Hey, everyone! Time_Phantom had an interesting challenge for us this time around- to write a creator meeting (at least) one of their characters. Let's get right to it:
The voting rules:
- READ the stories, PICK your favorite one, and CAST your VOTE!
- If you wrote, you should vote! (It's just sporting)
- No voting for yourself. (Also sporting)
- This vote is going to be two weeks and two days to get us back to a Sunday deadline, and to get us past Christmas. The deadline is Sunday, December 30, 2018 @11:59pm New York time. (click the link if you're unsure)
Remember: , and the winner gets to pick the next contest.
|Batkevin74 - Kevin meets Scalphunter|
Kevin sat at his computer looking at old fan fiction stories he’d written a few years ago. The middle-aged man with a distinct lack of shape, mongrel blonde hair and glasses like coke bottles chuckled at his former glory.
“Oh, I loved this one,” he said out ‘loud to his empty apartment, which resembled a small war held within a comic book shop. He scrolled down seeing his spelling and grammar mistakes. “I miss the Iron Age!”
Outside a storm raged across the sky. It made its presence known by making the lights dim as ionized particles danced through the sky above followed by a massive lightning strike with simultaneous thunder which sent the apartment into complete darkness as the windows rattled from the rain.
“WTF!” Kevin swore as he climbed back into his chair. He fumbled for his phone and managed to illuminate the room. “That was intense!”
“You’re telling starking me!”
Kevin yelped and held the phone up. Standing there in the dark was a man in a stylised red and black bodysuit, katana in hand with a slightly confused look on his face.
“Scalphunter?” Kevin asked.
“That’s my name tubby, don’t wear it out,” Scalphunter looked around. “Seems I’m not in Nebraska anymore.”
“It’s Kansas…” Kevin slowly stood as he corrected the character, he’d created for a fan fic universe, thinking he’d bumped his head when he fell out of the chair from the lightning strike. “We’re not in Kansas anymore!”
Scalphunter stepped forward and grabbed Kevin by the collar. “I WAS JUST IN NEBRASKA! Judging by the décor that isn’t of the Smoke Stack, where I JUST WAS can mean either I’ve been snatched into another dimension or this is a level of hell because Darius Stane killed me! So, which is it, fat boy?”
Kevin gulped. “This isn’t possible…”
“Spit it out tub of guts,” Scalphunter shook him like a British nanny. “Speak!”
“You’re a character I created for a fan fic universe on a comic book site!” Kevin wailed as he felt his mind melting at the whole concept he was verbalising. “You’re not rea…”
Scalphunter slapped Kevin silent. “How was that for real? Stark for brains! Okay, I prefer to do my killing when it’s well lit, so where’s the holo-pad that runs your mainframe?”
Kevin was simply stunned and unable to reply. Scalphunter sighed and shook him again as the power clicked back on.
“Oh goody!” Scalphunter tossed Kevin onto the floor. “Please beg, I always like it when they beg.”
“You’re the head of the European Assassination Division!” Kevin blurted out.
“So, you read up on me,” Scalphunter shrugged. “That extended your life by seven sec…”
“Your name is Gerald Wimple and your parents were killed by the Suppai Jorōgumo!”
Scalphunter stopped dead. “We shall never suffer a spider to live!” He said on reflex. He gazed intently at the man on the floor. “How the stark do you know that?”
“Um because I wrote it!” Kevin gulped as slowly stood up.
Scalphunter lunged forward, impaling Kevin through the shoulder to the floor. “START TALKING! NOW!”
“AHH! F$%&! OH GOD!” Kevin screamed as blood seeped from the wound down the sword.
“It’s gonna hurt more when I reef it out,” Scalphunter declared. “Now talk!”
“What are your parents names?” Kevin blurted out.
Scalphunter opened his mouth and stood there like a carnival clown. “Um…mum and dad, der!”
“You don’t know because I haven’t written it. I created you!” Kevin panted.
“So, you’re my real daddy?” Scalphunter said in a weird falsetto voice. “Maybe the Supreme Commander is messing with my head again.”
“IT’S ALL TRUE!” Kevin screamed. “Check my computer!”
Scalphunter looked around in a circle and shrugged. “Where?”
Kevin pointed to the black, oversized late 2000’s computer. Scalphunter whistled. “What year is this, like 2150 tech?”
“GET THE STARK OUT!” Scalphunter cried. “I need me a sports almanac, or is that an anorak? Okay crouching wombat hidden pop-tart, what am I looking for that is going to prove this starking pile of krang crap you’re shovelling!”
“Iron Age Library file,” Kevin panted. “It’s all there. My notes, stories…”
“Deepest desires, sickest fantasies, perhaps? If I find naked pictures of me then…Old Man Scalphunter? What is this stark?”
“SHUT IT!” Scalphunter snapped. “Trying to read here! Seriously, you write like ten-year-old!”
Scalphunter stopped, walked over and smacked Kevin into unconsciousness. “Seriously, stop calling me Gerald, starking piece of stark!”
Kevin awoke spluttering as he spat out water that had brought him back to consciousness.
“Wake the stark up!” Scalphunter yelled waggling the empty bucket. “I’ve just read the ENTIRE Iron Age thing, must thank @wildvine for the reading order and whoever @cbishop is for such a neat orderly library, but I digress; you need to explain…like now!”
“Don’t kill me!” Kevin whimpered.
“Oh, look at yourself nutcage! I’ve bandaged you up, put a field dressing on you BECAUSE I NEED YOU ALIVE! Now talk, explain how you’ve written my whole life out before it’s even happened huh? Wizard? Time traveller? Deus ex Machina? Make with the talk!”
“I don’t know!”
“From what I’ve gather you’re either some sort of fat useless nerd from Australia OR some sort of god, can’t decide which yet. You know more about me than I do and I’M ME! THAT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE! And for some reason I don’t win, which is just rude!”
“You’re the bad guy, that’s why,” Kevin coughed.
Scalphunter smiled, “Bad guy, hell’s yeah. Now explain WHY I don’t jump down and kill Ngumi Takada at the end of Hole In The Shield huh? That’s such an UN-ME thing to do.”
“Ngumi is a character created by…”
“So, all my world lives in your head?”
Kevin pushed up his sweat-caked glasses. “No, Josh came up with the concept.”
“WHO THE STARK IS JOSH?” Scalphunter slammed the desk. “Seriously this is like keeping an eye on your girlfriend during an Indakistan orgy!”
“Stop yelling at me.”
Scalphunter rolled across the floor and grabbed Kevin by his piggish nose and reefed it hard. “You don’t get to tell me what to do, Kevy my boy. Now you’re going to talk like your life depended on it, because it does. So, breathe, focus annnnnd…….go!”
Kevin exhaled. “You’re a fictional character I created for a fan fic universe called Iron Age in which Stryfe, now calling himself the Supreme Commander, took over the world and has ruled for about two hundred years. Characters were created and we wrote collectively in the universe which was created by @joshmightbe, well that’s his user I.D on comic vine where we post the stories. I created you.”
“Based on what? Because reading me over, seems you’re not that clever to have created someone like me by yourself.”
Kevin hung his head. “Your name comes from an X-Man villain.”
“There’s an X-Man villain called Gerald Wimple? Get the stark out!”
“No, Scalphunter. Gerald Wimple was a name I came up with as I wanted something distinct but relatively normal. You’re also partially based on Deadpool…”
Scalphunter turned to the reader who was looking at these words and said to them. “Well he sounds cool, doesn’t he kids!”
“But that came later. You’ve got the super power of healing slash regeneration which is a blessing and a curse for you because you take extreme risks because you can’t die although fire and gas-based toxins take longer to process because they destroy your cells.”
“You seem to spurt extremely large sections of word bull$#!+ from your noise hole,” Scalphunter remarked. “But go on.”
“You’re the head of the European Assassination Division or EAD which is a poorly defined section of the Supreme Commander’s army. I based it in Sweden because it was close to where Doom’s empire was and I’m tired of every super story being US-centric.”
“Preach brother, preach,” Scalphunter hallelujahed.
“You grew up in Japan and could’ve easily become part of S.H.I.E.L.D or any one of the resistance movements we set up in the Iron Age, but a splinter spider group killed your parents when you were ten which set you on the path to becoming this universes premier assassin and killing machine.”
“…You killed my parents?”
“Sorry,” Kevin hung his head as he saw the wave of sadness sweep over the man holding him hostage in his own home. “They’re just chara…”
Scalphunter lashed out and knocked Kevin’s two front teeth out with a backhand. “NOT TO ME! They were my parents! Any idea what that does to a ten-year-old, you fat STARK! And seemingly because you wrote them…you wrote them…oh that’s just brilliant!”
“Ooo bwoke my teef!” Kevin coughed blood.
“Ah shut up nerd! I’m going to memorise this life of mine you’ve written out for and then, you are going to write me BACK into the universe, WITH ALL MY NEW KNOWLEDGE, and possibly some cosmic powers and hyper extended adult pokey bits, and I’m going to rule the world!”
Scalphunter crouched down. “You, Kevin Toothless Fat Bastard, are going to rewrite my universe or I’m going to do some horrible stuff to you, starting with engraving every name I know into your back with a fork! Then I’ll throw you in a tub full of salt and lemon juice! Then I’ll…”
Scalphunter flicked him on the forehead. “Don’t interrupt! Then I’ll tie electrical cable to your nipples…”
Scalphunter stood triumphantly as he held the four hundred pages of “The New Adventures of Scalphunter, Super King Sexy Man of Every Single Universe”. He looked down at the battered, bloody and tired Kevin slumped in the computer chair.
“You’ve done well, little fatso. Sleep. This is so cool, I mean beyond cool. I go back into the Iron Age, defeated Darius Stane with a finger click, shove the Supreme Commander’s head UP his own butt and take over. Carol Danvers becomes my love monkey, I do like that but you’ll have to make her nineteen again somehow. Then, to begin my magical universe conquering adventure these Chronos Cops you half-assedly wrote a bit for show up and BOOM I’ve got access to time and space, which gets Warstar, a gay Native American mutant from my universe, to show up with a whole bunch of other magical Doctor Strange fan fic amalgams you made up which I easily defeat and take all their stuff giving me, insert Genie rip off, PHENOMINAL COSMIC POWER! I don’t know who this Dallas Riordan character is you slot in, but I do like a redhead, so she can stay but she’s got to cut down on the effing swearing. She’s like a starkmouth!
I do like a bit of conflict where you have me fight your original creation Gunship, which as I find out is essentially just John Cena as Colossus who can fly and shoot beams but I’m tangenting aren’t I, and couple of others. Honestly you should’ve emailed that @delphic dude and used Kon-El from Corrupted, that dude can write! But you were on a dead line.
I take over universe after universe with pockets of love, lust and tragedy. It’s almost Shakespearian if that’s even a word. You’ve finally written something worthwhile, Kevin from the Wonder Years, and it makes me so happy. And the fact you named my parents and wrote them back into reality without using time travel or cloning which is SUCH A MARVEL thing to do! Ladies and gents, my mumma and papa, Mr & Mrs Fred and Wilma Wimple…why does that sound familiar? No matter, they’re alive and okay and…
“…why do I feel strange?”
Kevin sat shakily holding the gun Scalphunter had left lying around. “Becath now, you arthowl, you’re no wonger you! By having me rewrith you, your mootant powerth didn’t twigger in Japan.”
Scalphunter looked down at the hole that went right through him and blobs of blood pumped out. “No, not like this…”
“You totally skwipped over the small paragraph in chapter theventy,” Kevin lisped as he stood up. “If I can wewrite you, I can make thith end my way!”
Scalphunter dropped to his knees, paper flying about like a John Woo film. “Mummy! Daddy!”
“Thhark isn’t even a thwear word, iss your ooniverses version of thwearing thince you can’t thwear on $%#^&@! Comic Vine!” Kevin aimed the gun at his creations head. “Thouldn’t of methed with me!”
Scalphunter felt his life ebb from his body, the first time that had ever happened considering his powers. His eyes flickered as darkness rushed in to take him. Suddenly pain returned, his eyes bolted open and he was being crushed.
-Oh, this isn’t good- Gerald thought as he looked around. A peal of light poked through and he twisted his head to see a man pulling his sword from the rubble like a knight of old.
“Oh, this is that lazy but clever writing where Kevin links it back into something he’s already written,” Scalphunter addressed the reader. “Not bad fat boy. Okay, let’s see if I remember my lines…ahem…me me me me. Mo mo mo moooo. Red leather yellow leather. Okay…”
The end but continued here https://comicvine.gamespot.com/forums/fan-fic-8/marvel-iron-age-distain-part-4-651234/#1 if you really want to read some Iron Age stuff
|TommytheHitman - Soar|
When I was born I was able to fly, someday I'd like to use it to get away from everything.
My name's Arthur, people call me 'Soar'. I'm a superhero, crime fighter, vigilante... it's not like the comics or movies though. I'm the only one who's out there, and right now I wish that wasn't the case.
I wish I'd never become Soar... wish I'd never tried to fight for justice.
I'm standing in the city of shadow, perched atop the tallest building I could find and really just thinking about the way the world is. There's rain pelting down from the sky, warm summer's rain that reminds me of the blood I've seen so much of recently. Like I said it's raining, the rain resembling little white dashes in the night sky. Feeling empty I hold out a gloved hand and let the raindrops fall into my palm for a good few minutes, the cold wetness reminding me that I'm alive... but then the rain stops and I'm left standing alone. I just want to feel something.
There's a vibration in my suit's back pocket so I reach in and pull out my cell phone, the thing's screen flashing as it displays a message that's just been received.
Dana: "R U Okay?"
Reading the text I shove the phone back where it came from and grit my teeth. Dana doesn't understand me... nobody understands me. A sigh, built up over the last few weeks finally escapes my lips and I lower my head feeling completely useless.
Something far below catches my eye. Looking at the ground in my saddened state I spot a couple of police cars in an alleyway, switching to my telescopic vision I catch the faces of the detectives and understand that regardless of how I'm feeling this is a matter that requires my attention. Stepping off the ledge of the rooftop my body simple refuses to fall and I hover in the air until a quick mental command sends me descending peacefully towards the scene below. As I descend the red ribbons tied to my shoulders flap behind me violently thanks to the updraft, blue and black and gold of my outfit visible in white moonlight, I try to forget the events of the past few days. After a few seconds of peaceful descent I land upon the ground and instantly break into a walk, the detectives at the scene (a few of whom I recognize) don't even acknowledge me as I arrive, not because they're too busy inspecting the scene but because they simply don't care.
"Good evening, gentlemen." I say as I duck under the yellow police tape telling me not to cross and enter the area. Again, nobody even looks up at me.
"Got a nasty one here." A detective named Taylor grumbles whilst crouched by the sole dead body at the scene, corpse next to a red convertible. "Soar, check the area." I stare at the detective, flabbergasted. I've done nothing to disturb such abruptness, but that's what I'm getting. My mouth begins to open but it snaps shut before any words comes out. Stepping into superspeed I move to the body, a brown haired, middle aged fellow wearing red flannel, his wallet's in his shirt pocket and upon inspection it tells me his name.
"Victim's called Michael Morgan. Lives in an apartment on Spiel Avenue." I switch my X-Ray vision on in that area's direction and feel sorrow strike my heart. "...his wife's waiting for him... but there's something else." Looking to the vehicle I notice that not only is the driver's door open, blood from Michael's hand decorating the outside window, but the back passenger seat's door is open as well. A small penguin plush toy lies on the ground, the sole remains of its occupant. "He has a daughter." I mutter before scooping up the toy and holding it close to my chest. My eyes flash towards the other end of the alley, picking up a set of tire marks burned into the ground. "He forced them into this alley..." I mutter to myself. "Watched them pull to a stop, then he shot Michael... and took his daughter." The penguin drops to the ground by my feet, forgotten. Detective Taylor steps up calmly behind me, smokes a cigarette that makes me cough and doesn't even pretend to care.
"Then go sort it, superhero." He grumbles past his cigar.
That's when it clicks and I realize that I am taken completely for granted. These men don't appreciate me in the slightest just like the rest of the world, completely underappreciated. My feet leave the ground as my nose catches the scent of hair lotion that seemed to almost be clinging to the penguin toy. I leave the scene frowning, my fists clenched.
Right now I really want to hit something.
My flight path takes me over Shadow City's darkly lit skyscrapers, commotion filling my ears as I follow the trail. At this very moment people are talking about me, discussing whether or not I'm a boon or a burden. I just want to help, but people on TV are talking about me like I'm some sort of monster, and everyone's watching so I can hear it coming from every single apartment I pass. My mind wanders to the kidnapper, a mystery man who's not only killed an innocent man but kidnapped his daughter and picked the absolute worst night to do it. God... I'm so angry. I... I think I might kill this man.
Ahead the buildings begin to shrink, skyscrapers giving way to a more seedy area of the city. Touching down in the Lights district a gang of hobos watch me land in the middle of the street and whisper excitedly to one another, heroic needles lying in a clutter by their feet. Ignoring them I look to the apartment building looming above me, lights in the windows watching me like a thousand eyes. A moment of queasiness fills me but taking a deep breath I grip the door handle to the building and step inside, only to not find myself in the building's lobby but instead in someone's bedroom.
Confused I step back against the door through which I entered only to find it closed shut behind me. Then I notice the young man sitting just to my right.
"Oh wow." He says with a notable British accent. "This is neat."
Taking a second to regard the room I realize I'm too tall for it, my head almost touching the ceiling and forcing me to tilt my skull slightly. It's a very small room, a double bed in the center under two windows, one to the left and the other just behind. There's a desk to my right next to a brown cupboard, and sat at the desk but looking up at me is a strangely peculiar young man.
"Hi there. Welcome." He says, looking excited under a pair of smart, black glasses. "Sorry about the mess, didn't realize this was gonna happen until it did."
My hand reaches for the door handle behind me. "I'm sorry. I must have-" But it can't find it. My head snaps around and finds that not only has the door handle vanished but the whole door has been replaced by a white wall. "What's going on?" I ask, looking back around.
"So you're not gonna believe this." He says before catching himself mid sentence. "In fact you might want to sit down." He pats the edge of the bed and I feel oddly compelled to do as requested, I sit down on the edge of the bed resulting in a loud creak. "Right. So you won't believe this but I'm your creator."
I think I misheard that last part.
"No, you heard me." He says without me saying anything.
"So... you're God?" I ask after sitting silent for what must have been a few minutes. He just sits there smiling with his weird, pudgy face.
"No. I'm your creator. You can call me 'Matt'." He holds out his right hand and we shake awkwardly. Sat upon the bed I think I have a sort of existential crisis, my mind screaming whilst I sit completely stone faced.
"Then why am I here?"
Matt, or Matthew as he's called seems to shift in his seat, uncomfortable or unsure I can't really say. He seemed to be thinking about his next words which after a moment he finally says.
"I think I've made some mistakes." He mutters, voice low as he stands up from his seat. "With you I mean."
"How do I exist?" I ask almost blurting the question out. "I mean you're..."
"I'm not God!" He yells, agitated. "Nowhere even near, dude." His agitation seems to turn into embarrassment. "You're a character I write about in short stories and stuff."
Short stories? Is that all I'm worth?
"Do I sell well?"
The look on Matt's face is an odd one, like he's been sucking a lemon dry. "Not really... but that's not important! You're more important so let's get back on track." I nod at the boy to continue. "I love Superman." He says that like I'm supposed to know who that is, before I can ask he carries on. "So I wanted to make my own Supermanesque character." He gestures to me but then a pained expression fills him. "But... I've been through some sad stuff recently and my mood just changed. Y'know?"
"I can relate."
"Yeah. So I thought about what if I made this Superman guy depressed! That way I could write all my thoughts and feelings down and have it on the page." A bit of anger fills me, am I just a plaything being used for the entertainment of others? "But this is your first issue." He says, sad tune chirping up a little. "And now I think I wanna change it."
I lean forward in the bed causing it to creak once again.
"So you want to change my life tonally?"
"Yeah! I just thought I'd chat it through with you first though."
The two of us lock eyes, I'm busy trying to figure out if this is real or not and Lord knows what he's thinking.
"I'm alright with that."
"Great!" He holds out a hand and pulls me up from the bed, excited once again. "Great. Well I'll get started right away!"
There's a loud creak only this time not from the bed, swinging out from the wall is the door I entered through and on the other side a swirling black void that presumably will take me home. I look back to Matt who's already sat back at his desk taking out a pen and a pad of paper.
"Hey, Matt." I place a hand on the boy's shoulder, a sparkle of hope stirring in my heart. "It'll be alright." He smiles at me.
"Thanks Arthur. Now get outta here."
I do just that, stepping through the door I instantly find myself back in the seedy apartment building I started in wondering if what I just experienced was real or not. The kidnapper's standing across from me and holding a knife to the throat of the young girl he kidnapped.
"I don't know how you got here, Soar." The kidnapper snarls, voice hinting at the truth. "But you won't be leaving."
Something strange, the feeling of depression and doom I felt before is gone in its entirety. In its place is a sense of hope and optimism not felt for months. A smirk fills my face and with the merest flick of my power the kidnapper is up against the wall, unconscious. The little girl who'd been taken looks up at me shocked, then the tears begin to flow so I crouch down and wrap my arms around her.
"You're safe now." I tell her. "Everything will be alright."
An hour or so passes with the cops coming to take the girl somewhere safe, this time they're thankful and look me in the eye. With everything else quiet I fly home, climbing through the window into my apartment where, with a burst of super speed I switch from my costume to my night wear and jump into bed.
"Hey..." My wife, Dana sounds exhausted next to me. "How was your day?"
"It was okay." I say, giving her a tight hug before rolling over. "...I think everything's gonna get better."
|Cbishop - The Bar|
Two guys walk into a bar. One's me- a five-foot eight vampire P.I. in a red leather trench coat and hat, with a cheap dark suit underneath. The other's a six-foot something old guy with a bald head, a handlebar mustache, a tan trench coat, and a rather expensive charcoal grey suit. The bar is dark, smokey, and filled with bikers playing pool. The group of four at the table closest to the door decide our looks need rearranging, and come stalking towards us.
"You two smell like pigs," says the first as the room goes quiet. "We don't like pigs." He swings and I mist, flowing around and between the group, solidifying behind them. They're startled, but too dumb to stand down.
They turn on my companion, two of them swinging pool cues at him simultaneously. One breaks across his chest, and the other breaks across his nose. He doesn't even flinch. Instead, he grabs a fist of each biker in his hands, and just squeezes. I'm honestly not sure if it's the bones or the pool cue handles I hear splintering as they go to their knees. The bald guy snorts smoke from his nostrils without having taken a drag on anything, and then lets out an inhuman growl that causes the other two bikers to grab their companions and haul them out the door.
The rest of the bikers in the room suddenly become very interested in their games, and the room climbs back to a low buzz as they mutter to each other and start clacking balls across the tables again. I see the guy I'm looking for sitting at the bar nursing a rum and coke. I nod to the bald guy, and we head over. I stop at a respectful distance, and say, "Are you Chris Bishop?"
The guy looks tired, and rather than turn around, he just glances at us in the mirror that's behind the bar. "Who's askin'?"
"The name's Solomon Seal. I'm a P.I.," I say, tipping my hat slightly.
"Hmph," the guy chuckles. "And a vampire."
Okay, he surprised me. "How did you--"
"--And you are definitely Heironymous," he says to the suit.
"Special Agent Heironymous," he corrects. "Buy you another drink?" the special agent asks.
"Nah," he says. "I just drink the one so the bikers don't harass me."
"Why not go to another bar then?" asks the agent.
He shrugs at the mirror. "Because I thought the biker fight would be more interesting?"
"More interesting than what?" I chime in.
He finally turns towards us, but looks no more interested than before. "Would you guys really have wanted to have this chat in my bedroom?" That's when I notice the laptop sitting in front of him, the light at the top indicating that he's recording with the webcam.
I'm not really making any sense of his answer, but "Guess not," I acknowledge.
"No," confirms Heironymous. Pointing at the laptop, he adds, "You mind turning that off?"
"I do," Chris says with a firm tone. "You don't like it, there's the door." Heironymous doesn't respond. "Look, guys, this is weird, and I'm tired. What the fug do you want?"
"Heironymous hired me to find you," I say to explain my presence.
"I just have some questions," Heironymous says gruffly.
"Psht," Chris huffs. "You have questions? Kevin," he calls to the bartender as he grabs his laptop. "I'm moving to table nine. Send me an unsweet tea, will ya?"
"Sure," says Kevin, flipping him off.
Chris ignores it. "You guys want anything?"
"You got Kentucky whiskey?" Heironymous asks evenly.
The bartender nods.
"Straight double then."
Kevin nods again and grabs a bottle, and points at me.
"Manhattan," I order. "Vermouth, Kentucky whiskey," I say in deference to Heironymous, "and your choice on the rest of it."
Kevin nods, rolling his eyes when he thinks I'm not paying attention. The three of us head over to the table, and a cute redhead with "Amy" on her nametag arrives with our drinks just after we're seated. Heironymous tips her a twenty, and says, "If you see our drinks run out, bring another. Otherwise, we need a little privacy, okay?"
Amy smiles at the twenty, and winks at Heironymous as she turns to walk away. "Sure," she says over her shoulder in an almost-sultry voice. The agent pays her no mind.
"You mind if I get right to the point?" Heironymous asks Chris.
Chris sets the laptop at the end of the table against the wall, the light still shining from the camera. He smirks. "Please do. There's only a little less than two hours until my deadline."
"Deadline?" I ask.
Chris just looks at the agent. "Seriously? You didn't tell him anything?"
"What?" I ask, now completely lost.
The agent's mustache twitched, which I think was him glowering at Chris. He cut his eyes at me, then definitely glowered at Chris. Chris just looked back at him patiently, but clearly still tired. The two said nothing for a few seconds, then Chris just shrugged, and reached for a couple packets of Sweet & Low. Ripping them open, he dumped the contents into his tea, and stirred it with his straw, giving Heironymous a bored but expectant stare. "You know I'll win," he said. "Weren't you getting 'straight to the point?'" he mocked dryly.
Heironymous growled in mild frustration, then looked at me. "Solomon Seal, meet our maker."
I craned my neck back sharply. "Say what?"
"Look, we're characters. Created by this guy," he says as he points at Chris.
Chris just gives me a mirthless, closed mouth grin.
I look back at Heironymous like he's lost his mind.
"Your life's just 'one bad joke after another,'" he says, quoting me. "Before you became a vampire, how much do you recall?"
I open my mouth to answer, but close it again, looking at the ceiling as I realize I don't remember anything before Jeanine Fairchild bit me, other than vague memories of a flirty history between us.
"How many cases do you actually remember?" he asks me.
I look at the table while I wrack my brain for an answer. I can only remember hiring a few doctors to try to find a cure to vampirism, and then having to immolate them after things went south. That was over a course of months though! Between that... I look up at Heironymous. "I've got nothin'." Then I look at Chris. "What the hell?"
He just looks at Heironymous.
Knocking back his whiskey, he says, "That's pretty much where I was going to go with this too. So," he says as he leans forward slightly, "what the hell?"
Chris gets defensive. "Whattaya mean? You've had several stories!"
"The damned things are all over the place!" countered Heironymous. "First I'm an Escort for a princess in some vague location. Then I'm fighting some former president lizard man in Chicago. Then I'm in Indigo City with a partner that was never mentioned before, fighting a ninja in high tech samurai armor. Then I'm in New Vegas giving Roulette the lay of the land. Then I'm in the City of Dragons, and I'm the princess' father. Then I'm in Norfolk fighting another dragon and a jinn!"
"You forgot your fight to save Lincoln, and the excursion with the Vikings," Chris says with a smirk.
Heironymous ground his teeth so hard I could hear it from across the table. "I decided to omit the ancient history," he said testily. He calmed when Amy brought over another whiskey. "Thank you. Go ahead and bring me another, please," he requested, knocking back the second drink.
Chris shrugged. "Look, I know- your continuity doesn't flow well. You were an experiment on Comic Vine!" he protests.
Heironymous cocks his head, looking unamused. I just took a sip of my Manhattan, and listened.
Chris sighs. "At first, I wasn't going to name any of my characters. Partly because I wanted to keep my ideas to myself, and partly because it makes the writing harder. I wanted an exercise in writing without names, but eliminating 'he said/ she said' as well."
Amy brought the agent's third drink, and walked away again. Chris looked over at the bar, and Kevin was typing on his own laptop, and laughing. Chris' laptop dinged, and he checked the site he had mentioned. "Damn. He's posted again?" He looked at Kevin, the bartender laughed, and they flipped each other off. Kevin went back to typing, and Chris just shook his head.
Thinking for a few seconds, he said, "I gave that up pretty quickly, and decided to give you a name."
"Why Heironymous?" the agent asked pointedly.
"It sounded old," Chris said flatly, "like something out of Lincoln's time. Which is what I needed. And there was this story I read as a kid- my first story about dragons, I'm pretty sure- and it said that no one could ever know a dragon's true name, because then they could control it. That's been in the back of my mind, so I've always figured Heironymous probably isn't your real name."
"I kind of ignored your first two 'no-name' stories, and decided you'd be my crossover character. So you had stories with Terminator, Predator, Savage Dragon, some time-travelling Vikings I made up, the post-apocalyptic Fallout, the world of 5th Column Comics, and even some Real Life Super Heroes." He shrugged. "It just seemed like fun." He fidgeted nervously, then said, "But I kept thinking of bits of continuity, and I tried wedging them in there, and... agh," he trailed off in frustration. "I don't know. It's not really working. I keep thinking I need to go back and tighten it all up. Make your story your own- get rid of the crossovers that have others' copyrighted stuff, and rework them to make them all mine. I've got so much more story in mind for you."
"Do tell," said Heironymous expectantly.
Chris wagged his finger, "Now now. No spoilers."
"Nice try though," Chris said, not worrying about the agent's frustration. Then he looked at me. "What about you?"
I just raised my eyebrows in surprise.
"Any questions?" he prompted.
I laughed. "Yeah. Lots." Taking a big gulp of my drink, I sat it aside and thought.
"Look, I'll give you two," said Chris. "The deadline's getting close, alright?"
"That deadline again. Is this a story?" I ask.
"I'm trying. One question left," he said tiredly.
"Oh, come on," I protest.
"Okay, fine," he says, waving me down. "Get on with it then."
His computer dinged, and he checked the site. He rolled his eyes, and looked across the bar. He and Kevin flipped each other off. "Guy's a damned machine," Chris muttered before looking back to me expectantly.
"Okay, why the red hat and trench coat?" I ask, waving a hand over my coat. "Kind of conspicuous for a private investigator, don't you think?"
"Yeahhh," Chris sighed. "I can't get the danged color out of my head. I haven't mentioned it in a story until now, because I'm trying to let sense win out, but I think we're going to have to go with it. In my head the tone of your stories is really a cross between Hellboy and Dick Tracy. So as much as I've tried to fight it, we might just have to roll with the matching hat and coat."
I started to say, "That's it?" but I didn't want him to count it as a question, so I just nodded instead.
"Simple as that," he answered anyway.
"Hmph," I chuckle. "Okay. Then what about my name? Why 'Solomon Seal?' Alliteration from a writer I get, but 'Seal' just seems like an odd choice." Before he can can say anything, I add, "Let me guess, you like the singer?"
He gives a non-committal look, but says, "It didn't hurt, but actually, your name has more to do with my grandmother."
"She liked flowers, and often spent hours reading the dictionary. I kind of picked that habit up as part of my search for character ideas. I ran across 'Solomon's seal' in the dictionary. It's a kind of plant in the lily family, and the dictionary I had at the time described it as having 'circular scars' on the stalk, if I'm remembering it correctly." He shakes his head, and says, "Anyway, 'circular scars' made me think of 'vampire's bite,' and 'Solomon's seal' - alliterate, as you pointed out- sounded like the down-to-earth type name a private eye of the forties or fifties would have. So," he shrugged, "that's how you got to be a vampire P.I."
I grunted. "Well, how 'bout that?"
"Alright, guys, I hate to wrap this up, but time's wastin'. What's the point of all this?" he asks, finally taking a pull on his straw, draining about a third of the tea.
Heironymous knocks back his last drink, and when Amy starts over, he holds his hand up, and makes a check mark motion in the air. She nods and goes back to the bar. "I just want my damned story straightened out," he says gruffly.
"Oh, wah," says Chris. "I'll get to it, okay?"
"When?" demands Heironymous.
"When I get to it," Chris says, now clearly annoyed. "Don't make me write a mystical weapon through your heart, okay?"
The agent grunts, but decides to leave. He stands, reaching in his coat for his wallet as Amy approaches. When she gets to the table, Chris snatches the bill before Heironymous can take it. "Dude, I've got it. Your money's not real," he says, making a shooing motion.
Heironymous glowers, then nods at me before heading for the door. I look at Chris, and say, "Don't get up," before misting my way out of the booth, and falling in step behind the agent. As nights go, this has been a weird one.
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I'm glad you're here. Thanks for reading, thanks for voting, and see you in fourteen days! -cb :^D