Friday, May 11, 2012

#FridayFlash: Captain Heroic's Last Hurrah

Now that I’m back from vacation, maybe I can get a regular blogging schedule going.

I’m going to start serializing “Season” (Chapter) 3 of Accidental Sorcerers on Tuesdays. This one will last six episodes. If you need to catch up first, check out Season 1 and Season 2.

On to this week’s story:



Captain Heroic's Last Hurrah

“Breaking news from City Hall. Channel 14’s Montana Rack is on the scene.”

“Thanks, Rudy. I’m here with a man whose name is synonymous with Skyscraper City — Captain Heroic. Captain, can you tell our viewers what you just told me?”

“This wasn’t an easy decision, Montana. I just wanted to put that out there first. In brief, I just left City Hall, where I gave Mayor Barkley and Police Chief Holling my formal announcement to retire as a superhero.”

“Stunning news, Captain. Can you share what led to this decision with our viewers?”

“I’ve been fighting crime for twenty-five years now, Montana. Sure, there’s been some downtime in there, but I’ve always answered The Signal when it came. I’m in good health yet, but it has been getting a little harder this last year or two. My reaction times are off noticeably from just last year. It’s not severe yet, and it hasn’t impeded my powers, but it’s just a matter of time. I think it’s better to retire at the top of my game rather than to keep pushing my luck. It wouldn’t be good for anyone’s morale, on our side at least, if one of the villains at large could brag about taking down Captain Heroic.”

“There have been rumors concerning the flood of competition in the last few years. Could you address that?”

“I’ll be honest, Montana: that was a contributing factor. As you know, very few superheroes are self-funded. The rest of us depend on bounties to fund our ongoing arms race with the other side. When I began, the Heromobile and a handful of gadgets was all I needed. But now there’s jumpjets, submarines, computer power, and a lab where I can put all of it together. Meanwhile, bounties have stagnated since the turn of the century. The economy has squeezed Skyscraper City’s budget, and they had to cut superhero stipends. On the other hand, you have new faces on the scene — the League of Devis moved in from Kalikut, and Count Boris from Romania, not to mention the Masked Warriors from China. We work together when necessary, especially Boris and I, but everyone who works together splits the bounties. The new guys are younger and rely more on sheer numbers than technology. Since supervillain tactics have evolved to fight a lone superhero with gadgets, the ‘human wave’ guys have another advantage.”

“I’m sure I speak for most citizens when I say I’m really sorry to hear that, Captain. If you’ve just tuned in, this is Montana Rack. I’m with Captain Heroic in front of City Hall, a place where we’ve met so many times before. The Captain has just announced his retirement, citing age and financial issues. So, Captain, if you are retiring… is there any reason to not reveal your secret identity?”

“Many reasons, Montana. I’ve lost count of the number of evildoers I’ve put behind bars. There’s at least fifteen supervillains and several dozen major mobsters in prison right now, who might have enough influence to exact revenge.”

“Disappointing, but understandable. Any regrets or unfinished business?”

“One. I never could catch up with Icy von Doom. There’s a supervillain who deserves some respect: it’s hard to collect evidence from a smoking crater. I know the young turks are gunning for her, but she hasn’t made a misstep yet. We’ve been able to thwart her attempts at world domination, but that’s about it.”

“What if The Signal is lit?”

“There’s a work crew taking The Signal down off the roof as we speak. Mayor Barkley requested that it go to the Skyscraper City Museum, and that’s a fitting place for it. But I’ll be watching, and if the young turks are having trouble, Captain Heroic will be there to save the day!”

“Thank you, Captain Heroic. This has been Montana Rack, Channel 14, speaking with Skyscraper City’s most famous superhero about his announcement to retire. Back to you, Rudy. … That’s a wrap, Kyle. I’ll meet you at the truck in a minute, okay? I need to collect my thoughts. Thanks. … Off the record, Captain. What’s next?”

“Off the record? Oh, I don’t know. How about dinner?”

“Dinner? We’ve known each other for over twenty years and you’re just now getting around to asking me out?”

“Sorry. It was for your own safety. If we were dating before, you’d have been a target. And a highly visible one at that. But now?”

“I’m not getting any younger either. Why not?”

18 comments:

  1. Oh no! They're outsourcing superheroes. Nice premise and you knock it out of the park with the way you capture the reporter's beats.

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  2. Loved the reporter element of this, and I laughed out loud at this line "I never could catch up with Icy von Doom" -Is there nothing in this world that they won't outsource for???

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  3. What's good about this episode Larry is the reader can feel the interview. The questions, word flow, and pacing are simply excellent. You seem to have a knack for these journalistic-type pieces.

    And how lucky for Icy von Doom and your alter-ego D.B. Cooper that the Captain is no longer on your *tales*. But don't relax just yet, there will be others coming. Might be good to keep the Larry Kollar alias for awhile longer. :-)

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  4. Love the ending. I was expecting them to go home together, the secret identity question a red herring for viewers, but I really like this, as one adventure ends, another begins. ;)

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  5. I like this it's really fun! Reporter style is great and I like the talk about how the hero industry is changing. Nice one Larry.

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  6. I have a feeling you chose the name Rack for a reason ;). And what if Montana Rack is Icy Von Doom's alias? (unless it is and I missed it?)

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  7. The superhero genre will always be so cool. Lots of fun. No one can stop Icy Von Doom's desire of world domination.
    Adam B @revhappiness

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  8. Cute! It seems like retirement is going to be interesting for our hero.

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  9. Great fun! Montana Rack: never has a character name painted such an image in my head! Nice work, Larry.

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  10. Cute shout-out to Icy! That was my favorite bit. I wondered if his retirement wasn't making way for an alter ego to run for office.

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  11. Hey all!

    Aiden, Peter, thanks much! I was thinking about doing an "On the Georgia Road" segment, but it wasn't gelling & this did.

    Glad you enjoyed it, Helen!

    Thanks, Rachel, for the compliment and the laugh.

    JohnX, I wonder if Montana might be Lens Woman on the side…

    Craig, I was poking fun at the comics who tend to draw their female leads a little, um, top-heavy. ;-) Ms. von Doom is welcome to the alias… I doubt I could stop her!

    Thanks, Adam!

    Chuck, I can't help but thinking that Captain Heroic might have one more superpower that he hasn't shown the bad guys! 8-}

    Jack, I'll have to admit, I gave more thought to that one name than I did the rest (which mostly wrote itself).

    JohnW, I was wondering about his retirement plan. Did he sink a certain percentage of his bounty money into his IRA/SEP? Or is he going to have to put in another few years working some obscure job? Maybe some of his crime-fighting inventions didn't get out of the lab but are patentable…

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  12. Oh they'll never catch up with Icy Von Doom. Look at how easily she got rid of Captain Astounding...

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  13. Sadly, even superheroes grow old. I hope Captain Heroic has a good pension fund in place. :)

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  14. Oh that's great Larry. Though having spent quite a bit of the weekend reading 1990s era Justice Society of America comics, I just know that Captain Heroic won't find retirement quite as easy as he expects...

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  15. LOL Loved it! Especially the reference to Icy Von Doom (icy, if you are reading this, I really miss that series.)Asking the reporter out was a last graceful touch, I think.

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  16. Terrific flash, Larry, great humor. The openness about retiring is just what a legion of superheroes need - emotional honesty and a willingness to admit when it's time to down tools.

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  17. I loved the transition from on-air to off-air. I didn't expect it. It brought me into more intimate contact with the characters and gave them dimension. Great job!

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  18. Hi there Larry -- I loved your archetype names in here, from Captain Heroic and Skyscraper City to the potentially titular (ahem) Montana Rack. The interview felt real and I guess, yes, superdudes have to retire sometime. Go The Cap. Him and Montana? Who knew.
    St.

    One tiny thing: "I’m in good health yet," could probably do with having 'yet' chopped, especially as have another 'yet' close by. Hardly worthy of a byline. The kind of niggle J. Jonah Jameson would never run ;)

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