Posts Tagged ‘New Bionic Knight’


Williams attempted not to grimace as the cup of coffee from Circle K was one step below Emergency Room coffee in hospitals, he had better stuff visiting homeless shelters when he was a Constable. Jacobs bit into the soggy donut from the $1 for a half dozen variety of glazed from Wal-Mart.  7-11 had great donuts and coffee, unfortunately that was not where the resources had come from as they traveled through back roads in Williams’ old VW Bus looking for St. Jude’s Sprinter Van someone had lifted.  A parishioner had shared the idea that car thieves dumped cars in and around Tim Horton’s.

“We are wasting out time” Retired-Constable Sean Williams said.

Jacobs took another swig of brutal coffee, really why hadn’t they upgraded to bad swill and just ordered from one of the Timmy’s they had been driving through the parking lots of. Jacobs noted that the concept of this stake out had invigorated his friend. The man had never taken the time to mourn the loss of his job and the identity that came with it when he retired. Much like he could eulogize or allegory the province not having mourned the transition away from oil sands to other forms of energy in the world. It was being stuck in that grief cycle stalled out on anger and denial that had led to the vitriol of moving away from the steady guidance and support of the previous governing party into the new regressive theocratic-fascist state that was developing.

Which is why Jacobs knew that St. Jude’s was needed now more than ever. A gathering community for those of the lost causes living in a province governed by the lost cause, a miracle of the affirmation of humanity and birthing into the new had to happen.

“Probably, but where else are we going to get this excitement?” Jacobs responded. “Do you think they dumped it? I mean it was fairly new.”

“If it had been used as wheels for a smash and grab, chances are it was dumped. I’ll give a call to impound to see if it was picked up. But they could’ve also grabbed it to chop.” Williams said.

Jacobs scratched his few days growth of salt & pepper whiskers, the grabbing vehicles just for joy rides too was an option, in which case if it wasn’t in an accident, it could’ve been left anywhere. With the recent heavy snow fall, the white van simply could be fading into the background.

Melanie tugged her St. Jude’s hoody down as she stood up and head out onto the church steps to talk to the media. The missing van was impacting their children and youth outreach for the area, as it was what was used to pick up kids after school and bring them to the church. Those that weren’t yet connected with older kids to walk to the church. She was hoping by talking to the media.

Walking out of the Sacristry, she was was coming by the raised altar area, where she noted the youngest addition to the family curled up in the high backed oak chair just off the side of the pulpit. The furnishings of the rebuilt church had become a hodge podge of different church stylistics as many in the area wanted to see St. Jude’s around to do the social justice piece of the gospel so they could focus on the prosperity end, hence they dumped quite a lot of what had been taking up storage space on them.

Beth Venus’ long curly ginger hair was draped forward hiding her face, and Melanie could pick up her whispering to herself. Due to air traffic even smart phones had a hard time getting signals in the old church. “Hey kiddo.”

Melanie Moon could feel the grimace and cut eye through the hair, all the hair needed was sun glasses and she could’ve been cos playing cousin It from Addams Family. “Don’t call me kiddo I could…”

“Bench press the galaxy yada yada yada” Melanie said as she slides onto the bar stool next to the chair (like we had noted, a hodge podge of weird, kinda like the parish itself). “But you are not powered up currently, just emoing in the sanctuary.” (editor’s note: Beth Venus is the secret identity of the new Bionic Knight). “So our over powered and hormoned 15 year old what ever art thou wrestling with?”

Beth sniffled, and looked like she wiped a tear away. Her parents had vanished on her and her brother leaving them to a street life, and then her brother had been lost to the opioid crisis wrecking havoc on the province. Beth had then lived with the Great Crime Fighters on a piece of land known as the Ashram, before they had died and the base was destroyed. That is what brought her to live at St. Jude’s through Lee’s big heart.

“Just don’t want to leave.” Beth sniffles out.

Something was wrong, Mel had attempted to put her arm around Beth, only to have the girl recoil away. “I don’t know who you’ve been hanging out with the last few months, but Lee takes folks in, I have never seen him put anyone out.”

Beth shook her head, Mel followed her eye fall on a bi-sexual flag that had been hung next to a stain glass of an apostle whose name failed Mel in this moment, possibly Andrew? “Are you trying to figure out where you are on the spectrum?”

Beth leapt from the chair and froze mid run step. “No…I mean… lookk…” she points to the crucifix…”hates…”

Melanie rose and pulled Beth in as the girl crumpled into her shoulder sobbing. “Oh honey, we love all the images of God, and that includes you. Full stop, no qualifiers.”

Lee sipped his refurbished cup of coffee, this time from a Tim Horton’s drive thru, as Williams stood next to him, they were both staring at the closed water spray park parking lot– and the burnt out remains of the church’s Sprinter.

“Oh damn.”

Spray painted on the snow was a simple message: St. Jude’s close now!

“Oh damn.”

 


The wind blew through the cardboard that had been a window. Lee tips the empty scotch bottle up right and rights the chair. The blood had become brown stained with time. It was a trailed in a place called “The Ashram”. The child, Beth Venus had invited him to live here after hate tried to snuff out the light of St. Jude’s. One does need a place to lay their head, but he was not expecting entering the trailer of a dead man. One not touched by time since he had taken his own life.

The minister in him had done a blessing and clearing of the space. Letting any lingering spirits know that they could rest. MLA Melanie Moon had helped lending her office space for services while the insurance company dawdled on whether or not to pay out for the damages.

Lee was not sure if he would ever get the soot off his boots, and what had crunched into his soles’ walking through the burned out mass that had been a sanctuary and refuge for those without hope.

A place to find hope.

The trailer needed some tlc and clean up that was for sure, that would be for tomorrow, today he would crash on the couch, the television still got a signal. He tossed a book from his back pocket he had picked up from the library, Robert Gleason’s The Evil Men Do, if nothing else Trump’s `Merica had reinvigorated the espionage novel that had been slumping since the end of the Cold War. He took his dollar store bag to the bathroom, splashed warm water on his face. In the morning he would connect with James Sean about where to go with rooting out those that attacked St. Jude’s.

A knock on the door, “Father Jacobs?” He really wish the child would get that his name was Lee, Father just sat wrong with him.

Lee stroked his salting beard as he looked up in the mirror, for a minute he saw a slimmer of another bearded face, but then his own. A trick of traumatic fatigue. He walked the short hallway to the door and opened it.

Beth had brought a friend. “Father Jacobs, this is Kayla Storm, she’s the landlord.”

Lee extended his hand and nodded, “Thank you Ms. Storm, and it’s Lee.”

The blonde lady had the lithe muscular build of a runner. There was something familiar in her blue eyes that had irises shaped like a diamond mosaic. Lee just couldn’t quite place it. “Alright Lee, but Ms. Storm was my Mum, I’m Kayla. Sorry we couldn’t get it cleaned up I wasn’t expecting to loan it out since Mr. MacKay….” Her voice trailed off. Lee was not to sure about what the full story was with the previous tenant, but she seemed more shaken up than simply a landlord whose renter took his life. (astute readers remember who MacKay and his son were in the life of Kayla Storm-check out Bionic Knight Pulps for all the Great Crime Fighter tales).

Lee begged off with an apology of just wanting sleep so the two would leave the stoop, as he closed the door in the glass behind the door of the built in souvenir shelf he swore he saw the face of… “Madame Mayor?” Lee pinched the bridge of his nose. He really needed sleep he was starting to see things that were not there.

Stumbling into the kitchen he searched the cupboards and found a kettle, tea pot and two bags of Red Rose tea hidden in an 1970’s era orange Tupperware container. It didn’t matter, some tea would settle the mind. As he put the tea to steep he looked out the small trailer window, whisps of wind that looked like twins.

“Dear God, I am going…” His external soliloquy was interrupted by a riotous rapping on the back door. “Beth I said I just wanted to rest.”

A grunt, “No Beth here, mate.” The voice was unfamiliar. Lee slipped a butcher knife out of the knife block as he moved to the door where the rapping became more intense. Lee peered through the window. The porch light was burnt out so he couldn’t see anything. Slowly he slicked the safety chain off, and undid the dead bolt.

The door knob hit him in the mid-section knocking the wind from him as the rest of the door slammed into his head knocking him back and through the kitchen table. The knife skittered across.

An oriental man close to sixty stood over him in a rumpled navy suit with a snub nosed .38 pointed at him. “Damn, you ain’t MacKay, who the hell are you?”

Lee groaned as his eyes tried to focus the domed kitchen light searing into them he didn’t see his reflection, but a greying goatee and bald head. A mouth he could barely make out the words of “camelot.”

To Be Continued…


The headline screamed Start 2019 in Love. The by-line was by a local MLA, Melanie Moon, writing about the horrors of hate and how it had taken a life at a gathering meant to inspire. Lee crunched the paper at his breakfast table. He missed the days when Rick Saturn would write and rally the troops (writer’s nod: yes the original Bionic Knight’s secret identity). Unfortunately, with the former mayor, Rick and his kids had vanished. The new mayor was trying, as were the new heroes. Lee admired Mel for what she was able to do as an anomaly MLA in Alberta Politics raising issues and poking the bear.

“Populism will destroy the Just Society if good people say and do nothing.” the gravelly voice said. Lee turns slowly, he really had to examine the list of folks with keys to the residents portion of the Church.

“James, bit early for you isn’t it?” James walks by the counter and pours himself a black cup of coffee before sitting across from his old friend. “Ms. Moon is doing the best she can. I mean it’s not like a super hero is offering to help your end hate crusade. Oh wait they were.”

Lee just smirked cheekily. He knew his old friend didn’t get it, but stirring the pot would not work if it did not end with the normals. “Just keep stirring the pot, the group has been called out and the city fully alerted. Two jackanapes are in custody. See what else shakes out of the shaken tree.”

The door buzzer was one of those annoying chimes that attempted to sing a song, a bad leave over from the 1980’s. Lee kept meaning to unplug it, but like most old buildings tracing proper wires was an impossibility due to all the MacGyvering over the decades. Lee rises and walks to the door, that James had not re-locked upon his entry.

A peek through the peephole revealed a lithe purple and yellow haired teenage girl. “Sorry already bought Girl Guide Cookies and Scouts Popcorn.”

The girl didn’t move. Maybe he should have tried the Despicable Me fake recording voice. “Father Lee, my name is Beth Venus, I was there at the Cosmic Mass…I…” (yes astute reader, Beth Venus is the new Bionic Knight’s secret identity). “I lost my kid brother to an overdose and, well, I want to help.”

Lee hears James chuckle, “well damn grumpy old Padre, let her in.”

Lee begins to turn the door handle when a smell hits his nostrils. “James OUT!”

James responds as Lee flings the door open and in a fluid motion knocks Beth to the ground rolling away as a road is heard…

Blue flames billow out first the lower levels then through the entry door.

James shoulder rolls, his body feeling all its years. He see the form running. Khakis and red polo shirt. Pushing up hard he huffs and puffs as he takes pursuit.

Jacobs eyes watch St. Jude’s burn.

Beth pulls her phone from her pocket and is already dialing 911, fighting the impulse to say the words. Lee was right, if this was to end, it had to be humans, not Supras that shone the light into hate’s darkness and confounded it.

Sirens wailing.

Lee scans the parking lot and sees James knock the form through the chain-link fence. There’s blood as Lee pulls Beth up and moves towards the fallen forms. Khakis is not moving as James has him face-down and straddling his back.

St. Jude is the patron saint of lost causes. Padre Lee Jacobs watched as the pumper trucks poured into the parking lot and unleashed the water. The police hauling away the arsonist and taking their statements. The church had been a gathering point for those who felt they had no where else to go, for those in life recovery, for those from other nations, for those who wanted a better world: for those who believed LOVE trumps all.

“Hate won.” Beth said.

Lee shook his head and looked at the teenage girl. “Why do you say that?”

“They got St. Jude’s.”

James chuckled.  Lee looked at the newest convert to the cause of battling hate. “St. Jude’s was just a building, rebuilding that is what insurance is for. What St. Jude’s stood for is in the hearts of all that came through her doors, and lived in the light that shone out.”

“Pollyanna much?” Beth said.

Lee just nodded. “Yes, yes I am. Good beats evil. May take a while, but love wins.”

 

 


When Jacobs’ wife and child had died their wish was to have their lives continue on through organ and body donation. He lost the fight through court injunctions as Alexandria’s mother (Lee’s mother-in-law) battled on the false basis that the whole body needed to be buried and intact. Lee fought this bad theology viscerally, but in the end the courts sided with the Mother-In-Law. It was the darkest time of his life, and the light of hope he had was snuffed out.

Scant months later the mother-in-law succumbed to lung cancer, Jacobs’ almost did a jig.

Now in these quiet moments after stirring the pot, he finds himself sitting in the cemetery leaning on the headstone. He was not one for these ancient practices of bodies decomposing in the ground for he knew that once someone transitioned they were with you always. “So Lexie, I have done what you always hated when seeking truth and a better world. Stirred the pot. Now we wait and see what happens.” Their child hadn’t lasted many days after birth, but he had a name when he transitioned. John. In quiet moments Lee did wonder what it would be like to be in a pulpit in the area they lived with a child?

“If you and John were still here, would I still stir the pot?” He could hear her smart ass retort of yes. He blamed himself. He had stirred the pot the night before the accident that put Alexandria into pre-mature labour…the night he lost his world. His ears perk at the snap of a dead branch on the brisk winterish morning. Lee rolls up to a stance, he feels every bump, bruise and break over the years.

The shimmer of armour. Jacobs had known the predecessor. The hero had been a good man, did much for the city. Saved the universe a few times too if he remembers the by-lines of yesteryear. The newbie, well, she was young and brash.

“You must be the Bionic Knight?” Lee said.

“That I am Father Jacobs.” The voice had a Star Trek computer tinge to it.

“I ain’t a father. Lee will do just fine.” Jacobs stated. Everyone sees the collar and assumes Roman Catholic orders and all.

“The Great Crime Fighters have heard of the resurgence, and would like to offer aid to you and your community.” The voice said. Lee smirked. From what he had heard, the great team currently was just two members, but she was keeping up a good facade so many citizens did not lose hope. Super powers and super heroes would be a quick way to deal with the idiots trying to gain traction in this populist world that was trying to emerge again.

But what message would it send?

“The gods come from down on high and do battle with the lowly mortals? What message does that send that the only way to beat aggression and hate is with aggression and more power?” Lee winces as he shifts his bruised knuckles. Obviously one of those do as I say, not as I punch kind of moments. “Honestly, it is tempting. Like when Satan came to Jesus and said throw yourself down from here, and He will save you.”

The computer voice sounds like it was doing a spit take. “I ain’t Satan.”

Jacobs waves the comment off. “Satan is not a big bad, he is a favour giver. A tester of the faith, Hollywood has turned him into the cloven hoof evil. Think closer to the delightful Lucifer series. Besides Jesus himself called Peter, Satan, you’re in good company.” Off the cuff theological diatribes, Jacobs was feeling like he was having coffee with the Seminary students again.

“Look, it is a problem, in less than 2 days it will be gone.” The computer voice stated as the golden armour shimmered showing that it was an adolescent girl within.

Jacobs tired old eyes looked into the glowing green armoured eye slits. “Tempting, but no. In the heart of humanity at this point in history beats a song of hate. It is not having more might that will snuff the darkness out. It is light of hope. It is the heart of humanity replacing hate with love. Humanity, us mere mortals, standing on our own in the face of the darkness. It may take longer, may cause more pain…”

“But you hope it will last longer the change?” Said the computer voice.

Jacobs simply nodded. “Okay, Lee, if you need us we will stand with you.” the voice stated, as it shimmered out of view.

Lee scratched his salting beard. Stirring the pot and seeing what falls out. “Was not expecting that.”


Some would say it is always dark and rainy. Lightning dances nicely, small pea size hail falls. Thunder shakes the foundations holding the double wide in place. The tumbler sits before me. Been many years since I took some stiff shots to steady up before a fire fight.

Though, when was the last time one was expected to lead an army against an invading. Well we were not rightly so what was invading. The ginger coloured liquid hit the glass. The aroma strong, and smooth. Scotch. Neat. Third glass. Robert B. Parker’s Jesse Stone had a rule he attempted to keep to of only 2 drinks at night to battle his addiction. I was smart, I switched to coffee. Somethings make you crave that which you had put away. For me it was knowing that the life had taken my boy, and there was nothing I could do to change the outcome.

I failed him.

Lightning illuminated the darkened trailer. Should turn on a light. The liquid burns the throat in a good way, goes down smooth Number four pours easily. Live rounds or hold to the standard Rick set out for me? Kayla, was so far down the grief spiral I was not going to hold her to coming. Beth, the new Bionic Knight, thinks I don’t trust her. She just doesn’t get what war, death, and choices of life and death can do to a soul.

They’re here.

-Enigma

Agent Regis had the Agency’s best on stand by for me. Five is a nice number. The top of my head is burning. Feels like someone has driven a spike through it.

I failed Johnny. My son. He is dead because I am worthless.

Rick and his family are missing.

Because of me.

The new mayor is running to keep Susan’s legacy alive, but Susan vanished, someone tried to kill her because I pushed her to make the city better.

Rick’s hand was young when he offered it to me. A chance at redemption for my soul. I screwed it up. Not the blood on my hands because I took lives, but blood on my hands because I couldn’t stop lives from being lost. Good kids, left to me to train.

Like Johnny.

My son.

From love they were birthed, from love the returned.

The trailer rumbles with the thunder. Hail and rain dance on the tin roof like the ratatatat of a tap dancer or an old machine gun from an action movie.

The door creaks.

I left George in his own piss and crap, cast out, due to his failure to back his team up. Should’ve been me cast out. But when you’re the boss, a multitude of sins can be covered up.

What if the legend of St. George and the Dragon was wrong?

Legend has it a dragon came, and claimed a village forcing them to sacrifice the best live stock, when that was gone. The Dragon still hungered. The beast asked for the first born. Until the day they ran out, and were left with the King’s first born, tied and left as offering. Rescued at the end of the joust and blade of Sir George…

What if it was wrong?

What if they both had saved the world?

The front door creaks. Move forward. Not fully locked the wind has caught it. The wood hits my face and I feel skin break a tooth goes loose and flies. The coppery metal tastes mixes with scotch and vomit follows the tooth out as I fly through a wall that separates my living room and kitchen. Hate wood splinters in the back. Pretty sure the ring a ding through the noggin’ is not going to help my concussed life.

Or falling through the kitchen retro- 60’s table.

Gun?

Leather flap of wings.

My phone is vibrating on the ground. Use my pinky and flip the old brick open.

The Story was right.

-Enigma.

The razor claws. Skittering across the floor.

George in the alley, left broken covered in his own soiling’s in the rain. Cut to ribbons. The cutter has returned home to roost. Not an armada, or invading force.

“Dragyn.” Judas betrayed for 30 pieces of silver. “Why?”

A toothy bloody grin. Recently fed. Someone’s dead. The piece of cloth. George’s blood. His supposed friend. “To simply feed.”

Mystical lightning always strikes different than regular. Glows green too. Little known fact. The front room bay window becomes shard as wind and rain fly through so does the shimmering gold armour.

Dragyn licks his lips. Bionic Knight lands hard, drawing her blade. My 12 gauge is just inches away. Begin crawling. Leg screaming. Look down. Wood through and through. If I pull out it will pump blood like an exploding storm drain, leave it in and hope. Just a few inches.

Knight and Dragyn battle as they have for thousands of years. A few claws. Armour chinks, some human blood. Armour gauntlets, magic blasts, and sword slashes.

A good right hook. It’s a fight, not boxing or MMA (major difference- rules). A knee up to where Dragyn’s breeding apparatus would be. The reptilian is down.

Bionic Knight freezes.

My hand is one the rifle. Push up with the good leg. Pop in two cartridges. Sawed off’s are nice for this reason.

Dragyn’s yellowy blood eyes stare up at her. “George was a fool. He had no guts. Could not destroy me. He was last of his kind. Now he is dead.” My former teammate (yeah he is so off the team), looks my way. “So easy to fool, through innocuous messages and identity of friends who vanish.”

Bionic Knight looks at me. I nod. It’s not rocket science, and one does not have to be Sherlock. Enigma, was the Saturns. They aided us, even when starting a family. Dragyn corrupted the last positive thing I had of my missing friend.

“Give me your hand Shotgun. You can be someone new.” Said Rick Saturn, the Bionic Knight.

Beth Venus, the New Bionic Knight swings her blade towards the Dragyn’s exposed neck. My one trigger barrel is faster.

Orange blood splatters her golden armour. Her helmet vanishes to reveal her face as she looks at me. Dragyn’s head is gone. “I had it.”

“Beth, you do not want death on your soul. You can be the greatest. Remember that.” She is gobsmacked as I hobble out the back door and into the rain.

Johnny, my son. Rick and Susan, my friends… all the others Kyler, Jack, John…hell even the bastard Zed, “I miss you.” Moisture on my face, not from rain. It is time for the pain to end.

“Shotgun!”

Her voice is lost in a thunder rumble. Used to tell my son when he was scared it was simply Thor’s goats racing Apollo in the sky.

The Dragyn is slayed.

The world is safe.

The hero’s soul is pure.

My second trigger and barrel are not as fast…

Thunder cracks.

 

 

 

 


They’re Here.

-Enigma

It was the message the ended my conversation abruptly with Beth, the new Bionic Knight. She believes that I do not trust her. She has many adventures in missing the point, too many of the young and old have died. Beth needs to be the Bionic Knight, once I have FUBAR’ed this moment in history because some hero has to save the planet.

The rain dribbled off the top of my cowboy hat. In the alley, Agent Regis had the collar of his rumpled trench coat up and a Bogie fedora tilted just right to keep the rain from going down his neck. The call had come in and he had called me as I was heading back to my trailer at the Ashram.

“Bullets in the ground there and there.” Agent Regis points with a laser pointer.

“Were mine.” He looks surprised that I was using live rounds. “He had been around maybe…” I let the last bit trail off, it made very little sense to blame this alien, wanna be hero, for what happened to Johnny. But who said grief made any sense?

“C.O.D?” Regis asked in that cop tone where it makes one want to call their lawyer.

“I would say whatever sliced and diced him like the Ginsu from the old shopping channel on cable. Broken nose, ribs, and some of the lumps are mine, and probably the urine of his running down the drain with the rain. He was scared but alive when I left him.” I wait a beat. “And he also knew he was evicted from the Ashram and off the team.”

Regis stands up from his crouch and looks me in the eye. He pops a piece of gum into his mouth, trying to fight the cigarette demon last I heard. “We are ready for what is to come, you don’t have to fight this alone old man.”

“Pot or kettle on that one, Louie?”

He hrumphs. The graying at his temples betrays his age, there was a time when all of us where on the less salt side of salt and pepper in this game. Those were the days the rain did not make one quite so cold with the wet, and worry about the next mornings aches and pains from a night out in it.  “Enigma messaged again.”

I do believe it was a chortle or maybe a guffaw that escaped Regis’ mouth. “And what does the erstwhile tech ghost have for us.” More a statement of disdain than a question.

“They’re here.” I do believe the coughing fit was due to Regis almost aspirating his gum.

“She ready?” Regis asked.

I shake my head. “Not risking anymore kids. I got this one.”

“Suicidal?”

He could be right in his question. Only so much death one can handle. Only so much of outliving friends and family. But more. Sometimes there is a tiny voice in the back of your mind that challenges you to be better. “Just times up for whatever evil is coming.” Regis simply nods.

He is one of the folks that never got Enigma. The player that came online as the Bionic Knight faded into the background for a bit to have a life. It was the voice guiding the heroes still attempting to stay on track out of the dark and gritty. A voice echoing in the dark to save the world. That suddenly went silent.

My eyes move to the diced corpse of George and the purple blood washing off the cement as Agency Agents and staff clear up the mess and prepare to move the body. “I will let you know when it’s go time.”

“You realize MacKay you aren’t in charge of us?”

“You realize Regis, without the GCF you…well y’know.” I walk back into the shadows and head to my truck. Two new forms right beside it. Took them long enough to show up.

“Dragyn. Bionic Knight.” A crackle of lightning and a clap of thunder. Close together.

THEY’RE HERE.”  I nod to Dragyn’s statement. Remember Rick and George challenging me on the fact that maybe the legend of St. George and the Dragon was wrong, what if the dragon was the hero of the story.

I look to Beth. “We’re here to help.”

“Him. You stay put.” I state. What if the story was wrong, but it leaves open the option that the story was right.

“I’m ready MacKay what the hell are you scared of?! I’m not your son! I’m not my predecessor! I’m not going to die!”

The sawed off 18 gauge is in my hand and the space between us is cleared. The end of the nozzle is in the neck chink of her armour. I can smell her fear. Back like when I used to kill people like her for a living. She could fry me where I stand, but doesn’t know what to do, or is toying with me.

“Simple Knight. Do you really think a dragon and a cowboy are going to save the universe? We’re the distraction. But keep it up and there won’t be a Knight left to play hero.” I slowly pull back the gun.

“Yooo-uu ddon’t scare me.”

“Good, B.K. because when it is all said and done. History doesn’t remember guys like me, they remember heroes like you.”

To be Continued…

A Cowboy and a Dragyn walk into a bar


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.


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.


The Ashram. My front porch. The kid and me, two cups of coffee.

A plot of land I quasi-inherited, squatted upon with the demise of the immortal alien life essence that was Zeus existing as a bi-sexual Zen monastic. I wish I could say the history of life in this City got easier as the story went along, but well, it has been a journey-quest—what is more than a quest? Mystical experience of the super hero operatic variety.

The weird questions being the mentor of the new generation of hero. The Ashram is 3 double wife trailers, one is mine (that is, the home of William “Shotgun” MacKay as the papers call me, when I used to be the villain killing for a living, and for the past 20ish years being the hero). The other two are split between the young heroes that make up the Great Crime Fighters. Canada’s super heroes. They have had many incarnations, and there is the dark time, that brought back the core that then passed on their legacies before their own transitions. Our greatest hero was the Bionic Knight. He was a punk ass teenager I attempted to kill many times, before he helped me become a hero. As a middle aged man, PTSD due to a life of literally saving the universe and mourning took hold of him. He was struggling through some neurological challenge as well that we were never too sure if it was magical or electrical. The power source that made him a hero, check that, that gave him the super powers of Camelot (yes that Arthur bloke) was the PenDragon force. It found a new host. A new punk ass kid, working through her own mourning as the Opioid crisis claimed her little brother, almost lost her with that. Rick talked her back. That was his real name, Rick Saturn, the first husband of our city’s mayor, Susan Kobwash-Saturn, father of two beautiful special needs twins.

A few months ago in a McDonald’s two aliens revealed themselves, George and Dragyn, because what caused the exodus of the stars to earth was coming. A few scant weeks after that Rick vanished.

Not only him, but his family. A few months left on her term as mayor. A successful run.

“Shotgun, why me?” I take a sip from my coffee, leaning on the porch rail, Beth Venus, she’s the new punk ass with the power of Camelot. Also, very anxious and unsure of why she was chosen.

Remember it was a bit of the same conversation I had with Rick after my conversion to the light, and he shared who he was. He shared at 16 years old receiving the power scared the crap out of him, having to find his way. Thinking it was like a maze, but really it was more like a labyrinth. Only one path, however winding, to the source at the centre. A metaphor I have shared with Beth many times, but she is not used to long journeys. Like most in our technological age, she wants it now. Who knew there would be a time when I would think Johnny (Johnny Power- flies, invulnerable, super strong) and Kyla (Last name, Storm, her father Kyler was the Speedster, she is of the same super-speed, with an attention span to match, though Johnny’s can be worse).

“The PenDragon knows who it chooses, your path is to walk the inner Labyrinth to find the dragon within.” Believe that is the way Rick phrased it to me once, hopefully it sounds Yoda enough.

“Quit with the Spock crap. Why me?! Do you think I wanted to be the hero of all the multi-verse?!” Beth screams. Nights like this I am happy the Ashram is on its own little hill away from other neighbours.

Remember the argument when Susie (Susan, Rick’s wife) decided to run for Mayor. John MacCurtis, Rick’s best bud formerly PinBall, formerly Bionic Archer (of Herne and Hood variety) who gave his all had left vacant. He had started a path for a just city. Susan had the passion to complete it. Her concern was Rick stopping being a hero so she could do it, he trusted the power to find th te right host.

“Find you, and the power will co-operate.” I know great pep talk take away for a teenager. Find yourself. The purpose of adolescence.

Susan leveraged every connection she had made, John had politically and Rick had as a former journalist, politico and pastor. The Bionic Knight came out in favour of her, which also helped, and the G.C.F. backed her too. It was time to fully leave the dark, it was time to embrace the light. The Council and Administration were excited over more positivity where every person was seen as a citizen who shared the same rights of Canadians promised in our Constitution and Charter for a just society.

She moved beyond tweet policies, and quick solutions. She pushed for solutions that worked for the individual in community. Moving the conversation from simple accessibility and inclusion to belonging. From housing to homes. From work to vocational purpose. From debt to actual living wages and thriving. From reaction to pro-activity in building a world. Reconciliation and restoration not vengeance. Not looking at integration or reintegration for those who are coming from institutional life whether it be medical, mental health, addiction, corrections or shelters but true connectivity, belonging and living. She pushed hard (and had the death threats to prove it) to all levels of government that any relapse, recycle, recidivism or re-housing/re-shelter rate that was not absolute 0 had to be re-framed for what it was:

A RE-TRAUMATIZATION rate of the person and community.

Susie got the we were all in this together.

Beth is nervous because the council is pushing forward her agenda of transformation and other levels of government are working it as well with her missing. But the forces of darkness and hate are brewing.

“Fuck Will. Incels, Alt-Right, Whiteass sympathizers, So-Cons, its going back to the non-heroic age. We can’t keep the keel.” I love Beth’s passion for nautical movies.

The non-heroic age was a time when heroes rose up based around vengeance, where they played at being judge, jury and executioner. Where it was fuelled by institutional hate, misogyny, and more money makes right, privatization over public good… and every problem could be solved by the taxpayer paying low taxes, and when hit with a road block of any variety by bucking up and pulling themselves up by their boot straps. For you see we are not connected at all, we are all only individuals swirling in this world.

“And why does it matter to you girl? Just toss the ring, let it find another then.” I say.

Beth looks down at the Celtic cross ring on her righthand ring finger. She had ben through the ringer. She knew why her brother succumbed to drug use. The constant emotional and verbal abuse he had endured, and the non-heroic age, non-just society answers peddled onto him. The lack of belonging sapped him to the point of being nothing more than the chemicals that remained in the body after his soul had long crumbled into the darkness.

 

“Because I see through the political correct titles placed upon bullshit movements that basically mean, bully, abuser, Nazi asshat.”

“And?”

“And…I want the world we are building not the one we deconstructed.”

I simply nod. It’s coming, and these kids, may all the gods be with us, for what ever is coming looks to have taken the big guy off the board.

–and that scares the piss out of me.


Stories are a slice of life. A set time span in the character’s existence. That is why characters can exist for so long with minor or major aging all dependent on when the writer wants them to exist. As I have shared previously, my Bionic Knight character was the first super hero character I created circa 8 years old. 31 years on he still is starring in pulpy hero adventures.

Recently over the past 6-7 months the story has been laid out of his struggle through health issues, and PTSD symptomology caused by his exposure to environments, stimuli and circumstances in his life in religion, journalism, outreach, and super heroics. It has led to him being “shelved” as another hero took up the mantle. In the lingo of super heroics, a legacy character stepped in.

Mostly it is the youngster that take over, as we have noted with new Johnny Power, Speedster and Bionic Knight within the transformation of the Great Crime Fighters. With the “Weird Tales of Rick Saturn, formerly the Bionic Knight” (for this and other arcs enjoy the Bionic Knight Pulps category); two new aliens were introduced. But these five characters are not the thrust of this point in Saturn’s lifespan. It is the interplay between William “Shotgun” MacKay and Rick Saturn.

For it is the closing on one chapter in the book of one’s life journey, and officially opening oneself up to what is possible to come with the new chapter starting. Literally an epilogue to one life, and the chapter one of a new book. For when folks ask why I put this four-part story together that did not have much action, it was simply showing that transition and acceptance can happen. Hope can spring forth.

Or in the observation of Rick at the end of part four:

Shotgun stepped back into the restaurant towards George and Dragon. “Look, we have a need to fill on the team with a few more members. Since you both appear to know of this imminent threat, how would you consider joining the newbies?”

Rick had to grin as he heard his friend extend the “offer”, how often he had those conversations over the years. The best conversation to have with a new or old hero, to find belonging and community. To become part of something bigger than themselves.

The world was in good hands. Rick knew it was about more than simply him, it was about taking his new life. His new book of life, one chapter at a time.

Simply a new chapter, watch for future adventures/mysteries as Rick transitions into who he is meant to be now in his life. Who knows where the stepping stones have led, and where the new chapter…new first word will lead him.