This award-winner was originally published under the pen name Bo Griffin in L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future v13. Ed. Algys Budrys, 1997.
Why a pen name? An author friend suggested “John Brown” was too plain. So off I ran, trying to think of a new name. After a gazillion options I think my brain went out for lunch. Bo Griffin? Some mixture between a backwoods redneck and a mythical eagle thing?
Alas, I came to my senses too late. Really, what the heck is wrong with John Brown? It’s a grand name that’s been used by a lot of interesting characters. So when people ask now what my name is, it plays like this.
“Who are you?” the villain asks.
“Brown. John Brown.”
The villain sings a ditty about having ten little Indians.
Then I clock him with my grandmother’s orthopedic shoe which doesn’t have any spy gagetry in it, but is sturdy enough to brain a cow.