Star Spangled Man Cover by Meg Bodoun
Steve stares at her, because that’s the song. Who’s strong and brave, here to save the American Way?
But it’s slow, and sad, and not all the lyrics are the same — because the song was about him but more about this mythical hero who would do it all, and —
She’s left out the line. The song was always just a lot of questions about who will fight for America or save America or give his all in battle, but in the original, there was an answer: The Star Spangled Man.
And she’s left the answer out. So it’s not an anthem to raise money for a war or get enlistment numbers up. It’s a cry out for help. Who’ll rise and fall, give their all for America?
(She’s left out a lot of other stuff too, about the goose-stepping goons and the Krauts and all that guff, which is just as well.)
After the song, after she’s gone off the stage and people have turned back to their drinks, he sidles through the crowd to find her. He’s still…uncertain around women, sometimes, but his need to ask her about the song overrides his reticence.
“Ma’am?” he asks, and she turns from where she’s talking to the bartender. “You play beautifully.”
“Thanks, handsome,” she says, smiling. She can’t be older than him, probably younger.
“I uh…” he rubs the back of his head. “The last song you played. I remember it. You did a better job of it than just about anyone ever, I think.”
“Well, that wouldn’t have been ha — ” she starts, and then really looks at him.
“Steve Rogers,” he says, offering his hand.
“You’re Captain America!” she blurts. “You’re really tall!”
“Right now I’m just a guy who liked your song,” he replies. He gets this a lot, Tony coached him on how to reply.
“But — they wrote that song about you!” She looks horrified. “I cut you out of it!”
“Well, maybe, but…don’t you think it’s better that way?” He smiles, shyly. “I do.”
“Sure. Because…” He thinks about this. “Well, if it’s just some Star Spangled Man doing it all, ordinary people feel like they don’t have to do anything. And I think the point of democracy is that everyone has to do their part. I sure don’t want to do it all myself, anyhow.”
“That’s…that’s why I…” she stammers. “Damn, you should run for president.”
— From A Partial Dictionary of the 21st Century by sam-storyteller