by Gene Locke
A support group for the useless superheroes.
|As rain collected on the nearby window, the world became distorted outside. I watched peacefully from my stiff metal chair as the drops washed over the window. Letting out a quick exhale, I looked around the room at the collection of characters that I had decided to join for the evening. A silent aura of awkwardness filled the room. Recently, a friend of mine had handed me a card for a support group. The group was called the Useless Superheroes Anonymous, and my friend had insisted that I attend. Looking around the room, I could not help but feel that these individuals were beyond saving. This is not how I wanted to spend my Friday night, but unfortunately I don't have much else going on.
I guess I should tell you a little about myself. My name is Dan Schnell and I'm thirty-one years old. When I was twelve years old, I realized I had a gift. I would sit in class and I was able to point out problems in the classroom. I was also able to point out ways problems could have been prevented. From then on, I was known as Pointman. Sadly, not everyone wants their problems pointed out. I spent most of my high school days in the principal's office for using my superpowers (average people just don't understand), but I stayed true to myself and learned to perfect my gift. As I got older, I decided it was time to live life as a vigilante. I wore white spandex that had blue stripes down the side and a blue arrow plastered on the chest. Of course, I had a matching white mask as well. I was determined to rid the streets of crime. However, as soon as I approached the police station to offer my services, no one took me seriously. They simply laughed me out of the station. I fought hard and tried to prove that I was worthy of a place among Seattle's finest, but it was pointless. It was time to admit that society was just not ready for a superhero with my powers. Now here I sat, along with other rejected do-gooders.
Two others sat quietly in the large circle of chairs, their eyes shifting from one person to the other. Next to the door, I noticed a small table along the back wall with an untouched carton of doughnuts. My stomach growled at the sight of the doughnuts, but I resisted the temptation. After several minutes of tense silence, an older man finally made his way into the room. He sat down and scanned the room quickly. He had beady gray eyes and wispy blonde hair. He glanced towards the table of doughnuts and frowned.
"Aw, no one grabbed a doughnut. Oh well. Looks like we're gonna have to work on that!" the man said with a forced chuckle. Behind the plastered smile, I could see the man was just depressed. He didn't want to help us. He was probably forced to be here for work, or was eager to avoid an overbearing wife at home. Whatever the excuse was, he didn't want to be here. The man cleared his throat before continuing.
"Well, I think I'm going to go ahead and get us started. I see we have a visitor, so let's take a moment to go around the room and introduce ourselves. Go ahead and tell us your name, superhero name, and your power. For example, my name is Oliver Gladwell. My super name is Double Take. My twin brother and I were invincible when we were within a mile of each other. Sadly, he died while on vacation overseas. Now let's start with the person on my left and keep going all the way around the circle."
Oliver's smile slipped into a frown for a brief moment as his eyes met a thin man with wild blonde hair. He wore a wrinkled white button up shirt and turned to stare at me with cold dead eyes. My insides felt as though they were dissolving as our eyes connected. I had to look away.
"I'm Ivanhoe!" the man yelled.
The other person in the circle, a woman dressed in bright pink, groaned. "This again? Oliver, we can't keep this guy here. He's clearly got something wrong with him."
"Now Tara, we want to be welcoming to all rejected heroes. Ivan Hoegh is a welcomed member of our group," Oliver replied. He placed his hands on his knees and gripped tightly. "Tara, I think now would be a good time for you to introduce yourself."
Tara's deep blue eyes lit up. "Finally! Well my name is Tara Hall, and I go by Cell Phone Girl. My cell phone is the ultimate gadget!"
"You get the new iPhone?" I asked.
"Excuse me?" Tara asked, wrinkling her brow as she stared at me. "You got something better than that, Mr. Street Clothes? I mean, who shows up to a superhero meeting and doesn't wear their costume?"
"These guys," I responded, pointing at both Oliver and Ivanhoe.
Tara sat quiet, pursing her lips before dropping back into her chair. Her brown eyes narrowed, sending daggers in my direction. As I waited for a snarky response, Tara simply stayed quiet.
"Well I guess I'm next," I finally said. "My name is Dan Schnell, and I go by Pointman. I have the power of pointing out problems."
"Seriously? That's it? I can point out a problem with that supposed superpower. Does that make me pointwoman?" Tara mocked. She threw her hands up in the air before looking over to Oliver. "Oliver, this is ridiculous. First, we have the Anticipated, then Ivanhoe, now this Pointman?"
"Who's the Anticipated?" I asked.
"He hasn't shown up to a meeting yet," Oliver responded. "Now Tara, like I already said. We have to be..."
"I know. Welcoming to all rejected superheroes. But let's be real here. These two are hardly worthy of being called heroes."
A phone chirped to life and Oliver ripped it from his belt clip. "Thank God," he mumbled as he flipped his phone open. His beady eyes grew wide as a smile began to form. He listened intently, never saying a word until he thanked the person on the other end. He closed his phone and looked to Tara, then Ivanhoe, then me.
"It seems there's trouble downtown. The mayor needs us."
*more to come*