Part 11

by CM Towns

   “… And that’s how you beat the dragon,” Reed explained to Elijah’s brother, Joe.
   The two were talking near the end of the long table in the empty Italian restaurant. There was Reed, a nervous Jessie and a happy Elijah along with Elijah’s family; father Elijah Jr., mother Robin, middle child Joe, younger sister Yari.
   “Man I gotta play with you. Elijah says you be killing it every game. You play Madden? NBA games?” Joe asked.
   “I play them if someones got them but I’m more into shooters and RPGs and adventure games,” Reed said.
   “So Jessie, you’ve gotten to know George Blackwell quite a bit. Amazing man, we’ve met him a few times,” the elder Elijah said.
   “Yeah-he’s helped me and… Um… Red Sprite out. A lot. Been very good to the team. I didn’t know much about him before-Ugh-everything went down,” Jessie said as her eyes moved up and down from the ravioli in front of her.
   “I actually just met him a few weeks-maybe a month ago? Didn’t get the chance to hold a conversation as I wanted to talk to him about his books,” Elijah said.
   “The books are good. How much of that is true?” asked Elijah’s dad.
   “Most of it. Some serious exaggerations and detail altering to protect people but mostly on the nose,” Jessie answered.
   “It’s amazing that the books-the way it explains the Alien belief-or Terrien belief-actually could be interpreted that there is a singular God who created the universe. Just the specifics are different,” Robin started.
   “It also allows wiggle room for almost every possible religion as sort of-more demi-gods or wizards. The idea of creating their own realms of life and death or applying that whatever belief the individual holds will exist in some sort of way,” concluded Elijah Jr.
   “I never really gave it much thought. It’s too complicated for me,” Jessie admitted.
   “How cool is it to fly?” Yari asked.
   “It’s the best part of my powers,” Jessie answered the eleven year olds question with a smile.

   “How does your family deal with it. The constant risking your life. Being out there?” inquired Robin.
   “They are… Mostly… It sort of depends on what I’m doing. Most the time they don’t think too much about. Unless it seems to be a serious threat. My moms more concerned than my pops but he seems to assume I’ll be fine,” explained Jessie.
   “Elijah said he met your father the other day. A tattoo artist?” asked Elijah’s dad.
   Jessie looked at him and back to Elijah’s parents. “Yeah, but not really full time. I told him some people wanted some tattoos and that they would pay a little.”
   “Could he tat me?” asked Joe.
   “You ain’t getting no tattoo so don’t even start,” Robin said to her son.
   “You got a tattoo?” Joe then asked Reed.
   “I can’t get one yet. That’s what Jessie said,” he answered.
   “When you get your first tattoo?” Joe then asked Jessie.
   “Earlier than my dad would’ve liked. Even though he got his first ones in his midteens,” Jessie answered.
   “So I noticed you have a lot of new faces. It’s hilarious that you guys have done so well for your team yet most governments are having a hard time positioning one of their own,” the elder Elijah started.
   “The US governments will be up and running in no time. Trust me,” Elijah said.
   “Really?” Robin said interested.
   “A few of our rookies had been somewhat involved in the-” Elijah was interrupted by Jessie elbowing him.
   “Of course-I understand the importance of secrecy in this delicate matter,” Elijah’s dad said.
   “You got any black girls on the team yet?” Yari asked.
   “Yes we do. She can fly and controls gravity!” Reed told her.
   “AWESOME! Whats her costume look like?” the very curious Yari wanted to know.
   “Mostly white, some violet, has helmet she wears sometimes. You know-for protection,” Elijah answered.
   “Oh-and Kestrel is part black? Whole mix of stuff, but identifies as Native American,” Reed said.
   “You mean the Tennessee vigilante? She’s joined up with you guys?” Robin queried.
   “No surprise. You also picked up the fast guy and spider woman,” the older Elijah said.
   “You actually saw Kestrel and Flash-Man today,” Elijah told them.
   “Oh-the other dark skinned girl. I was confused-I knew she was mixed,” he responded.
   “Like Reed said, Native American but mix of other stuff,” Elijah said.
   “So what do you guys know about the governments team?” Elijah’s dad asked.
   “Are they going to be badass?” Joe said.
   “Language, Joe,” his mother told him.
   “We do not know the details quite yet but they would not be able to take us on in a fight, even if we had the same numbers we did a month ago. Expect them to do some sort of press conference sooner or later,” Jessie said.
   Elijah ate a roll and Jessie’s eyes went over to Reed who was now talking about what they had in the game room. Jessie decided she was tired of questions related to her life as Reina and switched the topics, “How did you two meet?”
   “In college,” Robin said.
   “Where’d you go?”
   “Princeton,” Robin answered. “I was majoring in law.”
   “Honestly I got in more for my name,” joked Elijah’s dad.
   “We had a few friends who knew each other, met through them. Been together ever since,” Robin then said.
   “That’s sweet. So who does Elijah take after?” questioned Jessie.
   “My uncle. He played blues and liked older movies,” Elijah’s dad said.
   “What does he play?”
   “Saxophone. He was very good,” Elijah answered.
   “Did he ever record anything?”
   “He played with some groups, and there’s recordings but he was never a band leader or anything like that,” the older Elijah said.
   “You play an instrument, right? Guitar?” asked Robin.
   “Elijah told you a lot about me. I am a little annoyed,” she said turning to him.
   “It’s hard not talk about you,” Elijah responded.
   “I got a guitar. I’m no good though,” Yari said.
   “Takes practice. Lots. Definitely just need to find a teacher to help you. One that can teach you what you want to play,” Jessie told her.
   “Yo-I got a question. How does Kid Victory have so many bad guys hating on him?” asked Joe.
   “I have no idea,” answered Jessie who decided to move the conversation back to Elijah’s family, “You guys been doing charity work for kids with superhuman abilities. I want to just thank you guys for that. Things have been a mess out there.”
   “Yes, it’s terrible. Between the bad guys and the way the cops and agents treat suspected superhumans its appalling. The government should be doing it’s best to make people feel safe but instead these actions not only spread fear of our neighbors, it spreads fear of their tactics,” Robin said.
   “It’s even worst if you’re a brother or sister-or anyone of color. Like that kid down in the Mississippi. Yet I got to sit there in class and have a bunch of dumb white boys try to defend the brute force against a seven year old who throws some lights around when nervous,” Joe said.
   “The charity is to try and help people like that. Our small effort,” Elijah’s dad said.
   “You guys have also been helping us and that’s been-well, we appreciate that,” Jessie told them as her phone went off. She looked at it, eyes narrows on the PRIVATE ID. Jessie said, “Excuse me-it’s work.”
   “We understand, take your time,” Robin said.
   Jessie smiled and walked off near the restrooms with the phone by her ear, “Who is this and who the fuck do you have this number?”

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