I Almost Had Him: A Marvel Short


by Dom Gazzuolo

A battered man lay in a hospital bed severely beaten. One of his legs is held-up by the standard casted-broken-leg contraption, and bandages cover his head down to his nose giving him the appearance of a masked-man without eye-slots. The name on his medical chart reads Roger Pettigru. Roger is hand-cuffed to the hospital bed.

“Roger,” a nurse walks into the recovery room “a guest is here to see you.”

“A guest?” questions Roger.

“He was at the scene where you were picked up and wanted to make sure you were ok. It’s Captain…”

“Captain Ivy! Sir, you didn’t have to come down here to see my failure.” Roger turns his head away from the Captain, in shame. It’s the only part of his body Roger can express with.

“His body is in pain, but his brain does not know it due to the amount of drugs we have him on,” the nurse whispers to the Captain as he sits next to the broken young man. “He can’t hear too well through the bandaging, either.”

The nurse walks out and leaves the 2 men in silence.

“I’m…I’m sorry, sir. We all knew the risks and that…opposition…could show-up, but we did as we were told and even fought back to try and see the mission through, sir.”

“Actually…”

“Sir, again I’m sorry it turned out bad, but I have to ask…am I still getting paid?”

“Well…”

“I only ask cuz…I mean to say…failure is not tolerated. I understand. The other men understand. We truly get it. But I have a family that was relying on me, sir. And…and I fought!"

“You certainly…”

“I almost had him!” Roger animatedly cuts off the Captain, again.

“Well, I don’t know about…”

“We were driving the limit, so as not to raise any suspicion...like we were told. I was up front with Walt, and the rest of the boys were in the back with the shipment when all of a sudden Walt was struck through the window! That thing crashed through the window and bounced off Walt’s head like it was made of rubber! But everyone knows that thing is solid. That bastard could have sliced right through Walt’s head! Is Walt…?”

“He’s gonna be fine.”

“After we smashed into the light post we all shot out of the truck, guns blaze’n! Any other man would have been swiss, but this bastard was fast. Plus, he deflected any bullet that was on target. That’s when Bill Hampton and I decided to go hand to hand with him, sir.

It sounds foolish, but this hero didn’t know me or Bill. Yeah, he’s been fight’n longer than us, but we’re trained men, too. Bill was being recruited by S.H.I.E.L.D. and I was an all-American wrestler at Iowa. You ever scrap with a Hawkeye, sir?”

“As a matter of fact...”

“Tough sons, as you no doubt know.”

“No doubt, son.”

“I almost had him! Bill dove towards him, taking his attention and a right to the face, unfortunately. But that bought me the time to grab him from behind. I had him! Despite his strength, I had leverage. Bill hit him a couple of times before he knocked Bill out with a boot to the face. I hope Bill made it.”

“He made it.”

“That bastard kicked Bill square on the nose! …could have killed him that way.”

Roger pauses to think about Bill, briefly. Then Roger snaps back to it.

“I almost had him! After Bill went down I was the next to get a swift shot to the face. Rear and sideways head-butts! Really?! Dirty fighter cut my eyes with his goofy decorative head-gear things. Ever get your eye’s cut, Cap? It’s actually not so bad…or at least it isn't if you get your leg broken by way of a heel to the knee right afterward.”

“Sorry, son.”

“Doc says it’ll heal. I’ll be walking in prison, in no time.”

Roger pauses, and the room is silent.

“Sorry, Captain. You don’t have to be here. Could you check in on my family instead of a broken man like myself? They could use checking in on with me bed ridden and prison-bound. Could you tell them...I’m sorry?”

“Sure, son.”

The Captain gets up and is walking out the door when Roger yells out…

“Damn it!”

“Son?” the Captain leans back into the room.

“I almost had him!”

“I know, son. You almost had me.” Captain America smiles and walks off.


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