by Arlinda Vaughn

It was a beautiful summer or fall day and I was at a family reunion type event, in some nondescript open field. Both my side of the family and my husband’s side of the family were there. My grandfather was there, Patrick Stewart. (I am pretty sure there was some adoption or surrogacy or something along the way. In the dream, I knew he wasn’t my genetic grandpa). I remember asking him: So if you are my grandpa, is my husband’s aunt considered something like your second cousin twice removed – in – law? He just smiled as if to say “you are adorable”, gave me a hug, and walked past to look at all the children playing, etc.

We had several different family gatherings in different locations over time. Always hanging out and enjoying ourselves. My siblings, nieces, and nephews sitting on the floor or leaning across random pieces of furniture. Our cousins Batman, Superman, and Wolverine would be hanging out, playing cards or sort of talking. (They had this kind of grunt speech that we all understood. Superman seemed to want to talk more, but Batman and Wolverine would just glare.)

Christmas comes around. We celebrated, but not on Christmas day. We didn’t like celebrating the holidays on the holidays. Things were always too crowded. It was hard to get a reservation at your favorite restaurants etc. We went to Patrick Stewart’s favorite restaurant, of course. (If Patrick wants it, Patrick gets it.) I ate, but had to go home early to take care of some business.

Meanwhile all hell breaks loose. Someone had decided to mess with our community. (They must not have done their research.) I’d say over half of my extended family had superpowers (like Superman / Static) or had extra resources (like Batman / Black Panther). Even we normal ones were smart and resourceful. My people started flying out of windows and running out of the doors of that restaurant towards the threat.

Since I had already left, though, I didn’t know what was going on. But I got a message on the family chatbox to “Get Out!”. With my extended family being the targets that they were, you don’t question when you get a message. But it was too late. A threat had already gotten to my house. My sisters and I grabbed our emergency bags and climbed out of the windows onto the roof.

There were several enemies at my house. The main one, which kind of looked like a mix between Lion-o from the Thundercats and Syndrome from the Incredibles, saw us climb onto the roof. He flies up with flames coming out of his feet.

“Give me the book” says Lion-O wannabee.

“The book?”, I ask.

So, this particular criminal is opportunistic. He had heard about the book I was writing and wanted to take it and publish it as his.

Bump that.

I had a bat but so did this dude. I kept hitting him upside the head, but he was superpowered. The strikes from the bat didn’t seem to affect him. Meanwhile I am yelling out for help and I know the chatbox picked up the message, but no one helps us. (My sisters are busy fighting off the other ones.)

He gets tired of this game and offers to share credit for the book with me. Whatever. He must have never met me before. I don’t yield to bullies. (Trying to get credit for my work. Is he crazy?)

Somehow he dropped his bat and I grab it. Now I’m hitting him with both bats siniwali style. Eventually even he succumbs to the pummeling and slinks away. The people messing with my sisters leave too.

We lay back on the roof after the threat is gone. I look up. Batman and Superman are standing there suddenly uncloaked.

“Why didn’t you help us?” I ask.

“I’ve been watching for 20 minutes. I knew you had this,” Batman says. Superman nods.

Dicks!!!, I thought.

But I guess, we could take care of ourselves.