Monday, February 25, 2008


The good news, if you want to call it that, Brice is ok. He came out of the tunnel just as I went back for him. The bad news, however, I’ve got a few hours before I can get into see Crystal. I felt like I had a matted and tangled afro going on – even though I was over exaggerating.

I didn’t stay for pleasantries after coming back out of the tunnel. As far as I saw it, they could handle the rest. My plan was to change clothes and swing by Ean’s crib on the way to get my hair corn-rowed again. Ean must have taken off the moment he came out of the tunnel. It’s just like him to not hang around. My guess was he was halfway home, ready to take a drink.

It goes without saying that I jumped in the shower as soon as I got in. I didn’t bother to keep my head from getting wet since I was certain I would see Crystal tonight. After all that steam frizzed me out, she’d better not cancel. As I stared into the fridge, I shook my head at the fact there was nothing there I wanted to eat. I grabbed my phone and sent a text to Ean to meet me for dinner. I also sent a text to Tina, Marc, Derrick and Leah. I needed to chill with the whole crew.

Thankfully, when I show up to Friday’s, the server makes our usual table ready. We gather at least once a week to eat here. Most patrons don’t like the table in the back corner, so it’s usually available for us. I would start my night off with a Long Island Iced Tea. The rest was to be determined.

Walking through the maze of tables, I felt a tug on my jacket. I turned to see a large framed female with long fingernails. She had on a Wal-Mart vest and a name tag that read Diamond.

“My friend say she knows you…” She didn’t bother with ‘excuse me’ or ‘hello’ first.

I glanced at the table, preparing to assure “Diamond” that she had me mixed up with another guy. Then I noticed Candice among the four ladies seated. I smiled before I knew I was smiling. “Hi ladies…”

I really didn’t know what to say. What does one say to their future wife while she is drowned in a pool of soon to be drunk man-haters? I assume they are man-haters from the aggressive tug Diamond offered to get my attention.

Candice waved. I nodded to remain cool, then followed with polite conversation. “I don’t get to see you much. They moved me to another office.” I think I already told her that, I couldn’t remember.

“Then we will have to find some other place to meet up and talk.” Her voice was so sexy. I wondered if it might be too appropriate to go on and propose to her, right then and there.

“Candice…” One of the other girls interrupted. “Does his hair always look like that?” She frowned at me as if I had just been assaulted by the monkeys in the zoo.

“Oh, Candice...” Diamond didn’t want for a response to the other girl. “I thought you liked that superhero guy. He probably look much better than him.” Perhaps to Diamond, I wasn’t really standing there.

I won’t lie. I was embarrassed. I faked my smile from that point on, awkwardly waved and stepped back toward my table. This chick has some rude friends. I hope she drops them by the time we are married.

I sat at my table and ordered my drink. I did my absolute best not to look at any of the women at that table, even Candice. I was so happy to see my friends arrive – oddly enough, Derrick was the last one to get there. Though his timing was a perfect match to the arrival of my drink, Derrick didnt bring as much joy.

"Dispatch wants to see you. Now!" Derrick looked sort of depressed.

"About what?" I picked up my drink to take a sip when Derrick took it from me.

"I'm serious. Something about a hearing. Dispatch wants you at HQ, right now." Derrick sat my drink at another table. They seemed all too pleased to drink it. Nasty bastards.

"Derrick, I don't know what is going on... All I want to do is spend some time with my friends and get my hair corn-rowed. Is that too much to ask?" I just didn't want to fight about anything else right now. "Can I be left alone for just one minute?"

"Just go, Leroy." Tina chimed.

"Yeah, we'll go with you." Leah added.

"Just Leroy." Derrick looked at them. He was like a different person right now.

"We will all go." Marc stood to stare at Derrick - as if to say his word was final.

Derrick finally relaxed and agreed. We had just gotten out of the front before I realized that I had forgotten to pay for my drink. So, as a group, we quickly decided that Derrick should cover it - sucks to be the messenger.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


I thought maybe my mind was playing tricks on me. Perhaps I had been down here too long, a victim of complete darkness and artificial light. Luminous reappeared, along with Enigma, Router and Derrick. Even Terra’s team was back on the other side of the room, minus Terra and that big guy I had never met before.

Luminous was facing Enigma, and both seemed focus – dazed. Oh shyt! I think Enigma is in Luminous’ head. Derrick and Raz and Tam started whining about what was going on. Router went back over to the trunk he’d brought down with us. I did just what anyone would have expected me to do. I walked right up to Luminous and I hit him. Hard.

His reflexes were too slow. Whatever Enigma was doing in his head gave us an edge. I punched Luminous again, then grabbed him and slammed him against the rock wall. Whenever he snaps out of the trans that Enigma put him in, he’d feel a world of pain. I continued to punch him to be sure he would.

Gasping, Luminous’ eyes rolled to the back of his head and he passed out. I grabbed him and dragged him over to Raz and Tam.

“Watch him.” I demanded.

“What about Ean?” Router asked as he brought over restraints for Luminous.

“Yeah… and Enigma still looks like he is inside of Luminous’ head.” Derrick added.

I looked over to Enigma. “Find Ean, Derrick. Enigma will have to find his own way out.”

I motioned for Raz and Tam and Router to follow me. Mack Truck threw Luminous over his shoulder and trailed behind. The tunnel only went one way, and it was a hell of a climb. When I got to the top, I wondered how come I didn’t think to just fly up.

We reached the surface and Elemental was already there. She looked a bit shocked to see us. I nodded and immediately started brushing dirt off my costume.

“Where is Enigma?” She asked. No one answered. “We can’t leave him. We are a team.”

“I guess I should go and get him…” I wondered if he was still vacationing inside of Luminous’ head.

Just as I was headed back down the tunnel, Derrick and Ean came out. You owe me a drink, I told Ean. Elemental handed me the night shades she’d been using and I dove straight down the steep tunnel. Flying down would be a lot faster than the slow crawl we did the first time.

I had just made up my mind when I got to the platform that I was getting a new costume made. This kind of situation usually leaves tougher stains. I started talking to Enigma a second too soon before I realized he was missing. His cape was mangled in the space where he stood. Where the hell did he go?

I called out a few times, but he didn’t answer. Great, now we’ve got another missing person. Will it ever end?

Monday, February 11, 2008


I suddenly wondered if I were in a disco. After being underground with no real light, my eyes were already at a strain. Luminous had just revealed himself and I thought this would be the part where we fought. Not the case at all.

Terra and her team arrived just after Luminous stepped out. We could barely smile and wave before the light started flashing. Everything in the next few seconds seemed like slow motion. I squinted, reacting to the bright strobe light affect. One by one, our folks were gone. We came in numbers, but now there was just me. How in the hell did that happen.

The flashing stopped. I looked around. I could hear voices - even hear Terra fussing with Luminous – but there was no one here. I stepped back and bumped into something that looked like nothing. It felt like a person, but I couldn’t see anything. Instinctively, I backed up toward the center of the room. Perhaps one of those misty air water bat things were forming. I focused on that one spot waiting for it to appear.

It… never appeared. Instead, rocks just started flying everywhere. The first one hit me on my back, just at the shoulder. Why is everything hitting me from behind? I did my best to dodge them, but they came so fast. At least three I had to hit dead on – well, one hit me. That’s definitely going to hurt in the morning. The rocks suddenly stopped.

Luminous appeared from the thin air. He was breathing heavy. Maybe this place had a secret stairway that I didn’t know about.

“Hey Lu-Lu. You’ve got some bad manners. Didn’t anyone ever teach you how to treat your guests?” Taunting the bad guys was such a fun part of the job.

“This from a bunch of uninvited trespassers.” He sneered in return.

With my meanest face, I walked toward Luminous. He didn’t back down. I was hoping he wouldn’t. I needed to get close enough to pick a fight before he started hiding in the dark.

I gripped my fists; I was getting closer to him.

“Not another step, Sonus.” Luminous started to fade.

I stood still. If I get closer, he will do his disappearing act. So the question is, how do I get to him before he gets away. Thinking, I stepped back to allow Luminous to relax. My only option was a distance attack – not my specialty. I had a bit of energy stored from the three rocks and the stinging mist-bats, but that wouldn’t do much. That was maybe one or two sonic blasts – but nothing heavy. Not much of an option for me.

Doing my best acting, I did my best to look relaxed. I looked around as if I was suddenly over the idea of fighting with Luminous. He never took his eyes off me. Though I stayed alert, I tried hard to seem more interested in my surroundings than him. He grinned. I ignored it and asked how long he’d been down here – even suggested he get a few plants to liven the place up. Luminous laughed.

“I know you don’t think you’re gonna get a girlfriend with that laugh. You know Lu-Lu, you should hang out with me sometime. I can show you how to meet women.” Then I switched the subject. “Man, what is this thing right here.” I pretended to marvel at an oversized drilling machine in the corner.

Wait for it... wait for it!

Just as Luminous looked like he would answer, I quickly attacked with my sonic blast. I was sure to stay within range during my ranting. But I wasn’t quick enough. In an instant Luminous was gone.

“Damn…” Maybe he was waiting for it.

Friday, February 8, 2008


We had just started to enter the tunnel when I heard someone yell "Leroy! I noticed you have an open spot on your crew...will it be an inconvenience for me to accompany you?"

I was surprised to see Brice approaching. It had been weeks since I’ve see this kat, and I definitely didn’t miss him. I sort of smiled to myself, to think that Brice probably thought I would need more help. Even though it was only Derrick, Router and I, we could handle it. And when is Derrick going to come up with a name – we can’t keep using his Government name.

I nodded and Brice was on our heels. No time for introductions, though, I was concerned about Ean.

It was probably a bad idea to just journey down a tunnel without really knowing where it leads. Even worse, there was no light. I found myself wondering from time to time just how much the cleaning bill was going to be for my costume. Then it suddenly hit me… I pulled out my cell phone. We weren’t too deep in the tunnel, I still had one bar. I tapped a few buttons and listened for the ring.

“Hello!” She screamed into the phone.

“Crystal…” I stopped moving so that I wouldn’t lose my signal.

“Haaaaayyyyyy Leroy. How you doin’…” She was smacking on some gum, and yelling at her 4-year old son in the background.

“I need an appointment for late tonight.” I really hope she can accommodate.

“Damn, Leroooy. This ain’t no hoe-stop.” I could hear some girl scream from Crystal pulling her hair too hard. “You know you my favorite client, even though I just saw you three days ago. I gotchu!”

“Thanks, Crystal.” I hung up before she could say anything else.

Just as I put my cell phone back, I realized we could use it for a little bit of light. I grabbed my flip phone again and pushed the button, holding it in front of me.

Derrick smiled. “Why didn’t I think of that?” He grabbed his cell phone and did the same. Router and Brice followed. Router stopped bringing his cell phone to a fight because he always lost it. One time, a villain found it and called his I.C.E. number. I laughed that a villain would actually call the In Case of Emergency number to prank whomever picked up.

After about 10 minutes of walking, Derrick’s phone rang – loud. Just as he answered, the call dropped. Then his battery died. We started to laugh about it until we heard some sort of noise from in front of us. Sounded like running water, or a pipe hissing. Maybe we were close to the lair. How wrong could I be?

Just as I pushed the button on my cell phone to turn the light back on, I saw tiny little blurred red dots. What the hell…?

Derrick tapped me on the shoulder. “Hey, I need to make sure that wasn't important. I will be right back.” He zoomed back up the tunnel.

I staggered to brush off the dirt that Derrick kicked up from running so fast. Router was kneeled down to search through the metallic box he’d been dragging with him. I stepped over to him to hold the phone toward to help him see when I felt something wet on my head. It was as thick as a milk shake and made me want to curse that it landed right on my head. So glad I made the appointment with Crystal.

Wiping my head with one hand, I held the light to Router with the other.

“Put your phone away.” Router said in a calm tone.


“Just a warning.” He responded.

I felt a sharp sting in my back. Like the one you get when you wet the towel at the pool and snap it at your friends. Ouch! For a second, I thought it was Enigma - but he was standing on the other side of Router. Whatever hit my back felt just as nasty as what fell in my hair. Router reached up and closed my flip phone. Then something wet hit my hand. I quickly switch my cell to my other hand and put it back in the case on my hip.

“What’s going on, Router?” He seemed less confused than me. Brice was silent. I wondered if he would run.

“These are tunnel creatures. They are like bats, but made of some watery mist type of thing. The red dots are how they see.” How the hell does Router know this?

I felt more and more stings, on my legs and arms and chest. Instinctively, I started throwing punches, blindly. Some I hit, most I didn’t. In minutes I felt even more surrounding me. I’ve never felt so dirty. Except that time I woke up with a hang over with the homeless woman. Nope, this was worse. I was covered in a swarm of these things – to the point where I started to feel like I was really in water.

Punching as hard as I could, I could feel myself hitting the walls of the tunnel. The ceiling was rattling, dropping more dirt. Now I’ve got muddy hair… What the hell was Router doing to help?

“Hang on, Sonus.”

Suddenly a bright light flashed. UV heated like a small sun. The tunnel creatures turned into steam right in front of me. Router flashed the light on Brice next. Apparently he had just as much trouble as I did.

“Grab my case and follow me.” Router said as he moved forward to shine the light forward. Derrick showed up just then.

“What did I miss?” He looks over to Router. “Why’d you bring a flash light to fight a guy who controls light.”

I smacked Derrick on the back of the head and told him to grab the case.

We followed Router all the way to the end of the tunnel. Once out, Router turned around to prop the light to shine back up the tunnel. “This will keep more from coming behind.”

“I can’t believe there isn’t one freaking lamp or something down here.” Suddenly, the lights came on. Luminus was standing in the center of the room.

“Light is everywhere…”

Thursday, February 7, 2008


When I got to the spot, I notice that most of the gang had beat me there. I knew Derrick would, but I had no idea of the magnitude of the situation. Raz, Tam, Mack and Router were standing off to the right. There was some new guy (big fella, too) that I had never seen before, but I’m a firm believer in never having too much muscle. Terra was fiddling with some weird looking part of sun glasses and talking to the new guy.

“All right everybody, let’s do this!” Terra called.

“Wait…” I cautioned. “Let’s split in two. There are enough of us that we can approach from two sides.”

Everyone looked at me, hesitant about me giving orders – particularly because I’m not an active member in the Urban 30.

“Look, you guys can stare or we can help Ean.” I looked over at Terra. “I can go in the front. Terra, maybe u can make a hole and come in on the other side.”

Terra nodded.

“I’m with Sonus!” Derrick called out.

In that moment, instead of being happy for his support, I was actually wondering if he had picked a hero name. I guess my priorities are a bit off trail.

The new guy stood next to Terra, along with Mack Truck and Raz and Tam. I guess they really don’t want to cross Dispatch. Surprisingly, Router stood by me.

Making light of the imbalance… “I like a challenge.”

“I wonder if there are mole people down there.” Derrick asked, randomly.

“Why would you hope for more trouble?” Router was looking through his car for gadgets he’d had or made.

“Cause if there are mole people… there are mole women. They might even be cute.” If I haven’t said it before… Derrick has the worst taste in women.

“Ok folks, let’s vibe wit it!” I said as I started through the dark steep entrance.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


Needless to say I was pretty pissed with Derrick for the whole Urban 30 thing. I knew deep down he wanted to be a hero again, just didn’t think he’d go back to the Urban 30. Not that we had specific conversations about him rejoining, but Derrick was always happy to be the not-so-average Joe. No costume or anything. If he wanted to use his speed, he just did. In a way, I admired Derrick’s freedom, but I was all about the costume and the image.

I’m sure I won’t stay angry with Derrick for long. Even I knew I was just upset because I felt out of place. It’s like having a talent, with no outlet to share it. I turned on the television to find something to make me laugh – it was either that or blast my iPod through the sound dock.

Just as I found something to watch, Buffy repeats, Derrick enters my office. I just frowned and took my attention back to Buffy. When you think about it, Faith was kind of hot.

“I just came by to apologize.”

That was very unlike Derrick, so I figure I should squeeze a bit more out of him. I turned up the television and put on a mean-mug. Derrick took the bait and walked further into the office, very apologetic. Just as he opened his mouth to say it again, his alarm went of. Damn it. Even when I am not in the Urban 30, Dispatch can ruin the moment.

“Hey… you might want to come. Ean’s in trouble and Terra is on her way to the scene.”

I started to point out how much Dispatch would be against that idea. But when I saw the crooked smile on Derricks face, it was clear he already knew.

“Let’s go!” Finally, back in action.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


Life has a funny way of making a bad situation worse. When I first joined the Urban 30, Derrick was my partner. Dispatch paired us so that Derrick could show me the ropes – at least see if I could hold my own as a super hero. In the process, Derrick and I became very good friends. Shortly after I joined, Derrick quit. Aside from the fact he changed his name every six months, each one sillier than the last, Derrick mainly quick because his girlfriend at the time – Emma – had decided he spent too much time saving the city and not enough time pampering her.

While we had our own thoughts on Emma, we were more disappointed that Derrick had quit the team. Tina would always tease him that his women ran his life. Though Derrick was fighting day to day, we all still hung out. A month after quitting, Emma dumped Derrick. Marc had just about talked Derrick into rejoining the Urban 30 when he met Victoria. She didn’t approve at all. Of course my question was, since when do you just meet someone and tell them you are a superhero?

So here we are years later. Even though Derrick swears he felt it was best to leave the Urban 30, I was considering challenging that. Since I had a point to prove with Dispatch, I thought it would be a good idea to start doing things on my own. Since James wouldn’t be available, Derrick was my next candidate. Actually, he and Marc were on my list. I figure the three of us could get some attention on our own.

I’d call both of them up to meet for lunch, but Marc is in litigation, so it’s just me and Derrick. The more I thought about it, the more I thought it was a good idea. I was certain that Derrick would jump at the chance – once it’s actually presented to him.

We met next door at the Asian place. They have really good food, I’m so glad they opened it. Derrick immediately began ranting about Tracie. She had apparently broken up with him, for the third time. Though I haven’t been out with Michelle in week or two, she still called after work – sometimes after midnight, she’d been working a lot lately. Even if for five minutes, Michelle needs at least say hello, she was thinking about me… and then drop the latest scoop on her sister and Derrick. I never have to ask.

We finished lunch and I jumped right to the topic that was on my mind. “I think it’s time you got back in uniform. Be a super hero once again. Don’t let any of your women hold you back. I think deep down, it’s what you really want.”

“I agree.” But Derrick looked more worried than excited. I ignored his expression.

“Great, so we’ll talk to Marc and the three of us will be a team.” It felt good to say it. Not to mention that I really was looking forward to doing the superhero thing with two of my best friends.

“Um…” Derrick looked away, searching for the words. “There is one small problem.” Derrick put on his coat and grabbed his cell phone from the table. “Dispatch offered me the open spot in the Urban 30.

Ain't this some shit! I could feel my nostrils flare. Derrick knew my temper and was prepared to cut lunch short so that I didn’t have time to let it sink in.

“I have been thinking a lot.” Derrick was doing his best damage control. “I’ve been wanting this for a while. It’s what I need.”

“That was my spot…” I clenched my fists. It’s not that I would have hit Derrick – but I was really mad.

“Let’s talk about it later. I can tell you’re really upset.” Derrick dropped down enough for the food and a generous tip. “Bye.” Damn super speed.


Last night, I caught up with Marc and Derrick. I finally had a chance to really explain all my drama with Dispatch and me quitting when he wanted me back on suspension. It’s not like I officially quit, but Dispatch called me after our spat and basically said I wasn’t real group-friendly at the moment. So, maybe instead of quit, it’s more like fired. But when you get right down to it… fired is such a strong word.

We ordered pizza and flipped channels. Leah and Tina came over, but left 20 minutes later. They didn’t care to hear what the issue was – it was girl’s night out for them. Funny thing was, Leah had a similar story with Dispatch. But considering she got married – and divorced – she didn’t care to stay with the Urban 30.

Ultimately, Marc felt I should have played along with Dispatch’s rules. Derrick on the other hand, thought I did the right thing. I didn’t really know, I just wanted to get back to the hero moments. I was getting so bored out of costume. I especially didn’t like being approached on the street and not being able to do anything.

By the end, Marc was insistent that I let it go. Derrick, however, was more pushing me to declare my independence. You don’t need them. I’m glad I left! He repeated those statements through out the night – or at least until he fell asleep from too much beer. Not much of a pep talk, but it will do.

Friday, February 1, 2008


Today was bland. I sat in my office and barely did a thing. I just could not get my focus, no matter how hard I tried. Eventually, I stopped trying. Some days you just can’t do it. Just around lunch, I had decided to leave for the day – perhaps call up Michelle for a movie. Even better would have been to invite Candice. In fact, I think I will. I grabbed my coat after shutting down the computer. I figured I would show up and ask her to spend the afternoon with me. Sure it was a bit forward – especially to ask her to leave work for the day. But at least, if I do ask, she will be sure that I’m interested. I think.

Just as I reached the reception area, Blaire stops me to tell me I have a visitor. I hadn’t planned any meetings. Frankly, I wish she had told them I was out since I had just made up my mind to go take Candice out.

“Mr. James Gale is here to see you.” Blaire motioned toward a man standing in the reception area.

My eye widened as James looked up and walked toward me. We shook hands and he started talking. I heard nothing he said. What I really wanted to know what how the hell did he know where I worked? Is there some sort of tell all book about me? Everything you need to know about Leroy J. Powers… Seriously, how does everyone know my business?

“…Leroy!” I finally snapped from my daze to engage conversation. “You must day dreaming. You did that too much as a kid.” Damn, you just going to embarrass me in front of folks. “Your mom told me where you worked. And when I got to the other building, Ms. DeVane directed me here. Are you going to lunch?”

How was he just holding conversation like it hasn’t been 10 years since I’ve seen him? “Yeah… um, lunch.” Regained my composure finally. “You want to join me?”

He nodded and we walked to the elevator. James was only in town for a short while. He and his team are actually partnered with another state to do the superhero thing – so they get paid. He didn’t say what the nature of his visit was, just that he was here. Once we got outside, I actually met the rest of his team. James discourage formal introductions, he didn’t want to feel like there were any strangers among us. But they were all strange to me.

The best part about lunch was that James paid for it – and one of his teammates was hot. Layla is her name. As we left the restaurant, James offered an important meeting as a reason for them all leaving. I didn’t feel like I was being kicked to the curb, they didn’t have to sound so formal about it. But we did exchange business cards to hang out like we used to. I was more on the lines of patrolling like when we were kids. Since those days are done, I will settle for the nightlight and seeing which of us can meet the most women.