Weird, Wicked Weird: Maine's Real Life Superheroes. Yup, for real.

Her mom thought she was doing drugs, slipping out at night, wandering the streets.

L-A's Real Life Superheroes
Amber Waterman/Sun Journal

"Slapjack," left, and "Dreizehn" are self-proclaimed Real Life Superheroes who patrol the streets of Lewiston and Auburn at night looking for people in need. Slapjack has been doing it for four years and Dreizehn for seven, mostly in another part of the country.

L-A's Real Life Superheroes
Amber Waterman/Sun Journal

"Slapjack," left, and "Dreizehn" walk past the Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Lewiston on a quiet Tuesday night in May, looking for anyone in need. They will call for police or tow trucks if needed. Dreizehn has broken up a drug deal, for which she took "a pretty severe beating," she said.

L-A's Real Life Superheroes
Amber Waterman/Sun Journal

Self-proclaimed Real Life Superhero "Dreizehn" walks down a quiet Lewiston street in May. The RLS website has members worldwide.

Mom didn’t realize her little girl was actually busy atoning and avenging.

As the self-styled superhero "Dreizehn" (that’s the number 13 in German), she’d slip out and look for trouble, interrupting drug deals and vehicle break-ins. Think “Kick-Ass,” but in real life. Sometimes it worked, sometimes the teenager got beaten up, badly.

Dreizehn moved to Maine from a big city outside New England a few months ago to join her similarly self-styled superhero boyfriend, "Slapjack." Several nights a week they walk Lewiston-Auburn for hours on end as roving Good Samaritans, looking for trouble.

The streets here? Much less mean, in her limited experience.

Most nights their foot patrol means giving bottled water and granola bars to the homeless and maybe yelling at a graffiti artist, all the while costumed and armed with batons, knife-proof protective wear and brass knuckles electrified with Tasers.

Dreizehn and Slapjack are in their 20s. Their parents? They still have no clue.

“You kind of have to be a little unstable to do it,” Dreizehn said. “Going out at 2 a.m. with a mask on and thinking you’re going to save the world, it says a lot about you.”

Origin stories

They got started for different reasons. About four years ago, Slapjack said he read an article in VIBE magazine on the Real Life Superheroes movement, a worldwide community, to which they now belong, of people who dress up, assume names and do varying degrees of charity work and criminal deterrence.

Close friends of Slapjack had their home broken into. Another was hit by a drunk driver, part of Slapjack's motivation now to hang outside bars. He calls police to report plate numbers when he sees people that he suspects have had too much to drink get behind the wheel.

“I believe in civilian patrols. The police can only be so many places at once, especially at night,” Slapjack said. “I think it’s everyone’s responsibility to keep an eye on their communities.”

He picked his code name from a favorite card game played with his grandmother.

The younger Dreizehn has been going out longer, since 2003.

“I started out, really, just bored, and didn’t want to cause trouble,” she said.

In looking to thwart mischief, there was also an element of making amends for her brother.

“He was robbing and completely destroying our family through his actions,” Dreizehn said. “It made me want to do something so nobody had to go through the pain I had to.”

She dresses to add bulk to her frame — a compressed chest, a man’s trench, men’s boots. Sometimes, in her experience, just walking up to someone is enough to make them stop whatever it is they're doing, mainly because she appears to be a 200-plus-pound man wearing a full black and red mask with sheer white fabric eye holes.

Once on patrol, Slapjack found an unconscious man collapsed in the middle of the street and dragged him to the side of the road, potentially saving him from being run over.

But it doesn’t always go swimmingly.

“I got hit by a car,” Dreizehn said. And once, in what she believed was a meth buy, “I got ahold of what they were dealing. I ended up really taking a beating. I had my mask taken off. I managed to crawl and bite my way out of it. I had a death grip on (the meth).”

She picked her code name as a nod to her German heritage.

Why the names at all if everything’s on the up and up?

Their reasons are threefold. First, they say they don’t want their workplaces or families finding out, then worrying, questioning or demanding they give it up. Second, the couple doesn’t want to be harassed; they are, occasionally, snitches. A superhero named "Shadow Hare" began showing his face around Cincinnati too much and “the city completely turned on him,” Dreizehn said.

Lastly, putting on the costume, and wearing the name, is like becoming someone else.

“Your fear goes away,” Slapjack said.

Added his girlfriend, Dreizehn: “I wanted to be able to put a mask on so I could be somebody greater and better.”

They met through the Real Life Superheroes group. There aren’t too many others in Maine. He can name two, "The Beetle" and "Mrs. The Beetle."

Taking it to the street

They go out on foot patrol two or three nights a week, often between roughly 11 p.m. and 3 a.m. She likes walking both cities. He prefers Lewiston.

Dreizehn and Slapjack cover about 5 miles at a stretch, carrying food, water, note pads, flashlights, cameras, night-vision goggles and cell phones. Ninety to 95 percent of the time, they’re just two people out for a walk. Two costumed, very prepared people.

If and when it comes to it, she’s clearly the scrapper. He’s never gotten in a physical confrontation.

“You’re McGruff; I’m the Punisher,” Dreizehn teased, walking through Kennedy Park on a Tuesday night in May.

Thursday, Friday and Saturday tend to be busiest, with more people on the street.

“But you never know; crime never takes a day off,” Slapjack said.

He keeps a map at home synced up to the local police crime bulletins, looking for neighborhoods or streets with patterns and familiarizing himself with people wanted on warrants.

Lewiston police Lt. Mark Cornelio checked around the station — no one he spoke with was aware of a pair of costumes on the street.

“Without knowing what their crime-fighting (is), it would be tough to say whether we agree with it or disagree with it,” Cornelio said. “My thing, I would rather have people be good witnesses.”

There’s also a reason for official police training and the lessons that come with it, he said.

Dreizehn and Slapjack said they were inspired to make themselves known now because of the “Kick-Ass” movie.

It’s not as easy as it looks on the screen.

“It was a funny little movie,” Dreizehn said. “But it’s completely disillusioned. It’s nothing like we do.”

Weird, Wicked Weird is a monthly feature on the strange, intriguing and unexplained in Maine. Send ideas, photos and grand schemes to kskelton@sunjournal.com.

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Comments

 's picture

So, smarten up Driezen and

So, smarten up Driezen and Flapjack. Quit injesting those controlled substances, come back to earth, and meet me at Sambo's (Denny's) for the Raisin of d flapjacks. To prove I am real, I will show you my cryponite.

 's picture

I wonder why Kathryn Skelton

I wonder why Kathryn Skelton never tried to interview me? Every night I listen to my scanner and as soon as I hear of a crime being commited in LA, I leave the comfort of my home, drive to the confines of a telephoine booth, (if I can find one) change into my SUPERMAN suit. And fly off into the unknown to save the day for the inhabitants of the twin cities. And i am not ashamed to id myself due to employment. My name is Clark Kent and I am a ild mannered reporter.

 's picture

And IF you had any brain to think with

you'd realize that few employers allow their employees to go to DD or TH during working hours. Most people are required to go before or after work, unfortunately cops don't have the same work ethic that normal people do, even booby, although the use of the company computer to surf the Internet for during work hours is acceptable, after all he's getting the bulk of his salary from the state.

The Very Rev. Daniel Beegan 's picture

Superheros

This was a well-written story. What this pair does isn't my cup of tea, but it seems they do more than crime fighting, such as helping the homeless and downtrodden. Good for them and good for Mrs. Skelton in providing her readers with a good story.

 's picture

It's obvious why these two have never

been seen by the cops, they never go into donut shops, those are already very well protected.

Diane Tierney's picture

Well now, I don't know

WEll now, I don't know about them walking the streets at night like they do. I did how ever, pick something up in the story,and I quote..... (Lewiston police Lt. Mark Cornelio checked around the station — no one he spoke with was aware of a pair of costumes on the street.
“Without knowing what their crime-fighting (is), it would be tough to say whether we agree with it or disagree with it,” Cornelio said. “My thing, I would rather have people be good witnesses.”) SO you mean after how ever long a time these people have been roaming the streets of Lewistoin and Auburn, the "cop shop" isn't aware of them? Ok, IF that is true, then Kudo's for the Super Hero's, because obvioulsy they are in areas that the police aren't patroling ! But then again, the cops have already done their "parking lot patroling" of the local Dunkin Donuts, and are taking turns napping or flirting with the hookers between 11pm and 3 am.
Keep up the good work Super Heros ! Just go get the training, and get paid for what you do ! Show the Lewiston Police dept. how to do it right !

yikes

Charles Bronson would have been proud

 's picture

Thes two need mental health

Thes two need mental health professionals to bring them into the real world from their fantasy existence.

Diane Tierney's picture

why?

Why do you say these two need mental health professionals? Seems to me they still know real world from fantasy. I can understand hiding their true identities, because of family, and their actual day jobs. Is it that you are just wishing you had the guts to do it ? If I was younger, I'd even join them , and I am in NO way mentally unstable ! There are those who "DO" and those who just cower behind their locked doors and watch !

Janet Goodwin's picture

Donut Shops...HEH!

The L/A police departments do the best they can with the staff that they have. Yes I do agree that putting one self at risk is kind of bonkers but whatever floats their boats I guess. As far as Tron...that's just an ignorant thing to say. The Cops/Donut Shop thing is way old and today's Law Enforcement Officers put themselves in harms way so we, as citizens, can feel a little bit of comfort. Each Officer has a "beat" that they have to patrol and if another Officer needs assistance, there's another area that is not covered. Thank you to these two who put themselves at risk...but one thing to remember...the only hero is a dead hero.

Diane Tierney's picture

LOL

Yeah sure, each police officer has a "beat" to patrol, and no matter how "OLD" the saying The Cops/Dunkin Donuts is...it IS still true ! If you need a cop in a hurry, you can always be sure to find one in a Dunkin Donuts parking lot ! That doesn't go for just Lewiston cops, I have lived in many cities and states, and it still holds true for all of them.

 's picture

It is sad these two feel the need to patrol

the streets. That's what the cops are for, but in reality, there is much crime beyond the confines of the local donut shops, so these people become a necessity. But they should be paid, they're willing to do the dangerous job that the paid help will not do. Thank you, from a grateful community.

 's picture

Why not get trained, become a

Why not get trained, become a cop, and make some money. Seems silly to put yourself at risk.

Melissa  Dunn's picture

more power to them... at

more power to them... at least they have the guts to do it... most people just don't care. i hope that they stay safe in the meantime. people are crazy out there. can't tell you how many times i had stopped a fight (and been in some in my younger years!) its always easier for most people to turn the other cheek. stay safe! x

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