The Reluctant Superhero Sample


(LIGHTS UP on a bus stop, out in the middle of nowhere. The Widow Levenstein stands with her son, Marty. She is carrying an enormous purse, with his blanket hidden inside. He has a backpack.)

WIDOW LEVENSTEIN: Did you remember your toothbrush?


WIDOW LEVENSTEIN: Good. (Pause.) You’re sure?

MARTY: I’m sure, Ma.


WIDOW LEVENSTEIN: Because, sometimes you leave it on the–

MARTY: I have my toothbrush, Ma. Promise. (he gives her a hug) Stop worrying.

WIDOW LEVENSTEIN: I can’t help it, Marty. My little boy is grown up and off to the Big City.

MARTY: It’s only a six-week internship, Ma. I’ll be back before you know it. Driving you crazy. Eating all the food in the refrigerator. Listening to loud music. All that stuff.

WIDOW LEVENSTEIN: Oh, I know, I know. It’s just that I don’t think I’ve been apart from you since…

MARTY: The day you found me?

WIDOW LEVENSTEIN: I’ll never forget that day.

MARTY: Well, it would be hard to forget a spaceship crashing in your backyard.

WIDOW LEVENSTEIN: True enough, true enough. But you were the answer to everything I’ve wanted out of life. You don’t know how long I’d wished for a son.

MARTY: A dream come true. A freak alien baby.

WIDOW LEVENSTEIN: You are most certainly not a freak, young man. You’re just…different.

MARTY: I just wish I knew…you know…what I was.

WIDOW LEVENSTEIN: You’re my son.

MARTY: I know.

WIDOW LEVENSTEIN: That’s all that matters. I don’t care if you can shoot lasers out of your eyes–

MARTY: You did when you were missing your eyebrows.

WIDOW LEVENSTEIN: Or stop a Jeep with your bare hands–

MARTY: Again, I’m really sorry about the bumper.

WIDOW LEVENSTEIN: Or blow down all the trees in our orchard when you sneeze. None of that matters. You’re my boy. Just… (beat) Marty? Promise me you won’t let anyone…catch you.

MARTY: Catch me what? Using my superpowers?


MARTY: Nuh uh. No way. All I want is a nice, quiet, normal journalism internship.


MARTY: This internship is going to be the one. I can feel it. Journalism. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before. This is definitely what I’m meant to do.

WIDOW LEVENSTEIN: Do you really think so?

MARTY: I’m sure of it. Journalism. Finding out what happens. Writing it down. Perfect. It’s so…normal. Trust me, Ma. Weird is going to be off the table.

WIDOW LEVENSTEIN: Oh, I do trust you, Marty. I just hate the thought of you ending up a superhero, like the maniac, Hero Man.

MARTY: No way. Not for me.

WIDOW LEVENSTEIN: Oh, I can’t stand looking at his smug face, every time he makes the cover of the Daily Flugelhorn. It just makes me boil. (beat) Really! What would his mother say? (to Marty) As important as it is to help people–and it is important, my dear–you have to remember one thing that’s even more important.

MARTY: What’s that, Ma?

WIDOW LEVENSTEIN: You must never, ever, ever, ever…ever, make your mother worry about you!

MARTY: Yeah. I’m never going to be a superhero, Ma. That’s as far from normal as you can get.

WIDOW LEVENSTEIN: That’s my boy.

(There is the sound of a bus pulling up to the stop.)

MARTY: That’s my bus. Goodbye, Ma. I promise to text.

WIDOW LEVENSTEIN: As soon as you get on the bus?


WIDOW LEVENSTEIN: And when the bus stops for gas?


WIDOW LEVENSTEIN: And when you get to the city?


WIDOW LEVENSTEIN: And when you get to–

MARTY: I gotta go, Ma.

WIDOW LEVENSTEIN: Oh! I almost forgot! I brought a surprise for you.

MARTY: A surprise?

WIDOW LEVENSTEIN: Something I thought you might like to take with you to the Big City.

MARTY: What?

(She reaches into her purse and pulls out a blanket. It’s bright red.)

WIDOW LEVENSTEIN: Your baby blanket.


WIDOW LEVENSTEIN: I thought it might make you feel a little safer in the Big City.

MARTY: Ma, put that away, you’re embarrassing me.

WIDOW LEVENSTEIN: What? Can’t a mother think of her son?

MARTY: I don’t need my baby blanket.

WIDOW LEVENSTEIN: Take it with you.


WIDOW LEVENSTEIN: Take your blanky, Marty.

MARTY: Mother, I have skin of iron and I can run faster than a bolt of lightning. I do not need a security blanket!


(There is the sound of a bus pulling away.)

MARTY: Oh, Ma! Look at that. You made me miss my bus.

WIDOW LEVENSTEIN: Well, if you’d just taken the blanket…

MARTY: Now I’m going to have to run all the way to the Big City.

WIDOW LEVENSTEIN: Don’t let anyone see you, Marty.

MARTY: I won’t, Ma.

(He starts to leave.)


MARTY: Oh. Right.

(Marty goes back to his mother and kisses her cheek.)

WIDOW LEVENSTEIN: That’s my boy. You knock them dead at the internship. (beat) Not literally.

MARTY: I will, Ma. I will.

(Marty takes off running. As his mother watches him go, there’s the sound of a giant whoosh of air.)

WIDOW LEVENSTEIN: Oh! Wait! Marty! You forgot your…blanket. (she sighs) That boy. My boy. My stubborn, stubborn little alien boy. Off on such a big adventure. Relatively speaking, of course. When you crash land on earth after being in space, I suppose everything must be small potatoes. Oh, but he was such a little thing the day I found him…so scared and so alone. Wrapped up…in his little, bitty blanky… (she sniffles) Which he really ought to have with him in the Big City. I suppose I’ll just have to go get myself a bus ticket and bring it out to him. Oh, and then I’ll get to see him at his office with his little pencils and is little reporter’s badge. Yes. Yes. That’s exactly what I’m going to do. Won’t that be a nice surprise?

(Filled with determination, the Widow Levenstein exits.)


(LIGHTS UP on the Daily Flugelhorn office. Marty sits at a school desk, filling out some forms. Beside him sits Selena, filling out similar forms. Both of them wear badges. Marty looks confused.)

MARTY: What was your mother’s mother’s maiden name? Why do they need to know that to give me my credit? Excuse me, did you answer the…

(Marty looks up at Selena. He sees her and stares, immediately smitten. After a moment, Selena looks up.)

SELENA: What are you staring at?


SELENA: You…what?

MARTY: So, so, so, so…pretty.

SELENA: Excuse me?

MARTY: Murmur…murmur…

SELENA: I’m Selena. Selena Somers. Journalism intern.

MARTY: Journalism…

SELENA: Are you as well?

MARTY: I…am as well.

SELENA: Pleased to meet you.



SELENA: Do you have a name?

MARTY: Uh…Who? Me?

SELENA: You’re going to have to learn to talk a lot faster if you want to be a reporter, Whome. That’s what all of the books say. I’ve been reading them over the last few weeks. My personal favorite is “Journalism for Beginners: Police Tape and How to Get Around It.” I also really enjoyed “Reporting for Dummies.” I thought the footnotes were incredibly unnecessary, however. What did you think? Did you think the footnotes contributed anything important to the text?


SELENA: Of course not. They were just dead space. And don’t get me started on the reference list! What a joke!

MARTY: Marty!


MARTY: My name is Marty.

SELENA: I thought it was “Whome.”


SELENA: I like “Whome” better.

MARTY: It’s Marty. (beat) Hi.


SILAS: (offstage) Oh, let’s get this over with. Where are the interns?

SELENA: Do you know who that is, Whome?

MARTY: What?

SELENA: That man. Over there.

MARTY: Er…no? (beat) It’s “Marty.”

SELENA: That’s Silas Sylvester. He’s the owner of the newspaper. I saw his picture in the orientation materials.

MARTY: You did?

SELENA: I’m sorry, how did you get this internship again, Whome?

MARTY: I applied?

SELENA: Really?

MARTY: I applied to the journalism program, a volunteer nursing program, a marketing internship, a couple of nonprofit organizations, and Farmer Bill.

SELENA: Farmer Bill?

MARTY: He lives down the street.

SELENA: I see.

MARTY: The Daily Flugelhorn took me.

SELENA: I’m starting to question the integrity of this paper…

SILAS: (offstage) Oh. There they are.

(Silas Sylvester enters. He is a sharp businessman in a sharp suit. He could not be less interested in Marty and Selena. In fact, he takes a card out of his pocket and reads it in a dull, monotone.)

SILAS: (reading) “Welcome, interns. You few, you lucky few who have been chosen to get a taste of what it is like to work out in the field. You young people are the future of our industry and we welcome you to the Daily Flugelhorn. I am Silas Sylvester and for the next six weeks–”

(He’s cut off by a beeping noise. Silas takes out his phone and glances at it. He gets a sinister look on his face and chuckles.)

SILAS: Oh. That’s interesting. That’s very interesting. Yes. Everything is going according to plan.

(And he lets out an evil laugh.)


SILAS: Yes, yes. Welcome to the Daily Flugelhorn. Good luck. Excuse me, I have a noun to verb.

(Silas rushes off.)

MARTY: Well.


MARTY: That was…

SELENA: …suspicious.

MARTY: …weird. (beat) Suspicious?

SELENA: The way he ran off like that. Didn’t you see, Whome?

MARTY: Marty.

SELENA: I wonder what he’s up to.

MARTY: Probably just…I don’t know…important journalist big wig stuff.

SELENA: You’re going to have to learn to be a lot more curious than that if you want to be a reporter, Whome.

MARTY: Marty.

SELENA: Let’s follow him.