Disclaimer: I do not own PBS, Soup 2 Nuts, or WordGirl.
TO BE A HERO! (PART 1)
Narrator: Hey, kids! Every story of this series has two featured words per story. Look for how they're used, and keep a close eye out for their definitions!
This story's featured words are 'Ability' and 'Terrified.'
Welcome to Fair City, a pleasant, not-so-little town on the edge of the sea, where everyone works and plays in perfect harmony... that is, until some guy tries to rob the bank.
The peaceful atmosphere of City National Bank was suddenly disturbed, as a shady character in an overcoat and fedora kicked the doors down, causing all the patrons to look at him in surprise.
"NOBODY MOVE!" he shouted...as a length of rope, with a thick knot on the end, fell out of his coat's right sleeve. The man started twirling the rope above his head, causing it to strike the lights.
As glass fell all around them, the people started running in fear, out of the bank.
Then, the man let his rope drop, and walked up to the bank counter. He looked around, and found the clerk cowering under the desk.
The stranger threw a bag on the counter, and demanded cash from her.
"OK, OK, J-just don't hurt me!"
"Put the money in the bag, and you won't get hurt! And hurry it up, would you?"
"I-I'm sorry," stuttered the clerk, "I'm just really terrified right now."
Within a few minutes, the robber's bag was full, and he started to walk away, saying, "I'm glad I got this over with before-"
Suddenly, a trio of policemen appeared at the door, and demanded he put his hands up.
"-before they showed up." he moaned.
One of the policemen pulled out a pair of handcuffs, and exclaimed: "It's over, whoever you are!"
Suddenly, the criminal laughed. "Foolish mortals, you are not dealing with an ordinary bank-robber. In truth, I am...The Amazing Rope Guy!"
And suddenly, the man threw off his coat and hat, revealing a blue-and-yellow rubber suit underneath!
Before anyone could react, The Amazing Rope Guy pulled a coil of rope off his shoulder, and threw it at the cops. The police suddenly found themselves tied up in a lasso!
As they struggled to break free, the Amazing Rope Guy ran away, laughing.
"He got away! That's never happened before!" remarked one of the policemen.
"We can't let him get away with this!" shouted another, who struggled a little more...and upon failing, he remarked: "Or...maybe we have to, at least until somebody unties us."
Well, now you've been introduced to the bad guy of our story, it's time to go to Woodview Elementary school, to meet the good guys...
A small, blonde girl in a purple dress walked out onto the playground, intent on drawing something in the sand...when she noticed herself set upon by two boys that were slightly taller than herself.
"Well, well, well. If it isn't little miss imagination herself, Violet Heaslip." one of the boys said, smirking. Violet tried to back away, but found her way blocked by the other kid.
The boy in front of her continued: "Wanna play pretend? You be the banker, and I'll be the Amazing Rope Guy!" As he finished, he pulled a piece of jump-rope from off his shoulder.
Violet started quivering in fear.
Okay...not exactly who I had in mind...
Suddenly, someone just outside the boys' fields of vision shouted: "Leave her alone, you bullies!"
The boys turned around, and saw a brunette-haired girl in a green sweater, and a small monkey wearing a diaper, looking at them angrily.
Stepping in to help the innocent and helpless? Now that's more like it!
The boy behind Violet instantly recognized her; "Brainy Becky Botsford. I'm surprised you've managed to pull your nose out of that book!"
The other one scoffed at her, and said "What are you going to do? Read us a story? Oooh, I'm so terrified!" The boys then laughed at Becky, who started looking angrier.
"I said, leave that terrified girl alone!" she exclaimed, as she clenched her fists...
Suddenly, the monkey right next to her screeched at her desperately. Upon hearing the screeches, Becky took a deep breath, unclenched her fists, and said: "You're right, Bob. They aren't worth it."
Suddenly, the boys gasped. "Not worth it?" said the one with the jump-rope, "Oh, that's it!"
And with that, they walked up to Becky, whose face suddenly gained a terrified expression.
(one scene transition later)
The two boys threw her, all tied up in jump-rope, against a nearby tree. She struggled against the jump-rope that had suddenly bound her, as the bullies threw her backpack up the tree laughing as they did.
"Now, Violet, where were..." one of the boys began to say, but he suddenly noticed that Violet was nowhere in sight.
"Don't worry," said the other one, "She'll be here tomorrow, and then we can have our fun." The two laughed themselves off the scene.
Becky scowled after them, as her monkey, Bob, undid the knot on the jump-rope restraints. After she was free, she said "Thanks, Bob...is anyone looking this way?" Bob shook his head.
Without sparing any time, Becky jumped up in the air...and stayed in the air! In fact, she started rising higher and higher! Eventually, she reached the branch where her backpack had landed, at which point she grabbed it, and slowly floated back down to the ground. She paused for a second when she landed, and looked around (to confirm if there were any stunned onlookers), and walked off.
She sat down near the doors, as did Bob. After a while, she looked at him, and said: "You know, Bob, I really wish humans weren't terrified of people who have superhuman abilities."
Bob screeched some more, in a manner resembling that of someone asking a question.
"You don't know what terrified means? Don't worry, I do: Terrified means the same thing as 'scared,' and 'frightened.' For example, did you get a good look at that girl those two boys were picking on? She was pretty terrified."
After Bob showed that he understood now, Becky continued: "Anyway, if people weren't terrified of people who could do things ordinary humans can't, I wouldn't have to hide these abilities of mine all the time! I mean, why can I do these things if I'm not supposed to?"
She sighed, and said: "If only there were someone else I could talk to, someone who could tell me what to do..."
"A PhD, MfA, MOMA, and LMNOP? If you have all these, why are you applying for a teaching job? Surely you're overqualified to teach science to grade school children."
Hearing this from a nearby window, Becky suddenly took interest in the subject. She walked up to just under the window, and focused.
"Yeah, but my specific field of study is one of the more thankless areas of scientific curiosity: Superhuman studies."
Suddenly, her interest in this conversation increased dramatically.
"It's my job to study the behaviors and abilities of people who can do things ordinary humans can't. You know, like lifting enormous weights..."
Becky suddenly recalled the time when she lifted the family car up a couple of feet in the air when her favorite pony toy was stuck under it. (her family was distracted as she did this, however.)
"...running faster than the human eye can follow..."
She remembered the time when she ran across the city in the blink of an eye, in order to return a set of overdue library books.
The time she woke up one morning to find herself hovering above her bed also flashed before her eyes.
"...and, maybe, those who are unrealistically intelligent."
Finally, she remembered her report card for last year: A+ for all her classes, when the next-closest student got a C.
"(Sigh) Problem is, there aren't that many people around with those kind of abilities. I'm surrounded by normal people! I've got nothing to research, and thus, no funding. So, here I am, asking if I can teach grade-school science."
"Well, don't let me stop you, Dr. Boxleitner. You're hired!"
Becky grabbed Bob, and she pulled him close to her. "Bob, this is exactly what I was waiting for! This guy knows all about superhuman abilities! I think he might be able to help me figure out what to do with these abilities of mine!"Becky hugged Bob tightly in celebration...
...and then let him go, suddenly sad-faced. "Of course, I can't speak to him as Becky Botsford. I don't know if he can keep my abilities secret from my family. They'd be so terrified of me if they learned I was so powerful!"
Bob thought for a bit, and then instantly came up with an idea. He screeched, and Becky's face lit up with excitement when she heard it.
"Of course! Why didn't I think of it before? There must be something there that we could use!"
Later that day, after school...
Becky Botsford and Bob wandered through the woods just outside Fair City, their eyes peeled for any onlookers...and Becky's extra-sensitive hearing tuned in for any unknown sounds.
"Let's hope someone hasn't found it already. If so, we're... Ah!" They stopped, as they found it: A red-and-yellow spaceship with a slight saucer-shape that had buried it's nose in the ground.
"The spaceship from Planet Lexicon that brought us here to Earth! And completely untouched, too!" Instantly, Becky remembers the time when she read the first in the 'Princess Triana' series in the shadow of this wreck.
As she was recalling her early childhood, Bob walked over to the rear of the ship, jumped up, and placed his hand on the entry button...only to hear a bunch of clunking sounds, and see the entry ramp fail to open up!
Becky heard the clunks, and saw that Bob had just failed to open the door. "You know," she said, "It took heavy damage when it hit the ground. You shouldn't really expect that much to work."
When Bob complained in his monkey-speak, Becky said: "There's a second entrance, right?"
Bob pointed to the top of the craft, and then screeched some more.
"It's on the top? No real problem there..."
Before he could ask what she meant, Becky suddenly grabbed Bob's arm, lifted him in the air...and lifted herself into the air as well! Bob screeched in fright as he was suddenly carried well above the ground.
She settled down on top of the spaceship, and let Bob go. He screeched in a very aggravated manner, to which Becky said: "Alright, alright, I'm sorry! I promise I'll give you some warning next time; that way, you won't be so terrified!"
Bob screeched something that probably meant "Good," and then went to work: He brushed some dirt off an area of the ship, and then pressed his monkey-hand down on a hard-to-see button. Instantly, a circular section of the hull opened up, camera-shutter style! Becky and Bob jumped down into the opening, which instantly closed behind them.
As they touched the floor, the lights instantly came on. They found themselves in a rather open chamber with yellow-and-red walls, several doorways leading to many different rooms, and a pilot's seat with huge screens in front of it on one end.
"Wow, Bob, this is pretty big! You could make a home in here...or a super-secret hideout of some sort! Our home-away-from-home! What do you think, Bob?"
Suddenly, she realized that Bob wasn't next to her. She called after him, and heard his screeches coming from another room. When she followed the direction of his screeches, she found him in a pile of clothes, wearing red pants, a blue shirt with a yellow lightning-bolt shape on the chest, and a red helmet with a tiny antenna!
"What's that, Bob? I thought you threw away your pilot's suit when you-" she was suddenly interrupted by Bob, who screeched some more.
"Oh, you had a spare. That makes sense. Now, time to find something for me to wear."
Becky and Bob rummaged through several piles of debris, searching intently...but were forced to draw a blank. Becky complained: "Are there any clothes on this ship that weren't designed for monkeys?"
Bob thought for a minute... and then remembered something! He hopped over to the control panel at the pilot's seat and started pressing buttons.
Before Becky could ask what was going on, part of the floor started rising! It rose to Bob's height, and then popped out some kind of tray!
Becky reached into it, and pulled out a yellow shield-shaped device, with a red star-shaped button in the center.
"What is it, Bob?" she asked, to which Bob responded by screeching some more.
"A Lexiconian one-size-fits-all safety suit? OK, but... how do I put it on? I'm not even sure how this is supposed to be a suit!"
Bob sighed, grabbed the device, and turned it over in his hand. From there, two extendible straps were visible. Bob grabbed these, extended them, then looped the whole thing around Becky's chest. (Becky laughed as he did, then said "That tickled!") Once the straps were hooked, Bob pressed his paw hand firmly to the star-button.
Suddenly, light radiated from the device, and engulfed all of Becky's body! Then, just as soon as it had appeared, it disappeared...leaving Becky in a red full-body suit, with darker-red boots and gloves, a red helmet, a yellow cape, and an insignia on her chest that looked like a flat version of the device Bob placed on her! (a yellow shield with a red star in the center.)
Becky looked at her hands, noticed the gloves, and said: "Cool!" Then, she used one of the old computer screens by the pilot's seat as a mirror, and looked all over herself.
"Bob, this is great! No one will recognize me in this outfit!...What's with the cape, though?"
Bob shrugged in an 'I don't know' fashion.
"Oh well, I guess it'll remain a mystery. Anyway, I've got a suitable disguise. Let's go meet Dr. Boxleitner."
Becky walked up to Bob, and lifted him up in her arms... then asked "Umm...it is OK if I fly around the city, right?"
After Bob screeched something, Becky said: "Flying at high speed? I haven't tried it... But it'll get us where we want to faster. Let's do it!" And with that, she jumped in the air, gripped Bob tightly, and then floated up to the ceiling.
There, Bob pressed a button, and the circular hatch opened up once again. Becky floated up through it, waited for it to close, and then said: "Ready, Bob?"
Bob gripped his tiny little helmet, and nodded.
Becky grinned, coiled her body up like a spring... and then launched herself into the air, leaving a yellow streak behind her.
Wow! Now that's fast!
(ahem) anyway, back at school...
The Principal was just getting into her car, when suddenly a small girl in a red-and-yellow body suit, and a dog (or was it a ferret?) in blue-and-red tights, walked up to her.
"Hello Mrs. Principal!"
"Uh... have we met?" asked a rather confused Principal.
"N...no, not really. I have a question, though... Where would I find Dr. Boxleitner? You know, your new science teacher?"
"Down the road, and to your left. You'll see a big building with police cars in front of it. You'll find his office on the fourth floor, with the other Science labs."
"Thanks a lot!" And with that, the stranger and her pet walked away.
As they left, the Principal stepped in her car, turned the gas on... and then said to herself, "Why do I get the feeling that the city will never be the same?" She thought for a little... and then said: "Oh well. It's probably nothing to be terrified of."
She drove off, unaware of a yellow streak soaring through the air above her...
Across town, at the lab of Professor Boxleitner...
Dr. Boxleitner sat at his new desk, in his lab coat, looking at the empty beakers and condensers before him. He sighed, hoping he'll someday get to research something...
Suddenly hearing somebody next to him, Dr. Boxleitner jerked back in his seat in shock, causing it to topple over and fall on the floor.
As he lay sprawled on the ground, massaging his injured back, someone reached out a red-gloved hand and offered to help him get back up. He accepted the aid, and once he got up, he looked around, and found the intruder: A little girl, and a monkey, wearing bright costumes. (Becky and Bob.)
"Hi," he said, slightly embarrassed. "Sorry about my being terrified back there, but... I didn't really know you were there. Speaking of which, How did you-"
"You left the door open."
"Oh," he said, even more embarrassed. Then, he pulled himself back to a presentable image, and said "Anyway, I'm Professor Steven Boxleitner. What can I help you with?"
"I have these abilities that no one else has, and..."
Suddenly, Dr. Boxleitner interrupted her: "Woah, did you just use the word 'abilities?"
"Yep. And I know what it means, too: A natural, or acquired, skill or talent."
Dr. Boxleitner put his hand to his chin; "Like, for example, you have the 'ability' to define 'ability'! You're very smart for your age."
"Thanks. I think I memorized the entire dictionary. (Dr. Boxleitner's eyes widened here.) And that's not my only ability! Watch this..." And with that, Becky suddenly disappeared!
Before Dr. Boxleitner could ask "Where'd she go?", she reappeared. Then, she dashed over to a nearby pile of large boxes, grabbed one box in each hand, and lifted both up with ease!
Before Steven could even blink, Becky rose into the air...with the boxes still in her hands!
After a little bit, Dr. Boxleitner finally found some words to say: "Be careful! My equipment's in those boxes!"
"Oh! I'm sorry." said Becky, and then carefully set the boxes back down on the floor.
Steven sighed in relief; "That's a relief. After all, I can't study superhumans like yourself if I lose that equipment! That is what I study you know; superhumans."
"That's why I'm here," said Becky, who floated over to him; "I need to know what to do with these abilities, and I was hoping you could give me a few Ideas. What do people like me do with their abilities?"
Dr. Boxleitner's eyes suddenly widened in surprise; "...Don't tell me you've never heard of a superhero before?"
Becky thought about it for a second; and then, with an embarrassed look on her face, said "Nope. Can't say I have."
"You've never read a comic book before?"
"They're too easy to read. I stick with actual books."
"I see. Well," Dr. Boxleitner walked over to his desk, and grabbed the newspapers, turning to the page concerning the previous day's Bank-robbery. "Remember the Amazing Rope Guy?"
Becky nodded, and said: "He was all over the news. My parents were quite terrified to learn that someone could overpower the police like that."
"I know. Superheroes exist to deal with criminals like that, who the police can't deal with. They also help out with natural disasters, rescue trapped people, and the like. Whatever the situation, if people are in danger, a superhero will use their awesome abilities, or 'superpowers,' to get them out of danger."
Just then, Bob screeched something, and Professor Boxleitner asked what it was; "Come to think of it, who is he?"
"Oh, he's the pilot that brought me to Earth."
"Oh, I see. Now, what was he saying?"
"Well, the things you described superheroes of doing sounds a lot like Firemen, Paramedics, and the other 'emergency response' guys. What exactly separates superheroes from those guys?"
"Let me answer your question, with another question: Can a Fireman punch through walls? Can a Paramedic fly? (without a helicopter, of course) Can either of them run at the speed of sound? Or define all the words in the English language?"
Becky hesitated, then said: "I...don't think so..."
"The answer is no. However, You can! And people who can do these things usually become superheroes. So, wanna give it a try?"
Becky nodded. "...Sure...maybe when I'm older. I'm only nine years old, you know..."
Dr. Boxleitner then remarked: "There are such things as young superheroes, you know. Besides, even if you don't want to jump into it right away, we might as well get the beginner details out of the way right now, eh?"
To this, Becky said: "...Yeah, might as well."
"Perfect! And your monkey pilot-" Steven was suddenly interrupted by Bob's screeching.
Becky translated: "Um, he doesn't really want to be called 'monkey pilot.' He says he would prefer to be referred to by his name."
"OK. Sorry about that...but what is your name, really?"
Becky thought for a second, and then requested that she discuss his name in private. Dr. Boxleitner agreed, and she huddled close to Bob as Steven walked away.
"What are we going to call you?" she whispered to Bob; "If I call you Bob, it might link us to our family!"
Bob screeched something, to which Becky responded: "Wait; Bob isn't your real name? Then what is?"
Bob told her. She thought, and then said: "That sounds good."
They broke the huddle, and Becky said: "Dr. Boxleitner, his name is...Captain Huggyface!"
Becky laughed, and remarked: "I guess it sounded better when he said it."
Dr. Boxleitner nodded. "Anyway," he continued, "Captain Huggyface could be your sidekick. He could help you when you need it!"
Huggyface nodded; he had taken it upon himself to protect and help Becky long ago. Doing it this way didn't sound much different.
"Right! Now, for your superhero name."
Becky raised an eyebrow, and Dr. Boxleitner explained: "All superheroes have a Secret Identity. They can't be superheroes all the time...that would get boring! But they need to protect the people who care about them, so they take on an alternate identity. After all, if someone goes to jail because of you, would they hesitate to get their revenge by attacking your family?"
Becky instantly agreed.
"This is why I didn't ask for your name...you still need another one for your superhero identity!"
Becky placed her hand to her chin, and thought...
"You can base it off of your abilities, like your vocabulary!" Dr. Boxleitner offered.
Instantly, Becky came up with an idea: "How about 'The Super-Sweet and Really Strong Princess who also knows Vocabulary'?"
"...It sounds...nice...but it's really quite a mouthful. Plus, a lot of the people I've met probably don't know half of those words! How about something shorter?"
"Hmmm...Ah! How does 'WordGirl' sound?"
"WordGirl? That's perfect!"
Yeah! I can see it already: WordGirl and Captain Huggyface, visitors from the Planet Lexicon, here on a mission to fight crime, and teach new words!
The Narrator's voice catches Becky (WordGirl) and Bob (Captain Huggyface) by surprise. "Who said that?" she asked.
Me? I'm the Narrator! No reason to be terrified!
"No reason? But...do you know my real Identity?"
Well, It's really hard for me to miss things, so, I guess I do. But I won't tell anyone! And I'm sure the audience will make the same promise, right?
Good. You see, WordGirl? Your secret's safe with me.
Dr. Boxleitner sighed in relief. "Good to know," he said. "Now, WordGirl, are you ready to get started?"
"Yeah, but...are you sure being a superhero is right for me?"
"Well, according to my colleagues' research on people with similar abilities, being a superhero is what most of them do! It shouldn't be that much different for you. Trust me on this."
Umm...could you wrap it up? We're out of time here.
"Drat!" exclaimed Dr. Boxleitner.
Don't worry, we can start up the instant we get back.
"Alright. But don't keep me waiting, Work generally makes me hungry."
OK. So, WordGirl is about to learn how to use her abilities to benefit mankind. If you want to learn how it turns out, be sure to catch the next exciting installment of...WORDGIRL!
(screeches are heard in the background)
Oh, and Captain Huggyface too.
TO BE CONTINUED...
Phew! Writing a prequel is hard work!
But if it's liked by my fellow fans, it will be worth it!
Note: I used the Amazing Rope Guy because, in most action shows, the first fights are usually against the easiest opponents. (they're hard at first, but as the hero gets more experience, they get much easier.)
Anyways, stay tuned for Part 2!