[misc] Thunderclap #3 - Mistakes

rickhindle at gmail.com rickhindle at gmail.com
Mon Dec 4 19:09:46 PST 2006

#3 - Mistakes
by Rick Hindle

[cover shows Thunderclap laying on the ground in a pool of blood.  A
samurai wearing red-painted armor stands above him, holding a sword, a
devilish smile is spread across his face as he prepares to kill our

	I knew that Tommy would open his mouth.  I just couldn't believe how
long it would be until he told people.
	I had gone over to my parent's house on the other side of Pinnacle
City for the day.  Mom had told me about Dad's diaries as Thunderclap
and I really wanted to look through them. Two had caught my attention
- one had a passage talking about his original experiences with the
flight; the second revealed some key details about two of his biggest
enemies: Clone King and the Raptor.
	Dad had taken meticulous notes on a lot of subjects regarding the two
villains.  He kept track of their aliases, where he had heard of them,
even what the battles had been like.  Had he not wanted to be a
superhero, Dad would have been a great football coach - he a knack
for remembering exact sequences of details.
	However, Dad didn't write down any clues to helping solve the riddle
of "What to do when your best friend opens his big mouth."
	I was over at Tommy's that evening, shooting the breeze on the
balcony.  We'd had a couple beers with Tommy, Suzie, and our buddy
Kenny.  Kenny's of Asian descent who always seems to have a smile on
his face.  He's got a round face, dark hair, and has spent way too much
time in the gym, resulting in being a heavy-set guy with lots of
muscle.  Kenny is also Tommy and my only way-out-there gay friend.
Sure, we knew other gay guys, but none are as open and willing to talk
about it then Kenny.
	"So what's it like being a superhero, Clay?" Kenny asked me.  I've
got to give it to him, he just laid it right out to me.  A fastball
down the middle.
	I was obviously slightly annoyed at Tommy.  I mean, I had told him not
to tell anyone.  And I meant anyone about my being Thunderclap.
	I turned to Tommy, my face showing my obvious annoyance. "Tommy, you
have the mouth of a sixteen-year old girl."
	Tommy looked stunned. "Wait.  What?  Huh?" he was shifting his
gaze to the three of us on the balcony.  Kenny was smiling, Suzie was
shaking her head, and I was sitting there, staring back at him.
	"Dude, all I asked for you to do was not tell anyone," I repeated
my instructions.  This hadn't been rocket science, and even Tommy and
his five and a half years of college should have been able to figure
this out.  "Now, have you told anyone else?"
	Tommy shook his head.  "Are you sure?" I asked him.  Now he
nodded.  "Promise."
	He nodded.  "Yeah, dude.  I'm so sorry," he actually looked like
he was.  "It was all just so weird to see you in that outfit and
everything.  I just...I couldn't contain myself."
	I nodded.  "It's ok, dude.  It's just you've got to understand that
my dad just left me with this whole responsibility, and I'm trying to
figure out what to do with it," I explained to them.
	"Why don't you just not do it?" Suzie asked.  Let me explain to
you all about Suzie - she and Tommy had been dating on and off for
nearly five years.  She's a small blonde, who has a bubbly personality
who can shut it off and become a total witch in a matter of seconds.
	Tommy looked at her, shocked at what she had said.  Kenny's face took
on a shade of red and he started to look off in the distance.
	"I've got to," I told her. "It's my inheritance, the last gift I
received from a pseudo-absentee father."
	"I just don't see the point of you risking your life for people you
don't even know," Suzie went on. "I mean, why would your father
want you to do that?"
	I considered the question for a minute.  It had been a while since Dad
and I had talked.  I have trouble remembering what he said to this day.
 But I do remember one of the things he said: "You can do whatever
you want for the women, the fame, the money.  But in the end, do it
because you want to."  It had been the key to his speech on getting a
job in the real world.
	When I was younger, I always told people that my father was a
businessman who travelled a lot.  It really wasn't a lie - he did
travel a lot.  And being an internationally known superhero was his
job.  He became independently wealthy because of sponsorships.  But it
was all because he wanted to do what he was doing.
	I looked back at Suzie.  "My dad wanted me to do whatever I wanted
to do," I finally answered. "I'm not doing this for anything but
the fact that I want to do it."
	"And risk your life?  And our lives?" Suzie continued.  I forgot
to tell you - it didn't matter who the President was, or if she had
voted for him, she still argued against him.  It was one of her
loveliest traits.
	I smiled at the last half of her comment. "It's your choice to hang
out with me," I informed her. "But as long as everyone keeps their
mouths shut, we'll be fine."
	"Clay," now Kenny wanted to say something. It looked like it was
going to be important, "I'm happy that you want to do this, but I
	We were interupted by Gretchen, a friend of our's from back in
college.  She had just made it over and came running out onto the
balcony. "Dudes, you hear what's going on?"
	"What's that?" I asked, looking over at Tommy.  I wanted to reach
across and throttle him for telling Gretchen as well.
	She paused to look back and forth between Tommy and me, probably
wondering what was going on. "Um, yeah, there's a weirdo running
around the financial district destroying everything.  And I mean,
everything.  He's saying he wants to see Thunderclap.  But isn't
	I cut her off by rushing past her towards the front door - I would
not be diving off of Tommy's balcony again anytime soon.  As I reached
the roof, I could already hear Gretchen screaming about something.
I'll kill Tommy later.
	My clothes were soon discarded, the mask was on and I was off towards
the financial district.  I remember when I was younger, seeing the
Millenium Tower and most of the area being built.  Now, these beautiful
pieces of architecture were being threatened by someone.  But, who?  I
should have checked the news before I left.  More post-fight analysis
that I needed to ponder.
	He was dressed in some sort of armor, sort of an ancient Japanese
samurai outfit.  From what I remembered, it was usually painted a
couple of different colors, but this one was solid red.  Instead of a
traditional sword, he held a pair of handles that were emitting beams
of energy.  "Great," I muttered, "A Jedi wannabe."
	"It is time for us to settle our score," the guy announced as I
landed.  "The Red Samurai has an old score to settle with you."
	"Crap," I muttered.  I remembered reading in the paper when I was
at college that Dad had fought this guy.  But how had he escaped from
prison?  He was in prison, right?
	He didn't even wait for a quippy response from me.  He charged right
at me, his energy swords held out towards the side.  Before he got to
me, he leapt straight up, the blades twisting in the air around him.
The blades slashed around him as he came down, but I rolled to the
side, avoiding them.  After I heard the air crackle around the energy
swords, I realized that I may have bitten off more then I can chew.
	"You are quicker than the last time we met, Thunderclap," the Red
Samurai told me.
	Again, he didn't wait for my response before he threw one of his
swords at me.  I took a page out of Keanu Reeves' book and leaned
backwards as far as my hamstrings would let me.  Timing everything
carefully, I took advantage of my new found speed by grabbing the blade
out of the air.
	"Now we're a little more evenly matched," I informed the Samurai.
	I could swear that's when he became really pissed off.  He ran at me
again, a blood curdling yell escaping from his lungs.  He took a swing
at me, but I spun away, trying to hold the sword like I was some sort
of expert.
	I had never held a sword in my life.  Well, there was that time in
third grade where I carried a sword in some school play.  But that was
a little wooden thing that was nothing more than a pointy crucifix.  I
tried channeling my inner nerd, trying to remember Stars War or Lord of
the Rings - movies where guys used swords.
	The Red Samurai was growing more and more angry with me.  And for good
reason, I'll admit.  He was trying to kill me as quickly as possible,
but I wasn't allowing it.  Now, I understand why he would be pissed,
but you've got to allow me to make it clear: He was trying to KILL me.
	"Stand still while I kill you!" the Samurai tried ordering me.
	"Um, how about no?" I replied.  Again, I had to duck one of his
thrusts.  This time, I used the sword I was holding onto to parry him
	I slowed for a moment, thinking about how cool it was that I managed
to avoid that blade with my fancy sword work.  That's when he brought
out the laser dart.
	It was a tiny device he had literally up his sleeve.  With a flick of
his wrist, a small cylinder shot out from his wrist.  As it quickly
moved closer to me, it emitted a blue blade.  It lodged itself easily
in my right shoulder.
	"Ugh!" I'll admit screaming as I fell to my knees.  The blade had
gone out, and the cylinder dropped to the ground, but the blood that
was streaming out of my shoulder was definitely mine.  I was on the
verge of tears as I sunk to my knees, my left hand trying to hold my
right shoulder together.
	"I told you revenge would be mine," the Red Samurai stated as he
stood above me, his sword held above his head.
	I thought quickly.  My options were quite limited due to my shoulder.
That meant that even if I could do the famous move that gave me my
name, it wouldn't be very effective.  The other sword was within reach
- I could just grab it and swing it around.
	I could hear the cops arriving.  They were getting close, but they
wouldn't be able to do anything.  I'd be dead before they made their
	That's when he arrived.
	I had read about him for years, Dad had worked with him briefly as a
member of the Protectors.  However, all of the newspaper articles,
newcasts, and stories failed to prepare me for my first meeting with
	Standing nearly seven and a half feet tall, Ironwing was a cast-off
from the warrior society of Tyranus.  He had bluish-colored skin, and
wore a suit of armor that the Red Samurai would be jealous of.  His
massive armored wings stuck out the back of the suit.  He was
impressive, even for someone who had grown up with a superhuman parent.
	"I warned you about returning to Pinnacle City, Red Samurai," a
mechanical voice erupted from the padded neck of Ironwing's suit.
Before the Samurai could respond either by word or with action,
Ironwing enveloped him in some sort of mesh netting.  The Samurai
crumpled almost immediately.

	A little while later, while the medics were fixing up my shoulder,
Ironwing sauntered up.  Now, Ironwing didn't really 'saunter'.  He more
or less walked up rigidly, but 'saunter' just sounds cooler, doesn't
	He looked at my shoulder and nodded.  "First injury?" the
mechanical voice asked.
	I looked at my tender right shoulder and back up at him.  "How'd you
know?" I asked.
	"You're new," he stated.
	I just nodded.
	"I won't always be there to protect you."
	"I never asked for the help," I responded.  Looking back, it
probably wasn't the best thing to say, but considering the
circumstances, it seemed like the best.
	"You've changed."
	"I'm better then the original," I lied.  I wasn't better then Dad.
 I knew that.  Heck, I didn't know half the things he did.
	"The original didn't need my help," he told me.
	Before I could respond, the armored alien turned away.  He walked a
couple of feet and took off.
	"Thanks," I muttered after he left.  I felt like a jerk.  I had
told someone who saved my life that I may have not really needed his
	"Way to go," I muttered.
	The technician working on my shoulder looked up at me.  "Yeah, that
was pretty dumb," she told me.
	I looked back at her, "Thanks."


Author's Notes:

This is my "Because Saxton Brenton Requested It" issue.  Again, I've
got stuff in the tube and finally had time to give it a once over
before posting.  Call it whatever you want, but that's three down, five
more to go to reach my new personal high.  And that's all I'm looking
for here - a new level.

The more I re-read my Thunderclap stories, the more I yearn for 20
minutes here and there to create a new story.  I've got two ways to go
on this one: the one I've already started that's taking time, or the
shorter, pulpier stories that I can piece along to make it easier to
get to that first answer.  Let's see where I go from here: I promise
you, though - before Christmas, another edition of THUNDERCLAP will
appear...I hope.

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