Last Saturday during the MICF I had the opportunity of being one of the guests on Fan Fiction Comedy, a great show starring some very talented New Zealand comedians. The idea of the show is that you take pre-existing characters in any medium and write a tale about them. The majority of them were very funny. Adam Richard wrote a heartbreaking Doctor Who tale which you can read here. I decided to write a story about one of my favourite comic book characters The Flash. If you don't know what he looks like check this out. This is the story I would write for kids if I worked on the title, hope you enjoy:
The Flash: A Hero In A Man’s World
My name is Barry Allen.
The world knows me best as the fastest man alive, the superhero called The Flash.
I can run quicker than light. I can vibrate to other dimensions. I have fought gods at the edge of time and space.
But sometimes being a hero is not enough.
My tale takes place in my hometown of Central City.
One morning I was having breakfast in my favourite café with my favourite person in my life, my wife Iris Allen. We were talking about my need to slow down.
“I worry about you Barry,” Iris said.
“You don’t need to worry about me Iris, I’m the fastest man alive. Besides, if I ended up in trouble I have some pretty reliable friends in Metropolis and Gotham who would bail me out.”
“That isn’t what I’m worried about. You run all over the world saving people and preventing disasters I wonder if you get enough time to just be a normal man? When was the last time you took comfort in just being Barry?”
Iris made a good point. She’s the smartest person I know so I always try to listen to what she says.
As I was about to reply I looked up into the sky and saw a shower of paper fall to the ground, floating gently in the stillness of the morning. One of the pieces of paper landed on our table and appeared to have some writing on it. I picked it up and read it. In crayon it said, “I need the Flash.” I looked up into the sky and at the top of the building I could see someone sitting on the edge of the building.
I looked at Iris and without missing a beat she said, “Go.”
Without hesitation I began to run. I became a crimson and gold blur as I changed into my uniform and defied gravity by running up the side of the building. I arrived at the top before the final papers could hit the ground.
Sitting on the edge of the building was a little boy.
“That was quick,” the little boy said.
“Quick is what I do best,” I replied.
The little boy swung his legs around and stood up. He was tiny in frame with thick glasses that made his eyes look too big for his head. He wore a red t-shirt with my lightning emblem on the chest. He walked up to me with his hand outstretched.
“Hello Mr Flash, my name is Jarrod. I need you to save my father.”
I took his hand firmly in mine.
“Nice to meet you Jarrod. What has happened to your father? Has Captain Cold kidnapped him? The Pied Piper bedevilled him? The Ringmaster ringed him?”
For a moment the morning sun caught Jarrod’s glasses and I could see sadness in his eyes.
“No, my father is dead.”
“What happened to him?” I ask. “Was he murdered by a super villain? Did one of my enemies cross the line and you want me to bring him in?”
Jarrod shook his head.
“No, my father died of cancer and I need you to bring him back to life.”
I felt myself involuntarily exhale.
“What do you mean?”
Jarrod looked down, paused and then looked up again. He suddenly seemed taller as he gathered himself to make his pitch. I could tell he had rehearsed this many times in his head and this was his moment.
“I know you’re the greatest hero who ever lived and I know all about you. I know you defeated the Anti Moniter on the edge of the universe when you ran around his super cannon until it exploded and you saved the multiverse. I know that you played chess with Despero on top of the defeated members of the Justice League of America and when you ran out of pieces you used the Atom as a final gambit to save everyone’s lives. I know you outran death itself and came back from the unknown after battling your evil mirror image in the depths of Hell. All superheroes return from the dead.”
“Can you bring my Dad back?”
I didn’t know what to say. My best friends are the greatest heroes the universe has ever seen. I have stared down the worst of evil and indeed returned from the dead. Yet never had I felt more powerless.
“I’m sorry Jarrod. It doesn’t work that way. Yes a lot of superheroes return from the dead, that is why when one of us goes down in battle we pray for a resurrection but I can’t change nature, it would upset the status quo of life.”
I felt terrible but what could I do?
Jarrod looked at me, blinked twice, then nodded.
“That’s okay Mr Flash, I understand. I just felt I would have let my Dad down if I didn’t ask.”
I looked at the little boy my mind racing searching for a solution.
“Where do you live Jarrod?”
“Over by Waid Creek.”
“Feel like going for a run?”
For the first time Jarrod smiled.
I picked Jarrod up and had him wrap his arms and legs around my back.
“Hold on tight little fella, we’re about to speed up.”
I ran down the side of the building, one arm holding onto Jarrod to keep him in place, his arms tight around my shoulders. We ran through the streets of Central City, people moving so slowly it was like running through a city of statues. I could hear Jarrod squealing in delight and while I enjoyed his excitement my heart was heavy with the fact that I could not bring his father back from the dead.
Within the blink of an eye we arrived at his home.
“Was that fun Jarrod?”
“The best Mr Flash.”
The door opened and a woman appeared in the doorway. Her dark hair fell across her face, her clothes hung limply from her frame, her eyes red with what looked like tears. She was beautiful even in this distressed state. She barely noticed I was there looking straight at her son.
“Where have you been Jarrod? I’ve been looking for you everywhere.”
“I went looking for Mr Flash. I thought he could bring dad back to life.”
I thought his Mother might start crying.
“You have a lovely son,” I said. I felt bad for using such a cliché but I didn’t know what else to say. Nothing I could say would take away her obvious grief.
“Jarrod, could you go to your room for a moment please?”
“Am I in trouble?”
Jarrod’s mother shook her head.
“Of course not, I just need to talk to the Flash.”
“Okay. Thanks for bringing me home Mr Flash.”
“It was the least I could do Jarrod. How about I stop by tomorrow and maybe we could go for another run?”
Jarrod’s Mum shook her head.
“I don’t think that is a good idea.”
“Jarrod, please, just give me a moment with the Flash.”
Jarrod shuffled his feet and walked inside. I looked at his Mum. I knew I had done something wrong but I wasn’t certain what that wrong thing was.
“Ma’am, if you think I made a promise I couldn’t keep, I can guarantee I will be here tomorrow…”
She looked at me and smiled a sad smile.
“I know you would keep your promise. You’re the Flash; you’re his second greatest hero behind his father. I know that you mean well but what you don’t understand is you’re too big for this.”
I didn’t understand what she meant but before I could say anything she explained.
“You have saved the Earth so many times. You have been all over the universe and have friends that can count molecules with their super vision or move planets with the shrug of their shoulders. But you’re too much. You’re living mythology, in your own way you’re a god amongst men and what Jarrod needs most is the company of a normal man that he can relate to, that he can be inspired by. I know you mean the best, you are the best, but this is too much.”
She was right. After all the good things I have done the last thing she needed was a man in red tights setting an example that no boy could live up to. I nodded. It was best I left as soon as possible.
As I started to turn I had an idea.
I turned back and said, “Hey, before I go, what about this for an idea?”
The next day I rang the doorbell at Jarrod’s house. Inside I could hear Jarrod yell to his Mum that he was going to answer the door. I could hear his Mum yell back that she had the door. As the door opened they stood there together and looked at me.
“Hi, my name is Barry Allen, the Flash told me you could use a friend.”
Wednesday 4th of April, 2012