Under 18, Native English Speaker – Winner 2017

“The Chipper Flipper and the Civil Cynic Save Sunnyvale. Sort Of”

by Hannah SMITH


“We didn’t screw up that badly.” Eiko whispers.
“We are in a police car, Eiko. We did screw up that badly.”
“Okay, fine, but they don’t know it’s us! That’s the whole point of the cape and tights.” She says indignantly.
“Our costumes aren’t that good, Eiko. Officer Martinez is my uncle. He’ll recognize us as soon as we get to the station.”
“For the last time, they’re not costumes, they’re super suits.”
A few weeks ago, Eiko took it upon herself to become “The hero that Sunnyvale deserves.” I told her she was crazy, but instead of telling me I was wrong, she launched into a long-winded explanation of the many (seven) crimes that took place over the past few months that she could’ve stopped.
“What’s the worst that could happen?” She pulled her sleek dark hair into a high ponytail.
“We could die. There’s that.” I glanced up from my butterfly stretch.
“Imagine the headlines though! Heroic Duo Die Whilst Protecting Hometown.” She did a few cartwheels. We were the first ones to arrive for gymnastics, so we had the huge gym to ourselves.
“You do realize we live in the safest town in America, right?”
“Okay, so maybe I’m not the hero it needs right now. But what happens when there’s a criminal on the loose, and no one’s prepared?”
“We do have a police department.”
“There’s like two people there. So will you be my side-kick?”
“What? No thanks.”
“C’mon, Lana! You’d be the brains of the operation. Plus, your gymnastics skills aren’t half bad.”
“Your reasoning behind this is that because you can do a killer back handspring, you can capture criminals?”
“You’re hopeless.”
“No, I’m going to help the hopeless. Are you with me or not?”
I thought about it. On the one hand, that was the worst idea I’d ever heard. On the other, someone had to keep Eiko from getting herself killed.
Eiko bribed her little sister into making us crime-fighting masks. Haru was an artsy type, and didn’t need to be asked twice when we told her it was for a school play.
“We look awesome.” Eiko spun around in front of the full-length mirror in her bedroom. We had paired our gymnastics leotards with combat boots, the masks Haru made us, and, unfortunately, hooded capes.
“Uh, sure.” I adjusted my mask so I could see properly, but I always felt like it was blocking a bit of my vision.
“What’s our first mission, captain?” I saluted half-heartedly and Eiko clapped her hands together.
“We’re going to patrol Main Street.” She grinned.
“Really? And what do you expect to happen?”
“Let’s just go. You can be pessimistic in the car.”
“What if our criminals have guns? I don’t think a backflip will help us in that situation.”
“Of course I thought of weapons, Lana. I’m not a total idiot.”
“Debatable.” I muttered as she pulled two bedazzled metal baseball bats out of her closet. One read “Chipper Flipper” and the other “Civil Cynic.”
“Get it?” Eiko held out the latter.
“Those are horrible puns.” I didn’t tell her that I actually liked mine.
“Hey, you try and come up with better names!” Eiko swung her bag over her shoulder.
“Can we at least get ice cream?”
“Superheroes don’t get ice cream while on patrol, Lana.”
“I thought you were the fun one.” I pouted.
“Wait, Lana, look!” Eiko pointed across the street, at a group of boys. There were four of them, looming over a teenage girl.
“Let’s go.” Eiko started towards them, and I jumped up to follow her.
“Hey, if you didn’t want us to touch you, you shouldn’t have worn that skirt.” The guy closest to the girl leaned in. Another boy was behind her, so she couldn’t get away.
“Hey! Leave her alone.” Eiko wedged herself in between them.
“Are you going to a costume party or something?” The boy looked Eiko up and down appreciatively, presumably taking in her tight outfit.
“No. I’m the Chipper Flipper, and you should go away before this gets ugly.” She held up her bat.
“Are you serious?” He laughed, but his friends inched away nervously.
“Come here.” I gently pulled the girl away from the group to ask if she was okay.
“You really don’t want to test her, dude,” I spoke up, “The last guy she threatened just woke up from his coma.”
“Yeah, right.” But now he too started to back away. “Whatever. She’s not even that hot.” He sneered at her and stomped away.
“I’d call that a success.”
“Me too. Now let’s go home before you get into any more trouble.”
Over the next few weeks Eiko roped me into coming with her on various “missions.” In that entire time, we shut down a few bullies, and prevented an old man from accidentally shoplifting a bar of soap.
“My feet hurt. Can we please go home?” We trudged along Main Street.
“That’s what I thought.”
“If you stop complaining I’ll buy you that new manga you’ve been wanting…” She glanced back at me.
I heard low voices and glanced down an alleyway to see two guys huddled together, exchanging something.
“Eiko, look.”
“Is that a…?” I asked. Eiko stormed towards them, bat raised.
I had to follow, and wanted to yell out for her to stop, but that might put her in even more danger.
“Hey, what the-“ One of the guys looked up just as she swung her bat into his leg. He fell, and his head smacked against the brick wall. Whoops!
“Don’t come any closer.” The other guy pulled out a knife, and I ran forward, trying to look intimidating.
“Eiko, we should go.”
“Not until I’m done dealing with this criminal.”
The guy looked back and forth between the two of us. He really didn’t look like he wanted to hurt us. So instead, he dropped the knife and ran off down the alleyway. Obviously Eiko followed him, and soon we were chasing a guy down Main Street carrying bejeweled baseball bats.
Then we saw the squad car pull around the corner.
The guy dropped the bag he was holding and took off down another alley, leaving the two of us standing in front of a police car with a bag full of questionable contents at our feet.
And that is how I ended up being driven to the Sunnyvale police station at 3 am with a leotard wedgie.
“What were you thinking?” my uncle asks me as he dials my dad’s number.
“It wasn’t my idea!” I protest.
“You were seriously trying to be superheroes?” “Well, we did stop one of those guys.”
“By knocking him out! That’s our job, girls.” Officer Martinez rubs his temples.
“You weren’t doing it very well.” Eiko grumbles.
“I’m not wrong.”
“We promise we won’t impersonate superheroes ever again.” I plead.
“I can’t believe you actually had to say that.” He starts talking to my parents on the phone.
I untie my mask, all the while knowing that Eiko would definitely make me do it again.