This unfinished tale is quite the little historical curio, let me tell you. For this story, ladies and gentlethings, is the very first ever appearance of Brompton Rhodes.
Written in 2005 as part of my University coursework, it would remain unfinished (as would my degree, sadly). However, around the year 2007 I decided to revisit the concept of Brompton Rhodes. Or perhaps it’s more accurate to say he decided to revisit me? In any case, it was in that year that the seeds of what would become Brompton Rhodes: Rude Bwoy were sown in my forebrain. Of course, being the lazy good-for-nothing I am, the comic strip itself would not debut until the space-year 2011.
Those familiar with the first issue of Rude Bwoy will find much of what follows below familiar. This will be followed up in the Brompton Rhodes: Confidential article focussing on that issue.
For now I present this to you unedited, unexpurgated and untamed; as naked and rough as the day it sprang fully-formed from my fingers. Enjoy (if that’s the word).
“I imagine you think you’ve had fellatio, Mr Rhodes.”
Brompton Rhodes (Agent M:25) was secured tightly to his metal slab by wrought iron manacles. Someone had gone to the trouble of carving a gargoyle into them, but Agent M:25 had also noticed Made in Germania inscribed on the side. He grinned imperceptibly.
Stavros Vashlenko (Serbian war criminal turned head of VashlenkoHardSoft, principle electronics supplier to Eastern Europe and one of the companies involved in funding the mysterious anarcho-terrorist organisation B2J. Directive:Exterminate On Sight) was slumped in his pseudo-throne, his gut spread flat, his knees wide apart. Sat between them, face buried deeply in the larger man’s crotch, was a pin-suited and bespectacled man; his head bobbed up and down, and there was a curious murmuring in between the slurping.
“I can assure you…” continued Vashlenko. “…You have not.”
His eyes barely twitched with pleasure. The man appeared to be getting more furious, in direct proportion to how tired he was getting.
Vashlenko slapped a hand onto the back of the man’s head and shouted something in Slavic. The whimper increased, then subsided to normal levels. Vashlenko continued in English for the benefit of his captive, not sure what he was relishing more; victory over an agent of His Majesty’s Secret Service, or this really quite excellent blowjob.
“You see, Mr Rhodes, most blowjobs are given by reluctant girlfriends, or cuckolding wives; horny teenagers unsure of themselves, or whores who know all the right buttons to press to get it over and done with.
“The finest fellatio in life is given by those such as this man here; he is not sucking for love, or the promise of further pleasures. Listen closely; you may not be able to hear from there, but this man is begging for his job.”
Brompton ignored this, and instead activated the resonation sequence built into his skeleton; it was primarily used for sending and receiving voice calls, but it also had other uses: the manacles were in direct contact with the bones in his wrist. The slight hum was undetectable above the noise of slurping, and Vashlenko’s own thick, phlegmy voice.
“Indeed, this is a fine piece of work, and this man shall be spared his job…”
There was a pause as Vashlenko closed his eyes and jutted his hips; the man’s head ceased to bob and instead seemed frozen in a sort of rictus; after a second, he got up, bowed to Vashlenko, and scurried from the room, dabbing his lips and eyes with a sodden handkerchief.
“However, even finer awaits. With you, Mr Rhodes, I shall taste the fellatio of a man begging for his very life!”
Vashlenko approached the slab upon which Agent M:25 was vibrating his way to freedom. The obese pervert was framed all around by the equilateral windows of the building they occupied; the top floor of the Swiss Re Tower; hazy, late summer sunlight poured in, illuminating the dust particles and giving the priapic proceedings a halcyon air. He pulled a gun with one hand, and began flicking his obscene, dripping organ towards Brompton with the other.
Brompton had not been prepared for this full show of perversity; he jerked his right wrist reflexively, breaking free of the weakened bond. If Vashhlenko was alarmed, he did not show it;
“Vorsprung durch Technik, eh? Never mind, Mr Rhodes, I hold all the cards; I know for a fact you are left-handed, not to mention I possess a gun; what do you say to that?”
Brompton tucked his right hand into his trouser pocket and began to fiddle with something. Vashlenko practically salivated; he bounded towards Brompton impatiently, dangling his member over the agent’s chest.
“I see you’re having a little trouser-shuffle of your own! I expect, after you’ve had mine, you expect me to suck?”
Brompton pulled his right hand from his pocket, C4 adhesive explosives primed to detonate, and stuck them to Vashlenko’s attentive member.
“No, Mr Vashlenko…”
He wrenched his left arm free of the contraption and leapt clear of the slab; Vashlenko was panicking, flapping at his penis, too scared of losing skin to rip the device away.
“I expect you to blow.”
Brompton Rhodes strapped on the backpack that had been taken from him on capture, and picked up the now discarded gun; he fired several shots at one of the triangular window panes as he ran towards it; Vashlenko screamed obscenities as the timer on his piece flashed 00:000.
Rhodes flew through the weakened window and onto the curved exterior of the gherkin-like building; he curled into a ball and began rolling, just as a vast explosion consumed the entire top of the tower, the spout erupting fire and glass twenty feet into the air.
Brompton uncurled himself as he rolled and began running down the side of the building; as the surface became too steep, he pushed away with his legs and flew into the air, pulling a ripcord on his backpack; large canvas wing-structures emerged and before gravity could take hold he was aloft, riding the warm thermals of the Square Mile. Behind him smoke and fire cut across the London skyline, the tall towers of the Business District joined by a plume of even greater height, the sky a haze of mauve.
Brompton came down somewhere on Bishopsgate, near Liverpool Street tube station; he detached the backpack and discarded it by the Evening Standard kiosk, marching boldly across the rush-hour-road towards the all-night caff: He was dying for a cuppa…
– Brompton Rhodes is Agent M:25 in –
Escape from Samsara
“…Four major business arteries closed…”
As General Gash spoke, Brompton was enthusiastically stirring five sugars into his milky tea. His simian superior was looking officiously over his spectacles:
“…Emergency services tied up for twenty-eight hours…”
Brompton slurped at his mug, which bore the legend “World’s Best Uncle”; it was General Gash’s, naturally; the proud uncle himself was currently perched on the backrest of the chair, his dextrous doights du pied gripping the red leather so tightly the ‘knuckles’ were white.
“…Thirty injured by falling debris…”
General Gash picked up his own mug of tea and took a long deliberate gulp, fixing Brompton’s innocent gaze.
Brompton gave an optical shrug, a non-verbal ‘what could I do about it?’; General Gash flicked a wrist and his mug flew across the expanse of desk that separated them and smacked Brompton square in the temple; he fell backwards on his chair; Gash leapt the distance and stood on his now horizontal shoulders.
“We can only blame Al’ Qaneda so many times, Commander Rhodes. The Mayor’s Office have been on the blower all afternoon demanding cuts here and there to cover the constant damages. Budget cuts, Brompton.”
Brompton tried to rub his head:
“Well what are we going to do, General?”
“Do? What I always do, you idiot; have the bastards discredited; photographed being felched by an octopus on Hampstead Heath or something; then, pay his daughter a vast sum to make false claims of abuse to some shit-stained tabloid; then, finally, when he’s a destitute Big Issue salesman in Waterloo station, kick his bastard face off. No elected official slashes my fucking budget!”
The General was now beating his chest and periodically shrieking; his toenails were almost drawing blood. After what seemed like an age, he backflipped onto the desk and sat in his seat; a large cigar was lit, and he seemed fairly calm. Speak no evil, thought Brompton.
“You’re a good agent, Brompton. But by God, you’re a messy bastard. Still, that’s what we train you for, I suppose, so fuck Tower Bridge. Let’s have a drink on the balcony; we have more work for you…”
The balcony, such as it was, was actually the very top of the London Wall; General Gash liked to call it a battlement, though it bore no (visible) artillery, and was principally in place to visually engrain London’s sovereignty. It wasn’t even technically the edge of London, since many settlements with allegiance to the City lay outside it, and they were further protected by a Primary Wall; border patrols, fences and communication hotspots gouged deep into Buckinghamshire, Surrey and other partly-digested counties.
“…I mean, I liked the old Queen for a while, but even I say her head looks much better on a pike outside the Tower than it ever did in St James’ Park, so I just can’t see where the old coot is coming from…”
The General had taken a generous swig from his brandy, and was aiming his laser-sighted blunderbuss at a hare running from its hole, chased by dogs. Brompton gulped down a quantity of lager and lit his Benson with his enscribed Zippo;
“Well, General, you know the saying: ‘What Livingstone wants…’”
“’…Livingstone gets.’ I know. The bastard got the City, didn’t he? But damned if he’s robbing Bess’s bonce off of me…”
The General’s shot rang out, though it was more of a crack, a whip that lashed the skin of one of the dogs, an abnormally large Staffordshire Terrier. It whimpered, then fell somewhat pathetically.
“You’re getting rusty, General.”
“Bollocks I am, Commander. I hate bastard dogs.”
He downed the rest of his brandy, poured a generous three fingers or so more, and then hopped on to the backrest of the bench they were occupying (“In Loving Memory of David Blunket; he loved to listen to his dogs run on the moors below of a morning…”); He produced a file from within the folds of his long trenchcoat, wrapped tight against the misty morning; it bore the usual top-secret insignia of His Majesty’s Secret Service. The current Monarch For London couldn’t hold a note, but was better than last year’s winner, who had been utterly fat.
“I hate long goodbyes, Commander, so I’ll just leave you with the dossier. You know the rest…”
The General tossed the dossier to the ground and went to leave; Brompton grabbed his shoulder, which necessitated stooping to knee height to stop the wayward chimp; much lager was spilt, to Brompton’s chagrin.
“Not this old routine, General. Not this time, sunshine. The last time you pulled this I ended up in North Berlin, upside down in prison being hung by me…”
He leant in, conscious of his manners;
“…Well, by me old man, y’know…And they stuck bloody porno pictures on the wall…”
He shuddered, the memory still six years too fresh. General Gash brushed the hand away with a shrug of his long arms. He straightened his coat and licked spilt brandy from his fingers.
“We’ve found the nerve centre of B2J.”
“Right. Okay. Which poor cunt gets blown up this time?”
The General slapped him across the cheek, leaving a red mark and possibly several ticks.
“Brompton, you twat, this is fucking serious. This isn’t just a London Orbital job; The English Government have asked for our help; shit, the fucking U.N. have asked for our help. Specifically, your help.”
“Me? Why me?”
“The bastards are in London, Brompton, and in London you are the top fucking agent in our force.”
Brompton polished off his lager and lit two cigarettes, passing one to the General, who smoked greedily.
“I suppose I am, General. But what are we dealing with? Two months ago we had nothing but a name spray-painted on some torched garages. Now we’ve got their P.O. Box. Do we even know what they want?”
The General downed the rest of his drink. Brompton had never seen him so tense before; his simian digits fairly shook as he took a deep drag of the tab.
Brompton looked quizzical.
“The end of the world! Ragnorok. Apocalypse. Armageddon. Dogs and Cats living together…didn’t they teach you anything in school?”
“I learnt lots in school, General. You should ask your wife…”
“You filthy shit, Brompton. These bastards are serious.”
“And how exactly do they plan to carry out the end of the world? The operations manual lists about twelve…”
“This one isn’t in the manual, Brompton. Even we are not clear on the details. We do have some partial information, however. And a location.”
Without realising it, they had wandered back into the lift, taking them down to General Gash’s office.
“They’ve been gathering meta-humans, Brompton; people like yourself, born with enhanced brains. This is somehow key to their plan. To be honest, I’m worried about sending you in. It might be just what they want. But no one else can do it, I’m afraid.”
“Too right they can’t.”
“There’s one more thing; they’ve brought in outside security.”
“Who is it?”
Brompton suddenly choked on his own smoke;
“I’m afraid so, Brompton. The DCIA’s finest. They’ve made it personal.”
“Coincidence, General. Me and Felicity was a long time ago.”
“I don’t believe in coincidence, Commander. Just awfully clever bastards.”
“They cant be that smart. I know Arizona. Inside and out.”
“And she knows you. Considering you’re our best agent, Brompton, you can be a right sloppy cunt at times.”
“Good thing I’m pretty. Hardware?”
“Whatever you can carry. Backup will be nonexistent, of course.”
“I wouldn’t have it any other way. When does the train leave?”
“As soon we’ve had breakfast!”
Out in the field, a uniformed officer was busy dragging the carcass of the shot dog back to the wall, writing an imaginary letter to his Union in his head.
And that’s all she wrote, folks! Or rather, that’s all I wrote. For more behind-the-scenes glimpses at the making of Brompton Rhodes be sure to keep up with my blog.