Excerpts for Melvin Beederman Superhero The Curse of the Bologna Sandwich
Chapter 1: Never Say No to a Cry for Help
Melvin Beederman didn't feel like a superhero. Sure, he'd graduated from the academy with the others. And he did look fantastic in his red cape and high boots. But there were some things that bothered him. He never once was able to leap a tall building in a single bound--it always took him five or six. Stopping a speeding locomotive wasn't easy. And that whole x-ray vision thing...it brought nothing with it but guilt.
Everywhere Melvin looked--underwear.
Still, he was fast. He was good at math and science. And he had so impressed his teachers with his oral report on the nature of good and evil that he nudged superhero Carl out of the top spot--Carl who was a single-leap building jumper and who had no problem stopping trains.
Melvin Beederman beat him out. He graduated at the top of his class.
Perhaps Headmaster Spinner had said it best. "A superhero's greatest weapon is his brain." And he had high hopes for young Beederman.
Now that graduation was over Melvin made his way across the school yard, past the exercise area where Superhero Carl was busy bench pressing a Buick. Carl stopped what he was doing long enough to sneer and said, "The top of our class. Bah! You can't even stop a train."
"I can so. It just takes me a while," Melvin said.
He knew Carl was still angry about being bumped out of the top spot. Carl was being sent far away, to the Fiji Islands for his first assignment and Melvin was glad. He didn't trust Carl any farther than he could throw a Chevrolet...or a Buick for that matter.
"Where are they sending you?" Carl asked.
"Don't know yet. I'm meeting with the headmaster in a few minutes."
Headmaster Spinner was waiting for Melvin at the door of his office. His belly was huge and Melvin wondered how he ever got off the ground. Did he have a hard time leaping tall buildings?
"Come in, Melvin," he said. "Well, today is the day. Are you ready to start your life of fighting crime?"
Melvin wasn't sure. It had been two years since he'd been plucked from the orphanage--two years of flying lessons, of stopping trains, of seeing through walls. And now he was being sent off to save the world? How could he tell the headmaster he didn't think he was up to it?
"Where are you sending me, sir?" he asked, finally.
"Before we get to that, tell me, do you have any questions? Any problems you'd like to discuss?"
"Well..." Melvin began.
"The x-ray vision. I had no idea there were so many kinds of underwear in the world."
"You'll learn to turn it off with time." The headmaster spun around. "But as long as we're on the subject, what do you think of my striped boxers?"
"I was trying to ignore them, sir."
"Right. Let's get down to business. I'm sending you to Los Angeles, California. They haven't had a superhero there since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar retired."
"Famous basketball player."
"What about Shaquille O'Neil?" Melvin asked.
"He's not a superhero. He's just very tall. Besides, they traded him." He noticed the worried look on the boy's face. "They need you over there, Melvin. Remember, what's the first rule of the Superhero's Code?"
"Never say no to a cry for help."
"Correct. You'll leave immediately. Do well and you can have your choice of assignments."
Did he have to bring up the code? The code had been so drummed into the students of the academy that everyone knew it by heart. Someone was crying out for help, and Melvin knew he couldn't say no.
"The code will guide you," Headmaster Spinner said. He lead Melvin out of his office onto the lawn and shook his hand. "Now get going."
Melvin looked west and took a deep breath. "Up, up, and away." Crash.
"Up, up, and away." Splat.
On the fifth try he was up and flying and heading for Los Angeles.
Copyright © 2006 Greg Trine
This text is from an uncorrected proof