Rhino Welder: Fighting for Justice in Chatham and Strood
We do not know when Rhino Welder was actually born, but he always died one day before reading this obituary. His real name was David Ferris and like all David Ferris's never truly resolved his ongoing dilemmas.
David Ferris was the son of working class parents and was born in Chatham, a working class town. His parents instilled him with a strong moral attitude, which contrasted strongly with the local ethos. At school he was bullied, and though he was often beaten up never rescinded on what he perceived to be correct. By the time he was a teenager he was considered a twat. He had never intimidated anyone nor beaten anyone up, and was handicapped by the fact that his speech was coherent. He also showed no desire to get a tattoo. In terms of hardness he was considered a no-hoper and was expected to maintain his position as a perceived wimp, and probably would have done, if he had not been forced into a series of fights during his last year of school.
The fights started over a pogging incident. Ferris had been accused of staring in the wrong direction and at the wrong person and was instantly sentenced to a good hiding. It never came off, the aggrieved bully was knocked flat on his back with a single blow. The bully had failed to notice that Ferris had grown recently and stood six inches taller than himself, though this fact would not have deterred him, since hardness is usually decided by committee, and rarely by combat.
The result threw the bullying community into turmoil. His victory was unexpected, Ferris had never shown any tendencies towards hardness; he had never swaggered, spat at anyone, nor snarled in anger, and certainly had no older, or harder brother within whose reputation he could comfortably bask. It was decided that he was of the wrong calibre to be considered hard, and so it was declared that the Ferris victory was a fluke. And to prove it so, decided that he would be publicly beaten after school.
And this he was, but the next day he revenged himself with such devastation, that nobody wanted to team up against him to repeat the beating. The hierarchy of hardness was thrown into dispute, and other non-rankers started to question the pecking order. The old established bullies saw power ebbing away from them and so decided to act. They invited Ferris into their clan and bestowed official hardness upon him with a ranking of the toughest of his year, and the fourth toughest of the school. He was also asked out by Jennifer Bletchley, a girl with an outstanding bust size who was hitherto considered to be out of his league. But Ferris had never considered her to be in his, and in a shock move asked Candice Williams to be his girlfriend. She accepted, and her status was immediately reassessed when it was noticed that although she was studious and wore glasses, she did in fact have a tidy figure. Ferris had moved up, and it was allowed that he could bring somebody with him. But if the thugs and toughs thought that he would adopt their ways, then they would soon find otherwise.
Ferris had never liked bullying. He had a strong belief in what was correct, and had made a conscious decision - many years earlier - to side with good. He used his ranking to intervene in protection rackets. He embarrassed thugs by telling them to shut up in class so that others could listen and if they opposed him, he belittled them with wit and sarcasm.
To the bullies, this was a blatant abuse of power and left them with no choice but to send against him the third, then the second and finally the best fighter of the entire school. Ferris beat them all, and used his power to enforce a reign a fairness and honesty. His girlfriend left him soon after, for although she had been elevated by him, she was devastated to discover that he was still a dork.
It was probably then that Ferris decided to become a masked vigilante. Ironically, it was probably at the same that Candice Williams decided to became a super-villain, but it was to be a few years before the two antagonists were to meet again.
After leaving school, Ferris became an apprentice welder and excelled at pipe welding. It was noted that he was a skilful TIG welder. He was encouraged to improve this skill, and became a top pipe-welder for a local company. It was here that he was first nicknamed Rhino Welder, and was honoured to call himself that when he first donned the mask and started patrolling the streets.
At first he confined himself to battering muggers and foiling burglars, but it was not too long before he found himself up against genuine evil. A super villain, by the name of Dr. Diablerie, had managed to hold the world to ransom with an orbiting laser devise. He had also managed to capture the world's finest super-heroes whom the world had pit against him. For a while it seemed as though the evil Doctor would have his way and that the million dollar ransom would have to be paid. But at the last minute, an unknown masked vigilante saved the day and the world was safe again. A new super hero had hit the scene and Rhino Welder was here to stay.
The Captain went on to foil a lot more fiendish plots. He is known to have crossed swords with at least seven of the worlds top ten super-villains, and to have saved the world on no less than twenty-seven separate occasions. But if he is to be remembered, it is to be for his battles against the sinister organisation headed by Candice Williams, his old girlfriend and bête noire . The battles he fought with her were never less than titanic, and it was always when it seemed he was about to lose, when he produced the final coup. Candice Williams, or 'Septic Death', as she was known, was put behind bars on no less than six separate occasions. Each time, Rhino Welder was responsible, though she managed to escape every time.
But if the Captain thought the world would be grateful for this, then he was to be mistaken. As super heroes go, he was never popular. He was never forgiven for his humble origins, and the fact that he managed to hold down a full time job and still save the world rankled the established super-hero community. Super-heroism has always been the domain of the middle and upper-classes, with the usual practitioners being scientists, journalists, billionaires, or students - but never welders. And the fact that he was more successful than them, rankled them all the more.
It is known that they tried to discredit him, and that things he said were taken out of context. It was rumoured that he was a homosexual, and when he denied this, a homophobe. Then a witness was found who claimed he was on take. Ironically, it was a petition from the league of twisted scientist that persuaded the judge otherwise. Rhino Welder was totally vindicated, though never forgiven, and it is probably this incident which sowed the seeds for his nervous breakdown.
It is certainly true that he was never the same after. He fought two more battles against wrong doers, the final one being against his old adversary Candice Williams. It is known that prior to this battle that she made an impassioned plea for him to join her organisation as an equal partner, and that that thankfully for the world, he declined. It is also known that it was at this meeting when he discovered that she had been financing his operations against her. He had always assumed that the cheques had come from Mega Man, the billionaire super hero. It was this, plus the exhaustion of the saving the world yet another time which caused him to finally crack-up.
His breakdown came when he discovered his life story had been marketed as a computer game and that to please the American market, the school scene was set in an American high school. This, culminating with the interview of Candice Williams by a prominent interviewer, and whereby his lifework was ridiculed by the London media, became to much for the Captain. He broke down in a computer store with a copy of the offending software in his hand. He was arrested for disturbing the peace, and for the first time in his career hit the news headlines. Usually his world saving exploits would only gain him a column inch on the third page, though his more cultured colleagues would be guaranteed a first page story; Even if was it a cat which had been saved.
Ferris was given a suspended sentence and left the court a broken man. He vanished for a few months, then was spotted living with a band of tramps in a forest clearing. It is rumoured that he became an existentialist. He died during a particularly cold spell. Attending his funeral was Candice Williamson. She wore a black veil and placed a single rose on graveside. It is rumoured that she bore his child.
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