After being contacted by the Police, the Defender gets busy
Chapter 16 - Decisions
"Ok dad, let me get this straight, they want you to help them with bad situations? You aren't making that up, are you?"
"No, I'm not. They approached me while I was picking up my clothes," he points to the bundle on the couch, "Sargent McElroy guaranteed I will not be contacted by them unless I am needed. They gave me a phone that has a direct link to their Captain."
"So, do you sit around until they call? I wouldn't think so. I wasn't planning on it. Do you think I should call that Captain Ventz to find out? I wouldn't think they want me to just sit on the sidelines. I'll ask Joe and see what he thinks."
"That might be a good idea. I agree with you, but it is always better to get a second opinion, "Misty advised, "Uncle Joe called here earlier wanting to know how you healed Becca and me. I told him it was by accident with Becca, but intentionally with me. That's all he wanted to know. I think he is writing a book about you and all your powers or exploits."
"I sincerely doubt that. Joe isn't one to write much. He likes word puzzles and that's about it," changing the subject, "how much do you think a Police Scanner is? I thought about buying one. You would need to go to the store and buy it for me."
"First, dad, you don't need me to buy one. You can order online and have them delivered to your home, or here. Second, you have a Smart Phone. There are applications you can easily download onto your phone. The more complex the app, the more it may cost, lick all apps. The trouble with that is you can not use the police radio station app outside your home. It's illegal in most states to do that. It is up to you to decide which you want to use."
"I am not a big app user, so I will go ahead and buy one. Can you help me get to the site where I can order one? Please."
"Sure. Let's do some research on which would be the best for your needs."
Matthew and Misty spent the next several hours debating what kind to get and whether to buy it online or in person. After discussing the pros and cons of each method, it was decided to buy one online, that way no one in town would know they owned one and could link the Defender in Green to Matthew or Misty.
After it was purchased, Misty offered her dad the use of her bedroom to take a nap, as he hadn't rested since he got back. He reluctantly agreed and headed to the bedroom.
After about 30 minutes, Matthew couldn't sleep. He decided he would go on patrol. That sounded odd to him. He hadn't been on a patrol for over fifty years. He remembers all the times he and Joe went on patrol together. They always seemed to get into fire fights with the enemy and one of them got hurt. He smiled now because back then, there was no time to smile. It was always a life or death situation. Now, all he had to worry about was not hurting anyone, which was a lot harder than you'd think.
Instead of sneaking out, which he thought about doing, he went and told Misty what he planned.
"I thought you were only going out after dark? What changed your mind?"
"Well, I guess, and this sounds lame, but crime doesn't always wait until dark. Also, this will help more people during the day because they are out and about. Right?"
"Well, I guess you are right. However, it is mainly because you are bored."
"Yes, I am bored. I am not used to being stuck inside during the day. Joe and I would meet and play chess, go for walks, run to the store, or just sit and chat about old times."
"You and Uncle Joe are pretty close, aren't you. I mean, I guess he is because he is my godfather. Anyway, did you two know each other before enlisting?"
"Yes, we were best friends in junior and senior high school. Neither one of us went to college before enlisting. We went to boot camp and were sent to the front at the same time. While I followed orders better, he was always promoted faster. He took the more dangerous missions, volunteered for more patrols, and just seemed to always know what to do."
"I remember the first time he saved my life like it was yesterday. It was in February of 1968, we were in the Vietnam War, Siege of Hu?, Joe and I was on artillery. It rained the entire nine hours we were out. It had been pretty uneventful until we were getting close to being relieved. We got word that an enemy unit had gotten past the barriers and was coming our way. No sooner than we got the message, we were attacked. From where I was, I saw two members of our unit get hit. I crawled over to the closest one to check their status. By the time I got there, it was too late."
"The nearest ally was a hundred yards away: I was by myself."
"I managed to fire a couple of times, but could not confirm any hits. As I was laying there, I heard a noise from behind me and was attached with a bayonet. I managed to block the majority of the attack, but was hit in several places. I think he was going to shoot me if it weren't for Joe showing up out of nowhere. The enemy got away, but I was rescued. Joe carried me back to base on his back with the rest of our unit following."
"Why haven't you told me this story before? You could've been killed. What did uncle Joe say to you as you were going back? Did he tell you to stay awake or 'don't die on me' type of thing?"
"No. He complained I needed to lose weight if I wanted him to save me again."
After many skirmishes, he and I just started looking out for each other more, along with all the other guys in our unit. When Joe had his leg blown off, it nearly killed him to be sent home. I know I sorely missed him when he was gone. He was more than a friend, more than a brother. He saved my hide more than I can remember. I owe him my life several times over."
"Why haven't you told me this before? I mean about what he did for you while you both served. I knew you served together but you never talked about what you did over there."
"Some memories are best forgotten."
With this, Matthew turned around and went to the garage to start a patrol.
Instead of flying, Matthew turned invisible and began to run. He didn't run at super-speed as he wanted to clear his head.
He went to the business district downtown and looked for someone to save. He didn't notice anyone breaking any laws nor heard anything using his super-hearing. He was about to run to the lake district when he heard tires squealing and a police siren.
It was easy to hear where they were. He began to use super-speed to get where the noise was coming from. As soon as he got there, he saw one Red Focus speeding down Mainstreet with two Police cars in pursuit. He was going to let them pass before he saw an actual old man crossing the street in front of the cars. He couldn't move the elderly man because the speed or jolt could quite possibly seriously hurt him. His only other choice was to stop the car before it got to the intersection.
As he got into position, he tried to think how to stop the car quickly. He briefly thought about grabbing it from behind, but that would rip off the bumper and not stop the vehicle. He had to decide right then as the car was at the intersection. So he just stood still.
The driver hit the brakes when The Defender in Green just appeared out of nowhere but couldn't stop in time before he collided with the Defender in Green's legs. This impact caused an indentation the size of the Defender in Greens legs to be crumpled in the front of the car. The airbags within the car were employed and the driver disappeared within a pillow of whiter. A trail of white powder seeped out from the driver's open window.
The two pursuing Police cars pulled up behind the damaged car and got four officers got out. They all drew their guns and yelled for the driver and passenger to get out slowly with their hands in the air.
When this did not happen, The Defender in Green went to the driver's door and pulled it open by removing it from its hinges and tossing it behind him. He then pulled the airbags out and threw them out of the way. With the way clear, and seeing the giant of a man waiting for him, the driver threw his gun out the door and stood up. After the driver was out and away from the car, the passenger held up his gun and fired three shots at the Defender in Green. Each bullet hit its mark, crumpled, and fell to the ground harmlessly.
The Defender in Green simply stated, "Really?" and reached in and pulled the passenger out of the car and carried him to the waiting police. After delivery, he nodded and then disappeared.
The Defender in Green was spotted in several parts of the city that late morning into mid-afternoon. Citizens would state he appeared out of nowhere and then disappeared either by flying away or just disappearing.
During a break he took, Matthew called Joe back.
"Hey, Joe, what's up? I saw that you called. Sorry I haven't gotten back to you. It's been crazy since I started helping the Police."
"It's ok Matt. I saw many news updates about you. There is no rush. I have a . .favor to ask. It's pretty big . . and I wanted to know if you would do it?"
Matthew answered immediately, "Of course, I'd do anything for you. Do you need a ride someplace or something moved? Is your van working ok?"
"No, no everything is fine. Say, could you come over so we can talk in person? It would be easier."
"Yeah, sure. Is tonight ok?"
"Yeah, that'll be great, About ten o'clock sound good?" Joe asked distractedly.
"Joe, you ok? You seem, I don't know, pensive."
"No, I'm fine. Just been thinking. I got to go. See you tonight."
Before Matthew could say goodbye, Joe had hung up.
Matthew debated about making any more appearances. He thought he would go back out after talking with Joe.
His pocket buzzed. Then again.
The phone. He forgot about it. He pulled it out and answered it quickly.
"Defender in Green?"
"Yes, this is. How can I be of service?"
"Good. There is a four alarm fire in an apartment complex. The people need to be evacuated and the fire contained. Can you handle this type of emergency?"
"I think so. Where is it at?"
Captain Ventz gave him the location. It was on the other side of town. He ran and was there within four heartbeats.
When he arrived, he saw a big four-story apartment building on fire in several locations. He went to the Police officers speaking with the firemen.
When he got there, he heard the Police officer stating, "I just got off the phone with Captain Ventz. He stated he called for that superhero to come help. We'll have to see when he gets here."
"I am here."
"Cripes man! You scared me half to death. I thought the Captain said you were on the other side of town when he called a second ago."
I was. He told me about the fire and it was an emergency so I trotted over. Tell me what you need me to do."
"Well, first we need to evacuate the building. We have people on all floors needing to get out. Start on the fourth floor and work your way down."
"Got it." And he was gone.
Within moments, people started appearing out of seemingly nowhere behind the police car, near the ambulances. This went on for about four minutes.
The Defender in Green then again appeared in front of the Police officer, "OK, now what?"
"Are you sure everyone is out? Did you check all the apartments and all the rooms in them?" The Police officer thought he would have the upper hand.
"Yes, I did, twice. All clear."
"Where do I get a hose?"
The Officer pointed to the nearest hydrant with a hose lying beside it, not hooked up at the time. The Defender in Green went over, hooked the hose up to the hydrant, and, using his bare hand, unscrewed the bolt until the hose had expanded and was squirting water at high pressure. And then to the amazement of everyone there, he rose off the ground, fly toward the burning apartment, and began going to each window where a fire was burning and hose it down until the fire was quenched.
The Fire department had been working on the front side, so the Defender in Green only had to worry about the backside. After all the fires that could be seen through the windows were out, the Defender in Green flew in one window with the hose and worked on interior fires. By doing this, he would fly in a window and shortly fly back out and go into another and repeat the process.
After three hours, the Fire department deemed all fires had been extinguished and there were no casualties. The Defender in Green flew back to the hydrant, turned off the water, unhooked the hose, and for good measure, blew into it to expel the remailing water. He then approached the Officer.
"Can you call your captain and advise the fire is out and the citizens are safe. He will need to find housing, of course, but that can be handled by more qualified people than me. I will take my leave." With that, he flew a few feet into the air and disappeared.
A firefighter standing next to the officer said, "I am really glad he is on our side."
By the time Mattew got done, it was eight-thirty. He had a little time to take a shower and change. When he got back to Misty's place and inside, the television was being changed to a lot of different channels.
"What are you watching or can't you decide?"
"I was trying to catch all the news stories about you today. Every local channel, and some State websites, are all about you this evening. If you wanted to become known, he accomplished that today. There was a channel that broadcasted the entire fire where you were at tonight. They had three crews there so they could keep track of you. They said you saved over fifty families tonight, that was over two hundred twelve people. I wish I could brag about you."
"Well, thank you. I am just using these powers to help whoever I can. That's all."
"Dad, some people would use those powers for their gain, even to the point of hurting people. You should be proud of yourself."
"Oh, I am. I'm not the bragging type. Just doing my duty. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to take a shower and change."
"Uh, dad? You won't fit in my tub, let alone the shower. You are way too big and tall. I could hose you off in the backyard? Or get the kids kiddie-pool and fill it with water, if you want."
Exhaling a big breath, "I guess I can go back to the lake and bathe in there. Where are your biggest towels and soap? If you have a big bag, I could use that, too."
After being given his soap, towel, and bag, Matthew grabbed some clean clothes and left.
He discovered as he turned invisible that only what he was wearing disappeared, not the bag he was carrying. He decided to hold the bag close to him and run to the lake. It was only ten miles away. He decided he would head for the dock Joe kept his boat tied up.
Moments later he was there. As he was headed for the shore of the lake, he saw one of the outside showers people used to get the sand off of them after sunbathing. It was big enough for him to stand under and was enclosed. He set the bag down and proceeded to disrobe and take a shower. While the water wasn't warm, it didn't matter as much as taking his first shower since the accident.
Cleaned and changed, he began walking toward the dock to stow his soap in Joe's boat. When he got there, he noticed Joe had placed a 'For Sale sign on it. Joe hadn't mentioned selling his boat. That was his go-to place when he was stressed or needed a time out from the world. He would have to ask him about it tonight.
Speaking of Joe, it was nine forty-five. Time to drop the bag off at Misty's and get to Joe's place.
On the way, he called Joe to open his deck window so he could float in. Joe advised he had already thought of that and it was waiting for him. Matthew again thought of everything he owed Joe.
Including introducing Matthews's future wife to him.
As he floated into Joe's condominium window, he noticed boxes littered the floor and on the furniture.
As soon as he landed, he announced his presence, he didn't just pop in. "Hey Joe, I'm here."
Instead of being surprised, Joe simply looked up from what he was packing, "Hi Matt. Looked like you had a busy day today. The assistance you gave at the fire was incredible. Did it make the Captain more relaxed about you? People got to look at you in action plus you saved lives, a win-win deal."
"Assisting the Fire department tonight plus stopping the robbery yesterday has made me finally feel useful after all these years of depending on others to assist me. I have never gotten used to feeling helpless or dependent. It even bothered me when Misty would help with something I couldn't do on my own."
"I have been fine getting others to help if I fell short at no fault of mine. What I mean is, if I couldn't do something because of my missing leg or my scooter wasn't working properly, it was ok if someone did an errand for me," Joe offered, "I guess after giving my all during the war and my life after, I am finally ready for me time."
"Is that why you are packing all your old things up? To make room for the new? I also saw you were selling your boat. That surprised me. I thought you loved that boat."
Joe conceded, "I do love it. When Erin was still alive, we would go out on the lake frequently. Even after she passed, I enjoyed going out because it reminded me of our time together. She hated fishing, but loved just sailing around the water. That's where I started fishing not to fish. It was an inside joke with us." Joe smiles wistfully, "she always kidded me how I hated fish."
While alive, Erin had always been frail and Joe doted on her, even though he had to use the scooter to get around. He treated her like a princess. Her tumors and cancers took a heavy toll on her, and at the age of sixty-five, her body could take no more. Joe had been her strength to the very end. After the funeral, Joe sunk into a deep depression and had to go to the hospital for care. It took him years to come to terms with her passing.
"As for the packing, I am moving to Alaska, Matt. I don't have any family to keep me here, except you, Misty, and the two girls. Seeing how you are beginning to take a new life, I thought I would too. This brings me to the favor I wanted to ask of you."
"Sure Joe, what is it? I owe you so much, a simple favor is the least I could do."
"Wait till I ask it," Joe began, "I want you to heal me. Get rid of my cancer, grow my gall bladder back, male pattern baldness, make me a new leg."
Matthew was quiet for a moment. He didn't know how to respond. He knew he could heal, but to do everything Joe asked? Was that even possible?
"Joe, of course, I will try and do this for you. But do you have to move away?"
"The way I look at this is everyone who knows me, or even has seen me, only knows I have one leg. If you heal me and my leg comes back, they will wonder how. By moving away and getting a fresh start in Alaska, no one will know the previous me with one leg. See?
"So what if people knew I healed you? They would then understand how you got your leg back and you wouldn't have to leave."
"They would also want you to heal them. Maybe you want to spend all your days to be filled with people asking you to heal everything from terminal illnesses to warts. I don't think you would be doing too much superhero stuff. I could be wrong and people may not bother you. But I think they would."
"You may be right. You are seldom wrong about people. So, are you ready?"
"Yeah, I've been ready, I guess, for years. What do I do?"
"You just stay where you are at on your scooter and I will do all the work. I have no idea how long this will take. I guess we'll see."
Matthew went over to Joe and placed his hands on Joe's shoulders. His hands immediately began to glow a bright green. Joe twitched when that happened.
"Did you feel something just now?" Matthew asked.
"No, the glow just startled me. Does that mean it's working?"
"Yeah. I can feel something is happening. This is taking more energy than healing a boo-boo or a small cut."
"I have major boo-boos."
They then sat in silence while the green glow grew in intensity. As it was from Matthew's hands on his shoulders, Jow could not see how bright the glow was. From previous use, the intensity somewhat startled him, as the previous times he used this, the glow was minimal. After several minutes, the glow began to diminish until it was gone. At that time, Matthew removed his hands from Joe's shoulders and went around to face him."
"How are you feeling? Any different? Pain still there? Hair growth?" Both men smiled.
After a couple of minutes go by, Joe tells Matthew, "I suddenly feel tired. Not the weary type of tired. A good kind. Maybe the healing takes a couple of days because it was so extreme. Either way, I wouldn't mind calling it a night."
"Oh, of course. I will leave the way I came. I will shut the door on my way out. I wouldn't mind coming over tomorrow morning, say about eleven? Just to see if anything is happening. If not, I will try again. Either way, I will see you tomorrow."
Matthew paused before leaving. "Joe, I understand now what you need to do and why. It doesn't make losing you any easier. See you tomorrow." He then went to the patio door, walked out, and then closed the door behind him. He heard it click shut. It sounded so final. He turned invisible and flew away.
Matthew made a decision as he flew. Because his hero name, Defender in Green, was Joe's idea, he would no longer use it because it would be a reminder of what he lost. From then on, he became Defender.