(Thanks to Chelsea Owens for suggesting the opening sentence.)
She always wondered why he limped; now, she knew. Randall McAvoy was eighty years old and hobbled along with the aid of a walking stick. Dolores Hughes had known him for the last eight years. He was a neighbour. She had always presumed that his limp was because of age. One day she asked him if his limp was due to rheumatism. He said, “Oh goodness me no! I’ve had this limp since I was sixteen.”
Dolores asked further, even though she didn’t want to appear nosey. He had got a knee injury when he was sixteen while rescuing orphaned babies trapped in a gun fight between warring factions in Lebanon. Some shrapnel had hit him in the knee. No, he wasn’t a fighter; he was rescuing the orphans. However, it was only today that Dolores discovered the full truth.
Dolores was just settling down to watch her favourite afternoon soap when there was a knock on her door. It was Randall. He said, “Look, I don’t want to be a bother but my washing machine needs fixing. I know it’s a silly request but would you mind ever so much if I used yours? The need to wear these clothes has become a matter of urgency, and they’re frightfully dirty with soot and the stink of acrid smoke.” He had the clothes neatly folded in a large paper bag, and there were just a couple of items.
“Of course I don’t mind!” said Dolores. She showed him her washing machine and the soap powder and softener.
“I’m very grateful,” said Randall after setting the washing machine going and leaving. “I shall be back in a while to pick things up.”
He was long in returning. Dolores wanted to do her own washing so she put Randall’s clothes in a laundry basket. She got the shock of her life. Randall’s clothes were not ordinary. He was the real Superman.