New York Hero Blues

July TBC Writing Challenge – Poor Hero


It’s not easy being a poor hero. I know, everyone has this image of the superhero as a rich guy living in a fancy mansion or at least a big loft. I live in the room I grew up in at my parent’s house. I don’t have a car since my last one was repo’d by the FTB, and even my police scanner sometimes goes on the fritz. Not that I use it much. Without a car, I have to take the subway into the city, which means by the time I hear about a crime on the scanner and then get into town, whatever it is has LONG been over and it’s just the CSI guys cleaning up by the time I show.

It’s the insurance that kills. Ever since the Costumed Paranormal Insurance bill passed a few years back, we licensed heroes have to take out liability insurance to cover any property damage inflicted in our fights with villains. And of course those guys NEVER have insurance, so it’s all up to us. Yeah, it means that if we manage to catch one, we have yet another charge that can be leveled against them, but putting away a guy like The Unstoppable Titan (aka Joey Pazzorelli) for insurance violations is hardly satisfying. And the premiums go up with every fight you get into. After my last battle with Nuclear Winter, my rates have gone up to over two grand a month. Thus my living conditions.

After insurance, I think the greatest expense I have is my costume. I was never what you call rich even before the insurance thing, just your average working-class hero. So I never got one of those fancy self-repairing suits. Mine’s just plain ordinary spandex, and that stuff rips and tears at the slightest provocation. My friends tell me I should adopt one of those ‘informal’ costumes some of the newer guys are wearing: jeans or cargo pants, tee-shirt with my logo ironed on, leather jacket, motorcycle helmet or balaclava. But I don’t know, that just doesn’t seem very heroic to me. I guess in some ways I’m a hopeless traditionalist. What can you do, right? Besides, I’ve got a heck of a package and I wanna show it off. I don’t stuff  ‘down there’ like some of the other guys.

So yeah, I have to do the ‘patrol’ thing. Be out there, on the rooftops, listening for cries of distress or sirens or whatnot. Taking the subway to a crime scene is just too slow. But then again, I thank god I have at least that. I was talking to a guy in Los Angeles in a heroes-only online chat room, and he told me horror stories about trying to get around on public transit in that town. No thanks, as bad as it is riding the train in my costume, I’ll take it over standing for 35-40 minutes at a bus stop any day.

It’s not easy being a poor hero. People say I should quit, get a ‘real job’. But I dunno. Being a hero, it’s in my blood, ya know?


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