HERE IS THE CURRENT FREE SHORT STORY!
super hero flash fiction
by Mary Ann Cherry
The “Officer Needs Backup” call came in while I recuperated at Main Street General. My wrist unit blared.
Attempted robbery—7-eleven south of the hospital—Jam Man—you copy? Perpetrator threatening clerk.
The caller muttered, “Where’s that blasted Smucker? He’s always out of ammo. Lousiest superhero ever.” Then again, “Smucker, you copy?”
“Don’t call me Smucker!” I bellowed. Hmmm. My unit was receiving but not transmitting. I give it a thump with no results. Shakily, I stepped onto on the cold linoleum, yanked on clothes and sneakers and tottered to the mirror. I looked dehydrated. No sweet energy...no ammo. My breakfast tray held hospital glop: Oatmeal. Iron-age toast. Boxed orange juice. YES! I gave a fist pump. Then I read the label...Contains one-percent real juice.
“One percent? ONE PERCENT? Am I supposed to drink this slop?” I yelled. “Nurse! Nurse!” I needed real juice—or fruit. I brightened and looked at my breakfast tray. Where are the bleeping prunes? Yesterday there were prunes. Hospitals ALWAYS push prunes. I need fruit to become the Jam Man. Grimacing, I grabbed the box of orange juice and slurped the fake juice from the tiny straw, then concentrated. Empty. Nope, not a tingle. I had to go find some real fruit. Maybe a grapefruit, or a juicy apple. My mouth watered. I stepped toward the doorway and peered around the edge, almost slamming my face into a wall of white uniform.
The blocky nurse clomped in and barricaded the door. “Mr. Smucker, where do you think you’re going?”
“Don’t call me that,” I yelled. “Why do you keep calling me that?”
She looked perplexed. “Well, when Officer Tony brought you in, he said your name was Smucker.”
“My name is FRED!” I bellowed. Wait until I see that Tony. “And I need real fruit. STAT!” Terms she’ll understand, I thought. I gave myself a mental back pat on the back.
“Sorry. Our fruit truck’s late.”
“Prunes. Prunes would do.” I gave her my most imploring look. The puppy-eyes. The big brown peepers.
“We sent them to the nursing home.”
“Now, Mr. Smucker. Why would you steal prunes from old people?” She glared.
I couldn’t blow my cover. “Uh, low blood sugar.”
“Oh, my.” She slapped a palm to her ample chest. “That’s not on your chart.” She looked horrified, then brightened. “Back in a tick.”
* * *
“A blasted pomegranate?” I looked at the opened fruit the nurse had brought. Pitiful. Absolute garbage.
“From my lunch.”
I sighed and gratefully downed the seeds.
* * *
Five minutes later, I reached the backdoor of the 7-eleven. “He’s locked in with the clerk—the Mayor’s niece,” Tony explained.
“I’m weak. All I’ve had is a pomegranate. It’s hardly even a fruit.”
He ignored me, pointing to a crack under the door. “Did you not hear me say it’s the mayor’s daughter in there? Perfect opportunity, Jam Man. You really a superhero? Prove it.”
Angered, I concentrated. My body became the consistency of jam. Oozing under the door, I slithered in, making only slight sucking sounds. The thief ranted and waved a pistol toward the weeping girl. Reaching him, I attempted to regain human shape, but only managed to become a tall blobby figure.
The girl looked at me. Her eye’s eyes rolled back, and she fainted.
The thief uttered a gurgled oath and fired, his expression full of panicked horror as I slithered forward.
Bullets whizzing harmlessly through me as I engulfed him. Tony rushed in with handcuffs, yanked the poor guy free and hauled him away.
I oozed against the nozzle of the smoothie machine. Peach-mango flowed directly into me and I rematerialized. My wrist unit was flashing an emergency message.
I stepped out of the 7-eleven. A square white form dressed in polka-dots, brandishing a huge red W rushed toward me.