Look, I didn’t ask to be a superhero. I always thought I’d play in the NBA, if you want the truth. That was when I was little, though. I mean young, of course. I’m still little. When you’re five feet four in your hand-me down, too-big-for-me socks, basketball’s kind of tough, y’know?
My little brothers, Ethan and Derek, were very supportive of my crashing career failure. ‘Little’ brothers in the above sense, of course, as they are both very much above me. Both giants, with natural ball-handling skills and sweet left-handed jumpshots. Stepbrothers, I should say, courtesy of my stepmom Helga; it’s not like my dad suddenly started bringing decent genetic material to the table. Ethan was drafted in the third round by the Detroit Pistons last year. Derek, all 80 cornfed inches of him, will be a Blue Devil at Duke University next fall, pretending to study inbetween practices. Me? I broke into a vivisection lab and got myself bitten by a radioactive monkey.
Let me say a couple of words in my defence. First, I’d never been to the damn Pincicatty gym, so I shouldn’t be expected to know that it backs onto Belfair Research property, especially when it’s dark and my mind’s on other things. Secondly, I wasn’t going to steal anything. I just wanted to scrawl ‘Coach Kysztowicz is an Ass’ across their newly laid court. It would’ve washed off. Also, he is an ass. I don’t mean like he got bit by a radioactive donkey... he’s just a dick. I don’t mean like he got bit by a radioactive penis... he’s, look, you get the picture.
Well I didn’t find the court. I ended up face-to-face with a row of cages in a dimly lit room in completely the wrong building. Up till then I would’ve said apes were an animal that I had a bit of time for. Well sorry, chimps, but thanks to one particular hungry character, you’re off the list.
You know the drill after that, right? If I’d known that the comics were straight up in their depiction of this kind of thing, I’d have gotten myself bitten by something cooler, like a lion. Maybe not a lion actually, I’d need to not be dead. A giraffe might’ve got me back on track heightwise, but I don’t know how mean you’d have to be to a giraffe before it’d take a chunk out of you.
Anyway, it all went Spiderman from then on. You don’t even get the best bits, it turns out. I’ve now got hair in places that really didn’t ever expect to see a razor. Had to sneak out to the mall for a pair of clippers to keep that side of things in check. I grew myself some cool sideburns, though. Had to get what I could out of the situation.
My teeth grew a bit too, especially my wisdoms. Not that you’d notice, but it feels like I’m wearing dentures. The weird thing, and this is the big perk for anyone considering something along these lines, is that my body just feels lighter. It’s not, in fact it’s slightly heavier. It just feels easier to move around. A few weeks ago I did a standing jump from the floor right onto the top bunk. It made me throw up. My version of the human body was not ready for that kind of thing. I’ve got the hang of it now, though.
I’ve got to admit, I got a bit carried away. Last week, I rocked up at the Pincicatty gym, in the right place this time, and kind of showed off. Quite a lot. I knew the Coach was going to be there taking his kid to the pool, and there’s always a game going on a Saturday morning. So he sees this dude there, shortass but with a crazy leap, like something out of a movie. He was waiting outside the hall when we finished but I slipped away through the back. Turns out monkeys can’t shoot the ball any better than us humans, but he doesn’t have to know that. I’ll let him stew on it. Left my sneakers behind, though. Monkeys don’t beat us on forgetfulness either.
I know what you’re thinking though, and you’re right. I did say at the top of this that I’m a superhero. Let’s be straight on that score: I’ve dabbled. I mean, I punched a guy outside the grocery store last night. That was pretty sweet, I’m not going to lie. He was really hassling this girl, all along the street, and stuff. I know, I should probably be putting my powers to a greater good than that, but the acquisition of amazing new skills doesn’t come with a registration pack, y’know? Nobody’s told me what I’m supposed to be doing here. I guess I should just go hang out in alleys and whale on muggers, and those weird skinny gangs that Batman’s always beating up. I’ve had a lot of stuff on this week, so I’ll get onto it on Sunday.
Right now, the long and the short of it, ha ha, is that Kysztowicz is at my front door. He’s talking to my dad, who probably thinks he’s come about Derek. There’s another guy with him, who must be like his assistant coach, or a scout or something. Coach’s pink dome head is just a few feet below my bedroom window.
I tried to jump out of this window today. I guess actually, I’ve been acting weird lately. You would too if you had to do puberty all over again. This cool stuff I can do is great, but it means I have to eat all the time. My body is constantly after stuff to keep it going, so I get up really early before anyone in the neighbourhood is around and go out to the store. This time I was just going to hop out the window and grab one of the branches that sticks out from the tree across the yard. Couldn’t do it in the end. I might have the body of an ape stuntman, but I’ve still got the bravery of a twenty two year-old shrimp.
They’re coming upstairs. I can’t wait to see his face. Here they are. My dad looks pretty pissed actually. He’s introducing me to the coach, who’s brought my sneakers back. I put them on and start lacing them up. He’ll probably want me to come down to practice at the gym. This is clearly weird for poor old bone-dome.
Now I’m being introduced to the other guy. He’s a neighbour of the coach’s named Mike Dooley, and he works for...Belfair. Oh shit. I’m being told that they have a pretty sweet CCTV system up there, the kind that can pick out all kinds of stuff like what colour your hair is, the logo on your sweater, what kind of sneakers you’ve got on.
I’m looking at the window again. The tree can’t be that far away...