So where were we? Oh yes, we all had to die.
Of course, as she couldn’t really kill us (unless she wanted to spend an inordinate amount of time in prison and, after all, it was just a photograph) the next best thing was to write a story about a stunningly beautiful blond heroine who decided to take revenge on the 6 men who had defaced the photograph of her beloved.
All names were changed to protect the innocent, even though in the author’s mind we were all guilty. So, she was Mercedes Jackson, I was Dick Large and I do recall a Rampant Thrust which sort of took us into extremely weird territory. Each story chapter was a page in length and had one of the suspects offed in a strange way, which was oddly appropriate given their name. I can’t recall them all, or how I was dispatched, but one was mowed down by a lawnmower.
Each chapter was left on our desks every morning and they were all disturbing-yet-funny. It kept us going for about a week.
However, either she lost her interest or the big reveal of the true culprit (it was Rampant Thrust for those who played along) gave her the closure she wanted, but I don’t think the story was finished.
Being new, and of a creative bent, I decided to pick the story up and take it forward.
My slant was to look into the investigation of the various suspects’ deaths and for that I needed a new character. I remember reading an old issue of Detective Comics and I think that the character of Harvey Bullock (in that issue) was the basis to Pontius Smith. At least, the unshaven/unkempt look; the trenchcoat and fedora could have been any private eye or similar. Come to think of it, the unkempt bit could have equally been attributed to Columbo but in any case, Detective Inspector Pontius Smith was born and made his breathed his first when he investigated said gardening “accident”.
I chunked the story into episodic chapters as well, but they were much longer than a page, mostly because my characters liked to chat to each other and lob abuse from time to time. Each episode progressed the story and was written off the cuff – no overall plot was created, characters were made up on the hoof and I really had no idea how things would play out. This worked well, as it was more spontaneous and helped to give it all a humorous edge; Pontius’ investigation quickly went off on multiple tangents very rapidly with characters becoming increasingly bizarre and locations certainly more surreal as time passed.
About 3 chapters in, I picked up on something that I had dropped in in chapter 1 and that was the inference that something horrific had happened in Pontius’ past which had taken him off the force for quite a while and gave him the occassional nightmare. This was an event that he wouldn’t, or couldn’t, talk about and had almost destroyed his career. Of course when I came to write about said event (told as a flashback chapter) it still held the humourous air that pervaded the story so far. Still, the particular incident which was hopefully funny to the readers (aka me and Mercedes) was plausible enough to scare the pants off the protagonist and send him away to convalese.
The story didn’t ever get finished but there was enough in the character to keep him in my mind and I swore that one day I would use him again.
Of course it would take about 10 years, but more of that in the next episode….