What Kind of Hero

superhero

Generic superhero costume found at Amazon.com

“I really want to thank you for coming here today, Mr. Fellows. You don’t know what it means to the children to have their favorite superhero visit them and sign autographs.”

Actor Steven Fellows played comic book superhero “The Guardian Angel” in three solo movies plus two “team-up” films and had been a household name in America for nearly a decade. Off screen, he was known for his charity, especially toward children’s hospitals.

“You don’t have to thank me, Dr. Richards. I love being able to entertain the kids.”

The costume wasn’t comfortable and in fact, it was really awkward, but Fellows showed no signs of fatigue or regret as he greeted each child in the pediatric oncology floor with a smile and a hug. He’d been there for over two hours and all of the kids were absolutely thrilled.

“Well, we appreciate it all the same. Thank you again so much for coming out here.”

“Just call my agent if you need anything else and she’ll get in touch with me.”

Dr. Latisha Richards sighed as the handsome actor, looking every bit the hero he played in the movies, walked to the elevator. A room had been set aside near the garage downstairs so his handlers could get him into and then back out of costume.

“How you doing, Nate?” Steven greeted one of his aides as he was being helped out of his superhero suit.

“Still doing great Steven, just like I was a couple of hours ago.” He winked at his boss. It was great working for Steven Fellows. He paid well, never complained, treated you like a human being rather than a flunky. Always a kind word and he was generous with a bunch of extra tips and perks.

The costume was packed away and left in a separate truck back to the wardrobe department at the studio while Fellows stepped into his limo. “Hey, Marty.”

“Hey, Steven. Where to?”

“Home sounds like a winner.”

“Home it is, Steven. You need anything back there for the ride.”

“I’m totally good, thanks.”

For Marty Segovia, driving for Steven Fellows was a dream come true. He’d driven for all the so-called “greats” but most of them were totally self-absorbed jerks. The stupid public loved them, but all they loved was themselves and all that money.

Fellows was the exception. He never kept Marty waiting, always treated him well, and he paid more than the industry standard, which really helped since Marty’s Mom got sick. He’d put up with the L.A. traffic and just about any other bullshit the industry threw his way just to work for a terrific guy like Fellows.

“Home, Steven.” Marty had seen in the rear view mirror that his boss had dozed off. Small wonder. Meetings with the corporate big wigs early this morning, then three public appearances, all in costume, the last being the children’s cancer hospital.

“Oh, thanks Marty. Must have nodded off.”

“No problem.” Marty got out so he could open the door for Fellows. They were in front of his multi-million dollar mansion. High walls and a barred gate shielded the actor from the outside world. He looked around and saw several cars coming around out back. Marty noticed them too.

“Giving the staff the night off, Steven?”

“Yeah, I figure they deserved it. Tony and I can take care of ourselves for the evening.”

Tony was Steven’s eight-year-old nephew. Tony’s Mom was the actor’s sister Theresa and she idolized her older sibling. If it wasn’t for Steven, she wouldn’t have the nice job in the accounting department at the studio, the small but expensive home in the Valley, and the private school for her only child. It had been hard after the divorce, but Steven had taken care of everything. So whenever he wanted to have Tony for the night or the weekend, she was only glad to send the boy over. It always seemed a little strange to her though that Tony wasn’t excited as well.

As Marty pulled away, Steven opened the front door, walked in, closed and then locked it behind him. “Tony, I’m home,” he called upstairs.

Tony didn’t answer him but Steven didn’t expect him to. He knew Maria had fed him dinner already and made sure boy had a bath and was in his pajamas. Steven purposefully walked up the stairs to the second floor where the boy’s bedroom was. He knew Tony could hear his footsteps and was prepared for him.

Steven opened the door. The lights were out, but there was a “Guardian Angel” nightlight plugged into the wall next to the bed. He could see the boy under the covers. When Steven walked in, the boy ducked his head beneath his blankets.

“Hey, Tony. Don’t be like that. It’s okay. I love you so much and I want you to love me, too. Now be a good boy and come out of there.”

Steven could tell the child was trembling, shaking so hard the bed moved.

“Now don’t be like that.” Steven raised his voice. The boy needed to learn to obey. “Come out of there.”

Tony peeked out and saw his Uncle undo his belt and then unzip his trousers. He knew what was coming. He hated it but he couldn’t tell anyone, not even Mommy. His Uncle was a hero. He made Tony tell him he was a hero right before putting his thing in the little boy’s mouth.

Yes, this is inspired by the Harvey Weinstein scandal as well as all of the subsequent disclosures being made by some of Hollywood’s most well-known stars, including “Lord of the Rings” actor Elijah Wood talking about child sexual abuse in Hollywood.

It’s controversial. I’m sure there are a lot of great people in the entertainment industry who try to do good and don’t harm or abuse anyone, but when you have individuals holding that much money and power, the temptation to abuse it and then think you’re above any consequences must be enormous. We can’t idolize these people just because they are entertainers and stars. They’re human beings first, and if they hurt other people, especially children, they should be treated no differently than any other abuser.

Oh, to be clear, I am not talking about any specific actor or superhero character in my fictional story. It’s all made up. I’m not pointing a finger at anyone. I only wrote this to illustrate a point, not to suggest any misbehavior committed by any specific celebrity.

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7 thoughts on “What Kind of Hero

  1. Although it’s sad to say, I really feel for Tony. I relate to him in many ways. I was molested twice when I was younger by an uncle and a friend of the family. My mother thought she could trust them, but most things like this happen with people you least expect. I thought the actor was way too perfect of a human being till it neared the end. Rape and molestation of children and teenagers should be talked about more. The signs of these things happening are always there, and not every child will feel safe telling a parent about things like this going on. Thanks for writing and sharing the information at the end.

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    • I wanted to create a character that, on the outside, looked nice, kind, and good, but who also had a dark secret. So many people idolize their Hollywood heroes because they like the characters they portray and how they seem to be so nice in interviews and such, but as we’re seeing (and not for the first time), so many of them have been corrupted by the money and power of the entertainment industry.

      You’re right. For every mogul in Hollywood who is a sexual abuser, who knows how many are in ordinary homes and apartments silently victimizing children and completely unsuspected (or at least the children’s caretakers want them to be unsuspected). Maybe Tony’s Mom has some sense of the truth but Steven has been so “good” to her, that she doesn’t want to see it.

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    • It was tough to leave a child in that situation, even in fiction. When I write about children in danger, I usually provide a way out, but this time, the requirements of the story made it necessary for it to end as it did. Money and power seem to encourage either the best or the worst in human beings, and far too often its the worst. One of my darker stories to be sure.

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