Once a Hero

Once a Hero

a novel in the form of a filmscript by Richard Marsh

Backstory

Ten years ago, Craig’s wife, Marian, ran off to Australia with fellow amateur actor Rob Yardley. To compensate, Craig became the Post’s star reporter and an anti-social humanitarian curmudgeon. Six months ago he was injured when he volunteered to replace a woman hostage in a gunman siege. The woman was killed when Inspector Conway refused to cooperate with Craig’s mediation. Craig was shot and wounded by the gunman, and then he killed the gunman, thereby, in his mind, violating his publicly stated principle of negotiating a non-violent end to sieges.

The story begins here.

On extended medical leave from the Post and unsuccessfully convalescing from physical and emotional wounds, twice a loser in his mind, Craig is coerced by bank raiders into replacing six hostages and negotiating an end to a police siege headed by Conway. No one is injured, but the robbers escape with the money, leaving Craig looking like a fool. He must bring them to justice to salvage his reputation and to ensure that others don’t try to use him as a patsy.

Craig’s colleague Jane, who would like a close personal relationship with him, offers to help. Craig rebuffs her, so she tries to solve the crime on her own. Jane’s colleague Don, arts editor and old friend of Craig’s, helps her understand Craig.

Excerpts

JANE hangs up pensively, looks at Craigís manual typewriter, almost hallowed by his absence, on a nearby unused desk.

...

CRAIG
(on phone, bitter, pontificating)
Reporters are the heart and blood of a newspaper. Information is the food. It all comes out through the editors. Thatís why editors are the ... Any fool can be an editor.

...

DON
I asked him once why he didnít take the news editor job when it was offered, and he said, ďItís not me. Iím nothing if Iím not a reporter.Ē

JANE
You think heíll come back, then?

DON
He hasnít taken his typewriter.

JANE
Itís more than being shot in the knee, isnít it? Itís having to kill that man.

DON
Thatís a wound only time will heal. Craig may appear to be rude and arrogant, but heís no killer.

JANE
Was he always ... you know ... the way he is?

DON
The old curmudgeon who loves humanity but hates people? You really care about him, donít you?

JANE
(evasively)
I just think thereís more to him than meets the eye.

DON
Heís created a character for himself. Heís been playing the role of the anti-social humanitarian for the past ten years.

...

CRAIG
(on phone to Jane, shouting)
Youíre the only one in that newsroom who listens to me. Tell Al when I say no I mean no. I donít work for his newspaper anymore.
(lowers voice)
Iím not a reporter anymore.
(flat voice)
Iím nothing ... now.


Published August 2012
ISBN 978-0-915330-10-2
Available from Amazon US and Amazon UK for the Kindle Reader


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