THE RENTED SUPERHERO EXPLAINS
I am not the leap over tall buildings type. I am not the hold two locomotives from smashing each other to shocked metal fragments variety. I don’t fly, except by airliner. If that is the sort of superhero you need, then you need to move up the price scale. What you want is available, but it comes at a cost that, if you are looking at me, you can’t pay.
I come with a great costume, a textbook swagger, burnt in good looks – but that is about the range of it. I’m basically your garden variety show superhero. My contract says no shooting, no stabbing, no burning, no punching, and this superhero is not going to change the course of anything, alter no history, make no intercessions.
Someone might rent me hoping whoever they are trying to impress will be taken in, be ignorantly intimidated, come too quickly to agreement. Sometimes, I am all a customer can afford; then again, sometimes I am the cheap alternative – if I don’t fool anyone, then the purchaser will go back, put out serious money, rent a superhero who can be a menace or a savior, a bender of the scales.
Sometimes the gig is just an ambience thing. A couple thinks it will add to their cachet if they have a superhero show up, fawn over them a while, make a great pose when everyone is watching, quietly hail a cab to get back to the store and clock back in.
Actually, I get more work than many of the superheroes who can fly and bend steel and race at light speed. Those are really expensive. If you are going to rent one of those, you have to hold both serious cash and serious need. And, when it comes down to it, often it is cheaper to recover from an untoward event or circumstance than it is to have a superhero prevent it. You might get lucky – things might not go so badly, or perhaps could be set right for less cash than a superhero could set you back. Events are variable, superhero rates are posted. Rich people are adept at making calculations like these.
Yes, a lot of my more capable superhero friends sit idle, waiting for the big payoff. Building collapse prevention. Boat collision mishap deterring. There are just not that many disasters dreadful enough to merit their hourly rate.
Me, well, I keep a steady trade on the cheap. Amaze your even lower income friends by being able to afford a superhero. Let me rush in to hold the office door for you. I will hum my theme music when I go pick up your cat at the vet. I will pop a perplexity of muscles as I bring in your groceries.
Half your neighbors at their torn screen doors or cluttered office desks will say oh my, it is to be the superhero again: everyone has to know we have caught on; the other half of those neighbors will say, gee, I wish I could afford to rent a superhero: renting your own superhero must be really nice.
In the end, the door is opened, the cat collected, the groceries delivered. All the disapproving onlookers should know is that there is no job too trivial for a conscientious superhero, even if he is not the grade of superhero the customer wants everyone to think he is.
As I do my superhero chores, I will wink at the watchers who hold either opinion, stop by on my way out and clandestinely drop off one of the agency’s candy-colored cards. The real magic is in the downward personal touch. We are not as expensive as you might think. Come on, treat yourself.
After years of impersonating a Systems Engineer, Ken has retired to watch his wife continue to break world raw powerlifting records. Ken’s two current poetry and four short fiction collections (just released: “Engaging Cattle”, mini-fictions) are available from Amazon and elsewhere. www.kpoyner.com. www.barkingmoosepress.com.