After we met Blink last week, he wanted to let you know about his first adventure…
“Yeah.” Stevie Winkler scooted over a little on his stool, giving his friend Chris some room to set his cafeteria tray.
“Man,” Chris enthused, “wouldn’t it be awesome, to have superpowers like that? Ultra Woman said he was a kid.” He swept a dramatic arm across the cafeteria. “That means it could be someone in here, even!”
Stevie put on what he hoped didn’t look like a fake grin. “Yeah. Kinda like Robin, huh?”
“Except he’s not a sidekick.” Chris looked around the cafeteria, and waved at Lashaun, carrying his tray.
“I guess you heard, huh?” Lashaun took a stool across from them. “Any ideas who it is?”
“Could be anyone,” said Stevie. “Probably goes to a private school or something.”
“Yeah, those rich kids have all the luck,” said Chris.
They ate, talking about their classes and teachers, pausing to watch as girls walked by. As they took their trays to the dropoff window, Marla Davis came up behind them. “Did you hear?”
“Hear what?” Chris asked.
“Frank Crain is Blink!”
“No way,” said Stevie. He knew exactly who Blink was, and it wasn’t Frank Crain. Frank should have been in ninth grade, but got held back last year.
“He’s telling everyone,” Marla insisted, pointing across the cafeteria to a gathering crowd.
The boys followed Marla over to where Frank was holding court. “How do you know it isn’t him?” Lashaun asked Stevie.
“A real super wouldn’t give away his secret identity,” Stevie whispered.
“Yeah, but who’s gonna call him on it?” Chris shook his head.
“…so DeVine was trying to wrap me up in his plants,” Frank was telling the growing crowd of admirers, “and I just kept popping in and out and all about.” He grinned at the unintentional rhyme. “Then I got an idea, and started going around him. He kept chasing me with his plants, and I got him wrapped up in his own tangle!”
That’s not how it went down, Stevie thought, although Frank’s story was a lot more exciting than what really happened. He and DeVine had just talked until Ultra Woman showed up, then DeVine escaped through the ceiling.
“Yeah, and Ultra Woman said I was awesome,” Frank concluded.
“If you’re really Blink,” Stevie called over the other kids’ heads, “give us a little demonstration.”
All heads turned to Stevie, and those closest to him edged away. “I don’t have to show you nothin’,” Frank sneered.
“Whatever.” Stevie snorted softly and rolled his eyes. “C’mon, guys,” he told Chris and Lashaun. “Mr. Eng don’t like us being late for Geometry.”
A rough hand grabbed his arm and jerked him back, and Stevie found himself nose to nose with a much larger Frank. “You callin’ me a liar?”
“Is that how a superhero rolls?” Stevie asked, loud enough for everyone around to hear. “Bullying kids a head shorter than him?”
Frank glanced around at the skeptical faces, then quickly let Stevie go. “I just don’t like bein’ called a liar, is all,” he grumbled. “You got class. Don’t be late.”
“That wasn’t too bright,” said Lashaun. “He coulda punched your lights out.”
“Yeah, but then everybody woulda known he’s talkin’ crap,” said Stevie. “He can’t go pushin’ everyone around, now, or he proves he’s no hero. It was worth the risk.”
“That reminds me,” said Chris, “whatever happened with that dork from high school who was gonna kick your butt?”
“Oh, that.” Stevie had his cover story ready; that was when he’d discovered his ability to teleport. “He put me up against a tree. I ducked, and he hit the tree. I think he broke his hand, but I took off while he was yelling about it.”
Stevie was doing homework a week later, surrounded by the crumbs of a freezer pizza, when Mom came in from work around nine. “Hi, hon,” she said, heading for the bathroom.
“Hey, Mom,” he said, eyeing the bulging envelope on the table. “The PTA sent a flyer home about the bake sale, and some lady came by and dropped off an envelope.”
“I don’t know if we’ll be able to help with the bake sale, hon,” said Mom, over the flushing toilet. “If your father pays the child support this month, maybe. Same with the religious thing, whatever that was.”
“Uh, I don’t think it was a religious thing,” said Stevie, as Mom came in to look over the mail. “She said something about a single mothers foundation.”
“Yeah. Maybe this is stuffed with cash, then,” Mom said sarcastically, ripping the envelope open. She gasped. “Oh my God,” she whispered. She sat down, and Stevie thought it was just luck that she landed in a chair. She fished the cash out of the envelope. “Oh my God,” she said again.
“Wow, it was cash!” Stevie tried hard to sound surprised. “How much?”
“Oh, I…” Mom started counting, but her hands were shaking too hard. “Can you count it, Stevie?”
“Sure.” Stevie counted out the twenties and fifties. “Fifteen hundred,” he said at last.
“Wow,” she breathed. “That’s the house payment, right there. Talk about a big help. If your dad gets off his ass and sends your support check, I’ll be able to put something back for your college for a change. I’m surprised they’d hand out cash, though.”
“I dunno, ma. They just dropped off the envelope. I didn’t know what was in it.”
“I know.” Mom slid a twenty to Stevie. “This will make up at least some of your missed allowance.” The phone rang. “If you’re done with the pizza, Stevie, why don’t you get that? I thought I wasn’t hungry, but now…” she shrugged.
Stevie recognized Lashaun’s number on the caller ID. “Hey.”
“Stevie!” Lashaun sounded almost frantic. “Did you hear?”
“Frank Crain disappeared!”