This is a book. It’s about things and is titled “Book!”. This is part one.
Something big was happening. Something big always seems to be happening, doesn’t it? No matter how many times you think you’re at the denouement, it turns out you’re merely on the upswing of another story arc. A big one. Again. Buy the next book, this is just a teaser-type of stuff.
Heroes never have time for this but they always seem to squeeze it in. Who knows what they are doing that takes up all their time? Can’t be taking their parents out for a nice early-bird special, because they don’t have parents. The parents of heroes always die before the heroes get to know them. Unless you want a one-way ticket to Dirt Nap City you better pray your kid becomes a dentist. Dentists are only heroes if you consider plaque a supervillain.
Heroes don’t have children or spouses either. They will share your bed but be gone in the morning. They don’t have time for relationships.
Sidekicks are the ones with all the personal relationships. They also die, leaving the hero to grimly break the news. At least the big something was stopped. Many more people would have died if it hadn’t but they didn’t. The sidekick did, though. They always do.
Villains are tired of being small. Possibly in the literal sense but not necessarily. Their plans seem grandiose at first blush but at their dark heart they are simple. They – the villains – don’t always die. Often they are redeemed. Sometimes they escape. Sometimes they aren’t even the real villain.
Along the way there might be Macguffins. The hero might be confused by them. Or not. Maybe they just appear to be confused until the climax. The climax erupts and the hero might have had the solution all along. Perhaps. Sometimes there is a deus ex machina that helps the hero win. Sometimes that apparent deus ex machina turns out to be the hero’s own Macguffin.
The solution to the something big might not even be the end of the story. There may be a false ending or two. Heroes are getting too old for that shit. And they have even less time for them than the main plot.
All of this can happen most anywhere. Except the suburbs. Nothing ever happens in the suburbs. Except serial killers. Because heroes don’t get out to the suburbs. They are busy in cities, outer space, in other eras or foreign places. Often more than one of those. If you live in the suburbs don’t look for heroes. If you don’t live in the suburbs also don’t look for heroes. They don’t have time for you. You may be saved non-specifically by a hero though.
Everything in the big something is almost always paralleled by the hero’s personal quest. There’s something about a hero on which they can’t quite put a finger, but they’ve always felt sure they were different. Sometimes. Sometimes a mysterious message cryptically steers a hero towards a journey of self-discovery. What they find out may ultimately help them with the something big. It may not. It may actually be even more important than the something big. It might even be the most important thing.
For the most part the public-at-large must remain blissfully unaware. It’s sneakier. Which makes it interesting and sinister.
And so it goes.
Cut Boulder wasn’t named, he was labeled. A massive subterranean dig dislodged an enormous chunk of metamorphic granite and when the men with rock saws were halfway through bisecting it for disposal a seemingly human baby tumbled out. He was loaded into a dust cart with a discarded flannel shirt as a blankey and an index card reading, “cut from boulder,” and spirited to the surface.
He was alive. “Impossible!”, the newspapers inaccurately declared. It was merely improbable by a staggering margin. He was alive all right.
Cut’s story was well known to the type of people who found that kind of thing interesting: Atheists who valued science, tabloid-readers who didn’t, zealots who feared it and narcissists who claimed involvement.
He was raised by foster parents who were actually government operatives. They hated each other so they were well suited to portray a stereotypical American household. But a job’s a job and theirs was to raise Cut.
Cut was unlike the other kids. Mostly because of the being found in a rock thing. But he was also stronger and faster than the other kids. No punch could knock him out. No exertion would tire him. Because of this he was banned from organized sports. He tried parkour but found it easier to knock obstacles down than to go over or around them.
His looks were above average – far above it. And so was his wit. When asked, how he got into rock he would reply, “I heard a Led Zeppelin song and it was over!”
When Cut was 12, the enemy du jour of America dropped a long-range ICBM on Cut’s house. Cut was out in the woods, shouting at owls and knocking an invasive species of toad out of far away trees by hurling dirt clods at them. His fake foster parents were killed by the missile as were many of his neighbors.
Returning home only to find a smouldering slag heap was the trigger that turned Cut into a hero. He vowed he would never allow evil to victimize innocent civilians if he could help it up to a certain point of believability; He may have been more than human, but he was also pragmatic.
Now Cut is a man. He’s tall. Much taller than a child. It’s one of the ways you can tell. His brown hair is always a bit unkempt. One of his inexplicable attributes is his stubble never grows beyond a five-o’clock shadow unless he wants a full beard which he can grow in hours through sheer force of will. He has a scar on his forehead from a bullet fired at close range by an unwitting mugger. The gun was a Desert Eagle. The mugger is incarcerated. His eyes are light blue like a wolf. He’s built like an action hero – good enough to look active while still able to buy clothes off-the-rack.
He has a sonorous voice like the D-string from a bass guitar mixed with dry-rice gently pouring into an earthenware vase.
Today he’s wearing a flannel shirt – not unlike the very one in which he was wrapped on his ‘birthday’, blue jeans and work boots. It’s cold outside. All that remains of the distant explosion that rocked him out of sleep is a plume of black smoke. Cut checks his watch noting the time.
“I don’t have time for this,” he says and begins to grow a beard.