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Chapter II

03/07/10

Chapter II

 

            Celia stopped as she round the corner of her street and stared at the perfectly suburban house that was her home.  Her house tried so hard to look like it belonged to an ordinary family that it stood out more than any of the others.  The perfectly trimmed hedges and neatly cut grass that was solid green without any hint of brown or dying patches.  The aluminum siding that covered the home was pressure washed every other month and never looked dull.  The walkway was evenly lit with solar-powered lights that led up from the sidewalk and straight to the front door.  There was even a flag pole planted next to the stone bird bath. 

            Charlie’s work van was parked out front, with Celia’s mom’s car in the driveway.  The van was a big, square utility van.  It was white with red and black lettering on the side that read: Pascal & Son Plumbing.  Celia was happy that the van didn’t have the silly logo that was on the billboards. 

            Celia went inside the house and headed straight for her room.  Charlie was on the couch, as usual, watching tv.  He rubbed his bald spot and looked up at her. 

            “Hey ya, CeCe.  Dinner’s almost done.  Guess what?  TV Land is gonna start showing episodes of Bigfoot next month.”  A wide grinned stretched across Charlie’s face. 

            “Who knows-“ he continued. “Maybe they’ll put it on dvd.  I could do some commentary or be part of a special feature.” 

            Charlie noticed that Celia was a little quieter than normal and stood.  It was hard not to notice a man like Charles Reinhart.  Even though he tried to live the suburban life, he didn’t look the part.  He looked like a man in his later thirties and not someone who was over the forties hump.  He was surprisingly fit, but was a little bigger in the gut than he was in his fighting days.  He stood 6’4 as his normal self, but would put on another foot and a half when he turned into his old superhero guise of Wooly Mammoth. 

            “CeCe, honey?  Everything ok at school today?” Charlie asked. 

            Celia trudged to her room.  She dropped her shoulder and let her backpack slide off and down into her hand.  She dragged it up the stairs behind her. 

            “Fine.” Celia said, not looking at her stepfather.  “I’m tired.  I’ll eat later.” 

            “You sure?” Charlie called back to her.  Celia’s answer came in the sound of a firm push closing her bedroom door. 

            Celia’s mother called from the spare bedroom that she had turned into her makeshift office. 

            “Was that CeCe?” 

            “Yeah.” Charlie answered her.  “I think there was trouble at school again.” 

            “Don’t go bothering her.  Let her work it out on her own.”  Jonni replied.  “Honey, I want you to read this chapter I’m finishing, but you have to promise not to judge me.” 

            Charlie smiled.  “Never have, honey.  Never will.”  Charles Reinhart’s love couldn’t be more genuine.  As he saw it, they both had done things in the past they weren’t overly proud of.  At least in her case, she had something to show for it.    

            Celia’s mother, Jonni, was a former superhero groupie.  She considered herself as the superhero version of Pamela Des Barres, but never fully achieving the notoriety that she earned.  Many referred to her as Super-Slut, including most of the heroes she had been with. 

            Jonni had even written a book about her exploits called I’m In the League, Too.  The title played off of a tell all book titled I’m In the League, written by Walden “Wally” Patterson, a former sidekick.  Wally worked along side The Holy Avenger as his sidekick Kid Paladin.  Like all sidekicks, as he entered his teenage years, he longed to breakout from his mentor’s shadow and out of the sidekick mold.  Like many others, he failed.  A lone run-in with Abysmal proved he didn’t have what it took to be a solo hero, and removed him from the superhero game entirely.  

            Wally later tried to sue Jonni over the title of her book, as well as some unfavorable sections about him and his post tragedy proclivities. 

            The book wasn’t favorable for Jonni at all.  In addition to the moniker she wore, she found herself getting passed about by heroes as a sexual plaything.  Jonni and Charlie had hooked up once when both were in their prime, and he was a member of the LA based group The Championaires.   After a few years of superhero decadence, when her youth and good looks began to show signs of premature aging, and at after bearing witness to situations that could classify her as suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, she and Charles met up again.  By this time, The Championaires had disbanded leaving Charles wandering around Hollywood.  Jonni was pregnant and looking for a normal life.  They met again and stayed together.    

            The two lived quiet comfortably off their past lives.  Jonni’s book was on the New York Times best seller list for 3 weeks straight before being bumped by a legal thriller that was turned into a movie a year later.  She did the talk show circuit and made a cameo appearance on a few sitcoms. 

            Charles had a starring role in a tv series called Bigfoot and invested his money well.  He toured around the world after the show was cancelled.  He made appearances at various functions and did a few tv cameos as himself, Charles Reinhart, not Wooly Mammoth. 

            When the two were ready to settle they moved back to Charles’ hometown where he took over his father’s plumbing business after he died.  It wasn’t easy for either of them to blend in quietly, so they stopped trying.  Charles used his Wooly Mammoth guise for a series of billboard ads for the plumbing business.  The billboard showed him as Wooly Mammoth holding a U-joint pipe with a caption that said: “We specialize in hair clogs.”  Unfortunately, Charles had started to bald several years back.  His bald spot remained even as his hairy alter-ego.  He had to order a custom made $7,000 toupee for him to wear in the ads.  It wasn’t just for vanities sake.  Nobody wants to see their heroes get old and become regular people.  In the minds of normal citizens, this was not allowed. 

            Recently, Charles and Jonni had done guest spots on the VH1 show I Love the Superheroes.  Their comments were left in the editing scrap folder.  Still, they were happy. 

            Jonni spent most of the day working on a follow up to her book tentatively called Flying High.  She had just finished a chapter about a week long party she attended, orchestrated by the late Sunchild.  Sunchild was a former hippy turned superhero who claimed that his abilities were unlocked through a concoction of illegal drugs.  It was well known among the hero circuit that he was addicted to drugs and alcohol.  He was known as the ultimate hedonist and would host week long carnal binges at his mansion.  It wasn’t uncommon to see both heroes and lesser villains doing lines of coke together or double teaming some naive wide-eyed young girl. 

            The press reported that Sunchild was killed in battle by Brutality as they fought over Las Vegas.  The truth, tightly kept by the other heroes, was that he had suffered a massive heart attack while trying to fight Brutality.  His blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit for driving, and was under the influence of four separate narcotics. 

            Jonni knew the truth, but kept that out of her book.  For a tell-all book, it told very little, but still was more than the average person was aware of. 

            Jonni recently recalled a drug fueled incident of her trying to jack-off the stone skinned hero Gibraltar the Living Mountain.  She was so happy that part of her life was over and done with.  She had many regrets, but wouldn’t change a thing.  She never would have had Celia had it not been for everything she experienced during that time; the good and the bad.  And then there was Charles.  She couldn’t ask for a better husband.  Normally she would follow that up with “she couldn’t ask for a better life,” but not now.  Not when there was so little time left. 

            Celia would be seventeen in less than a year.  Whenever she looked in her daughters eyes she would always think, Why, Johnny?  Why did you have to say anything? 

            Their time together was almost over, and it seemed as though it had just begun.

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