Wednesday, September 24, 2008


I took today off from work. For some reason, I felt like today I should be in full super hero mode – in the event of… anything. The funny thing was, I hadn’t left my apartment yet. The last 3 hours has gone by with me on the couch, watching the news.

Yesterday, being at the hospital was such a weird feeling. We’d basically ignored the doctors when we burst through the doors and crowded as much as we could into Tomieka’s room. Ralph, also called The Arrow when he is in the field, did his best to calm the doctors and assure them we were all very close friends and family – and though there were more than twenty of us, we would definitely try not to be in the way.

Barry and I stood right next to Jada, beside the bed. Brice and Blake stood on the opposite side. Jada buried her face into Barry’s massive chest to hide her crying. I wasn’t really sure what to do. It’s one thing to be in a fight and your teammate gets hit and is a little dazed. It’s another thing to see your teammate in a hospital bed and nobody knows what’s wrong.

I didn’t see the need for any small talk. The only thing I knew to do was to try and get some answers. “Do it!” I said. Though I didn’t identify to whom, Brice and Blake knew that I was referring to them.

Brice has this thing he does called zoning. That power allows him to channel in to a persons senses. With deeper concentration he can look into a persons mind – though that particular power requires a lot more than a simple thought.

Blake, however, has a different mental ability. With a touch, he can see your past – all the things in your history - be it five minutes or five years. Blake is good for helping you to remember the things you forgot or, when you can’t explain it, see the things that need to be shown.

It’s a shame the Urban 30 doesn’t have any heroes with true mental abilities. But these guys were all we had and the goal was to find some way to figure out what happened to Tomieka.

As the room fell silent, Blake and Brice went to work. Blake was the first to respond.

“Tomieka lost her powers again last week. This was the longest she’d been without them.” Blake seemed melancholy.

“Why didn’t she tell us?” I asked.

“Dispatch said not to.” Jada spoke before Blake could.

That familiar feeling Leroy gets - wanting to punch Tony’s heart out - came back. Why does Tony feel he can control us the way he does?

We all got quiet again to wait for Brice to speak.

Finally. “I can tell you that she is not in any pain. But I can’t hear her thoughts. This is just a shell. Her mind is trapped somewhere.” Brice said, actually sounding as if he were concerned.

“Then go in deeper. Find her!” I demanded.

“NO!” Brice was defiant.

We all just looked at him. The others more shocked, but I was just angry. Sometimes I didn’t know who I disliked more – Brice or Tony?

“Do it!” I locked eyes with Brice. I didn’t care if I sounded like the commanding officer or a big bully. I just wanted him to help Tomieka.

“NO!” Brice still resisted.

At that moment, I wondered if he sensed just how much I wanted to beat his ass.

“Wait.” Terra said, now next to Brice. “This is all too much for us to handle. Let’s clear everyone out. We can even put someone on guard at the door.” Then she put her hand on Brice’s shoulder. “Let’s let Brice do what he does on his own terms. I believe he knows what’s best when it comes to his powers.”

I lashed out. “You can’t be serious Terra. Our teammate and good friend is almost lifeless and he’s worried about how defenseless his body is when ‘zones’ into her head. Please!” I pointed around the room. “Everyone in here is Urban 30. Brice is the most safe he will ever be at this point. If he can’t do it now, who is to say there will be a later?” As I said that last part, I heard more crying.

“Don’t talk like that, man.” Barry requested. I knew he meant the lifeless reference. He hugged Jada tighter.

“Fine… EVERYBODY OUT, NOW!” I yelled at everyone who was in the room. “I’ll give him privacy…” Doesn’t make any damn sense, I thought.

Perhaps I was a bit too hard on everyone, but I sent them home. They didn’t oppose. Barry insisted on staying to guard the door. Jada of course didn’t leave. Blake and Brice also stayed behind. Brice and I exchanged sneers as Terra and I finally left.

Outside of the hospital, Terra insisted that I start being nicer to Brice. I ignored her. She knew as well as I did that Brice had no valid reason for not doing more. He could have done it when there were 20-something heroes to watch his back. But maybe this was a battle to fight tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


I woke up to constant ringing of my house phone. I don’t know why I keep it on the highest volume and I figured whoever had the nerve to call this early on a Saturday had better be in a life or death situation. Turns out, it was even better! Barry was having a BBQ at his house. No doubt what my new plans had become for the day.

Considering Barry said the event should kick off somewhere around 2pm, I was confident that arriving at 4pm would get me there the same time as everyone else. Yet, for some reason, I was still one of the first to arrive. Sha-Donna and Cheryl were already there holding a conversation with Todd and Ralph. I wasn’t sure if they were still on the rebound after Greg got evaporated. Clarence, our resident Urban 30 genius says that Greg should be back after a few more rain falls.

Quickly unloading the case of Heineken I brought into the large barrel of ice, I moved over to the table to see what food had already been prepared. As far as I’m concerned, Barry is one of the strongest guys I know, the strongest in the Urban 30, but his strength is definitely outmatched by the flavor of his pork ribs and potato salad. Completely unreal!

By 6pm, nearly the entire Urban 30 was there. Of those who were missing, I had hoped Brice’s name would fall on that list. Instead, he showed up. Though not social with most of the other members, he was very into some conversation he was having with the two women he’d brought. I will admit, one of them was definitely a 9… and a half.

It wasn’t until Barry came over and asked me if I had spoken to Tomieka and Jada, that i realized they were missing. Perhaps I had already had too many beers. Apparently, they were both supposed to bring two rum cakes and jello shots. I thought maybe I should find out why they weren't there yet.

“Let me ask Terra…” I said to Barry.

Unfortunately, Terra hadn’t spoken to them either. By now, the back yard was laced with noisy superheroes, and a few non super spouses and none of them included Tomieka or Jada.

“Why don’t you just call them?” Terra said. Brilliant idea.

Just then... “Something’s wrong.” Brice, for the first time that evening, came over and spoke to me and Terra.

My phone rang as if it were cued by Brice's statement.

“Leroy, where the hell is everyone?” It was Jada. “I’ve called you, Terra, Barry, Brice and Tony. I’m at the hospital with Tomieka. She fainted and still hasn’t woke up. The doctors can’t figure out what is wrong with her. Somebody needs to get here.” It sounded as if Jada had been crying – something I’d never seen from her or Tomieka.

“What hospital?” I listened for a response before ending the call.

By now, Terra had silenced the entire crowd so that I could hear Jada. “Something’s wrong with Tomieka." I reported to Terra. "She won’t wake up. Bring Brice and Blake. Maybe one of them can go inside her head and find out what’s going on.” Terra nodded. Even though Brice was next to me, I spoke to Terra as if he weren't.

With that, I downed the last of my Heineken and lifted myself into flight.

“We will meet you there.” Terra said.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


I think today may have been one of the better days I’ve had in a long time. Today, I got a message from Dispatch saying that Brice was put on special assignment and is no longer the team leader. Who could have asked for a better message – except if Brice was swallowed whole by Snuffles… Obviously Snuffles has finer tastes in food.

So, while I was doing cartwheels, elated that I wouldn’t have to see Brice’s face, Dispatch follows up with the note that ShaDonna was now the team leader. I couldn’t really believe it, considering she’d be off on maternity leave in a few more months. I couldn’t help but think that Dispatch has some hateration in him.

All in all, I thought it was a good enough reason to take in some drinks with the fellas – celebrating my new freedom from Brice. While Ean wasn’t returning calls, apparently he was really upset about getting drenched by giant sea-monster birthing fluids, I was able to reach Marc and Derek – a recent add on to the Urban 30. Time to get smashed!

I wonder if some folks would say I have a drinking problem?

Monday, September 8, 2008


I woke up this morning to an Urban 30 emergency. Despite the fact we were all in teams, there were at least three teams on the scene, about fifteen or so heroes. At first we werent sure why Snuffles was out. But at thirty-seven feet of solid destruction, we needed to find out. Ultimately, we realized that she was pregnant - after she gave birth in the new Nationals ball park stadium. After that, Snuffles scooped up her knew baby with one of her seven arms and went back into the river. I'm so glad i wasnt apart of the clean up.

This whole thing, of course, made me about an hour late for work. Considering I was up since 4-something this morning, I felt like the day was already over. On my way in, I walked to the corner deli for a light breakfast – just two omelets, a waffle, some fruit and a large Apple Juice.

Headed back to the office, I heard that familiar whistle of a voice.

“What color were those shoes when you first got them.” It said.

I sneered toward the root. The old shoe shine man smiled at me, adjusting his trucker’s hat. This one read “I retired”.

“I can bring the color back!” He motioned for me to have a seat.

I wondered if anyone would miss him if I tossed him in the Anacostia as a snack for baby Snuffles. On second thought, he’d probably give him kidney stones or something.

“No shine today…” I replied as I went upstairs to eat my food.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


Have you ever had one of those days where you are feeling real good about yourself and someone comes along and craps all over you? Well, today was that day for me. It all started when I woke up feeling fine. Not just fine, but great! I wore a new shirt and tie combo that had been in the closet for a while. I have to admit that I was feeling exceptionally professional. Even Edna, the ancient evil of our organization thought it was a great color on me.

Pretty much, I was convinced that I belonged in the pages of GQ magazine. That is, until I went out to lunch, joining some friends from the Urban 30. Somewhere between the entrance to the building and the curb of the first block was some make shift shoe shine set up that seemed to be manned by a different old fellow every other week.

As I walked by, thumbing the numbers on my phone to let Raz and Tam know I was just a few minutes away from the meeting spot I heard raspy squeal of a voice.

“It’s a shame your shoes aren’t as nice as your shirt!” The voice says.

“Excuse me?” I question as I look over to notice an unusually thin older man with a square patch for a mustache. He wore a trucker’s cap with the words I voted, on it.

“Let me make them shoes as new as that shirt…” He didn’t apologize for his insult.

Despite all of the mean things I thought to say, I just continued to walk forward. I met my friends and tried to pretend I had not been insulted. But I can’t lie, part of me wanted to fly the guy up in the air and drop him – catching him just before he hits the ground. Then I’d ask him if his “depends” was as new as my shoes.