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 A Dignified Boom (Both Parts of Two)

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TerishD


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PostSubject: A Dignified Boom (Both Parts of Two)   September 15th 2012, 11:10 am

A Fight for Recognition
Story Seventeen: Part One
A Dignified Boom

Honestly, the job sucks. I got into this business because I felt it was proper. I mean, this is the profession of Clark Kent. I thus felt that I needed to be in this business. I also thought that others would be found in this profession, but as far as I can tell I am the only superhero in the broadcasting business. If I would known that, I would have gotten a job that would not suck as bad.

There is also no excitement in the broadcasting business. Even if we are reporting as things are happening, it is usually just the opening of a new store or some other publicity event. Superman needs super-sight and super-hearing, as being in the broadcasting business does not get you any faster knowledge of crimes than anyone else, especially the police.

What is worse, is that even if I was ‘on the scene’ at a crime event, I would have to work. No changing into my supersuit. No rushing off to stop the bad guys. I would just have to keep the camera rolling as the criminals got away. In case you want to know – take it from me, and from the other superheroes in town, and stay out of the broadcasting business if you have superpowers.

Abe Lagamire and I had just finished a piece to promote a coming big baseball game with our semi-pro team. As I walked back to our van I of course was looking to the sky. Abe knew what I was doing, but he liked picking on me.

“Still hoping to capture a picture of the Minnow?”

My problem was that I did not know why I did not have a picture of the Minnow. I had gotten pictures of Sir Soldier, but he was not hard. Everyone knew which motel he stayed at. I had captured some shots of Ballet Slipper, twice. One was in her green outfit when she chased down a child abductor. Really none of her superhero sliding, but it was her and I was lucky enough to have my camera with me. That shot earned me a late phone call to interview her one night, and as she was in her yellow outfit she spoke with Carol Irkings, our station’s lead female announcer, while posing for me. Of course, I had some shots of myself as Boom, but that footage stayed in my apartment. I however had never seen the Minnow, much less gotten any pictures of him.

“Wouldn’t get any pictures of the Minnow this weekend,” I replied attempting to save face, “as he is studying for finals.”

“Still believe that he is a student at the college, huh?”

One benefit to my job was that discussions of this type were taken seriously. Honestly, Abe wanted to interview the Minnow as much as I wanted to film the superhero. I thus knew that I could talk to Abe without the jokes that others in the local bar would make.

“Yeah, it is the only answer that solves most problems with him."

"Well, you're wrong. He already took his final. That iss why he did that Germany run. That was his final.”

“What?”

“Yeah. He’s not at UT, but at the technical college. I don’t know what degree he is getting there, but I can bet that he will leave for a good high paying job soon enough.”

That was the first time I had heard that, but quickly shot the idea down. “No. His technology is far above any technical school. Also, he would have already graduated from any technical school. UT is a highly accredited college however with a number of government contacts, and I will guarantee that he becomes one of their most valued alumni.”

“Well, I can assure you that those in the administration don’t know anything about him.”

I thought back to my own initial attempt to join the superhero crowd. Finally getting fed up with nothing big happening, I decided to just step out and announce myself. That was a huge mistake, although a good lesson. Having put a lot of work into my costume, I definitely felt it best to come out in the day. As could be expected, it was Ballet Slipper that met me. She gave me a thumping along with a verbal lecture, so when I left I had things to think about besides the salt in my skin.

“Hey!,” I suddenly blurted out. “What about that lab stooge guy? No one ever interviewed him.”

“Why would we? He is just a sophomore. Doctor Jackson seems to be doing some interesting stuff, but nothing like the technology of the Minnow.”

No, now that I thought of that guy, I felt that he needed to be interviewed. I remembered him from my initial outing as a superhero. He went to the rescue of Ballet Slipper, then gave the police the rock salt to shoot at me. That guy had to be more important than a lab stooge.

“Listen, Abe, let me drop you back off at the studio. I am then going to drive around the campus.”

That was not a strange request from me, and it got the usual response. “Put some gas in the van, unless you actually get some footage.”

“Will do. Call me if you come up with anything.”

“Unlike you, I don’t have my hopes set on anything – except maybe a six pack. Just remember, however drunk I am, I am still the pretty face in front of your camera.”

I did like Abe. He was a good enough guy. He wanted to be rich, while I wanted to be famous. He did have good looks, but I had power. Things would change when he suddenly felt a need to interview me, but I would smile for him, as I did like him.

After dropping him off, I drove to the campus. Not really wanting to speak to Doctor Jackson, I just drove around attempting to decide which dorm the Minnow would stay in. Thinking it to be one of the more modern upper-classmen dorms, I drove from the ancient Hess Hall down frat row. Realizing that the Minnow might be a frat boy, I considered that was probably a better option. I then slammed on the brakes seeing the lab stooge standing next to a very nice green sports car.

“Hey, lab stooge, you a member of that frat?”

“Frat? That’s a sorority, dude – Andy, ain’t it? You a cameraman and they let you drive that van around?”

It was a company van, which is why I did not have to pay for gas should I get a story. “News never rests, my friend. With today’s technology, all they really need is the raw footage.” Thinking that I had a story, I asked a question about what I saw. “Where did you get such a fine car?”

“Graduation present, and knew some people.”

Just then a lady came out with a suitcase. A bunch of young ladies hugged her, then the lab stooge went to take the suitcase from her hands. I could not believe the guy had such a fine car, and to have a gorgeous girlfriend just seemed like too much. I thus had to ask as the suitcase got stuffed into the small trunk.

“Is that your sister?”

“No, my girlfriend – Cindy Serkovorga. Cindy, this is Andy Bryant. He is a cameraman with that television station you see advertised on the side of the van.”

I realized that I was still wearing the baseball cap of our local semi-pro team, so took it off as I told the lady that I was glad to meet her, then decided to ask her a question. “Darling, have you ever seen the Minnow?”

“No. I was with Larry when he helped Ballet Slipper however against that creep, Boom.”

Thinking to improve my image, I said, “He claimed to be a superhero, and those were illegal aliens.”

“Larry said that made him only a creep, and not a criminal.”

“Well, maybe he can improve his image.”

It was Larry that said, “We’ll see. Take care, Andy.”

Having seen them put a suitcase in his trunk, I had to ask, “Where are you taking her?”

“To my place.”

“Your place? You’re an underclassman. Don’t you stay in a dorm?”

“I might be an underclassman, but I am local enough to have been able to watch for opportunity and take advantage of it. I have a house slightly off-campus.”

I would not have felt so bad had he said that he still lived with his parents. It was not uncommon for a youth to gain the basement. Most parents would still enforce their rules. Some would allow an adult child a few freedoms, although I knew of none that would allow a member of the opposite sex to stay for an extended period. I however felt something was extremely wrong with the answer that Larry gave me.

“A house?”

“Nothing to brag about. I bought a condemned property and have been working to fix it up.”

Thinking that I was speaking to Bruce Wayne, I asked, “How rich are you?”

“It doesn’t take money, but opportunity. If you pay attention, and do things to set yourself up properly, you would be surprised how much a little money can get you.”

Damn, I felt that we had an actual first meeting between Superman and Batman. Here I was with a real superpower, but I was the bum from Smallville trying to make ends meet with a job in a news organization. The one with just some nifty technology however was well off. I suddenly needed to get an interview with this guy, but did not know how to turn my hunches into substantial accusations.

“Uh, could I drop in and maybe get some financial help from you?”

“Well, I’m a science geek and not a CPA, but we science geeks do love the math. Still, there is usually beer in the refrigerator. Yeah, stop in and chat. Look me up.”

Cindy advised, “Not this weekend, Larry.”

“Yeah, Andy, not this weekend. I have two finals on Monday, and so does Cindy. As much as you might think otherwise, we will be studying.”

“Okay, after Monday. Look for me.”

I waved, then drove off. It was all I could do. However certain I was that I had met the major superhero in town, there were a number of facts working against my hunch. The first was that Larry was only a sophomore, but the Minnow had been in town for about four years. Of course, if he was local, then he could have been working the area while still in high school. While the other boys were planning to make big plays in sports, Larry could have been making his big plays in a non-school uniform. He however was also not the traumatized loner, but a rather out-going person with a lovely girlfriend. Batman also went through more public phases and even had girlfriends, so I figured that I might simply be catching Larry during one of his better periods. Being in the news van did not help me, but I needed better resources, so I drove off.

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PostSubject: Part Two   September 20th 2012, 3:51 pm

A Fight for Recognition
Story Seventeen: Part Two
A Dignified Boom

I might not have X-ray vision, but I had access to some rather good research software. What the local news organization had was not anything special, but most people did not pay to have access to certain databases. It took some work, but I found out quite a bit about Larry Kert.

He did have a tragic past. He had a girlfriend murdered by a serial killer. While that fit certain superhero traits, the Minnow had already been active, so it could not be said to have sparked the drive to fight crime. What I found strange was that his dead girlfriend was named Cindy just like his present one, which meant that Larry did have a circular pattern going to his life.

He also was rather wealthy. The patents in his name looked rather innocent, but they were active with the government and companies willing to fund further research. While his payments for using his discoveries was only in the five digits, I could believe that he had been able to afford his car and house. Probably paid for excavating a Minnow cave beneath his property as well.

Everything fell into place for me in researching the Lorsheins. It was at their house that the first Cindy had died. Since that was not the home of either parents, I found myself wondering why the lady was there. The fact that Clyde Lorshein had been Larry’s high school science teacher tied all the facts together for me.

Now that I had the Minnow identified, I needed to discover a way to get into the local superhero guild. Knowing that my first attempt to identify myself went rather badly, I felt that I needed a grand event to showcase my true talents and motivation. Of course, with a number of superheroes helping the local police, most criminals had moved off to other towns. Those that left however knew what they were up against, so I felt that I only needed to wait until the next serious infraction of the local laws to show my real stuff.

Having nothing else to do, I decided to go to the baseball game. I did not bring my camera, although it was in the van. I did however flash my press ID, so got in for free. Not wanting the establishment to feel slighted, I did purchase some nachos and a drink before heading into the stands to watch the game.

It surprised me to see Larry and Cindy move into the stands. They appeared more interested in each other than the field. Settling into their seats they shared a large drink while discussing something other than what was in the guidebook. Wondering whether I would be more fascinated with them than in the game, I settled into my seat prepared for an evening of entertainment.

There was little exciting about the game. The young couple did not do anything that made them interesting either. I doubt very highly that they discussed their classes, but they tended to look at each other while conversing about something. There was not much of a crowd, and the couple had not sat near anyone. I found myself more interested in speculating on what they were discussing than the game.

At the bottom of the fifth, Larry left for the concession stand. They had only come in with a drink, but from the movement of fingers I felt that he was now going to make a larger purchase. Bored with the game, I decided to take my chance and make another friendly meeting with a fellow superhero.

Coming down the ramp, I did not expect to hear Larry call to me. “Hey, Andy, do you have your camera?”

I saw the young man, but saw someone in a red costume further on. He had been bent over, but rose upon hearing Larry speak. The costumed man did not stay standing for long, but bent back over while making a rather confident claim.

“You cannot stop me.”

Larry moved to a trash can while saying, “I’m not going to try and stop you, but only detain you. I’ll let the police be the heroes, and let your ugly mug be the one in front of the camera.”

I told the young man that I would be back as I saw him throw the trash can. My costume was not of material that made it easily hidden under my normal clothing. While it was colorful, it was actually flannel. The mask was a modified wrestling hood. The pants were curduroy. With the steel-toed boots, I presented the proud superhero identity while also keeping me safe. Honestly, it was also not hard to put on. I did begin unbuttoning my shirt as I raced to my van, and in just a few minutes I was coming out the side door as Boom.

My superpower had to be mental, as I knew of no method of my body physically creating the eruptions of power. For such awesome results, it really took little concentration. I however did not seek to explain it, but just used it gladly. With only a minor amount of power from my brain, I suddenly zoomed up into the air.

What I did could not be called flight. I could use my power to make adjustments, but my power did not allow for a steady rate of force that enabled me to truly control myself when in the air. My speed also had me moving faster than I could think. I barely managed to propel myself over the outer wall of the stadium while watching the ground rush toward me. One thing that was good about my power was that some level of self-preservation prevented me from crashing into the ground. Those watching probably thought I could fly upon seeing me stop right before hitting the ground.

The field had just been the safest place to land. I did not wave to the crowd, although they did roar upon my arrival. I smiled to the players not because I thought them to look upon me as a hero, but because I knew that I was providing more excitement to the fans than they were.

Having been with our sports announcer on a number of interview, I knew the passages from the field. I thus quickly ran through the proper doorways to put myself near where I had left Larry and the villain. Seeing people rush back from a jet of flame let me know that I was in the right area. Having been with the young man earlier, I went into action feeling that I could control the situation.

The man in the red suit showed no concern for the people as he focused on Larry who was grabbing another trash can. “I believe that I just proved to you that your little stunt won’t work.”

“No,” Larry replied, “it has proven that it will contain you. Up to now, you have done nothing but put on a show. Don’t know where the cops are, but I can play some more.”

Speaking in my superhero voice, I declared, “I can handle this. Boom.”

The man flew back to hit a wall, but instead of rushing up to use the trash can Larry spoke to me. “If you hurt him, it is all on you. You can act as a concerned citizen, but there are limits before you are liable.”

I heard the lecture before, but still did not understand. “He is committing a crime.”

“You are not, as far as I know, a recognized law enforcement person. It is not your job to apprehend or punish criminals.”

“But the cops are not prepared to handle criminals like this.”

“They weren’t prepared to handle you either, but took my advice and stopped you. I bet that now they have rock salt shot in their armory. The police are not stupid. They can learn.”

Hoping to set the record straight, I declared, “I’m no criminal.”

“I believe that you damaged property that you should be liable for.”

“I was stopping a crime.”

“Not as a recognized officer of the law. You took matters in your own hands. You then broke something, so you get to pay for it.”

I turned as a voice from a bullhorn said, “Lab Stooge, back away!”

He did take some steps back while saying, “Boom is not the criminal here, but…”

Larry did not need to say more. The trash can exploded up as a mass of flame erupted around the person we were fighting. I used my power to stop the trash can. It dropped to the ground, but seeing it warped caused me to wonder if I would be given the bill.

Suddenly, cops rushed in spraying fire retardant. I found myself wondering if the substance would stop the criminal. I however turned hearing someone rush upon me.

It was Larry that approached, and once close he said, “Go, Boom. Let the cops do their job. If you want to get on their good side, do it later when they are not otherwise busy.”

Hoping that I could get on the good side of my fellow superheroes, I asked, “Where could I meet the Minnow?”

“The Minnow?” I thought that he would deny knowing the superhero, so was surprised when he said, “The moon. He went to Germany, and his next stop will be the moon. Don’t know if you can be there to greet him.” Even through the mask, I believe that he could tell that I was shocked. “You got to learn about being a superhero, but I wish you luck. Now, GO!”

The answer completely surprised me. I did not move until Larry yelled at me again to go. It helped that he was not staying still, but also moving away from the action. We both turned upon yells from the police and another burst of flame, but seeing the mist from another fire extinguisher we decided there was no need to return to action. It surprised me when Larry went up a ramp, but then I remembered that he and I had other reasons for being present.

Returning to my van, I did grab my camera. I thus got footage of the criminal being taken from the ball park. The police claimed this to be an associate of a criminal that Ballet Slipper and Minnow caught earlier with this bad guy instead being caught by Boom, who they thought was also a villain, and Lab Stooge. I wanted to ask questions, but was used to being someone unseen and unheard behind the camera.

I did call Abe to tell him about the video. He told me to transmit the material to the station, and that he would process it from there. I told him that I would, and that the game was not good enough to have me stay.

“Hey, Andy,” Abe shoot out before I could close the connection. “Still haven’t seen the Minnow?

“No, but I’m going to give you a heads up – there is more to Lab Stooge than you know. That guy is involved with them, and there is more going on than just some criminal catching.”

“That’s not what I need, Andy. I need an angle. I need the story.”

“I’m telling you that there is a story, Abe. We are not talking about ‘Superman saves Metropolis and Lois, again,’ but an actual story. There is something to these people. Don’t know what, exactly, but let me say that the Minnow going to Germany was just a first step. Ballet Slipper seems to be upping her game as well. I would actually give some credence to my chasing of the Minnow if I were you.”

The line went silent for a moment, then Abe replied, “Nobody is stopping you from getting your pictures, Andy. If you get the pictures, I will make them look good. Tell you what, learn to write copy, and I will make your words sound good.”

This just seemed to be a night full of surprises, but luckily this was one I was ready for. “Okay. Good. It’s a deal.”

“Of course, you need to keep doing your actual job.”

“No problem, Abe. Thanks.”

I knew that great power demanded great responsibility. I thus sat down to start working on my writing. Called up some simple courses on line, and spent some time going over the lessons. Determined to prove myself worthy of great things, I set myself to work.

_________________
Fantasy puts more requirements on the writer than any other fiction, because the world must be made as real before anything else can be real.
Adult Christian fiction quite different than all the usual lame stuff in that market.  "Dilemma of Dreams" now in hard back.
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