St. Phil rescues Devil Don

Los Angeles and Nashville. Spring 1983.

A figure emerges from a Los Angeles telephone booth, tosses his cigarette stub to the sidewalk, and grinds it out with his sandal. He is in his early forties, but the lines on his face make him appear older. He adjusts his halo and hop-steps himself into flight before lighting a fresh fag. Soon he is smiling in appreciation of his own expertise. So few superheroes ever master the art of in-flight smoking.

His mission is arduous but likely to be profitable, and he has a long flight ahead of himself. He envisions himself rescuing his brother and sobering him up long enough to have him sign some contracts. He then pictures himself returning Donald to a gutter, flying back to beautiful southern California, and resting for a few months before having to reappear as mild-mannered Phil Everly, the less talented and long-suffering younger brother in their sibling singing act.

As he approaches the Rockies, St. Phil realizes that this lengthy flight gives him time to flesh out the story he is preparing for public consumption, if not the official press release, for what would be dubbed a “reunion” concert. He would insist, of course, that he had no need of money himself and that he is only agreeing to perform with Donald because his brother’s situation is so desperate. Of course, he has no way of knowing what Devil Don’s financial situation is, and he certainly does not care.

St. Phil looks forward to better days for himself, however.

Tall Terry said that the concert, DVD, and CD would make enough money that St. Phil would no longer need to coerce his fellow musicians to re-roof his house. “St. Phil,” Tall Terry said, “You will even be able to actually buy a round of drinks rather than just offering and allowing the others to insist on paying their own way.” St. Phil isn’t certain he wants to take that step, but it is a nice thought. Tall Terry even believed St. Phil could stop misleading his ex-wives’ attorneys about his assets and actually put his own name on songs he wrote.

But then St. Phil’s thoughts turn to parlaying the concert into a “reunion tour.” Briefly, he grimaces at the thought of airplanes and restaurants with their repugnant “no smoking” signs.

“Dammit,” he mumbles, “Yet another sacrifice I have to make to bring that devil to heel.” He groans and lights up again as he contemplates the agony of two weeks in London for press, rehearsals, and concerts, where he will be required to show up, play with his guitar, and harmonize on many of the vocal lines. All for a paltry half of the artist share of the takings. It isn’t fair. Nothing is ever fair to him, and it is always Donald who is at fault. However, as he was already explaining to his friends, his brother needs saving.

Across the Rockies and the Mighty Mississippi, St. Phil chain smokes and soars, his robe billowing in the wind. To Nashville he flies to swoop down to pluck his evil brother from a gutter!

Three hours after landing, St. Phil is still vainly searching the gutters along the streets of Country’s capital city.

Meanwhile, inside a crowded bar, Devil Don is making his way to a banquette full of his friends and Handmaidens. He stops abruptly when a fragment of conversation catches his attention. “Go look for yourself then,” someone is telling a companion, “I swear he’s dressed like a figure in a Bible School wall poster, complete with sandals and halo.”

“I’ll be damned,” Devil Don mutters as he does an about face and heads out the door. “If that son of a bitch—no, wait, we have the same mother—”

“Don’t bring Margaret into it.” Oh no! The all-too-familiar voice! And then, WHAP!

St. Phil reaches down to hoist his brother up by the waistband. “Why is it that it never takes more than one punch to floor him? What’s the fun in this?” Straining, he jumps into flight.

Eight of Don’s Handmaidens rush through the door a split second too late. Some curse, some cry, and one comes to her senses immediately. “Quickly, Girls, we need to call headquarters.”

Meanwhile, St. Phil is gradually gaining altitude and velocity, but his flight lacks the smooth trajectory he normally experiences as he attains cruising status. He shifts his unconscious brother over his shoulder to free up a hand to reach for his cigarettes and lighter. The motion accidentally propels the superhero into a forward aerial somersault.

“Damn,” St. Phil gripes, “He’s really gained weight.”