The next day was Sunday so I went to church with my parents, spent most of the afternoon reading Larry Niven’s <em>Ringworld</em>, and worked on homework until eleven at night.
After I finished my homework, I read <em>Ringworld</em> until one in the morning.
I missed him on Monday too. Honestly, I forgot completely about it until nine-thirty at night when the phone rang. I’d been playing “Tony Hawk’s Downhill Jam” (and to be honest, not doing all that well) when my mom called out, “Nick, it’s Daniel on the phone.”
I dropped the controller and watched my skateboarder crash. Well, no great loss.
“Hey,” I said as I picked up the phone.
“Hi,” Daniel said. “Talked to Vaughn yet?”
“Uh… no. Who told you about that?”
“I ran into Jaclyn after school.”
Grand Lake has enough of a Jewish community to have a Jewish day school, but not enough of one to have sports facilities. It uses Grand Lake South High School’s fields and gym—that’s where Jaclyn goes.
“Is she on the volleyball team?”
“And just about everything else you can sign up for. But you’re right. Volleyball too. Our practices ended about the same time,” he said.
I walked up the stairs to my room, trying to avoid Grunion (our cat) who had inexplicably decided that the first step of the stairway was his territory. He slashed at my sock as I stepped over him.
With the direction this conversation seemed to be going, I didn’t want my mom to overhear and I was willing to risk a bloody sock.
“Any particular reason you haven’t talked to him yet?” Daniel asked.
“No,” I said, “just busy. Well, that and I forgot. Not that it really matters though. I don’t think he’s got any powers or anything so it’s a moot point.”
“But if he had powers,” Daniel said, “it wouldn’t be particularly fair to him.”
“True,” I said, “but if he had powers, I’d want you to talk to him. You’re the guy who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men.”
“I’ve already talked to him,” Daniel said, “he’s okay. He was at DVD night a couple times during the summer. Remember?”
“Well, no,” I said. “I forgot. I must have missed him.”
By that time I was in my room. I sat down at my desk and looked out into the dark. It was a quiet suburban street. A few porch lights glimmered. A streetlight illuminated the corner.
It occurred to me that if we were real team, we’d probably have someone out on patrol right now. I mentioned it to Daniel and he said, “Maybe we ought to think about it. The hard part is choosing the right route…”
We talked about possible patrol routes for ten minutes until Daniel said, “Let’s just go. In fact, let’s not even plan a route. I’ve got something I want to try.”
If he’d been there, I’d have raised an eyebrow. As it was, I just said, “What?”
“Prescient meditation,” he said.
“Oooh kay,” I said.
“You know that I can sense the future when I’m fighting,” he said. “I can sense just enough to know where not to be. Well here’s what I can do. I can turn it around—so instead of sensing danger to me, I sense danger to the city, and instead of going away from the danger, we fly toward it.”
“Oh,” I said, my mind suddenly awash in possibilities. “So if you had used it last week, we would have found the Grey Giant’s truck earlier and—“
“No,” he said. “Last week I used it and that’s how we found the truck driver and the warehouse and everything.”
“I don’t want to get into something that big any time soon.”
“No,” Daniel said. “It’s not like that. I try to sense a threat to the city and when I get there it could be anything. I mean really anything. Once I went to an apartment building and found that some guy had managed to lock himself out of his apartment. I managed to get him in again and suddenly everything was fine. No threats.”
“What does your dad think? Can he do it too?”
“No. He’s nervous about it. It’s an intuitive thing, so who knows what I’m really preventing? He says it’s one thing to change the future when you know why you’re trying, but to do it on less than a guess? He doesn’t think it’s worth the risk.”
“The risk of what?”
“Future time travelers coming back to stop me? I have no idea.”
“You know,” I said, “that might actually be kind of cool.”
“So anyway,” he said, “you want to go out and see if anyone’s getting mugged?”
“Only if we’re not out too late."
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Bio: Jim Zoetewey grew up in Holland, Michigan, near where L Frank Baum wrote The Wizard of Oz and other books in that series. Admittedly, Baum moved away more than sixty years before Jim was even born, but it's still kind of cool. Jim didn't attain his goal of never leaving school, but did prolong his stay as long as possible. He majored in religion and sociology at Hope College, gaining enough credits to obtain minors in ancient civilizations and creative writing—had he thought to submit applications to the relevant departments. He attended Western Theological Seminary for two years. He followed that up by getting a masters degree in sociology at Western Michigan University. Once out of school, he took up the most logical occupation for someone with his educational background: web developer and technical support. Simultaneously, he finished all but three credits of a masters in Information Systems, a degree that's actually relevant to his field. He's still not done. In the meantime, he's been writing stories about superheroes and posting them online at http://legionofnothing.com. He's still not sure whether that was a good idea, but continues to do it anyway. He's also not sure why he's writing this in the third person, but he's never seen an author bio written in first person and doesn't want to rock the boat.