tin air

When I touch a tin can, or one of aluminum, something in its chemical makeup changes. I’ve no clue what – I’m no scientist – but it becomes lighter than air.

My parents discovered this when I was very little. They told me I had knocked an empty can of soda onto the floor… but it never actually hit the floor. The can floated up to the ceiling with a light clank.

Being highly superstitious, and frightened of what the neighbors might think, my parents told no one of the incident. They made sure that I was never near any sort of can again. They stopped drinking soda. No more frozen juice, or canned vegetables, just fresh produce.

While much more paranoid than usual, they certainly ate healthier.

I never found out exactly what happened to that first soda can. I think it was somehow hidden in a ceiling lamp. That may have involved possibly touching the can. Or my father climbing up a ladder. So I really have no idea.


I started off talking about my strange ability, and somehow it turned into talking about my parents. Isn’t that always the way.


For the longest time, I stayed away from nearly anything metal. Kassiterophobia ruled. Even with this unusual fear, I remained a social person, had a very well-paying job, and eventually met someone, falling in love.

My wife helped me with my phobia. She gradually convinced me that it was harmless. She was shocked the first time she saw what happened when I touched a can, but over time – quite a bit of time – got used to it.

We never told anyone about it. We didn’t want the ridiculous media all over me, nor scientists poking and prodding. We did experiment with my ability ourselves, however.

Once I touched something of tin or aluminum, no matter how long I touched it, that item then behaved exactly like a helium balloon, except it never lost its buoyancy. Over years and years, we had cans floating at various heights in our kitchen, some painted, some with flowers. My wife turned an oddity into something of beauty.


When she died suddenly, I broke. I became a recluse. I bought my neighbors’ houses, and cleared the contents.

I started buying as many cans as I could, emptying my bank account. I filled the houses, yards, and twenty-three large mobile storage units.

On the tenth anniversary of her death, I started opening cans, releasing them into the air.


No one expected the dark cloud that came clanking into the city.

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