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David Hines [userpic]

The Man of Bronze

June 2nd, 2004 (05:44 pm)

More Doc-pimping. (Although Doc, a famously upright man, would raise an eyebrow at the term.)

Here's a bit from THE MAN OF BRONZE, the first Doc Savage novel. Doc has called his five friends together to discuss the future. Meanwhile, a sniper lies in wait, ready to blow Doc away if he can just get a good shot into Doc's headquarters, which lie on the 86th floor of a prominent New York skyscraper:

Doc Savage's strange golden eyes roved over the assembled men; from Renny, whose knowledge of engineering in all its branches was profound, to Long Tom, who was an electrical wizard, to Johnny, whose fund of information on the structure of the earth and ancient races which had inhabited it was extremely vast, to Ham, the clever Harvard lawyer and quick thinker, and finally to Monk, who, in spite of his resemblance to a gorilla, was a great chemist.

In these five men, Doc knew he had five of the greatest brains ever to assemble in one group. Each was surpassed in his field by only one human being - Doc Savage himself.

"I think you can guess why you are here," Doc said. Monk rubbed his hairy hands together. Of the six men present, Monk's skin alone bore scars. The skin of the others held no marks of their adventurous past, thanks to Doc's uncanny skill in causing wounds to heal without leaving scars.

But not Monk. His tough, rusty iron hide was so marked with gray scars that it looked as if a flock of chickens with gray-chalk feet had paraded on him. This was because Monk refused to let Doc treat him. Monk gloried in his tough looks.

"Our big job is about to start, huh?" said Monk, vast satisfaction in his mild voice.

Doc nodded. "The work to which we shall devote the rest of our lives."

At that statement, great satisfaction appeared upon the face of every man present They showed eagerness for what was to come.

Doc dangled a leg from the corner of the table. Unwittingly - for he knew nothing of the red-fingered killer lurking in the distant skyscraper that was under construction - Doc had placed his back out of line with the window. In fact, since the men had entered, he had not once been aligned with the window.

"We first got together back in the War," he told the five slowly. "We all liked the big scrap. It got into our blood. When we came back, the humdrum life of an ordinary man was not suited to our natures. So we sought something else."

Doc held their absolute attention, as if he had been hypnotized. Undeniably this golden-eyed man was the leader of the group, as well as leader of anything he undertook. His very being denoted a calm knowledge of all things, and an ability to handle himself under any conditions.

"Moved by mutual admiration for my father," Doc continued, "we decided to take up his work of good wherever he was forced to leave off. We at once began training ourselves for that purpose. It is the cause for which I had been reared from the cradle, but you fellows, because of a love of excitement and adventure, wish to join me."

Doc Savage paused. He looked over his companions. One by one, in the soft light of the well-furnished office, one of the few remaining evidences of the wealth that once belonged to his father.

"Tonight," he went on soberly, "we begin carrying out the ideals of my father - to go here and there, from one end of the world to the other, looking for excitement and adventure, striving to help those who need help, and punishing those who deserve it."

A little later, somebody shoots at Doc, and Renny calculates the shooter's trajectory while Long Tom improvises the equivalent of a laser to sight along that path and find the originating point of the shot. You see this stuff on CSI every week today. This story was written in 1933, folks.

"Next time, Doc, suppose we have bulletproof glass in these windows!" Renny suggested, the humor in his voice belying his dour look.

"Sure," said Doc. "Next time! We're on the eighty-sixth floor, and it's quite common to be shot at here!"

Comments

Posted by: lucidscreamer (lucidscreamer)
Posted at: June 2nd, 2004 05:25 pm (UTC)

I used to love Doc Savage. He and Tarzan were my introduction to pulp novels.

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