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Monday, April 27, 2015

Blink: Superhero Summer Camp, episode 19

Blink’s earlier adventures:

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

“Whoa,” said Lashaun, as he and Chris stared at the picture Stevie took out of his wallet. Sarika had taken a picture of them, using the woods around Zero Point as a background, and emailed it to him. Mom, of course, had printed one to put in a frame, but printed a smaller one for Stevie’s wallet. “She’s beyond pretty.”

“Nice,” Chris agreed. “Cool that she lives close enough that you can see her. You got to sit with her at the movie yesterday? Do you even remember which one it was?”

Stevie laughed. “Yeah, it was the new Empire of Space flick. She likes them a lot, too.”

“Beauty and brains! You get a chance to play Wizards at all in that summer camp?” Lashaun waved his Wizards of Stolevan deck. They had come out to the park on a fine late-summer Sunday—partly to play Wizards, mostly to get away from the parents for a while.

“Nah. They had most of our days planned out.” Stevie, in truth, had left his deck at home. He so wanted to tell his friends about what really went on… “Guys, can I tell you something? You won’t tell anyone?” He winced, realizing he was about to tell them way too much.

But Chris smirked. “You kissed her, didn’t you?” Lashaun chortled, waiting for the confirmation.

Stevie sighed, partly in relief. “Yeah. During the part where they show everyone’s names afterward. We were waiting to see if there were any outtakes, but there weren’t. Then…” He waved his hands. It was all true. They watched the credits for a minute, then Sarika got his attention. He didn’t mind at all. It was an awesome first kiss. The second one was great, too.

After the whoops, the high-fives, and the laughter, Chris took a seat across from them on the picnic table. “This game ain’t gonna play itself, guys. Let’s get started.”

Stevie was rusty, but it started coming back to him by the time they finished the first round. As he was getting the upper hand in the third round, they gained a spectator: the high school kid who had picked the fight with Stevie back in the spring. His right hand was in a stiff-looking glove. He lit up a cigarette, fanning the smoke toward the card players.

“Not cool,” said Lashaun as Chris abandoned the table in a coughing fit. “He’s allergic.”

“Oh well,” the intruder sneered.

Stevie pointed at the sign on the pillar above them. “The pavilion’s a no-smoking area.”

“What are you gonna do about it?”

“Me? How’s your hand?” Stevie reminded him.

The high schooler flushed and scowled. He tried to clench the gloved hand, but winced. “What’s it to you? I can kick your butt one-handed. Matter of fact, I think I will.”

Stevie glanced over at Chris, who had his cellphone out—getting video, Stevie hoped. An overconfident opponent, whose right hand was probably still not a hundred percent… no need for a superpower this time, fortunately. “Whatever,” said Stevie, standing up. “Let’s get this over with. I guess smoking really does kill your brain.”

Lashaun and Chris gaped. The high school kid suddenly looked a lot less sure of the situation—the weenie wasn’t begging for mercy or running away—but dropped the cigarette and stomped it on the concrete floor.

Stevie walked into the open, about ten feet from the pavilion, and faced the older boy. “Okay, bring it on,” he said, with all the sarcasm a young teen can deliver. “No trees this time. Show us all what a big man you are.”

He expected the high schooler to charge, but instead he came at a brisk walk. Still, he telegraphed his intended left roundhouse long before he swung; Stevie thought he might have been able to block that punch without training.

The fist came around. Move.

“Holy crap!” Chris shouted, as Stevie responded with a flurry of fists, elbows, and knees. He finished with a sweep, leaving the high schooler writhing at Stevie’s feet. The fight lasted three seconds.

“That’s going on Facebook!” Lashaun gasped.

“No,” Stevie countered. “I got a better idea. Tell you what,” he told the high schooler. “You leave us alone from now on, and we won’t put that video all over the Internet. You don’t want all your friends to see how you get owned by an eighth-grader, right? At least you didn’t break anything this time. Except maybe your big fat ego.” He walked back to the pavilion and sat. “Who’s turn was it?”

“Mine,” said Lashaun, sounding awestruck. “That was… that was totally awesome. Sign me up for camp next summer.” Behind Stevie’s back, the high schooler staggered to his feet and moved on.

“Coolest customer ever,” Chris agreed. “I thought you were toast, right up to when you toasted him. You sure you don’t want to put the video online?”

“Yeah. Hang onto it, though. Just in case.”

“Lucky for Frank he passed,” said Lashaun. “He can’t pick on you so much, now that he’s in high school this year. Finally.”

“He was almost okay after that thing with Blink, though,” Chris reminded him. “Speaking of Blink—Stevie, did you catch that interview? That was amazing. I wish I coulda been there.”

“Wiped out a bunch of battle-bots, and got a girlfriend, all in one day,” Lashaun added. “But your girlfriend’s a lot better looking, man. Too bad she goes to some private school on the other side of town.”

“It’s not so bad,” Stevie assured them. “We email all the time. Mom and I are finally gonna get a new computer next weekend, so we’ll be able to do video calls, too.” He yawned.

“Up late?” Chris asked.

“Kind of.” Last night, after Mom went to sleep, Stevie put on his black hoodie and popped outside. Blink spent a couple hours roaming the streets of Skyscraper City—but not the financial district. The supervillains weren’t bothering normal people, and the other heroes could keep them at bay. Blink walked the neighborhoods instead. He found a burglar climbing a ladder to the second story, and pushed the ladder over, dropping the burglar in the bushes. He used his little Super Soaker on a couple in the middle of a domestic, leaving them shocked enough to work things out. He wrote down the address of a meth lab, then called the cops from one of the few pay phones still standing. All in a couple hours, then he went back home and slept.

He thought of Warmonger’s last DM:

@Blinkss14 I won’t badger you anymore. But the offer’s open, whenever you’re ready.

Ready to switch sides, in other words.

Maybe there was a better way. If Warmonger was right, the heroes were defending villains worse than Warmonger’s whole bunch. Busting an occasional purse-snatcher was cool, but that’s not what heroes usually did.

Maybe Blink could change that.


  1. I like how Blink is unsure what path to take. Curious to see where he'll go.

  2. I like Steve/Blink's thoughtfulness. Even when he's taking down the smoking bully, he does it thoughtfully. It's really amazing how focusing on one superpowered kid from the wrong side of the tracks unpacks all the socioeconomic, classist crap that's going on. On one level it's a fun teen superhero story, but if the reader wants to take a step back and join Blink in thoughtfulness, there's a lot to unpack.

  3. Patricia, Blink/Stevie is a teenager… of course he thinks he has a better way!

    Thanks much, Katherine. My favorite kind of comments!


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