My first thought, before I was infected by the contagious panic that the swarm of civilians were feeling as they pointed and yelled at the man standing on the precipice at the top of the Tenth Avenue Bank, was, “That’s supposed to be ME up there!”
I had had every intention to end it all. I was ready for it; I had even picked that exact building. But now, there was some guy standing right where I was planning to stand, and seeming strangely familiar…
Oh my God. Him?
The police had not arrived yet for crowd control, so I pushed my way through the throng of terrified gawkers to the side of the building, where there was a fire escape. I clambered up it as fast as my legs would carry me, and hoisted myself up to the roof.
He glanced over at me. “You’re pretty fast,” he said, and then added with a chuckle, “And coming from me, that’s saying something.”
“What are you doing, stupid?” I spat, my fear and my anger mixing in a volatile concoction. “You’re in my spot!”
“That’s always been my spot! Page three, panel one through four. I’m standing on the edge, monologuing about the futility of life, and—“
“And as you jump, I swoop in and save you. The crowd applauds, you realize someone cares, then obligatory romance, yada yada yada. I’m part of this comic book too, you know.”
He had unbuttoned his shirt just enough to reveal the symbol of a silver arrow on the costume beneath his clothes, the icon of Straight-shot. How did the roles get reversed? Dang it, I was no superhero.
“Why are you doing this?” I wheezed.
His sad eyes narrowed. “Do you know what it is like, day after day, to be trapped doing the same thing? Knowing that you’ll save the day, defeat the bad guy, be the hero. For what? There will always be evil. And I can’t actually do anything about it because I don’t write my own story. And, by the way, Miss Life Sucks, do you know how annoying it is to have to save your butt constantly?”
For someone who claimed that he didn’t write his own story, he was sure screwing it up now. “If you’re so unhappy with being praised and adored, then what do you want?”
He turned away from me, staring out into the sky. “Just…something different.”
I knew he wouldn’t really jump. He could fly, for Pete’s sake. He was just being a melodramatic baby, wanting even more attention than he already got. And here I was, genuinely depressed, genuinely needing saving, needing a hero, and he was turning his back on me.
I guess that’s why I used that gun I had been carrying around in my pocket.
I’m sure the next geek who picked up that comic book was confused as to why there was a big red splotch that took up most of page three.