"Nice hat." I said.
"Thanks." He smiled.
"Check it," I said as I unzipped my jacket to reveal the old school Amazing Spiderman t shirt stretched tight across my middle.
"Heh," he replied. "Spider man. Nice. I'm a Batman guy all the way though."
"I can see that," I said reasonably, "Batman's very cool. Dark side and all that. I've just been a Spidey fan since I was a kid."
"Oh yeah? Huh. What I like about Batman is that he has awesome gadgets and he kicks pretty much everyone's ass."
"Yeah." I said. "What I like about Spiderman is that even though he's super strong, he often ends up fighting against long odds."
"Who do you think wins in a fight?" He asks. We're too old for this discussion, I know that. It's pretty goofy at our age. Besides, the answer is obvious. But it's a pleasant enough way to pass the time, so I indulge. While Spiderman is possessed of super human qualities, Batman is a scrapper and does have a lot of fire power. I answer along those lines, with the caveat that you rarely find Batman fighting someone so much stronger and faster than he is, so I give the edge to Spiderman. It's a polite and generous answer.
"No way," he answers. "Batman totally kicks his ass in a fight."
I say, "Well, you've got to make a case for that. I mean, Spiderman is stronger, faster, and at least as intelligent. Why does Batman win?"
"Because," he shrugs, "Batman is tougher, a better fighter, and he's got tons of weapons. He would beat Spiderman senseless."
My Spidey sense starts tingling. This guy's a fucking moron.
"That's not a reason," I tell him. "Batman only fights people with regular human attributes, maybe slightly heightened through training or being psychotic. Spiderman has super human powers he uses to fight super human bad guys. Now while I allow that Batman's skills would provide him a chance to get away, in a mano-a-mano fight, Spiderman kills him."
He waves me off. I'm annoyed. Then he says, "Look, no offense, but compared to Batman, Spiderman's a pussy."
"Really? Based on what? Your obvious ignorance of the character?" I reply. Smug, I turn my back and start walking away.
"Whatever. You believe what you want and I'll believe what I want which is that Spiderman's a pussy."
At that I turn and face him across the distance. "Yeah?" I cleverly respond. "Takes one to know one."
What did you just call me?," he rasps in disbelief.
"I didn't call you anything. I merely implied it." I tell him this, my face carved out of condescension.
"I don't want to do anything I might regret here, but you don't apologize, and I'm going to come over there and show you who is a pussy." His face is red, frustrated, his voice abraded with anger. I don't help.
"Come over hear and do what, puss-puss?" I say with my lips pursed, all sarcastic innocence and sweetness, like I'm talking to a kitty. He charges. Slowly. Immediately I squeeze my ring and middle fingers to the bottom of each palm, other fingers extended, and yell, "Thwip Thwip Thwip!" It doesn't stop him.
In an instant, I've dropped to the ground in a Spiderman crouch. Up on my toes with my feet under my center, knees straight out to the sides one hand lightly splayed on the ground in front of me. The popping sound my groin makes sounds like one of those little, plastic, champagne bottle shaped noisemakers where you pull the drawstring and it goes off.
He hits me huffing and puffing, his stomach smashes into and around my face, suffocating me. I grab on hard and we go down. Rolling and snorting out of the alley and on to the sidewalk in front of the school. A mess of limbs and love handles and ear hair. Two angry manatees, going for each other's fleshy throats. People start yelling. I have a moment to think, "this got out of hand fast," before I feel him start to land blows on my shoulders and arms. Then I make my move.
I manage to lever myself up on top of him for a moment. "Nahnah Nahnah NahNah Nahnah FATMAN!" I screech in triumph. I swing at him, I miss, grunting with the effort, and fall over. He's on me and we roll around some more, gasping and wheezing like two asthmatic pigs. "I'll squoosh you like a fucking stupid spider," he heaves noisily into my ear. It's wet.
"You're *gasp* Stupid!" I quip.
|It looked just like this. Actual photo.|
We re-assemble ourselves with caution. One joint at a time. Make it to our feet. Grab the hands of our respective children. We don't look at each other.
My son asks, "why were you on the ground wrestling that man, daddy?"
"No big deal buddy. We were just, uh, playing."
As I shuffle off bow-legged like an old cowboy, much of me feels shame. Shame for fighting someone at my age, shame because my son saw some of it, shame over the reason we fought. What would Aunt May say? I am filled with Shame and the pain in my groin. I glance across the street and I see my nemesis favoring his right leg badly as well as grasping at his lower back. He's wincing. I'm still filled with shame. Along now with maybe just a skosh of the knowledge that you don't fuck with Spiderman. And that I need to see a doctor as soon as possible.