A Hard Day's Work

by Grey Bard

            Listen, I may be the son of a demented evil robot, but this is not the way I thought I'd be spending my weekends, okay? I'm not a rebel. I don't make trouble, I try to get to confession when I can. I actually kept my eight thirty curfew on school nights!

            I loved my mom, I still do. There were a lot of hard choices in her life, some bad ones, but she was a good person, a good mother. She... she gave everything for me. I didn't sign on to be a runaway. I'm not, really - there's nothing left to run away from. Unless you count the evil robot. I don't.

            And here I am, living in a formerly evil lair under the tar pits at the La Brea museum.

            So, okay. What did Victor Mancha do today?

            Well, after I got dressed and after I checked the news feeds to make sure no one decided to take over the world last night, I went down for breakfast. Breakfast in this place. Grab your food before someone else gets to it. As a plus, Xavin wasn't around. He never is. I guess Skrulls don't eat breakfast. Nico was halfway through her yogurt and trying to do Sudoku, not that she really can. Karolina was trying to convince Molly to eat her eggs and tofu, and I was glad I wasn't Molly.

            That's when I decided I'd better be the one to go grocery shopping. Come on, if you lived with an eleven year old, an alien, and an alien vegetarian, you wouldn't leave the groceries to chance either. Besides, they wouldn't know a budget if it walked by in a clown suit.

            Molly was shoving food around her plate when I took pity.

            "Wanna go grocery shopping?"

            She tackle-hugged me.

            Anyway, we got there and Molly wanted cookies. And what Molly wants, Molly gets, you know? If it doesn't cost too much and won't give her too much of a caffeine high. So I thought, hey, why not? The ingredients for chocolate chip cookies cost less than cookies, and when you have five kids in an evil lair, cookies go fast. Mom always used to make them, but how hard could it be?

            Hard, okay?

            First, Karolina decided to help. That's great, she actually cooks a lot. But she wanted me to add granola. That's like heresy or something! Granola in chocolate chip cookies? *Why*?

            But, hey. Entertainment industry aliens. Go figure. So I put some of the dough aside for her and told her to go crazy.

            And that's when Molly decided she wanted her own cookies. Her own cookies *and* regular cookies, obviously. I stopped watching after she put in the gummy bears. Seriously, gummy bears?

            The next thing I know, Nico and Xavin are both stealing cookie dough. Yeah, cookie dough, the universal constant. Loved by witches and alien princes alike. What, like you don't steal it too? Not that Xavin was really stealing it. That would have required sneaking. She just sort of took it. When you've got your own alien kingdom, I guess wooden spoons hold no fear. Whatever.

            You see why I had to rush to get it into the oven? There wouldn't be any left, the way things were going. I mean, we were about two minutes from a food fight. Wasting cookies? That's just wrong.

            I was trying to figure out if the evil ex-owners of the place had installed maybe some cleaning bots or a self cleaning subroutine in a hidden computer when I smelled the third sheet of cookies burning.

            Our frog shaped jumping car plane vehicle has a mind of its own, why can't the oven? Maybe we have something in one of the storerooms.

            Anyway, I was trying to bail the cookies out before they turned into pure carbon, when Nico yelled for help.

            The ceiling was leaking. Like, a lot.

            Aintitsuper, Mutatmutandis.org, Powerlog, I had most of the super power websites in my favorites way before I could zap things with my mind. Yes, I read Sidekick and I still have it - Rick Jones has the best life ever. But I wasn't one of those guys who had his cape name all picked out, you know? I wondered what the life was like, but it wasn't for me. Like, what would I be? Mostly polite cell phone fixer and roomba hacker man? I mean, I'm no Reed Richards. With all the nanos in my blood and robot in the family, I'm still just a guy who did well in math and shop class. An engineer or something, not a super scientist. That's not what you send against ninjas or the next invasion of Earth. So I built a police band radio and listened in for masked felonies, so what? A guy's allowed some hobbies. Anyway, what I'm trying to say is, I liked superheroes a lot, but I didn't plan on being one. What would my mom say? That stuff's dangerous.

            I'm the only one here who can fix the plumbing, though.

            I had taken out three ceiling panels and was using the Leapfrog as a scaffold when the Mole Man took the Hollywood Bowl. I had to use some duct tape and a c-clamp to hold it until we got back. I hate that. It's totally sloppy. And the Mole Man? Come on. He's got mutant moles. Why do we even bother?

            Molly had ripped out one of the bleachers and was playing Whack A Mole, only really big. Karolina is flying around blinding them with her shininess. I'm, well. I'm zapping them, okay? What do you expect, that's what I do.

            And then Xavin compares the Mole Man to me and my machines. Like calls to like and that stuff. In the middle of a battle. What is his *deal*?

            Xavin is sort of a jerk. He or she, or whatever, might be half-married to Karolina, but for the record, Xavin is still a jerk. He's a *Skrull*. Their record isn't all that pure, so I don't get where he gets off calling me a freak for being a cyborg. I mean, I've got DNA. I'm mostly flesh and blood. He wasn't even here when my dad managed to mind control me for a bit. Why the robophobia?

            I might have zapped the ground next to him. A little.

            So Nico gets annoyed at both of us and decides enough is enough. "You are all little boys!" she yells. And the Mole Man shrinks into the size of a real mole. Hey, it worked.

            "Nice work, everyone!" says Karolina.

            "Let's get home, okay?" I say. "I have some real work to do. The tub is leaking."

            I don't know what I expected from a superhero's life. I guess I thought it would be more... more professional. Exciting? I don't really know what it's like for the other guys, I know. But really, from what I can see, it's a lot like living with family, only with more danger and super villains. I can do that. I really can.



Grey Bard