Teen Superhero sleeps through history class. She’s not interested in the past. She’s a creature of the present. She likes math, and physics. Calculating angles and velocity are crucial and necessary in her line of work. English isn’t as necessary, but she likes it. She likes stories of revenge or redemption. She likes lovers from opposing camps, though she doesn’t like when they die in the end. Teen Superhero wants to save those young lovers. She wants to save everybody.
“You can’t save everybody,” her mentor tells her.
Teen Superhero believes she can save her mentor. As a narrator, I know that Teen Superhero will save her mentor 16 times. 5 of those times will be lifesaving, while the others will be significant injury. She will be away at college when her mentor suffers a heart attack. The thing about saving people is that they continue to need saving.
Teen Superhero has a popular Instagram account. She posts selfies with fans. She posts selfies eating food from local businesses. She posts selfies with the criminals she defeats. The criminals promise they’ll go straight. They say that her boot to their jaw was all they really needed to give up their life of crime. Many of them are telling the truth. They post comments to her photos.
“You’re so beautiful!”
“The nicest person to ever knock me out!”
“I love their tacos too!”
“Follow me back!”
Teen Superhero feels alienated from her peers. They do not know the satisfying crunch of breaking a bad guy’s nose for justice. She does not know why people giggle when she walks by. She doesn’t get their references, or know what people are talking about. She’d like friends, but friends could be used against her. When would she see friends when she has to train and patrol and do homework. What would they talk about?
Sometimes her peers talk about her, but they don’t know that it’s her. They talk about her Instagram posts, and what she ate last night. They call her brave, or crazy, or super hot.
“She broke my cousin’s arm, that shits not right.”
“I’d let her break my arm.”
“Dude, that’s weird.”
She thinks she’d like to break his arm. People are easier to talk to once you’ve broken their bones. Teen Superhero knows that this is not the foundation for healthy friendships. But she still wants to break his arm, and then kiss his stupid face.
She doesn’t. But that night on patrol, even her mentor accuses her of using excessive force on a couple of petty thieves.
Teen Superhero doesn’t like coming home. It seems no matter when she gets in, her dad is sitting in front of the T.V. and drinking a beer. She doesn’t have to sneak by him. He never asks where she’s been. Sometimes, he asks her to grab him another beer. He never yells at her. Never forces the showdown that she imagines they should have. She wishes he were a bad man, she knows how to deal with bad men, but he’s not. He’s just a disappointment.
Her mentor has told her to patrol less often. He tells her to take some time, enjoy being a teenager. She suspects that she is also a disappointment. She wonders how her dad can stand it. She wants to punch her dad and tell him to be better. She wants to punch her mentor, and promise him that she’ll do better. She wants to roundhouse kick her feelings.
She takes a picture of herself in her costume drinking a La Croix and captions it, “Day off! I love you all!”