The following piece was presented at Jersey City Writers’ literary event – Superheroes & Supervillains: A Night of Dynamic Dare-do-well and Dastardly Deeds. Please enjoy.
My fist was on its trajectory to connect with Super Villain’s left jaw when my iPhone buzzed. My mind raced. Was it a text about an emergency at Day Care, the latest bargain at Kmart or…
Ack! How had my fist missed? How had Super Villain managed to dangle me upside down by my ankles? How had my utility belt ended up on the ground, which I might have been able to reach if had grown talons to meet the employee requirements stated in Section 2-D of the company handbook. Aghggh!
Tears were pouring from my eyes. I was supposed to be Stoic Woman and yet here I was once more doing exactly what HR had written me up for: crying in a professional setting. The thought that I could lose my bonus or even be fired for crying while in my Superhero Corporation uniform just made the tears fall faster.
But my more immediate problem was that I was supposed to be vanquishing Super Villain, not hanging from his hands with no ideas about how to extricate myself. I was a failure as Stoic Woman. It was past time for me to get a grip and form a plan.
Getting a grip was exactly what I managed to do. I grabbed his tights and snagged a hole in them. Super Villain let go of one of my legs as he inspected the damage to his fashion statement. I kicked his Adam’s apple until he let go of my other leg. I pushed against his shin to propel myself into a double flip with a half twist. Had I been competing in the Olympics, my execution of that maneuver would have earned me at least a 9.75. Although my eyes were still emitting buckets of water, I didn’t care. I could now finish off Super Villain once and for all.
I grabbed the silly string can from my utility belt to cement his feet into place, but the contents didn’t spew. The other super heroes and I had warned the company that the generic brand didn’t work. Instead of tossing the defective cans, it appeared that Procurement had pasted a fake label on the emission-less can. Dang cost cutting measures! I wondered if that would foil me in my quest to rid the world of this scum bag.
Indeed that seemed to be the case, because Super Villain somehow managed to get me in a headlock. Once again, I faced the prospect of failing to stop Super Villain from feasting on babies, not to mention the probability I would die without achieving my mission. I needed a new plan. The company hadn’t included headlock releases in our orientation as a result of budget cuts, but at least I’d learned techniques in my Life Guard training that might work.
I pushed up on his left elbow, hurled my barbed hook, and latched it onto his mask. I spun him around like a ballerina to tie him up with the rope I’d snatched from a cowboy riding by at just the right moment.
The crowd cheered at the sight of Super Villain drowning in the pond created by my tears. I wept even more and waved at them while I hopped onto the cross town bus to get back to headquarters.
As soon as I swiped my ID card at the door, HR escorted me into a conference room. They said they had no choice but to fire me for my unprofessional behavior. Of course, tears were pouring down my face as I tried to make my case that crying was a legitimate super power. After all, it had enabled me to rid the world of Super Villain, an accomplishment that no one else at Super Hero Corporation had been able to do. Furthermore, if they would let me change my Superhero name to Sobbing Woman, there would be no added budgetary impact, since I could still wear the same costume.
My arguments were in vain. They sacked me anyway, but it didn’t matter. I may have lost my gig at Superhero Corporation, but hundreds of companies contacted me through LinkedIn after seeing me on the news. Tears streamed down my face as I interviewed them to determine which would be most tolerant of the emotionally challenged, offer the highest salary, and give me the best benefits. After a bidding war for Super Sobbing Woman’s services, I finally made my decision — based on the most important criterion. I chose the company that agreed to stock my utility belt with the highest quality tools. And ever since that day, I have continued to weep in the line of duty. Most importantly, I have never again faced the heartbreak of spew-less silly string.