I actually planned to and wrote a review for battlefield 1 for yesterday but it was so dull and pointless I just didn’t post it, insert rant about modern gaming haha. Basically sums up what I thought of it. It was ok, considering I paid nothing for it.
Good news just got back the second to last piece of Diana and the last piece is on it’s way, our baby gonna be whole and beautiful soon enough. Then I can make the final changes, get her looking good and get her ready to shake her ass for some literary agents which in all likelihood will be all be women haha. True fact about literary agents, the gatekeepers of the industry, most of them are women. But then again most book readers today are women I think.
Well that is you see a lot of books targeting women specifically. Mostly about sex with vampires or werewolves or handsome rich guys haha. Kinda makes me wonder why that is, when did our culture move away from men reading books? What am I talking about? I literally started this blog mentioning the reason, it’s fucking videogames of course and movies and tv obviously. Fucking videogames killed men’s desire to read, goddamn it haha.
Well maybe that was when videogame stories were half decent, now they’re either totally ass or non-existent. The non gamers are probably off watching netflix or sport. But the thing is for me, my love of books really cushioned the blow for shitty videogame stories. I never really expect much from a games story and don’t care if it doesn’t even have one, in fact I prefer it. Because if I want a good story, there’s one waiting for me in a book. In the same respect if I want to see shitty cgi and explosions I go watch a marvel movie haha.
If you go looking for good stories in a videogame you will be disappointed. Even so we see novelists working with games developers to make decent stories and captivating world like the guy that wrote the metro novels which spawned the awesome metro games and yes I will be preordering the next instalment haha. Probably, if I’m not broke still when it comes out. Spent the last of my money, i.e the banks money on the last round of editing for D. If I work all through christmas I might be able to eat sometime late january haha.
To a lesser extent the witcher, though I won’t get into that because I fucking hate the witcher books with a passion and the writer is such a jackass. The games are great, they really elevate his boring overrated writing but the asshat is still suing them for more money despite the fact he thought they would fail so didn’t opt in for royalties, he just took a cash lump sum I guess. But of course now it’s like the hottest game of the decade he’s all in wanting his cut. If you read any of his books you’d be utterly disgusted by this.
They turned his boring slog into a living world full of interesting folklore and action and memorable interesting characters and GWENT! Holy of holies. I just saw they released a gwent rpg card game and I had hold myself to resist buying it at full price.
In other news the Parker book I’m reading has got lit, it’s pretty good, like it’s all out war at this point where Parker enlisted an army of his old heist buddies to take this mob town apart. Just gutting it of money, they take like a quarter mil in one night which is awesome. But the heists are a little too easy honestly, it’s nice but the hard stuff is coming and I can’t wait.
Anyhoo, gotta get back to work, got a new piece of my lovely lady Diana to clean up and I have to prioritise that obviously.
A dry morning wind lashed at the dusty emptiness of the wasteland as the sounds of muted activity echoed over all the stark nothing. The ambience of a frail egg shell headache, a morn after the night before, everyone tip toeing around busily packing up their lives. Still cool and dank but the sun bright and blinding coming up over another centuries old pile of garbage in the distance.
A slight figure blotted out that bright sun and cast an angular shadow on the side of a circus tent. One of the boys taking it down turned his scruffy dirty face in the direction of the shadow maker. He squinted with his hand attempting to block out the sun, a strange blinking collar around his neck.
“Mornin’” The young carny said as if it were a phrase buttoned to his tattered coveralls. He squinted harder trying to make out the figure. Rubbing his eyes as strange images of malformed birds filled his mind and he saw a grotesque heron mask. “Oh lady Hero, I didn’t know it-“
“The Ringmaster, where is he?”
“Oh, the boss, he’s-he’s still up in the big top, they’re getting ready to pull it next.”
“Thank you” Heron said flatly, slowly walking in the direction the boy gesticulated to.
The boy nervously returned to his tinkering, loosening the ties on the tent and scratching under his bomb collar.
Heron walked in between the stalls, more carny’s tinkering away to dismantle and pack away games and rides. All so they could move on to the next town, she could feel them they trying not to look directly at her.
“Hows tricks bird girl?” A voice mocked.
Heron looked coldly out of the corner of her eye, the voice came from a tall gaunt figure leaning out the window of his icecream van. He laughed and stared with his sharp dagger like beady eyes as he smoked from the corner of his mouth letting ash hit the counter without a care.
She turned her head to the front and continued saying nothing.
The Icecream man laughed and watched her go tapping ash out the window.
At the foot of the big top the dogfaced boy sat sullenly falling in and out of consciousness.
Upon seeing her he decided to be awake and quickly bound over to her.
“Ya bring me anything?” He said.
“Not this time, the big man in here?” Heron said.
“Yeah, he and Tanner are arguing about how the mutant sea lions are kept again, it’s really boring.”
“I see” She said as she patted him on the head and went on through into the big top.
Inside it was even cooler without the sun, the smell was so familiar; woodchips and blood and vomit and piss. Death and life, love and hate, there was nothing that wasn’t under this big top.
Heron looked up at the rigging, staring at it without knowing why, for a moment she couldn’t take her eyes off the tightrope.
Then remembering her purpose she pushed on into the ring.
As she was fortold the Ringleader was having a heated discussion with Tanner the animal tamer.
The Ringleader was a large man with a round belly but without hint of sagging. His roundness was almost perfect and complete, spherical and tightly packed, as if he were a baseball that could tuck in his arms and legs and roll away. But attached to the baseball were strong ropey arms and legs and a head he used to hold an oversized black top hat. His face always carrying the merest hint of a jovial smile betraying a wicked set of eyes which poked into every corner. He stroked and twirled his vaudeville mustache as he gestured wildly with his free hand.
“My good man, you realise these ‘creatures’ of yours cost an arm and a leg to feed, quite literally. I simply cannot afford any more lavish accomodations for them and certainly can’t spare the water to give them a dipping pool.”
“But you don’t understand, the heat is worse than ever this year, they’re going crazy, they need a way to cool off.” Tanner said as he stooped. Tanner was a large man with soft eyes, a lover of animals and wildly homicidally protective the particular species he’d trained from birth.
A rather unusual species of sea dwelling creatures that had with the drying of the oceans evolved to live on land. Undoubtedly with the help of the rampant radioactive fallout after the first war. One of the creatures playfully practised a routine where it would stand to attention on a podium. Then accused criminals would be dropped from the rigging for him to catch and eat. In this instance a side of beef or some other indistinguishable meat was dropped. The huge thing lumbered into position on the podium wobbling back and forth comically.
The creatures were huge twice maybe three times the size of a human. Scaly shiney skin but rough and course like sand paper. They had huge heads with large teeth and tusks but oddly reptilian features, with clawed hands ridged flippers for digging in the sand.
The ringmaster looked the creature over. The creature almost seemed to be trained to beg and look as cute as a giant reptilian mutant man eater could.
The meat was dropped and in an instant the creature timed it’s movements perfectly and snapped the meat out of the air with it’s ferocious jaws. The power of the bite bisecting the meat without need of sharp teeth, just the power of the jaw was enough to rip anything apart.
It moved with so much power, all those large muscles moving at once, spurred by instinct and training, the ground seemed to quake, the air shifting. The amount of power necessary to move that bulk would astound any crowd. The amount will to train the beast even more so.
Heron stared at the Ringmaster and he turned and noticed her out of the corner of his eye. He turned back to Tanner to dismiss him. “I’ll see what I can do”.
“Very well” Tanner said also having noticed Heron waiting. He left abruptly without saying anything more. Exiting through a large opening in the back. The creature bounded after him flopping around comically dragging it’s large finned tail.
“Yes?” The Ringmaster said crossing his hands behind his back he tilted his head as if he were talking to a child “Do you have something to say?”
“They’re all dead”
The Ringmaster showed no great surprise in his stoney features, he only let out a long disappointed sigh “I see”. He turned to walk up the steps towards his ‘throne’ on the edge of the big top. It was a monstrosity made of collected pieces of wood and metal. Different discarded weapons of the long dead clans that came before. The scattered remnants now making up most of the circus a generation or so on.
He sat and waited for her to say more “Is there more?”
“The ronin clown Pookie lives” She said flat.
He hid it well but at the corner of his eyes, wrinkles started to appear. “And why didn’t you stop him?”
Heron stood not moving, expressionless behind her mask. “That was not my mission”
“Your mission was to bring back a body, so where is it?” He gestured spreading out the fingers of one hand.
Heron said nothing.
The Ringmaster tutted “Forgive me, you’ve lost your friends and I’ve lost a headline act” He paused and thought about the implications. “I want his head atop my throne by this afternoon”
“Yes Ringmaster.” Heron said.
“Wait, I changed my mind!” He tapped his lips with a long finger “I want you to shadow him for me. Report to me on his movements through carrier pidgeon” He sighed deep in thought. “More information is necessary.” He said to himself. The ringmaster straightened his moustache and tugged at it a little more before he noticed Heron was still standing there. “You’re dismissed.”
Read the rest on inkitt Imaginary folklore
Good morrow fine folk, it is I your humble bard..
And that’s enough of that. Ok so updates; I fucking did it and it turned out pretty damn great. I wasn’t really intending to do my standard 2k a day word count challenge thing but I was just so fucking eager I start an hour earlier than I usually do and spent like the next four or five hours just bounding around this fictional world I was creating like a dog with a ball it it’s mouth. And before I knew it I’d written way too much and that’s pretty much how it went for the last four days but it did work out to a nice neat round a bout 8k.
So that right now shapes up to about a chapter and a half because I got a little carried away and the flashback chapter is like a short story in itself so I may have to break it down a little bit but it turned out really cool and it has one of the best (and shortest) fight scenes I’ve ever written, just the level of gravity and intensity really swept me away and I hope that goes the same for anyone reading it. If people have a tenth of the fun and excitement I got from just writing it then I’m on to a winner.
I almost couldn’t wait to get up this morning and write about and go over, this is the first time I’ve been this excited about proofreading and putting something on inkitt.
I think the first chapter is great, I had my baby mama go over it and she made me rethink the whole chapter and I’m so glad she did because I love the changes I made to it. I think the chapter really nails the character hook, she even compared him to Alucard from Hellsing, which was a character I wasn’t even thinking of but it was music to my ears. Although I hate that anime (Not so much hate it, I just found it underwhelming), Alucard is the only reason its worth watching.
Well anyway wanna keep this terse so I can actually do the proofreading I just mentioned so just want to mention inkitt a bit and then get on to some Blood and Elves hate which I find more and more of the more I read it.
I dunno, it’s weird ‘The One that Came Back’ is really popular on inkitt, it’s nearly surpassing Green Sunday which has been on way longer and I spammed the living hell out of and everytime I go on inkitt someone has added it to a list or saved it but I get new reads constantly when I never spam it at all and I literally give it away for free now haha. So that’s cool, I mean what are the odds that that is the first book I get legit published haha, that would be great but also suck since I wrote it in literally thirty days and lots of it is me just transcribing a documentary haha.
Ok so I realise why the witcher Blood of Elves sucks so much and it does suck, it was a meme at first, when I was like halfway through but I’m near the end now and I swear this book is like 95% really boring conversations about nothing. It’s literally just conversation after conversation and any action or interesting thing that happens in like a page or two then the conversation will just be the rest of the chapter and then it’ll cut away to another completely different conversation in another part of the world and it may or may not be related. That’s the whole book. And the chapters are stupidly fucking long, it’s a three hundred plus page long book and it has eight chapters, so you just have these bloated chapters full of pointless dialogue most of which could be shortened to a sentence at most. And what’s more is the chapters don’t really need to be that bloated, the chapter breaks seem arbitrary since there are constant cutaways without transition to other conversations entirely. It almost seems like chapters are there just as a formality.
So anyway, why it sucks. It sucks sort of for the same reason The last wish fell short. The last wish is just a series of short stories not connected except that they involve Geralt, that’s it. But it’s a series of fun and action packed short stories that are interesting and varied and have lots of subtle nods.
The problem with Blood of Elves is it’s not a novel, it’s a short story or two short stories that have been stretched out to be the length of a novel and packed with filler conversation and political commentary. That’s literally all it is. Because the main plot begins at the start to try and hook us then it’s filler city for the next hundred odd pages then there’s a smidgeon of action in the middle then the story is sort of coming back around at the end. Some people say the filler is like character fill but I don’t think so, the characters still seem really generic, I don’t feel like I know anymore about Geralt or Ciri and all I learnt about Triss is she can’t drink potions, maybe she’s lactose intolerant haha.
And it occurred to me last night that I gloss over romances in my stories because they don’t interest me. But I sort of pay some lip service to them but I make a point that it is lip service.
In this book he’s in love with a woman he literally forced to love him with magic genie powers and now they’re apart in this book but their epic romance is sort of just hinted at. So essentially *insert epic romance here*, it just struck me as really lazy having like a time jump to say they had a really great romance but now they’re avoiding eachother like the plague.
Anyway really didn’t meet my goal of being quick and concise but I will have the first chapter of Cur: Blood and Soil (working title) up on inkitt by the end of the week probably sooner. I really can’t wait to hear people’s opinion on it, although I probably wont source reviews on inkitt until I have more done, I’ll just poll the poles at work haha. My biggest fan is a polish guy I work with who got me into the witcher and now I hate it haha.
Ok must do actual work now gah!
“Morning Ethel, hows tricks?” Deputy Pete said, a cheeky grin painted on his wooden boyish face.
“Aint run tricks in here for years, ever since that damn circus came, snatched up all the good whores from here to the crater” Ethel stated.
“It’s just an expression-“ He smiled awkwardly taking stock of the bar with a quick side eye glance. He got a weird feeling all of a sudden but couldn’t explain it, like he walked into an animal cage and found it empty. Like something was looking at him deciding which part to pull off and eat first.
He swallowed but kept smiling as he tried to be as inconspicuous as possible sizing up the strangers in the bar. So far there were only two he could see, they were sat at a booth in the corner, the same one the clown was sitting in the day before but they weren’t clowns. Nevertheless they looked strange, the one facing his way was around thirty with dark receding hair and a grotesque scar on his neck that made the skin look pale and flabby. The one with his back turned was a giant with arms as thick as barrels, he was pretty hard to miss.
There were more in the back standing around the pool table. They were playing pool but there was something off about it. Their movements looked practised and robotic like they were playing pool in a stage play. Like no one was really interested in winning. Three guys, one a short jittery guy with spikey hair and beady eyes. A thin guy who was all angles with long hair tied back, and a tall guy with broad shoulders with his back turned.
“Nothing- I just gotta check something.” Pete said not looking at her.
He hitched up his gun belt, took a deep breath and approached the two sitting at the booth. He walked slow and deliberately but neither of the stranger decided to notice him. Or his heavy footfalls on the loose wooden floor.
He cleared his throat and put on his best shit eating grin. “Anything I can help you folks with?” His feet betrayed him with the sound of boot leather tensing.
The one with the scar turned his eyes slowly up to look at the deputy, one of them was milky and probably blind. He cut a weird grin that made him look like a shark. It was the kind of face someone might make if they’d never seen their face in a mirror.
“No officer” he said in a soft mocking tone with a gravelly voice.
The large man let out a grunt or a groan and Pete tried not to stare at him.
“You folks staying long, it’s just we don’t get too many strangers out here.”
“We’re not strangers” the strange man smiled again.
“Is that right?” The deputy tensed his jaw and swallowed. “You mind telling me what your business is here?”
“Just passing through” He said.
“Just passing through” Pete nodded, tapping his feet nervously.
“Is that a crime officer?”
“You wanna ask me how I got these scars?” he smirked.
“Cooking fried chicken” he laughed “That hot oil does get everywhere.” He grinned at the deputy.
“Is that right- you folks wouldn’t be carrying any weapons would you?” He let his hand fall onto his holster.
“Me? Not a one sir.” He said.
Pete took a look at the large man who didn’t say anything. Hulking arms framed a large gut and barrel chest with a small head on top.
“Does he look like he needs a weapon?” The man smiled again and let out a breathy laugh. “I’m just foolin’ around, he’s harmless, got the mind of a child- wouldn’t hurt a fly.” He smirked.
“I used to pull the wings off flies when I was a child” The deputy said.
“Is that right? – well I’ll bare that mind.”
“You do that” He said. “You folks have a nice day.” He stood there for a moment trying to think of something else to say tapping his gun belt. After a moment he turned and gave Ethel a worried look trying to signal with his head as he walked out of the saloon.
He walked out into the street looking back still feeling those predator eyes on him. A cold shiver like a knife playfully dragged down his back. His fingers drumming on the wooden handle of his colt. Trying to shake the feeling that it really wouldn’t do any good.
The deputy walked at a quick clip to get back to the sheriff’s station. He entered quickly looking at his gun rack silently thinking.
“H-hey you said you’d get me outta here! A strained nasally whining voice said.
Deputy Pete turned to the source of the noise absent mindedly, it was Bull with his head still stuck in the door of the jail cell.
“Oh right, I was going to see if Ethel had any butter or cooking grease or something- slipped my mind, sorry about that” He smiled sadly.
“S-Sorry?” Bull whined incredulous with his shiny bowling ball head unable to turn and look at him.
The rest of his crew were awake but in varying states of disrepair, battered and bruised all crushed up one side of the cell. As far as they could get away from the clown who lay on his back on the floor looking up at the ceiling fan spinning.
“Well good morning!” Deputy Pete said to the clown. He opened the cell slowly edging around Bully as he was dragged around by it having his head stuck in it.
“N-not so fast!”
“I’m being as gentle as I can be”. He said still looking at the clown “Hey you, you’re released, you can go, preferably as far away from here as possible.”
The clown got to his feet and walked towards the deputy. “The sword”.
“Oh that’s right-“ He stepped out of his way letting him step around Bull before shutting and locking the cell again. Everyone else inside seemed to breathe a sigh of relief seeing the clown go.
“Here take the damn thing” The deputy said letting a little of his nerves show as he took the sword out from under his desk and tossed it on the counter top.
Pookie readjusted his pants and slid the sword into his string belt. “Who took a crap in your cornflakes?”
“You did, you took a crap in my cornflakes- and what in the hell are cornflakes anyway?” The deputy snapped. He breathed out through his nose pressing his lips together “Your buddies showed up.”
“Well why don’t you just shoot’em” Pookie smiled.
“I’d love to but they haven’t done anything yet and I don’t wanna give’em the chance, that’s why you’re getting your clown ass outta town right now!”
“Wasn’t I promised a plate of beans?”
“That was yesterday, this is today.”
“I don’t even know where I’m going, I need a map, supplies a real bed for the night would be good.”
“I can throw you back in the cell if you want, tell your buddies to come right here.”
“NO!” the other men in the cell shouted in unison.
The deputy stopped to look out of the window. “You got any tickets?”
Pookie’s stomach growled.
“I’ll take that as a no- but none of that is my problem and if you’re not outta town by sundown I’ll run you out myself strapped to a mule.”
Pookie nodded and walked out of the jail into the morning sun, struck then realising he had no idea where he was going or what he was going to do. This world was entirely alien to him.
“Hey mister” A high pitched voice said.
Pookie turned shielding his eyes. A tall kid with milk bottle top glasses hopped off the bench outside of the jail licking an icecream cone.
The kid came up to him smiling his freckled face, he had light blonde hair pushed forward on his head. And he was wearing a set of coveralls with an anime robot over the breast pocket. Despite his voice and age he was just a little shorter than Pookie although he couldn’t seem to stand up straight. A chronic sloucher who nevertheless carried himself with an optimistic child-like bounce in his step.
“You’re from the circus right?” The boy gestured with the icecream cone.
“Wooooww! I know you, what’s your name? Pokey? Banjo? Poopy?”
“Yeah that’s right, Pookie- I’m like your biggest fan, the name’s Donny.” The boy smirked holding out his hand for Pookie to stare at. “-I watch all your shows when you come to town. I watched the one where you did the thing and you were like …- ya know” He started miming sword strikes with his icecream “And they were like bleurgh, ow my guts haha!” Donny smiled miming being disembowled and catching drips from his melting icecream. “My mom tries to stop me from going but I’ve got my own money” He winked.
“That’s great” Pookie said as he continued to walk on.
“Hey wait, I heard what the deputy said, you need tickets right?”
“What if I brought you breakfast at the saloon- and you can tell me all your cool stories?” He screeched in an unbroken line of dialogue gasping for breath between each word. “Like like like- you could tell me your cool backstory.” He said chasing after the clown trying not to drop his quickly melting icecream.. “Like maybe your whole family was killed by mutant wolves but one of the wolves raised you as their own and then you joined the circus. Or like your parents were from a rival tribe and clowns killed them but one of them couldn’t bring themselves to kill you. So raised you as their own living with the shame to one day have to reveal it in an emotional confrontation.” He paused thinking “Wait that’s pretty much the same story- I guess I’m not a good writer but I bet the real story is much cooler.” Taking a bite out of his icecream and in his excitement instantly regretting it “Brainfreeze!”
“So you’ll tell me?”
Pookie’s stomach growled even louder “Sure”
“Awesome!” The kid screamed chasing after the strange clown.
Pookie entered the saloon for the second time but this time the air was very different.
“Oh it’s you again- didn’t Pete lock you up?” Ethel said.
“No that was a different clown with a sword.”
“Oh” Ethel gaped.
“Morning Ethel!” The kid chirped excitedly wafting his icream around before letting a malformed blob of it fall onto the saloon floor. “My you’re looking lovely today”
“Can we get two plates of the house special for me and my new pal?”
“Sure thing kid”
The old bint disappeared into the back and Donny excitedly lead Pookie to a booth just to the left of the one he sat at when he first got there.
The kid was practically dragging the clown as he tried to get his bearings in this new ecosystem he’d stumbled into. He looked over in the back where the old men were still dozing and attempting to play some card game. The pool players replaced by the cardboard cutouts of generic pool players laughing and hitting balls at seemingly random intervals.
Excitedly the kid ushered Pookie into his seat which was facing out towards the bar and the exit adjacent to it.
Pookie was a little annoyed by the kids youthful exuberance but he promised to fill his belly so he could hardly protest too harshly. Then as if out of nowhere Pookie felt a sudden crushing feeling, the air in the room getting ten times heavier almost soupy. He could feel the hairs on the back of his neck raising up as if someone or something was sharpening their fangs waiting to pounce. More than that, straining to stop itself from doing exactly that. Every ounce of willpower holding it back from running its necessary course and ripping him apart.
Then there was a sinking feeling and an odd warmth at his back, a cloud moved out of the way of the sun and it cast a huge shadow over his table. A giant humanoid shape.
There was an itching scratching sound and a distinct whispering.
“…not yet… patience”
A low rumbling groan.
The old woman came back with their food and it looked like that might be the cause of the distress. The smell from the kitchen causing some form of mild epilepsy. The kid looked happy enough with whatever it was, possibly roadkill or the road itself. Pookie couldn’t make heads or tails of it. It looked almost like a plate full of yellow congealed earwax. Some hitherto unknown animal species roasted beyond all recognition lying next to it.
Pookie ate with long teeth but only a few bites in there came a hideous snapping sound that he hoped wasn’t anything vital in his intestinal lining. A scraping screeching noise followed, a cold chill swept through as a huge shadow fell like a curtain over the table.
Pookie turned his head leaning over his food to see a giant figure standing over him with a broken table leg in his hand and a cracked penguin mask on his face.
The giant swung with an intense speed and ferocity aiming to pin and obliterate his head against the table.
Pookie leaned back and let the blow annihilate the table leaving only splinters. Acting on instinct alone he pulled the draw string on his scabbard making that odd winding kazoo noise. The blade launched the handle of his sword past the giant’s face. The eyes in the pommel lit up letting out that tinny cringey laugh as the bottom of the blade sliced the side of the penguins neck open.
The clown tried to hop out of his seat holding his sword only partially out of the scabbard in his off hand.
Penguin stumbled, holding onto his neck with his other hand to stop the bleeding. He lifted his enormous arm up for another strike coming down just as hard and fast as before almost as an unbroken chain of attacks.
Pookie swiftly ducked under his large arm and with his sword and sheath fully out of his belt he lifted the bottom end of the scabbard. Tilting the scabbard up allowing the gravity to empty his sword into his hand.
He took it and it laughed again as he jammed it into the Penguin’s chest. Not smoothly but with a ratcheting wrenching motion as he tried to lever the point through layers of muscle and sinew and bone. Going as deep as it possibly could.
The giant didn’t make a sound other than a low heavy breathing as it looked down at the sword sticking out of it’s chest. It dropped the chair leg on the ground with a hollow sound and took a step forward before wrapping both it’s hands around Pookie’s neck. Lifting him off of the ground.
Without his hand there the cut on his neck sprayed vital fluid on Pookie and all over the saloon floor but it didn’t seem to phase him as he kept applying more and more pressure to Pookie’s neck. His hands were so large it seemed like he might just pop Pookie’s head off like toothpaste cap.
Pookie could do nothing but wriggled like a frog pinned to a dissection table. His legs flailing and kicking as he tried to free himself, his hands occupied with trying feebly to remove the hands of the giant around his neck. In the futility of it he let go of the giants wrist and put both hands around the handle of his sword and started to try and wiggle it free.
The giant penguin let out an echoing moan and Pookie felt his grip slackening but still he couldn’t breathe and he was starting to see spots.
He wriggled it harder but it wouldn’t budge, it wasn’t coming out, at least not the way it came in.
Pookie started to wrench it and pull it like it was an awe on a rowing boat. And he was churning up really choppy water full of meat and bones cracking and shifting.
The penguin moaned louder and his grip slackened a little more but still Pookie couldn’t breathe. In his desperation he started to knee the handle and hammer the pommel with his heel driving the sword deeper into the wound. By the time the guard was all the way in his chest cavity was when the penguin finally moaned like an oxen and let Pookie flop to the floor. Coughing and gasping for breath.
Pookie put his legs under him as soon as he had a lungful. The Penguin stood like a statue, his chest heaving, that stupid clown face pommel sticking out of it.
The penguin swayed thoughtfully and put his hands out for the clown. But Pookie wasn’t about to let himself get wrung out like a dirty dish clothe again. He ducked, dipping under one of his arms and turning into a sweeping heel kick hitting the clown face pommel driving it further towards it’s target.
Penguin tilted and swept around with his other hand but he’d become slow, his movements were like he was swimming through molasses. Pookie ducked the swipe again delivered a tight donkey kick on the clown faced pommel driving it further still.
The tip was now protruding all the way out of the giant’s back. He heaved and wheezed like a dog who swallowed a squeaky chew toy. His head hanging low, a light coloured blood bubbling up from under his mask.
But Pookie wasn’t done. He stepped forward quickly sweeping his front leg and spinning in the air to deliver a powerful turning kick to the pommel. Striking it like a soccer ball and launching it all the way through the monster and out the other side. It’s final destination the mirror above the bar, it wobbled spattered blood and other such liquids in all directions as the mirror spiderwebbed on impact. That dumb clown face lighting up and laughing as it shook.
The giant groaned and stumbled and looked down at the hole in it’s chest.
Pookie stooped to peek through at the terrified Ethel who was cowering behind the bar.
“Peekaboo”. He waved through the sizeable cavity in the giant’s chest.
Ethel ducked under the counter.
Penguin fell slow and it almost looked like he was shattering under his own weight, the colossus of Rhodes made grotesque flesh. Falling piece by piece with heavy deliberate sounds like it was raining whole sides of beef for a moment. And then came the silence.
Pookie looked around, covered head to toe in blood. The old coots were continuing their card game under the table. Ethel was peaking up from the bar and the pool players were looking over. The larger one with the broad shoulders just chalking the end of the cue and blowing it over and over.
Pookie mounted the bar and ripped his sword out of the mirror completely shattering it and almost raining ethel in shards of broken glass.
Donny popped up as if from nowhere. “Holy crap that was awesome!” He looked down at Ethel over the bar “Don’t worry old gal, I’ll cover all the damages, I promise. He looked back at Pookie as he cleaned the blood and guts off his sword with a bar mat. “Are you ok? I mean it looked like he almost ripped your head off.”
“Just peachy” Pookie grinned.
He let out a sharp gasp and clung to his side falling off the bar quite spectacularly landing face first onto a bar stool, his sword clanging by his side.
“Holy crap!- Quick, help me get-im to a bed” Donny yelped.
The young lad helped the clown to his feet, and lead by the old woman he helped the dazed man up the ramshackle wood stairs of the saloon. The construction of which was almost that of a tree house, barely holding together with tape and happy thoughts. The walls a bare unvarnished wood patched with rusty sheet steel.
Ethel opened a door to one of the rooms, it was small with only enough room for the bed with a deeply sweat stained mattress. A single chair and a closet at the end of the bed. The floor was bare floorboards with a thin hide rug of some unidentifiable grey animal with six legs.
“Lay him down here”
“Yeah I know how a bed works” The kid smirked as he gradually lowered Pookie onto the mattress.
“This room aint free kid.”
Donny smiled “I’ll cover it.”
“You better” Ethel waddled over to the door “What are you doing all this for, he a friend of yours?”
“I’m his biggest fan” He smirked.
“Uh huh, I’ll be back with some linen and hot towels” She quipped as she waddled down the hall.
Despite her surliness Ethel did return with some sheets but no hot towels or happy ending was to be had at this time.
Donny had some food brought up to him but the clown slept most of the day away in a near comatose state as his body tried to repair itself.
As the sun went down patience started to wear thin. There was a tapping on the metallic roof of the saloon with steel toes. And at the window; a nervous rapping on the glass slipped into the background as a dull metronome. A claw scraped the glass and a hushed voice repeated over and over at a manic pace.
“I can’t wait! I can’t wait! I can’t wait! I c-c-ccan’t wait!”
Like this? Wanna read more head on over to inkitt boiiii!
“I’m only laughing on the outside / My smile is just skin deep / If you could see inside I’m really crying / You might join me for a weep.” – Jack Napier
If anyone doesn’t know who Jack Napier is, go away confused haha.
It’s finally here, the moment none of you have been waiting for, erm still not happy with the fight scene in it, *spoilers there’s a fight scene it, it’s a story about a clown samurai, what can I tell ya?
Ok yeah so what prompted me to do a dieselpunk clown samurai story? Not sure. But hey here it is after one proofread.
Been a little down recently, life just seems to be taking and not giving as the smiths would put it. Although it’s hard to be depressed when you look this good and feel this swole but somehow I manage it.
It’s why I’m looking forward to getting stuck back into this, I was actually really pissed when I had to stop working on this to eat on monday haha. My schedule is usually writing friday through to monday and then blogging and spamming from tuesday to thursday. So when I had to stop, I was like, ‘but I don’t wanna’. Which is great, it’s why it’s good to do fun stuff like this, recharges your creative batteries.
I’m not sure if other people will like it and I’m sure it won’t make me rich and famous but it’s like creative chocolate, it won’t fill me up but it’ll make me feel like life is worth living again and I really need that.
Also I think my editor broke her arm or something which is why she’s taking her time getting Diana back to me, why do I have such lousy luck with editors, I must be cursed.
Maybe it’s just women in general, I can never seem to get that right. Always seem to pick the wrong ones, or I let them pick me. Make me want to listen to the smiths in the dark and not move, being super fucking edgy today haha.
I just came to a realisation that I’m never going to have a relationship with one person in particular, not a real one anyway. She’ll always just be there in the back of my mind and I’ll never be able to touch her or hear her voice, she may not even know I exist or care, why would she? I’ll never be the person she needs and I’ll never have the unconditional love I want. She’ll just exist there without me and it wont really matter. I wish there was someone to blame, but there isn’t. All that remains is this numbing painful feeling, can you imagine the person you love the most in the world doesn’t even know who you are? Doesn’t know your face or your voice. It’s a crushing feeling know that I just have to watch her grow up like a fly on the wall.
Anyway, it turned out differently from the comic, it’s had a complete tonal shift and I think it works, it’s more serious, the characters are more defined, I hope someone enjoys it half as much as I did writing it. I tried to keep the action as restrained as possible like the witcher, leave as much to the imagination as possible but still keep it tight.
Let me know what you think.
Chapter 1 ‘Zip Code’
“Garfield, come back boy!” A young girl in a moth eaten yellow sundress said, short of breath as she chased after the six legged mutant mutt as he ascended a mountain of garbage.
“What have you got over there you dumb mutt?” A boy behind her in a torn duster two sizes two big for him said as he watched from the base of the trash mountain. Resting his weight on a cracked Louisville slugger like a walking cane.
The sun beat down unimpeded by the any cloud cover at all, a big yellow beam of light baking a mound of garbage left by the circus convoy that passed only the other night.
The two children reluctantly chased the mutated dog-like creature up the mountain of garbage. Ranging from empty food containers, popped balloons and ripped posters to bone fragments, broken blades and needles. Until they reached the object that so interested their faithful companion.
“Eww what is that?” The little girl said as she skipped up the trash pile to find the dog barking and gnawing at something or other, a mass of rags and garbage.
The boy got to her elevation using the bat as a walking stick, he adjusted the googles on his face to look closer at the thing the dog was distressing. “Ahh just some dead guy” The kid sighed.
The little girl paused and blinked a few times before she said “Can we eat’im?”
“Nah, he’s probably rotten, no telling how long he’s been out here.” The boy said as he lifted his cracked goggles up from his dirt and soot caked face tossing the bat over his shoulder. “We gotta keep looking”.
“But I think he’s still moving, gotta be super fresh.” The little girl said smiling through her two missing front teeth, freckles fighting for their place with dirt and muck on her tanned face a shock of dry dirty red hair sticking up on her head in all directions.
Lying face down in a pile of hot garbage a corpse lay still, it’s skin waxy and pale and almost yellow. The dog wasted no time in sniffing and licking and trying to devour the corpse feet first.
“Errrrggghhhh” An unknown voice echoed.
“What was that?” The little girl asked.
“Probably gas escaping, dead people poop their pants sometimes.”
Garfield the dog didn’t seem too discouraged as his two tongues went to work licking the corpses feet, chomping at them playfully
“Errrgghhh!” The voice said again.
The corpse seemed to jostle suddenly and then shambolicly roll onto it’s back.
The two kids froze in terror as the corpse seemed to reanimate right in front of them it’s horrible face covered in sticky icecream wrappers forming a horrifying multi-coloured mask that looked like desiccated mutant flesh.
“Ahhh” The girl screamed “It’s a zombie!”
“Zombie?!” The boy yelped.
The dog was seemingly less worried about the zombie and kept licking it’s stinky feet.
The zombie moved as if it was in a dream, rising to a sitting position in a most unnatural fashion, almost flopping forward like a fish with no bones in it’s back. Slumping into an open indian sitting position it said “That tickles.”
By this time the boy had worked his way around the back of the slowly reanimating corpse and delivered a decisive blow to the back of it’s head.
“So it’s not a zombie?”
“Nope, it’s not a zombie.” An old man said as he leant over a makeshift cook stove made of truck gas tank cut in half over a fire of burning cardboard and plastic making a gnoxious green smoke. Something unidentifiable gently simmering in the pot.
“What part of he’s breathing and bleeding and farting in his sleep makes you think he’s a zombie?” The young boy said.
The girl made a face and touched her chin as she thought about it pursing her lips in her dry tanned freckled face “Does that mean we can eat him now?” The little girl chirped smiling broadly.
“Efron, we talked about this, you can’t just go around eating folk you find out in the wasteland.” The old man said scratching his beard and tugging at his red suspenders over his dingy white shirt as if he was grappling for a good reason to why that was the case but coming up with nothing and changing the subject. “Well we gotta talk to him first, that seems like what decent folks would do” The old coot said.
“What’s with his face?” The boy said as he leaned over the unconscious man.
“Yeah what’s with that?” Efron said as she joined the boy shoulder to shoulder bending over the unconscious stranger as he lay on his back on a bed made of old truck tires and unidentified furs, his breathing shallow.
“I think he’s one of them ladymen, they got in the city- although I wouldn’t know nothing about that” The old man blushed.
“So it’s like paint?” The little girl said as she prodded at the sleeping the stranger’s big red rose.
“They won’t come off” The boy said puzzled as the makeup wouldn’t so much as smudge.
The old man stopped stirring whatever it was he was cooking and readjusted a stool made of an old motorcycle seat and joined the kids in inspecting the unconscious man.
After a moment of contemplation he sighed heavily and said “They’re tattoos.”
“What are tattoos?” The little girl asked?
“They’re like drawings under your skin” The older boy said “Jeez don’t you know anything?” He sneered.
She scrunched up her face and stuck her tongue out at him making a raspberry noise. “I know more than you Zach buttrat brain!”
“Shut yer pieholes!” The old man shushed them harshly as he took his suspenders off his shoulders and took a closer look. He opened one of the man’s eyes and then took a closer prodding inspection with his fingers along the man’s side and found a small stab wound in his midsection. “Zach, get my sewing kit, would ya?”
The boy bolted out of the door and after some scuffling and breaking noises he came back with a needle and thread and the old man went about stitching the wound and then putting a bandage over it.
“Hmm, bleeding already stopped, nothing good must have been hit, lucky bastard”. The old man scoffed.
Efron looked on, downtrodden “So we’re really not gonna eat him?” She whined.
The old man looked at her and then at the unconscious man and said “Someone’s gonna be looking for that boy.”
“How you know that gramps?” Zach said.
“Tattoos on his face, I’ve seen’em before – means he’s connected”
“Connected to what?” The little girl said.
“Circus folk, I haven’t see one for a long time but I think those markings on his face mean he’s one of them clown gangers”
“What’s a clown?”
The old man sighed deeply and said “A cold blooded killer.” An icy chill running through his words and down his back.
“Then why’d you help him?” The boy said in a harsh whisper.
“Ya see a long time ago, before all this, before you were born, in the bad bad times just after the almighty badness. Folks were wild, worse than they are now, I know it’s hard to imagine but it was fucking chaos-
People raping and eating eachother in the street, no law, no god, no judgement. Just blood and pain and mutation and suffering and out of that came a travelling circus lead by the devil himself and bound by some obscure code.
They purged the land of mutants and freaks and crazies and they united the bandit tribes of the wasteland into one travelling militia. The clowns were just one band of gangsters they recruited.
One man brought them all together, he called himself the ringmaster, he was worse than all of them combined, more terrible than any hammer or sickle. He lead a gang called the ‘Third ring’ and He beat the wasteland into shape and it limped on ever since.
The circus trying to hold it together moving from town to town putting on their show. Purging the wicked in a woodchip ring that’s what they were doing up in Woodsmoke, they take all the food they need and move on.
I hear they even snatch kids now to make bolster their ranks.” The old man paused and sighed as the two kids looked and listened silently. “That’s probably what happened to him. After the second food war, the chaos, lots of kids were left without parents and had no choice but to join.”
“How do you know all this old man?” The boy asked
“I used to be a carny – it’s like a really dirty person that does all the dirty jobs but I got too old, too tired, sick of cleaning up all that blood.”
“Then why help him, if he’s a monster?” The little girl asked without a hint of malice in her voice, instead a curious optimism eking out.
The old man let out another sigh “What else can we do? ‘Sides if he dies and they found out we just let him, and they have their ways mind you – no telling what they might do.”
Both the kids looked at the sleeping man with the silly crude smiling face drawn over his real face in a fearful awe as he began to stir.
The kids ran out of the shack. The shack itself was small and bare and made of rusty scrap corrugated iron so wobbled and bustled with every breeze. The whole thing clanged and banged as they ran around it and climbed on top of it.
The clown let out a groan and his hand listlessly touched his bandaged head.
“Ow” The clown said dreamily.
“Err ya bumped your head pretty bad, and I guess someone stabbed ya, I bandaged you up best I could but I’m not a magician”
“Look buddy, you were like this when we found ya, no sword, no shoes, no name.”
“Yeah we haven’t been introduced, they call me Gramps” He said with a sigh like he’d told a million people already and this was the million and first.
The shack rattled with the wind and banged with little footsteps on the roof.
The clown groaned as he tried to rise to a sitting position, seized with pain and fell back down and went limp.
“My name’s Pookie” He said breathlessly.
“Pookie?” A little girls voice rang with glee through a hole in the roof.
Surprised the clown looked up at the ceiling but she was gone before he clocked her but he could still hear her giggling.
“What was your name before?”
The clown didn’t respond.
“Look, I know what yer thinkin’. I didn’t take your stuff, we’re not the only scavvers out here. There’s a place over the mound, I traded with’em a couple of times but I wouldn’t trust them with a jar of warm piss.”
Pookie breathed in deeply and shifted his weight to the side of the makeshift bed and painfully levered himself off. Not accounting for how stiff he’d become just lying there, falling flat on his face.
“You can’t be movin’ around like that, you need to rest, you’ll get yisself killed foolin’ around like that.”
Pookie groaned again and tried his legs getting his knees up under him, holding his side.
The old man bit his lip and started looking around the shack and digging under a pile of clothes and hats. He pulled out a long dried looking stick with a little Y shape at the top.
“Here, if you’re fixed on getting yisself killed you might as well do it on yer two feet.” He lifted Pookie up to a standing position and slipped the stick under his arm. “Put your weight on that stick” He said as he clasped him by the shoulder. He looked weak, bandages wrapped all around his waist and head. He was skinny but lined with sinewy muscles and deep inset scars that looked decades old on top of obscure tattoos that danced up his arms and peaked up from out of the bandages on his back, the tail of a fish swished in a stream.
His face was a boy’s but hard, carved from sheet rock with red and white ink. A grotesquely large smile tore across his real mouth which was small and downturned. It flecked out almost like a brush stroke in a brutal crimson, red lines made an arc over his eyes and there was some bluing around the top lids on his forehead and a pair of black diamond shapes under each eye forming a disturbing mask, his face covered in war paint he could never take off. His hair was mostly shaved off in seemingly random patches and tied up into a high dark brown top knot on the back of his head.
He shifted his weight onto the stick and stood up on his own strength and the old man stepped away.
“Thanks” The clown said as he started to limp towards the opening of the shack.
The old man watched him go with a puzzled look on his face. “Yer welcome- and brush yer teeth!” He shouted after him.
The two kids watched him as he slowly limped and hopped his way over the mound as the sun reached its highest point, getting full and fat and ready to drop.
“Really think we should have eaten him” A little voice said from the hole in the roof.
The trappers house looked like an old station building the tracks that used to run parallel, long dug up and cannibalised, made into weapons or defences of some sort. Only the circus had use for trains and other such vehicles, it was for simple folk to use beasts of burden and their own two aching limbs. You saw some on bikes and even in cars but it was rare, fuel was more scarce than water in the wasteland. Nothing grew here anymore, it was just barren, open country.
The house wasn’t much to look at, just an old wood building that looked like it was in constant disrepair, covered as it was with different coloured wood patches and wire mesh where the window glass used to be.
The yard was full of empty rusty cages and broken down tractors and train cars and junk. The house itself was situated at the bottom of the mound in a hilly region so there was no doubt he was seen coming over and down the shallow hill. But surprise was never on his mind.
He made his way slowly down the hill trying not to fall over his own feet watching for the windows. He walked through the yard trying not to get tetnis, looking at all the rust and junk. Everything from the old dead world lovlingly collected and allowed to rot right here.
Pookie didn’t get within a fifteen feet of the house before a stout bald man wearing nothing but a pair of dungarees kicked open his own door like he was gate crashing a barn dance.
“Wh-th-hel-re-wht-ya-wnt? He warbled, all his words trying to get out of his mouth at once and coming out as a garbled mess running together and bumping into eachother.
Pookie breathed heavy leaning on the old stick but said nothing.
“Cnt-ya-tlk-ya-tarded?” His head was thick and round like an egg and he had no neck to speak of, his head was just a seamless, sweaty, greasy transition to a stout little body and stubby limbs.
The man got impatient and slammed a chair leg full of rusty nails against one of the support of the porch making a loud sound and gouging a chunk of old wood out of the strut.
“What’s the gaff pops?” A younger version of the man in front of him stepped out of the house. He had a full mop of greasy black hair under a black and white striped moth eaten fedora and he wore a long black leather coat a shirt underneahe with a cat on it but most notably he wore a sword on his back.
“What’s all the racket paw?” Another voice said, but it was a softer and what looked like a woman stepped onto the porch with a frying pan in her hand. The ‘woman’ was the tallest of the bunch with a chin and stubble that could cut glass. She tossed a waft of toxic green wig hair out of ‘her’ face and said “Who’s this handsome man?”
“Nobody” Pookie answered.
The three looked at eachother confused and then laughed.
“Wow bro, you’re super edgey, like your edge cut me over here” The kid said scratching his patchy neck beard. Pookie watched the sword jangle on his back as he spoke.
They stopped laughing and got serious. “Teh-hel-ya-wnt?”
“The sword” Pookie said.
“Eh?” The older man said.
“You wannit, you gotta come and get it” The kid said. “I aint afraid of some crippled heshe.” He said as he cockily dismounted the porch and made his way towards the still Pookie.
“Kek” The boy smirked and reached for the handle of the sword. It was an odd design, coloured like a red and white lollipop, or a candy striped barber poll with an evil laughing clown face as a pommel it’s mouth open wide.
“Daaaad, I can do it, I’ve been practicing in the mirror!” The kid said as he turned around to yell at his father.
The kid took a firm grip on the handle and tugged hard but it dragged the scabbard with it. He only managed to choke himself with the strap he had around his torso.
“Hawhawhaw!” His dad laughed.
The kid blushed and then remembered to grab the bottom of the scabbard. He rounded the blade out of the sheathe making a scraping noise and then the blade laughed. The handle let out a cheesey clown laugh on repeat and LED lights on the pommel in the clowns eyes lit up for a few seconds before shutting off.
“Hahahahahaha” The man and the ‘woman’ were now in hysterics laughing at the boy and his ridiculous sword.
“Wut-a-stpd-pisa-crp!” The older man snorted almost crying.
“Daaaadd, you’re embarrassing me!” The kids face got red as he craned his neck to chastise his father but then as he got no response but more laughter he turned his red freckled fat face at Pookie who stared straight passed him as if he wasn’t even there.
“You think you can fuck with me?” He swallowed loud and puffed up his chest straining his kitty t-shirt with his man boobs pulling it apart. “I’m your worst nightmare!” The kid took up a firm stance he must have seen in an old comic book and put two hands on the sword as tight as he little fat hands could and he ran straight at Pookie with the blade in the air.
He swung it down with both hands like a baseball bat and hit nothing but dirt.
Pookie stood right over him and breathed in his face.
The kid reeled back pulling the sword with him, the mirror polished blade tossing loose dirt as it retreated.
“Your breath stinks!”
Pookie smiled and stuck out his tongue.
“The fuck is wrong with you? I’ll kill you!” He slashed for Pookie head in a rough semi circle. But it was slow with no care for edge alighnment, just swinging away like he was hammering a nail, so each strike was getting too much wind resistance. With every missed strike he it took more out of him. Each clumsy miss left him more out of breath.
Before long the boy was toppled over fighting for breath. Pookie was watching the sun go down not having broken a sweat. He stared at that big ball in the sky with his back turned to the boy as he heaved for air vomitting on in his own lap.
“You know- kind of suck at this” Pookie said without looking at him.
The kid instantly flew into a rage and staggered to his feet running with all his strength, the sword tip held high determined to run Pookie through.
It was then that he felt it, the rushing tide, the blood pumping, his muscles awake and supple, the need. The desire to kill that spurred him, the roar of the crowd, that sound it made when air escaped a perfect cut.
He was lost for a minute and then the kids heavy footfalls reminded him of where he was. He turned to see the kid trying to skewer him in slow motion and not a thought crossed his mind before he turned the blade around and impaled the kid on it. He didn’t even think about it, it just happened.
Pookie pulled the sword out of the kid. It was covered in blood all the way even past the hilt and he slumped into the dirt to join all that junk in the old world.
“Sonofabitch” the vaguely feminine creature shrieked with the frying pan overhead.
Pookie still leaning on the crutch, his bloody laughing sword hanging loose at his side as the crazed he/she charged at him, Pookie limped slowly closer.
She/he/it over shot their attack and Pookie had cut them three times before frying pan came down. They walked a few steps before the dress they were wearing seemed to peel off in sections and the green wig fell off, blood slowly seeping as he fell forward.
“Fkn-pissa-sht” The older man said as he loaded and cocked some sort of makeshift cross bow made from animal gut and car parts, tears streaming down his egg-like face.
Pookie looked up at him, his face covered in blood, his eyes sad and empty. “Just the sword”.
The old man swallowed and stared for a long time at the bodies and at Pookie and he shook and after a long moment he lowered the crossbow and watched Pookie limp away.
Pookie collapsed in front of the old man’s tin shack, Efron and Zach stared at the odd figure through the door.
The old man approached him, the sword fallen in front of him in it’s pin stripe scabbard covered in weird stickers and he saw the blood.
“I told you not to go”
“Did you?” Pookie said into the dirt. His eyes open and clear staring at nothing.
“You’re close to death, you should rest.”
“It’s not the first time” He said dreamily.
The old man cleared his throat and eased the stranger to his feet and helped him into the shack.
When the stranger woke up again it was light and the old man was again leaning over the makeshift cooking pot an odd smell was emanating from it.
“Thank you- again.”
The old man let out a heavy breath and said “You told me it wasn’t the first time you’d been close to death.”
“You wanna tell me about that?”
“Ha-“ The old man paused and breathed deeply raising his back as he stirred. “You didn’t have to kill them ya know”
The old man sighed again. “I think you should clear out as soon as you can”
Pookie groaned and peeled himself off the bed. He looked around the inside of the tin shack catching glimpses of the kids sneaking peeks at him through the holes. “I think you’re right”
“Nearest town, is north west over the ridge”
“Thanks” He groaned as he got to his feet and breathed heavy and sore like two planks of unplained wood rubbing together. He looked around for his sword and he saw it resting against the door next to his walking stick. He stopped for a second to think and then picked up the sword and walked out the door leaving the stick behind.
I wanted to blog about the first issue of Three Ring Samurai and Bat Country in more detail but I think I’ll tackle them separately and talk more broadly on how I feel about first issues because I find I feel quite strongly about them.
To me the first issue of a comic is like an introduction to an essay or a film or anything of that nature, it sets up the plot but it also has to stand almost on its own. I read so many indie comics who see the first issue as almost a hurdle to be jumped as swiftly and as neatly as possible to get to the ‘good bits’ but if you have ‘good bits’ why aren’t they in the first issue people will see?
You have to give people a reason to want to get to the ‘good bits’, I’m not going to read your entire graphic novel and then decide whether or not it was worth my time at the end. I’m going to see what the first issue is telling me and decide from that moment whether to keep reading or not.
So in my mind the first issue should almost encapsulate everything you want to say or achieve throughout the entire comic. It’s not the start of a story, it IS the whole story. I read quite a few comics that start at the beginning despite nothing really happening, and slowly building to that point.
A comic is not like a novel, you have to grab people’s attention as soon as possible or you’ll never have it. I’d structure it so it started at or after the inciting incident and work backwards, it’s a common device but that’s because it works and if you think you can’t make a common device work for you or you can’t make something like that fresh and exciting or scoff at cliché’s you really shouldn’t be a writer. Because that’s all we do, nothing is original, nothing is new, everything is a cliché, we’ve been on this planet for thousands of years as a species, we have to keep recycling and keep mixing things up to keep… LIFE interesting. It’s not what you write about, its how you write about it that makes what you do interesting.
Now my post apocalyptic diesel punk samurai clown epic, Three Ring Samurai, if I may be so modest has an oddly modest first issue in comparison from where the story goes. I see the premise, and the elevator pitch alone is incredibly flamboyant and done by anyone else it would too silly, too wacky and just wouldn’t work. I wanted to go for a more anime like feel, where there can be silliness and there can be wackiness but you always understand that there are real world consequences and life and death and it’ll be at its core a serious story because in my opinion those are the stories I like and want to tell.
I think seriousness and sadness and humour work off each other well and in some instances deepen eachother. It’s like twin peaks, again; you have all this wackiness going on in the episode but by the end you have to remember that Laura is dead and that’s what the show is about, it’s a comedy surrounding a tragedy and only the end can truly define where the pointer lands.
So with the first issue I really wanted to undersell it and be as subtle as I possibly could so that I could contain the bombastic title and concept and really blue ball the reader, as well as giving them a little something that would make them want to read the next issue (which is still being drawn) and give them a feel for the tone of entire series.
I really had to restrain myself because the concept is so rich and so fucking explosive, it’s almost too tempting to take it and run and just burn yourself out. But I wanted a really plodding and structured approach. And I know I said I hated comics that took a long time to get going but I think this comic had enough momentum behind it in terms of interest with the unique subject matter to cut me a little slack if just for the first issue. To be a little mysterious, a little enigmatic even in a comic that is so tongue in cheek at its core as this.
So the first page, I read that and I hear Ron Perlman’s voice saying ‘War, war never changes’, and I just can’t resist, the zoom out on the post apocalyptic setting, I really wanted to give a feel of scope and loss with the idea that people were still clinging on to something which is Fallout at its heart.
We’re introduced to these two kids, like the wastelands answer to tin tin, two innocents bounding onto some dark strange discovery and this is how we’re introduced to our hero. I tried to use this to set the tone in terms of the fact the kids didn’t find it strange to find a dead body, the light normality of death being so prevalent in a harsh wasteland.
Pookie is almost like an alien or a baby or a fish wacked on the head and brought back to life. With the scenes of the shack, I almost wanted a sleepy feel, a sort of cool peace that fell on the wasteland at dusk in contrast to the chaos of the day.
I had a lot of fun with the kids, sneaking in exposition and building up to the character of Pookie by essentially mocking him in this cartoony anime sort of way. I want him to be this figure of fun, a silly character that can fall on his ass and make a fool of himself because he’s not afraid of being a fool because he knows when it comes down to it, he’ll have the last laugh.
The grandpa character is a sort of wily comic relief, someone to bounce weird jokes off the kids (fuck just noticed a spelling mistake haha). Someone who plays dumb to lull people into a false sense of security but secretly knows more than he lets on. And then we can have this hushed voices real talk between him and Pookie, nods and gestures of two people in tune in some way.
The dream sequences are something I plucked directly from the opening sequence of David Lynch’s Elephantman. I wanted something surreal but also very silly, and I really can’t get away with genuine serious surrealism. I’ve always been more drawn to comedy surrealism like Luis Bunuel and to some extent David Lynch, I find he takes his surrealism (besides possibly Eraserhead, that movie freaks a lot of people out but I found it quite silly and funny in a way) very lightly and with many pinches of salt.
I think if I remember correctly, the reason I made it elephants is mainly because I loved the way Ike (The artist) drew the elephant on the opening page and then I took the opening sequence from David Lynch’s Elephantman, which is a pretty fucking weird intro and ran with it. I’m pretty sure it’s an elephant rape scene, or that’s at least what he’s hinting at, I wouldn’t put that past him to be fair, he’s done weirder shit than that.
I shamelessly stole the Musashi joke from Champloo. I have no shame, it’s just too funny and I read the book of the five rings before I started writing this, so why the fuck not?
We’re introduced to Pookie in earnest, I always like characters with silly names, it almost makes it twice as amazing when they do something incredible, I almost wish I came up with it but I think that was all Ike as is the original concept.
Only 11 pages in do we get to the meat of the story. Pookie has been robbed and the natural imperative of gramps is just to let it go, some stuff isn’t worth your life and Pookie is injured, but Pookie is not like them. Someone takes something from him, he gets it back. He is almost an alien, dropped into a dog eat dog world with an inordinately large set of teeth. This is where I like to think I injected some of the Cain in Kung Fu elements I wanted to bring forward. A lone wanderer, from a strange culture, a warrior with incredible skill plucked out of a fantasy; an almost mockery to human potential, an anime character walking Deus Ex Machina.
The main purpose of this issue is that Pookie was essentially destroyed, his life, his past. He was killed, reborn and everything he knew stripped away from him. So now he has to find himself, he has to decide who he is in this new world, without the world he’d come to know. The first thing he’s drawn to is his sword and violence because that’s all he’d known all his life.
In a lot of ways this is a coming of age story, someone thrown out of their old life like Kung Fu and thrust into a strange new world, forced to make sense of who he has to become to survive.
This whole issue is essentially about Pookie’s rebirth (fuck that’s pretentious), he’s trying to establish who he really is, because for so long he was one thing (no spoilers); it was his whole world, his identity and in one moment it’s taken from him and now he has to re-establish his identity and who he is as a character. As a writer it was and is a tricky character to write for because he’s almost forming himself with every page, piecing himself together like Doctor Manhattan.
I’m oddly proud of the sword, a sword with a handle like one of those cheesy laughing boxes Jack Nicholson joker has at the end of Batman. He always gets the last laugh even if he dies. I sort of wanted to mock the idea of swords in general.
A katana is as clichéd as you can get these days, so saturated in popular culture. I wanted to make his sword out to be some ridiculous piece of joke shop crap, a silly show piece, a gimmick for laughs, a sword that laughs for a man that doesn’t need to.
It’s also sort of homage to my early knife collection. I bought this crappy machete from Doncaster market when I was like 13 I think. It had a dragon or lions head handle with glowing led’s for eyes that lit up when you pressed a button, jesus what the fuck was I thinking?
The combat I wanted to keep as theatrical as possible, death is a show, it had to be fairly flash but also brutally inefficient. He’s a monster, a vicious killer, who expects applause for his butchery, someone shaped by the brutality of the vicious curiosity of a bloodthirsty crowd egging him on to further heights of gut-wrenching violence. To him violence and killing is a parlour trick, it’s almost a joke, like hitting someone in the face with a custard pie.
That’s how I wanted to capture this element of silliness in this very grotesque and ultra-violent package. I really wanted to hone that feeling of 80’s action movie ultra-violence, like Robocop. Someone is torn apart in this ridiculously over the top death sequence but it’s wrapped up in this really silly camp vibe that makes it all the more sinister and weird.
Ok maybe the ending with the cheesy ‘see ya around kid’ was a little too much but I couldn’t resist. I wanted to end it in a way that made it uncertain where he was going, he was just going somewhere, anywhere to forge a new Pookie, one that followed his own rules and didn’t need no stinkin’ circus.
Well how did I do? haha. Fuck I waffled on like a man possessed, if you read this far through I commend you.
All in all not a lot happens but I think it’s a tight and tidy package, I’ve got a handful of positive reviews for it under my belt already and I feel confident it was a solid first issue. but it gives enough, succinctly I think, to grab the attention for another issue or two.
Well I hope you like it anyway, I’ve rambled enough for a lifetime, as always you can check it out for free at; http://tapastic.com/series/Three-Ring-Samurai
Thanks for reading, peace out.