Posts Tagged ‘Shotgun MacKay’


There has been a long history of computer hackers and brainiacs, artificial intelligences and uber geniuses involved in all layers of super hero and villaindom. Not to mention super spies. The Agency was what had been designed to work alongside, support and if necessary reign in or replace the heroes of Canada. C.D. (Compu-Death) was an erst while teen on the 1990’s computer genius back when it was a challenge, who was given a choice of service to his country or youth corrections and then adult jail. He chose service. One of those genius levels that was never supported enough in school so boredom led to his deviant behaviours.

I take a sip of coffee on the porch of my trailer thinking of the kid. My tablet is ready to click on an episode of Longmire. He served well, gave his life on a mission that, well, saved the world of course. There was also another computer presence that intersected with the Great Crime Fighter’s history. No one knew who they were. Just messages on a screen or a scrambled voicemail, dropping clues like the super heroes own Deep Throat if you will.

Last report of the three sick was that they were almost back to being in the land of the living. Still no idea where George vanished too. Hope Johnny is making a go with the monster, the receiver in my ear went down when…

The screen to my tablet illuminates. Weird. Pick it up. A simple message scrawls across in Comic Sands:

Your teammate’s last words.

A short video clip from the old Bunker, funny enough looks like C.D.’s command centre… Johnny in the midst of whatever burning energy and monster. He’s screaming something before everything goes black.

A garbled cleaned up audio clip comes through the darkness:

I’m sorry Dad..I love you.

Said Johnny “Power” MacKay.

In a scroll across the screen in giant green letters.

FROM

ENIGMA.

In the back of my mind a hollow voice as I feel a tear in the corner of my eye,

WE COME.

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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?


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.

 

 

 

 


Chimeras—mythical hybrid creatures’ ala Centaurs, Minotaurs, Nephilim, that where two species become one. Some would call it false flags, a word for something that does not exist. Others for the possibilities of when alien technology used with/upon our ancestors is understood today. Rick sipped his double-double McCafe slowly as he watched the parking lot. George Dragon had raised questions that he needed answers to. His left hand slightly trembled, his head had a dull throbbing, but all in all it had been a good past three day.

Rick knew he would pay for that later.

Dragon was one of the many hiding in plain sight.

Not something the new kids needed to be drawn into, but something Rick needed to give a heads up to an old friend about. The beaten-up F-150 pulls into the lot and Rick watches Shotgun MacKay gets out and heads towards the McDonald’s.

A black coffee later and McKay is sitting across from his old friend. There is fading bruising, and fresh scarring on the whiskered face. Years ago, they had been adversaries, with many of Rick’s rogues paying to have the hired gun on side to try and assassinate the then Bionic Knight. Slowly the transformation of the mercenary to mentor began. Will (Shotgun) noted it was small kernels that Rick’s super hero alter ego had laid in his path. Eventually to the place he was now mentoring the new Great Crime Fighters, so this new legacy batch did not turn out like the last blood thirsty judge-jury-executioner types.

“So let me get this straight. What caused the intergalactic exodus to earth is now…” MacKay let the statement dangle.

“On its way, here. Dragon says we could have a Chimmering Chimera.” Rick stated. MacKay looked puzzled by the statement. Rick stated what a Chimera was, “The entity that eventually spliced into John.” Rick had to say no more. If the taking over of John by the alien entity had led to procreation of a new species with the same dark intent. But instead John MacCurtis sacrificed himself to end it.

“You want the kids ready?”

“I think I may have a way to stop this without needing to risk their lives.” Rick said.

“Rick be real, you have given more than most. If this risk is real, step aside, let us step up for a change.” MacKay said.

“Dragon came to me. It will start covertly, if I can find the source and shut it down there will be no risk to anything else.” Rick said. He took another sip. “It will be played out like a Trojan Horse. I just need to find the horse and burn it down.”

MacKay nodded. His friend had saved the world even the universe many times over. But those were times he had been imbued with the power of Camelot. Now he was as normal as can be described fighting the health effects those many battles had brought onto his holistic self. “What did Susan say?”

Rick closed his eyes slowly, trying to push the dull throbbing aside. His wife, his lightning rod. The one that keeps pulling him back from the darkness of death. A death that some days he would happily succumb to. But there is more than just him to consider, a balance with the life and the darkness. Each day consciously choosing life.

“Haven’t specifically had that conversation, but she has encouraged my writing and investigative work more.” Rick said. Which was true, she just was unaware where the investigative work may be leading.

MacKay had known his friend a long time. He noted the slight tremble in the hand. The twinge at the crow’s feet where he was fighting back pain within his mind. Dragon was an associate who rarely showed up, but if he was coming out of the shadows to speak then what was coming was true. He looked squarely in his friend’s eyes. A glimmer of green energy sparked. Maybe Rick was as done as everyone believed.

“We are one text or call away for back up.”

“thank you.”

The green flame hit squarely the centre of the parking lot shattering the window the two sat next to sending them careening across the restaurant.

To be continued…


Old familiar. Man, never believed there would be a time in my life when side stepping into a magical pocket dimension would ever be referred to as that. Talk about a letter to my 16-year-old self moment. But it is what is needed to coral the crazy that is over taking my replacement. Ashley, I will learn her last name later. Young teen girl, whose even little brother is the latest victim of the opioid crisis that the Alberta Government refuses to declare.

What people fail to realize in the hero that is the Bionic Knight is two souls doing a cosmic dance. The soul of the host and the PenDragon. The dragon that literally dwelt within Uther, then his son, Arthur. The hero source that has traveled down through the centuries always finding a host to stand in our world between order and chaos. Or to be blunter, save humanity’s collective ass from itself.

“I am sorry Ashley, he is dead.” I said.

ASHLEY IS NOT HERE. ONLY PENDRAGON EXISTS.”

The most annoying piece about the two souls, is that the PenDragon cannot exist independently, but if it takes primary drivers seat, well back in the day the reading of the tales of Camelot was part of elementary school English I am not sure if it still is. But Arthur, Morgan Le Fay, Mordred, Lancelot, Guinevere and Merlin quite a mess.

“Ashley if you let the power overwhelm you. You won’t be honouring the life your brother could’ve had before the darkness seized him. He wouldn’t want you to hide in the recesses of your own darkness.” Says the broken ass hero who can barely hold his own memory together. Why did I let Susan convince me that me, Rick Saturn, should play Merlin to a new age Arthur?

Though she did remind me that the super hero life was the easiest for me. Whether I was an activist, a geek, a pastor, politician or a journalist I chose to take stands for peace, human rights, inclusion, home and community. Took my lumps, my death threats, but finally got completely disillusioned with my own faith over how the supposed children of God have kept Alberta’s eugenics history towards the differently abled alive and well. How members and clergy felt they could barrage you with how the child did not belong, how they were not a person only a diagnosis, shaming you as to why you would have let them come into this world and other Nazi ass bull shit. Yeah it was an open wound, yeah it saw me fired from a few callings before I had my own kids fighting the battle of inclusion. Once I had my own, saw us sitting in an annual general meeting where I sat as the congregation effectively voted to downsize me and in another instance when a new community was to ordain once I saw their beliefs around my babies surrendered and walked out on principle.

But now here I am as the interloper in the green flame pocket dimension arguing with that which I kept at bay for over 20 years because of my own neurological issues that triggered PTSD, but hey, here we are.

NO! SHE IS RIGHT TO HIDE. SHE FAILED. WHAT GOOD IS SHE AS A HERO IF SHE COULD NOT SAVE HIM? HER OWN FAMILY. My little brother.” There. That change in voice. Ashley is still trying to assert herself, and that is what I need to touch base into. That searching for the light it is what Susan calls it, and why even with all the bull I keep trying to find that diamond in the rough faith community because no matter what I search out the light in the darkness, because as she has noted I like to believe the best in people, even the monsters and those that try to kill me. When I attempt to argue she tells me to go for coffee with Shotgun and laughs.  Sarcastic one she is.

“The hardest part of being a hero is…” Fight the crack in my voice, the tear trailing down my cheek. One name ricocheting in my brain that I kept missing each time. John. Best friend. “losing those you love.”

“then why do IT? ASHLEY IS NO LONGER HERE. ONLY PENDRAGON.”

“Bullocks Pen. You were my pen sized magic pet. Ashley will learn to control you or we all perish here. You know it, I know it. The PenDragon power either supports or extinguishes, and if I recall the last time you were in complete control was Camelot.”

then why shouldn’t I just perish with it here?”

“Part of it is self preservation, I do not want to die yet. I would like to grow older with my wife, and see our kids flourish even more.”
Selfishness does not seem very heroic.”

“It’s not, it is part of my answer. The other part is the power chose you to replace me. It chose you because you are pure of heart. It may sound corny, Ashley, but you got this. We have no control over other’s choices, lives and sadly, deaths. But….” The right words? Do I even believe what I am saying anymore? “And it is an important but, you have the choice, the moment this moment to become a hero that can make a difference.”

“Not in his life, his life is over. So why shouldn’t mine end?”

The eternal heroic question.

“Because the only life you are responsible for is yours. The only thing that matters is end of the day, beginning of the day when you wash your face can you look at yourself in the mirror.”

“And what if I can’t?”

Time to play the card I hate to play, because to stare into my own sorrow means to let go the dread and guilt I carry about John.

“Ashley, take a breath, look into your heart. What would your brother tell you at this moment, right now?”

Silence. The green flame is getting hotter. PenDragon is trying to seize control even though the entity knows it means its own destruction inevitably.

The green flame is crackling out the eye holes in the helmet. Her gloved hands are releasing the latches, she pulls off the helmet. A child.

Maybe 16 if she is a day. There was a time I looked that young and naïve. But there it is. The flames are going out. Tears coming down the sides. PenDragon is taking form on her as she powers down, the armour evaporates and the tiny dragon is on her shoulder as she slumps to the mystery ether we hang out in.

“That if I have a chance to be a hero. Be a bad ass hero and save the world.” Ashley said.

“And that is why the Dragon chose you.” The flames vanish.

The parking lot of the hospital reforms around us.

The peace and quiet is eerie. Until the boom.

Shotgun’s gloved hand on my shoulder. “There she goes.” I said.

I watch as Johnny Power lifts Speedster and flies after. The new generation of heroes. New hearts. Less baggage. Same heroic age. Simply trying to make a difference despite and in spite the sludge of life that can pull you down.

“Rick I…”

“Your welcome old man. Coffee?”

William simply nods as we head back to his truck. I do not know what is wrong with me, but I am learning to live in my new reality. Part of the new reality will see moments when these new heroes will need their wizard not their guru. In those moments, Shotgun knows where to find me.

Finale


I had made the statement to Will that he was the old man the newbies had to turn to for mentorship. For awhile it kept things quiet, as they continued to move forward on the clean up form the siege and ensuring members of the Cult of the Killer Face were picked up and brought into the justice system, their victims were routed to appropriate helps. Which also revealed the gaps in the system of care for the average citizen in requires to mental health, physical health and addiction essentially what is known as holistic care.

Susan was rocking the mayor’s chair bringing a new spirit of cooperation that put citizens first, and ensured that children and seniors were at the forefront of civic policy choices.

Living in the brain fog was my issue. That was a good day, the nightmares still came, and yes there was still unknown neuro events that I waited on the system to figure out and diagnose. Yet it was the sluggish way my central processing core (brain) worked that frustrated the hell out of me. It is why I knew I would be no good to Will in speaking with the new Bionic Knight.

Finally, a quiet night at home laying in my love’s lap as we watched War for the Planet of the Apes and like any good sci-fi story providing excellent commentary for the world we live in. The fight of tradition and fear against science and hope, the interior struggle that can happen when you realize you have allowed pain/grief/trauma to rob you of your “youness” while becoming the other and the road to redemption back.

“Rick, Will called again.” Four words I did not want or need to hear. Since distancing myself from the Great Crime Fighters actual events had decreased drastically. But there must be a reason she was bringing this up to me now.

“He can handle it.” I said.

“No, he can’t. Traditional super powers are one thing, he never really understood what a Supra was, but the PenDragon is something else entirely. She’s struggling, imploding.” The newbie is the one the ring chose, a 16 or 17-year-old girl, to become the new standard bearer, the new Bionic Knight. Shotgun was struggling as this Knight came with issues that she had not repressed like I had from my childhood. Hers’ were fully on display night of the siege and what took her there. Her little brother. Prey for the dealer, the criminal.

He haunted her, but I had faith in McKay.  He would figure out a way to reach her and get her on track. “The ring chose her, she will figure it out.” I left out the I did retort to my lightning rod.

“Yeah, but you also had John, you had Gerklyn, then Merklyn, Merlin and most recently Pen.” Susan said. Damn her logic. She could’ve gone with any host of old time heroes who provided guidance, but she knew what she was doing by specifically choosing those understood Camelot power on earth.

“And they are all dead.” I said.

“And your silence will kill her. She has the Bionics, she needs to hear from the wisdom of those that came before. She needs you and Sister Anne, Rick.”

A radio crackles from the kitchen. Police on scene at a hospital Emergency Room. Reports of the Bionic Knight acting irrationally at admitting.

“Damn.”

Susan kisses the top of my head, “Wear a toque it’s chilly out.”

I roll off the couch as the credits roll. Grab my leather coat and head outside into the cold. Susan has already shot me a text of where in the city the hospital is. Something is not right with the girl, and maybe she’s right.

I glance as my phone vibrates again. I flip it open. It is from Susan.

I love you. Remember you had you wizard, she needs hers.

Flip the phone shut, hospital is a few blocks away. Trudge through the snow. I hear the sonic boom. Thunder and Lightning better known as Johnny Power and Speedster are on their way. A horn honks from a pick up beside me.

I climb in. “Good to have you with us Rick.”

I nod to Shotgun McKay. “A wise lady said every kid needs their wizard.”

“Gotta love Suzie Q.” Shotgun said as we drove into the light show.

To Be Continued…


Some who see him from afar would say he looks like an old ranch hand. I know better than that as the old hic walks up the stairs to the entrance of City Hall. William “Shotgun” McKay (MacKay) was the best assassin of his time when I was earning my stripes as a hero.

After years of Darcey Kobwash and others employing him in their nefarious schemes to eliminate me (or rather my heroic alter ego) he switched to the side of angels. Tired of taking orders, or always living life on the run. Took a very Suicide Squad style deal with The Agency that he would work of his criminal time, in a karmic debt of heroics. He has paid that debt several times with how many times he has stood with us to save the world.

Today he is attempting the type of team up I fear. He is going to speak with my other, my soul, my lightning rod, the mayor, Susan Kobwash-Saturn- my wife. Why you ask?

I refuse to answer his calls, texts, e-mails, voicemails or other forms of social media reach out (subtle he is not). Figured he would eventually make his way here to her office, and I will see what unfolds.

                “Where’s the kit?!” Johnny Power yelled. The bust had left many of the gangsters’ unconscious, but some of the buyers of Fentanyl were overdosing. Never use alone is the government tag line. Some want you to believe it is because of wholesalers and big pharma this had made it to the streets. Others because of pill presses. Truth was probably a mixture of both.

                But what had happened was another round up bust of the Cult of the Killer Face since the siege. Johnny Power, and the New Bionic Knight, Speedster was in their ear pieces.

                But now during the clean up, B.K. had frozen.

The boy fading.

                Signs of an opioid overdose.

The same boy that had brought her to the Church of the Killer Face at the siege. Her brother.

                Johnny barked into his commlink. “Speedster we got seven overdosing, rook is frozen, need that Naloxone.”

                Kyla Storm is a second-generation Speedster. Her father Kyler Storm stood with the Agency, and ultra-secret service super hero task force of the government, and lost his life fighting the good fight. She took up the garb and was part of what the media had dubbed Shotgun’s Turbulent Trio. As the three young heroes worked to find their way as the new Great Crime Fighters.

                She grabbed the Naloxone kits and hit the lightning, 20 blocks would be a heart beat away, 911 was already dialed but she would beat the actual operator picking up.

                Though being the one to save the brother.

Would create one more self-confidence shaking moment for the new PenDragon during the team debrief. That was a conversation McKay needed to have with the kid, or better yet, the real Bionic Knight. But he was missing in action.

“Your worship.” It came out with what almost sounded like a Southern drawl, but was more of rural Alberta.

Susan stopped looking outside of her mayoral office window and turned to the voice, smiling. “Really Will, after all these years and attempts on my life?”

“Just wanted to see what it was like to actually like a Mayor.” William “Shotgun” McKay said. Susan chuckled, even though he had been friends with John MacCurtis, much like his friendship with her husband Rick, he would never publicly acknowledge liking the heroes he was formerly a villain of.  “And I bring my condolences.”

Susan simply shrugged. “She died, cholesterol and cigarettes official story, unofficially the fall of the Church of Killer Face she was collateral, can’t say as I will miss her much, more the loss of the habit of her being around poisoning my and my family’s mental and emotional health continually.”  Hela Kobwash was the perfect partnering foil for her father, Darcey. They never got her and Rick’s connection. Tried bribery, threats to break them apart.

Even took the stance once Darcey was out of the picture of choosing between her and Rick, when she stated bluntly that it would not be a hard choice to cut her out, her Borderline Personality Disorder took over and she started playing more games. Even cost Rick an unpaid leave from one job due to allegations of abuse Hela had alleged Rick had done to the children.  It was Rick that had ensured the type of gutter trash her mother and father hung out with stayed away from the family and the children, whether that was druggies, abusers, paedophiles.

Each time they moved ahead in the right side of the law away form the shadiness of her family her mother tried to find some way to sabotage it, usually playing a “trauma” card by super imposing something of her own life over top of the existing relationship because in her mind there was no way an abject failure like Susan could find happiness and goodness for a lifetime like she had.

It was bitter sweet, but it was now left with Mayor Susan Kobwash whether she would claim her mother’s body from the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee or not, because there was no will, there was no shadow that there was a tie that she needed to claim. Unfortunately, the story had broken in the media, and she had asked for privacy.

Will knew, well, because no matter what side of the fight he has been on since Rick and she were 16 years old, he was part of what Rick has dubbed, the family.

“Going to claim the body?”

“Yes.” Susan answered. Rather matter of fact. “Not because it is the right thing to do, just want to make sure…”

“After all the bull shit, she actually is dead and buried?” McKay finishes the sentence.  Susan just nods. “Have you seen your husband?”

“Every day. He lives in a world of frustration because he is not who he used to be. Things he used to be able to do mentally, physically, response times aren’t there anymore.” Susan stated trying not to crumble.

Shotgun nodded. It was not where one wanted to see a hero. They had great fights against one another, but even better when they chose to battle back the darkness together. McKay just wanted to have coffee with his old friend, and be present in the now, unfortunately that presence was being blocked and he was just an old man who did not get the emotional crap of the 21st century.

“Susan, god help me, when Rick was pastoring he suggested I watch a movie to understand community.”

Lars and the Real Girl.” Susan smiled. It was the story of an awkward man working through life traumas through purchase of a sex doll, and no not like that. It was about taking the doll in as a person, living a life of companion until healing was complete and where and how the community responded to Lars and his partner through the healing journey. “He always spoke of the Women’s group showing up with knitting and casseroles.”

“to sit, and be. Just want coffee with my mate like I used to.”

“But he’s…”

“In the doorway. What the hell are your brats doing Shotgun?” Rick asked.

McKay smiled. “Glad you asked, we have a wee confidence issue that they need to hear from the old man about.”

“Then go.” Rick said.

“I’m not the oldster they need.” McKay said.

Six overdoses. 15 arrests. Police and EMS everywhere. The park used to be a gathering place for families. Johnny stood next to the Speedster. Thunder and Lightning is what the media has called them. The Bionic Knight looked at them. True heroes in her heart.

                Johnny remembers Shotgun waxing poetic about the old days of the drug trade, when the dealers gave a damn about repeat business. Now with the new breed, it was highly predatory, Naloxone was designed to save lives, but secondarily to also save the mental wellness of first responders from bagging too many bodies. Shogun would joke that the new breed of dealers learned the predatory don’t give a damn nature from governments that shifted to funding models based on gambling/casinos as it was one of the most nefarious of addictions. No real signs until there was nothing left for the person but destitution or sadly in most instances, taking of their own lives. Kyla’s dad had shared in his work in social work some of the only real ways to aid a gambling addict out of the cycle was to set them up with a financial administrator or trustee to ensure all the necessities of life were taken care of before the remnant of monies given over to be used as the person saw fit.

Both wondered if the world of a mere 5 years ago may have been an easier world to be a hero in, than the crazy that existed today. Where politicians and groups were too entrenched in ideological camps to be pragmatic and place the person and the community ahead of the needs of the ideological base. Where the 99%’s voice actually shaped policy because they used their voices in the polls as a mediating and mitigating factor to the extremes that existed within.

                They saved her brother. Something even she was unable to do as the addiction seized him deeper and deeper. Hoping each day and each time she did what was necessary to save him it would mean he would take rehab and detox seriously. More and more each time realizing she was being played.

                Kyla’s hand touches her shoulder, she startles back to reality as the gurney with her brother leaves for hospital. “You okay B.K.?”

                “No…I “  

She flies faster than even Johnny can catch her in the air. The PenDragon screaming in her mind. If you cannot save your family how will you ever be worthy?

                If you cannot save him?

How are you any good to save anyone?

Susan watched the two’s banter, and softly chuckled, 23 years ago the same banter would happen while trading blows of sword and shotgun shells. Now they were navigating a conversation of who is the best mentor for the next generation.

“But you are the one they have, Will.”

I said as I left the mayor’s office.