I was sitting at lunch today and thought that I should write something different. The Super Villain portion of the story has roots in a performance I heard on NPR the other evening while driving home from Texas. I modified it quite a bit since I couldn't remember all of it and other parts wouldn't work at all. I also tried to find the performer or author to give some credit, but I couldn't find reference to this anywhere. Thanks to whomever did the Super Villains aren't always the bad guys story on NPR.
I read this to my wife and kids and the kids laughed. Especially at the Canadian goose comment, but Brenna just said my brain was all over the place. I thought it wasn't a bad little bit of work for a lunch hour, and I suppose she's right about the cacophony of thoughts that clang through my gray matter. My brain works like this and I'm pretty used to it after 40+ years. I hope you like it, and if you don't, fine. If you do, are there any other topics for these two characters to explore?
Sometimes Sal, a nickname that he really didn’t want to explain again to another questioning stranger, would sit around his room and have relatively deep conversations with his younger brother. As deep as a 15 year old yearning for a driver’s license and a 9 year old brother could have that is.
This younger brother had recently taken to just wandering into Sal’s room in the evening hours after everyone had gone to bed without knocking, which, unfortunately, had caused one uncomfortable moment as Sal hurriedly re-hid the magazines he normally kept hidden under the mattress hoping that his sibling hadn’t noticed the questionable subject matter these coveted magazines covered.
The brother, was fondly called Mick-ums, or micky-boo or micky bear (MB for short). There are quite a number of odd names that parents think are cute but wear off as one gets older – or should wear off. MB seemed to be the current name around the house which was fine by him. MB, thought it was much less embarrassing to be called by initials in front of his friends. Although his Mom would still give what he and Sal both called “Ninja Kisses” by sneaking up on him and kissing his head when his friends were around, so having his parents potentially dropping the Micky-bear name was always a bit of a worry in social settings.
This evening, fortunately, had no awkward moment as MB walked in wearing his usual orange sleep shirt and Official NFL licensed pajama bottoms. Sal noticed MB’s shirt was on backwards for a change and wasn’t quite sure if he had just done it to be different or if it was an honest-to-gosh-I-got-dressed-in-the-dark kind of mistake.
Everybody has moments like that, right? Sal had even seen his dad walking bleary-eyed through the kitchen one morning with his shirt on backwards and inside out as he mumbled about being out of coffee.
MB plopped down, squishing into the bean bag chair in the corner of the room. The chair sighed and spewed a few of those little Styrofoam balls through a small hole made by a poorly considered toss of the clandestine throwing star that Sal also kept stashed between his mattresses. Sal watched the little geyser of bean bag chair stuffing settle onto the carpet.
“Super Man is good right?” asked MB.
It was an odd a question, but no more so than normal in their evening talks, Sal thought.
“I heard a story on NPR about how this guy, a Super Villain, had split dimensions into smaller and smaller layers in his Super Laboratory. In one dimension he discovered, and then sorta somehow loaded, God or the Devil into a gun. I guess the Super Villain wasn’t sure which one actually was in the gun, but by the end of the story it doesn't really matter."
Sal also thought that his 9 year old brother was thinking “Waaaay above his pay grade” as his Dad would say.
“The Super Villain waited, after blowing up an entire office park or something, for Super Man to come and arrest him. So when Super Man arrived and announced, “You are going to jail for a very long time.” the Super Villain went along quietly.
When Super Man had hauled him under his arm into the air, the Super Villain whispered (he knew he could whisper even over the shrieking wind because Super Man has that Super Hearing thing). He whispered, “I have something for you.” and proceed to shoot Super Man right between the eyes with the God or Devil loaded gun.”
MB paused for a second to think before continuing the story. “As a result of the shot and the release of, uh, I think they called it, a concentrated but questionable deity, they were both transported into a quiet space where they were no longer flying. No movement. No stars. Not hot. Not cold. Just black. Black and a voice. A voice with a question for Super Man. God/Devil asked, “If you could save all of Mankind by sacrificing yourself. Right here. Right now. Would you?” “Or”, the voice asked, “Would you take the knowledge that all of Mankind will destroy itself and live the rest of your life with them on Earth as a hero?”
“Super Man”, MB said, “In the story, Superman responded with one word.”
Sal, laid back on his bed with a fat pillow under his head and pondered this bit of random NPR conveyed creativity for a moment, and asked. “MB, What are you listening to NPR for anyway?” “You’re nine and I don’t know of anybody even my age that listens to NPR. What’s up with that? Seriously, if anyone found out, you would be like marked for death or something.”
MB replied, still honestly waiting on an answer to his question about Super Man, “It was This American Life or something. It’s cool, Sal. They tell stories and stuff. Though, it is kinda weird though sometimes.”
Sal, knowing he wasn’t going to bother answering his brother’s Super Man question and seriously wondering whether or not he should surreptitiously try listening to NPR, said. “It sounds like it’s kinda weird all the time, MB.” Then laughing, “It’s fitting for a kid like you though.”
MB threw some of the Styrofoam beads from the chair at Sal but they didn’t get anywhere close and many just stuck to his fingers.
Sal, seeing his brother’s annoyance offered. “Ok, MB, flying or mind control?”
“What?” asked MB.
“You heard me. You know. Superpowers. Flying or Mind Control? You’re the one that came in here talking about Super Man and a God/Devil loaded gun.” Sal said while staring at some paint bubbles on the ceiling that might be the beginnings of a roof leak that he should probably tell his dad about.
MB, realizing that Sal wasn’t going to entertain him with an answer on Super Man, said “Flying. Totally Flying. Who wouldn’t want to fly?”
“Me.” Said Sal. “I mean, flying’s cool and would possibly be good in some cases, but think about it. What couldn’t you do with mind control? And I don’t just mean stuff like Obi-Wan waving his hand and saying, “These aren’t the droids you are looking for. Move along.” type of stuff.”
MB had followed his brother’s gaze and was looking at the paint bubbles too now. Sal continued, “Look, flying might get you from one place to another in a hurry, but you have to worry about frostbite at high altitudes and bugs in your eyes or worse at lower levels. You know, worse like flying into a flock of those hideous poop machine Canadian Geese. Mind control gives you everything. You can control everything! Invisibility? - Got it. I just make people I’m around not notice me. Telekinetics? - Got it. I just get that person to move whatever I wanted moved or unlock whatever door I might need.”
MB said, “That’s still not a real power where people can see you and know you are really something different. Something special.”
Sal, thinking how to relate his power of choice to MB’s visible super power comment, “Flying… Here’s my flying power. Walk into the airport. “Captain, I need a ride to Name-a-place NOW." And poof Flying…Got it. There’s a ton of responsibility with it though. You had better be just about incorruptible to handle the responsibility of mind control.”
Sal Yawning and still talking. “Yaaa-ooou could end world wars by getting on TV or something and just telling everyone to go home. But you could also really become like a dictator of the world as well.”
MB closed his eyes sleepily on the bean bag chair and said, “I’d still pick flying power. I could go anywhere without anybody’s help and people would all know me. I’d totally rock the NFL being able to fly over all the players and get a touchdown every time.”
Sal joked, “There’s probably a rule against flying in football somewhere.”
MB, “Nah. There’s not ‘cause nobody can fly yet.”
Sal, “Mind control would let me just make all the guys miss on the tackles. Same result but more subtle so the rule people wouldn’t have to change anything." Sal raising his arms but his brother wasn't looking.
MB, “Either way…we’d be rich.”
“Too True.” Said Sal…