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|The last fading streaks of sunset glistened off the waters of the East Bay as I stared towards Oakland, my back against the concrete spire of the Transamerica Pyramid, my mind stripped bare and bleeding as I whipped myself over and over internally for being idiotic, dumb, arrogant, pompous, selfish, and just plain stupid.
I heard the gentle thud of boots landing behind me. �Hi sweetie,� came Superbear�s rich tones over the hum of traffic below as he walked along the ledge towards me, his hands coming down on my shoulders. �How are you doing?�
�Just peachy,� I sighed. �I singlehandedly set four bashers loose on a city full of gays while sending a mixed-up teenager they were tormenting to jail. At the rate I�m going, I�ll be the next commencement speaker at Liberty University.�
�Supercub, you can�t blame yourself. You know very well that��
�Because I said those bullies didn�t deserve to live, Eddie set them up to be fried like bugs in a zapper of his own invention,� I tossed back bitterly. �You were right. I�m just a cub who�s still getting used to his powers � and maybe I shouldn�t have them, as irresponsible and stupid as I�ve --.�
�Stop right there,� Superbear growled, encircling me in his powerful grip. He held me close as I bent over, my head on his pecs, feeling tears of frustration drip down, fall onto their furry shelves. �There, there, calm down, my little one.�
�Superbear�I�� I sniffled��I almost killed five people today, just �cause I couldn�t keep my mouth shut. I said people didn�t deserve to live, and someone took me up on it. Heroes don�t do that. How could I do something so wrong and stupid and still call myself one?�
�The key word there, Supercub,� said Superbear, leaning over and stroking my copper buzzcut, �is �almost�. Yes, what you said was wrong and stupid, and I think you know that � maybe too well. But had you not gone in and taken care of things like you did, five people WOULD have died.� He hugged me closely. �Sweetheart, all super powers aside, you and I are still human. We screw up, we make mistakes, we learn from them.�
�Who�s learning what from this, Superbear?� I whined, pulling away from his grasp, turning back to the city, focusing in on where I knew Eddie�s house was. �Right now I�m up here in one piece, free as a bird with the man I love, four sick kids are walking the streets beating up gays for the hell of it, one of those gays is in the county jail, away from his family and�� I stopped stock still, not believing what I saw.
�That�s what I came up here to tell you,� Superbear said, chuckling, coming up behind me and wrapping his thick hairy forearms around my chest as I stared down at the scene before me. He kissed the back of my neck softly. �Are you surprised to see Eddie at home, having supper?�
�Yeah�..I thought�..they put him in the cruiser, they��
�Took him to the local station, NOT the Hall of Justice, on Detective Nielson�s orders,� said Superbear, rubbing up and down my stomach. �Then they released him to his parents after the District Attorney�s office called.� He smiled as I turned towards him, my jaw dropping. �You have a way with words, cub. Both she and the DA were quite impressed � especially the DA -- that you were so willing to vouch for Eddie.�
�I�.I just told them the truth about what happened��and that I believed in him.�
�And that was all it took, Supercub,� Superbear spoke gently. He looked into my eyes. �Eddie�s still going to have to work off what he did, but because of you, he�s getting only community service. The bullies, according to the Detective, were even more amazed that YOU helped THEM, after all they�d done.� A fatherly smile crossed his features. �You made a difference today, Supercub � and I�m proud of you.�
�I�.thanks sweetie�it just didn�t seem that way,� I stammered, flustered.
�It was though, Supercub,� Superbear murmured as he hugged me again. �Sometimes what�s right isn�t easy, nor does it feel good�..but it�s always right. You ARE a hero�because you did what was right.� He looked over my shoulder, his smile broadening. �Meanwhile, judging by the amount of cussing coming from the engine room over yonder, methinks the ferry heading to Treasure Island is in need of a bit of assistance. How about you do some of the boat pushing for a change?�
�I think that sounds like just the job for Supercub,� I growled, hitting a double-biceps, then lifting off. Hovering horizontally, I kissed Superbear, feeling his steely-hard lips go soft as we came together, his tongue gently brushing mine. �Thanks, beautiful. I needed that.�
�You also need supper,� Jimmy laughed, wagging his finger playfully at me. �One more good deed for the day, and then I expect you home. Your dinner will get cold.�
�Yes sir!� I said, streaking off into the sky, chuckling as I shot low over the waves.
�Got everything you need, Eddie?�
�Yeah Supercub,� Eddie said hesitantly as he closed the gate behind him, looking down at his shoes. �I � I�m sorry about what I said. About you being just like those guys and all. Thank you for sticking up for me with the police and everything.�
�Apology accepted, Eddie,� I said warmly, shaking his hand. �Now come on. We�ve got a ways to walk and I ��
�Hey�.Supercub�.� came another voice from behind us. I saw Eddie stiffen. Slowly I turned around�.to see three of the bullies, the redhead, the sallow one, and the linebacker-build staring at us.
�Hello, gentlemen,� I said coolly, looking from eye to eye. �What can I do for you today?�
�We�.uh�.saw you over here and wanted to ask you something,� the redhead spoke tentatively.
They stared at each other�.shuffling their feet, almost as if they were embarrassed�.finally the linebacker-build spoke. �Why�d you do that?�
�Um�.reading minds isn�t exactly on my list of powers, guys. Why�d I do what?�
�Why�.why didn�t you just let him kill us?� the sallow one spoke. �You kicked our butts good the other day, and we beat him up again. He was going to get us back. Why did you stop him?�
�I didn�t let you beat him up. Why should I let him kill you?�
They paused, stunned. �But�but�.you�re queer!� the redhead stuttered.
�Yup, I�m a card-carrying, man-kissing, �Will and Grace�-watching queer, with all the rights and privileges thereof,� I chuckled. �So?�
�B-but�..don�t queers have to stick together or something?�
I sighed. �Little lesson, guys. Being queer means only one thing, and that�s that you�re a guy who likes guys or a girl who likes girls. It doesn�t make you wear matched clothes, hate football, or drive a Mini Cooper � and it sure as heck doesn�t change what�s right and what�s wrong.�
I looked over at each of them. �You guys can bank on one thing. If anyone tries to beat you up, I�ll stop �em, just like I stopped you from beating up on Eddie. Queer, straight, doesn�t matter � it�s ALWAYS wrong to beat people up.� I started to walk away. �Come on, Eddie, let�s get going.�
�Hey�.Supercub�..Eddie�.wait,� the linebacker-build said.
I turned. �Yes?�
Slowly he and his buddies started to smile. �You�..you�re OK, Supercub. So are you, Eddie.�
I looked back at them. �Thanks guys. I appreciate that.� Reaching into my boot top, I tossed each of them a card. �Call me if you ever need any help.�
Eddie looked back incredulously as we walked away, the three teens looking down at their cards, then watching us head down the street with wondering expressions on their faces. �Supercub�..I don�t get it. You WANT them to call you? That just sounds�.wrong.�
�Like a certain handsome bear once told me, Eddie,� I smiled, �sometimes doing what�s right isn�t easy, nor does it feel good�..but it�s always right.� I patted him on the back, then pointed at mine. �Now, jump aboard. I told Missy I was bringing her an expert in security system wiring, and she told me to have you at the Community Center at 9 AM or she�d take a piece out of my furry hide � and I do believe she could do it.�
He laughed as he clambered onto my back, holding on tightly as we lifted off into the clear morning sky.
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