15. Stretchiness

It's a handy Superpower – better than Stretchiness or Invisibility – because there are so many situations where it is needed. To deploy the Superpower of Drawing Things To People's Attention, all you have to do is stand at the hotel's front desk say something like, "Our bathroom is mildewy. Will you give us our last night free?" and smile politely as the manager strikes the last night's stay from your bill.

The best outcome of my exercising this particular Superpower has to be the time that I'd drawn an airline clerk's attention to the fact that not only did I have a valid ticket for the Rome-NY flight, but I had done something unprecedented: I'd called and confirmed the night before. There was some paper-shuffling and some whispered conferences with the manager – whereupon the check-in clerk handed me a ticket for a seat in a section of the airplane I didn't even know existed, up the little spiral staircase on one of those gigantic Boeings.

It wasn't business class, and it wasn't first class, it was Royal Class. Thick carpets muffled my footfalls as I took my seat in one of the five leather loungers, the others occupied by a Chinese businessman, an Italian countess, a sheikh, and a movie star. Occasionally a flight attendant would come around and offer us foie gras and champagne, adjust our personal video displays, drape us with cashmere blankets. I felt like I had entered a parallel universe in which an Agatha Christie novel was in progress, certain that at any moment I would hear the screams of a passenger who'd found a body in an overhead bin.