This is a short story I wrote for a competition – the theme being ‘songs by The Kinks’. I wrote two, I’ll be posting the other one in a few days. I hope you enjoy reading this, I had a great time writing it.
As ever leave your comments below or tweet me. PDF version here Wonderboy – Paul Blake
‘If it pleases you, your Honour, before judgement is passed. I would like to say a few words in my defence. In the hope, the court shows leniency on me.’ Wonderboy said to Judge Gwen Gifford, in whose hands Wonderboy’s fate hung and who was leading the trial. She looked at the two judges either side of her, who both nodded their assent.
‘We are running ahead of schedule, so we’ll allow you a few words.’ She said. Her ten-year-old daughter was a massive fan of his: she had posters of him on her bedroom wall; a Wonderboy duvet cover and matching pillowcase; a Wonderboy lunchbox and flask; Wonderboy pyjamas; and asked for the Wonderboy Annual each Christmas, devouring each and every page before Boxing Day. Through osmosis, Judge Gifford had become a fan too and was genuinely disappointed that she would have to cast judgement on him and sentence him to life in prison.
‘Thank you, your Honour… your Honours; I’ll try to make this short.’ Wonderboy said. He thought about throwing a wink in Judge Gifford’s direction but decided against it. Best not, he thought, I want my story told, to the people here in the court and to the millions who are watching around the world via satellite and the internet. This is the ‘trial of the century’ according to the newspapers that are read to me, by the lovely guardians of the maximum security prison I am residing in and will probably remain, the classic tale of someone who had it all and threw it all away.
Wonderboy produced a number of index cards from the inside of the suit jacket he was wearing and placed them neatly on the defendant’s table in front of him. He picked up the first card and began speaking to the court.
‘I’ll begin at the beginning…’
‘… I was born as Wonderboy, well I say born; I mean I was created as Wonderboy. Scientists at SUTECH or SuperHero Technical Labs to give it its actual name, mixed together the DNA of a number of superheroes in a beaker and grew me in a lab. Some clever wit of a scientist there anointed me with the name ‘Wonderboy’ and it stuck. I am thirty-five years old, with the normal emotional feelings, wants and desires of a thirty-five-year-old man; however, I am trapped in a fourteen-year-old boy’s body. My body will never age, and as you know I am indestructible: impervious to heat, cold, poison, radiation, and I do not need oxygen to live. I feel and I breathe like a normal person, I just cannot die. I know because in the darkest times I have tried. So many ways. It cannot be done. I am here to stay. I will be Wonderboy in my nineties and onwards.
‘This is old news to the people here and watching at home and at work, so I’ll skip the biographical details, if anyone isn’t aware of me, there is a detailed bio on my SuperNet website. You just need to Google it.’ He flicked through a couple of the cards and laid them, face down, next to the unread pile. He continued:
‘What you all are here for and what you all want to know is why did I turn heel? Why did I turn to the dark side? Why did I become the ultimate Super Villain? And why did I give myself up?
‘It wasn’t a gradual thing, a build-up of little misdemeanours and misdeeds. I hadn’t gone down a slippery slope, down a spiral of criminality. In my case, I went evil because I wanted to, and for a very specific purpose. It’s not easy being Wonderboy, loved by millions, adored wherever I go. I know, I know, world’s smallest violin playing just for me. I had a life that people dreamed about. People would even kill for a piece of it. Believe me, I know. I had it all, but it wasn’t enough. There was something missing. It started off small, little feelings I would get. I brushed them off. I had more important things to do, people to save and all that. But, it got into my head, burrowed deep, twisting and turning, turning and twisting, like an insidious snake wrapped around my brain. It wouldn’t stop. Even when I focused on my role: my job. I was saving more and more people, stopping more and more villains, defeating natural disasters; it was still there. A whispering hiss, deep within my ear. A sibilant whisper filled with venom and jealousy. A slithering whisper of loneliness and longing.
‘And what was it whispering? You ask. What was the serpent hissing to me? Let me tell you what life is like for me.
‘I go to a club and see an attractive woman, she looks at me and I look back. Smiling, I beckon her over, with a gentle come-hither motion. She comes over. They always do. I start the conversation with ‘I saw you looking at me,’ they invariably respond, ‘are you who I think you are?’ No matter how I answer this question – ‘Yes, I am Wonderboy!’ or ’No, I just look like him’ or variations on that theme – the response is always the same. The woman will tell me that they loved me when they were young; or their sister, or daughter, is my biggest fan. Some will confess that they had a crush on me. But to all of them, I am still a fourteen-year-old boy. They see me as a child. A fucking – please excuse my language, your Honours – a child. It doesn’t help that I’m a little over 165 centimetres, or five foot five in height.
‘Occasionally you get the creepy, crazy one. You know the ones. They’re the ones who get caught sleeping with their students, sending them love poems, and revealing pictures of themselves. You see them all the time in the papers. Some are hot, many are not. There is a reason they are attracted to their students. It is because no man would put up with their shit – sorry – no matter how great in bed they are. They’re the women who get your name tattooed above their heart after a first date; who move in with you after a one-night stand; who text you a million times a day and get pissed –sorry your Honours, I’ll try to restrain from using curse words – get annoyed if you don’t reply immediately, no matter if at the time you are saving a family from a burning car wreck, or diverting a hurricane back to the sea. They’re the only ones who’ll sit on my face.
‘They are bat-shit crazy. Total bunny boilers. But they are all I can have, all that will want me. It’s not fair. Totally Awesome Man has to beat the women off. He rescues a woman from a burning building, her tongue is already down his throat and she is jerking him off before he has even landed. The Black Cavalier has that brooding, shadowy thing going on and gets hit on all the time. He doesn’t even have any superpowers! How is that fair, your Honours? How is that fair?’ Wonderboy struck the table with his fists and it split down the middle. He caught his index cards before they began to fall.
‘I’m sorry about that, your Honours; my frustration got the better of me. I apologise. Where was I? Oh yes, I remember.
‘How can it be fair, for me – the greatest superhero who ever existed, to only get to sleep with the mental ones? Even the hot ones aren’t really that hot, but look like an oasis in the desert, compared to their sisterhood. Every normal woman sees me like a child. I get called good-looking, sure, but never handsome, dashing, sexy, rugged, or desirable. Even sidekicks get more action than me. Hell, even the sidekick’s sidekicks get laid more. I am stronger than any superhero, have a much higher rescue rate and I even look better in tights. I don’t have to roll a pair of socks into my over-under shorts to make myself look like I have a penis. Mentioning no names… Mr Cool, Doctor Devil, and Super Stretchy Man – sorry to disappoint you ladies, he can’t stretch that, even though he has tried all ways, my favourite time was when he tied himself to a bridge like a bungee cord and jumped off. Ha ha ha… Ahem. Sorry.
‘There you have it. The reason I changed is because I wanted to get laid by a normal woman. Didn’t even have to be a looker, just someone who would see past the outside and see the inside concupiscent me, treat me like the man I am. Did you know I had invisibility powers? No? It’s not something I’ve advertised. I have been forced to turn into a super-peeping tom, the ultimate voyeur, just to see a normal naked woman. I’ve been in locker rooms, bathrooms, nudist beaches, naturist resorts, changing rooms, art museums, anywhere where I can see a woman’s body in all its glory. I’m not proud of it. In fact, I’m downright ashamed of myself. The wankst afterwards is terrible. I am so ashamed at masturbating to women who cannot see me watching them as they wash, or change, or…’ Wonderboy trailed off, looking at the ground, tears splattering the broken table.
‘I have tried killing myself. Nothing works. Shooting myself into the sun – just burnt my clothes off, I was fine. Diving to the bottom of the deepest ocean – I just surprised some weird looking fish. Nuclear reactor – not a thing, I deal with them on a weekly basis. Smoking – that just made me smell. Nothing works.
‘So I decided to change. If being the world’s best good guy didn’t get me anywhere, maybe being the world’s worse bad guy would. Ladies love a bad boy, you know. I heard they did anyway. I changed my image. Gone were the canary yellow unitard, and lime green underpants and cape. In their place, was the darkest black costume you could ever have, light was sucked in by that bad boy. I wanted people to know I was bad. Pure unscrupulous ruthlessness… while being ever so attainable. I made it skin-tight to show off my muscles, contoured around the crotch to emphasise my penis and testicles. I had a mask of pure beauty and evil to get the women to want me, but know they shouldn’t, but want me anyway.
‘My goal was never to hurt anyone, that’s not in my nature. I wanted a scheme so dastardly, devious, and sexy it would make women wet just thinking of it. I decided I would steal the Cullinan I diamond or as it is also known, the Great Star of Africa from the Tower of London, where it is kept with the rest of the Queen of England’s Crown Jewels.
‘I could have turned invisible and used my powers to obtain it. Nobody could stop me. But what’s sexy about that? It would be easy; every woman would know it was easy for me. They’d just think I was a jerk. However, if I used criminal cunning, guile and panache, I would be a rogue, a diamond in the rough, if you excuse the pun.
‘I won’t tell you the details of my plan in case someone copies it and manages to steal the jewels. Needless to say, it would have been perfect. A wondrous heist carried off by Wonderboy. A crime they would be writing about for centuries to come. It would have worked too. It was well underway, everything was going swimmingly, and another minute the diamond would have been mine. If it wasn’t for that little girl, outside the tower, who managed to get away from her parents, who within an instant ran into the road in front of the newspaper delivery truck, whose driver was running late getting the evening paper distributed across London, whose foot was harder on the pedal than normal, the truck going faster than usual.
‘I had to save her. your Honours. It’s what I do. My raison d’être. My sole purpose. Mesmerising traitor in my ear or not. In my haste to save her, I tripped the alarms in the tower blasting a hole through the wall. The Yeomen Warders of the Tower came after me, albeit through more appropriate methods of exiting a building, and arrested me at gunpoint just after I returned her safely to her shocked parents for the scolding of her life.
‘And here I stand as Wonderboy, before the court. My alter-ego retired for good. Do you know the name I chose for my evil self? No, not the awful one the papers and news reports gave me, the true one? They haven’t told you? Well, it was the Black Stallion. Not subtle enough? I don’t know. I had to make it clear I was available.
‘I wholeheartedly apologise for my crimes and request lenience from the court and the millions of people around the world I disappointed with my actions. I have given up being a villain, hung up my mask. I am truly sorry. Please remember, your Honours, that for me, life imprisonment really is eternity.’
‘This is Tom Witten, at The Hague in the Netherlands, outside the International Criminal Court for the ruling of the Trial of the Century. We have just heard that the judges have made their ruling. The judgement given by Judge Gifford is that the Poisoned Dwarf, also known as Wonderboy, has been released with immediate effect. Judge Gifford cited that the Dwarf’s contrite and honest testimony swayed their decision. The Poisoned Dwarf has to attend weekly sex addiction therapy sessions. The judges considered chemical castration to stop his vile urges but realised that his body would withstand the treatment. The Poisoned Dwarf declined to comment. The question we must ask ourselves is: Is it right that a self-confessed, super-powered, sexual deviant has been released back into an environment where they have interaction with our children? I’ll leave for you, Diane, at the studio to discuss that point.’ Tom Witten said. He beamed a gigawatt smile at the camera, waited for Simon, the Networks’ director, to say ‘clear,’ in his earpiece. While he waited, he gazed at his reflection in the camera lens. That poor bastard, imagine having to live like that. Of course, the children are safe; Wonderboy expressed no interest in children. This fucking job really is the worst at times.