Other Pulp Heroes
Bart Hill began his training under Qron. Each morning he was forced to swim five miles, followed immediately by a ten mile run.
He also had Bart run thru intense gymnastic routines. The old man explained dexterity would be as vital to combat as brute force.
But mostly his training involves being beaten up by the old man. Some days Bart would land a few hits and seemingly have Qron on the ropes. Other days, Bart was instantly knocked out by a single kick. Either way the result was the same, Bart would lose.
After several weeks Bart Hill seems like a different man, than the boy who cried Dare-Devil. He comes back from his fifteen mile run and is unable to find the old man. He looks inside the house and he is nowhere to be found.
Bart ponders taking a quick nap, before doing the gymnastic drills. But he decides against it. He does go look inside his room, where he finds a stack of magazines by his bed. They are all pulp magazines. He has not read a pulp since he met Qron. The old man does not seem like the literate type.
Bart goes thru the stack and the old man has them all. The Slicer, The Clock, True Mask Stories featuring Brass Blizzard, True Detective Stories. Even a few romance pulps.
"So you found them."
It is Master Qron, he has a dozen fish on a line, just returning from a fishing trip.
"Thanks, but I figured you frowned on this sort of thing?"
"You want to be like these men? A masked hero?"
"Well yeah, but...."
"That is what I am training you for. So you can bring this Duel-Devil to life."
Bart was going to tell him that his name is Dare-Devil, but he knows better than to correct the old man.
"Why are you not running your gymnastic drills?"
"I was searching for you."
"OUTSIDE!!! I have plans for you tonight."
Qron takes Bart to a crummy looking (even by Crab City standards) casino. Downstairs a broken down boxing ring is set up. Various gamblers and would be fighters are standing around.
"What is this Qron?"
"I'm entering you in a tourney. It is good experience for you and will give me some extra cash."
Bart is getting his fist and feet taped up when he notices a man in the corner laughing. He is wearing a cheap looking hat, but Bart recognizes the man.
Qron looks up.
Bart touches the scar on his chest. His physical reminder of Pan Guay Jake.
Bart starts walking toward him.
Pan Guay Jake sees a fighter with dirty blond hair yelling his name. The man looks mad enough to kill him. But Jake has no idea who the guy is, until he sees the boomerang scar on his chest.
Bart Hill is pushing into the crowd. This is what he really wants, he wants to kill Pan Guay Jake.
Qron is trying to hold him back.
"Bart.... Bart.... Calm down...."
Bart Hill refuses and keeps pushing.
"BOY!!! STOP NOW!!!!!"
Bart Hill freezes at the sound of his Master's scream.
"I do not care who this man is, he is not your concern. Your concern is winning tonight. Once I am done with you, you can track this Jake down at your leisure."
Bart looks down and accepts the authority of Master Qron.
Three of the fights have already taken place. Most of these men are simple bare knuckle boxers and wrestlers with little formal training. Most of them are fighting in jeans.
Qron got Bart a pair of red boxing trunks. It is his turn to fight now.
He is fighting a very fat black man. He is slightly taller than Bart and looks very confident in his skill.
They do not even have a bell, instead some old man in an ill fitting suit screams.
The fat man charges into Bart, driving him into the turnbuckle. His deceptive speed caught him off guard. With the breath knocked from him, the fat man body slams him to the broken canvas.
Now he is stomping him in the ribs, until Bart catches his foot and from the ground kicks him in the face.
He leaps up and punches him in the gut three times. He can tell this is a mistake, as the belly is too insulated.
Bart kicks him in the nose, busting it.
"You dun broke my nose, you summabeach."
He grabs Bart by the hair and tosses him out of the ring. But the gymnast training Qron gave, pays off, when Bart lands on his feet. The fat man turns around and is in shock to see Bart standing on the ropes. He charges toward him, only for Bart to leap off the ropes and kick him in the jaw. The fat man falls to the ground and rattles the entire ring.
Bart Hill enters the second round. He solemnly holds his arms up in celebration, as Pan Guay Jake is gripped by a new fear.