CONFESSIONS OF A SUPERHERO • by Joel Hunt

This is about a woman. It always is with us, isn’t it? Clark Kent has Lois Lane, Peter Parker has Mary Jane Watson, even Bruce Wayne has that on-again off-again thing with Selina Kyle. It doesn’t matter where we are, or who we’re fighting, or how bad our costume is. There’s always a woman.

Except this woman was different.

Sure, it started out innocent enough. Young woman being chased down alleyway by gang of thugs, enter the hero, fight ensues, thugs get thrashed, young woman swoons (always my favourite part), and then the hero vanishes into the dark. That’s the formula. Time-tested, quality assured, end of story. That’s how it is. That’s how it’s always been.

She really should have stuck to it.

It was almost a month before I saved her for the second time, dragging her car from the edge of that cliff. I barely recognised her, but she certainly recognised me. She hugged me with an oh-so-sweet “My hero,” just in time for the reporters to arrive. They lapped that right up, I can tell you. It even made the headlines the next day. And she was right. That’s exactly what I became. Her hero.

The third time was another alleyway, another gang of thugs. I remember how similar it was because we made a joke about it. But then she pulled me close to her in the rain, and kissed me.

It got more regular after that. So often I can’t even count them anymore. I’ve saved her from burning buildings, collapsing bridges, even a stampede once. Afterwards, when I took her back to her apartment, there were pictures of me stuck all over her walls; photos, newspaper clippings, all with lovehearts drawn on, and plenty of “4ever”s. I’ll never forget that. The way she smiled at me in there.

No one gets into as much trouble as she does. Saving her is all I do anymore. Even now she’s standing on top of a building getting ready to jump. Oh, she’s happy enough about it. She knows that when she jumps I’ll catch her, save her like I always do. That’s what she’s telling the negotiator. That’s what she’s telling the police, the crowds, the world. That I’m going to display my love for her, right then and there in front of them all. That when she falls, I’m going to catch her. Because I always do. Because I love her.

The thing is, this isn’t exactly what I signed up for.

I thought I’d be fighting crime, beating up bad guys, saving the world! Sure, I expected the odd damsel in distress routine. Hell, in the old days I even looked forward to them, but this is just ridiculous. Every week, it’s the same old characters, the same old story. And quite frankly, it’s getting tiresome.

I never even said I loved her. Hell, I actually told her I didn’t – though I guess in her mind that was just another way for me to protect her. Villains always target the SAGs (That’s ‘Sidekicks And Girlfriends’ if you don’t know the lingo), so no matter how much distance I put between us, she saw it exactly how she wanted to see it. How she wanted to see me. I tried to avoid seeing her, but when you hear a girl scream, certain instincts kick in. And every time they did, I’d think; This time. It won’t be her this time. It can’t be her this time.

It’s nothing personal of course, she’s just not my type. I wanted a Wonder Woman, and she’s a Rapunzel. Except Rapunzel didn’t throw herself from the tower…

Oh well, the clock’s ticking. I have to be getting downtown. There’s a little café right opposite where she’s making her scene, and it’ll give me a good view of the situation. It’s curious, actually. You see, in the men’s toilets of that particular café is a stall that’s always ‘closed’. That’s one of my costume spots, one of the places I go to make my quick change into Hero form. (Oh yes, we have to stash those things somewhere. It’s not like we’re always wearing them under our regular clothes.) It’s quite a coincidence that she’s threatening to jump just across the street from there.

Or… maybe it’s not. Maybe she figured that one out too, and she’s just trying to streamline the process for me. I wouldn’t put it past her. Last month I had to abandon my underground wonder fortress after she broke in and filled it with rose petals. Honestly, I’d managed to keep it a secret for more than a decade before I met her. I still don’t know how she tracked it down. Or where my toothbrush went.

When I get to the café I’ll need an alibi, like usual. I’ll grab a table out front, order a hot chocolate; extra milk, no foam. Ask what pastries they have today. Get a paper out, start the crossword.

And then, when she jumps…

I’m just going to watch.


Joel Hunt is an English Teacher who currently lives in Derbyshire, England. He is particularly interested in science fiction and social themes, and has had a short story published by The Gentlemen Press and several stories and plays performed.


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Rate this story:
 average 4.6 stars • 24 reader(s) rated this

Every Day Fiction

  • Paul A. Freeman

    Very funny. Sagged a bit towards the end, I felt (where was Super Pruner with his shears?), but a solid 4 from me.

    • Joel
      Thanks Paul, I appreciate that! Where abouts did it start sagging, for you? What sort of changes would you recommend?
      • Paul A. Freeman
        Just after the SAGs bit (no pun on'sag' intended); you've got the words 'saw', 'see', 'see' and 'seeing' in close proximity, in two awkward, confusing sentences. That sort of pulled me out of the story and was followed by some backstory (I didn't get the 'toothbrush' reference) before you got back on track.
        • Joel
          Ah, I hadn't spotted the "saw/see/seeing". Thanks, I'll see what I can do with that bit.
  • Paul A. Freeman

    Very funny. Sagged a bit towards the end, I felt (where was Super Pruner with his shears?), but a solid 4 from me.

    • Thanks Paul, I appreciate that! Where abouts did it start sagging, for you? What sort of changes would you recommend?
      • Paul A. Freeman
        Just after the SAGs bit (no pun on'sag' intended); you've got the words 'saw', 'see', 'see' and 'seeing' in close proximity, in two awkward, confusing sentences. That sort of pulled me out of the story and was followed by some backstory (I didn't get the 'toothbrush' reference) before you got back on track.
        • Ah, I hadn't spotted the "saw/see/seeing". Thanks, I'll see what I can do with that bit.
  • Carl Steiger

    If there were superheroes, then for sure they would have their pesky groupies. But in the end, even if she did have it coming, is this really a super-solution to our superhero’s problem with his super-stalker?

    • Joel
      Oh, certainly not, but then my hope is that we start to question where on the hero - villain spectrum this guy actually lies. He's certainly no Superman. (Although could a pure good Superman exist in such a world as ours?) Thanks for reading and commenting.
  • Carl Steiger

    If there were superheroes, then for sure they would have their pesky groupies. But in the end, even if she did have it coming, is this really a super-solution to our superhero’s problem with his super-stalker?

    • Oh, certainly not, but then my hope is that we start to question where on the hero - villain spectrum this guy actually lies. He's certainly no Superman. (Although could a pure good Superman exist in such a world as ours?) Thanks for reading and commenting.
  • MPmcgurty

    Delightful. The voice was excellent, and it was slyly funny. I agree with Paul about what immediately followed the SAGs, and some pruning would improve the paragraphs that follow. Sometimes when we write in first person, we want to include every thought we have, as if we’re having a conversation with someone. And that’s good, but it can turn bad.

    I did like the reference to her finding the hideout, and I loved the toothbrush line.

    Outside of some snipping, my only real hiccup was, if he’s planning to just watch her jump, why does he “need an alibi, like usual” in the pastry shop? This time, he really doesn’t need an alibi if he’s not going to rescue her.

    I really enjoyed this. Thanks.

    • S Conroy
      Yes, I wondered about that too. Is he leaving his options open to save her at the last moment after all?
      • Funny you should ask that. I actually considered removing the last line entirely, and ending it on "And then, when she jumps..." so that the reader could decide whether he had saved her or not. A friend talked me out of it though, and I'm glad he did. But my point is, absolutely, he's able to use his powers even shortly after she's jumped, so if he changes his mind it wouldn't be too late. And of course the last bit is future tense, so even after he's apparently made the decision, it could change when she does jump.
    • Thank you so much, I really appreciate that! I've definitely taken Paul's first comment on board, and will look into doing a bit of pruning. I do rather like those lines though (the toothbrush one is among my favourites!); do you think they could go anywhere else in the story and fit more comfortably? As for the alibi, he doesn't want people to KNOW he's chosen not to save her. After all, superheroes can't save literally everyone. So it's his way to be there without anyone blaming him for not stepping in. (And I don't want to go "too deep" here, but I guess it's inevitable after thinking about the characters for so long - I imagine he had to be there so that, afterwards, he knew it was his choice, and not his failure. Does that make sense?)
      • MPmcgurty
        Ah-ah-ah. Unless people know he's the superhero, he doesn't need an alibi for anything. At that point, he's just another guy in a coffee shop. No one knows where the superhero is; they would just think he didn't make it in time. I don't have a problem with him being there, just with him saying he needs it as an alibi. As to your "rather like(ing) those lines though", that's my point. As writers, we all love our lines. We birthed them. They're our children; people should think they are equally darling. They're not.
        • S Conroy
          Hm. That is a bit confusing alright. I reread and wonder if alibi is being used in an extended sense to refer to his excuse for being there - the table, hot-chocolate and extra milk with no foam. Without it all, he might look/feel out of place. Not sure though..
        • Hm, perhaps it wasn't the perfect choice of word, but it's partly to suggest he has a reason to be near and watch, and partly in case he does change his mind at the last moment he's had an alibi for his non-hero form. But yes, I'll definitely accept there may be other ways I could have phrased it.
  • MPmcgurty

    Delightful. The voice was excellent, and it was slyly funny. I agree with Paul about what immediately followed the SAGs, and some pruning would improve the paragraphs that follow. Sometimes when we write in first person, we want to include every thought we have, as if we’re having a conversation with someone. And that’s good, but it can turn bad.

    I did like the reference to her finding the hideout, and I loved the toothbrush line.

    Outside of some snipping, my only real hiccup was, if he’s planning to just watch her jump, why does he “need an alibi, like usual” in the pastry shop? This time, he really doesn’t need an alibi if he’s not going to rescue her.

    I really enjoyed this. Thanks.

    • S Conroy
      Yes, I wondered about that too. Is he leaving his options open to save her at the last moment after all?
      • Funny you should ask that. I actually considered removing the last line entirely, and ending it on "And then, when she jumps..." so that the reader could decide whether he had saved her or not. A friend talked me out of it though, and I'm glad he did. But my point is, absolutely, he's able to use his powers even shortly after she's jumped, so if he changes his mind it wouldn't be too late. And of course the last bit is future tense, so even after he's apparently made the decision, it could change when she does jump.
        • Sam Malkowski
          I feel like the line still fits, even if he does not change his mind. He needs an alibi for watching her jump. It's a play of words, using alibi instead of excuse. He isn't going there to eat. Even if the people in the coffee shop don't know it is an alibi, it is. Nice choice!
    • Thank you so much, I really appreciate that! I've definitely taken Paul's first comment on board, and will look into doing a bit of pruning. I do rather like those lines though (the toothbrush one is among my favourites!); do you think they could go anywhere else in the story and fit more comfortably? As for the alibi, he doesn't want people to KNOW he's chosen not to save her. After all, superheroes can't save literally everyone. So it's his way to be there without anyone blaming him for not stepping in. (And I don't want to go "too deep" here, but I guess it's inevitable after thinking about the characters for so long - I imagine he had to be there so that, afterwards, he knew it was his choice, and not his failure. Does that make sense?)
      • MPmcgurty
        Ah-ah-ah. Unless people know he's the superhero, he doesn't need an alibi for anything. At that point, he's just another guy in a coffee shop. No one knows where the superhero is; they would just think he didn't make it in time. I don't have a problem with him being there, just with him saying he needs it as an alibi. As to your "rather like(ing) those lines though", that's my point. As writers, we all love our lines. We birthed them. They're our children; people should think they are equally darling. They're not.
        • S Conroy
          Hm. That is a bit confusing alright. I reread and wonder if alibi is being used in an extended sense to refer to his excuse for being there - the table, hot-chocolate and extra milk with no foam. Without it all, he might look/feel out of place. Not sure though..
        • Hm, perhaps it wasn't the perfect choice of word, but it's partly to suggest he has a reason to be near and watch, and partly in case he does change his mind at the last moment he's had an alibi for his non-hero form. But yes, I'll definitely accept there may be other ways I could have phrased it.
  • I think this may be the most enjoyable story I’ve read at EDF.

    Very solid writing (it didn’t sag for me at all, but I can understand how it might for some). I loved the voice and pacing. The humor was subtle enough and the descriptions and explanations were spot on. I even have an excellent image of the woman even though she was never really explained, but through her actions.

    I’m going to over-use “brilliant” again here because this story was, in fact, brilliant. I think this is only the fourth story to receive a 5-star vote from me, but it was well deserved.

    Thanks so much for sharing this story.

    • Wow, thank you so much! This may be the most enjoyable review I've read on EDF! I really appreciate the comments, and in particular I'm pleased you could visualise her. I worry quite often in my writing that I don't build enough of a visual image, so you saying that is very comforting. Thanks so much for the review, it was really nice to read.
  • I think this may be the most enjoyable story I’ve read at EDF.

    Very solid writing (it didn’t sag for me at all, but I can understand how it might for some). I loved the voice and pacing. The humor was subtle enough and the descriptions and explanations were spot on. I even have an excellent image of the woman even though she was never really explained, but through her actions.

    I’m going to over-use “brilliant” again here because this story was, in fact, brilliant. I think this is only the fourth story to receive a 5-star vote from me, but it was well deserved.

    Thanks so much for sharing this story.

    • Wow, thank you so much! This may be the most enjoyable review I've read on EDF! I really appreciate the comments, and in particular I'm pleased you could visualise her. I worry quite often in my writing that I don't build enough of a visual image, so you saying that is very comforting. Thanks so much for the review, it was really nice to read.
  • S Conroy

    Nice! Thanks for the entertainment.

  • S Conroy

    Nice! Thanks for the entertainment.

  • Bud Clayman

    I really liked this story and as MPmcgurty said, “The voice was excellent….”

    My only problem with the piece was that I felt the plot and conflict could have been weaved in earlier with the character’s thoughts about being a superhero. It seemed to be three quarters character bio and then the external conflict began.

    The internal conflict was present from the start, which was good, but I think the piece would have been more complete with the external dilemma.

    Still, I’ll give it four stars for originality of voice.

    • Thanks for the comments Bud, I appreciate it. Would you mind if I ask where you'd have brought in the external conflict? I completely understand where you're coming from, but as I see it the introduction of the external conflict (her being about to jump) requires the build up of the bio. Do you think it could have been flipped and reveal that at the start? Would the bio then serve more distinctly as a flashback?
      • Bud Clayman
        Hi Joel: Let me re-read your piece and get back to you by the weekend with answers to your questions. Thanks for your patience. Best, Bud
      • Bud Clayman
        Hi Joel: I re-read your story again but I'm not sure I understand your question. Can you please be more specific in what you're asking me? Thanks, Bud
        • Hi Bud, Very sorry about the delay in my reply! I was referring to your point that you "felt the plot and conflict could have been weaved in earlier with the character's thoughts about being a superhero." I'm presuming by that plot/conflict you're talking about the threat to jump? If that is what you're meaning, where would you suggest first revealing that aspect of the story? Hope that makes a bit more sense, Thanks for the feedback, and apologies again for the long time before answering, Cheers, Joel.
  • Bud Clayman

    I really liked this story and as MPmcgurty said, “The voice was excellent….”

    My only problem with the piece was that I felt the plot and conflict could have been weaved in earlier with the character’s thoughts about being a superhero. It seemed to be three quarters character bio and then the external conflict began.

    The internal conflict was present from the start, which was good, but I think the piece would have been more complete with the external dilemma.

    Still, I’ll give it four stars for originality of voice.

    • Thanks for the comments Bud, I appreciate it. Would you mind if I ask where you'd have brought in the external conflict? I completely understand where you're coming from, but as I see it the introduction of the external conflict (her being about to jump) requires the build up of the bio. Do you think it could have been flipped and reveal that at the start? Would the bio then serve more distinctly as a flashback?
      • Bud Clayman
        Hi Joel: Let me re-read your piece and get back to you by the weekend with answers to your questions. Thanks for your patience. Best, Bud
      • Bud Clayman
        Hi Joel: I re-read your story again but I'm not sure I understand your question. Can you please be more specific in what you're asking me? Thanks, Bud
        • Hi Bud, Very sorry about the delay in my reply! I was referring to your point that you "felt the plot and conflict could have been weaved in earlier with the character's thoughts about being a superhero." I'm presuming by that plot/conflict you're talking about the threat to jump? If that is what you're meaning, where would you suggest first revealing that aspect of the story? Hope that makes a bit more sense, Thanks for the feedback, and apologies again for the long time before answering, Cheers, Joel.
  • I like the ending and the parody of the peculiarities of the genre.

    • Thanks Derek! I appreciate that.
  • I like the ending and the parody of the peculiarities of the genre.

    • Thanks Derek! I appreciate that.
  • Karen Grikitis-Sage

    No sagging for me! Loved it from beginning to end.

    • Really appreciate the comment Karen, thanks! Glad you enjoyed it.
  • No sagging for me! Loved it from beginning to end.

    • Really appreciate the comment Karen, thanks! Glad you enjoyed it.
  • monksunkadan

    No sagging at all . I loved it , loved it, loved it. One of the best in a long time. This story makes you a super hero in my book. Thanks for sharing this wonderful piece of the craft.

    • Haha, aww, that's very nice of you to say! I'm very glad you liked it, and thanks for the lovely comment!
      • monksunkadan
        Joel would like to recommend a story from Sarah Pisker at DSF from 10/4/2015. Last Thursday at Supervillain Supply Depot.
  • monksunkadan

    No sagging at all . I loved it , loved it, loved it. One of the best in a long time. This story makes you a super hero in my book. Thanks for sharing this wonderful piece of the craft.

    • Haha, aww, that's very nice of you to say! I'm very glad you liked it, and thanks for the lovely comment!
      • monksunkadan
        Joel would like to recommend a story from Sarah Pisker at DSF from 10/4/2015. Last Thursday at Supervillain Supply Depot.
  • Chinwillow

    Oh this was fun!! The cream in my morning coffee! Good writing…solid..no sags for me….loved it. Thanks, Joel!

    • I'm glad I could brighten your morning then! Thanks very much for the comment!
  • Chinwillow

    Oh this was fun!! The cream in my morning coffee! Good writing…solid..no sags for me….loved it. Thanks, Joel!

    • I'm glad I could brighten your morning then! Thanks very much for the comment!
  • Instantly intriguing, persistently entertaining, and morally ambiguous. A flash fiction story as perfect as it gets.

    • Wow, I'm honoured! I take "morally ambiguous" to be very high praise indeed! Thanks.
  • Instantly intriguing, persistently entertaining, and morally ambiguous. A flash fiction story as perfect as it gets.

    • Wow, I'm honoured! I take "morally ambiguous" to be very high praise indeed! Thanks.
  • Pingback: Every Day Fiction | toby backman()

  • Noah

    When i was reading your story is saw that you put alibi. Why would he need a alibi if no one knows he is a super hero.