“NOBODY MOVE! THIS IS A ROBBERY!” the guy that yelled held his shotgun up in the air. He wore a woman’s stocking over his face, and a heavy dark green trench coat. I looked around at the exits of the bank; three other shotguns appeared in the air guarding the doors. I hit the ground along with the rest of the line when the robber made his announcement. None of them knew I was Placebo Man.
It took me over a decade, but I figured out the nuances of my powers. They worked on belief, but my own belief wasn’t enough. I needed a small crowd to do anything useful, luckily it looked like the line I was in had enough people. I needed to get all of them to believe something helpful. Something that I could do without having to reveal my identity to them.
“Since we’re here, toss out your wallets too.” The gunman said. I assumed he was the leader since he was the one giving orders. “The boys’ll come around and collect them.” I tossed my wallet into the pile and smiled at the older man next to me.
“I wish Placebo Man were here. He has the power to put these guys to sleep, no problem. He wouldn’t even have to touch them and they’d never see it coming.”
“Well isn’t that something? I never knew that about him.” I nodded frantically. I needed them to believe it.
“Yep. Hey if you didn’t know maybe others don’t either. Pass it on, maybe he’ll show up if we talk about him.” He nodded and turned to whisper to the young lady next to him. While the robbers emptied out the cash register I watched the information work its way up to the front of the line. Finally when the man at the head of the line got the message I felt the power. Tingles tickled the back of my neck, and that meant I had enough belief nearby. I needed to do some misdirection, but I made it work.
“Hey it’s Placebo Man!” I yelled and pointed at nothing. Their belief spiked and I triggered my ability. The gunmen fell over snoring.
“I didn’t see him.” I heard a young girl complain.
“I guess he didn’t need to do much but put them to sleep,” I said. We had the crooks all tied up by the time the cops arrived. After they took my statement I left. I felt my ability get weaker as I got further away from the group of believers. Being a hero had gotten kind of boring, but after today I decided to try it a new way. I realized the less people saw Placebo Man, the more mysterious he would become.
I decided to be a plainclothes hero to try and see how many people I could save without Placebo Man being seen.