By Gregory J. M. Kasunich
He wanted the full cowl, not the rinky-dink eye mask.
He wanted the long cape, not the one that only came to his waist.
He wanted kick-ass utility belt with the spring loaded suction dart launcher and battery powered laser sight, not the two wire hangers and length of twine that made up his pathetic excuse for a grappling hook.
He wanted more than to be the sidekick.
He wanted more than to be the #2.
When it was “Cops and Robbers”, he was never on the right side of the law. When it was “Explorer”, he ended up the savage native. When it was “Cowboys and Indians”… well, let’s just say he wasn’t wearing a ten-gallon hat.
He brought up his discontent once or twice before, but after a lighting game of Okca-Bocka-Soda-Crocka or Bubble Gum Bubble Gum in a Dish, (the later he still believed to be rigged as he was certain he counted out the right amount of pieces when asked how many his sister wished), he would still end up as the evil villain and Brad would end up the secret agent, fair and square.
Something had to be done.
What did it matter that Brad’s dad was some sort of something important, leaving the house every morning just before the bus came, wearing his suit, his hands juggling the Times and a briefcase and a silver coffee mug? Who cared that Brad got all he new toys? The repeating Nerf Gatling gun. The Lego pirate ship; the big one, the one that came with the colonials and he castle and had, like, ten masts. The Spy-Tech Jr. Forensic Kit that had the black light and the fingerprint dust.
After he got that, Brad was either James Bond or Sherlock Holmes.
He ended up as Q or Watson or the dead body racked with clues.
It sucked. Just because Brad got the better stuff and he had to fashion his accoutrements out of sticks, and glue, and rope, and old bed sheets shouldn’t have any bearing on who is the leader and who is the #2. So that Tuesday, the first Tuesday of Easter Break, he decided the ranks had to change. It was two days in the planning and he had decided not to comit his preparation to paper, just in case his mom or dad found it. Unlike Brad, his mom was always home and his dad always saw him off to school or was there shortly after he got back. No real privacy. The risk was too great; he had to commit the plan to memory.
He made the call; soon Brad would be on his way over. Everything was set. The box fort stood strong in his basement, the lights were dimmed, in a few minutes, he would have Brad exactly where he wanted him. He would spring his trap catching Brad in the sheets that hung above the boxes, and in an instant, make him scream uncle. Uncle! The sweetest word, the word that meant he could call the shots. He felt lucky Hasbro didn’t make a friend trap or else Brad might have already gotten the deluxe model.
Finally he would no longer be the villain, he would be the one in charge. He would no longer have to play in Brad’s shadow. No matter what, no matter how, he would never again be the #2.