Sunday, November 18, 2018

Supercomics #16

Tyler Lockrum was a seventh grader at Abyssinia Hill Secondary School. He was walking by himself along 165th Street as he always did coming home from his friend’s apartment. Since this was something he did nearly every night, he didn’t think anything was wrong or felt the eyes staring at him.

The figure followed him at a distance for a couple of blocks until finally making a move. “Hey, kid,” the creature hissed.

Tyler stopped and looked but didn’t respond.

“Do you know how to get to Amsterdam Avenue from here?”

Tyler raised an eyebrow. “It’s, like, right up ahead a couple of blocks,” he answered. Tyler continued walking. The creature waited until he was inline with a sewer and then struck.

The creature ran to Tyler, grabbing him and then slid down into the sewer and was out of sight.

At about the same time, Alix Kincaid was leaving Otto’s Market. For the last week, she had been going there after dinner to help Otto close. Twenty bucks for two hours of work. Her days had been spent wandering to different businesses and putting in job applications. “For some reason, a 16-year-old high school dropout isn’t in high demand,” Alix had told her mom and best friend, Traci, one night at dinner.

“You should be going back to school as well,” Alix’s mom, Anna, said.

“I can’t. You can barely afford the two of us and we’re not getting that stimmy from the government since I quit the team. Besides, you know I was never a school person.”

“Maybe you could go part-time,” Anna suggested. “Just take your core classes and then work in the afternoon. Can’t get a decent job without a diploma.”

“I’m not going back and I’m not talking about this again.”

Alix wished there was a way to monetize being a superhero. “I could post something on CraigsList,” she muttered to herself as she walked. “Probably just get a bunch of perverts wanting me to slap them around.”

“Don’t make a sound,” someone said nearby. Alix stopped and listened. She peered around a corner and saw a man with a gun and a woman struggling to get her purse from off her arm. Alix exhaled loudly and then leapt on top of a building overlooking the crime.

She jumped off and landed feet first on the mugger. He was able to get one shot off before Alix crumpled the barrel of his gun. The woman had run away and Alix took two punches at the mugger, knocking him unconscious. She then casually walked away. Someone would find him, probably a cop since they are the only one who are out around this time.

Alix continued walking home and walked into her apartment and bedroom at almost midnight. “Where have you been?” Traci asked.

“What are you still doing up?”

“Waiting for you. I’ve gotten used to you sleeping next to me,” Traci sighed.

Alix changed in front of Traci, into a large baggy shirt that used to be her father’s. “I gotta pee. I’ll be back.” Alix was gone just over a minute and came back into the bedroom. She pulled off her underwear and got into bed next to Traci.

“So where were you?” Traci asked again.

“Job hunting most of the day. Then I did a job for Otto at his market.”

“Otto closes at 9. It’s midnight.”

“Well, mom, I walked slowly, wandered around the neighborhood and stopped a mugging.”

“I’m glad you’re home,” Traci said.

“Me too. Are you going to school tomorrow?”


“You should go back to school,” Alix started. “I understand why you don’t want to, 16 and pregnant, but you need to try to finish school.”

“Why? You aren’t.”

“I nearly killed someone. I have much more baggage at school than you. My dealers, the guys I slept with, that one teacher I let feel me up,” Alix explained.

Traci rolled her eyes and smiled. “You are going to have to go back to school at some point. You need a high school diploma to do anything anymore.

“I’ll finish some day. Get my GED or something. Right now my focus is getting a job, making more money for us and making sure you and Mom are taken care of.”

“You don’t have to do that,” Traci said.

“Someone does,” Alix sighed.

Saver’s Market was a discount grocery store that cuts costs by having no name brands, smaller selection, and fewer employees. They paid better with slightly easier work which is what drew Alix to apply with them.

“Are you hiring?” Alix asked the one cashier at the front of the store.

“I think so, yeah,” the young woman answered. “Let me finish here and I’ll take you back to the office.”

When the cashier was done, she and Alix went into warehouse and into a simple glass office. She handed Alix a clipboard with an application on it. “Thanks,” Alix said.

“Fill it out and just leave it on the desk. Terry will call you sometime in the next week or so.”

“Thanks,” Alix said again.

Alix filled out the application in silence. Someone came in and began flipping through the papers on the desk. “Hey, you applying for a job?”

“Yeah,” Alix answered.

“Do you have any experience working in a store?”

“A little. I’ve done some work at Otto’s Market. Stock, trash, sweeping and mopping. He’s an old guy so I help him out for a few bucks.”

“Anything else?” the man sat down at the desk and started writing.

“I’m a fast learner. I’m a very good worker and hard-working too,” Alix tried to make herself sound good. “I also like working with and helping the public.”

“You look young,” the man said.

“I’m 16,” Alix answered.

“So you’re in school?”

“Not right now, no. I really need a job to help out my Mom and best friend who’s pregnant.”

The man nodded. “Can you start tomorrow?” he asked.

“Yes. Yes, absolutely.”

“One thing. Go back to school. It doesn’t have to be right away but at some point. You seem like a smart girl and I don’t want to see you ruin your life because you are trying to do the right thing.”

“Okay. I’ll think about it. Okay?” Alix said. “Thank you. Thank you for this.”

“Come in tomorrow at noon. We’ll do some paperwork and you can shadow Jake or Alison,” the man said.

“Thank you again, Mister…”

“You can call me Terry. I’m the manager here.”

“Thanks, Terry. I appreciate this more than you’ll ever know,” Alix handed him her application on the clipboard.

“You are very welcome, Miss,” he glanced at the application “Kincaid.”

“Alix,” she looked back at him.

For the first couple of classes, Traci was an anomaly. She hadn’t yet started showing but people still stared at her stomach hoping to catch a glimpse. Everybody became accustomed to her by lunch and by then it seemed as if everything was back to normal. Traci was never one to talk to other classmates like she talked to Alix so her lack of conversation and solitude was seen as normal.

“It’s really brave, what you are doing,” a girl named Emily came up to her during passing between seventh and eighth period.

“I’m not the first pregnant girl,” Traci said, raising an eyebrow.

“I mean being here at school. I can’t imagine being pregnant and coming to school. So many I think just drop out.”

“O...kay,” Traci glared at Emily. They had never spoken to each other before so Traci didn’t know where this was coming from. Someone walked by Traci and gently rubbed her stomach. Traci slapped their hand away and pushed the person away. They slammed into a row of lockers. “Don’t touch me!” she screamed.

“Jesus Christ, what’s your problem…?”

“You don’t just touch people. You ask.” A crowd of students were now standing around them.

“I was just…”

“I know what you were doing. Using my pregnancy as an excuse to fondle and molest me. You ever hear of consent? I oughta beat your head into the wall!” Traci raised her fist but someone stepped between her and the boy.

“Ms. Hanscomb. Mr. Reyes,” the teacher said. “You go to the office and I hope you learned a little something about consent. Ms. Hanscomb, why don’t you take a walk and cool down?”

“Fine,” Traci muttered.

“I’ll go with her, Mr. Beatty,” Emily said. The two girls walked down the hall together at first in silence but then Emily began talking. “Is everything okay?” she asked.


“You nearly hit him. He was just touching your belly. It’s what people do.”

“Well, people shouldn’t. And anyway, he’s in high school. Last time I checked, high school boys don’t want to rub pregnant bellies. He wanted to cop a feel.”

“You’re probably right. Who’s the father if you don’t mind me asking?”

“Can we not talk about that? Or this?” she pointed to her stomach. “I am more than just a baby-making machine.”

“You missed our physics test,” Emily said.

“I probably won’t have to retake it. I’m pretty good at science anyway.”

“Maybe you could help me with it. I’m having trouble with the formulas.”

Traci shrugged. “Sure.”

“What happened to that friend of yours? Allie or something?”

“Alix?” Traci asked. “She’s fine. She’s back in New York now. I’m actually staying with her since my parents kicked me out.”

“Your parents kicked you out? Because of the pregnancy?”


“Why’d they do that?”

“Having a pregnant daughter didn’t fit into their perfect family motif,” Traci said. “If only they knew…”

“Knew what?”

“Nothing. Let’s go back to class.

“And what’s her name?” Alix asked as she made the bed.

“Emily something-or-other,” Traci said. “I don’t know her last name. Which is odd considering we’ve been in school together since Kindergarten. She seems nice enough. Tell me about your job.”

“I don’t really know yet. I’ll be doing stock and shelving, probably cleaning and working the register. I’m just glad that he’s taking a chance on me.”

“We both had pretty good days.”

“I’m glad you went to school,” Alix said.

“I’m glad too.”

Elsewhere in the neighborhood, another person was followed by a mysterious shadow. Another person was swept away into the sewer. Another person was found murdered.