Story: Superhero

batmanWhen Steven was a boy, he knew exactly what he wanted to be when he grew up. “I want to be a superhero!” he’d exclaim when anyone asked him that question.

Yes, a superhero – like Superman or Spiderman or Aquaman, maybe Batman. Batman was cool because he had that awesome Batmobile…and a sidekick. Steven figured it might be neat to have a sidekick since he thought being a superhero might be lonesome, and it sure would be nice to have a sidekick to share all the fun with.

Steven never gave up on his dream of becoming a superhero. He learned to swim when he was five and refused to go anywhere near the water without his Aquaman underoos. When he was seven, he stole one of his mom’s huge red towels off the clothesline and, using permanent markers from Dad’s art kit, he put a big red and yellow “S” on the $30 blue shirt his grandmother had bought him for the first day of school, and flew off the back porch like Superman. He was grounded for a week for that one…because he landed in Mom’s flowerbed… Didn’t anyone understand that when you’re a superhero, sometimes innocent victims got hurt? And sometimes, bad guys smelled like roses?

Looking back on it now, Steve smiled a snide grin. Superhero. What he wouldn’t give to be laying in that flowerbed now. He looked around him and winced as he slapped at the bugs that had landed on his forearm. His buddy Mack hunkered down beside him, and he thought of the time he and his little sister Sarah had scooted around the backyard, he pushing the wheelbarrow that was the “Batmobile” and she a softer version of Robin the boy wonder.

Superhero.

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‘God, what stupid dreams kids have,’ he thought.

As the bullets whizzed by his head and mortar shells exploded all around him, his last thoughts were of Sarah’s smiling face – “Holy salami, Batman!” – and the smell of Mom’s roses, and he died thinking what a stupid dream that was…but he died a superhero, whether he realized it or not.

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