- A Serialized Novel -

This isn't a superpower. It's a curse.

Day Jobs Get in the Way

I don’t know why superheroes bother with an alter ego. At least not the ones that have money or skills or both. Why spend your time bothering to be mundane and ordinary? Okay, so I have wanted to be normal and boring and ordinary, but we’re talking about someone with the lamest power ever. Or close to it, at least. I would rather be normal than have gone through as many of the disasters that I have trying to live with what I can do.

What really gets me, though, is trying to balance that whole superhero gig and the normal life. I was stuck going out and doing my spying on off-hours, and the same went for April and Larabee. To help me, they had to rearrange their entire schedules and lives.

So why would you do that to yourself if you didn’t have to? Be the hero or be the everyday guy, not both. And yes, if I had a choice, I think that I’d be the ordinary guy.

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“It’s Brady,” April said, looking at her phone in disgust. “Again. He’s been calling me all day.”

“As much as I hate this, maybe you should take his calls,” Clayton began, and both April and Larabee looked at him. He sighed as he leaned his head back against the booth. “As much as I want to see you hurt him for all he did to you, April, I don’t want to tip them off if they haven’t been already. It’s possible that they saw that guard chase me and they know he knows about me—”

“I still say that at least one of you could have taken a picture of him so that I could run down his name and information. We need to know about that one, too. He definitely has it out for you, Clayton, and that’s not good. We need to know where he’ll be so that you can avoid him. You’re still not up to defending against him—”

“Clayton needs a weapon, Larabee. A small, heavy duty taser or something. I don’t know. Something that he can use against them and not get injured with himself—but something that’s not going to kill anyone, either.”

“Ooh, now I get to be a nonviolent lame superhero! This is perfect!” Clay muttered sarcastically, rolling his eyes. It wasn’t that he wanted to go around killing people, but he really didn’t see how he could really ever be useful in this state. He would never be a ninja or anything like that, wouldn’t be able to take them down with awesome moves in hand-to-hand combat. He was just… him.

“Stop it,” April warned. “We don’t have a lot of time to argue over this, okay? I have a certification test tomorrow, and I need to make my lesson plan for the next week. I don’t want to say that those things are more important that keeping you alive or finding out what this conspiracy is, but we have other things to worry about, too.”

“Speaking of that, about the wedding—”

“Larabee, no wedding talk, not right now,” they said at the same time. This was a familiar argument, too. He made a face, getting ready to pout.

April put a hand on his arm. “Look, the wedding really isn’t the highest priority right now. Clayton is at risk—we all are—with this conspiracy, and that’s what we have to focus on. And I don’t know how I can think about anything related to a wedding when I’ve got all this stuff to do to get my teaching license. Like as not, we need that, too. Clayton is probably going to have to leave his job—”

“What? No!” Larabee objected. “I like working with Clayton.”

“Uh, Larabee, I haven’t delivered the mail in years, and I never make it down to your lab these days. I analyze reports all day long. I read chatter. I assess the words they’re using for possible hidden codes or valuable information and day after day, there is nothing. I’m starting to think that was all made up for my benefit so that they can watch me. I don’t want to be there.”

“That sucks.”

“Larabee, you’re still the tech and science guy.”

Larabee smiled a little. “Okay. Hey, I think I can make you something pretty cool for a weapon, you know. Not that I’m thinking you need a weapon, but since the stealth field didn’t work, we need something else, and so that means something more… offensive than defensive. Let me think about this for a while. I can come up with something, I’m sure…”

“What about that presentation you owe them about the flux thing you were rattling off the other day?” Clay asked, not remembering what all that had been, just that Larabee said it could mean the difference between him having a job and not having one, so it had to be important.

“Oh, crap. I need to finish that.”

“And April needs to work on her stuff.”

“We’re not abandoning you,” she said, reaching over to touch his face. She was worried, and he sighed, hating being so helpless. “We’re all in this together.”

“I know,” he agreed, kissing her cheek. “But you have stuff to do, and you’ve got Brady to deal with, so we’ll just let this go for now. You and Larabee can go take care of what you need to do while I… I’m going to go sleep, actually. I’m exhausted.”

“Superheroes don’t sleep,” Larabee teased as he got to his feet, pulling on his coat.

“I’m not a superhero. Just a lame wannabe,” Clayton said as he slid out of the booth, letting April out. She stopped to give him another kiss.

“Be careful.”

“I’m only going home to sleep. What trouble could I possibly get into?”

“I don’t know. But this is you we’re talking about, after all.”

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