Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Tales of An 'Mazing Guy
Sarah was wearing her ‘Mazing Girl costume doing her least favourite part of the job.
She put on her biggest fake smile and she walked into the children’s cancer center with dread.
Today, for the Make a Wish Foundation, she was going to give a little boy a fly around the town. Once or twice a year they came to her for stuff like this, and well, what are you going to do? Say no?
Yet she didn't have the power to do much for the kids there.
She walked past older cancer patients sitting in a hallway. They looked to be getting chemo. She waved at them as some of
them recognized her.
"HEY!" a middle age guy shouted "Hey, ‘Mazing Girl"
"I am not sure you remember me - probably don’t...my name is Fred Olsen. You rescued me from a fire last year."
"And you’re here now?" that wasn't the right thing to say in this circumstance, but it’s what she said.
"Well, what can you do?" Fred said. "This ain't going to kill me. It’s cancer of the pancreas. I am going to walk out of here
a diabetic, but they caught it quick so I am going to get out of here. 85%."
"Well good luck to yo" she said.
That also wasn't the right thing to say, but...
"And thanks again. You know I bet you get it a lot, but what you did, you know -you really are a hero."
She turned away.
"And I apologize for peeing on you."
She paused and turned. “What?”
"In the air...it was scary - I just of peed my pants," he said. "I thought a lot about it over the last year, and I truly am sorry."
"You did what?" she said
She wanted to slug the guy – but, well...he had cancer.
"You know you think you do something really bad – I mean, it was going over my pants, probably a fair amount was on you. And
it was voluntary. It was just...you know...relief."
She closed her eyes and relaxed a second.
"Well...it wasn't that. And I forgive you. And you’re welcome. I don't do this for thanks....or to be mildly assaulted.
Really, you know I am not totally invulnerable, out there I am risking my life to do this stuff, and you did that - I mean
yeah, it’s scary, but just letting rip in the middle of fucking that. Fuck you asshole. I do hope you survive, and I am not
going to press charges or something stupid like that, but fuck you...”
"Um," interrupted a voice.
She turned and saw Sheryl Hawkins. Sheryl was the head of the Make a Wish Foundation in Southern California. This was
something one would realize about something like this. How many people were involved to make these kind of things happen.
Sheryl was nice enough in her encounters with her. But she was a smiler. She had told ‘Mazing that she believed in these
kids, and their chance to survive (and something like 45% did) but she still smiled a lot for someone in her circumstances.
She also was a very conservative republican, which is something you didn't always realize. A lot of people involved were. But
well, charity is a good thing to do.
So she smiled at the swearing superheroine.
"Sorry," said Mazing. She looked at Fred. "Get well soon"
They walked off.
"Thanks again for doing this," said Sheryl. "Been talking to Ben all morning and he’s really looking forward to this."
"That’s good," Sarah said, "I bought the bjorn."
"Yeah don't try to scare him too much. He’s at that stage of cancer - where he’s going to stay where he appears pretty
healthy - he should be able to do this well enough. Just try to keep his heart rate down. His bones are a little weak, so not
too much stress - don't let him...I don't know...land on his feet."
"I know what I’m doing," ‘Mazing assured her. "I am pretty good at this."
"His parents want to meet you – like, take a picture with you."
Sarah pressed up her smile.
She didn't quite know what to expect with Ben. This was hard to do. Ben, it turned out, looked a lot like Ben from the show Lost. She should know the actors name, but didn’t. She knew he was on another TV show that she didn't watch, but had briefly been in the running to do props on: Persons of Interest. With Jim Cavival, who played Jesus in the movie a while back...
But Ben, he was a small black haired child in glasses that made him look like a nerd. She generally liked nerds, and she liked him. Sometimes when she had done this the children were close to death, days away, and it was horrible. But he looked just like an ordinary, smiling, happy boy.
Of course kids don't survive Leukaemia. Adults don't always survive it.
But she smiled.
The A wasn't proncounced , but no, she wasn't going to correct him.
He got up and hugged her. She smiled, and hugged him back.
And his head went to her breasts, but well...she wasn’t going to stop him.
"You have been my hero forever!"
She smiled at him. Dying or not - and he was dying - there was something to his enthusiasm that got her.
"He’s just finished treatment today."
‘Mazing Girl turned and saw a doctor was in the room, as well as two smiling people.
"Here’s our address," said the father, still smiling, "I was wondering if you could take him home."
She nodded, walked over, and shook his hand.
"We want him to like this place," he whispered in her ear. "He’s going to spend a lot of time here."
‘Mazing Girl nodded. Tuinga. That was one of those far-off in The Valley places. Ahh, she could handle it.
Sheryl walked in.
"Aren't you glad she’s doing this? Remember to thank her, she’s a very busy person...she’s saved the city....”
"15 times! I read it in a magazine.”
Wow...that many? Huh...well, she was impressive.
She posed for a couple of pictures. This was relatively easy. Make a Wish wasn't above bringing the press out and making a big to-do over her, after the first time she did this she said no to that in the future. To their credit, Make a Wish were cool with that.
She and Ben walked to the elevator and went up to the roof - his parents stayed behind.
"So what grade are you?"
"4th" Ben told her. "I'm 11."
"I liked 4th grade," she said.
"So your, like...human. You’re not an alien monster.”
"Nope," she confirmed. "Was born in America, grew up in...well, I'll tell you: Florida."
"You have a secret identity," he realised, "like Clark Kent. Wear glasses?"
In truth she did wear glasses in her secret identity, but she wasn't going to tell him that. She needed them to read.
"Let’s not talk about it."
"I'm sorry. You can tell me...I’m going to die in a couple of months!!"
His voice was cheerful. Very cheerful. He looked like a person for whom the concept of his words hadn't quite hit. Which she supposed was the good, and bad, thing about this. But it was weird how cheerful he was. She’d seen some weird shit - slimy monsters, men with flaming heads, geometry - but Ben’s cheerfulness was one of the strangest things she’d encountered.
They rode the elevator all the way up to thee roof.
"You’re going to pull through," she said. "And when you’re older, sell it to the press."
"I would never do that. You can trust me. I read this issue of Spiderman where he did that to a dying kid..."
"Your not dying," said Sarah.
Sarah just let the conversation drop.
They reached the roof - 35 stories tall over Cedars Sinai. She looked over Southern California. It wasn't a particularly windy day in So Cal, but it was windy up here. There was a beautiful view in middle of the city - she could see the ocean, see downtown, see it all. She never quite got tired of it - but Ben...
"Wow! Just being up here!" said Ben.
Sarah nodded. she pulled out her borojn and put it over her shoulder. It was a white shoulder strap device that she had gotten from a fan four years ago through her agent. It was pretty sturdy and strapped over her back to let people in."Now let’s climb in."
"You just climb in?" asked Ben.
Sarah helped him with it.
"You put it between your legs here – it’s like a seat around your back - like through your arms...let’s tighten this up." She pushed this and that, and...
"You’re going to lift me up?" said Ben.
"Yeah," Sarah told him.
"You’re that strong?" asked Ben.
"You’re not that heavy," said Sarah, "I bet your father could lift you."
"But you can...you’re going to take me out home...that’s, like, 30 miles away."
Sarah nodded. "Yeah."
"Mostly I’m just an average everyday person really...but just this momment we’re...magic."
Sarah lifted up the 100 pound boy like he weighed nothing at all. For her he did. She put him on her back.
"Wrap you arms around my back for second, see if you can hold your weight - I need to strap these things in like this...and...”
Snaps clicked into place.
Sarah looked outward.
There was a pause.
Ben looked as if he realized he forgot something.
"I can only jump you see, when you say: ‘away’...so: Up, up, and...then you.”
"Up, up," intoned Sarah.
As soon as he spoke Sarah leaned down and jumped 500 feet into the air.
"MY GOD IT’S......"
The wind was moving really fast now. Sarah was moving at 150 miles an hour through the wind, cutting through it like a knife in the breeze. She adjusted her angle a bit in the air, pushing through it through her arms. She didn't usually do the classic arms-forward, body-down pose, but it was helpful for control sometimes she flew. Then, a thousand feet into her arch, she was as high as she could go.
"What’s going on.....?"
And Sarah started to fall. Sarah was used to it. Ben wasn't. As the ground got bigger and bigger and bigger bellow them, they dropped like a rock, or maybe a cannon ball was a better comparison. She was pushing against the air as the city rose underneath them much bigger then before. Sarah saw a small park in Beverly Hills; she adjusted a little bit...
And hit the ground bending her knees, absorbing nearly 20 tons of force with her legs as if it where nothing.
"What the...my God!!" said Ben, catching his breath.
"That’s pretty much what it’s like,” said Sarah. “I can jump about 40 or 50 miles if there’s no wind against me, but I tend to do about 5 miles in the city max, 1 or 2 when I am just going round – it’s easier on landings.”
"How far was that?" asked Ben.
"Wow" said Ben. "It was like a rollercoaster."
"We can go to Magic Mountain, if you want," said Sarah, "and compare it."
Sarah had done that before actually. When she was at CalArts, she’d had a season pass to Magic Mountain; one of the largest pure rollercoaster parks in the world (it had the largest number when she was there). But, yeah, jumping around flying was way funner then roller-coasters.
However, they had really good garlic fries and fritters, and she couldn't really do loop-de-loops.
"So you want to keep going?"
"I have to say ‘up-up’ first."
And Sarah leapt up. It was less impressive to go so high when she wasn't on a building, but what-the-hey. She started to fly north.
"Hey!" she said, six hundred feet in the air.
"WHAT?" said Ben, unable to hear her.
"I WAS SAYING HEY!"
"THAT’S NOT REALLY SAYING!”
She landed in a vacant lot near Sunset.
"I was going to say, I could go through downtown, past all the big buildings over the mountains."
"My God, that was awesome!"
"Um...oh, yeah. It’s easier to do many jumps at once through the mountains.”
"Whatever you want."
Sarah leaned down
"You didn't say ‘up, up’."
"Sorry. Up, up, and..."
And Sarah started jumping. She normally jumped to the valley over the Sepulveda Pass, but decided to go moresecuritious and started to jump over the Santa Monica Mountains. Flying through the hills, landing in backyards and jumping up again hundreds
of feet – traversing thousands of feet at once over valleys and peaks, landing in small forests and empty vineyards as sh flew.
It was amazing. Sarah realized it. She rarely, these days, just got to fly. Now she could and she was. And the world was wonderful.
She flew farther west then she needed to, but stoped in Stunt Road Park. A small park. She could see the valley the mountains
- the crags of the hills. You could see how much of LA was just open space - for all of its size it had so many hills so many
crags, so many buildings built into it like it was made for it, then the ocean next to it. The vast blue Pacific, looking a
jewel, with lapping waves and crystal peaks. It was gorgeous.
"WOW" said Ben. "Look how far you can see!"
"You can see Catalina there," she said, looking out.
"Can we go there?"
"Theoretically. I would be worried about hitting the water, though. A little tricky in the landing."
"You could do it. You’re amazing!"
Sarah laughed a little.
Then she felt it.
"We need to go."
She started to run - getting a good run-up along the road, and then leapt, leapt with more power then she had done so far.
In seconds they where 10 miles away, moving as fast as she could go into the valley - over the Agoura hills, the woodlands - to the 101 freeway into Encino.
She moved as fast as her considerable power allowed. She only had a few seconds here. A few seconds to get to it. And as she landed on the divider of the freeway she saw it. A huge Mack truck heading west - so big it almost looked overloaded. So gigantic. Bearing down the highway at 50 miles an hour. And it’s driver was just about to realize its brakes were shot.
It started to jack-knife, going across the five lane highway at incredible speed.
She jumped into the freeway and saw the huge trailer come right at her.
And she punched it. Just punched it. She didn't try to stop it, barely watched it as it flew a 100 feet into the air,
spinning and twirling as it did.
Then she saw the cab fly past her. She turned in a second and grabbed its rear, dragging it to a stop. She hoped the guy’s airbag was good because she didn't have the time to feather this. It would take a tremendous effort to do this and she barely had time to watch it drag to nothing in 10 feet. All four of its tires burst from the tremendous stress of her hands, pushing
into the wheel, melting into rubber goo.
Cars were moving past her at 60 miles an hour but she didn't care an iota. Well, maybe for the cars.
She then turned her head and saw the cab flying into the air.
And she jumped up. Again moving faster then it was falling, and grabbed its bottom and lifting the 20 tons of - hey what was in it? - above her head...
She landed on Balboa Boulevard next to the freeway, and put it down on the relatively empty street.
It had taken maybe 30 seconds since she had been in Stunt Road Park.
"Wow" said Ben.
"Huh?" asked Sarah.
She looked behind her.
"THAT WAS SO AWESOME!" said Ben. "Can we do it again?"
Sarah then realized that in the entire process she had incredibly endangered the young kid. I mean, spectacularly endangered his life. That was incredibly risky. She could survive being next to a flaming cab in the middle of one of the busiest freeways in the world...not him. I mean if he got hit by a subcompact he would be dead. So fragile.
She sighed. Then a very dark thought hit her head. So damm dark. Well, he was dying. If she took the time to take him out of her rig it would have been too late. She had probably saved at least a couple of lives - maybe as many as 10...and a lot of damage to the road and the cars. It was…
And then she started to cry.
"What’s wrong?" Ben asked.
"I risked your life" explained Sarah.
"Don't worry...I’m going to die anyway" said Ben.
And she started to cry more.
"I mean, I don't mind dying - I mean, I am going to die out there...it’s just you know, risk. Bravery. My powers are for the good of the world but...but..."
Sarah stoped. Wow. She was just like him wasn't she?
"I don't mind. I’m a junior superhero!"
"Yeah," agreed Sarah. "You’re ‘Mazing Guy, my little kid sidekick."
"Really?" said Ben
"Of course. You know, I’m going to go back to the freeway and see if they need my help...but afterwards we’re going to go to, like, a T-shirt place and make you an official ‘Mazing Guy T-shirt. And get you an ‘Mazing Guy mask and cape. How does that sound?"
"Up, up and..."
Note: Make a Wish Foundation later graciously reimbursed her the cost of the T-shirt and cape. To donate to cover the cost of future funds please write at wish.org