Posts Tagged ‘Bionic Knight’


Image result for DC Comics Heroes in CrisisYesterday it finally arrived, Tom King and Clay Mann’s first issue of DC Comics’ next big event- Heroes in Crisis. Yes, another crisis arrives at the DC Universe (a title tagged onto big events since the end of the original multi-verse in the 80’s Crisis on Infinite Earths). This crisis brings the real to our fictional heroes, and perhaps demystifies and removes stigma– for it is set in a place called Sanctuary Trauma Centre.

You read that right. A place for Super Heroes to go to deal with the mental chakra sludge of life. I also hear there is a murder mystery (as you can see, I have yet to pick up, but it is on the read list).

It hits home, as readers know my Bionic Knight Pulps have been taking the Great Crime Fighters through a similar loop  as complex post traumatic stress disorder set in on the big three remaining in that universe. That being Rick Saturn, The Original Bionic Knight; William “Shotgun” MacKay; and Supra Agent Louis Regis. Three characters that have been travelling within my stories from the perspective of Rick for 33 years; Shotgun about 30 years and Regis, 14 years. Many adventures, many times when the old model of they are heroes doing heroic things, so it does not wear one down. Much like our world still looks at many, including charity workers who have rising rates of C-PTSD yet help falls through the cracks because the industry and individuals have a troubling time wrestling with it, but also when help is sought it is wait listed. This is due to the repercussions of Klein’s Third Way of health care having gutted what should have been on track by this point to be where European health care is, that being holistic and multi-pronged at once, not triage one symptom while forgetting or putting off the others.

In the Alberta system some choices can be removed due to heavy stigma, waitlists, or simply being constantly bombarded by the unhealthy Americanization of our heart-thought patterns to simply “buck up” or “white knuckle through” for it is all simply in your head.

That is what led to (spoilers ahead) the three outcomes for our long term heroes. One with their family vanishes without a trace and no one knows what happens. Another’s tipping point in the loss of his son, and saving the world one last time to protect the future pushing him beyond what the Working Mind Workplace Mental Health training would term “the red zone” (great system for usual office work)…and taking of his own life…and another simply resigns and walks away.

Neither outcome really looks like healing yet they are the choices made constantly in the vacuum.

Perhaps, our world will find compassion, and look to those who are in need and realize that when we debate costs it may look like a drain on the system. Yet that “drain” or rather INVESTMENT in our neighbour, grows a healthier Post Traumatic world.

Stories like Heroes in Crisis matter for it challenges the existing paradigm.

Perhaps challenging will cause fracturing.

Fracturing breaking.

From those pieces, a new reality of healing and belonging.

What do you think?

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Debriefing Room. Canadian Supra Agency (also known simply as The Agency). Somewhere unknown (but definitely not the Balzac Bunker that was taken out, so possibly around the Torrington Gopher Hole Museum- but that is probably a red herring or someone would have to kill you for knowing top secret information). The Agency uses rooms designed for literal psycho-analysis. where an analyst would sit back to you, while you were laid out on a couch speaking aloud to arrive at your own insights. To save money they removed the Freudian and replaced it with a room wired for digital recording. Now, instead of a couch, it is a comfy chair and a half, leather wing-back, with side-table stocked with the agents drink of choice.

A place to ruminate. To exhale. To let out everything about the mission. Unwind. Safe, and no worries about someone outside the Agency hearing secrets they shouldn’t (okay too many Analysts were compromised, it wasn’t just cost sharing). Agent Louie Regis shared at the projected windows of what would be different inspiring sights from around the world. He loosened his already loosened argyle tie. Tossed the rumpled beige trench coat over the back of the chair. Undid the top button of his shirt, rolled up his sleeves and clumped in to the wing back. He poured himself his second glass of whisky. Picked up the cheap cigar from the table, bit the end off in a very barbaric fashion and began the lighting ritual.

The other upside he saw over the Analyst not being in the room is no one to complain to him about it being non-smoking. Though how he would debrief this mess. Regis exhaled the cigar slowly and took a sip of the amber liquid. How would he phrase this mess. Started with the Agency- hell he had been recruited out of high school, day after graduation. Little known fact to the super hero community, he was older than Shotgun. In any real world Canadian setting five years ago he should have retired.

“Too old for this shit.” A slight chuckle. The supra reporter, Rick Saturn years ago over coffee had shared how back when he had trained to be a pastor he was shocked to discover a culture of scripture memorization (not application or understanding) in college (Saturn had never been a church goer as a kid)…so to pass his one course on apologetic he had to memorize a passage. Many students chose whole epistles, Saturn simply chose John 11:35- Jesus wept. Got him an “A”.

“Jesus.” another puff on the cigar as he wiped tears away, thankfully the video recording would think it was caused by the smoke. His body ached. Old wounds- bullet and knife holes. Strained muscles from far too many years sleeping in his old hatch back Honda Civic. That especially painful spot in his right foot where he always stepped on his swiss army knife blade waking up during stake outs.

The sound of the body bagging zipping shut. The new Bionic Knight telling the battle story. From his pants belt Regis pulls the smart phone. Clicks open the app he had tech install. Three generations of Supra’s he had outlived. The fourth was emerging. The young Knight, and widowed Speedster were the new line.

The app’s name was simple: ENIGMA.

Regis remembered where the Bionic Knight said he had offered Shotgun a spot on the Great Crime Fighters. That wink of the green glowing eyes under the helmet with his trademark “Trust me, he’s a hero now.”

Regis remembers his response, “it will end badly. Guys like him can’t be redeemed.”

The smart phone falls to the hard would floor. The screen cracks. The steel heel of his shoes finish it off. Regis pours another glass. “Somedays it is good to be wrong.” Though the universe– the world was saved… the redeemable life was lost all to a simple game, a wager on a yearning for the past would pull the hero to the result needed.

Regis unhooks his shoulder holster and lets the gun and holster fall to the ground.

What to let the official record say?

After 52 years how much blood was truly on his hands?

He stubbed what was left of the cigar out in the now empty glass.

Standing up, he pulls on his rumpled trench coat.

The mechanical whir of the voice recorder, “please state outcome for official record.”

Regis’ hand goes into his left jacket pocket. Much candy wrappers, and cigar ends fall onto the ground. He pulls out the badge fold. Opens it and stares at it.

“What would it be like to wake up one morning and not have to worry about whether or no the fate of the world was in your hands?”

Regis looks up to one of the corner cameras. “Outcome: Mission accomplished. Agent Louie Regis. Badge number 5- Gamma. Taking sanction Omega.” Sanction Omega- retirement.

The badge falls from his hand and hits the wing back. The screens blink to black. The cameras switch off. The recorders end.

Green light flashes over the door.

It clicks open. Regis steps out into sunlight of the prairie, walks across the short lot to his Civic.

The dust trail is the last scene.

Regis’ finger switches from news radio to the top 40 country station. A smile crosses his lips. “Finally get to sleep in my own bed.”

 


Shotgun MacKay is old. (suggested listening: Maren Morris “My Church“). He has taken many shots to the head, and is grieving. Why should anyone believe that he is getting weird analog messages on that old brick flip phone of his tracking the forthcoming alien whatever evil it is? This is what has brought Beth into a back shed of the Ashram.

Kayla Storm is mourning hard. Many have told her that it is good to get back up and at `em as advice. She overheard MacKay telling Agent Regis to do something anatomically impossible when the agent suggested the hero suit back up and get out there. Then it really shocked Beth, MacKay actually walked the agent through a lesson on grieving then punched him square in the jaw almost knocking the agent out, clearly stating “and I just buried my kid so get the fuck off my property.” The agent was grumbling about arresting MacKay for violation of the Supra Act of 1984 by donating organs and having the body cremated, but Beth had seen the old redneck get that look on his face before. He had set his face like that during the Siege just before Mayor Kobwash won the election for mayor a few years back. When he charged in, purely mortal, no super powers, just guns with rubber bullets and fists.

Beth was still trying to figure out why the ring had chosen to give her the power. She had almost been killed that day. She knew MacKay had a hard time trusting the younger heroes, at least that’s what she thought it was. Until Beth saw how his son’s death shook him (as he had always presented as crusty and emotionally aloof), and how voraciously he defended Storm from the Agency.

Now Beth was seeking out what it meant to be a hero. Rick Saturn, the previous Bionic Knight, the one everyone points to as the gold standard, kept a written record of his life in journal forms. Rather atrocious penmanship, so reading hieroglyphs would hopefully be a part of her power set.

Basics she had not known, about him coming from a family linked to crime, having them all massacred, raised by an old senior couple, falling in love. The challenges of the Kobwash family. Her parents always fighting to break them up. Even spreading different lies in an attempt to end different career paths of them. The mother-in-law’s attempt once the husband had vanished and grandkids arrived to sabotage their structure to thrive in life. Also attempting to bring known, if unproven, pedophiles around that would have coffee with her when she had the kids. The journals speak to an undercurrent of anger, as Susan struggled to break the link between her and the abusive/co-dependent parent. Rick shows such humanity wondering if the PenDragon would allow him to take a life? Would their lives be better with the mother-in-law dead?

Rick’s funniest story, and Beth could feel the pain. Susan’s aging grandfather, house bound due to health. The man wanting to be apart of church sacraments (Rick had already officially given up his collar due to ableism within the church, and was working hard on journalism again). The church pastors refused to baptize or bring communion because it was not within their “belief” structure. Rick did both, yet when the old man passed away he wrote of the hurt inflicted when the mother-in-law chose the church, and the pastors gleefully stepped in tracking the big inheritance tithe cha-ching pay out. They even spoke at the funeral about how the man was devout getting an at-home baptism and communion.

Beth chuckled. “How did Rick, with his sense of justice even manage to still function seeking community in this dysfunctional religion that kept burning him?”

“Simple kid, you got to belong somewhere.” MacKay’s gravelly voice spoke into the flashlight lit shed where Beth was sitting on a stump squint reading.

“There was no other places?” Beth said.

“Oh, Ricky found belonging in many places, yet the Hrumphs who adopted him were progressive Christians that believed all should belong in church regardless of anything from economics to abilities to orientations to race/culture. That message just stuck with him. Or as Mrs. H once told him…”

“There’s only one God and it’s about love you idiot.” Beth answered, she remembered reading that in one of his journals writing on early battles with Killer Face.

“Which is one of the things he said to me.” MacKay said.

Beth looked at this tired looking fighter. She had forgotten that MacKay at one point was a gun for higher. The echo of the vibrate function on his brick phone.

MacKay flips it opens, sees a message and walks away.

“What’s up old man?” The words ring in the darkness, as Beth’s flashlight illuminates her silhouette in the shed.


Enigma. Damn I wish we had truly figured out who that person was back in the day. His tips never proved wrong. Now the missing, George, the one that brought into existence the understanding of this great menace. The battle the has placed my son at the precipice of death’s door. Lying in a bed, where he is more machine than man.

It brings my mind to the show Rick always nattered on about, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, he even ran a discussion group off of it.

Gul Rusot: You’re still a Cardassian, Garak. You’re not gonna kill one of your own people for a Bajoran woman.

Garak: How little you understand me.

Tacking into the Wind

The rain is drizzling lightly. I roll the two shells in my sheep leather gloved hand, the rain drips off the brim of my cowboy hat-time to kill again. The oil slicker keeping me dry as I wait in the alley and watch. Using the mission Rick founded in his pastoral days to hideout. Rubber bullets. No. Sometimes the old ways are best.

He abandoned us. Rick’s last act before he vanished was to add him to the team. Hate the rain. It creates a natural white noise that blocks out the city. Blocks out the other sounds of the demons of my soul rattling about. All I am left with in the silence. He should be back soon, it will be check in time, and hasn’t been hiding out long enough for any of the staff to start hassling him under the push out for housing model.

Rick. Even when he was the kid hero, though we didn’t know under the armour and mysticism. He was the real deal. All earnest, honest. I thought fake self-righteous and faux humility. But nope. He truly wanted the best even for us.

George.

Stick the shells in my slicker pocket. He is dumb enough to walk past the alley mouth. The pudgy shell he chose to hide in. The collar.

My fist cracks face as I pull him into the darkness. He yelps as thunder cracks. Thunder is new. Blood washing off my gloves. Two six guns on my hips loaded. Shotgun on a holster sling in my back. My steel toed boot tip sends some alien tooth flying out of his mouth. We are into the darkness. The puddles he is splashing around not sure if it is rain or urine.

Boot heel cracks knuckles of his one hand.

Damar: To kill her and my son – the casual brutality of it, the waste of life… What kind of state tolerates the murder of innocent women and children? What kind of people give those orders?

Colonel Kira: Yeah, Damar, what kind of people give those orders…?

Tacking into the Wind

He tries to stumble up. Draw one gun. Aim. Pull the hammer back. A crack of lightning.

“My son you son of a bitch.”

He is coughing blood, spitting up blood, think he may have vomited. He has certainly soiled himself in what ways his species removes waste. Johnny. My son. A hero wins or dies. George’s cowardice left him in the world a hero is never meant to be in. Barely a live, awaiting the word if his organs will be viable for donation.

Two shots. His knees are out from under him. He is now crying. The shots stopped in front of him not into him this time he was lucky.

Lieutenant Ezri Dax: I tend to look at the Empire with a little more skepticism than Curzon or Jadzia did. I see a society that is in deep denial about itself. We’re talking about a warrior culture that prides itself on maintaining centuries-old traditions of honor and integrity. But in reality, it’s willing to accept corruption at the highest levels.

Lt. Commander Worf: You are overstating your case.

Lieutenant Ezri Dax: Am I? Who was the last leader of the High Council that you respected? Has there even been one? And how many times have you had to cover up the crimes of Klingon leaders because you were told that it was for the good of the Empire? I… I know this sounds harsh, but the truth is, you have been willing to accept a government that you know is corrupt. Gowron is just the latest example. Worf, you are the most honorable and decent man that I’ve ever met. And if *you’re* willing to tolerate men like Gowron, then what hope is there for the Empire?

Tacking into the Wind

In the silence, Rick always said is when your true inner Holy could be heard. Your inner self would emerge in and through the silence. The night is still fresh in my mind like it was yesterday. The Bionic Knight had me beat. The others were unconscious. Killer Face was doing his normal plotting. The wife was saying we needed money, didn’t know a baby was on the way.

He offered me his hand.

I had a choice to make in that moment. He had opened up and could’ve been killed.

I gripped the hilt of the Bowie Knife I strapped to my back to draw underhanded and end it.

He just stood there. He moved the helmet slits up. His brown eyes staring at me.

Time to kill him.

George’s reptilian eyes blink at me. Breathing out slowly squeezing the trigger. “You killed my son you coward.” This is who I have always been. In the silence of the rain, you come to understand your true core. Your resonance of self. What are optional connections. What are mandatory.

And who needs to die…

Colonel Kira: Oh, that was stupid.

Garak: Not at all. Damar has a certain… romanticism about the past. He could use a dose of cold water.

Colonel Kira: Well, I could have picked a better time.

Garak: If he’s the man to lead a new Cardassia, if he’s the man we all hope him to be… then the pain of this news made him more receptive to what you said, not less.

Tacking into the Wind

Rick’s eyes. His brown eyes. “I know you are not this man, Wil.”

His gauntlet retracts. Kill him.

Release the knife. Shake it.

George is sobbing. Begging for his life.

Ease back on the trigger.

Ease back the hammer.

Holster the gun.

Remove the two shells and throw them on the ground at his sniveling. “You are no longer welcome at the Ashram.” Damn it Rick, even in transition you still know me better than me.

A night when it wasn’t bullets we needed, but a cuppa with a best friend.


Beth was awkward generation Z awkward when she came to see him. Not knowing what to say to either of us as the machines pump life into him…and truly my surly old self just makes her uncomfortable for she believes I see her as a place holder for my friend, not as a hero in her own right. She is wrong on that, but how can you prove something so intangible?

Kyla cried. I cried. Shaddup. I am allowed to cry. He is my boy. Thankfully Dragyn came with her, and helped her. Not like his extraterrestrial partner, George, that bailed on us with this looming invasion threat from beyond the stars. The bailing that left my boy alone to fight when the first monster came. Don’t know what is worse the annoying sounds of the machines, his lifeline when others are around. Or in the silence. The stern look of doctors that won’t answer my questions, because well Supras are either to win or die, not be left in the limbo dance of a normal Homo Sapien. The nurses, they are nice, and attempt humour, but as one mentioned on her way out—didn’t expect the leader of the Great Crime Fighters to be such a surly A-hole. I pride myself on that.

As I read to him. Stories of King Arthur, Don Quixote, Lone Ranger, Star Trek, Robin Hood and Agatha Christie. Trying to get him back through the familiar stories. Getting him to latch on to my voice, or when she is up to it, Kyla (Speedster’s). Thought they were just friends, but she broke down and told me they were engaged. Johnny never saw me as the romantic caring kind. I know the one that was left to mentor.

My phone vibrates, I flip it open and click view. Don’t knock the flip phone until you have regressed back to its greatness and realize how much life and money the smart phone sucks from you.

WATCH THIS SPACE.

NEWS TO COME.

-ENIGMA

The weird computer voyeur that shared clues in the past is back. He shared my son’s last moments. The world thought he had died, but no, the Agency had found him barely alive and airlifted him back. His system is trying to repair, but it is sapping his power source to try to repair systems. It aids the additions of machines to keep him alive, as his invulnerability wanes, but he becomes more alive scientifically through acrobatics than through being, alive.

We are at the point where medicine can keep the body going in perpetuity until it can almost begin decomposing, as it is only the physical remains alive, at what point does one know when the cosmic spark has left?

My life was so much simpler before the Bionic Knight. Called him the pissant to further dehumanize him way back when. The odd time it was my scheme was few and far between, usually I was a hired gun by one of the bigger names. I could get away, if I couldn’t always had a breakout plan.

Back when the shotgun used real bullets.

“Wil, are you serious about this hero thing?” Rick said.

“yeah.” I said. As we sat having cokes after another fight out with baddies. Been on the side of angels a very short time, doing covert ops for the GCF rooting out the baddies.

            “Need to switch to rubber.”

“On my boot soles? Hell no.”

            “No Wil, bullets. Heroes don’t kill.” I watch Rick power up and fly into the sky.

Rubber bullets. Real heroes don’t kill. It was a crossroads night. Those times of belief systems people hit multiple times in their lives. Those moments of clarity when the world is not seen in black and white so much as its beautiful Technicolour existence. How I actually dream, in 1930’s animation style. That night was one of those moments, my change up followed shortly. The odd time the Agency would use me as a side gun on the side of angels, but my fists got more of a work out than my gun. My partner in those times of triggering in covert ops for the Agency was…Perhaps if I had stayed with real bullets and not rubber, Johnny would have wanted me with him in the fight. Not seen me as just some aging street fighter.

“Wil, we will take the body when you’re ready.” Said Agent Louie Regis. Standing behind me in the hospital as machines do everything for my son and I watch the mathematical numbers tell me that the cosmic spark is snuffing out. Protocol, Supras bodies are interned back in some vault in Ottawa. Just in case science ever progresses to try to clone a human, they cannot find the remains.

I nod. Watch the reflection in the window as he leaves. A doctor walks in.

“My son is an organ donor.” I say.

“The agent has.” The doctor attempts to interject.

“My son is an organ donor, the agent can be damned. He will die as he lived, how I am not sure he realized I truly saw him. A hero.”

My phone vibrates again.

I flick it open.

GEORGE IS BACK.

LOCATION TO FOLLOW. 30 MINUTES.

-ENIGMA.

“Keep him alive until tomorrow.” I say as I rise.

Time to get some real bullets.


 

I’m sorry Dad..I love you.

Said Johnny “Power” MacKay.

In a scroll across the screen in giant green letters.

FROM

ENIGMA.

They found a pulse. Very faint, barely audible. “Thank you, Louie.” Hate saying those words to an agent of the Agency, but Louie Regis, though appearing Columbo bumbling is quite proficient, and pro-Supra (well Pro being a decent human being). He nods to me; his greenish hued eyes say it all. He still is not sure if I am fully on the side of the angels. But he enjoys the fact that the resurfaced Enigma was wrong. Big bad monster taken out. Hero alive, if on life support. The beating “Thankfully” wore my kid out enough that his invulnerability had worn down enough due to open wounds to allow for the needed intubation and IV’s.

His body was burnt bad. He had what amounted to hopefully a temporary colostomy. Rumour he may have lost his spleen if not some severing of the vertebrae, and yes, the machines were doing the heavy lifting on breathing for him.  But my boy was here. And knowing the pain he must be in I was thankful for pharmaceutical pain killers and opioids being pumped into him. The hard part for a Supra. Always prepare for not coming home from saving the universe, but what happens when you return but almost gave all?

The Great Crime Fighters were getting through the Noro Virus. The enigmatic alien George was sill missing in action. None of that mattered. The short video I got on my tablet coming alive, I believed was the last thing I would ever hear my son say. We had fought through so much in life before the legacy power chose him. Even me being distant, his mother culminating her emotional-spiritual abuse of me and taking off with him so I lost touch until we reconnected when he got the power.

Regis taps my shoulder and nods. “Take care of him old man.”

All I can do is repeat the same phrase. “Thank you, Louie.” He leaves us in the hospital room. The slow-motion safety closure of the door stops the hard thump as it closes. A few moments before next rounds, the lights are already low.

“Tough like his pops Wil.” Said Rick Saturn. I do a double take at the voice by the window coming out of the shadowy dusk light. Rick the missing. Here. This is far to weird.

“You mofo where have you been!” Okay I may be a bit angry that the best hero—ever chooses now to pop back into reality.

The form shimmers a little. Not quite solid. Is this a weird cosmic-Camelot thing? Magic or aliens? When one holds to a belief someone will be real in their time of need, they can manifest them or something like that I remember Zed going on about, Tulpa? “I cannot help in what is coming, but I can help in the now.”

What would I need in the now? How ass backwards is this sitting with my son in ICU watching machines wondering if he will be strong enough to leave? He used to be able to bench press sky scrappers? And now, the cosmic evil that a child may pass before his father? Was Regis saving him a blessing or a curse? The doctors want to know the plan, I don’t have a plan. Super-heroes don’t plan what if they come back in this shape… they only ever come back whole or dead and then resurrect.

“Or crumble under magically induced neurological illness and PTSD.” Says Tulpa Rick. “But I am here for you, you struggle, your child is alive.”

He is right. I do struggle. At what point do I truly know my son is no longer here? Enigma rebooted to send me his “death” only to have him pulled from that fate. There is some warped interstellar thing coming. The alien who can explain it is missing. My friend and his family have vanished.

And I am here talking to the shadow of what my friend once was. Journalist-Activist-Pastor-hero, but what did he always say? “What did you always say?”

“Always the lighting to Susan’s lightning rod and…”

“Father of two amazing twins who will change the world.” I finish.

The machine beeps as it checks vitals once more. Numbers dance, lines squiggle. At one point another teammate years ago tried to explain it all to me. All I cared about was the simplicity, when does it mean they are alive and when dead? The shimmering Rick touches my hand as I sit in the uncomfortable hospital visiting chair holding my son’s massive hand. Wrapped as most of the skin has been burned off when he battled the first wave.

“As long as there’s numbers. There’s life.”

I look up as the setting son darkens the room naturally.

I lightly feel Johnny squeeze that space between thumb and index finger. Not much more strength than when he was first born.

But where there’s simple acts.

Simple breath.

Faint pulse.

Life…my son.

“I’m sorry Johnny, I should’ve been there.” I feel the tears begin again. “I love you.”

 

WE COME.

-Enigma


City Hall. Mayor Susan Kobwash-Saturn’s office.
It’s raining. Lightning dances, as the gods goat hooves rumble through the sky. Why is it always raining on night’s like this in a story? Some cosmic writer must believe it sets mood or something. The office door creaks open, as lightning, and LED light illuminate the darkened room.
“Who the hell are you?!”
Should have expected that response. The day Susan became mayor, her and the council forced the administration to allow flow of ease for citizens in what her hope stated was “reclaiming the people’s buildings.” So things like check points, metal detectors, forceful non-loitering policies were cast aside. And her personal assistant knew me, so by the time I got up here he just let me in. Though it looks like he forgot to inform the deputy mayor before going home for the day.
“Deputy Mayor Lola.” I remove my hat and nod my head. “William MacKay at your service.”
“I go back to the original question, who the hell are you?” said the deputy mayor. She obviously did not keep up with news of most kinds if that question was till hanging. I point to a picture on the wall of Mayor Kobwash-Saturn, with the G.C.F. Her eyes go to the picture.
“Oh, you are one of those.” She states as she moves across the room, and glides into the seat behind the large mahogany desk. “So what do you want?”
I chuckle. Where to begin? The fact she was acting mayor for the next few months because of the Saturn family vanishing without a trace. Yet she had not filed papers yet to run. “Because the wolves are ready to devour the sheep, and you are on the sidelines watching.” Before Susan ran for office, the mayoral battles, like most elections within our province had been a vote against or to stop something. Not for something. She gave the citizens something to vote for.
I was battling the siege of the hatred and the darkness that tried to take deep root in this city on the vote day. It was not pretty, it was messy, but the vote rolled through. Hope won more than one battle that day. She had gone on to challenge the status quo. To get multiple levels from blaming one another in the round about avoidance game, to begin working together. To get county and civic leaders working together across the urban and rural divide. The politics of unity are not as lucrative as the politics of division. The capital on hate is a lot higher than hope. When she vanished, many were happy and started coming out of the woodwork.
“A bit melodramatic. The mayor will return, run and win. Another checkmark in a few months.” Deputy Mayor Said. Her eyes though fixate on the greying whiskers and jagged scar across my face. She really has no clue about who I am.
I wink at her and she seems unsettled. “I would suggest you google me. I am not prone to the melodramatic. Mostly I am called uncouth or a curmudgeon. I mean this with no disrespect.” I figure she must be interested as I am not being tackled by security, or the police constables I know had been assigned to each member of council since the vanishing. “I am not locked away as a dangerous offender cause the chap in the armour in that pic vouched for me. Trusted me to mentor the younglings that protect this city and this world. We are prepping for something that is major bad ass coming our way, but I like to multi-task.”
She laughs at that. Her android phone is out, and I see the tapping. She literally is googling me. Damn I’m old. I see her eyebrows arch in shock. “So, Mr. Mackay was it?”
“Wil is fine.”
“Wil. Why the visit if this big bad is coming, why multi-task over a civic election?” The Deputy Mayor is not stupid. She understands it looks ludicrous, technically municipalities have no constitutional rights or jurisdictions. “I mean we oversee roads, builds, emergency services, and waste disposal. What does it matter?”
“Simple Deputy Mayor. Susie, well, whether it was a hit, a kidnap, a cosmic or extra-terrestrial event or bloody magic—is gone. The void is there. We can either keep hope moving forward. Be the pebble in the pond with the ripple outwards, that may cause change further outwards to other levels of governance or we can let the ripples stop now. You believed in her?”
Deputy Mayor Lola pushes her hair back and tucks it behind her ear. Her young brown eyes fix on me. Studying my facial creases and crow’s feet. Probably wondering how one gets such bags under the eyes, cauliflower ears, and a nose that defies description. Very few scrappers left on this side of the ground. “You know the answer to that, Mr. MacKay.”
“I know what your actions showed, but now it’s time for you to act. Are you ready to step into the big shoes, or are you still Acting Mayor Rajni Lola?”
“You pretentious asshole my friend is missing!”
I pull a cigar out of my storm rider pocket, snip the end, and begin lighting it. “She was the only person that ever truly believed in my redemption. She is gone. So, will you be her legacy?” The Acting (Deputy) Mayor slumps into her wingback Corinthian Leather chair, looking very young as the lightning dances. “I am here for my friend, asking you to do what she cannot right now. Will you be the voice for the people against the wolves at our gates?”
I turn and begin leaving the office. I know the puffing cigar annoys the no smoking polices and I don’t really care. Was this whole people’s revolution of hope truly only propped up by one person? A very soft voice reaches my ear. “I believe in hope, Wil.”
I nod as I walk out. Who knew multi-tasking could work?