WRITERS NOTE: The entirety of this arc takes place within One Day. Spider-Man's morning is in the previous issue.
Enjoy your ride with Spider-Man.
New York City in the Afternoon always seemed bright, fast moving. It was the portion of the day Peter could imagine that most New Yorkers felt was the most active. Sitting on between to two large tan pillars that have stood there seemingly since the beginning of time, Maryjane leans against a tan concrete wall.
Her arms folded with a view of the epically massive city before her, Maryjane stares upward to the sunny sky. The warm sun bathing her in a glow, her hair resembling warmed copper, she resigns herself to closing her eyes and listening to the sounds of the cityscape.
The sounds that seem to give New York it's own heartbeat with the traffic as it's tune. Her reddish hair flows in the wind and partly over her face as her green eyes open and fixed on the slow rolling white clouds in the sky high above the city. With a half smirk she laughs at the thought of all clouds being balls of oddly shaped cotton but she sighs and quickly grasps her throbbing bruised cheek.
However, MJ quickly looks downward from the dizzying heights that she is surprisingly quite comfortable with and sees Spider-Man crawling up the building with a white plastic bag in one hand as he makes his way up to her.
"Special delivery." Spidey proudly exclaims, handing her a brown bag before sitting beside her.
"Thanks." she says flatly before rummaging through the bag, "You sure it's okay to be up here?"
"Yeah I know the cleaning guy." Spider-man retorts.
Maryjane looks inside the paper bag, surprised at the food.
“See I saved his uh, the cleaning guys cousin last week." Spider-man reminisces, "So he lets me hang here to catch a breather in my day. Turns off the camera's around the roof for an hour once I arrive and I leave after an hour so it's basically that I was never here.”
Maryjane smirks, nodding in agreement, "That's kind." she mumbles, as if the word was foreign now.
Silence settles between them.
Spidey clears his throat, "Food okay? Or you prefer something else? I had to beat an old lady to get those fries." he asks, trying to see if MJ will smile but she doesn't, only nods in silence.
MJ pulls out a small burger from the brown bag and the soda but Spidey reaches across her and shoots a small goop of web to the bottom of her soda so accurately its startles MJ and her eyes snap to him.
Spidey points to the ledge, "Things have a tendency of flying off of here, it'll stick better.”
"Foods from this place uh, tavern on the Ledge, I saved the owner from an oncoming truck so he saves me a bag once a week. Urban Hero Perks I guess.”
"That’s cool." MJ sighs, before looking at the burger and taking a modest bite.
Taking it as a sign to commence the eating, Spidey lifts up his mask to just over his mouth and nose before consuming his food at an alarming hungry rate. His superhero life was murder on his metabolism. If it wasn't for the free food he was given, he'd be picking through trash.
Regardless, though his incessant lip-smacking and chewing provide ample sound amongst the distance sound of traffic far below and roaring planes over head, Spidey keeps one eye on MJ, somber, looking at her food as she settles it back onto her lap and picks at her fries with disinterest.
Maryjane’s swollen and bruised lip quivered slightly as she hastily wiped away a tear rolling down her bruised cheek. Her eye remained almost in a transfixed state, as if she was watching images play and replay before her very eyes.
Swallowing the last bit of food, the gusty breeze blowing on them seems to snap Maryjane out of it as she held down her food and napkins, as if it was nature’s reminded her to eat. Scrummaging through her food silently, Spidey just looks at her for a moment, seeing her present condition, wondering how for in the love of mike none of this ‘screamed-out’ to him before.
Tons of conversations in school, hanging out and taking but it all made sense now. The long sleeve shirts underneath her short-sleeves to cover her arms. The wincing with ‘sports’. Always with the make-up, just a little too much but enough not to look trampy – but good enough to cover a black eye maybe, or a bruise. Her sensitivity or aggressiveness to bullying, all if it connecting and pouring into Spidey’s mind as they sit there awkwardly with Spider-man not knowing now if it was such a good idea to bring here.
Spidey snaps out of his thoughts as her voice breaks the silence that seemed forever.
“It’s good. How much do I owe you? I know you said you got it for free but, not mine I could imagine.”
"OH! Owe me? Pfft! Please." Spidey replies, “Call it a Hero New Yorker Freebie. Afterall, could I charge you and still be your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man?” he asks, emphasizing the word Neighborhood.
MJ nods with a half-smile before wincing and holding her bruised cheek with a mournful gaze setting in again.
Silence returns again with only a howling semi-cool breeze to blow against them both as her red hair whips in the wind.
Spider-Man lets out a breath through his nostrils, feeling though as action packed his morning was, that now was going to be the hardest part of his day, if not of his budding superhero career.
THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN: VOLUME ONE
CHAPTER 4 - YOUR FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD SPIDER-MAN
PART 2 -MY LONG DAY - IN THE AFTERNOON (The Tragedy that is Maryjane Watson)
"The simple act of caring is heroic."
“Is this Maryjane Watson?" Spider-Man asks himself.
"Is this the same girl I've been seeing week after week?" he thinks.
It was as if Peter was witnessing a phenomena. This heir of toughness peeling off Maryjanes right before his eyes to reveal an identity of hurt, pain and vulnerableness that was as deep an abyss to hell itself.
"Have we all been blind?" he wonders. "The hurt arms, the outbursts, the meltdown at the prom.....have we all been seeing the cries for help and just been....idiots? Idiots to the most blatant hidden thing right in front of us?"
"I hate him.” Maryjane mumbles under her breath, but her biting tone was clearer than the traffic far below.
Spider-man looks at her most intently as she takes a deep breath.
“I really hate him.” She says again, but this time more ‘a matter of factly’, as if proud she could say it out loud. Looking down at her wrap, Maryjane finally begins to eat.
Watching her nibble at her food, increasing her frequent bites as her apparent hunger sets in, Peter looks down to his food, astonished, perplexed and concerned all at once.
"What do you mean, you hate him?" Spider-man asks, hoping to draw her out.
MJ swallows down her morsel of food before turning to him, "I...I just hate him." she repeats as tears well up in her eyes and her nose suddenly turns flush pink while her firm face turns pale, “I wish I never knew him. Haven’t you ever hated something or someone? Or are you gonna tell me no?” she asks.
Spidey smirks and turns his attention the view of the city, "I hate the Avengers." he says.
MJ raises her eyebrow and looks at him in a puzzled manner.
Spidey nods, "Ya, I know, CLEARLY I have issues, but I do. I mean...like seriously, how do you have the best of the best on ONE team, but you never see them stop a store robbery? Or a traffic shooting? Let alone ‘road rage’?” No that’s left up to me! Spider-man, jerk hero who can’t even get a freakin’ T-shirt! I mean, I can't handle a city on my own! Meanwhile, you have maniacs in different lands like…like…”
“Latevaria?” Maryjane interjects as Spider-man throws up his hands in the air and turns to her.
“LIKE LATEVARIA! Freakin’ place was on Netflix! I mean it’s like the worst Colonial Williamsburg tour ever, crossed with a Chinese Slave Factory with sprinkles of North Korea…AND THEY LOVE IT THERE! Yet, they’re all concerned about some freakin’ space meteor that’ll come and destroy Coney Island! Like seriously, screw the road rage, a guy name Doom owns a country and you don’t even topple THAT? What do the Avengers do I dunno, but they decided to leave me a city to look after all ON MY OWN…totally not fair."
MJ looks at him before turning to look at the city in a deep state of thought. Her face is almost frozen in silence for an entire minute and then comes out with, "Bullcrap!" she snaps.
Spidey's head whips to her almost immediately as if it was another person who he was speaking to.
MJ firms her face as tears stroll down the side of her now flush red cheeks, "You can handle it. I've seen you. You are....amazing. Spectacular. Sensational! You do stuff that stops traffic and makes people stand up and cheer. You are built for what you do. They’re not. I’m not. I'm not a punching bag and I'm...I’m too tired to be ones punching bag anymore. I'm all....punched out." she sighs before raising up her knees and wrapping her arms around them and leaning her forehead onto her knees, “I’m tired of it all. Just tired of it all.”
Spidey inches closer to her, "I can understand that..."
"NO YOU CAN'T!" Maryjane exclaims, glaring at him with the most wild stare. Taken aback by her response, Spidey sees her face almost shake slightly in vehement disagreement as her eyes seemingly pierce through his mask and stare into his eyes behind the reflective mirror like lenses on his mask.
"You will never know what it's like to get up wishing your own father is dead that day. To wake up, wondering if today is it. If this is your last day. You've never wok up at 8am...hoping that somehow you wake up from the dream you've been living all your life to find out to only realize that at 8:01am....its reality. A frightful, painful reality." she says as he looks out to the street.
Spidey slowly puts his hand on her shoulder but she brushes it off, "Don't touch me. It...it feels too good." she says.
Spidey looks out to the city, not knowing what to say, but MJ sighs as she looks at him and grabs his hand, "Sorry." she says, "I don't mean to unload on you like that. I...I haven't really talked to anyone in such, such a long time." she says in more softer tone that sounds more like the Maryjane that Peter is used to hearing.
"I wish I was someone else you know." MJ says. "I wish I was in some other country. Like when you look in those National Geographic magazines and see those photos of women with mud on their faces but gorgeous blue eyes as they were crimson red saris. Or like those other women in respectable communities, you know the ones that are like well off with money? Ya. Like that I wish. Or an actress or something. Something that makes you feel good and everyone makes you feel good." she says as she stares up to the sky.
Spidey nods, "But you know you have to make yourself happy first? Others can't?"
MJ closes her eyes with a soft laugh, "Why can't they?" she asks as she turns to him and opens her big green eyes. Spidey gulps, "Well...I...well...they just can't. I mean...its in you first. Than the rest. It's like ice cream without a cup, you need the cup to enjoy the goodies right?"
"Then why not use cone?" she asks.
Spidey sighs and looks up at the sky "I hate metaphors."
MJ looks out to the city and points down to a woman surrounded by kids as she crosses the street.
"You know why I ask that? See that woman down there?" Maryjane points, "I don't know who she is but that was me with my mom." she recalls.
"Madeline Watson, the most smartest wife you'll ever find. Master Degree in Engineering, bachelors in physics and Associate in Science with a minor in Accounting. She was the younger sister of Gayle Watson my auntie in LA. Mrs. Madeline Watson who later added her husband’s name 'Smit' to hers." she says.
Peter was thankful he wore a mask, his eyes were open wide at how she spoke of her family without the hint of care in her voice.
"See..." Maryjane continues, "..she had wanted to, despite all her smarts and degrees, become an actress. Grandmama hated it. But Mrs. Watson-Smit didn't give up for her, she gave it up for a writer named Phillip Watson whom she later married. Ya that's right he's a writer. You never heard of him though because even though Mrs Philips Watson-Smit played in minor commercials Mr. Watson-Smit became a frustrated literary professor at a small time college and writer with writer's block that never got unblocked." she says.
Taking a sip of soda, MJ continues as a torrent of memories comes to her mind.
"Than we came along me and three sisters. Me being the Oldest of the three." she says bitterly, "Then the descent of the miserable and restless came abruptly when the youngest of us died approximately 9 minutes after child birth before our very eyes in the nursery room and from then on his frustration on the family would gather into an insurmountable debt. Why may you ask would she get such debt?" she asks Spider-Man with a cocked red eyebrow.
"Well, after getting a few commercials in her pocket, it turned out that she would never sleep with anyone for a gig. And Since, Mrs. Watson-Smit had principles despite her husband having betrayed her TWICE, she conceded to having paid off a few here but then money wasn't good enough when your contacts move, leaving you with too many people asking for favors. THAN, Mister Watson-Smit interrogates you why he can’t get money from you, and the leaves you, on the floor with a bloody nose, with your daughters hugging you. Oh what a happy freggin family huh?." she asks sipping her soda again.
Spidey lifts his finger to speak but MJ quickly waves her hand and puts her soda down, "OH no no no, it doesn't stop there. Please, if it did, I would only just need a therapist but the way life has things go, a father's child abuse development cannot be accompanied with JUST alcoholism, it needs a friend, like a secret drug addict that’s better company then your kids or family. We knew when a man came in our house and took our TV as payment. You know what it is like to see a man take what is yours as your parents stand there and just watch helplessly? Then he tries to ‘fix everything by saying, "WERE MOVING’, and like that, we’re in Staten Island..." she says with clap of her hands.
"...three places in Brooklyn, twice in the Bronx, then Queens." MJ says, "Can’t hold a job for so long til he starts snorting the rent money away again. Then there’s the switching schools. Being the new girl all the time and then coming BACK to the school you left with nosy cheerleaders trying to know your business and hang you with it! So I constructed an image for protection and believed it, but it never worked. You know why?" she asks.
MJ smiles as he looks to the city, "Because the words, "Your just like your mother who left us, left you! Cuz your nothin’" or "Your just gonna be a no good tramp like your mother." was repeated pretty much to me each day, every day until one day, when coming after me, he hit my sister. She was amazing. She never got mad. Never could. Take her doll, hit her, spill her food, she'd never get mad. Then one day, woke up, and she was gone, with mom. What I wouldn’t give to have them take me too but it proves something, I’m broken."
"Don't say that." says Spidey.
MJ laughs, "Why not? Its true. I will forever be worthless because my poor, poor little sister who never asked to be in this type of twisted family, lost sight in the right eye and partially deaf in the other saw that it was better to leave the dear ol’ broken sister behind start new with mom somewhere over the sunset. Its fine though, I’m okay with being damaged goods. Being the one who ‘puts on the happy face’ to hide the ugly we ‘really’ are inside.”
“That’s not true!”
“How would you know?” Maryjane asks, “You were a mask, to hide something? Whether its ugly or not isn’t for me to choose, but you can’t tell me about hiding because look at us, we’re both ‘hiding’ something, I just know what mine is better than most. I can bare it though because, I try to befriend people who have no masks, like that blond girl who's father was shot, you know, Gwen Stacy?"
"Ya, I saw him earlier today." he says.
MJ smiles, "That's cool of you. She is a gem of a girl. I envy her sometimes. I saw her this one time, with her dad. I was so sick. Sick with envy. He just…hugged her, because he missed her. I don’t even know what that’s like. Then you got someone like, Peter Parker who’s got every reason to be mad at the world but he has this, this resilience. This resilient simple way of just having this shining hope within himself…something I’ll never have."
"What are you talking about! If they are your friend than..."
MJ puts her hand up, "My life is like a book, filled with chapters and parts and rotating characters, but the only reoccurring character in my worthless book is my deadbeat no good worthless father. I don’t get use to nice people because when they see what I really am…there’s this look in their eyes. Its not pity, its...like they can’t look at me the same. So I push them. Push and push til they’re safely far away. It's safer. It's easier." she says with a sigh, “Its normal.”
Spidey shakes his head, "You don't push people."
MJ looks at him with a raised eyebrow.
“I-I mean not to-uh…” Spidey coughs into his hand, “…my uh, knowledge – in this, short time, that…we have…well, uh, met…only once.”
MJ nods, “We all wears Masks Spider-man, just so happens mine is my face and yours is red and black. The nice thing is, I saved your life."
Spidey tilts his head.
MJ arches her eyebrow, “Really? You don’t remember huh? Well believe it or not tiger but I did. Woke up one day with the ability to put myself in a bubble and tried to use it to protect myself from my own father, but he just walked through the shield and beat the crap out of me. He's immune and isn't even aware, let alone that I have the power. But I saved you though from that Electro guy in our school.”
MJ can see Spider-man’s eyebrow lifts up from under his mask as he gulps.
“Its funny.” Maryjane says, looking down at the traffic, “I can actually say, I saved Spider-Man, but I can never say that I was able to save myself. Life's little ironies I guess."
"Thank you...what's your name again?" Spidey asks, to ensure his identity is kept.
MJ smiles, "Oh please, why should I even say? You won't remember me? From the crane you saved earlier today...YES it was on the news I saw it in Best Buy on the big 60 inch TV, you won't remember. Or need to at that."
Spidey hops on his feet in a crouched position, "Tell me."
MJ sighs as she looks at him, "Maryjane, Maryjane Watson or the girl with issues. You can call me either one." she says.
Spidey looks at her, "You are amazing."
MJ shakes her head, "Please don't say that."
"It's true. You don’t want to say so but its true and I’ll convince you. I'll prove it to you." he says.
MJ looks at him with a raised eyebrow, "Oh spidey, I um, I’m ‘flattered’ but I’m not that easy you know."
Spidey looks at her oddly for a moment and then waves his hands manically, "OH GEEZUS NO NO NO!!!"
MJ throws her head back in laughter, "Awww atleast I got my humor." she winks with a giggle.
Spidey puts his hands on his waist, "VERY FUNNY. But seriously. If you’re not busy on Wednesday's meet me right at the base of this building. Meet me here we'll swing around the city to clear your head. It's what I do when I'm...bogged down. I'll fly you around this city. You'll feel weightless, problemless as everything just goes by in a blur. Nothing will matter. No time will be felt. It'll just be you and me. No questions asked, no friends allowed and that all you have to do, is be on time."
MJ looks at him, and slowly, for the first time, a genuine bright smile appears on her face, "You are such a sweet talker you know that? What time?"
"Four O'clock sharp."
MJ wipes her tears as she looks downward seriously, "Will you stop if one day I'm not here or if I get fat?"
Spidey gulps, "Well, I held a crane this morning so I think you'll be –“
MJ playfully punches his shoulder, “Jerk!” she laughs, “You’re supposed to tell a girl when she says ANYTHING weight related, that’s she’ll be as light as a
feather FOREVER! What the heck was that?! A crane?!’”
“Hey I don’t know how to talk to girls!”
“WHAT!” Maryjane shouts while rolling her eyes and shakes her head, “Oh my gawd seriously? You know how much tail you could get being a hero? I mean, I’m sure Captain America sleeps with LOADS of people.”
“Nah-uh!” Spidey exclaims, “Like he’d have to take off his mask.”
“OH please he could keep it on!” Maryjane chides back, “And look at you! Can’t you see it? Half-naked models tumbling off of rooftops, WAITING for you to swoop them up, ‘Oh thank mistah spidey…”
“Oh gawd this just got uncomfortable!”
“Oh mah-mistah spidah-man. Ya just done swooped me up bah mah britches, oh I feel so defenseless and weak and you’re so strong…”
“OH PLEASE!” Spider-man exclaims.
“…oh can you take lil ol’ me back to mah big empty apartment where ya can tuck me in! Oh I do hope I’m not too heavy?” Maryjane says in playful southern accent before turning serious and ponting at him, “And then you say what? What’s the first thing that comes to your mind?”
“Well I’d logically ask her how much she wei…”
“WRONG!” Maryjane shouts before erupting into laughter, “Oh-em-gee, these swinging sessions will be dual you clearing my head and me helping you get SOME KIND of mojo! You need me, again.”
“WELL PUTTING MY PERSONAL LIFE TO THE SIDE and your apparent talent to one day be an actress!" Spidey says to Maryjanes pleasure, “I’ll be meeting up wit’ you on Wednesdays, but under one condition.”
MJ gets serious and arches up her eyebrow.
GOLD STREET -
From the ledge of a building, Spidey watches as far below, MJ walks to the front of a police station. Police cars line the sidewalk as they are all slantingly parked outside. MJ grabs firm on the door but lets her hand slip off the metal handle and turns around, looking upward.
Spidey, still at the edge of the building across the street, looks at her intently. "Come on. Come on." he mumbles to himself in self-contained anxiety.
MJ nods and turns around, "Even if it doesn't do something...you should try to do something." she mumbles. With a sigh, she closes her eyes, turns on her heels, reaches for the blue door and opens it as she looks down the hallway and sees her father handcuffed to a chair with the police taking notes and then sees her.
Her face bruised and her eye now with a black and blue mark with her lip slightly cut, Maryjane looks up at the officer as he turns to her.
"Are you this man's daughter?" the officer asks.
MJ looks to the floor and then looks up at him defiantly, "Yes. And I'm here to make a complaint." she says before stepping in.
"Go get'em tiger." mumbles Spidey as he crawls to the top of the building and sees the sun starting to set over the city. Spidey rolls back his red and blue sleeve and looks at his watch, "SIX O'CLOCK! I was with her for SIX HOURS!" he says.
Suddenly Spidey holds his head as he feels his senses go off, "Spidey Senses! That is this annoying things name!" he says as he looks around trying to see where the danger is. Again with a pain in his head, Spidey turns around and sees with his perfect clear vision, at least 10 blocks away, a figure flying in the air and then dive towards a window. Spidey than takes a double take, seeing that it is the OZCORP that is under attack.
Spidey's eyes open wide, "Oh come on! My Saturday Afternoon is gone...now my night too!! Dangit! Why is it that I'm saving all my FRIENDS today!" he says, shooting out a webline swinging off the building.
Sitting in a seat with a police officer on the other side, the navy blue dressed officer leans back and rubs his face, “Okay first thing is that we’re going to get you out of your fathers house, you understand that Ms Watson?”
“Good. I mean, from what you’ve told us to the what happened today, we have a case for Child Neglect at a minimum, but uh, I gotta be honest, most kids your age get put in the system and…its not easy by a long shot. You got any relatives in the area you can stay with?”
“I only have like, my cousin Hope.”
“What’s her full name?” he asks, ready to jot it down on his form.
“Hope Summers. She was adopted by a family in West Virginia. I could stay with her but they’re out of the tri-state area.”
“Hmm…” The officer groans, leaning back in his seat, “…yeah that won’t work. We'll need you for the court proceedings. You have your cell on you? Can you look through it, think of someone, anyone, that wouldn’t mind putting you up for a couple of months while you get this sorted out because I really don’t want to have to put you through the social system. I can let you make a few calls for as long as you need.”
“I understand.” MJ says, pulling out her phone, “Thanks but I won’t need a lot of time. I only have like, three numbers in my phone anyway.” She says, opening her contacts
Maryjane sighs as she raises her phone to her ear, “Hi, Aunt May, its Maryjane, can I ask for a favor?”
to be continued....