Last week I held a contest on my Facebook where if you “Liked” the blog’s fan page, you were automatically entered to have an epic story told about you. The winner, Andrea Collins, had no idea that she’d even been a part of the contest, but being a good spot, told me to “surprise her.” That might have been a bad call, Andrea.
I’m Not a Hero: The Andrea Collins Story
Andrea Collins was not a super-hero. She would repeat those words often, and then, thinking they needed to be more politically correct, the person corrected would say, “I’m sorry, I meant super-heroine.” After that, Andrea would shake her head and walk away, wishing she could find a better way to word her rebuttals. It didn’t used to be this way.
Andrea never felt that she qualified as a super-hero, or a super-heroine, for that matter. She didn’t have “super” powers. She had never shot lasers out of her eyeballs, she didn’t turn all green and ugly when she got angry, and, much to her disappointment, she had never experienced the joys of being able to threaten bad guys – or her little brother Tyler – with sharp, indestructible metal spikes shooting out of her hands.
She did have three qualities that people deemed worthy of the super-hero label though. She was fast. In fact, she was the fastest human alive, which she found out by complete accident when she broke an Olympic record in the 500 meter dash while she was at an elementary school track meet. She was also strong. She hadn’t taken the time enter any kind of competitive event after the track meet incident, but she once lifted her mother’s Chevy van in the air during a game of hide and seek when she was about six years old. The last thing was the really weird thing. It was the only “power” she felt she had. Anytime an object was thrown, hit, or directed at her, no matter the speed or size of it, it just…went around her. The effect was subtle, it wasn’t something you could see obviously. To most it just appeared she was absolutely terrible at catching anything. This turned out to be a nightmare for her high-school softball coach, who, after seeing her run the bases in three seconds, thought he’d hit the talent lottery.
Andrea had never taken the time to test her powers to the limit. In fact, it was only recently that people had started calling her “super.” This all started with a YouTube video, but there’ll be more on that later.
All she really wanted was to be normal. She wanted to be a wife, she wanted to be a mother, and she wanted to live the rest of her life with those being the only things people called her. After college, she set out to make that happen, and both did. She met her husband, Charles, and decided immediately that she would keep her talents a secret. She asked him to open pickle jars, lagged behind in their weekly jogs, and soon he was joking about the fact that she “couldn’t catch a cold.” Then the babies came. In fact, before last month, most people would have thought that Andrea’s only real super power was getting pregnant.
Andrea and her husband had three beautiful children. The first thought in Andrea’s mind when she became aware she was pregnant was, “I hope my kids are normal.” In fact, she prayed that her kids would be normal. She didn’t want them to have what she had, she wanted them to be able to play catch, and run slow, and not cause $2500 worth of damage to the frame of a house during an early childhood fit.
So when her first baby girl was born, she threw things at her.
Not hard things, and not fast, just plush toys and the like.
And they all hit her.
Andrea praised God for this, and continued to watch her daughter, and soon after her second daughter, for signs of speed and strength that weren’t exactly status quo for infants. She was happy to see that she wouldn’t have to explain anything to her husband, and that she would be able to raise children that could do more than she did. She was so happy, in fact, that when they had their third child – a son – she didn’t even bother to throw things at him. She was blissfully happy, and she loved her life.
Then came the day of the Stop Kony 2012 video.
It was early in the morning when Andrea saw the video, and it moved her, as it did millions of others, to tears. She was busy feeding and diapering her new son when she looked at him and asked herself what she would do if someone took her children away. She knew what she’d do. She’d kick their butts.
And so she decided that she wasn’t going to donate money to this charity, she wasn’t going to share the video on Facebook, and she wasn’t going to sit idly by in her comfortable life while monsters like this roamed free. She didn’t even know where Uganda was, but she started searching for flights there immediately. There was one leaving in an hour from an airport that was about an hours drive away. So she checked the savings account, transferred some money, left a note to her husband saying, “Gone to Uganda, I’ll explain everything when I get back, Love, Your Wife.”
She made the flight, and made it to Uganda. She tracked Joe Kony for three long days, and finally she found him. She was threatened briefly by his guards, but she beat them all like drums and then got her hands on the evil warlord. After working him over, she told him she had better never hear his name again, and walked out of the compound, onto the plane, back to her home, and straight into a husband demanding some answers, and some police wondering what to do with the missing person report they had just filled out.
Andrea assured the police that she was fine, and dismissed them. She then gathered her family around her to tell them her story. The family was so engrossed that they never heard the vehicle pull up outside. They were so engrossed that they never heard their front door open. In fact, the only thing that brought them out of the trance of the story was Joseph Kony, clearing his throat and leveling a gun at her.
Charles, bless his heart, immediately passed out. The children, knowing something was wrong, started crying. It is a known fact that Joe Kony hates crying children, so he yelled at them, and then swung the gun to face the youngest, who was still crying because he didn’t know any better. When Kony saw the reaction this caused in Andrea, he smiled and evil, crafty, and douchebag smile.
“You don’t like when I point the gun at them?” he asked.
Andrea’s jaw was clenched so hard that you could barely hear the word she spoke.
“Well then,” Kony said. “You will do what I ask then. You embarrassed me in front of my people. So now, I want to embarrass you in front of your people. You will come back to Uganda, and you will be my bride. You will help me take over the country. You are very strong, and very fast. I will have you, or I will shoot your baby.”
Andrea was about ten feet away from Kony, and he had the gun leveled at her smallest child. She hadn’t ever timed herself, and she wasn’t sure she could make it before his finger pulled the trigger.
But she went for it.
Turns out, she wasn’t quick enough. The trigger was pulled, and Andrea screamed “NO!” as the bullet meant for the life of her infant son sped toward him faster than she could move. She waited to see the damage, paralyzed with fear, having already reached Kony, feeling his hot, stinky, Ugandan breath on her cheek, and the moment never came. The bullet somehow missed her baby. And somehow, the gunfire had a soothing effect on him, because he had stopped crying and was now laughingly pooping his pants.
Soon, he wasn’t the only one pooping his pants.
Andrea grabbed Kony by the throat. He raised the gun to her midsection, and she had it out of his hands and bent in half before he even managed to realize it was gone. She continued to hold him by the throat, squeezing tighter, her eyes still burning with the tears of the unexpected miracle, and she watched as Kony struggled for air. He used his breath somewhat unwisely.
“You won’t kill me,” he gasped. “You’ve never killed. It’s harder for those that have never…”
Andrea tossed his lifeless body to the floor.
“No one has ever threatened my children either,” she said.
Of course, Charles chose this exact moment to come out of his nap, and he observed the mess in the floor.
“What did I miss?” he asked, in the classically funny “I’m the husband and I just missed something” way.
“Nothing major,” replied his wife. “I just killed the biggest jerk in the entire world…oh, and our son has my abilities.”
Charles immediately passed out again.
When he came to the next time, the house was cleaned up and the police had been called. Andrea had decided that it was time for the world to know about her secret. She wanted to help people. She couldn’t sit idly by and watch as the world suffered when she knew that she had the power to stop it.
So she called a press conference. She gathered hundreds of people together, and she walked up on the podium and started her speech.
“I stopped Joseph Kony…and I’m just getting started.”
Acts of heroism have now become a way of life, and there isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t do something for someone. I’m traveling now. I have a new vehicle. I have a new license plate. I keep the old one in the new truck, just because it was special to me. It started all of this.
I have not killed again. The desire to kill has left me, although the guilt I feel for the only time has not.
I have stopped losing weight, I’m still big, but I’m more fit than I ever have been before. My powers seem to have stopped developing, and I’m a bit disappointed to announce that I have nothing new. The strength and speed are enough though, because they aid me greatly in what I do. I have to say though, if my abilities disappear, I will continue to try to be a hero in every day life. People need a hero. People need me. You might need me one day.
I will try my best to be there.
My wife and I were driving in Tulsa a few nights ago, and we came upon a car that had stalled out in a very dangerous place. The driver was waiting for help, because the car was on a steep incline and couldn’t be pushed. I convinced the driver to try while I had my wife steer. It took serious effort on my part to not make it look too easy, and to make the driver feel as if he helped. I don’t think he was entirely convinced. He offered to pay us for our efforts, and of course I declined. I’ve come to find out that the greatest fulfillment comes with doing things for others.
The number of people who know my secret is growing. I was approached by two gentlemen with a gun a couple of weeks ago. They wanted my wallet. I refused. The relief I felt at still being bulletproof must have been very evident on my face, because their reaction was pretty strong. In the blink of an eye I had the gun. In even less time I had them running. I chased them for a mile, always staying just close enough to keep them scared out of their minds. I made noises I thought would scare them even more. It was far more enjoyable than having to kill them.
I’ve been to California. I’ve been to Mexico. I’ve been to Canada. That was yesterday. I’ve stopped bank robberies in Quebec and terrorist plots in DC. The speed is wonderful. The freedom it offers is unreal. The ability to help people instantly in places that it would take me days to drive to is empowering. I have saved lives in 24 states, and look to complete the puzzle by the end of the year. There is always crime to be stopped, there are always bad guys to be beaten. Injustice doesn’t take a holiday, unfairness doesn’t call in sick, bad guys don’t sleep, and neither will I. There will be days when I can’t help everyone, and there will be choices I make that will cost innocent people their lives. I believe I can live with that. I have so far.
I’ve decided to never tell my wife. She seems to know more than she lets on anyway, and we’re both comfortable with the balance. I won’t endanger her by putting her in a position of truth. “Plausible deniability” if you will. Instead I will daily watch over her, and when we have children, I will watch over them too. They will be the most protected family in the world.
However, I won’t forget about you. You will be protected as well. If you are fortunate, I will be there in your time of need.
I will try my best to be there.
I don’t fly. I can’t shoot lasers from my eyes, my breath doesn’t freeze lakes, I don’t have a utility belt or a sidekick, and you’ll never find me in a special form fitting uniform of any kind. I’m Travis, and there is an excellent chance that we’ll become good friends without you ever knowing the truth. This will be my last time to write about my incredible journey. I don’t have time for writing anymore. The world needs me.
I know Superman doesn’t exist.
But I do.
The Death of Innocence
I killed my first bad guy today.
It was an odd sensation, feeling his bones break in my hands, feeling the helplessness of him change into fear, then settle into acceptance of his fate. As I broke him, I felt something change. I’d crossed a line, and it wasn’t one I was sure about. Superman never killed anyone. Superman would rough the bad guys up a little, and then toss them away for the cops to spirit off to jail.
I’m not Superman.
For those of you asking why I killed a man, that question will be answered in short. As for an update on powers, I am pleased to report that I have not gained any more, but the ones that I have are vastly improving. I am stronger than I have ever been. I am faster, more indestructible, and am continuing to lose weight and become leaner. My entire body is changing, and it has passed the point where I can explain it with heavy weight lifting, and people are starting to talk. For this reason I stay in the house.
There have not been many opportunities for me to help others. I have been looking as diligently as I can without seeming suspicious to those around me. There are times when it seems as if the world is at peace where I live, but so many things are going wrong every where else. Should I join the military? Would I be of more help if I were a policeman or some other kind of public servant? These are the questions that keep me up at night. Well, those and the fact that I don’t seem to need much sleep anymore.
Getting back to the person I killed. My first murder. Is it murder if you are defending yourself? Some would say no, but others would argue that with my strength, I have no need of self defense. I will recount the events and let you be the judge.
I was driving my brother to the doctor in Tulsa today. The fact that I injured my brother’s eye while playing tennis is another story entirely, but suffice it to say, I’ve had to watch how hard I swing a racquet. I am fortunate I did not kill him. As I was driving, I tried to switch lanes. There was a large black SUV in the lane I was attempting to get into, and I did not see them. This prompted the other driver to flash their lights and honk their horn, and then they tried to scare me by acting as if they were going to run over my smaller car with their larger SUV.
Before thinking about it, I gave them the finger. This caused them to start following me, of which my brother was blissfully unaware because of the pain medication he was on. When I turned into the parking lot of the restaurant we were to eat at, the SUV followed me. Not wishing a confrontation, I decided to head down a side street in order to lose them. What followed was a chain of events that was as unfortunate as it was upsetting.
The street ended suddenly in an alleyway. The SUV parked behind me, its occupant getting out and starting my way. I wasn’t scared, merely annoyed that the driver was causing me to be late. As I exited the vehicle, the man coming towards me pulled a gun. I flew towards him, stunning him with the speed at which I moved. In no time at all I had him disarmed. I tossed him across the alleyway, where he proved to be most tenacious by getting up and pulling another weapon, which he leveled at my still asleep younger brother. This could not be tolerated.
I knew I was moving faster than I should. He fired the gun, and I was there before the sound followed the bullet. I caught the bullet, spun around, and threw it right back towards the gunman, but my aim was off. It struck him high in the right shoulder, and it was more of a graze than a wound. He rose to fire again, and I had him in my steel grip in milliseconds. He relinquished his grip on the firearm, but I failed to loosen mine. He began to plead with me, begging me for his life.
When he realized he was going to die, he went quiet. There was still a fear in his eyes, but there was also a realization that there was no escaping this. I don’t know why I didn’t let up. I don’t know why it was so hard for me to stop. His spine snapped and I kept bending. When I looked up and saw my younger brother staring at me, I realized that I had almost broken the man entirely in half.
It wasn’t a bad feeling, and that’s what scared me. Thanks to pain medication, my brother thinks his mind was playing tricks on him, and when I tapped him lightly on the head to put him back under, I told him it was all a dream. He believed me.
But I can’t kill again. I won’t kill again. From now on, I need to be like Superman. What would Superman do? He would rough up the bad guys a little, and then toss them away for the cops to spirit off to jail.
But I’m not Superman…Part I, click here.
Part IIConfusion in Strength
I had no idea it would be like this. The changes that I’m going through are unreal. Today I had my first semi-real meal in 4 days. I just haven’t wanted food much. I’m losing weight, but I feel better. My reflexes keep improving, my muscles are getting stronger, and I am getting faster.
I used to have diabetes. I may still have it. The thing is…I can’t give myself insulin shots anymore. The needle just breaks the second I try to push it into my skin. I’ve been squirting the insulin down the drain so my wife won’t catch on. I don’t feel like my sugar is high, but I can’t test it because the same thing happens when I do a finger prick. I’ve done a lot of things to try to make myself bleed. I’ve used knives, guns, rocks, and anything I think of that would break the skin. I…I put my arm under a train that was moving the other day… After almost derailing it, I decided it was a bad idea.
I crushed my BlackBerry by pushing in on the trackball. I threw it in a creek and told my wife I accidentally dropped it in the water while I was fishing. I’ve had to be a lot more careful with electronics.
Am I done changing?
Some of you may be wondering when my last act of heroism was. It was yesterday, and it wasn’t heroic at all. But it is the only need that I’ve seen. My brother needed help moving, and he had to leave at one point to go get a delivery to the new house. I loaded every thing in the trailer while he was gone, and I did it all within the time it took Caroline Spines’ “Sullivan” to play on my iPod. I carried the washer and dryer out by myself…one in each hand. He has a gun safe full of guns that weighs close to a ton. I picked it up like an empty laundry basket. When he came back, he asked me how I’d done it, and I told him I’d used the dolly.
He knows I’m lying. Maybe it was the light finger impressions on the top of each machine. I tried to be careful, and I had to blame it on the dolly somehow. Lying has become second nature to me. No, I’m not lying, I’m hiding. That’s it, I’m hiding.
His first child was born last week, and she was my first niece as well. When I saw her, my life changed. Something clicked in my brain, but I couldn’t figure it out. A few days later, I held her, and now I know. I am changing so that I can protect her. My job is clear. I don’t know how I am supposed to protect her, but I know that is my job. In the meantime, I am writing her a book. It will be her very own children’s book, and one copy will be published. To date, it is my greatest achievement.
Right now I have to work out a lot to make it look like my weight loss and strength are resulting from that. Every morning I wake up and something is different. Heck, even my sexual nature is changing. I made love to my wife 6 times the other day. That hasn’t happened since our honeymoon. She acted annoyed, but the look on her face told another story. She looks at me differently. Although I try not to show my strength around her, sometimes the reflexes show up. I was getting ice out of the freezer two nights ago, and I dropped a cube on the floor. Only it never made it. I had the cup on the ground in a millisecond, and the ice rattled into the glass. When I looked up, she was watching me… I played it off as luck, but I don’t know how much longer I can hold out.
I am watching very closely for my next ‘mission.’ I don’t know if I should go looking for them, or if they will come to me. I think I am ready though. If I need to go out and find them I will, but I don’t have a lot of money to spend on gas. These changes haven’t come with a pay raise, and I don’t think I should enter any strength competitions. My blood might not show drugs in my system, but it might show something else I don’t want discovered. I like my normal life.
I’ve done some studying on Superman. Born on Krypton, he was sent here by his parents before their planet was destroyed by an evil super computer. He is a hero. He can fly. His power was affected by the sun and something called kryptonite. He shot lasers out of his eyes. His breath was super cold. He worked for a newspaper and dated someone named Lois Lane.
I can’t fly. My strength is here on cloudy days, and I have never seen a piece of glowing green rock. I don’t have lasers, and my breath may be bad when I wake up, but it isn’t cold. I have a blog, but that is the extent of my writing, and my wife is not a reporter with a penchant for getting into trouble.
I know Superman doesn’t exist.
But I do.
And I will be a hero.
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