Bleach Monster, Part X

Murray left the Seaport.  The others stayed. He raced up to Penn Station.  He received an urgent message from an old friend. He needed to be in DC immediately.

 

A ticket for an Amtrak Acela was waiting for him. He got to Penn. Swiped his card in the Amtrak machine and out popped his ticket.  He sat in the passengers waiting area for about 15 minutes and boarded Amtrak Train 2167 to our nation’s capital.

 

Murray sat in the train’s quiet car and prayed no loud mouths that didn’t care about the rules would be sitting there with him.  For once, he lucked out.

 

It was a smooth ride.  Three hours later he was in Union Station, Washington, D.C.  He hopped on the Red-Line toward Shady Grove and found his friend, Arnold on Pennsylvania Avenue and 11 Street. He was in all black and was drenched in sweat.

 

“What’s wrong?”

 

Arnold stood silently for minutes.

 

Then he spoke.

 

“We have issues.  Remember the old days when we were in camp?”

 

“’Of course.  Those were the best years of our lives.”

 

“The crazy counselor who used to give out pots when we were bad now has a high ranking staff position on the Senate Finance Committee.  Apparently, he cleaned up his nutty act and did quite well in school. He wound up rising up through the legislative staff ranks rather quickly. But I’ve heard he cannot be trusted.”

 

“What do you expect me to do?”

 

“I’ve read stories about what’s going on in NYC.  Specifically in Staten Island, Forest Hills, 161 Street and in Central Park. “

 

“What stories?”

 

“Stories were written about people with special powers.  There were only three.  But something tells me you were involved.”

 

“Me?”

 

“Yeah. You.”

 

The two made idle chatter for the next 20 minutes. Murray denied knowing anything about the Bleach Monster.  Wine-Girl, Blubber Boy, and Tear-Water Boy never made it to the press.

 

Murray suggested they grab a beer.  Arnold agreed.  They walked over to a bar not far from the Ronald Reagan Office Building.

 

One beer turned into another, coupled with an order of wings and fries.  Two hours later a few shots of Arrack were poured.  They paid their bill with a generous tip and departed.

 

A plan was hatched to take out the obnoxious camp counselor.  You see they didn’t wish him harm. The camp days were way gone. But they knew this wacko, despite his cleaned up act was still a nut.  Heaven help our country with the counsel he’ll give our senators.

 

Murray didn’t explain anything about his empire to Arnold. He just said he would figure out a way to take care of Mark. This guy liked to rock-n-roll. He needed to closely study the situation

 

Murray was calm. But he was a little nervous. He never finalized the creation of his empire at the South Street Seaport. He knew Dani would be waiting for his next move.  He trusted her to an extent.  But knew she’d try to take him out if he wasn’t careful. So much for sibling love.

 

Arnold went home. Murray checked in at the J.W. Marriott.  He took a shower and began texting Dani.  She was still up. He gave her a heads up on what was going down in D.C.  He told her to stay on guard for instructions. She got excited.

 

She knew an empire was in the works.   Although she wasn’t the official leader, she knew she would run it anyway.  She was happy to let Murray think he was in control.

 

Murray went to J. Crew and purchased a suit. He went as a visitor to the next Senate Finance Committee meeting. He saw the loony, Mark that he hadn’t seen in over 25 years.  Murray remained unnoticed.

 

Mark looked good.  Brooks Brothers suit. He appeared to be in good shape and was speaking very clearly. But there was still a twinge of crazy in his eyes.  If you didn’t know him back in the day you wouldn’t notice.  You might think he eyes were red due to allergies or other issues.  The meeting concluded.  Everyone scurried out.

 

Murray got a drink of water and called Arnold Everything seems quite normal. But Murray sensed Mark would turn into Mark and start giving out pots. Not the kind he gave out him camp. Heck, those were dirty old pots that good ‘ole camp grub was cooked in.  The new pots could be amendments to financial bills that will wreak havoc on our great American lifestyle.

 

Mark could be a convincing person.

 

He needed to be stopped.

 

He and Murray walked right by each other. Mark was oblivious.

 

A few days passed. Murray was ready to strike.  He went to Senate committee’s website and found Mark’s email. He sent him a cordial email telling him how he’s in town and it has been over two decades since they’ve seen each other.  He suggested they meet in front of the Air and Space Museum.

 

Mark agreed. He was a little nervous. But figured his interactions with Murray were so dated it wouldn’t matter. You see when Mark tried to give Murray and Arnold a million pots after they raided him in his sleep. They moved him while he was sound asleep on his cot and placed him in the latrine above the willy holes.   Mark woke up screaming. He was never mean to any camper again.

 

Mark knew those days were gone. He straightened his life out. He did well at Wharton and had a great job.  But he knew his crazy streak was just waiting to strike.

 

The two arrived at the Air and Space meeting.  As usual, the Hare Krishnas were nearby.  They grabbed Dove ice cream bars from the refreshment stand and began to chat.  Mark told Murray how he still has nightmares about waking up above the Willy holes in camp.  Murray smiled.  He said he feels bad. But hey that was over two decades ago and he would never apologize for his teen craziness.

 

Mark went on to explain how crazy camp situations helped him evolve into the man he is today.  Murray knew right there that Mark was likely to go crazy.  Some of it was his fault. Some were due to the environment they were placed in.

 

The conversation ended. They shook hands and went their separate ways.

 

Murray texted Arnold. They had to get their plan into high gear.  Murray realized the way some things were phrased that trouble was brewing.

 

The next few days may change the shape of the universe.

 

Murray needed Dani and his other powerful little friends at his side. He purchased tickets for them to arrive in DC that evening. He outlined the structure of “Murray’s Empire” in a cryptic email.  They swore their allegiance. Basically, they were to use their “powers” for good.

 

He told them to go straight to the Supreme Court upon arrival.

 

Murray got together with Arnold. They began mapping out their attack plan.

 

Murray’s major concern was how to fight without the use of their powers. Could he do it with tricky speech? Or would his empire descend upon Washington in full light?

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Bleach Monster, Part XIX

Dani woke up and hopped on the Staten Island Railway with Tony. Audrey stayed home with her dad. They were en-route to Murray’s meeting place.

She was not pleased that he requested their presence in front of the Yankees’ store at the South Street Seaport. He did that on purpose. Nothing in his mind topped the Bronx Bombers.

She had been a Yankee fan. Then she converted and began to root for the Mets.

Sad.

Very sad.

The train pulled into the SI Ferry Terminal and they boarded. She hoped the boat was not laden with roaches. She meant in terms of the real ones and the riders that often resembled them.

The ferry sailed along. All was quiet. The usual preachers were preaching. The deckhands were drinking coffee. People were reading their papers and chatting away with their friends. It docked. They walked off and headed down Water Street.

People seemed distressed. The market was not doing so well. As they approached Wall Street they noticed several people acting crazy. But not in a sense that the usual NYC crazies acted.   Dani wondered if it was the market downturn or something else?

Despite Tony’s new found tear-water power he was nervous. He is still young and hasn’t spent much time in the city. He clutched Dani’s hand. She smiled and told him this is the norm for the City. It is packed with a lot of crazies.

A religious crazy approached them and started preaching and begging. Dani pulled Tony away. She told him not to go into defense mode. She further explained that most of these people are harmless. They just need to help. Such a shame the appropriate care isn’t available to them.

Murray and Danny were in the store buying Yogi Berra t-shirts, World Series collector baseballs and some other stuff. “Uncle Sam” and the “Statue of Liberty” were standing outside the store posing for pictures and begging for money.

Murray and Danny sat on a bench. They sipped bottled water. A few minutes later Dani and Tony arrived. They exchanged greetings. They began walking toward Pier 17. They planned to sit out by the boats and discuss life. Murray was pleased it looked like his plans were finally going to come to fruition.

As they were walking past the Gap and getting ready to cross the street a crazed cyclist was riding through the shopping crowd. She was slamming into people. A few elderly people got knocked down. A group of people started to chase her. But she cycled away.

Murray kept his eyes fixed on the route she took. He pointed in that direction. Despite Murray’s dark leanings, he still has a lot of good in him. One day this mix of good and evil will kill him.

They picked up their pace and walked near J. Crew. They saw the crazy biker picking up so much speed. However, she was no longer attacking anyone. She was just cruising at a speed too fast for her surroundings.

She started pedaling even faster. She tried to turn left. But her wheel got caught in the sidewalk and she flipped off the bike and landed on her knees. Murray and his group surrounded her. She started screaming out unintelligible words. But none of them could decipher the language she was speaking. They didn’t think she was an alien. They figured she was just a nut.

Dani asked her if she was ok. She nodded, yes. They didn’t want to leave her. They walked over to her and tried to help her out. As Danny moved forward, she pulled an ax out of her bag. Danny ducked and shot pieces of blubber. She went down.

Murray’s gang retreated. They found a nearby bench to sit on.

Murray began addressing why he called them together

Bleach Monster, Part VIII

Dani woke up. Today is her birthday. She was pondering the text from Murray. She knew it was cryptic for a reason. She expected him to call with birthday greetings. He always called early. He is not vermin.

On Murray’s 18th birthday not one friend or family member called to say happy birthday. He spent the day with his parents and Dani. No one called. Not even his grandmother, who’s notorious for calling at around 6:00 a.m. on big days in one’s life. He decided they were all vermin.

Back to the text, she knew she had to meet Murray. He offered two choices. There was no way she was going to 161 Street. Sadly her days of going to the Stadium ended. She became a traitor and rooted for the Mutts.

She knew Murray hated coming back to the Island. Not sure it was that he hated that place so much or the harrowing commute to get there. A train, to a filthy ferry, another train and then being picked up in Annandale took longer than going to Boston. Our hearts are with them today.

So, she said she could meet him in two days at Wolfe’s Pond Park. Murray loved that place. He learned to inline skate there. Audrey came running into her room with a homemade birthday card and a cupcake. It was a little early for the cupcake. But Audrey was wearing such a loving smile when she handed it over to her mom. Dani ate it.

Audrey was excited that she got to spend the day with her mom. But she was more excited that she was going to the Staten Island Zoo. She loves animals. Unlike her mom, she isn’t afraid of snakes. Of course, that fear is Murray’s fault.

The trip to the zoo was easy. Everything was calm. They had pizza for lunch, watched Disney DVDs and got ready for a birthday dinner with Robbie, her husband and an ever-doting father to Audrey.

The day came. Murray stood in front of the restrooms at Wolfe’s Pond Park waiting for Dani. He decided to take the SI train or trolley as he called it to Huguenot. He walked down Huguenot Ave. to Hylan Blvd. to the park. He barely looked at Tottenville High School. That dump wasted four years of his life. Boy did he hate that place with a passion. He has no care in the world about that institution now. It was a faded memory of his past.

Dani drove in and parked in Murray’s traditional parking spot. He is very ritualistic and always parked in the same spot in the park and just about anywhere else. She knew he’d be standing by the park’s latrine.

He smiled and pulled a bottle of Segal’s Fusion Red out of his knapsack. He opened, decanted and poured. He was laughing and smiling every step of the way.

L’Chaim.

She reluctantly sipped her wine. She knew exactly why he did this. Even he though fought with bleach. He was a Sith at heart. The Force was always strong within him.

They chatted for about an hour. The bottle of Segal’s was finished and tossed in the recycle bin.

The two siblings agreed to get their little “weapons,” Danny and Tony together to start their “empire”. They would meet in two weeks at the South Street Seaport.

Over the next few days, Murray and Dani worked out and made sure Danny and Tony followed suit.

All were anxiously waiting for the rapidly approaching meeting date.

Bleach Monster, part VII

 

Murray woke up to a lovely spring morning. Before he went to bed he watched, Andy pitch a great game and was happy that Cano was beginning to hit well. All was right with the world.

 

Stacey was out of the picture.  Murray was upset. But not terribly depressed. She is cute.  But she wasn’t right for him.  Perhaps he’d find a new crazy before the end of the season.

 

Anyway, he brought his laundry off to the Laundromat. He no longer did his own laundry. He had to be careful with his use of bleach for him to continue to be the “Bleach Monster”.  He hopped on the R-train and headed to Columbus Circle.

 

As he sat on the train he began to read, “Revan”. He was obsessed with the Old Republic. He felt he was part of it. He loved the battles and knew he had to fight much more.

 

He knew he had to form an alliance.  Of course, he had to be in control. He was a little confused about how to get Dani, “the Wine-Girl,” Danny, “Blubber-Boy,” and Tony, “Tear-Water Boy” together under his domain. His sister, Dani would be the toughest.

 

He got off the train and grabbed a hot dog and Pepsi from a street vendor. He began to walk through Central Park.  It was the usual park scene.  Murray went to his rock.  He’d been sitting on that rock and meditating for more years than he can remember. He was good at it. He turned his iPhone off and immersed himself in his thoughts.

 

About an hour later he jumped off his rock and bought bottled water. He hiked over to the lake.  A cute couple was in a rowboat. They were smiling. He dreamed that it was he and his new nut job.  The couple seemed happy.

 

But then he heard sharp words coming from the woman’s mouth about the status of their relationship. She really liked him. The guy liked her. But she always seemed to spend her time with other people.  But she said she had known her other friends for many years and was having trouble squeezing in space for him. He was tired of being the second banana.

 

They rowed back to the boathouse and docked.  They were holding hands.  Murray didn’t hear all of their argument. So he figured they must have made up.

 

He tuned out for a moment or two and sipped his water.  His ears awoke to a shriek. The guy from the rowboat was rolling on the floor in excruciating pain. His girlfriend slashed his hand with a razor blade. She kicked him hard in the chest when he tried to clot the bleeding.

 

She was now running wild through the park. The NYPD tried to stop her. But were no match for her.  Little kids were screaming. Her boyfriend was being tended to by EMS.

 

Murray was not in the mood to deal with her. He was still figuring out how to create his republic. But there was still some good in him and he didn’t want anyone else to be injured.

 

He kicked his legs into high gear and approached her. The two of them exchanged words.  Her eyes were blood red.  Her twisted smile was beyond big. She came at Murray with the razor blade.

 

He didn’t move a muscle. She got within inches of him. Her hand was in attack mode.  As she readied herself to slash his face his eyes shot gallons of bleach.  She was drenched. She went down for the count. She started screaming.  Murray poured some water over her. He didn’t want to kill her.

 

He figured she needed to go to the hospital and then the psych ward.  An EMS technician came over to her. Thankfully, the usual rubbernecking crowd was forming.  This gave Murray an easy escape. He meandered through the crowd unnoticed.

 

No he wasn’t interested in dating this woman even though he had a high tolerance for the mentally ill.  In recent months a young kid broke him away from that.  He finally recognized he needed to stay away.   His breakaway was a slow and enduring process.

 

The sun was blazing. For some unusual reason, no one was around the lake.  Murray jumped in. Did he care if the water was clean? In his neat freak, OCD, GAD mind he did care. He was going rogue.  The water felt great.  After a few minutes of the butterfly and side strokes, he climbed out. As he emerged a pigeon flew right at him. He has a little friend who hates pigeons. He’s not fond of them either. But he didn’t plan on hurting the bird.  It came within inches of him and flew away.

 

Murray grabbed some napkins from a food stand and “toweled” himself dry. His shorts and Gehrig t-shirt were damp. But they were wearable.

 

While in the water he only thought of forming his republic. His crazed, but good and caring mind had lots of ideas.  He sent a strangely worded text to Dani and requested her presence at a gathering….

Bleach Monster, Part VI

Murray sailed the Staten Island Ferry with his brother-in-law, Robbie. This weekend was going to be a break from his usual life.  He had things to do on the old home front of Staten Island. He chatted with Robbie.  But he pretty much lost himself in reading material.

 

The boat sailed and they trekked to Robbie’s home via train and car.  It snapped back into Murray’s head how much he hated going to and from the Island.  It wasn’t a bad place to grow up. However, it was so damn inconvenient to travel to and from. Plus it is somewhat backward from the rest of the City.

 

But he was going to a farewell party and hitting his old health club in between.  Overall Murray was in a good place. He was back to handling his special powers well. His sister, Dani was doing well with hers. Danny was no longer getting bullied.  He was working hard to stop others from having this problem.

 

Murray had things to do. Dani was nice enough to lend him a car for the day or two he’d be on Staten Island.  As he jumped into the car his mind drifted back to his old days.  He thought of the crazies he hung out with then.  He wondered how different they are from the nut jobs he now spent his time with.

 

He had great pizza, worked out and slept in his mom’s house.  Next day he did similarly. Eventually, he made it over to the catering hall for the farewell party.  His closest friends were there. This party was a farewell to a place he grew up in.  It was being shut down and merged into another being.

 

Would it be a stronger one? Perhaps it would be.

 

Murray was wondering if this was the time to confront Dani about her powers. He knew she was trying to take a young lad under her wing to train him.

 

They were good friends as brother and sister. But he knew she wondered about him and how he’d control his powers.  He still had thoughts of going after the superficial people.  But back on his home base, he should be ok.

 

Everything was great. He was excited to walk into the party.  All of the people he grew up with were there. People came from all over the country to say goodbye.  Thankfully he got a ride home to Queens.

 

While at the party there were people he wanted to attack with bleach. They didn’t let the young kids, who the disbanding group was created for participate and lead the show. However, he took pictures, shook hands and ate lots of salmon.

 

Meanwhile, Dani was in the park with Tony the kid that got beat up a few weeks ago. She befriended his mom.  Dani was trying to figure out if he had any powers or if they could be created.  She saw Danny, the blubber boy and figured Tony may have potential.

 

But she had no idea how Murray fleshed out Danny’s magic.  She was struggling.  She got so hyped up. That was very unusual for her.  She ran off into the woods and shot out wine.  She was not in control.

 

After spraying the trees she sat on a rock and fell asleep for a few minutes. It was during this time that she figured out what to do with Tony.  But she had to break him apart from his mom.  She wasn’t going to take him away or hurt him.

 

But she saw how dependent he is on his mom. She knew if he was going to be strong he had to be independent.   What powers he could have were still open.

 

The park was quiet. Most people were relaxing. There were baseball and soccer games being played.  Little kids were on the see-saws and monkey bars.  The ice cream truck rolled in. People ran out to go get their cones and went back to what they were doing. All was well.

 

As the day got later people started leaving.  Dani looked up at the sky and saw that a storm was brewing. She grabbed Audrey and put her into the car. She said goodbye to Tony and his mom, Elise.

 

There were dramatic changes in the weather.  Tony was getting drenched on the way to the car with his mom.  The water was dragging him down.  But somehow he was fighting it. He was never a fighter. But since he got beaten up and then rescued by Dani he decided to work out a little. He was still a little kid. But he was getting stronger.

 

He struggled.  Elise was running after him. He was toughing it out. He almost got sucked down into a sewer.  But he managed to jump away from it.  He was soaking wet. Elise was screaming for him. He heard his mom’s screams. But knew he had to keep running. He got to the car and turned his head. Mom was only a few feet away.

 

His clothes were soggy. His feet were full of water. Elise, who was just as drenched as her son, helped him into the car. She pulled away.

 

Tony was shivering. But he was proud of his mad dash to the car. Elise was cruising down Amboy Road. The weather was clearing up.  A truck smacked into Elise’s Maxima.  She and Tony bounced around a little. However, they were ok.

 

They got out of the car and were ready to call the police and input the trucker’s info into the iPhone so they can call the insurance company. The truck driver was walking with a limp. It looked like he broke his foot. He came after them wielding an ax and screaming.  It turns out he has a bad safety record and this was his trial trip to see if he’d maintain his employment.

 

Elise threw her arms around Tony. But he broke free. He ran toward the trucker.  Elise screamed at him. Tony started waving his arms and kicking his feet up and down.  Elise was crying.

 

As the tears rolled out of her eyes, gusts of water shot out of Tony’s knees. The trucker was knocked 15 feet away. The ax flew out of his hands. Tony ran over to him and tied him up. 911 was dialed the police came and took the report about the accident. No one mentioned Tony’s heroics.

 

The trucker was handcuffed and carted off to a mental hospital for evaluation. They did a DWI test. He tested sober. The accident was likely due to weather. His ax-wielding was likely because of his fears of getting canned. That was in the police report. But the man couldn’t speak a complete sentence and seemed clinically insane.

 

Murray and Dani were stepping behind Tony.

Bleach Monster, Part V

bleaching-powder-250x250Danny (aka, “Blubber boy”) woke up. He had his whole grain English muffin and a small glass of Orange juice that he mixed with water. Today was a big day. He was going to run a little at the Forest Hills High School track and then go into the City to hang out.

Thanks to Murray his confidence was up. He had a few incidents where he had to use “powers”. Some kids were getting picked on and he had to save them. Murray trained him how to run away fast. This way no one would catch onto him.

Danny was wondering if Murray was trying to create his own version of the Avengers or the Jedi and Sith? Murray loved them all. But is more in touch with the Force.

Danny read his book about the Iron Horse while sitting on the “R” train. He loved the book. Unfortunately, he was having trouble focusing because the person sitting next to him smelled worse than a horse. Danny was not going to go after the smelly guy. Murray might have.

Murray was getting better. He was slowly going back to only rescuing people who were being harmed for no reason. Not for those that are gross or dumb. These misfits did bother people. However, in the greater scheme of things they really didn’t hurt anyone.
Murray was reading the Weekend Journal on the grass of the World Financial Center. Stacey was by his side tanning and flipping through the pages of a magazine. All was well. They shared sips from their water bottle and smiled.

The weather couldn’t have been better. They watched kids play soccer and heard the bounces of the ball from the basketball court behind them. It was almost time for them to get Sierra Nevadas and sip the precious pale ale by the water.

Danny got off at Fifth Avenue and walked into Central Park. He bit into the Granny Smith that he pulled out of his backpack. He hiked through the park.

Meanwhile, Dani and Audrey were in Bloomingdale Park running the through the sprinklers. They were sopping wet. They were having a grand time.

All of sudden Audrey got scared. Dani didn’t know why. But then she heard screams. She quickly moved her eyes and scanned the area. She saw nothing. She figured some kid must have fallen down and scraped his knee.

For the next minute, all was quiet. Kids started playing running to the slidin’ ponds and swings. All was good. Then screams started. Dani clutched Audrey to her side. Once again she scanned the park.

She heard the screams coming from the wooded path leading toward the baseball field. She saw Audrey’s friend, Jamie with her mom on the see-saw with Joan, her mom. Stacey ran over to them and asked if she could watch Audrey, while she went to the latrine.
Joan said no problem. The two of them have been friends for years. Dani walked toward the latrine. But she made a quick left toward the trail. She saw a bloody young boy lying the ground. He was breathing heavily. She heard laughter from behind the large trees.

She took some tissues of out her pocket and started to clean the poor kid up. As she was bent over a rubber ball came flying down from one of the trees and miss her head by inches. She turned around and saw three kids swinging off the branches with joints in their mouths. They couldn’t have been more than 13.

Dani screamed at them. They laughed at her. One threw a beer bottle at her and the kid she was helping. Dani screamed at them.
They started yelling from the trees.

“You see what we did to that dumb kid?”

Dani gave them a look that could kill.

“We are gonna have some fun with you. Then we will kill you. We know who you are, Dani. We will laugh when all your friends come to the funeral and the paper runs a picture of Audrey crying.”

Dani shook her head. “Get down from the trees you wimps. Show that you’re men and face me head on,” Dani screamed.
“Oh we will show you what men are,” they taunted as they jumped down from the trees. As they were airborne, Dani gave the kid a little kiss on the forehead and turned around. The kids just landed on the muddy trail and raced towards her. One of them hit her. She was playing it cool.

They grabbed her. They were laughing fiercely. The kid was scared. The three boys punched her one too many times. All of a sudden a sea of red shot out of her eyes. Wine was flowing nonstop. The kids were so happy. They thought she wanted to drink with them. The kids opened their mouths and started sucking it in.

Minutes later they were passed out on the ground. Dani picked up the kid and took him back to the play area. Joan was frantic. She was worried sick about Dani. She was in the latrine for much longer than should have.

She saw her carrying a bruised up little kid. Dani put him down and Joan raced to her car to get the first aid kit. They took care of the kid. Joan asked for his mom’s number. The kid cried and said my mom is at work and she left me at the park.

But he did give them the number. Dani texted his mom and explained what happened. No answer. Finally, mom answered. She was in tears. She didn’t mean to leave him in the park. Her husband left her. He left her for her manicurist. She said she hasn’t been the same since then. She needs to get grounded.

Dani and Joan stayed with the boy, whose name they learned is Tony. They bought him ice cream. He started playing with Audrey and Jamie. His mom came by and took him home. She thanked them for saving him and asked if she could buy them dinner one night.

Dani took Audrey home and wondered about Tony.

Bleach Monster, Part IV

bleaching-powder-250x250

Danny woke up with lots of energy. He had a healthy breakfast, some fruit, a glass of low-fat milk and some whole grains. After Murray rescued him at the movie theater he was determined to stay in shape. He needed to rescue himself.

But today was a special day. He had the note that Murray left him hidden under his bed since he got it. It was like his bible. He’d been reading Murray’s words since he ran out of the theater.

The note said, “Meet me in three days at 161 Street. Do not show up at the new “Disney style” stadium. You must make your appearance on the hallowed grounds of the real “Stadium”. I will be waiting for you where right field used to be.”

Danny raced out of his Forest Hills Gardens abode and caught the trains to the South Bronx. He knew this would be good for him. How good he had no clue. His life was going to change forever. Danny had no idea how good it was gonna get.

Funny thing is he has no idea that Murray is the “Bleach Monster” and Dani is the “Wine Girl.” Funny most of Murray’s girlfriends are “whine girls”.   Remember Danny was on the floor crying and bleeding when Murray and Dani unleashed their wrath on his tormentors.

Danny hopped off the 4-Line. He glanced at the new Stadium. He walked over to the spot, Paul O’Neill used to man in the good ‘ole days. He was so excited. He was short of breath from all of his running around.

Murray snuck up behind him and put his hand on Danny’s left shoulder. Danny jumped back in fear.

“That’s what I thought,” echoed Murray. We need to wack the fear out of you. Don’t worry. That’s my job.

“How?” inquired, Danny.

“Just leave that to me.”

The two guys talked and walked around this holy site. Both were dressed in N.Y. Yankees apparel from head to toe. Murray sleeps in Yankees pajamas.

Murray bought Danny a bottle of water.

“Ok, Danny, I know you want to lose weight and get your butt into shape. We need you to be healthy.”

Danny smiled. He felt like Murray was the big brother he never had. He finally had someone other than his mommy and daddy to take him under their wing.

Murray told him to forget about what the doctor and nutritionist said. He said you are now my project. I will train you. Danny was happy. However, he was nervous.

One of the crazies that hung around this sacred site came up to them. At first Murray ignored him. The guy got a little antsy and was starting yelling at them. Murray told Danny to start walking.

The nut job spits at them. They kept walking. The guy threw and empty soda bottle and hit Danny in the back.

“Be calm,” Murray yelled to Danny. The poor kid just stood there lifelessly. Murray looked at the deranged man and said hit me.

The guy ran toward Murray with his hands clenched into fists. Danny got so scared he shut his eyes. The guy threw a punch at Murray. Of course, he missed. But Murray countered with gallons of bleach. He drenched the loony. The guy hit the floor. He was breathing. So Murray figured that was a good sign. He probably learned his lesson. He likely needed a hospital. Murray pulled out his iPhone and dialed 911 and reported a grungy guy who passed out near the Stadium. An ambulance was on the way.

Murray grabbed Danny and said it is time to walk. They hiked over toward the row of stores that were at one time directly across the street from the House that Ruth Built.

Danny told Murray his favorite food was pizza with olives and sun dried tomatoes. Murray said “WTF. Let’s get a small pie. But remember if we were at a ballgame and we will be at many, you will only eat the things, I allow you to. I have a very strict ritual at when I go to ballgames. Consider it part of my Yankee Commandments.”

“Why do you like me?”

“I saw you in pain at the theater. I help people. I don’t want your problems to continue. We’ve all been in scary situations. Yours will soon end. I just need to figure out what powers you have.”

“I have no powers. I’m just a chubby high school kid who gets picked on. I try to lose weight. But I cannot keep it off.”

Murray smiled and took a bite of his slice.

“Maybe you don’t need to keep it off. I mean we will have you lose the weight. But maybe you need to gain it back once in a while.”

Murray’s eyes were glowing. Danny was perplexed.

Tomorrow you will run a few laps on the Forest Hills High School track. You will eat healthy for the next four weeks. I will be checking on you each Sunday. I will text you the meeting location about two hours before.

The next month went by. Danny was getting slimmer and stronger. Murray was often watching him run. Danny had no clue he was being watched. Murray saw the poor kid’s blubber bouncing up and down as he jogged. Each footstep made him stronger. The fat was wearing off.

It was like just falling right off him.

Murray wondered if he could use his falling fat to his advantage.

It was just rolling off the kid.

They had their Sunday meetings. Everyone was happy. Danny’s grades, which we always good had become even better. Murray wanted to add this kid to his army. Dani still had no idea Murray knew of her powers. One day he’d confront her. But for now he wanted her to think she was keeping a big secret.

Danny’s mom was so proud of her son. She saw how hard he was trying to be healthy. She had no idea about his mentor. She took him to the Gap to buy a few new pairs of jeans, khakis and some smaller piques, t-shirts and sweaters. Everyone was happy. She was completely healed from her gardening accident.

As they were walking down Austin Street toward Continental Ave. The kids that were bleached in the theater were hanging in front of McDonald’s. They never bothered him. No one did. The girl who attacked him in the theater asked if she could take him to the movies. He told her no. This was a first for her. No one ever turned down a date with her.

Danny was becoming a man. He knew this girl was superficial. If he got fat again, the girl would dump him.

He didn’t know of Murray’s plan. But Murray had to run some tests to see if it’d work. The tests would occur in a few weeks if all went to schedule.

The girl ran to the obnoxious kids with her head down. She said go after him. The kids didn’t want to. But she told them if they wanted to be her friend they had to attack him again.

They got nervous. But followed orders. These mindless boys thought with only one thing. They started taunting Danny. His mom told him to walk faster. He did and was doing well. Murray and Stacey were walking out of Banana Republic. He just spent a boatload of money on his princess.

Murray saw what was going on. He knew Danny wasn’t ready for this. He needed to work out some more. His mom tried to make him walk faster. But he held his ground and yelled back at the kids.

“You can’t beat me this time. Hey, you didn’t even beat me in the theater several weeks ago. You may have knocked me down. But as I remember it was you and the dumb bitches that you were with that got your you know what’s kicked. I am stronger than all of you now.”

The kids charged him. He lost his breath. They knocked him and his mom down.

“No one messes with my mom,” he bellowed.

Within seconds globs of fat start rolling off him. These globs got rock solid. But had a bounce. They smacked right into all the nasty kids and knocked them down like dominoes.

Dani was on the corner. She saw all of this. She knew Murray had been working with troubled teens. She was now wondering if this was his “work”. She knew it had to be. But waited patiently. She saw the “cool girls” and their boyfriends rolling toward Forest Gardens in pain. The girl Danny turned down got up and tried to lunge herself at him. He was caught off guard, as he was wiping his mom’s face.

He couldn’t let her get hurt again. None of the good people would get hurt as this girl ran toward Danny, Dani shot her between the eyes with wine.

Murray watched all this from about ten feet away. He was so happy. Stacey was oblivious to it all. She was too busy staring at the bags of clothes she just got. She was already begging him to put this stuff away in his apartment and to take her to Bloomingdale’s.

We all know Murray is a sap. Of course, he told Stacey he would do whatever she wants.   That was something one his new superheroes would have to work on with him.

Danny got up from mom and saw Murray by his side. “I see you got into a fight.”

“Are you mad at me?”

“No. You had to defend yourself and mom. Did you know that globs of your fat spun off you? They took out the kids who were going to beat you.”

“I know. Was this your plan?”

Murray smiled and broke into a laugh.

He explained to him that it was. He did say it was very early to tell if his powers would work. He also said that he would have to keep working out. But every so often he had to put on some weight.

When it was time for that Murray would text him when they would meet at the pizzeria by the Stadium.

They shook hands and everyone went their separate ways.

Dani saw Murray and Danny chatting. She was onto them. Or was she?