It’s been a while since I did one of Sue’s #writephoto prompts but here we go again….
In a world of superheroes Vernon Ongar wasn’t your typical vigilante. He wore corduroy to begin with and parted his hair to the left which would usually disqualify anyone from a role as any sort of caped crusader. His parents, Dryden and Villy Ongar knew from his birth that he would disappoint – he entered the world arse first, curled into a tight ball with his hands protecting his head rather than in the approved manner: streamlined body, right arm straight ahead topped with a neatly clenched fist.
‘He’ll be in admin too.’ Dryden, who worked in the civil service and had hoped his son might join the ranks of the applauded, couldn’t hide his disappointment.
Villy nodded, imagining what her father would say. He wouldn’t cut the little boy any slack.
At super-school, all children were given the chance to shine and, while Vernon did his best, his tendency to ‘do a foetus’ whenever threatened led to his being labelled ‘sub-super’ from an early stage.
But Vernon wasn’t lacking in ambition. He understood there was a lack of suitable candidates for all the posts and that super-couples were often too busy confronting villains or unblocking sewers to create the next generation of the super-strong. All he had to do was find a suitable need, a gap in the already saturated market of super-slayers and super-sayers and he would surprise his family and, maybe, gain a sliver of respect from his Grandpa.
Grandpa Thump Mightie was a super-human of dynastic proportions: odes were written about his thighs, artists competed to capture the exact hue that his in-flight buttocks exuded and musicians struggled to replicate the harmonics when he crashed through the sound barrier, fist pumping and beard flaying. He was a busy soul, though years of smashing through locked doors and solid walls had left him with a distinct list to the left and an arthritic elbow. All he wanted was a little bit of peace and quiet but all he got was sycophants and fawning and none more so than when he returned to his family. The one member of the Mightie clan who didn’t follow the herd was his daughter’s weedy boy, Vernon, whom Thump secretly admired for having the balls to ignore his baiting.
It was the worst time of year for Thump: Christmas, when he had five straight days with his family gathered around, when he had to pretend to be cheerful and full of good spirit. As he stood, ho-ho-hoing and regaling the sea of besotted upturned faces with tales of derring-do, Vernon sat by the fire, in a world of his own, paying the grandmaster no attention.
‘Hey, boy. Vivian. Why the long face?’
‘It’s Vernon and I hate Christmas.’
‘Really? All the presents and treats?’
‘I only ever get given stationary and post-its while the rest get swords and capes and superfast shoes.’
Thump eased his way across the room and bent to the young man’s ear. ‘Well, if you hate it so much – and you’re not the only one – do something about it.’
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