Chuck asked us to write about the complexities about being a super hero. I thought this would be a good back door way of looking at it... or would it?
Super Heroes Anonymous – Group One
For the first half hour, none of them wanted to talk about how their status in life had affect their personal lives.
I stayed quiet, but then, Spiderman started talking about how it all it took was being bitten by a radioactive spider and the effects from that which took him down a path he felt he couldn’t return – he gave me a concerned look saying: ‘I could have gone in a completely different direction! I could have killed people instead of being a good guy. But I think being on the side of good is harder than the public think.’ His mask hid his tears, but I could hear his sadness.
Batman groaned, ‘Grow up. My parents were killed when I was a child. I swore to be on the side of good and to bring justice to the suffering of all in the city! The Mayor is on my side.’ He stood up and folded his arms (he does this in every session; we all tend to ignore him now until he sits down and says something useful – unfortunately, he never does). He sat down and started brooding.
Wonder Woman looks around, ‘Why am I the only woman here?’
I look at the list on my clipboard, ‘Because you don’t get along with the other female superheroes in the second group.’
‘Oh. I see.’ She nodded, ‘I don’t pick the fights.’
I smiled, ‘I know. Is there anything you’d like to add?’
‘I do wish I wasn’t always stronger than the men I’m attracted to.’ She sighed, ‘It’s a real turn-off. And why is it I’m always fighting greasy warlords or ... my alter-ego is being kidnapped?’ she looked up at me, ‘It’s a sexist thing, isn’t it? Kidnap the woman and think that she won’t do anything... stupid.’
I stop typing and sit back in the dim light of my office. These people have been part of their own two split-identity lives for so long, that they know it’s going to screw them up at some point... and Wonder Woman said something that... well, I didn’t like right now.
The Thing sat on the floor – he preferred it because he broke the last chair and I had to pay for it. He looked around at Wonder Woman, ‘I know what you mean when it comes to your other life.’
His blue eyes stared at her from the hardened, brick-like surrounds of his ‘skin’, ‘I have a second life – just like the rest of you – but I’m in love with a lovely woman, but she has no idea about who I am because she can’t see me.’
Superman had been observing him, ‘But she sees the real you, right? The man underneath all that brick?’
The Thing nodded, ‘Yep, that’s right... well, she does when he’s around physically.’
Ironman hadn’t sat down with the group today. Last week, he sat with us for a few minutes, heard us talking and wandered over towards the window and stayed there for the whole two hours, not saying anything to us. Today, he walked in and took his place at the window again; but this time, he leaned on the window sill and watched us.
I turned, ‘Ironman, would you like to join us today?’
‘Why would I join you?’
‘We’re just talking.’ I said.
‘I’m a super hero and you want me to tell these ones about my weaknesses?’ he looked around the group, ‘No.’
Wonder Woman stood and walked to him, ‘It’s got to be grinding on you – you know, being as open to the public as you are.’
‘I can tell them to leave me alone.’
Superman scoffed, ‘No super hero can do what Greta Gabo did. It’s just not possible. We’re needed too much. They call for us, and we run to their rescue – believe me, I’ve tried to ignore the cries for help; and it’s torture.’ He frowned, ‘Oh no... I’m sorry to cut this short, doc, I have to go.’
I looked up at him, ‘A call for help?’
He stood smiling, ‘You know how it is...’
He made it through most of the session – that was good.
Batman grizzled in his seat, his arms folded, ‘Him and his super hearing.’ He looked out the window to the sky, ‘I have to wait for...’
The phone on my desk rang and I picked it up, ‘Hello? Oh, yes sir, he’s here.’ I turned to Batman, ‘It’s the Mayor, he needs you.’ And right there, I lost my second one from the group as he raced from the group.
Spiderman stood, ‘My spidey senses are tingling...’ he sprung onto the wall, ‘I have to...’ and before I could say anything he aimed one arm out the window and webbed his way out across the city.
Wonder Woman, Ironman and The Thing all looked at me and I shrugged, ‘Well, you all may as well go. It’s a trio now, not a group.’
Wonder Woman smiled, ‘Thanks for understanding, doc. We’ll be back next week for our next session – right guys?’
Ironman shrugged, ‘I guess. And next week, I might say something useful – or at all.’
I sat back from my typewriter. These guys were going to be tough to work out; given it was my second session – but they were beginning to open up. I think it’s the secrets that are going to be the tough things. I won’t push though, that’s the thing with super heroes: the secrets they hold close; the ones they can’t tell anyone, not even a shrink.