Sunday, August 14, 2016

Heater Case J

Smashwords Edition
Copyright 2012 
DJ Hazard  
By day, he's one of the most famous actors in the world. By night, he's... well, he's one of the most famous actors in the world. But a sacred vow and a dead cat also transformed him into one of the most feared avengers ever known. Donning body armor and a mask made of junk parts, he is a one-man dynamo against crime known only as Heater Case J.


Oh, hello! How lovely to see you. Come in... come in. You'll have to excuse me, I wasn't expecting company. Please, get yourself a beverage from the fridge while I straighten up around here. Get me one too!
Ah, I see you found the sangria. Thanks. Cheers! Ahhh.
Sit! Please have a seat.
Please excuse the mess. Housekeeping hasn't come by yet. These press junkets are a necessary evil, I suppose. At least you get to stay in a nice hotel suite while all the entertainment reporters take turns sitting with you over there, in front the poster for the film. They all ask the same questions. My job is to sound fresh and witty with each cookie cutter interview.
Have you ever seen 'Water' with Michael Caine and Valerie Perrine? It's a great little unknown film. Well, supposedly, Valerie was getting a little testy about waiting around so much. At one point Sir Michael wandered over and told her, "Darling, we live to be in front of the camera. We're paid to wait."
The funniest thing is that I made this film two years ago. I've made six films since. I have to act like we just got done last night and this is the best thing since the invention of the wheel they stuck on the wagon to deliver all the sliced bread.
Now, that's acting.
But, this isn't about the film. I've decided to turn over a new leaf in my life. Is that the right term? Come clean? Nah. Get something off my chest? Let's get back to that.
It's 2012. Everybody's been going nuts about what's going to happen. Cosmic alignment? The collapse of civilization? Flying saucer on the White House lawn?
None of this has happened. I thought about what I'm about to do. This is no publicity stunt. Hell, do I look like I need any more publicity? Apparently, the great revelation of 2012 is up to me. It's a heavy responsibility, but I can handle it. I hope you can, too. I have a confession to make. I am not only one of the world's most famous and beloved movie stars.
I'm Heater Case J.

Chapter One: The Origin of Heater Case J

It all started with Darlyne and me. We were both in Viet Nam. She was a very young nurse and I was a Medivac Chopper pilot.
One time, Bob Hope came to do a show. We looked at the stage and then Darlyne turned to me and said (pardon my language, I'm quoting her), "What a tit fuckin' job THAT is. If we get out of here with our boobs and balls intact, we should get into show business."
When we got out, she went back to Boston and I just kind of went along. We would check the papers to see if Bob Hope was doing a show at The Garden or The Music Hall, but it seemed he only worked in Europe and Asia, much like the way celebrities do commercials that we never see, as depicted by Bill Murray in 'Lost In Translation'.
Darlyne and I started hanging around the Boston Comedy scene. She was a mover and a shaker and was making a lot of connections. I, on the other hand, couldn't get myself to take the full time plunge and give up the financial security of Medivac Chopper piloting. Little by little, we went our separate ways.
Do you know what the IV 3000 is? It's like the Grand Prix of Medivac Chopper racing. It's always done for charity. It's a cross country race, ending in Los Angeles.
A few years after leaving Boston, I was a major contender in the IV 3000. It ended at the Big Medivac Chopper Field in Los Angeles. What I didn't know is that the chopper field guys had adopted a cat. The cat was deaf and liked wind, so he was perfectly happy living there. I think they named him Choppy or something.
Anyway, I'm in the lead and heading for the finish line at LAXMCF, which means landing in a circle on one side of the field. On the fence nearby, there was a sign that said 'Watch Out For Cat'. Cranked with adrenaline and focusing on the prize, I thought it said 'Watch Out Forecast' and I thought, "Hmmm, bad weather coming. I better check that out later."
Do I have to spell it out? I couldn't have landed more squarely on that poor cat if I tried. My heart, like poor little Choppy, was crushed. A part of me died that day. I guess nine parts of me died that day. I had won the race but lost my soul.
I just climbed out of the chopper and started walking. I walked for days, maybe miles. I don't know. I was in a schtuum. You know what a schtuum is? It's kind of like a fugue state. You know that? Okay, we'll go with that.
Anyway, I walked and walked until a commotion down the street woke me from my stupor. Yeah. Let's go with stupor.
A tall, attractive gal was being chased by one of those LA Street Gangs you hear about. Call it like riding a bike. Call it muscle memory. My boot camp hand to hand combat training came alive and the gang was toast. Moaning toast, waiting for Medivac Choppers. Ironic.
The gal breathlessly came up to me, grabbed my arm and said, "My God. That was amazing. I'm Debi. I'm an actress. I also sing and dance. Mostly musical theater."
"I know who you are," I replied, "You're angel that was sent to me to remind me that I had a promise to keep with another angel."
"Well," she added, trying to keep this encounter from ending as quick as it materialized, "Maybe we'll meet again. Maybe here in Hollywood. Or Cannes. Or Naples."
"Naples, Italy or Naples, Florida?" I asked, as the thunder of Medivac Choppers began to own the air.
"You never know!"
"That's right, Debi, tall and beautiful actress, singer and dancer. You never know."
And with that, I turned and went to New York City.
Within a couple of years, I had become one of the most famous and trusted actors in America. But, it's funny how those who know you still perceive you.
I got a phone call. It was Darlyne. She was doing a bang up job producing Comedy Dinner Theater and moved to Florida long before she had to.
"Are you still good at fighting Street Gangs?" she asked.
"Guess so."
"Good," she said, "My friend Lucy is going to be living and acting in New York City for a while. Can you make sure there's no Street Gangs while she's there?"
"I guess."
"Thanks. You're a doll. Mwah!"
This was going to take some thinking. Street Gangs had become a lot better at fighting one guy since that fateful day. I made some phone calls and asked around.
There was a junk yard that beautiful and talented actress Morgan Fairchild owned as an investment property.
"Here's the keys," she said, "My junk is your junk."
My God, she still has the straightest nose in showbiz.
I had to protect my name, as being seen as a vigilante might affect my box office.
I began building lightweight armor from scrap metal. The chest plate brandished the raised lettering 'Heater Case J'. As good a vigilante name as any, I thought.
I roamed the rooftops and waterfront whenever my shooting schedule permitted. Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Kelly both knew about me but, since crime in NYC dropped to an all-time low, did nothing as long as I conducted my vigilantism with a modicum of poetic justice and elan that was good for tourism.
Lucy moved back to Naples and, sure enough, Debi had also found her way to this very impressive theatrical colony. Daryne, Lucy, Debi, Laura and Alyssa are the five beautiful and talented angels who keep my secret.
I continued to divide my time between Light Romantic Farces and patrolling New York City on dark, rainy nights. Looking back, I should have made my armor waterproof. It's particularly uncomfortable in the shorts. I also make the occasional Indie for my filmmaker buddies at a HUGE pay cut. These are usually about social issues that people are too stupid to know about.
But, with great power comes great strength to control that power. There also comes a wisdom to help you know the difference between a lot of those 'maybe it's this' or 'maybe it's that' situations.
A wise man once said, "You can put your boots in the oven, but that don't make them biscuits." That man was Charles Haid, playing Officer Andy Renko on 'Hill Street Blues'. He was also the husky scientist with the beard in 'Altered States'. Did you know that?
Knowing who you are doesn't make you need to know... okay, I'm lost. I was trying to make some kind of deep super hero creed here. Pretend I did and ended it with, "I'm Heater Case J."

Chapter Two: Heater Case J And The Missing Angel

“That’s a wrap!” is probably the most powerful proclamation an Assistant Director has in their arsenal. It’s also the one phrase that relinquishes whatever control they had over the shoot. It is more carefully weighed than a declaration of war.
It would be nice to let the good people of New York City back into their park. For the last eight months, they’ve been banned access while we made a film about how much New Yorkers love Central Park.
Of all years, this turned out to be the one year where it didn’t snow all winter. The snow for the Christmas and New Year’s scenes would have to be CGI’d later. Looking back, maybe we should have shot the whole film on a sound stage.
The AD holds her breath as the Director checks that last shot in the playback monitor. As to not steal his AD’s thunder, the Director gives a barely perceptible nod to the AD.
Like a battle cry from Valhalla, “That’s a wrap” summons roars from the entire cast and crew.  What were, for months on end, the most focused eyes, ears and hands in any industry become a thousand kaleidoscopes of twirling congratulations and mutual admirations. But, this time, I started hearing something strange in the cacophony.
“Wow, Homeland Security must be really relaxing the rules to let that happen.”
“What is that, a typo? I hope they didn’t get charged for that repetitive.”
It seemed everybody was starting to look up. Being the star, it’s a little tough for me to pull my glance away from wave after wave of little people who take this moment of chaos to get a little familiar with you, oftentimes in lieu of a tip.
My half sip from my Poland Springs bottle turned into a perfect spit take as my eyes finally perceived what was taking place high above the Park. The fact is, I had never done a spit take before and I was wishing somebody had a camera going. I’d love to study this perfect spit take and use it in a film someday.
A fleet of twelve skywriting planes, three in each group, were puffing out the components of letters that became words that, all at once, became an entire message:


First of all, that wasn’t a typo. That was a note sent by Street Gangs telling Heater Case J to stop fighting Street Gangs.
Second, how did they know about Alyssa?
Third, their intel was not without fault. How could I ever see Alyssa ‘again’ if I’ve never met her?
Show business is politics and politics is show business. You just can’t bolt after a last take without ruffling feathers. Over the years, I’ve perfected the ‘whirling backup’. Like a spinning Earth orbiting the Sun, I slowly do-sa-do my way to an exit, hugging, kissing, bro-hugging, respectfully handshaking and coyly butt squeezing all the appropriate body parts until everybody thinks I’m still in the general vicinity.
But, I’m already gone and, yes, to cue a perfect soundtrack at this juncture, I’m feeling strong.
While I flagged down a cab, I called ahead to Newark Liberty Airport to have my secret Heater Case J plane rolled out.
As I’ve explained before, I’ve known Darlyne since Viet Nam. I met tall and beautiful actress, singer and dancer Debi in Los Angeles, when I was an hours-old ex-Medivac Chopper pilot and nowhere near an actor. She might remember my face, however, and attach it to the Mega Star I am now.
Darlyne asked me to protect Lucy while Lucy was in NYC, so I had to invent the alter ego Heater Case J. Lucy also works very closely with Laura, so I’m sure they tell each other everything.
Somehow, they all converged upon the tropical nexus of Naples, Florida. One of their very talented and lovely actress cohorts, Alyssa Lee, noticed that Darlyne, Debi, Lucy and Laura kept writing on Facebook to some guy with a weird screen name who wouldn’t show his face.
I made her a Facebook friend. I didn’t realize I also made her a target for Street Gangs who were looking for any leverage they could have over me.
Let’s cut to a gloomy and damp cellar, somewhere in Southwest Florida.
From some dark corner, there is reverberated water dripping with a ‘boink’ so perfect you’d think it was done by the Foley crew. A few stripes of light angle down through crooked slats nailed over the basement window. In the center of the grungy room, a buxom brunette in a grey tank top, sweat pants and running shoes sits blindfolded, gagged and duct taped to a chair.
“Oh, Alyssa,” she thinks, “What have you got yourself into THIS time? HOW could I have thought that really was a Pepsi commercial?”
She was referring to how she got there, a mere twelve hours ago. She was walking down South Street and, there ahead, was a van and a TV camera.
“Hey, Miss, we’re conducting blind tastes tests for a Pepsi commercial. You wanna give it a shot?”
She was already counting what a national spot pays. It was a double cah-ching AND a bag of chips. She had totally allowed herself to be stood in front of the open side door of a minivan and blindfolded. Five minutes later, she was imprisoned in a basement on a lush, green side street somewhere in the Greater Naples Area.
She hadn’t heard her captors for quite some time when, suddenly, the snapping of rotten wood came from where the wall met the ceiling behind her.
“This is it,” she thinks, “Oh, God, I hope they’re not cannibals. There’s a million Taco Bells in this town. Why me? I mean, yeah, I’m hot. But, not FOOD hot. Sheesh.”
Of course, it was me making my way through the cellar window.
“It’s okay, Alyssa,” I whispered, “I’m here to get you out of here. Ouch!”
I didn’t want to attract a lot of attention, so I wasn’t wearing my body armor. Plus, I wasn’t sure if I could fit through the tiny rectangular cellar window with it on. Paradox City and I was the Mayor.
“Are you okay?” She asked. Actually, being gagged, it was more like, “Rum Roo Ro Ray?”
I dragged a footlocker that contained my fighting armor through the window, set it down and started taking off her gag and blindfold.
Her big brown eyes couldn’t get any browner, but they almost popped out of her head as she shrieked, “OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD! What are YOU doing here! OH MY GOD! You’re like my favorite movie star in the WORLD! Seriously! OH MY GOD! YOU are rescuing ME? HERE? OH MY GOD!”
Maybe I should have left the gag on until she got over the surprise. I winced and did the palms down gesture, meaning ‘keep it down a little’ and whispered, “There’s something I need to do before they come back.”
I opened the footlocker and started snapping on parts of the black armored fight suit.
“Jeez, Louise,” Alyssa said, “Is EVERY guy in Hollywood a kinkazoid? I know Owen Wilson didn’t get his nickname ‘The Butterscotch Stallion’ for ice cream sundaes, but YOU? Well, okay, I guess, because it’s you and all.”
I just kept clicking parts of the suit together onto my arms and legs. She gave her patented raised eyebrow when I snapped on the codpiece, looking up at me as if to say ‘uh, yeah, that’s going to be kind of counter-productive’.
“But, seriously!” she continued, “It’s like you, then George Clooney, then Brad Pitt. I’d never go near Brad Pitt, because I don’t care what they say about her humanitarian stuff, I think Angelina would rip my throat out. And George Clooney, well, he’s like a hundred, y’know?”
Then she realized what she just said, “OH MY GOD! I’m so sorry! You’re like a hundred, too! I mean… never mind. Just go ahead and do whatever floats your boat.”
It wasn’t until I snapped the faceplate onto my helmet that it finally sunk in.
“OH MY GOD! YOU’RE Heater Case J? YOU! I’m being rescued by you AND Heater Case J? I know! I know! I can’t tell anybody! Do you know how much that sucks! OH MY GOD. Look, can we just maybe go for a drink somewhere. As you, I mean. Not…”
“Alyssa,” I interrupted, “Let’s go, I’ve untied you.”
“You did? Oh! You did!”  
I wanted to put the suit on just in case we ran into trouble. I didn’t think that was going to be a factor, but now I had one of my angels to protect.
“Where is everybody?” she asked, as she squinted in the mid-afternoon sun.
I pointed to the beautiful blue Gulf sky above, where my ruse was just barely still readable.
“I knew there wasn’t a single one of them that would be able to resist that,” I said, as we walked to the curb. It became unmistakable as to which vehicle we were approaching.
“A florist van?” She looked at me and back to the mode of transportation in question, “Heater Case J drives around in a florist van?”
“Duh, it’s camouflage.” I answered, as I pressed the remote and the passenger door began to pneumatically open, “By the way, do you know camouflage is French for ‘surprise’?”
“Cooper!” she screamed as her little Shih Tzu jumped from the seat and into her arms. “Oh, I missed you my little mariachi! Yes I DID. Yeh Yi Didyanyoyo boo boo baba.” The rest became increasingly unintelligible as she buried her face in his fur.
“Who do you think found you?” I told her, as her doggie love-babble went on.
“Cooper?” she suddenly said with proud amazement.
“Yep, finding where you lived was easy enough. I used Google Chick Finder. You might want to reign in some of your info on your Social Networks, as I’m sure that’s how the Street Gangs found you.”
“I needed a piece of your clothing for Cooper to track you with,” I continued, “And I’m too much of a gentleman to go through your hamper. I was about to, though, when Cooper suddenly dragged in something that looked like two very feminine and frilly tote bags sewn together. I realized it was one of your bras.”
With that, she suddenly struck her trademark perfect posture, chest out and hands-on-hips pose and answered, “That’s ME!”
“Yeah. Get in.”
Within minutes we were at her place. It’s funny how you don’t know where you are when you are blindfolded, thrown into a van and tied up in a basement. I jumped out and went around the van to open her pneumatic door. Just before helping her out, I stood over her, gently grabbed her ears and slightly pulled her head towards me.
“Oop, here we go,” Alyssa thought, “No such thing as a free rescue in this episode.”
Then she heard a clicking, not unlike a stapler, not unlike…
“Did you just… pierce my ears?” she asked, looking up at me with a puzzled look to end all puzzled looks.
“Tracker implants,” I answered, “In case this ever happens again.
“So you can, like, know where I am 24/7/365? Like, even if I’m in the bathroom or… eeww.”
“They’re set to shut off for one hour intervals if you cross your eyes and say: Kiss me, kiss me, where the sun don’t shine. Twice on Sunday, if you’d be so kind.”
“You’re yankin’ my crank.”
“No, really,” I pursued, “the crisscrossing of the eye muscles activates the voice prompt app. Once activated, you have to say SOMETHING, so I made up that poem.”
And, with that, I helped her up out of the seat.
“You can’t stay for that drink?” she asked.
I looked her in the eyes. I looked several places. The JF hairdo, the smudges and the sweaty tank top was just another of her many hot looks. She looked back like she knew it.
“You have one of the final rehearsals for Hello Dolly to get to. I have a wrap party in New York City tonight that I have to attend. It’s in my contract to hobnob with investors and what not.”
She’s not short, but she had to get on her tip toes to kiss me, one smooth roll on both balls of her feet. Yeah, she’s had training. With her hands joined behind her back and my powerful armored arms not quite knowing what to do, it occurred to me what a beautiful shot this would be. Maybe a 360 on a dolly, maybe even using a steadycam, as the view from all directions swirled behind us.
In reality, the mouth grill of my helmet prevented me from feeling anything and all she got was a lip lock on cast iron. But, still, it would have been a killer shot.
Within a half hour, I had rolled the ‘florist van’ onto the secret jet and took off into the westerly head wind of the Gulf to purchase altitude. A beautiful sunset embraced the horizon.
Did you know that Betsy Ross was inspired by such a sunset when she made the first American flag? Yeah, the alternating red and white bands of sky and clouds, along with the encroaching star ‘spangled’ blue of nightfall. I learned that during that Revolutionary War wrestling film. What a stinker.
There was an ice sculpture of the Central Park Castle, cascading with champagne, waiting for me. I smiled as I banked the jet towards the Northeast, thinking of everything that happened in the last twenty four hours. The last thought made me smile the most.
Kiss me, kiss me where the sun don’t shine? Twice on Sunday if you’d be so kind?
Yeah, Missie Alyssie, THAT'S for saying I was as old as George Clooney.

Chapter Three: Heater Case J and the Bolt

Do you know that throughout history vast construction crews have been killed to keep what they built a secret? I learned this when I made that film about that pharaoh who killed all those guys who built his secret tomb.
I wonder if this is how Batman operates. Yeah, he’s rich and dapper, but I don’t think he built the Bat Cave all by himself or even with Alfred’s help. I wonder if there’s a part of the Bat Cave that he doesn’t want us to know about.
Personally, I don’t have to worry about this stuff. I don’t have a ‘cave’ and, even though I have several vehicles and a private jet, they all operate pretty much out in the open and they’re all equipped with things you can pretty much get at Brookstone and The Sharper Image.
I wonder if this is the kind of stuff you think about when you’re in a coma. I’m thinking this way because, right now, I’m wondering if I’m in a coma.
I’ll have to talk to Bobby De Niro about whether he researched this when he made his coma movie. Everybody makes a coma movie. Do you know that Tom Selleck is hanging in the body room in ‘Coma’? Yeah, I think he shows up at the beginning, going to the doctor for something benign, and ends up hanging like a puppet. I guess ‘Coma’ is the ultimate coma movie.
I wonder if coma patients can feel and try to operate their limbs, much the way amputees have phantom sensations. If so, why can’t I still feel my foreskin and baby teeth?
I decided too much life is lost wondering and I decide to be a doer. I also decided to stop being a decider and open my left eye.
I wonder if this is how they got the idea for ‘Inception’.
Oops, I’m wondering again. Sorry.
Left eye open and I see a nurse, a beautiful nurse.
Don’t get me wrong, all nurses are beautiful, even the mean ones. The mean ones might actually feed into something kinky, but that’s not what I’m exploring here.
This beautiful nurse in particular is sitting at the foot of my bed and reading a book.
Both eyes open, I am in a pretty nice hospital room.
Icebreaker, do I cough? Just say, “Hey, beautiful nurse with a book?”
I inhale deeply. It works. She looks up in surprise and rushes over, “You’re awake. Hello, Do you know where you are?”
“Am I in a coma?” I ask.
“Nope,” she answers, while simultaneously poking around my neck and wrist and looking at a bunch of gauges on a screen, “But that doesn’t answer my question.”
“Have you had a lot of coma patients? Has anybody ever told you what they think about when they are in a coma? I mean, I could be coma-dreaming right now about you and this place. Hey, has De Niro ever been through here?”
“I’m going to mark you off as ‘responding satisfactorily’,” she replied, “movie stars tend to wake up differently than other people.”
Yes, and we tend to be treated differently, too. I was in New York City. I also was in the Super Private World Famous Movie Star Wing at Presbyterian Hospital. It’s part of my movie star health plan, just like most people get free teeth cleanings twice a year.
To me, ‘what’s the last thing you remember’ is a weird question, because the last thing I remember is the person asking me the question just before they asked the question. In this case, it is the tastefully negotiated amount of decolletage that my beautiful nurse who reads books was allowing. She was almost a dead ringer for Julie London, who played Nurse Dixie McCall in ‘Emergency’ and that was no surprise. This was, after all, the SPWFMS Wing.
Okay, okay, after she shot me a ‘my eyes are up here’ look, I started working backwards from her chest.
It was Union Square in New York City. It was midday, last Saturday. Suffice to say, it was its normal Zoo meets Circus. The Farmers Market, the NYU students, the slackers and the hustlers, all being stirred by the constant passing of the pedestrians on their way to something else.
Ah, the protesters- there’s always something to protest.
There are words that, if you look up the definition and dig deep into said definition, it means something that might not be understood by those around you. Bemused is one of those words. I wasn’t puzzled, confused or distracted, but I did indeed have feelings of wry or tolerant amusement by the crunchy granola lady with the anti-Heater Case J sign.

Well, it wasn’t actually against me and, in fact, it was misplaced protest at that.
It had become commonplace that Street Gangs communicated to Heater Case J through skywriters. How this was able to be implemented was somewhat a mystery to me. First of all, I didn’t know there were still skywriters to be hired. Second of all, I couldn’t figure out how known crime organizations could hire this arcane service and not give themselves away. I didn’t think they were killing the skywriters after each message, much the way Batman killed all those carpenters and plumbers.  Excuse me, allegedly killing all those carpenters and plumbers.
I also didn’t know how the City of New York didn’t use this connection to dispatch the Street Gangs. Apparently, crime groups were allowed to do legal things and hiring skywriters was certainly legal.
When you make a million movies, even though you swear you will never ask to direct, everyday life becomes fodder for great scenes. For example, the timing couldn’t have been better for a ‘Look! Up in the sky!’ moment.
Indeed, up in the sky, was another skywritten message:


Wow, that hippy lady was not going to be happy.
I was actually transporting my original Heater Case J suit in a roller suitcase. I was going to leave it in my East Village apartment in case I ever need an emergency suit in Lower Manhattan.
“Taxi!” was what I meant to yell.
What was actually heard was, “TAX BLAM RUMBLE WHAT THE FUCK!”
It seemed like every subway station in New York City, including the giant nexus that honeycombed beneath Union Square, had suddenly blown up.
What, in reality, had happened was every Metro Card dispensing machine in every subway station in New York City, including the giant nexus that honeycombed beneath Union Square, had suddenly blown up.
People think banks are full of money. Well, they are, but a large portion of a bank’s transactions happen electronically these days. In New York City, the money is in the Metropolitan Transit Authority. Despite the advent of credit and debit cards, people still put a lot of money into getting onto the subway. People even take money out of the bank to go across the street and get on the subway. Half this town might be on Medicaid and Food Stamps, but money does the talking or you’re walking. I learned that when I made that movie about a modern day Butch and Sundance who robbed subways instead of freight trains.
Well, maybe all the Street Gangs saw that movie and decided improve upon it because there they were, waiting to plunder each Metro Card machine like a split piñata.
Do you know that Joyce Kilmer was a guy? Yeah, his full name was Alfred Joyce Kilmer. I bet he got a lot of misdirected love letters, especially after his ‘Trees’ poem came out.  Think of all the pics of naked guy parts he would have received if there was an internet back then.
That poem was put to music in Oscar Rasbach in 1922 and you can YouTube Bob McGrath from Sesame Street singing it in 1963 when he was on the Mitch Miller Show.
It’s a pretty sucky song.
At this moment in Union Square, it would have gone a little more like:
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is pressed
Against the earth’s sweet flowing TAX BLAM RUMBLE WHAT THE FUCK!

I don’t know what trees think. I’m sure the one nearest me never thought it would end this way. Maybe it just always thought, “Arrgh. Water. Sunlight. Photosynthesis.”
Well, this tree, possible thoughts of mortality et al, keeled over quicker than a glutton at a poison meatloaf festival. I’d been working on my metaphors in case I got a book deal to write my memoirs. I had never been hit by a tree before, so I didn’t know how to rate this on a scale from one to ten. Oddly, it didn’t squash me like a bug or turn the lights out like a quick cut to black.
What’s the last thing I remember, oh, beautiful nurse who reads books and looks like Julie London who played Nurse Dixie McCall on ‘Emergency’? I remember two things. One was thinking ‘okay, this is going to hurt any second now’.
The other thing was something I couldn’t tell her. My last thoughts were my roller suitcase with my Heater Case J suit and how people would put two and two together if they found me with it.
Pinned to the tar of 14th Street, I could see that the blast partially dislodged the grating over one of the curb sewers. With my one free arm, I gave that suitcase as much of a shove as I could muster and I smiled as I saw it dive into the land of humongous alligators that grew from baby alligators that kids bought at the circus fifty years ago. As safe a place as any. 
Down in Naples, Florida, the five beautiful and talented actresses who share my secret were having fancy drinks and fancy burgers at Harold’s Place when the TV over the bar started showing pics of me. By that, I mean me, not Heater Case J.
Darlyne and Debi were facing the bar and both gave an ‘OMG’ and ran up to read the closed captioning, followed by Lucy, Laura and Alyssa. My efforts had worked. There was no doubt as to who they found under that tree and there was no mention of my alter ego being anyhow involved.
“We can’t let this happen,” said Darlyne.
“I know,” replied Debi, “the Street Gangs will take over everything.”
“You know what this means,” said Darlyne.
Everybody nodded with a somber nod and an inaudible ‘hmmph’.
Then too much time passed without anybody actually chiming in as to what this meant. But they were there in spirit. C’mon, how many times in life do you get hit with the ‘you know what this means’ thing and really have an answer? You know that’s a rhetorical question and you wait for part two.
As if it was the simplest answer in the world, Darlyne looked them all in the eye and whispered, “We need to get into Morgan Fairchild’s junkyard.”
Okay, being that it was Harold’s Place, it was a little louder than a whisper, but no louder than that. The last thing they needed was a couple of drunk guys overhearing them and yelling, “Yeah! We need to get into Morgan Fairchild’s junkyard too!”
You ever hear about those World War II observers in the Pacific? These were solitary guys left on little islands with nothing more than a Swiss army knife, binoculars and a two way radio. They built little camouflaged grass shacks and ate whatever army food they brought with them and whatever they could scrounge from the environment.
One of their few belongings was a poster of black silhouettes of all known aircraft and ships. This was to help them identify planes and ships as quickly as possible.
Well, what emerged from Morgan Fairchild’s junkyard later that night looked like the identification chart of the five known outlines of classic hot chick. Five beautiful and talented actresses, each encased in skintight black body armor, confidently walking the walk of those about to kick some major ass.
They gave the junkyard keys back to the beautiful and talented Morgan Fairchild. It was easier than they thought it would be to talk her into letting them clunk around in her junkyard all night. In a way, Morgan Fairchild knew my secret, too, but she didn’t quite have all the pieces to the puzzle.
“Now,” asked Darlyne, “does everybody know what we have to do?”
Debi replied, “Dar, we just traveled 1300 miles and spent the night pounding scrap metal into skintight body armor.”
“Black,” said Laura.
“Yeah, black skin tight body armor. All of us,” said Lucy.
“It really does look hot, if I say so myself,” punctuated Alyssa.
That being said, they knew what they had to do. They knew it from the moment they saw that I was in the hospital.
At sunrise, the citizens of the city were all on their busy, busy way. Sidewalk carts dispensed hot coffee and buttered rolls, the traditional New Yorker’s breakfast, while guys and gals in bright vinyl vests dispensed free newspapers, the new Daily Planet for this Metropolis. The subways were free until all the Metro Card machines could be replaced.
And, up there in the sky, a freshly skywritten message:


Technically, I don’t know what a ‘conniption’ is, but that hippy lady must be having one right now.
A black armored glove taps on a shoulder. A Street Gang member turns around and receives a high kick to the jaw.
Three Street Gang members surround a hot chick in skintight black body armor. Before they know it, they are getting Can Canned to every sensitive part of their bodies.
A horde of Street Gang members chase a beautiful, talented and armored form into an alley. A moment later, the same horde is running back out, beaten and bruised, followed by five beautiful, talented and armored forms.
Similar scenarios abound throughout the city. But, among the broken noses, kicked groins and jazz handed ribs, one constant and incredulous cry can be heard from the prey of these Valkyries:
“Heater Case J has… TITS?
There was one last mission, one last ass to kick. Every organization has a leader. This one had the balls to be in the phone book. He also had two good targets for ten well placed boots.
As they approached the street, they noticed a helicopter was also approaching. It was emblazoned with a large ‘SG’ on its side. The five armored angels knew they had to hurry. The name on the mailbox confirmed they were in the right place. The lobby door was locked.
“Okay, ladies,” said beautiful, talented and armored Debi, “and a one and a two and a…”
“One singular sensation, every little step she BAM!”
And the door flew open.
The magazines in the hallway not only reconfirmed their location, but ultra-confirmed it to a degree they would have to take up with the occupant. There was no time for elevators. Ten limber hamstrings and ten buns of steel purchased every step to the rooftop.
No needs to kick open the rooftop door, as it was already askew. The Five fanned out and there, with his back to the edge of the roof and nowhere to go, was a fat guy with a comb over and a slimy little mustache. The leader of the Street Gangs looked no more threatening than the ‘time to make the donuts’ guy. The helicopter, upon sighting the five vigilante Valkyries, made a quick retreat.
Darlyne looked at her comrades in armor and then stepped one step closer to Mister Donut Guy and said, “Street? Street Gangs?”
“You mean to tell me,” asked Laura, “that the leader of all the Street Gangs is actually named STREET GANGS?”
“Yeah,” he replied, “It works. I mean, it’s been done before. Bon Jovi named his band after himself… and how about Betty Crocker?”
“There is no Betty Crocker,” said Lucy, “she’s a made up person, like Mister Clean and the Quaker Oats Guy.”
“You mean the guy on the box, not Wilfred Brimley, right?”
It doesn’t really matter who said that. At this point, Street Gangs, the leader of all Street Gangs, was mesmerized by the banter that wafted back and forth between the five masked babes in skintight black body armor. Also, at this point, his mind briefly wandered away for a second and pondered if a cylindrical cardboard tube could technically be called a ‘box’.
“Okay, you got me,” he said, “but I just want to know one thing. Why do you call yourselves the BOLT?”
Only five beautiful and talented actresses, trained in choreography, freestyle and team work, could have answered the way they did. They were already in a semi-circle around Street. As if on cue, they all wound up their right arms and clocked him right on the chin while shouting in unison, “BEAUTIES OF LIVE THEATER, BITCH!”
Do you know what a bible is? No, not THE Bible.
Every show on TV has a ‘bible’. It’s a go-to rule book containing dos and don’ts within the universe of that TV show. It’s especially indispensable for ‘outside’ writers submitting scripts to the show. Did you know that one of the rules in the A-Team bible was that nobody got killed and you always, eventually, saw bad guys crawling from crashed vehicles and bomb craters?
There is no ‘bible’ for real life that says nobody gets killed.
Street was knocked back by the force of five beautiful and talented fists and disappeared down over the edge of the roof. Darlyne, Debi, Lucy, Laura and Alyssa all pulled off their face plates and helmets, shook out their beautiful and talented hair and ran to the edge of the roof just in time to see Street bounce from a fire escape to a clothes line to an awning and finally land on a giant pile of garbage bags. New York’s Finest were already on the scene and cuffed him before he could get away. I guess you could say he was lucky.
A click, followed by what seemed like a hundred clicks came from behind the five Beauties of Live Theater. They turned to see Mayor Bloomberg, Commissioner Kelly and at least a hundred cops all drawing a bead on the gals. Yes, even the Mayor had a gun on them.
“It’s okay,” Darlyne shouted, “Heater Case J sent us! We need you to get us into the Super Private World Famous Movie Star Wing at Presbyterian Hospital immediately. Please don’t ask why.”
The Mayor and the Commissioner looked at each other and shrugged. They then turned and looked at one hundred cops with their guns drawn who, in turn, shrugged. Within minutes, a blaring police escort was shuttling the five angels uptown. The actresses-turned-vigilantes were escorted to the hall outside my room, where they all looked in at my powerful form attached to wires and tubes as I slept away my injuries.
“You know him?” asked the Mayor, “I mean everybody KNOWS him, but…”
“More important than that, your Honor,” responded Debi, while never taking her eyes off me, “He knows us.”
With that, the five ladies of the theater walked into the room and asked not to be disturbed. For the second time within a half-hour, they formed a semi-circle.  This time, however, it was not to simultaneously punch a Street Gang Leader off a roof top, but to be at the side of their sleeping warrior.
I awoke to the vision of five of the most beautiful and talented actresses I know, all dressed in black skintight body armor, with only their beautiful faces and talented hair uncovered. If Freud was alive, he would have died all over again and spun in his grave at the thought of five of the hottest women possible… dressed like ME. Well, dressed like my secret alter ego, which would have put his spin into overdrive.
I looked to my right. Darlyne was holding my hand and smiling.
“Hey, kid,” I whispered, “Whatcha been up to? Hi, girls.”
Debi, Alyssa, Lucy and Laura all answered, almost in four part harmony, “Hi.”
“Oh, sorry,” I said, “I was still talking to Darlyne. JUST KIDDING.”
This produced giggles, mixed with sniffs and a happy frog in a throat here and there. To my left was Debi, holding my other hand, smiling and wiping her eye with her other hand. We definitely were going to need more hands with all this holding and wiping going on.
“Hey, hi,” I said, “Do you remember me?”
“Of course I do! You were my knight to the rescue.”
I looked up and down at her Heater Case J knockoff armor and said, “Well, I see you’ve started some kind of crazy fan club. Do you know that there’s a great little film based on a Vonnegut short story called ‘Who Am I This Time’? It has Susan Sarandon and Christopher Walken as actors in a Community Theater on Cape Cod. So, who do I call you this time? Dolly? Mame? Madame Pompadour?”
Debi lost a battle against a few more tears getting out and said, with a stiff upper lip that was half happy crying and half happy smile, “Debi’s fine.”
She continued, “How are YOU doing?”
“Well, I got into show business since I last saw you. I’m doing okay.”
Next down the line, somewhere around my hips, were Lucy on my left and Alyssa on my right. I smiled at both of them.
“Hey,” they chimed.
“Hey, yourselves,’ I answered, “What’s shakin’, LuHa.”
That was my nickname for Lucy. I hadn’t seen her since she lived in New York City. She was, after all, the reason Heater Case J was created. I don’t know if she knew that, but I watched over her as she scooted around the city, quietly beating up any Street gangs that even looked like they were getting anywhere near her.
“And you, Missie Alyssie.” Again, I have this thing about nicknames. “I’m sorry that Street Gangs kidnapped you and tied you up in that basement for twelve hours, but at least we got to hang out for a while.”
“Eh, no biggie,” Alyssa replied.
“Let that be a lesson, LuHa, if you ever get tied up in a basement,” I teased, “Then again, what goes on between you and your boyfriend is none of my business.”
“Gawd, you must be feeling better,” Lucy countered, “Nurse, can we get a rim shot, please?”
At the end of the hospital bed, a fifth figure took in all the sentiment with a participative yet vicarious poise.
“Are you under some kind of court order to stay down there?”
“That’s right. No. Get up here, you Silly McWilly.”
“Oh no,” she said, as she made her way up the side of the bed, “That’s not my new nickname, is it?”
“It will be if you don’t give me a great big hug.”
Laura and I, although we had communicated extensively on my secret Facebook profile, never actually met.
Do you know that, when Star Trek evolved into Star Trek: The Next Generation, they expanded several of the characters into multiple roles?
The logic, the alien instincts and the ‘fish out of water’ aspect of Spock were split between Data and Worf. As in Spock, the funniest characters were the ones with no sense of humor.
The Captain’s caring confidant grew from Doctor McCoy to Doctor Crusher and Commander Riker, and, shortly into the series, Scotty was portrayed through LeForge and O’Brien.
However, in this beefed up version of Charlie’s Angels, Laura was indeed my Sabrina.
“I think,” I said as I hugged her, “I’m going to miss you most all.”
“That’s some pretty good drugs they’re giving you, huh, Dorothy?” Laura replied.   
Speaking of drugs, for five beautiful and talented actresses who were covered in oily water, grit, grease and every other mystery viscous fluid in New York City, I found they all still smelled great. In fact, the combination of all subtle body spray and the fact that the five known shapes of classic hot chick were each wrapped up in skintight black body armor had a pleasant effect on me, a very pleasant effect that was soon impossible to ignore.
“Please forgive my biology ladies,” I offered, “but I seem to have received a bit of a rise out of all of this.”
Darlyne giggled and managed to get out, “Speaking for all of us, I think we’d be terribly offended if you didn’t.” 
So, there we were, and such a perfect moment it was. It would have only been more perfect if the camera made a slow pull away out the window and a panned to the skyline.
There were five angels to transport, via my private jet, back to Naples, Florida. After, of course, I let them get some clean clothes on my account at Saks Fifth Avenue and a nice freshening up at the Auriga Spa. If I learned anything in life, it’s that you don’t send beautiful and talented actresses who just quelled your arch enemy home in dirty skintight black body armor.
There was also the matter of retrieving, at some point, my Heater Case J suit from that sewer. I had several versions of street armor, but that was the original suit. Even one of the most famous movie stars in the world who doubles as one of the most mysterious crime fighters in the world gets sentimental now and then.
When I’m up to the task, I’ll probably suit up in one of the later versions and ask some guys in the sewer department to grab it for me.
Y’know, if Batman had hired all those builder guys to build the Bat Cave while he was dressed as Batman, he probably wouldn’t have killed them all to protect his secret. I’m not saying he did. I’m just saying.
I’m also saying I should have faked a coma at least until after I got a sponge bath from that nurse.

Author’s Note:
These stories take place in an alternate universe. However, they are inspired by five beautiful and talented actresses who, indeed, reside and perform primarily in the Naples, Florida part of this universe. Only two things are true in these stories. Darlyne, Debi, Lucy, Laura and Alyssa are beautiful and talented, and beautiful and talented actress Morgan Fairchild has the straightest nose in show business.

About the author:
A founding member of Boston's infamous Ding Ho Club ,whose members include Steven Wright, Bobcat Goldthwait, Paula Poundstone and Denis Leary, DJ Hazard went on to tour nearly all of North America before settling back in New York City to act and write.
He can be seen in the award winning films Blackballed: The Bobby Dukes Story (directed by Brant Sersen), Bourbon (directed by Adam Woodworth) and Cold Calls (directed by Jack Daniel Stanley).

You can connect with him at