Powerhouse walked beside Jones, carrying a box of groceries. Jones knocked on an apartment door. An elderly man opened it. “Come on in, Reverend.”
Powerhouse followed Jones into a living room that opened into the kitchen, where Jones put away the groceries. Powerhouse approached the table where the old man was sitting. Jones had said earlier he was a widower named Lenny, who spent his days alone, except for church or when Pastor Jones visited him.
Lenny eyed Powerhouse. “You got more hardware than True Value.”
“It’s all natural, I assure you.”
Jones brought over a cribbage board. Lenny said, “It’s good to have someone to play cribbage with, Reverend.”
“Thank you. Us cribbage players are a rare breed.”
Powerhouse said, “Can three play?”
Jones nodded. “Do you know how?”
“Sure, everybody knows how to play cribbage. It’s kinda like poker, right?”
Lenny laughed. “Sit down.”
“Carefully,” said the pastor. “Lenny has no space for a titanium chair.”
After the cribbage pros finished trying to teach the game to Powerhouse, Lenny shook the pastor’s hand and then Powerhouse’s. “Come by anytime. I can use the company.”
Powerhouse spent the next half hour or so in a nursing home, listening to Jones read the Bible to a elderly woman named Hazel. She was sitting up, but motionless and had a strange sheen in her eyes.
“Can she talk?” asked Powerhouse.
The pastor shook his head. “She had a bad stroke. Hasn’t said anything in months.”
“If she can’t talk, why do you come?”
“She can’t talk, but the Bible speaks to her and comforts her. She was a pastor’s wife and it helps her soul.”
“But it’s just a book.”
“No, it’s the Book, and it means something to her.”
Later, they drove out to the church. The pastor ran onto the basketball court, where Jimmy was playing with two other boys, and stole the ball from one of the youngsters, ran to the other basket, and scored a point.
Powerhouse ran onto the court. “I want to play.”
The pastor shook his head. “Sorry, man. Those superpowers give you an unfair advantage.”
Powerhouse sighed and sat down and watched the four of them play. After a while, two boys continued to play each other while the pastor talked to the third boy. The other two boys took turns talking to the pastor.
At the end of the last boy’s turn, he said, “Thanks, pop.”
Powerhouse stared. Huh? The boy was Asian. “He’s your dad?”
“He’s the only dad we have.”
An ex-cop from the congregation jogged up. He’d promised to guard Jones when Powerhouse had “other duties,” like cleaning up a warehouse for his alter ego.
Powerhouse flew home, haunted by the way young Jimmy Olsen had looked at Pastor Jones: the same way the real Jimmy Olsen looked at Superman. Maybe—maybe—not every hero wore tights.
Continued next Tuesday
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