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The Editor and The Policeman

Andrew is a writer, comics scholar, and tutor. He holds a PhD in the work of Alan Moore. This is his first story for Daily Science Fiction.

Having enjoyed their meal, the editor and the policeman retired to the bar to enjoy their drinks in privacy. Discussion turned, as it always did, to both their core topic of conversation and the reason for their annual get-together.
"Busy year?" asked the policeman.
"As always," replied the editor. "Yours?"
"He keeps me busy," said the policeman, sipping at his whisky. "Seemed like I spent most of my night shifts on the station roof manning a searchlight this year. But we got some good catches. How's the headlines?"
"Good. Circulation is up, fifth year running. The death of newsprint hasn't affected us, thanks to Su--"
"Shh," interrupted the policemen. "Remember, no names. You know how easily he can pick them up."
The editor nodded. "Thanks to his activities this year. The newspaper has never been healthier."
Both men sat in silence for a moment. The editor drank his whisky in three gulps. "But I worry about him. Physically, you know, he can cope. Goodness... cope better than any man on the planet. He's built like a locomotive, but emotionally and mentally... who knows what kind of pressure he's under."
"Mine too," replied the policeman. "Granted, he's more vulnerable than your man, but his equipment and training give him the edge he needs. It's just, his drive to keep doing what he's doing, it all comes down to the trauma he's suffered."
"Both of them," added the editor. "You've got to wonder how much it plays on their minds. Both kids when it happened too."
"I wonder how much of it is an act, pretending to be a carefree and wild bachelor in the day, but living a secret life at night," mused the policeman.
"I can imagine," replied the editor. "At least I can keep an eye on my guy sometime, make sure he has satisfying work, is well paid, and has some kind of normal life to fall back on."
Both men paused. The policeman sipped his drink. The editor downed another.
"Do you think they know?" asked the editor.
"Doubtful. Sure, my guy is a great detective, but his attention is focused elsewhere, on more important things. The crimes."
"I'm sure mine has no idea I know. Why would he? I decided a long time ago to let it lie. Not much gets past this old newspaperman, I can tell you that. It was obvious from the frequent work absences alone. But sometimes you have to kill a story for the greater good. It's something that's lacking these days."
The policeman nodded. "I got a lot of grief from the top brass when I started, and put a lot of time into investigating who exactly I was dealing with. Was successful too."
Both men smiled knowingly at each other. "But I'd rather have him on my side than locked up in an asylum."
"I don't think they call them that anymore," said the editor. "Probably a health clinic."
"Well, it's better that he's in his mansion, in any case. Where I can keep an eye on him if I need to."
As was customary, both men split the bill. "It's getting harder to meet without arousing their suspicion," said the policeman.
"At least we know that there's little danger of that today, what with them being... umm... called away on business with... their colleagues," replied the editor.
Both men looked to the night sky. "I guess I should head off and meet the butler and compare notes," said the policeman."
The editor nodded. "Pass on my regards to the butler," said the editor. "And please tell him that my wife thanked him for the recipe."
The policemen nodded. "If we don't have their backs, who else will?"
Both men said their goodbyes, returned to their cars and drove away.
The End
This story was first published on Wednesday, May 1st, 2019

Author Comments

The idea for this story occurred when I started to think about the supporting characters in superhero stories. I wondered if they could have unknown inner motivations that would change our understanding of them. As such, these characters may be the hidden foundations upon which a superhero's life and career depends, without the superhero ever knowing this.

- Andrew Edwards
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