Super Dave (short fiction)

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davew's picture

Super Dave

I had managed a demotion from the primary investigative reporter for the Kansas City Star to the local interest page in one easy step. In my defense Gregory Kilgore is the mayor of Kansas City, Kansas and a Gregory Kilgore was arrested for shoplifting and indecent exposure. No one is disputing these facts. Now it maybe can be argued that I was a little overzealous in pushing the story above the fold on the front page, with a banner headline, before determining if it indeed had been the mayor who was arrested leaving Kroger's with a frozen chicken dragging his sweat pants down to his ankles. I'm supposed to write and fact-check a story with fifteen minutes to deadline? I suppose they expect me to typeset it too. Only the fact that I had neglected to use the word "mayor" in a story I was writing about the mayor saved my job at all.

Still smarting over this week-old humiliation I was now on the scintillating Odd Jobs column off to interview a guy named Super Dave in Lawrence.

I found him at a corner table at Paradise and Eggs polishing off the remains of... I couldn't tell what, but judging by the puddles of grease it left behind I hope he had a cardiologist on speed dial.

I extended a hand, "Jerry Jansen. Do I call you Mr. Dave or just Super?"

He declined to shake, "My name is David Osgood. You can use any part of that you like."

I grabbed the chair opposite him and pressed on. "So, Super, when did you start calling yourself Super Dave?"

His face turned stormy. "I never call myself that. The media picked it up from my friends who started calling me that after that stupid TV show in the '80s.

"But that was Super Dave Osborne."

"I never said my friends were all that bright. Or funny."

This wasn't going well. I changed tack. "So you're a Super Hero?"

"No, no, no, 1000 times no! I never said that. I never will say that. Super heroes save kittens and foil villains. I'm nothing of the kind."

"But my editor said you have a super power. Did she get that right?"

"Super power, yes. Super hero, no."

"So can you show me this super power?"

"I can't really show you, no, but..."

I cut him off. This complete waste of time was moving through completer waste of time and fast approaching completest waste of time.

"If you can't show me then I'm out of here..."

Just then there was the sound of the cries of a thousand animals dying in a thousand horrible ways. Their death cries formed a multi-octave symphony of agonized wails. The sound was coming from Super Dave's chair. This was followed by the smell that will surely accompany the apocalypse. It was as if a raccoon had crawled into my sinuses, raised a very large family, and then killed them all with a chainsaw,... three weeks ago. It was all I could do to keep from vomiting and I think I might have just a little because the odor improved a trifle.

"Dave!" screamed a nearby waitress.

"Sorry, he said." There was a crack like thunder again from the vicinity of Dave's ass. The room filled with the floral aroma of a late spring rainstorm. Listening closely over the now quiet restaurant I thought I could hear the last drops of rain hitting the forest floor, a couple of bird calls, and detected perhaps just a hint of ozone from distant lightning.

Dave looked as though he was barely containing a smirk and the din of the other customers once again picked up.

Super power indeed.

"How exactly do you do this?"

Dave shrugged. "How exactly to you breathe? I just do it."

I tried a different tack again. "So the column I write for is called Odd Jobs. I understand you sell popcorn?"

"I work for the movie theaters, but I don't really sell popcorn."

"You don't really sell or you don't sell real popcorn?"

Dave's expression turned to a scowl and he raised one cheek menacingly off the chair.

"What I meant to ask is what do you do for the movie theaters exactly?"

Dave said nothing. I heard a slight popping sound and the room filled with the rich scent of fresh hot popcorn, dripping in butter, and impossibly appetizing. My stomach yawned empty like I hadn't eaten in days. I flagged a passing waiter. "I'd like to see a menu, please."

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"we must be the change we want to see in the world"