My entry for the Community Storyboard’s Creative Writing Challenge, Day 7: Save the Day. Create a superhero who saves the day.
“Mommy’s a superhero! Mommy’s a superhero!”
“Annabelle!” I blushed and smiled gamely at my date. He’d just arrived and we were standing in the foyer when Annabelle had decided to careen down the stair. So much for keeping the 5-year-old away until we got to know one another better!
Jack – the date – smiled back. My stomach clenched. Those baby blues were going to cause trouble, I just knew it.
I turned to Annabelle. “Where is Jane, sweetie? Why don’t we go find her?” We started walking towards the kitchen – or rather, I started walking, and Annabelle barely allowed herself to be dragged.
She twisted mid stride, throwing over her shoulder: “My mommy’s a superhero—Mommy, I don’t want Jane. He should know you’re a super–“
Jack laughed. It was a throaty sound that made my stomach drop. I playfully tossed Annabelle into the air to help hurry us along. Jack followed.
“Of course your mom is a superhero, sweetie – all moms are.”
First my favorite flowers and then sweet-talking the kid: Jack was racking up all sorts of points with the single mom. Even Annabelle was taking a shine. She rarely poked her head out of the playroom – or left Jane’s side – when, on the rare occasion, Mom had a date. It was either shyness, or her particular superhero ability to pick out the duds.
Annabelle quieted once we reached the kitchen. Jane was there, pulling cookies fresh from the oven. The distraction was complete when Jane handed Annabelle a plate and a glass of cold milk.
Jane is also a superhero.
Somehow, we made it out of the house without smears of chocolate all over ourselves and our clothes. Jack was keeping up a nice, innocuous stream of conversation, covering my slightly flustered departure.
The evening was balmy. I live within walking distance to my village’s square, so we decided to throw caution to the winds and walk. We were nearly to the square – having enjoyed some genuinely nice pleasantries – when it happened.
I heard the rattling death trap long before it came into view. Anyone could really, but most in the village have learned to tune it out. Barnabas Carney’s beat-up ’54 Chevy is, to some, a village legend. To others, like me, it’s an eye-sore. It has three different paint jobs – and all of them clash. It has four different tires and I don’t believe that the side-view mirrors match. I swear, it’s only the frame that came from 1954 – the rest of this Frankenstein’s monster has been dredged up from every junk yard between here and Poughkeepsie.
“What’s that?” Jack asked. I cringed. So much for my charming village.
“Oh, that’s just—“
I didn’t have a chance to finish. Just then, Barnabas’ monster machine came barreling through the square. He didn’t yield when he was supposed to yield, making the teenagers in their parent’s Corolla curse and flip him off through the window. He didn’t stop when he was supposed to stop either, and the blue-tinted granny in the Mercedes said some choice words. I knew because she was my great aunt and though she looked innocent . . .
I pushed Jack out of the way and ran into the square.
Barnabas was drunk – again – and there were people in the square, enjoying their evening. If Barnabas was true to form, he was going to point his mechanical patchwork monstrosity straight at the statue in the middle of the square. It was up to me to stop him.
Every Friday night.
It was a wonder I couldn’t get a date in this town.
I stood between Barnabas and the square. He gunned his engines. I shook my head. It wasn’t going to happen. He could try as many times as he liked. He wasn’t going to get past me.
Tires squealed and burnt rubber scented the air. I could hear Jack screaming my name. I held out my left hand and a gob of junk – I don’t want to call it a loogie but that’s what it was – shot out and pinned Jack to the pavement. I brought both hands together and faced Barnabas.
It was strong stuff, what shot out of my hands. It had pinned Barnabas more than once. It didn’t hold forever, but it did hold long enough to let the police do their job.
I walked over to Barnabas. He was spluttering and wiping gunk from his eyes.
“You gonna wait there ‘till the police come, and let me finish my date?”
“You gobbed the guy pretty good. I don’t know if you’re going to get dinner out of this one.”
I looked over at Jack. I’d aimed well; only his feet were pinned to the sidewalk. Plus, he was grinning at me. Damn, those baby blues.
“Barn, I think this one might be a keeper. Next Friday? Stay home, ‘kay?!”
“Hey, just doing my duty by my little sis – gotta make sure they can handle a superhero.”
* * *
D:Loogies? Your superhero shot loogies out of her hands?
D: This is what happens when I give you the night off.
A: Two nights – well four if we count tomorrow’s nuptial celebration for my niece, and Sunday, in which I will do nothing but watch old movies and read.
D: Not even a little –
A: Only if inspiration strikes, D. And only when TC isn’t looking.
A: The Child, D. He’s young yet and he still likes me. After putting up with a 50k-word driven mom for a month, he deserves some down-time. Plus, he glares something fierce, and I’ve been seeing that glare any time I take a step towards the laptop.
D: What does down-time with a child look like in your world?
A: . . .
D: I’m curious!
A: An introduction to the Terminator oeuvre, as well as a look at Blade Runner. And whatever else catches his fancy. He’s earned it, don’t you think?
D: I suppose, but seriously, a loogie-shooting superhero?
A: Totally my idea – TC would have done something epic and Shakespearean.
D: I’m in the wrong head.
A: Probably. And on that note, goodnight, D!