He sits across from me aboard the L-train headed for Jefferson Street. I glanced at the comic that he holds tightly with his pudgy, little hands. The title read, ‘The Flash’ and he had on a red t-shirt that showed his support for the character. I smiled slightly to myself watching his face light up at what I assume must be an exciting fighting sequence in the pages. He senses me watching and looks up. Our eyes meet and I gave him a smile. He looks at me curiously before returning to the colored panels.
I looked around the train cart at the different faces; each doing something to occupy their journey time. I wasn’t one to judge – I had a report sitting between my hands, waiting for me to give it attention.
I once thought it was a monotonous transport behavior and never liked joining the crowd. But since I’ve had my fair share of unconventional transport behavior, I’m learning to conform every now and then.
My report was about to get my undivided attention when my eyes caught sight of the little boy across from me. His nose wasn’t buried in his comic anymore but was instead transfixed on two average looking middle-aged men, that had just entered the carriage. Observing them, I realized they appeared surprisingly fresh for business men in suits. Their hair still had the fresh coat of gel on, as opposed to the other men in suits in the carriage. I know New York doesn’t sleep but it was 9 pm in the night, and most people here are ready to just jump right into bed. These two however, seemed like they just got out of bed. I studied them for a bit and caught a glimpse of the briefcases they were holding. Silver… Interesting.
The next thing I knew, the train pulled to a stop and the two men pulled out their guns just before the lights in the carriage went out. The last thing I heard before panic screams were, “Remember. 3-minute window.”
~ * ~
The lights all went out. Mommy got up out of her seat almost immediately and pulled my hand as she moved away from our seats. Everything happened so fast and I dropped my favorite comic.
“Mommy!” I said. “My comic!”
“It’s alright, sweetie. Mommy will get you a new one.” She replied. “We need to get out of here before the bad man catches us!”
But I didn’t want a new one. I was just about to finish this one. I wriggled my hand out of her grasp and moved forward, ignoring her frantic calls. I just want my comic. It was hard to see but I managed to feel the chairs as I moved. My hand eventually landed on the soft pages of my comic and just as I held it fully, I heard a strange click, two steps away from me. I backed away and fell over just as I heard the sound of punches being exchanged and the constant ‘whizz, whizz, whizz’ before me.
And that’s when I heard him.
“Don’t forget this.”
I felt my comic in my hands and someone helping me up. But, I still couldn’t see who it was.
He ruffled my hair in the dark. “Keep believing, little buddy.”
Almost like magic, the lights came back on and I turned to look for the man who spoke to me. However, all I saw in front of me was the little burnt marks on the ground and the two bad men sleeping on the floor. Their nice hair had been messed up and their faces had bruises on them. One even had a bleeding nose. It was cool to see them on the ground. It was just like when The Flash took down those evil men in my comic!
I turned around and was immediately bear-hugged by my mother. I smoothed her hair to stop her from crying and looked up as soon as I felt someone watching me. My eyes met with someone behind her – the man who sat opposite me. He pushed his glasses up and winked at me with a smile. I looked down at my comic and looked up at him again, as the surprised passengers hurried to find a way to subdue the bad men.
Could he be…?