I tapped my feet all morning till the end of classes. I knew from junior year the computer tech club met Mondays after school and I was determined to have them look at the glove and tell me how to fix it. I didn’t know why it mattered so much to get it working again, but I was determined to show that blur, whoever he was, that I didn’t need saving from anyone.
I rushed through the halls after lunch with more determination than legal in high school. I found the classroom where the tech club met last year and sighed when I saw the door was open. As I strode inside, I whipped out the flimsy wired glove from my side pocket.
Only two guys were in the room–both lanky with glasses and scruffy hair–and they looked up at me with an odd mixture of surprise and terror.
I slapped the glove on the desk in front of them and crossed my arms. “I want you to fix this.”
The one on the right readjusted his thick black glasses and put down the action figure he was holding to pick up the glove. He held it with his thumb and forefinger and it hung there like a used condom; the disdain on his face gave the same impression. He dropped it.
“What is it?” he asked, looking at me with the same disgust.
“A glove. Just, look at it, will you?”
He shrugged, his flat blond hair bobbing along with him, and looked at his buddy. “What do you think, Beaver?” he whispered.
Beaver shrugged, a slight shoulder raise almost as unnoticeable as the words that followed. “He’s the guy who got kicked off the football team last year, right?” The blond one nodded and Beaver glanced at me before quickly looking away.
“Can we, uh, can we really trust him?”
“Guys,” I said, my tone as hard as stone, “I’m right here. I can still hear you.”
They both gulped.
“Look,” I said, desperate, parting my arms in frustration, “help me out, and I promise I won’t hurt either of you, no matter how annoying you might be.”
They looked at each other again and then the blond looked back at me. “Fine. We’ll help, but you’ll owe us, okay?”
I weighed the options. Get the glove fixed, or be thwarted by a couple of geeks. “Fine. Just do it, okay?”
The two of them picked up the glove again, but the first grabbed it and took it to another desk with a bunch of tools spread over it. He kneeled over the glove for a moment, then stood up, played with his glasses, and came back.
“It’s just a bunch of plastic with wires in it. What’s to fix?”
“I–” I had nothing to say that wouldn’t sound stupid or crazy.
“Where’d you even get it?” he asked.
I clenched my teeth, but finally conceded. “S&H Supplies.”
“That superhero joke store?” Beaver asked.
I felt my ears turning red. I knew I shouldn’t’ve said anything. “Yeah. I was bored, it was free. Okay?”
“Yeah, no problem,” the blond said, but both of them chuckled nonetheless.
“Hey, Justin,” Beaver said, “why don’t we all play superhero?”
“I concur.” Justin hopped back in his seat. “I’ll be Bookman. I’ll read by day and fight the likes of Paper Cut, Blank Page, and Rip/Torn by night.”
“And I’ll be the Mathemagician–”
“Isn’t that already taken?”
“Well, I was going to be the Mathter, but then it just sounds like master with a lisp–”
“Stop it!” I shouted, and the two dolts turned to me with widened eyes. “I’m not a superhero, and I don’t want to be. I just–I just want this thing to work again!”
They both looked at the glove. Justin said, “It did something?”
“I put it on and waved my hand, and the TV came on,” I said nonchalantly, as if every glove elicited the same reaction.
“But it has no power source,” Justin said. “That’s impossible.”
“I know,” I said, my teeth grinding together, “but it happened, I swear.”
Justin and Beaver glanced at each other again and then looked back at me.
“What’d you say your name was?” Justin asked.
“Keith,” I said, and Justin smiled.
“Well, Keith, let’s make a deal. Beaver and I’ll get your glove to do magic again, but you’ve got to tell all your bully friends that we’re off limits, got it? Or,” he hummed a moment, “or we’ll tell everyone how badly you want to be super.”
“I’m not a bully,” I said, “and I don’t want to be super.”
Their faces were hard–they were pretty firm for a bunch of nerds–and I guessed they were serious, Justin at least anyways.
“Fine,” I said. “Fix the glove and we’ve got a deal.” Justin started grinning, so I continued quickly. “But”–and they stopped smiling–“there’s no deal until you fix the glove, and if you can’t, it’s off.”
The two looked at each other and then back at me. “It’s a deal,” Justin said. “We’ll hold onto this a couple days and see what we can do. Come back Friday and we’ll have it working.”
I raised my eyebrows, but the two seemed certain of it, so I just shrugged and shook my head.
“For your own good,” I said, “it better work on Friday.”
PART 5: The Analysis