art by Melissa Mead
Everyone Loves A Hero
by Fran Wilde
The hero roars up on his Harley, and deploys a grin that could melt an ice cave. "Hey hon, what's new?"
I can tell you firsthand that it's impossible to hate a hero. It's also difficult to date one, unless you enjoy dangling from cliffs, being chased by henchmen through a burning building, or struggling winsomely against chains that bind you to the tracks. Otherwise, you'll never get his full attention. He's too busy running out the front door, still chewing half a mouthful of the full-grain pasta lasagna that you baked, because there's an earthquake or someone's cat is stranded up a tree.
"Hey yourself. How's the cat?" I smile back and continue to weed the vegetable patch.
Granted, maybe I'm a little to blame for that last one, since I put Andrea Laughlin's kitten in the tree. Who knew she wouldn't notice until dinnertime?
"Cat's a kitten, and it's fine, plus I fixed Andrea's clogged sink," he says, turning off the engine. He heads into the house to wash up.
No job's too small, for my hero. Except the boring ones that no one says "thank you" for. Like sewing the buttons back on all his shirts, and, occasionally, on a slow week, drumming him up work. It's hard having him around the house when things are slow. Heroes are rough on the fixtures. Plus, I swear he'll wear out my mirror, practicing "it's nothing ma'am," and "all in a day's work, sir."
I remove my gardening gloves by the front door and walk in to find him standing over the sink, eating cold lasagna out of the pan. "Sure I can't get you something? Glass of wine? A chair?"
He shakes his head. "Need to get some zzzs. Tomorrow I have an interview with The Times about the meteor that almost hit that kid."
I was that kid once. The day we met, he swept me off my feet, out of the way of an oncoming train. I'd checked the schedule very carefully, but he didn't need to know that. We went out to dinner; he was sweet. The next date, I think he bribed the driver to let the horse run amok in the park, with me bouncing along in the carriage, terrified. He thought it romantic. I pulled a muscle in my shoulder and started carrying a Swiss army knife and other supplies. Soon, I could escape most things on my own. That was way more fun than waiting on the tracks.