Friday, January 27, 2012

Heroes by B.R. Stateham

`Heroes' is a fine short essay by the diverse writer B.R. Stateham. Working in the genres of Crime, Noir, Adventure, and beyond, Stateham is well qualified to comment on the role of the hero in our lives. He does so here eloquently. Enjoy.

Heroes. We all need them. In a world filled with bad guys, bad times, and bad memories, heroes are the one set of safety pins that keep us all from going irretrievably insane.

But what about our heroes? Do we really want the caped figures of a Batman or a Superman? Heroes of unimaginable super powers and incredible durability? Figures born out of our fantasies? Sure, we all wish we could be incredibly strong. Even invincible. Along comes a fictional hero like a Superman or a Batman and we flock to their movies, buy their comics, dream in the those most private moments we occasionally have about one day turning ourselves into a hero of mythological proportions.

But in truth, deep down in all of us, we are searching for a hero . . . or heroes . . . whom we know are all too human. They're like us. They have their strengths. They have their weaknesses. They do good. And sometimes . . . sometimes they make really terrible mistakes. They are people like us who, for one reason or another, are forced to stand up and face the ravages of an insane world. Who are forced to fight back the terrors of the night.

Two of my characters are genuine heroes. Cops. Homicide detectives. Turner Hahn and Frank Morales. One, by accident of birth, grows up to look remarkably like a long dead movie actor. And who . . . again by accident of birth . . . after years working as a cop and suffering through a failed marriage, suddenly discoverers he has inherited a fortune and becomes insanely wealthy. Yet, for all the money he now suddenly has at his command, and despite of his movie star like good looks (which he definitely does not see as an asset) he remains a cop. He goes to work every day. Chases the crazies, the insane, the murderous psychopaths - every day. He sees the pain, the hardships, and the personal and private losses of those who become the victims of crime.

The second cop is totally different. Through the travesties of birth and DNA he's born without the good looks. Just the opposite. As an adult he becomes the photo-image of a modern day Neanderthal. A red haired, hulking giant with no neck and hands as wide as bulldozer blades. Looks would suggest he would be as dumb as a rock. The reality is the guy has an IQ possibly four digits long. He's married, has kids . . . lives in suburbia. But first and foremost he's a cop. And, like his partner, he gets up every day and goes to work and faces the dangers, the boredom, and the arcane with an equal amount of commitment to protect the innocent and hunt down the bad guys.

Turner Hahn and Frank Morales. Heroes.

God knows we need a couple of people like this to help us retain a little sanity in our lives.

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