THE MAKING OF A HERO
Heroes. They’re brave. They’re strong. They’re bigger than life. When we’re kids we all imagine we could be one, but as we grow older and we bump up against life’s realities, becoming a hero seems less and less likely.
Even though I grew up skinny and bespectacled, I’ve had a few heroic moments. There was the time I chased down the purse snatcher in Los Angeles. I was twenty-three and a new arrival in town. I was a former mediocre Golden Gloves boxer, but I had only ever had one street fight and that was in junior high when a bully punched me in the face and promptly knocked me out. (Which spurred me to take up boxing.) Anyway, I chased that purse snatcher for blocks and blocks and finally we both ran out of steam in an alley and stopped, breathless, exhausted. He picked up a brick and menaced me, but I was too tired to run away and he was too tired to attack me and finally he just dropped the purse and kept the brick and walked away.
Ten years later while walking back from lunch in Glendale, California I saw a woman flat on her back on the sidewalk and a man on top of her, choking her out. Others walked by, pretending not to see, not wanting to get involved, but I just reacted. I grabbed the guy and pulled him off her and when I did that a few others joined in and we held him, for a stupidly long time, until a police officer finally showed up.
But here’s the thing. I don’t think those are my bravest moments. I think I’ve been bravest when I faced my own fears and I think that’s true of everyone. We all have obstacles to overcome, fears to face, and choices that can make or break us. Like when I risked rejection and asked my wife to marry me. Or when I was there for my mom and took care of her when she was dying of cancer
When I was twelve I wanted to be Clint Eastwood in The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. I wanted to be Steve McQueen in The Great Escape. I wanted to be James Bond. These men were loners with no emotional attachments. They were men who could handle any situation and were comfortable in their own skin. Not me. At twelve I lived a life of perpetual embarrassment. Of course, now I know that's how most 12-year-olds feel. But at the time, all I knew was I wanted to be someone else.
But heroic loners like James Bond aren’t as heroic as they seem. They’re afraid to let people in. They’re afraid of love, afraid of getting their hearts broken, afraid of experiencing loss. Bottom line, they’re emotional cowards. James Bond would rather distract himself by bedding countless women and risking life and limb then sit with his dying mom or his seven year old ADD son and teach him long division.
And that’s the choice that James Flynn, the hero of my debut novel, makes.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Date Published: March 21, 2018
Publisher: Imajin Books
Synopsis: James Flynn is an expert shot, a black belt in karate, and irresistible to women. He’s also a heavily medicated patient in a Los Angeles psychiatric hospital. Flynn believes his locked ward is the headquarters of Her Majesty’s Secret Service and that he is a secret agent with a license to kill.
When the hospital is acquired by a new HMO, Flynn is convinced that the Secret Service has been infiltrated by the enemy. He escapes to save the day, and in the process, Flynn kidnaps a young Hispanic orderly named Sancho.
This crazy day trip turns into a very real adventure when Flynn is mistaken for an actual secret agent. Paranoid delusions have suddenly become reality, and now it’s up to a mental patient and a terrified orderly to bring down an insecure, evil genius bent on world domination.
The Rose Parade route begins on Orange Grove Avenue in Pasadena and continues past a mansion once owned by the founder of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Besides being a rocket scientist, John Whiteside (Jack) Parsons was also a devotee of the infamous English occultist Aleister Crowley. Science-fiction writer and future founder of Scientology L. Ron Hubbard was a frequent house guest and would often participate in the occult rituals and “sex magick” ceremonies Parsons would hold in his living room. The goal was to conjure the anti-messiah who would overthrow Judeo-Christian civilization and lead Earth to a new Aeon.
Mrs. Doris Frawley, the oldest patient at the City of Roses Psychiatric Institute, told Sancho she came to California from Arkansas in 1948. She was fourth runner up in the Miss Arkansas pageant and her ambition was to become a movie star. Instead, she dated both Jack Parsons and L. Ron Hubbard and in 1952 gave birth to the Anti-Christ. Every day she told Sancho how sorry she was for bringing so much evil into the world. Every. Single. Day. And Sancho was starting to believe her. He had worked at the hospital for two years now and it wasn’t getting any easier. The nightshift always kicked his ass and he never seemed to be able to get enough sleep.
Sancho dragged his tired twenty-two-year-old butt across the parking lot and fantasized about climbing into his saggy sofa bed. He bought the beige micro-suede futon at a garage sale. The sheets hadn’t been changed in weeks. There were unknown, unnamed crumbs everywhere, but he didn’t care. He just wanted to be horizontal.
Sancho spotted his rusty, dented red ‘92 Mustang next to a gleaming BMW 760i. The Beemer’s gotta belong to a doctor, thought Sancho.
About the Author
Haris Orkin is a novelist, playwright, screenwriter, and game writer. His play, Dada was produced at The American Stage and the La Jolla Playhouse. Sex, Impotence, and International Terrorism was chosen as a critic’s choice by the L.A. Weekly and sold as a film script to MGM/UA. His original screenplay, A Saintly Switch, was directed by Peter Bogdanovich and starred David Alan Grier and Vivica Fox. He is a WGA Award and BAFTA Award nominated game writer and narrative designer known for Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3, Call of Juarez: Gunslinger, Tom Clancy’s The Division, Mafia 3, and Dying Light, which to date has sold over 7.5 million copies.