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Everyone's A Hero

I need a hero. Not your average comic book, angst-ridden dude pushed outside the system with an axe to grind wearing a cape kind of guy. God, not that, no fucking capes. Please. And no mealy-mouthed, limp-wristed bookworms bitten by something infectious and metamorphosing into something that might be nefarious. I don’t want those sort of heroes. Nor do I want a scantily clad harlot with tats, big tits, no waist and a bent perspective. No, I need an average, every day hero who has the guts to do simple things. That’s what I need.

Superheroes and villains

Why, you might reasonably ask, is a guy like me looking for such a thing on this twisted planet where there’s a real – and, most likely, unemployed – superhero on every corner. If you are reading this then I suppose you know why: Guntopia ain’t all that, is it? I mean, who dreams up a place like this? Everyone on this planet is strapped with phasers, rail guns or particle beam displacer cannons. An entire planet filled with villains and heroes? And the villains! Oh my gods! The villains. How to describe them. Farcical things with grandiose schemes and over-large egos. A bunch of spoiled, self-important, egocentric brats in need of attention, if you ask me.

So, here’s the deal. It’s real simple. I’ve got to get out of here, off of this planet. I need an escape strategy. I don’t belong here.

Let me explain. I have no powers. None. Can’t see through anything. I don’t move fast. I don’t possess super-human strength. I can’t fly and I don’t have a hammer or axe or any other utensil I can yield with magical powers. Don’t have a suit to fake it, and even if I did I’m pretty sure my lack of virtue would become a handicap. Oh, and NO I can’t transform at the drop of a hat into something formidable and imposing with an impossible to kill constitution.

I’m not hero material in other ways, either. I’ve got no code and I don’t have any superhero creed. Given the choice, I’m going to run away from trouble before I ever stand and fight. You might say my spine is as supple as a cheerleader on valium. It’s okay. That’s not news. I value life, dude. I’m a lover not a fighter. But, hey, a cheerleader on valium: that’s a visual I like.

I’m no villain, either. You can’t be a villain if you aren’t willing to stand and fight, can you? Or do evil things to others. Or just blow things up in general. Or, my personal favorite, I don’t long for world domination. Fuck that, I say. Live and let live. And you can’t be a villain without wanting to scheme and plan and destroy as many lives as possible, no? That’s not me. None of it. So, you know what that makes me, don’t you? You get it, right?

I figure even on this gods-forsaken joke of a planet that there has to be a cab hanging out by one of the major hotels. That’s where I’ve been heading. Two blocks away from the Hilton now and I turn the corner and there’s a green shuttle parked by the curb. The shuttle guy looks at me, nods my way, smiles. He looks like a nice guy, no flash, no spandex. “Hey, cabbie,” I say. “Can you get me off this rock? To the depot?” I nod to the sky, towards space.

“Of course, of course.” He looks at me sideways, leaning against his shuttle. “You in trouble, my friend?”

“No trouble. I just need out, man. Tired of it.” He nods.

“You a superhero?”

He shakes his head slowly back and forth. “Nah, just a driver.” He pats the side of his shuttle like it’s some beast he loves. “Just a driver.”

“Thousand credits if you can get me to the space depot. Quick.”

He nods his head again, up and down this time, slowly, like some gunslinger from an old western movie. I get a bit wary at that, like there’s ominous music playing in the background somewhere. But the pull of leaving this place is too strong. “Get in,” he says. I comply.

We lock in. He engages the anti-gravs and pulls out. We climb maybe a thousand feet in the sky and then there’s a big explosion with lots of noise. The cabin is jostled and I’m thrown hard against my straps. It was a plasma charge, I think.

“Trouble,” says the cabbie, quietly, with a grin on his face.

What the fuck, I think.

Another plasma charge hits us. “Yes,” says the cabbie. “You’re in trouble, my friend.”

Suddenly he jerks the wheel, spins the craft around and swoops down towards a park below. My stomach is in my throat as I’m thrown back in the seat. The trailing craft is firing all sorts of weapons now. Things bounce off of the hull, shake the cabin and rattle my bones. We clip a tree at the edge of the park, turn hard left and fly down an alley between a couple of the larger buildings in town. My cabbie, maniacal now, hits a red button on the dash – autopilot – and begins stripping off his shirt, pants and shoes. Seconds later he’s wearing green tights and goggles and an oversized displacer cannon is strapped to his side. Where the fuck did that come from?

“My friend, you’re in trouble.” And he laughs and rolls down the window.

“NO! NO-O-O-O-O! Oh, christ! I just want out,” I scream. “I can’t be the victim anymore. I can’t. I just need a simple, every day hero. Just someone who can get me off of this fucking planet.”

But my screams are drowned out by the artillery pounding the shuttle, and the wind flapping my cabbie’s cape, and the sound of his weapons and laughter in the cabin. My ears are ringing to the rhythm of some lame chase scene soundtrack. It’s like white noise overlaid on my life now and I’m curled up in the seat and whimpering for all I’m worth.

———
What if you found yourself trapped on a planet with nothing but superheroes and villains. This is another writer's group story.
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