Sneak Peek of The Original Superheroes
Time to Clean Up Everyone’s Messes
“The nation was yet again rocked this week as reports came flooding in of allegations and arrests in relation to former Level A superhero Goffman,” the reporter spoke. “After discovering that Goffman was an undercover operative for a foreign nation who infiltrated The Superhero League, the Board of Superheroes fully cooperated with the FBI. According to the information we recently received, the investigation has led to the arrests of ten officials who are suspected of aiding Goffman. More updates in the next hour after this commercial break.”
“Well, this is going to shake a few trees, don’t you think? What are you going to do, Frank?” Seed asked.
“How long do you think it will be before they ask me to come back?” I wondered.
Swirling a mixture of alcohol and ice cubes in his glass, Seed knit his eyebrows together. “I give it a week.”
Turning off the television, I sighed. “I kind of liked the quiet life.”
“You say that now, but I saw the look in your eye two weeks ago. Helping Tanser Girl breathed new life into you. People like us aren’t meant to sit still.”
Snatching the glass from his grasp, the golden liquid nearly sloshed over the rim onto his dingy coat. “I think you’ve had enough to drink tonight.”
“Come on, Frank. I realized it much sooner than you did. Why do you think I dove into the city’s black market?”
“Do you even care what those gadgets and gizmos do to the people of this city?”
“There’s a pretty penny to be made in gadgets and gizmos, you know. Besides, anyone who deals with me knows how particular I am about my clients. I’m not about to be branded as an evil mastermind, and I like living in a world where you don’t have to worry about walking down the street,” Seed countered. “And don’t forget who serves truth-spilling liquid to the fine superheroes of this city. If something I’m selling goes awry, I always have my local bartender to watch my back.”
“Go home, Seed. I’m calling it a night.”
Slowly standing, Seed fluffed his coat before smoothing down the tattered front. “I’m just saying, there was a time when you were the one saving people in the streets. Would it be so terrible if you got a second chance?”
“I wouldn’t need a second chance if everything hadn’t been taken away in the first place. I’m done talking about this. Go.”
With a smug smile, he left without another word. We both knew he was right, but I wasn’t ready to admit it.
Let’s Start at the Beginning
25 years ago
The drone of my squad car’s siren, the squeal of my tires, and my hammering heartbeat mixed in my ears, creating a tune of its own. Having been in pursuit for ten blocks now, I was never going to apprehend them if my back-up didn’t arrive soon.
“He’s turning down Broadway Street and I can see what appears to be a hostage in the passenger seat,” I said through the radio.
“Units en route. Please keep us updated on your position,” dispatch’s voice crackled back.
Annoyed with the lack of support, I slammed the receiver back into the holder on the dash.
Of course, on my second time riding solo, I end up in a car chase.
A man in neon bike shorts pedaled frantically in the bike lane as the baby blue Cadillac swerved to avoid a car, its back end throwing the biker and the bike in opposite directions. In an effort to avoid oncoming traffic, he swerved to the right, spinning until he stopped, the driver’s side now facing me.
The driver, a scared-looking teen, stared back at me with large, terrified eyes as he held a gun up to the terrified pedestrian’s head. Just a second later, the Cadillac sped off once more, leaving jagged tire marks in its place.
“Dispatch, this is car nine again. The Cadillac has just hit a bicyclist and left the scene in the middle of 54th street. Injuries are unknown.”
“Units are still en route. They are five minutes away—”
The sound of crushing metal and shattering glass hit me before my body registered the impact. As the world spun, I gripped the wheel, holding on for dear life as gravity pulled my body towards the middle of the car.
Sliding across the road felt like an eternity until a metal street pole jerked me to a stop. My head knocked into the now-bent doorframe.
Ears ringing, I reached up to feel something wet and slimy on the side of my head. Pressing my hand against my head to stop the ringing, a jolt of agony pulsed through my entire body.
“Are you alright…whoa. That is a lot of blood,” someone said with a shaky voice.
I slowly turned my head and, through slightly blurry vision, saw a young man with a pale complexion staring at my leg. Following his gaze, I could now see a long shard of glass sticking out of my thigh, my pants slowly changing from navy blue to black.
Feeling panic start to bubble in my throat, and possibly vomit, the crackle of the slightly battered radio pulled me from my turmoil.
“Car nine? Car nine, are you there?”
“What hit me?” I asked aloud.
“Not sure exactly, sir,” the man said. “I was walking out of the corner store when your car came spinning through the intersection. You hit the pole.”
The scared teenager in the Cadillac popped back into my mind. “Did you see a blue Cadillac?”
Shaking his head, he pulled out his phone and started to dial. “I’m calling 911.”
“But I am 911,” I said.
“What?” he asked.
Waving my hand dismissively, I winced as the movement shot more pain through me.
“You’re lucky to be alive, you know,” the captain said. “You were hit by a semi-truck when you blew through the red light to follow the perp. I know how crazy things can get when you are pursuing a criminal, but you can’t forget your training, Frank. You still need to adhere to the rules.”
“Sir, there was a hostage, and the Cadillac was driving crazy! He hit a biker, and I wasn’t going to let him get away.”
Holding his hands up in surrender, he continued. “I’m just saying that’s what they are going to be considering when investigating the accident. You always need to have that in the back of your mind.”
“Where is the Cadillac?” I asked.
“We don’t know. He got away,” he mumbled.
“Sir, there was a hostage in that car. She looked terrified.”
“Units are actively searching the area he was last seen in as we speak. You have—”
“I mean no disrespect, but where was my backup? There should have been someone close by who could have helped me. To focus on the new recruits’ ceremony and leave the streets less guarded feels sloppy.”
“Frank, watch it,” he said dryly. “We may have ridden together before I became captain, but that’s enough. I’m going to let that slide, given the day you’ve had, but you need to remember your place. We’ve had to hand it over to the detectives now.”
Feeling anxiety worm through my thoughts, I remained silent before anything else slipped out and got me written up. I may have ranked up a few months prior, but that didn’t mean I was an expert.
As I watched the captain leave the hospital room, Seed walked in, filling the unoccupied space. His face was grim as he took in the sight of me.
“You know, Frank, we all know how tough you are already. You don’t need to go playing chicken with a semi-truck to make that any clearer.”
“This is a shitshow, if you ask me. I did it by the book, radioed it in when I spotted the vehicle, and kept giving an updated location, despite swerving through traffic during my pursuit. Not getting back up when I needed to was the worst thing that could have happened for that hostage. I don’t care if there was a ceremony for the new recruits—it would have put some damn hair on their chest to have been given some experience in a car chase. Now that woman is God knows where, along with the whole slew of narcotics that just flooded the street with the driver.”
“First of all, some of those new recruits are women, so chest hair would be awkward. Second, if the units were so far away, there was no chance they could have gotten there in time.”
“You sound just like the rest of them.”
Pushing the rise button on the bed’s remote, I explained. “You’re just ready to accept that we did all we could. Frankly, we aren’t doing enough. I want you to tell that woman’s family we did all we could. Who is going to answer to them? I became a cop to help people, not sit back and watch them get away.”
Placing his hands on his utility belt in a typical police officer stance, Seed sighed, hanging his head. “I don’t know what you want me to tell you, honestly. Unless you’re going to go out there on your own and track it down, we need to wait it out. There’s a good chance that this kid is going to do it again soon. He’s young and has to be answering to someone.” Raising an eyebrow at his proposed scenario, he shook his head in response disapprovingly. “You know that’s not how it’s done. This isn’t a comic book, Frank, it’s real life. A life where we don’t have superpowers. All the power we have is bulletproof vests and shiny badges strapped to our chests.”
“Yeah, well, what good that did me today, huh?”
“I’m going to go so you can get some sleep.” As he walked towards the door, he tossed the television remote towards me with a wink.
The truth was, this wasn’t even close to over.