The North Star

“You see, when I’m going superfast — not my top speed or anything, but fast enough — it’s as though everything around me is frozen in time. Like a world of statues — a single moment, paused … And it’s so beautiful … So calm and still … But as soon as I slow down and try to enter that perfect world … Everything starts to move … And it’s gone.”
–The Flash

“To those who say people wouldn’t look; they wouldn’t be interested; they’re too complacent, indifferent and insulated, I can only reply: There is, in one reporter’s opinion, considerable evidence against that contention. But even if they are right, what have they got to lose? Because if they are right, and this instrument is good for nothing but to entertain, amuse and insulate, then the tube is flickering now and we will soon see that the whole struggle is lost. This instrument can teach, it can illuminate; yes, and it can even inspire. But it can do so only to the extent that Humans are determined to use it to those ends. Otherwise it is merely wires and lights in a box.”
–Edward R. Murrow, the Radio-Television News Directors Association Convention, Chicago, October 15th, 1958

The Lawyer

The Rebel

The Outlaw

The Hero

The North Star
a proposed TV series by Saab Lofton

The North Star is an hour long, afrocentric, sci fi adventure series (Smallville meets The Boondocks, however, this is a drama, NOT a comedy). A modern day Robin Hood, Scott Freeman is a black radical with superspeed who uses dubious methods to raise funds and recruit others to his cause. Though the public is unaware of his existence, Scott Freeman’s exploits are closely monitored — and occasionally influenced — by angels and demons alike …

Scott Freeman (Robert Richard)
Enrique Ortega (Jay Hernandez)
J.D. Sweet (Charlie Murphy)
Annie Rosen (Janeane Garofalo)
Jarvis/Metatron (Woody Harrelson)
Satan (Timothy Carhart)

Scott Freeman

Scott is the son of a Black Panther named Steve Freeman and a white hippie named Mary Ellen Stuart. They met at a Panther headquarters right before a COINTELPRO raid and fell in love at first sight — so much so, they both simultaneously decided to RUN rather than be arrested. Conceived on the RUN, baby Scott gained the mutant ability to move and heal himself at superspeed so long as he has PLENTY to eat. When Scott was about to be born, a pair of cops moonlighting as Ku Klux Klansmen pulled the expecting couple over. Just as the cops were about to kill them for being a mixed couple, an angel swooped down, disabled the cops, scooped up the pregnant mother and dropped her off at a nearby hospital. The Black Panther father was left behind and the cops subsequently took their frustrations out on him — charging the Panther with the assault the angel committed and spitefully sentencing him to life without parole. Since then, the mother split her time between raising Scott in a secluded, Northern California hippie commune and organizing a campaign to free her husband (FREE STEVE!).

Since he was able to break the sound barrier during puberty, Scott was all but raised in isolation, so his social graces aren’t very refined. Between that and his leftist upbringing, he’s often terse, brutally honest and rarely suffers a fool lightly. To tolerate how slow everything seems to someone with his hyperactive perceptions, Scott has studied Buddhism over the years and regularly engages in meditation. He also smokes a LOT of marijuana since it soothes his otherwise accelerated state of being. All of this — plus his commitment to save the world — has made him very lonely. Plus, despite his youth, Scott feels ancient given how many experiences are crammed into every millisecond. However, Scott knows several languages since his speed reading is superhuman, so he considers himself a citizen of the planet Earth and acts accordingly.

In addition, Scott’s been told by the angel Metatron that he shouldn’t ever have sex since his pelvic thrusts would literally feel like a jackhammer to an ordinary woman. Scott manages to get around this rule by using lesbian techniques (or limiting himself to women who are just as superhuman as he is — see Scott’s Lovers for details). Metatron does not approve, for while vibrating his tongue/fingers at superspeed isn’t harmful, doing so does leave mortal women so — ravaged, they can never be satisfied any other way. Therefore, either an irrational addiction to Scott’s touch comes over them or a bitter resentment towards him for having ruined their sexual pallet.

Scott is (pardon the phrase) faster than a speeding bullet, but since he’s not invulnerable (think Wolverine’s quick healing — it accounts for why stomping his feet on the ground at hundreds of miles per hour during every run doesn’t cripple him), it’s extremely painful to try and stop a bullet barehanded. Therefore, in situations where gunfire is to be expected, Scott will make it a point to bring an ALUMINUM baseball bat so that bullets can be safely swatted away.

Because of the large amount of food his heightened metabolism requires (a full course meal seven times per day is ideal — anything less and he begins to weaken), Scott leaves huge piles of feces the few times per year anal excretion is necessary. So Scott has gotten into the activist habit of leaving piles of manure on Wall Street, the White House lawn, the gates of the School of the Americas, in front of the Pentagon, the C.I.A. and so forth. He’ll either do that or provide poor farmers with a free source of fertilizer.

Only a few dozen people on the entire planet know of Scott’s superspeed. These are usually proxies with money whom Scott indebts (a la Alec Baldwin’s 1994 version of The Shadow) so he’ll always be able to afford all-you-can-eat buffets and other amenities — such as a series of cell phones with his number on SPEED DIAL (no pun intended) in case he’s needed. Out of an understandable fear of media exploitation or governmental experimentation/extermination, Scott goes out of his way to maintain a low profile and encourages witnesses to dismiss any accounts of a black man disappearing in the blink of an eye as delusional hallucinations.

Enrique Ortega

Enrique is Scott Freeman’s best friend and the first person to ever learn of Scott’s superspeed — besides his mother, of course. They’ve known each other since childhood. While Scott was home schooled and ordered by his mom to stay hidden within a Northern California hippie commune, Enrique provided a much needed window to the rest of the world. The commune grew fruit/vegetables and Enrique’s parents often came to pick them up so they could be sold across the Bay Area. Since there weren’t any children Scott’s age in the commune — and since Enrique was an only child whose parents would bring him along during those trips to the commune — the two youths bonded.

Enrique’s parents originally came from Mexico and eventually became American citizens. They co-own a couple of small, organic/health food stores and raised Enrique to (at least) be a (semi-)vegetarian. Though his family could be construed as an example of the American Dream come true (since they went from dirt poor to middle class), they also raised him to be a revolutionary with a healthy disdain for “gringo imperialism.”

Enrique is a gifted, bilingual poet and an even more talented lecturer who’s always being asked by the Peace Movement to speak at a variety of events. Though he’s going to college on a full scholarship, constantly being on the road has delayed the attainment of his Ph.D. enough to upset his parents.

His speeches are particularly scathing (he’s known for his gory, graphic descriptions of Human rights abuses) and Enrique would’ve been assassinated long ago if Scott hadn’t been bodyguarding him over the years.

Enrique is also very good looking and extremely popular with the ladies, but he’s never really taken advantage of this — except to encourage women to donate to his favorite causes, such as Pastors for Peace.

Enrique is an expert motorcycle rider and has a Honda XL500 trail bike he call El Caballo Rojo (The Red Stallion). One of his lifelong dreams is to retrace the path Che Guevara rode in 1952 (The Motorcycle Diaries). Whenever Scott isn’t around to save him from assassins, Enrique escapes them riding El Caballo Rojo in elaborate, high speed chase scenes.

Though J.D. Sweet will disparagingly refer to Enrique as Scott’s “sidekick,” it’d be more accurate to say Scott is Enrique’s bodyguard, since his popularity as a speaker will ensure that one day he’ll be compared to the likes of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

J.D. Sweet

Not much is known about his early years, but for the better part of a decade, J.D. Sweet was the most powerful pimp, gangster and drug dealer in California history. It all came to a head one night when the police cut a Faustian/Machiavellian deal with Sweet’s criminal rivals in order to storm his fortress of a mansion. However, just when it looked as though Sweet was about to sacrifice his life to keep from ever being arrested (as Sweet always promised he would), Scott Freeman came to his rescue. Using superspeed, Scott disabled (and severely disoriented) both the cops and the gang members who’re after Sweet while helping the crime lord escape. Because there were a series of large, fiery explosions throughout the raid, the public still assumes Sweet died that night — an assumption Scott tries to cultivate whenever possible (“J.D. Sweet is dead,” is an often heard phrase).

Scott saved Sweet so he’d feel obligated to fund Scott’s crusades and charities, however, Sweet despises the many rules Scott forces him to work under:

1) The only drug Sweet is allowed to deal in is marijuana since it’s non-lethal and all-natural.

2) Sweet can continue as a pimp but ONLY if the women in question are willing (75% of Sweet’s stable abandoned him immediately after Scott came into his life and gave each prostitute a ten thousand dollar severance — only “Jade,” “Candy” and “Fulana” remained) and at NO time can he strike them or even raise his voice in their presence. They also keep two-thirds of how much ever is made.

a) Jade looks just like Lucy Liu. She’s an expert in massage and acupuncture.

b) Candy looks just like Sanaa Lathan (except darker) and is in love with Scott Freeman but hates that Scott only likes white women.

c) Fulana is the leader. An outspoken Latina, she looks just like Salma Hayek and makes sure J.D. Sweet ONLY gets a third of what’s made.

3) Because it’s best if the world assumes he’s dead, Sweet can no longer live in a mansion or frequent nightclubs every night as he’s accustomed to. Instead, Sweet is to spend the rest of his life secluded in a suburban four bedroom/three bath, which is the base of Scott’s operations.

4) On those rare occasions Sweet can leave the house, he has to “dress down” (Scott pawned all of Sweet’s gold/jewelry and the money was given to the homeless), wear sunglasses and limit himself to public transportation — he can never own another car.

In addition, the house is adorned with pictures of Gandhi, the Black Panthers and other left-wing legends as a reminder of where Sweet’s money is going. And since Sweet is constantly asked to pay for things such as the bail of jailed activists or full-page newspaper ads for leftist organizations, he’s gained the nickname “ATM” — much to his chagrin.

Over the course of the series, Sweet makes a variety of threats (some are made in jest, most are not) towards Scott, but knows full well he’d stand NO chance against “the world’s fastest man.” And while the public believes him to be deceased, there are those in the underworld who know better and view Sweet as either a laughing stock or someone who’s fallen from grace — all the while wondering why he’s clearly under the thrall of a beta male like Scott Freeman (yet another rule is that Sweet must help keep Scott’s secret) …

As a result of the aforementioned, Sweet often vents his frustration of Scott’s friends — Enrique Ortega and Annie Rosen. Sweet usually makes racist comments about Enrique’s Latino heritage, and since Annie doesn’t like that Sweet’s a pimp, there’s plenty of sexist antagonism between them to say the least. This never goes too far since Scott is always a cell phone call away. If Sweet ever misbehaves too badly, he’s taken on high speed runs against his will and/or is dropped off at the most remote/desolate corners of the globe (“I hear the Himalayas are nice this time of year,” is an often heard phrase from Scott, before leaving Sweet on a snowy mountain top for an hour or two as punishment for a particularly grievous offense).

Sweet is a product of mainstream, urban black culture whereas Scott is a nerd who dresses like a 1930s adventurer and “sounds white” — this difference in tastes accounts for even more conflict. However, Sweet isn’t just a common thug — he’s a huge fan of Shakespeare who’s able to quote the Bard at whim and in depth (his favorite play being Macbeth). Sweet is also a botanical genius and grows his own marijuana in the basement of the suburban home Scott had him buy.

Annie Rosen

Annie is a Jewish lesbian and the single greatest trial lawyer the American Civil Liberties Union has ever had in its employ due to her deductive reasoning and photographic memory. Because of Annie’s support for the people of Palestine, she was disowned by her Zionist family, so risking a great deal by taking on lost causes is almost second nature. It hasn’t helped her popularity in the community, but Annie’s willingness to rush where angels fear to tread accounts for how often she’s fought for the free speech of Nazis and Ku Klux Klansmen in court.

She doesn’t approve of Scott’s and Enrique’s marijuana smoking and she definitely has a problem with J.D. Sweet being a pimp, but Annie turns a blind eye to all that (and more) out of an acknowledgement of all the good Scott’s superspeed is capable of. Annie and Scott first met when a gang was threatening to “rape her straight” and Scott came to the rescue. Indebted to him as Sweet was, Annie signed on for his mission (see The Mission for details).

While Sweet reluctantly goes against his capitalistic, egotistical nature to work for Scott and Enrique helps because of a lifelong camaraderie, Annie lends her legal services out of guilt. Having defended the far right on behalf of the ACLU for so many years, she felt the need to balance the scales of justice.

Annie love dolphins, anything with caramel on it and the Rocky/Bullwinkle cartoon.


The night Scott Freeman was born, two white supremacist cops pulled his parents over. Before the cops could lay a hand on either parent, a winged, glowing superpowered figure descended from Heaven, beat them down and flew the expectant mother to the nearest emergency room so she could give birth to Scott in peace — leaving the father behind to face the racist cops’ wrath alone.

The winged figure was none other than Metatron, the voice of God, and unlike Satan, he can remain solid while on Earth (hence him being able to thrash the cops). After Scott grew up and began his destiny as a superhero, Metatron began occasionally appearing to him while he dreamt. Except curiously enough, Metatron appears to Scott as a Southern gentleman named “Jarvis” who wears a white hat/suit and black string tie while rowing a boat down a river. Scott is usually the only other person in the boat, and given the surreal sights around them, he’s theorized those “dreams” are actually jaunts into the afterlife and that Jarvis performs the same function as Charon from Greek myth. It’s also been theorized Metatron appears as Jarvis to assuage Scott’s understandable mistrust of Southern white men.

Jarvis/Metatron contacts Scott very rarely and only to alert him of the gravest of dangers; usually threats involving Satan. Jarvis/Metatron feels guilty for having left Scott’s father behind and almost sees Scott as the son that he, as an angel, could never have.


Satan is jealous of Humanity (longing for the days “back before the beginning of time” when it was just him and God) and is the biggest proponent of the cynical claim that “Human nature” will inevitably cause the Human race to fail and ultimately destroy itself. After Samson and the birth of Jesus, Satan made God promise not to send any more superhumans to Earth in order to “cheat” or “help Humans when they ought to be helping themselves.” Therefore, Satan views the advent of Scott Freeman as a gross violation of that promise, hence their feud. In fact, it was Satan who alerted the cops to the car Scott’s parents were in — all the while prompting them to kill him before he was born.

Satan can visually/audibly appear in the material world — and can instantly teleport anywhere (so he’s “faster” than Scott) — but he has no actual substance. As a result, Satan always makes it a point to tempt someone from afar, lest he be given away — coming in physical contact with him would be akin to passing through a ghost or hologram (a telltale sign of his presence is Satan’s inability to cast a shadow). Satan can shapeshift, and is also telepathic/empathic, so he’s able to take a form that’ll best suit his purposes.

However, Satan is far from omnipotent: He cannot hypnotize anyone or tell the future. And since he can’t handle solid objects (while on the mortal plane), Satan counts on villains who — in the pursuit of their baser instincts — wind up doing his bidding. For instance, a mad scientist overly concerned with overpopulation was once told by Satan to lower the population via genocide.

The Mission

When Scott Freeman was a child, he fell in love with Robin Hood. Between the potential his superspeed provided and how the Northern California hippie commune he grew up in naturally reminded him of Sherwood Forest, Scott envisioned himself as a modern day successor to the Prince of Thieves. As Scott began to race across the globe, he couldn’t help but notice the glaring contrasts between the haves and have nots. So from a very early age, Scott would rob from the rich and give to the poor — except he’d do it so fast, no one could ever catch him.

By the time he became a young man, Scott did less and less himself and operated more and more via a series of proxies. Taking a cue from The Shadow, Scott got into the habit of saving certain people with access or talents he needed all so they’d be indebted to him. For instance, the rapper M.T. Pockets gives half of everything he makes to Scott as does the boxer Moses “The Mountain” Hightower. The money is then funneled into the Peace Movement and other, similar causes — as is the case with J.D. Sweet. However, Sweet differs from Pockets, Hightower and the rest of Scott’s proxies in that he’s the only one who’s reluctant and regrets having signed on with The Mission. This is because Sweet was a crime lord for so many years who never cared about anyone but himself.

The money raised by the proxies goes towards everything from feeding the homeless to paying the bail of jailed activists. The only indulgence Scott allows for himself is his 1930s serial swashbuckler wardrobe. As Sweet once put it, “Scott’s the only nigger I know who doesn’t wait for Halloween to dress like Flash Gordon.”

Scott has never revealed exactly how many proxies there are worldwide — no doubt out of concern for their safety should his connection to them ever be revealed. There couldn’t be more than a handful since Scott thinks (and rightfully so) there are far too many people who know about his superspeed as it is.

Scott’s Lovers

1) Penny Hicks is a pale, petite blonde from a small town located at the exact spot where Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee meet. Knowing Scott’s weakness for hillbilly women — and knowing that Penny secretly lusts after black men because her father was a KKK Grand Wizard — Satan played cupid and used his influence to see to it they met. Once the two of them did come together, Scott decided to retire from being a superhero and resolved to only use his superspeed to upkeep Penny’s farm. After being told in their dreams of Satan’s involvement by Jarvis/Metatron, Enrique Ortega, J.D. Sweet and Annie Rosen then hunted Scott down and talked him into returning to duty before he was bound to Penny forever via a shotgun wedding.

2) Atomwoman is a redheaded superheroine from a parallel universe in which the characters from Scott’s favorite comic book are real. Initially, Scott was asked to permanently reside in said universe and join a superteam called Just U.S. However, upon realizing how racist the group was (Scott was rendered to the status of an errand boy while the only other black member was Weatherman, a closeted gay who suffered constant discrimination), Scott returned to his universe — taking Weatherman and Atomwoman with him (since she had grown tired of being the only female in Just U.S.). Weatherman settled in Africa (where he would become quite popular in desert regions) while Atomwoman and Scott Freeman fell in love. Unfortunately, in addition to not being able to psychologically deal with how dark and cynical Scott’s universe was, its presence of nuclear missiles and power plants wrecked havoc with her atomic superpowers. Eventually, Atomwoman accumulated so much excess nuclear energy she had no choice but to fly into deep space and self-detonate — lest she destroy the Earth. This broke Scott’s heart so much he swore off of women altogether, until …

3) Desdemona (a.k.a. “Dez”) is a hundred year old vampire (a very Gothic pale brunette) who was bitten by members of the Clan Calixa, an extremely elitist clique of aristocratic, Victorian vampires. Rather than feed on Humanity, Desdemona left the Clan Calixa and subsisted off of forest animals until the lack of Human blood drove her mad. Coming to an internal compromise, Desdemona decided to limit herself to the blood of criminals — hence she became known as Vampire Vigilante. In fact, fighting crime is how Desdemona and Scott met. After getting to know each other, Scott learned the Clan Calixa was trying to tempt Desdemona into feeding on innocent Humans as they do. Once he’d had enough of their smug, condescending manner, Scott decapitated the entire clan — thus killing them all and setting Desdemona free. Out of all the relationships Scott ever had, the one with Desdemona lasted the longest and was the most meaningful.


There will only be two seasons, or 24 episodes, of The North Star — think of it as a very long mini-series, since one of the biggest problems with television is that certain shows wear out their welcome …

1. Pilot, Part I

After a brief prologue about Scott Freeman’s birth (October 25, 1985), the story flash forwards decades (October 21, 2015) and shows Enrique Ortega giving a scathing speech about America’s genocidal imperialism to a cheering crowd. Jim Finley, a CIA agent (Mark Hamill) tries to assassinate Enrique but Scott uses superspeed to save him. This is witnessed by Finley but when he tries to tell his superior (Ronny Cox) that a black man used a baseball bat to swat bullets away, he’s dismissively sent on medical leave. Finley then becomes obsessed with exposing Scott and strikes out on his own in order to do so (this becomes a running theme throughout the series).

Simultaneously, Enrique is arrested on a trumped up charge of holding a traffic-blocking rally without a permit, and after calming an enraged Scott down, he says to find a good lawyer. Scott immediately goes to the ACLU asking for their best; insisting that money is no object, and he’s referred to Annie Rosen. Scott sits in on the conclusion of one of her trials, but before she could be tapped, the Zionist Rosen family accosts Annie outside the courtroom for supporting the Palestinian cause. Not wanting to interrupt a family dispute, Scott trails Rosen to a lesbian bar — where she and her girlfriend are attacked by drunken frat boys. In the process of preventing her from being gang raped, Scott accidentally reveals his superspeed to Rosen, so he decides to explain everything.

Scott directs Rosen to a suburban three bedroom/two bath on the outskirts of Bay City (a metaphor for Oakland, California — just as Superman’s Metropolis is supposed to represent Manhattan), where a crimelord who was thought by the public to be dead, J.D. Sweet, sulks because Jade, Candy and Fulana — prostitutes who used to be under his thrall — are now taking the lion’s share of their earnings. Scott explains that since he saved Sweet’s life, Sweet has become one of the chosen few who knows about Scott’s superspeed and works for him as a fundraiser for various charities (a brief flashback of what happened would be inserted here). Rosen reluctantly agrees to help Enrique get out of jail, but doesn’t like the idea of having to keep Scott’s secret or being paid with money made via prostitution and marijuana dealing (not to mention Sweet’s sexist comments).

2. Pilot, Part II

Rosen is able to get Enrique out of jail easily enough, but then Scott gets a call from his mother and runs at superspeed to see her. It turns out Scott’s father Steve Freeman is being transfered to Death Row and Scott seriously contemplates breaking his father out of jail even though doing so would surely reveal himself to the world because of the amount of security cameras and witnesses. Told to “sleep on it,” Scott dreams of being in a row boat with a Southern gentleman named “Jarvis,” who says he’s been on the right path thus far, but that everything would be ruined if his superspeed was allowed to become public. Scott deduces that he’s receiving a message from God and abides by it. Scott talks Rosen into signing onto what he calls “The Mission” full time and she manages to get his father transfered off of Death Row.

Satan approaches Finley, tells the agent every detail there is to know about Scott and sets a trap across from Scott’s suburban home: Satan is to draw Scott out into the open by changing into a rampaging monster, and once Scott uses his superspeed to combat the supposed threat, Finley is to capture it all on film. Finley deviates from the plan and begins shooting at Scott instead, which pisses Satan off to no end. In his anger, Satan inadvertently demonstrates how any form taken by him on the material plane is intangible and doesn’t cast shadows. Realizing he’s being duped, Scott takes off and leaves Finley raving about devils and superheroes while a straitjacket is being strapped on. Scott and Enrique later gives Rosen a pep talk (this is how the phrase North Star comes up) welcoming her into the fold even as Sweet makes snide comments in the background (which results in Scott taking Sweet “around the world”; Scott grabs Sweet and either drops him off in some remote part of the world or just scares the shit out of him by exceeding the speed of sound) …

3. No Time For Love, Dr. Jones

Scott, Enrique and Rosen debate the implications of using the royalities from porno movies (starring Jade, Candy and Fulana) to fund battered women’s shelters and free, feminist martial arts classes. Meanwhile, one of Scott’s charities — a homeless shelter run by a liberation theologist — comes under fire. Also too, Candy develops feelings for Scott, but much to her chagrin, he’s only into white women — a couple of whom put in brief appearances throughout the episode to either curse him out for ruining their sexual pallets with his superspeed or beg for more. Jarvis appears as well in a vision to warn/wean Scott off of sex.

4. Full of It

Mounds of urine drenched shit begin appearing in front of CIA headquarters, the Pentagon, and other sources of evil (which attracts the attention of Agent Finley). It turns out that Scott is leaving these mounds around because of how his hyper-accelerated metabolism works (t here’s a secret league of black scientists in Atlanta, GA that Scott turns to whenever questions about his powers need to be answered and it’s introduced in this episode). All along, Scott talks a young black genius out of joining the military and orders Sweet to pay the kid’s way through college.

5. Focus on Annie Rosen.

6. Sweetness and Light

After being struck by lightning, Scott loses his powers. Once Sweet finds this out, he beats Scott down and returns to his old ways. After Scott’s superspeed returns (thanks to a second, subsequent bolt of lightning), Sweet is put back in his place, but Scott allows him one, last gangstalicious party.

7. Focus on Enrique Ortega.

8. Heroes of Hiroshima, Nobles of Nagasaki

Scott’s sensei, Saigō Katsumoto, is introduced — a Hiroshima survivor herself, she arranges a world tour of the other remaining survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, but there’s Satanic sabotage afoot. A flashback of Scott’s early days as a sneak thief and Robin Hood fan is also seen.

9. Invitation Only

On a dark and stormy night, a starving and injured Scott accidentally crashes through a window into a rich white family’s house during a dinner party. After the patriarch’s lovely daughter cares for him, he schools her parents and their guests on the finer points of black history and defends them from a home invasion. In the end, they all agree to keep Scott’s secret and even sponsor a couple of his charities.

10. Peace In Our Time

Annie Rosen speaks before Israel’s parliament about its horrid Human rights record while Scott runs across the Middle East trying to stop a series of bombings which threaten the peace.

11. House of the Darkest Shadows

This episode is an homage to Japanese samurai movies and depicts J.D. Sweet as The Black Dragon, a mystic shogun no one can defeat in battle.

12. Countrybama, Part I

Penny Hicks is a pale, petite blonde from a small town located at the exact spot where Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee meet. Knowing Scott’s weakness for hillbilly women — and knowing that Penny secretly lusts after black men because her father was a KKK Grand Wizard — Satan plays cupid and uses his influence to see to it they meet. After the two of them come together, Scott decides to retire from being a superhero and resolves to only use his superspeed to upkeep Penny’s farm.


13. Countrybama, Part II

After being told in their dreams of Satan’s involvement by Jarvis/Metatron, Enrique Ortega, J.D. Sweet and Annie Rosen hunt Scott down and talk him into returning to duty before he’s bound to Penny forever via a shotgun wedding.

14. Eight Thousand Miles

To take his friend’s mind off of Penny Hicks, Enrique takes Scott on a reenactment of Che Guevara’s motorcycle tour through South America. The trip strains their lifelong relationship to the breaking point but they make amends when the opportunity to stem the damage America’s foreign policy has done presents itself.

15. Just U.S., Part I

Atomwoman is a redheaded superheroine from a parallel universe in which the characters from Scott’s favorite comic book are real — a universe discovered by the league of black scientists. After entering it, Scott is asked to permanently reside in said universe and join a superteam called Just U.S. However, upon realizing how racist the group is (Scott was rendered to the status of an errand boy while the only other black member was Weatherman, a closeted gay who suffered constant discrimination), Scott returns to his native universe — taking Weatherman and Atomwoman with him (since she had grown tired of being the only female in Just U.S.).

16. Just U.S., Part II

Weatherman settles in Africa (where he becomes quite popular in desert regions — one of the historical differences between Scott’s Earth and ours is Africa’s partial salvation) while Atomwoman and Scott Freeman fall in love. Unfortunately, in addition to not being able to psychologically deal with how Scott’s universe is comparably darker and more cynical, its presence of nuclear missiles/power plants wrecks havoc with her atomic superpowers. Eventually, Atomwoman accumulates so much excess nuclear energy she has no choice but to fly into deep space and self-detonate — lest she destroy the Earth. This breaks Scott’s heart so much he swears off of women altogether.

17. Trippin’

Scott volunteers to take part in a black scientist league experiment involving backwards time travel (in order to keep from dealing with the death of Atomwoman) and winds up one of the 54th Massachusetts — right before the battle of Fort Wagner …

18. Pure Vegas, Baby

This episode introduces rapper M.T. Pockets and boxer Moses “The Mountain” Hightower — both of whom are proxies of Scott’s and both happen to have career-shaping events in Las Vegas during the same weekend, so Scott, Enrique, Rosen and even Sweet venture there and hilarity ensues …

19. Target Demographics with Disposable Income

Enrique attempts to produce an action-adventure series about a Latino superhero and encounters corporate censorship head on. Told that his TV series is too revolutionary, and as a result, would alienate white suburbia, Scott organizes a letter-writing campaign to get it on the air.

20. Vampire Vigilante, Part I

Desdemona (a.k.a. “Dez”) is a hundred year old vampire (a very Gothic pale brunette) who was bitten by members of the Clan Calixa, an extremely elitist clique of aristocratic, Victorian vampires. Rather than feed on Humanity, Desdemona left the Clan Calixa and subsisted off of forest animals until the lack of Human blood drove her mad. Coming to an internal compromise, Desdemona decided to limit herself to the blood of criminals — hence she became known as Vampire Vigilante. In fact, fighting crime is how Desdemona and Scott first meet. After getting to know each other, Scott learns the Clan Calixa is trying to tempt Desdemona into feeding on innocent Humans as they do. Once he’s had enough of their smug, condescending manner, Scott decapitates the entire clan — thus killing them all and setting Desdemona free.

21. Vampire Vigilante, Part II

As fate would have it, one of the Clan Calixa escaped Scott’s purge and this episode is about that vampire’s revenge. Candy deals with her vehement jealousy of Dez, meanwhile, Scott deals with his fear of being accidentally bitten during sex.

22. Focus on Desdemona/Vampire Vigilante.

23. Finale, Part I

Scott is in Japan meditating where he has a vision of God, who appears to him as a baby sumo wrestler with blue skin floating in mid air amidst swirling protons and electrons; as if an atom. God tells Scott that his time has finally come and disappears. Confused, since Jarvis/Metatron is usually the one who speaks for The Almighty, Scott begins to assume the line “your time has come” means he’ll die soon. Scott stresses himself out trying to do as much good as he can before the end, as it were, and this is noticed by his friends.

An increasingly rebellious Sweet has taken to venturing out more often than usual, is eventually recognized and subsequently arrested. Rosen refuses to use her legal skills to free him on the grounds that Scott shouldn’t have relied so heavily on his criminal activities. Throughout the finale, Sweet tells a very slanted version of events to his cellmates in prison and goes through a series of misadventures, which eventually leads to his escape.

After a particularly indicting lecture on the illogic of America’s immigration policies, Enrique gets into an intense high speed chase; his motorcycle, El Caballo Rojo, is being shot to pieces by a truck full of minutemen who’re actually attempting to deport him, dead or alive. Enrique is about to call Scott on his cell phone when that too is shot out of his hand. Just then, a blur of wind disables the minutemen, but instead of it being the Scott Enrique knows and loves, it turns out to be a much older version of Scott Freeman.

The elder Scott claims to be from decades in the future, and after Enrique reunites with the Scott he’s familiar with and Rosen, the elder describes a timeline in which a mad scientist obsessed with overpopulation triggers World War III in order to cut down on the amount of Humans being born. The elder Scott wasn’t able to stop the madman in time, and as a result, three-fourths of Humanity died in atomic fire. Citing that foreknowledge is forewarning, the younger Scott intends on changing history for the better. The scientist in question turns out to be manipulated by Satan into wiring all the world’s nuclear arsenals to his computer so that pushing one button would empty every warhead onto random targets, but thanks to the elder Scott, the younger was able to stop that from happening. The younger Scott, however, is perplexed because by all rights, changing the timeline should’ve caused the elder Scott to fade from existence, and yet he’s still around.

24. Finale, Part II

The elder Scott then claims that after the nuclear holocaust in his timeline, he revealed himself to what was left of Humanity and used his superspeed to power a massive treadmill/turbine which would provide an unlimited amount of clean, renewable energy. The elder Scott proposes that this same machine be built and activated in the now altered timeline so that Big Oil and Big Nuke would be put out of business and a utopian society could come into being. Eager to do as much good as possible before his imminent death, the younger Scott agrees. Being more cynical than Scott, Enrique and Rosen are both suspicious of his older counterpart, and after confronting him; demanding to know why he’s so quick to build the machine, the younger Scott tells them for the first time about that vision of God in Japan. Enrique and Rosen warn Scott of the dangers of overcompensating and to appreciate the difference he’s already made.

Having escaped from jail, Sweet returns to Bay City for a stash of money/drugs/etc. he’s had hidden from Scott for months. Sweet is caught by the elder Scott, which thoroughly confuses Sweet and makes him wonder how long was he imprisoned. However, the reason why the elder Scott was near Sweet’s stash in the first place is because it happened to be next to the point where the elder came from the future — something Sweet is more than happy to point out, since doing so takes eveyone’s attention off that stash. Wanting to catch a glimpse of things to come, the younger Scott peers through the time portal but finds nothing but darkness absolute and almost dies from asphixation.

While he’s passed out, Scott has a vision of Jarvis, which warns him of his older counterpart’s motives. After coming to, the younger Scott chases down the elder for answers in a breakneck race around the world. Exhausted, the elder Scott confesses that the machine didn’t work in the future, and in fact, wound up draining energy instead of emitting it — so much so, every star in the universe was snuffed out; extinguishing all life. The elder Scott believes he deserves a second chance and can get the machine to work properly, but the younger Scott insists that it be destroyed.

Using one of his disguises, Satan tricks Desdemona into activating the machine, and since the elder Scott is too weary to do what’s necessary to shut it down, the younger Scott must enter the machine and destroy it from the inside. Doing so takes all his strength and he dies as a result — meanwhile, the future version of him fades away; ceasing to exist (since someone or something else could’ve triggered WWIII, the elder Scott remained in existence, only the death of the younger Scott would’ve negated the previous timeline). Desdemona doesn’t want to live without Scott — not to mention an inability to forgive herself for having been fooled by Satan and nearly triggering the end of life itself — so she commits vampire suicide by walking into the dawn of a new day. Sweet grabs his stash and heads for the Caribbean, never to be seen again — leaving Enrique and Rosen to mourn and continue the good work Scott left behind. The very last scene shows Scott and Desdemona in Jarvis’ row boat heading for Heaven.

I, Miss Peace

The Strange Case of Sarah Manlove
I, Miss Peace
by Saab Lofton

“Don’t be ladylike! God almighty made women and the Rockefeller gang of thieves made the ladies.”
–Mary “Mother” Jones

“Not even girls want to be girls so long as our feminine archetype lacks force, strength and power … The obvious remedy is to create a feminine character with all the strength of Superman plus all the allure of a good and beautiful woman.”
–William Moulton Marston, the creator of Wonder Woman

April 4th, 2009

The statistical probability of winning at gambling is remote, at best, and yet, people from across the country and around the world continue to stream into Las Vegas nevertheless. This constant flow of foot traffic was one of the reasons Sarah Manlove chose Vegas as her base of operations …

… another reason was Sin City’s perpetually sunny weather, which made it all the easier to wear what she often did: A superheroic bodystocking complete with a mask, gloves and sock-like boots. Sky blue with white highlights, Sarah’s skin-tight outfit had a dove on its chest and a wreath adorning her collar/shoulder — all of this accounted for why a particularly paranoid militia member once said she looked like trade show model for the United Nations.

While dressed this way, Sarah only answered to Mistress Peace (though sometimes she’ll accept Miss Peace, for short), and while in character, her voice took on a sense of purpose far too few find in life. “If you’re wondering why the economy is in dire straits, look no further than the mansions paid for by the sale of nuclear missiles,” Mistress Peace would call out to passerby from the corner of Sahara Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard, “there are over 25,000 nuclear missiles worldwide and each one is more powerful than the bomb America dropped on Hiroshima! That’s not defense, nor is it deterrence, that’s just nonsense!”

Inbetween similar sermons, Mistress Peace would pass out flyers and ask for donations. On a good day, the sight of her slim, petite and sensual figure poured into that Spandex could coax a male tourist into donating as much as a hundred dollars (over the years, Mistress Peace has singlehandedly raised almost $50,000 for organizations such as Greenpeace, Code Pink, Food Not Bombs and A.N.S.W.E.R.). She hated to occasionally alienate the wives/girlfriends of those men who donated, but sex does in fact sell, and what better cause could there possibly be than saving the world?

For as long as she could remember, the coy and snide seemed drawn to her — and on this particular day, a textbook example of said attraction occurred: Two superficial women who’re between shopping malls glanced at Mistress Peace and they simultaneously turned their noses up. “Halloween isn’t for another six months!” One woman quipped.

“Maybe there’s a Star Trek convention in town!” The other woman chimed in.

“Funny you should mention Star Trek, because I AM fighting for Humanity’s future,” Mistress Peace fired back, “and instead of buying even more overly expensive shoes, why don’t you two donate to a good cause?”

“You must WANT to be a lonely old maid …” One of the women spat venomously as she took her fellow shopper by the arm and stormed off. Meanwhile, i t took a great degree of superhuman effort, but Mistress Peace somehow managed to sublimate her righteous rage and kept from beating those two bitches to a bloody pulp.

Aside from Elvis impersonators, Mistress Peace was one of Vegas’ most photographed icons. She lost count of how many men leaned next to her in order to pose for pictures (and steal a brief kiss/embrace in the process). Fortunately, Mistress Peace rarely had to slap a man who made the mistake of pinching her behind. No pun intended, but she only dealt with this a handful of times …

… and then there’s that drunken frat boy, who was a bit too proud to hail from the house of Alpha Beta. “You should come back with me, honey, we’re having a kegger tonight.”

“I’m not your ‘honey,’” at that moment, Mistress Peace caught the frat boy’s inebriant scent, “and you probably shouldn’t have anything else to drink either.”

“Go to HELL!” With an abrupt gesture, the frat boy scattered dozens of flyers into what little wind the Las Vegas desert had. “You’re probably a damn commie anyway!”

Rather than attempt to retrieve her flyers, Mistress Peace grabbed and held the donation can (containing nearly $75 in bills/change by this point) the way a wide receiver on the gridiron would. She then anticipated that frat boy’s next menacing move and countered it with a spinning roundhouse kick to the torso, which sent him sprawling into a casino’s nearby flower bed. Upon angrily acknowledging how muddy he suddenly became, the pride of Alpha Beta House retreated but swore vengeance under his breath.

To her credit, Mistress Peace didn’t call it a day after such an ordeal. Unfortunately, that frat boy returned an hour later with several of his “brothers” — each one seemingly larger and more intimidating than the last …

As the Nevada sun began to set on the western horizon, Mistress Peace immediately packed her things and bolted into the darkening east. She eventually ran far enough ahead of the Alpha Betas until a suitable hiding place was found — inside a dumpster behind a supermarket. Every few minutes, Mistress Peace peaked through a crack to see if it was safe to emerge and restrained the sounds she made weeping by covering her mouth. While shedding the tears which ran down that mask, she inwardly chastised herself for not bringing a cell phone, but even worse were the uncharacteristic thoughts of regret and the painful recollection of what created Mistress Peace in the first place.

November 21st, 1984

An eleven year old Sarah Manlove simply couldn’t stand still while in line; she giddily danced about as her father paid their way into Seattle’s Cinerama for the premiere of Helen Slater’s Supergirl. Gratuitously sarcastic critics had already, heavily panned the film, but John Manlove knew his only child couldn’t care less about some smug analysis of plot and pacing. Since Sarah’s earliest memories consisted of Lynda Carter’s portrayal of Wonder Woman, the next logical step in his daughter’s pop cultural evolution was for her to watch an even more powerful, positive female role model.

Some wondered and worried about Sarah since her mother’s absence all but ensured that the girl would be raised by the fairly macho John to become a total tomboy, but she seemed happy enough …

… or at least should would be, until the truth about Mrs. Manlove stood revealed years later …

During the first third of the movie, Supergirl easily dispatched a couple of would be rapists (one is blown through a wooden fence with superbreath while the other has his switchblade scalded by heat vision) and an uncomfortable John found himself lying to Sarah afterwards; claiming they merely wanted to mug the maid of steel. “Uh, the reason the fat one peaked under Supergirl’s skirt is because he was looking for her wallet,” and so forth.

June 12th, 1991

Much as she wanted to fly like Kara (Supergirl’s Kryptonian name), Sarah settled for those moments of being airborne that acrobatics briefly allowed her. Sarah’s school system in Seattle had been spared the ravages of Reaganomics, so free access to decent gymnasium wasn’t an issue.

However, there was another reason Sarah had become an Olympic-level tumbler: Early on, the conclusion had been reached that the only way to truly emulate her childhood heroines was to combat injustice — and since Human/mortal characters such as Batgirl had mastered the martial arts, she decided to do the same.

Initially, John went along with this because of an understandable desire to know his daughter would be safe from harm, but once prom night had come and gone without Sarah being the slightest bit interested, a red flag went up, which is why he inquired, “So … Your major will be criminal justice, right?”

“That’s what it says on my college application,” Sarah answered indifferently, “you should know, you’re paying for it.”

“And you’re NOT going to hit the streets with a mask and a cape and beat up muggers, right?” John was visibly taken aback by the fiery glare his inquiry garnered, but continued just the same, “you’re going to be a lawyer or a police officer or maybe (God forbid) a bounty hunter, right?”

“Jesus, dad!” Sarah shot to her feet from the forms she was filling out at the dinner table and paced around. “It’s bad enough I get this kind of grief at school, I don’t need it from you too! I’m not crazy!”

“Yeah, well …” John’s eyes wandered as he shrugged and nervously rubbed the back of his neck. “… the problem is your mother just happens to BE crazy and I’m afraid it may run in the genes.”

Time itself appeared to freeze — upon retrospect, Sarah could’ve sworn she saw the wings of a wayward housefly flap in slow motion at that moment, but such heighthened awareness quickly passed. “W-What ..?”

“I know I’ve always said ‘mom is sick’ and that’s why she hasn’t been around,” John blushed, “well, that ain’t too far from the truth.”

“It’s far enough from the truth to be a LiE!” Sarah raised her voice. “So, whenever you said ‘hospital’ you REALLY meant ‘lunatic asylum,’ is that it?! Is she in a straitjacket in a padded cell too?”

“Watch your tone, young lady!” John attempted to reassert his authority. “I’m still the only father you have!”

“Not any more!” Pure angst propelled Sarah upstairs with breakneck speed. Slamming the door to her room shut, she threw herself onto the bed and sobbed profusely. Hearing his daughter’s heartbreaking tears from outside in the hall, John debated with himself over whether the rest of the story should be told; about how HE was personally responsible for Martha Manlove’s psychotic break.

No, John decided. If Sarah ever learned that an act of adultery on his part — which led to Martha catching an incurable venereal disease — drove her mother clinically insane, she’d never forgive him.

After calming herself down, Sarah picked up her phone and dialed the closest approximation to a friend she had, Polly Trout. “You’re not going to believe what my dad just told me …”

Sadly, approximations of friends were all a nerd like Sarah Manlove had, given her lifelong quest for justice in an unjust world. And since Polly couldn’t be trusted to keep the attic of Anne Frank a secret, all of Paul Robeson High knew about “Sarah’s crazy mom” in time for graduation.

“Well, it certainly explains a lot.”

“Every other girl orders their clothes from a Sears catalog, she orders hers from a comic book — now we know why.”

“No wonder she can’t find a man to love, get it ..? What? Her weird last name? HELLO?!”

Sarah was so thoroughly humiliated, she stayed at home during commencement and insisted that her diploma be mailed.

May 1st, 1992

The University of Washington proved to be as lonesome for Sarah Manlove as middle and high school until the criminal justice department asked her to be its representative in a debate with a radical firebrand from the black student union known only as Lumumba. The L.A. Riots were in their third day, and though Rodney King rhetorically queried if everyone could all just get along, no one was willing or able to take his advice.

Sarah only had hours to study for this largely impromptu challenge, but nothing could’ve prepared her for how handsome Lumumba was. Originally, Sarah assumed Lumumba was a female name, but that notion was dispelled the minute she laid eyes on the afrocentric adonis who stood ready to prove any statement of hers wrong.

“It’s ironic that the final episode of The Cosby Show aired last night,” Lumumba’s voice practically ignited the air around him, “because this marks the beginning of a new era; when white folks will finally stop seeing the world in general and blacks in particular through rose-colored glasses! Sure, some of us are doctors and lawyers like the Huxtables, but MOST of us are victims of poverty and police brutality!”

Cheers erupted throughout the dozens in attendance. An American flag had already been burnt to a crisp by someone in the crowd and Sarah began to wonder whether she’d make it back to her dorm room in one piece.

“How do I know they have rose-colored glasses?” Lumumba’s arms flayed about wildly. “How else do you explain those pigs being acquitted even though what they did was caught ON VIDEO? Clearly, SOMETHING kept whites from seeing what everyone else saw! ”

When Lumumba’s time on the mike ran out, a room full of angry eyes turned to Sarah — who blushed so much her face resembled a stop light. She knew there was no way to even attempt a win without being torn limb from limb, which is why a forfeiture was in order: “Mister Lumumba here is absolutely correct. We white people are as dumb as a box of rocks and I can only hope that we’ll be forgiven someday. On behalf of the criminal justice department and the United States of America, I hereby concede this debate to Lumumba. Congratulations; well done, sir.” After stepping towards Lumumba, Sarah shook her stunned opponent’s hand and briskly/gingerly walked away. However, t he pace of Sarah’s walking quickened when she looked behind her and saw that Lumumba was in hot pursuit.

“Hold it!” Lumumba took a moment to catch his breath after he caught up with Sarah. “I’m good but I’m not that good. You gave up on me, didn’t you?”

“No, I saw the logic of your argument, and–”

“Really, now?” A skeptical Lumumba stood with his arms akimbo. “OK. If you’re serious about whites being forgiven someday, let’s talk about how that forgiveness can be earned …”

The summer of 1992 brought her more joy than she ever thought possible, for opposites do sometimes attract, and it wasn’t long before Sarah and Lumumba had fallen deeply in love with each other. Sarah even allowed Lumumba to be the one who deflowered her (amidst the fireworks of Independence Day, no less), and afterwards, they talked until dawn while snuggling together. “My God — and to think something that feels THIS good would’ve gotten us lynched only a few decades ago …”

“Excuse me, honey: It would’ve gotten ME lynched,” Lumumba corrected, “you would’ve been, at the most, an outcast.”

“Well, that’s why I want to be a cop,” once Sarah saw how sour Lumumba’s expression had become, she added, “a GOOD cop, like Serpico, so that things keep getting better over time as they have been.”

“If you’re serious about that, you should forget about the law and teach,” Lumumba yawned, “poverty is the number one cause of crime and poverty is caused by ignorance — the poor are too ignorant to know how to LEGALLY make money and the rich are too ignorant to realize you can invest in your community without repeating the mistakes of the commies. It all boils down to ignorance.”

Sarah then lapsed into silence — thinking long and hard about what she just heard — before eventually falling asleep in her lover’s ebony embrace.

It was nothing short of cosmic cruelty for Sarah and Lumumba to have suffered the travesty of justice which came next. Right before school resumed that fall, Lumumba took Sarah to his native Tacoma for a family barbeque, but before the house he was raised in could be reached, the police pulled Sarah’s car over and falsely accused him of “fitting the description.”

An infuriated Lumumba resisted arrest and was shot dead before Sarah’s very eyes — by the time the sun set on that tragic day, the true culprit had been apprehended across town. Yes, he bore a vague, passing resemblance to Lumumba, but it wasn’t nearly enough to justify the atrocity that had been committed.

Ignorance caused another death but it also gained an enemy-for-life. Upon returning to the University of Washington (and after a long, grieving process mended a shattered spirit), Sarah changed her major from criminal justice to education.

February 28th, 1998

The following is a phone conversation between Sarah Manlove and her best friend, Matt Goad …

Matt: I’m just saying, girlfriend, you ought to give Vegas a try. I mean, that overcast, sub-arctic weather up there is only making you more depressed than usual.

Sarah: You know I still have another semester before I get my master’s …

Matt: And like I said, they’re DESPERATE for teachers down here! Hell, more folks move to Vegas every day, and if you’re stupid enough to gamble, you wind up stuck here after you’ve lost it all. So there are even more families with children, and for teachers, that means mo’ money, mo’ money, mo’ money!

Sarah: Fine, you’ve sold me. Besides, I have something else in mind you might be able to help me with … You still sew, right?

Matt: So long as there’s a chorus line full of showgirls on The Strip! It’s how I can afford this two bedroom house, which by the way is half yours should you decide to come down here.

Sarah: I appreciate that, thanks. Listen, I don’t know if you heard about this, but Kofi Annan — the secretary general of the United Nations — just stopped a war that could’ve consumed the whole world before it even started. He proved one man can make a difference.

Matt: Well, good for him, honey, but what does that have to do with moi?

Sarah: People need dramatic examples to shake them out of apathy and I can’t do that as Sarah Manlove. As a woman I’m flesh and blood; I can be ignored I can be destroyed, but as a symbol — as a symbol I can be incorruptible, I can be everlasting … Matt, you used to work in Hollywood before you moved to Vegas — have you ever worked on a superhero costume ..?

August 9th, 2004

Usually, it’s an unruly student and not a teacher who sits in dread outside the principal’s office, and yet there Sarah was …

Earlier that year, she had gone toe-to-toe with the PTA over teaching that the CIA killed JFK in her history class, but now it was a matter of whether Whitney High would let Professor Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States be the standard that said class went by.

It took an hour of cursing out the principal and threatening to organize a strike a week before the first day of school, but a deal was struck: Sarah could order copies of Zinn’s A People’s History, but only if …

a) A Patriot’s History of the United States by Larry Schweikart and Michael Patrick Allen was simultaneously cited in class, in the name of being “fair and balanced”

b) she paid for BOTH sets of books out of her own pocket

… Sarah reluctantly agreed — even though it’d mean twice as much work and flirting with bankruptcy. And while most other educators would’ve considered that enough for one day, Sarah subsequently ducked into the nearest ladies room and emerged as Mistress Peace. Disregarding the looks such a change of attire garnered from the staff of Whitney High, she strode with pride to her car (which would soon have to be sold in order to pay for those history books) and drove to The Strip — the boulevard in Las Vegas where most of its casnios are.

For the next few hours, Mistress Peace stood in all her glory on a street corner, raised dozens of dollars, and she even managed to slam then-presidential candidate, John Kerry, in a speech: “Today, Kerry said he would’ve invaded Iraq regardless of whether any weapons of mass destruction actually existed (which they don’t)! In the name of all that is holy and sacred! This means Kerry didn’t need to be lied to! This means Kerry will bend over backwards to appeal to the lowest common denominator; who evidently watched Patrick Swayze’s Red Dawn one time too many,” that comment brought smiles to some and shame to others, “this means he’s more dangerous than Bush! That’s why I’m voting for Nader, and before you falsely accuse me of spoiling an already-spoiled election, keep in mind that Nader got less than a hundred thousand votes in Florida whereas ONE MILLION black voters were kept from voting there at all! But does the Democratic Party blame the racism of Florida? No! It continues to scapegoat Nader! Further proof of just how worthless it is!”

Because Mistress Peace had to fend off a rabid “Anybody But Bush” Democrat incensed over any support for Ralph Nader, she was too distracted to say or do anything about the young man who stared at her from afar with disturbing intensity.

By sundown, Mistress Peace was already en route to her next stop, Café Roma, where every Monday night, its open mike allowed poets to perform. Though she didn’t actually have a poem, Mistress Peace still hoped the café would listen to her. “I come in here often enough to know that y’all think I’m crazy for wearing this, but what’s REALLY crazy is letting the military-industrial complex get away with mass murder again and again and again. No matter who you are or what you do, everyone can be a part the peace movement — so PLEASE, ask me how you can help. Given the way I dress, I won’t be hard to find.”

That last line did invoke a chuckle amongst Roma’s customers, but much to Mistress Peace’s chagrin, the only people who approached her were a pair of privileged princesses — one of which cradled a pet Chihuahua in a glittery pink sweater. “Sarah–”

“The name is Mistress Peace.”

“Whatever, Sarah,” the prettier of the two dismissively fanned her hand, “this an intervention. A fashion intervention, honey. The mall will be open for another hour, and we’re lucky, that’ll give us just enough time to do something about your — situation.”

Mistress Peace slowly rose from the table she sat at and doing so reminded the spoiled, suburban duo of a hawk spreading its wings before descending upon some hapless prey. “I’m only going to tell you two bitches this one last time: I do NOT need a goddamn makeover,” people in the café who sat within earshot of Mistress Peace began to turn their heads in her direction, “so if you EVER come at me like this again, I’m going to prove that I don’t just look like a superheroine, I fight like one too!”

Everyone in Café Roma went out of their way to avoid Mistress Peace after the aforementioned outburst, but just as she was about to leave, that same young man from the street corner earlier caught her eye. When he wasn’t staring at Mistress Peace, his head hid behind a large drawing pad, which made him seem very creepy indeed. Already in a bad mood, she thundered across the café towards the young man, but was pleasantly surprised to find flattering drawings of her in said pad. “Is this supposed to be me? I’m touched. These are good … I mean, Marvel, DC Comics good. Are you a professional?”

“I wish,” the young man’s face reddened from the attention his work received, “there’s too much competition and corporate censorship out there, so you have to create your own opportunities.” He then nervously extended a hand to be shaken. “I’m Vinnie Frizzelle.”

“Mistress P — Sarah. I’m Sarah Manlove.”

Sarah lived in Las Vegas with her friend Matt Goad in his two bedroom home for five years, and in all that time, she never brought a man back to the house (Matt has, but Sarah hasn’t). However, it’s been a long time since Lumumba and Vinnie did have a certain way about him …

… less than a month later, Sarah beseeched Matt to let Vinnie move in with them. “He doesn’t have much; just his art supplies and a computer. Everything else would stay in his van–”

“Lord have mercy, do you hear yourself?” Matt threw his hands in the air out of frustration. “Don’t you think this is a LITTLE fast? Besides, I got a bad feeling about this one. He has a problem making eye contact with me.”

“Probably because he’s afraid you’ll come on to him.”

“Cute, Sarah, real cute …” Matt folded his arms across the chest in angst “… fine, whatever. Let Michelangelo bunk with you, but at the first sign of trouble or homophobia, he’s out like roller disco.”

As the expression goes, for one brief, shining moment, Camelot: Though Vinnie wasn’t the lover or orator Lumumba had been, he made Sarah feel special. For while she was tantalized by Lumumba’s historical reminders of how black male/white female relationships were once verboten, Vinnie geniunely worshipped her. In a world where Mistress Peace was either a sex object or a freakish pariah, the superheroine felt like a mythic goddess in Vinnie’s presence — such a rare and precious thing stroked a previously untouched ego …

Except Vinnie never let Sarah see what he worked on. There was a lot of vague talk of making Mistress Peace famous but nothing more, and then the day came when curiousity took hold as it did with Eve in the garden of Eden — only this time it was for the best. “What the Hell — VINNIE ..!”

When Vinnie rushed into Sarah’s bedroom, his mouth gaped open upon seeing what she had been doing. “Why are you looking at my laptop? I told you not to–”

“Is this a porn site with Mistress Peace on it?!”

Matt Goad happened to be in the hallway when Sarah shrieked and poked his head in her doorway to eavesdrop . “Here we go …”

“Honey, I’m not done with it yet,” Vinnie implored, “it was going to be a surprise.”

“Well, here’s another surprise, get out! Get out of my room, my house and my life! We’re done!”

“Look, I don’t see the big deal,” Vinnie’s tone shifted from atoning to assertive, “you parade around in skin-tight … TIGHTS; you show off how well endowed you are for all the world to see, so why not take it one step further?”

“Because it’s my body and my choice, you prick!” Sarah now stood nose to nose with Vinnie. “YOU NEVER ASKED ME FOR MY PERMISSION! Don’t you think I’ve thought of this myself already? Sure, porn makes tens of billions of dollars every year, and yes, the left-wing would benefit immensely from that much money, but those savage ignoramuses at FOX News would have a fucking field day if it ever came out that the peace movement was being funded by something pornographic! Maybe, one day, yeah, but not now; not when it looks like we’ll have to wade through another four years of that inbred, retarded puppet of the oil industry!”

“Who said anything about funding the movement?” Vinnie’s eyes took on a sinister glimmer. “With as much money as I could make, we could move out of here and get a bigger place; even a mansion.”

“Y-You said you understood and cared about what I’m trying to do, you … ” Sarah’s teeth clenched tightly while both fists balled up and trembled in anticipation by her side.

“If I were you,” Matt intervined at this point, “I’d move out of here and get that bigger place RIGHT NOW, before he strikes you down where you stand.”

“Shut up, fag,” Vinnie didn’t even bother turning his head to smugly address Matt, “nobody’s talking to you.”

And with that, Sarah reached back and slammed a haymaker punch directly onto Vinnie’s glass jaw, knocking the artist out cold for hours. When Vinnie awoke, hastily broken pieces of his computer were strewn about on the pavement around him. After dark, somewhere in the bad part of town, he was also bound, gagged and completely naked with a cardboard sign fastened around the neck, which read, “FRESH MEAT.”

The bad news is, due to the First Amendment, the Get a Piece of Miss Peace’s Ass website is still online and is viewed by hundreds of thousands every other day. The good news is, thanks to some friends of Matt’s in the entertainment industry, Mistress Peace was able to tell her side of the story to tens of millions worldwide on an episode of Oprah. The name of the game is FAME.

April 5th, 2009

Mistress Peace awoke from her rather long flashback immersed in garbage. It was dawn the next morning and the drunken frat boys from Alpha Beta House who intended on gang raping a superheroine had long since forgotten about the act of evil they were going to commit; each were probably mired in a (hopefully very painful) hangover early that Sunday .

That evening, Sarah Manlove spoke before a group of girls who strove to be apprentices, of a sort. “… and that’s why, if you’re going to do this, you HAVE to use the buddy system and you HAVE to have a cell phone on you AT ALL TIMES. I know y’all think what I do is glamorous because you saw me on Oprah, and yes, there is that aspect to it, but always remember this ain’t about you and it certainly ain’t about your vanity or your comfort level. This is about the future of Humanity. Sex sells, this is true, but sex can also be a dangerous weapon, and if you don’t know how to use it — and use it well — it can misfire in your hand just like any malfunctioning gun. Beauty is power, and with great power, must come great responsibility. So whenever you’re out there dressed as superheroines (or other, similar characters) raising funds for good causes, you’re doing battle with the forces of evil — and as is the case with any battle, your weapon can mean the difference between life and death …”

The ladies in their late teens and early twenties studiously took notes while Sarah took a moment to gaze through a window of the room in the library she had reserved for this meeting. Her fingers gently ran along the side of a cheekbone; feeling for the faint wrinkles which were noticed after a long shower earlier. Though Sarah had yet to reach 40, it was best to find successors sooner rather than later. Strength in numbers, and all that.

There are those who believe — usually to rationalize a harsh past — that obstacles in life are necessary in order to strengthen the Human condition. Whenever Sarah hears some variation of this Nietzschean notion, she can’t help but cry and almost did in front of her assembled young charges. Surely, the strange case of Sarah Manlove accounted for some good in this world, but it wasn’t worth all the pain, so she sincerely hoped that those who took her place would be spared what Mistress Peace endured.


“You sit there a slave to fashion, sigh, and say to me, ‘I don’t want to spend my life fighting for a change that may never happen.’ MEANWHILE … as another victim dies from starvation in exchange for your ‘sense of style,’ I hope you wanting to hasten the death of your own life is worth murdering others.”
–from Raw Knowledge’s poem, Fashion Starvation, in the book Molotov Mouths by Manic D Press

“Cautious, careful people — always casting about to preserve their reputation and social standing — never can bring about a reform.”
–Susan B. Anthony


Inherit the Earth

Inherit the Earth
by Saab Lofton

Touch me in the morning
Then just walk away
We don’t have tomorrow
But we had yesterday
–Diana Ross

The first Earthlings to explore our solar system were those who could afford to and therein lies the problem: By the time the corporate elite had colonized Mars, Terra Firma had been completely plundered and polluted. So while the wealthy wallowed in luxury hotel-casinos scattered across the red planet’s deserts, the meek finally inherited the Earth (Matthew 5:5) – or what’s left of it …

Tusayan, Arizona 2211 A.D.

To the everlasting shame of the few remaining Native Americans, the entire Grand Canyon was turned into a gigantic junkyard. Filled to the brim with everything from obsolete machinery to Scooby Doo lunch boxes, what was once one of the world’s premiere natural attractions has become just another assignment to the recyclers: Adorned in enormous exoskeletons (or “power loaders”), a recycler will sift through similar landfills for whatever could still be of use in the early 23rd century.

Three such recyclers — Aaron Dixon, his fiancée, Kathleen Neal and her little brother Lee — were working at a breakneck pace since the Weather Service had predicted that a bout of acid rain would soon douse the otherwise arid chasm. ”That’s enough for today,” Dixon radioed both comrades from his headset, “these suits are strong, but this metal won’t stand up to that dirty drizzle.”

“No, wait! I see something I got to have!” Lee impetuously insisted. “I can almost reach it …”

“Damn it, you heard Aaron,” Kathleen sounded parental even though she was only a sibling, “besides, you can come back when it’s not about to–”

“–just because you two are going to get married doesn’t mean you’ve adopted me, so get off my case,” Lee interrupted, “I know a collector that’ll give me a fortune for an Erin Brockovich action figure in mint condition!”

An ominous hiss could be heard as those first drops of corrosive precipitation descended from above and onto the armor of every recycler.

Now, Lee!” Dixon commanded. “Before it’s too late!”

“Almost there …” Lee ignored the man he answered to and kept grasping at the ancient figurine until an acidic driblet burned through a crucial circuit, which shorted out his exosuit and the sudden loss of mechanical motor control caused him to tumble into a pit. “Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!”

Then came an avalanche of garbage which made it impossible for either Aaron Dixon or Kathleen Neal to even see Lee — let alone pull the brash youth to safety …

… soon that light mist became a torrential downpour and left the recyclers with no choice but to retreat, lest they be scalded by acid or buried in debris themselves. “No! We can’t just leave him!” Kathleen tearfully shrieked as a remorseful Dixon drug her to higher ground.

Despite the New United Nations’ aspiration to repair the ecological damage left behind decades ago by rapacious industrialists, an immense miasma of smog still fouled the air, so major metropolitan areas were often converted into hermetically sealed bio-domes and Tusayan was no exception. After the tragic death of Lee Neal (2193 – 2211), a funeral was held in a union hall where recyclers gather, and within certain spots of this domed city, black flags waved in artificially circulated air.

“Once upon a time, if the rich wanted to gamble, they’d sail in their yachts out to international waters,” Lorenzo Veronza, an elderly labor organizer, addressed the assembled mourners, “but that wasn’t enough for them, so Old Las Vegas was founded. Now they’ve exchanged one desert for another …” Veronza gazed upward towards the stars; implicitly at Mars. “… the loss of this youngster is the latest example of how we’re all still suffering because of their greed. Sure, there’s zero unemployment, but that’s only because they left so much to clean up! The worst, of course, are the wildfires and blizzards created by climate change; by pollution, mind you, which are as mobile as tornados but as powerful as hurricanes striking at whim … Should we be so grateful for a living wage with full benefits that none of us will mind dying on the job?”

Subsequent to the bereavement, Dixon approached Veronza in order to inquire, “are there any current examples the rich hurting us? I hate to play devil’s advocate here, but I’ve been to the Republic of Mars and those Republicans would claim that’s all in the past. Now they have their world and we have ours, right?”

“Wrong,” Veronza shook his head in the negative and gestured for someone nearby to come hither, “Aaron this is Aoki. Aoki, tell Aaron what you told me earlier.”

Dressed as a messenger for the New United Nations, Aoki shook Dixon’s hand and asked, “you know what coltan is, of course?”

“Of course,” Dixon answered, ”after it’s refined, coltan becomes a heat resistant powder that can store an electrical charge, which explains its value to computer manufacturers. During the 21st century, most of it was in the Congo, where my ancestors hailed from, and genocide was committed fighting over mining rights.”

“Well, aside from ice and dust, Mars is one big ball of coltan,” Aoki informed, “Pyrmidon, the biggest corporation there, has even gone so far as to play God and create genetically engineered supermen to mine it, but rather than trade fairly, we’re actually expected to exchange crates of bottled water for the tiniest bit of coltan.”

If Lee Neal’s untimely demise upset and disturbed Dixon, hearing the aforementioned consumed him with righteous rage. “Are you kidding me? As hard as clean water is to come by in this day and age?” Taking a moment to calm down, he queried, “why doesn’t Mars melt its ice for water?”

“Because that could eventually increase Mars’ air supply and Pyrmidon is also in the business of selling air,” Aoki frowned.

In desperate need of catharsis, Dixon was about to launch into a profane rant until he observed a poster on the union hall’s wall of none other than England’s greatest legend, Robin Hood – at which point, a wild idea occurred to him. “Aoki, are you the one who makes these bottled water deliveries to Mars?”

“Yes, I’m ashamed to say.”

Dixon then draped his brawny arm across Aoki’s shoulders in an ingratiating manner. “We need to talk …”

As far as the New United Nations had been concerned, this was business as usual: A freighter christened as the Sagan ignited its plasma drive and lifted off from the spacecraft carrier Bradbury en route to Mars. However, within the Sagan, Aaron Dixon and Kathleen Neal were impersonating N.U.N. personnel. “I must say,” Dixon leered at Kathleen, “light blue and white tights suits you.”

“If we get caught, we’ll be wearing fluorescent orange,” Kathleen’s pale face reddened with angst, “I can’t believe I let you talk me into this.”

“You’re an engineer extraordinaire, so we’ll need your expertise,” Dixon shrugged, “and you want to avenge your brother’s death more than I do. Granted, the bastards who’re directly responsible for the landfill and the acid rain that killed Lee have been dead for centuries,but history is repeating itself. Millions of gallons of our purest spring water for a smidgen of coltan?I don’t think so.”

“It’s not too late to turn back, apologize to the crew you stole those uniforms from and go back to Arizona,” Aoki suggested as he steered the Sagan out of Earth’s orbit, ”if you say it was a prank — or that you acted out of grief — they may not press charges.”

Dixon angrily grit his teeth. “We stick with the plan: When they unload all this bottled water, we’ll claim there was a computer error insofar as how much coltan we’re supposed to receive; we’ll trick their asses into giving us far more than they intended and then Earth will have enough coltan to last for years.”

“I don’t know if my hacker skills are up to the task,” Kathleen began to doubt herself, “tell me again why we’re not simply hijacking a ship filled with coltan?”

“Weren’t you the one who didn’t want this to become violent?” Dixon reminded. “Besides, it’ll take us thirty days to get there, so you’ll have plenty of time to practice those hacker skills of yours.”

Unfortunately, a month of study did little to improve Kathleen’s acumen. After the Sagan landed near the Milton Friedman Mine at the base of a massive volcano in Mars’ western hemisphere (Olympus Mons), she transmitted that false evidence of an oversight only to have her efforts laughed at.

“A thousand metric tons, indeed! Talk about wishful thinking! That glitch is because of your faulty software, not ours!” A snide miner replied. “In the name of Ayn Rand – you tree-huggers are supposed to build computers that actually function with coltan, not smoke it ..!”

“Smug bastard. So much for tricking them,” Dixon grimaced in chagrin from within the Sagan‘s cabin, “Aoki, what kind of fire power do we have?”


Dixon did a double take. “What do you mean, none?”

“All this time and you’re only now asking me if we have fire power?” Aoki raised his voice. “Some fearless leader you are!”

“I’ll show you leadership …” Dixon muttered under his breath as he hastily strapped himself into an exoskeleton. “… it’ll take a few trips, but with this, I’ll be strong enough to haul the coltan on board.”

“I’m going with you,” Kathleen also slipped into an exosuit, “in case you’ve forgotten, the Republic of Mars legalized cloning, so each of these miners are enhanced to the peak of Human perfection; strength, speed, agility, they’ll all be increased by a factor of–”

“–never tell me the odds,” Dixon cut Kathleen off, “and you know how jealous I get, so I hope you’re not lusting after those muscle bound Republicans. Aoki? While we’re out there, here’s what I want you to do …”

Every (exploited) employee within the Milton Friedman Mine’s protective dome panicked as the Sagan had unexpectedly spun 180 degrees in order for its rear exhaust to face them. In lieu of actual lasers, Aoki revved his engines so the fiery emissions could potentially incinerate anyone attempting to prevent Aaron Dixon and Kathleen Neal from loading the cargo hold.

“This is only going to keep them away for so long,” Aoki warned Dixon over their radio headsets, “soon they’ll start firing at the Sagan, and if enough damage is done, we won’t be able to take off.”

“I understand, but we’ve got problems of our own ..!” Dixon cried out into his headset since he and Kathleen were fighting for their lives against an onslaught of genetically augmented miners; dozens of six foot five, 250 pound men — each of which virtually identical in both dress and appearance – either fired lasers or threw themselves at the pair of power loader wearing intruders.

“Finish loading the ship!” Dixon ordered while swatting a muscular miner aside. “I’ll take care of these test tube Nazis!”

“I won’t leave you behind!” Kathleen shouted over the carnage.

Just do it!”

With the last chest of coltan in her exoskeleton’s giant hand, Kathleen lumbered towards an increasingly besieged Sagan. Meanwhile, Dixon snatched a stray laser from one of his unconscious opponents, fired at the mine’s ceiling and caused a cave in. The resulting rockslide eliminated any remaining miners and allowed him to escape relatively unscathed.

“I thought you were against the death penalty!” Kathleen chastised her fiancé once she realized what had been done.

“They’re clones, honey,” Dixon defended his dubious actions, “they might as well be robots.”

The Douglas Trask Hotel-Casino is located amidst the Syrtis Major Planum between the northern lowlands and southern highlands of Mars. The region happens to be known for its dark hue which is due to volcanic rock and a lack of dust. However, locals colloquially attribute that darkness to the many atrocities committed by an aristocracy dating back to the days of Donald Trump the Third. On the streets surrounding this luxurious resort were either callous tourists, desperate peddlers or homeless transients, but in its exclusive suite, Pyrmidon’s C.E.O. Mark Malkin and his military attaché, Ronald Ernest, languished on anti-gravity mattresses with a bevy of barely legal prostitutes — most of whom were still in a drunken stupor from the previous evening …

… then their lecherous bliss was disturbed by an urgent call from what they call Mission Control: “Sir! Terrorists have attacked the Milton Friedman Mine! They’ve stolen a billion ducats worth of coltan and killed at least a hundred miners!”

“Holy Tea Party!” Malkin hastily fastened his satin bathrobe, leapt out of bed and addressed the viewscreen that had activated. “Where are they now?”

“They just left orbit in a New U.N. ship called the Sagan,” a space traffic controller reported.

“Then it’s war …” Malkin whirled around to rudely awaken Ernest. “… get your lazy ass up and earn your keep! I want you to personally lead the fleet that’s going to blow that little thief out of the stars!”

Since its purpose was to haul cargo and not to fight battles, the Sagan very nearly perished because of the atomic torpedoes launched at it. “We can’t take much more of this,” Kathleen pointed out, “their nuclear powered ships are faster and stronger than ours!”

At that dire moment, the word nuclear made Aoki recall an atrocity in Human history and prompted him to think along certain lines. “I have an idea – Kathleen, hack into the computers of those ships and input the following …”

On the bridge of the Goldwater, Ronald Ernest couldn’t help but notice a dangerous increase in temperature. “Is it hot in here or is it just me?”

“I wish it was just you, sir, but it’s not –our cooling system is offline,” the Goldwater‘s engineer regretted to inform, “without it, the reactor core will overheat and irradiate us. It’s happening on the other ships too. We have to shut everything down and wait to be picked up.”

What ..?!” An enraged Ernest barked. “And let those damn commies get away?”

“It’s either that or we’ll all glow in the dark until we die of cancer,” the engineer alerted.

Cheers erupted inside the Sagan‘s cabin when its sensors detected that the Goldwater, the Reagan and the McCarthy slowly but surely ground to a halt. “One of these days, you’ll have to explain to me how y’all did that,” Dixon grinned.

“I’m originally from Hiroshima,” Aoki revealed, “and in school, we were required to learn everything about nuclear power – ’know thy enemy,’ as they say …”

Officially, to avoid a war with the Republic of Mars, the New United Nations disavowed any knowledge of the Sagan‘s mission and even went so far as to declare Aaron Dixon, Kathleen Neal and Aoki outlaws.

Unofficially, that coltan the Sagan managed to wangle was deposited in, ironically, England’s Sherwood Forest — where it incrementally found its way into Earth’s technology …


Last Minute Holiday Gift Idea?

Just so you know, there’s a guy in town who will write a short story about all your favorite things for a nominal fee. His name is Saab Lofton and he’s a writer who self-identifies as a full time activist. He’s also a comic artist—creator of Silverbullet, the “world’s first black lesbian superheroine”—and a source of an endless stream of political opinions and Star Trek knowledge. He’s not gay, but one time he got gay-bashed by some thugs in Los Angeles who mistook his superhero costume for evidence of cross dressing.

Needless to say, I was intrigued the proposition, so I “borrowed” some cash from David and filled out Saab’s questionnaire on the spot. Three days later, he emailed me a story, which may be described with a number of adjectives, not the least among them awesome. My questionnaire responses and the resulting story are after the jump.

What is your favorite…

movie: The Time Machine (1960)

color: “tail of the peacock”

band/musician: Leonard Cohen

animal: tie between thousand-headed serpent and centaur

dream job: Betazoid high priestess

fictional character: God

sport: Luche libre

What’s your worst nightmare? The American Christo-fascist Walmartocracy

If you had three wishes what would they be?

(1) To be a rock star. (2) To be able to perfectly draw any image that enters my mind’s eye. (3) To help lead humanity to a more healthy and productive relationship with spirituality.

Confess to the Priestess
by Saab Lofton

Your faith was strong but you needed proof
–from the song Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen

Singing and playing guitar always made Leanne Kahn feel like herself, but nothing completed the musical experience like an overwhelming round of applause: It reassured Leanne that she’s doing something which was meant to be (and besides, it wasn’t often that a beautiful woman received a lot of public approval unless sex is involved). This accounted for Leanne’s penchant for performing in small venues — audiences seemed bigger and louder in them …

As usual, Leanne’s Christian rock band Crown of Thorns rocked the crowd of five hundred, and as usual, those who were paying attention could easily discern how radical her lyrics were …

Luke three-eleven
My favorite verse
The man with two coats
Or that fat purse
Must share what he has
Lest things get worse

… referred to by Rolling Stone Magazine as “the religious version of Rage Against Machine,” Crown of Thorns had come into its own as of late. What put the band over the top was its inclusion of a former professional wrestler as a bass player. El Spirito, a luchador who only recently became an American citizen, joined Crown of Thorns after a career-ending injury in Mexico City. And even though the man can no longer wrestle, El Spirito still wears his trademark mask wherever he goes. Leanne is one of the handful of people on the planet who has seen him without it and knows El Spirito’s Christian name.

After playing a rousing set at an out-of-the-way place called The Showcase, Crown of Thorns — Leanne, El Spirito, keyboardist Matt Fink and drummer Rick Allen in all — retired to its custom made tour bus, affectionately dubbed The Sweet Chariot. Imagine their collective disdain when they found a couple of yuppies sitting inside waiting for them.

“This is what we get for not locking the door,” Matt Fink lamented.

“Or for not having a bodyguard,” Rick Allen added.

“Hey, why hire a bodyguard when you’ve got someone who used to be world champion …” El Spirito began to advance menacingly upon the uninvited duo but Leanne stood in his way.
“Now, now, let’s hear what they have to say for themselves,” Leanne then turned to the two men in three piece suits, “this better be good.”

“Right. Well, Miss Kahn, my name is Wally Martin — I’m actually from your hometown of Westmount, Washington, and being a lifelong Christian, I’ve always been a huge fan of Crown of Thorns. This here is–”

“–Mister Ehrlich,” the older, foreboding man cut his more exuberant associate off, “that’s all you need to know about me.”

“Would your hesitancy to disclose personal information be due to your connections with the C.I.A., Mr. Robert Lee Ehrlich from Lynchburg, Virginia?” The pupils of Leanne’s eyes lit up for a moment and glowed bright red. For his part, Mr. Ehrlich seemed visibly shaken and struggled to maintain a stern demeanor.

“Uh, anyway …” Wally adjusted his bow tie out of discomfort “… we’re here to make you an offer. Since you’ve been on the road and don’t have a manager, we figured this was the best way to reach you.”

“And why do you want to reach us?” El Spirito cracked his knuckles to indicate his impatience.

Wally nervously avoided eye contact with the former wrestler and focused on Leanne. “W-We’re from WalMart and we’re wondering if Crown of Thorns would perform at the grand opening of our latest superstore in Bodega Aurrerá, Mexico.”

“OK, that does it!” El Spirito grabbed Wally and Mr. Ehrlich by their collars with the intent of throwing them out of the bus and into the street, but again, Leanne kept his wrath in check.

“Sheathe your claws, Wolverine,” Leanne laid a gentle hand on El Spirito’s 22-inch bicep, “let them finish.”

“You better listen to her before you’re unmasked in court when I sue you for every peso you have, senior!” Mr. Ehrlich barked while Wally cringed in El Spirito’s grasp.

El Spirito let them go, but wasn’t at all delicate in doing so. He then sulked in a distant, darkened corner of the bus and resumed cracking his knuckles.

“I apologize …” Leanne helped Wally straighten that tie — simultaneously, Mr. Ehrlich glared at El Spirito whilst he regained his composure “… my bass player has a problem with corporate bloodsuckers, no offense.”

“None taken,” Wally reached into his jacket pocket and produced a business card, “if you could give me a call before the end of this week, I’ll arrange a time for you to come to our office so we can cut you a check that’ll more than cover all your expenses for the trip to Mexico and back.”

“What’s the matter?” El Spirito called out from his corner. “You don’t have thirty pieces of silver on you?”

Without saying another word, Wally scurried and Mr. Ehrlich stormed out of The Sweet Chariot. Once they left, El Spirito angrily sprang to his size 13 boots. “What the Hell, Leanne? I thought you were going to throw them out!”

“Will you trust your fearless leader?” Leanne mischievously cocked her head to one side and smirked. “Look, I’m as pissed as you are: That bastard says he’s also from Westmount, but he either forgot that WalMart ran every small business there out of business or he doesn’t care — so he’s ignorant or traitorous. Don’t worry, though, I have a plan.”

“Let me guess: The ol’ Trojan Horse routine?” El Spirito folded his massive arms. “We’re going to take their blood money and donate most of it to charity — meanwhile, we’ll be scaring them shitless by playing your most radical song? Well it won’t be enough, not this time! They’re talking about opening another WalMart half a mile away from the pyramids of Teotihuacan! The ruins of an ancient, sacred city! It’s an attack on my heritage! We shouldn’t go!”

“I’m sorry, Spirit,” Leanne sat next to her six foot eight, three hundred pound bass player, “unfortunately, we need that blood money, but I swear I’ll make it up to you … Now that I think about it, I’ve actually heard of Teotihuacan — it’s said to possess a special energy, right ..?”

“Kind of like you, ‘Miss Red Eye’ …” El Spirito lowered his voice until Matt and Rick fired up the bus for the next stop on its tour; once they were in the driver’s/passenger’s seats and out of earshot, he continued “… how did you know that sinister looking old man’s first and middle name — not to mention his place of birth? You keep promising you’ll tell me how you’re able to know things about people one day. Well, I’d say today’s that day, darlin’ …”

A disconcerted look came across Leanne’s face — and after a long pause, she sighed heavily and replied, “All right, Hugo Romero, since I know who you are … But you’ve got to promise not to have me committed to a mental institution after I tell you and you have to swear to secrecy …”

“On my madre’s grave,” El Spirito swore, “God rest her soul.”

“I was still living in Westmount,” Leanne reached back into her memory, “it was one of those perfect summers in the state of Washington that makes up for the horrible winters there. I was sitting under a tree — by a lake I just swam in — drawing the peacock’s tail that’s on the cover of my first album. I was all alone, so there aren’t any witnesses to back me up on this, but I’m telling you, a centaur straight out of Greek mythology appeared–”

“–I’ve heard enough,” El Spirito began to stand and was about to get the attention of either Matt or Rick in the front, “you do need psychiatric help, honey.”

“I know what you’ve never told anyone,” Leanne’s pupils became crimson, “that you’ve always had feelings for me, and you’d want nothing more than to introduce me to your family, but you’re afraid I’d turn you down because we work together.”

An unnerved El Spirito slowly sat back down.

“We’ll talk more about that later. Anyway, this half man half horse creature,” Leanne continued, “trotted up to me and said I was chosen. He wouldn’t tell me what I was chosen for — just that I needed to hop on his back and ride with him. So I did, and not to make you jealous or anything, but once a gal goes centaur, she don’t go back.”

El Spirito grimaced in chagrin.

“Kidding! I’m so kidding!” Leanne assured. “OK, this is when it gets really weird, because no sooner than I got on him does he gallop at top speed towards this swirling light show — like a black hole in space except it was rainbow colored and on the ground; right in front of us. We stepped through and came out the other end back in time — about three or four thousand years …”

Stunned, El Spirito shook his head in the negative. “This just keeps getting better and better.”

“I was taken to a temple on top of a hill and inside there was a woman sitting on a throne — she wore this transparent gown and was surrounded by a golden glow,” Leanne attempted to convey, “she said she was Minerva, the goddess of wisdom. Then she said she looked into the future and saw the need for a priestess in the 21st century. So she gave me a bit of her wisdom — telethapy and empathy, mainly — and then sent me back home on that time traveling centaur.”

It took a moment for El Spirito to take all this in, but once he did … “So, The Cosmic Centaur took you on a magical journey to visit a goddess from Greek mythology, huh? And here I thought you were supposed to be a Christian. I mean, isn’t this a little blasphemous? ‘There shall be no gods — excuse me, goddesses — before me.’ False idols and so forth ..?”

Leanne leaned back in her chair and looked inward. “How did Minerva put it? ‘In my studies of your era, I’ve found that Christian Americans are especially threatened by my kind when there’s absolutely no reason for them to be. There are many gods worshipped on Earth and throughout the multiverse. They are given truth by the strength of faith, and thus, through belief and prayer are all made true. All spring from the same higher power, which means their faith is not misplaced or at risk. No one’s is.’ Wow. I can’t believe I memorized all that.”

El Spirito smiled from underneath his mask and scoffed, “maybe you’re possessed too.”

The next day, Leanne called Wally Martin and asked where she should meet him in order to cut that Faustian deal of his. Since there were so many WalMarts across the country, finding a corporate office that could authorize what he planned wasn’t hard at all. As fate would have it, a board meeting of top level executives happened to be scheduled at an office not far from Crown of Thorns’ tour route, so Wally told Leanne they should rendezvous there.

While the rest of the band waited in the The Sweet Chariot and watched a marathon of Star Trek movies, Leanne walked alone into the lion’s den. When Matt and Rick asked why he didn’t escort her, El Spirito shrugged, “believe it or not, boys, she’s more powerful than all of us put together.”

Wally met Leanne in the lobby and led her to that boardroom where those executives were. “When they heard I had procured the Crown of Thorns, they insisted that I bring you in.”

Leanne muttered under her breath, “I already don’t like this …”

The room was adorned with both a crucifix and a historically inaccurate painting of a white Jesus. Six equally white men in business dress sat around an oaken, rectangular table — dead in its center laid a phone book-sized copy of the Holy Bible with a stark white book jacket and gold lettering.

“Yeah,” Leanne nodded, “definitely not cool …”

“Miss Kahn, I’ll get right to the point,” one of the men in a suit and tie stood from his seat, “we’ve been going over your lyrics and find them to be objectionable. If you’re going to perform at our grand opening, you’ll have to play something purely instrumental or play a song that’s not offensive.”

“Everything in my lyrics is in that book you’ve got there,” Leanne pointed out their bible, “hand it over and I’ll show you.”

“I’m sure you’re very good at taking certain passages out of context and twisting them around for your own purposes,” another man in a tie mentioned, “but we’re not interested in your attempts to use the word of God to advance some liberal agenda. We just want our grand opening to be a family friendly, fun-for-all experience.”

“Translation: Don’t indict the rich and powerful,” Leanne’s eyes burned like twin flames as she began to pace around the boardroom in a manner befitting a caged animal, “Like you, Mr. From, who bribed a governor to veto a bill which would’ve required WalMart to provide health care for its employees. Or you, Mr. Robb, who approved the deletion of time from workers’ timecards and denied them meal and rest breaks. Or you, Mr. Chiles, who hired white truck drivers with less experience and serious driving violations even though there were plenty of black drivers to choose from. Or you, Mr. Nunn, who found a way around the Clean Water Act and oversaw the construction of sites that had a negative impact on streams and watersheds. Or you, Mr. Bayh, who got on FOX News, crowed about how America was being taken over by illegal immigrants, but then used them to clean your stores. Or you, Mr. Ford, who fired a woman for not being able to recite the Ten Commandments on command, but then promised you’d rehire her with a raise if she slept with you.”

“Harold, you did that?” Wally Martin asked in disgust. “That’s nasty …”

“Not only that, but they were both married!” Leanne amended. “Double adultery! What do the Ten Commandments say about that, Hal?” After catching her breath, Leanne’s eyes returned to normal. “Bottom line, gentlemen? You’ll cut that check and my band will play whatever the fuck it wants at this opening or everything I’ve just said will wind up in the lyrics of my next album.”

Bodega Aurrerá, Mexico exhumed a lot of memories for El Spirito — he lost the world heavyweight championship title to El Sierpe (The Snake), a wrestler who happened to be from there, and that match also cost him a key disc in his back, which brought a 15 year long career to an abrupt end. Nevertheless, El Spirito had nothing but respect for the tradition El Sierpe honored — since the inhabitants of ancient Teotihuacan worshipped serpents — and tried hard not to bear him any ill will. Fortunately, like Hulk Hogan, El Spirito also knew how to play guitar, so …

… when Crown of Thorns arrived in Bodega Aurrerá, Leanne made contact with the people there planning on protesting WalMart’s grand opening and arranged for the band to stand with them. On the day the latest superstore was to open, Wally Martin came dangerously close to a massive cardiac arrest when he saw Crown of Thorns performing for and amidst the protesters instead of on the stage WalMart spent a small fortune erecting!

“That’s one Hell of a breach of contract,” an enraged Mr. Robert Lee Ehrlich chafed, “we’ll bleed them bone dry in court.”

The lyrics Leanne sang spoke of Jesus’ last sermon and how it gave a hint as to who would make it to Heaven — and who wouldn’t …

When he thanked them for the meal
They didn’t understand
When did I ever
Feed the Son of Man?
He said, “when you fed
Anyone who’s hungry
It turned out that
You’re really feeding me.”

Desperate to put a happy face on the proceedings, Wally held high a pair of oversized novelty scissors and began the ribbon cutting ceremony. However, at the exact moment the giant bow was sliced, the ground beneath them quaked. It was enough for everyone — activist and elitist alike — to stop what they were doing …

The WalMart which was about to be opened suddenly suffered an explosion from within. Through its center shot forth a hundred foot long, forty foot thick trunk lined with reptilian scales. It rapidly emerged like a geyser would, and when its accent slowed, most in attendance shrieked in horror at the sight of a hissing, thousand-headed serpent. Some ran for their lives (namely the likes of Wally Martin and Mr. Robert Lee Ehrlich) while the indigenous population aware of the region’s history stood in awe as the monstrous ophidian savagely demolished the superstore surrounding it before burrowing back into the bowels of the Earth and out of view.

Utterly astonished, El Spirito and Leanne gaped at each other. “Myths are real,” they echoed.

To the delight of thousands of locals, that creature’s colossal amount of damage sent toys, groceries, items of clothing and various other amenities/appliances flying in every direction — which meant Christmas came several months early for the poor people of Bodega Aurrerá. While the biggest free-for-all of all time went down all around them, Leanne picked a cracked bottle of expensive perfume off the ground and held it up to El Spirito. “What do you think? Should we take part in the looting?”

“It may not be the Christian thing to do,” El Spirito remarked, “but we might as well stock up on supplies. It’s not like we’ll be able to return to America — not unless you want WalMart to sue us.”

“So what are you saying?” Leanne looked at El Spirito as if he was up to something. “That we should spend the rest of our lives in Mexico? I suppose that’d give you a chance to introduce me to your family, huh?”

“You said it, I didn’t,” El Spirito took off his mask and revealed he was blushing.

Leanne threw her arms around him and gave the Mexican wrestler/bass player a French kiss. “I did, didn’t I?”

Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.
… from the staggering account
of the Sermon on the Mount
–from the song Democracy by Leonard Cohen

Dying for a story of your own? Contact Saab Lofton at saablofton (at) hotmail (dot) com.

Seattle Suicide Watch by Saab Lofton

Originally published to

Seattle Suicide Watch
by Saab Lofton

“I’m distributed by studios that are owned by large corporate entities. Now, why would they put me out there when I am opposed to everything that they stand for … it’s because they don’t believe in anything. They put me on there because they know that there’s millions of people that want to see my film or watch the TV show, and so they’re gonna make money. And I’ve been able to get my stuff out there because I’m driving my truck through this incredible flaw in capitalism, the greed flaw. The thing that says that the rich man will sell you the rope to hang himself with if he thinks he make a buck off it.”
–Michael Moore, The Corporation (2003)

Never thought I’d say this, but Michael Moore is wrong. If anything, I’m living proof of how wrong he is …

I recently went to the Emerald City ComiCon at the Washington State Convention Center. There I met Wil Wheaton (Ensign Crusher from Star Trek) and cartoonist Peter Bagge (who unfortunately turned out to be just as gratuitously snide as his character Buddy Bradley). Like most comic conventions, this well-attended event was a source of stimulating conversation and beautiful women dressed in superheroic spandex. I was especially pleased the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund had a table. A most worthy cause, the CBLDF was founded in 1986 as a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization and is essentially the ACLU of the comic industry.

Within the few hours I was at the Emerald City ComiCon, I sold over forty copies of my comic book, Rufus the black cat (that’s a dozen copies per hour — let Peter Bagge beat that). Over the past several years, I’ve consistently sold hundreds — if not thousands — of copies of Rufus in record time. In addition, both the second and third printings of my second novel sold in the span of a single calendar year (and half of the first printing of my first novel sold during the first year of its release). So if Michael Moore’s quote from The Corporation was correct, some capitalist would’ve invested in me and a nationwide book tour would’ve been paid for by now.

Moore claimed that capitalists, “don’t believe in anything.” This simply isn’t true. Most of those who’re in a position to heavily invest in the arts are white, and since I make Rev. Jeremiah Wright look like Steppin Fetchit*, their subliminal belief in the supposed necessity of white dominance alone will keep them from funding my work.

For the record, it’d have been one thing if Rev. Wright went off about how lizard men from Atlantis built a giant laser with the intent of knocking the moon out of orbit, but that obviously wasn’t the case. In fact, NOTHING Wright said was wrong: YES, America “supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans.” YES, America “got more black men in prison than there are in college.” These things are only controversial to someone whose sole concern is feeling comfortable; white suburbia needs to learn once and for all that just because something keeps you from being able to save face does NOT mean it’s inaccurate.

Author Flannery O’Connor phrased it best: “The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.”

Just as an activist engaged in a hunger strike will put his/her life at risk, I too am involved in something similar: When I won awards taking on the rich/powerful (the right-wing) via my column in The Las Vegas CityLife, I was happily killing two birds with one stone: Paying the bills BY making a difference. All too many, however, are content with working an evil day job so long as they can survive — it doesn’t matter to them what adverse effect their place of business has on the future (this inconsiderate attitude is culturally reinforced by songs like TLC’s No Scrubs).

After my column was censored in Las Vegas, I had to move in with my mom, but now I finally found someplace where the rent is cheap enough for me to subsist (albeit barely) off of what I was meant for (radical storytelling*). Like Jimmy Stewart’s character George Bailey from Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life, my spirituality is entirely hinged on how much of a difference I’ve made. In case the pen ain’t mightier than the sword, I need to spend every waking moment doing my part; I can’t save the world if I’m flipping burgers full time, and all one has to do is read today’s Orwellian headlines to see that the world does need saving.

This commentary is entitled “Seattle Suicide Watch” for a reason. Either I’ll be able to survive doing nothing other than what I was born to do or I’ll die of starvation, period. Death before dishonor. This isn’t arrogance, this is about justice. How dare anyone ask me to work a day job when I’ve proven myself time and time again? When Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly or Ann Coulter (to my knowledge, none of those fascists can draw and/or write fiction) start burger flipping, let me know.


Dream Jobs or Death

by Saab Lofton
Submitted on Tue, 11/06/2007 – 17:03

According to an episode of Star Trek: Voyager, “Money went the way of the dinosaur,” by the dawn of the 22nd century, thanks to something called the “New World Economy.” Or as the show’s creator, Gene Roddenberry, said right before his death in 1991.

“Money is a terrible thing. Why do people work at jobs in Star Trek? Why does someone become a baker? Because the family is going to starve to death? No. People become bakers because certain people love the smell of things baking.” In other words, the Humans in Roddenberry’s future aren’t forced to work a day job (just as niggahs today don’t have to pick cotton). Characters in Star Trek only work their dream jobs, and everyone’s labor of love provides — via barter — everyone else with whatever they desire. As a result of this and other, similar factors, poverty, bigotry and atrocity are abolished on Earth.

I don’t want to hear about how Star Trek is just a TV show. The Bible is just a book and look at how many people have been inspired by it. Like Gandhi said, one must “be the change you seek,” and I do this by dedicating myself to bringing Roddenberry’s vision to life.

On average, most activists usually work (an often evil) day job for 40 hours per week and protest for a few hours per month. Because there’s strength in numbers; because those “few hours” add up if enough people follow the aforementioned regimen, we the people have gotten by, so far …

In contrast, I’ve tried to pay the bills BY saving the world, thus killing two birds with one stone. Because I’m particularly concerned with the ripple effect my deeds could have on the future, I’ve boycotted evil day jobs over the years and sustained myself whenever I could via my dream job, storytelling. However, since I doubt the pen is mightier than the sword, I compensate by being a left-winger 24 hours a day — which means everything I write is left-wing as well. I bring this up because if I was willing to write about that goddamn Chihuahua of Paris Hilton’s or Britney Spears’ breakdown(s), I’d want for nothing; my samurai-esque refusal to waste my talents on fluff-laden bread and circuses accounts for my current poverty.

Also too, if I were to somehow circumvent all this corporate censorship (which has plagued my career for years) and became a really successful author, I’d give three-fourths of how much ever I made to charity (I swore an oath to God to this effect). My role model insofar as this goes is the late, great Marlon Brando. According to the Maoist Internationalist Movement’s eulogy of Brando, “In the famous, Wounded Knee incidents, Brando again donated money and sided with the First Nations. Marlon Brando donated large sums of money to the Black Panther Party.”

Knowing this about me, it’s entirely possible the investment community has red flagged my black ass in order to ensure I never “make it big,” but what really hurts is when the working class looks at me as if I’m some kind of snob for not wanting to ruin the hands I draw/type with doing some form of manual labor everyday (I guess misery really does love company). They can’t/won’t seem to grasp that I’m “on strike,” as it were, for them: The example I’m setting is supposed to inspire the masses to pursue their labors of love, to only accept ethical sources of income and to steer Humanity that much closer to a Roddenberryian utopia. Again, be the change that you seek; don’t hold your breath waiting for some vainglorious revolution to do it for you. And while all too many workers may not understand me, this one fan of mine certainly does …

Saab should be proud that he is not working, although I believe that this is an incorrect statement. Each time you give a hand up to a fellow Human being, you are working. Every time you take your time to research an injustice, you are working. If working means bucks an hour, Saab may not work. If working means researching injustice and statements that are incorrect, he works. It is too easy to sell out — get that job, the little goodies that come with 9-to-5 work. Saab could be sitting at a desk, 9 to 5, writing soap commercials. Shit, he could choose to mow the lawn on Saturday, instead of marching for peace or researching the truth. Saab is working for his country, for his fellow Human beings, for health care, truth in education, thinking first. If he makes one person think, he is working. Thanks, Saab, for giving up those comforts 9 to 5 can bring, to search for the truth


… actually, on July 1st, 2007, Forrest Dudek of Las Vegas told me he never heard of Project Censored until I e-mailed about the organization, so I did in fact make at least one person think. Something I wouldn’t have had time/energy for if I was working a day job. Give me my dream job or give me death!