No More Heroes

‘Hang on.’

‘What now?’

‘What about my backstory?’

‘Your… what?’

‘My backstory. How did I get here?’

‘You came through that door. You ought to remember, it was only a paragraph ago.’

Tara, the protagonist sighed. ‘No not that. My character, how did I get to become the world’s greatest secret agent?’

‘Do we have to go into this now? You are in the antagonist’s lair after all.’

‘I know. That’s part of the problem.’

‘The alarms will go off if you don’t get on with it. Anyway, what do you mean, part of the problem?’

‘As I said, why am I here?’

‘It is your job. More than that it is a need you have… the adrenalin surge, the need to test yourself, to put yourself in danger.’

‘But why? It seems to be a lot of trouble to go to. I’d rather be at home curled up on the sofa with a cat and some wine, watching a romantic film on the TV.’

‘Isn’t that a bit too stereotypical for this day and age?

‘So? There’s nothing wrong with being stereotypical. After all stereotypes exist for a reason, don’t they?’

‘But don’t you like being a feisty heroine?’

Tara, her eyes now used to the darkness of the antagonist’s office, sat in his chair behind his desk. ‘To be honest… no.’ She sighed, stretching out her long athletic legs in the black leather cat suit. She slapped her thigh in a very un-pantomime principal boy-like way. ‘I mean, look at this? Black leather, skintight. If that isn’t a cliché, I don’t know what is.’ She peered out of the darkness of the paragraph. ‘I mean you are just replacing one stereotype with another, aren’t you?’

‘It is what the market demands.’

‘Is it? Or is it just a way of doing the bare minimum of changing the sex of the protagonist to keep up with what everyone assumes are contemporary mores? She eased down the zip of the leather cat suit. ‘Do you realise how hot and uncomfortable it is in something like this. And why, even as a female secret agent assassin, don’t I have any pockets?’

‘Pockets would distort the line of the outfit. It has to be sleek figure hugging. Think of the TV or film rights.’

‘Film rights? You? Sitting there in your underpants with a raging Lora Croft fetish thing going on?’

‘I never….’

‘Yes, you did. I’ve been in your mind. Her, though? Especially those early games with the triangular tits?’ Tara shrugged. ‘That’s another thing… Tara… Lara? A bit of a coincidence don’t you think?’

‘It’s just that these days… a male hero. Well, you won’t get it past any publishing house, let alone TV or film producer… they won’t look at it. Sorry.’

‘I mean, couldn’t I be an artist… a poet or something? Someone with a life, one that doesn’t involve hand-to-hand combat, and a working knowledge of explosives.’ Tara took a breath. Maybe a bit of romance for once? Preferably where I don’t have to kill my lover the morning after. She looked up at him through the computer screen. ‘I could… even… be Lara for you,’ she said, unzipping the leather cat suit a little further past the swell of her….

 

Published by David Hadley

A Bloke. Occasionally points at ducks.

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