Superkid the Superhero
Thus far we witnessed Superkid's origins and his first steps toward establishing his name. But a mere scare party is not going to be enough to showcase our diminutive hero in action. That's what this chapter is for. Let's get right to it, shall we?
Poolington woke up to a bright Saturday morning—never suspecting that its peace and quiet was soon to be shattered. Its defender was in Derrick's backyard with Derrick himself and the other friend, Darrin, shooting baskets. Aaron attempted a swisher (and failed miserably, I'm sorry to say) when he and his friends heard some sort of commotion.
"I wonder what's going on." Darrin said.
They hurried to the front yard and froze.
Women ran screaming through the streets. Aaron and his friends scanned further ahead and discovered the women streamed from Terrence's house. Curiosity tugged at them (common sense was on break) so they hurried over to see what all the hubbub was about. What they found was Terrence crawling on the floor and swiping frantically.
"What happened?" Darrin asked.
"My tarantula," Terrence answered hastily without looking up. "My mom and her friends were having a little party when they saw my tarantula."
"So that's what they were all screaming about," Derrick said.
"Yeah, and if I don't catch him soon then I'm pretty sure Mom will make me let him go. So will you guys please help me catch him?"
"Uh, where did you see him last?" Aaron asked as he slowly crept for the door, glancing nervously around the room.
Derrick noticed and a sly smile crossed his face. "Where are you going, Superkid?" he asked.
Darrin wondered if his threat to punch Derrick a new place to store his things had expired or not. It had been five days since then—maybe it had.
He decided not to punch Derrick. Instead he sighed as Aaron convulsed, shook his head, looked down at Terrence, and asked, "What's going on?"
Derrick answered dramatically, "Terrence has lost his tarantula and he—needs—your—help!"
Superkid rolled his eyes. "You called me for that?"
Derrick threw up his hands. "Well, it's not as if our town is crawling with supervillains. This is the best we can give you."
Superkid huffed. "I never said I was a superhero."
"Then why do you call yourself Superkid?"
"It's…" Superkid shrugged, "…just my name." He struggled to remember where he had gotten the name but the memory remained tantalizingly out of reach.
Terrence stared between Superkid and Derrick. He pointed at our young hero. "Am I missing something here?"
"Other than your sanity, no," Superkid replied with sneer. Terrence reacted in surprise at this bold and mean-spirited quip from the usually mild-mannered kid, and Superkid added, "I don't suppose you still think I'm a scaredy-cat, do you?"
Terrence gaped. "Where'd you get guts all of a sudden?"
"Same place you got your brains," Superkid retorted.
Terrence turned to Darrin. "Is that even Aaron?"
Darrin shrugged. "He is now."
Derrick explained before Terrence could ask, "Aaron's got a split personality now. One side is the chicken—the Aaron side—and the other is his gutsy side—the Superkid side."
"We're not sure how it happened," Darrin said. "One day, he knocked on my door and told me he was Superkid."
Terrence gaped at Darrin and Derrick, eventually shaking his head. "You think that maybe all our teasing finally caused him to snap?"
"It might also have been exacerbated by the fact that you talk about him like he's not even there," Superkid interjected after he shook away his daze.
Darrin, Derrick, and Terrence turned sheepishly away. Superkid eyed them all and was struck by a sudden pang of guilt. Maybe he was being too hard on them. They were only having a little fun.
He dropped his gaze to the floor. Then he frowned thoughtfully. Then he crouched, picked something off the floor, and set it gently in his hand. He held it out to Terrence, who turned and then let his mouth drop open in surprise.
Terrence could not believe his eyes. Sitting in Aaron's (Superkid, actually; Terrence had not quite grasped the "split personality" concept) hand was his tarantula. Of course, the surprise to him was not that his tarantula had come back to him but the fact that it was Aaron (still Superkid) who was holding it without a single tremor of his hand! Terrence took his pet back wordlessly. He looked up at Superkid, who was smiling at him.
"You really are fearless," he whispered in shock.
Okay, so it wasn't the dramatic fight that I promised. As a matter of fact, that was actually kind of mushy. Just hang on a minute and we'll try that again. I promise we'll see some real action this time.
Poolington awoke the next day to a bright Sunday morning—never realizing that its peace and quiet was about to be shattered… for real, this time. Darrin was trying for a three-point shot backwards but accidentally threw it into the oak tree. Derrick was preparing to climb the tree to retrieve the ball when they heard another sort of commotion.
"Now what?" Derrick grumbled. The three friends trooped out to the front yard and, this time, were petrified.
Women and men ran screaming through the streets. Scanning further ahead, the three of them discovered the cause of it and felt their blood run ice-cold and their legs turn to raspberry jelly (pardon the adjective, I'm hungry for a scone). And what was the cause of their reactions?
Bigger than a single-room apartment! More terrible than a pile of dead worms! Able to lasso an entire town with a single spool of web. Originating from the lab of a mad doctor—a beast of hair… was a giant spider!
This massive menace charged through the town, chasing after citizens who were helpless ants at the mercy of its giant feet… well, actually, spiders don't have feet, but you know what I mean.
"What the?!" Darrin exclaimed, staring at the gargantuan arachnid in horror.
"Where the heck did that thing come from?!" Darrin cried.
Aaron could only gape.
That mutated arachnid crashed through the town, wreaking havoc everywhere it turned. It slashed buildings with a powerful sweep of its hairy leg. It tipped lampposts with the powerful gravity of its hairy abdomen. But those were not its worst offenses, oh no. Its worst offense - the most terrible crime it committed - was the horrible song it was singing:
"The big and hairy spider came down into the town,
Out came the humans and began to run around,
'Ha!' went the spider and chased them down the lane,
And so the little town was never the same again!"
Truly a song to cripple the bravest of men! A song that sowed despair upon the hearts of the good citizens! A song that assaulted the delicate ear of the musically gifted with its raw voice!
Who in the face of such monstrosity could possibly retain his courage? Why, the only person who knew nothing of its opposite: Superkid!
Darrin and Derrick were a little slow to come to this conclusion though. Darrin gaped at it in horror and cried, "Somebody needs to stop that spider!" And quickly - the diabolical critter was wrapping the citizens in webbing and hanging them from trees.
"But how?" Derrick threw up his hands in despair. "It's bigger than anything! No one's going to stand up to it! Everyone's too scared!"
And that was when Darrin finally got it. He thrust his finger into the air and said, "But not Superkid!" He turned to Aaron who had been sneaking away. Aaron suddenly snapped to attention and said bravely, "You called?"
"We need you to go squish a giant spider that's attacking the town!" Darrin pointed.
Superkid followed the finger. His mouth suddenly dropped and his eyes widened. "Whoa! Where'd that thing come from?"
Darrin threw up his hands. "How should we know? But somebody needs to stop it!"
"And I'm the one for the job is what you're getting at?" Superkid smiled wryly. "This is an ironic situation. Long have spiders been stepped on, and now there's one doing the stepping! But fear not, good citizens!" Superkid thrust out his chest and said dramatically, "I, Superkid, shall rescue you from the wrath of an abnormally large crawler and teach him the meaning of poetic justice!"
"Then get your rump moving," Derrick said impatiently, "before the people you're saving become pancakes!"
Our hero glared at him. "You have no appreciation for pre-battle speeches."
"Especially when the town's being attacked by a giant spider!"
"All right!" Superkid threw up his hands in surrender. "I'm going!" And with that, he rushed in to save the day. Not wanting to miss out on some superhero action, his two friends followed.
Meanwhile, the dastardly spider had started a new chorus as it bounced a yelling man on a string of web like a ping pong paddle:
"The big and hairy spider came down into the town,
Out came the humans and began to run around…"
The monstrous crawler was startled into dropping its ping pong when a voice began singing:
"Out came Superkid and kicked his hairy end,
And the big and hairy spider was never seen again!"
It turned to the source of the singing (which was only slightly better than the critter's own) and found itself staring at a grinning kid.
"Was that you?" it growled at him.
"You mean was I the one singing?"
"Yes, that's what I mean," said the spider, who could just tell that this kid was going to be a nuisance. Never could it imagine just how much of a nuisance.
"Yep, that was me," Superkid admitted. "It was just that your song was so inspiring, I just had to join in."
The gargantuan creeper huffed. "Inspiring, huh? You suicidal, kid?"
Superkid responded heartily, "Heck no! Life's too much fun!"
The ugly critter lowered his hairy head and breathed into our hero's face. "You do realize you're getting on my nerves, don't you? And you do realize that I'm a giant spider?"
"Yes to the second, and to the first I could only hope."
"Are you crazy then?"
"Nope, just fearless."
"Oh really?" The monstrous spider's face split into a nasty grin. "I think I might have a cure for that." And without further warning, it kicked Superkid. Our diminutive hero flew into the air and crashed onto the roof of a house.
"Ooh!" both Darrin and Derrick groaned. Derrick added, "That's gotta hurt."
Superkid grabbed the peak of the roof to keep from rolling off. He coughed and groaned, "Ouch."
The eight-legged monster stomped over to him. It grinned at him and said, "Want another dose?"
Superkid groaned as he twisted to face the gargantuan menace. He wheezed, "Just give me a minute." He twisted himself until his back popped. Then he grinned and said, "Okay, now I'm ready."
The spider scowled. This kid was stupider than it thought. Apparently he did need another dose. So the spider swiped his leg through the house to bring it down where it would bury the smart-aleck half-pint.
The smart-aleck half-pint had a different plan, however. As the house started to crumble, he leaped onto the massive arachnid's face. It stumbled backward in surprise and fell onto its behind.
"Aaaaaaack!" the spider yelled in pain. And no, landing on your hindquarters probably isn't that painful, but if we consider the anatomy of a spider, you'll realize its legs are not designed to allow it to sit, hence the scream of pain.
It scrambled to its feet (which we remember it doesn't actually have) and began shaking its head furiously. Superkid kept a tight grip on its head.
"Get off!" it growled. "I can't see!"
"A disadvantage to you," our hero countered, "is an advantage to me."
"I'll smash you into a house then!" it roared and scuttled forward.
Superkid glanced behind himself, muttered, "Oh crap" and dropped from the spider's face.
And just in the nick of time because a second later the colossal critter's face smashed through the house. It struggled with its head in the jagged hole until it finally pulled away. A snazzy stucco collar came with it, but the spider didn't appreciate it too much. Itched too much, I guess. The giant arachnid punched the collar off and then spun around to locate that annoying kid. It found him posed in a wrestling stance and giving it an annoying grin.
"That's it!" it snapped. "No more games! I'm ending this!" And in so ending the game, it aimed its end at our vertically challenged friend. His eyes darted to the spinnerets and he muttered, "Oh crap."
White sticky ropes shot out of the spinnerets and hit him right in the stomach. He gasped and bent over, clutching his stomach. The spider fired another shot of webbing that struck his head and sent him skidding down the street.
"Come on!" cried a voice. "You can do it!"
Darrin and Derrick, who had believed themselves the only spectators, saw people coming out to their yards to watch Superkid's battle with the behemoth.
"Yeah!" another yelled. "You beat its ugly butt!"
"Good advice!" Superkid yelled back as he tried to pull the sticky wads of webbing off of his head, "because that appears to be its most dangerous asset!"
The spectators got quite a kick out of that. They were doubled over and gasping for breath because they were laughing so hard. The hairy arachnid wasn't quite so amused. It growled as it stomped over to our hero, "All right, wise-guy. We'll see who's laughing after my 'asset' squashes you flat!"
Superkid saw what the monstrous crawler was planning and struggled harder. "Wait! I've nearly got it. Just give me one more…" But when he saw that the spider wasn't going to wait for him and was raising its leg, he darted under it. He was a little confused and couldn't clearly see where he was going. This was how he ended up slamming into one of the hairy behemoth's leg. To add insult to injury, when he tried to pull away, he found that the webbing on his stomach had tangled in the hairs of the spider's leg.
"Well this is a fine mess," he grumbled.
The evil critter tried to shake the fearless boy off its leg, but he was stuck fast. So then it reached with its foreleg to try to scrape Superkid off. Superkid leaned back, dodging the leg so that it became stuck inside the webbing that held our pint-sized hero fast.
"Aaaaaaargh!" the evil arachnid stumbled. It spread its other legs wide, almost bridging the street. The spectators watching on their lawns backed away in revulsion—the spider hadn't shaved its legs in years!
But the evil critter didn't care about their opinion. It liked its legs just the way they were. Besides, it had more pressing problems like the smart-mouth stuck to its leg. It swiveled its head down and grumbled at the super kid, "You're turning out to be more trouble than you're worth."
"Thank you," said Superkid and flashed the spider a grin.
"Don't be so smug, kid. As soon as I get my leg out, I'm squashing you like a bug." And with that dire promise, it tugged its leg. This endeavor was rewarded with the sound of fibers snapping. Encouraged, the spider tugged harder. More fibers snapped and the spider's leg got a few inches. Taking advantage of the room, the spider tucked its leg in and then suddenly snapped it away.
This did the trick. The behemoth's hairy leg was free but so was its nuisance. The young hero flew through the critter's legs and landed on one of the spectators.
The diabolical spider made its way toward Superkid with murderous intent gleaming in its eye. Our hero immediately jumped to his feet and ran toward the monster.
"What are you doing?!" people cried.
Superkid had no time to explain. As he ran toward the spider, it lifted its leg and stabbed at him. He dodged with a leap to the right and then jumped onto its second leg. The spider shook the leg vigorously but Superkid kept his grip
Then it began spinning in a circle, throwing out its legs in a crazy tarantella (which is kind of funny if you know what a tarantella is) in an attempt to throw our youthful vigilante off, but still he kept his grip. So the diabolical spider spun faster but our hero gripped tighter. It spun faster still and he gripped tighter still. Faster it spun, tighter he gripped. Faster—and tighter. Faster and faster—tighter and tighter…
…until finally, the spider dropped from sheer exhaustion and lied there dizzy. Superkid rolled off and then lied there also, not feeling too well himself. But he was soon on his feet again (though staggering a little) and he made his way to the dizzy behemoth's face. When he was sure the spider could see him, he adopted a wide stance, planted his fists on his hips, and flashed the spider a wide grin. "Ready to give up?"
"Only when you're tall enough to play basketball," the monster retorted.
"That's a long time to wait," said Superkid, "but let's see if I can make you change it to a sooner time." Then he climbed onto the spider's head, being sure to step on all the sensitive sensory organs. From there, he climbed onto the spider's bulbous rear end, sat down, and then kicked its flanks with a cry, "Hidey ho, Silver!"
Rage fueled the titanic arachnid when it leaped to its feet, roared, "I'll 'hidey ho, Silver' you!" and then reared back as far as it could. Superkid clung to its hairy back and yelled, "Yee haw!"
This only enraged the behemoth further. It bucked and reared and twisted itself every which way but the super kid had a super grip.
Now it seemed like Superkid was just winging things and having the time of his life while he was at it, but he was actually formulating a plan to beat this monster and chase it out of town to protect its citizens. As the monster bucked and reared, he thought, If it's not careful, this spider could fall onto its back! And that's what gave him the brilliant idea. Of course, he was in an excellent position to tip the balance (literally). All he had to do was shift his weight and down would come creepy, eight legs and all.
So when it dropped to its feet (the metaphorical ones), he allowed himself to slide forward. Then he gripped the hair on its back as it reared back again. Then it dropped again and he slid forward to where he could now grip its neck. He wrapped his arms around the neck and held tight.
The gargantuan critter reared back one last time and suddenly realized that it had too much top weight and flailed its arms (oh, now I'm confusing its legs for arms!) for balance. To make sure that the spider would topple, Superkid, still gripping the beast's neck, threw himself backwards.
The plan worked. Down came the crawler onto its back. Superkid kicked himself off the spider just before impact, tumbling onto the asphalt. He got a few scrapes and bruises but he was beaming with pride when he saw that his monstrous foe was on its back, desperately flailing its eight legs in the air.
It grunted and groaned as it kicked its legs and rolled its body but to no avail. It was helpless.
"Curse you, Superkid!" it roared.
"And the big and hairy spider," the young hero sang with much aplomb, "was beaten by Superkiiiiiid!"
The good citizens of Poolington all clapped and cheered their hero, who had saved the day. Newspaper reporters suddenly appeared by his side to document this incredible story.
"How did you beat the giant spider?" one of them asked, her pencil poised above her notepad.
"Didn't you see what happened?" our hero asked in surprise. Then he answered, "With determination, courage, and a little dumb luck."
Another reporter asked, "How do you feel after defeating that monster?" He pointed with his pen at the monster, which was still rocking futilely and cursing articulately.
"Like I'm living up to my name," the young hero replied, puffing out his chest.
"And what is your name?" yet another reporter asked—just for the record.
Our young hero was about to answer when a high voice shrieked, "AARON PURN! WHAT DID YOU THINK YOU WERE DOING?" He jumped and then blinked confusedly at the reporters. "Wha - "
Somebody shoved her way through the crowd until she was standing in front of the kid hero. From the way she had her meaty hands on her large hips and the way her plump face was twisted furiously, we can only conclude that this was our amazing hero's mother (Yikes!).
"What did you think you were doing?" she repeated as she jerked on his wrist. "You could have been killed!"
"I could have?" Superkid—now Aaron—said in astonishment.
"Yes, you could have!" his mom cried in exasperation. "Where's your common sense?"
Darrin and Derrick fought their way forward as Aaron blurted in genuine bewilderment, "What was I doing?"
Darrin bellowed before a sound could exit this stern woman's mouth, "SUPERKID! Wait for us!" He and Derrick finally managed to make it into the circle where Aaron (now Superkid again), his mother, and the reporters stood.
Mrs. Purn glared down at Darrin and Derrick, planting her fists on her hips again. "What is the meaning of this?"
"Uh…" Darrin glanced at the monstrous arachnid. It was still rocking and cursing profusely, so he continued, "Aar—er—he," Darrin jerked his head to the young hero, "turns into a fearless person when you call him Superkid. And when you call him by his real name, he goes back to his original self."
Everyone turned to Darrin with confusion written on their faces. Derrick, sensing danger, gave Darrin a fake look of bewilderment. It wasn't very convincing and it disappeared after Darrin elbowed him in annoyance. Mrs. Purn shook her head. "What?"
"Okay," Darrin tried again, "Superkid…" he patted his fearless friend on the shoulder, "…fought the spider and remembers the whole thing."
Superkid shrugged. "So?"
Darrin continued. "Aaron…" once again he patted his now-not-so-fearless friend on the shoulder, "…doesn't remember the battle at all. He wouldn't even have been in it if you hadn't called him Superkid."
"In other words," Derrick interrupted, "he has a split personality."
Murmurs rippled through the crowd. Mrs. Purn shook her head and said, "So you're saying Aaron is two different people in one?"
"Yes!" Darrin cried in relief that she had caught on.
"And saying his two names will transform him into those two people?"
Mrs. Purn glanced at Aaron who returned her look with confusion. She asked, "Why?"
Darrin raised his upturned hands. "I don't know. But we found about this a week ago."
"And you didn't tell me?" Mrs. Purn growled.
Darrin gulped. He had hoped he would never have to tell her (Can you really blame him?).
Mrs. Purn's nostrils flared and she breathed deeply as she tried to keep her cool. She was notorious for having a short temper. And the next few minutes saw why.
"DID IT NEVER OCCUR TO YOU TO TELL ME ABOUT THIS THE SECOND YOU DISCOVERED THIS? DID IT NEVER OCCUR TO YOU THAT THIS MIGHT BE SERIOUS? THAT HE NEEDED MEDICAL ATTENTION? DID YOU THINK YOU COULD CURE HIM YOURSELF? OR MAYBE THAT IT WAS SOMETHING THAT WOULD GO AWAY ON ITS OWN? DO YOU REALIZE HOW IRRESPONSIBLE…"
Boy, did she let him have it! Darrin quailed under the full force of her fury. Derrick didn't dare to move, hoping that by keeping as still as possible she wouldn't see him. As for the rest of the people there, they could feel the shockwaves. Even the spider was paralyzed by the effects, its mouth agape.
After perhaps a century or two, her voice exhausted itself and she was left breathing heavily. Darrin by this time had become so tense that it would be quite a while before he could move his little finger again. He would have some company at least because Derrick couldn't move either.
Aaron was trying to hide in his mother's blind spot—if she had one. He wasn't so sure that she did when she suddenly grabbed his arm with a jerk and said, "I'm going to take Aaron to a doctor and have him checked out. In the meantime, I don't want anyone…" on the crowd she cast her gaze like a death ray (with far more devastating consequences: she made them feel like little schoolchildren), "…to call him by his other name. Is that clear?"
As one they all murmured, "Yes, Mrs. Purn."
With that, Mrs. Purn marched her son to the car to take him to a doctor who might be able to diagnose and treat his strange split personality.
And thus concludes the story of his first super battle. But despite what Mrs. Purn tried, it certainly wasn't going to be his last…