Chapter 1: I Need My Cap
My cap has a Speed Accelerator button. Should I push it? Mom hates when flames shoot out of my shoes. Even pretend ones. Clint McCool doesn’t need those rocket engines, anyway. I have fast feet.
Varrrrooooom! I fly down the stairs!
Varrrrooooom! I rush outside!
Oh no. Turtles are on the sidewalk!
Screeeech! I put on the brakes.
Hmm. Can I run on top of their shells? Nope. These aren’t real turtles. They’re kids with big backpacks. They walk so slow. Did they forget? Today Sol-Ray Man is coming to our school!
Sol-Ray Man is the most super superhero ever. He uses the sun’s rays to power up. He zooms to the disaster. He activates his light beams. He saves the planet three times in every episode. And today he’s going to tell me how.
I zigzag around the turtles.
“Wait for me, Walter!” Mom yells. That’s right. She called me Walter. She named me Walter after my grandpa. What a disaster! Luckily, I knew what to do. I named myself. Clint McCool.
“Hi, Clint McCool!” Marco shouts. He’s at the corner with his mom.
I run up to him. He’s the best Best Friend ever. He always calls me by my real name. He’s supersmart. He made the buttons that control my powers. He tied each one to my cap. They help me save the day. That happens more than you’d think.
“Let’s go, Marco! Sol-Ray Man is coming today!” I say.
“I know. Look what I made.” Marco shows me his arms. He has special bands on his wrists. Each band has three shiny panels.
“Wow!” I say.
“XL7 Ray Benders,” Marco says. “Sol-Ray Man uses them. They direct his beams.”
“They zap around corners. Zap over buildings,” I say. “Zap past his archenemy Eclipse. So he can’t block Sol- Ray Man’s light,” I say. “Let me see them work.”
Marco doesn’t take them off. He moves his arm. Light zaps off the panels.
“Can I wear them?” I ask. “I need to show Sol-Ray Man I’m a superhero, too. I don’t want him to think I’m just a kid.”
“But, Clint McCool, you are a kid,” Marco says.
I sigh. I know. Real life is so boring. Except when we can have an escapade. Or when my friend makes cool stuff that he should share. “Please, Marco?”
“You have your cap,” Marco says. “I can’t wear my cap in school.”
Our teacher, Ms. Apple, always locks it in her desk. That’s a mistake. I need the cap. It helps me focus. Then I can control my powers. Ms. Apple doesn’t understand that. She’s a grown-up.
“I probably can’t wear these, either,” Marco says.
Marco’s right. School means rules. “Too bad we can’t zap around the rules.”
Then . . . Zing, zong, zing. Brain flash! “I don’t need my cap. I don’t need all my powers—just one. And one button.”
Hmmm. Which one should I choose? Invisibility? Idea Generator? Speed Accelerator? That’s the one. Then I can race Sol-Ray Man around the auditorium.
I tug at the Speed Accelerator button. “Help me get it off.”
I yank. “Why did you tie it so tight?” I say.
“So you wouldn’t lose it,” Marco says.
“What are you guys doing?” M.L. comes over to us. She’s our best friend, too. She can walk on her hands. For real. She doesn’t even have to cheat.
“Tug of war? I can beat you both,” M.L. says.
She could do it, too. She’s superstrong.
“Maybe later,” I say. “I need this Speed Accelerator button.”
M.L. grabs the button. Marco and I hold the cap. She pulls.
Pop! The string breaks. The button comes off. It flies through the air.
“Catch it!” Marco says.
I push the Jump button on my cap. I boing really high. But not high enough.
The Speed Accelerator button lands in the gutter. It rolls down through the grate. Disaster!
Copyright © 2017 by Jane Kelley; illustrated by Jessika von Innerebner. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.