A HIGH-TECH THREAT
Superhero Melvin Beederman was just minding his own business, doing what he did second-best. What he did best, of course, was save the world, chase down bad guys, and make the city of Los Angeles a better place to live. But he wasn't doing that. He was doing his second-best activity--hanging out in his tree house hideout, eating pretzels with his pet rat Hugo, and watching his favorite TV show, The Adventures ofThunderman. Thunderman and his assistant Thunder Thighs also saved the world. In every single episode. Watching them always inspired Melvin to do his job a little better.
When the show was over, Melvin decided to check his e-mail before starting his day. "I think I'll go save the world," he said to Hugo.
"Squeak," Hugo said in reply.
This either meant "You do that, kind sir," or maybe "Do you want to have a push-up contest?" Melvin was never sure what Hugo was saying. Though he had once been fluent in gerbil, talking to a rat was another story.
He turned on his computer and found only one e-mail waiting for him. But it was a doozy.
I'm coming to get you, Melvin Beederman. Don't try hiding. I know all your tricks and your weaknesses. And when I find you, you'll be toast! Smashed-beneath-my-feet toast.
Your loving enemy,
PS. Consider yourself doomed!
SC? Melvin didn't know any SC. He caught bad guys for a living, so there were plenty of people who wanted revenge. But who was SC? Melvin thought over some of his recent battles. Joe the Bad Guy? No, wrong initials. The McNasty Brothers? Nope, couldn't be.
Melvin looked at the return address firstname.lastname@example.org for a clue.
"Holy mystery!" Melvin said out loud. "This ain't good."
Holy mystery, indeed! It wasn't (narrators never say "ain't").
There was only one thing to do, Melvin decided. He had to talk it over with his partner in uncrime, Candace Brinkwater. He always felt better talkingto Candace. Unlike Melvin, who was an orphan and had graduated from the Superhero Academy, Candace lived in a normal house with her family. She was not from the academy. She was just a girl with whom Melvin had divided his cape. As they say, two superheroes are better than one. And Los Angeles was happy to have both of them.
"See you later, Hugo," Melvin said as he moved to the door of the tree house.
"Squeak," Hugo replied, which either meant "Go get 'em, tiger!" or "How do you spell kumquat?"
Melvin wasn't sure. And right now he was too distracted to think about it. Someone was out to get him, and he had to find out who.
"Up, up, and away," he said as he jumped out the door.
Crash! He hit the ground hard.
That was the thing about Melvin Beederman. He hardly ever got off the ground in one try.
He brushed himself off and tried again. "Up, up, and away."
And again. Thud!
Once more. Kabonk!
On the fifth try he was up and flying. He flew over the city toward Candace Brinkwater's house. As he flew, he looked down at the people of Los Angeles. Melvin didn't know how to turn off his x-ray vision, so instead of seeing people dressed for work, he saw them intheir underwear. Hundreds of them. Thousands. Disgusting, he said to himself. Too disgusting for words. It was even too disgusting for punctuation!
See? That didn't help at all.
Henry Holt® is a registered trademark of Henry Holt and Company, LLC. Text copyright © 2007 by Greg Trine Illustrations copyright © 2007 by Rhode Montijo All rights reserved. Distributed in Canada by H. B. Fenn and Company Ltd.