by Starsky Hutch 76
“Concentrate!” Cissie Jones-Carter snapped at her daughter. “How do you expect to make it to the Olympics if you don’t pay attention?”
“Maybe I don’t want to,” Bonnie Jones-Carter muttered under her breath.
“With that attitude, you won’t,” Cissie snapped.
I can’t believe she heard that, Bonnie thought to herself. She focused on her target, took aim, and let the arrow fly — a perfect bullseye. She reached back to her quiver, pulled out another arrow, and let fly once more. It struck the first arrow, splitting it down the middle as it hit the same spot. She repeated the action with a third arrow and then turned to her mother, smiling with satisfaction.
“That sort of thing is great in the movies,” Cissie said, “but in real life, judges frown on grandstanding.”
Bonnie let out a loud angry sigh and threw down her bow. “It’s time for a break.”
“Later,” her mother said.
“I need a break!” Bonnie insisted.
“Fine,” her mother said testily. “One hour for lunch or whatever, and then back to work.”
Bonnie went to the kitchen, grabbed herself a sandwich, and then went to the one place she could always go to when her mother was being even more of a slave driver than usual — the attic.
She sat on a box, eating her sandwich and fuming as she thought about her mother. Why couldn’t she let up? Just once, she’d like to be able to take some time off and do normal things that kids her age did, like hang out at the mall with her friends from school.
Her gaze drifted to an old trunk sitting across the room. It had always been off-limits to everyone because it held her mom’s personal effects. Right now, though, her mom wasn’t on her list of favorite people.
Bonnie walked over to a hatrack holding several old hats and removed a hat pin. One thing about those old locks — they were painfully simple to pick. Hopefully this one would be, too.
She wasn’t sure what she’d find in the old trunk that her mother wanted to keep hidden, but it certainly wasn’t her gold medals. Those were in a display case for everyone to see as soon as they walked in the door, as well as framed copies of articles written about her, magazine covers with her smiling image, and endorsements such as the famous Wheaties box with her taking aim at an unseen target. Even if the media was starting to forget about Cissie Jones-Carter, she would make sure that no one visiting her home did.
The girl stuck the pin into the keyhole, jiggling it around until she heard a click, and then lifted the lid of the trunk. A laugh of delight escaped from her as she found about the last thing she’d expected to see at the top of the trunk: pictures of her grandmother, Bonnie Jones (Bonnie King then) in her identity as Miss Arrowette. She was surprised to find that her mother had saved all of these pictures and clippings of newspaper articles, considering how much she had ridiculed her past as a crime-fighter, especially when she’d try to entertain her granddaughter with tales of her adventures with Green Arrow and Speedy.
Bonnie, on the other hand, had found the stories fascinating. Sure, the mascara-arrow and the lipstick-arrow were ridiculous, but she still thought it was cool that her grandmother had done something so unheard-of back then, considering that most super-heroes back in the 1940s were men.
She dug a little further, hoping to find more pictures and articles of her grandmother with Green Arrow and Speedy, but instead she found something she’d rather not have seen — the certificate making official the divorce of Cissie Jones-Carter from James Elliot Carter, the man who’d helped her to do for archery what Mary Lou Retton had done for gymnastics. Her mother, ever career-minded, had even kept him as her agent after the divorce, even though it was less-than-amicable.
There were other mementos from her mother’s life, like the various awards for archery that she had won while growing up and assorted belts she’d earned in the various martial arts classes her mother had forced her into as she tried to groom her to be the next Miss Arrowette.
Of course, Cissie had chosen a different tact. By the time Cissie was old enough to have taken the role Bonnie King Jones had chosen for her, Cissie Jones, resentful for having been pushed so hard for so long, instead chose to show up her mother by succeeding where she had failed — winning a gold medal at the Olympics. By coincidence, it was this very same failure that had caused the rift between Bonnie King Jones and her own mother when she brought home a bronze instead of the expected gold. If Cissie had wanted to hurt her mother, it had worked. It was years before they had spoken again.
Many were the times Bonnie Jones-Carter had wished that her mother Cissie had followed in her namesake grandmother’s footsteps and become a costumed adventurer. It would certainly have made her life easier. Maybe she could even have become her sidekick, taking time out from all the training to fight crime. It wasn’t like she wouldn’t be ready for it. Cissie Jones-Carter had forced her own daughter into the same martial arts classes she had taken. She felt it taught discipline.
Digging further, Bonnie found what it was that her mother had been trying to hide, though she didn’t realize it at the time. It was her mother’s birth certificate. She did a quick, nonchalant scan of the document, and her eyes quickly darted to one name. Then her eyes quickly darted back to it again. Her heart began to beat quickly, and sweat formed on her brow. Instead of the name Bonnie had expected to see as father — Bernell “Bowstring” Jones — there was the name Oliver Queen. She slumped against the trunk in shock.
The next morning, Bonnie darted out the door before her mom could say anything to her. Getting through the rest of the prior day had been difficult enough after discovering what she had. She had kept that knowledge to herself, not feeling comfortable enough to discuss it with Cissie.
Instead, she had called her friend Beth Harper, a friend her mother didn’t particularly care for, and asked her to pick her up the next morning instead of her usual ride to school. When she told her friend they would be skipping school, she heartily agreed.
“So what’s the plan?” Beth said eagerly. “We hitting the malls, or do you want to head to the park? I can’t believe you called me wanting to ditch school. This is so cool. I’d always figured you for some sort of goody-goody!”
“I need you to take me to Queen Enterprises,” Bonnie said, handing her a sheet of paper. “Here’s the address.”
“What?!” Beth exclaimed. “What do you want to go to some office building for?”
Bonnie told her friend the entire story. “Wow,” Beth said. “I guess you don’t just get the bow-and-arrow thing from your mom, after all!”
Reaching Queen Enterprises, the girls parked the car and walked up to the front reception desk in the lobby of the tall glass skyscraper.
“My name is Bonnie Jones-Carter,” Bonnie said. “Bonnie King Jones was my grandmother. She was a friend of Mr. Queen’s. I’m here on behalf of her daughter, Cissie Jones-Carter.”
The receptionist made a phone call, and the elevator doors shortly parted to reveal a well-dressed man. “Hello,” he said. “I’m Maxwell Lord, acting CEO of Queen Industries while Mr. Harper is away.”
Bonnie turned to Beth and whispered, “Harper? Is Red Arrow a relative of yours, Beth?”
“Not that I know of,” Beth Harper whispered. “Anyway, it could be a while. Isn’t Roy Harper in Infinity Inc. now?” (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See DC Universe: Crawling from the Wreckage, Book 1, Chapter 5: A Date With Destiny.]
“If you’ll come with me to my office, we can discuss matters in private,” Maxwell Lord said, gesturing toward the elevator.
“I’ll leave you guys alone to talk,” Beth said. “I’ll go buy some tapes or something.” As she hugged Bonnie goodbye, she whispered into her ear, “Let me know what happens.” Bonnie waved goodbye to her friend and then stepped onto the elevator with the important-looking man.
“Did you ever have the chance to meet your grandfather?” he asked.
“Y-you know?” Bonnie gasped.
“Of course I know,” Lord said. “In the short time that Mr. Queen was here from his return until his unfortunate death in the Crisis, I was his most trusted advisor. He shared all of his affairs with me.”
“Affairs? Hey, that’s my grandmother you’re talking about.”
“I assure you, that’s not the sense in which I meant the word affairs. In fact, as I’m given to understand it, if Mr. Queen hadn’t been thrown through time by the incident with the Nebula-Man back in 1948, your mother’s maiden name would more than likely have been Queen instead of Jones.” (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See “The Unknown Soldier of Victory,” Justice League of America #100 (August, 1972).]
Bonnie stood still as Lord’s words sank in. He gestured to the open elevator doors and said, “After you.”
She followed Maxwell Lord as he led her from the elevator to his enormous office on the top floor of the Queen Enterprises building. “I must say I’m surprised to see you here,” he said, gesturing to a chair in front of his desk for her to sit down. “A celebrity such as your mother doesn’t really need the money from Mr. Queen’s estate. In fact, your mother hasn’t expressed much interest in Mr. Queen at all.”
“She hasn’t?” Bonnie said, shocked.
“That’s right,” Maxwell Lord said. “Your grandmother was one of the first people Mr. Queen looked up shortly after his return. That’s when he discovered that Bonnie King — now Bonnie Jones — had had a daughter and that he was the real father. When he attempted to make contact with Cissie, though, her response was that she had only one father, and that man was Bernell ‘Bowstring’ Jones.”
“That’s so unfair,” Bonnie said.
“It might seem that way at first,” Maxwell Lord said, “but I can see where she’s coming from. The man whom she thought was her father died when she was still very young, leaving her in the hands of a domineering mother. She had loved this man very much, and many was the time she probably thought, if only he had lived.” Lord noticed Bonnie’s puzzled reaction and said by way of explanation, “I read her biography.”
Lord continued, “Suddenly, this man who looks to be practically the same age as her mysteriously appears and says, ‘I’m your real father.’ She probably resented it on many different levels, such as his daring to say that Bernell Jones wasn’t her father, and for Queen’s not being there if he was. Sure, the latter was hardly his fault, but I can see why she might want to tell him to take a hike. And she was rich enough at that point where she could do that, even if that man was Oliver Queen.”
“But what right did she have to keep him from me?” Bonnie moaned. “I never even got a chance to know him.”
“I’m truly sorry,” Maxwell Lord said. “You do have an uncle, of sorts, currently living in Los Angeles — Roy Harper. I’m certain he’d welcome the chance to talk to you about your grandfather. Mr. Queen also wanted to make sure you were well provided for, should anything come between you and your mother, as was the case with Bonnie and her mother, and then with her and her own daughter, Cissie. There are various trusts and other investments in your name, which are simply waiting for you to lay claim to them. So when the time comes, you can feel free to choose your own destiny.”
Bonnie’s eyes grew wide at the thought of actually being able to choose her future. Living under her mother’s thumb as she always had, the thought had never occurred to her. “Wow,” she gasped.
“And, of course, if there’s ever anything else I can do to help, you have simply to ask,” Maxwell Lord added.
“His costume,” Bonnie suddenly found herself blurting, “and his bow and arrows — did Roy…?”
“The idea of wearing Mr. Queen’s costume or using his equipment was too painful for Mr. Harper,” Maxwell Lord said. “He has instead taken a variation on the name Green Arrow in tribute to his mentor and provided his own equipment.” He rose from his chair and walked to a shelf where he slid back a panel to reveal a safe, which he unlocked. He opened the door to reveal a wooden case, which he removed and brought back to his desk.
“Rather than take it with him to L.A., he had asked me to donate it to some worthy institution such as the Smithsonian or another institution.” He lifted the lid of the wooden case to reveal the bow, the quiver full of arrows, and the neatly pressed uniform. “But I’m sure that the Green Arrow would much rather have seen them kept in the family.”
That night, Bonnie stared at the costume of Green Arrow that was laid out on her bed. She couldn’t believe it was there. Even more unbelievable was the discovery that he was her grandfather. Now his uniform, bow, and arrows were in her room.
Sneaking it past her mother had been a nerve-wracking experience, though. From what she had learned of her mother’s feelings of Oliver Queen, she knew Cissie wouldn’t have approved of her trip to Queen Enterprises.
But what to do with them? The only part of the uniform that came close to fitting her was the hat. It was the only part that probably ever would. Oliver Queen had been over six feet tall and was nearly two-hundred pounds of brawny muscle. She was a slight girl of sixteen who stood at five feet, nine inches. Her athletic form might get a few more curves over the years, but she wouldn’t get any taller.
Should she do this? As she stared at the uniform of her grandfather, she knew in her heart she should. She pulled her sewing kit out of her closet, pulled out the scissors, grabbed the hem of the tunic, and began to cut.
Bonnie shimmied down the ladder that her friend had pushed up to the side of the house. “I can’t believe you’re doing this!” Beth whispered. “First skipping school, and now sneaking out! I’d say I was a bad influence on you, if you weren’t decked out like a super-hero! The costume looks great on you, by the way.”
“Thanks,” Bonnie whispered. “Where’s your car?”
“I parked it around the corner. I didn’t want your mom to see the lights.”
“Cool,” Bonnie said. “Here’s the map I found tucked inside the quiver. You think you’ll be able to find this place?”
“No problem,” Beth said.
The two of them hopped in Beth’s car and made for the location on the map. As they followed the path plotted out for them, they both took special care to make sure they weren’t followed, often darting off the path and then back on to make sure no one saw where they were going.
Finally they came to their destination, and Bonnie hit the button on a spare remote device she had found in Green Arrow’s old equipment. A hidden doorway slid open on the mountain face, and they drove through and parked.
The two girls stepped out of Beth’s car and stood spellbound by their surroundings, staring at the trophy cases, computer equipment, ornate electronic archery targets, and other crime-fighting paraphernalia.
“Well, here we are,” Bonnie said, wide-eyed, “the Arrowcave.”