Bandit’s Real Name

“What’s your real name?” Frankie asked me as we approached the hardware store, pulling our bikes into the parking lot.

“I’m sorry?” I said. “My real name?”

“Yeah. The name you were born with. Obviously it’s not Bandit, but that’s what Space Wizard calls you.”

“I’ve always been Bandit,” I said. “It may not be my real name, but it’s the closest thing I have to one. I can’t remember my real parents. They gave me up, and I was taken in by a conclave of honourable thieves living in the sewers of Melbourne. They called me Bandit.”

I tried to breathe deep and forget about it. We had a job to do. Get supplies for the fight against Evil Space Wizard from a hardware supply store near Cheltenham.

“Is that why you used to smash glass?” Frankie asked. “Because the thieves raised you to?”

With a sigh, I turned to her. “I tried to leave that life, actually. It wasn’t what I wanted. But I couldn’t find another job, and Channel 17 was offering really good money for a fear monger who could avoid being caught. I was perfect for the job.”

“I’m sure you could have found another way.”

“I don’t really want to talk about it anymore,” I said. “Let’s just focus. What do we need? We can start with the electrical supplies. Cheltenham hardware stores should sell those. We’ll need to get the turrets up and running to distract Evil Space Wizard when the battle begins.”

“Don’t forget the timber and building supplies too.” Frankie went quiet for a moment. “Have you ever gone back to see the thieves that raised you?”

Anger I’d barely known was there boiled up within me. “I said I don’t want to talk about it anymore. Can we just focus?”

Frankie took a step away from me. We walked toward the store in silence, then started going through our list. Hopefully, Space Wizard didn’t forget to write anything down.