By Way of The Bow

Chapter Two:

Hunting Up Trouble


Disclaimer: Y'all ought to know by now, that what is posted on here is pure fiction. And for that matter, the future content may not be approved by the Comics Code Authority. References to DC comics and all that jazz are copyright DC Comics. Any and all resemblances to real people are "purely coincidental", as they say. Enjoy.

    The private elevator dinged, and Marshall glanced up as I entered the Tower Room.

    "Late night, GA?" he asked as I rubbed the back of my neck and put down my bow, quiver, and duffle bag.

    I nodded and pulled off the eye mask. "Two muggings, a jewel heist, and a chop shop, I had to shut down. You know, it's amazing the kinds of trouble you can FIND when you actually go and look around for it!" I remarked dryly.

    He laughed. "Yeah, tell me about it. The police band has been going nuts, trying to keep up with you. So. How'd it feel, for your first official night out?"

    I shook my head wryly and started peeling off the face make-up. "Not bad. Not bad at all, actually. It actually started getting fun, after awhile. Used up my bolo arrows, unfortunately."

    "And your glue arrows are running low, too. And the exploding arrows, looks like you put a dent into that too." Marshall observed, as he checked the quiver and the duffel bag. "Jesus, you really DID have a busy night. How much do you want to bet this'll hit the morning TV news this time?"

    "No bet there. Turn on the tv now, I bet there'll be a report of some of tonight's action." I remarked. "Real superheroes would, I imagine, be unusual news to report about."

    I finished peeling off the face make-up, and ran my fingers through my naturally dark hair. I splashed water on my face, and slipped on my glasses. Marshall busied himself writing a list of what arrows needed replacing.

    "So. Everything all set up for tomorrow?" I asked as I found a comfy seat to sit down in.

    "Uh-huh. The contractors ought to show up by nine AM, and you can yell at them to your heart's content." Marshall assured me.

    "Good." I responded. "Getting this place up to code is gonna be a pain in the butt, you know that? Nevermind, the work that needs to be done to make sure this floor stays private access only." I shook my head in amusement. "When the city finished building this place almost a decade ago, they left a BUNCH of red tape behind... and you're SURE you want to foot the bill for all this headache?" I joked.

    "I'm sure," Marshall said, calmly. "This is the way I do business, Jake. I pay the bills, and I hire sharp people to do the yelling FOR me. Besides... this puppy's YOUR baby, from start to finish."

    "Huh. Don't REMIND me. 'You can do anything if you put your mind to it', he says. Hoo, boy. Running my own media company though?"

    "Hey, you'll do great, man. I mean, come on. How do you know you can't do something, until you give it a try? Look at the good you've done, just TONIGHT. And that's with a bow and arrow." he pointed out.

    "Yeah, well... I've been shooting with a bow and arrow for a few years now, that's something I KNOW how to do." I countered.

    "Right... but there was a point, where you DIDN'T know how to shoot. But you did it anyway." Marshall remarked, crossing his arms and looking at me. "Yo. Think of this building... this project, as another sort of archery. And besides, we're just doing the repair work on the building itself. Whatever you aren't sure of yet... you'll learn."

    "Nnnnnh." I grunted. "For a rapper with a reputation for having a foul mouth, you sure have one hell of a Pollyanna outlook on life." I remarked.

    He laughed and picked up my bow. "Tell you what, yo. I'll teach you everything you need to know, about business... and who DOES business in this town. If you'll teach me... how to shoot."

    "Whoa, hold on there, speedy. You sure you want to learn how to shoot?" I asked, looking over at him, appraisingly.

    He paused, and fingered the bow. Then he looked at me. "Yeah. I'd really like to."

    I paused. I knew his past, his habit of losing his temper was no secret. But as I looked at him, I saw something there. Like anything of value, it was small. But it was there. I reflected on our conversation, and realized that we were talking about more than just archery.

    We were talking about patience.

    "Set up the target," I said, after a moment's reflection. "We'll start with a lesson right now."

    Moments later, I had told him where to stand, and he notched an arrow as I had demonstrated for him. "I know you know how to use a gun. I know you OWN one, in fact. Take what you know about guns, and check it at the door, bud. Because what you know about guns, couldn't fill a thimble compared to what you can learn, from a bow." I began.

    He looked at me, curiously.

    I smiled, and pointed at the target. "Take your shot." I instructed.

    He pulled back, and grunted. "Jesus. This thing's goddamned hard to PULL!"

    "Yup." I agreed. "That's when you know you're doing it right. Now... aim the arrow at the target back there, and let it fly."


    I bit my lip, and chuckled. "Not bad... if the target was on the floor, five feet from you." I chided lightly. I picked up an arrow, and reached out my hand for the bow. "I did the same thing, on MY first time using a bow." I admitted ruefully.

    I notched an arrow, and took aim at the target. Then, I stopped to look over at him. "The thing you have to remember most of all, is the value of waiting. Waiting spawns the best actions, Marshall." I pulled back on the bow string, and let the arrow fly. I hit the target. Not exactly the bulls-eye since I wasn't aiming for it, but still a respectable shot.

    "Nice..." Marshall applauded.

    I snorted. "You wanna see nice, watch me sometime during a REAL practice session. That's just a loose shot in the ballpark for me." I handed the bow to him. "Let's try that again... but this time, let me just come up behind you, a little bit." I moved behind him, and we notched an arrow together. I felt a slight tingle, as my gloved hand touched his. "Now... Get ready for it. Move your hand back... follow my lead... see the shot." I instructed.

    He pulled back on the string.

    I moved my hand further back. "C'mon... I know you can pull it back further. Just... that's right. Now when you're ready..."

    He let go of the arrow.

    "GodDAMN. That string is tight." He remarked, as he rubbed his shoulder.

    "Yeah... but look." I pointed to the target. Sure enough, he'd hit the target this time. The furthest ring on the target, but he made the distance that time.

    "Holy shit. I did it!" he crowed, staring in shock at the arrow.

    "With a little target guidance from me. Now, you take your gun... that thing's a baby's toy, compared to a strong bow. Matter of fact, guns ought to be abolished altogether, if you ask me. They're too much of a damn convenience, they make way too much noise, and people far too EASILY get themselves or someone else killed, because of them." I remarked, picking up the arrows and coming back over to him.

    I fingered the arrow, and handed it over to him. "I mean, think about it for a minute. Compare a bullet, to that. Bullets are tiny little things, but they cause a hell of a lot of trouble. Sure as hell have less of a chance of a kid like Hailie accidentally becoming a statistic if guns weren't around for kids to find and play with. Or for that matter, for disasters like Columbine to occurr."

    "But aren't bows and guns both designed just to kill?" he asked.

    "Guns are," I corrected him. "But not the bow and arrow. Guns were made to be a faster way to fight wars, and to kill people. The bow and arrow... that was made as a tool, not just a killing machine. It's a tool that teaches about time and patience. It takes time and patience, to properly make a bow. It takes time and patience, to properly make the arrows that get shot FROM the bow. And it takes time and patience, to properly learn how, and most importantly, WHEN to shoot it. Big difference, compared to guns. The history of the bow and arrow goes back, oh... back to the stone age, I think. But you'll notice, people still make 'em today." I explained.

    "So what else makes a bow different from a gun?" Marshall asked, as he experimentally pulled on the bowstring a few times. I went to pour myself a drink from the mini fridge, as we talked.

    "Well, look what I use it for. Most of my arrows, are non-lethal. Inventive, but non-lethal. Oh, sure... the drill arrow, or my steel-tipped arrows, can be lethal. But anything can be lethal if you want it to be. Automobiles, for example. Heck, you could take a baseball bat and bash some poor fellow's skull in with it... but is a baseball bat designed TO kill? Is that it's ONLY purpose in life?" I asked.

    "No," Marshall answered.

    "Exactly. See, an arrow can be used for lots of things. Not just to kill. Tie a note around an arrow, or light an arrow on fire and use it as a signal flare. A means of communication. Tie a rope to an arrow, and it can be used to help you climb a wall or cliff. Strike an arrowhead against some flint, and you could start a campfire to keep warm on a cold night." I said, ticking off examples with one hand, and sipping my drink with the other.

    "Huh," Marshall said.

    "Guns though... with exception to tranquilizer darts, the only purpose of a gun is to KILL. And it doesn't even take any effort to do that, with a gun. Just point, squeeze, bam. Not so easy, when you're pulling back on that bowstring, is it?"

    "No, it isn't..." Marshall agreed.

    I patted Marshall on the arm, gently. "And that's the main thing I think I'm going to teach you, with the bow. Shooting a bow and arrow, takes strength. Not just upper-body strength, either. And believe me, you could use a little bit of that, you're one skinny guy! But above and beyond the upper-body strength, also comes the strength to... wait."

    I came around, and placed my hand on his to stop him from test-pulling back on the bow. "To not need to depend on things that come instantly." I explained gently. "This entire WORLD is filled with instant things. Instant this, instant that... instant breakfasts... and plenty of instant trouble. And I think you already know this. I think you've LIVED it, am I right? Well, If you can learn how to wait for the perfect shot, with a bow.... then maybe you won't need to own that gun of yours', one day." I remarked.

    I stepped back to the side, and rubbed the back of my neck again, tiredly. "Okay, try that shot one more time, let's see if you can do it on your own WITHOUT me spotting you to pull back harder."

    He shot.

    "Not bad... at least you went the distance on your own, this time. Doesn't matter, if you hit anything yet. Okay, lesson... over." I said, reaching for the bow.

    "That's it?" he asked, slightly disappointed.

    "Uh... yeah. That's it. Oh, don't worry. I'll teach you more soon. Lots more. You know what they say. Everything comes, to those who wait." I paused, and glanced over at him. I bit my lip. "Like anything of value, learning to adjust to the bow... takes practice. You... start small." I paused, as I glanced at his crotch briefly. I noticed he had begun to get a hard-on in his pants. "Then... like anything... worthwhile, you... work your way... to bigger... and... better." I remarked bemusedly. I blinked, and cleared my head as I put my stuff away.

    "You alright?" he asked, as my voice trailed off in thought.

    I blinked again, and then waved him off from where I was putting things away. "I'm fine, ease off. Just tired, mainly. Look... I'm gonna go change and head home, and I'll be back here in the morning to raise holy hell on the contractors as promised. YOU get home to your kid." I said.

    "'Night," he said as he grabbed his coat and made for the elevator.


    "Goddamnit! What the hell is HAPPENING in this town?!?" Gabe Sands fumed. "This... freak with a bow, is NEWS, people!!!" he yelled at his staff.

    "'Superhero Shoots Down Crime'. The Post. 'Green Arrow Lives!'. The Clarion. 'Green Arrow Grabs Goon!', The Times. And of course my favorite from US, The Voice 'Who Is This Masked Man?'. Come ON people! You're journalists, for cripes' sake! Brant! Is this a @*$#!%^ publicity stunt, from the comics people? Franklin! Has anyone gotten a picture of this guy? Jacobs! Ah, what am I asking you, you cover DOG SHOWS." The editor of the paper barked.

    "Thirty-one years I've been in this business. And NEVER have I seen such a circus. You'd think Elvis came back from the dead, for cripe's sake!" Sands continued. "This clown's all over the news, but NOBODY seems to know jack about who he IS. That's where WE come in." he said, pounding the table. "I want us to be THE VOICE, that covers this guy. Be he superhero or super zero, if it's about this green-garbed gentleman, WE will tell the world about it. You got that, people? Screw your usual beats. I want each one of you OUT there, and TALKING to people already. Turn this town upside down, but I want a Green Arrow exclusive, and I want it YESTERDAY!!!!"

    "Man, he's in a rare mood..." Adam Franklin complained as he fiddled with his camera on the way to the elevator. The teen photographer was a little excited, though. Nobody had yet to take a picture of Green Arrow, and photos of the guy would make his tuition to college next year. Part of him was excited at the idea of it, though. The city had become a sort of urban jungle lately, and the idea of a real-life superhero right out of the comics was exciting. He paused, then knew exactly where to go. There was a store about three blocks away. The store sold, among other items, an astonishing amount of back issue and current-issue comic books. He'd never read much about Green Arrow, but he knew some other kids who might've. Regular customers who bought almost every issue when it came out, usually shopped there. If anyone would have some insights into how to find Green Arrow, simply ask the fans.

    The bell dinged as Adam entered the store. The place even smelled old, like something from the 19th century, nevermind the twentieth or twenty-first centuries. The lighting was dim, and the sources of light were hidden creatively from direct view. If there was ever a place that screamed of long-forgotten secrets and half-remembered myth and legend, then this store would be the place to find ANYTHING. An ancient oriental man in a comfortable red kimono sat calmly on a bench, pruning bonsai trees. Adam knew this place well. But every time he came here, he always left scratching his head in confusion. The place held every sort of treasure a young person could dream of... but there always seemed to be something just out of reach, that lay hidden in the store... or perhaps in the owner himself.

    The owner WAS a mystery, nobody who went there ever knew his name. They just called him Sensei, the japanese word for 'teacher'. He always seemed to have some sort of quiet wisdom to share with his customers. But something about the man always seemed familiar to Adam, he just could never place it. Sometimes, the light would hit the man a certain way... and Adam would swear that he wasn't looking at a normal man at all, but a six foot rat dressed in human clothes. But the image was always brief, and Adam would blink and Sensei would always appear a normal, if very skinny, japanese man with grey hair and long fingers.

    "Ah... you have returned, Adam." Sensei greeted the teenager, as Adam closed the door. "To what, do I owe the honor of your visit?"

    "Hello, Sensei. I'm glad to see you, too." Adam said politely, deferring a slight head nod to the older man.

    "And your attempts to raise money for school in the fall?" Sensei asked.

    "Still working on it. Actually, that's why I've come in today."

    "I'm afraid I cannot offer you much of an income working here, certainly not enough to help aid your tuition concerns..." Sensei apologized.

    "Oh, no... it's not anything like that, sir. Actually, I wanted to ask you a couple questions, about some of the comic books you sell here." Adam explained.

    "My comic books...? What about them?" Sensei asked, curiously.

    "Haven't you heard the latest news?" Adam asked, surprised.

    "No, I'm afraid not. Please forgive my saying so, since you work for one... but I find newspapers on the whole are a waste of valuable trees. I do not watch television news mainly because of the violence content, and well... radio reception in this building does not really exist. Why, what has transpired in the world outside?"

    "According to my boss, only the biggest news to hit Star City since the Beatles came to America. Some guy is dressing up like this hero from a comic book... Green Arrow. And he's really doing a number on local crime in the city. People are acting like it's the second coming of Christ or something." Adam explained.

    "Ah... Green Arrow... Green Arrow. I should know that name. Ah, yes. A young man a little older than yourself came in here yesterday, and purchased a Green Arrow comic book for his daughter. And he was the first of many customers, to purchase comics with that character in it in the last day or so. I had no idea... I had imagined, that someone had made a movie about him." Sensei explained, after a moment's thought.

    "You don't sound as surprised at the news, though." Adam observed.

    "Because I have found, that a great many things tend to happen in this world, which sound unusual but are true nonetheless." Sensei explained. "And now that you have explained the mystery of why sales of those comic books have increased, I believe I have something to show you." Sensei pulled out a comic book, and opened it up to the first page. "Read it. Where does this comic book, take place?"

    "Whoa. Star City!" Adam exclaimed.

    "Yes," Sensei said softly. "Which is precisely why people reacted the way they have. To many who have read the stories, Green Arrow has been considered a local hero. Much as London has laid claim to the Great Detective, Sherlock Holmes. Just because he is fictional, does not mean that people believe Holmes does not exist. And it seems, a quote of Mr. Holmes' applies now. 'When you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable it may sound... is the truth.' Therefore... it does not surprise me in the slightest, that Green Arrow exists. Here. In Star City. It would not be the first time." Sensei remarked.

    "What, next you're gonna tell me there's a Batman out there, too?" Adam joked.

    "Follow me," the old man said. He lead the way back through the rows of merchandise, to a collection of books. He began pulling out dusty tomes, and handing them to Adam. "Let's see... The Scarlet Pimpernel. The Mark of Zorro. The Man In The Iron Mask. The Count Of Monte Cristo. The Three Musketeers. Robin Hood. These are accounts, some fictional, others which may actually hold some echos of fact. Notice, that these are accounts which span... a long period of time. In other lands. But look at your own history, here in America. The Swamp Fox, for example."

    "The who?" Adam blinked in confusion.

    "Francis Marion. The Swamp Fox. A real-life superhero from your own Revolutionary War. You'll find accounts of him, in THIS tome..." Sensei pulled out yet another book, and added it to the collection.

    "But... what does all this mean, Sensei?" Adam asked, looking at all the books he held in his hands.

    "It means," Sensei replied. "That superheroes exist. They always have. And that comic books, are the current way people write about them. Just because you read about them in the comic books... does not mean, that real-life counterparts do not, cannot exist in this world."

    The old man had an enigmatic expression on his face, as he observed Adam's expression shift from one emotion to another to another. "I believe, I can allow you to borrow these texts, for a time. They may be of use to you, in the near future." Sensei said cryptically.

    "Uh... thanks sir. I'll... I'll have them back to you soon." He said, his mind racing.

    "I shall find you a bag to carry these in."

    As Adam was about to leave the store, he faintly heard Sensei remark one other thing. "And yes.... Batman does exist..."

    Adam stood outside the store, wrestling with his thoughts. He had answers. And with them, even more questions. He looked into the bag. When he hadn't been looking, the old man had also slipped in that copy of Green Arrow, into the bag. He halfway turned around to go back... then he stopped himself. He glanced from the bag, then to his camera, then to the newspaper office. Then back to the bag again.

    "Huh... forget a photo op. I think I may actually have a story to WRITE....." He started jogging down the street, towards home. He had a lot of reading to do.


    "Damn. Damn. DAMN!" The cigar-smoking man fumed as he turned off his television set. All the local papers had accounts of last night's disasters, too. "This is... a most upsetting setback."

    "Boss, we TRIED to fight him. But he moved too fast! Before we knew it, he'd knocked guns out of people's hands, and started shooting up the shop with arrows! We could barely see him, let alone HIT him!" a nervous teen said, standing in front of the man's desk.

"Now, now, Gregory... it's not the end of the world. It is to your credit, that you escaped capture by the authorities." The man reached into his drawer, and pulled out a box. "Here, my boy... have a cigar. It'll relax you."

"Th... thank you sir." Gregory said, as he took the proffered cigar the man handed him. The man even leaned over the desk, and lit it for him.

    Gregory took a drag on the cigar. Then he started coughing. The coughing didn't stop. Gregory was grabbing at his throat. He dropped to his knees. Then, he keeled over, insensate.

    "Careful.... those things'll kill you." The man said, coming around the desk, and putting out the dropped cigar with his heel. He placed his own cigar on the ashtray on his desk.

    He pressed a button. The secretary answered. "Yes, sir?"

    "Call maintanance. I have a stain on my rug, which I want removed."

    The secretary gulped. "Y...yes sir. Right away, sir."

    The man glanced down at the dead teenager. "Alas, poor Gregory. You were a hot fuck. For a fifteen year old. But I dispise incompetance."

    The man paused. He then began moving the corpse into the private bathroom. "Time to settle accounts, my dear Gregory."

Francis Marion DOES exist, google up information about him on the web. Interesting stuff, I once did a school report on the man, several years ago.

I had originally planned to post once every two weeks, on this story... but circumstances and inspiration have pushed me to a place where I guess you get more story, sooner! Go figure, eh?

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