A Superhero Love Story

The heels of Wonder Woman’s boots were almost six inches high, and she tottered along the road, clinging to Michael’s elbow. Usually he liked to make jokes about the speed limit, and wonder out loud whether or not they might actually be going backwards, but tonight something in Wonder Woman’s manner warned him that that might not be such a good idea.

Sitting on the bus, Michael started to feel uncomfortable. His shirt was buttoned all the way up to the top, and the collar was starting to chafe. Wonder Woman’s parka did not cover much of her boots, nor did her boots cover all that much of her legs. The teenager with an iPod sitting opposite them was staring openly at Wonder Woman’s thighs, and an elderly couple got up and moved further down. Michael got to his feet and stood firmly between the teenager and Wonder Woman, blocking his view. It was hot, and the sweat under Michael’s arms was leaking through to his jacket. Worried that it would leave a mark, he tried to air his armpits by holding his arms out at right angles to his sides. The bus was rickety, and Michael could only keep his footing by holding out one arm at a time, using the other to hold on to the back of a seat, and swapping whenever they paused at a bus stop.

‘Michael!’ snapped Wonder Woman, after a couple of stops. ‘What are you doing?’ Michael blushed.

‘I’m – nothing,’ he said. ‘It’s boiling down here.’

‘Well, you look fine. Don’t fidget.’

Wonder Woman and Michael got off in Salford.

‘Do I look OK?’ she asked him, re-arranging her hair in the side mirror of a car parked by the station. She licked her finger and smoothed her eyebrows in the reflection of the touch-screen at the ATM, and opened her coat for a full-body appraisal in the window of a grocer. The shopkeeper was slightly taken aback to see Wonder Woman appear among his vegetables, but recovered in time to pump his hand up and down appreciatively in the general area of his crotch.

‘Ignore him,’ said Michael, putting an arm around her shoulders and steering Wonder Woman gently away from the grocer. ‘He’ll just be demonstrating how to peel a banana.’

Wonder Woman teetered on her six-inch heels all the way down to the entrance of an ex-community centre that had been spruced up some time in the mid-90s and was now used for bar mitzvahs and the occasional wedding reception. A banner over the door said ‘WELCOME SRPs’ and a bouncer in a dinner suit ground out the nub of a cigarette in the doorway.

‘What’s an SRP?’ asked Michael. ‘You told me we were meeting your friends.’

‘Superhero Role Player,’ said Wonder Woman. ‘And they are my friends, so it’s Bruce tonight, not Michael, yeah?’ She stood on one leg, held on to Michael for support, and removed a sweet wrapper from the sole of her boot.

‘Wait a minute,’ said Michael. ‘Are you one too?’

‘One what?’ said Wonder Woman. ‘An SRP? No shit, Michael. Why else would I dress like this? You’re one too, by the way, or they won’t let you in.’ Michael looked at the bouncer, who looked approvingly at Wonder Woman’s boots.

‘You practically are one anyway,’ she told him. ‘Besides, I thought you liked it.’ Wonder Woman manoeuvred herself until she was halfway inside Michael’s coat, and linked her arms around his back.

‘You like it when you’re my Brucie, don’t you?’ she said, her sharp little chin pressed into his chest. ‘You did last night!’ Michael was struck by a terrible thought. He was being stitched up. He was on TV. He took a step backwards and peered into the gloom, looking for hidden cameras. Nothing moved except the bouncer, rocking from foot to foot in the doorway.

‘Come on,’ said Wonder Woman, tugging at his sleeve. ‘I’m freezing. Let’s go in.’ Michael hesitated. He looked back up the road to the bus and all the people who weren’t dressed like superheroes, then at his girlfriend, who was wearing a cape and a sequined bodice.

‘Are you coming in or what?’ asked the bouncer. ‘I’m going to shut the door.’

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One Response to “A Superhero Love Story”

  1. April 23, 2010 at 4:36 pm, James Roome said:

    Ha! Fantastic. Very few things can hold my attention for eleven pages, I’m notoriously fickle.


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