Sunday, February 27, 2011


I was quite honored to be a "visiting professor" on the Superhero Academy blog talk radio show, hosted by Crossfire the Crusader. The show is recorded 5PM (CST) on Sundays and has a wide variety of guests from the world of Real Life Superheroes.

I got a chance to discuss Heroes in the Night with Crossfire and call in guests Captain Black, Knight Owl, and Silver Sentinel, who made my day by awarding me the Silver Sentinel Seal of Approval.

Thanks, guys!

You can listen to the episode and find more episodes archived here:

Friday, February 25, 2011


Phoenix Jones immortalized in a Wall Street Journal stipple style portrait

The Wall Street Journal ran a front page story on Real Life Superheroes, titled "Bam! Pow! Superhero Groups Clash in an Epic Battle of Good vs. Good," which focuses on Phoenix Jones and some of his conflict with other Real Life Superheroes.

Reporter Ashby Jones (no relation to Phoenix Jones) divides the superheroes into two groups- Phoenix Jones and his Rain City Superheroes and the already existing Real Life Superheroes.

Jones' reporting on the conflict (the "Battle of Seattle" as I call it) between the two groups is pretty accurate and I have to say that as a reporter, passing up such a strange story of conflict would be difficult.

A bone of contention, already being vocalized by the RLSH, is that both Jones and Jones state that they are the first and only practicing superhero that does crime fighting- the rest of the RLSH are portrayed as dudes wandering around with a bag filled with sandwiches.

In fact RLSH crime fighters can be found from Oakland, CA to New York City, and several places in between and beyond. They just don't have the hype Rain City does.

The article also offers one quote from yours truly:

"Mostly, they're relatively normal people trying to help out and have a little fun along the way," says Tea Krulos, a Milwaukee writer working on a book about them.

Yes, that's right--when the Wall Street Journal needs a quote, they turn to the least financially capable writer in the Midwest- ah, the sweet irony.

You can read the article and see accompanying video HERE.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

HERO PROFILE #64: The Statesman

Operates out of: Birmingham (UK)

Equipment: Notepad, first aid kit, cell phone, and flashlight (or as the British call it, a torch)

: Night patrols

Quote: "While I am over that area, nothing bad is going to happen. You can't change the entire city, but you can make one small part of it better each night. Even if it's just for one or two people, then that's a win."

Author's notes
: I've had some contact with The Statesman in the past, exchanging e-mails about himself and his British RLSH colleagues. I even sent a Chapter on International RLSHs for him to look over.

The Statesman story recently got a media whirlwind in the UK, with the story being picked up by News of the World (HERE), and then other tabloids rushing to jump on board- the Daily Mail, Faded Tribune, and The Sun all reported on it, among others. also did a pretty funny interpretation of the story (HERE).

In true British scandal sheet fashion, the Daily Mail followed up by revealing The Statesman's secret identity, then tracked down his mum and his girlfriend to get a react quote from them.

Fortunately, they seem to support him and all of them later talked about the superhero's double life to The Sun HERE. The article also has video footage of The Statesman in action!

Sunday, February 20, 2011


Night vision photo of Blackbird in the woods, taken by The Watchman

Today the streets outside here in Milwaukee were bombarded by snow and sleet, as winter continues. Last night local RLSHs The Watchman and Blackbird were on a mission to head out into the cold night. Unfortunately I couldn't join them, but just got a report back from The Watchman over the phone.

First the duo tried out some of Blackbird's new infrared camera equipment. Blackbird is always on the look out for good surveillance supplies- after some testing they discovered what bugs need to be worked out.

After that removed their masks and headed into the woods to drop off some supplies to a homeless camp in the woods near the river. After being tipped off about this, Blackbird and myself took a trek into the woods to find them, which I wrote about in an entry HERE. We had found their camp, but no one was there. Blackbird returned the next day and spoke with the group of four homeless people.

Watchman and Blackbird headed down to the camp with two bundles of firewood, pillows, socks, hats, hand sanitizer, canned food, peanut butter, and candy. No one was at the camp, although the firepit was still warm. The people were probably sleeping in their makeshift tents, hidden deeper in the woods, so they left the supplies near the base camp.

After that the two did a "rolling patrol" in Blackbird's car, cruising the streets of Riverwest and the nearby University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee campus.

"It was nice to have a specific mission to attend to," Watchman said. "It was a quiet night, pretty calm overall."

Friday, February 18, 2011

HERO PROFILE #63: Bar Harbor Batman

Operates out of: Bar Harbor, Maine

Secret identity: "Wayne Bruce"

Activities: Bar patrols, public appearances, sign campaigns

Quote: "I am the Bar Harbor Batman."

Author's note: A poll on this blog asked if Bar Harbor Batman would technically be considered a RLSH despite him not adopting an original persona. So why is he featured here even after "No" won the poll with 51%? Because the people of Bar Harbor weighed in and defended him. You can read more in the entry previous to this one.

The Dark Knight (Poll) Returns

Last week I wrote an entry on the Bar Harbor Batman, a man who dresses as the famous caped crusader, star of DC Comics and silver screen. The entry, and accompanying poll was meant to generate debate on whether the criteria for being a Real-Life Superhero (RLSH) included having an original persona, as most RLSHs do.

Commentary began with regular blog readers, but after a link was posted up by the Bar Harbor Times Soup and by the dark detective himself (on his Facebook)- the blog got a steady stream of comments from concerned citizens of Bar Harbor. I don't think some of these people are familiar with the greater Real Life Superhero movement, but they sensed their hero was under attack and came to his defense.

"I think he brings fun and joy to what can sometimes be a dreary town in the winter and gives the summer an extra pizazz." One commenter wrote, No harm in making people happy...he gives people a cheer. That's special."

Another said, "He's real life. He's a super hero in a time and place that needs him. And he's assailed by the non-believers who don't have anything to contribute to our community."

One commenter even suggested I move out of my mom's basement and "stfu" for allowing such a blasphemous blog entry exist! The votes for "Yes" continued, and so did the comments.

"If seeing BHBM walk down the street, wave to a child or pose for a photograph makes people smile, then doesn't that make the world a better place?" A commenter asked.

Another comment: "I believe he is the embodiment of positivity and (mostly) good morals, and gives without expecting to receive. What more could we expect in a RLSH?"

And for all of us that had a lonely Valentine's Day: "The only hug I received on Valentine's Day was from the BHBM, that makes him a Super Hero in my book. He makes us smile and promotes justice. What's not to like?"

Despite the positive upswing, a last minute push moved the "No" vote ahead.

Final results: Is the Bay Harbor Batman a RLSH? (109 votes total)

No, you need an original persona. 56 votes- 51%

Yes, he is. It doesn't matter what he wears. 33 votes- 30%
It doesn't matter. 11 votes- 10 %
I am the Bar Harbor Batman. Arrest me. 9 votes- 8%

Something is very clear, though- the people of Bar Harbor support their local Batman. And if he is a hero to them, then who are we to judge?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


The Bar Harbor Batman with a vigilante valentine on the streets of Bar Harbor. Photo by Ezra Silk.

It always makes me happy to see the Heroes in the Night blog sourced in other media, big or small. In the past week, two blog entries here have been re-reported elsewhere.

Writer Genevieve Suzuki wrote an article for the La Mesa version of titled "Who Was That Masked Man? Real-Life Superhero Visits Classes at Helix High!" which quoted from and linked to a blog entry here about DC's Guardian and a day spent speaking to students at Helix High School. (entry HERE)

Also, the Bar Harbor Times Soup is a website which was the source of info for an entry last week on the Bar Harbor Batman. I created a poll, which is open until Friday, to see what conversation I could generate about RLSHs with original personas vs. ones based entirely on an already existing character. Members of the RLSH world as well as Bar Harbor residents have weighed in on that entry HERE.

The writer following the Bar Harbor Batman for the Bar Harbor Times Soup, the exquisitely named Ezra Silk, didn't guess my sex right (it happens) but mentioned the blog and the poll in a write up titled "Bar Harbor Batman Plays Vigilante Valentine," which also talks about his Valentine's Day appearances.

Results of the Bar Harbor Batman poll will be posted Friday. But please- this is not supposed to be a serious online trial of the man. It is just for fun and to try to generate discussion.

Monday, February 14, 2011


Poorly conceived photoshop "detective" work

First, let me tell you about my friend Groschopf- a great guy, the type of guy you hope to have in your neighborhood. He walks around, he drives around, and he keeps his eye out for trouble. If people need his help, he helps out. He shovels the sidewalk. He tries to get involved with his community. He supports his friends. On a personal level, Groschopf has always been very supportive in helping me out on whatever projects I'm working on, no matter how crazy. It is great to have someone talented like him believe what you are doing is worthwhile.

In short, what I am saying is that if we had a Groschopf on every block, the world might not suck as much.

But the world does often suck, and the reason why is that there are so many gosh darn idiots out there.

Case in point- a profile set up on MySpace named Watching the Watchman, in which some outhouse moonbat has cobbled together an extremely weak, poorly photoshopped Groschopf-Watchman Conspiracy Theory.

When a story about The Watchman ran in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel back in October, a few people thought Groschopf might be the one behind the red cowl. They made the connection between his civic heroism and real life superheroes. With a stretch of the imagination they could connect him to the Journal Sentinel's photograph of The Watchman. A lot of his friends had a good laugh about this at the time- there were some pretty funny threads about it on Facebook.

However someone apparently has taken this to heart.

A MySpace page at features some...uh... interesting "morphs" of a picture of Groschopf into The Watchman. The page's status declares:

"we demand these VIGILANTES register their identies [sic]. The last thing milwaukee needs is masked lunatics running around with PEPPER SPRAY and FLASHLIGHTS!! We shall expose you all. For your own safety"

A picture caption reveals a more poetic side:

"roses are red, just like your mask. finding out who you are was an easy task!!"

So far, all of this is goofy, and quite extreme in stupidity. But then The Watchman received this e-mail:

"We would hate to have to go to the Journal Sentinal [sic] with all the information we have gathered on you over the past two months. I really think we should open up a way of communication. Because it would be a shame if the seedy underbelly of Riverwest found out your true identity.

Watching the Watchman"

As someone who knows the secret identity of The Watchman, I can testify under oath that he IS NOT Groschopf. But please, don't take my word for it- let's see the evidence. So here you go, Watching the Watchman:

EXHIBIT A: The Journal Sentinel, the very source you are threatening to slip a plain manila envelope (or in your case, a misspelled MySpace message) to already knows that Groschopf is not The Watchman. A short video accompanies the piece the Journal Sentinel ran on The Watchman, produced by Mike De Sisti. The footage is from a neighborhood patrol I went on with Watchman and Blackbird. Groschopf accepted an invitation to join us because he was curious to see what these guys were about and maybe because he wanted to get out of the house. You can't see Groschopf clearly, but he is one of the folks walking with The Watchman in the video, which you can see along with the article here:

EXHIBIT B: The Girls to the Front Fest organized a superhero themed community walk in Riverwest. Groschopf, dressed as none other than Captain Hammer, participated in the walk along with The Watchman. There are two pictures of them side by side
Additionally, the UWM produced news program Panthervision ran a report about the walk and it's participants

EXHIBIT C: Blurry, but admissible- Groschopf on left next to Watchman at a superhero themed event to support my book.

Lastly, I'd like to address the many stupid things crammed into the "Watching the Watchman" status.

1. By "we" you mean "you." Firsthand experience joining these guys on the street more than a dozen times tells me reception to the idea, overall, is pretty positive.

2. These guys aren't vigilantes. More like a costumed neighborhood block watch.
And they do humanitarian efforts, too- Christmas Toy Drives (HERE) and trying to help homeless people (HERE).

3. Implied more than once on this page-that there is a law Real Life Superheroes have to register somewhere. Where do you think they register? The Department of Real Life Superheroes?
Watchman has been very cooperative with police,and spoken with them several times. I once witnessed him giving his ID to police when they asked for it.

4. Many people I know that live in Riverwest carry pepper spray and flashlights. The pepper spray is for self defense. The flashlights are for dark alleys and come in handy when your poorly wired house blows a fuse because you ran the toaster and the microwave at the same time.

: And here's Groschopf's reaction: "Well, whatever. It's weird, but for the most part stupid and harmless."

I told you he was a stand up guy.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Bar Harbor Batman: RLSH?

The Bar Harbor Batman with a fan

-Bar Harbor, Maine

Throughout writing Heroes in the Night, especially early on, it has been difficult to get people to understand what I'm writing about exactly.

Example: I told a friend I was writing about real life superheroes, and they were like, "oh yeah, I saw a documentary about them- Confessions of a Superhero."

Confessions of a Superhero
is a good (but depressing) documentary about four actors who hang out in front of Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood, soliciting tourists to tip them in exchange for a photo with them. They dress as Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and the Incredible Hulk. They are not RLSHs.

There have been an occasional person doing RLSH style patrols in already existing personas (or very close to the source material)- in general, I've tried to stay away from them as to avoid confusion, however they have come up a couple times already. The Heroes of Albany, which were profiled HERE include The Spirit of Albany, modeled after Will Eisner's hero, and Kick-Ass of Albany, complete with the green and gold diving suit. Hellpool(profiled HERE) I think it is safe to say, is modeled after Deadpool.

And then there is the Bar Harbor Batman. According to wikipedia, Bar Harbor is a town of approx. 5,000 people (97.88% white) near Cadillac Mountain and the Porcupine Islands in southern Maine. And it's streets are patrolled by a Dark Knight.

The Bar Harbor Times Soup did an...interesting... Q and A with the cowled crusader here:

His activities include patrolling, stopping in bars, and a "honk for justice campaign."

And apparently, it's spreading in Bar Harbor, because now he is joined by (and having some friendly rivalry with): yes, you guessed it- a breakdancing Bar Harbor Spiderman. I can't make this stuff up.

Story on the funky webslinger here:
Bar Harbor Spiderman prepares to bust a move

Would you consider the Bar Harbor Batman to be a RLSH? Vote in the poll to the write and explain your answer in the comments section!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

HERO PROFILE #61/62: Lunar Veil and Dark Wolf

Operates out of: Portland, OR

Group affiliation: Northwest Defenders

Places of origin: Dark Wolf: Howth, Fingal, Ireland (Republic of Ireland)
Lunar Veil: Palermo, Sicily, Italy (Italian Republic)

Shared interests
: Animal rights,environmental causes,crime fighting

Activities: Patrols, hand outs

Author's notes: This unique and adventurous couple currently lives in Portland, Oregon, where they have joined forces with other RLSH in the Pacific Northwest. Recent activities have included night patrols and trying to shut down a puppy mill.

Dark Wolf (on the right) with Prof. Midnight of Utah
Lunar Veil (on the left) with Zetaman, also of Portland

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Operation: Coloring Book

Geist, in coloring book form- artwork by the Purple Lotus

Geist, of Rochester, Minnesota,says that when he started out as a RLSH he wanted to be a "dark avenger type," but "eventually found that implausible in my situation and environment, so I concentrated more on humanitarian aspects of what we do."

Throughout this humanitarian work, he has encountered kids. He recalls one time when he got a letter signed by an entire second grade class. Another time he met some kids at a homeless shelter that were hip to Geist.

"I was surprised that one day, making donations at a homeless shelter that the volunteer kids at the front desk who I had never met had heard of me. They asked, 'You must be Geist, right?' I was like, 'Yeah, you must have just seen me on CNN's webpage, huh?' (I was pretty puffed-up and full of myself, I think.)

And they said, 'No, Man. Word on the street. Word on the street...' That was better than CNN or anything because it proved to me that what I actually do has an effect. And people hear about it. And if they hear that someone is looking out for them, then that's the message."

Geist found that he had a big fan in a young fellow named Ben who lives a bit Northwest from Geist in Alexandria, Minnesota.

"I'm not sure how Ben and his family heard about me at all." Geist says. He says one day he got an e-mail from Ben's mother on Facebook.

"She said that her son, Ben, had asked her to buy a Geist action figure. I really did laugh out loud. I said 'Sorry, but I'm not exactly on the market,' or something like that. Then she asked if I would be willing to meet Ben when they're in Rochester visiting the Mayo Clinic in April."

It was then that Geist found out that Ben is ill, and the prognosis isn't good.

"I told (Ben's mom) that I would be sending the one and only Geist action-figure known in existence, and some other items. I sent the action figure custom-made by Rev. Tom Fury, 3 autographed photos, a piece of material that my mask is made from, an LED gimmick and a letter," Geist says.

[Note: The Rev. Tom Fury is an artist who creates illustrations, puppets (including the nefarious villain puppet Octavious Fong), and custom made action figures of real life superheroes.]

After this initial exchange, Ben's family remained in contact and even joined forces with Geist and his fellow heroes of Minnesota.

"I want to mention that they've done so much for us since my initial package to them.

They substantially packed a whole buncha supplies that Blue picked up from them in Alexandria. Blue, Arctic Knight, Razorhawk and I gave them out in loads to People Serving People in Minneapolis, which houses entire families in need of housing and food."

In addition to Geist, Ben was quickly becoming a fan of Geist's RLSH allies.

Ben's story led to a brainstorming session on Geist's Facebook page in which a proposal to create a RLSH coloring book very quickly got rolling. A large number of RLSHs and artists volunteered to make the coloring book happen.

"The coloring book is an ongoing process that's probably working faster than I am at this point and that's great. I love the fact that there's momentum in this project and that there are other people not jumping, but leaping to join in." Geist says, explaining that the first book will go to Ben, and more copies potentially could be given to other kids in the future.

"The very first book is going to go to Ben. He's our cause and our care."

Meeting Ben is an event Geist looks forward to.

"Tea, there's nothing about this meeting with Ben that doesn't get tears streaming down my cheeks, man. I feel very emotional about it and I'm also inspired by how the rest of the RLSH community and ALSO the 'just-plain-fans' are stepping up to help Ben."

**UPDATE: I'm now being told Ben has adopted his own superhero persona- Power Boy- and received complimentary costume gear from Hero-Gear, a company that supplies RLSH and others with masks and suits.
Ben's fan art of Geist

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

What would you do?

The murder scene in South Wales

Marc is a reader from Manchester (in the UK and home to world renowned footie players Manchester United) who has been following the Heroes in the Night blog.

In the comments section of the post previous to this one, he asks how RLSH might respond to a tragic story from Newport (in South Wales) of a pregnant 19 year old who was stabbed and left to die in a burning house. The murderer is still at large.
Marc's original comment follows:

This may seem a little extreme, and I only post it out of pure anger at the story, but I would like to ask what any RLSH would do in response to reading this story....

I feel that it relates to the RLSH community because of the following quote...

‘I can see vigilantes coming in if the police do not find who did this,’ said neighbour Christine Tovey, a mother-of-four. ‘I couldn’t blame them if anyone did.’

I also would not blame them, but how would the RLSH community deal with this?

Marc (and I) would love to hear what RLSHs would do if this terrible crime had happened in your neighborhood in the comments section below. I've posted a link to this entry on forum and on the Heroes in the Night Facebook inviting RLSHs to respond-

How would you deal with this?

DC's Guardian: Head of the Class

DC's Guardian talks to a class at Helix High School

Note: DC's Guardian is the star spangled superhero of Washington, DC who spends at least part of the year in Southern California. He was recently invited to spend a day talking to students of Helix High School in La Mesa, California. DC recalled the day at my request in a detailed e-mail, which I have excerpted from below. Here is DC's account of his day

"An English teacher from Helix High School had on her course calendar- of all things- the study of comic books and their influence on reading and personal character development. Doing some research the teacher had come across Peter Tangen's Real Life Superhero Project. Shortly after that, she had contacted me about the possibility of coming down to talk to her students. Timing is everything, and it worked out I would be in her area. I had originally planned to talk only to her class, but over the course of time other teachers had requested I talk to their classes as well. Given the opportunity to talk about the community at large was something I couldn’t pass up."

"The students, prior to my arrival had spent a few days researching and discussing comic books, RLSH and influences from their own background, prepared themselves with questions and discussion points."

"Waiting in the hallway, I found out my schedule had already changed. I had informed the school prior to my arrival that I would be at their disposal as long as they were willing to have me. I was now scheduled for more classes. They had even arranged to have a conference room available to me for privacy to get a bite to eat. They had really gone above and beyond to look out for me. I can’t thank them enough."

"The students (in each class) greeted me very kindly, and I led into a very short history of myself and then I introduced the people showcased on Peter’s site. I inlcuded a lot of people who are not on the site and I also talked about those we know about around the world. Each class had their favorites (I could usually get a good laugh when I refered to myself as a bum). I did spend a good amount of time talking about others in the community and showing the students the wide variety of causes and techniques."

"I answered what I could, and asked questions about the things I ask the community at large. Things like peer pressure (both good and bad), their personal foundations (those things they firmly believe in). I asked pointed questions about what influences they surround themselves with. I also talked about their responsibilities: to learn, to be apart of their family, their community and nation. How it takes involvement in being a friend, a son or daughter and even a citizen. It was not all rosy, straight talk about good and bad things that happen."

"After school I talked to the Jr. ROTC program. I talked at length to the questions they posed, it was a no bars hold (as were all the classes) question and answer session about leadership, responsibility and duty."

"All in all, I spent about 10 hours at Helix, with a quick break for a bite to eat. I was honored to be asked there and I would return in a heartbeat if asked again. It gave me much more than I think I gave them."

DC also tells me one of the things he discussed with the classes is Heroes in the Night- thanks, DC, and welcome to any readers from Helix High!

DC's Guardian poses with the Jr. ROTC program at Helix High

Monday, February 7, 2011

Big Week For Blogging

Just wanted to drop a note letting people know there will be content posted here daily tomorrow through Friday. I've had some stuff stored up but I'm ready to roll.
Tomorrow and Wednesday we will check in with two familiar Real Life Superheroes, Thursday will feature the rare but not unheard of double Hero Profile, and Friday we will examine a new but familiar looking RLSH.

Stay tuned!

Friday, February 4, 2011


Blackbird, after a long walk through the woods.

“I’ve got a job for your superhero friends.” It was Jan, over the phone.

Jan is the editor of a community newspaper,the Riverwest Currents. The paper's main goals are to report on news of the Riverwest neighborhood and to make a positive impact on the community.

Jan called to share a report with me- a Riverwest resident was snowshoeing on the frozen Milwaukee River, near the woods bordering the neighborhood. While walking, she encountered a man sitting outside of a tent he had constructed out of tarps.

The man called out to her and asked her if she had heard any weather forecasts. Would this terrible wind be dying down? The woman replied that the forecast didn't look good. When she got home she called Jan and wondered if anything could be done to help.

I hung up the phone and reflected on this. I looked out the window of my second floor flat. Below me, the streets were a disaster- people were struggling for hours to dig out their cars, completely buried in snow. Giant mountains of snow were piled up eight feet everywhere. A gust of wind rattled the storm windows of my house. And less than half a mile away, I was told, a man was living in a makeshift tent.

I called up my friend Blackbird, a mysterious man who dresses in all black padded superhero gear, a mask with yellow eyes and a pointed beak disguising his identity.

* * * *

“This is no joke, man!” I called through the wind to Blackbird. It was night now, and we were trudging through snow that was up to my hips (and I should note, I’m 6’5”. Up to my hips is pretty deep!) through the woods toward the river. We had determined there were two things we could do- offer the man a ride to a homeless shelter, and if he refused this, then we could offer him some warm clothing and ask what other supplies he could use.

We packed up an old army style duffle bag with some of our extra winter clothes- I found a winter jacket I never wore in the closet, a scarf, and a pair of wool socks. Blackbird had a spare pair of gloves and a hat. We parked near the student dorms at the path that led into the woods. Blackbird was wearing his gear, minus his mask, a scarf wrapped around his face instead. Walking through the snow drifts was an endurance test. We kept going.

* * * *

“Wait a minute, what’s that?” Blackbird whispered, and took out his night vision binoculars. We were now standing on the frozen river itself. He scanned the odd shapes in the woods along the shore. It was very quiet, except an occasional breeze, and the trees creaking and snapping in the wind. The shape was just a fallen tree.

* * * *

“Hey man, if you can hear me- we’re not cops or anything, just a couple guys from the neighborhood, want to make sure you’re ok!” I was addressing the dark woods in front of me. We had found the man’s camp further down the river. A firepit with glowing embers still faintly burning indicated he had been there not long ago.

There were a couple of chairs set up, some buckets, and a folded up tarp. Mt first guess was that the man must have heard us and got spooked and ran off. Maybe he was hiding behind a tree. Blackbird scanned the woods with the night vision binoculars as I called out again.

We then guessed he had probably left camp some time before we arrived- it didn’t look like the camp had been set up completely, and it was likely we would have heard the man in the woods leaving the scene. We left the bag of clothes near the fire pit and decided to climb straight up the hill to the upper path.

* * * *

“You (huff puff) reallifesuperheroes (huff puff) always... something (huff puff) with you guys.” I told Blackbird at the top of the hill, trying to catch my breath. By grasping onto tree branches and crawling through the snow, we had scaled upward to solid ground on the bicycle path. I was sweating beneath my winter clothes and reminding myself of my New Year’s resolution to get in better shape. We walked along the upper trail, back to Blackbird’s car.

I don’t know that we accomplished anything, but Blackbird told me he’ll make a follow up visit tomorrow. I do know this- it is currently 18 degrees here in Milwaukee, and a man is living outside in the woods, less than a half mile from my house.