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Monday, February 09, 2015

Blink: Superhero Summer Camp, episode 8

Blink’s earlier adventures:

Blink’s First Adventure | 2 | 3 | 4

Superhero Summer Camp (this one): 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

After lunch, Captain Heroic took him back to what he called the Improv Lab. “Pull up a seat,” he said, sliding a plastic chair across the floor. “We’re going to start with a training video.”

Instead of a DVD, Captain Heroic picked up a black rectangle about the size of a big paperback, and stuck it in a matching slot on a device below the TV. “What’s that thing?” Blink asked.

“A VCR,” Captain Heroic chuckled. “Never seen one? Back in the day, they were like a Moxi. You could play rented movies, or your own home videos, or record stuff for later. Then fast-forward through the commercials.” The TV started playing a grainy video, definitely not HD.

“What is this?”

“An old TV show called MacGyver. You could drive a truck through some of the plot holes, but he was a master of improvisation. Every episode, he gets in some kind of jam, and improvs a gadget to help him get out of it.”

“Yeah. Was he a superhero, then?”

“Not like you or me, no. But I guess he could have been a Type III, if he put on a costume and used a different name.”

Blink laughed, and settled in to watch the show. During the part where MacGyver built his gadget, Captain Heroic would pause and rewind the tape to point out certain things. “You need to get in the habit of looking around, wherever you are,” Captain Heroic pointed out. “You never know when you’re going to have a crisis, and you need to be thinking about what anything around you—and I mean anything—could be used for in a pinch.”

“At least I won’t have to do that now,” Blink replied. “There’s a little of everything in here.”

“Well, sure. The first few exercises are gonna be simple. You probably won’t need to hack anything, just find something and use it. Think of it like a puzzle. But in the real world, the puzzle will kick your butt if you don’t solve it.”

“That just fills me with confidence,” said Blink, and Captain Heroic laughed.

“Take a look around the room,” said Captain Heroic. “If anything stands out to you, pick it up and check it out.”

“Sure.” The room was full of junk, like someone had taken the contents of a thrift store and dumped it on the tables at random. Blink poked at some of the stuff, then picked up a mini-Super Soaker. “Hm.”

“Okay,” said the old superhero. “What could you use that for?”

“A buncha stuff.  Short out electrical junk. Squirt someone’s face to blind them for a minute. Put a little vinegar in it to make it sting. Lashaun put glass cleaner in one once, to nail this dog that kept trying to attack him. A few shots of that, and the dog left him alone.” He picked up a thin strap with a camera company’s logo. “Use something like this to keep from having to hold it when you don’t need it.”

“Good thought. Are you gonna just tie it on?”

“It would be better if there was a loop, but yeah.”

“Modify it. There’s glue and a utility knife on the table behind you.”

Blink picked up the tools. “What do I use for hey, can I use this decoration thing?”

“That’s what it’s there for. Whatever you need.”

“Cool.” Blink got busy cutting and gluing. “How much time do I got?”

“For today, as much time as you need. But I’m gonna put you through the wringer later.”


Captain Heroic laughed. “While the glue’s drying on that, let’s do a quick exercise.” He pointed to a whimsical target hung on the wall, a zombie in a three-piece suit. “That zombie is shambling toward a little kid. How are you gonna distract it?”

Blink grunted and looked around. “Yeah.” He picked up a fragment of brick. “Hey! Zombie! Over here!” He threw the chunk at the target.

“Okay, now it’s coming for you. Take it out.”

“Oh, crap. I don’t guess you have a sword laying around in here.”

“Nope,” Captain Heroic chuckled. “Good thought, though. What else could you use to take it out?”

“That squirt gun ain’t gonna faze it.” Blink looked at the junk arrayed on the tables. “If I was a weight-lifter, I could use that bowling ball—”

“Try it out! It’s almost on you!”

Blink picked up the bowling ball, and found it lighter than expected. “Yeah. I pop behind him and bash his head in.”

“Good thinking. You have an actual superpower, so that can make a big difference when it comes to improvising. Type III heroes like me, we like to carry a bunch of stuff around. I can usually figure something out, though.” Captain Heroic laughed. “That utility belt isn’t a movie prop. For me or Ultra Woman.”

“I guess.”

“You won’t have to guess by the time I’m through with you. Let’s try another exercise…”


  1. Oh Larry, don't make me feel old by reminding me that I know and have used a VCR. =P

  2. If that VCR gives you trouble, don't just jimmy it, macgyver it!

  3. Patricia, don't feel bad… I remember when they first came out. :-/

    David, Captain Heroic says to tell you he has two or three of them that he raids for parts.

  4. Yep, this chapter was like a teen episode of MacGyver. Loved it.


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