You might know me as Alcoholic Anonymous, a name given to me by the media. I’m sure you’ve heard of me on the news, read about me in the papers, or have seen me stumbling my way through a battle in our streets over the years. Many of you regard me as a reckless, drunken vigilante who has done more harm than good to this city. I couldn’t agree more. Truth is, I was battling alcoholism long before I was given these wretched super powers, and I was doing so more or less successfully. Alcoholism tore my life apart. Now these powers of mine threaten to do the same. I’m here, not to put my drinking to an end, but to control it. This city needs me, but I need your help.
Before alcohol took over, I worked a desk job for a local manufacturer and I had a wonderful relationship with the girl of my dreams. As many of these stories go, I ended up with a marriage, a promotion, and a child. With success, came stress. With that stress, came my drinking. There was rarely a time I was sober. I ended up losing my wife and kid, causing me to drink more. Eventually, my drunken state led to the injury of another. A kid I was supervising lost his legs. It wouldn’t have happened if I had been sober. In was then that I decided to fix my life.
Better late than never, I battled alcoholism. I went 2 years without a drink. My life was back on track. I had gotten work at another manufacturing company but under strict probation. I had gotten approved for a small home. Things were getting better, until the Black Lightning incident.
The Black Lightning affected us all, I’m sure no one will forget. It vaporized most of the people it touched and destroyed half the city. I was stuck in the factory, along with a few coworkers. Some of them panicked and ran out into the storm. One by one, we watched as they turned into clouds of dust. Some were blasted at the door, others lasted much longer, some as far as 10 blocks. Only one guy made it home. The rest of us decided to wait it out.
Three days had passed when I saw her. A little girl had run into the street. She was screaming for her mommy. I don’t know what pushed me to do what I did. Maybe I felt a need for redemption, or maybe it was the right thing to do. The moment she walked out into the street, I bolted for her. I ran as fast as my legs could take me. I got to her, picked her up, and raced back to the building. The moment I put her down, the lightning struck me.
I was dead. I had to be. All I saw was darkness.
Suddenly, I was awake. I was in a dark room, surrounded by monitors. It took me a moment to realize that I was in the hospital. The doctors explained to me that I had miraculously survived being struck by the Black Lightning, along with a handful of others. My coworkers verified that it was indeed Black Lightning that had hit me. The trauma plunged me back into the darkness that was alcoholism.
I went out for a drink that night. First one in 2 years. The near death experience brought me there. One drink followed the other. Soon, I was drunk out of my mind. The bartender cut me off. Like any good drunk, I grabbed him by the shirt and told him off. I pushed him, and he went through the wall. I thought maybe I was seeing things. I got up and stumbled to the exit. I kicked the door open, and the door went flying across the street. Even in my drunken state, I knew something was wrong. That wasn’t supposed to happen. Suddenly, the darkness wasn’t so dark.
As it turned out, the Black Lightning gave me super strength. But, as I experimented, discovered that I only had super strength when under the effects of alcohol. The drunker I was, the stronger I was. As the months went on, we all discovered that those who had been struck by the Black Lightning, and survived, were also given super powers. As we know, most of them used their powers for bad. I found myself on the side of good, battling the bad guys day and night, along with two other superheroes, using our powers. In my drunken state, as we know, I left more destruction in my wake than the criminals did.
Lucky for our other two heroes, they didn’t need to drink to activate their powers. Theirs were just naturally there 24/7. As the years went on, they let their egos grow. They began using their status to get them girls, money, and favors from the city. Tailor made costumes, vehicles with state-of-the-art gadgetry, government funded headquarters, you name it.
Then there was me. The smelly drunken sidekick. That’s all I was to the city. During the course of my superhero life, I lost my job again, and my house. I had zero respect from anyone. An alcoholic superhero is still an alcoholic. I traded in my cheap mask and ratty cape for a legitimate life again. A third chance at a good life.
Before long, Alcoholic Anonymous had faded from public memory. In my renewed sober state, I saw the crime rate in the city rise. Super villains and crooks running amok. But I refused to use my super power. I couldn’t ruin my life a third time. Besides, the city had 2 capable heroes to handle this stuff and a fantastic police force. I would only cause more harm than good.
Then three weeks ago, I gave in. I tried my hardest not to drink, I truly did. But the deck was stacked, and I was left with only one fatal alternative.
I was watching TV when the breaking news hit. One of the city’s more prominent villains, Freak, had grabbed a school bus and placed it on top of one of the towers downtown. Freak was demanding that his fellow villains be let out of prison or he would knock the bus off the tower, killing all the children inside. The police couldn’t shoot the bulletproof machine, or put the children in danger, so all they could do was wait for our local heroes. Problem was, those heroes egos have grown so large that they don’t care about the city anymore, or doing right. They refused to show up unless the city paid up.
I figured if our heroes wouldn’t do it, I could fight Freak. I knew his fighting style, and his weakness; a severe allergic reaction to peanuts. I had done this dance hundreds of times before, so I was sure I could do it sober. I pulled out the old mask and cape, grabbed a bag of peanuts, and headed for the tower.
I sneaked my way around the police barricades and got to the roof. The confrontation wasn’t pretty. I was able to dodge his attacks, but without my super strength, I couldn’t hit him. All I could do was keep dodging his attacks and keep hiding behind cover until I got my chance to throw the nuts. We exchanged words, witty banter, the usual hero-fighting-villain stuff. But I was getting tired, and Freak finally hit me. I slid across the roof and over the edge.
I managed to grab the awning, but my grip was weak and getting worse. Freak started blabbering about me being defeated and washed-up. I didn’t listen. I was more focused on living. I reached into my pocket and pulled out a shot 190 proof vodka. In hero-mode, I always have a backup plan. While the freak was blathering, I downed it. I felt the effect immediately. My strength grew quickly and I launched myself at Freak. I ripped open the bag of nuts and shoved some down Freak’s throat. He started to gag, quickly stood up and ran. He fell off the edge of the roof before I could stop him.
I didn’t stick around to see if he survived. I hightailed it home. The children on the bus were eventually rescued, every one of them safe….
…”As for me,” Alcoholic Anonymous continued, “I will need to drink if I am to keep this city safe from villains like Freak. Will you help me keep it under control?”
The small support group all nodded their heads, a few clapped.
Without warning, the wall exploded. Standing in the opening was a man in a vicious looking robotic suit… the man who lost his legs under AA’s watch all those years ago. AA knew he wanted a fight. AA reached into his pocket and pulled out a small bottle. He locked eyes with the mechanical giant. “Bottom’s up.”