Previously in Comic Superhero…
Andrew fronted up at Phat Albert’s for the handing over of the comic. Emily was about to hand over the comic when she trumped him by revealing her knowledge of Andrew’s cheating indiscretion. The final moment was Jackson stepping out of the shadows, his guilt very evident. The fallout continues…
Andres stared at Jackson who dropped his eyes and examined his sneakers, hoping a black hole would form under him. Anger surged through Andrew.
“You freaking bastard!”
Jackson stepped forward, arms out in supplication. “I’m sorry; it was an accident.”
“Back off.” Andrew’s raised hand had the force of halting Superman.
“If this was a film, there would be some sad music playing,” said Joshua. “Do you want some break up music?” He offered a pair of headphones pulled from his jeans’ pocket.
Emily laughed while her minions giggled together.
In a flash of movement, Andrew reached for the display of comics on the counter. Flinging them at Emily they fluttered and dropped like broken birds. In the confusion Andrew pushed through them. Jackson stepped in his way but Andrew pushed past, dropping his shoulder into Jackson’s.
Phat Albert hurried around to the front of the Texas Book Depository scooping up comics.
“Everyone out,” he bellowed at Emily and Joshua
Emily spotted Jackson making a hurried exodus from the confusion.
“I hope you two can kiss and make up,” she said. “I would hate to see The Dynamic Duo broken forever.”
Andrew left the chaos of the comic store behind him and went home. He searched for the heaviest music he could find and crawled inside his headphones. His hands fiddled with the loose pens and paper clips that scattered his desk while his mind plotted all manner of punishments for Jackson. The best he could manage involved paper cuts inflicted on Jackson by his own comics and a small pool of lemon juice.
A Mylar pocket slapped on the desk, dropped over Andrew’s shoulder. He picked it up seeing his prize: the autographed Phantom comic.
Startled he spun in his chair to see Jackson in the middle of his room. “How did you get this?”
“When you threw the comics at Emily and Josh, I went over and took it off the counter.”
His face still etched with fury. “Why did you do it? Why’d you dob me in to Emily,” he accused.
Jackson sunk onto Andrew’s bed and rubbed his hands through his hair.
“I’m sorry. It really was an accident, I swear. I was at the comic store, still pissed off at you, and I was talking to Phat Albert about what had happened with you almost cheating. Joshua came up to the counter to buy something. I didn’t think that he heard what we were talking about. He said nothing when he was there.”
He took a breath. “Whatever he heard, it went back to Emily.”
Digesting the new information slowly, Andrew replayed the week over in his head.
“That kind of explains Emily’s conversation in the library. But why were you so ticked off about me almost cheating? I can’t say I’m proud of what I did, but I don’t get how it affects you.”
Squirming on the bed, Jackson made a face that would not have been out of place in a gurning championship.
“What?” asked Andrew, pushing for a reason.
“That test; well I busted a gut for it and the best I could manage was 60 per cent.” Words began to pour out like a bad takeaway meal. “You, on the other hand, Mr Quiet Achiever, seem to be able to sit back and sail through without having to do anything. You make school work look easy and nothing fazes you. Every test we have doesn’t stress you out.”
“Oh come on, you beat me at Maths all the time.”
“It’s probably the only subject where I can and I’m still having to slog it out just to get by.”
It suddenly dawned on Andrew. “You’re jealous? That’s it, isn’t it? You’re jealous of me getting good marks. Is that what’s been bugging you?”
Jackson shrugged in acknowledgement. “You make it look so easy. I feel like I’m pushing poo uphill with a pointy stick.”
In an act of attempting to repair their friendship, Andrew offered a way out to Jackson. “At least you know what you want to do when you leave school. You’ve got it all mapped out, Mr. Computer Science. You’ve known for years. In your bedroom you have every conceivable computer and games console to muck around with. Since like, Year 8, you’ve said you want to go to uni and do something with computers. We’ve got a few months before school finishes forever and we have to fill in uni applications. I have no idea what I want to do.”
“What’s wrong with that?”
Because when I leave, what have I got? A piece of paper that says, ‘Well done, You’re Smart But Have No Bloody Clue and No Ambition.’ I feel that once I leave the school gates, this big black hole is going to swallow me up. It’s oblivion. Everything I’ve done will be meaningless. I will be nothing. At school, at least I am something.”
“Come on, we’ve been mates for years. Pull your head out of your bum and get some perspective. You’ll find something.”
Jackson apologised. “Sorry for stuffing things up.”
“Sorry for being a jerk.”
“Nah, it’s all good. You know, Emily’s going to be pretty ticked when she finds out you’ve now got the comic.”
Andrew laughed. “I did win it; without cheating. I’ll get back at her for this.”
“I don’t think that revenge is a game you want to get into.”
“It’s not revenge; it’s knowing your enemy as Emily said. Something happened to her. She looks like she’s bullet proof, but there has to be a weakness she doesn’t want people to know. Behind her mask is some deep, hidden secret. Every villain has their origin; it’s time to find out what Emily’s hiding.”