The First Edition, 1962
The day was scorching and the ground he walked on felt like the base of a simmering hot pan. He heard voices and stopped to listen, but the echoing voices soon faded away on a dry westerly wind.
Saturday afternoon in the summer was the noisiest day of the week. Lawnmowers and edge trimmers and noisy neighbours irritated his delicate hearing.
Nonetheless, he loved the area and his new home. It was big enough for his large family, warm and dry and on the best side of the street. A few of his kind said it was small, austere. He would frown and walk away. They were just jealous.
He opened the front door, stepped inside. Mother heard the door slam. Father was home; his shuffling footsteps approached.
She glanced in his direction and said, “Hello my love, did you have a hard day?”
“Bloody oath I did,” Father said frowning. He walked over a damp cloth that lay on the floor, wiped off the fine reddish dust caked under his bare feet.
“Mother, this old rag has a stink … you’ve been rummaging through the rubbish tip again.”
“No, I haven’t,” she snapped, “and don’t swear in front of our babies. How many times must I tell you, Husband?”
Across the dimly lit room, on a light-brown carpet square a comic book with the picture Spiderman bounding between buildings. First edition, 1962 was written on the front cover, words that Jade and Liam and Kyle didn’t understand.
“Spiderman is the best hero by far,” Liam said.
“No, Mother is.”
“Thank you, Jade.” Mother said, smiling.
“What about you Kyle… who’s your favourite hero then? I’m a lot younger than the Spiderman on that book,” added Father.
Then a voice echoed from outside and it was getting louder, getting closer.
“Hey, Phil, I need some paper to light the fire.”
“There’s an old cardboard box near the tool shed… tear that up.”
“OK, mate. I’ll get the BBQ started.”
Father shouted, “Quick, everyone out. Run towards the tall grass!”
The booming voice of the Human said, “Bloody cockroaches, they’re everywhere.”
Then he struck a match… Spiderman’s first edition started to burn.
The family looked on from behind a garden sprinkler. “Never mind,” said Father, with eyes on the two men drinking out of long-necked beer bottles.
“Dad, can you find a home with a swing next time,” said Jade.
“And another comic book please, Dad,” said Liam, showing his tongue.
“Dad, you’re the real hero,” said Kyle.
“Kyle, why did you have to say that. Your Father will brag about it for weeks,” said Mother, entering a storm water drain.
“Thank you, Kyle,” echoed Father’s voice. “Liam, keep away from the running water, stay close to me.”
Jade saw her mother roll her eyes, then came the smile.
When they walked out into the sunlight she said,“Jade, you stay here and wait for the others. I won’t be long… I promise.”
“Why? Where are you going?”
“To find you a home with swing where else.”