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Superman I Will Be

Updated on September 9, 2017
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Chris has written more than 300 flash fiction/short stories. Working Vacation was 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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