Issue 79 - The Silver Surfer
by Fausto Barrionuevo
“Kill him, Capt. Atlas!” --- “With pleasure, Dr. Minerva.”
From dialogue bubbles to their blood dripping knuckles,
I unearth the cosmic male protagonist from a shabby box.
The attic-artifact resurfaced during my father’s search for
missing computer parts. He mocks my sentimental stares
as his relentless smoke cannon drops another burning bomb
of ash onto the garage floor. While villains savagely beat
to death my childhood hero, he solders on the computer-chip.
He forgets, but my father was responsible for issue 79.
His fingers felt the plastic portrait sitting on the shelf,
under the section entitled, latest issues. I was seven
when he came home with the comic book in hand.
Was it the cover that caught his eye, that deep
amethyst with afternoon pink rays emanating from
the surfer’s body, those vigorous white eyes
drained of cosmic energy in the embrace of his enemies?
Or was it an attempt, made by a jaded police officer
coming home to his family after a full shift with hopes
that his son stayed away from the criminal element?
In the midst of kicking rocks on memory lane, my father
pulls my thumb off the road before anyone could pick me up.
He has me hold the flashlight while he sets the motherboard
back into the computer. I’m checking my pockets for screws
to enclose the casing, find a pebble, and remember the battle
in issue 79 where the Surfer, bruised, tarnished, and smudged
loses. In an electric pulse my father’s work is gone, circuits fried.
Hunched in his chair, his old hands torn, quiet as the villain’s
stand over the defeated hero at the edge of the panel, issue 79
ends. A to be continued I’ve never read.
I imagine the cover with an austere father and his son
reaching over his head to hand him the silver screwdriver.