He ended up with only a fifteen-minute break instead of the half hour he was due. That would give him barely enough time to wolf a sandwich and gulp a Coke, but a desperate Brittani promised him an extra hour on his time card in exchange. She even gave him a brief smile when he agreed.
The back room was crowded with boxes and smelled like leather and rubber, so Garret took his break on the walkway outside. He chewed his ham on sourdough and leaned over the railing. If he angled his head just right he could look through the mall entranceway and catch a glimpse of Nourish-Man. Sometimes the superhero posed for photos, but mostly he stood and waited as people passed him by in favor of Captain America, Superman, and Ironman.
Not for the first time, Garret wondered why the guy had chosen such an obscure character to portray. The Nourish-Man cartoon had only lasted a season or two back in the late eighties, maybe three dozen badly drawn episodes of a guy in green and orange who admonished children to eat healthily so they would grow up strong like him. Garret used to watch the series now and then, but even his eight-year-old self—seated in front of the TV on a Saturday morning and munching on a Pop-Tart—had realized the cartoon was only a thinly disguised message to eat more broccoli.
Now, Garret took one last look at Nourish-Man before wadding up his paper lunch sack and tossing it in a nearby trashcan. The guy certainly looked the part of a superhero. He filled out his costume very well with what Garret was fairly certain were real, hard muscles—not padding. His carrot-colored tights stretched nicely over a magnificent ass and impressive package—assuming that wasn’t padding either. Most of his face was obscured by his mask, but a square jaw, cleft chin, and plump lips were left uncovered, as were his flashing brown eyes.
“Oh, for Christ’s sake,” Garret said out loud, startling a woman with a baby stroller. Here he was with his sad little life, reduced to mooning over third-rate costumed characters. He turned and headed back into Shoe Starz to finish his shift.