Fiction Fragment Friday
Sometimes I don’t know where the inspiration for these comes from. I am just so happy that after years of sitting down and freezing up I can now just sit down and write without hesitation. It brings a fulfillment I can’t really put to words. This week I got an image stuck into my head and it is the first few lines of this story. It amused me and gave me something to explore. I hope you enjoy this story because I think it is in the top five fiction fragment Friday’s I have done. Also if you didn’t catch it I did an update on the blog here Monday about current projects and thoughts.
“Hey you OK down there?” Farmer Stevens head peered over the edge of the giant impact crater in his back forty. He stared at the man who inhabited the crater with a strange blend of curiosity and disgust. The extremely tight fitting costume hung off this individual shredded to the point of indecency.
A groan cam from out of the crater and the noticeably injured man tried to get to his feet. “Where am I?” It came out hoarse and he choked on a bit of blood in his mouth. He winced at the pain of taking a deep breath and knew that at-least one rib was broken. Standing sent waves of pain over his body.
“Rural Missouri. I’d tell you the name of the town but a big city superhero like you won’t have ever heard of it. Tell you what why don’t you come on in and get yourself cleaned up. Look like you can use a rest too. I just gone one request of ya.”
“Thank you.” Just speaking hurt. “What is your request?”
“Well could ya grab what’s left of your cape off a my flattened tractor there and wrap it around your waist? I know ya probably saved the world or sum’n but see I got a teenage daughter in the house. Bad enough one of my fields is ruined and I need a new tractor. I don’t need her seeing your unmentionable dangly bits too. She’s an impressionable age ya know?”
He looked down over the remains of his costume. There really was very little left of it other than scraps and boots. He sighed and immediately regretted it as pain shot through his body. He stumbled and almost fell from the sensation. Instead he pushed through the pain to grab what was left of his cape and wrap it around himself like a towel. His cape was actually the strongest part of his costume and it was heat resistant enough to have survived reentry into the atmosphere. “Thanks. Usually I would just try to fly off, but I think I need to take you up on that offer.”
“Probably for the best. The way you’re stumblin you look like my brother down at the bar on a Friday night. Not safe to drive not safe to fly I say. Here let me help you out of there.”
Farmer Stevens lay on the ground reaching down into the crater offering his hand to Guardian. It took everything both men had to get him out of the crater. Steven lay panting in exhaustion next to the hero who lay curled up in pain. Finally after a minute the farmer spoke. “You know I’ve never met an actual superhero before. My son has a picture of you hanging up on his wall. You know in my day we looked up to athletes and actors. How is a dad supposed to be a role model these days when there are people like you out there fighting off invasions or saving cats from trees? Heck you can fly. A guy like me I can’t even afford to buy a plan ticket and fly the old fashioned way unless it’s been a good harvest.” He nodded to the crater. “Between the loss of crop and having to replace that tractor you landed on this certainly isn’t going to be one of those years.”
“I’m sorry. Surely insurance will take care of that.”
“Nah they call it act of Superhero. Sure they offer superhero collateral damage insurance, but I didn’t take that. What’s the chances of that happening in the middle of nowhere Missouri? Apparently a lot better than I thought.” He stood and offered the hero his hand. He wrapped the mans arm over his shoulder and started walking him towards the house.
“It would have been a lot worse if that asteroid had hit.”
“Oh I’m sure it would have been. Look I don’t mean to be complaining. I know you super people do your best and you try to make sure no one gets hurt while you are doing it. These insurance and construction companies though don’t quite worry about us little guys. There are a lot of people making a lot of money off your collateral damage.”
“I never knew that.”
“Of course not. Why would you? You folks are a force of nature. Saving the world or fightin bad guys. You blow through and move on to the next big thing. We don’t have that option. We’re the folks left to live down here and deal with the aftermath. Ya know that’s why I became a farmer? My wife and I were in the big city once. Had a Laser or a death ray or some such thing slice right through our apartment. Was a foot away from my daughters crib. Too close for comfort so we packed up and moved.”
“I do everything I can to make sure innocent bystanders don’t get hurt.”
“Sure, but no body is perfect. It ain’t your fault when a villain attacks you do what you can. I don’t really know if there is anything that could fix things. Not everyone out there is you though. They aren’t all as powerful or responsible. If you can’t keep everyone safe taking out the bad guys then what hope do the other heroes have?” The two made their way up the steps onto the porch and sat on the bench to rest. “You know there are support groups out there for folks that lost people in these battles and can’t get over their anger? Here in Missouri we got a Governor running on an anti-super powers platform.”
“I didn’t know that.” The hero looked defeated. His eyes stared down at his hands in his lap. “What am I supposed to do? I have these powers and I can’t just let villains go around killing people or meteors crash into the Earth.”
“Hope you don’t think I have the answer for you. I’m not sure there really is one. What I do know is that cape isn’t covering your dangley bits when you sit down so I’m going to go in and get you some sweatpants before I bring you in near my daughter or wife.” The farmer stood and went into the house to both get the clothes and prepare his family for what he was bringing into the house.
The Guardian sat out on the porch staring at the crater in the farm field. He decided when he was up to it he would come back with his strength and speed to fill in the hole. He could reach out to one of his many rich superhero friends to replace the tractor. “Maybe that’s the answer. A charity with supers on the payroll using their powers to clean up after ourselves.”
“That sounds like a great idea.” The hero was so distracted in his own mind that he didn’t hear Stevens come out. He jumped startled by the sudden voice and let out a gasp of pain. “Careful there. Here put these on and come get cleaned up. The wife made Chicken and Dumplins for dinner and there is plenty for you to join us.”
The hero stayed with the family overnight and recovered enough to fly home in the morning. The next day after he left Farmer Stevens came out to see the crater had been filled in. It wasn’t packed right and the soil used was poor for farming, but it was a nice gesture and it would save him time. The new tractor that sat in his driveway with a thank you card attached however was the newest top of the line model. It was far better than what had been crushed. He smiled and looked up into the sky for a moment before getting on with his day. He couldn’t wait to tell his son he could keep the autographed guardian poster and cancel the ebay auction they had going to replace the tractor.