OK, not Sicily, and not 1933. It’s actually New York, present day, at the end of the Avengers movie. Steve Rogers, aka Captain America, has just ridden off on his vintage motorcycle in his old-fashioned clothing with a satisfied grin on his face. He’s just helped save the world! He met some nice people! He rode on a really cool ship! Looks like even 70+ years after he was supposed to have died, things are going to be OK for the good Captain.
Or maybe not.
After the initial wave of elation has worn off, Rogers realizes that even if he hadn’t gone through the procedure and become a superhero, he’d still be in his very old age. Instead, he’s a 90-year-old man trapped in a 20-some-year old body: very confusing, yesno? He’s one of the last surviving veterans of WWII, but he hardly seems old enough to have finished even one tour in Afghanistan. SHIELD has provided him with a nice apartment and a stipend, but no job, no project, nothing to do but pound a neverending supply of punching bags until they bust and spill sand on the basement floor. SHIELD is also still keeping an eye on the Captain, and after about a week of watching him pace his apartment floor bare and split bag after bag, a short letter arrives from the SHIELD VA. It’s a referral to a psychiatrist.
The psychiatrist is very nice. She gets the Captain to talk about his memories, unraveling his guilt and the memory of his best friend’s death. She’s a SHIELD agent, too, and knows all about his displacement in time, and understands his bewilderment about all of the cultural changes and references he just…doesn’t…get. She suggests he find a hobby, something to do with his hands to keep them busy and keep his mind off of things that he can’t work out at that moment.
A couple weeks later, a portable DVD player arrives in the mail, along with the Captain’s first Netflix rentals. Someone has told Tony Stark that the Captain needs some help catching up.
Next time we see Steve Rogers, he’s wandering through his local crafts store, buying yarn and crochet hooks. He makes nice with the elderly sales ladies, asking questions about needlework and being his old-fashioned, charming self. Of course all of the ladies flirt and giggle and mentally start lining up their eligible granddaughters to go out with him. As for Steve, he’s relieved to find some people “his own age” to talk to.
Like an 80’s training montage, Steve’s new life passes at a fast clip: movies and television every night, and into the morning, while he crochets his way through dozens of skeins of yarn. Afghans, scarves, hats, potholders, granny squares…the only night he can’t work his way through a movie is when he gets to a film called The Rocky Horror Picture Show; despite all the culture he’s been absorbing, Steve can’t make his brain process the lyrics to “Sweet Transvestite”.
Eventually he winds up at the crafts store again: he’s out of yarn, and running out of room to store his creations. Is there somewhere he can get rid of all of this? Some widow’s and orphan’s fund that will take donations? “Oh honey,” one grey-haired cashier clucks, “you could make a killing at a craft show. Cutie like you, selling crochet goods? Get yourself a table and you can make a lot of money.”
And so he does. Steve Rogers reserves a table at the next craft show at the convention center and sets about pricing his goods.
Meanwhile, the world is back in jeopardy and the Avengers are Assembling! Black Widow, Hawkeye, Hulk, Iron Man, even Thor is ready and willing to use what they’ve got to defend the Earth. But where, oh where, is Captain America? We gave him a cell phone! Oh, but Steve didn’t catch on to the concept of plugging a phone in to charge it, or how to even dial the damn thing, so it’s been sitting on his kitchen table for the last three months, completely drained.
SHIELD has other ways of tracking people, though, and after a few hours Rogers is located and the Avengers team sets off to save him from almost certain peril.
They find him at the convention center, his table piled high with needlework and crammed between a woman selling secondhand jewelry and a lesbian couple peddling homemade organic sachets. Tony Stark, Thor, Bruce Banner, and agents Romanov and Barton approach the table where Steve sits, a bemused smile on his face.
“Dude,” Stark declares. “What the hell?”
“We’ve got a thing, Cap, c’mon,” Romanov gestures, trying really, really hard not to laugh.
“I…” Rogers looks down sheepishly. “I just wanted to play with some kids my own age.”
“Well, whatever. Let’s go. World’s in peril,” Stark says, turning to march the other Avengers out the door. Rogers falls in behind them, crestfallen; he had, in fact, been doing a pretty good business that day. Dr Banner falls back to talk to him as they exit the convention center.
“No worries, man. I’ve been knitting for the last eighteen months. Helps me concentrate and control my anger.”
Rogers looks up with relief clear on his face and begins to pepper Banner with questions about his favorite yarns and stitches… .