It is difficult to describe how I met them. It had happened so quickly. One moment I was just an ordinary single mother living in a run down neighborhood trying to make ends meet. The next I found myself with new job with very generous benefits including full medical and dental and some of the best friends I could ever wish for. But I am getting ahead of myself. It would make sense for me to start with how I came to meet The Justice League.
It was December. I remember because the boiler was not operational and we had no hot water or heat. Because of this my twins Timmy and Heather would sneak into my bed at night to stay warm. My nightly ritual had fallen into making dinner for my children, boiling water for strip washes in the tub, and putting them to bed.
After the customary strip wash and dry down, I managed to wiggle my children into their jammies. Like all four-year-olds Timmy and Heather were not thrilled with the idea of bedtime.
"Mommy do we have to go to bed?" Heather whined as I braided her hair. Heather was the oldest of the twins. No matter where I took the twins, I got comments about how much Heather looked like me. She had long sunset red hair and bright green eyes like me, although my red hair was cut in a bob.
"Yes," I replied.
"Because if you don't the boogie man will come and get you."
"Na ah," Timmy said climbing on my back. Timmy had the curliest hair I had ever seen in my life. It had been dark like my father's had been. He had lighter blue green eyes. His cheeks and nose were spotted with freckles.
"He will too," I told my son. "The boogie man and I are like this." I showed them my crossed forefinger and middle finger.
"Are not," Heather taking hold of my hand.
"Are not," the twins chimed together.
"Are…" I was interrupted by a loud thud on the fire escape. My twins scrambled into my arms whimpering.
"What was that?" Timmy asked.
"It's the boogie man!" Heather shrieked.
"You two stay right here," I ordered shifting my children off my lap and onto the bed. I carefully and cautiously moved towards the window. Moving the curtains revealed a prone figure of a man on the balcony of the fire escape.
I quickly opened the window and checked for a pulse. A steady heartbeat was my answer. The man was dressed in a skintight red suit and yellow boots. He had a slender build and the tightness of his clothes accented his muscular physic.
A bright green light turned my attention upward. The light turned pink, then green again. Above me two figures darted through the air, blasting each other with their respectively colored beams of light. The figure with the green light let out a blast of light that knocked the pink figure down to the alley below.
The green figure floated down the fire escape and bent down next to the unconscious man. By then my children, disobeying me had joined me at the window. Timmy's eyes light up as the man landed.
"Wow. You're Green Lantern," he said.
The man nodded and smiled at Timmy. He was a tall, black man who also wore a skintight suit, but his was black and green. He sported a shaved head and beard with green eyes. He soon turned his attention to his friend.
"You just had to leap before you looked," he said. "How is he?"
"Alive," I said. "Beyond that I don't know. I suggest that we get him inside before he freezes."
"Flash freeze?" he questioned. "Never thought I would hear those two things in the same sentence, but you're right. Come on, give me a hand."
Between us, we managed to get Flash to my couch. I pulled off a throw off the back of a chair and wrapped it around him. Green Lantern, meanwhile, had gone to the window.
"Star Sapphire is still out there. I'm going to check the perimeter."
"Go. I can manage here."
As Green Lantern left to do his check, I collected some more blankets and tucked them around Flash. I was pleased to see that he was shivering. It was a sign that he was alive, but cold.
"Flash," I whispered. "Flash can you hear me? Come on. Wakey wakey."
He groaned and opened his eyes. "I'm…s…s…so cold," he said as his teeth chattered.
"I know. You'll warm up in a minute."
"GL? Oh Green Lantern. He went to do a perimeter check. He should be back soon. Do you want something to drink? I can make some coffee if you like."
"Thanks," he said giving me a little smile.
As I was making up some coffee, I listened to my twins talk to Flash. I figured it was for the best. It would keep him conscious so that he would not go into shock from the cold.
"Are you really The Flash?" Heather asked.
"Yes I am."
"Why are you called The Flash?" Timmy asked.
"Because I am the fastest man alive."
"End of debate," I said coming back into the living room. "It's time for bed you two."
"I don't want to go to bed," Timmy protested.
"Too bad. You both have got appointments with Dr. Wells tomorrow young man and I want you to be well rested for it. Now say goodnight to Flash and go to bed."
"Goodnight Flash," they said glumly.
"G'night kids," Flash said waving and giving them a smile.
As Heather and Timmy shuffled off to bed, I went back into the kitchen and poured three cups of coffee. Loading them on to a tray with the sugar bowl and the creamer, I carried it out to the living room.
"This should warm you up," I commented handing Flash a mug.
"Thanks. Those your kids?"
"Yeah. They'll be five in March and they start school come fall."
"So where's dad in all of this?"
"God knows. Probably off on some sandy beach with a model doing photo shoots for his next picture."
"So you are divorced?" he asked as he started to load his coffee with large spoonfuls of sugar.
I nodded. "Four years. Hey are you going to have any coffee with that sugar?"
He smiled. "This is how I always take my coffee."
"But not always, I would think. I mean you probably took your coffee differently before you became a superhero."
"I did, but that was so long ago I can't remember. So what's your name?"
I blushed. "Sorry, just preoccupied. It's not everyday a live hero drops in. I'm Amelia Jones."
"Amelia? It suits you."
"Thanks, I like it too."
It was about that time Green Lantern returned. Flash tried to stand up but was unable to. Green Lantern put his hand on Flash's shoulder. "Take it easy kid. You took quite a beating."
Flash nodded as he took a sip of his sugary coffee. I handed Green Lantern a mug and passed the cream and sugar to him. He gratefully took them in silence.
"GL," Flash said. "I'd like you to meet Amelia Jones."
"John Stewart," Green Lantern said holding out his hand to me.
"Nice to meet you John. Sorry that it is so cold in here, but at least it's warmer in here than it is out there."
"I'll say," Flash said. "Why is it cold in here? That can't be good for your kids."
"The boiler is busted. I know that I can fix it, but the landlord says it's against policy for tenants to do any repairs. I've been waiting for him to fix it since the snow fell, but he hasn't. I'm about ready to screw the policy and fix the damn thing myself. It isn't safe for my kids or any others in the building to live in freezing apartments."
"Then why don't you fix it," Flash said. "I know if my kid was living in these conditions, I'd be raising all kinds of hell about it."
"Do you have a lazy son of a bitch for a landlord? He won't even get off his ass long enough to hold the door open for someone. Believe me, I've been looking for other apartments, but I simply can't afford to move into a better apartment."
"I hear that," Flash said. "The living costs in this city are outrageous. My utility bill alone is enough to make you drop dead."
"Add the cost of daycare and you more or less have the story of my life. Anyway, you guys can stay as long as you need to."
"Thanks," Green Lantern said. "We'll stay until Flash is warm enough to walk out of here."
"In that case," I said getting out of my chair, "would you keep an ear out for the kids? They will probably be awake again soon to crawl into my bed to get warm. I'll be back soon." I padded down the small hallway to my room.
"Wait, where are you going?" Green Lantern asked.
"To change my clothes and get my tools. I'm fixing myself a boiler."
Quietly making my way to the basement of my apartment building, armed with my tools and a flashlight. The door was locked, but the landlord was dumb enough to keep an emergency key on the upper frame. Most of the tenants were not tall enough to reach it and neither was I for that matter. But most of the tenants did not grow up in a circus and have a trapeze artist for a mother, I did. It was an easy matter of jumping up and using my legs as braces in the doorframe as I reached for the key.
"Now I've seen it all," a voice said behind me.
I jumped down with the key in my hand, and turning I found John Stewart behind me. "What are you doing here?" I asked dusting off my jeans.
"Thought I would give you a hand. Flash said he'd keep an eye on your kids."
"I can fix the boiler myself."
"I don't doubt that, but it's a big job. It'll go faster with two of us."
I smiled. "Then let's get started."
Unlocking the door, we crossed the threshold into basement. The stairs leading down were made of wood and the squeaked as we set our weight on them. Luckily the landlord was a heavy sleeper.
"Where did you learn how to do that?" Green Lantern asked.
"Getting the key the way you did. I didn't think the mother of two children could do such things."
"They can. I grew up in a circus. Mom was a trapeze artist. Believe me she got her figure back very quickly after having me. I guess after I had the twins, I wanted to stay in shape just so I could keep up with them. Besides circus tricks come in handy sometimes."
The boiler was located in the back of the basement. From the outside things looked okay, but appearances can be deceiving. Locating a ladder I scaled it and had look at the connection to the pipes.
"Now wonder it's friggin' freezing in the building. The landlord let these valves rust shut. These things look like they came with the building when it was first built thirty years ago. I knew that the landlord was a cheapskate but this is not acceptable. They have to be replaced."
"Then let's get to work," Green Lantern said handing me a wrench.
"While I am loosening this up, see if you can't find a replacement valves. It should be shaped like a 'T'."
For the next hour or so, Green Lantern and I set about fixing the boiler. While he kept a look out, I made the necessary repairs. He became my gopher as he brought me tools and parts that I needed to get the job done.
"Thanks for your help," I said wiping some dirt off my face. Reaching up, I tested the pipe. It was warmer than before. "The heat's coming on. We should have hot water in the morning. I know Mr. Simmons in 4B will be happy. He's really grouchy when he doesn't have a shower in the morning."
"I know the feeling," Green Lantern said.
"Come on. The slum lord will notice that heat is back up in a few minutes."
"Hey the heat's back on," Flash said as we walked back into my apartment. Heather and Timmy were curled up next to him on the couch. Heather was on his lap with her head resting on his chest, her rag doll snuggled under her arm. Timmy was tucked under Flash's arm with his teddy bear and security blanket. "They come in here shivering," Flash replied. "I figured it would be okay."
"It is. Now that the heat's back on, they might sleep in their own beds. Thanks for watching them."
I scooped Timmy into my arms. He twitched at being unsettled but resettled himself in my arms. He had done that since he was a baby. Flash rose from his place on the couch with Heather in his arms. Her arm dangled down and her doll dropped to the floor. Flash bent down and picked it up. He followed me to the kid's room.
There was a bunk bed pushed against a wall. The top bunk was Heather's while Timmy had the bottom bunk. Flash gently laid Heather on her bunk and tucked the blanket around her. He carefully slipped her rag doll under her arm before moving so that I could put Timmy to bed.
"They're sweet kids," Flash said.
"Yes they are, but they have their moments. All kids do."
"I couldn't imagine raising twins on my own."
"I couldn't either until it happened."
"My hat is off to you Amelia Jones. It takes a lot of courage to do what you do."
"And it's people like you that make people like me feel safe to do what we do."
Closing the door behind us, Flash and I walked back into the living room, where Green Lantern was waiting for us. "We better get going," he said. "They'll be wondering why we haven't reported in yet."
"I can't thank you enough for doing what you did," Flash said to me.
"You and Green Lantern made my kids' day by staying for awhile. If you guys ever need any mechanical help, you know where to find me."
"We might take you up on that offer," Green Lantern replied shaking my hand. "Thanks for the coffee."
"Anytime. Have a safe trip."
Watching them race away, I wondered if I would ever see them again. Probably not. Superheroes had no use for common folk like me unless they were looking for someone to press their tights and fold their capes. But what I did not realize at the time was how valuable people like me were to the superhero community.