“Why does he get the key to the city? We’re the ones out there saving the world every other day,” Captain Strong grumbled to no one in particular. He sat on a metal folding chair with his arms crossed and a sour look on his face. The rest of the heavy hitters from the hero league were seated on both sides of him. The mayor insisted on a big celebration in the park for TimeSweeper. “They wouldn’t even know he existed if he didn’t record all our fights.”
“They also wouldn’t know we saved the world every other day if he didn’t,” Waxwork reminded him. They were seated in the shade, but the warm day still made her pale wax skin soft and pliable.
“You okay?” Captain strong asked when he spotted a drip gathering on her temple.
“I’m fine,” she said. “We’re here to show our support and say thank you too. Thanks to him we can do our jobs without worrying about a thing. Thanks to him, all these people can go to school, work, and even the grocery store, every day. We might save the world, but he saves their lives.”
The mayor, a short, bald, fat man, walked on to the stage to the sound of applause. He approached the microphone and Waxwork got the impression that he had a long speech in store. She decided to nip Captain Strong’s attitude in the bud.
“YOU…,” she turned on her seat slightly to face him and made sure he knew she was talking to him. “… haven’t saved anyone yet. I know it’s easy to develop a certain way of thinking at hero school, but you need to drop all those biases. This team is a team. Everyone is important, everyone pulls their own weight, everyone supports each other.” Captain Strong’s bright blue eyes dulled a bit behind his red mask, but Waxwork continued the lecture to drive the point home.
“Just because you’re the strongest one on the team now, doesn’t mean anything. Strength is not only relative, it’s context-sensitive. You can’t use it for everything. That being said, I’ll tell you a secret. TimeSweeper is the most powerful of us. He could stop every threat before it becomes a threat. But if he did that, we wouldn’t have a team of friendly Supers,” she looked around to make sure no one was eavesdropping. She noticed Snowshoe’s tall ears pointed in their direction, but no one else seemed to notice. Everyone was listening to the Mayor. She leaned closer to Captain Strong.
“We’re basically a club that hangs out and sometimes has brawls with another club,” she giggled.
“He’s really that powerful?” Captain Strong asked. Waxwork nodded.
“You’ve seen the videos, right?” she asked. Captain Strong gave a sheepish shrug.
“They showed us them a few times at school…,” he sighed. “I never paid attention. He’s basically a janitor, I didn’t think it was anything special.” Waxwork shook her head.
“If you’d seen them, you’d know he’s way more than a janitor. He doesn’t clean up after the fight. He can stop time, he fixes everything during.”
“He can control time!?” Captain Strong started to wish he paid more attention in class.
“Yeah.. why do you think he picked TimeSweeper for his name?”
“I don’t know, I assumed he was good enough to get it all done in a timely manner. I guess I never thought about it.”
“Seems to be a pattern, Captain Strong,” Waxwork teased him with an unsettlingly soft elbow in his ribs. It felt like someone was jamming a water balloon against him.
“Ehh, I thought I could change it later,” Captain Strong sighed.
“And here he is, TIMESWEEPER!” the mayor announced on stage. As the crowd applauded, Waxwork jumped to her feet and shouted.
“EYES UP!” Captain Strong looked up in time to see a massive red-orange fireball falling from the sky toward the stage. As he noticed a group of villains flying in behind it, Captain Strong stood, then, he blinked his eyes.
“Thank you! Thank you everyone,” Captain Strong heard TimeSweeper at the microphone when he opened his eyes. He was still standing, but all the other heroes were seated with no sign of a fireball or even the group of villains.
“Sit back down,” Waxwork whispered.
“What happened?!” Waxwork smiled at him.
“You’ll have to watch the video,” she winked.