The following story is a work of fiction. The Shield and Dusty are copyrighted MLJ Comics (Archie Co). The Mysterious guest star is copyrighted Fox Features (now owned by DC Comics). The bad guy and Helen Rogers were created by Bradley Cobb. This story is for fun, no infringement is intended, and no money is being made from it. So don't sue me.
DUSTY THE BOY DETECTIVE: MEMOIRS
As she walked to the mailbox, she thought about the old days. Back when she could make these short walks down the driveway without getting tired. Back before the heart attack, back before the grey hair, back before she got old.
She also thought about her family. Her two daughters. Her three grandsons. And her husband. Ah, her husband. It had been so many years ago that he had retired just so he could marry her.
She slowly slid the mail from the black metal mailbox, and began her trek back up the driveway. As she walked along, she noticed the cover of Book Digest Weekly. She smiled to herself.
"Super-Hero Memoirs inside!"
Helen Rogers had read her husband's book many times over. She never tired of hearing him get overly excited telling about evil villains, colorful heroes, exciting places that he got to see, and the dangers of the job. It was one of the few things that still put a smile on her face. It's hard to smile when your husband doesn't even remember who you are half the time.
She stepped inside the small foyer and closed the door behind her. She walked gently to his side, as he slept soundly on the brown recliner. She looked down at him and smiled.
She then turned to her antique rocking chair and sat down. She ignored the rest of the mail and opened the Book Digest Weekly to page 56 where it started.
"The following is an excerpt from the book "Sidekick: Memoirs of a Boy Hero" By Dustin 'Dusty' Rogers. During it's initial release in 1976, it spent 27 weeks on the New York Sentinel's Bestseller list.
"It is now being reprinted with two additional chapters concerning the return of the Shield, and the other heroes that have popped up since he retired.
"It is with great pleasure that we give you this chapter entitled "NeverUnderestimate the Power of a Sidekick"
It was only our 5th adventure together, but it felt as if the Shield and I had been a team for years. We complemented each other well, and knew the other's moves before they were made.
The Shield was like and older brother to me. I remember the first time I asked him for money....Needless to say, I had the noogie to end all noogies.
I took my 50 cents to the corner drug store and bought the latest comic books with the Blue Beetle in them. Even living the life of a super-hero sidekick, I still enjoyed reading about his adventures. He was my hero.
It was on this trip to the drug store that I first heard the name of Zargok the Magnificent.
"Zargok the Magnificent's Amazing Hypnotizing Show!" the sign read. The events surrounding that show proved to be amazing indeed.
I begged and begged The Shield to go to the show with me, and after about three straight hours of begging and prodding, he finally gave in.
Unlike in the comic books, the Shield and I rarely wore our 'uniforms' under our normal clothing. You really couldn't, considering that it was body armor. It was rather bulky, and very obvious. So, we went into the tent for
the show, leaving our uniforms in the trunk of the car, just in case.
Well, we began to watch the act, and then Zargok finally came on to the stage. He pulled out his "mystical amulet" and supposedly hypnotized his 'lovely assistant' Kathlene. He planted 'subliminal messages' in her head and made her bark like a dog and cluck like a chicken. Then when he snapped his finger, she didn't remember a thing.
The big man--the Shield--was always prepared, just like one of those Boy Scouts. Always ready for action. He had his police radio on, with a tiny ear-piece to receive the transmissions from it solidly planted in his left ear. Apparently, something came across the scanner, because when I turned my head, the man known as the Shield was gone.
What happened next was kind of a blur. I remember Zargok telling the crowd that he was going to hypnotize us all, and then I remember the Shield waking me up from a trance I was in, and saying "Let's go, Dusty. We're needed!"
Let me attempt to set the stage a bit better for you. Whenever there was an event--I mean a REAL event, such as a circus, a play, a magician--came to town, the WHOLE town came. The mayor, John Lincoln--a millionaire thanks to his father, the city councilmen, the store owners, the factory workers, the police...you get the idea. Well, when everyone is at an event, their houses sit unattended.
Anyway, Zargok hypnotized the entire crowd, myself included. When Shield (still in his normal outfit) awoke me, there were people going up and down each aisle, getting the valuables from the entranced audience, who gave it willingly.
Shield pointed to the collector nearest to me, and I instinctively knew what to do.
I took the man out quietly with a hard right to the temple area. The guy was short, about my size, and it was upon realizing this that I knew the Shield's plan.
I switched clothes with the guy and proceeded to act like I was getting the valuable from the rest of the clueless audience in my area. When I looked to where the Shield had been, he was gone. Not that I expected him to be there, mind you, but you always look anyway...it's habit.
As it occurred, the Shield was out searching the town for the rest of Zargok's cronies. The police has received a call from the butler at the mayor's house, reporting a break-in, and so that's where the Shield started. From there he worked his way down Castle Street (which is where the elite of North Hamptonshire lived).
The one thing that caught the Shield off-guard that night was the appearance of another super-hero...the Blue Beetle!
The Blue Beetle lived in one of the neighboring towns, and had come to see Zargok the Magnificient's show. As I later was told, he grew bored with the show very early on, and left. But upon seeing the Shield running across the street, he got into uniform to aide him in whatever it was he was doing.
Zargok's cronies had planned on robbing the city blind, while all the population was hypnotized back at the big tent. Shield and the Beetle, each aware of the other by reputation, ended up working together, and thwarted (I love that word) their evil scheme rather easily.
Back to me for a bit now. I was disguised as one of Zargok's collectors. What Zarg didn't know was that by the time his collectors were supposed to come back to his trailer with the valuables, only half of them were still conscious. See, the rest of them were lying down on the job, thanks to a small boy who doubled as a super-hero.
Now, the Shield is not the kind of man to be unprepared, as I've said before. He had the FBI create a 2-way wrist radio (a lot like Dick Tracy's) for him and me to communicate with each other. So, I sent him word, updating him on my progress.
Knowing that I was, and to a certain extent still am, a BIG Blue Beetle fan, he neglected to tell me that the Beetle was with him, fearing it might keep me from getting my job done, which it probably would have.
As it turns out, I actually saved the Shield AND the Blue Beetle from death that night. But...I'm getting ahead of myself....
The rest of the collectors made their way to the trailor, and I trailed behind. I had already gone back to the Shield's car and did my little transformation from mild-mannered boy to DUSTY-the HERO!
When I got to the trailor, the sight I saw was uncomprehendable. It didn't take me long to realize that the Shield and the Blue Beetle meant to kill me!
Now, before anyone gets too confused, let me explain WHY they were after me. Apparently, my little changing of clothes did not go un-noticed. It was reported to Zargok, and so he was prepared. When the Shield and the Beetle
made it to the trailor, there was an ambush waiting for them.
Normally 20-2 odds are bad in a fight. But for Shield and the Beetle, that's nothing! A blindside attack, however, can even claim the best of us.
Zargok had tied them up, hypnotized them, and gave the command to kill me on sight.
Being the small, wiry fellow that I was (I have a bit of a paunch now), I quickly made it in-between the two misguided heroes and got to Zargok. I snatched the amulet from his hands before he even realized what was happening.
Shield was diving towards me, fury in his eyes when he finally snapped out of it. Without the amulet, Zargok's control over them was gone. This was great news for me, but it still didn't stop the Shield's 250 pounds of momentum from plowing me into the wall.
Zargok, realizing that his hold on the good guys was slipping, had all of his men concentrate their attack on the Beetle (because the two star-spangled heroes were still trying to get up after crashing into the wall).
The Beetle was k.o.'d surprisingly quickly as a pistol cracked him across the back of the head.
Shield and I were so ready to take this scrawny magician out, that we didn't notice the rest of Zargok's men coming in the trailor door.
There we were, the heroes. We'd defeated crooked cops, battled demented madmen, and even conquered some rather powerful super-villains...and now all three of us sat, tied to chairs in Zargok's overly crowded trailor...that's
when I decided to make my move.
See, being teamed up with the Shield did have it's advantages. One of which was learning how to escape from these sorts of predicaments.
Funny how many times I was underestimated. See, people like Shield and Blue Beetle, they were considered "big guns" in the super-hero biz. Me? I was a sidekick. Considered by many to be "comic relief." Zargok was one of them.
He had three men with tommy guns aimed at Beetle's head, and the same for the Shield. Me? NOTHING! I was moved into the corner so I wouldn't be "in the way" when Zargok had his moment of glory. Big mistake.
Well, like I said, being a small and wiry guy has it's advantages. I worked my way free of the ropes that had me tied to the chair, and then just sat as Zargok began his "victory spiel."
I don't remember exactly what he said, it all started sounding the same anyway. It was the standard, overused gibberish that was in all my comic books. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, I'm better than you, blah, blah, blah......No originality whatsoever.
Anyway, as he's rambling on and on about nonsense, I took off my left boot and knocked him upside the head with it. He was out for the count.
The thud of Zargok the Incompetent's unconscious body against the trailor floor distracted the gunmen enough for both the Blue Beetle and the Shield to take over all 6 of them. I should've known that they weren't tied up any longer than I was.
The Shield had already made a call to J. Edgar Hoover, and FBI agents had already rounded up the rest of the gang by the time we exited the trailor.
All-in-all, it was not too bad of an adventure...except for the bruised ribs from the Shield tackling me.
The Beetle began to leave, and the Shield put his hand on his shoulder to stop him. I couldn't overhear their conversation, but the Beetle came back, shook my hand and said "Thank you."
I couldn't believe it! My favorite hero in the whole world was thanking me for what I did! Then, he began to walk away again. As he did, he said "See you around, heroes!"
The Shield walked over to me and smiled. He held out his hand and showed me a newspaper advertisement for soap. Upon turning it over, I discovered that it was an article about the Blue Beetle, autographed by the man himself.
The adventure was over, but it's one I will never forget, no matter how old I get. I got a chance to work with my favorite hero for the first time. And, actually, I did get to work with him once more, but that's for a different chapter of this book.
As for Zargok, he's appropriately faded into obscurity. He was arrested and jailed and that's the last I've heard of him. But, he was just like 20-odd other wannabes that Shield and I fought over our career.
The only thing that made Zargok truly different, that really made him stand out from all the rest, was that he was single-handedly brought down by a 15-year old boy because he underestimated the power of a sidekick.
Helen Rogers sat there, smiling. She looked over to her husband, still sound asleep on the recliner.
She slowly got up and walked towards him. His eyes flickered a couple times before opening. He looked up at her and grinned.
"Can you do me a favor?"
"Sure, sweetheart. You name it."
"Tell me the story again about how you met the Blue Beetle."
"Well, it all started on a trip to the corner drug store......."
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