A Servant of Peace

I slapped him hard across the face.

Batman Slaps Robin

Like this, but without dialog bubbles.

“Snap out of it, man” I said. “We have to figure out how to disarm this nuclear bomb!”

He slapped me back. Hard.

“I’m snapped out of it already! I think maybe it’s only a clock” he said, “and not even an electronic one, it’s like a wind up!”

“What do you know? Do you even have an undergraduate degree in rocket science or horology or a related field or ten years of relevant experience?” I said, rubbing my jowls and squinting through my hairy eyebrows, using my pale blue eyes the color of coffee grounds.

“Does satellite imagery count?”


“Too bad I don’t have that either. But I use internet.”

My good friend Robin was always a little slow on the uptake. How could he not mistake the loud ticking for the presence of plutonium? And the men we had seen in the neighborhood did not seem to be horologists; judging by their white coats and mustaches they must have been intent on being disguised as urologists. Confusing the two was a common mistake and one my friend made all too frequently.

“Hello, boys,” came a voice behind us. “Maybe I can help?”

I whirled around. “Batgirl!” I exclaimed.

“No, there is no Batgirl. You’re thinking Catwoman.” said Robin. He smirked.

“There is so a Batgirl. As any nitwit knows.”

“Catgirl,” I continued, “we have to disarm this nuclear bomb. Its ticking louder now which leads me to believe that we have to act fast or that the wind has changed direction. Perhaps the humidity has gone down allow for sound waves to propagate…”

“Catwomyn,’ she said coolly.  “It’s Catwomyn. M-Y-N.”


Yes, she does exist.

“Is that like a plural? I mean like are there more than just you?” said Robin. He was clearly hoping that there were lots more. He was king of embarrassing questions.

“Enough,” I said. “We have to act quickly. If not all of Rubbleton will be reduced to …” I hated to think.
If this was a 3 megaton device, as I suspected, its detonation would, depending on the wind direction and speed and relative humidity, greatly diminish cell phone reception over a wide area for the next several weeks at least. Especially for those who weren’t on the AT&T family plan. And the impact on global warming could be on the order of magnitude of 0.8 to 0.83 degrees over the next 30 years especially within a 2 yard radius of the denotation.

I looked at the human resources available to me. There was Robin. Energetic but sadly unfamiliar with nuclear devices, horology or women. His constant chirping was also very annoying. Then there was whoever it was that claimed to be this mysterious Catwomyn. Was she an ally or one of them?

“Do you know the difference between horology and urology?” I demanded.

“Who wants to know?”

I had to think about that one. I mean do we really, really ever know who we are? Can we ever really trust our own judgements? Maybe it all comes down to whether we know how to disarm this nuclear warhead which is sitting on our lawn, dropped off by one of those roving gangs of urologists.

“Never mind that,” I said. “I’m just some poor sap, out to make just this little corner of the world a better place. Just a regular guy not wanting any thanks; just doing good and slipping back into the shadows. Just a servant of peace. Just a fighter against injustice.”

“Oh really?” she said.

I sensed her arching her eyebrows behind the cat mask. I was beginning to suspect that both Catwomyn and Robin were not as they appeared.

Down the street a gang of urologists was sneaking behind a house.

The P-Men

They are the P-Men.

Jon Anderson has been working for several decades on the development challenges in Africa, much of that time in Mali. He is concerned particularly with the relationship between natural resources, economics and empowerment. He has worked for several major development organizations, both public and private, and has taught a Johns Hopkins and Columbia Universities. He continues to be committed to helping the voiceless find expression, and promoting under-represented views. One of his favorite biological processes is fermentation.

©2016, all rights reserved
published with permission of the author

If you still are resisting work, go read an article from another of our guest writers, John Wade, The Quest to Be Number 1.