On the first day, Sam made the box, and the box was good. The box was good, and the walls were tall, and the empty chaos of what was became a form of organizational consequence. On the second day, Sam took a bucket of backyard dirt, packed and molded it into a mountain on the inside of the box and said that henceforth the mound of dirt shall be known as “Bounty Mounty”— and it was good. On the third day, he took several about-to-be-recycled cereal boxes from the kitchen—Grape Nuts— “hard and bland” and Cap’n Crunch— “hard and delicious.” He cut them into tiny stackable homes and aligned three of the walls with them. Cap’n Crunch homes had the best views of the box—at the top of the columns—yellow beveled rectangles enlarged to show texture to the sky. They were small, but they were good. And on the fourth day, Sam snuck into his Dad’s woodshop to find material for the homes of his favorite toys. Scrounging the scraps, he found pieces of mahogany that would go on to build the “bestest” houses of all—the ones for the residents of Bounty Mounty. He found enough scrap wood to make three cubes. He wedged them into the dirt with tight knuckle-twists downward. And these too, were good. On the fifth day, he discovered that one of the wooden homes had slid off of the mountain and most of his top apartments were crushing the lower ones due to shoddy material (“stupid Grape Nuts”) and structurally unsound mounting practices. He uprooted the other two wooden houses and bartered with his Mommy for a piece of leftover sod which she had acquired from working at the Franklin Country Club last week. He took the grass and laid it on Bounty Mounty, giving the land some structure. Then he re-twisted the houses in, wedging little flecks of paper-thin grass about the bases of each. And this was good. The following day, he didn’t have time to build because he had to go to oboe practice after school, but he didn’t want to because of what had happened the week before. He was heckled in the bathroom by the boys who knew he had named his instrument “Oboe Wan Kenobi.” When he was in the stall, he let out a “bum bum noise” and one of the boys said aloud to the other bathroom bully, “The force is strong with that one.” Then he let out a long stream of “bum bum noises,” and they laughed even more. On the seventh day, he used Scotch tape peppered with his dead cat’s hair to repair the apartments. He smoothed the creases of the crushed homes and taped them back to the walls. Then he proclaimed himself Grand Puba of "Sprekenzee Doitch,” otherwise known as “Boxington.” He stood with satisfied crossed arms and pigeon toes. This was good. All of it—real good.
Sam reached his orange-tipped fingers into a plastic bucket labeled WWII and pulled out a clump of small army men, staining them with the remnants of after-school snack Cheetos. Among the orange crusts, the soldiers were different colors and had different helmet shapes and eye shapes. There were four main armies—two Allies, two Axis—according to the bucket and something his Dad had mentioned before about Grandpa. The Americans were dark green, Japanese were light green, Germans were grey and the Brits were tan. Sam really didn’t like the color green, but he liked America more than his nonliking of green, so they got the best apartments. The grey ones with the cool helmets were hurled into the next row of tiny cigarette-pack sized apartments. Then tan, then light green. After housing his armies, he realized that he would need more people to live in Boxington. Who else was the military to guard, after all?
He opened his closet and pulled out his Dad’s old footlocker. He rubbed his fingers over the once-white, now darkened to gray stenciled letters: Rote. Then he spun the dial on the combination lock until he felt the familiar groove of the zero and the clasp released. A picture of his parents was taped to the inside of the top—it was taken before he was born, when his Dad still had both of his legs. His Mommy was in a wind-caught white dress with yellow flowers tangled in her hair. His Dad was looking at her like he had looked at the Grand Canyon last summer. Sam tossed aside one of his Mommy’s boring grown-up books; it had a bald man on the front, sitting Indian style next to a wooden wheel with white thread being pulled from it. He slipped his pointer finger through the loop of his Dad’s Purple Heart war medal and spun it with one hand while the other sifted for his favorite toy—Batman—occasionally known as the halfbat. He saw the black arm and brought two hands together to do the work of uprooting him. The halfbat was missing one of his legs too, but he didn’t need two legs. Sam flapped the hard plastic wings, tilting his head to the side in consideration of the one-legged halfbat, and then hooked him by the wing to the edge of the locker. Under the drawing he did last year for art class—a picture of an oak tree growing through a sidewalk with a combat boot looming over it—he saw the purple-suited, green-haired jerk that always caused trouble for the halfbat. Poking the perpetual thorn in all of his toys’ sides was the worst footlocker companion of all—the halfclown—also known as the Joker. He removed the noose from his neck, inverted his eyebrows at him, and tossed him aside—unsure if he was going to allow him to enter Boxington. Below last year’s Little League shirt (bloodstain, curveball, Dad mad), he found his second favorite toy with his adamantium claws wedged as far as bendable plastic could stretch around the throat of the classic horror halfwolf. The last battle was a close call, but Wolverine—the alpha—beat Wolfman—the classic—once again.
His bedroom door swung open. “What you up to, my Sammy-wammy lovey-dovey?” His Mommy walked in with short, quick steps. She didn’t speak as much as coo. She pinched his far-too-old-for-that cheeks.
“I’m getting ready to move into Boxington,” he growled from the fighting halfwolves.
She unpeeled the claws from the weaker halfwolf’s throat, made them kiss each other on the cheek and apologize in high-pitched girl voices. She handed them back to him; he inverted his eyebrows.
“You practice your oboe tonight?”
“No, not yet.”
“But don’t you want to be a great oboe player like your Uncle Bry Bry?” She licked her thumb and wiped the orange crumbs from his cheek.
He thought of his uncle, and his squeezed-shut eyes on the cover of his solo oboe CD. He made him call him ‘Unkie’ and always had sweaty hands at dinner prayers. Sam twisted his toe inward and sideglanced his eyes.
“Put your toys away and get out your oboe,” she told him.
“But I …”
She placed a finger on his lips. The vein in her forehead jumped. “My little cutie patootie is a good listener—which is why he is going to put these toys down and practice his oboe.” When she spoke in higher tones, her brows lifted and bounced her tightly curled bangs.
“Okay,” Sam said in that disappointed-kid way, shuffling resignedly to the bed and tossing the halfwolves upon it.
“That’s a good boy,” she said as she backed out of the room.
Picking up Oboe Wan, he wrapped his lips around the aperture, inhaled, and began count with his tapping foot. Out in the living room, he could hear his parents talking. He could make out the word, ‘sissy.'
* * *
The following morning, his Mommy discovered that Sam had forgotten his lunch in the fridge. She could not have her little boy’s tum-tum in rum-rums, so she rushed to catch him on the walk to school. His father tried to pull her from the maternalism whirlwind. “Let that boy buy his lunch today,” he said to her. Her eyes went into default protective mode in all matters dealing with her sonny honey bunny. He continued diplomatically. “He asked if he could buy lunch today, and I gave him a couple of bucks. Just leave the lunch here for me. I’ll eat it.” He grabbed around the small of her waist and swung her to his chest, leaning his nose into the crook of her neck. She curled her shoulder upward to her ticklish neck with a girlish smile, hastening the unravel from his grip.
“But I cut his sandwich into a little heart shape,” she said in that same disappointed-kid tone that Sam had used the night before. She opened the bag and pulled out the double hump lump. The bread was squeezed between her insistent knuckles. She turned and ran out of the house, climbed into the van and drove towards the school.
Scouring the group of kids ahead, she saw the bobbing steps of her dark-haired pumpkin. She slowed and yelled, “Honey Pot!” out of the window of the walking pace van.
Sam turned to look and quickly bent down to tie his shoe.
A group of neighborhood boys walked around him while he was hunkered down. When they passed, he glanced up and saw the fluorescent green backpack of the braggy kid he didn’t like. He didn’t know his name, but the halfwolves called him ‘the beak’ because of his long, pointy, rat-like nose. Sam didn’t like that neon-green backpack—it said excite and was written with lightning bolts that reminded him of Mountain Dew and fast-moving action sports that he wasn’t allowed to play. The rat-like boy turned his face and whispered to the other boys, “Honey pot” and nodded back towards Sam who was unsuccessfully shrinking into the sidewalk. They laughed. Sam finished pretending to tie his shoe and stood up, allowing his gaze to linger long enough to heat his insides.
“Little lamb! You forgot your lunch, sweetie.” His Mommy pulled up next to him and thrust the paper bag out the window. The ‘a’ in Sam was replaced with a heart balloon that was tethered to the branch of a small oak tree.
“Everything okie-dokie, strongie-wongie?”
Sam took the bag from her and looked down.
“Yeah.” He kicked at the ground. He saw yellow movement out of the corner of his eye.
It was Jane—all sunshine and knee high socks.
“Hey,” she said to him.
“Hey,” he said to the sidewalk, tilting his toe inward. His ears turned hot and he screwed his lips to the corner.
“Well, I’ll see you after school, sugar mouse. Come gimme a kiss,” his Mommy said.
Up ahead, the beak boy snorted and his flock of sheep bah bahed.
Sam looked at his Mommy, and she was smiling and meaning well, so he went up to her and kissed her. On the lips.
The boys laughed even louder. Jane looked down to toe a rock.
His Mommy pulled away.
“You finish your box town yet?” Jane asked.
They walked together towards the flock of boys. His nerves rattled but she was as steady as the day.
“Strongie-wongie!” the beak mocked. He and the other boys started to make kissy noises and smoochy sounds.
“Wongie-dongie kisses his Mommy-wommie on her lips—ewwww,” he said and the boys laughed.
Sam heard these jests in his gut, and though he felt like he should keep walking past them, his feet stopped him directly in front of the beak’s pointy sniffer. Sam was shorter than him and could see up his nose. He had a booger in it that flapped with his breath. Sam’s eyes squinted up at him and his upper lip snarled. An adult shadow loomed over them, and the beak moved back. “What are you boys doing? Get to class now or you will both be sent to the Principal’s office.”
“Yeah, loser, good thing she’s here to save you—or you’d be sorry,” the beak said and then turned to walk away.
Sam’s ears heard the teacher’s voice, and his eyes saw the beak move his lips, but the heat in his ears, the weight in his gut, and the tensing of his fists were too loud. He stood there with an anger glint dancing on the threshold of action. Then he saw the beak walk away.
“What is your name?” the teacher asked Sam.
He turned and ran into the school.
As he rounded the corner, his heavy feet turned into a shuffle, and his body bent from an upper case ‘I’ to a lower-case ‘r’.
* * *
That night, his father was airing out his stump, scratching the end of it.
“Hey,” his Dad said.
He lifted the remote and muted the TV. “How was school today?” His other hand slowed to an unconscious, circular stroke of the stump.
Sam was taken aback. “Fine.” He collected his lips at the corner.
His Dad moved his prosthetic leg from the couch cushion and waved his hand for him to sit. He sat parallel to him; both of them looked towards the center of the room.
“Anything you want to talk to about?” he asked his son.
“No.” Sam angled his pinky finger so that he could bite the nail below the flushed end of the fingertip. He looked at his Dad out the corner of his eye.
“If there’s ever anything you want to talk with me about—you can.” he said.
Sam could feel his father’s gaze. He met his eyes briefly and looked at the stroking hand and the stump.
“Why’d you used to fight a lot?” he asked his father, thinking of all the stories he had heard about him.
He stopped stroking his stump and looked out the corner of his eye at his son. He began in a lived-hard-and-seldom-speak-about-it gruff, “Sometimes I fought because I had to. Sometimes I fought because I didn’t wanna let people get the best of me. And I fought in the war because I’m a man and that’s what you do for your country. You thinkin’ about fightin’ someone?”
Sam turned to look at his Dad. “Thinkin’ bout it.”
“Who? And Why?”
“This braggy kid that likes neon green laughed at me, and his nose is long when Mommy brought my lunch, and he called me a loser, and I wanted to hit him in his long, stupid nose but there was a teacher there, and I ran away from her, and she didn’t know my name.…” His heart began to regain its pain from earlier. He wanted to cry. His chin dimpled as the words slid out of his mouth with less control, lacquered with about-to-cry spit.
His Dad remembered the drawing on the brown paper bag. “Don’t you cry. Stop crying.”
His tears fell faster.
“Sam, you’ve got to learn to stand up for yourself. You’re my son, and you’re not a damn sissy. Sometimes you gotta fight. You know what woulda happened to me if I woulda felt sorry for myself, laying out in a ditch with my leg blown off? If I didn’t use the bootlace that I pulled out of my own blown-off foot to strangle that sonofabitch, I’d be dead right now.”
Sam looked at his Dad and thought of a spider winding a scared ladybug in its web.
His Dad rough-thumbed a tear from his cheek, lifting his chin. “One day, you’ll be a man, and a man stands up for himself.” He spoke the words of his own father after his first black eye.
* * *
Sam went to his room and knelt over Boxington with his two halfwolves. Wolfman wanted to live in one of the fancy houses on Bounty Mounty, but Wolverine wanted an apartment.
“Hey there,” Wolverine pointed towards a leaning grey soldier. He had a strong left-foot, right-foot anatomically inaccurate walk.
“Nice to know ya,” he said to a light green soldier who lay out of a lower-level apartment with his weapon pointed at his feet.
“New to the neighborhood?” the prone soldier asked.
He low-crawled out of the apartment. Wolverine wanted to keep moving, but was cornered by the awkward now-standing and excitable soldier.
“Why don’t you come live in our stack of apartments?” he shouted while hopping with the rifle pointed to the air.
“I don’t know that I want to.” Wolverine didn’t like light green either.
“Why not? We have the biggest top apartment,” he said with a funny accent.
“Well, that apartment has the cereal calories list on it, and I don’t want it,” he said.
“What’s wrong with lists of calories? Don’t you wanna know what you’re putting in your body?”
“Quit pressuring me into something I don’t want. If you like it so much, you live in it.” He walked on.
The grey soldiers of the second-tier apartments of the next block yelled down to him.
“Hey, there is a big apartment on top for rent—one that has the blue section of the Cap’n’s hat, nice view of the oak tree in the park.”
“Okay.” He scaled the apartments, greeting the soldiers as he passed by their houses. Most of them were napping with their weapons pointed towards him. When he got to his apartment, he lay down because he could not stand.
Then Batman flew in and casually accepted ownership of the nicest home in Boxington—the highest on the hill. But Wolfman accosted him, having desired that very house for himself.
“Hey, I wanted that house!”
“Well, I’m in charge here.”
“Why are you in charge?”
“Because I’m the strongest.”
“Fine. Can I stay here in this house then?”
“No, this one is mine. I just told you that. How about that one over there?” he pointed his wing to another house on Bounty Mounty.
“But I don’t want that one—I want the one on the top.”
“You don’t know what it is like to never feel like a loser—so you will have to live in the other house. I get the best because I am the best. Besides, I can do so much more than you with just one leg.”
Wolfman shuffled over to the other house and sat next to it.
“Good. Now, you will be my policeman,” the halfbat told him while leaning over his face and pouncing closer with the rhythm of the syllables.
“But why do you need a policeman here when you have all of the soldiers in this town?”
“A leader needs an army to fight other armies and police to keep the people safe and not breaking the rules.”
“Whatever I want them to be. If you want to live here on Bounty Mounty, then you have to follow them and make other people follow them. Do you want a job? Do you have a family to support? One of the light green soldiers had just offered to be my chief the other day but I told him no—because I don’t like light green—but also, because I need a bigger, stronger person—errr, uh—halfwolf to be in charge.”
“I don’t know about all of this,” Wolfman wasn’t convinced. “And quit being so close to my face. I don’t like it very much.”
Batman leaned away from him, balancing pointedly on his one leg in an obtuse angle. “Well, I’ll go get the light green soldier then—he will do it for me.”
“All right, all right—I’ll do it. But can my friend Wolverine live in the other house? He’s the best halfwolf I know.”
“Only if he is willing to fight for this land and will be my military leader, then he can live in the third house.”
* * *
The following morning, Sam grabbed his lunch out of the fridge; there were stars drawn all over it. His Mommy leaned towards his face to kiss him goodbye; he gave her the cheek.
“Everything okay, sugar mouse?”
He didn’t say anything.
His father could hear her. “Come in here,” he called from the living room.
Sam walked into the room, followed by his mom.
“Remember what we talked about yesterday,” he said more as a directive than a question. Sam nodded to him and looked at his mom to see if she knew. She just smiled.
“Hurry up, sweet potato—time to go,” she said. The vein on her forehead bulged like she was trying to hold something in.
As he walked toward school, he saw a flash of sky blue out of the corner of his eye.
“Hey,” Jane said.
“Whad’ya name your new town?”
“Hmm. I got a kitty yesterday. I named her Penelope.”
“That’s a weird name.”
“Why? Cuz you never heard it before?”
“Yeah, I guess.”
The group of boys from yesterday was ahead at the corner. Jane slowed and suggested that they cross over earlier than their usual course, but Sam didn’t hear her over his father’s voice in his head. He thought of the word ‘man’ and the word ‘sissy,’ and then he began to feel the thumping of anger beating at the walls of his gut; he tightened his hands into fists.
“Where’s your Mommy?” the beak jeered.
Sam didn’t say anything, he just looked at him.
“No teacher here to save you today,” he said to Sam. The boys laughed; one of them called him a loser.
Sam walked closer to the leader and narrowed his scowl. Jane ran off.
“Nobody’s here to save you now, strongie-wongie. Hahaha—how strong are you anyway?” He grabbed at the straps of Sam’s backpack and shook him. The beak’s face smelled like sleep. The group of sheep bahed.
Sam could feel the boy’s fingers under the straps of his backpack and thought of his mother and her bulging vein. He thought of his Dad and his bulging advice. He thought of the way his Dad spoke fast and hard when he described the bootlace that he strangled another man with. Sam cocked his balled fist shoulder height and threw his weight behind his knuckles, crunching the beak into his cheek—instantly streaming blood across his face and down his throat. Sam turned his fist to look at the blood on it.
The boys stopped laughing. They watched the beak.
He reached up and felt the right side of his face and could feel his nose turned and mashed into the cheek. He looked at his friends, and their eyes widened. He felt where his nose had been. Tears began to spill from his eyes and mix with the blood that frothed from his mangled nose. When he tried to breathe through his nose, it whistled and gurgled through the flattened skin and wetness.
Sam looked over to the group of boys and wiped his fist across his pants. They shuffled backward into each other, jumped and ran off towards the school. The beak ran back the way he came with one hand cupping his nose—making loud, harried whimpers.
Sam felt a pang in his stomach and ran towards home.
“What are you doing home, precious pup?” his mom asked.
Sam looked at her and tucked his fist behind his back; he bit the corner of his lower lip.
“What is it? What’s going on?” she asked, concerned.
The outer edges of Sam’s eyebrows shifted down; his chin began to dimple.
His father could hear and walked into the room. “What’s going on?”
Sam looked at his Dad and knew he was about to cry, so he ran to his room so his Dad wouldn’t see.
The kitchen phone rang. His mother answered it.
“Hello…. This is she…. Yes….” she inhaled with chirpy, birdlike shock. “Oh no! Oh—I’m so … yes … I’m so sorry to hear that. We are going to keep him home and deal with this. Thank you for letting me know, and I’m sorry that he did that to your son. Oh—he’s not your boy? He’s your neighbor—and where are the boy’s parents? Oh, I see…. Well, my son will be punished for this…. Thank you for not involving the school. Let me know if … Okay. Uh-huh, thanks again. Goodbye.”
Sam lay back on his bed and stared up at the ceiling. He could hear his parents arguing. He wrapped the pillow around his ears. The door swung open, and his mom came in and sat on his bed.
“Why did you hurt that boy? Why would you do that? I can’t believe you did that!”
Sam couldn’t say anything. He just lay and looked up.
He looked at her and inched himself up on his elbows, then shimmied his knees up and under him, thrusting himself to a sit. She soft-thumbed his tears.
“He was mean, and he said mean things about me and you. And I’m stronger than him, and now he knows it.”
His Dad walked into the room, and he looked over to him.
“Let him be and come on out here,” his Dad said to her.
She looked at her son and sighed. “That feeling you have inside of you that hurts right now—that’s shame—for hurting someone who didn’t hit you. You should have just walked away; you can’t hit someone just because they’re mean. You can’t go around violently making people be what you want them to be.” She looked at his Dad. His look reminded her that his views differed.
* * *
After they left him alone, Sam grabbed Wolverine and Wolfman and leaned over the box.
“Hey, Wolfman,” he said.
“Hey, Wolverine. What’s wrong?”
“Had a bad day. Why are you so happy?”
“I’m going to be the head of police because I’m strong and I can beat people up.”
“So what. And why would you want to do that anyway?”
“I get a house on Bounty Mounty. And guess what? Batman said you can have the third house if you will lead his army—especially since you are so strong.”
“I already have a place to live. Besides …” Wolverine leaned over to him more seriously, “I don’t want to kill people or hurt anyone.”
“But you’re really good at it. You’re a wolf and a soldier. You can’t just stop what you are.”
“But I’m not just a wolf and a soldier.”
“What if the Joker finds out you’ve given up fighting and tries to come and hurt everyone?”
“Well, Batman can fight him then.”
Sam tossed Wolfman next to his house on Bounty Mounty.
Wolverine sat on the road. He scratched the top of his head with Sam’s fingernail and “hmmm’d.” Wolverine could hear a scraping sound on the outside of the box.
“I wonder what that is.” He ran over to the blank side of the box where he had heard the noise. He threw his claws up the wall and climbed to the top, hooked an arm, and peered down. It was the Joker; he wanted to come inside. He was on his back, kicking the bottom of the box with his feet over and over.
“Stop it—wouldya?” Wolverine shouted at him.
“I want to come in and take over Bounty Mounty.”
“No. Why? And how do you know about Bounty Mounty?”
“I know about everything. I’m a halfclown, and not only can I make people laugh, I know when mountains are being built with nice houses on them.”
Wolverine leaned over a bit further to get a better look at him.
“And when you weren’t looking, I tossed food to the hungry, light green soldier, and he sent me instructions on how to get in.”
“Well—you’re not welcome if you are going to cause trouble.”
“I won’t cause trouble. I just want to live in there too and maybe be in charge.”
“Well, I’m not going to force anything,” Wolverine said as he walked away toward his apartment.
The Joker sauntered on his back up the side of the wall and stood on the edge of the box, then torpedoed down to Bounty Mounty to meet the classic horror halfwolf.
Batman had overheard Wolfman discussing housing logistics with someone. He hobbled over to them. “Wait a minute. What are you doing here? How did you get out of your noose?” he asked the Joker who was attempting to bully Wolfman into giving him the third house.
“I am really good with knots, and your knots were weak. You know that already because I always get out of them. You should use a shoelace next time.”
“Good idea. But I don’t want you here,” Batman said.
“But I want to be here, and I have a right to be here. You don’t know how to run a place like me. Plus, it would do me some good to be around other likeminded people.”
“How are you like me?” Batman asked him.
“Well—you attack people to get what you want. So do I.”
“But I do it for the right reasons.”
“So do I.”
“But you don’t even know what right is.”
“No—you don’t know.”
“No—you don’t know.”
They started bumping heads against one another.
Wolfman jumped in between them. “Wait a minute. I’m the head of police here. Do you need me to take care of your light work, Batman?”
Joker looked over to Wolfman and then back at Batman. “You got a new chief of police? I bet you offered him the nicest house on the hill.”
“The second-best one.”
“Well, if you give me the third house, I won’t kill you.”
“That one belongs to my military general. Besides, it’s illegal for you to kill.”
“Wolverine said he doesn’t want to be the leader,” Wolfman interrupted them to tell Batman.
“I’m disappointed to hear that. What is he—some sort of sissy?” Batman turned away from them and yelled to the residents of Boxington.
“Hey everybody. I need a leader for my military. Whoever wants to do what I say will get the third-best house in all of Boxington.”
The light green soldier flew prone from his apartment over to them.
“I knew you were going to need me, after all,” he said, standing on his waddled-out feet.
“Hey—I threw food to you over the wall because you were starving—remember?” Joker asked.
“A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do. I was hungry so I took your food. I want to start a family now, so I need a bigger house, and Batman is giving a bigger deal.” He looked over to Batman.
“Do you need me to shoot this clown?”
Batman looked over to the Joker. “See—you have no power here.”
The Joker lifted up both feet and pile-drove the light green soldier into the mound, spraying out dirt from the bottom of the sod. Wolfman lunged at the Joker—bumping faces together and swinging legs at each other. “Kapow—bam—whap—sok—pow.”
“You don’t belong here!” he growled at him. But the Joker was a good fighter and fended him off easily. Wolfman knew he was going to need Wolverine again.
The Joker kicked Wolfman in the face.
Wolverine yelled from his apartment, “I told you—I don’t want to hurt people anymore.”
“But he will hurt me and everyone else—you gotta come save us!”
The Joker was standing with his foot on Wolfman’s neck and yelled up to Wolverine. “Hey alpha halfwolf—let’s see what you are made of! I hear you’re a sissy and a loser.”
“No I’m, not. Don’t call me a sissy or a loser. I just don’t want to kill anymore.”
A grey soldier jumped into Wolverine’s apartment. “They need your help. Why don’t you wanna fight?”
“I’ve given up violence. You go fight if you want.”
The grey soldier blankfaced him—pointing his weapon at him. “Why do you want to live here if you are not willing to protect it? Aren’t you a man? Why won’t you stand up and fight?”
Wolverine sat quiet for a second.
Then he sprung to the top of Bounty Mounty and screamed at the height of his lungs, “Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh!”
“Pumpkin pie? Are you all right in there?” Sam’s mother headed towards his room.
“Get your ass out here!” his father yelled to him.
But Sam could not hear them.
Wolverine jumped from the height of Sam’s bed and came crushing down on Bounty Mounty—smashing the dirt and the homes astray. Batman and the Joker were terrified. They crawled into their toppled houses and began to cry. Wolverine pulled up Wolfman and together, they flattened the mound of dirt and began ripping through the apartments with their claws and teeth. The soldiers were falling in the tumult of wolf thrashing.
“Oh, sorry,” Wolverine said to one of them, picking him up and looking at him curiously, with absolution.
“Wolfman! Get to the top of the wall so I can toss the soldiers to you for mandatory evacuation!”
Wolfman climbed to the top and straddled its corrugated edge. Wolverine threw the resisting soldiers up to him, who lowered them to outside safety. The wolves climbed over the wall and led the soldiers away and Sam stood. He lifted his foot to crush down the walls of the box.
And this was good.