DEFEAT. 043 – Postscript Four

[DEFEAT. is presented in weekly episodes. the novella tells the tale of Daryl Millar – a hero who dies at the intersection of pop culture, science-fiction, war epic, and fantasy. Brian Galiano provides stunning original art for every episode. the end is nigh.]

I’ll never forget how he looked when I finally came face to face with him. Well, face to face with him again. Surely you know what I mean.

Don’t you?

It was just before 10AM when I came across Daryl Millar — just as I had planned it. His entrance at the pep rally would be about a half-hour later, so I figured this was the perfect time to reveal myself. Remembering the route he walked to school, I parked myself somewhere in the middle and waited.

He arrived right on time. Of course.

Before he saw me, his face was filled with fire. Not a blazing inferno of anger, but an inextinguishable torch of determination. There were no words that could persuade this hero to abandon his mission. Not that anyone else would have even approached him to try. After all, don’t forget that he was holding a goddamn sword. Not exactly an inviting image.

When I stepped in front of Daryl, he did not become upset. Perhaps somewhere deep inside, in the same viscera that told him to follow this course in the first place, he knew that I could not stop him. That I was not derailing his train of consequence, but offering a minor detour. With this comprehension in hand, he gave me an honest moment to speak my mind.

I told him who I was. He laughed at first. He told me I was just a pervert who hid in bushes and spied on high school students. I explained that I could understand his interpretation, as he had clearly spotted me on Monday, but that he was wrong. That I was who I was claiming to be. That given the revelations of the week, he should be more open to the idea.

And then I made an allusion to Crisis on Infinite Earths.

Daryl reconsidered his position. He looked as deeply into me as he could. Then he looked deeply within himself. I saw him thinking, considering all of the existential convergences. Intercourse under his belt. A sword that had traveled the world. A genuine gypsy mystic. Visions in basements and coffee shops. Friends in need. An adversary to defeat. His grandfather’s approval for whatever. A final word of warning coming from a traveler from afar. It all clicked.

Universal sequence complete.

We both acknowledged the surreality of the situation. I wanted to say something more to him, but didn’t. He offered his condolences about my right leg. He said goodbye and trudged ahead.

He hadn’t moved more than twenty paces when I called after him. Again, I knew it was useless but couldn’t help myself.

“Daryl! Wait! Are you sure you want to go through with this?”

He stopped but didn’t turn around. Over his shoulder, he called out to me. “Did you enjoy our conversation?

“Yes. Very much.”

“And do you enjoy the ability to have such conversations?”

“Of course! It’s my life’s work — everything I’ve ever dreamed of.”

“Then you know what I have to do.” He continued walking. “Besides, nothing’s stopping you from speaking with me again.”

I watched him unsheathe the goddamn sword and take a sneak preview of its glory. Walking down his chosen path, he was all right.

All right forever.

– E.B.

DEFEAT. 042 – Good mourning, Black Friday!

[DEFEAT. is a   coming-of-death novella. every week a new episode pops up, accompanied by an original Briano Galiano illustration. for fans of science fiction, fantasy, video games, comics, war epics, and feats of triumph]

The birds started chirping. The sun climbed with resolve, hurtling over the horizon with Olympian ease. The timer on the automatic coffee machine hit its limit and began brewing black inspiration. It was almost as though they had all taken part in a conspiracy, a plot to ensure a perfect beginning to an essential ending.

Did the birds, the sun, and the coffee machine actually know what a monumental day this was to be? No.

But Daryl Millar knew. He knew that this was the most important day of his life. He knew that on this day, he and his closest friends would celebrate together. He knew that they would revel in exultation only possible with immense sacrifice. He knew that this would be the last day of his life.

Daryl Millar woke up. He pulled open the shades and let himself be bathed in golden rays of wonder. He laughed to himself, thinking just how perfect this day would be. It all made so much sense, there was an undeniable purpose at hand.

Bending to one knee, the hero reached under his bed. With great respect, Daryl drew out a sacred tool. An instrument his grandfather had bequeathed unto him. The weapon that Clark Millar had pried from the dead hands of his last mortal enemy.

Daryl Millar held in his hands a goddamn samurai sword.

And in a few hours he was going to plunge it right into his own heart.

DEFEAT. 039 – true believers

Daryl’s resolve had been fully reinstalled by Vanessa, the love of his life. He now had a force fortifying him, filling the few remaining empty spots of his soul with purpose. With an emotional connection expressed physically, one is far less vulnerable to the wounds that Life so desperately tries to inflict with His rapier.

That is, of course, unless heartbreak is involved. For as rewarding as is the ascent to the top of the mountain, the tumbling downward is doubly painful. Given enough time, even the most sincere relationships can deteriorate, either losing their vitality or compromising until all that remains is a shadow.

And the shade is fine. Unless you’ve walked in the sunlight.

Read the rest of this entry »

DEFEAT. 038 – Cola-Flavored Love

[DEFEAT. is Rendar Frankenstein’s unabashed love song to the very things that’ve kept him alive – sci-fi, heavy metal, fantasy, war epics, and pop culture. Accompanied by original art by B. Galiano, each weekly episode continues the tale of Daryl Millar – a hero guaranteed to die upon the novella’s conclusion. All are welcome, but nerds are encouraged]

It was three o’clock in the afternoon. Daryl’d been sitting on top of the Pepsi machine for a half an hour. Perched above, he had clear view of the three suburban blocks in front of him.

It was a perfect panorama of suburban chaos.

Station wagons and vans whipped around corners, providing the day’s only excitement for their middle-aged drivers. Youngsters fleeing their elementary schools chased one another with no regard for their surroundings. Husbands rushed out of their front doors with their mistresses, returning to their offices after extended lunch breaks. Mailmen, finally shaking off their hangovers, swore at the ten-year-olds running through their paths of delivery.

All of these islands interested Daryl, but the makeshift crow’s nest had been designed in the hopes of spying one legendary continent. It was lush and full of life, capable of invigorating those few and far between who reached it. Daryl had ventured further into its jungles than any other, exploring the uncharted darkness that no man had ever before braved. Since leaving, it’d been Daryl’s desire to return as soon as possible. And return he would, for he could see his El Dorado on the horizon.


Read the rest of this entry »

DEFEAT. 036 – Spiritual Precipice

[DEFEAT. is Rendar Frankenstein’s newest fucking story.   Presented in weekly episodes, the novella tells the tale of Daryl Millar – a hero who is guaranteed to die. For fans of pop culture, sci-fi, war epic, fantasy, and sick original art]

Daryl got out of the car, thanked his grandfather for the ride, and assured him that he wouldn’t need any further transportation. “Thanks Gramps, but after I see Riff, I think I’ll just walk to 8-Bit’s house. It’s nice out and I could use some fresh air.”

“No problem, kid.” Gramps gave the Buckley residence a once over, stifling his concerns about its dilapidated state and the as-of-yet-to-be-fixed window. Then he remembered the previous evening’s confrontation with Lieutenant Buckley. “You sure Riff’s dad is at work?”

“Yeah, Riff always has to walk to school on Thursdays because his dad has the earlier shift.”

“All right. But if he shows up, I want you to excuse yourself and head home. No need to stir the hornet’s nest.”

Daryl made his way to the front door and would’ve rung the bell if the door had been closed. But it was left ajar, no doubt the direct result of Larry Buckley drunkenly stumbling to his cruiser in the hopes of getting to work on time. As such, the hero walked into the house and called out to his friend.

“I’m in my room,” Riff groaned slumberously.

After climbing the stairs to the second floor, Daryl let himself into Riff’s room. The headbanger was in bed, doing his best to recover from his recent trauma.

His eyes were blackened.
His nose reset.
His spirit broken.

Read the rest of this entry »

DEFEAT. 035 – Anachronistic Pepsi

[DEFEAT. is Rendar Frankenstein’s truest attempt at fiction.   Presented in weekly episodes, the novella tells the tale of Daryl Millar – a hero who dies at the intersection of pop culture, science-fiction, war epic, and fantasy]

The man in the gray trench coat watched as Rimina Jacoby left Bandini’s Café. “Ah, the clever bitch beat me to it! One eye and she’s got a foresight I’d kill for. Well, if ya gotta get beat, might as well be by the best.”

After limping over to a park bench, the visitor sat down and reached into the innards of his coat. He produced a bottle of Pepsi Free, popped off the cap with a twist, and drank greedily. He downed more than half the bottle, then wiped his mouth and chuckled. “Gah, why the hell did they ever stop making this? To make room for energy drinks? Fetid! Sometimes the world makes no sense at all.”

He briefly contemplated following the mystic. After all, it’d long been a dream of his to finally hold a second meeting of the minds. Last time they met he was but the learner, and now he was on his way to becoming a master. But he knew that she was long gone, vanished into an unquantifiable mist.

He was a master of a discipline that, although related, was at odds with the teachings of Rimina Jacoby. “If only we could palaver, everything’d be sorted out. She calls upon the stars, asking them for advice. I redefine astrophysics, discerning how it was that stars even came to exist. She moves only forwards, but can project infinite possibility onto any consciousness. I move in any direction I choose, but can still only experience a singular reality.”

The Pepsi Free was finished, the glass bottle held up in a makeshift salute. The man in the gray trench coat saw that he was alone…but something told him that the Woman in Gray Robes could hear him. “So we have it, one for the ages. Art versus science. And you’re winning…

“If if I didn’t respect you so much,” a smile of remembrance crept cross his face, “I’d be pretty pissed. Hell, I’m one of the world’s greatest scientific minds and I’m being outclassed by a gen-u-ine gypsy mystic.”

The lighthearted rival of the one-eyed seer brought himself to his feet and began shuffling away. It’s not that he didn’t want to keep sitting, thinking about his most formative days. Because he did. But he also knew that that he was a day away from Event Zero. And to be sighted this far into the game, to have to rely on reignition, well that was simply unthinkable.

He was out of sight just in time see Daryl and Clark as they left Bandini’s Café. From his vantage point, he saw them perfectly. Clark looked rewarded. Daryl was determined. And this made sense.

Of course it made sense. It couldn’t be any other way.

The wind picked up, kicking leaves and threatening to knock over the spy. He held his own, pushing back and limping along as he always would.

DEFEAT. 034 – espresso self

[DEFEAT. is Rendar Frankenstein’s truest attempt at fiction.   Presented in weekly episodes, the novella tells the tale of Daryl Millar – a hero who dies at the intersection of pop culture, science-fiction, war epic, and fantasy]

Bandini’s Café was lost in time.

The year outside of the diner was most certainly 1986. Ten months in and gazes were still directed skyward, accompanied by somber sentiments for the crew of the Challenger. The Boston Red Sox and the New York Mets were trading blows in the World Series. And twenty-three year old Katherine Hushaw reveled in an admiration only awarded to a Playmate of the Month.

The year inside the diner, well that was up for debate. The booths were wide and cushioned in such a way as to support the heavy aspirations of those celebrating VJ Day. The walls were decorated with yellowed posters assuring patrons that I Like Ike and asking them to Drink Pepsi-Cola. And the most recent hit that the jukebox would sing was I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch). Moreover, no one inside of the anachronistic haven had been born after the year 1940.

Except, of course, for Daryl Millar. But, not unlike the diner, Daryl was in the process of becoming timeless.

Read the rest of this entry »

DEFEAT. 033 – Hallway Lesson Plans

[DEFEAT. is Rendar Frankenstein’s truest attempt at fiction.   Presented in weekly episodes, the novella tells the tale of Daryl Millar – a hero who dies at the intersection of pop culture, science-fiction, war epic, and fantasy]

Gramps and Daryl walked down the hallways with resolve. Neither had any desire to spend another second in the school, a place that was supposed to foster reason and rational thought but was overrun by small-minded tyrants. Ah, just like the real world!


And also like the real world, Daryl had been punished for calling into question the legitimacy of a reigning power. With his balled-up fist, Daryl asked Brady Moore’s jaw Hey, what makes you think that you have the right to do whatever you want?! For these efforts, the teen was suspended for the remainder of the school day.


The bell rang and a cavalcade of bleary-eyed youngsters filed out of classrooms. They were tired and hungry, teeming with hormones and devoid of reason, underappreciated by their teachers and over-appreciated by their parents. Those that noticed Daryl slapped him on the back and thanked him for his early-morning contribution.

After all, word travels quickly in a high school. In terms of pure speed, the gossiping patterns of suburban youths ages fourteen to eighteen should be studied by telecommunications companies. Without any sort of genuine perspective, most of these students find no greater satisfaction than in hearing and spreading the tale of some rule’s infraction:

Who did what? Seriously? Does Becky know? She doesn’t? She has to. Well, yeah, I know she’s stupid but Jake is her boyfriend! And they’re serious! They’ve been a couple, for like, seven weeks! Well, I think it’s cool that he did that but he’s going to get in trouble and you have to realize that if it comes out that you were with him then you’re totally going to get busted as well, and there goes our big after-prom party that I finally convinced my dad…

And so on.
And so on.
And so on.

Swimming against the current of rumors and unfulfilled potential, both Daryl and Gramps saw a figure with whom they needed to speak. The relationship each held with this pretty young thing was unbeknownst to the other. For one of them, she was one of those rare teachers who was both intelligent and concerned. For the other, she was the daughter of a friend who had been known and looked after for decades.

Worlds apart and yet within the same hemisphere.

Read the rest of this entry »

DEFEAT. 030 – Informal Gluttony

[DEFEAT. is Rendar Frankenstein’s truest attempt at fiction.   Presented in weekly episodes, the novella tells the tale of Daryl Millar – a hero who dies at the intersection of pop culture, science-fiction, war epic, and fantasy]

Principal Clancy took a big, nasty slurp of coffee. The paper cup struggled to maintain itself, pushing against the vice grip of a fat, sweaty paw. The brown juice sleazed passed yellow teeth and fought against a burp on the way down. Naturally, the cup folded inwards as the liquid found its way into the educator’s gullet. In the process, a splash of coffee broke through a fissure and launched itself onto Principal Clancy’s jowls.

He didn’t even notice.

Read the rest of this entry »


[DEFEAT. is Rendar Frankenstein’s truest attempt at fiction.   Presented in weekly episodes, the novella tells the tale of Daryl Millar – a hero who dies at the intersection of pop culture, science-fiction, war epic, and fantasy]

Daryl got out of the car before it had even stopped. His mother, affixed to the rearview mirror as she applied a third coat of rouge, didn’t notice. Even if she had, she wouldn’t have stopped him. Chalk it up to an understanding that no words could ever contest one of her son’s resolutions. Or, chalk it up to a desire to return home, pop a couple of Vicodin, hide in bed, and listen to Barbara Streisand’s The Broadway Album.

Either way — chalk it up.

Parted by the wind, a pile of leaves got out the seventeen year old champion’s path. Orange. Brown. Pregnant with anticipation. Mother Nature knew that on this morning, Daryl was unstoppable.

There was no need to stop at the locker before class. Daryl didn’t even bring his backpack. His mother might’ve noticed if she weren’t so damn busy putting on makeup to impress nobody. Daryl sans backpack — he knew he wouldn’t be spending much of Thursday at school.

Had Daryl been more patient in this current endeavor, more willing to go through the regular routine before getting down to business, his day would’ve gone much differently. At his locker waited Vanessa, holding baited breath and hoping to discuss the wonder that was the previous evening. Just like her suitor, Vanessa felt something washing over her during the post-coital bliss. Not just the physical pleasure of orgasm, but the sense that a tide was turning. Possibility was afoot, and Vanessa wanted to see if Daryl felt the same.

Had he been less dedicated to his friends, he may have actually gone to his first class — Modern American History. Once there, he would’ve noticed just the distraught Ms. Lang, practically on the verge of tears. A conversation would have begun, and the two would have started unraveling some of the many links that connected their lives

But alas, neither of these were destinations on Itinerary-Vengeance.

Read the rest of this entry »