Last Hope for Sanity


Cool Punisher art by Tim Bradstreet.A large field is on fire! And so is a South American farm next to it where coco plants used to produce cocaine, an illegal drug, were grown and cultivated on by the farmers working for The Kingpin and the Mafia. Flames and black smoke reach the sky and there are dead bodies lying everywhere. The Punisher, who ended up being the one left standing while all others have fallen, destroyed the entire farmland including its illegal cash crop. Leaving behind the devastated farm, Frank staggers toward a waiting helicopter Tuggs is piloting. He is badly hurt with all sorts of bruises, bullet and knife wounds oozing out blood, and signs of first degree burns covering his body in some spots. Frank climbs into the copter, sits at a passenger’s seat, shut the door, reach for a first aid kit next to him, and began bandaging his wounds.
Tuggs: “Are you going to be ok, Frank? I’ll get you to a nearby hospital if you’re not.”
Frank: *feeling weary* “I’ll be ok.”
Tuggs: “Are you sure?”
Frank: *feeling weary* “Just go, Tuggs. I’ll be fine.”
Tuggs: “All right then.” *pulls back the control stick* “Hang on, Frank. We’re taking off.”
Tuggs lift the copter off the ground and made a soaring beeline to an abandoned Brazilian jungle air base which serves as one of Frank’s safe areas to hide from avenging criminals, unsympathetic police officers, and overzealous superheroes out looking for him. Tuggs helps Frank out of the copter, took him to the sick bay area, place him on a bed, and gives him WarHarp to cuddle with. Then he went to the medical supply case and took out all sorts of bandages, syringes, bottles of anesthetics and antibiotics, antibacterial cream, sterile wipes, strings for stitches and sewing needles, tweezers to remove bullets from his body, and pain medications. Tuggs brings them back to Frank and began nursing his wounds.
Tuggs: “You sure did scorch the *&^% out of that coke farm, didn’t you, Frank?”
Frank: “I can tell you one thing, Tuggs. Those black market buyers are going to be so disappointed when they find out that there won’t be any more cocaine for them to buy. Besides, they need to save their money to buy coffins and burial plots for all of those dead #*&^% I scattered all over the farm anyway.”
Tuggs: “Hold still, Frank, and relax while I numb you with these anesthetics and put stitches on your cuts. Hope I got enough strings to sew you back up like a rag doll. If not I’ll have to borrow some strings off of your harps to finish the job.”
Frank: *suddenly gets mad and grabs Tuggs’ collar* “NO!!”
Tuggs:  “Geez! Calm down, Frank. I’m only kidding. I just got enough medical string here to stitch you back together again. Don’t worry. I won’t hurt your string babies ever.”
Frank: *simmers down and lets go* “You better not… or else.”
Tuggs carefully sew the knife wounds back together and put antibacterial cream on them to protect them from getting infected as they heal. Tuggs use clean bandages to cover them up and then use tweezers to remove the bullets from his body and place more antibacterial cream on them before putting more clean bandages on the wounds. He then rub special cooling cream on the burnt areas of Frank’s skin to treat the 1st degree burns before putting bandages on them. It took 2 and half hours for Tuggs to stitch together and bandage all the wounds and burnt marks that cover much of Frank’s body.
Tuggs: “There. All done. You’re all patched up, Frank.”
Frank: “Good. Thanks, Tuggs.”
Tuggs: “You’re welcome. Now get some shut-eye and give your wounds a lot of time to heal by spending a great time singing and playing with your harp kids before going out on your next mission of punishment.”
Frank: “Ok, Tuggs. Good night.”
Tuggs: “Good night, Frank.”
Tuggs got up and put the medical supplies back in the case. Then he turn off the lights and leave the room, shutting the door behind him.
Frank lays still in bed. Images of the tragic events at Central Park in New York City that happened in 1974 that made him The Punisher still haunt him to no end. For years, feelings of anger, rage, guilt, failure to his family, and above all emptiness torment Frank constantly. But then along came WarHarp, his first harp which made very pretty sounds that reminded Frank of his two children he remembers fondly and the awesome times they had playing games, reading bedtime stories, and roughhousing at home and in the park. And Maria, his beautiful wife whose eyes sparkle more than diamonds, long flowing hair shinier than gold, and a face as glowing and radiant as the face of an angel. She was there to greet him when he came home from his tour in Vietnam and the great nights they both spent making love by the light of the full moon. There was great times Frank had with his family. But then evil forces came and took them away from him and left him an empty, bitter, lonely widower who nowadays can only be comforted by the voices of these 3 people echoing through WarHarp’s strings. This is what gave Frank the reason to carry on and the inspiration that lead him into asking a harp maker to build for him his own “Comfort Lady,” a large concert harp Frank named “Ravenna” (a name that sounds like “Maria”) who along with WarHarp accompanies Frank’s voice that rang out songs, poems, and prayers throughout the walls of his makeshift shrine.
His harp children Frank admits to himself are his last hope for getting back some sense of sanity into his life. Every ounce of sanity he once had all went bye bye when his human family got killed. His harps, on the other hand, are gradually bringing it back to him piece by piece. Yet, he still wishes to continue punishing criminals and engaging in his personal war against crime.
You might think these kinds of thoughts would bring Frank into a dilemma, where he wants to play his harps and have his sanity restored to where he wants to give up the war…. and allow criminals to go unpunished! Bad idea. At the same time he wants to continue fighting the war and punish criminals like always… and put his harps in danger of getting neglected, stolen, or destroyed by vengeful criminals and other rogues. Even worse! If you think this is a dilemma Frank will have a hard time solving, you’re wrong.
Frank has no problems taking his string babies with him everywhere he goes. When he’s not playing music, Frank keeps Ravenna in highly secured specialized adamantium harp trunk made just for his large harp and uses a pym particle to shrink the trunk, with Ravenna inside, down to a size small enough to easily fit into his special adamantium locket chain he wears around his neck as a good-luck charm. Then when Frank goes to rest and recover from fatigue and/or his injuries at one of his multiple safe areas where he sets up his makeshift shrine, Frank opens the locket, takes the trunk out, and use the particle to restore Ravenna back to normal size so he can play music in his makeshift shrine while his injuries heal.
On the other hand, unlike Ravenna who is made from ordinary pine wood, WarHarp is made from pure resilieum, a super rare form of adamantium, the kind of material that makes Wolverine’s claws and Captain America’s shield nearly unbreakable, that renders an object made from it completely invincible; it cannot be destroyed no matter what. Thus, WarHarp is perfect for Frank to take to war because it can do things no ordinary harp can do. It can cut like a sword, smash like a club, shoot arrows like a bow, fly like a boomerang, and above all play music… like a harp.
No matter where he’ll go and where he’ll fight, his string babies are safe. And with that feeling in mind Frank clutches his locket (with Ravenna inside it) and cuddles with Warharp who is also there in bed by his side and peacefully went to sleep.


Sherry Konkus

Sherry Konkus lives in Owosso, MI. She is the proud owner of the Camac Athena EX Concert Grand Harp named "Grover" and Camac Mademoiselle named "Ernie." She's also the proud author of The Punisher Harp Zone. Sherry is the one who came up with the idea of portraying The Punisher from Marvel Comics as the punishing harpist who plays the harp in memory of his family who was killed by the mob years ago.