Well, the lovely people at Andromeda Spaceways magazine agreed to publish my short story, which is a first for me (well, a second, if you’re counting The Dictionary, the Bible, and Other Works of Fiction, but I’m not because it was silly). They say it’ll be appearing in the February 2006 edition of their magazine, so now at least the waiting game has a point.
So now the question is, what do I write next, and where do I send it?
The short story is called The Once and Future Creepy, so at least my silly names record is still unbroken. It’s sci-fi, and very silly indeed. I am now going to write out a quick Bestiary of the characters that may be found in the Creepy and Hatboy universe. Although, not necessarily in this particular story.
Cast, in Approximate Order of Appearance
Hatboy, the – Our hero. Saviour of the day. Friend of the non-working man. Scourge of the evildoer and terror of the salty snack vendor. The classically-behatted super-sidekick about whom this tale is, and around whom this tale revolves like a big revolving tale about a dashing, handsome guy with a great hat. An admirer of the arts, with the soul of a warrior-poet and the body of a poet-warrior. His name is spoken in whispers in many a library and church and other places where you get told off for speaking loudly. Has been known to build incredible and impressive items in certain locations out of unexpected materials. Once made peace between cats and dogs because he had a headache and didn’t want to listen to a lot of noise.
Creepy – Skinny. Likes coke and the colour green. Gets involved in adventures that place him in numerous varieties of trouble, from which Hatboy must – and almost always does – rescue him. Makes friends with aliens, Gods, fictional characters, articles of furniture, and other dangerous things. Often does the opposite. Not the opposite of anything, in particular – just the opposite.
Yool – Unusually buff. Is a Christmas tree. Has been here the whole time.
Xil and Xol – Martian girls from a Martian dust ranch on Mars. The planet. Friends of Creepy’s, responsible for numerous culinary atrocities and a couple of nasty stomach upsets. This may be because they have stomachs that can digest broken glass, and think ammonia is ‘nummy’. Their presence in Hatboy’s house, Hatboy’s story, and Hatboy’s life is yet to be satisfactorily explained.
Wasteland, the – an environment rather than a character, but in many ways an entity in its own right. A huge expanse of flatness and sand and nothing that exists outside the narrative boundaries of the world. An immeasurable desert of entropy that sometimes seems to be encroaching on the city, the country, the universe. A place where people go and then wonder why they did.
Saint, the – Saint Chuck, Mad Preacher of Latter Days. A crazed man who walks through the Wasteland with a soap box under his arm, then puts it down and stands on it, and shouts random lunacy to anybody who will listen. Surprisingly, considering the Wasteland, people often do. It is uncertain as to whether he is a prophet of war and destruction, or a cunning salesman of the same who just happens to have an unlimited supply of what the buyer wants.
Staples and Ray – Hitmen. Goons. Guns for hire. Their involvement with the super-sidekicks is at best a sort of relationship where they are occasionally in the same room, and facing one another. They wear suits, and dark glasses, and have a long list of employers. More effective hitmen, one might suggest, would have only one employer. Staples is large and angry and named for an unmentioned event in his early days, probably involving somebody who annoyed him and a piece of office stationery that was close to hand. Ray is named because his name is Ray. He has a book.
Joe, Mumbly – A wanderer, searcher, part-time philosopher. Inflicted in late childhood with a brain tumour that rendered him blind and left him with only a few years to live, Joe for some reason decided to spend those years wandering in the Wasteland. Or maybe he didn’t, but was blind and got lost. A classic example of the sort of folks generally attracted by the Big Flat Nothing.
Con, Big – Real name Dennis McMillan. Owner of the corner deli near Hatboy’s and Creepy’s abode. He is not, in fact, big or Italian, but Creepy has always insisted that the corner deli be run by a big Italian man named Big Con. What Big Con thinks of this is anybody’s guess. He is known for his strange, frightening publicity gimmicks. Like Blissy.
Blissy – The Deli Llama. A Llama. Who lives in the corner deli during its brief and disorienting time as a Tibetan Plateau of Savings.
Ringworm, Molly – Creepy’s ringworm. Only a character insofar as she could achieve the impossible and make Creepy get up off the couch. Possibly the only female ever to do so, although members of the Platyhelminthes Family may not classify as ‘females’.
Three-Quarters Man, the – Another denizen of the Wasteland, and perhaps the most mysterious and ominous. As it is written, he is “…twelve feet tall, covered with baggy black clothes that are sometimes cloak, sometimes trousers and shirt, always wrong, somehow. Sometimes, when the wind blows at him, the clothes between his head and his feet billow as if there’s nothing in there. He wears boots, also black, and scuffed and scarred from years of walking, and stamping on things that really didn’t want to be stamped on. He also wears a hat, of which super-sidekicks like Creepy and Hatboy would approve. It is big, and broad-brimmed, and sags over the majority of the Three-Quarters Man’s face, obscuring all but a long, lumpy chin, and a mouth full of big, old, yellow teeth.” He came from the Mountains, and wanders at random. Nobody wants to know why.
Borg, the – Fearsome cybernetic aliens. Annoying friends of Creepy’s who speak like a bunch of fortune cookies. “We are the Borg,” they say. “You will be assimilated,” they say. “Your biological and technological diversity will be added to our own,” they say (I actually got a fortune cookie that said that once). “Resistance is futile,” they say. “Are you going to drink that?” they say.
Davros – Creator and Grand Ruler of the Daleks, fearsome cybernetic aliens who speak like a bunch of fortune cookies. “We are the Daleks,” they say. “You will be exterminated,” they say. They … hey.
Überwench, Cordelia – Cordelia “The” Überwench is perhaps the closest thing to a recurring archnemesis that Hatboy and Creepy have. She is a deceptively cheerful and effervescent young woman who lives in the 1980s, and by the philosophy that nothing is so good that pink will not improve it. She sits in her suburban fortress and, to the untrained eye, doesn’t seem to do anything much. But to the trained eye, she is Devious and Suspicious and Evil. Creepy has a trained eye, and is completely, bowel-relaxantly terrified of her.
Nine, Tertiary Adjunct of Unimatrix Zero One, Seven of – A Borg Drone, who somehow seems to become involved in all of the adventures Hatboy and Creepy embark upon, if Creepy has anything to say about it. Neither Hatboy nor Seven of Nine herself particularly like this development when it develops. Hatboy deals with his disgruntlement by use of sarcasm. Seven of Nine deals with hers by pursuing her lifelong goal, which is to achieve perfection by assimilating every particle of alcohol in the known universe.
Nine, Tertiary Adjunct of Unimatrix Zero One, Nine of – The black sheep of the Unimatrix, a former Bolian who suffers from permanent hangovers due to sharing a collective consciousness with Seven of Nine. He has brilliant ideas, like putting Creepy into a Borg regeneration tank to see what will happen.
Creepy, Little – The result of Creepy being put in a Borg regeneration tank. Thin, bald, aggressive, and the reason Creepy has a second belly button in his ear. Whatever reasons he gives you for it, he’s lying.
Peter and Graham – Alien businessmen, big wheels in the cryo-stasis industry, who only look like slinky little red-skinned-blue-speckled Catwoman-esque bikini girls. A living, breathing, giggling testimony to the fact that alien appearances can be deceiving and very, very disturbing.
Bob – Creepy’s favourite axe.
Bill – Hatboy and Creepy’s pet cat, Persian. The name ‘Bill’ is short for ‘Bills, bills, bills’. He was purchased as a means of dealing with a large amount of kitty litter that the super-sidekicks had accumulated, as a direct result of their having received a vast number of bills in the mail, and then shredding them. Bill has talents for eating, lying very still and going to the toilet that stagger even the super-sidekicks themselves.
Zignog, Ippy-ippy – A Plutonian. Another irritating friend of Creepy’s, referred to in passing and in flashback but never actually present in Hatboy’s sequence of events. It is also the name given to their couch, because it is large and green, with oranges, and is couchlike. Just like the original Ippy-ippy Zignog.
Bothgolthlogog, Doctor – An archaeologist of the future who dug up the preserved remains of Hatboy and Creepy’s house, which had been swallowed by the Wasteland. He believed Hatboy and Creepy were ancient Priests of some sort of religion revolving around diametric opposites – good and evil, light and dark, stupid annoying pointless smirking sidekicks and Hatboy…
Quotor – An evil villain whose power stems from his ability to imitate other evil villains. Any potential this nemesis had was stunted by the fact that he was just a character in a cartoon. That is, he was to Hatboy. To Creepy he was quote, quote real.
Sub-unit of Eleven of Seventeen, Polly – A Borg parrot. A pointless Borg in a Cube full of pointless Borg.
Of Borg, Angus – Another irritating friend of Creepy’s. If you’re detecting a pattern emerging here, it’s not just your imagination.
The Hamstring, Harry – A man named Harry who should perhaps not have hamstrung a mobster who knew Staples and Ray.
The Animal of Some Sort, Johnny – possibly Johnny the Fox, or Johnny the Ox, or most likely Johnny the Croc. A mobster.
Kurgan, the – A cheerful whisperer attending the Supervillains’ Convention. Apparently immortal, definitely psychotic, and unable to kill a person when they’re standing on Holy Ground. A problem Hatboy got around by having his boots blessed.