Flash Fiction: Superhero Encounter

It was a bog-standard task. Take the cherry picker up to the roof and fix the leak. To be honest I could do it without the machine, there’s loft access and apart from a few holes, it seemed pretty solid. But that wouldn’t justify us spending over a thousand on the cherry picker itself, so for that reason I was sitting in the cab about to go sixty feet up in the air. And then I heard the shouting.

I saw the two men running towards me, their shiny spandex suits rustling, silky capes flowing out behind them, that’s how I knew they were superheroes. Although I didn’t actually recognise them, a couple of the more minor characters, I guess. I was leaning over, trying to understand what they were shouting about, when the larger of the two men leapt up into my cab in a single bound. The other struggled a little, the bars were too far apart and I’m sure he caused himself some pain, but he made it over.

“Hey missy,” said the superhero, “get us up there, now!” he was shouting unnecessarily, he was only a few inches from me. And I don’t appreciate being called missy either, I’m a woman doing my job, not an insolent child.

“You can’t come up here. This cab isn’t supposed to hold more than two,” I started to explain, but the bigger chap was having none of it.

“Listen, we’ve got five minutes before that building explodes,” now he was doing that forced whispering that superheroes do, and he gestured to the very building I was meant to be fixing, “and there are people trapped inside. We have to get up there now!” He shoved past me and began fiddling with the controls. I looked at his sidekick (clearly he was the sidekick) who gave me an apologetic shrug.

I turned back to the bolshie superhero, not particularly worried, since he didn’t seem to understand how a dead man’s handle worked and was pressing every button and pushing every lever in a totally futile manner.

“It seems to me that if the building is about to explode, then we want to be as far away from it as possible,” I said. To be honest, I didn’t believe him at all, these superhero types are always kicking up the melodrama. However, the caped crusader wasn’t flagging, he put a hand around my throat and shoved me up against the railings, hissing into my face,

“Take us up there, now!”

Seriously, is it that difficult to say please? Anyway, I took us up there, slowly, because the machine doesn’t go up fast, no matter how much a superhero screams at you.

To cut a long, anticlimactic story short, I got them both up to where the super villain held the woman. They smashed through the window and swooped inside. The window was open, so I don’t see why smashing was needed. She started screaming, which helped no one. They rescued her, she got her shoe caught in the window frame and started screaming again – seriously? Where do they find these women? There was a tussle with the super villain, who I was quietly rooting for. More screaming, whispering, and smashing stuff (I feel sorry for the cleaners). They rescued her, and I took them back down again. Slowly.

She never even said thank you to me, just stood leaning back against the railing (I made her put a harness on, she had no awareness of safety) and snogging the superhero. The sidekick ran out of quips about half way down, so we continued the journey in silence, just the slurping of the other two to listen to.

And of course it was them who got the TV interviews and the front page photo, nobody asked me. The superhero even lied about how he got up there, said he flew, the twat.

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