A bat flew through Bruce Wayne’s window. Superman was rocketed to Earth from a dying planet.
I was nine and tidying up the bookshelves in the corner of the classroom, because I was a good boy and I got asked to do things like that. The rest of the class were busy with a maths worksheet. I didn’t like maths. I liked being a good boy. I was quiet, I kept myself to myself. I liked tidying the shelves, putting everything in order.
The classroom door opened and in came Mrs Ramshaw; huge, hairy and angry, a furious grey-permed sunset of a face above a formless planet of a body. With her was a little girl who had obviously just been crying.
“Mrs Murphy, Shelley says that one of the big boys made her cry at dinner time. Shelley, can you see the boy who made you cry?”
Shelley scanned the class. Everybody, boys and girls, looked guilty. They fiddled with pencil cases, looked at the ceiling. I tidied the shelves.
It was me. It was me who had made Shelley cry. I wasn’t a good boy. I was a bad boy. I had done it and I was going to get told off. Mrs Ramshaw would shout at me in front of everybody. I might get the slipper. My stomach felt cold and empty as fear and guilt and more fear replaced the blood in my veins. Being told off was the worst thing in the world. The universe was looking at me, cold indifference had turned to icy interest. This was not an improvement.
“Can you see the boy, Shelley?”
I kept tidying. Putting the shelves in order.
“No,” said Shelley.
Shelley couldn’t see me because I was tidying the shelves because I was a good boy.
“Sorry to disturb you, Mrs Murphy. Come on, Shelley. We’ll try Class C.”
School is where you learn the most useful lessons. Everything was in order. I didn’t get told off. Good boys tidy the shelves during maths and good boys don’t get told off. The emptiness in my tummy turned to warmth. The best feeling in the world: relief. I had got away with it. And the shelves were neat and tidy and the universe was looking away from me again.
I would never be bad again. Honest. I’m a good boy.
I am very quiet and keep myself to myself.
Secret Origin by Harris
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