It's not easy being a hero.
Sometimes you wonder why you do it, especially when the media hounds are onto you, trying to tear you apart. So I've been forced to do a lot of soul-searching over the last few difficult days. This turmoil has upset all of my usual routines. Instead of getting up before dawn to work on curing another cancer, then running a marathon, and then heading into the office, I've sat at home this week a bit depressed.
Maybe I just needed the down-time, because things are starting to become clear now I'm rested. So I've decided to set the record straight.
You see, I haven’t lied all that much.
In fact, I think there’s been a terrible misunderstanding.
First, let me explain the lie (even if it was a white lie). Now I admit I wasn’t a member of the British Marines. Well, not officially. I wore the uniform and served with the boys in some of their dirtiest, most dangerous missions, but I was actually working for MI6. We'd learned that someone in the ranks was feeding secrets to the Russians, and we feared the infamous Yuri Populnikov had infiltrated the force. Nobody knew what Populnikov looked like, so they sent their best agent (me) in to flush him out.
It worked, too. I eventually caught up with Populnikov on the top floor of the Empire State Building, and we fought a desperate life-or-death struggle using swords, fighting sticks, and an abandoned banjo. In the end, when all of our weapons had been smashed or lost, I strangled him to death with my bare hands. I make no apologies for the fact that the business I’m in (saving lives and nations) can sometimes be a brutal one.
So if saying I was a British Marine when in fact I was undercover trying to keep the West safe from tyranny counts as a lie, then yes I lied.
There’s another claim I’m supposed to have made - one which the media hounds seem especially intent on repeating. I’m supposed to have claimed that I was a member of the British bobsled team in the 1988 Winter Olympics. But I never said any such thing. What I said was that I remember the British bobsled team in the 1988 Winter Olympics. How could I forget them? I was sitting in a bar in Djibouti drinking just about the worst whisky I’d ever tasted, and the Winter Olympics were playing on the clapped-out telly overhead. The British bobsled guys were just about to start their run when the bar’s front window exploded, and then a dozen armed men stormed in. I knew immediately that I was their target, and that they had finally tracked down the celebrated Eritrean Fox. My one-man effort to save hundreds of orphans from the civil war raging across the border in Eritrea had made me a lot of enemies, and I'd been in hiding in Djibouti for a few weeks. I dived behind the bar, got my revolver, then proceeded to shoot seven of them down. Two others I ended up knifing, and the rest fled.
So, yes, I remember the British bobsled team very well. I’d been wearing my favourite shirt that night, and it was wrecked: covered with cheap whisky and Eritrean blood. A bad day, that's for sure.
When this media storm blew up I thought about fighting for my job. But then, while I was sitting on the couch at home staring at the frescoes I'd painted on the ceiling, it came to me that my talents were being wasted working in an office for a bunch of bureaucrats. And the holidays you get when you work for the Government just aren’t enough, and by the time you’ve flown out for your break, are in the midst of Waziristan, and have just tracked down and destroyed down your first few al Qaeda training camps, it’s time to get back on the plane and return home to work.
So I’ve formally resigned and will be back over to Pakistan soon, where I'll be able to take my time and do the job properly. If the weather isn't too inclement I expect to have their Numero Uno, the bearded Big Cheese, caged and ready for export by the end of the year, and with a bit of luck I’ll be on the plane in time to accept the Nobel Prize in person. I’m not sure which award I’m up for this year, but a Chemistry or Peace one would be nice, to go with the Physics and Literature ones I already have. I just wonder where I’ll put all these new prizes and trophies. I suppose the Formula One trophy will just have to go in a box in the garage with all the other cups.
But don't think I won't have any regrets about leaving. Even though I’ll be in the depths of tribal Pakistan for the next little while, it would have been nice to hang around and help with the Christchurch quake reconstruction effort. On the other hand, if the big tremor has done one thing it’s reminded me how little time I have for the unimaginative men in suits who run this country. Had they adopted my Earthquake Prevention Machine they would have saved the nation billions in reconstruction. Maybe the half-billion price-tag isn’t looking so outrageous now, huh? At least while I’m in Pakistan I can help with the flood cleanup. The people there have lost everything and will be looking for heroes to inspire them. I’m always happy to do my bit.
I probably won’t be home in time for the Rugby World Cup next year, but after that I might have a go at being the All-Black captain. I’ve never played rugby before, but it looks like a simple game. I may look a little old to start playing, but looks can be deceptive. I’m in superb condition, and thanks to years of top-secret training in ancient Chinese martial arts I can kill a man with just one touch. Those rugged South African forwards should be no problem.
But after I’ve won us another World Cup, what then? Will there be any challenges left? Is this world just too small a place for a man with my talents? What's a guy meant to do when he bestrides the world like a Colossus? Become a god? But then do you become one, or just simply announce to others what you always have been? I'm not sure about the protocol here. There's certainly a gap in the market for a messiah figure, though. There's been nobody to match the last major religious prophet, Mohammad, for over a millennium.
The media may be crowing over another victim, but it's just a temporary setback. When you look at the trials and tribulations of Christ it puts everything into perspective. But unlike that Jesus, I sure as hell won’t let anyone nail me to a cross. Just let the bastards try.