Six million, Sakai said. Six million, five hundred thousand, Qamar countered. Seven, Danneman said calmly. Clivingdon watched the three combatants withMessage 1 of 28 , Jul 1, 2002View Source"Six million," Sakai said.
"Six million, five hundred thousand," Qamar countered.
"Seven," Danneman said calmly. Clivingdon watched the three
combatants with growing pleasure. In a very short time, the bidding
had eliminated all but these three. Some of the dropouts had
returned to the bar or the buffet table; most remained at the bidding
table, watching with intense interest.
"Seven million, five hundred thousand," Qamar said.
"Ten," Danneman, apparently tired of the game, said. Qamar's eyes
"T-ten?" he asked.
"Ten," Danneman confirmed, casually.
* * * * *
"Well?" Hawkman asked, as he hovered outside the window. Green Arrow
perched on the ledge. A suction cup attached to the glass trailed two
wires, one to an earpiece the archer wore, another to a miniature
tape recorder he was holding. The curtains had been drawn, so no one
within saw them.
"We've got enough," Green Arrow said, disconnecting the suction
cup. "Every fat cat in that room is an accessory to Dr. Ling's
kidnapping, after the fact. I've got enough on this tape to have them
all making license plates well into the next millennium." Green Arrow
carefully packed up the tape recorder, attached it to an arrow, and
shot it across the street onto the roof of the store. "We'll get that
later, after we break up this little coffee klatsch."
* * * * *
"I'm sorry, Mr. Qamar," Clivingdon said politely, "but I'm afraid
you're out of the auction."
"I'm telling you," the Arab snarled angrily, "my consortium is
prepared to go higher! If I may be permitted the courtesy of a phone
call--" Qamar reached for the phone on the table, but Danneman
slammed his hand down on the instrument first. His eyes glittered
like chips of obsidian.
"Cash and carry," he said simply. "That was the arrangement, was it
not, Mr. Clivingdon?"
"It was," Clivingdon confirmed. "I'm sorry, Mr. Qamar."
"Bah!" Qamar spit, and stood up quickly from his chair. He stalked
angrily to the bar to make himself a strong drink.
"Congratulations, Mr. Danneman," Clivingdon said. "The prize is
yours, for the sum of ten million dollars."
The sudden sound of shattering glass startled everyone in the room.
The curtains were yanked aside, to reveal Hawkman hovering in the
ruined window, mace held in both hands. Green Arrow stood there as
well, bow gripped in his left hand. "Don't hand out congratulations
just yet," the archer snarled.
There was a general tremor of fear and anxiety running through the
room. "You guaranteed this meeting was safe!" Danneman snapped at
"So I did," Clivingdon said. "And so it is. The interest the Justice
League has shown in this matter has not escaped my notice. And so, I
hired special guards to ensure the safety of the bidders. Gentlemen!"
Clivingdon barked out the last word. A side door to the room opened,
and two costumed men, both African-Americans, charged into the room.
Green Arrow and Hawkman both recognized them from the Justice League
files: Black Mass and Crowbar.
"We have some party crashers," Clivingdon said calmly. "Eject them,
would you please?"
The two super-villains advanced toward Green Arrow and Hawkman. The archer quickly drew, notched, and fired two arrows. One struck the bottom of the main doorMessage 1 of 28 , Jul 1, 2002View SourceThe two super-villains advanced toward Green Arrow and Hawkman. The
archer quickly drew, notched, and fired two arrows. One struck the
bottom of the main door of the room, the other the side door through
which the villains had entered. Both arrows exploded into a thick,
viscous epoxy, sealing the doors shut.
"Get Dr. Ling out of here," Green Arrow said shortly.
"But--" Hawkman began.
"Do it!" the archer snapped. "Come back and help me when she's safe.
Hawkman hesitated no more. He darted into the room, and grabbed the
back of Dr. Ling's chair. He lifted her, chair and all, into the air;
Crowbar's weapon whistled through the air where he had been a moment
earlier as he soared away out the window.
"Just you and me, boys," Green Arrow said, firing another arrow.
Crowbar snarled and swatted at it with his crowbar; his snarl turned
into a shriek of pain as the bar struck the arrowhead, and a massive
electric charge shot through the metal bar into his body. He dropped
to the floor, twitching and convulsing.
"You'll pay for that!" the giant Black Mass growled, as he charged at
"Do you take Discover Card?" Green Arrow asked, drawing another
arrow. Before he had it out of the quiver, Black Mass' fist struck
him in the chest, sending him flying across the room. He landed on
the buffet table with a loud crash; the table split under him and
platters of food were upended onto him.
"Ha ha ha!" Black Mass laughed, the huge man's laughter rumbling like
thunder. "One meatball hero, to go!"
"Har de har har," Green Arrow said, every breath drawing fire in his
chest. He was sure he had a bruised rib, possibly cracked. "Do you
know what it costs to clean these outfits?"
"Send me the bill," Black Mass said, charging like a rhinoceros.
"I will, care of Pocantico," Green Arrow said, hurling something. The
bowl of caviar struck Black Mass in the forehead, the salmon roe
splashing into his eyes and blinding him. Green Arrow rolled out of
the way just as the huge villain smashed into the wall.
Green Arrow lay on the floor, trying to catch his breath without
sending pain shooting through his chest. He saw a shadow looming over
him, and rolled out of the way just as the crowbar smashed down,
striking the floor.
"Hold still!" Crowbar snarled, raising his weapon high.
"Does that line usually work for you?" Green Arrow asked, lashing out
with his leg. He delivered a smashing kick to the villain's solar
plexus, doubling him up with pain. "I find it doesn't, in most
cases." Green Arrow tried to reach for his quiver, but he felt fists
like iron grab his wrists, felt himself hauled to his feet, and up
off his feet. His legs dangled helplessly above the floor.
"Funny man," Black Mass growled. "We'll see how funny you are without
Green Arrow felt the pressure begin as the villain tried to tear his
arms out of their sockets. Then he heard something else; a familiar
voice, making an angry demand.
"Let him go!"
Black Mass didn't take Hawkman's hint until the hero applied it with
his mace. The weapon slammed into the side of Black Mass' head; his
grip relaxed, and Green Arrow yanked himself free. He saw Crowbar
slowly coming out of his crouch, stiffly raising his weapon.
"Stay down, dummy!" Green Arrow demanded, throwing a powerful right
cross. His ribs ached with the force of the blow, but his fist
collided with Crowbar's jaw, and the villain went down, to stay.
Black Mass, his head ringing from Hawkman's mace blow, dazedly made a
grab for the archer. Hawkman swung his mace again. Instinctively the
villain's arm went up to block the blow; he caught it in the wrist,
and there was a sound of crunching metal. The villain stared at his
wrist in terror.
"My wrist-band!" he shrieked. "You've broken my wrist-band!! You--I--
I--" The villain's stammering protests ended as his body began to
shrink down to its normal 98 pounds. About halfway down it stopped,
hesitated, then shot back up to full size; then began shrinking back
"I heard about this guy," Green Arrow said. "His wrist-bands let him
change from Mr. Weakling to Mr. Atlas plus. Never figured what would
happen if he only had one."
"I guess we know, now," Hawkman said.
"We should help him," Green Arrow said.
"Yes, it looks painful," Hawkman said, watching Black Mass shrink to
his knees, as his body continued to shrink and expand. "We should
"Eventually," Green Arrow said.
"Oh, yes," Hawkman agreed. "No hurry."
"Besides--" Green Arrow turned around slowly, giving Clivingdon a
withering stare. "--we've got other fish to fry. Accent on `fry'."
Clivingdon swallowed slowly.
Four nights later, Hawkman was working monitor duty in the JLA satellite. He sat in the communications room, his helmet off and on the console beside him,Message 1 of 28 , Jul 1, 2002View SourceFour nights later, Hawkman was working monitor duty in the JLA
satellite. He sat in the communications room, his helmet off and on
the console beside him, watching televised news broadcasts. The
warning light alerted him that the teleporter tube was in use, but it
quickly identified the user as Green Arrow.
"What's up, Katar?" the archer asked, as he walked into the
"Ollie, hello," Katar said. Then, with more concern, "Are you all
right? You're still walking stiffly."
"My ribs are still a bit sore from that beating Black Mass gave me,"
Green Arrow said, "but I'm okay. So what's new in the world?"
"I was just watching a CNN report on the Dr. Ling matter," Hawkman
said. "They're having trouble holding Qamar ibn Kerab and some of the
other non-Americans; their countries are making diplomatic noises.
All the Americans, however, are being held without bail, pending
federal trial on kidnapping charges. Several of the automotive
companies have made public statements that their CEOs acted without
the knowledge of the Board of Directors, and they have been summarily
"Nice," Green Arrow said, slowly settling into a chair next to
Hawkman. "I bet they wouldn't have raised a fuss if any of `em had
brought Dr. Ling home gift-wrapped."
"You're too cynical, Ollie," Hawkman said. "Always ready to believe
the worst of anyone, especially businessmen and politicians."
"And you're too ready to believe the best of `em," Green Arrow
countered. "Maybe Thanagar was a Utopian society, but here on the big
blue mudball things aren't so black and white!"
"Okay, okay, truce," Hawkman said amiably, holding up a hand. "So,
what brings you here so early? You're not due to relieve me for
"Well, I wanted to talk to you," Green Arrow said. "I've been giving
my best man problem a lot of thought."
"Oh?" Hawkman asked. "Come to a decision?"
"I think so," Green Arrow said. "I feel pretty much the same about
both Hal and Roy. I mean, I feel different ways about them; Hal is my
best friend, and Roy's like a son to me. But I don't favor one over
the other. You know what I mean?"
"I do," Hawkman nodded.
"And, despite what they said, I know one of `em will get hurt if I
pick the other one. Seems my best way out of it is to ask someone
other than the two of them."
"Logical," Hawkman said. "Anyone on the team will gladly stand up for
you. Perhaps Bruce, or Clark; Ralph, even."
"Well, I kinda had someone else in mind," Green Arrow said. "Someone
who challenges me, keeps my wits razor-sharp. Keeps me focused, by
showing myself to myself, you know? Someone I maybe fight with a lot,
but who I know would put his life on the line for me, cos I'd do the
same for him." Green Arrow paused. "A real friend. Any idea who I
Hawkman grinned broadly. "I think so, Ollie. I think I know exactly
who you mean."
Green Arrow grinned too. "So, you think he'll do it?"
"I think he'd be honored," Hawkman said.
"Swell!" Green Arrow said. "Now, you realize, one of the duties of
the best man is throwing the bachelor party."
"A barbaric Terran custom," Hawkman said, wrinkling his nose.
"Barbaric?!? Why, you aviary elitist!"
"Elitist? Coming from the Abbie Hoffman of the Robin Hood set, that's
"Oh, now you've gone too far!"
"Oh, have I?"
"And another thing--"
... Actually the correct answer to Hawkman s question is: A Canadian actor and singer who was best known as Jean Valjean in the Canadian cast of LesMessage 1 of 28 , Jul 4, 2002View Source
> "Katar, can I make a suggestion?" Elongated ManActually the correct answer to Hawkman's question is:
> asked. "I think
> there's a name missing. Michael Burgess."
> "Who's that?" Hawkman asked.
A Canadian actor and singer who was best known as Jean
Valjean in the Canadian cast of Les Miserables.
Is the writer of this story another Canadian or is
this just a coincidence.
P. S. Michael's real first name is Wally.
Do You Yahoo!?
Sign up for SBC Yahoo! Dial - First Month Free
Just a coincidence! Michael Burgess was also the name of Alan Alda s character in the 1986 movie Sweet Liberty ; for some reason that came to mind when I wasMessage 1 of 28 , Jul 4, 2002View SourceJust a coincidence! Michael Burgess was also the name of Alan Alda's
character in the 1986 movie "Sweet Liberty"; for some reason that
came to mind when I was searching for a name for this character!
> > "Katar, can I make a suggestion?" Elongated Man
> > asked. "I think
> > there's a name missing. Michael Burgess."
> > "Who's that?" Hawkman asked.
> Actually the correct answer to Hawkman's question is:
> A Canadian actor and singer who was best known as Jean
> Valjean in the Canadian cast of Les Miserables.
> Is the writer of this story another Canadian or is
> this just a coincidence.
> P. S. Michael's real first name is Wally.
> Do You Yahoo!?
> Sign up for SBC Yahoo! Dial - First Month Free