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The Eagle Chronicles 24: The Interview

Title: The Interview
Series: The Eagle Chronicles.
Word Count 940
Summary Steven Taylor gives a rare interview
Author's Notes: I think I for an assignment in a writing class somewhere around 1984. There's no great plot, no mystery, just something I used as an introduction to the character.

24. The Interview

Summer 1953

The reporter was very nervous as he walked up to the door of the Picadilly townhouse. After all, it wasn't every day you got to interview a virtual legend! Steven Taylor was such a person. He had been a jewel thief, a war hero, Olympic champion, king of England, and now he was the duke of Edinburgh, though he rarely used the title.

He answered the door himself. "C'mon in. Just make yourself at home. Care for something to drink?" The reporter shook his head. "Mind if I help myself to a Coke? Good. Now, let's talk."

"I'd like to take this opportunity before we start, to say what a privilege it is for me to interview you, sir."

"This is very informal so there will be no 'sirs', just a first name basis. It's very rare that I give interviews, so I can understand why you'd be nervous. Just relax."

"Okay. Are there any areas you'd rather not talk about? Any tender spots?"

"Just one; my wife's death. It would be with anyone else."

The reporter put his hands by his tape-recorder. "My name's Mark." He turned on the recorder. "Your Grace--Steven, there are many different stories telling of your 'life of crime' so to speak. Could you tell us how you got started?"

"After I graduated school, times were hard and I needed to make money to help my aunt run her boarding house. I left home for New York to look for a job, but there was nothing. Walking the streets, I realized the discrepancy in the whole wealth distribution thing. I decided to take it upon myself to even things out a bit. I robbed a few private safes at the Waldorf-Astoria, kept some of the money and gave the rest to charity. I was 17. I had to leave home a few months later and I met up with a group of petty thieves. That's when I came up with the Eagle."

"But it was when you were by yourself that you became world-famous. Why did you split?"

"The rest seemed jealous of all the attention I was getting in the press. They kicked me out."

"This is where the legend truly begins. Is this when you began leaving the feathers?"

"I did use them when I was with the group, but I think it was when I was solo that I used them more freely. I didn't have to depend on someone else to make a move. I could change plans without question."

"You were known as the Man Who Couldn't Be Caught, yet you were. How did that happen?"

"I was set up. I was hired by Louie the Limey, as he was known in the States, to crack a safe for him. He hired me and fixed it so I would be caught and put out of his way. It didn't work quite the way he wanted."

"I'll only ask one or two questions concerning your role in World War II. Was it something of a shock to find yourself working with Richard Johnson, the New York City police detective who had been put in charge of trying to catch you?"

"I recognized him first because he had never seen the real me. Besides, he didn't know the name of the criminal he would be working with. When I told him, he was more surprised than I was. We've kept in touch."

"I'm sure this is the one thing people want to know about when you were in Berlin. Did you really spit in Heinrich Himmler's face?"

Steven laughed. "Yes, I did. It's surprising how fast word spreads. He insulted the States and President Roosevelt, the man who had given me a chance to prove myself. I was so angry, I couldn't contain it. If I had been free, I would've punched him. As I wasn't, I spit."

"The time following is well-known to everyone, so we won't go into that. It was after your sister's wedding to your best friend that you reincarnated the Eagle, but in a different perspective. Could you explain why?"

"During my 'career' in crime, I met up with a lot of criminals above the law. They were either crooked lawmen or politicians, or just criminals who got off due to lack of evidence. I was able to reach them because I wasn't part of the law and still had contacts in criminal circles.

"For some reason, I took it upon myself to find all this corruption and deal with it. I've come upon many stubborn police or those who would take my word above someone else's--or their own."

"Could this stem from your early experiences in England, the first attempts on your life?"

"You mean the Mannering brothers?" Mark nodded. "I guess you could say that. Edward was above the law to a degree. I also had to deal with police who would not believe me. Roger was a harder case. I first had to find out who he was. It was purely by accident how I found him in England. When I discovered his plan, it was too late to get the police. The rest is on film."

"I've enjoyed this interview immensely, your Grace. I hope you continue your crusade against corruption, and I'm sure that the readers will be glad to be enlightened on the part of a living legend."

"It's been a pleasure talking to you, and you're one of the best I've ever talked to."

Mark turned off the recorder. "We just made it. D'ya have any beer?" Steven laughed and handed him one.


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