Retirement (Excerpt)

“Not as good as your grandmother used to make it, but I still do alright,” I brag about my baked ziti.

“Yeah it was pretty good grandpa, why didn’t you teach dad to cook,” PJ asks with a mouth full.

The honest truth is I love moments like this. Not the dinner or anything. The moments when I can just be with family and let my guard down. Even after all these years, these moments are the only ones when I’m not looking over my shoulder. PJ is just like his dad. I thought Preston could eat, but PJ might have him beat. Still not sure why neither of them put on weight like I do. Must be Helen’s genetics, because it isn’t mine.

“Grandpa, can you tell me a story about your hero days,” Preston asks after clearing his plate.

I motion to the living room and he follows. I take a seat in my favorite recliner and kick up my feet. The perfect story telling position. I already know which story he’s going to ask about. Still I pretend I’m thinking of a good one. It’s always the same story with PJ. He’s infatuated with the stories of capes and crooks in big battles. I wouldn’t force myself to recall these stories if he didn’t ask for them. His father was never one to believe my stories but, PJ, he hangs on every word.

“What do you want to hear about PJ,” I ask if I can’t think of a story.

“Tell me a story about Prime Squad grandpa,” he sits cross legged across from me.

“Well, there was the time we took on Professor Hammer for the last time. It was a big battle and we lost a very good friend that day. But the world was saved.”

“No, tell it right! From the very start,” PJ yells out while pouting. I just love when he makes that silly face.

“Alright, from the start. Well, The Prime Squad was made up of four of us. We had all met at a hardware store. We just all happened to be there when a monster attacked not far away. We decided to be a team. There was Dr. Magnificent, he didn’t have any super powers. He was just magnificent, and could do all kinds of things. He was a real favorite of the ladies and some of the fellas too. It’s okay if you like fellas PJ,” it’s important for kids to hear that today according to the news.

“Grandpa, just tell the story,” PJ says. Clearly, he isn’t here for my jokes, just my stories and ziti.

“Alright, there was Serenade. She could sing, I mean really sing and her voice could do some damage. I once saw her sing all the windows out of a big sky scraper then yell a man into a car. She was pretty too. She was almost your grandmother, but love had other plans. Next was The Hypnotist. He could hypnotize people with just a look into his eyes. He wasn’t a nice person to look at, but those eyes were something else. He hypnotized me once before. I ended up dancing naked in the rain. So that was The Prime Squad…”

“Wait,” PJ interrupts again. You left yourself out.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I play dumb.

“You were the Midnight Marauder. You were the best sword fighter on all of the continents. You could cut bullets in half right out of the air and almost nobody could beat you with a knife in your hand, nobody could beat you with a sword,” PJ introduces part of me that I like to forget.

To be Continued in Super Shorts
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