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Alexander Vector

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“Alexander Vector get your Quantum powered butt down here!!”

He was running late again and his mother’s bellow just confirmed it. Yet today wasn’t because he had overslept, on the contrary he had spent the past hour going through his drawers and closet trying to figure out what to wear. He was lucky he liked baggy clothing before he popped. Where once was a scrawny kid now was an athletically muscled and perfect, pimple free and handsome version of his old self staring back at him in the mirror.

He smiled at himself in the mirror still disbelieving. “Alex did you hear me!?” came another bellow. “Yeah, coming!” With that he knew he couldn’t waste time and with speed and precision borne of his new self he pulled on a pair of old cargo pants slid his feet into his already tied shoes and reached for a T-shirt hanging in the closet. Pulling the T-shirt over his head he raced down the stairs and into the kitchen where his mother looked up from her newspaper. “You’d think with your new powers it would help you not run late but I guess even quantum power cannot help you there.” Alex grinned as he plopped down into the chair across the table and poured himself a bowl cereal but even that simple act gave him pause, stopping to look at the cartoon mascot of Captain Crunch then imagining himself on the box.

As he tucked into his meal Linda looked up from her paper to take in her new and improved son and rolled her eyes immediately. “You had to wear that shirt on your first day back to school?” Alex goofily grinned. “What?! I like this shirt!” Gesturing to the deep blue shirt with the bright red and yellow crest of Superman larger than life emblazoned across his chest. Mom simply rolled her eyes again. “Don’t let this whole thing go to your head Alex.” It was the son’s turn to roll his eyes. “Mom I wore this shirt all the time before I erupted I don’t see why I have to banish it to my closet now because I really can fly.”

With that the brief conflict quieted as Alex wolfed down his meal. Minutes later he had his backpack full of textbooks slung over his back standing on the sidewalk outside his home. Linda hugged her son before moving toward the minivan. “You sure you want to fly? I can drop you off like always you know.” “Come on mom!” With a defeated sigh Linda opened the door looking over her shoulder to her son. “Okay Alex have it your way, just do not do anything stupid at school. I don’t want to get a call from school saying you are using your X-ray vision to peek into the girl’s locker room or anything.” Alex’s cheeks crimsoned. “Moooom!” With that her son took to the air and Linda Vector headed to work.

Alex arced high into the sky, school which was normally a 15 minute walk away was now only seconds for him. Although he would never admit it actually still took him over five minutes to get there as he got lost not used to seeing town from a birds eye view. Still his feet touched down with a minute to spare before the bell rang. He knew people would stare he had been stared at a lot since last Wednesday but he wasn’t prepared how the crowds coming into the school simply stopped. Not just quit moving but the absolute silence that followed it. Alex did his best to ignore it and saw his break when he spotted Matt through the front door. “Hey!” He called out running through the front door to catch up with his best friend. Matt spotted him and began to laugh. The laugh seemed to break the ice of silence and the normal roar of school noise began again, still they didn’t stop staring. “Superman is that you?” Matt teased as Alex moved up next to him. “I’d punch your shoulder for that crack but I might knock you through the lockers.” Matt rolled with the retort as he opened his locker. “I better get out my Kryptonite then huh?” Withdrawing a shoe from the locker Matt thrust it toward Alex’s face which went pale. “Oh god not the track shoes! Please no I surrender to you Stench Master.” The two friends laughed as Matt tossed the shoe back into his locker slamming it shut.

“Aren’t you gonna thank me?” Matt asked as they made their way to home room. “For what?” “You know what, erupting you doofus.” Alex glared at him as he replied. “Yeah thanks for almost killing me you ass!” The two continued down the hall still ignoring the stares. “Whatever dude, it was the funniest April Fools joke of all time and you know it. Besides now you can fly and juggle tanks.” “I can’t juggle tanks.” “Either way you should thank me. Every girl in this school wants in your Superman Underroos even the girls who only like other girls.”

Both of them fell into their chairs as homeroom attendance was called. Alex of course was dead last on the list. “Vector?” Ricky Nichols one of the dumb jocks shouted as Alex’s name was called. “How could you even ask if he is here? Everyone in the school knows he is here.” Laughter erupted in the room and Mr. Brown shook his head as he made the note on the roll call. “Settle down everyone. Alex, Mr. Smith wants you to go and talk to him you are excused from first period.” Alex sighed standing up with pack in hand. Matt looked up “Sorry dude.” Mr. Smith was the school’s life science teacher as well as Track and Field coach and they both knew exactly why he would be calling for him. “Yeah I guess I should thank you for this too.” He mumbled as he headed out of the room down the hallway.

As the first period bell rang Alex found himself sitting in Mr. Smith’s office aside from his classroom. A large window looked out into the biology lab letting the kids beginning to fill the room see him and once again stare. Smith stood from behind his desk and went to the door. “Read chapter 32 quietly and I will be with you all shortly.” With that the sharply dressed man shut the door and pulled the blinds. “Well Alex I guess I should congratulate you on winning the genetic lottery. But that isn’t why I called you in here you know.” “Yeah I know coach.” Alex said gloomily. “The state regulations clearly state you are not eligible now son. I know you enjoyed track but it just wouldn’t be fair.” Alex nodded saying nothing. Mr. Smith smiled trying to brighten the situation. “High jump just wouldn’t be the same if a kid competed who could fly you know!” Alex couldn’t help but smile. “Yeah I suppose so.” Mr. Smith sat half on his desk. “Look I still want you on the team maybe an assistant coaching position ok? We still have four more meets and I think everyone would still like to have you at them.” Alex nodded “Okay I can do that.” “Good I just want you to know Alex you are still a part of our team. Don’t think of this as being kicked off think of it as being kicked up.”

As Alex made his way to Advanced Algebra he thought about his goal to get to state this year. How being scrawny as he had been gave him one sport he could truly be good at. Now that was gone. Despite what Mr. Smith had said he still felt like he had been kicked out and it hurt. But before the self pity could truly set in he reminded himself he could fly and juggle tanks (well, maybe not tanks) so it wasn’t such a bad trade after all and with a bright perfect smile he entered Ms. Harris’s first period Advanced Algebra class.

(To be continued.)

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Half the day was over and things began to feel a little more normal again. Alex began to accept the fact that things would never be totally the same again. It wasn’t bad though the staring got a little annoying.

“I saw you fly.” Came a feminine voice behind him. Alex stopped tapping his pencil on his desk and turned. “Yep that was me.” He responded cheerfully as Cindy. The girl who likely never even knew he existed prior to today. “I don’t recall you being so cute.” Alex shrugged, “Probably because I wasn’t.” He turned back around ready to dismiss the girl but a scrap of notebook paper flew over his shoulder and skidded to a stop on his desk. “My number and OpSpace name. Let’s go out sometime.”

Alex weighed the options of being offended or complimented. In the end he just dismissed the whole thing. It was not the first proposition today and it wouldn’t be the last. He felt the urge to revel in the new school superstar status but the resentment of them not noticing him until his Novahood kept his ego in check.

The thought haunted him until his last class P.E. which was designed purposely so everyone could have their track practice at the same time. Matt and Alex stood in their track sweats at the high jump bar on the inside of the track. Matt shook his head, “Look it’s pointless for you now. You could jump higher than I can set the thing I couldn’t set the Pole Vault bar high enough now.” Alex nodded slowly “I know. I just can’t imagine things becoming harder because they became easier.”

“Hey Vectard heads up!” Alex turned in time to see the sphere of metal come crashing into his face. Other than the flinch the twelve pound metal ball did nothing more than smoosh the cartilage of Alex’s nose before falling to the ground with a heavy thump. “Holy shit did you guys see? He is indestructible!” Ricky and a band of the big jocks who whenever were not in the middle of football season were tossing the shot put for the high school. “Hey you bastard that hurt!” Alex said rubbing his nose anger evident in his eyes. “Don’t Lex.” Matt warned but Alex brushed him off. “Why would I bother?” Alex said as he picked up the heavy shot put. “I should give this back to you.” Hefting the weight but instead of pitching it at the oaf he rolled it back across the freshly cut spring grass. “Nichols!” The deep angered voice of Coach Smith roared across the football field/track area. “Get over here now! Are you okay Alex?!” “Yeah I am okay!” Smith wasn’t just the coach of the track team he was football coach as well and as Alex looked across the field and the bright red angered face of the coach he knew that he had witnessed the stupidity of the jock. Matt waved as Ricky began to hustle across the field. “Nice to see stupidity doesn’t pay.” He observed as he watched the football lineman and part time shot putter get a humiliating lambasting.

An hour later Lex was back in his school clothing. “Hey you want to carry me home? I’d like to fly.” Matt said as they stood in the parking lot. “Dude I almost cut my head off on a power line last night. Give me some more practice time before I start carrying people. Besides your car is right there!” Matt looked at his car with a wide smile. “Well I was hoping you would fly me in the car. “I am so not going to carry you in the car!” Matt laughed as he hoped into his car. “Hey you want to see that new Nova Nemesis movie on Friday?” Alex nodded “Sounds good to me.”

With a wave Matt took off speeding down the gravel parking lot Alex made his way back to the bleachers next to the track. He climbed halfway up the stairs and sat back watching a few remaining kids practice and watching the baseball team play a home game in the distance across from the football field. The crack of the bat, smell of the freshly cut spring grass the big complex of buildings behind him. It was his school. The one he had spent over two and a half years at but still it all felt new now. He had to remind himself that he was the one who was new now not the school.

He stayed there for an hour watching his classmates slowly empty from the track until he was alone overlooking the field. It was long after school and the only thing still going on was the distant baseball game. With casual grace Alex drift from his seat on the bleacher onto the field and walked to the high jump. In a few moments he had it set as high as he could and he walked back from it. No flying he told himself as he began the arcing run and broad steps of the high jump approach. With one push off he was airborne he knew that he had cleared the bar as he arched his back and in an instant he also realized he had cleared the bag below as well. He landed with an “oomph” and rolled to a stop getting grass stains over his blue shirt and pants.

Sitting up he sighed pulling some blades of grass from the ground. “Yeah I guess I am done.” Dusting himself off the dark hair teen grabbed his pack and slipped into the sky to spend the next ten minutes trying to figure out what his house looked like from the air.

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