Lionel couldn’t remember the last time he had wanted to commit murder this badly. Wait, scratch that, he could. Last week on Tuesday, when Sharon from accounting had watched anime on a sketchy website and given every computer in the office a virus. Before that, it had been when he discovered Wal-Mart was out of his favorite dish soap.

But, it hadn’t been this tempting in a long time. There, standing by his car outside Sam’s club, wearing a leather jacket and a sword, was his mom.

Oh joy.

He considered waiting inside until she left, maybe the store would let him sleep in one of the camping tents. Unfortunately, he knew just how stubborn she was, and knew that she would wait there all night if she had too.

Yeah, this was going to be fun.

He pushed his shopping cart ahead of him, pointedly ignoring her as she started talking.

“Lionel, Lionel, you can’t avoid me forever you know.”

 “Watch me.”

Shoving past her he started hauling his groceries into the trunk, though he tossed a bag of Doritos through seats to the front so he’d have something to snack on during the drive.

“Son please.”

Ugh, was she still talking?

 “Son we need you, you have to come back, everything is depending on you.

Still not looking at her he deposited his cart in one of those cart parking stall areas.

Is it really though?” His skeptical voice contradicted with his bored expression and the fact that he had the hand sanitizer from his keychain open, and was currently and methodically applying it.

 “YES!" she said aggravated, “everyone is counting on the prophecy, I don’t understand, you wanted to do this when you were a kid!”

“Ah yes,” he shot back, “because a five-year-old isn’t going to do what his parents want him to do.”


“Mom! Look, I can say your name loudly too! Woah is that one of my foretold abilities?” the amount of sarcasm dripping off of his voice probably could’ve killed a comedian.

Turning he climbed into the front seat and was starting to twist the keys in the ignition when he remembered he was an idiot. His mom had climbed into the passenger side, and him being an aforementioned idiot had forgotten to the lock the car when he got in. Great. 

“You shouldn’t mock your destiny; many would kill to have the responsibility you do.”

Lionel threw his hands up, “Great, tell them to come put me out of my misery.”

 “You should be grateful,” she snapped, “you have the chance to do something legendary.”

“You know what? The bad guys offered me cookies, homemade chocolate chip ones, what did the good guys give me? Salads and protein shakes, that taste like fake sugar.” pulling out of the parking lot he started driving down the street.

“I mean, it's no wonder you barely have any new recruits, what sane person would want to eat salad every day, maybe if you provided croutons, but you don’t! So no thank you!”

Her voice took on a pleading tone and her expression softened. Which meant she was going into desperate mom mode.

“I miss you so much, I just want what’s best for you.”

As a kid he had found it ridiculously hard to say no when she used ‘mom mode’. But now? He was an adult who worked eight hours a day at a website company, if he had to work with stuck up rich people trying to fix their, ‘expensive’ electronics, he was pretty sure he could tell his mom no.

 “Lionel, this isn’t what your dad would have wanted.”

Turning to look at her he raised an eyebrow, “Mom, dad went to Japan to become a voice actor, he didn’t die.”

“And for the last time, no! You can’t get me to be what you want, I don’t want to be the chosen one, the savior, the protagonist, the main character! I told you when I left that I didn’t want to see you again”

Turning a corner, he pulled over and got out of the car, his mom followed him but he wasn’t letting her speak just yet.

 “Mom, you raised me to be the hero in some future set of events that we're not ever sure are actually going to happen, I was fine learning how to fight and ‘be a good person’ as a kid, but you can’t force that kind of thing on someone, and I want to live a normal life.”

“One without sword carrying mothers, hero’s vs villains, magic and all that other crap, I mean, I was a kid mom, you never even gave me a chance to decide if I wanted any of that.”


He raised his hand to stop her, “No, I’m not coming back with you, and I never will, I’ll say hi to dad for you.”


He’d pulled over at the local park, there was a bus station not too far from here as well. He tossed her enough money to get to where she was going, then he climbed back into his car (locking it securely this time).

She gave him one last desperate look, though it held more anger than anything.

“Goodbye mother, find someone else to fight your war.”

With one hand he rolled up the window, leaving behind a destiny he’d never wanted, and with the other he opened his chips and started happily crunching away at the orange triangles. Content in the knowledge that he was living the life he’d chosen, and not anyone else’s.

Fate works in funny and unforeseen ways and humans simply aren’t meant to understand it. Five years after the conversation with his mom Lionel would do exactly what he said he wouldn’t. He would be the hero. Driving home from work one day his car collided with another, the other driver was in a coma, and woke up two days later with irreversible amnesia. And so, Lionel fulfilled the prophecy; a hero with a name of a lion, and a weapon of metal and sparks shall end the reign of darkness. And he did it without murdering anyone, which he saw has as an accomplishment. 

February 06, 2021 04:05

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