I was interviewed, along with my creative partner Harold C. Jennett III, on the We Read Comics blog for the web comic we do together: Our Adventure Continues.
Go give it a read, you may learn something about me.
Thursday, March 26, 2015
OLIVER PLACED THE PHONE back into its cradle on the wall and returned to the couch in Mr. Pembleton’s living room. Mr. Pembleton was no longer there.
“Mr. Pembleton?” Oliver called out.
“I’m back here, my boy,” Peter said from a room somewhere in back. “Be out in just a moment.”
Oliver sat patiently and waited.
“You get everything straightened out with the wife?” Mr. Pembleton called from the back. Oliver could hear the distinctive sound of rummaging. The old man was looking for something.
“Yes I did,” Oliver called back. “Thank you for the phone, you really saved my bacon.”
“It was no trouble at all, my boy,” Mr. Pembleton said, this time from the hall.
“Still, you didn’t have to let me, not after bursting in so late and everything,” Oliver looked up as Mr. Pembleton walked into the living room and all thought fled like a field mouse from a tractor.
“I thought you might need this.” Mr. Pembleton stood there holding up a garment bag on a clothes hanger.
The plastic of the garment bag was transparent, so Oliver could see that hanging there on a wooden hanger was a suit of red and blue. Not a business suit with jacket and tie, a suit for a Mighty, and not just any Mighty. Though the plastic of the bag had been clouded by age, Oliver could see a large golden letter M on the suit’s chest.
M for Might.
This was Captain Might’s suit.
“Why do you have a Captain Might suit?” Oliver said.
“It’s my Captain Might suit,” Mr. Pembleton said.
“No, I know . . . but, you got it for Halloween one year or something?” Oliver was less curious about why the old man had the suit and more interested to know why Mr. Pembleton felt it necessary to pull the suit out and show it to him, but then, isn’t that what old people do?
“No, Oliver. This is my Captain Might suit. Mine. It was made for me.”
Mr. Pembleton had given Oliver such a pointed look that Oliver felt for a moment that something just wasn’t quite right.
What was the old man trying to say? His suit?
“Why do you think I had the ring in the first place, Oliver?” Mr. Pembleton gave Oliver a knowing smile.
Oliver just stood and stared, his confusion slithering up around him like a giant boa constrictor, squeezing tighter and tighter.
“Okay,” Mr. Pembleton laughed, holding up his free hand, palm out. “Okay, I know this might all be a bit much for you. Have a seat and I’ll finish my story. It will all make sense soon.”
And so they sat. Oliver on the couch and Mr. Pembleton in his chair.
Peter Pembleton told his story.
The Ru’In and the Tal’Might once lived together on the planet Narm in relative peace and harmony. The Ru’In practiced magic while the Tal’Might put their trust in science. Though trade thrived between them, the two races typically kept apart from one another.
That was until the Garthog arrived.
The Garthog were a spacefaring race of conquerors who had set their sights on Narm. Their only desire to subjugate the Ru’In and the Tal’Might, using them as slave labor to mine for metals and fight their wars as they moved on to the next planet.
The two races of Narm knew that their only chance at standing up to these invaders was for them to work together; to combine the sorcery of the Ru’In with the science of the Tal’Might.
Together, the created the Rings of Might.
Hundreds of the rings were created. Each coded to the genetic pattern of the specific race. The rings could transform their bearer into a being with tremendous power; incredible strength, invulnerability, and flight.
With these rings, the people of Narm fought off the invaders and took their planet back.
At that point, things get a little fuzzy. After the Garthog were sent packing, the Ru’In and the Tal’Might went to war with each other. The reasons have all been lost to the ages, but the war itself would still be waging today were any Tal’Might left alive.
What we know is that the Ru’In won. The Ru’In then spent generations culling the Tal’Might race. Hunting them down and slaughtering them like cattle.
Three quarters of a century ago, the last Tal’Might left alive escaped Narm. His name was K’Tuchim and he was shot down over Eastern Pennsylvania by the Ru’In general who had pursued him across the galaxy.
What was left of the ship did not remain undiscovered for long.
The ship had crashed near a small farm where a young man lived alone with nothing around him but wilderness.
The sound of the crash had brought the young man out of a deep sleep, and soon he was trekking through the woods, shotgun in hand, looking for the source of the explosion. He came upon a smoking crater filled with wreckage. Among the wreckage the man found a small cube which glowed with an inner light. He bent to retrieve the cube, holding it in his hand, feeling the weight of the thing, when a line appeared, bisecting the cube horizontally. A white light escaped from the line, the opening, and suddenly the cube opened to reveal a ring.
Just as the man was about to place the ring on his finger, a bright line shone from above and he is greeted by the sight of a Ru’In soldier. The man fled and the Ru’In soldier gave chase through the wooded—
“Wait,” Oliver said, interrupting Mr. Pembleton’s narrative. “How could you possibly know all of this?”
“Why, that’s simple,” Mr. Pembleton laughs. “That young man was me.”
“Oh, come on now. That can’t be right . . . why, that would make you . . . well, how old are you?”
“It’s not polite to ask someone about their age. But if you feel you must know, I’ll a hundred and twelve this August.”
“Okay, that’s it,” Oliver stood and headed for the front door. “I’m done. Game over.”
“Slow down there, son,” Mr. Pembleton said, rising from the chair.
Oliver turned. “You’re a hundred and twelve? A hundred and twelve? Years? A hundred and twelve years old? You?”
“How can you expect me to take that seriously, Mr. Pembleton? I mean, do you listen to yourself talk?”
“Oliver my boy, just under an hour ago, you transformed into someone else and flew near the stars.”
“Okay, good point.” Oliver said. “Alright then, finish the story. You found the ring, then what?”
“Well, as the Ru’In soldier chased me through the woods, the ring found its way onto my finger and I transformed, just like you did. I fought the alien and won. Eventually I decided to use this new power for good. I fought in both world wars, defended Garrison against all manner of bad guys. But you already know that part of the story.”
“Okay, so what are you telling me here? Why did you give me the ring? Do you want me to become what? Captain Might?”
“In the end, Oliver Jordan, the choice is up to you. But I do think you’d make a splendid Captain Might.”
“You don’t even know me.” Oliver said.
“I know that you risked your own safety to save me that day at the ATM. I know that you didn’t hesitate, that you saw I needed help and you just got right to it. I also know that you are a very polite young man. I know that you care for your family and that you work hard for them. That makes you a kind and caring person with a desire to help those who need it and the courage to do so. That’s all Captain Might really is.”
“Okay, look. I’m sorry, Mr. Pembleton, but all of this has me more than a little freaked out. I think I should get home to Elyse.”
“Do what you must, my boy,” Mr. Pembleton said, rising from his seat, “but remember that you now have the power to change a great many lives.”
“Sure, yeah. This is just too much for me right now.”
“Just don’t forget the suit.”
Oliver took the suit without even looking at it. “Thanks. I’ll think about all this, I really will.”
“You must do what you feel is right.”
“Okay, yeah . . . right.”
Clutching the suit in a sweaty hand, Oliver opened Mr. Pembleton’s front door and paused at the threshold as he realized that he’d flown to the old man’s house. Thinking about it now, he wasn’t sure he wanted to do that again.
“Mr. Pembleton,” Oliver said. “I think I need to call a cab.”
Somewhere in a room hidden from view—a room so secret that only three in the entire world knew of its existence—deep within the bank of monitors and controls, a red light began to blink along with a low, steady beeping that sounded throughout the space. It was not a large room, nor was it small. It was round with high ceilings and held computers, tables, and lab equipment such as microscopes, test tubes, Bunsen burners, and centrifuges. Packed in with all if equipment, there was still space enough for a dark automobile under a tarp, a motorcycle at its side.
A door opened at one end of the room, light shining in from the opening. A man entered and the lights switched on due to the motion control the man had installed many years ago.
The man was tall and lanky, but stooped with snow white hair and a thick mustache which drooped down over each side of his face, practically hiding his mouth beneath. He wore a dark suit which cost more than than the gross national product of most small countries and walked with a cane. Yet, as stooped as he was and despite the use of the cane, the man moved with such natural grace that a world class ballerina in their prime would have gone green with envy.
The man approached the blinking red light and sat in a chair before a small keyboard. He typed at a few buttons and a number of things happened in rapid succession. The small red light stopped blinking, the steady beeping ceased, a low hum sounded from somewhere deep within the room, and the wall which circled the entire room switched on . . . shinning its own light into the room.
On the wall screen, just before the old man in the chair, another old man appeared; his head and shoulders on the screen so large as to make the man in the chair appear to be a child’s action figure in comparison.
“Peter Pembleton,” the old man in the chair said with a British accent, sounding like a member of the Royal Family or other such aristocracy. “It has been a long time, old friend. To what do I owe the pleasure?”
“Gerald,” Peter, said. “I need your help.”
Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Monday, March 23, 2015
Friday, March 20, 2015
Thursday, March 19, 2015
“SORRY, I’M EITHER NOT available, or I just don’t feel like taking your call,” Oliver’s recorded voice warbled through the phone on the table. Elyse had set it to speaker phone so that the detectives could listen in. “Leave your name and all that other stuff and when I have a moment next year, I’ll shoot you a line or something.” Elyse disconnected before the beep sounded.
“See, it just goes to voicemail like he has his phone off or something,” Elyse said.
Detectives Pryor and Dwonch shared a quick look.
“Are you and your husband having marital problems, Mrs. Jordan?” Detective Pryor said.
“What? No! Why would you even—” she said, but the phone that was now vibrating across the table stayed her tongue. She looked down at the screen and saw the name, Peter Pembleton. She snatched up the phone before the two Detectives had a chance to look and see the name.
“Do you mind?” Elyse said as she held up the phone.
“Please,” Detective Pryor said. “It’s your phone.”
Elyse touched the screen. “Hello?”
“You’re up, good! It’s me,” it was Oliver. “I am so sorry, but I’m okay.”
Elyse turned back to the detectives and smiled. “Hi, Mom,” she said into the phone. “Hold on a second, okay?”
“No, Elyse, it’s me. Hello? Hello?” Oliver’s voice sounded faintly from the phone as she held it down next to her leg and turned back to the detectives.
She smiled at the detectives who both smiled back. “I’m sorry, but it’s my mother. She’s been having problems sleeping lately and she likes to call. Would you please excuse me?”
“Please, Mrs. Jordan,” Detective Pryor said. “Go right ahead. We can wait.”
Detective Dwonch just sipped at his coffee.
“Oh,” Elyse said when she realized the two were not going to leave her alone with the call. “Uh, I’ll just be in the other room if you need me then.”
She managed not to sprint into the living room, and once there whispered into the phone.
“Where the heck are you, Oliver Jordan!? You have had me worried sick over here. I thought you were dead! And who is Peter Pembleton?”
“It’s hard to explain, Hon.”
“Well you better start trying, otherwise plan on staying wherever it is you’re at.” She wondered for a moment why everything before her eyes was turning red.
Oliver sighed. “Peter Pembleton is one of my regulars at the Pizza Dude. You’ve met him. Old guy. Likeable. A little eccentric.”
“Okay, yeah, but why are you there? Why aren’t you here? Why has your car and the Pizza Dude been destroyed? Why aren’t you here where you’re supposed to be!?”
“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.”
“Try me, or start considering likeable Mr. Pembleton your new roommate!” she hissed.
“Hon, you’ve gotta trust me. This isn’t something I can just tell you over the phone. You have to see it. I’m not sure I completely understand it. Give me fifteen minutes, okay? Then I’ll be on my way home.”
“Are you in some kind of trouble, Oliver?
“No. Not really.”
“What’s that supposed to mean!? The police are here, Oliver. The police! They want to know where you are!”
“Okay, crap. Um . . .”
“What do you want me to do?”
“Okay,” she could almost hear his gears working over the phone. “Okay, I went over to Luther’s . . . okay?”
“Yeah, after work. He doesn’t live too far from the Pizza Dude. You can tell them—”
“Wait a minute,” she interrupted. “Who’s Luther?”
“Luther is a guy from work, from Solutions.”
“Don’t you hate that guy?”
“Well, hate is a strong word. He drives me crazy pretty much the entire time he’s around. But the police don’t know that, and he has invited me over from time to time to play some role playing games.”
“But you hate role playing games?”
“I know, but again, the police don’t know that. Just tell them that I went to Luther’s to play a role playing game after work, and that we drove to the Pizza Dude to pick up a pizza, my car ran out of gas and we had to leave it there and walk back to Luther’s. Then we heard an explosion and ran back to find both my car and the Pizza Dude destroyed.”
“Okay then . . . why didn’t you call?”
“I am calling. I’m calling now.”
“No, Oliver,” she sighed loudly. “In this little fantasy of yours, what do I tell the police when they ask why you didn’t call them, or me?”
“Oh, well,” once again, she imagined the sound of machinery grinding and squeaking as he thought this over. “Okay. How about this? I left my phone in the car. I do that all the time anyway, right? Which is actually the truth since I did leave my phone in the car. And the police were already on the scene by the time we got there, so we felt we didn’t need to call them.”
“And so how do I suddenly just know all this. I have two detectives waiting for me in our kitchen right now. They think I’m talking to my mother.”
“Okay . . . let me think.” Oliver paused a moment or two as Elyse paced the living room. “Okay, I got something. I’ll call you back in like, two minutes. You can say I’m calling from Luther’s.”
“And I just forgot you were going there?”
“No, I forgot to tell you. You thought I was working tonight.”
“But you were working tonight! What if they check? I mean, it wouldn’t be all that hard to for one of these detectives to call Mr. Crackenmeyer and ask if you worked tonight.”
“Okay, okay . . . good point.” Oliver paused again and Elyse knew he was trying to come up with a viable solution.
She couldn’t think straight. She was full of two powerful and conflicting emotions. The first was a deep and potentially violent rage over the fact that Oliver hadn’t called to say he would be late. The fact that he had let her sit here alone and worry without knowing if he was alive or dead made her blood boil with a fury the likes of which she has never known. On the other hand, he was alive, and the joy that that one clear fact brought to her was immeasurable.
So, she was angry, yet relieved, and frankly, the joy was winning out. She knew that eventually she would make him pay for causing her such worry, but for now, she was just happy that he was alive.
“Okay,” Oliver said. “I’ve got it. It’s quite simple really. I did go to work at the Pizza Dude tonight. Luther called me while I was there and invited me back to his place after I got off to play a role playing game. I said yes, and so I went.”
“But what about your car, Oliver? Why would you leave your car at the Pizza Dude?”
“Well . . . um, let me think. Hold on.”
“Look, why don’t I just tell the detectives where you are? You come on home, and you can tell them what happened at the Pizza Dude. I mean, you haven’t done anything wrong, right?”
“Well, no. I haven’t. Not really. Look, I can’t explain right now, I just can’t. And I can’t come home just yet, not until I talk to Mr. Pembleton. And I certainly can’t begin to describe to a couple of police detectives what happened at the Pizza Dude tonight, Hon. I barely believe it myself. I mean sure, I guess it happens all the time, but it’s never happened to me, and I’m not prepared to deal with all of this, much less have to spend the rest of the night in some room down at the station while they grill me under hot lights. I mean, how often do they get a chance to talk to one who doesn’t know what they’re doing?”
“What are you talking about, Oliver? You’re making no sense right now? What happens all the time? Why would the police spend all night questioning you? Just what the hell is going on?”
“I’m sorry, Hon, not over the phone. You deserve better.”
Elyse sighed. “Okay, Oliver, I’ll go along with this for now. So what do I tell these detectives?”
“Just tell them that Luther met me back at the Pizza Dude and gave me a ride to his house because I wasn’t sure where he lived and because he said that it’s hard to find parking or whatever. Okay?”
“I swear, Oliver, if you’re in some kind of trouble. If you’re out there doing stuff that you aren’t supposed to be doing. Well . . . I don’t know what I’ll do, Oliver. But you have a family, okay? Understand that? A family that needs you. A family that can’t survive without you. So I better not find out that you have gotten yourself into something that could jeopardize that.”
“It’s not like that. Seriously. I’ll be home soon. Trust me.”
“I do trust you, Oliver. Don’t make me regret that. Call me back in two minutes.”
“Okay, I love you.”
“I love you too.”
Elyse released the call and stood silently in the living room for a moment. Breathing softly and struggling to get her nerves under control before going back to the kitchen.
“Sorry about that,” she said, smiling, as she sat back down at the table with the two detectives. “Moms, what are you going to do, right?”
“Mrs. Jordan,” Detective Pryor said. “Could we get back to your husband please? We are just trying to understand what happened out there tonight.”
“You know what,” Elyse said suddenly. “I just remembered. Luther Brodwell. Oliver’s best friend. He lives just down the road from the Pizza Dude. Oliver could have gone there.”
Detective Dwonch took a small pad of paper and a pen from his inside breast pocket and began to write. “Luther Brodwell. Do you have Mr. Brodwell’s phone number on hand?”
“Of course,” Elyse said, standing. “Let me just get that for you.”
Just then her phone vibrated in her hand. She paused and looked at the screen. “Well, would you look at that. Speak of the devil.”
She touched the Talk button with her thumb.
“Hello? Oh my goodness, Oliver. Where have you been? Are you okay?”
She waited a moment, listening.
“Uh-huh?” she continued. “Okay . . . Oh, thank God. I was worried . . . Are you coming home now? Uh-huh . . . Okay . . . Okay, I’ll wait up then . . . I love you too.”
She disconnected the phone and smiled at the detectives. She hoped they would confuse her fear of being caught for lying as relief over the call from her husband.
“Well, that was Oliver,” She said, sliding her phone into her pocket. “He’s okay.”
“And just what did your husband tell you, Mrs. Jordan?” Detective Pryor asked.
“Actually,” Elyse laughs. “It’s kind of a funny story.”