A Revisionist History?

February 15, 2011

From Osiris Flint #19: Der Trenchfoot!
By Percy G Fickleweather (Gaslight Books, 1928)

III

1917

“Wars are best fought by young men, Osiris. We all know this. Strapping young soldiers, with their whole lives ahead of them, have no regrets to slow them down or foment second-guessing.” Percy chewed on the end of his pipe.

“Then what does this have to do with me? I’m well into my middle age,” Osiris paced back and forth in Percy’s office. He had been called in earlier to discuss matters of national security. When he arrived, he found every inch of Percy’s office covered in propaganda posters. Osiris’s masked face was featured on every one of them. He was buying war bonds, and clobbering a gang of Austro-Hungarian thugs, and saving a grandmother from a spike-helmeted menace. Osiris was no fool and knew exactly where the conversation was headed, so he beat it to the punch. Percy, however, had prepared a sound counterargument.

“Listen: the Government has decided it would boost morale to have a masked hero in the trenches, fighting alongside the rest of the doughboys. And you are Osiris Flint, the Government Man of Action!. Technically you’re already an enlisted man. One of theirs to send wherever they see fit.”

“But Perce–”

“Osiris, they really won’t take no for an answer. This is your next assignment. I mean, they’ve already gone and reconfigured your standard outfit. They’ll suit you up in a modified Army uniform, complete with olive drab greatcoat and mask. You’ll look dashing, just like the fellow in all of these posters,” Percy couldn’t help but smile as he pointed around the room.

So Osiris begrudgingly took the assignment.

A week later, as Flint was boarding an airship to depart for the front, Fickleweather apprised him of the true situation. “Osiris, you need to know what it is you’re really going to be up against over there. Yes, your presence will certainly boost morale. And morale is important, both in the trenches and on our own side.”

Osiris spun his index finger around in a circle, “Get to it Percy, this ship is about to leave.”

“Ah-More important, however, is the doing away with your German counterpart: Der Trenchfoot.”

“My what?”

“Your counterpart. Is it any surprise that other nations might have gotten wind of our Man of Action Program? I mean, after your little skirmish in the Amazon? US and Allied intelligence could scrape up very little about the German soldier.”

“Some intelligence.”

Percy frowned, “Osiris, please. All we know is that he’s modeled after you, and he is ruthless. The rest is little more than trench mythology, stories embellished and told while huddled around a flickering lantern. They say he has eyes of fire. And that he’s seven foot tall and hewn from stone. Take those last things with a grain of salt. But expect the worst. A man raised on sausage and sauerkraut certainly won’t be meek.”

Osiris was seated on the airship and had strapped himself in, “I’m assuming a bullet between the eyes will suffice. It’s ok to kill this man, right?”

“Quite. The Government needs you find and eliminate Der Trenchfoot. The man’s death will no doubt mark the turning point in the war, and shift the balance in the Allies’ favor. Kill Der Trenchfoot and you’ll win us the war. Nothing to it.”

***

“Kill Der Trenchfoot and you’ll win us the war. Nothing to it.” Percy’s words had bounced around in Osiris’s head since they were uttered: They accompanied Osiris in the airship across the Atlantic. They parachuted with Osiris behind enemy lines. And they were present now, as he elbowed through fragrant, foreign mud. “Nothing to it, eh Percy?” Osiris spat over his shoulder, “Easy to say when you’re a desk jockey in unoccupied New Amsterdam. No mud on your lapels, is there?”

It hadn’t stopped raining since Osiris had dropped. The ground was a thick stew of churned up soil, discarded personal effects, and stagnant water. He had parachuted in behind a thick copse of trees, several hundred yards West of a large bunker. That bunker, if Percy’s intelligence was correct, was the base of operations for Der Trenchfoot. The plan laid out for Osiris was straightforward enough: gain access to the bunker and release a grenade inside. Nothing pretty, but it would hopefully ensure the demise of the target.

There were sentries posted at the cardinal points of the bunker, which meant that Osiris had to slither, rather than saunter, his way to the squared mound of sodden sandbags. He’d also have to incapacitate each sentry, unless they happen upon their fallen comrades.

The mud served to Osiris’s advantage, as by the time he reached the bunker, he was so covered that he was indistinguishable from his surroundings. Less than five feet from where Osiris lay, the Western sentry paced back and forth. Osiris had faced his fair share of underlings before, and this sentry hardly ranked among the more formidable: He was lanky–hardly more than ten stones–and carried his rifle with an air of uncertainty. Osiris pulled a rock from the muck around him and lobbed it at the bunker wall above and behind the sentry.

As the sentry spun and pointed his rifle at the sandbags, Osiris rose swiftly and lunged at the German. Osiris wrapped a firm hand around the man’s mouth as they crashed forward. The sentry’s helmeted head struck the ground with muffled thump. Osiris pressed the man’s face heavily into the mud and did not relent until the body had ceased to struggle. Osiris then slung the sentry’s rifle over his shoulder and checked the body for any other weapons, but found none. He then proceeded to the bunker’s South wall.

As luck would have it, the Southern sentry was relieving himself and  failed to notice Osiris when he crept around the bunker’s corner. Osiris unslung the rifle from his shoulder. Without any ceremony, he slammed the rifle’s butt into the base of the German’s neck. The man grunted and crumpled to the ground. “Caught you with your pants down, eh Jerry?” Osiris muttered as he pulled a trench knife from the sentry’s belt. The knife was vicious in appearance, with serrations on each side of the blade. Osiris dropped the knife into a coat pocket.

On the East wall, he found himself face to face with the Eastern sentry. This German was stouter than the other sentries. He smiled at Osiris’s appearance, as though he relished the respite from the monotony of sentry duty. He leaned his rifle against the bunker’s wall and, crouching slightly, beckoned to Osiris with both hands.

Osiris moved in quick and threw an uppercut, but the sentry feinted and caught his arm. The German chuckled as he dislocated Flint’s shoulder with a sick pop. Osiris groaned, but bit into his bottom lip to keep quiet. He planted a boot into the German’s chest and forced himself free. The German stumbled, but did not fall. The man continued to smile wickedly.

With his right arm hanging uselessly at his side, Osiris charged at the sentry. The German met the charge, and wrapped him in a crushing bear hug. Osiris was lifted in the air as the man squeezed his arms tight around the waist. Flint pounded at the man’s back with his left hand, but it had little effect. He kicked with his legs, but the stout German did not even flinch from the blows. The sentry muttered in German as his thick arms tightened, threatening to snap Osiris’s spine.

Osiris clenched his teeth and wheezed weakly in the man’s grip. He struggled his left hand down into the pocket of his greatcoat and pulled out the trench knife. He raised the knife over his head and stuck the blade into the German’s back. The German cried out, but did not release his arms. Osiris stabbed again and again, the knife ripping and tearing the sentry’s flesh with each thrust. The knife dripped a dark scarlet. The German’s hold on Osiris’s waist was relinquished with a gurgled retch. The sentry slumped against Flint, and he pushed the body away. He knelt and wiped the knife on the German’s uniform, then slipped it back into his coat.

“Nothing to it,” Osiris grunted as he set his shoulder back into place. “Curious that the last sentry didn’t hear our wrestling match,” He looked over his shoulder cautiously as he advanced on the North wall. He drew his revolver and stepped around the bunker’s final corner.

The Northern sentry stood before the door of the bunker. His rifle was raised in anticipation of Osiris. Flint dropped to one knee and fired once. The bullet found its mark in the man’s forehead. The German’s rifle went off as he fell backwards, the muzzle flash erupting upwards into the rainy sky. Osiris stepped over the fallen man and grabbed the bunker’s door. He stepped back from the doorway as he swung the door open. The chatter of machine gun fire pounded from inside the bunker, and round after round flew harmlessly into the night.

Osiris fished the grenade from an inner pocket of his greatcoat. It was a small affair, hardly larger than his fist, but Percy had assured him that it contained sufficient explosives to eliminate Der Trenchfoot. The machine gun continued to fire through the open door. Osiris pulled the grenade’s pin and lobbed it around the door, into the bunker. He kicked the door closed and ran away sloppily through the mud. The machine gun continued to fire through the closed door.

In the Trenches

February 10, 2011

Men rotated in and out of duty, but Flint never left the front. He stayed there, wearing his mask, watching men die. Sometimes they lay in the ankle deep mud for days before they were carted out of the trench. From time to time the call of “GAS!” would come yelling down the earthen hallways. Flint would be quick with his gas mask, cinching it so tight behind his head that his eyes felt as though they would burst from their sockets. The white or beige gas came creeping in over the lip of the trench, like a cat might slink along a wall, and it hung in the air for hours. Once, and thankfully only once, Flint had watched two men put their masks on incorrectly. They began to cough and sputter as mucus ran from their mouths and noses and eyes. Then the mucus turned to dark, syrupy blood. They twitched and shuddered and collapsed in the muck.

And always, the exploding of mortars and the pop-whiz of bullets.

There came a day when Flint’s entire squad had been rotated out. He, however, remained. The lone fixture, more like the steadfast pilings that held up the walls of the trench than an actual soldier. He had only once ventured a glance above the trench: barren and scorched earth stretched in all directions. Between the enemy trench and his own lay coils upon coils of barbed wire. Overhead, beyond the low-lying clouds, he could hear the whirs of aeroplanes.

He slid back into the trench, knowing that on the other side were men who were just like him, watching their compatriots die by unseen hands.

The whistling of the falling mortars called through the night, and Flint’s sleep was fitful. Phosphorous flares soared into the ruddy night and bloomed brightly for minutes on end, casting the world below into a sickly yellow so that every man looked waxy as a corpse. It didn’t rain much, but when the rain did fall, it came hard.

………….

While Flint had been at the front for months, these new soldiers were fresh, lively. They were, however, all familiar. By some strange trick of fate, Flint’s section of the trench was soldiered by his foes. Flint couldn’t help but wonder if perhaps they had been put together on purpose, some sort of cruel joke. There in the trench were The Great Escape and Dire Wolf, The Bowery Boys and Turn of the Century, Andrew Carnage and Bank Job. And, cruelest of all, the Sphinx. They stood before him, faces shaved, and suited up in Uncle Sam’s olive drab regulation uniforms. “This has to be some sort of joke. Some cruel parody. Am I sleeping?” Flint was livid.

“Afraid not, Osiris,” said Escape, “We’ve all been slogging in these trenches for too long for this to be a dream.”

“How long have you been out here?” Flint spun the cylinder of the revolver in his hands.

“Seems like months now. Last time I saw a calendar it was June,” Bank Job spoke up. He squatted in the mud, testing the sturdiness of the trench’s wall.

“And you’ve been together?”

“Not until right now,” the Sphinx muttered from the back. “Yes, I’m thinking what you’re thinking as well, hero: someone has arranged for this.”

Flint spat into the mud. He raised his revolver at the Sphinx, “Lucky I don’t kill you where you stand.”

“Put the enmity aside, hero. There’s time for that later. We’re all wearing the same colors at the moment. And I’m fairly sure that they would love us to be at each others’ throats right now.”

“What are you getting at, Sphinx?” Dire Wolf stepped between Flint and the Sphinx, visibly uncomfortable around the revolver.

“What I’m getting at, Mr. Wolfowitz, is there is clearly someone pulling our strings. It’s no coincidence that we’re all here together: the lone hero and his ten, deadly antagonists. If any of us dies, we will be doing a favor for the US Government. We’ll be cleaning up their own mess for them.”

“What mess?” Wolf’s eyes betrayed his confusion. The other men were crowding around, trying to hear the conversation over the sounds of battle that loomed overhead.

The Sphinx gestured to all of them, “Us. The Men of Act–”

A mortar hit the lip of the trench above them. The Sphinx’s words were lost in a shower of mud and metal. The dirt fell heavily upon all of them. Flint gasped as the weight pummeled into chest. His legs were squished and trapped below the earth that piled onto him. In the grey light, Flint struggled to make out any other survivors. He twisted and pulled but his legs would not come loose. The whizzing and popping of bullets was louder now. And closer. He laid himself as flat as he could, hoping to blend in with the dirt around him.

 

Rejection!

December 18, 2010

Dear Dr. Pizza:

Thank you for sending “Singularity” to the Minnesota Review. Unfortunately,
we are not able to accept your submission for the upcoming issue.

At least three members of our creative writing editorial board, housed at
Virginia Tech, read each submission. Since we receive a large volume of
submissions for each issue, a relative few make it past the first round.

We appreciate the opportunity to consider your work and wish you all the
best.

Sincerely,
The Minnesota Review Creative Writing Editorial Board

Editor’s Note

December 2, 2010

Osiris Flint: Government Man of Action! was created by Percy G Fickleweater during the heyday of Pulp Heroes, the late 1920s and 1930s. Published under the Gaslight imprint of Watch Tower Press, the original Government Man of Action! series consisted of 49 bimonthly episodes. Although others, writing as Fickleweater, would later attempt to revitalize the Government Man of Action!, none were as successful as the original run of the actual Fickleweater.

Fickleweater himself was something of an enigmatic recluse. Little is known about his personal life. Through his writings, we know of his fascination with anachronistic technologies. But was he a military man himself? There is speculation that Fickleweater is simply the name assigned to whomever wrote the various Government Man of Action! stories. Others believe that Fickleweater is the pseudonym to allow a more noteworthy writer—like Hemingway, or Dos Passos—to indulge in low culture without tarnishing their reputation. Still others believe that Fickleweater was a foreigner, perhaps a Franco sympathizer or a Trotskyite (though this belief was mostly held by Fickleweater’s detractors and the decriers of pulp fiction in general). Regardless of the truth, there is no denying the contribution that Fickleweater’s creation had on the world of Pulp Heroes.

Osiris Flint holds his own against the great heroes, like The Shadow, Doc Savage, or Secret Agent X. Flint’s adventures were not set against the contemporary stage, but rather after the civil war. While the other heroes were battling with the after effects of World War One and the Spanish Civil War, Flint was defending America from enemies within. The national rift created by the Civil War served up plenty of fodder for Fickleweater’s hero. Whether addressing the scars of slavery or protecting Oil and Steel Barons like Carnegie and Morgan from sinister plots. The sense of nostalgia paired with the aforementioned anachronistic technology helped to distinguish Flint from the rest.

The following text contains two of Flint’s more beloved adventures: His origin tale, Adventure No.1: Osiris Flint: Government Man of Action!, and Adventure No.3: Hell’s Boiling Over!. Fear not, dear reader, we did not do as L. Sprague de Camp did to Robert E. Howard’s masterpieces. The texts are unaltered and faithful to their original run. No additional editing has been done. They are recreated here, in print for the first time in over 50 years, exactly as Percy G Fickleweater intended them.

 

Michael C. Peterson

Editor

 

Prologue: 1937 (New Amsterdam)

October 28, 2010

The shots were fired without provocation, leaving three dead almost instantly. The screams from The Museum of Natural History’s guests and employees mingled with the gun’s reports and echoed off of the vaulted marble walls. Bullets flew indiscriminately about the Museum’s main gallery, as men and women dove to the floor or scrambled for cover.

The shooter was a rangy young man, clad in a floor-length leather duster. His face was shadowed by the flat brim of his felt hat. It was further obscured by the red, paisley handkerchief tied around his nose and draped over his mouth. He was menacing in the yellow light of the gallery, with his legs spread wide and hands held in front of him. Machine pistols boomed in each leather-gloved hand. He laughed quietly, like a child who is all too pleased with himself.

A Museum security guard, armed with only a truncheon, moved toward the young man from the left. Without turning his head, the shooter pointed a pistol at the guard and shot him twice. The guard fell to the floor with a cry, and he swung the truncheon impotently as blood soaked through the crisp blue of his uniform shirt. The shooter fired again and the downed guard stopped moving altogether.

The young man stopped firing. Bodies littered the floor. The wounded called out for help, but the unharmed refused to move themselves from their positions of tenuous safety. The gallery’s air was thick with smoke. The rich, iron scent of blood splashed on the floor was cut with the sulfurous tang of gunpowder. A man wept loudly in great, wracking sobs, calling out for God’s mercy.

The shooter’s narrow shoulders rose and fell in a metronomic rhythm. The handkerchief billowed out and sucked in with his deep breaths. He began to speak.  At first, his voice was little more than a mumble, but it rose in volume and intensity until it was a shrill yell. It was the same two words, repeated with manic intensity:

“Osiris Flint!”

“Osiris Flint!”

“Osiris Flint!”

A Scene

October 19, 2010

The Haven was run by a man known only as Speak Easy, whose name Flint had never really accepted. (“Did he put any imagination into it at all?” he’d commented to Percy, “I’m almost offended at the lack of effort.”) Speak Easy had made a fortune during prohibition, running liquor from Canada and distributing it throughout the Eastern Seaboard. It was never Flint’s job to enforce The Noble Experiment, a good thing, since he’d stopped subscribing to temperance around the same time that he tied on the mask. The Haven might have existed before the 18th amendment, but as far as anyone could recall it seemed to only have sprung up at the moment of ratification.

The myriad gangs of New Amsterdam, the police officers, the masked villains, and Osiris Flint all rubbed elbows at The Haven. It was neutral ground. Speak Easy didn’t take sides and he wouldn’t allow any blood to be shed in his establishment. There had never been a skirmish within a two block radius of the bar. It was, perhaps, the only rule in New Amsterdam upheld by everyone.

Flint pulled his motorcycle to a stop at the curb. The bar’s entrance was in an alley. At the street was a sign that read, “Haven Beverage Distribution, LLC.” Below that hung a shingle with the lines, “No Guns, No Blades.” The smells of spilt whiskey and stale beer made Flint realize that he hadn’t had a drink since the night he was shot. His mouth went dry at the thought. He steeled himself and shoved shaking hands into his pockets. He pushed the door open with his foot.

The inside of The Haven was hazy. Smoke filled the air from a foot off the ground to the ceiling. Gas lamps flicked and hissed along the walls. There were no open seats at any of the tables, and the bar was full too. But as Flint approached the bar, a heavyset old man stood up, tossed a bill on the counter, nodded at Flint, and moved to join another table. Flint nodded in return and took the seat at the bar.

“Action Man. I heard you were dead. Caught two from some pup?” Speak Easy stood on the other side of the counter. He was built like a gorilla, with brawny arms that hung to his knees. His voice never rose above more than a whisper, but Speak Easy never had any difficulty being heard in his bar.

Flint knocked on the bar, “Dead where I stand. Fix me a double.”

“And yet here you are. What it’s been, a week? You got out on good behavior?” Speak Easy pulled a bottle of Scotch from below the bar and set a tumbler in front of Flint. He filled the glass to the rim. Before Speak Easy could put it away, Flint grabbed the bottle and placed it on the bar next to his drink.

“It’s a hospital, not a prison. Doctors said I was sound as a pound.” Flint finished his drink in two gulps and refilled the glass, “What do you know about the ‘pup’?”

Speak Easy scratched his throat and looked down the bar. He set his hairy knuckles onto the bar and leaned in close, “Never heard peep about the kid before he popped you. Now I can’t wipe my ass without hearing his name. Unfortunately, that’s about it.”

“You lie worse than your breath smells.”

“No lies. Look, the kid was here. Once.”

“When?”

“Night you were shot? Came in here, barrel still hot, and hollered everyone had the chance to buy a drink for the man killed Osiris Flint.”

“Any takers?” Flint emptied his glass again.

Speak Easy smiled “Not a one, Action Man. They might hate you, but at least they respect you. No one here even snapped their fingers in response to the pup. He stood there, eyes not believing the lack of fanfare, then he turned around and left. Haven’t seen him since.”

“Kid wants me dead. Wants it bad. And for no apparent reason but the simple satisfaction of the kill. I need to find him.”

“Don’t tell me this is your first death threat.”

“It’s not, but there’s something different here. Other guys, other villains, they’d kill me as means to an end, but I’m not their primary target. This guy, I’m afraid he’ll kill however many it takes just to get to me. I can’t have that.”

Speak Easy pushed back from the bar and shook his head, “I’ll never understand this game you boys play. You get all costumed up and dance around each other. It’s all mischief and mayhem. It’s still a wonder to me that any of you survived The War.”

Flint met Speak Easy’s eyes, “The War was real.”

“And this isn’t?”

“It’s a different beast. This hero thing might echo into the whole world, but it really only involves us. The War involved everybody. I watched men die in those trenches. Too many men.”

“Action Man, here’s my take even though you didn’t ask for it. It’s all posturing. Now this pup shows up, offers real consequences and you don’t know what to do. Now there’s something at stake.”

“There have been things at stake before. I know how real this can get.” Flint poured another drink, “Now, is there anyone here who might put me onto The Smoking Gun?”

Speak Easy pointed down the bar and moved on to help another customer. Flint turned to where Speak Easy had pointed. At the end of the bar sat a grey-haired man in a white swallow-tail and top hat: The Great Escape.

As far as past villains went, The Great Escape had a minor role in Osiris Flint’s career. Escape’s real name was Gustave Fortune. He was a vaudeville magician who turned to crime after the death of his wife. Escape was never very interested in pulling off whatever heist or destructive plot he had worked up. It was all about evading Flint and escaping capture. Often, he would conduct his nefarious plans restrained in a straight jacket and dangling upside down. After The War, Escape, like many of the others, had given up villainy. He returned to the stage and used his infamy as a marketing tool. But he still had connections. They all had connections.

Flint carried his bottle and glass down to Escape and sat down in a newly vacated seat. Escape looked up when his former rival placed a hand on his shoulder.

“Osiris. To what do I owe the honor?” Escape removed the top hat and smoothed the thinning hair on top of his head. His scalp was splotchy and pink.

“Escape. What has it been? Two years?”

“Too long, old man. Too long. I’d offer to buy you a drink, but.” Escape gestured at the bottle. Escape had a half empty martini glass sitting at the bar before him.

“I need some information, Gustave. I’m sure you’ve heard about the shooting.”

“I did indeed. I had even dusted off my black suit, in preparation for a funeral. Quite the scare, Osiris. Glad to see you managed to… er… escape Death?”

“This time,” Flint took a drink from his tumbler. His hand shook and the glass rattled as it was set back onto the counter.

Escape’s eyebrows lifted, “But perhaps not for long?”

Flint dismissed the comment with a trembling wave of his hand, “That’s why I’m here, Gustave. I need to find the kid. What do you know?”

The Great Escape chuckled nervously. He finished his martini in one swallow and waved his hand down the bar at Speak Easy, “He showed up in New Amsterdam at the beginning of the month. Kept a low profile, stealing from gun shops and the like. The first time anyone paid any real notice of him was the night you were shot.”

“Old news, Gustave. I need personal information on this kid.”

“Understood, understood. His real name is Francis Lancaster. He’s of money, which makes me wonder why he’s stealing all of his hardware. Probably for the reputation, who knows. Anyway, I know he stayed with Dire Wolf for a few nights when he first got into town. Wolf didn’t want anything to do with him, but the kid cited the Charter”

“The Charter? I thought that was just something that Sphinx made up. A joke.”

Escape’s face dropped at the mention of Sphinx, but he regained his composure with a laugh, “I thought so too. But apparently Lancaster had heard of it, and I’m sure he made himself pretty persuasive with his big guns and all. You know how Wolf gets around firearms.”

Flint nodded and poured himself another drink. Speak Easy had stepped over to them and was shaking another martini into Escape’s glass. Speak Easy dipped his head at the two men and then walked away.

“Charter or no Charter, Wolf let the kid stay at his place. I’ll believe that Wolf was under duress, God knows that man went through enough on the front lines, but that means Wolf and I need to have a little chat. I need to find this kid before someone gets really hurt.”

“Someone other than you, you mean,” Escape raised his martini glass and took a sip.

“Other than me. This kid is bad news.”

“You can say that again, old man.”

“Gustave, this is probably unrelated, but have you heard anything about Sphinx lately?”

Escape swallowed hard. He tapped on the bar. “Only that he’s fallen off of the radar.”

Flint looked at Escape without saying anything. He fingered the rim of his tumbler. The noises of the bar surrounded the two old men. Flint snorted through his nose, “That’s what I thought. It’s a little too quiet on the Western Front, if you ask me. Well, keep your ear to the ground, Gustave. I might need your help again in the near future. For now, I’ll go scratch up Dire Wolf and see what he has for me. Keep your nose clean.” Flint stood and tucked the nearly empty bottle of Scotch into an inner pocket of his coat. He squeezed Escape on the shoulder and headed for the door. He caught Speak Easy’s eye on the way out and said, “Put it on my tab.”

 

A Shaky Synopsis

October 14, 2010

New Amsterdam, 1937.

For as long as he can remember, Osiris Flint has been the Man of Action: A masked hero, appointed by the US Government, to thwart the machinations of evil. He’s the first and last line of defense against all of those who would do harm to the world. Osiris Flint always saves the day.

Osiris Flint, however, is only human. He is getting old and his health is fading. He’s also tired of always having to save the day. No amount of pleading from his handler, Percy Fickleweather, is going to change his mind, but something else might.

The Smoking Gun, a new villain in New Amsterdam, doesn’t follow the rules of engagement and will stop at nothing to kill Osiris Flint. Whether Flint likes it or not, he will be called upon to don the mask and save the day one last time.

A game of cat and mouse unfolds that will involve more than just Osiris Flint and The Smoking Gun. The aging Flint will have to rely on the help of the New Amsterdam Police Department and the information of junior-reporter, Astrid Mulvaney. He will even turn to old foes in an attempt to uncover the motivations behind this new terror.

As Flint races to find a way to stop The Smoking Gun, he will uncover startling facts about his own identity: Was his life ever his own? What role does his father, a US Senator, play in his becoming the Man of Action? The closer Flint gets to the truth, the more he will have to face his past. Memories of his first assignment in Cairo in 1894, long since buried, will rush to the surface.

Flint will not only have to conquer his external foes, but also the inner demons that accompany a life lived behind a mask. And, in the end, he will discover that the hands pulling the strings belong to a nemesis he never expected.

Novel in 3 Lines

October 7, 2010

A man becomes a hero, reluctantly.

After years of saving the day, his heart and body are failing him.

The hero summons enough strength to save the day one last time, knowing that he will lose his life in the process.

One Line Synopsis

October 7, 2010

The rise and fall of a masked man.

We Call it Ground Work.

September 30, 2010
  1. Who is Osiris Flint? By profession, he’s the United States’ Government’s Man of Action! This means that he’s a one man army who takes care of villains both foreign and domestic. Except now he’s getting old. It’s 1937 and he’s 67. His body aches and groans, it betrays him, and he has really bad tremors (it’s unclear whether the tremors are caused by his fringe alcoholism). The supplements and serums that the government has prescribed no longer seem to make much difference against the entropic effects of aging.He wears a mask to hide his identity. (He has never taken the mask off in the company of others since he first tied it on in 1894.) He lives alone in a penthouse apartment in the Upper East Side of New Amsterdam (it’s New York City, only in a slightly alternate timeline [one in which Lincoln was never assassinated]). Flint is a super hero in name only, he has no super powers… merely his keen intellect and physical prowess. He wields a revolver, but the Government forbids him to kill anyone. He dives an Indian motorcycle, a customized Scout modified with a cowcatcher on the front.
    His once impeccable and imposing physical frame is succumbing to gravity.
  2. There will also be 1894 Osiris, who is only just beginning his role as the US Gov’t Man of Action. Everything is new to him. He’s in prime physical condition thanks to his participation in the US Government’s Man Of Action Program (Although he was enrolled as a newborn, Osiris is only made aware of his participation in 1894. He’s the 1st participant in the program). He relishes the idea of wearing a mask and stopping evil. He embraces the occupation of Hero and Adventurer. He sees himself as invulnerable. Pride comes before the fall.
  3. 1937 Osiris wants out. He wants to take off the mask and walk through the streets of New Amsterdam in the daylight. He wants the life that he feels cheated out of. He wants his life peopled with more than just government agents and villains. He wants to have real friends without having to worry about their safety (He learned the perils of attachment the hard way). And though it’s impossible, and many years have gone by, he wants Cassandra back.
  4. 1894 Osiris wants to be the best he can be at his job. He wants to fulfill every task the Government gives him. He wants to save the day. He wants to save the world. He wants to fully express his love to Cassandra. He wants to find the balance between being a hero and being an average citizen.

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