"My 15 minutes of fame hit the 2 minute warning."

by Casey Romain

Aside from his 7 foot frame and massive arms that were as big around as my whole body nothing about Roscoe Dupree gives you the impression he's even the slightest bit dangerous. He's polite and courteous, and maybe just a little na´ve about the modern woman.

On a wet winter day in rural New York Roscoe Dupree was granted his 15 minutes of fame. A school bus with 21 children and a driver hit a patch of black ice and went through the safety rail of a bridge. 60 feet below lay icy water, but fate had stopped the bus just short of that strange mathematical point where things fall down. No one wanted to touch the bus, the idea of being the one who laid the hand of doom onto a busload of children was more then any of the witnesses could bear. As the bus rocked slowly back and forth, each time sliding a little more forward, it seemed like fate's hand in stopping the bus might have only been a cruel joke to prolong the moment where motion and mathematics met to topple the bus and all aboard to their deaths.

This was the scene that young Roscoe Dupree came upon. He worked for the family wrecking service and was on his way to Tully to pick up a scrap car when he was stopped by the traffic at the bridge. Roscoe walked up to see what was wrong. As he approached the bus he knew he'd never be able to get the tow truck up to anchor the bus with all the other cars on the bridge. It was that moment that mathematics and motion met.

The bus slid forward ,metal scraping against pavement. The collected witnesses drew in a harsh breath, the children on the bus and the driver all screamed, and Roscoe Dupree reached out and grabbed the bus. There was a sound described like screaming, it was the metal of the bus caving in under the grip of the young Dupree. He grabbed hard and dug in his heels, and the bus stopped sliding. The sheriff climbed up Roscoe's back and opened the emergency window in the back of the bus. As the sheriff helped the children out of the bus Roscoe held fast, but mathematics was again playing a hand in the events. It would seem that a bus does not have any natural handholds, and so the metal started to give way. Witnesses say they saw the big man grit his teeth, make a fist, and jam his hand into the bus, grabbing the bottom of the frame and leaning back to leverage his strength against the raw weight of the bus.

As the sheriff helped the driver from the bus, mathematics again entered the situation and the frame of the bus gave way, sending it down into the river below. The witnesses were astounded, the families of the 21 children were all grateful, and Roscoe Dupree became a local hero, as did the bus driver and the Sheriff. Roscoe just shrugged when asked what it felt like to be a hero and answered, "Alright I guess."

The story doesn't end there though. Roscoe achieved somewhat celebrity status in his little hometown in New York, and the events of that winter day rippled outward touching other lives. Roscoe Dupree decided to take up the call of the President of this nation and applied for the NSA's Omega Squad program, to put his superhuman strength and oversized heart on the line to help preserve the things most people take for granted. His youngest brother decided to become a peace officer; he's now a county sheriff in the municipality where he grew up. The state of New York renovated the bridge to make sure this type of thing wouldn't be able to happen so easily again.

They say that everyone gets 15 minutes of fame. This has been known to go to some people's heads, over inflating their sense of self worth. I wanted to know how Roscoe Dupree was changed by his, so I set out to meet the man.

Our meeting was not as formal as one might think, I used journalistic techniques to arrange a meeting with him at his new home in the southern Arizona Dessert. He seemed pleasant enough, if a little anxious to get rid of me. He seemed genuinely disturbed that I had hitchhiked from New York to Arizona to interview him, apparently this is not something Roscoe felt was safe for a woman to do and I must say I have to agree. He immediately drove me back to the little town of Ajo and made several inquiries as to weather I had a place to stay and money. He politely answered all my questions; all the while making arrangements to get me back to New York. This he did not to get rid of me, but in his own way he thought this was what was "right".

After making sure I got on the bus, and following it for several miles to ensure I didn't get off, he turned back and went back to Eagle's Nest. I settled in and began to think of how to begin this story.

Fate, once again the secret player in this piece, saw fit to cause the bus to break down in Phoenix. The passengers were transferred to another bus, and I saw this as an opportunity to rest before making my way back to Eagle's Nest for round 2 with Mr. Dupree. Did I mention Fate, the next morning after watching a gorgeous sunrise I ran smack into none other then Roscoe Dupree. He was running laps around the hotel I was staying at. My first reaction was to wonder if he was following me. Did I fall prey to some type of strange "good old boy" fašade; was I being stalked by a master?

Roscoe Dupree, as it turns out, has no poker face. When he caught site of me I knew right then it was Fate and not Mr. Dupree that was stalking me. He assumed I'd somehow managed to discern where he was staying in town, and followed him there. We quickly set each other straight as to what had happened and he proceeded to ask me if I'd eaten. Normally when a man asks a woman if she's eaten, it's in hopes of opening a door to get her to eat with him, unless that man is Roscoe Dupree. He was trying to make sure I had eaten, and then promptly let me have breakfast with him. We chatted, and I had the occasion to meet some of his new friends.

As polite and nice as he'd been to me, you can imagine how he must treat people he actually likes. It was right as I was introducing myself to one of his teammates, CJ Juszkowski, that he announced to her that I was a journalist. This single act seemed to turn her sour, but I got the feeling that he thought she needed to be warned. He didn't say I was a journalism student, I guess to him there isn't a difference. He tried to make it seem like a friendly gesture, but I knew he was warning her for some reason. I let it go, and went back to finish my interview with him. When he asked me why I was so interested I told him that my assignment had been to right about someone who had turned his or her 15 minutes of fame into a career. His response was to tell me that he thought his 15 minutes of fame had reached the 2-minute warning.

We chatted a little longer, and I left for my room. I had some phone calls to make and some questions to ask.

The next morning, Sunday, started quietly enough. The sun was bright and I had taken an opportunity to go to a local coffee house that was recommended to me by a friend. I was sitting outside with my cup of hot coffee reading the morning paper when the sound of an explosion rocked the morning.

Some people, arriving in a hovercraft of some sort, were dropping armed men to the street and headed towards an armored car that had been overturned by the explosion. As fate would have it, Omega Squad showed up. A horrible fight broke out between the armed men and Omega Squad. A few moments later 2 super villains arrived on the scene, one of them a man much like Roscoe. Before long cars were being tossed around and people were embroiled in a brutal melee.

Roscoe proved to be plenty dangerous as he shattered a car that had been thrown at a team mate by leaping into it's path. His teammates seemed to be pretty capable too, so he's in good company.

The fight only lasted a minute or so, and when it was over the villains had all been beaten or were surrendering. Bulldozer and his companion Hazard Zone had managed to escape by means of what the authorities refer to as a Teleport Device. The heroes had made a good showing of themselves from the viewpoint of the few civilians in the area and the news chopper that taped the events from a few blocks away. Roscoe had been bruised up, apparently something that hadn't happened to him since he got his powers. The first thing I heard from his lips though was him asking one of his teammates if she was okay. In the short time I've known him, I'd have expected nothing less.

In the end he had no idea how important his 15 minutes of fame had been to other people, how many lives it had touched. He may never know, but I'll have some idea because the night after that fateful bus accident in rural New York I had dinner at home with my little sister. She was a passenger on that bus that got Roscoe Dupree his 15 minutes of fame. So, for my family at least, Roscoe's 15 minutes of fame will last a lifetime.

THE END