Alfred hummed happily as he walked down the street with Toris. Their mutual friend, Feliks, shuffled between them with bags full of men’s clothing (and some girls). Alfred chuckled. “Toris was right,” he thought, “I got Ultimate Alliance 2*, I’m hanging out with my two friends, no test or parents or annoying student council vice to bother me. If only I didn’t have to bring that test home…”
“Oh my God,” Feliks shouted suddenly, “let’s head over to Macy’s! Clothes are ½ percent off!”
Before the other two could say anything, Feliks pulled both to Macy’s, reminding both boys why they didn’t shop with Feliks often. However, the moment they walked through the entrance, a tall dark-skinned man with sunglasses jumped in front of them. “Hello gentleman,” he said with a huge smile, “Would you be interested in some of our latest hats?” He held out a tray with fedora’s** on it. “How about you,” he said pushing it into Alfred’s face.
Alfred backed up a little before smiling as well. “Sorry, I’m not a big hat person.”
The man frowned but moved over to Feliks. “How about you?”
Feliks smiled and grabbed one, putting it on his head. “I’ll, like, take it! How much?”
The man smiled. “All hats are free today.”
All Alfred heard was a squeal before Feliks grabbed Toris and ran to the hat section. Alfred blinked before saying, “I guess I’ll just go home.”
As Alfred left, the salesman smirked. Going off into a corner, he took out of his pocket what looked like a mask. Taking off the glasses, he put on the mask and heard a female voice say, “Is everything going well, Sadiq?”
Sadiq smirked. “Everything is going fine, your grace. Every hat in this store is possessed, and we have Toris surrounded.”
“What a relief,” Alfred sighed falling on his bed. Things had, predictably, not gone well when he returned home. Like he had predicted, his mom had compared his score to Matt’s. What he hadn’t predicted was getting kicked out of the house and told to stay at the library for the night. After five minutes of whining and some pleading from Matt (who was secretly enjoying the scene playing out), Alfred got let back in with his punishment being no video games for a week. Rolling over, he turned on the TV, a Superman movie showing. “If only I could be as strong and awesome as Superman. I’d never get in trouble for stuff like this.”
The movie was interrupted by a newsbreak, making Alfred pout. On the screen was what looked like a man with long, blonde hair, a white mask, and a one piece suit covered in roses and lilies. A reporter spoke, “What you are seeing is amazing. The modern day superhero, Lovely Paris, has once again stopped a massive robbery in Paris, France! This young man has been seen all over Europe fighting crime, but has mostly been in France. Maybe, if we’re lucky, he’ll hop across the pond to the US one day.”
Alfred laughed and turned off the TV. He stared at his posters of Superheroes before deciding to take a nap. Taking off his glasses, he lay on his pillow whispering, “One day, I’ll be a famous hero like Lovely Paris…minus the flowers. Then…I can save everyone.” He then fell into a slumber, unaware someone was watching him.
Toris yawned. He and Feliks had been in Macy’s for hours and they had lost Alfred along the way. Feliks was standing in front of the same mirror he had been staring at for the past twenty minutes since he came back from the bathroom. Toris went up to him. “Feliks, we’ve been here for a while. You can get all the hats since they’re free, so can we leave? We have school tomorrow and I have to do my math home…”
Before Toris could finish, Feliks suddenly grabbed his hand. “Znalazłem Cię***,” he whispered.
Toris blinked, confused. “You...you what,” he whispered.
Feliks turned, his eyes glowing red. “I found you, the lost city,” he said lowly, causing Toris to scream.
Alfred groaned as he felt something poking his leg. He felt something furry brush against him and turned to the source. He opened his eyes and stared into the face of a beast. Yelping, he jumped up, fell off the bed, and put his glasses on. “What the hell,” he started before getting a good look at his awakener. “Hey, you’re the dog from this morning!”
“I’m not a dog, you bastard, I’m an Italian wolf!”
Alfred blinked before jumping up. “You….you can talk?!”
The wolf rolled his eyes and said, “Look, my name is Lovino and I’ve been looking for you for a long time, Alfred Jones. I didn’t realize it was you until you took off the band-aid. So, Grazie.”
The two stared at each other before Alfred got back under his covers. “This is a dream, I’m still sleeping,” he whispered.
Lovino pounced on him. “This is not a dream, you bastard. You’re,” he looked around the room, “a superhero.”
The peaked Alfred’s interest. Sitting up, he looked at Lovino. “I’m a superhero!? I mean, I am a hero, but a superhero? Really!?”
Lovino smirked and barked. In an instant, a bright light ball came out of his mouth. When the light dissipated, there was a silver chain on the bed. On the chain was a round gold pendant with a red, white, and blue star in the middle. “This is yours,” he said, nudging it to Alfred.
Alfred picked it up and put it around his neck. “Cool,” he said loudly, “what does this thing do?”
“It helps you transform,” Lovino said plainly. When Alfred gave him a confused look, the wolf sighed. “Look, with that pendant you will become Star America. Your job is to find the personification of the lost city of Atlantis and protect him or her.”
Alfred blinked again. “Wait…what?”
Lovino growled, “Just say this: stars and stripes transformation.”
“That I can do,” Alfred said with a laugh. Holding the pendant in his hand, he took a breath and said, “Stars and Stripes Transformation!”
As soon as he said this, a bright light lit the entire room. Alfred squinted and saw stars flying around him. Closing his eyes, he felt his clothes fly off and on him again, though they felt like new ones. His body felt warmth from within, as if there was a fire inside him advancing through his veins. And just like that, the light was gone. Alfred kept his eyes shut until he heard Lovino said, “I knew was right.”
Alfred opened his eyes. Looking around, he saw that the room was the same. He looked down and saw that he was now wearing white leather boots. Looking in his mirror, he gasped and smiled. He was wearing a white short sleeved shirt that went down to his waistline. Over his shirt was a red unbuttoned vest, with long blue gloves on his hands. He was wearing pants the same color as the gloves. Leaning in, Alfred saw a headband of gold on his forehead, the American flag in the center. Alfred made a little noise of excitement. “This is so awesome,” he said happily, “I’m like Superman, but not as cool! Wowie wow! I’m an official hero!”
Lovino sighed, watching Alfred admire himself. Alfred jumped up and down when he heard a new voice. Staying still, he listened to the voice coming from his headband. “Help me,” the voice said, “Please…Feliks…Macy’s…the store.”
Alfred’s eyes widened. “That was Toris,” he said frightened, “He’s in trouble!”
Lovino jumped to the window. “You have to go to where he is. It could be our enemy!”
Looking determined, Alfred walked to the window. “To Macy’s!”
Toris felt himself fall to the ground. He looked around at the many customers passed out, Feliks one of them. The fake Feliks had transformed into a monster with fangs, red eyes, horns and purple skin. The hat was still on his head. Toris passed out as the monster walked toward him. “Hmm,” he said, “It seems you are not the one. However, your energy will be perfect for our plan…”
“Stay away from him!”
The monster turned to see Alfred, now Star America, glaring at him. “Who the hell are you,” he snarled.
Alfred froze. He didn’t think that far. “Um,” he paused and then his eyes brightened, “I am the one who destroys evil doers like you! The hero of freedom and justice, Star America!” He pointed at the demon, “And in the name of the stars, I will punish you!”
Monster Feliks smirked and snapped his fingers. The passed out shoppers jumped up, hats on their heads, and charged toward Star America. America backed up, avoiding getting hit or scratched. The monster produced bowler hats with razor edges and threw them at America, who barely dodged them. Lovino, who of course came along, yelled from the corner he was hiding, “You have to fight back, bastard!”
America winced, “How? They’re innocent civilians!”
“The weak point is the hats. Look for your power and attack them. And hurry up,” Lovino shouted quivering.
America turned back to the mob. He closed his eyes and search for his power, therefore his spell. Warmth spread through him again and he found the words. Taking off his glasses, he held them out until they started spinning. He pulled his hand back ready to throw it. Concentrated, he shouted, “Golden Star Sight!” The spinning glasses glowed and he threw them at the people. Instead of hitting them, it destroyed their hats, knocking them out. The final target was Monster Feliks. The monster screamed and dissolved. America grabbed his glasses panting before grinning. “I did it,” he yelled.
Lovino ran up. “Not bad for the first try,” he said somewhat smiling (In a wolfish way…kind of)
America grinned and went to grab the real Feliks and Toris. “I should get these two home.” Turning around, he froze. “Um…Lovino…do I also have to take everyone else home?”
Lovino looked at the passed out shoppers and groaned. “I’ll do it…damn it!”
Sadiq winced under his leader’s icy glare. “I’m sorry, I will try harder next time,” he said.
His leader glared harder. She stood tall in her long white dress and brown curled hair. “You better. We have to find Atlantis soon and now not only do we have Lovely Paris but also Star America to worry about!”
She faded, leaving Sadiq alone. Sadiq groaned. “I was so sure that Toris would be the one! But my mask cannot be wrong twice!” Taking off his mask, he waved his hand over it and it glowed. The mask became like a screen and shown on it was the next target: a young man with blonde hair, green eyes, and big eyebrows. Sadiq smirked. “You’re next.”
*In September 2009, the game Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 came out.
**This is a fedora
***Polish for "I found you"