I went shopping over the weekend. Several of us went, and just wandered around a couple of stores picking up this and that. Nothing momentous and nothing exciting, just some little things for around the house.
I picked up some shorts to wear around the house now that summer is coming, and some big fluffy towels. One of the others ran in to a kind of soda she hadn’t had since she was a kid and bought a 24-can box. It’s terribly fizzy and sweet and horribly pink, but it made her very happy and we all spent way too much time sitting around laughing about it in the evening.
The next day I was out on the beat again, chasing robots through offices and trying to keep my teammates standing up while they fought off yet another wave of zombies.
You, the reader, may be wondering what I’m talking about there. I live in an apartment building the city has for heroes. It’s a two-story, U shaped building with small apartments that open out on to a little parking. There’s also a laundry room that gets heavily used.
One of the apartments in this building is the manager, a former hero who retired after he was badly hurt. Missing a leg doesn’t seem to bother a fellow who can fly, but he did decide to retire. He has made some improvements to the building that suit heroes, as he knows what they probably need. Lots of hot water, and extra laundry facilities, for instance. He also keeps an eye on us, as he did when I got home from the task force late that night.
There are other heroes living here, a couple of whom as almost reclusive. There are others who are outgoing and open, and want to get to know their new compatriots. I sometimes find the level of intimacy some of them offering to be embarrassing. I suspect they find me old-fashioned and prudish, and I hope they don’t mind much. Many of the heroes here, in fact, seem to have adopted the group as their surrogate family, and do things like share clothes, apartments, tools and such quite freely. I try to join them, and mostly succeed.
This means off-duty heroes will gather wherever they seem fit. One of the heroes, a fire tanker who has atrocious taste in clothes and costume, is an excellent cook, and likes to be able to cook for more people. He often has five or six heroes hanging out in his place, because the food is wonderful. Another of the heroes is a sports fan, and has a big screen TV, and the Big Game is always on at his place. One of the others, a self-described “nearly-naked blaster babe!” is a hardware nut, and constantly builds and tweaks gadgets and things for people. Yet another heroine loves television, and also has a big screen, and all the cable channels you can get. She has lots of friends who go to watch the different shows. I have tended to have books all through my life, and am a voracious reader, and others have begun to notice this. It won’t be long before all the walls in my apartment are filled with bookshelves and books, and several like the quiet, thoughtful atmosphere, and I often find myself with guests.
Mind you, this does not always lead to a quiet evening at home. When a referee at a sporting event makes a bad call, and the fans in our building get a little rambunctious, the fire department is often required, at least if the ice or storm heroes aren’t handy. The gadgeteer lives just downstairs from me, and it’s quite common for there to be little explosions or for the power to get knocked out. She’s always terribly embarrassed, and you get used to wondering, “Was that sound okay?”
The camaraderie is very nice, and goes quite a ways towards replacing what I lost when my family died. It is not the whole reason I came to be a hero, but I do appreciate it.