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Author Archives: paulms

About paulms

My name is Paul Shapera, a musician working under the name Mocha Lab. I make albums, theater shows, videos, dance pieces, commercials and move around a lot.

The Adventures Of Pepper The Dog Pt. 4

“Oh yeah, baby. Oh god. Oh yeah, It’s so good. Oh my god, baby. Yeah. Yeah,” cried the prostitute as she stared at the ceiling and tried to work out ways to improve her seafood chowder recipe. Her seafood chowder was renowned by the other prostitutes in her penny dreadful book circle but she was always trying to think up ways to better it. For some reason butter came to mind. Butter in a seafood chowder? It had never been done. But it just might work, especially if she upped the red pepper….

Oh crap. The john was slowing down. “Oh baby! Right there! Right there! Oh my god it’s freaking good. Holy crap, Grady. Oh Grady… oh my freaking god!” A full tablespoon of butter seemed outright crazy but the prostitute had a feeling that it would work. A teaspoon just didn’t feel like enough and you could almost taste how the butter, added at the beginning, would cleverly mix with the…

On the walls of the room were a series of bells and tiny little miniature shudders. The tiny little shudders and bells looked sort of cute, but their real purpose was a communication method. At this moment they started ringing and clapping in odd rhythms.

The prostitute listened for a few moments. “Shit,” she said. “Agatha needs help.” She squirmed out from under the John and pushed him off.

“What the hell?” He said angrily.

This was going to be tricky, thought the prostitute. Grady had a nasty temper.

“Grady baby, I’m SOOOOO sorry. It’s an emergency. I got no choice, baby, I have to…”

“WHAT THE HELL,” Grady shouted, his infamous temper rising. “YOU do not get to say when we are done. I say when we are done. I am the gawdam customer and I pay YOU the gawdam money, and I…”

“Grady baby, I’ll make it up to you. It’s an emergency, baby. Besides, don’t you have to get back to your little girl? Didn’t you say she was waitin’ for you? Come one, baby. You get a freebie next time. And extra special freebie.” Shit. That was going to mean anal. Oh well. It couldn’t be helped. This was the Agatha signal, and the prostitute had no intention of letting Agatha down.

“That’s right, Grady baby,” she continued as he pulled on his pants in a huff and she shooed him out the door. “Extra special next time, honey.” Finally, he was out the damn door. “And say hello to little Amelia for me!”

All right. Grady was gone. She was alone. Almost. “Okay, where are we going?” she asked the room.

Throughout the years, decade after decade, era after era, one story that never left the New Albion folk lore was the idea that there was a sentient room which mysteriously moved about the city. As insane as the notion was, there was no era that didn’t have some version of this story. What only a few realized was that almost all versions of this story were in fact correct. The room befriended many denizens over the years and had many adventures and served many functions. This was still in its relatively early days. It had just finished being a theater for a number of years and when the two men who used it moved on to other… places, the room wandered friendless and alone for a time until it befriended this prostitute.

She had been in a very bad jam with her pimp, who was about to cut her from ear to ear. The room had the ability to materialize between any two existing building, magically just… suddenly being there. In this case the room had been there for 2 days. As it watched the pimp threaten the poor woman, who had been robbed of her hard earned money just an hour before, it decided to step in. The pimp was about to make the slash when suddenly he was body slammed by a huge oak door. When he recovered he furiously looked around him. No sign of anyone. The prostitute was staring wide eyed at the doorway behind him, though.

“Who the *** is there?” the pimp demanded. He slowly approached the closed doorway. The prostitute put her hands over her mouth in what may have looked like a look of horror but was actually the suppression of a giggle. “I will GUT you, motherf…” The door flew open again with such force that we need not speak of the pimp any longer.

The Room and the prostitute became close friends and it followed her around. It agreed to be her… client room, as this was both safe and convenient, and the room honestly couldn’t care less about human copulation. A few of the prostitute’s very close friends knew about the room and would sometimes come over to hang out in it whereupon they’d all drink brandy and howl with laughter, which the room adored. They jokingly and affectionately called it the Fuck House.

…..

Agatha and Pepper were meanwhile running through the streets of New Albion chased by a near army of sociopathic thugs, who kept popping up out of nowhere. They were all over the District and constantly converging on her and Pepper. When she had first stepped out of the library they had seemed further away. All she had to do was get Pepper inside the library and turn on the wards. Although she could be a real idiot and constantly forgot to actually turn them on, once on, the library could withstand a military siege. But suddenly a group of thugs had been behind her, suspiciously suddenly if you asked Agatha. There was magic involved. She hadn’t time to look for traces of Glamour, as a gunshot hit the library door behind them and they found a group of 4 men on top of them.

Agatha was a very well trained and experienced witch. There was a lot of crazy shit she could pull off, but the fact of the matter is that magic is not meant for kinetic situations. If you found yourself in hand to hand combat, magic was practically useless. Now, a witch standing calmly and unbothered several feet away could help a fighter in this situation immensely, but a witch actually in close quarter, fast action herself was not much use.

Of course, not much use didn’t mean no use. Agatha over the years had been in some tight spots and had a few tricks that could be pulled out in a pinch. All four men suddenly tripped as they lunged and Agatha and Pepper suddenly seemed to blink out then back in a few feet away. Instant teleportation was not so impressive. Give her an hour or two prep time and Agatha could teleport anywhere in the city. But sometimes a couple feet at a time was enough, especially when bullets started flying. So they both blinked about several times until the mojo was used up, then high tailed it and ran.

As they ran Agatha could only think “Shit, these bastards are relentless.” She looked at the dog running beside her. “Any dog that can make assholes like this that mad is a dog i respect” she said breathlessly to Pepper. Pepper would have smiled if she could. Agatha started gasping. This sort of action was her friends’ forte, not hers. “I’m going to have to call for backup,” she gasped. “My… close friends are… busy… can’t contact… but… i have… a room… we can…” she wheezed and tears came down her cheeks as she closed her eyes, ran, and sent out a call.

….

The prostitute opened the door of the room. It lead to an alley and coming straight towards them were tiny little Agatha and a dog. However, in between them was an old homeless beggar, absolutely filthy, with festering, open sores. Pepper was almost distracted because she could swear she heard him muttering Fay’s name. “Gon get you back, Fay, gon get you back,” he muttered over and over.

The prostitute stepped aside. “Come on, Aggie!” she cried. Agatha was out of breath, out of shape and out of stamina. She tripped over the wretched beggar and went flying face first into the room. Pepper was there before she was. As the pursuers opened fire, the door slammed shut and the room disappeared.

…..

“Fuuuuuuuu….” Agatha began.

“Jesus, Aggie!” exclaimed the prostitute. “Why were those men after you? You know who they are?”

“I do,” replied Agatha. “And we.. i mean i, were really hoping to stay off their radar for awhile yet. Last thing we need is the for the Son to call us in and try something asinine like making us swear fealty or something.”

“Us? Who’s us?”

“Never mind. Doesn’t matter. Those men weren’t after me they were after good ol Pepper here.”

“The dog?” The prostitute gave Pepper a good inspection. “You got a dog?”

“No, i just met her.”

“What? Are you crazy? You mean to tell me that you were running around in the line of fire for a pooch you don’t even know?”

Agatha turned towards the prostitute. “Daniela,” she said quietly. Daniela got chills. “I help any dog that needs it. I help any cat that needs it. Bird, mouse, you name it. I am there for them in their moment of need if they call. I have met few people in this world who can come even close to a dog in worthiness, and frankly, if the entire human race were wiped off the planet tomorrow and the entire globe was left to the dogs, i would not only consider that a happy ending, i may even consider that the happiest of endings.”

Daniela the prostitute brushed it off and hugged Agatha. Agatha returned the hug, then went to a nearby wall and hugged it. “Thank you both. I just need to wait here for a bit with Pepper, examine this device she has which gives off some strange auras, and then if you could please drop me off next to the library when the coast is clear, i would be extremely grateful.”

“Sure thing, Aggie.”

“Now if you excuse me for a second, i’m going to talk to the Room.” And with that, Agatha sat in the lotus pose and closed her eyes.

An hour later the room blinked in next to the library. Daniela peered out to see if the coast was clear. “You’re good,” she whispered.

She and Agatha hugged again. “Thank you,” Agatha said.

“Oh stop it. I can never thank YOU enough. My little baby… she’s healthy. I’m gonna go pick her up now, but she’s doing great. Hasn’t been sick since.”

“Good.” Agatha smiled. “She’ll be fine. She’ll never get that particular sickness again. And i even caught a few glimpses into her Path. She’ll grow up healthy and one day, years from now she’ll have a baby boy and she’ll name him Thomas.”

Agatha and Pepper cautiously walked out.

As soon as they were fully outside the room they made a break for it and dashed to the library. But the trap was laid too well. They made it too far to return to the Room and not close enough to the library door when the Uncle and his men blinked into a circle surrounding them.

“I gotta warlock in my pocket, baby,” he said, smirking. Agatha quickly tried to make a basic defense ward. The Uncle smashed her across the face with a crowbar. Blood flew from her mouth as she went spinning around onto the sidewalk. Pepper let loose a roar and leapt towards the Uncle, teeth barred, saliva flying.

The Uncle smashed her in the face too. Once, then twice. Pepper was not going down. She leapt up again and the Uncle brought the crowbar down on her foreleg, smashing the bones to pieces.

Pepper let out a yelp. However, she stood her ground, on her three paws, face bleeding.

The object had fallen out in the skirmish and one of the Uncle’s henchmen picked it up as he loomed over Agatha and Pepper, smiling a wide, happy smile.

“Once i kill this little bitch, me and you, librarian, we’re gonna have some fun. After i’ve had you a couple times, i’ll lend you out to my buddies here, but first, ooowhee, it’s gonna be you and me.” He gave Agatha another kick to make sure she was down.

He licked his lips, raised the gun, pointed it at Pepper, and fired.

 
6 Comments

Posted by on August 7, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

The Adventures of Pepper The Dog Pt. 3

The port and waterfront area of New Albion was a good place for a stray dog. There was plenty of fish and chaos. Fish were dropped about as boats loaded and unloaded, and no one cared or minded if a hungry dog took care of cleaning up a few. All sorts of food came in and out, and while sailors ran the gamut from sentimental to homicidal, many a drunken sailor could be very kind and affectionate to a stray who happened to be occupying the same alleyway where they decided to to have an over-inebriated sit down.

Pepper did well, as far as being a homeless stray went, and in the evenings would often hang out outside a port side tavern, Cthulhu’s Tentacle. Most nights, at closing, a particular sailor would stumble out and give Pepper a nod and a generous slab of jerky. It wasn’t beef or turkey or anything Pepper had ever tasted before. It was a very specific meat that came from the sailor’s homeland and while Pepper couldn’t quite identify it, it was delicious.

One night it started raining. Pepper squeezed into an door front as the sailor stumbled out into the downpour. He stood for a moment in the rain staring at the dog and then glancing up at the stormy clouds.

“All right then,” he said and gave a nudge of his head for Pepper to come along with him. And that is how Pepper came to be with Kai Talimer.

Kai was a rugged seaman from a island called Umberland. Umberland was a paradise and its denizens considered it a desecration to build anything man made on the island’s sunny topside. Thus, their entire town was built in the caves beneath the island, which extended far down into the sea and was vaster than the actual land on top. As much as Kai loved his homeland, he had longed to see the wider world and so one day he hitched a ride with a passing ship, working for his food and board, learning the ways of the nautical profession until he arrived at New Albion. New Albion wasn’t a home exactly, as most of his life was spent aboard boats, but it was where he resided in between journeys and where most of his business contacts lay. And since he made a good bit of side coin as a small smuggler, he had many, complicated business contacts.

Pepper learned to deal with being aboard ships and became a well loved sea dog. She saw lands far outside of New Albion and some strange sea monsters that few land lovers would ever believe possible. But, like Kai, she always returned to New Albion.

Kai’s hobbies included drinking brown alcohol, white alcohol, beer, and wine, as well as chewing that mystery meat jerky of his. It also included sitting by candlelight and writing in small journals he always kept around. When he would finish a journal, he would pack it in his coat and head down to the tavern. For a long time Pepper hadn’t been allowed in the tavern, but after a few voyages enough sailors were able to speak up on her behalf that she was let in. A proper sea dog was always welcome at Cthulhu’s Tentacle as long as you were vouched for. Pepper would take her place on the floor at Kai’s table as he’d meet with the odd denizens he did business with. Meetings which involved these journals tended to be about once a month when they were residing in New Albion.

An odd, eccentric character would shuffle in that Pepper now knew as Nathan. Nathan had the look of a mad university professor who had probably been kicked out years ago for unmentionable violations but had never lost his zeal of forbidden knowledge and arcane histories. Nathan would sit with Kai and they’d have a drink together, usually absinthe, chat amicably and Kai would slide whatever notebooks he had finished across the table. Nathan would pick them up enthusiastically and promise to copy and archive them appropriately. Before he left he would always exclaim “Hail Discordia!” Kai would roll his eyes, sigh and mumble “Yeah, yeah, hail discordia” back. Nathan would shuffle out, Kai would shake his head, and the evening would progress.

Kai had two other contacts of note. The first was a series of men who all seemed to be connected to a youngish red haired man who Pepper strongly disliked. The red haired man almost never actually showed up to deal with Kai though. Usually he sent some thugs who never the less carried that scent on them that Pepper knew came from the red haired man. All of them were arrogant, brash and had the air of impending violence. Kai never tussled with them, simply had conversations, either agreed or refused their request, and some time later, if he had agreed, would hand them something he had procured in a far away port and kept hidden in his quarters on board the ship. As first mate, he had very small but ultimately private quarters aboard the ships where he and Pepper traveled.

The second contact of note never came to the bar. And it wasn’t a him or her so much as a plural they. Kai had lately been doing a lot of tasks and errands for them. These errands involved hanging out in bars in far away ports, waiting for odd people to give him little packages which he smuggled back to New Albion. Then, one night, before heading to the pub, he would go to a remote place where sewer entrances lay, and go on in. Pepper hated going in but would not leave Kai to face danger alone. Kai didn’t mind at all. He had been raised in underground caves and felt completely comfortable.

Once far enough into the underground tunnels, Pepper would hear noises as they approached.  Several albinos would appear. Nathan would hand them the packages and they’d hand him something. Sometimes it was money, but often it was some artifact or piece of writing he would then pass on to that odd Nathan bloke.

Thus it was that one night Kai, despite preferring to spend the evening drinking in the pub, set off first to the tunnels. Pepper was not happy. For many reasons but mostly because there was a sailor in town with a sturdy German shepherd named Swiftpaw, and Pepper was looking to get some.

“We gotta do it, girl,” muttered Kai as they walked. “Don’t worry, you’ll get laid tonight. We’re close to finishing our business with the albinos anyway.”

Pepper stopped and growled. There was a group of men around and she smelled the scent of the red haired man.

The red haired man was not there. There were a few of his thugs, led by an older man, the red haired man’s Uncle, who was escorting a scrawny, scared looking teenager.

“Well well,” he said, stepping out of the shadows. “If it isn’t out good friend Kai.”

Kai cursed quietly under his breath.

“And Kai is our good friend, isn’t he, boys? Aren’t you Kai?”

“Come on, “answered Kai,” can we not do a whole drama. What does the Son want? I delivered the last package in perfect condition, on time, just like always. It is disrespectful to put on such airs.”

The uncle gave the teenager a hard nudge. “Well, get out there and start talking. You’re gonna have to learn the trade. Be a fucking man, you little pansy.”

The teenager stepped forward. “Uhm… uh, Mr Kai, my, uh, my older brother sends his greetings and has a proposition to ask of you. He has, um, heard on the, the, grapevine that your ship has been delivering components for a.. uh, a..”

The uncle interrupted “A generator. Some big, fancy, underground generator they’re lookin’ to build. Word is, some egghead scientist convinced the council that steam power’s only got another 20 years and then things’re gonna shift. And this generator is a, whachamicallit… PRO-to-type and they’re collecting pieces to build it and your ship is what’s been delivering those pieces.”

Kai shrugged.

“Word is ALso, that them… them underground freaks… YOU know who i’m talking about, them that live under the city, they got an interest. And that makes US REAL interested too.”

Kai shrugged again. “I don’t know anything about any of that and even if i did, i do not discuss one client’s business with another.”

The Uncle frowned then smiled. “Oh, see, right there. That is not what we would call a very good answer, is it Alexander?” He nudged the kid.

The kid responded dutifully. “uh, no.”

“We need to know what the albinos are planning and if they’ve asked for anything pertaining to this generator. We will handsomely reward this information and even more to the so reward VERY handsomely if anything they ask for comes to us first.”

“I will keep that in mind,” Kai said.

The Uncle started using his threatening voice and at this point Pepper started growling. The situation tensed up but eventually the Uncle and his thugs shuffled off. Kai and Pepper kept on, although took extra pains to lose any tails. Eventually they arrived at the sewer entrance and begrudgingly Pepper followed Kai inside.

They arrived at their usual meeting spot and soon enough the sounds of the albinos approach echoed through the tunnels.

“You have brought the module?” a voice spoke from the darkness.

“I come to deliver what you have asked for, on time as usual.” Kai answered.

“Good. Our thanks and gratitude.” An albino stepped out from the dark, took the small package and shook Kai’s hand, despite not being comfortable with the ritual of the handshake, something only surface dwellers did.

“There is only one more component. Then the thing that we must secretly add on to their strange machine will be ready. We will add it into the very guts of the machine and then we have done our task for this time period. She will come. Only ten more years. Maybe a little more, but she will come.”

Another voice whispered from the darkness “She is sacred.”

Another voice “She is marked.”

Another: “She must never be touched. Stay away.”

“Stay away.”

“She comes.”

“She comes.”

“Only a decade more. Maybe two. Not long now.”

“We have kept the tale since ancient times. The lost princess returns.”

“She is holy.”

“She is desecrated. ”

“She is marked by the Angels.”

“She will come.”

Pepper would think back upon these two meetings for the rest of her life. She didn’t understand the words but she understood that this was important to what happened months later.

She and Kai sailed away and at a foreign port Kai met with a bald metallurgist who gave him a small gold object. He had given Kai other objects that Kai had delivered to the albinos so Pepper knew where this thing would end up. Eventually she and Kai sailed back to New Albion. Kai was antsy and nervous and obviously wanted the object out of his hands as soon as possible. Thus he left his small dingy, rented, port side flat to deliver it, but this time did not get far at all. On the street just a block away the Uncle and thugs approached him.

They demanded the object. Kai refused.

Thew drew pistols and swords.

Kai drew his sword and Pepper growled.

It was over within seconds. The Uncle shot Kai before anyone, even Pepper, could move. He walked over to the dying sailor, took the object from his coat and held it up.

“This all coulda played out differently, sailor boy. You shoulda rethought your allegiances. Shouldn’ta decided them albinos were your first loyalty over us.”

Kai lifted his head. “My first and only allegiance is to one group and one group only.” He spat in the Uncle’s face. “Hail Discordia.”

The Uncle shot Kai in the face while holding the object out with his other hand. This was a mistake. Pepper now knew the Uncle was her blood enemy and she must avenge her fallen friend, the human who had been her true companion and friend for the last two years. But she also understood that Kai’s wishes would be first and foremost to not let him win by stealing the object. So Pepper leapt and snatched the object out of the Uncle’s hand with her teeth, then ran as fast as she could.

The Uncle howled in fury. “GET THAT FUCKING DOG!”

There were gunshots as the men chased her. But Pepper could outrun these men, although it proved to be more difficult than she had first thought. For one thing, they were really, really persistent. Still, thugs cannot outrun a canine. The bigger problem was wherever Pepper ran more thugs showed up. They popped out of the woodwork, all of them scrounging the street for signs of the dog. A couple times she was spotted by men she didn’t even recognize but who had that red haired man’s scent and off she ran again through block after block of the city.

Finally, exhausted and desperate for shelter she crawled up to a giant, gothic building whose function she couldn’t even guess. An odd squirrely woman with black hair and huge glasses walking out and saw her. Pepper could hear footsteps running a few blocks behind her. She took in the woman’s scent, decided she liked it, and gave the woman a few whimpers and a look of desperation.

The woman looked at Pepper closely. She lifted her head and took in the sounds echoing the street around them. She took in several other things not so easily described. Finally she said “Hello there, Pepper. Whose a good spicy pepper puppy? Come on inside. I’ll take care of you. My name’s Agatha.”

 
5 Comments

Posted by on August 6, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

The Adventures of Pepper The Dog Pt.2

Pepper the dog was now a homeless stray. Despite what you may think, one of the worst places to be homeless and hungry is in a very upscale neighborhood, and the district where Edgar had built his mansion was fast becoming the signature wealthy district in New Albion. The board of Edgar’s company and most of his business partners had all bought homes in this district and even now they were passing laws that would make it almost impossible for non wealthy people to live there. Most of these men also belonged to the same exclusive lodge, and over expensive brandy, in their secret little clubhouse, they were also working to drastically change divorce laws in their district to heavily, heavily favor the husband.

Not that much of this mattered to Pepper. All Pepper knew is that a stray, homeless dog stood out like a sore thumb and was not wanted. Pepper had absolutely no experience being homeless and hungry and little idea of how to survive or to proceed. She settled on the only logical plan her sweet little doggy brain could devise, which was to pick a direction (one that sometimes in the deep of night had the faintest smell of fish) and just keep heading in it.

Her ability to forage for food was amateur and the high class district had so little garbage laying about, so after several days Pepper was slowly starving to death. She did learn to recognize the wheels of the dogcatcher carriage, which were sneaky, as the dog catcher was very good at his job. Two doggies Pepper had befriended for a day and who had shown her a park which squirrels frequented, if you could catch them, were picked up by the dogcatcher who appeared out of nowhere. He was trying to capture all three of them but Pepper escaped, much to his chagrin and he vowed to hunt her down and put her where she belonged. He used an enchanted talisman to aid him in his work, which, while not the greatest, did give him an edge.

The dog pound was a dingy place and dogs were given a probation period to be claimed or adopted. This period was exactly 72 hours, after which they were executed with an injection of lethal poison.

Pepper was nearing the edge of the upper class district when the dogcatcher appeared again. He knew this was his last chance to catch Pepper and he did not intend to let the damned mutt who had foiled him get away. He gave his horse a wild yell and a crack of the whip and they barreled towards the weak and hungry dog. Pepper had enough strength to run past the border that separated the upper class district from its vastly more blue collar neighbor. But the dogcatcher did not bother to respect the invisible border line. In these days such lines were less trouble then they would be in later years. Thus, far into the next district the dogcatcher chased the poor dog, who panted and tried her very best to keep running. He used his whip, cracking it at her, even striking her with it twice. She yelped in terrible pain and tried to keep running, but starvation had caught up with her. She simply couldn’t run anymore and toppled over, veering off the street straight into a cheap wooden fence that lead to the small back yard of a lower class terrace house.

The dog catcher, delighted, climbed out of his carriage and practically danced mockingly up to Pepper, whip in one hand, net in the other. He decided to give her one more thrash with the whip before dragging her weary, whimpering, starving body back to the pound. He raised his whip but before he could crack it he was struck in his forehead with a rock.

The rock actually clocked him quite decently and he looked around in rage.

A girl, somewhere around 10, had appeared from the other side of the fence and nailed the dogcatcher with a rock. She had another one in her other hand. As he glared at her and raised his whip she stared him straight back in the eye and raised the hand with the other rock. They stood for several seconds in this pose as he debated whether to just do it and teach this girl a lesson. The only thing that stopped him at first was the look in her eyes, which was oddly intense for some puny little girl, but as he stood paused he started to hear the sounds of the neighborhood around him. He slowly started to glance around. A few of her neighbors had taken note of what was happening and were starting to inch over curiously. An old grandma had a skillet in her hand and when their eyes met she suddenly broke into a wild, almost maniacal smile, as if she wanted nothing more in the world for him to whip this little neighborhood girl so she could finally have an excuse to violently let loose on someone with this skillet and pummel them to death in a circumstance that would guarantee no jury would ever convict her.

The dog catcher quickly turned and climbed back aboard his coach. The little girl took the poor frightened dog behind the fence into her backyard.

“I’ll get you some food,” she whispered to Pepper. She ran into her house and collected a bunch of things.

“What are you doing?” her mother called out.

“I’m just playing tea party!” the girl called back.

She appeared minutes later out the back and set up a table with two chair, a tea pot, two tea cups and a bunch of food which she tossed to Pepper.

As Pepper ate ravenously the little girl chattered away.

“My mama thinks I just play tea party with nice people. But my tea parties are the best. This isn’t just a tea party, it’s a goblin summoning!” And with that little girl held the tea pot up with both hands towards the sky and let out a horrifying noise. She then did an utterly silly, tribal inspired dance in a circle as only a maniacal little girl could come up with, all the while whooping and making atrocious noises. When she was done she looked at Pepper and smiled from ear to ear. Without a further word she came up and hugged Pepper with both arms, full and tight, her eyes closes in loving bliss. When the embrace was done she studied the dog curiously.

“What’s your name?” She asked, her brow furrowed. “Hmm, you look like a… Pepper. I’m going to call you Pepper.

She petted the dog some more. “You can call me by my name. I’m Jackie!”

…..

Pepper’s stay with Jackie was short lived. It lasted about 3 days until her brother, Johnny, caught Jackie with Pepper in the tool shed and tattled on her to their parents who promptly booted the dog from their yard. Despite Jackie’s broken heart, Pepper was now in decent shape. She had fattened up quite a bit and regained her full strength, and continued her trek through the blue collar district to the next district that would be her home for a spell, the waterfront.

…..

New Albion was not built on a river. Indeed, there had been no river there when the first street that was to become New Albion was hastily thrown together. There had been a healthy stream not too far off, and as the collection of rag tag streets and building grew into a vibrant town, discussions emerged of how to turn this stream into a river. The mightier the river the more potential growth for the bursting town, as it could import and export along river routes.

The obvious solution was to build a tributary running from a major river about 70 miles away and run it down to another major channel another 50 miles to the south. The larger, the better. There were several ways to do it, the usually being for a team of men to simply dig one over the course of however many years it took. And it would take more than a few.

The town council, who were also keen to promote innovation and technology, decided to offer a hefty contract and investment rights to the winner of a contest of who could come up with the best technical solution to this task.

Several aspiring young inventors came to New Albion to compete for the prize and the glory (several of whom stayed which the council had hoped would be the outcome), but only James Cryptid walked away with the prize. James had devised an giant, larva shaped digging machine that could do the job in about a single year, as long as everything went smoothly.

The machine was a garish monstrosity on paper and required an enormous sum of money to build, which the council, borrowing heavily on credit, supplied. The god awful behemoth was thus erected and one fine day began its laborous process. It was such a spectacular site that it made all the papers on the continent and James soon found himself quite wealthy as other towns looks to acquire the patent rights.

Thus, a few months into the dig, James took all the money he had made and went to a very revered Cunning-Woman who lived on the outskirts of town. He gave her everything she had when she told him that yes, she could fulfill his greatest wish in the world, which was to become a female on the outside to match James’ inside.

The process took a week and James was confined to a small hut on the Cunning-Woman’s  land while the macumba based process occurred. Finally, at the end of the week, Jane Cryptid stepped foot from out the hut and heading off to make sure her digger was healthy and on schedule.

The problem was, when Jane appeared at the site, no one believed she was James. They were wiling to believe she was his sister or cousin, but that didn’t entitled her to enter the site. They were all concerned James hadn’t been seen in a week, but they weren’t going to let some greedy relative of his sweep in and start trouble. So Jane was barred from the site of her own invention.

This lasted a few weeks until one day, the massive digger broke down. Teams of engineers tried various methods to fix it, but no one could make the thing work properly again. In swept Jane, still a little pissed off, but willing to let bygones to be bygones. She promised she could not only fix the behemoth but improve on it. In return she wanted a new contract, a greater share of shares and a few other tidbits of a more eccentric nature. The town council tentatively agreed assuming that she could deliver.

Deliver she did. The digger was fixed and revamped and completed the job in a year an a half. Jane bought a gorgeous piece of land some ways away from the new river and built a majestic house with all sorts of crazy rooms and laboratories and ballrooms and garden mazes. Her home was so admired that as time went by other wealthy denizens bought land nearby Jane’s and built themselves palaces too. Centuries later this very land was to become the upper class district where Edgar and of course, for a little while, Pepper would live.

…..

Thus it was that to the waterfront district  where the river ports  lay, Pepper arrived one evening.

 
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Posted by on August 5, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

The Adventures of Pepper The Dog Pt.1

Edgar loves dogs and has always been wonderfully kind and affectionate to them. The dog he has loves him. Near the end of his life when nobody loved him at all, and his business partners were always smiling to his face but were really only in love with the money, his dog was the only thing he could go to to experience any tenderness and companionship

Edgar sits outside with his dog Pepper, throwing her a ball although he remains seated. He doesn’t feel well. He rarely feels well these days even though the doctors cant find anything wrong with him. His wife never talks to him and Edgar knows in his heart of hearts that he can’t blame her. He has plenty of people who call him his friends but none that don’t want something from him all the time. All he has is Pepper. He hugs her and asks her who’s a good girl. He tells her something. He tells her even though he’s always told people he’ll never bring his mother Annabel back, the truth is that he’s been thinking of it lately. A lot. Come so close. He just wants to bring her back as a doll, for 5 minutes. Just long enough to tell his mama how much he loves her. And then, he’ll take an axe and destroy her again.

Edgar’s burial was a surprisingly small affair. The public was barred from attending although crowds gathered around the church where the commemoration service took place. All those invited were sure to be seen attending. Even Fay begrudgingly went, little Byron in hand. However, the actual burial was another story. Fay did not go to that, nor did most of the people who attended the service. Edgar’s current mistress attended as did a couple of his longer term business partners. The mistress left with one of the business partners, as they decided to head somewhere more private to discuss an arrangement around their mutual interests and benefits.

But there was one who attended the burial who no one took much notice of, and unlike the few who came and quickly left, she did not leave shortly after. Pepper stayed there, laying on the freshly dug dirt beneath where her companion lay all that day and night. It wasn’t until the following morning that she finally rose and slinked off towards home.

Home was now a bit of a pickle. Fay hated the dog, absolutely hated it. In her more introspective moments she could admit that her hatred was a little irrational and unfair to the poor beast who had never actually done anything against her, but the fact was that the dog irritated Fay to no end. It reminded her of her Edgar and while she was not in any way grieving, she was in an inner emotional turmoil where hatred and guilt warred within her. On the outside she tried to be calm and reasonable, and so when the dog reappeared, she accepted that she had to do something with it, so she gave it to little Byron.

Little Byron was definitely in need of a companion. He spend too much time alone, caught in shadow of a strange turmoil of ugly adult emotions he couldn’t actually understand and retreating into a deep self absorption which he would spend the rest of his life in. He could really use a companion who would actually interact with him, emotionally and physically and teach him how to explore and express positive feelings. Pepper would be perfect for this.

However.

Fay had up until that point filled little Byron with such loathing and distrust of both Edgar and his dog that little Byron was afraid of and utterly uncomfortable with Pepper. He shunned the dog. He left food out for it when Fay bothered him to do so, but most of the time it was the kitchen staff who actually remembered to feed the hungry thing. Pepper was left to fend for herself, and so she explored the grounds.

One day she made her way into the West Wing, a wing where very few ever went. Pepper could smell Fay’s scent lingering in the air, and 2 of the more senior servants telling her that these three people came to this part of the mansion, but no one else. Pepper explored quietly, knowing that if Fay caught her there, she’s probably subject Pepper to a tirade that pepper truly feared. And eventually, Pepper stumbled across something very interesting. A mahogany man.

It had metal bits, too. Pepper got up close. It was so odd. It has absolutely nothing biological to it, no blood, no living scent, and yet… Pepper was sure it was alive. She could smell a soul inside of it. A pleasant one at that. She gave it a lick. The taste of the mahogany was not terrible. She settled down next to it.

This is how Pepper and Jasper became friends.

Every day Pepper would sneak in and spend the afternoon with Jasper. They would sit together, staring out the window at the well maintained grounds and listen to talk radio. Sometimes Jasper would play a waltz channel. He loved waltzes and Pepper grew to recognize and like them too. If she lay her head on his lap he, with effort, learned how to pet her head just a littler bit. It wasn’t anything that felt exceptionally wonderful, but for Pepper it was the thought that counted.

One afternoon, as they were hanging out, Pepper caught a roach crawling across Jasper.  Appalled at the indignity, she got up on her forepaws and tried to use her teeth to grab and crush the roach. She was mashing her head and teeth into Jasper’s torso to accomplish this when Fay walked in and saw her.

The screech was heard across the grounds.

Fay would absolutely have killed the dog then and there. She chased Pepper out of the house, throwing whatever she could grab, but holding onto a candlestick from within Jasper’s room so that when she caught up to Pepper she could beat the foul beast into its grave. They ran across the lawn and she screamed for the servants to help her, to get the gun and shoot the thing.

Pepper outran them but didn’t know where to go or what to do.

The cook had come out to see what all the fuss was about. The cook, who fed Pepper every night out back, caught the fleeing dog’s eye. The cook calmly went over the service entrance leading to and from the property, opened the door and stood there.

Pepper saw this, bounded over and was soon gone from the property, her only home, where she was never to return. As she ran through the door the cook whispered “Good luck”, then closed the door and calmly walked back into the kitchen.

 
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Posted by on August 4, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Re: Last Night, One Last Comment On A Serious Note

In all the tawdry shenanigans that went on during the almost 6 hour Q&A last night, there was a period that i’d like to quickly address before we move on and destroy all tapes and evidence. (right? RIGHT?? I’m fairly positive we all agreed to that).

A number of people offered very emotional, personal testimonies, most of which i wasnt able to address and respond directly to. I mean, what s there to say? Well, here’s what there is to say.

I heard you, and you may think you love me, but i love you too. In a few weeks, after. firs finish the little EP (estimate, 2 weeks) and directly following that make the NADS Theme Song (estimate, 1 week), i will hunker down get to proper work on the 3rd Act. In the months, in the better part of a year it takes me to make these, i spend much of it working alone in a basement wondering who it is that will actually listen it, what they will think, will i move them, and who they are. I wonder this constantly throughout the process. I make it for imaginery people i will never meet.

But i now i know who i’m making it for. I’m making it for you. It is you who will be in my thoughts during those long months. It is you i will think of in the moments when i need encouragement. It is you i will think of when i pour parts of me that hurt into it and wonder if anyone else will hurt like i do and find solace in the release of the music and the singing and the story. I really heard your tears and your testimonies and know that it is you i will be holding in my heart as i make this next big project.

The next character i emotionally torture, i will torture for you. (Helen: Wft, dude? How about we just exit the doorway and find a nice cup of tea waiting for us? )

 
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Posted by on July 31, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

The Shame

I awake this morning with a hazy memory of shame and disgrace. I… think i may have shamed myself, all my now destroyed and humiliated aspirations, my entire ancestral lineage, all future prodigy and brought disgrace and degradation to any dreams i ever had of respect and knowing anything beyond embarrasment and abashment.

It was awesome.

I deny everything.

 
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Posted by on July 31, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Soon, My Loves…

One more hour…. and i come for you.

 
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Posted by on July 30, 2017 in Uncategorized