He's The QB


The fifth story of the 'Visitations' fan fiction series by Brother Grimace




"Owww, my head hurts..."


"Well, it should," a voice from one said spoke out, unable to hide the mirth in its tone. "Watching how you got here... I'm going to save that tape for whenever I need cheering up... my, my, my... you DO take that 'win at all costs' mythos to ridiculous extremes, don't you, Mr. Thompson?"


Kevin Thompson lifted his head and opened his eyes, blinking as he saw the nondescript, well-dressed man sitting in the chair beside him. "My head hurts... why do I feel so stiff?"


"That would be because you've been going in and out of consciousness for over a week. They were afraid that you had suffered some sort of brain injury, and the doctors have been monitoring you closely to see what happens... oh, you don't have to worry. The nurses are right outside if you need them."


"I'm in the hospital?"


"Yes, Kevin – you're in the hospital. The stiffness should go away soon. You took several rounds in the chest, but you remembered to wear your body armor-"


"Dude, Gunny Lesser's a bear about that! Sandefur was about to get on the truck without his 'cause he was rushing, and when Gunny saw him, he cussed him out like he was on cable!"


"The round you took in your leg passed through cleanly, so it should heal with no problems."


"Oh, yeah. I'm in the hospital! The redhead nurse gave me some water earlier. Man, she is cute-!"


An emotion that resembled pain crossed the man's face. "You'll be all right."


Kevin finally focused in on the man. "Hey, who are you?"


"Someone who is very concerned about you, Kevin. I'm someone who'd been paying attention to you since you were in fifth grade. You know, they never did get that toilet at the Darling residence to work normally after your visit, and you never bothered so say anything about the bars of soap. Small, yes, but from little acorns..." The man shifted in his seat. "So... this is Camp Victory. One would think that, with the amounts they'll spend to set up permanent bases here, the military would at least splurge a bit for more comfortable chairs for those who visit the wounded. They will get more complaints on the subject, I assure you."


Kevin finally noticed the man in full detail. "Hey, you're not supposed to be wearing stuff like that – you need to be wearing your cammies and your other gear – wait a minute! The nice suit- Dude! Are you, like some CIA guy or something – like the guy who helps James Bond in all of his movies and stuff? Is that why you're dressed like that, 'cause I heard that over here, you guys get to do, like, all sorts of wild stuff – anything you want!"


The well-dressed man shook his head slowly. "No, Kevin. I'm not CIA."


Kevin thought a minute, then his face lit up, and he gave what he thought must have been a conspiratorial kind of wink. "OHHH! I GET IT! You're in one of those really secret spy teams – like the one Melody Powers is in!"


"Kevin. Let's not talk about that, okay?"


"Yeah, okay. Ever since I got into the Army, they taught me about secrets – 'classified', like stuff on the radio. Cool."


The well dressed man sighed deeply, then leaned forward to take a closer look at the bandages on Kevin's head. "That looks like a nasty bump on your head, Kevin," he said. "How do you feel?"


"It still hurts a bit – dude! You should see my helmet! They said that I got hit a couple of times right in the head!"


"Four rounds – and two struck in almost the exact spot," the man mused, almost talking to himself. "That was something that should have been noticed beforehand; I'll have to speak to someone about that..."


"Hey, you're sounding kind of weird," Kevin said, and he started to rise from the bed when a loud groan of pain rolled out of him. "OH, man – that hurts more than the time I rode the minibike-!"


"The doctors did their job," the man told him, helping Kevin re-position himself back in bed. "There... how does that feel?"


"A little better," he allowed. "Hey – if you're, like, a secret-agent man or something, how come you're visiting me in the hospital? Gunny Lesser and Captain Howell both got hit, too – they said that the Gunny wouldn't make it if we didn't get off that block, so that's when-"


"You absolutely screwed up my plans for you," the man said under his breath. "Running out at those insurgents, and then that fortified position..." He looked back in Kevin's direction. "Kevin – listen. I'd like to – well, I need to do something for my job. Now, it won't hurt and it will help you out, because it'll let me help the doctors help you to get better and back to your buddies – but it'll seem..."


The man searched for the right word. "Weird. I have to do something that'll seem weird. No, nothing like that – well, let me just show you..."


Kevin watched with apprehension as the man pulled out a multicolored device that vaguely resembled a PalmPilot, but relaxed as the man passes it over him once, twice – stopping at the areas where he'd been wounded, and then once again. "Good... there doesn't seem to be any permanent damage. You're a very healthy young man."


"Hey – clean living is what makes a good QB."


"Yes... about that. Kevin, why didn't you go off to college and play football after you finished at Lawndale High?"


"Hey – the President said that people needed to fight the terrorists after those planes hit the buildings! My dad and mom said that I should be in school, but I ran into this Army guy; we talked, and he said that the thing is that the Terrorists are, like, the worst opposing team ever, and that we've got a lot of good guys on ours, but that they could still use a good QB! All I have to do is just remember to listen to my sergeant and the officers, and I'd be able to score for all the folks back at home!"


The simpleminded ones always gave me the most trouble, he sighed inwardly. "Well, Kevin, it looks like you've got a little bit of trouble that the doctors missed... nothing that they can't take care of, once they know about it..."


Aneurysm – simple defect – would never have been detected. If things had gone according to plan, it would have ruptured ten years from now, about nine hours after this fool had won MVP honors in the Super Bowl... while he was in a threesome with a cheerleader from the other team, and a top network anchor who'd volunteered to cover the game and was infatuated with the idiot, because he reminded her of a boy she'd had a crush on in Catholic school. The resulting scandal would have done wonders in ruining reputations and tarnishing images – the news that he was wearing a 'Mooby' t-shirt when his brain blew would have been grist for the mill for decades...


I find it utterly repulsive that I have to do this...


The man took a small box from his pocket and opened it. "Kevin, I want you to take this pill."


"What is it?"


"It's a special pill. Top secret. Seriously hush-hush, undercover medicine – the kind that they give to the agents when they get hurt."


"Cool. What's it do?"


"It makes you all better – better than better. It helps heal up all of your wounds – but not right away, because that would make people suspicious. We learned about that. Now, you're still going to hurt for a bit, and you should take things slow for a few more days, but you should be fine in a week or two."


"Is this what they gave Melody Powers after she got into it with the Commies at the stadium – did Ratboy get one of these?"


"Well, Melody got one, but Ratboy was allergic to the pills. Oh, he got better, but he had to stay in the hospital for a while as he healed. I think that he'd want you to take that pill and heal up, Kevin."


Kevin accepted the violet-hued pull from the man, not bothered by the way it shone with a dim, inner light, and took the cup of water handed to him. "I think that Ratboy would also say that you've done your duty, Kevin," the man told him, taking the empty cup away. "You saved all of your friends in your platoon, you saved the Captain, and what you did saved Gunny Lesser.  You gave up so much to do the right thing, and now, it's time for you to go home."




"You're a hero, Kevin. You need to go home and go back to your life. You need to go back to football, to having fun – you need to go back and be the QB. Oh, that's right – I brought something for you... All of the other patients are over in the ward room, watching the Super Bowl... this should tide you over..." Kevin's eyes lit up as he saw the football that the man brought from behind his chair. "You know, a lot of people wanted to sign it for you..."


"Oh, MAN!" the young man yelped, his eyes wide as he read the names of famous gridiron warriors past and present on the ball. "All of these guys – oh, man!"


"I thought you'd like it," the man told him. "They'll probably have a lot of big parties for you when you get back. There are a lot of girls waiting for you at home, Kevin – well, after this, girls all over want to meet you, back in the States. You should make sure they all give you a really special 'welcome back."


The young man on the bed didn't answer.




No answer.




"Visiting hours are over," a voice rang out from behind, and the man looked up in obvious surprise. "I'll have to ask you to leave. I've already allowed Private Thompson to get some rest."


"It's not fair," the man said, straightening up after slapping the sleeping form of Kevin a number of times. "I was supposed to get him. He was on my list."


"Well – he made his own choices," the delicate voice behind him spoke, and the well-dressed man turned to see a petite, alabaster-skinned beauty in a lab coat. "You wanted him for a Judas goat, so you could have him turn more to your side. You could still try. It is part of the deal..."


Disgust coated the man's snarl as he tossed a magazine at her feet. "He'll be on the cover of every major magazine in the free world within two weeks. People all around the world will know his name before the end of this week. He's a hero now."


"You're angry because he made selfless decisions, and thought of others before himself. Surprised you, didn't he?"


"I had plans for him," the man said, disappointment on his lips. "Big plans."


The man started towards the door of the empty hospital ward.  "You could still try."


"God save us from stupid heroes – they're always the worst kind! Short on brains but long on guts and honor, and they don't have the imagination to see beyond their own variation on 'I have to save the world!" He winced at the look the Doctor gave him.  "I apologize."


The man walked past the Doctor. "So, you've given up your claim on the boy?"


"Don't you get it? I can't use him! He's hope given form, he was almost a martyr, he's, he's – he's inspiration!" the man hissed. "He gave up money, fame, unfettered sex and the easy life to serve – and now, others will look at him and follow his example as the way to better themselves and serve for the benefit of others! A year from now, he'll toss the coin at the beginning of the Super Bowl! Seven weeks from now, he'll be awarded the Medal of Honor in a Rose Garden ceremony that will be seen around the world!  His little foundation to help inspire kids is going to take off and have over a million members by this time next year!"


He spat – and an insect died instantly as it ran up and made contact with the spittle. "Decades from now, they'll still be following the example of this fool, and going further beyond that; even now, I can just imaging the foul, vomitous stench of righteousness, and selfless effort, and good that will rise up wherever that blighted idiot walks, following behind him like History itself followed Forrest Gump. For what I'll need to do to balance this out... that person... he... is not worth the trouble."


The man stopped at the door, and looked back. "To the world, he is a hero. I can't use him."


The doors whispered shut, and the Doctor looked down at a peacefully sleeping Kevin. 'He's wrong, you know," she said, leaning down to kiss him gently on the forehead. "You're not a hero, son. They try to find or make those every day, and seduce others into following their plans by making heroes into lights to follow down those paths. I hope they don't put you into that mold, or try to see you as something bigger... I hope they don't put you on a pedestal, so they can tear you down later – but I cant tell them what to do. I just hope they see you for who you are.  You're the QB."


The Doctor smiled down at him. "It's what you were meant to be, Kevin. It was all you ever needed to be."





7 February 2005