Superhero Studies 101

Dearest Rachel –

I’m going to have to hurry on this; it’s fairly late for a morning (nearly eight o’clock already!), and there’s not a lot of time before Kris gets here, with a memory fades. As a result, I think this is gonna be one of my shoulder letters. Hope you don’t mind.

In any event, I was apparently studying to be a superhero. I’d make comparisons to My Hero Academia, except I haven’t watched any of the show, so I have no idea what that’s like. It felt more like Hogwarts for superheroes, since it was more real life/live action than you might expect a superhero movie to be (yeah, you can tell that I haven’t watched any of the Marvel universe stuff – I still think of superhero stuff as being like the comics – all bright colors and flashy moves).

To continue with the Hogwarts analogy, I think I must’ve been a first year; most of us really didn’t have any particular heroic traits to focus on and nurture. So the main class we were taking was sort of like learning how to be Iron Man (or Batman – basically the rich badass normal who builds his own mecha to combat crime or whatever).

Although, in fairness, the class I was participating in felt a bit more like BattleBots in that respect. Each of us were designing a one-eighth scale model tank design to compete against each other’s. And for whatever reason, I was not trying very hard to make something particularly invincible. Maybe I was hoping my other classmates would get a leg up, and I figured I’d let my rounded-at-every-single-corner, egg-shaped model be something of a sacrificial lamb. After all, half the class would lose the first round – might as well concede that to some of my other classmates who were struggling a bit more than I was. Not that I was top of the class by any stretch.

I don’t recall much of the details of that first round set of battles. I also don’t recall who I was competing against, as none of my classmates seemed particularly remarkable. No Malfoys, no Weasleys, no one brilliant or brainy, no one particularly inept. All I can recall is that, much to my surprise, I won my round. What projectiles struck my tank all sort of glanced off, and when the battle got particularly bad, I flipped a switch on my remote control (yes, of course these were all RC vehicles – at that scale no one’s going to be inside controlling them), and wings unfolded from around the turret and conning tower (exposing them as being more conventionally-shaped for a tank), lifting it away from the field of battle.

Oh, and a quick word about that field of battle. Rather than some secret location in the Scottish moors, it was a fairly nondescript school-like building, right out here in the suburbs (although the area didn’t seem anything like any of the towns around here, specifically). Close enough to the city to get the action in short order should need arise, but far enough away that your typical non-super wouldn’t really think to look for anything unusual out here. After all, nobody gives any thought to the suburbs. The field was fairly large, not unlike a typical park out here. What was a little weird was that Restaurant Row sort of lined up against the edge of it. The reason I say that is I noticed there was a Chili’s there – and just like the actual one on the north side of town here, it seems to have been closed. Inverted sign and all.

At any rate, the tank landed on my shoulder, perching there like an eagle, and folded up its wings. As this was the last battle of the class period, The professor acknowledged the odd battle tactics with a slightly impressed air (although he did point out the object was to defeat the enemy and not to retreat from him).

Said professor looked an awful lot like modern-day Sylvester McCoy (right). And why not? Even his companion called him ‘Professor.’ And he looks that much more the part at this point.

He closed out the class period by congratulating the winners, expressing regret that we had neither the time nor the materials to scale our prototypes up and put them into mass production, because we had an alien invasion on our hands right then and there.

Klaxons went off, and everybody was scrambling to prepare for said invasion. What stood out to me, as I looked on from an upper story classroom window, tank still perched on my shoulder like an pet bird, was the lineup of faculty and upperclasses in the courtyard. Each one in their turn would step forward, utter their power phrase (“By the power of Greyskull!” “Shazam!” that sort of thing. Only not those, as these superheroes – and would-be superheroes – weren’t recognizable as belonging to any franchise that we know of), transform from naked civilians (oh did them and did I mention that they started out naked? I mean, they ruin their civilian clothes otherwise), and fly off or dash off or teleport or however they would leave in their superhero form. It was like Marvel meets Busby Berkeley.

And that was pretty much it. Heck, I think I may have embellished it since waking up, in order to keep it in my head long enough to commit it to text. Not that it’s important or anything.

Mostly because I’m not that important. Were I a king or pharaoh, this would be of some significance, and I have people trying desperately to figure out what it meant. In my case, I only have myself. Unless you happen to know what this means, and would be willing to tell me?

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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