Sense of Urgency
by Moonraker One
Author's note: Sorry for the short chapter. I just wanted to test the waters before delving into things.
The quaint sidewalk bistros of the southern side of New York City bustled with the frenzied movements of flocks of individuals headed about their normal day. Among the crowd of unknown masses moving like lemmings was a young boy of fourteen who stepped into a cafe for a brief moment in order to get something small to eat. He wore a red hoodie with the hood down, a pair of jean shorts that were slightly faded with a bit of sand on the front of the left leg, and some old sneakers with grainy socks. He had short black hair that was parted in the middle and came down almost to the bottom of his ears. His soft facial features were in contrast to his frustrated expression; he had just dealt with a confusing incident earlier, but knowing his luck, expected another one soon. For a few dollars in his pocket, he got a single doughnut and a muffin for later. He attached the bag with the muffin to his belt by impaling it on his belt buckle stick which he threaded through the hole. Walking calmly, he reentered the outside crowd while munching on his chocolate baked good and pulling a rolled up comic book out of his right pocket.
Like predictable herds of animals, the crowd panicked and chaos erupted as an explosion could be heard. The boy rolled his eyes as he waited for the inevitable.
It occurred even sooner this time than it previously had. Someone noticed him. "Hey!" The elderly man, wearing at least a two thousand dollar business suit, and a hairpiece that looked like it wasn't worth a dime, said, gathering everyone's attention. "Aren't you that Johnny Vando kid?"
The kid huffed a frustrated burst of air. "Jeffrey," he corrected. He downed more of the circular food.
"Why don't you go stop whatever's going down? You're supposed to help, you know!" The man stated, getting slightly peeved.
Jeff rolled his eyes again. "What do I look like, some boy scout in blue pajamas? I've got my own business to deal with, pops."
The man stood over him. "Son, you go help them right now! Why, when I was younger people used to help..."
"Blah blah blah, cool your jets dude," Jeff interrupted, "I'm going." He hovered to about fifteen feet above the crowd, downing the last of his doughnut. Something always has to come up, he thought. I can't get twenty minutes to myself whenever I come to the city. Once he was a safe distance above them, he expressed his displeasure by instantly rocketing to supersonic speeds as he flew around the corner, knocking most of the crowd over. Grinning, he covered a distance of several city blocks in a matter of moments when he slowed to a stop, seeing the cause of the explosion.
On the ground, two of the gunmen looked up and began firing at Jeff. Effortlessly knocking their bullets out of the air, he descended to their level as the whole group of six gunmen exited the bank to start shooting at him. "Keep firing! One of these has got to hurt this little shit!" he heard one of the men yell over the gunfire. "We've come too far to get stopped by some brat!"
He waited for the men to run out of ammo. "You're wasting my time, you dumbasses," he warned them. "I've got a date at a comic book shop uptown and you're trying to rob a bank. Any other time I'd leave you alone, but everyone's on my ass about saving people as it is, so make this easy and surrender." He approached them as they began backing up into the building. One of them attempted to rush him and knife him, but the knife broke against his skin, and he tossed the man backwards over his head, into a bullet-riddled police car. "That was really stupid. Anyone else?" To his surprise, they all gave up rather quickly. Usually, there'd be a few more attempts, but he guessed it was the human-tossing and stopping bullets with bare flesh that convinced them. "Thank you. Now, if you guys would kindly just take a nap," he knocked them out by hitting them on the head with just enough force not to kill them, "I can be on my way."
Seeing the carnage end, the bank manager stepped out of the building and addressed the boy with anger. "Hey! You! Couldn't you have stopped them a little sooner? I've got a bank to think about here! You could have easily stopped them before they blew the front off of my bank!"
Jeff flipped him off. "Be thankful I stopped them at all, you fuck." He took off flying after picking up a bag of stolen money and throwing it into the bank, doing more collateral damage. He flew eagerly over several buildings until he saw a familiar alley with a familiar green door. He knocked twice, waiting patiently while he pulled open the bag and began devouring his muffin. A young man in his late twenties opened the door and smiled.
"Hey, Jeffrey! I got the latest release for you to look at!" He invited the young boy in with a gesture.
Jeff's frustrated mood vanished as he walked over to the manga section and began flipping through various series's. "I see you got the new Viz imprint," he gushed. "Always getting the cream of the crop, huh?" A smile dawned on his face as he quickly covered one volume and began another.
"Yeah, I know you come in here about once every couple days to read some new stuff I get in, but it's the least I can do for someone who saved my store." He glanced over at his shelves of American comics. "Jeff, I got a quick question. You're always flying around, scrounging up cans that people throw away, to recycle for money. I know several comic book companies would pay you big bucks to let them use your image in a story. How come you keep turning them down?"
Jeff looked at him. "Beck, you know as well as I do that I'm not a superhero." He marked his page with the muffin bag. "Do you think I want to put on some extremely gay-looking, uncomfortable spandex costume and fly around saving the day while doing obnoxious poses? I don't think so. Besides, those guys don't have a life. Saving the day IS their life." He picked his muffin back up and ate more of it. "Besides, I know Marvel or DC would make some superhero or superhero team my parental figures. And the LAST thing I need, is more people wanting to cash in on being parental figures to me."
Beck raised his eyebrows a moment. "Yeah, I remember how that turned out last time. All they wanted was money." He cleared his throat. "But why don't you ever take any comics with you? You saved my life and my store. You know anything you want, you can have."
"I can remember things I see very well, so I don't need to keep them." A thought bit him when he said those words. Beck picked up on them immediately.
"Except...your past, right?" He suddenly recoiled. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have gone there."
Jeff shook his head. "It's alright. You didn't say anything that wasn't true. I don't remember anything before waking up on that island." He picked the manga volume back up and began reading it. "I'm sure it wasn't important, if I can't remember it with how good my memory is. It must've been boring."
Beck reached under his desk. "You want a cheeseburger? I've got an extra." He tossed the sandwich.
Jeff cheered up. "Oh, sure! Thank you!" He reached up and caught the burger, setting it on the case next to him. He floated a few feet off the ground, assuming a horizontal relaxed position, placing his feet on the top of a comics case. "I'm just relaxing my legs a bit, after walking around half of New York, ok?" Beck nodded.
"Since you're here, I'm going to go see if my motorcycle is repaired. I'll be right back. Don't let anyone rob the store, ok?"
Jeff looked at him and smiled. "See? You asked nicely."
Beck winked at him. "See you in fifteen, buddy." A bell rung as he exited the store.
As Jeff engrossed himself in the first volume of a different series, he glanced at the comic book rack, and caught glimpse of a major American comic miniseries. He shook his head. "Idiots," he whispered to himself, about the audience. "You'd think people could solve their own problems."