The Adventures of Captain Stalwart, Realistic Action Hero

Okay, so this guy, Loki Lokash, did a great review of my book, The Devil’s Mouth, on YouTube. It’s quite entertaining and really very flattering, so you should probably watch it and all his other book reviews. But he brought up a great point. Namely, how can action heroes manage to stay so pretty when they’re getting beaten up all the time? As sometimes happens in my brain, this question inspired an odd little short story.

So, yeah. Watch the review. Read the story. Buy the book.

 

The Adventures of Captain Stalwart, Realistic Action Hero

 

“Oh, no.”

Jeeves, loyal butler and manservant to the caped crimefighter Captain Stalwart, peered out the window of the limousine at the abandoned quad cane standing on the sidewalk. He pulled the car to the curb and got out.

The sound of angry yelling attracted his attention, coming from a nearby deli.

Jeeves picked up the cane and entered the deli.

Inside, in front of the cold case, an old man stood on wobbly legs and swung his fist at the hapless deli clerk. The clerk fended his attacker off with a chair. He looked over at Jeeves when the bell on the door rang. “Hey man, help!” he cried. “Get this old lunatic off me!”

“Take that, Doctor Nefarious!” yelled the old man, windmilling his fists wildly. “I’ll not rest until you’re back in Stonegate Prison!”

“Master Jason,” said Jeeves sternly, taking hold of the old man’s arm, “stop this! He isn’t Doctor Nefarious! Doctor Nefarious is a senator now. You know this. Come along, let’s get you back to the mansion. You need to take your medication.”

“Eh?” said the old man. “But he—”

“Captain, no,” Jeeves said, sternly. “We need to go home right now. I’ve brought the car.”

The deli clerk said, “Thanks, man. That old lunatic thinks he’s Captain Stalwart.”

“Well actually,” responded Jeeves, “he is Captain Stalwart. Was, rather.”

The clerk’s face showed disbelief. “No way, dude. Captain Stalwart is… well he’s not ugly. Or old. This guy’s face looks like a bowl of mashed potatoes. And he’s like sixty.”

“Hrah!” Said Captain Stalwart, taking another half-hearted swing at the clerk.

Jeeves looked over his boss’s face: The massed scar tissue, the misshapen, flattened nose, the cauliflower ears, the split lips and the missing teeth. “Sad to say, he’s only 43. I’m afraid he’s gone downhill rather quickly. As it turns out, when one goes out and gets in bare-knuckle brawls with Doctor Nefarious’ henchmen every night for years, the damage tends to add up.” He handed Stalwart the cane. The superhero grasped the handle with trembling hands that barely flexed. Jeeves looked down at the swollen knuckles “Not to mention arthritis from all of the broken knuckles.”

The clerk scratched his head. “And, like, isn’t Captain Stalwart some kind of genius detective? This guy doesn’t even know what day of the week it is.”

“Yes, well,” Jeeves nodded sadly, “again, he’s gone downhill lately. As it turns out, despite what the comic books say, when one gets hit in the face with a pipe-wrench, it’s not the sort of thing one just shakes off. In fact, one spends two weeks in a coma. After ten years of being concussed, beaten with bats, and knocked out with lead saps on a weekly basis, it all starts to have an effect. Our Captain here is suffering from a nasty combination of dementia pugilistica, Parkinson’s, and the after-effects of a few dozen traumatic brain injuries.”

Doctor Nefarious!” Stalwart screamed. He abandoned the cane and lunged towards the clerk, then promptly fell on his face when his knees gave way.

“And of course his knees are shot,” said Jeeves, helping his boss to his feet. “One can only jump off of a second-story rooftop so many times. We could get the joints replaced, if only he hadn’t squandered his family fortune on crime-fighting toys. I told him to save something for his retirement, but oh no, he had to have a fighter jet. To chase purse-snatchers.”

“Jeeze, the poor guy.” The clerk made a sympathetic face.

“Yes, well I warned him. Repeatedly, and at length.” Jeeves held Stalwart’s shoulder. He turned to the clerk. “Sir, I apologize for all of this hassle. I take my eyes off him for one second, and he wanders right out the front gates of Stalwart Manor.” To Stalwart, he said, “Come along, master Jason. We’ve got to get you home and change your colostomy bag.”

“Colostomy bag? Aw, man. That’s rough.”

Jeeves nodded sadly. “Yes, I’m afraid that was about the end of Captain Stalwart’s crime-fighting career. The surgeons had to remove twelve feet of his lower intestines, after he ran afoul of the Doctor’s secret weapon.”

“Holy shit,” said the clerk. “What was the secret weapon? Some kind of death ray? A diabolical trap?”

Jeeves replied, “Actually, it was a shotgun.”

 

 

12 thoughts on “The Adventures of Captain Stalwart, Realistic Action Hero

  1. Inventive!
    The sad sad demise of a superhero laid bare. It has me wondering if I should retire early…
    I like the bit by bit explanations that totally shed the cape so to speak as Cptn. Stalwart is revealed to be every bit as human as anyone else.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hey Matt, I’ve bought the book, read your extra story and listened to the review; where’s my medal? (we Brits seem to be getting medals for everything at the moment). I’ve also done a little review on amazon.co.uk (five stars, naturally…)
    Great short story with a nice angle on the broken hero. It reminded me a little of Terry Pratchett’s ‘Cohen the Barbarian’ and his Silver Horde (who are all over 80 and suffer a range of age-related disabilities, but who are incredibly lethal nonetheless); and also of a little-known comic-strip spoof by Alan Davis and Paul Neary called “The Crusader”. I can’t find a link to the whole thing but the premise is as follows (lifted from http://www.internationalhero.co.uk/c/crusader.htm which also has a few frames from the strip).

    <>

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Young Perseus Ablemarle witnessed the deaths of his parents, shot by thugs in the street. At their gravesides he swore vengeance on his parent’s killers, on gratuitous violence, and on the criminal classes in general.
      Soon he had read, learned and inwardly digested nearly every book ever written, and halfway through Stan Lee’s ‘Origins of the Marvel Superheroes’ he felt the heavy hand of fate upon him…he knew what he must do…he must follow the honoured path of orphaned youngsters seeking vengeance…he must become a superhero.
      Endless hours in the gym honed his body to perfection of strength, agility and fitness. He did not neglect his mental faculties, and became a nuclear physicist, doctor, lawyer, architect, layout artist and accountant!
      After developing the complete hangover cure at the tender age of 23, he then spent ten years mastering the martial arts, then the marital arts, and then one day he said…
      “If I don’t get on with it, I’ll be dead of old age!”- And thus was born…THE CRUSADER!
      Having designed a costume and a grapple line, he went out on his first mission, seeking crime to fight late one night. Making his way across the rooftops of the city he spots some criminals loading radioactive material onto a truck, and swings down to confront the villains, crying out “Hold, Evil Doers! The hour of retribution is at hand…” just before one of the crooks machine guns him out of the air.
      His last words appear to be: “-GLUB- I say… Steady on…”
      The crooks then race off, leaving his body lying amongst the rubbish in the city street.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Similar, but not quite the same as yours! I love the faithful ‘Alfred’ character being on hand to retrieve Captain Stalwart from his misadventures.

        Like

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