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Superkid

By AELucky All Rights Reserved ©

Action / Humor

Who is Superkid

Who is Superkid, you dare to ask? Hmph, I suppose that's a fair question, considering the number of big-shot superheroes running around the place. It's enough to make even the most devoted fanboy's head swim! That's why I'm dedicating this entire chapter to introducing to you the greatest superhero to ever walk the earth: Superkid.

This incredible crime-fighter is twelve years old… why's your mouth open? You didn't think a hero could be that young? Well, yeah. Why else do you think his name is Superkid? But don't think that just because he's still in grade school he can't serve up a steaming plate of justice! If you want to catch this diminutive hero in action, just watch for a kid in an orange and yellow suit with a blazing gold K on both his chest and cape.

His superpowers? Oh, um… well, about that… you see, the only power he possesses is to… control the temperature of his breath.

Not all that exciting, I know, but beggars can't be choosers. At least that potion didn't poison him as  Doctor Red concocted it to do.

Who? Dr. Red? Oh, he's a bad guy. I'll explain in Chapter 3.

Now Superkid's got the strangest secret. The strangest thing about him is… well… you know how all the heroes have a secret identity that nobody but they know? Well, prepare yourself! Don't complain to me if you don't think it makes sense. But Superkid has a secret identity that everyone knows but himself!

Yeah, I know what you're thinking. What do you mean he has a secret identity that everybody knows but him? If everyone knows then it's not a secret! And how is he supposed to keep it a secret from himself? That's absurd! How is that even possible?

Well, now that you've fallen into my narrative trap, allow me to explain… Time for me to introduce you to his "mild mannered" side - the, uh, secret identity of his I told you about. And what better way to introduce him than to observe him on a typical day in his hometown of Poolington - a quaint little town about six blocks wide and twelve blocks long and situated in the middle of nowhere.

On this typical day, we find our youthful vigilante in his current "mild-mannered" persona, Aaron P. Purn, hanging out with his two best friends, Darrin E. Snoll and Derrick R. Moorn. Darrin is a stocky kid with blond hair and green eyes. Derrick is a twig of a kid with a crow's nest for hair and shifty brown eyes - an unfortunate combination that gives him a face that only a mother could love. How he got to be friends with Aaron and Darrin is a mystery that confounds me still. And don't worry if you confuse Aaron's friends with each other - I do it all the time!

Hang on, where was I? Oh yeah, so our young friend was hanging out with his two friends and wandering about the neighborhood. They wandered to the Poolington Mart to watch the truckers haul this week's stock. Then they wandered to the Poolington Post Office to watch the employees sort mail. After that they wandered to the Poolington Museum to watch dinosaur fossils gather dust.

That's right, folks. A typical day for the mild-mannered Aaron Purn of the town of Poolington.

It was at this point in this typical day that our hero Aaron decided to take initiative and go against the typical with these inspiring words: "I'm bored."

Inspiring words indeed, which is what inspired evil grins to spread slowly on Darrin and Derrick's faces.

"Me too," Darrin agreed. Then he brightened. "Hey, I have an idea! Why don't we go see Terrence's tarantula?"

Aaron's face darkened. "That isn't what I had in mind."

Derrick pretended not to hear him. "Great idea! And let's ask him if we can hold it!"

Aaron shuddered.

Darrin nodded enthusiastically. "Yeah, but be careful because if it doesn't like you, it bites!"

Aaron subconsciously ran his hand over his arm.

"Well, what are we waiting for?" Derrick cried, grinning at Aaron. "Let's go see that big, hairy, sharp-fanged, eight-legged crawler!" He crooked his fingers and waggled them in Aaron's face. Aaron scowled.

I guess I should confess here: I haven't been really straight with you. While it's true that Superkid was a fearless crime-fighter, his alter ego, Aaron Purn, was… well… a chicken.

He was afraid of everything! Spiders, dogs, cats, heights, small spaces, horror movies, you name it! I could go on and on! But then you'd probably get bored and go read something else that didn't ramble on about the fears of a soon-to-be superhero. But "soon-to-be" is the key phrase here, so hang tight. We'll get there.

But now you know that this expedition to go look at Terrence's pet tarantula didn't sit well with our, uh, timorous friend. But since Darrin and Derrick were such great friends, they immediately veered for Terrence's house. And Aaron had no choice but to follow, swatting at every imaginary crawl of his skin.

...

Terrence was more than eager to show off his tarantula, especially when he saw Aaron shuffling his feet behind Derrick and Darrin.

"Just make sure he doesn't escape," he said as he passed it to Derrick. "Mom would kill me if he did. She's scared of him."

Darrin snickered. "What a coincidence. So is Aaron."

Unfortunately, Aaron was not in a state of mind to give a snappy retort, busy as he was keeping his distance from the hairy arachnid.

The tarantula waved its legs in the air in a futile struggle to escape from Derrick's grip. With an obnoxious grin, Derrick swung it around to Aaron and thrust the hairy creeper into his face. The future hero jumped back with a yelp only to trip backwards onto the floor.

Darrin, Derrick, and Terrence all laughed. To carry the joke further, Derrick stepped over the fallen Aaron and dangled the spider over him.

Aaron panicked, rolling into Derrick's leg. Derrick flailed his arm for balance, accidentally tossing the tarantula into Darrin's face instead.

"Hey!" Darrin cried and swiped it off. The tarantula hit the floor with a thud.

"Hey!" Terrence echoed and then added, "my tarantula is escaping!"

And so it was. The poor thing had been mishandled one too many times, so it crawled as fast as it could under the bookcase, away from Terrence's groping fingers.

"Oh great!" He threw up his hands angrily. "Now my mom's going to kill me!"

The three of them spent the next five minutes trying to catch the tarantula but with no success. When they couldn't reach under the bookcase, they tried to move it, but this caused books to cascade onto Derrick. This was the closest he had come to literature since school had let out for spring break. Aaron was on the couch with his feet up, keeping an eye on the bookcase in case the little creeper came out and decided to go for him. But fortunately for him he wasn't tasty enough for the tarantula to risk getting caught by his friends.

Terrence was not too happy. "My mom is going to kill me," he said emphatically. "How am I going to get him back?"

"Maybe we could set out bait?" Derrick suggested timidly.

"What do tarantulas eat?" Darrin asked curiously.

"We - uh - we could - uh - use Aaron as bait!" Derrick exclaimed, trying to make light of the situation. "I'm sure your tarantula would like him."

To his surprise, this did actually make Terrence laugh, which eased the tension between the three of them. It wasn't all that helpful for Aaron though, who was feeling a little murderous at this point. But Darrin, Derrick, and Terrence weren't too worried. After all, when did this sort of thing ever go wrong somewhere down the road?

Unaware of the potential tragedy they were setting the stage for (or ironic turn of events as the case may be), the three friends continued to joke and laugh at our poor friend's expense. It wasn't long before Terrence was feeling humored enough to tell Darrin and Derrick about the party he was having that night. A scary movie party to be exact. Just the sort of party meant to target Aaron as the butt of jokes. And what else did his good friends do but take every shot that they could.

"All the lights will be turned off," said Terrence to Aaron in a low voice.

Aaron huffed irritably.

"And the only thing you'll see is the ugly, slimy monster coming at you on the TV screen," Darrin added with a spooky grin.

"Cut it out," Aaron grumbled, much too quietly for them to hear.

"While behind you is black darkness where other monsters wait to GRAB you!" Derrick shouted, grabbing Aaron's shoulders for maximum effect. Aaron yelped and then growled loudly as the three of them doubled over in laughter.

Eventually Aaron, Darrin, and Derrick left Terrence's house for home. After they saw Derrick to his house, Darrin turned to Aaron and said with a teasing grin, "Do you want me to walk home with you? So that nothing gets you?"

"It would be a great opportunity to get rid of you without any witnesses," Aaron growled.

Darrin didn't hear the comment. He was too busy chortling over his own joke. Aaron was relieved when they finally reached Darrin's house and Darrin left him on his own. Aaron scowled at Darrin's house for a while before he finally tucked his hands into his pockets and slouched for home.

Now I mentioned that the stage was being set up for a possible tragedy. But this story much prefers irony over tragedy, so this was when fate intervened to turn things around for this poor kid. And one of fate's agents just so happened to be lurking nearby…

He had watched the trio. Since they had left Terrence's house he had watched them. He had waited while Derrick had gone into his house. He had waited while Darrin had gone into his house. Now Aaron was alone. Now the mysterious agent of fate could make his move…

He slipped out of the shadow of a lamppost (agents of fate are resourceful that way) and crossed the street toward Aaron. He slipped into step behind our timorous friend, bowing his head and tucking his hands into his gray overcoat, looking to all the world like a normal man going about his business.

But Aaron heard the man's steps behind him. He stopped and turned.

The stranger walked up to him, stretched out his hand, and said pleasantly, "How are you?"

A little taken aback, Aaron accepted the hand and replied, "Good."

"Oh you say that," responded the stranger in the same pleasant voice. "But really, how are you?"

"Why's that your business?" Aaron asked, trying to sound polite yet was wary all the same.

"Well," said the mysterious man, "I've noticed how those two friends of yours teased you about being a scaredy-cat. And I wondered if this was a common thing?"

Aaron jerked his head up and fixed the man with a suspicious glare. "Have you been spying on me?"

"Heavens no!" exclaimed the man, sounding genuinely surprised - to Aaron, of course. You may remember that he was watching Aaron since he and his friends had left Terrence's house.

But Aaron didn't know that. He only had his own observations to rely on to determine if the man was lying or not, and unfortunately he was not a skilled lie detector. As a result, he took the mysterious man's word for it. He nodded and told the stranger, "Yeah, they like to tease me for my… timidity."

This mysterious agent of fate nodded sadly. "A pity they don't show you more respect. You are obviously quite intelligent."

"Sure. I suppose," said Aaron, who couldn't help but feel flattered.

They continued to walk. The mysterious stranger allowed him a few moments to bask in the praise. Then he suddenly stopped, turned to the twelve-year-old, and said, "How would you like to prove them wrong?"

Aaron stopped in surprise. "What?"

"How would you like to show them you're not a scaredy-cat? Show them you're more fearless than they think you are? That you're more fearless than they are?"

Aaron would have loved nothing more than that. He would have loved to see Darrin and Derrick's mouths drop open when they saw him doing things they would never dare to do: exploring the sewers of Poolington where the fabled giant sewer eel lived, scaling the Fat Ballerina Rock that stood just outside town, taking on the town bully, Hector Vower! But…

"How am I going to do that?"

The man said carefully as though afraid his words would set off alarms, "I would need to hypnotize you."

Our young friend was stunned. He thought it was going to be the usual grown-up advice. You know, the, "You've got to work at it and never give up" speech. But here was this friendly albeit mysterious stranger offering him a shortcut. A miracle cure!

But hold on, folks. Our young friend wasn't that stupid and naïve. And certainly not that desperate. With that gift of intelligence he was endowed with, he grasped at reason and asked skeptically, "Hypnotize? Wouldn't you have control of me? You could make me do things I don't want to do."

"Actually," said the stranger with a friendly smile, "that's somewhat of a misconception. While it's true that I could suggest actions you should take while in your subconscious state, the truth is that I cannot force you to do anything that you morally will not do - robbing banks, for example."

"Okay," said Aaron, not wholly convinced. "So you can make me fearless. Is there something you want me to do for you?"

"Not at all." The stranger beamed innocently.

The youth studied the man's face. He seemed trustworthy but something still bothered Aaron.

"Why would you do this for me?" he asked.

The mysterious stranger placed a reassuring hand on his shoulder and said, "I understand you're suspicious. The truth is I want to help because I know what it's like to be taunted relentlessly - by your friends, no less. I know I sometimes wished that some guardian angel would come down and make my problems disappear. I guess now I feel that's a chance I can give to someone else - it's a sort of obligation. And I want to help you stop them from teasing you so much. I want to help you rub it in your friends' faces."

The mysterious stranger stared into Aaron's eyes as he spoke. Aaron looked back and found a strange pull from the enigmatic man's eyes - one rich brown eye and one smoky gray eye - that siphoned all of his concerns from him… And our young friend knew that he could trust this man. This man really wanted to help him. It would hurt this man's feelings if he didn't let the man help him. Besides, it was something he wanted…

Slowly, Aaron nodded. "…Okay."

"Excellent!" the stranger exclaimed, snapping the twelve-year-old out of a daze. "Shall we begin?"

Aaron was startled at the direction things had taken. "Uh, sure."

"Okay," the man said. He deepened his voice and spoke mesmerizingly, "Look into my eyes."

Aaron did as he was told. The last thing he remembered before his mind disconnected with his body was the man's peculiar eyes pulsing ever so subtly… then he was gone.

At this point we probably should be concerned for our hero. A mysterious stranger that Aaron had never met before in his life - the sort of person all mothers warn their children about with great emphasis - had him under his hypnotic control and could now make him do some terrible things like squawking like a chicken! But as neither you the reader nor I the narrator can do anything for him, the best we can do is wait and see what happens.

The man spoke in his mesmerizing voice, "You will become fearless…"

"Fearless…" Aaron repeated dully.

"You will know no such thing as fear…"

"No such thing…"

"You will not feel fear even when confronted with the most horrifying, terrifying, petrifying monster!"

"Petrifying…" Aaron said with no emotion.

"Spiders will not scare you… dogs will not scare you… cats, heights, small spaces, the dark, haunted houses, horror books, horror movies, tax forms - NOTHING will scare you!"

"Nothing…"

"And you will be this fearless person when you hear the name…" The hypnotist cast his mind for a good name. But as the time stretched and nothing truly inspiring came to mind, he finally decided with as much gusto as he could muster, "Superkid!"

"Superkid…?" Aaron almost asked in his subconscious state.

"Yes, Superkid," the mysterious hypnotist said emphatically and then cleared his throat. "And you will only return to your former self when you hear your own name…" He searched his memory for the name but it seemed that day was not a good day for names. He was relieved when he finally remembered and burst out, "Aaron!"

"My name…" echoed our hero.

The hypnotist smiled. "Now, when I say, 'Superkid' you will become fearless, understand? Ready?"

As ready as a half-conscious person could be.

The enigmatic hypnotist took a breath. "One… two… three…"

...

Whoa, hold on there, buddy! All studies show that oxygen is actually quite good for you, so take a few breaths there. You breathing? Okay, just keep that up and we'll get through the rest of this issue. He survives, I promise you. Okay, back to the story.

...

In a dramatic intake of breath, the hypnotist counted slowly, "One… two… three…" Then with the remaining breath in his lungs he shouted, "SUPERKID!"

Overdramatic? Maybe, but it was equaled by our young friend's reaction to the name. He snapped to attention like an elastic cord. He blinked confusedly for several seconds. Then he spoke, "I'm Superkid."

"Yes," the hypnotist confirmed excitedly.

"I'm fearless," said Superkid - formerly known as Aaron.

"Of course," the man agreed.

"And…" Here the fearless kid paused.

The hypnotist grinned widely. "And… now you will prove that you are fearless."

Our now-fearless hero gave the mysterious stranger an inquiring look. "How do I do that?"

"By going to that party!"

"Party?"

"Your friends are hosting a party tonight."

"Friends?"

"Darrin and Derrick, remember?"

After a few moments, the memories clicked and Superkid nodded, "That's right. Darrin and Derrick."

"And they're hosting a party…" the hypnotist repeated.

Superkid scratched his head. The memory of that didn't quite click as readily as Darrin and Derrick did, but of course he had no recollection of that because he had had the fear hypnotized out of him and thus couldn't remember the terrifying episode with the escape of Terrence's tarantula. He finally told the hypnotist, "I don't remember anything about a party."

"Your friend Terrence is hosting it at his house tonight," the stranger explained.

Superkid scratched his head. "Huh. Was I invited?"

"You weren't," the man said, "because everyone thinks you're a scaredy-cat."

Our hero was surprised. "That's ridiculous! I'm fearless! And what's so scary about a party?"

"They're going to tell scary stories - "

"So?"

" - and watch scary movies - "

"Is that all?"

The stranger smiled broadly. "You are going to prove them wrong. You are going to go to that party and tell them that you are Superkid and you are not afraid of anything!"

"Darn right, I am! Where's the party?"

Still smiling broadly, the hypnotist pointed to Darrin's house and said, "He'll tell you the details. Just be sure to tell him the very second you see him that you are Superkid."

"If you insist," said Superkid with a shrug and started toward Darrin's house.

The hypnotist watched him go with a proud smile on his face and then strode away, disappearing as mysteriously as he had appeared. Will we see him again? Perhaps sooner than we think.

But now that the mysterious hypnotist has removed himself from the story, we can now focus our entire attention on our young hero. Some of the questions about him have been answered and most likely other questions have surfaced that only you the smart-aleck reader would be clever enough to ask. But I the dignified narrator am too aloof to answer such questions. Let's just be content with our own superiority and get on with the story.

Aaron - now Superkid - marched up to the door of Darrin's house and knocked confidently. He no longer knew the fear of being answered by someone he knew only distantly or the fear of waiting awkwardly for his friend. And Darrin noticed this immediately when he opened the door.

Before he could get a word out, our diminutive hero announced with a salute, "The name is Superkid, Darrin."

Darrin had been in the middle of exclaiming Aaron's name in surprise, but at this rather strange salutation his voice faltered, making him sound somewhat like a dying engine from a lawn mower.

Superkid gave an apologetic shrug. "I know it's weird. It's just what he told me to tell you."

"Told you… wait, who?"

"The man." Superkid pointed into the street but then froze. That was the moment that it struck him just how weird it really was. Before this moment, it had seemed very natural to follow the directions of a strange man with hypnotic powers, but now he really understood that this was weird.

What am I doing? He wondered. Without fear though, the thought was merely a puzzle. And since it was only a puzzle, his brain launched into a series of logical thinking: okay, he told me to tell Darrin that I am Superkid and that I'm fearless… I need to tell him that because he and everyone else thinks that I'm cowardly… and because they think that I'm cowardly they're throwing a party with a scary theme that is supposed to keep me away… so it's necessary to tell him that I'm Superkid, which naturally is followed by the fact that I'm fearless.

Superkid turned to Darrin and glared at him. "So you think you could scare me away, did you?"

Darrin was perplexed. "Wh-what?"

"A scare party," our hero explained, "that you thought I was too chicken to go to. How could you ever doubt that I, Superkid, would be frightened away by something as mundane as a party? Even if the theme was horror?"

Darrin wasn't following. But a word in his friend's dialogue alerted him. It might help him figure out what his friend was talking about.

So he asked, "Who's Superkid?"

Superkid gave him a bemused look. "Me?" It dawned on him that Darrin didn't have a clue who Superkid was, which was why Darrin thought he was a coward. Darrin was confusing him for a different person who apparently was the chicken that didn't dare go to parties with horror themes.

Strange how the hypnotized mind works, isn't it?

But as illuminating as this logic was, Darrin was still groping blindly. He asked, "Is this a joke?"

Superkid shook his head. "No… at least, I don't think so." Now he was getting as confused as his friend. "I think what's going on here is that you're confusing me with someone else."

Darrin shook his head confusedly. "You mean Aaron?"

Superkid's body jolted. His eyes stared blankly for a second. Then he blinked and shook his head. "What happened?"

Darrin's eyes widened. "Aaron?"

"Yeah?" Then Aaron noticed the way Darrin was looking at him. "What?"

Darrin didn't speak for several moments. Something weird was definitely going on with Aaron. Darrin at first thought Aaron was playing a joke on him… until he realized that Aaron wasn't the kind to play jokes. And when he saw Aaron's body convulse, it convinced him that something absolutely weird was going on with Aaron. But what?

He asked, "Do you remember anything?"

Aaron gave him a strange look. "Like what?"

Darrin raised his palms in surrender. "The last five minutes? Do you remember when you knocked on the door?"

Aaron opened his mouth to respond and then shut it when he realized that he didn't remember knocking on Darrin's door. As a matter of fact, he didn't remember even coming up to Darrin's house. What was he doing here? He spun around and scanned the street, hoping he might spot something that would jog his memory.

Darrin did not like this. It was just getting worse. There was definitely something going on with Aaron. And the other name seemed to have something to do with it. Did he dare?

He did. It made him nervous though, so he asked very cautiously, "Does the name, 'Superkid' mean anything…"

He was alarmed when Aaron's body convulsed again. Then his friend blinked and said, "What happened?"

"Aaron!? Are you o…"

Once again, his friend convulsed, shook his head, and then cried, "What's happening to me?"

"It's okay! Don't panic!" Darrin said though he himself was losing his cool. "It's probably temporary. We're probably making a big deal out of nothing."

"What are we making a big deal out of?" Aaron demanded, gripping his head as though afraid it would fall off.

"I don't know! Just keep it together. You'll be okay."

"Okay? What's going on with me? Am I spazzing out or something?"

Darrin babbled, "Sort of. I mean, it's just for a second and then you're one person and the next you're someone else, and I think it's this name that makes you spaz, so as long as we don't say the name then you'll be just fine - "

"A name?" Aaron interrupted. "A name is making me spaz?"

"I think so," Darrin said, calming a little. He was slowly coming to the conclusion that his own babbling was actually making sense.

"What's the name?" Aaron asked.

"I think it was, uh, Superkid," Darrin answered before he realized what he had just done.

Aaron convulsed once more and then stumbled around, clutching his head. "I think something's wrong with me," he said. Darrin was astonished at how matter-of-fact he had sounded.

"Which one are you?" Darrin asked his friend cautiously.

"Which one what?" His friend looked up. "Oh, you mean am I Superkid or your timid friend? I'm Superkid."

Darrin automatically began to change his friend back but then a thought stopped him. He had calmed down enough that he could now approach this problematically. Aaron didn't seem to have an idea of what had happened to him but maybe this Superkid could give him the answers he needed.

"Hey, um, Superkid?"

"That's me," said the super kid, pleased that Darrin finally recognized him.

"Can you tell me where exactly you came from? How you came to be in Aar - uh - this body?"

The super kid looked down at his body and then back up at Darrin with a bemused expression. "I'm not sure what you mean."

"I mean how is it that you were Aar - uh, my scaredy-cat friend for twelve years and then came knocking on my door as Superkid?"

Superkid's brow rose to his forehead. "I still don't follow."

"I mean…" Darrin struggled to explain it better but ended up clenching his fists and throwing them down in frustration. "Urgh! I don't know what I mean! Just… why are you Superkid now and not… the other guy?"

"Hmm," Superkid mused with a wry smile. "Maybe what you need is some time to relax. I hear Terrence is throwing a party tonight."

Darrin stared at him.

...

There was still some time before the party and Darrin still wanted to solve the mystery of Aaron's split personality. He decided to recruit Derrick for this case since, as the saying goes, two heads are better than one… although Derrick's head was not the best choice for combining.

Darrin learned this the hard way. When he explained about their friend's peculiar condition, Derrick decided to have fun with it by constantly changing Superkid to Aaron and back again. By the time Darrin managed to bring Derrick under control, Aaron (or Superkid - I'm not sure where he ended up) was reeling.

"You're supposed to be helping!" Darrin snapped.

"With what?" Derrick asked. Then with a snicker at his dazed friend, he said, "Superkid."

Darrin was not amused. "Stop that! This is serious! He could have a serious problem!"

Derrick shrugged. "He goes from one person to another. So what?" Then he added, "Aaron."

Darrin grabbed the front of Derrick's shirt and with his other hand formed a fist that he drew back. "I'm serious! If you don't quit that, I'm going to punch you so hard you'll have a new place to store your junk."

"Okay! Okay! I'll stop!" Derrick squealed.

Darrin let him go. Then he asked him, "Derrick, do you remember anything strange that might have made Aaron like this?"

Derrick strained his brain (must have been painful for him) but eventually confessed, "Nope. But I do remember how funny it was when Aaron screamed when I showed him Terrence's tarantula." He giggled.

Darrin shook his head. They were getting nowhere. He should have known that Derrick wouldn't be much help. And he had been the last one with Aaron before he developed a split personality. Maybe what they needed to do was retrace their steps. And that's what he suggested.

"But what if whatever did that to Aaron does it to us too?" Derrick asked nervously.

"I'm not even sure where or when it happened," Aaron added.

"W-well maybe we can find a way to reverse it," Darrin said, now nervous about the suggestion himself. Leave it to his friends to point out the dangers. "And I'm sure if we all stick together, we'll be fine."

"Even me?" Aaron mumbled in an ironic tone.

"Don't forget Superkid," Derrick said and then snickered.

Darrin punched him. It wasn't quite the hole he promised but it would have to do.

They searched outside but it was just as fruitless as head-combining. Even Derrick was disappointed - as nervous as he had been about this escapade. There was a brief moment when Superkid seemed to be recalling something as they were walking to Derrick's house, but that's all it was: a brief moment. Soon Derrick was tired and bored and it was getting dark - about time to go to Terrence's party. Darrin suggested that they stay home from the party but Derrick vetoed the idea loudly. Strangely enough, Aaron was just as loud (he was Superkid, actually; they had forgotten to change him back), insisting that he needed to go to the party and prove that he was fearless.

Darrin was outvoted, so they all went to the party. The boy who opened the door was surprised when he spotted Aaron (Superkid, rather). The boy's name was Jerry and he was a real snarky fellow. Thought himself pretty clever and witty.

"You brought the chicken?" he asked with a grin.

"And some teriyaki sauce to go with it," Superkid responded with a glare.

At this, Jerry laughed. "Good one! But aren't you Aaron Purn - the guy who's scared of his own shadow?"

"Actually," said Derrick , inadvertently drawing attention away from Aaron's sudden convulsion, "he's called Superkid."

"Superkid?!" Jerry cried and burst out laughing. "What kind of a name is that? Thinks he's a superhero or something?"

"Or something," Superkid replied after shaking his head to clear it.

Darrin saw the convulsions and shook his head. He could tell that this was a bad idea. Why wouldn't Derrick and Aaron (or "Superkid," whoever he was) listen to him?

Jerry smiled. "Does that make you brave enough to come to this party then?"

Superkid snorted, "I doubt this party would require me to summon any amount of gumption."

Jerry laughed. "Whatever you say… Superkid."

The three friends followed Jerry inside. Jerry wrapped an arm around Superkid and called out to everyone in the room, "Hey guys! Guess what! Aaron came to our scare party!"

Superkid convulsed but no one noticed (except Darrin, who was shaking his head even harder). They had all burst into laughter and made comments like, "You sure he didn't get lost on his way to the 'wiener' party?" and "I bet he'll be crying in five minutes" and my personal favorite, "He's gonna be like the little piggy who cried, 'Wee wee wee' all the way home!"

"And guess what he's calling himself?" Jerry continued, jeering at Aaron who was looking at him perplexedly.

The group eagerly waited for the ridiculous name.

Jerry obliged them with a goofy voice. "Sooooper-kiiiid!"

They howled with laughter and made more comments like, "What kind of a name is that?" and "Did he get bitten by a radioactive scaredy-cat?" and my new favorite, "Superkid, defender of the wieners!"

…What? It was funny!

At any rate, it made for a great though not necessarily nice way to start the party. The boys enjoyed themselves laughing at Superkid. Superkid wasn't quite enjoying the party the way the rest of them were, but he was here to prove to them that he really was fearless and not some scaredy-cat. He had forgotten why he needed to prove it but the need to prove it was burning strong. That hypnotist sure does his job thoroughly, doesn't he? And doesn't leave a trace! But Superkid did feel that need to prove his fearlessness and he was getting more impatient the more the boys teased him.

At last, he got his chance. The boys popped in a zombie movie and they all gathered to watch… Aaron - that is, Superkid. The boys were certain that Aaron (Superkid) would be screaming within minutes and they were all dying to see it.

Can you consider that a pun, what with the zombie show they were watching and all that? …Never mind.

Imagine their growing surprise when Aaron the super kid remained stoically unfazed as the movie played. Imagine their jaws slowly dropping as the chicken they all knew and loved to tease made casual comments like, "Creepy little parasites, aren't they?" and "You ought to hear me when I'm hungry!" and my absolute favorite, "The door's a little more to your left!" Imagine their bulging eyes when the movie ended and the biggest wimp in Poolington whooped and said, "All right! Who's up for the sequel?"

"Wasn't that show scary?" someone asked him.

Superkid shrugged. "I'm sure I heard one of you scream." He smirked.

Someone else waved his hand at the window. "It's pretty dark outside. Aren't you worried a zombie might get you when you're walking home?"

Superkid snorted. "Please. I'd be more worried about tripping and breaking my ankle."

"What about - "

Suddenly something slammed against the window, causing everyone to yelp and jump in fright - everyone except Superkid, as to be expected. He laughed and said, "Who's willing to freeze out there just to scare us?"

"Why don't you go out there and see?" said someone slyly.

Superkid gasped and clutched his face. "And get eaten by a zombie out there?" Then he straightened and grinned. "If you insist, sure. Far be it for me to allow someone to give himself cramps waiting for some poor sucker to come his way." With that, he sauntered over to the door, whistling a merry tune. He opened it and peered out.

A zombie popped into the doorway and roared into Superkid's face. Superkid coughed and waved his hand in front of his nose. "Care for a breath mint?"

Everyone gaped in astonishment. Not a single whimper from the biggest fraidy-cat in town. What had happened to him? What could have given him this newfound power to stare fear in the eye and laugh?

We know how. That's what we call dramatic irony, folks.

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