It seemed like only yesterday, but in fact it was two days ago that Eugene Spratt gained his super powers. Being the most gifted botanist in his fourth-grade class (not his super power), the science teacher, Mrs. Fuentes, suggested a weekend seminar at the John Cucumber Melon Camp, on azaleas. Eugene jumped at the opportunity, literally. He leapt in the air a paltry three and a half inches, greedily snatching the brochure. “A weekend seminar!” he marveled. “I can’t wait!” Since botany was an unusual hobby for a fourth grader, Eugene had few friends and spent most of his weekends puttering around his garden, anyhow. This gave him the chance mingle with like-minded individuals, if not kids his own age. Besides, he’d never visited the John Cucumber Melon Camp.
It turned out to be much more complex than Eugene had expected. It was housed in a sprawling white building, with a gigantic green room in its center. When Eugene arrived Saturday morning at 7:30 AM sharp, teams of scientists were already hard at work, hustling this way and that, all hunched over clipboards or whispering to one another. Unfortunately, the room with the seminar was not clearly marked, and Eugene wandered the John Cucumber Melon Camp for almost an hour, until his stomach began to growl. As he entered a room with no sign on the door, he noticed a plate of squash, chopped up and steaming. No one else was in the room, and there were no “Free Sample” labels about, but he felt safe in assuming it was open to the public. He did not notice the laser beam mounted on the ceiling, still pointed at the plate of squash, until it was too late.
Eugene, it should be noted, has a voracious appetite. Put a plate of cookies in front of him and he will devour them all in a micro-second. And so it was with the squash. Before the scientists could dash into the room from their observatory, Eugene had consumed the entire plate. The two scientists burst into the room, panting, and looked at Eugene, then at the empty plate. “But-but-but… you ate the whole thing!” one of the scientists, the tall one with curly red hair stammered.
Eugene blushed. “I’m sorry, I can’t help myself. I have a voracious appetite.”
“Young man, that squash wasn’t meant for human consumption. We were conducting a mysterious experiment on it,” the second scientist, a short rotund bald man with rimless spectacles said. “We were testing to see how much radiation a squash can safely absorb before exploding. Surprisingly, it can take quite a wallop.”
“Radiation!” Eugene exclaimed. He didn’t feel so good and ran out of the room, racing for the exit of the building.
“Wait, kid! Wait! We need to test you!” the scientists shouted as they chased after him. But Eugene was faster, and as he reached for the door, a vine shot out of his hand. He curled the vine around the doorknob and pulled it open, pulling himself in the process. As he did so, he noticed his feet had conformed into a round bulbous shape. He skittered along the floor in a flash and flew out the door.
“Holy Caesar’s Mackerel, I have the proportional strength, speed and agility of a squash, apparently of the butternut variety,” Eugene said. “I should test my newfound powers out on some unsuspecting charlatans. But first, a costume.” Racing home, he snuck into the garage and found a red and white picnic blanket, swimming goggles and a green beret that was in the garage for some reason. He added these accoutrements to his white shirt and khaki cargo shorts and voila! The Squash was born!
As luck would have it, the Almost First National Bank downtown was being robbed. Using the innate super-knowledge of the squash, Eugene was aware of this and zoomed to the rescue. Just as the criminals were running out the front door with canvas dollar-sign bags of cash in hand, he swung from the awning, using his vine-making powers and slammed into the head criminal, Farney Blarnsworthy. His minions, Biff and Happy stopped to help him up. But The Squash unleashed a vine from his hand which coiled around the crooks, tying them together. “What in my name of crookedness am going on here?” Farney Blarnsworthy asked.
“I am what am going on here, vile scum!” Eugene said.
“You? But you am just a kid!” Farney said.
“Ah, but that’s where you’re wrong. For I am The Squash! Righter of wrongs! Doer of good! And hero of super! Exeunt!” And with that, Eugene (or should I say The Squash) rolled away just as the police drove up to apprehend the criminals.
“What the shillelagh begorrah happened here?” Officer Hamish McIrish asked.
“The Squash was happened,” Farney said. “The Squash was happened.”
“Scarlet O’Huh?” asked Officer McIrish.
And so, Eugene went to school that Monday more confident than before, now that he was a bona fide superhero. And he knew that no bullies would dare attempt their bullying ways on him. For if they did, they would have to contend with…

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