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Superman I Will Be

Updated on September 9, 2017
cam8510 profile image

Chris has written more than 150 flash fiction/short stories.Working Vacation took 21st out of 6,700 in the 2016 Writer's Digest competition.

Author's Note

This is one of those musings that materializes and quickly disappears if you don't get it down on paper or into a computer file. Some of these thoughts have been my own in the past. Others I made up based on what I know about addiction.


I walk to my favorite dumpster and find half a pizza still in the box. I save it for later. I hate to drink on a full stomach. I wrap the eight slices of pepperoni and cheese on thin crust in a plastic grocery bag and set the empty box on the sidewalk in front of me, a talisman for me since it brought me food and a billboard telling passersby that all this man wants is a meal. What I want is money for something to drink.

I want to soar on the same high I felt with that first drink as a young teen. I’ve been seeking it ever since and one of these days I’ll find that old friend again. We will outrun the speeding bullets of the gangs, halt the locomotive of local government that wants us to disappear, leap together over tall buildings where the high and mighty look down on the street and its people. I was Him that day, with that first drink, I was Him. And I’ll be Him again if it takes the rest of my life.


“Here, pal, get a pizza for that box.” The speaker drops a fiver. Can’t get a pizza with a fiver. But I can get a bottle that might last me an hour.

“Poor soul. Here, this might help more than money.” A little booklet telling me I’m going to hell. Can’t by a bottle with propaganda. Can’t go to hell if I’m Superman.

“Get a job, you bum.” I like that one. I can see the application form now. Address: a cardboard and wood structure behind an abandoned factory, heated by a burn barrel that sits at the center of a circle of such boxes. Mine’s the one with the big S spray painted on the side. S for someday. S for Superman. S for somebody give me a hundred dollars so I can take a few days off and get drunk. S for stereotypical.

I am The Drunk. I am The Bum. I am The Street Person. See me and you’ve seen them all. Give me a buck and you’ve given them all a buck. We’re all stereotypes.


I scoop up my pizza box and pour the money into my hand. I think of my friends. They’re starving. I buy a bottle and give them my pizza.

Maybe today is the day when the pearl of great price is found, the holy grail of the drunk, the high of all highs, the day I become Superman.

Author's Second Note

This morning I was told by the hotel where I am spending the holiday weekend, that I needed to change rooms. I packed up my few belongings and carried them to the new room. I opened the refrigerator to store some groceries and there, on the top shelf, were two cans of beer to greet this recovering alcoholic. Just minutes before, I had clicked the Publish icon on this hub. I couldn't have been more ready.

Still clean and sober after seven years, four months and sixteen days.


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    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 11 months ago from london

      Nice take, Chris. Written well. I like it. Peace.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 11 months ago from SW England

      Congratulations, Chris! Long may it continue. What a strange coincidence that was though.

      It's staying clean and sober that makes you Superman.


    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 17 months ago from southern USA

      Ah, God bless you, dear Chris!

      You are superman and that lonely hotel room with those empty beer cans was a test, and I'm so happy you passed!

      Addiction is such a terrible disease, and that is what most people do not understand, that it is a disease no doubt.

      Isolation is not good and I do hope you found a meeting place there in Columbus.

      It's true, in our youth, we do feel like Superman/Supergirl and the like, especially if we inherited that gene of addiction, and the alcohol or whatever substance seems to add to that feeling that we are invincible.


    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 17 months ago from Southern Illinois

      Chris, I think you were destined to write this story. There are many supermen out there who will learn from this. Maybe even some super women. I loved that you gave the pizza to the hungry man. Sometimes drunks have bigger hearts than the do gooders who pass them by and look away in disgust.

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 17 months ago from Missoula, Montana at least until March 2018

      Shauna, Absolutely. I took them out of the room and threw them into a large trash can in one of the breezeways. I've been offered drinks countless times and can go to any store and purchase my own, but a lonely hotel room seems to be a bad place for a meet-up between an alcoholic and a can of beer.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 17 months ago from Central Florida

      More power to you, Chris! You know how strong you are now. What did you do with the beer cans? Throw them away?

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 17 months ago from Missoula, Montana at least until March 2018

      John, facing these situations which aren't even issues for a normal person, are something I take in stride, one at a time. I don't take sobriety for granted. The old life is one bad decision away. Thanks for reading.

    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 17 months ago from Hereford, AZ

      Your willpower is amazing, and I am proud of you. Just read your second writer's note.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 17 months ago from Queensland Australia

      This is very different for you, Chris. I really enjoyed it, though..... glad you faced your kryptonite and won in that hotel room. How fortunate you had just written this.

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 17 months ago from Missoula, Montana at least until March 2018

      y tu, tambien, mi amigo.

    • profile image

      manatita44 17 months ago

      You see. You're my Chris, all right. Dios te bendiga y acompane (God bless and accompany you)

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 17 months ago from Missoula, Montana at least until March 2018

      manatita, my sobriety began in AA, and I continue to use their principles day to day. I look to a higher power whom I choose to call God. I connect with him through simple prayer where I seek only to know His will for me and ask that he give me the power to carry it out.

      As for a good woman being the secret to sobriety, I believe this is a dangerous way to go, both for the alcoholic and for the woman. The man must stand on his own with the help of the god of his choice. A good woman, or a good man, can be supportive, but cannot be the power that maintains sobriety in another person.

      Thanks for your insights on this topic. They are always welcome.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 17 months ago from london

      Be very careful. Be strong. A small blister can enlargen; a tiny crack can cause a great leak and dampness. Bill followed this Path as far as I know. Perhaps the trick is a great and wonderful woman, or a meditative group, if you do not have one. But women I do not like to recommend. Just go inwards and ask your needs. Intensify the writing, seek great friends.

      I did get the gist of what you are saying, Just added some more, that's all. Much Love

    • Jo_Goldsmith11 profile image

      Jo_Goldsmith11 17 months ago

      "Still clean and sober after seven years, four months and sixteen days."

      You are indeed a *Super Man*. God Bless you, friend.

      And may you know that it is quite the accomplishment to be clean and sober that long. That is amazing and I cheer for you.

      I know first hand what alcohol can do, how it plays havoc on relationships and destroys families.

      A great read and a Powerful and Profound recovery! :-)

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 17 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      You sure can tell a full story in few words. That never to be found again state of intoxication. Perhaps in my life I spent too much time chasing it.

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 17 months ago from Missoula, Montana at least until March 2018

      Manatita and Becky, I added a second author's note at the end of the hub, something you might want to read. Thank you both for reading and commenting and for being such good friends and supporters.

    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 17 months ago from Hereford, AZ

      Awesome. Glad you have gained a real version of Superman. Your writing is worthy of Clark Kent, both succinct and short.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 17 months ago from london

      Masterfully written. So vivid! Crafted with panache and I can see you caressing each word. Perhaps it's not necessary anymore ... perhaps you're there... perhaps you're Superman!

      You remind me of my poem. I was trying to remember the downtrodden... the oppressed .. the unforgiving winter... and passerby's. Awesome, Bro!