Previously: A Good Idea, Part One
Later that day, back at the Eyrie, Sky Prince said to his dad, “I think I want to have a secret identity. Go to school with normals. I came up with a name. Desmond Touché”
His dad looked down at him from where he was hovering in front of the Sky Computer, a massive wall-sized installation, which he mostly used to read his fanblogs and watch Netflix movies. “You think that that’s a good idea?”
“I don’t like Crimebuster High,” said Sky Prince. “I don’t have any friends. I have to hang out with the janitors.”
“I meant the name. Desmond Touché. You think people would buy that?”
Sky Prince shrugged. “There’s weirder names.”
“Hm. I guess so.” Sky Lord turned his attention back to the computer. “What about that dog-headed girl? I thought she was your friend.”
“She’s cool, yeah.”
Sky Prince fidgeted. He had never spoken to his dad about Lady Dogface. He knew that his dad used his super hearing to spy on him, and he knew that his dad knew that he knew, but they never talked about it out in the open. When his dad slipped up, let drop things that he wasn’t supposed to know, it made for awkward moments.
“She’s your girlfriend, right?”
“She doesn’t seem to think so.”
His dad chuckled. He turned back to the computer screen, frowned in a thoughtful way. “I could set something up,” he said. He swiped his hands around in the air. A map came up on the screen. “For both of us. Your secret identity would have to have a parent. People wouldn’t understand you living out there on your own. They’d get suspicious. Unless you want to be a runaway on the streets? No. Too dangerous. Here. Let me see. I could get us a house out in the suburbs, find a job …” A house came up on the screen. He gave it a yard by making some sort of precise-looking hand gesture. He gave it a car. He gave it a swimming pool. “I’ll be — let’s see. Desmond Touché Sr.”
“I was just thinking maybe I could go to a normal school,” said Sky Prince. “Just the school part. We don’t have to do the rest of it, do we? The whole living-the-life thing?”
His dad turned to face him fully.
“A secret identity is more than just play-acting,” said his dad. “A secret identity is an investment. You have to put time and energy into it, or it’s not worth doing. It’s got to be real, or it’s meaningless.”
“Which is why you never bothered?” said Sky Prince.
“What makes you think I never bothered?” said Sky Lord, slowly.
Sky Prince sat on the cold floor of the Eyrie. He pulled his knees up to his chin. “Never mind, I guess.”
“What is this really about, son?”
“I wish I could do something alone, by myself, for once. Be somebody on my own.”
Sky Lord descended to ground level. “Oh, that’ll happen someday. Don’t you worry.” He slapped his son on the back. “Come on,” he said. “Let’s go have some fun. What can we do. What can we do. Hm. I know!” He put a finger in the air, as if the idea had only just now occurred to him. “I’ll teach you how to fly!”
“Maybe another time,” said Sky Prince. He shut his eyes and sat there. He kept sitting there.
After a while, his dad turned back to the computer. He subscribed to a parenting blog. He subscribed to another. He thought about the secret identity thing. He called up the map again. He looked at the house. He looked at the yard. He gave it a lawnmower.
“You know,” he said, after a while. “Let me tell you about when I tried to have a secret identity. It’s kind of funny, really …”
He turned, but Sky Prince had already gone to his room. Without a word. Without slamming the door. Worrisome.
Next: Sky Prince Sucks