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|“Mmmph,” I said, stuffing the last of my leftover-chicken-breast sandwich in my mouth as my mobile played “The Teddy Bears’ Picnic” off in the distance. In a flash, I was upstairs, wrestling with my discarded pants, fumbling and flipping the phone open. “Mmmhi…ssmmweetie”
“What in the world are you doing?” Jim’s mellow baritone laughed through the tiny speaker. “Don’t tell me you’re sucking your thumb – or anything else, for that matter.”
“Home for lunch,” I swallowed, the last bite dropping down my throat, a contented belch following up in exchange.
“Dan, it’s 11 AM.”
“OK, so I took brunch instead,” I chuckled, floating back down the stairs to the kitchen. “It was a boring morning, to say the least, and all of what I need to get done I can do at home, so I came back. Where are you?”
I could hear Jim grimace over the phone. “On my way to a site visit with you-know-who.”
“I never thought Lord Voldemort would be interested in your services, dear,” I smiled, taking a generous swig of milk.
“I am going to regret getting you ‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince’, aren’t I? You’re probably publishing the spoilers on the Internet right now, Mister-I-can-read-an-almost-six hundred-page-book-in-two-seconds.”
“They were there LONG before I ever did anything about it.”
“Pleading innocence doesn’t work for you, cub,” Jimmy laughed. “The important thing is, though, do you mind handling things while I’m gone?”
“The city’s in good hands, sweetheart, and your timing couldn’t be better – I’ve already got my clothes off and am raring to go.” “Damn you, Dan,” Jim snarled under his breath, his grin clearly audible, “you KNOW what that does to me. Why do I even bother calling you when I’m wearing tent-able pants?”
“Janet Reno, naked, in a shower, sweetie,” I giggled. “Don’t worry, You-Know-Who won’t notice, she’ll be so glad to see you – and talk your ear off. Everything’s under control. Take care and….I love you, Jimmy.”
“Love you too, Dan,” Jim said. “OK, I’m here – time to get it over with. Bye now.”
“Bye beautiful,” I said, flicking the phone shut with a casual flip. Almost got that to be second nature, I thought, remembering the first two phones I had destroyed with a careless flick, the one’s earpiece embedding itself in the wall. Super-strength was fun, but learning to control it had been an adventure in itself – not to mention hard on keyboards, glasses, and at least two car door handles.
Suddenly a strident brrrrriiinnng – inaudible to any ordinary human – came from the concealed passage below the basement.. I froze – the Bear Phone! My war whoop shook the vases on the mantelpiece as I (literally) flew down the stairs, my costume magically appearing as I pushed my way through the hidden door and into the Den, then picking up the phone. “This is Supercub.”
“Um….hello….I….” the voice sounded tired…despondent…”this is Mira Rodriguez.”
“Yes ma’am…..how can I help you?”
“I…I’m…Eddie’s mother.” The sound of muffled sniffles came over the phone. “He….he…didn’t come home last night…..the school just called, he didn’t come today.”
Oh no! “Ms. Rodriguez…..can you think of anywhere he might be?”
“No….no….I’ve looked everywhere. He….he came home two nights ago, all beat up……said those boys at school got him again….but he was going to take care of it.” More sobs. “I didn’t know what to do….I looked in his room, found this card….he had mentioned you helped him before –“
“I’m on it, Ms. Rodriguez. Don’t worry, I’ll find him…..let me know if you hear anything else…..thank you.” I hung up the phone, turning to fly off, heart pounding…..freezing halfway up the passage when it rang again. When it rains, it pours, I thought, dashing back down. “This is Supercub.”
“Supercub….we have a hostage situation.”
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