Blink’s First Adventure | 2 | 3 | 4
Superhero Summer Camp (this one): 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19
“That sounds cool.”
“And he really wants to see you, Stevie. I told him it would be okay if he picked you up tomorrow around eleven. You’re seeing Sarika on Sunday, right?”
Stevie paused. That’s right, three-day weekend. No school Monday. “Yeah. I guess that’ll be okay.”
To Stevie’s amazement, Dad showed up at five minutes to eleven. He had never been on time for a visitation before. He had a new car—a different one, anyway. Nothing fancy, but it looked and felt solid. “The old one finally gave up the ghost,” was all Dad said about it.
They said nothing important on the way. Dad stole nervous glances at Stevie, who curled up and watched the road. Back to the state park for more Frisbee, he guessed. To his surprise, though, Dad stopped at the Dari-Freez. “It’s about lunch time,” Dad explained. “Can’t have a boys’ afternoon out on an empty stomach.”
“Can I get the Choco-Peanut Explosion for dessert?” Stevie asked, thinking about the one he had left on the table a few weeks ago.
“Tell you what. We’ll split one. Sound good?”
“Sure.” Truth be told, after last night’s patrol, Stevie could have downed the entire dish and not worried about the calories. He only spent two hours on patrol each weekend, a compromise after tense emails with both Captain Heroic and Professor Zero once they found out, but he stayed busy for those two hours. Holdups, break-ins, even a stalker this time. After he told them The real supers should be doing this stuff, the banks can afford to hire security, not much more was said.
The Dari-Freez was crowded on a holiday weekend. When they finally got to the register, they ordered burgers and fries, since those were ready to go, and found a table. “Your mom said you got to go to summer camp,” said Dad, as they unwrapped the burgers and squirted ketchup onto the paper. “How was it?”
“A lot of fun,” said Stevie. “I guess Mom told you about Sarika.”
“Uh-huh. She showed me the picture, she’s a cutie. First girlfriend and everything. Quite a trip, then?”
“Well, enjoy it while it lasts. Your mom said that camp did you a world of good. She said you’ve really grown up. You’ll be a Steve soon, maybe a Steven.”
“I guess.” Stevie shrugged.
“Yeah. Well, don’t be in a hurry to grow up, okay?” Stevie looked up at his dad, surprised, as Dad continued, “I know you feel responsible for your mom, but being an adult sucks. All the responsibility, keeping up appearances…” He sighed. “I’ll tell you more, but not here. At the park, where we’ll have a little more quiet.”
After they finished, Dad went back and got a Choco-Peanut Explosion as promised. They dug in, but Dad let Stevie have the lion’s share, assuring Stevie he’d had enough. Stevie had no problem with that, and left the container empty.
At the park, another surprise. Instead of throwing a Frisbee in the open field, Dad had a disc golf set. He let Stevie get used to how the different discs performed, then they got started in earnest.
“Anyway,” said Dad, as they ambled across the field after their tee throws. “I was starting to say at the restaurant, I got my priorities all messed up last year. I didn’t send the support money because I didn’t have it. But I was all wrapped up in keeping up appearances, being an adult, all that crap. If I’d admitted I’d been laid off in the first place, and was really close to getting foreclosed on… well, it wouldn’t have paid your mom’s bills, but there would have been more understanding. Sometimes, you think you’re ready to be responsible… well, you know what I’m saying. You’re a smart kid.”
“I think so.”
“Fortunately, things got better recently. Here’s your disc. Found a new job, one of those foundations bought my mortgage so they could cancel it, catching up on stuff, yadda yadda yadda.” They threw their discs; Stevie’s stopped short of a stream and Dad’s went over it. “Anyway,” Dad continued as they approached the stream, “I really brought you out here to tell you something. But you have to promise to keep it a secret. You can’t tell your mom. Or anyone else, but especially your mom.”
“You got another family.” Stevie’s voice was flat.
“What?” Dad snorted. “No, it’s not that. I don’t even have a girlfriend. I haven’t even dated since your mom and I split up.”
“Really. I wanted to tell you this last year, but I chickened out. But—you keep up with all the hero stuff, right? Yeah. So you know about this Blink kid. He’s your age, and he even sounds like you. I was a little worried that it might be you at first, until your mom told me you were at camp. But I kept thinking to myself, that coulda been you, and I can’t dodge being your dad anymore.”
“Huh.” Now Stevie was interested. His alter ego had brought Dad back into his life?
“So anyway, I called your mom, and we talked, and I fessed up to my own financial issues. That was a little easier to do, now that I could fix things. That’s something you’ll find out about when you get older, you’re more comfortable about talking over a problem when you know how to fix it. Something… something else, and this is just between us. When you get to be eighteen, maybe a little older, you might find you have some—some special abilities.”
Stevie snorted. “What? Like I’m gonna be a superhero or something? Yeah, right.” He allowed himself a little pride on his delivery.
“Not a superhero, not exactly. Like I said, you have to tell no one. Promise?” Stevie nodded, intrigued, and Dad looked around. Nobody in sight. “I’m—I guess I should show you.”
Stevie’s jaw dropped as Dad hurdled the ten-foot stream from a standing start, then picked up his disc and leaped back. “Son… I’m Jaguar.”
Coming soon: My Dad, the Supervillain!