Back Before Ted Kord Was Even A Glimmer In Thomas Kord's Eye...“…anyway, that’s how I’m seeing it all play out. So it’s the story of this man’s growth as he turns into the man he’s supposed to be, and this superhero aspect represents that potentiality of what he hopes to become. The ideal that one day he’ll self-actualize and the man he sees in the mirror. Whether he’s using the scarab or not. The man he eventually sees in the mirror will be the same.”
The television executives sat in stony faced silence, before turning to look at each other after his pitch. Murmuring quietly between themselves. “Or at least, that’s what I see…”
“I’ll tell you what I see…” Joe Rothstein said, Camelot Productions’ Studio Head struggling to get to his feet to reach his hand across the table, “…I’m seeing 26 episodes!”
Dan Garrett reached across the table to take it.
“With a few key notes and changes of course…”
Dan hesitated. “How do you mean?”
“Well now, let’s not get our noses all bent out of shape, Danny boy. Broad strokes it’s a perfectly fine idea. But let’s start with this supporting role…” “Terry?”
“Yes, I’m not feeling the name for starters, but even beyond that.” “What?”
“Well, you said before that he’s good at everything. Brilliant mind. Incredible fighter, athlete, scientist…”
“Sounds a lot like Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt…” chimed in the other executive, Joe’s brother Harold.
“He does, but you’re missing the point. If this guy… like Peter Cannon, is so damn good at everything, he sounds like HE should be the hero. Why the Hell are we watching Karl LaFrey?”
“That’s true. He doesn’t sound like much of a sidekick.” The other executive added. “Because it’s all about the GROWTH of Karl INTO the hero. Each week they see him becoming a better man! If he’s already perfect then how does he get himself into scrapes that he needs to get out of?”
“Hawkman and Swallow seem to find themselves in death-traps every week and that show does just fine. In fact, I was thinking we might even be able to have a cameo crossover episode. We own the rights, might give the show a good solid bump to get it started early on…” “Whoa, Hawkman and Swallow? I thought… well, that’s a little camp, isn’t it? I thought we could play this straight and have it be a bit more…”
Dan didn’t like the direction this was going.
“Look, we know what we’re doing. Sometimes clichés exist for a reason, kid. Because the ideas work. You should have seen what crazy ideas he had when he came in here pitching Hawkman and Swallow. Hall wanted Swallow to be a woman, could you believe that? Had this crazy idea where the sidekick was a love interest and was tied in to these grandiose notions of undying immortal love. You believe that? You ever met Carter Hall? Never looked him up myself before he came in here, but I heard he was some kind of archaeologist as well. Anyway, could you imagine if we went with that kind of crackpot thing? The sidekick, you want ‘em to be a kid so that a big chunk of the audience can see themselves in the role. Plus… let’s be serious, kid actors you don’t have to pay so much. Hell, better still make Terry a chimp. You feed ‘em bananas and get some young grip to clean their shit for peanuts and they’re cost effective. They’re the future of TV I’m tellin’ ya. Just as funny as most wooden damn actors and you don’t have to pay ‘em squat… and who doesn’t love watchin’ a chimp, huh?” Joe Rothstein went off on a tangent on the benefits of monkey actors, which Dan Garrett would learn was far from a rare occurrence.
“It’s true.” Harold added. “In fact, if it were up to Joe the studios would be filled with nothing but ape actors.”
“Like I said though. It’s an interesting idea, and you’ve got balls for suggesting it. This elevated side-character… but that's way outside of the norm. I mean, it’s as crazy as if this Terry were a love interest. Isn’t it?” Joe turned his head sidewise and flashed a crocodile grin, and suddenly Dan Garrett felt naked and exposed to the world. “Yeah—yeah, I guess so.”
Once more Joe reached across the table. “26 episodes?”
Dan took it and shook it before this conversation could take any more bad turns. He left the copies of the pitch on the executives’ side, hurriedly and haphazardly piled the stack of paper on his side of the desk into his satchel and got the Hell out of this conference room. The walls were shrinking, and the air was turning thick. He offered a courteous goodbye to the girl working the desk and ducked into the bathroom.
Bursting through the interior bathroom door he hunched over the bathroom sick and breathed deeply. He spun the taps on and slowly looked up at himself in the mirror and prayed to all that is good and holy that he hadn’t been sweating like this a few minutes ago. Shaky hands scooped water and doused his face. He shook his hands dry and then looked at the limp angle of his wrists in horror. Balling his hands up into fists and looking around the bathroom for witnesses.
With one final deep breath he slammed the side of the paper towel dispenser aggressively and yanked the lever three times for the beckoning paper.
Ted Kord angrily pulled his clothes out of his gym bag and stuffed it into the laundry hamper, face reddened and fighting back tears. He marched into the kitchen and pulled out a big bag of Chocos. “Daaaaaad! You here? I think I’m done with gymnastics. I’m-- I’m not gonna go no more.”
Dan Garrett poked his head around the corner and broke the silence. “Your Dad had to work late, Sparky. You’re stuck with me tonight.” “Uncle Dan?!”
Ted ran over to hug his favourite uncle. “Yup. What’s all this about, kiddo? I thought you loved gymnastics. You showed me how you can do a double hand-spring last time and you were so proud. So what’s happened?”
Ted kept his head bowed once his uncle questioned him, until the silence became uncomfortable. “The kids—the kids at school say it’s gay. Say I’m gay.”
Dan’s eyes flashed with outrage for a second. So fast the boy could barely be sure he even saw it. “Let me ask you something— the boys who are saying this kind of thing to you, they play…?” “Football, mainly.”
Ted mumbled. “Football, mainly.”
Dan confirmed. “And when they’re playing football, are they out there slapping each other on the ass. Getting slapped on the ass by middle aged male coaches… and showering and hanging around in boys’ locker rooms with over forty other boys in various stages of undress? Often grappling and wrestling with them in different levels of undress on no-pads training days?”
Garrett asked with a smirk. “Yeah, probably…”
Ted answered, still somewhat down. “And are your coaches slapping you on the ass.” “No. That’d be a bit weird…” “And when you’re at training, would I be right in saying over half of the people there are girls? Possibly very attractive, athletic girls?”
Ted blushed, but a smile broke through. “Maybe… Way more than half.” “And – level with me on this – would you happen to be sweet on one of the girls you’re going to school with?”
Ted reddened even further and was unable to answer. “That’s what I thought… So what do you even care what these lunkheads think?”
Ted smiled. His cheeks slowly returning to their regular shade, as his uncle ruffled his hair. “Never let a bunch of jerks stop you from doing what you want to do - From being who you are - When you're not hurting anybody.”
Dan turned away from his nephew quickly after saying this, barely able to retain eye contact. A shadow moved from the corner of the room. “’Kay, Uncle Dan. Thanks. Wanna Choco?”
Ted held out the bag. “No thanks, Sparky. Maybe offer David one. He’s upstairs doing his homework. Have you met David’s tutor? This is Terr-- This is Mr Sloane.”
Dan said, introducing the new figure who had presented himself in the kitchen. “Hi, Mister Sloane. Wanna Choco?”
Thrusting the bag out at the newcomer in an overbearingly friendly manner.
“No, thank you, Ted. But Dan’s right, you should go ask David if he wants one. He should probably stop for a break, anyway.” “Okay.”
Ted turned and ran up the stairs calling out to David.
Dan stood over the sink, and ran his hand through his own hair, before turning back to Mr Sloane with a strained smile.
A few years had passed and Ted was sitting on the floor playing a board game with a young girl.“Four, five, Six! Ha! ‘Hell’s Corner’, Hub City! I own that!”
“Big deal, it’s like $4.”“Nuh-uhhh, I got 4 houses on it!”
“First of all, you’ve got two houses on it… and second of all, you shouldn’t have any houses on it! Hey! You never landed on ‘The Wedge’! You can’t just--”“I got that ‘Chance’ card to ‘Go to The Wedge’ and then I bought it…”
“You can’t do that unless the card says you can do that!”“Sure you can, you can buy any property you finish up landing on.”
“Daaaaa-aaaaaaaad!” She yelled upstairs, Ted winced from the loud shout.
“What is it, ‘Ronnie?” Mr Sloane poked his head down the stairwell.
“Ted’s cheating!”“I’m not cheating…”
Ted calmly replied.
“What happened?” Mr Sloane asked.“I had a--”
“Ted THIIIINKS that just because he got a ‘Go to The Wedge’ card, he could buy it after the card takes him there, when it doesn’t say it on the card.”
Mr Sloane looked at the pair and paused as if waiting for more information.
“Yeeeees..? Because he can. It’s in the official rules, ‘Ronnie. It doesn’t have to specifically say it on the card.”“Yes!”
“Buuuuuut… I’m wondering why it’s only coming up now when you’ve got houses on it.”
Ted picked up the dice and looked back up the stairs.
“So, you’re playing as the banker, Ted. You do have to announce when you’re buying a property. You can’t just quietly trade money between yourself and the bank.”“I did! I did say ‘I’m gonna buy that’. Didn’t you hear me say it?”
Veronica shook her head gently.
Ted side-eyed her as if looking for the truth. He turned his head and kept looking at her for uncomfortably long.“I did say it…”
He said to himself. “Maybe I just mumbled it too quiet for you to have heard…”
He kept his head down.
He looked up the stairs. “Fair is fair, Ted.”“Well… can I at least get the money back that I spent on the houses and buying ‘The Wedge’ in the first place..?”
But Mr Sloane had already turned and walked back to his lesson with David.
Ted sighed deeply. “Fiiiine.”
He sullenly added. “I DID say it though.”
Veronica Sinclair jumped across at him and gave him a big hug as he scooped the houses up and dumped them back in the bank. She hugged him uncomfortably long and then gave him a big wet kiss on his cheek.“Yeeeeeuuch…”
Ted shrugged her away.
“So I think I’ll buy ‘The Wedge’...” Veronica cheerfully added, sitting back down on the floor, flattening her dress.
K . O . R . D - E A S T D I V I S I O N - C O N F E R E N C E R O O M 1
Last Week | Boston, Massachusetts“--aaaand with those extensive financial executive credentials, you can see why I’ve chosen to bring in Ms Sinclair and I think you’ll find her more than qualified. In fact, you’ll wonder how I managed to sucker her in to agreeing to work here.”
Ted shot a light-hearted wink to the person he saw as his sister, only for her to roll her eyes at his comments and add “I’m looking forward to working with all of you and getting to know you all better in the coming weeks.”
Ted scanned the faces around the table and on the screen. Curt Calhoun from K.O.R.D West seemed anxious, Ted noted. “Good.”
He broke in, turning to the Chief Operations Officer Jeremiah Duncan. “Any further business on the agenda? No? Well, I guess we’re--”
“Uh, yes. One more point of order.” Randall Truman added, getting to his feet, and adjusting his already perfect suit for seemingly no reason whatsoever.
Ted sat down and tried to swallow his audible sigh, choosing to scream with only his “inside voice”.
“To follow up the great news earlier with the excellent early sales figures for the CJO Anti-Car Theft Device, I’ve begun the groundwork on a revolutionary new marketing plan which will bring about an interesting new paradigm shift for a series of commercials for this company. Thinking outside of the box, I believe I’ve stumbled upon a unique angle to exploit a new direction of opportunities that this product affords us.” He said to everyone in attendance, holding eye contact slightly long on Veronica and Melody Case.
Buzzwords. Ted pinched his brow and wrestled with his internal desire to choke his Chief Marketing Officer with a thesaurus.
Too busy struggling with that image he was unable to keep the sigh from his voice.“And what, exactly, do you mean by all of that?”“If he uses the word ‘synergy’ next I’m going to throw this man out the window.”
Ted promised himself.
“I believe we can get the Blue Beetle to appear in our next series of commercials for the CJO.”“HA!”
Ted unvoluntarily ejaculated a solitary laugh, before he put a lid on that.“And how exactly are you going to do that? You have a bunch of superheroes on speed dial?”
“Well, no…” Replied Truman.“Alright, then. So, I guess--”
“...but I don’t need to, because I’ve been in communication with the Super Buddies liaison officer Maxwell Lord and he seems to believe that he’d be able to be made available, and would be willing to do it.”
Max. Fucking Max Lord.“Well, with all due respect. Maxwell Lord isn’t one of those heroes, is he. He just works with them. I mean, what makes you think that any self respecting superhero would be willing to just shill themselves out and--”
Before the sentence could even leave his lips there was the open slap of a magazine hitting the conference room table, followed by a newspaper, then another magazine… all with similar images on them. The face and relatable thumbs up of one Booster Gold, with her golden hair and well made up (and likely airbrushed...
) All-American smile, in numerous Roxxon Energy advertisements.
Fucking Booster Gold…
Ted imagined himself pulling back a wrecking ball connected to a Newton’s cradle with Maxwell Lord, Randall Truman and Booster Gold’s helpless forms hanging precariously on wires and smiled briefly at the pleasant thought.“Well, I guess there’s no harm in trying is there..?”