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Archive 2
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Balancing Act: Diary Of A Superhero
Nathan Davies


Today was busy. Real busy. And bad. Real bad. It started at about half five this morning when I woke up with a terrible ringing in my ears. At first I thought it was just from my ‘night on the town’ (going five rounds with a guy who can turn his fists into heavy metals will do that to you), but it turned out to be the burglar alarm from the store across the street. A bunch of punks were making off with everything they could carry, including old man Mcdaniel’s car keys. My mask was on before I had a chance to wipe the sleep from my eyes. By the time I’d got down to the street they were already in the car and pulling out, so, after barely three hours sleep, ears still ringing, I was into my first high speed chase of the day (with me on foot most of the way, I might add).

They had made it through at least two districts before I caught up with them, running every single red light they could find in between by the looks of the mess they left behind. I guess I must really have a reputation these days, but it won’t do me any good if anyone gets hurt because of it. The en route accidents slowed me down a lot, but the only complaints were of “Who’s going to pay for that?”. Who’s out driving at that time of the morning is what I want to know. After another, twenty minutes of ‘let’s see how tired and pissed off we can make the nice man in the mask’ I finally stopped their joy ride just short of the old bridge, and just short of throwing them in. They were so young! Out of the four of them the oldest could only have been about sixteen, the rest, only about as old as my sister’s kids; it just blew me away! And they blew me off. So anyway, now they’re in custody.

I was too tired to rush home. Amazingly, even after stopping to check on the Mcdaniels and stop two further pile-ups at the damaged and congested sets of traffic lights, I managed to get to work on time (I did, however, have to skip breakfast). This should have been a triumph, as I’m not known for my punctuality, but it was the worst mistake I made all day. The boss was in early for a meeting, but it had to be put back and since I was there he hauled me into his office and chewed me out. My late starts and early lunches that somehow seem to last the entire afternoon haven’t been going unnoticed, worse luck. So, unless I show a marked improvement in the next three weeks, I’m fired (I just hope they put ol’ steel mits away for good this time; it’s no good fighting crime if you can’t pay the rent)! On top of that I had to work through lunch to keep the boss off my back and was forced to miss out on the hostage situation down at the courthouse, the bomb scare at the chemical plant and the hold up at the first reserve that I heard about on the police wavelength as I ate my in-house sandwiches. I know that I couldn't have helped them all, but it really killed me not to try. I just hope no one was hurt, or my boss might just find out what I can really do! Oh, who am I kidding, I get enough bad press as it is, and there are good reasons for keeping my secret identity, well, secret. The only saving grace of the whole work fiasco was that I got to see Marie. She’s sweet and I think she likes me.

Having been watched all afternoon and forced to put in a full day’s work, I left the office around six; just in time to save two workmen from falling to their deaths off some lethal scaffolding, rescue a young boy from a burning youth centre, and coax a cat out of a tree for its frantic owner. I managed to grab a bite to eat on the way to the cinema where I said I’d promised last week to meet some friends, but had to stop some guy at the food court from shooting his ex-boss and everyone else there. That made me late, so I called ahead. Then I missed the film anyway because some woman thought that she’d throw herself off the roof of the Sheridan in a fit of alcoholic depression, because her lesbian lover turned out to be married and expecting their third child! I’d rather go toe-to-toe with a super villain like Concussion than listen to that all over again! And even that wasn’t the end of it. By the time I got back home, at something like two in the morning, I’d beaten my way through several muggers, a pair of arsonists and shut down one of the biggest independent drug pushers in the city. You’d think I’d feel good about it, but I don’t. I let my friends down, again, and will have to apologise to their answer-phones at some point with some convincing lie just to keep them safe. I’m also on the brink of losing my job. How can tomorrow be any worse?


Okay. Today was worse. I suppose I asked for it. Today, I woke up to find myself in the middle of “Mars Attacks”. Aliens had landed, the army had been called in and all hell had broken loose by the time most people are cleaning their teeth. Thugs with guns who try to hurt people are all the same in my book, even those with purple faces whose guns shoot laser beams rather than bullets, so I was on the streets again, putting my fists in those purple faces for the continued existence of my town and my people (not that I’m going to get thanked for it). By 9 am, we learned that these aliens weren’t actually here to hurt us, but were in fact seeking some galactic war criminal or some-such and thought that the good people of Earth were hiding him/her/it; specifically, somewhere within the city limits. So, I joined Overwatch in looking for this villain, and ended up in a throw-down, drag-out fight with a whole other bunch of nasty E.T.s that lasted till well after lunch time. Then I went to work.

Since we’d established that the purple people weren’t here to kill us (and thereby narrowly avoided an interstellar incident that could have ended with the elimination of all life on the planet by the beginning of office hours), somehow my boss expected everyone, especially me, to have come to work as normal. Luckily for me, however, I was in such bad shape that, on the sympathy vote of my co-workers, he had to accept extenuating circumstances, and told me to go home and rest (so that I could get to work on time tomorrow no doubt). Of course, being Vigilant, I didn’t go home. First I stopped by a pay phone to make my apologies for missing the film last night and then got stuck into cleaning up the mess left by the invasion force. Traffic accidents. Structural collapse. Loss of power. Enough to keep me too busy to see a doctor myself, or buy my mother a birthday card for tomorrow. She’ll say that it’s no excuse that aliens landed on my doorstep. She’ll say that I should have thought of it sooner. She’ll say that I forgot about her. If only she knew.


No alarm bells or gun-shots this morning, just a frantic dash to the corner shop (Mcdaniel’s is still shut, the old man must have been shaken up real bad; must stop by) to get a card for my mother, sign it and put it in the post. Then I had to phone to wish her a ‘happy birthday’. Oh boy. After almost fifteen minutes of listening to her tell me how bad a son I am; how inconsiderate, how selfish, and so on, she finally got around to asking me if I was alright after yesterday, so I told her the truth (but not the whole truth, obviously). “No mum, I'm not alright. At least two separate alien races tried to kill me on the way to work. No, mum, I wasn’t shot. No, but I'm covered in bruises and I think I probably cracked a couple of ribs.” That didn’t go down well. “You have to take better care of yourself,” she told me, as only a mother can, “get some time off and come visit me.” That was an order, but I told her that I have no sick days left (but not that I took most of them last month to stop a megalomaniac with some plan to unleash mutant spores over the developed world) and that my job is already on the line. After ten more minutes belly-aching she decided that she’d come and visit me, and then hung up! How the hell am I going to fight crime, save lives and all the rest of it if my mother is going to be here!

To be continued...

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