know.    When I was a kid (I considered myself a grown-up) I used to dream I was trying to fly but I always came down.    Why?”

“Hmmm, lack of confidence.    What if I told you I think I’ve found a way to make people able to fly?”


With anyone else I would have answered, “You’re crazy,” but not with Jake.


“It’s a combination of chemicals I’ve put together.    You drink it.”

“What does it do?”

“Well, it’s complicated.    It affects your muscles in a subtle way.    I’ve tested it on rats we have in our lab.”

“Did you produce flying rats?”

“Not exactly.    It requires some practice but a couple did get off the ground.”

“So what are you going to do?”

“I’d like to test it on you.”

“I’d be like a lab rat?”

“You’re much more intelligent than a lab rat.”


“So what do you say?”

“No, thanks.    Why don’t you test it on yourself?”

“I’m not sure what its side effects will be and I have to act as control.”

 “Very interesting.    Do you want to go outside and play some catch?”


My brother was very persuasive and he kept at me all summer.    Besides, he gave me a bribe of twenty dollars.    So on this day we were out on a deserted field near our house.    We lived in a suburb and some land still hadn’t been developed. 

“Okay,” said Jake.   “Drink this.”    He held out a test tube containing a green liquid.

“It looks yucky.”

“Actually, it doesn’t taste bad.  Drink.”

“All right,” I said doubtfully.    I drank.    Jake was right; it didn’t taste too bad.

“How do you feel?” he asked.

“All right.”

“Nothing different?”

“Nope.”    Then I felt a tingling all over my body.    “Wait a minute.    Something’s happening.”

“Flap your wings; I mean your arms.”

  I did and suddenly I was up in the air.    It was unbelievable.    I was flying.    I tried steering myself but kept going around in circles.    Then something happened and I wasn’t flying any more. I came down and landed with a bump.    Jake came running over.    “Are you okay?”

“Yeah, I think so.”

“What happened?”

“Well, one minute I was flying, then I wasn’t.”

“Hmmm.    It needs more work.”


 Jake went back to college and I went back to high school.    The years went by.    I went to college myself, moved to California, got a job with the government, married and had children.    I didn’t tell anyone, not even my wife, about my little flying experience.    A TV show came on called “Heroes” or something like out.    One of the heroes was able to fly.    I watched one episode and it reminded me of myself.    I suppose there’s something in us that makes us want to fly,

As for Jake, well, as I said, he’s a genius.    He graduated from college, made some discoveries in the computer field, formed his own company, became a millionaire, then retired to become a college professor and continue to tinker with his inventions.    I’m the only one who knows that every summer he takes time off and joins a circus.    His act is billed as “The Flying Acrobat.”



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