PT Dilloway was one of the first people I connected with when I began Chubby Chatterbox. Aside from the fact that PT is an exceptional blogger with a razor sharp wit, he’s also an accomplished author celebrating the release of his new novel, A Hero’s Journey. Fans have been looking forward to this book for a long time and I’m honored to have him as a guest blogger:
Becoming a Hero
Thanks for letting me take over your blog today, Mr. Chatterbox! I can’t hope to match the eloquent narration of the Chubby Chatterbox, especially not when it comes to real life—or a close facsimile thereof. But I figure I do have a character who likes to tell convoluted stories from his real life.
So let me introduce Mr. Percival Graves, from my novel A Hero’s Journey. In this scene, Percival tells his young protégé Dr. Emma Earl how long ago he became a superhero known as the Scarlet Knight in order to give her a glimpse of what she’s in for as the latest incarnation of the hero.
I was born in London, long before even your parents were born. I came here after the war. I had heard in a pub that America was the place to be. America would be the center for the new age now that they had the Bomb and had come out of it with hardly a scratch, not up to their necks in blood like us in Europe. The man was drunk off his arse, but he seemed on to something. So with what money I had left from my service days I got on a boat to this country.
I didn’t get far once I landed here. About the only work for someone like me—someone with more muscles than brains—was to work on the docks as a mule. I worked there ten hours a day for next to nothing. Shared a tiny flat with five other blokes.
Then one day this government wanker shows up. Not a military man from the look of him. Probably in the CIA, or OSS like it was back then. He said there was a crate on board we were absolutely, positively not to touch. Some of his own people were going to handle that one. Of course all sorts of theories went around about what it might be: Nazi gold, a secret weapon, or even Hitler’s body.
You’re a smart girl, so you might have figured it out already. I didn’t until that night while I slept. One of my old army mates, Reginald, came to me in a dream. He said, “You haven’t made anything of yourself, you wanker.”
“What do you want me to do, Reg? I’m just a mule.”
“You got the brains of one, that’s for sure,” he said. Then he softened a bit and said, “But you got the heart of a lion. I saw it over there. Like when you carried me all the way to the field hospital when that sniper hit me.”
“Not much need for that sort of thing over here, is there?”
“If I weren’t a ghost I’d give you a good kick in the knickers for that one.” He gave me that hard look like when he would order us to take a machine gun nest. “That government crate has something very important on it. You need to get your arse in there and open it up.”
“But I could go to jail for that.”
“Only if you get caught, you damned fool.”
“What’s in there?”
“Something that will allow you to be somebody.”
“What are you getting on about, Reg?”
“Trust me, lad. There’s a reason you didn’t die in the war when by all rights you should have. You have a destiny. It’s in that crate.”
I still didn’t believe him, but I decided to go anyway and see what it was all about. If the government blokes showed up, I’d just tell them I got mixed up. They were only on the outside of the ship, though, to watch the perimeter. I waited until one of them took a smoke break and then I went inside.
You already know what came next. I got the crate open and inside was that big red box, just like the one you found. I opened it up and saw the armor inside. Then this damned ghost showed up, and started to give me his spiel about the honor and tradition of the Order of the Scarlet Knight and how imperative it was I save the world from evil and so forth.
Of course about the only reading I’d ever done was the comic books. I was dumb enough to think I’d be just like one of those costumed adventurers. Thought I’d go around punching out criminals and kissing damsels in distress. I thought it would be fun.
The first time I ran into the Dragoon, it stopped being fun. His armor arrived from overseas too. Some air force colonel found it and decided he would make himself an atomic bomb. Then he’d bring the rest of the world to its knees.
First time I saw him, he was at Rampart State, to steal the notes from a scientist there who had worked on the Manhattan Project. He killed the poor bloke and made off with the notes before I could stop him. I finally caught up to him at an airbase where he planned to steal himself a casing for his bomb. We got into a tussle with me finally coming out on top.
I thought I’d won. I felt so generous I gave him the chance to surrender. Instead, he pulled out a detonator he’d hidden on himself. He’d rigged the munitions bunker to explode in order to cover his escape. The explosion might have killed both of us if not for the armor. It saved my life that day. Of course the air force people around there didn’t have no armor. About thirty of them died.
The Dragoon tried to escape. I caught up with him again and this time there was no nonsense about it. I ran the Sword of Justice right through his foul heart. Just to be sure I cut his head off too.
I hid the black armor away, and hoped I’d seen the last of it. Then I got down to work. Found me a job at the Plaine Museum, pushing a broom around. The pay wasn’t great, but it was enough that I could get my own place so no one would bug me.
It wasn’t at all like in the comics. It was a nasty business for the most part. Night after night of going out there, busting the chops of purse-snatchers, bank robbers, murderers, and rapists. The mob back then was even worse than it is these days; the harbor was practically backed up from the number of bodies floating in it.
Here’s what you need to understand, lass: no matter how many of them I put away, there
were always more of them. You think people would learn, but for some men—and women—that’s all they know. They come from the bad neighborhoods or maybe they’re just twisted inside. All they know is taking, like a bunch of wild dogs fighting over a bone. You can kick a few of them to the pound, but there’s always going to be more.
If you like this excerpt, you can buy A Hero’s Journey from Solstice Publishing here. It’s also available from Amazon, B&N, and other retailers. To learn more about my novel, including character bios, deleted scenes, and a visitor’s guide to Rampart City, visit my blog at http://www.ptdilloway.com
Thanks again for hosting me, Stephen!
Note: PT is giving away a free PDF copy of his new novel to one lucky Chubby Chatterbox commenter, so let him know you want it by leaving a comment.