The Fall of Heroes

by Glenn Buttkus

“Name one hero who died happy!”–Madeline Miller.
Beller Ophon was a superb operative,
                      a lone wolf, a rogue mercenary,
                      a man with a triple brace of particular skills. 
He found it difficult to deal with authority figures
     so he always worked alone.
He made so much money
                              plying his trade around the globe,
                                              that in the turn of the century
he could afford to purchase a Pegasus,
                              one of only three prototype
                              flying battle cars,                   outfitted with
electric canons, bomb drops, & laser-guided missiles.


                          He grew famous in espionage circles, after
vanquishing the Solyami Cartel
in Costa Rica, & defeating the dangerous
lesbian murder squads,                           the Amazons,
                                      in Mexico City.
These superhuman feats made him into the Go-To-Merc,
& brought him to the attention
of Zeus Petro, & its powerful CEO,
Lon Bates—who was having a lot of trouble
                            with a new group of militant Islamic terrorists
                    who called themselves the Chimera;
           their black battle flags emblazoned with the mythical
creature; lion’s head, body of a goat, and tail of a serpent.
The group of bullies & murderers,       hiding behind the mantle
                                of misconstrued Islamic prophesy,
were highjacking oil fields in western Syria,
                                 owned by Zeus Petro, which
provided the terrorists with the instant wealth
it needed to produce all kinds
                                            of videos & short propaganda films,
                that recruited malcontents from every ghetto
                                            on the globe, & these misguided
Jehadists would soon mushroom their ranks.
Beller Ophon went into action immediately.
               landing Pegasus on Middle Eastern highways,
               folding up its weapons
and simply driving right up to forty of their strongholds
               before making its instant battle transformation.
In one ferocious month he bravely tore the heart
out of Chimera, & its few
                          survivors fled, melting
                          back into the mountains.
When Beller arrived back at the headquarters
of Zeus Petro ready for his huge reward,
                         Lon Bates was not there to meet him;
for the CEO had decided to eliminate Beller
            rather than paying him–
            this was a very costly mistake.


                                     Beller slaughtered the 10 assassins
            who were there to meet him,
and in the next two weeks killed a hundred more of them.
            Of course, Lon Bates changed his mind,
offering Ophon a king’s treasure,
& the hand of his youngest foxiest daughter, plus
the gift of Philonoe Vineyards in northern California.
For a few years,
          Beller actually settled down,
                             bought into his new role with verve
                                                & great passion, having several
                                                                           children, as  he
                                                 grew very wealthy & lazy.
                             but hubris is a demonic parasite
              for ex-heroes, & as his fame grew
with the public at large, &
his interviews on CNN
pulled in big numbers of viewers,
              something in him snapped,
              & one bright morning he arose
                                  with that old fire in his loins;
he strapped on his old battle gear,
                    took the silver tarp off Pegasus.
                    & simply announced that he was going
                                    to fly to the White House
                                    & demand the recognition
                     that he felt had been denied him.
You are all aware of his plight,
the Secret Service brought Pegasus down
with twin weasel missiles,
               & even though Beller survived the crash,
               he was imprisoned & terribly tortured by
               the jack-booted SS, before
                                         he was stripped of all his wealth
                                         & his identity, & he was transported
in the dead of night to Detroit,
               where he was forced to live
as a homeless, penniless, crippled beggar
               on those mean & merciless streets.
He never tried to contact his family
or to visit them, for his shame was insurmountable.
                                           They say he died of exposure
one winter’s eve, wrapped in cardboard blankets,
next to an overflowing dumpster
               behind a Chuck E. Cheese pizza emporium.
One of his sons became the governor of California,
while another one died of AIDS;
one of his daughters became an actress,
but her chronic depression led her to suicide.
His wife never remarried,
but she did manage to launch
a designer line of clothes
at Wal Mart.

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