Just as a forward, I haven't written a short story in a long time. I hope you like it. 1,310 words. I’ve never taken much stock in my life. I’ve lived a pretty humble existence; always played by the rules and did what everyone expected me to do. I was your average student with fair grades, not big enough to play sports and too dumb for the chess club. I floated, always just getting by. After graduating from high school, I joined the military because that’s what was expected of me. Because of my slight size, I put in my time behind a desk pushing papers which is exactly what I do today. Still pushing papers, not for the military, but in the world of corporate finance. And no, if you think I’m one of those high falutting, designer three piece power suit kindof guys, you would be wrong. I’m the guy who sits in his cubical, surrounded by stacks of papers, working his ass off all day, and many nights without overtime, for a lousy paycheck that just allows me to afford my one bedroom apartment on the east side and my five year old Honda Accord. I’m the guy you pass every day and never notice. Not that I don’t want to be noticed, I do. I mean it would be nice but somehow, I just fall through the cracks. Like the other day, I wasn’t feeling well and, after taking a ton of cough syrup in the middle of the night, I slept well past noon. When I realized what time it was, I quickly grabbed the phone to call my supervisor. “Hi, this is John calling to let you know how sorry I am I didn’t call sooner but I’ve got a terrible cold,” I said to Joe, my Super. “John who?” he replied sounding quite annoyed. “John Higgins,” I said. “Third cubical on the right from your office. Um, you know the guy who got the multi-colored scarf in the Christmas pool last year?” “Oh yeah, yeah John,” he said. “I didn’t even know you weren’t in today buddy.” Such is my life. I really don’t have anyone I would call a friend, my parents are long gone and I’m not particularly “social” as most would say. I prefer to spend my time in my apartment, watching old sci-fi and superhero movies and dreaming about being someone else…anyone else. Man, I loved the way Superman used to run into that phone booth. Just your average Joe going in, but when he came out, it was a whole nother story. Or, what about those sci-fi movies where it’s the boring scientist with his horn-rimmed glasses who figures out how to kill the monster. I’m just like them. I was destined for greatness. I just know it. Somehow I was meant to do something great with my life. What it is I haven’t figured out yet, but it won’t be much longer, I can feel it. Something big is just around the corner and instead of running from it, I’m gonna embrace it fully and fulfill my destiny. This is the attitude to which I went to work today. It was a normal day, just like any other but something had changed. I felt good. No, that’s an understatement, I felt great. I don’t know if it had something to do with catching the original “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” on TV last night and watching the always humble Jimmy Stewart triumph over corruption or what, but I felt like things were gonna change for the better. I had my oatmeal (with raisins today) while I watched the morning news then shoved the work I’d brought home the night before into my beat-up old briefcase and high tailed it the sixteen blocks to the office. Making it in record time, (See, things are getting better), I figured I would treat myself to one of those mocho-chocca, frappe-lappa chino things with whipped-cream. What the heck? I deserved it. Today was the beginning of something great. I rounded the corner just in time to see a young couple arguing in the doorway of a nearby building. The woman’s hair was pulled back in a messy ponytail, her eyes red from crying. Next to her on the stoop, a baby softly cooed in its carrier; all bundled up against the cool morning breeze. “You know I love you but I can’t go on like this,” she cried to the man. “Please, you’ve gotta get help. I can’t do this anymore. You’ve pushed me away and I have no choice.” As I passed them, a second glance reaffirmed my suspicions. The man didn’t look right. His eyes were also red, but not from crying. These were the eyes of a sick man. A man fighting the demons in his mind from an addiction that was growing more and more out of control by the day. He eyes were cast down on the baby in the carrier and he was muttering to himself. I struggled to hear what he was saying. “If I can’t have you,” he mumbled as he reached in his pocket, “nobody will.” With that, he pulled a knife from his coat pocket and plunged it into the baby’s carrier. The screams from the woman were deafening as she grabbed and pulled the carrier off the stoop to the sidewalk below. “My baby! My baby!” was all that I needed to hear. I turned and began to run towards the man. I remember thinking I must be crazy. I’m not the kind of person who does this sort of thing. I’m too small and not strong at all. But I kept right on running. The woman was kneeling on the sidewalk, pulling the covers out of the carrier and off of the baby. She didn’t see that the man, thinking he had killed the baby, was now out to kill her too. He walked up behind her and raised the knife just as I lunged forward. I remember thinking that it was just like Superman. Flying through the air to save the damsel in distress. He must have seen me out of the corner of his eye because the next thing I know, the knife was turned on me and we were going down. Let me tell you, sidewalks are hard and the fall hurt. When we landed I was on top of him but, darn my size again, he wasted no time in throwing me off of him and taking off down the street. As I sat up, I noticed that there was blood on the pavement. “He must of bumped his head,” I said to the woman who was crawling towards me with the baby in her arms. “The baby?” I asked while trying to sit up. “I’m so sorry I couldn’t save the baby.” “The baby’s fine,” she said. “He missed her. The knife sliced right through the edge of the covers. There’s nothing but a little scrape.” Relief and some other feeling I couldn’t place, flooded through me. I had done it. I had saved this woman’s life. If not for me, she would have been dead. And as I tried once again unsuccessfully to get to my feet, I realized that I wasn’t as lucky as her child. A crowd gathered around me as I watched the blood leave my body and seep into the sidewalk. The woman, looking down at me, crying, thanking me and telling me it would be ok even though we all knew the truth. But, as my eyes got heavy and the pain faded away; replaced by a light feeling, I had a throught and smiled to the amazement of those looking down. I didn’t live the most fulfilling or rewarding life but giving my life for a young woman and a child was a gift I would freely give again. I was right all along…today was a great day!