Zoid Man

4 Dec

Zoid Man

by L. Stewart Marsden

 

Chapter One

 

Benny found an old footlocker in the corner of the attic, barely noticeable under several taped cardboard boxes.

“Hey — lookit this! I bet there’s a goldmine in here!”

Jack looked up from rummaging through a shelf of aging shoes, dulled from dust and cobwebs.

“Check it out. I’m looking for shoes.” And as the words left his mouth, he found them: wrestling shoes his older brother wore in high school. High topped, with steel eyelets running up the leggings, and worn shoe strings, broken and knotted in several places. They were solid black, and perfect — other than the size, which was about three times larger than Jack wore.

“Voila!” squeaked Benny, fishing a rubbery droopy thing from the trunk.

“What the heck is that?”

“It’s — well, I don’t know … some sort of old rubber hat.”

Benny fit it on his head. It was white and had plastic flowers on it. Straps dangled from either side and its sculpted form fit snugly on his noggin. He grinned and modeled the cap in the sunlight that streamed through the one attic window.

“Well? I think it’ll do great! I mean, other than the flowers, it’s perfect!”

“I ‘spose. It looks kind of silly.”

“But with your goggles and your cape and all, it works!”

“We can try it and see.”

Jack and Benny spent the rest of the afternoon digging through boxes in the attic, and came up with a yellowed sheet for his cape, as well as an old Afghan sweater with a V-neck.

In his bedroom, with the door locked, Jack put the pieces together. The pantyhose his mother had thrown out went on first, then the V-neck and the whitey tidies.

“The underwear looks stupid! Why do I have to wear these?”

“Because Superman and Batman and all the other guys wear underwear, that’s why.”

“Those aren’t underwear.”

“Well, make do with what you got.” So Jack reluctantly slipped them on.

“See? Looks great! Now the cap and the goggles.”

Jack stretched the rubber cap over his bushy hair, then pulled the flaps over his ears, fastening the strap under his chin.  He fitted the green plastic swim goggles over his eyes, and turned to grin at Benny.

“Wow! Just need to find a way to attach your cape, and you are Zoid Man!”

“Should we sew it onto the sweater at the back of the collar?”

“Nah. I brought duct tape for this very reason.” Benny stretched an arm-length of silver tape and bit it off the roll. He then tore small lengths and carefully taped the yellowed sheet onto the back collar opening of the V-neck.

“Looks really big.” Jack looked at himself in his closet door mirror. The cape flopped onto the floor and dragged as he walked back and forth. “It’s too big. Fix it.”

Benny took out his pocket knife and began to size the cape, cutting down either side and at the bottom, until it met both boys’ approval.

“How’s that?”

“Better.” Jack squinted his eyes and looked into the mirror. Not half bad, he thought to himself. He closed his fists and put them on either hip, elbows out. It was the classic superhero pose. All he needed was a sunset to silhouette him on a tall mountain.

“You look great!” Benny stared in awe at his friend and nodded. “Zoid Man! So now what about my costume?”

“Huh? Your costume?”

“Aw, c’mon, Jack! Don’t be a shit! Yeah … my costume. Zoid Man and Benny, remember?”

“Right. Okay, what’d you have in mind?”

“I don’t think we can match yours. There was only one of those caps in the trunk, and my mask isn’t goggles. That would look weird.”

“Well, Robin doesn’t have a mask like Batman.”

“I’ve got a pair of solid yellow stretch pajamas. That might do. And some sort of thingy to cover my eyes. Maybe like Zorro?”

“What about shoes?”

“My sister has a pair of fake moccasins with like fake fur on the insides. They zip up at the front.”

“Sounds good.” But Jack wasn’t listening. He was looking at the whitey tidies and wondering how he could change the color.

“So, I’ll go and get that together. Wanna come with me?”

“Nah. I gotta figure out what to wear as a belt. Batman’s got his utility belt, and Superman has that yellow belt.”

“You could use your Scout belt.”

“Yes! Great idea!” Jack opened one of the small top drawers to his dresser and stirred through its contents.

“When do we start?”

“I guess tonight.”

“What time and where?”

“Meet me at the see-saw in the triangle. Eleven o’clock.”

Eleven? Couldn’t we meet earlier?”

“Scared?”

“Scared? Oh, no! I just — uh — I have a test in Mrs. Butts class tomorrow is all.”

“Crime, Benny, happens late at night. And if you want to be a superhero crime fighter, you have to know that.”

“Oh, I know. Okay. So I’ll go and get my uniform together. Will you signal me before you leave?”

“Sure. Three quick flashes followed by three longer flashes followed by three quick flashes.”

“S-O-S!”

“Exactly. And Benny, whenever you see me in my uniform, call me Zoid Man, not Jack. We need to protect our identities.”

“Right — Zoid Man.”

 

ZoidMan

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