Dave flew through increasingly dense clouds as he made his way north. At least, what he thought was north. Thunderclap, the savior of Spectrum City, had many powers, but being a human compass was not one of them. Not that it mattered much, anyway – red tights wouldn’t be hard to find in a snow-ridden mountain range. Near the precipice of the tallest mountain, he saw a six-pack of Bud Lite stashed in a small snowbank and, next to it, the back of a man in flame-patterned spandex– a man known to the world as Master Magma, the hero of Peak City.
“Hey Tom,” said Dave.
“Hey Dave,” he responded. Dave sat and grabbed a can. Tom was nursing his drink – not his first, Dave guessed, from the puddle of molten aluminum at his feet – and staring into the distance, watching the frost dance in the wind.
“We caught Admiral Anarchy again,” said Dave, after a moment. “This time, he was trying to take over the world with an army of manatees.”
Tom gave him a half-hearted grin, never taking his eyes off the wisps of ice crystals. Dave could have asked him any number of things – why he hadn’t answered the Super Signal today, why he was in the middle of the Arctic, why he wasn’t his normal hot-headed self – but he didn’t have to. He knew why – it was November twelfth.
They sat in silence for a time. Dave finished his beer with a gulp and sighed. “This would’ve been your twentieth anniversary, right?”
Tom shook his head. “Twenty-third.” The can melted away in his hand like butter. Tom started fidgeting with the chunk of obsidian on his ring finger. She had it specially forged to withstand the blistering heat of Tom’s trademark Magma Fist. Lady Frost, the guardian of the North, was always a clever woman. Even before her heroine days, when she was just Dianne. Dave saw a sliver of a tear form in the corner of Tom’s eye.
“Hey, do you remember at Jill and Bob’s wedding,” said Dave, “when Dianne accidentally froze the dance floor, and everyone kept tumbling down during the Electric slide?” Dave laughed at the memory of the bridesmaid’s tip-toeing to their tables afterwards.
“She was so embarrassed,” Tom chuckled. Dave remembered the bright pink her cheeks turned on her pale skin when she got flustered. “But I got her to start ice-skating, and soon enough, everyone else was too.” Tom sniffled. “Graceful, she was.”
Dave grabbed two more beers from the snow, and handed one to Tom. He raised the can, as if he were cheering the morning air itself. “Gone too soon,” he said.
Tom stared at the crystals of ice flittering on the breeze, then raised his beer in tandem. “Gone too soon,” he echoed. They drank.
With an arm that had stopped speeding missiles and lifted ruined skyscrapers, Dave put it around his friend’s shoulder. They sat, and watched the frost skate through the air.
Blake Benson is a world-renowned apple juice sommelier. Also a liar.