by Jonathan Joy
I haven't told many people this. When I was a kid, I was a superhero. Maybe that's why, as an adult, I write so many kid superhero tales.
Not only was I a superhero. I was a superhero mouse.
Not sure why my alter ego was rodent inspired, though my obsession with Mighty Mouse cartoons might provide some clue.
I could fly and I had super strength and invisibility, and lasers would shoot out of my eyes. You know, all that cool superhero stuff. Also, I wore a long, red, and blue flannel robe that concealed just about any rad superhero tool you can imagine.
I’d reach into this robe and produce anything from a sword that I’d use to swashbuckle with villains or a disguise I might employ to blend in and spy on the bad guys or maybe, if I was hungry, an enormous Blondie-comic-like sandwich to carb up for the mission at hand.
Speaking of food, as you can imagine, me being a mouse, I gathered much of my strength from giant blocks of cheese in the same way Popeye consumed spinach for fuel.
I had to avoid snap traps my enemies would set in feeble attempts to catch me.
I applied my super sniffer to smell out poison that some might use to take me down.
My super important fantastic robe had to stay home, of course, when I would leave to go to school. That doesn’t mean the superhero mouse persona did not make occasional appearances at Burlington Elementary.
On many mornings, I’d enter the front door of the school as if I was boarding a large spaceship that was about to take flight to some distant land where my abilities would be greatly needed to save some isolated species from any number of possible calamities.
I recall a time when one of these intergalactic voyages landed me on a planet of cats and, as you can imagine, a lone mouse surrounded by cats is not a friendly place to be. Still, after much contention, we were able to broker a peace long enough for me to use my superpowers to assist them in a matter of great importance involving an ongoing war with a nearby planet full of dogs.
Fortunately, on these trips, we always returned home to Earth safe and sound and in time for the end of day dismissal bell.
Not that my security was assured at home. Once my nemesis, Monty Mold, polluted all the cheese in the Tri-State area, cutting off my power supply and weakening my abilities. Monty fell short of taking me out, though, because he forgot that Lunchables come with cheese and he had overlooked that one last Lunchables snack in our fridge, the one that gave me just enough muscle to defeat him once and for all.
No matter the conflict, I always persevered.
The only rival I was not able to beat was time itself. You see, as I grew, my powers weakened. Eventually, they were gone altogether. Young ones have robust imaginative, creative super tools at early ages that don’t stay as strong when they’re older.
So feed that imagination while you can. Enjoy those superpowers. And, if any of you out there happen to be kid superheroes yourself, be careful.