Hello, Internet! Flash Fiction Friday frequent flyer Kim Fielding is back with a comedic tale of a superhero meeting his brand new sidekick. But things don’t go exactly as planned…
Let’s Go Save The Universe by Kim Fielding
“Why, hello there, Billy! Let’s go save the universe, shall we?”
Todd looked up from his laptop at the man in the chair across from him. The Starbucks was busy but not so crowded that strangers had to share tables. But this guy had plopped himself right down, and now he beamed at Todd with teeth as straight and white as a toothpaste commercial.
“Excuse me?” Todd pulled out his earbuds.
“Saving the universe!” the man boomed. “It’s time, Billy!”
“My name’s not Billy, dude.”
The man shrugged. “I admit, it’s a tame sobriquet for a sidekick. But it will do until we discover your superpowers—then we can come up with something more suitable. I’m GeoMan, for example, because geography holds no limits for me. I can traverse an ocean floor or spring over the tallest mountains.”
“We’re in Des Moines. And I work at Staples. I don’t have any superpowers.” He could kick ass on Fallout 4, but that probably didn’t qualify. Besides, what would his name be—Fallout Boy? That was already taken.
GeoMan shook his head slightly. “You just haven’t discovered them yet. Join me, and together we shall find them and defeat the evil Dr. Clawfoot.”
“Is this some kinda pickup line? No offense, but no dice.” GeoMan was good-looking, with dimpled cheeks, a cleft chin, and a really buff body. But Todd didn’t swing that way, and anyway he sort of had a girlfriend. They weren’t, like, engaged or anything, but all their nights off lately had involved Netflix and chill, so yeah. Todd wouldn’t have hooked up with GeoMan even if he was into dudes.
Looking slightly annoyed, GeoMan sighed. “This is not a sexual advance. I am urging you to join forces with me so we can defeat evil and save the universe.”
“Because I can tell you possess the desired qualities of a sidekick, Billy. A discerning eye is another of my superpowers.”
Todd leaned back in his chair. “Have you been in the biz for a while?”
“Of course. I’m quite experienced.”
“Then how come you don’t have a sidekick already?”
“I did. Bobby. Er, Magnet Boy.” GeoMan shifted uncomfortably and looked off to the side. In a voice much quieter than a boom, he said, “There was, um, an unfortunate incident in a frying pan factory.”
A moment of awkward silence passed.
Then GeoMan straightened his shoulders and recovered his smile. “So shall we go, Billy? The mapmobile awaits us.” He gestured toward the door.
“Dude, I’ve got twenty minutes to finish my latte and catch a couple of YouTube videos. Then I gotta get to work.”
“Saving the universe is work. The most important work of all!”
“But how does it pay? ’Cause my landlord just jacked up my rent, and my brakes don’t sound too good. Plus my girlfriend’s birthday’s coming up and she’s been hinting that she wants dinner at that steak place. But it’s, like, hella expensive, and—”
“Being a sidekick and saving the universe are their own rewards. There is no monetary compensation.”
Todd nodded. “So it’s like an internship. Yeah, I had one of those when I was in college.”
“Er, yes, I suppose so.”
“Well, I appreciate the offer, but no can do. Too much else going on.”
“I’m giving you the opportunity to be a hero, Billy! This chance comes only once in a lifetime.”
For a few moments, Todd seriously considered the offer. He’d enjoyed his internship, and it would be pretty cool to find out he had superpowers. What if he could be invisible? Or run faster than the speed of light? On the other hand, his superpower might be something totally lame, like turning books into toast. Or finding lost socks. Besides, he had his job and his sort of girlfriend, and he was halfway through binge watching Breaking Bad because he hadn’t followed the series when it originally aired. And man, there was all that Spandex involved. Todd was pretty sure he’d look bad in tights.
“Sorry, dude,” he said. “I’m going to have to say no.”
GeoMan’s shoulders slumped. “The universe, Billy.”
Todd shook his head.
With a heavy sigh, GeoMan heaved himself off the chair. He walked slowly to the door, twisting around once to give Todd a disappointed look. When GeoMan turned back toward the exit, Todd caught just a glimpse of shiny red fabric peeking out from under GeoMan’s coat. It might have been a cape. And then GeoMan was gone.
Todd stuck the earbuds back in and called up a YouTube video to the laptop screen.