Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Wally West: The Flash

My name is Wally West. I'm the fastest man alive. The Flash.

Yes. It's true. Autograph? Suuurre. Hi. How's it going?

So long ago. I won the lotto when I turned 21. Yep. Grew up in the midwest. Normal kid. Maybe a bit obsessed with superheroes. Well, one in particular. My uncle Barry. The Flash.

Something about the red costume and the yellow lightning. The ability to get everything done. Fast. Like, I'm talking about reading the library on a lunch break. And talk about travel? Just think it. Los Angeles? Bam. Hong Kong? I remember the Pacific seemed like it would be a challenge. The real hard part is finding Hawaii out there. First time I was running in a holding pattern til Barry led the way.

Anyways, I always wanted superspeed, and one fateful trip to the city to see my Aunt Iris, wouldn't you know it? I become a sidekick. Sure, the costume was yellow, but I thought I looked so puny when I was just wearing Barry's costume but small.

Oh, and speaking of small, our costumes used to shrink and fit in our rings. We'd actually get naked sometimes and slip into them in public. Well, not naked, but I was in socks and tighty whities out on sidewalks way too often.

So, Barry eventually sacrificed himself during the Crisis on Infinite Earths. Imagine World War II during the 80's. The things that went down here ended an era. Heroes were broken.

And I was left with the mantle. The costume. In my arms. How could I be the man my uncle was?

I doubted myself so much in those first days. God, I was pathetic. Chasing after girls, blowing my millions on whatever suited me that second, betraying friends. Ugh.

It's no wonder I bought into the whole Return of Barry Allen malarky. I was so eager to give the title back. Me in my shiny, reflective coating costume, handing back the title to my uncle in his simple cloth costume. But it wasn't my uncle. It was Zoom.

Eobard Thawne. Professor Zoom. He killed my Aunt Iris. The one family member who felt like blood. Kin. Protective, loving, and always there with a smile. She actually did eventually return. Involves the 30th Century and the legacy of the Flash a thousand years in the future.

Eobard Thawne was from the far future. With the cosmic treadmill, we (and he) jumped through different eras, dimensions, even abstract concepts. He wanted to be Barry. Not even just the Flash, but Barry himself. In this future people gave themselves over to reliving a person of their choosing from any era. But Eobard wasn't content with this virtual heroism. He wanted flesh and bone. He wanted blood on his hands.

And he got it. A lot of it mine. I finally had to own up to the title of the Flash. Barry wasn't coming back. Suck it up. Be a man for once. Leave the sidekick, former child star primadonna crap at home. Yeah, that was me running with Robin. Dick Grayson. Old school, man. Tights. Oh yeah. I know Batman. We were in the Justice League together. With another guy too. You might know him. SUPERMAN. Yeah. I know. And here we are talking...

Everyone knew I was the Flash. Everyone. I didn't know the other JLA members' secret identities til later and I guess I don't blame them. I dropped the ball right off the bat. Mr. Element. Transmuted my costume. Why he would want to do this? I dunno. No judgments. But COME ON!

So there I am in my draws, which are pretty rank at this point. You wouldn't believe how fast I go through underwear. Thank god for baby powder.

So, Wally's a superhero millionaire as he turns 21. He loses his life a few years later right after he actually finds love. And she's a reporter, but I swear that was a coincidence. It's not a Lois Lane thing. Linda Park actually, kinda hated me at first, and I know that's exactly why I couldn't resist. She'd be wearing those short tight skirts that were big in the ninties. You know, not quite the 80's, high waisted, throw on some suspenders style, but not all that far off. But then you should have seen my hair. Coif!

So I die and merge with the speed force. The speed force is what we in the speedster family like to call our little nest egg. It's a seemingly endless field of energy that is everywhere inside of everything. Superspeed heaven? I dunno. But I outraced Black Flash, the superspeed grim reaper, so you know, who knows?

These days, I'm a mechanic. No one remembers me as the Flash. It's a secret again, as a parting gift from Barry before exiting the universe. He took away the burden of the last decade. A clean slate. A new life with Linda. And our kids. Twins. First time out, two kids. Two toddlers stumbling at mach 1. God, I hope their powers don't manifest until puberty. Or after. Post college maybe.

So, yeah. Used to be famous. Used to be rich. Now I work on cars at regular speed for 8 long, long, long hours a day, and then still do the things I always used to do in a day (i.e. foiling a scheme, fighting a villain, saving the universe), and get some sleep while finding time for the kids and maybe some Linda and Wally special time. No fast jokes. Not true.

Going slow. I drive to work. I live among people again. Actually, for the first time. I was an only child lost in thought. Then a sidekick superteen fighting gods. Finally a spoiled rich kid, before landing back on my ass here. And I love it.

Something about a routine that keeps you going with a smile. Slowing down and really taking things in is almost like information overload. But that's how everyone else is seeing it too. Not in streaks and blurs, light smeared across the eye. It's all in vivid detail and a numbing overindulgence of the senses. Ahhh, feels like real life. A man's life.

"Yo, West! I need you on lift 3!"

Coming boss! Okay, break's over. Gotta get back to the grind.

And with that he wipes his hand on a rag and turns away smiling.

1 comment:

kavya said...

That was cool. I liked reading it and more a moment there it all seemed quite real.

I love the down-to-earth ordinary life that a super hero has to end up living. I've never really thought about what happens to them when they retire or quit or lose their powers.

See you in class! Kavya