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The Jacket

Justin Blietz


 

 

            “Man I can never find anything good here,” Steve thought to himself as he sorted through another rack of clothes. It was a cool, fall afternoon in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and Steve was shopping for a new fall jacket at the local Goodwill store. Steve was a tall, scrawny, somewhat unattractive high school student with thick, black rimmed glasses. He didn’t have many friends and his favorite activity was reading comic books.

            “What a waste of time,” he thought, “this place sucks.” He was just getting ready to leave when he saw an employee put a new jacket on the rack. It was perfect, a royal blue track jacket with white stripes going down the arms. He immediately picked it up and paid for it.

            On the way home he walked slowly enjoying the cool fall breeze and the foliage of all of the trees. The leaves that had already fallen crunched beneath his feet as he hummed Death Cab’s, Lack of Color. It was a long walk home and Steve felt very bored, and very despondent. He began to dig through the pockets of his new jacket when he felt a piece of paper. He was excited thinking he had gotten lucky and found money, but when he pulled it out it was a note written on an old piece of discolored paper. Steve was shocked when he read the contents of the note. It said, upon purchasing this jacket and putting it on you are accepting responsibility for protecting the city of Cedar Rapids from crime and evil doers. Whenever you have this jacket on you will be given certain superhuman powers. These include flying, superhuman strength, and all of your senses will be heightened. Steve could not believe what he was reading. His whole life he had read comic books but he never thought one day this would happen to him. Just to be sure Steve slowly pulled his glasses off and realized he no longer needed them. He could see for miles with no problem now. His clothes also felt much tighter around his now muscular body.

            “Wow,” Steve thought, “this is amazing.” At that moment he heard a girl far off in the distance yelling for help. “Well what the heck,” he said to himself “let’s try this out.” He leaped up into the air and immediately found himself hovering around the ground below. He then heard the girl scream for help again. Due to his heightened senses he was able to follow her shrieks to a dark alley located a couple miles away. Here he found two large men cornering a woman near a dumpster in the shadows.

            “Hey back off!” Steve said sternly as he landed behind them.

            “Please help me!” cried the girl from the dark shadows.

            “Hey look at this chump,” one of the men said exposing a mouth full of crooked yellow teeth.

            “Yeah, he wants to be a tough guy,” the other man said approaching Steve slowly.

            “Let’s get him,” the snaggle tooth man said. They both pounced towards him but Steve immediately sprung into the air leaving the two men crashing into each other. He hovered above them as they looked up at him dumbfounded by what they were seeing.

            “What the hell’s going on,” the man said.

            “Get down here and fight like a man, ” the other man mocked, not realizing what he was getting himself into.

            “If you insist,” Steve said. He landed and took one swing at the man sending him into the brick building lining the alley sending pieces of brick flying in all directions. As he slid off the wall the imprint of his body remained embedded in the wall. After seeing what had happened to his partner the other man begged for mercy.

            “Please don’t hurt me, I’m sorry. It will never happen again!” he cried.

It was too late for that. Steve picked the man up and launched him into the dumpster ten feet away, leaving the lid slamming shut on him.

            Through all this commotion Steve had not yet got a chance to see the face of the girl he saved. As he got closer he realized it was Britni, the girl from his school who he had a crush on since he was ten years old. Britni was a petite girl with bronze skin and brown hair down to her shoulders. She was the cheerleader captain, an honor roll student and social chair at their school.

            “Steve is that you?” she asked softly as he approached her.

            “You know my name?” Steve replied shockingly.

            “ Of course I know your name,” she said, “You just look so different without your glasses and you are so much more muscular. Steve didn’t know what to say. He had been waiting for years for a chance to talk to Britni but now he was at a loss for words.

            “Are you ok?” he asked after a long awkward pause. “I’m sorry I didn’t come sooner but I hurried as fast as I…”

            She didn’t give him time to finish as she approached him and gave him a long kiss that sent chills up his spine.

            “Yes, I’m fine thanks to you,” she said after the kiss.

From that point on Steve and Britni were almost inseparable. They spent every waking hour together. That is except for the time Steve spent fighting crime around the city. Since he came around the crime rate in Cedar Rapids was almost non existent. It was a very hard and time consuming job but Steve became a hero throughout the city. The community adored him and he kept them safe from all the criminals and evildoers around the city. He was thankful that he was able to find such a lucky jacket that changed his life so immensely. He was now the most popular guy in school and dating the girl of his dreams. Steve didn’t let all of this popularity and fame change him though. He was still the same person he always was, but now instead of reading comic books for his hobby he was his own super hero, making a career of keeping the city safe.

            Steve and Britni stayed together past high school. They both attended Coe where Steve could continue his responsibilities for a long time. When Steve turned 40 him and Britni had been happily married for 20 years with a couple kids. He realized he was getting to old for the job and decided to hang up his hat as the protector of Cedar Rapids. He decided that he would pass on his jacket to his oldest son, Ryan.  Ryan was now 17, the same age Steve was when he first found the jacket.  Ryan was the exact same way Steve was when he was that age.  His favorite hobby was reading comic books just like his dad.  Steve hoped that the jacket would be able to change Ryan’s life just as it had changed his.  The city of Cedar Rapids was sad to see Steve step down but they knew Ryan would do just as well.  They were right Ryan continued to fight crime and keep the city safe for many years.  He planned on keeping the jacket in the family just as his father did.


Acknowledgments:

            First I would like to thank Terry for all of the pointers he gave me throughout the semester.  I would also like to thank all of my classmates that read my story during the workshops.  Your ideas were all very helpful and I tried to incorporate  them as much as possible.


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