Geekdom again . . .

SLOW BURN PART II:

TWENTY YEARS LATER . . .

“. . . and I’m Lois Luthor. Tonight on Metropolis Spotlight, we have an in-depth look at America’s – and the world’s – favorite family, the Flash Family!

For more than 25 years, the Flash Family has crossed the globe thousands of times every minute, righting wrongs and stopping crimes and natural disasters in their wake. They have become the embodiment of altruism and self-sacrifice, as we will hear later on from some of their many fans, and, indeed, from some of the Church of Holy Lightning’s followers. But let’s get re-introduced to the members of the fastest family on Earth.

Patriarch Jay Garrick has been running circles around the rest of us longer than any other Flash in history. For more than 40 years, as a result of the inhalation of hard water fumes during a school experiment, Jay gained super-speed. He spent the first fifteen years of his life garbed in a red shirt and a soup bowl hat, fighting crime with a secret identity. Now, although his speed is not what it used to be, Jay still runs as much as he can, much to the chagrin of his family. Here’s Jay’s wife Joan to tell us a little inside scoop about this elder dynamo:

‘When Jay and I adopted Richard after that horrible accident with his family, we never thought we’d be happier. However, whenever I see Jay working with Barry on projects for the Flash Family and Flashco, he seems lighter than a feather and fifteen years younger. Barry’s idea for bringing the Flashes public and making them a household name revitalized Jay considerably.’

Of course, as most of our viewers know, Richard is Richard Grayson Garrick, current CFO of Flashco, and Barry is the heart and soul of the Flash Family, Barry Allen.”

The image on the television of a dark haired female news anchor is replaced by a picture of a man with a blonde crew cut in a red, full-bodied suit. The suit is accompanied with streaks of yellow, including yellow boots and a lightning bolt across his chest. His suit has no mask, and he has a huge smile on his face.

“Barry Allen is the driving force between Flashco and the Flash Family. Since being soaked in electrified chemicals one night 25 years ago, Barry has been moving at the speed of light. Combined with the scientific knowledge of friend and colleague Professor Emeritus Raymond Palmer, Barry’s speed allowed the creation of innovative products that have improved all of our lives.

Barry and Jay began their crusade working tirelessly around the clock. This breakneck pace would have been impossible to keep up, even for such sultans of speed; thankfully, their roster grew steadily over the years. Wally West, the nephew of Barry’s wife and fiancée at the time, Iris, achieved super-speed in a freak accident that duplicated Barry’s almost exactly. Kid Flash, as he is called, has been essential to the Flash Family for his exuberance, sense of humor, and charm, along with his complete fearlessness in the face of danger.

FLASH FACT . . . Did you know that the Flashes can pass through matter by vibrating so quickly their molecules become pliable? They can phase through anything with no resulting harm, unless they stop vibrating before they’ve completely passed through. The only exception is Wally West, who, as the fastest speedster by far, has a tendency to cause the things he passes through to explode in a burst of kinetic energy . . . back to your story . . .

The mysterious appearance of Max Mercury and his two twin children, Don and Dawn, all speedsters, came just in time. Barry, Jay, and Wally were trying to stem the loss of life from the infamous Kobra/R’as Al Ghul war in Asia. Quicksilver, Max’s aka, and the Tornado Twins were immediately able to make an invaluable save and joined the Flash Family soon thereafter.

But not all of the additions to the Flash Family came at a time of triumph. Several years ago, many of you will remember the campaign of terror unleashed upon America by a man known only as Zoom. This episode of murder and mayhem lasted less than one day, but for someone who could hit a thousand people a minute, one day was long enough. At the time, the world was unaware that Zoom was actually an android created by Vandal Savage to duplicate the Flash’s powers. And therein lied the problem.

When the Flash Family cornered Zoom at the Chambers residence in New York City, Barry Allen tried to treat Zoom like he was a rational, reasonable human. Barry entered the house, planning on exchanging himself for the Chambers family, and found a horrible sight. Zoom had phased his hand into Libby Chambers’ head, then stopped vibrating, causing her death immediately. In a nanosecond, Barry was upon Zoom, destroying him and discovering his android nature simultaneously. It is good for the world that Zoom wasn’t human, because Barry Allen might have been on trial for murder. Then, the world would never have seen the creation of the “Speedy Trial” and “Flash Fry”. These methods, of course, were used for the first time on Vandal Savage, sentencing him to death within a matter of minutes, and summarily executing him via Flash Fry three minutes later.

The surviving Chambers family, husband Johnny and daughter Jesse, learned a mystical formula that, when uttered, gave them super-speed. With a thirst for justice, the Chambers became the Quicks, and Johnny Quick and Jesse Quick are essential members of this extended Flash Family.

The final member is the golden child of the family, Barry Junior, or BJ, as he likes to be called. BJ, the son of Barry Allen and Iris West Allen, demonstrated his value to scarlet speedsterhood by defeating the Ultra-Humanite single-handedly when he was only 9 years old. He has spent the past 13 years since as a media darling and poster boy for high speed.

From old to young, red to yellow, the Flash Family has helped the world community grow and prosper. When we come back, we’ll have a chance to talk to Flashco’s CEO, Johnny Quick. But first, a word from our sponsors.”

“TRY NEW METAMORPHO, THE PILL THAT TURNS YOUR FAT INTO THIN AIR. Hi, I’m Rex Mason, and my –“*click

Barry turned the TV off and turned to Wally, who was sitting on the couch eating nachos.
“Don’t you hate watching yourself on television?”

“Nah, Barry, it’s always a welcome ego boost.”

“Well, Don and Jesse should be checking in soon. It’s our shift in a few minutes.” At that time, Don and Jesse entered the premises. They walked into the room moments later.

“How did it go tonight?” Barry asked.

“No problems – just the typical – people falling asleep at the wheel, a few fires, and a riot in China. No casualties worldwide.” Jesse said as she grabbed a beer from the refrigerator.

“Still didn’t hear from Dad, though,” Don said, stretching. “It’s been two weeks since he left to look into that phenomenon he witnessed. I’m getting a little worried. He’s not even answering the QuikTalk. Unless Ray was wrong about that working at high speeds . . .”

Barry started pulling on his suit. “Ray’s never wrong. Wally and I will check on him this shift. I’m sure he’s okay. Let’s go, Wally.”

***


6 hours later, Wally and Barry arrived in Manchester, Alabama, at a small house in a quiet neighborhood.

“So this is the third house Max has on this continent – I hope we find him soon, Barry, because I’m getting pretty hungry.”

“Wally, you’re always hungry.”

“With my metabolism, might as well eat as much as I can. Well let’s go inside.” Wally took a key from under the mat, and unlocked the door. “Max? Are you there?”

As soon as Barry entered the living room, he smelled it - the stench of death and blood. Clicking on the light, he was able to see what he smelled. The room looked like it had been painted in dried blood and indiscernible body parts. It looked like an animal had torn someone to pieces.

Wally walked in, eating a piece of pizza. “I found food that was recent and un-moldy in the kitchen. Max must have been home BLAGROODD.” As the sights and smells hit him, Wally’s eyes widened, the pizza falling unnoticed to the ground. Faster than any normal eye could follow, he bolted for the bathroom.

Ten minutes later, the toilet flushed and Wally walked out, looking ashen faced. “What do we do?”

“I’ve just called the police. Wait outside until they get here, and get some fresh air. I’ve got something to do that I don’t look forward to.”

“What?”

“I have to tell two teenagers that their father has been murdered.”

Click here to read part 3 on my website.

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