Times Past, 1947
A Thousand Weapons to Choose From
A JSA Classified story
by Nadra Enzi
It’s no easy task measuring yourself against a man with a thousand talents. Just ask Agent Freeman when he’s instructed to find out what makes Mister Terrific what he is!
From the diary of mystery-man liaison agent Mark “Free” Freeman, during the opening volleys of the Cold War:
Now I really feel dumb. My latest assignment is to work with Mister Terrific, the Man of a Thousand Talents, guaranteed to make me die of chronic inferiority complex, if I’m not too careful.
Hey, I shouldn’t complain. I was an Eagle Scout. Graduated with honors from high school, college, and law school. Joined the Office of Strategic Services during the war and signed up with the Central Intelligence Group half a year after V-J Day. I got this plum assignment after catching some super-spies and costumed world-wreckers.
Still, he is Mister Terrific, you know.
He strode into my office, smiling like God Himself had just whispered the secret to life in his ear (hey, with this guy, you never know).
“Agent Freeman, pleasure to meet you,” he said, shaking my hand with a grip just short of what’s needed to crush a brick, if need be.
“P-pleasure’s all mine,” I stammered, trying to sound like the ace Strategic Services agent who’d once taken down the Ultra-Humanite’s gang (with a whole lot of luck and bullets). I cleared my throat and said, “Let’s get to work,” handing him a briefing file.
Waving his hand, Mister Terrific said, “Already read it on the way over. Speed reading’s a hobby of mine.”
Along with about 999 other things, I’ll bet.
Our assignment was to create a training program based upon Mister T’s endless talents, so our fighting men could become much smarter and tougher. He seemed genuinely excited, while I dubiously asked myself — for the thousandth time — if we were kidding ourselves.
“Free, there’s nothing special about me. I just keep myself open to learning new skills. Look at it this way: nearly everyone can think, walk, run, and perform thousands of other tasks daily without even thinking. I just start thinking about how to do something new or learn something new and go from there. Simple!” explained the man who was supposed to be smarter than even Albert Einstein.
Sighing, I took my pad and pencils and wondered if there were any openings at the Post Office.
Granted, what he said made sense, red mask, Fair Play belt buckle, and all. To a much-smaller degree, I did the same in my life.
“Yes, I’m a crime-fighter, but really I’m just someone who doesn’t say no to his imagination. Imagine how safe we’d be if millions of us realized just how terrific we can be! The Injustice Society and the Reds alike would head for the hills. That’s what keeps me going — the dream of awakening in everybody what’s awake inside me.”
On and on it went for hours, me soaking in what he said with a occasional peep just to feel like I was holding up my end of the conversation.
But out of all he said and all he could do, one quote still stands out in my mind:
“Mark, when a man has an open mind, he literally has a thousand weapons to choose from!”
Mister Terrific taught me and the rest of us just how well-armed each of us can be — when we really use what’s between our ears.