Too Many Long Boxes!

End of Summer

The Green, Green Glove

by Jack Morman

"Down goes Frazier! Down goes Frazier!" exclaimed Howard Cosell.

"No!" exclaimed Oliver Queen, better known as the Green Arrow.

"Yes!" exclaimed Hal Jordan, better known as the Green Lantern.

"You guys are nuts," said a small voice belonging to the Atom, better known to his students as Professor Ray Palmer.

"Who said that?" asked Oliver.

"Hold on a minute and I'll grow a bit so you can hear me better," said the Atom. He paused and touched the size and weight controls located in his gauntlets. He grew until he was about a foot tall.

"You don't like the sweet science?" asked Hal.

"Smacking around Jason Woodroe, the Floronic Man, or I.Q. is one thing. You're trying to help someone out by stopping a madman. But two behemoths pummeling one another for the money and the bloodlust of the crowd…it's a little too gladiatorial for me."

"You've got to quit using such big words," scolded Oliver.

"If this stuff continues, you're going to see two guys with no gloves mixing it up in a…ring or hexagon or something."

"I think an octagon would be cooler," said Oliver.

"And no boxing gloves?" asked Hal.

Ray was about to respond when the alert light began to flash on the console.

"We've got Weather Wizard and Goldface hitting a bank in Los Angeles," said Atom.

"Double 'W' is a bit far off field," said Green Lantern. "Flash on them yet?"

"Hey, I thought you told me that Barry and Iris were heading to the future to see Iris' parents," said Green Arrow.

"That's right, I forgot," said Green Lantern. "Let's head out!"

"Whoa green boys," said the Atom. "One of us has to stay on monitor duty."

"I should go since Goldface is there. He and I have a history," argued Green Lantern.

"A history of you getting your butt handed to you most every time you face him," rebutted Green Arrow.

"Ollie, what the hell are you talking about?"

"You and I both know that if that ring didn't automatically protect you from fatal injury, Goldface, who has to be one of the lamest supervillans in the world, would have put you in the ground years ago," said Green Arrow.

"Just because you don't have any regular baddies to beat up on doesn't mean that you need to be putting down mine," said Green Lantern. "Goldface's armor alone could give Superman a run for his money."

"Ha!" answered Green Arrow. "You can't lay a hand on that mook 'cause his armor is yellow and your trinket can't do anything against it. Hasn't that ever struck you as stupid that a ring that can do almost anything isn't able to affect the color yellow?"

Green Lantern stood and got into the face of the Emerald Archer. "The Guardians have explained to you and me that it was a necessary impurity."

"Necessary so they could keep you and the rest of your goose-stepping corps in line."

"Now listen here you yellow headed freak…." and the argument continued.

Atom smiled and quietly pressed his size and weight controls. He shrank down until he was all but invisible to the naked eye. He then leaped down from the console and made his way over to the transporter tubes. Once inside, the tube glowed and the Atom was gone.

The Atom materialized on a rooftop overlooking the bank in question. The sky was a deep indigo. The Weather Wizard had summoned quite a storm front for this job.

"See! I told you the West Coast would be a great place to hit. The superheroes are so caught up with the East Coast, they never get out here," said Weather Wizard.

"Green Lantern is in Coast City," said Goldface. His mood was undeterminable from his facial features, which never changed. "If word of this gets out to him…"

"You worry too much. James Jessie and I have hit a lot of left coast locations and the heroes haven't bothered us."

"Yes, but your nemesis just runs fast. Who couldn't outwit a glorified sprinter?" Goldface lifted a parked car and tossed it over towards a gathering of policemen, sending them running for safety. "I regularly face a hero on a cosmic scale."

"Even the villains are proud of their heroes." Atom chuckled to himself. "I wonder if Chronos would agree with them about me."

As if they were listening to his thoughts, Weather Wizard said, "At least we don't have really embarrassing enemies like the Atom."

"True. To be bested by him would be the ultimate humiliation. Stop or I'll get smaller!!!" Goldface mocked.

"That's it," Atom said to no one. He dived off of the roof with his thumb firmly placed on his size and weight controls.

"Everyone at The Slab gives Chronos and Woodrue hell about getting beaten by a little speck…."

The rest of what Weather Wizard was going to say was lost to unconsciousness. The next morning when he woke up in the custody of the police he would realize that he would not be talking for some time to come. Gliding on air currents and weighing almost nothing, Atom gained momentum from his fall from the roof and aimed himself directly for the jaw of Weather Wizard. Atom pressed the studs on his gloves about 10 feet from the manipulator of weather and increased his weight to its full 180 pounds. Weather Wizard never knew what hit him as his jaw shattered.

Goldface began to look around, trying to find the source of his comrade's injury. "All right Lantern," he exclaimed. "I know it had to be you. Come on out and take it like a man."

A small voice answered him. "So the Atom is a lame hero?"

"Who said that?" asked Goldface.

"At least I'm not so lame that I use one of the softest metals in the periodic table to protect myself."

"Is that you Manhunter?" asked Goldface. "You're using some of those mind tricks on me aren't you?"

"No mind tricks." answered the voice. "Although you may have trouble listening to your favorite music for a while." With that, the Atom stepped over the stirrup and anvil in the inner ear and gave a swift kick to Goldface's eardrum.

"Arrrrrrgh," screamed Goldface. He reached his hands up to cup his ear but with the his helmet on, he couldn't reach it. He touched a button near the ear piece, removed his helmet, and continued to cry out in pain.

Atom jumped to the ground and stood before Goldface. "This is too easy," he said aloud.

Again touching his size and weight controls, he grew rapidly to his full 6-foot size…directly under the chin of the now helmetless Goldface. The Atom's fist struck Goldface with frightening power, sending the armored villain to the ground. He was out before he hit.

"Thanks Atom," said a beleaguered cop once things had settled down. "I don't know why we don't have more superheroes out here"

"Just make them welcome, and they'll come," answered the Atom. "Would you do me a favor?"

The cop nodded.

"You don't have a Polaroid camera by any chance? I just wanted these two guys to have a picture of this moment so they can show their cellmates."

The cop smiled. "Two prints of each one?"

"That'll be great."

"And a boxing glove arrow!" yelled Green Lantern. "How do you even fit that thing in your quiver? Besides, it's about as aerodynamic as a rock."

"I'm not the only one stuck on boxing gloves," responded Green Arrow. "At least mine will do damage no matter what color the target is."

The transporter hummed once again and the Atom stepped out at his full 6-foot size. "You guys still arguing?"

"You're right Atom," said Green Lantern. "You stay here and bowstring boy and I will take care of the problem. It's probably a bit too much for you anyway."

"You're right. I'm so tiny I probably can't take on two real villains." He paused and pointed towards the video monitor. "Hey, would you look at that?"

Both Green Lantern and Arrow turned to see a live news broadcast from the site of the bank heist. The Atom turned up the volume.

"…And had it not been for the timely intervention of the Atom, innocents could have been killed. While details are not yet clear as to why the Atom was in the vicinity, it is clear that he stands out as a truly great super powered hero along the likes of Superman and Batman. Both Weather Wizard and Goldface have given second tier heroes like Flash and Green Lantern difficult battles for years."

Green Arrow began to laugh uncontrollably. "Second tier," he exclaimed amid snorts.

The television reporter continued. "Of course Los Angeles has hosted a number of heroes over the years, including Hawkman and the Green Arrow, but in those cases, the heroes seemed to need to lean upon the aid of others. Non-powered gimmick heroes like Green Arrow probably have to travel in circles like the Justice League just to keep from getting killed."

Both men in green stared at the Atom. Silence filled the room as the Lantern turned off the broadcast. Finally the Atom broke the silence.

"Can I help it if that reporter can see true heroism? I think it probably all stems from your attraction to barbaric sports like boxing. It's pretty hard to take any boxing fan seriously."

"Ollie, do you have any of those boxing glove arrows on you?" asked Green Lantern.

"Why yes I do. Hal, could you conjure some of those boxing gloves that you use to pound world class villains with your ring?"

"Why yes I can."

"Then let's see if the 'truly great superhero' can take the two of us out."

"Now wait a minute guys…" The Atom began to back away. "That was just stuff the reporter said. It wasn't me. I…I…I'm out of here" Just as the Atom hit his size and weight controls, Green Lantern and Green Arrow attacked. The last thing Atom remembered seeing were two great green swatches of leather, one for each eye.

Jack Morman is an Assistant Principal with a wife and three beautiful children living together in West Georgia. He stresses the importance of superheroics to his students through comics strategically placed through the school and a large Superman stand-up in his office. His own incredible powers continue to be a burden he is willing to bear.

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This story is 2000 by Jack Morman
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Updated 7/27/2010