Doc Tesseract

The adventures of Greg Silverman, retail industry employee, prospective college student and superhero.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Parental Guidance Suggested

That went as well as could be expected.

Before the CSI season finale started (what, you'd actually think there'd be a situation where I'd put aside Quentin Tarantino?), I told my parents that there was something I wanted to talk to them about. Of course, they thought it was about the Mysterious Episode.

"Mom, dad..." Now, how to I say this as gently as possible? "...I've got superpowers, and I was thinking of using them to fight crime." There we go.

The initial reaction was stunned silence, followed by the standard parental mind meld: turn head to face partner, use appropriate facial expression to display opinion, then turn back to progeny. "What... kind of superpowers?" my dad asked.

"Teleportation. I can go anywhere I want, I can create portals so that other people can go there, and I can probably use them as a weapon."

"Define 'weapon'."

"'Instant trip to jail' weapon?"

"Are you sure you want to do this?" my mom asked. Of course, when a mom asks, "Are you sure you want to do this?", she means, "You're sure you won't get killed in the most horrific fashion available?"

"Mom, I can handle myself." I pause briefly to carefully choose my next few words. "Aside from... the incident, I've been able to take care of myself in rough situations. Remember when I got lost in Philly when I was eleven, and I went to the Reading Terminal Market all by myself because I knew you would look there?"

"That's different, Greg. I see news reports about the kind of people that are out there. The things that they do to superheroes, their families... How can I be sure that you'll be safe?"

I decide to be frank. "You can't. And I know that there's a good chance that I could get hurt doing this. But I'm going to take every possible precaution I can. I'll try to find a mentor in Philly; there's a fair share of superheroes in that town, and I read in the paper the other day that Lady Liberty has offered to help young heroes. And I promise that when it gets to be too much, when I put you, Dad, or myself in serious danger... I'll stop. Immediately, and without question. Okay?"

Silence. "Can you give us a few minutes?" Dad again. "We'll talk about it."

I go upstairs and into my room. I keep the door open a crack, so I can hear some of it. I pick up a few words- "danger", "reliable", and, weirdest of all, "job"- but not enough to detect any clear sentiments. Soon, Dad comes up and knocks on the door.

"Your mother and I have come to an agreement."

Crap. He busted out the "your mother and I." It's serious.

"You promise this won't affect your day job?"

Huh? "No. I promise to be back every night by 1 AM."

"You promise you'll find someone to help you from the start?"

"Definitely."

"And you promise that if you get seriously injured, you'll get out of it before it gets worse?"

"Of course."

"Well, Greg... we'll let you do this, since it means so much to you."

Yes!

"On the following conditions: your work, either at your job or at school, starts to suffer, you're out. You must try to be back at 1 AM, 2 AM at the latest. And you must make sure that your 'secret identity' stays a secret. Got it?"

"Of course, Dad. Thanks."

"By the way," he says as he leaves the room, "what should I call you when you're out fighting crime?"

"Doc Tesseract," I say.

He stops. "It's got a good ring to it," he says, and then walks out.

So now I can be a scourge against evil without risking being grounded. Just one detail remains: the costume.

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