Heroes of the Ring, Vol. 4 (1982) - A Flash Fiction

Harry stood wide-eyed as his father inspected the car.

“It’s clean,” his father said, handing his ten-year-old son a crumpled dollar bill. Harry shoved the bill in his pocket, hoping his father couldn’t hear the dollar sixty-two in change he’d found in the as he cleaned the seats.

As soon as he thought it didn’t look suspicious, he ran to his room and added the money to his collection. Now a total of twelve dollars and eighty-four cents. It was enough! With trembling hands he pulled out a comic book, Heroes of the Ring, from under his bed. It was his only comic book, but he loved it. A mystical  made rings that endued people with superpowers. Each issue was about someone receiving the gift of a power ring because they were a worthy person losing a fight with evil. The ring would give the “good guy” an edge over the baddy.

Harry would read his one copy every night after he was bullied at school. The issue was tattered, worn, with pages falling out and bare white where he pressed his fingers to turn the pages.

The child turned the book over and began to carefully cut out an order form off of the back page. He filled out the boxes, making sure his name and address were spelled correctly. He pulled out an envelope he’d been saving for this occasion and obsessively checked that the sending address was correct before putting the order form inside, along with the exact amount of cash and change needed to place an order.

Harry pulled the order out and wrote a note along the bottom.

I get beat up every day.

He put the order back in, felt the heft, and hoped it would hold together with all the change inside. His mouth became at once dry and sticky when he sealed the envelope and licked the stamp. He ran to the mailbox, and raised the flag. He’d been dreaming of this moment since the first time he’d finished reading Heroes of the Ring, volume four.

He smiled, knowing that in six to twelve weeks he would receive his own power ring, one that would help him be able to stop the bullies. What power would the mystic give him? Super strength? Invisibility? Whatever it was, Harry knew it would make him able to end the torment and get on with his childhood without fear.