Plugs

Jason Fischer has a story appearing in Jack Dann’s new anthology Dreaming Again.

Alex Dally MacFarlane’s story “The Devonshire Arms” is available online at Clarkesworld.

Trent Walters, poetry editor at A&A, has a chapbook, Learning the Ropes, from Morpo Press.

Jason Erik Lundberg‘s fiction is forthcoming from Subterranean Magazine and Polyphony 7.

Superhero Soup

by Jon

Little hands tugged at my apron.  “Mom? Mom? What’s for dinner, Mom?”

I dipped my spoon into the pot and gave it a stir. “Superhero soup.”

My announcement was followed by gasps and delighted squeals, followed by the sound of little feet pounding out of the kitchen.

Mark glanced up from his laptop and grunted.  The kitchen table was his work desk until five.  “Soup?” he said.  I ignored him.  He was a big man, and never believed soup could count as a meal by itself.

Since Layla’s little friend Raph was staying for dinner, I’d decided to go deep in my mom’s old recipe box and dust this one off.  Layla liked superheroes just fine, but Raph lived and breathed them.  This was a boy who’d once worn a Batman costume every day for the first two weeks of kindergarten.

Little feet came pounding back in.  I glanced down to see two bouncing sets of curly hair, one black, one blond.  “Can we watch?” said Layla.  “Pretty please?”

I nodded.  “I was just about to add the secret ingredient,” I said.

“What is the secret ingredient?” said Raph, bouncing up and down.  “Some kinda weird chemicals? Somethin’ radioactive?”

I took the two steps to the refrigerator and opened the freezer door.  “An ice cube,” I said, and popped one out of the tray.  I held it up as if performing a magic trick, then dropped it in the steaming pot.  It floated for a moment or two, then vanished.

The two of them looked confused.  Layla started, “But–“.

I raised my hand.  “Go wash.”  They did.  I tapped on Mark’s computer, then pointed at the clock.  “You too.”

*

Despite Mark’s concerns, we also had cornbread and salad to go with the soup. “This is very good, Mrs. Kasdorf,” said Raph.  I smiled.

“What else is in here?” asked Layla.

“Chicken.  Carrots, onions, noodles, and some other things.”

“It’s chicken noodle soup?”

“No,” I said.  “It’s Superhero Soup.  Eat.”  They did.

Finally they all pushed their bowls away.  “Can we go play?” asked Layla.  She and Raph were already to go.

“First, come with me.  I want to show you something.”  They followed me out into the warm April air.

“What’s up?” said Mark.

“This,” I said.  They watched, jaws dropping, as my face frosted over like a December window.  Then the snowball fight began.

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