Jos Crane

Official website of Jos Crane, author.

“I hate that obnoxious turd!” I yelled at the television as the news highlight was showing a young superhero receiving applause while one guy was forced into a police car behind him. The superhero was celebrating by performing breakdancing, soaking in all the praise he received from the crowd that surrounded him.

“Captain Apollo has done it again, folks!” the newscaster exclaimed. “Just moments before, this man – whose identity hasn’t been released – was caught burglarizing a jewelry store. Witnesses say Captain Apollo appeared just as he ran out of the store, only to be captured by this rope.”

The newscaster held the rope in front of her. Its blond color matched her hair and was about an inch thick. It was the type of rope I’d expect to keep a sailboat docked. She continued as she put it back down, “The witnesses have all stated that Captain Apollo roped this criminal almost like he was catching a cow at the rodeo. It’s amazing,” she laughed, “because it’s much heavier than it looks. You may have noticed I couldn’t keep holding it.”

“So what!?” I yelled.

“Honey,” my wife’s voice came from the kitchen, ” are you yelling because Captain Apollo is on TV again?”


“Maybe you should stop watching the news.”

“But, I like hearing about the latest events.”

“Minus that superhero,” we both said at the same time.

I decided she was right and turned off the television. I sat in my chair and read through the weekly newspaper where Captain Apollo wouldn’t be shoved down my throat like a religious cult. Although there was a picture of him on page 3, I at least had the choice to move on to page 4. I continued reading about various local events and then my son entered the house.

“Hey Dad,” he stated.

“How was school?”

“Fine-” His voice cracked in his generic response. Late-stage puberty embarrassed him enough not to continue answering. Well, okay then. I’ll leave it at that as he walked straight upstairs to his bedroom to do whatever teenage boys do. It was Friday, and I thought he would be out with his friends for the weekend. I suppose playing video games by himself, or with his friends online, was more appealing than leaving the house.

The next morning, the morning news was blasting from the television while my wife was preparing breakfast, and my son was finishing up whatever homework he forgot to do last night. I was reading a newspaper. As she plated the food on the table, I folded the newspaper to put it away and the news caught my attention with, “and Captain Apollo-“

“Fuck me!” I yelled again. I jumped for the remote control and turned off the television. “Can’t I go one fucking day without hearing that dumb superhero’s name?”

“Why do you hate him so much, Dad?” my son asked.

I scoffed. “You wouldn’t understand.”

“I might, if you let me try.”

“I don’t have the energy to talk about it.” I stood up and stated, “I’m heading out.”

“What about your break-” my wife started to speak before I slammed the front door behind me as I walked out of the house. I got into my car and drove to the office. I called an emergency meeting and had the other senior leadership sitting at the table I headed.

“This Captain Apollo guy is becoming a nuisance to our business,” I stated. “Mike, your guys at the jewelry store really fucked up.”

“I don’t have any excuses,” Mike responded. “They shouldn’t have set off that alarm. I don’t know what happened and my guy on the inside hasn’t responded yet.”

I stood up and walked back and forward in deep thought. “Do I need to remind you guys of how the extortion business works?” I continued before they could respond, “We offer our protection for a monthly fee. If they don’t pay that fee, then we rob them. They need to understand the importance of our protection.” I start to yell, “AND NO ONE IS INTERESTED IN OUR PROTECTION IF CAPTAIN FUCKING APOLLO IS THERE TO SAVE THEM!”

I grabbed the pointer used for presentations and pitched it at Mike as hard as possible. It hit him in the head with enough force that he fell backward on his chair. “Now, clean up this fucking mess and bring him to me!”

The fire in my veins must’ve set them in a panic because no more than two hours later I heard a knock on my door. “If you haven’t captured Captain Apollo, then I have no desire to speak to you,” I said.

“We have him here,” declared the voice on the other side of the door.

“Bring him in.”

The door opened and a fragile body was thrown to the ground. Blood was all over it. I kicked the body so I could see the face, which was still covered by the mask. There were bruises on the cheeks.

“You’ve been a pest for me and my business the past couple of months, boy,” I stated. “You see, I have a family that I am responsible for. I have a business I am responsible for. And you,” I kick the body before I continue, “are causing a lot of losses for me. And I’m afraid it’s your turn to face your own losses. But, before that happens, let’s see who lies behind the mask.”

I started to remove the mask. Could it be? No. My eyes widened. A lump forms in my throat. It’s hard for me to swallow. I put my hands behind me searching for a surface to brace myself. A desk, a chair, anything. I can’t do it, and I collapse to the floor while still staring at the unmasked superhero in front of me. It is, without a doubt, my son.