by Izzy Lamb
My dad is either a superhero or a spy. I think he’s a superhero, but Marcus thinks he’s 007. Dad travels a lot and he’s only home at the weekend. It makes Mum sad, and it makes me sad because we miss him lots, but Mum says he’s only doing it because he needs to, not ‘cos he wants to.
Every time he leaves he wears a grey suit and tie. He puts gel in his hair too – he likes to make it look all slick and neat. He looks just like Clark Kent when he’s going on a business trip. He even wears these big framed glasses! And he never answers my questions if I ask about his job – that’s why I think he must be a superhero. Once, I heard him and Mum talking about work in the kitchen. I hid on the staircase but I couldn’t really hear what they were saying. Something about “money owed,” which must have meant a gang of bad guys had gone off with some stolen money and Dad was investigating it! But for some reason Mum got angry. She left the room and slammed the door, and that night I could hear her crying in the spare room. Maybe she wants him to be a normal dad?
Me and Marcus have been talking about this every playtime for weeks. Mine is the only dad in town who is away so often, you know. Well, except for Marcus’ dad, but that’s because he doesn’t live with them any more. Marcus is positive that my dad must be a spy, and he thinks he’s a spy for all the same reasons I think he’s a superhero – the suit, the secret job, being away a lot… I guess it makes sense but it’s not as fun to think about, right? James Bond gets shot at, but bullets can’t hurt Superman.
We finally made a decision: we should just follow Dad. We waited till Sunday night to raid our parents’ drawers for change and packed our school bags with everything we needed – notepads, pens, snacks… Marcus even managed to get a hold of his mum’s binoculars! And then, on Monday morning when we were meant to set off for school, we called a taxi and waited in it just round the corner until Dad came out the garage in his car.
The driver was suspicious at first. He asked us what a couple of children were doing, wanting to follow a car when we should be learning times tables.
“We’re all going on a trip,” Marcus told him, “And there’s no room for us in the family car.”
The driver said our parents were careless and stupid which made me feel bad for lying. He believed every word though and had no problem following Dad’s car after that.
We drove for a long time and me and Marcus made notes all the way. We finally came to a part of town I’d never been to where there were skips all around and rubbish piled up so high you could barely see the sky. Dad’s car stopped suddenly in this place and the taxi driver turned off the engine. We kept low in the backseat and watched as Dad stepped out of his car. He stood there for a while, looking around the area.
“Who is he looking for?” Marcus whispered.
I never got to answer because at that moment Dad headed straight towards us. He stopped outside – just for a moment, and then wrenched the door open. He grabbed the taxi man by the neck and dragged him out into the stink. Dad pulled back his arm and hit the driver. He punched, and beat, and kicked him till his clothes were covered in red.
That’s when Dad found us holding each other in the backseat. He went all stoney like a statue and just kept staring at us, not saying a word.
“I don’t understand,” I told him.
Then he erupted. Like I’d set off a box of fireworks. He yelled at us for a long time; I thought steam might come out of his mouth. He said we could never tell anyone what happened that day and Marcus started to cry. I was too scared to do that. I couldn’t stop looking at the man on the floor and wondering if he was okay. Dad didn’t like that. He forced us into his car and drove us both home, and I’m not allowed to play with Marcus any more.
My dad is either a superhero or a supervillain. And I think he’s probably a supervillain.
Izzy Lamb is a Creative Writing student at Edge Hill University.