Friday, November 20, 2015

Jay Hooks

The window opens silently without being touched. Given that the fourth hotel windows aren’t even meant to open, this is mildly impressive. I’m on my fourth cup of coffee to keep away at ungodly’o’clock in the morning as Jay slips in the window. He’s dressed entirely in black like a ninja would be, only his black seems to blend into the darkness and light both, the effect mildly disconcerting as the window closes behind him and he seems to fade in and out of view. He is holding what looks to be a grappling hook and vanishes as the window closes.

I cough. Not loudly, but I do cough.

Jay spins, eyes wide, the clothing fading into view as a drab black. “Charlie?”

“Jay. It isn’t even four in the morning. What are you doing?”

“I was out flying,” he says. “Like a jayboss does!”

“Wearing black?”

“Uhm. Uhm. Yes?” he says hopefully.

“And with a grappling hook in your right hand?”

“I hid it somewhere else, so you can’t get me with that,” Jay says proudly.

I wait. It takes a few seconds before his eyes widen. I missed Jay being able to see, if only for the addition it has to the look of panic in the kid’s face.

“I mean that I might have hidden it if I had one, but I don’t.”

“Hidden what?” I ask, unable to help myself.

“The – uhm. Something that –.” Jay bites into his lower lip. “You know!”


“That I’m secretly BatJay!” He glares accusingly up at me with all the force one can muster at eleven, even if he’s not really eleven or human at all.

“Jay. You told me and the wandering magician about it. And posted it on your tumblr, which I do read.”

“But –. But –.”

“You’re jaysome, so how could I not read it?”

“But superheroes have secret identities,” he wails.

I fight back a grin. “You could have thought about that before telling us.”

“I was really new to it, and – and you know I’m SuperJay too and could figure out I’m SuperJaysome as well,” he says with a pout, looking like he’s about to cry.

I reach over, and grab him into a hug. “It’s okay, Jay. It’s not like we’re going to tell anyone.”

“But it was one of my secrets,” he says as he bursts into tears against me.

I pause. ‘One of’ sets off alarm bells in my head, but now isn’t the time. “It can still be a secret even if it’s shared, Jay. I was trying to make a joke about it, not hurt you.”

“Honest?” he sniffs, looking up at me.

“Honest, with extra bindings on top,” I say, which wins a giggle. “What adventures did BatJay have?”

“Well, I –.”

“He. Or you might accidentally tell someone, remember?”

“Oh! Right, so BatJay was busy flying and helped save a bird from flying into a plane that wasn’t using lights and the plane landed in the water outside the town and there were people on boards who weren’t jaysome and they had boxes that were filled with really icky bindings. So BatJay took care of them just like a jayboss would only as a batboss and he used the grappling hook to bounce some of them off the plane,” he says with a huge grin.

“Grappling hooks do that?”

“They do in Just Cause, and it gave me lots of ideas!”

“Okay. Anything else?”

“BatJay took their money and did a sneak-giving to some homeless people and then came back here and met me and you kinda know the rest?”

“All right. You want to get some more sleep then?”

“Okay,” Jay says, and bounces off to the one motel bed.

I don’t even try to sleep after three cups of coffee. I poke the internet for information to find out what Just Cause even is and how grappling hooks factor in. I then spend over an hour in horrified silence. A video game where the goal is destroying structures and hurting people with grappling hooks and it had given Jay ‘ideas’. I wait up for the morning paper, and turn the tv on to local news as soon as I can.

The wandering magician wakes at the latter, asking if anything is wrong.

I say I have no idea yet, show him footage of the game and explain.

The lead story involved some probably drug dealers who were found unconscious on a beach with drugs on them and no sign of their craft anywhere.

I tell the wandering magician it’s up to him to find out what Jay did with an entire float plane. He pours himself coffee, asks for the crossword puzzle in the paper and we do our best not to think too hard about it as Jay sleeps.

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