“I can’t believe he slept through that,” Wanda whispered to her husband as they snuck out of their son’s bedroom.
“Why are you whispering?” Elkson asked in his normal volume. “He just slept through a tattoo, he’s not waking up any time soon.”
“Partial tattoo,” Wanda replied as she followed her husband to the kitchen. Both parents burst into giggles once they were comfortably in a different room. “I couldn’t finish it…,” she giggled madly. “… he wouldn’t wake up!”
“I thought he was dead!” Elkson wheezed with a high-pitched, red-faced laugh. There was a very real moment of fear when the loud buzz of the tattoo machine didn’t stir him. Wanda touched it to his skin, and he didn’t move. Elkson checked his pulse, checked his temperature and held a mirror to his nose. He seemed alive and well, just tired. Wanda got as far as finishing the number 37 before deciding that surprising him with a whole tattoo might be a bad idea. They expected him to wake up to be able to talk about it. The parents laughed at their son’s comatose sleep for a moment longer before they decided to start breakfast.
45 minutes later Wanda was finishing the first batch of pancakes as Elkson brought in ham steaks from the grill.
“What if he’s not like us?” Wanda asked her husband; they met at the table each dropping off their dish and stood face to face. Her onyx eyes dulled with worry. Elkson leaned forward and kissed her forehead.
“He’s 18 now. We tell him about us anyway.”
“What if he thinks I’m creepy,…” she whispered and cast her eyes downward.
“Oh please,” Elkson wrapped his arms around her. “He won’t think you’re creepy any more than he’d want to hunt me down. You’re his mom, he loves you. If we take it slow and explain everything to him he’ll come around. But, you’re sure he said 37?” he asked her. Wanda nodded. Elkson kissed her forehead again.
“Then there’s nothing to worry about. Even if he isn’t like us, it’s still his favorite number. He’ll love it.”
“Good morning!” A lean 18-year-old with bright green bedhead and sleepy eyelids walked into the kitchen. He waved at his parents absentmindedly as made his way to the table. His eyes never left the stack of pancakes and ham. “Oh man, I couldn’t sleep through the smell,” he rubbed his stomach. Both parents immediately cackled between themselves as they surrounded him for a hug before he sat.
“There’s the birthday boy,” Elkson said as Wanda pecked her son’s cheek. He stood in place and let them smother him with affection for a few minutes before they broke away and let him sit down. He reached over his right shoulder with his left hand trying to scratch an itch. Wanda slapped his hand away.
“You’re about to eat, scratch later,” she gave Elkson a sly smile as a hint to let it play out.
“Hey,” the birthday boy said as he loaded his plate. “I’m 18 now, I want to try making some changes,” he said.
“Okay,” both parents agreed with interest.
“First, and .. I know it’s weird,” he shrugged as he grabbed the syrup. “But this is what I want,”
“What’s that honey?” Wanda asked. She scooted closer to Elkson in anticipation of good news.
“You know my name?” he asked.
“Roger?” Elkson asked.
“Mitch?” Wanda asked at the same time. Neither parent used his actual name. He rolled his eyes and chuckled.
“Thanks for that,” he grumbled with a smile. “Anyway, forget it. I’m going by Mundo from now on,” he took a bite of pancakes and ham.
“Mundo?” both asked at the same time. “Why?” Wanda followed up. Mundo shrugged.
“It makes it easier for people to find me,” he replied.
“Uhhh.. Okay, sure thing Mundo,” Elkson said. He didn’t quite get it, but his son was convinced and he didn’t see any harm in indulging the phase.
“And, since we’re here having this wonderful breakfast…,” Mundo looked at his mom for the first time that morning. He grinned and glanced at his dad. “…thanks for breakfast by the way,” he said, then took another bite.
“Since we’re here, there’s something else we need to talk about.”
“Oh?’ Wanda asked.
“We need to talk to you about something too,” Elkson added. “After you though,” he said. Mundo nodded.
“If I know you guys, it’s probably the same thing,” he said.
“Mom,” he looked at her. “You have a golden aura that looks like a spider’s web, and there are dozens of different types of spiders crawling all over it and you. You are Unique Soul #33, la araña. You can summon spiders from other universes through your pores.” Wanda stared at him slack-jawed for a moment, then she stuck her tongue out at him playfully. A medium-sized, shiny, spindly black widow spider rested on the tip of her tongue until she pulled it back into her mouth. She relaxed when she realized he was still sitting at the table with a smile on his face and love in his eyes, and still eating. He even laughed at the spider in her mouth.
“And me?” Elkson asked giddily.
“#45, El Venado,” Mundo smiled at his dad. “You can summon deer from other universes through your pores,” Mundo said.
“REALLY!?” Elkson jumped to his feet, shut his eyes and started straining. He did not know how his son knew about Wanda, but he chalked it up to whatever his ability was. He was like them, and Elkson seemed different this morning. He trusted him and thought it would be amazing to pop a deer out of his hands. Then, he heard Mundo laughing.
“No, dad,” he said. Wanda joined in the laughter. “But you’ve got a solid noggin,” Mundo knocked his green hair for illustration. “Your aura looks like giant golden antlers. You can ram the hell out of most things. And you’re supposed to be extra graceful,.. but I guess not every venado gets that. I’ve seen you work,” he laughed.
“Oh honey…,” Elkson turned to Wanda. “our son turned out to be a jerk as an adult. Let’s send him back!” he said. Wanda slapped his arm and rolled her eyes.
“So, how do you know all this?” she asked. “How can you see our auras?”
“It’s my job,” he smiled. “I’m #37, El Mundo.” He pointed at Wanda. “You get spiders. You get some deer powers. I get the secrets of the universe.” He used his left arm to try and scratch his right shoulder again. Both parents giggled but served themselves breakfast.