My name is Leah. You’ve never heard of me, but you might have seen me without realizing it. I’m very good at being invisible.
Five years ago, I was asked to be a superhero.
I’m sure the lycra-clad Marvel comic stereotypes are springing into your mind. But we don’t do this. Being noticeable means that the government knows who to sue after our inevitable destructive apocalyptic battles. Plus, if we went prancing around in skintight costumes, people would actually notice that we help them. Most of the stuff we fight would cause a mass panic.
We’re not Superman. We’re not Wonder Woman. We’re not the Men in Black. We’re not even James Bond, though sometimes I wish I was. The gadgets would be cool.
We’re just ordinary people, who use outdated equipment because our budget is shit. We use public transport. Our office is a run-down cement block in the middle of a city. We clock on at nine and leave work at five, most days.
This doesn’t make us any less important. If we closed up shop, you guys would miss us. A lot. I mean, you’d have a bigger gremlin problem, for starters.
You don’t notice us because we don’t want to be noticed. If people spotted us doing our thing, whether it be yesterday’s zombie problem in New York, or the sasquatch incident, or even just us keeping the gremlin population down, we wouldn’t be doing out job right. We feel all warm and happy when we see people walking right by, not seeing us. It means we’re keeping you safe.
It’s a bit of a lonely job. We don’t tend to make many friends, and only one of my coworkers has gotten married in the past fifteen years. It’s a little depressing that we can’t tell anyone what we do. If any of you happen to know one of us, you’ll probably think we’re electricians or computer techs. If we told you the truth, the whole noticing-what-we’re-doing-and-panicking thing would happen. Not a good idea.
Once you get the job, it’s usually for life. Not that ‘life’ in this job lasts very long. Sooner or later the zombies will get hold of your brain, a rogue sasquatch will mistake you for lunch, or a gremlin will make you into gremlin nest lining. The service record is six years. The average is four and a half. When you get to where I am, you’re basically living on borrowed time. It’s scary, but after about two years, you become slowly desensitized. It’s a tough job.
So, next time you look longingly out of your office window and wish you had an interesting job, look at all the people walking by. I’ll probably be there, but you won’t notice me. You’ll never notice me. It’s okay. I’m used to it.
Just look out the window, and think about me. Maybe, the thought of us out there, saving humanity’s ass every day, will make you sleep a little better at night.