Fiction Friday: Misunderstandings

superman
superman (Photo credit: scottfeldstein)

“Hey, Jenny!” My little brother’s voice pokes through my hazy brain as I try to figure out what  propensity and vouch mean, and what in the world they have to do with a headless horseman.

I pull off an ear bud. “What?”

Caleb quivers with excitement. “Guess what, Jenny? Daddy is Superman!

“What?” I want to laugh, but he’s obviously serious. “What are you talking about?”

“I just heard Mommy on the phone. She said Daddy was off doing his Superman thing.”

I start to answer, but then I remember Mom saying I have to be thoughtful and not spoil my brother’s innocence, whatever that means. I think she just wants to make sure I don’t spill the beans about Santa.

But it doesn’t really matter, because Caleb’s already on to the next thing. “You know what that means? I must have superpowers, too!” His eyes pop open wide, and he nearly jumps out of his skin. “I know! I know! Remember how Daddy told me I’m flying, the day we were jumping on the tamp-ling?” He crashes through the back door, leaving me to de-code my homework in peace.

Fridays I have to babysit till Mom and Dad get home from work. Caleb gets off the bus with puffy eyes, like he’s been crying all the way home. “The boys laughed at me!” he says. “They told me Superman’s not real. I told them yes he is, but they made fun of me.”

“W-well,” I say, “he…” But when I see his big red eyes, I feel bad. “He, uh…he wants people to think he isn’t real, ‘cuz otherwise he couldn’t get anything done, y’know?”

He looks at me like I’m crazy. “But that’s his job, Jenny.” He sticks his chin in the air. “I’ll prove it!” he says, and runs off.

Ugh! Mom’s gotta talk to him before he does something stupid, like…

“Caleb, get down off the roof!” I shriek, running toward the house, but it’s too late. He’s got one fist out in front of him, and one curled up by his chest, and he launches into space.

I am so never babysitting again.

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This week’s prompt brought to you by Write On Edge, who challenged us this week to share what happens when you eavesdrop on a conversation and take the wrong idea away.