The back of my fridge yields eggs
Now I can buy beer” —A Summer Haiku
I’m tired. Six-thirty at night and I was already considering bed time. What a day. What a miserable, long, cold day. Rescuing the elderly from fires, unlocking secret spy codes, rotating the damn earth on its axis. What a goddamn day. I slumped down in my favorite recliner and threw my cape on the hat rack. Missed. My apartment was a mess. Saggy, damp, colorless furniture, a television that will never grow up, and countless awards, pictures of the mayor, a key to the city—all strewn about the window sill and whatever lonely nook will keep them company. I’d like to say that my apartment wasn’t what it used to be…but it was never used to be anything. I laid down the first chunk of money ten years back. When I was prominent, when I was on the news, when I was a role model, when I wasn’t spending money at that weird Chinese restaurant every night. There used to be rent control here – now I have pay extra, every month, for bed bugs.
I was a regularly featured guest on Night Time, the highest rated evening talk show of 1988. The producers tracked me down and begged me for an interview. Begged me.
I, being young and saturated with ego, agreed. The fan mail poured in after that.
“You’re my real life superhero”
“I want to be just like you”
“Teach me to fly or I’ll kill myself.”
Can you believe that? Somebody threatening to off themselves for the chance of meeting me. I did it all, though. Shook the hands of politicians, kissed babies, endorsed breakfast cereals, smiled, winked, high-fived. The fame and money rolled in, and like the tide—and those rappers—rolled out.
I was walking down Broadway with Fantastico, chatting about who knows what, when I saw an attractive brick building. I discretely lowered my shades and looked through the infrastructure. Outstanding. Every single bit. Bay windows, cathedral ceilings, and two bathrooms. Packed away in a loft fit for a king. The two bathrooms sold me. I always say that a man’s bathroom should be like a bomb shelter: secure, well stocked, and thousands of feet underground.
“I don’t like it.” Muttered Fantastico. He pulled out one of those long cigarettes he was always smoking.
I quickly killed the smirk I was sporting. Fantatico didn’t have super-vision. It was a sore subject.
“You don’t like it because I like it.”
“That’s an ego right there, my friend. Either the world is on your side or they’re wrong.”
I sat down on the curb.
“Tico, you ever feel tired?”
“Night, mostly. In bed.”
“Come on, man. You know what I’m talking about. Really tired. Like your brain just flew around the moon a million times.” I winced. He couldn’t fly either, I forgot.
“No. Never. I love what I do.”
He let out a deep cough; we were both getting old, I just had the guts to admit it.
“I do, man. All the time. Fact is, I can’t remember being awake.”
“Get a hobby.” He said.
“I have hobbies. I’ve been writing.”
“I saw your poem.”
“Did you like it?” I asked.
He put out his cigarette and lit a new one. Our eyes met.
“But you’ve got potential.”
Shoot, anyone could have potential. I wanted results. We finished our day at the French Toast Palace and parted ways. For a massive brain capable of psychic powers, Fantastico could be a real asshole.