Real-life crazy people in tights
I can’t decide if these real-life superheroes exist or are just some viral marketing scheme, and I’m too afraid to Google them to find out.
I am rushing to the emergency room to meet a real-life superhero called Phoenix Jones, who has fought one crime too many and is currently peeing a lot of blood. Five nights a week, Phoenix dresses in a superhero outfit of his own invention and chases car thieves and breaks up bar fights and changes the tires of stranded strangers. I’ve flown to Seattle to join him on patrol. I landed only a few minutes ago, at midnight on a Friday in early March, and in the arrivals lounge I phoned his friend and spokesman, Peter Tangen, who told me the news.
“Hospital?” I said. “Is he okay?”
“I don’t know,” said Peter. He sounded worried. “The thing you have to remember about Phoenix is that he’s not impervious to pain.” He paused. “You should get a taxi straight from the airport to there.”
At 1 a.m. I arrive at the ER and am led into Phoenix’s room. And there he is: a young and extremely muscular black man lying in bed in a hospital smock, strapped to an IV, tubes attached to his body. Most disconcertingly, he’s wearing a full-face black-and-gold rubber superhero mask.
“Good to meet you!” he hollers enthusiastically through the mouth hole. He gives me the thumbs-up, which makes the IV needle tear his skin slightly. “Ow,” he says.