Introducing Dave Danger!
By Jeff Baker
I thought he looked familiar when he sat down across from my desk and handed me the sheet of paper. First of all, hardly anybody does this on paper anymore. Second, he was wearing old-fashioned slacks and a tan tee-shirt. Most people opted for the formal robe and short pants. Of course, he would have looked good in short pants. He was one of those blond guys who gets a good tan and I was thinking that and staring instead of doing my job.
“Uh, are you all finished?” I asked.
“No,” he said. “There’s a problem. It won’t let me fill this out.”
“What, the tabla rosa?” I asked.
He thumbed over at the row of computers on the table.
“I can’t fill out this jobs form on that computer thingie,” he said.
“That’s the tabla rosa. What seems to be the difficulty?” I asked, trying to be professional and not look at how his chest filled out the shirt.
“I keep, uh, typing in my age and this thing won’t accept it.”
“Okay,” I said.
“’Too many digits,’ is the thing that keeps popping up.”
“What’s your birthdate?” I asked.
“January Eleventh, Nineteen-Ninety-Seven,” he said.
“Nineteen?” I blurted out.
“Yeah,” the man said. “I was in the ice chest for a while. That makes me one-hundred and sixty-one years old.” He saw me staring at him and grinned. “Yeah, I don’t look it.
Three digits. The computer thingie keeps saying I need the form for retirement, not taxes.”
“Oh, my Gault!” I gasped out. “I saw you on the news! Disarming that gunman and falling out that window, and grabbing that tree branch! You’re Dave Danger!”
“I wish they hadn’t started calling me that!” the man said, extending his hand. “Andrew David Llewellyn Ethan Piltzer.”
“Alberto,” I said. “Alberto Arrango. Uh, I’m sorry about, uh”
“When I was a kid, they called it going all geeky,” Andrew said.
The story had been all over the place; a convicted icer (that’s what they called them) had been released and thawed when some evidence turned up. Said icer was a sort of, what did they call them, free-lance adventurer for hire. I was never that great at history.
And now, history was sitting across the desk from me.
“When they put me in the Ice Chest, back in ’26, they thought they were getting rid of me,” Andrew said. “Which I guess they did. Maybe they should have had me fill out forms instead. Might have been more effective.”
“What happened?” I asked. “If you don’t mind my asking.”
“I was set up,” Andrew said. “By a guy named Magnus Hawke. The irony, I guess, is that I’m about the only person alive who remembers that name.”
“Magnus Hawke,” I said. “I’ve known that name since I was in school. Master criminal, regularly thwarted by Dave Dang…by you, I mean.”
“They teach espionage history in school now?” Andrew asked.
“No, I studied all this after class. I guess I got obsessed for a while,” I said. “I would have made a lousy adventurer or I would have tried to get a job doing that.”
“Most of the time it only paid under the table,” Andrew said.
“Look, I’m not really helping,” I said. “I’ll send you a copy of form A67. That one covers, uh, extenuating circumstances.”
“Thanks,” Andrew said. He stood up and shook my hand again.
“Well, I won’t need this,” Andrew said, waving the paper in the air with a flourish. He seemed to specialize in flourishes, I realized. “But maybe you do.”
He pulled out a pen (with another flourish) and scrawled something on the back of the paper.
“Call me,” he said as he walked off. “Or text me, message me, contact me. Whatever they call it these days.”
He was grinning as he walked out the door.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: I’ve been watching a 1960s British TV adventure show called “Adam Adamant Lives” about a Victorian Era adventurer who is frozen by his enemies and thaws out just in time to see (and be appalled by) Swinging London of the 60s. I couldn’t resist trying my hand at it.