Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Dead Man's Hand and Connections

Saturday Gene said that I needed to write an entire story featuring Kid Anarchy and Miss Bloodraven -- so one set in the past, about 1922.

Monday I started working on that.  To begin with, I imagined a scene with Kid Anarchy in the laboratory of some mad scientist.  But who is the scientist?  Well, as it turns out, I have an entire history dedicated to Madman Jebadiah Judas, a foe of the Gentleman Brawler who created a Miracle Elixir with some unfortunate side effects -- such as it made him super strong, but drove him insane.  And drove others insane.

Madman Judas had first a travelling medicine show and then a company, which he renamed later on to try and become more respectable.  He passed his company on to apparently his son Julian Judas (my history doesn't specify the exact family relationship).  I tracked the history of the company down to modern  times as it passed through several generations of Judas's and was renamed after each new head honcho.  But I never actually put any of this in any story.

Well!  I have a mad scientist in Julian Judas already figured out!  He takes over his father's company in 1928, but surely by 1922 he's already got big plans and is trying to perfect his father's elixir.  Perhaps this is even the basis for the super soldier serum that Grandpa eventually takes?  I imagine Julian Judas is a savvy enough businessman to have possibly brokered a deal with the government.  There are certainly possibilities here, but one thing was certain, I had my villain.

Next I did some research on what, exactly, a mad scientist in 1922 might know about molecular biology.  What did they understand back then about genetics?  What did they refer to?  Mind you, this is an hour or  two of  research all so that I can throw in one line about how Julian Judas wants to study the DNA of Miss Bloodraven, to "study her hereditary molecules".  Because of course that's what he'll really be interested in -- Kid Anarchy is just a punk who punches people, but Miss Bloodraven can transform into animals.  Now THAT is an ability that's worth trying to replicate!  Like his father, Julian Judas is all about improving mankind through potions and pills, to help mankind evolve into higher beings, by force if necessary, and especially if it grants Julian great power and wealth, and with no regard for who might get hurt along the way.

I did some research into mad scientist tropes to figure out which ones I'd want to emulate and what I might want to avoid.  I'm pretty sure I want to set the lab on fire -- that's a big trope but I don't think I've done it before, and Kid/Mister/Sargent/Grandpa Anarchy ought to do it many times in his career.
I was working on this story again today and I was thinking, might not Julian Judas actually offer to team up with Kid Anarchy?    Oh, he has absolutely no respect or interest in Kid Anarchy himself, but the boy inherited a lot of money from the Gentleman Brawler.  Julian would covet that money -- to fund his research if nothing else -- and would try to convince Kid Anarchy to invest in his elixir business.

And another thing occurred to me.  Kid Anarchy and Miss Bloodraven have been investigating the disappearance of at least two people, and reports of some sort of supernatural monster prowling about in the night.  Julian Judas has captured Kid Anarchy, but as he explains he's an upstanding businessman with many connections, and Kid Anarchy is nothing more than a former orphan who lucked into a sum of money, but who is not well-liked and has been caught trespassing on Julian's property.  He threatens Kid Anarchy with legal action and assures him that "the law is on my side" and that he has the best lawyers at his disposal.

Well -- Grandpa Anarchy has a demonic lawyer, of course, but Kid Anarchy this early in his career probably doesn't have that yet, does he?  When exactly did he meet Malevolent P. Brimstone?  When I started thinking about it, I realized that I could work that into this story as well.

Right now I have several paragraphs from the opening scene, and then a lot of bits of dialog and ideas that I need to string together in the correct order.  I have an idea of how the story should go; I just need to write it.   But I got some of that written today.  ^_^  My original working title was just Kid Anarchy and Miss Bloodraven but right now I've got a working title of Business Connections.


Monday night I decided on the spur of the moment that I didn't have enough Judas Priest in my music collection.  And actually I don't just mean "not enough" I mean I barely had anything.  I had three songs -- two from the fairly recent 2014 cd Redeemer of Souls, and then Painkiller from 1990.

I wound up downloading three full cds -- 1982's Screaming For Vengeance, 2005's Angel of Retribution, and the full Painkiller cd, along with the song Heading Out to the Highway.  That gave me a good selection of Priest to listen to.  ^_^

Tuesday night I assembled a classic metal playlist to include a bunch of Judas Priest, but also songs like Crazy Train by Ozzy Ozbourne, Ace of Spades by Motorhead, and Run to the Hills by Iron Maiden.  I was listening to it this morning, and the lyrics from Ace of Spades caught my attention:

Pushing up the ante, I know you got to see me,
Read 'em and weep, the dead man's hand again,
I see it in your eyes, take one look and die,

I've listened to this song hundreds of times, but suddenly I thought:  exactly what is a "dead man's hand"?  I don't play poker but I figured it was a specific card combination.  As it turns out, it's generally accepted that a "dead man's hand" is both black aces and both black 8's, with an unknown hole card, so two pair with aces high -- most likely a winning hand in a card game (and it includes the Ace of Spades which the singer apparently likes).  But more specifically, this is supposedly the hand that Wild Bill Hickock held when he was shot from behind and killed.  That's why it's the dead man's hand.

Of course that's all legend and it mostly came into being fifty years after his death.  It's impossible to know for sure what cards he held when he died -- but even so, there's quite a bit of debate over what the fifth card was (despite the fact that it would likely not matter or have an effect on the game).  People like to discuss inane topics of no importance.  ^_^  One comment I read was that the fifth card was the bullet -- game over.

Anyway, it seemed to me that there might be a story in there somewhere.  I have no idea what it is but I wrote down all of the story and saved it in a file named Dead Man's Hand.

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