Diary of a Baltic exile

  • 2004-07-22
The other day I went to see "Spider-Man 2," and I don't mind admitting that I loved it. But it got me thinking. Why does America get all the superheroes?It just doesn't seem right that all the hulks and supermans and spidermans should hail from the same country.

But, realistically, what sort of a superhero could a country like Latvia have? His name, I guess, could be Janis. He could be a young, bumbling, fumbling, bespectacled nerd, who one day happens to eat some radioactive dill and....no, that's a completely crap idea.
Okay, one day Janis is walking in the country when he gets bitten by a stork that was contaminated with radioactivity just across the border at Ignalina.
Janis goes home and feels queasy all night long. His loving aunt Baiba tries to help, but he locks his bedroom door, and sweats it out.
But then, the next morning Janis is....Superstork. He has a retractable beak that can bore through steel doors. He can whip together a nest in the blink of an eye. He solves Latvia's declining population problem in a jiffy. And the Latvian frog rapidly becomes an extinct curiosity.
By day, Superstork is the nerdy Janis, working as a trolley bus conductor. By night, he is a true, A1, state-of-the-art, bonafide superhero, fearlessly fighting frogs and dodgy demographics.
Naturally, by day Janis suffers the pangs of unrequited love. If only the beautiful Inga, a young, successful, Cosmo-reading, gym-going lawyer knew of his true identity. But she doesn't. She just turns the other cheek as she flashes her trolley bus pass at him.
Of course, Superstork also has a nemesis, in the form of Dr. Lembergahead, an evil, oilrich oligarch hell bent on the destruction of the Latvian stork, and anything else he says "might clog up the pipelines."
A thrilling battle of wits ensues between the two, with the unctuous Dr. Lembergahead luring Superstork into a pipeline by using Inga as bait. But just as the oil comes roaring toward them, Superstork whips out his beak and....
You'll have to read next week to see what happens next in this thrilling little story. But one thing is for sure. Superstork won't be playing at a movie theater any time soon.