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Son of Superhero

We Don't Need Another Hero

By Dennis HumphreysPublished 2 years ago 58 min read

by: Dennis R. Humphreys (the Dream Writer)

My father's boots have been hard ones to fill. He was larger than life, and even though I inherited his powers, I looked up to him beyond what might be considered the typical hero. My mother, Clovis Sane worshiped him, and even to this day, her memory of him is one of idolization. My father was killed when I was twelve, by a Craptonite bullet, from a man who hated him his entire life... Rex Luber. The police killed his killer within seconds of him firing that fatal bullet, but it was done, and the man, the world over that adored him, lost something of importance.

Growing up was unusual to say the least. It was difficult sometimes treating him as two different personalities. Of course most of whom I saw was Mark Bent, and the occasional revelation of who he really was. I am the son of Mark Bent... Mark Bent Junior and until I became older and assumed the responsibilities of my father, that's who I was.

Things had changed dramatically from when he first assumed that role of Superhero. Technology changed things.

“Son, you can no longer change clothes in phone booths as I once did. Heck, you can't even find one anymore. My suggestion is to use a Porta Potty around some construction site if there isn't anyplace else,” he instructed me, shortly before he died.

The day came when I grew into my father's suit almost perfectly. I was eighteen and prepared to tackle the same challenges my father had. My father was six foot six, while I was only six foot three. His arms were longer than mine so I was forced to roll the sleeves up when I wore that infamous suit.

I still remember the first day I wore the suit. I was working, flipping hamburgers at a fast food restaurant. I was having trouble judging how hard I flipped them because I kept sending them through the suspended ceiling, leaving a number of holes. When I finally got the knack of it, my super hearing picked up an emergency call from a nearby bridge over the river, where a bus was balanced delicately over the railing, teetering on the edge.

I ran quickly out the front door and across the street, where there was a construction site, into a Porta Potty to change. In seconds I came out ready to leap into the air at a single bound... but the end of the roll of toilet paper was stuck in my tights, so when I flew, I unceremoniously unraveled the roll, taking a kite tail with me. Up, up and away I went pulling the long string of paper behind me.

Flying over the bridge I saw that the bus must have lost control and gone over the edge. One of the cables managed to stop the bus but it wasn't holding on well. The vehicle could drop at any time. People saw me flying down and began pointing and shouting... then applauding. The public hadn't seen anything super in years since my father. It was a good feeling knowing I was so well received.

I landed squarely behind the bus. People had to be pushed away because they were engulfing me in their attempts to get autographs, as I went to the back of the teetering bus. It was full of high school kids on their way home from school. As a I grabbed hold of the bumper, I was distracted by a few of the girls at the window flashing me. One was mooning me with her butt pressed against the window. Others were taking 'selfies' of the action. Undeterred, I pulled the bus back firmly onto the road, so it could leave. Shouts came from the crowd, and more applause, and more autograph seekers.

“Hey, SuperJunior,” I heard a young girl shout from the window of the bus, as she hung out of the window with her blouse open, handing me a piece of paper, "you call me... me and my friends can take you on a trip around the world sometime.”

Then one of the male students hung out of the window and handed me a piece of paper.

“Or, if you prefer my friends and I can shake you out of those tights in no time,” he told me.

“Ahh... no thanks,” I told him as I leaped back into the air to head back to work. That day the young girl had coined the name that was to be mine forever... SuperJunior.

I landed back at the Porta Potty, but the sign on it indicated it was Occupied. I waited until the construction worker came out. Then I went in to change, and about choked, the smell was so bad. I blew some super breath to get rid of the stink but that only ballooned the unit and misshaped it. Then I walked across the street, into the burger joint where I worked.

“Mark! Where the hell have you been? We can't have our cook just walking off without reason and coming back whenever he wants. You're fired. Get you things and get out of here,” Jack Boomer my manager yelled at me.

“But... but...” I began stuttering.

“No butts about it. Clear out,” he screamed. I guess he was angry, and I couldn't very well tell him I just saved a bus load of oversexed teenagers.

I felt pretty good though... my first super feat. Now I had to go get another job. I guess I could have just as easily used my x ray vision to uncover gold in the ground. Then I could drill through the earth with my body, collecting all that I needed That would be the easy way out, and dad always told me never to take the easy way because it was usually the wrong way. Plus, someone owned the mineral rights and that just wouldn't be very honest. Well, I guess I could fly to the middle of nowhere, like South America.

“Hi Mark. How was work?” my mom asked when I got home. Mom was writing again, now that dad was gone. She wanted to continue writing but didn't want to be a reporter anymore, so she wrote nasty screenplays for the porno industry. She was really good at it and could easily write six a day... of course there wasn't much dialogue and limited imagination.

“I saved a bus load of teenagers, but I got fired from my job because I left to do it,” I told her.

“Oh, honey... I'm so sorry. I heard about the bus on the news. That's the trouble with being a superhero and working full time. You either need a really stupid employer or one that doesn't give a shit if you go save the world. That's what was always good about being a reporter. Half the time no one asked where we were and the rest of the time it was easy to pull the wool over Sperry Mite's eyes because he was a bit of a dumb ass,” she told me.

“Yeah, but at my age what kind of job can I get that allows me to do both?” I asked not really seeing an answer.

“Why don't you go to college dear. That way you can fuck off whenever you want. No one will ask where you are,” she suggested.

“That is an idea. I got perfect scores in my SATs, and I never got bellow perfect in all my tests I ever took. I'm sure I can get a full scholarship and not worry about the costs,” I realized.

“Are you forgetting something dear?” she asked me.

“What's that mom?” I asked her.

“You're white, middle class,” she reminded me.

I applied anyway and made phone calls. It would be several weeks before I heard anything, so I needed to get another job in the meantime. I didn't want to stay home especially with mom writing her movie scores. She would stand and recite the lines she wrote and act them out in the living room regularly, which made me feel uncomfortable watching and hearing her.

I found the perfect job. One where I was out and about, with no one was looking over me. It was a delivery driver for car parts throughout the county. I had a good driving record and the few mishaps I had in my old truck I repaired myself on the spot, heating the metal with my heat vision and then straightening things out with my super strength.

I liked driving as much as flying, so this was my kind of job. My second day out I was headed north outside the city when my super hearing picked up a police call. There was a standoff with police in a bank robbery at First National. I could park the car along the road and change clothes. I'd take off to the bank and nab the robbers.

As I soared over the area roped off, people began pointing. Then I heard laughter as all eyes were on me as I descended. I waved in acknowledgment, but then as I hit the ground in front of the onlookers, I realized what had happened. In the rush, I forgot to put on the bottoms of my tights. Quickly I grabbed a police jacket from one of the officers and tied it around me by the arms. Undeterred, I walked forcefully through the front doors as shots rang out and bullets bounced off of me. It was bedlam as the criminals refused to stop without a fight.

I merely heated each gun with my heat vision so they would drop their weapons. They were polymer guns though, and all they did was melt, severely burning their hands. I got threats of lawsuits but still I completed what I needed to and within minutes the police had handcuffed the robbers with melted guns over their hands. One of the tellers wished to express her gratitude and came over to me, whispering in my ear as she pulled the arms loose on the police jacket, causing it to fall to the floor. I was embarrassed again, but only briefly, as I ran outside and leaped into the air. It felt good again... this time hanging lose in the breeze as I flew. I couldn't believe I missed my pants for the first time.

I got back to my car, but it was up on cinder blocks, and the tires and wheels were missing. The only thing I could do was pick up the car and fly with it to make my deliveries. I did this the rest of the day. I'd land with the car behind the building and then make my delivery as Mark Bent Jr. Actually, I thought it worked out pretty well, but I had to get replacement tires before I got back to where I worked. This job cost me more than I made. Thank goodness for credit cards.

I decided that night, having a job and being a superhero full time wasn't conducive. I'd work the rest of the week and then I'd fly to the north pole, north of Alaska and look for gold. It wouldn't take long. When I found it, I'd drill through the snow, ice, and ground physically to extract it.

I did manage to make it through the week without further incidents. I pulled a cat out of a tree for a little girl, and I changed a flat tire for a really old lady who grabbed my butt as I was bending over to replace her tire. Then she propositioned me to make things stranger, but I took off... up, up and away as she waved goodbye... or, was that a wave?

Early Saturday morning I flew north. The thing about being able to fly and being super-fast, I got to where I needed to be within seconds. Flying over the north pole I spotted a large gold nugget a half mile below the surface. It would take care of college, all my associated expenses, and then some. I didn't even have to do that much digging and get my suit filthy.

While I was under the snow and heading towards the nugget, I heard screaming. Who could that be out here? Certainly not some errant bus, or bank robbers, not even a stuck cat or flat tire. I grabbed the nugget and headed back to the surface. I flew towards where the scream was coming from and found a young Eskimo girl stranded on a block of ice floating in the water. A whale had surfaced near her and was threatening to capsize her float.

I swooped down and caught her around the waist. Lifting her to safety, I dropped her off on something more solid than the piece of ice.

“Thank you...thank you so much, but I think I have whiplash now” she verbalized in gratitude to me.

“You're welcome. I'm sorry.” I told her. “Will you be alright now?”

“I'll be fine. You're SuperJunior aren't you?” she asked.

“Well, yes I am. You've heard of me clear up here?” I asked surprised since I hadn't been active long, and to already be aware of me in an isolated area like this, amazed me.

“Well, yes. We have Internet and Smart Phones,” she answered. “My name is Naku Nui. Please come home with me for lunch. I want you to meet my parents.”

“I guess I could. I have time. Where do you live?” I asked.

“Second igloo on the left,” she said, pointing across the wasteland.

So, I picked her up with the nugget and flew here to her home. Crawling through the front door into the living room, bedroom, kitchen... I met her parents... Mr. Neli Nui and his wife, Noli Nui, and her two brothers... Notu and Nobi.

We all sat down for a lovely lunch of blubber and baked beans. Her family was incredible, and we enjoyed many stories, and we laughed about things in general, though I didn't understand a word they said. Naku was the only one who spoke English, so she had to translate. I never thought I'd like blubber but it had a descent taste, especially cooked. They had run out of propane, so I used my heat vision to cook their meal for them. It was lucky I got there when I did. I heated a pot of coffee for everyone and we sat and continued our conversation.

When we were done, I took off with the nugget and went home. In several seconds I had landed at our farm, and I walked through the front door while mother was acting out her latest plot. I hated seeing her naked like that. She wasn't a young woman anymore, so I went to my room with my gold. Now I had to sell the thing but I knew this would give me a descent bank account to begin college, without putting a strain on any resources.

A few days later I sold the gold for a considerable amount and deposited the money into my account. I was college bound. In a month, regardless of whether I heard about scholarships or not I was fiducially sound. I'd enroll and pay the tuition.

Meanwhile, I had a job and would continue to work. Here and there I'd use my superpowers for mankind and alleviate the suffering where I could of those in need of help.

I ended up on college campus several weeks later. At the administration building, I had just filled out paperwork and had written a check, when I turned to go. A young girl ran into me full blast and bounced off of me. She landed spread eagle on the black and white tile floor, a little dazed.

“I'm so sorry. Are you alright,” I asked, helping her up?

“Why don't you watch where you're going?” she asked a little vehemently. I was amused with her because she had run into me, but I liked her moxie and readiness to fight, especially since she was petite and wiry.

“You ran into me,” I corrected her.

“That's your excuse!” she retorted. I was getting more and more of a kick out of her. She was cute and seemed to have her own agenda of some sort.

“Well, let me apologize anyway. I'm Mark Bent,” I told her.

“Oh... hi. I'm Paula Pane. Are you registering?” she asked me.

“Yes, I am. How about you?” I asked.

“Yeah. I'm not sure why. I have a fairly successful podcast that is growing. At this rate I may not need to go to college, but my parents were pretty adamant about me getting a degree just to cover my ass,” she told me as I looked around the side of her. It was a cute little butt.

“What's you podcast about?” I asked her.

“About anything, just trying to uncover the truth in any of the mainline news reporting,” she told me. “You know how they misrepresent stuff and report what they want, the way they want to.”

“Wow, that sounds really cool. I wouldn't mind hearing it sometime,” I told her not expecting to actually be invited to her studio she had set up in her apartment. I was ready just to tune in, but this was even better, and a better chance to get to know her.

“Here's my address. I have two other people with me doing it. Why don't you come over this evening then and check it out? Tonight's podcast is about old heroes versus new... this new dude...SuperJunior,” she told me really stirring my interest.

“Why do they call him that anyway?” I asked, finding it a little condescending.

“What's that... SuperJunior? Well, he is, isn't he? I mean his dad was Superhero. I think most of it's been an exaggeration anyway,” she commented.

“In what way?” I wanted clarification.

“The strength, the other abilities. Most of this stuff is exaggeration and not real,” she replied.

“You think so Paula?” I asked her.

“I know so!” she answered emphatically. “Come by that address at seven. The podcast starts then and goes for two hours.”

I drove home thinking about Paula the entire time. I could see where she might be exasperating at times, but she made me laugh... she was so darn cute.

“Mom, I met the most amazing woman at college today when I was registering for classes. She has her own podcast and I'm headed there tonight at seven to watch,” I told mother.

“That's so nice dear. Honey what do you think would be better for my main character in this script I'm writing... she's an x-nun gone bad... a crotchless thong or just a butt skirt?”

“Mom... there isn't much left by the time you have a crotchless thong. The butt skirt can't be much better, depending on what you wear underneath,” I told her.

“Thanks honey... maybe I should put both of them together,” she decided.

“Now that sounds like a plan, mom,” I told her as I went into my room. Classes started in a few weeks so nothing else would interfere with my job until then.

I wanted to do some reading since I had to take the day off to go to the college. I'd drive to Paula's podcast later, rather than fly. It was always difficult explaining how you got someplace unless you had a vehicle with you. We could go out for a burger later or something. Scooping her up and flying someplace would be a giveaway.

I pulled up to a tiny house on a middle-class suburban street. Paula was renting it from her father who owned properties around town. He had bought this one purposely so his daughter could live there while attending school. It was cheaper to do so with a lot of write offs. It was an older, stone place with ivy covering part of it. Birds flew out of it chirping as I got to the door and knocked. Paula answered.

“Hi Mark. Glad you could make it. Come on in,” she invited me.

She led me to the basement where she had a couple of computers set up and a video camera. There was a backdrop as well, a desk, and a few chairs. With cameras, it looked like a professional studio. I was impressed.

“Sit down over there someplace. We're open for calls as well. We record everything so we have a library of stuff in case we need it for rebroadcast. Guys, this is Mark Bent... Mark this is Winnie Olson and Tyre Flatts,” she announced.

We exchanged acknowledgments and I sat down to watch and listen.

“Hi, this is Paula with Paula's Podcast. Hope everyone is good out there. A few weeks ago, is seems another super-hero came to light... the son of Superhero. Superhero died several years ago from a Craptonite bullet from his arch enemy. Super Junior has come to light to fill his place. Tonight's discussion is going to be about heroes and how we elevate them beyond where they are or should be. Past heroes become mystic and majestic, beyond reality, because we make them that way...” she began.

Sitting there listening, I enjoyed her. She was a little off base, but I enjoyed her. Dad supposedly couldn't leap tall buildings at as single bound, or see through things, or melt metal with his vision, according to Paula. That would have been as much news to him as it was to me since I saw him do it countless times. I could do it now but arguing the point might have been moot.

Paula's broadcast went smoothly until people started calling in to challenge her. A few called that had actually been rescued by my father. They saw his abilities firsthand. They were relentless in their arguments, eventually experiencing technical difficulties that disconnected them via Paula. The two hours went quickly, and when it was over I invited the three of them out for some burgers and shakes. They all jumped on that.

“I know just the place we can go,” Tyre announced. “It's nearby... it's called 'Burgers and Shakes'. You'll love it you guys.”

We pulled up in two vehicles within ten minutes. There were purple neon lights out front and the music was loud coming from the place.

“Wow, Paula... this isn't like any burger place I ever saw,” I commented as I held the door open of my truck for her.

“You guys are going to love this place,” Tyre told everyone as he danced around the sidewalk in joy.

They even had a bouncer at the front door who held the door open to let everyone in.

'Must be a high crime area,” I commented, and then I thought, “I may have to pay attention more to this area and clean things up.”

Then when we got inside... it was a strip club. I had never been in a strip club. Heck I had never seen a naked woman before except my mother when she was acting out her scripts.

“This is outrageous Paula announced dancing across the floor with Tyre and Winnie to a table right in the front. I followed feeling a little out of place.

As we sat, the girl on the stage directly in front of us threw her top, landing over my head. There was laughter and applause from those I came with.

“They serve incredible burgers here, any way you want them,” Tyre told everyone.

“How about the shakes?” I asked.

“They're on stage,” Tyre informed everyone.

“Are the buns fresh?” Winnie asked.

“Naturally... and they get fresher as the night goes on,” Tyre responded, and then got up and began dancing around the table, bumping butts with Winnie.

“Well, they certainly seem to be having fun,” I observed.

“Are you alright Mark? You seem a little distracted... uncomfortable... even embarrassed.”

“It's just I've never been in a place like this before,” I told her.

“Well neither have I but it doesn't bother me like it seems to bother you,” Paula commented to me.

About that time the owner of the club came to the table and interrupted. I had seen him making the rounds welcoming those in attendance.

“Good evening, folks and welcome. I hope your visit is enjoyable. If there's anything I can do for you if there are any problems just asked for me by name... Rex Luber,” he said smiling and bowing slightly.

“Rex Luber? The man who killed Superhero?” I asked feeling emotions welling up inside of me.

“That was my father. I was named after him,” he told me as he continued smiling.

“Kind of carries a negative connotation there, doesn't it?” I asked.

“Not at all. I feel honored being named after my father. He was a great man,” he replied.

“A great murderer but that's only because of who he murdered,” I replied feeling as if I could use my heat vision to burn a hole through the scoundrel.

“Well... have a nice evening,” he said and walked away.

I sat there furious, but other than his comment I had no beef with the man. I didn't need to start something and just needed to be the better man and leave it alone. Paula could see I was seething under the skin.

“Why are you so riled? Superhero was just some product of marketing... a constructed hero when we needed one,” she told me placing her hand on my arm, trying to calm me.

“Superhero and my father were friends,” I told her. This shocked her.

“Are you serious? Here you were in my basement during that podcast, and you never let on you had firsthand information,” she told me.

“You wouldn't have liked what I had to say anyway, Paula. It was better to keep my mouth shut,” I informed her. We would have been at odds had I said anything.

“Let's leave Mark. Winnie and Tyre can find their way home,” she suggested and so we did.

I drove Paula home and we had an enjoyable conversation. I got the feeling she liked my company as well, so we sat and talked for a while in front of her place before I said goodnight.

“I enjoyed this evening. Can we do it again sometime?” I asked her as she slid out the truck door.

“What's your cell? "she asked me, whipping out her phone.

I gave it to her and my phone range a few seconds later.

“There... I have your number and now you have mine... call me,” she said as she slammed the door and ran to her house. I watched as she went in. I sat for a minute smiling like some kid, but then I guess I wasn't much older than one anyway.

I pulled away from the curb and went about a block when I heard screaming. It was Paula. I immediately changed clothes, double checked I had my pants on, and flew back. Landing outside her door I tried it but it was locked so, I twisted the knob until it broke, and I opened it.

Three men somehow had found out where Paula's podcast was from and figured they'd steal her equipment when no one was there. As I ran down the steps, one was holding her while the other two were collecting equipment. When I appeared, the one pulled a gun and shot at me. The bullets bounced and lodged in the ceiling beams as I grabbed the one holding Paula. I threw him across the room against the wall where he dropped unconscious.

I grabbed the gun the other had and squeezed it into a lump of metal. I hit him hard enough to render him unconscious and then I did the same as the third man attempted to run up the stairs.

With three men lying there I looked and picked up one of several rebar leaning against the wall in the corner of the basement. I took this and wrapped it around all three men so they couldn't get free.

“I'm glad I happened to be flying by when I heard you scream,” I mentioned to Paula. She was wide eyed and beyond comprehension, seeing someone like me in action.

“S... s... SuperJunior... I had no idea,” she announced.

“Most people don't. Are you OK to call the police on your own? With defunding it might take an hour or so for them to send a squad car,” I advised her.

“I'll be fine,” she answered.

I ran up the steps to the front door. In the old days my father would have entered and exited through the middle of the house but in these days of material costs and an insurance nightmare I didn't want to put Paula through it. I had no sooner got back to my truck and changed, when my cell phone rang. It was Paula.

“You'll never guess who I just met? SuperJunior. He captured three burglars at my place,” she yelled into the phone.

“Oh my... are you alright Paula?” I asked.

“Why wouldn't I be? SuperJunior saved me. Bye Mark, I just called the police, but I have to call the news media and let them know,” she ended the conversation hanging up in my ear.

I drove home the rest of the way with a smile on my face. I couldn't wait to tell mother. It was getting to be just like her and dad.

“I see this SuperJunior is going to be a pain in my ass just like his father was to mine. He caught my three employees breaking into this Paula Pane's house. I figured it would be an easy score, getting her things to sell and silencing her for a while since I don't like some of the things she's saying,” Rex Luber Jr. was telling two other of his cohorts in his club office the next day.

“What do you want us to do boss?” Grids Murdock asked. He was nicknamed 'Grids' because he had fallen on a roll of metal fencing in a fire he started as a paid arsonist. He had gotten trapped inside the building before he could leave, as it became incinerated. The roll was hot and when he fell, he fell face down on the hot metal, burning a crisscross pattern over his entire countenance. Now there were just line to line boxes of pink scars over the entire area.

“We ain't going to have an easy time getting rid of this guy... just like his dad, unless you have some Craptonite on you?” the other man, Chuck Bayer, suggested. He was an orphan and lifelong criminal that was somehow never caught, and didn't have a record, though the police were aware of him.

“Don't do anything yet. This SuperJunior just recently showed up. Just start keeping an eye out for him and see what you can discover. Maybe you can find out where home is and what he does when he isn't flying around. Then I can plan something,” Luber told the two men. “That's all you do from now on. He is your assignment.”

I was heading from school having bought my books the next day, to home when I heard Paula yelling. Was she in trouble again? I couldn't take the chance but changed clothes and flew to the sound of her voice. A few miles along I spotted her on the side of the road, standing outside of her car.

As I flew up, I saw she had a flat tire.

“Hi Paula. I see you have a problem,” I mentioned.

“I was hoping you'd hear me. I don't know how to change a tire and AAA says it's two hours. I have to get home and get ready for my podcast,” she informed me.

“Well, I hope you're kinder this time to me and my father,” I told her.

“You've given me a wide awakening. I never thanked you for last night,” she told me.

“No problem, Paula... glad to do it,” I told her as I went over to her car and unscrewed the lug nuts. I pulled her spare from her trunk and lifted the car to switch the good tire with the flat. Putting it back down I replaced the lug nuts and was done.

“That was certainly fast. You're much better than AAA!” she remarked.

“And you don't even have to be a member,” I joked. Paula was looking at me differently today. I think I may have changed her whole opinion about superheroes, and I was glad to.

“What do you do when you're not flying around and rescuing people in distress?” she asked me to get closer.

“Pretty much what everyone else does, Paula. I'm not that much different,” I told her. And I wasn't. Oh, sure I could be, if I used my powers for more than I was. If I used them for myself instead of others the difference would be phenomenal. The fingers would point.

“I'll see you around Paula. Take care,” I instructed and then rose into the sky. I watched her looking up watching me as I flew away, getting smaller and smaller in the distance but larger in my heart.

That night, I listened to Paula's podcast. I was her strongest fan. All she talked about was SuperJunior and her interaction with him... when I stopped the robbery at her house and then the flat tire. It was plain to see I was her hero now. Her mind had changed about my father and myself. There were callers too, congratulating her on her conversion.

“I was listening to this Paula Pane's podcast last night again. I think the lady has a crush on Superhero's son,” Rex Luber Jr. announced to the two hoodlums in his employ. “Last night our superhero interfered with my men stealing a shipment on a truck outside of Wisconsin. If this is how it's going to be we need to do something about it.”

“What do you want us to do, boss?” asked Grids. Grids was pretty much the outspoken one between the two criminals. He took the lead for the most part and was the first to pull a gun. He just didn't care and acted before he thought. Rex liked that, because if it was to his advantage to have him leap off a high rise, and he asked him, he would.

“Think of something clever to do with Ms. Payne. See how fast SuperJunior comes to her rescue. Just don't get caught. I don't want to lose you men. There's no rush... but do something as soon as possible. I can't afford to lose any more shipments,” Rex Luber instructed the two men.

I was on my way to rush a new heart to a recipient on the west coast. It was of extreme political importance because of the dignitary involved and I was requested to get involved.

“Hi, mom. Hey, I'll be late for dinner...” I tried telling my mother as I was flying with the cooler.

“Honey... are you flying at the same time you're trying to talk to me on the phone? How many times do I have to tell you, you're the one with super hearing! I can't hear a fucking thing when you're on the phone and flying at the same time. Text me...” mom told me.

So, I proceeded to text her but trying to fly, text on the phone and hold a cooler with a human heart is difficult to say the least and I dropped the heart. Down it went over New Mexico and I tore after it. Speeding down I sent the text message to mom and she responded. I should have been paying more attention because the cooler passed through a flock of geese and I went crashing through a half dozen of the things. I was spitting out feathers and would be doing so probably for the rest of the week. However, I managed to get the cooler and went on my way.

In a minute I landed in front of San Diego Hospital and walked through the front doors to an accolade of people, all pointing and talking. I went to the third floor where they were waiting in surgery for the transplant.

“Is that goose pooh all over you SuperJunior?” the one surgical nurse asked as she came to get the package.

“There was a slight mishap getting here,” I told her and then turned, running to get out of sight and catch the elevator back downstairs. Just as I got there, the doors closed and I crashed into them, denting them so badly they wouldn't open again. Thank heavens for insurance!

On the way home I was passing over a lake and realized if I flew down into it for a little, I could wash my outfit off conveniently and not bother my mother with it. She hated doing the laundry and it was difficult going to the laundromat with my suit. I disappeared below the surface and tore through that lake like there was no tomorrow. I went through a little too fast and emptied half of the lake when a torrent of water rushed out the other side with me.

“You're home, Mark. How'd your delivery go?” mom asked me as I came through the door dropping fish along the way. There was one large trout stuck in my pants which I pulled out and threw in the sink.

“There... dinner for tomorrow night,” I announced nonchalantly, while mom just shook her head proudly.

“Get changed, I'll put dinner on the table” she alerted me.

That night I again turned into Paula's podcast. It was about government corruption. That was probably eighty percent of what she discussed. She did get a couple positive quips in on behalf of my super half. I decided when she was halfway done the production, I was going to surprise her and show up at her house, so I jumped into my truck and headed her way.

Meanwhile, there were two men hunched over, walking through the sewers passing Paula Pane's home, underground. They carried satchels as they walked and LED flashlights to illuminate their way. One carried a long bamboo pole.

“Are you sure we should set the timer for nine o'clock sharp?” Chuck Bayer asked his partner as he kicked a rat out of the way.

“I think right at the end of her broadcast is appropriate. I'll call the bomb threat in at 8:45PM so she can clear out if SuperJunior doesn't show. I don't particularly want to start some crusade,” Grids told his partner in crime. “This is the spot.”

“How do you know it's the right place?” Chuck asked.

“From the map and right here in little numbers on the wall where her septic pipe runs. It says her address,” Grids pointed out to Chuck.

Grids checked the device and then he set the clock. He placed it inside a plastic bag and tied it shut. Placing at the opening of the pipe, he took the bamboo pole and shoved it into the opening, pushing the bomb in as far as he could.

“There, we're done. What time is it?” Grids asked.

“It's 7:35PM,” his partner responded.

“OK let's get out of here so we get reception and it'll be time for me to make the call,” Grids instructed.

“Hello... is this Paula Pane from Paula's Podcast?” Grids spoke into the phone in a strange voice.

“Yes, it is... you're live! Paula answered.

“Yeah, but you won't be for long. We've planted a bomb that'll go off in fifteen minutes. We don't like what you have to say or talk about... you need to be shut up,” he garbled into the phone and hung up.

“That was great,” Chuck admitted. “She'll be constipated for a week with that one!”

Both men left then not wanting to be anywhere around when SuperJunior showed up. They took off in their car and called their employer to let him know things were in motion.

“OK... but you men are going to have to drive by there later to make sure our hero takes care of things,” he told them.

Paula hung up the phone and looked at her two fellow podcasters. There was a blank look on her face, and she wasn't sure what to say. They were still on the air and everyone listening to the podcast heard the threat, and so did her partners.

“It's some kind of hoax,' Tyre said laughing.

“I can't take that chance,” said Paula and she began shouting at the top of her lungs,” SuperJunior... help. I need your help. I hope you can hear me wherever you are... help! Someone's planted a bomb at my house!”

“I heard the call come into the podcast, so I pulled off the road and slammed on my brakes. I heard Pauls' cry for help. I changed clothes and leaped into the air. As I soared over her house, I used my x ray vision to see if I could locate the bomb. Sure enough, it was under the house in a drainage pipe, and I could hear it ticking. It was set for nine, but I had no time but to crash through the sewer and pull it out of the pipe. That's what I did.

“What was that?” cried Winnie. “Was it the bomb?”

“No, it was SuperJunior,” Paula answered.

The three of them came running out the front door as I emerged from the hole in the ground I had created. On the surface, I bent over the bomb, protecting the others from the explosion as it went off. I contained the thing in time.

“Oh, SuperJunior. Thank heavens you got here in time!” Paula yelled, running towards me to throw her arms around me, but she stopped at arms' length.

“Whew... you smell like shit!” she exclaimed standing there looking.

Later, we were standing in the back of the house when the police came. Paula had the hose out and was rinsing me off. I found a few things lodged in my briefs I cared not to identify. When she was done, I did get a distant hug since the smell was still there. I took flight, leaving her to deal with the officers. I sailed through the air to dry myself off and landed at my truck. Ten minutes later, Mark Bent pulled up to Paula's house.

“Mark! You'll never believe what happened,” she yelled running to me. “SuperJunior was here and saved us from getting blown up. He smashed through the ground and then he held the bomb when it blew up. He was amazing!”

“I heard the call come into the podcast while I was coming here,” I told her.

It was welcomed, her hug, as she threw her arms around me but when she pulled back, she sniffed the air oddly.

“Sorry I had to shovel manure at the farm, and you can never quite get rid of that smell,” I told her. “I stopped by to see if you wanted to go to a movie.”

“I'd love to Mark but you're going to have to do something about that odor. Why don't you take another shower here and I have some body wash that will kill anything,” Paula suggested.

I took her wash and went into the bathroom. I scrubbed quickly and washed out my suit. I hung the suit from the shower curtain rod and used my heat vision to dry it out. The room felt like the South American tropics though when I was done. I wrapped the suit back in its small case to take with me. I smelled better. The wash did the trick and when I left the bathroom Paula administered her smell test. I passed with flying colors.

“So, what movie would you like to go see. There's several playing at the Regal Theaters, so you have your choice,” I told her.

“How about the new Batmania movie,” she suggested.

“Really? Are you sure?” I asked.

“What's the matter don't you like Batmania?” she asked me.

“Well, he's a little over the top don't you think... and exaggerated character like he's his own metaphor?” I outlined my opinion.

“Sounds like you're a little jealous but yeah, I want to see it,” she demanded, so we went and got there just in time. I hate missing the first five minutes of any movie... it sets the whole mood.

The place was packed but we managed to get two seats, close to the front. Paula seemed in her glory, so she could lay back like some kid with her head on the back of her chair looking straight up at the screen, with her legs spread out in front of her. I did the same, we were so close.

She wanted a super large box of popcorn inundated with butter, so I got her one..

“Now we have to eat fast because it usually gets cold before I finish it and the butter just gets nasty,” she told me when we first sat down, but the popcorn was just as hot when we finished it as when we started.

“I don't get it... this popcorn is still hot. It's great. It's the best I've had here,” Paula announced to the world. Heat vision is great on a date!

It was during the movie I realized how loudly Paula snored. She fell asleep three quarters of the way through and began annoying everyone in the theater. She was impossible to wake so I carried her to my truck and took her home. As I carried her to her front door she awoke.

“Mark! Why are you carrying me?” she entreated on her sidewalk.

“You fell asleep Paula... and I couldn't wake you,” I told her.

“Oh... sorry. I was more tired than I thought. You can put me down now, Mark. Thank you for a lovely evening,” she ended the conversation by giving me a light kiss on the upper lip and disappeared inside her house.

I stood for a moment; thinking is that all there is? I didn't even know if she liked the movie since she didn't see all of it. I began walking down the sidewalk when I heard Paula's door open.

“Mark... would you come back for a bit. I have something I need to ask you,” she called out. I was beside myself, so I hurried back.

“Yes, Paula?” I said expectedly.

“I was thinking all day about an idea I had. How about if you join the three of us on the podcast? The show is making enough money to pay you too and people feel easy around you. I think you could go dig up information for the show and maybe some interviews on the air. I think you'd be a great addition,” she outlined to me.

“Really Paula! You think so?” I asked her. “I'd love to.”

“I think so. Then we're set. Let's see what you can dig up on the Governor and his reelection campaign. I heard through the grapevine he's being financed in part through Rex Luber who has anything but a clean past... like his father,” she told me.

“I'll get on it tomorrow then,” I told her. I didn't even know what she was paying me, but I didn't care, plus I had enough funded from my gold mining to take care of things.

I guess this requires me to hang around Rex Luber's club, 'Burgers and Shakes'. I'd go there for something to eat midafternoon to see what I could dig up.

I finished my work on the farm in the morning, for the day. I went to the library for a couple of hours to research things for my paper I was writing. As I was exiting, I ran into Paula leaving as well.

“Mark! Funny running into you here,” she exclaimed.

“HI Paula. Yeah, I'm finished for the day so I was just going over to see what I could dig up on the election at Rex Luber's place,” I informed her.

“I'm finished too. Care for some company?” she asked me.

“Sure. I'll drop you back here for your car later,” I offered and so we went together to the club.

It was slow again this time of day, but I thought I might get some information from some of the people working there.

We were sitting awhile watching the show when I saw a guy with some kind of strange grid pattern across his face, come into the place and go into Luber's office. When I heard him speak, I recognized his voice immediately as the one that called in the bomb threat to Paul's podcast the other night. I could tell it was him even though he tried disguising it. So, he works for Rex Luber. He must be one of his henchmen. I listened to them talk, and heard Luber remind him to keep and eye on Paula and anyone associated with her... especially now he knows there' something going on between SuperJunior and her. What would that be?

“Whooa... Mark, she likes you,” Paula was yelling as I looked up then and the girl was leaning over in my face... giving me a shake and I hadn't even ordered yet.

I was a little embarrassed. My dad would never have even been caught in a place like this.

“Mark... give her a few bucks... get a lap dance. Maybe you can find out more,” Paula told me and when she saw my hesitation, she pulled out some money and slipped it to the girl. The girl was on me in a minute.

My glasses had fallen down around my nose, and she had my hands pinned as she gave me more shakes than I could handle.

“Mark, ask her something about Luber... drill her a little,” Paula insisted.

“Paula... maybe you should reconsider your choice of words,” I told her but leaned back to not try and look like I was uncomfortable.

She leaned over close to my ear having heard Paula.

“So you want to know something about Rex Luber?” she whispered in my ear and then stuck her tongue as deep as she could inside. “Ask away.”

“Ah, just how close is he to the governor?” I asked her.

“Close. Some guy comes in her once or twice a week in some lame disguise, but I know it's the governor. He sits out here and grabs my ass all the time. Luber insists I give him a hand job. They end up in some meeting for about an hour or so then. Luber has about a dozen guys on the payroll... they go around ripping off trucking company shipments and stuff that comes in from overseas on the docks. Listen, they'll kill me if they see me talking to anyone in particular. If you want to know more, I'll give you my card,” she told me. “Give me a call.”

She turned around and wiggled her butt in my face awhile and then slid down my chest and over my lap. When she got up and left with the finished song, her card was lying on my lap. Where did it come from? Her name was Lily White. I wondered if that was her real name.

“Ha!... there you go Mark... an informant. Fell right into your lap,” Paula bragged

“Well, well, if it isn't Mark Bent and Paula Pane again. Welcome back. I thought maybe you were too pissed at me from the other night to come back,” Luber told us.

“No... my parents always taught me to never hold a grudge,” I informed him.

“Ah, yes... the illustrious Mark Bent Senior and Clovis Sane. Just a question though. Your father died about the same time Superhero did, didn't he?” Luber asked me so I knew he had his suspicions just like his father had.

“Somewhat... a coincidence,” I answered him without going any further. Sometimes you can go too far trying to hide the truth and you find yourself stumbling over your own tongue. I watched as he walked away to greet the next table.

“There was some henchman of Rex's that went into his office a little while ago. I think it may have been the guy that called in your bomb scare,” I told her.

“Really? Where is the asshole?” she asked me.

“He's not there now but he has some grid marks across his face,” I told her.

“Mr. Kinky, huh?... skid marks,” Paula asked me.

“No Paula... grid, with a 'g', marks. Keep an eye for a guy like that,” I suggested.

“I think I saw someone like that yesterday,” she told me.

We ordered and ate. I took Paula back to her car on campus so she could prepare for the evening. I told her I was going to call Ms. Lily White later and see about getting together.

“Alright Mark but no real in-depth interrogation,” she told me.

“Really Paula, is there a reason I shouldn't,” I asked her.

“Yeah... you don't know where she's been,” Paula commented.

I called later but when Lily answered she dropped the phone. Her voice was muffled, and it sounded like she was struggling. I didn't think she was acting so I changed clothes quickly and took to the air. I landed at her place a little while later on the balcony of her apartment. When I went inside, the place was in order, but Lily White's body was lying on the floor. I kicked her a couple of times trying to rouse her.

“Come on Lily... stop fooling around... Lily. Are you alright?” I asked but I determined she wasn't. I saw she wasn't breathing and by the bruises on her neck, she had been strangled.

I looked around the place. It was nice. She must have taken her job seriously by the six poles she had installed in the living room. It definitely wasn't a robbery, so someone saw her talking to me and decided to play it safe by getting rid of her. I hoped they didn't run out of shakes at the place. I called 911 and left. Then I called Paula and told her about the incident.

“Be careful Mark. Listen there's a place at the docks I heard Luber's going to hit but I'm not sure when. We may have to do a little surveillance there,” Paula told me, and I figured I might have to spend some time just sitting and waiting.

“I have to let you go Paula. Someone's trying to call me, and I don't know who. It says 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue... D.C.,” I told her.

“That's the Whiteho...” Paula started but I cut her off.

“Hello, Mark Bent here,” I answered. “Oh yes, Mr. President, what can I do for you?

“Your father and Superhero were always close, so I thought I'd take a chance and call you hoping you know how to get hold of SuperJunior” the President informed me.

“Yes, sir. I can get word to him,” I told him.

“I need to speak with him right away. If he can get to the Whitehouse immediately to meet with me and the Joint Chiefs of Staff,” the leader told me.

“I'll get him that message right away,” I assured him and disconnected the phone.

I was there within three minutes.

“Thanks for coming SuperJunior. We have a serious problem. There is an asteroid on a collision course with Earth as we speak. It seemed to have come from nowhere yesterday from behind the moon, so it was likely hidden by it for a while. Scientists have tracked it's course which has been changing. It now appears it will hit in the Atlantic Ocean. The ensuing tsunami will devastate our east coast, and parts of the western continent of Africa. There is no time to send a rocket which might make matters worse anyway,” the President laid things out to me.

“The asteroid is a third of a mile across and the most likely solution would be to deflect it but we'll leave that up to you. If it's broken up, the pieces could cause problems worldwide. It's supposed to hit sometime mid-morning,” the Chief of Staff alerted me.

“Sure, wait to the last minute, why don't you. Just to play it safe, evacuate the east coast inland. Get the word out right away. I'll head for the asteroid,” I told them and leaped off the balcony, hitting a pigeon, outside the window. Up, up and away I went.

I hadn't flown into space yet. I know dad did it a few times, but this was new to me. In a matter of seconds, the Earth was far behind me and ahead was darkness stippled by lights. Then I saw it... the asteroid. I figured I'd fly at it and deflect it away from Earth but as I got closer I seemed to get weaker. I began having trouble breathing. Then I saw the sign on the asteroid. It was a town sign that said Norville. Norville was the town my real father was from on Crapton. This was part of my father's planet of Crapton. That answered that. My weakness was from the presence of Craptonite on the asteroid. I might not be able to stop it's damages if I died in the process of trying to stop it. It was possible I could minimize the damage though once it hit. Still I flew at it hard and fast hoping to change its directory enough and quickly enough, where I wouldn't be stuck in space with it wherever it went, losing my powers in the process.

Oww... that actually hurt when I collided with the heavenly body. I budged it but I feared not enough. It was time to get away and regain my strength and see what I could do when it fell to Earth.

“Mark, Mark... where the hell have you been?” Paula was yelling. “They're evacuating the east coast... everything's jammed. I got word Rex Luber is going to take advantage of things and fill his warehouse with stolen goods from the port and a couple transportation companies,” but about that time we lost communications and the phone said emergency calls only.

I wanted to tell her to just leave and not worry about it but she was too bull headed anyway to reason with.

I had some time before the asteroid hit so I began flying up and down the east coast and overseas trying to clear blockages for people exiting the coastline cities... carrying buses and cars out of the way. I called the President and informed him of the problem so National Guard and the military could try to be as effective as possible. I told them I'd do my best to contain the tsunami since I ran the risk of not doing anything trying to attack the asteroid.

Back and forth all night long I flew.

Meanwhile Paula had located the warehouse Rex Luber owned at the docks. She watched as two dozen men were prepared to fill the place up with stolen goods. The roads in and immediately around the city were barren. Everyone was fleeing. It was perfect for someone like him to have free reigns to haul truckloads of stolen merchandise without obstacle, to the place.

Paula stayed hidden, videotaping everything that transpired. Luber was in the middle of it coordinating their efforts. As trucks left and returned, she recorded them unloading everything. They were busy. There were twelve men driving the stolen trucks loaded with goods and there were twelve men, some with forklifts, unloading the trucks as they parked in side the building, waiting to be unloaded. Merchandise of every kind and description was making its way into the building. Paula didn't miss anything or anyone. She captured the best sides of all of Rex Luber.

Somewhere around six in the morning Paula fell asleep while she was videoing everything. Yes, she began snoring.

“Listen we're doing really well. A few more truck loads and we'll be full with no one the wiser. This was perfect. Be ready to leave at nine though, the asteroid is scheduled to hit around ten. The helicopters will be here on the dot to get everyone. If you men...” but Luber stopped in mid sentence being interrupted by something and he put his hand up so those around him would stop. “Excuse me but do you hear something? What is that God awful noise?”

Those around him stopped to listen, and then finally everyone else noticing the others breaking, stopped as well and listened intently. Luber began following the sound, followed by two of his men. He walked around a shipping container where there was a space between two of them and there sitting on the ground, her head on a small box holding her camera was Paula.

“Well, well... if it isn't Ms. Pane in my ass!” Luber remarked as the two men went to her and pulled her to her feet. Paula shook it off suddenly becoming aware she had been caught. She tried struggling but it wasn't any use.

The men took her camera and the phone she had with her and handed them to Rex.

“What should we do with her boss?” one of the man asked.

“We're not taking her with us that's for sure. Tie her out at the dock. Face her to the ocean so she can see her end coming. I imagine the view of a one hundred fifty foot wave will be fascinating,” he said as he stuffed a dirty rag in her mouth firmly. “Tie that in her mouth. We don't need her calling SuperJunior.”

So they took her struggling, out to the pier and tied her to one of the vertical posts where she could await her end. There was great fear in her face. The world was already aware SuperJunior could not stop the advance of the asteroid because of the Craptonite. The best he could do was alleviate the aftermath.

At around ten, the glow of the asteroid, as it entered Earth's atmosphere, became obvious. It lit up brightly in various hues of pinks and yellows in the early morning. Against a backdrop of intense blue in an early morning clarity unsurpassed, it was amazing. I was midway between Africa and North America when it lit up. I stopped briefly to watch. How could anything so beautiful be so deadly? I took off in a flash moving towards the coastline of the United States. I knew what I had to do and hopefully it would work. I floated in the air watching out to see as the asteroid hit the ocean. A huge hole developed in the water and then a vertical ascension over a mile high flew upwards as the water filled the gap. From there a huge, ominous wave emerged in a circular pattern from its entrance. As the wave approached the coast it loomed higher and higher. Anyone who saw it would be frightened.

The helicopter landed at the docks as Paula turned her head to watch. The twenty-four men there were confused, thinking there would be more copters and there wasn't enough room for everyone. Rex Luber and his two side kicks, Grids Murdock and Chuck Bayer climbed on board the copter holding machine guns. They held them on the men.

“Sorry men... I lied. There's only one copter. Thanks for all your help though. This decision is not open for dispute, by the way, so if you want to discuss it... well, it isn't open for discussion,” he reiterated as Grids fired some shots into the ground.

The men scattered seeing the gigantic wave coming in the distance. There was a bothersome quiet in the air. The shore birds, normally thick in the area, after fish and the cleanings left behind by fishermen coming home with their catch, were missing. Doom was coming.

Rex Luber just laughed at the sight as he waved the copter out of the area. He stood at the doorway looking out over the water and then waved with a big smile at Paula as the copter flew over her frightened face. She began screaming as loud as she could, but SuperJunior was distracted.

As the wave reached its height, I began my strategy. I flew quickly around the wave before it traveled too far. I blew mercilessly hard at it continuously as I flew. It was already working, I could tell. The wave fell back into the water unceremoniously creating huge rocking waves that continued to cancel each other out. I did this along the coastline before heading to Africa to do the same. These were the two worst areas. To a lesser degree there would be tsunamis in Western Europe and areas like Greenland. I sped to all areas doing the same until I had contained everything. The coastlines of a number of countries were saved and most would only experience several foot waves, nothing worse than a tropical storm surge.

It was then I heard Paula trying to scream for me, only able to barely pronounce my name. I was tuned into her though, otherwise I wouldn't have heard her. I followed her mumblings towards the dock where she was. I saw her from a distance tied to a pier. Luber obviously caught her.

“Paula! Are you alright?” I asked as I landed in front of her.

I took off her gag and pulled out the dirty rag Luber had stuffed in her mouth. It was nasty.

“Where the hell have you been?” she screamed as I began pulling off her restraints.

“Paula, should I put the rag back into your mouth? I asked her calmly, more calmly than she was.

“No, damn it, because then I couldn't do this,” she threatened and threw her arms around my neck. She kissed me in a way I had never been kissed before... in fact I had never been kissed before... like dad, I guess, I was a little innocent being a farm boy.

“I gather Rex Luber did this?” I asked.

“There's a whole building full of things he stole. He took off in a helicopter that way an hour ago,” she told me before kissing me again.

“I have to get going and get him,” I told her as I turned to take off then.

“Are you sure you want to take off in that condition?” she asked looking at my briefs.

I looked down and then back at her smiling at me.

“I'll only be whistling in the wind for a short while,” I told her and jumped into the air.

Luber and his crew were still in the helicopter when I saw them flying in the next state. They spotted me too and began shooting. Why, I don't understand. They never learned a thing shooting at my father... it doesn't do any good.

“Hi Luber. We have a date with a penal institution,” I warned them as I grabbed hold of the prop. The helicopter began spinning but I stopped it then and flew them to the Ohio State Penitentiary. I deposited them all with the copter on the grounds there, as the warden looked on and waved. Other men in the courtyard booed at me but that was expected.

“There you go warden. A few more incorrigibles for you to watch. Watch this one closely,” I told him pointing at Rex Luber, then I flew east, back home and towards Paula.



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