Buck, I've been feeling like my head's splitting open on-and-off since Tuesday, and now I'm getting other symptoms too. Please distract me with embarrassing stories about Steve? i love those.
when steve was twelve, he broke his arm.
surprisingly, it wasn’t in a fight–he was carrying a twenty-pound bag of potatoes up the stairs for his ma and he tripped. went down the whole flight, potatoes bouncing everywhere. after he’d recovered a bit from the tumble, he sat up, looked at old mrs. mackinnon– who was just coming out of her apartment–and said “sorry for the mess.” and then he looked down and noticed that his forearm was bent in the middle. and then he started crying.
so his ma ran him to the hospital and they set his arm and put it in a cast.
and thus began the first era of the Unstoppable Steve. (the second era was after erskine made a limited edition Jumbo Steve, and the third was Steve: Reheated.)
see, if you’ve ever had a plaster cast, you know that those things are shockingly sturdy. steve went from being a sixty pound asthmatic with rage issues to being a sixty pound asthmatic with rage issues and a right hook like a piledriver. at first, his arm was too tender for him to do much, but after it started healing up, and he started getting in fights again, he figured out that his right arm was better than a baseball bat when it came to hitting stuff. that plaster cast started white, but it didn’t take long for it to get brownish with dirt and bloodstains. he still got his ass kicked, but it took a bit more work, and the other guys actually looked like they’d been in a fight.
anyway, steve was half in love with that cast. sometimes i thought he never wanted to take if off, and if it hadn’t messed with his drawing, i think he’d’ve worn it for about a year. but about a week before it was supposed to be taken off anyway, stevie got in a fight with gerry, the shoemaker’s kid from up the block. gerry was a mean sonofagun. he was thirteen, and he’d hit puberty early, so he had a solid eight inches on wee stevie. and he was as dumb as a box of bricks.
he hated steve. steve was tiny, sure, but he was sharp as a tack and well-liked. there wasn’t an old lady within miles that didn’t love stevie, so he was always getting penny candy for running errands for them. gerry had a habit of cornering stevie in alleyways and beating on him until candy fell out. steve had a habit of not letting him do it without a fight.
gerry cornered stevie and started shoving at him. steve shoved back. gerry shoved harder. stevie stumbled, and gerry threw a punch. stevie took it full in the face, and then swung back, full-force, with that sledgehammer cast of his.
steve plowed his cast into the old brick alley wall. the brick shattered.
stevie’s cast broke. so did two of stevie’s fingers.
steve started screaming.
now, understand–it was old, old brick, but all gerry saw was little crazy stevie rogers punch a hole in a brick wall and then start shrieking like a berserker. rat-brain gerry wasn’t bright, but he knew a losing battle when he saw one, so he ran like the hulk himself had just showed up in that alley. smartest thing he could’ve done, really, because i’d just shown up and if he’d kept after stevie, i’d’ve handed him his ass.
as it was, i pried stevie’s cast off and walked him back to the hospital. the doctors said his arm was plenty healed and didn’t need a new cast, and splinted up his fingers.
steve didn’t like the splints nearly as much as he’d liked the cast. they made absolutely terrible weapons.