Back on the train I was upgraded to second class.
Ricky called to let me know he’d arranged some company for me. He said I was going to meet Magnet Man. (As his name suggests, he is a man who is magnetic.) I enjoy weird stuff like this, it’s what makes the world interesting. I made my way to his carriage. Mikhail was a dead ringer for Bez out of the Happy Mondays. He was bare-chested and he didn’t speak English, so there was no small talk. He went straight into sticking cutlery to his chest. It’s a strange one, ‘cos as much as it is a type of superpower it’s not one that you think might be a useful one. I remember seeing a bloke on the TV who had a good superpower. He could mess about with live wires without it killing him, but like Mikhail he didn’t do much with it, just used his power to cook sausages in his hands.
I was trying to think of positive uses for a magnet man but I struggled. Finding a needle in a haystack, maybe. I think I came up with more reasons why it was more of a weakness than an advantage. If he lay on a metal-springed mattress would he have been able to get out of bed?
As I was thinking these things over, he continued to stick forks, knives and now plates to his body. He was more of a human pot rack. I thought it would be useful for being hands-free when using a mobile phone, but his ears didn’t seem to have magnetic power. I asked if he had been a magnet baby, and he showed me photos of his kids who were also magnet kids. The photo showed them lined up with bits of metal and plates stuck to them. They didn’t look particularly happy, but that was no surprise. They can’t be a close family because magnets repel each other.
He then passed some of his magnet powers onto me by rubbing the various eating utensils on himself and then placing them on me. They did stick for quite some time, which makes me think it must be down to him being sweaty. It’s a superpower that could be beaten by talcum powder. Talc is like his kryptonite. After half an hour we had to stop, not ‘cos using his powers wears him out, but because it was close to lunchtime and the train’s kitchen wanted its cutlery back. — Karl Pilkington, in his book The Further Adventures of an Idiot Abroad (read for free)