While we were driving to my parents’ house on Friday night, five-year-old Big Brother asked me to tell him a story.
“Of course!” I said. Because, you know, telling stories is what I do. “What would you like a story about?”
“Spider-Man,” he said.
“Spider-Man,” I repeated flatly.
This shouldn’t have surprised me. Big Brother is obsessed by Spider-Man. But I have a confession to make: I don’t know much about Spider-Man. I may be a geek but I’m not a Comic Geek. My entire knowledge of Spider-Man comes from watching the first Tobey Maguire Spider-Man movie. And that was many, many years ago. (And I may have picked up a few bits and pieces from listening to my Comic Geek Husband tell story after story to Big Brother.)
“Spider-Man,” said Big Brother. He sounded way more excited than I felt. “And Kraven has to be the villain. And I have to be in it, too.” A brief pause. “Okay, go.”
And so I did.
One day, Big Brother was riding his skateboard along the street. He was wearing jeans and a black t-shirt and a helmet because you always need to wear a helmet when you ride your skateboard.
All of a sudden, strong arms grabbed hold of Big Brother and pulled him off his skateboard and into an alley. Big Brother squirmed, but couldn’t get away. When he looked back, he saw it was Kraven the Hunter!
Kraven laughed and said, “You’ll be the perfect bait to lure Spider-Man into my trap! That fool will never be able to resist trying to rescue an innocent child.” Then Kraven carried Big Brother back to a huge warehouse full of cages. A lot of the cages were empty, but some had dangerous animals locked in them.
“What are you going to do with me?” Big Brother asked.
“I’m going to lock you in one of these cages until Spider-Man gets here,” said Kraven with a snarl.
Big Brother was quite scared, but he remembered that being brave means acting with courage even when you’re scared. So he thought very, very quickly. He knew he wasn’t strong enough to get away from Kraven, but maybe he was clever enough. So he sighed and said, “Oh, good.”
Kraven stopped. “What do you mean, good?”
Big Brother said, “I’m so glad you’re going to lock me in a cage. I was worried you were going to make me sit at that table over there.”
Kraven looked confused. He looked at the cage, then at the wooden table and chairs, then back at Big Brother. “So, you want me to lock you in a cage?”
“Ha!” said Kraven triumphantly. “Then I’m not going to! You have to sit at that table over there until Spider-Man gets here!”
On the inside, Big Brother was very happy. But on the outside, he tried to look very sad. “Oh,” he said. Then he sighed. “Well, at least you’re not going to make me eat ice cream.”
Before he knew it, Big Brother was seated at the table with a big bowl of ice cream in front of him. Meanwhile, Kraven paced back and forth in the warehouse, talking to himself. “I’m so clever!” he said. “When Spider-Man gets here, I’ll capture him and put him in one of these cages. Then no one will be able to stop me hunting whatever animals I want to hunt.”
Before long, Spider-Man arrived. He leaped down from the ceiling, shooting webs at Kraven. Big Brother watched (and ate ice cream) while Kraven and Spider-Man fought. Spidey was super-fast and kept jumping around and shooting webs, but Kraven kept breaking free of the webs and was super-strong.
Suddenly, Kraven grabbed hold of Spider-Man’s leg and threw him into one of the cages! Before Spider-Man could get back out, Kraven slammed the door closed and locked it!
Oh no! Spider-Man was trapped!
Kraven laughed. “Now you will be one of my exhibits,” he said to Spider-Man. “And no one will get in the way of me hunting as many endangered animals as I want!”
He turned around to leave, but Big Brother jumped up from his chair and threw his bowl of ice cream right into Kraven’s face! Some of it got into Kraven’s eyes, and he couldn’t see. He staggered around and blinked and rubbed at his face. Then he grabbed Big Brother in his super-strong arms.
Big Brother couldn’t move his arms. He tried kicking his feet, but that didn’t work. So he did the only thing he could do: he head-butted Kraven. And Kraven collapsed!
(“Because I was wearing my helmet!!” Big Brother interrupted.)
Because Big Brother was wearing his helmet. Kraven was out cold! Quick as a wink, Big Brother found the key to Spider-Man’s cage and let him out and Spidey covered Kraven in webs.
“Wow,” said Big Brother, looking up at Spider-Man. “When I grow up, I hope I can be a hero like you.”
Spider-Man patted him on the shoulder. “You already are.”
Big Brother loved it. I have to admit, I was pretty pleased with myself, too. I told my husband about it later, making sure to point out the cool bits. “Did you like the way I foreshadowed the helmet? And the Brer Rabbit bit? And–”
“You know,” my husband interjected. “Sometimes you really overthink things.”