Author Archive: Joey Esposito

Joey is a writer and hoarder of nerd things from New England, currently living existence outside of New York City. He often attends rhythmic ceremonial rituals and gambles away his hard earned money.

Currently he’s working on his first novel while creating comics and developing the social writing website Social Pulp, which will be going live by the end of the year. He also serves as the Comics Channel Editor for the major pop culture website CraveOnline. You can find him on Twitter, or e-mail him a lengthy diatribe voicing your utter disgust.

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#13: Mikey Strauss

| November 15, 2010 | 1 Comment

Poor Mikey. The kid was doomed from the start. Be sure to read my previous entry, Noah Strauss, before continuing on.

Dear Diary,

Daddy came home today and actually said I can finally build my tree house and I’m so excited that I could hardly even eat my dinner but I did because then Mom said that if I didn’t eat it she wouldn’t let me build it or play my games or organize my bookshelf. I don’t know know why I love putting my books in order so much but it’s really a lot of fun but not as much fun as building a tree house with my dad will be. My dad isn’t always real happy but sometimes he is.

I don’t mind most of the time but sometimes I get real excited to show him a grade from school or one of the superheroes I made and he doesn’t feel like looking or he’s grumpy and stuff. Mommy says to just ignore him and let him calm down but sometimes after he tells me to go away I don’t really feel like showing him anymore and then I forget until I make something new and then it happens again. Today I had a really cool spaceman that I drew in Ms. Alexis’ art class at school but I wasn’t even gonna show him because I figgered he wouldn’t want to look. Dad says that because it’s X-Mas now everybody is an a-hole and mad and stuff. I useta like X-Mas but Dad says it’s bullcrap.

Anyways I’m real excited for this treehouse. It’s in the weird tree over by the neighbor’s but I bet I can see in their house if I climb way up it. I hope I can see Mrs. Smith changing in her bedroom, that would be so awesome and I bet Billy would come over to check it out too. Dad’s been excited about it since he got home from work today and its weird but I can’t wait. He told me we’d start tomorrow.

#12: Noah Strauss

| November 13, 2010 | 0 Comments

Noah pulled into the driveway at just a bit past 11 PM on Friday. His week had finally ended, No more nagging customers, no more returns, and no more god damn Christmas rush. He opened his car door and slammed it doubly hard with a passing concern that he might smash his window by accident, but went through with it anyway.

His wife must have gotten Mikey to take the pails out, because the garbage was piled on the side of the road in descending order. Even outside of his house he struggled to find solace, the obsessive compulsive disorder that plagued his son pouring onto the street. He kicked one of the pails over just to make them uneven. Noah was shocked Mikey could even touch the damned things in the first place. He’d seen Mikey take the garbage out once before when he had stayed home sick from work. The boy needed four (not three, because three was an odd number) pairs of latex gloves that wrapped over the ends of his old windbreaker. As the thought of that incident came back to him, Noah kicked the garbage pail again, and then once more. It cracked in half and the loose wrappers floating around inside drifted off with the winter wind. He couldn’t remember the last time he came home from work excited to see his family.

After settling down a bit from his brutality towards the garbage pail, Noah set off onto the neighbor’s lawn to catch the floating pieces of garbage he had let float away during his fit. He walked across the lawn that was crisp and frozen from the winter air, but they hadn’t seen any snowfall yet. The ground was hard under his feet, his boots making sounds as they would usually make on pavement. He snatched the cellophane wrappers that had brushed up against the large tree towering in the neighbors yard. Technically, the old tree was rooted on his own property, but he hated the sight of it. It blocked the sunrise in the morning, and thus blocked the light from the largest window in the house. As a result, there was no natural warmth in the living room during the winter months, leaving the gas bill that much higher.

He hadn’t cut down the damn thing because his wife complained about killing trees, while his son maintained he wanted a tree house. A tree house that, out of fear that Mikey would want only even angles in his structure beams, Noah had put off for years.

As he pivoted on his heel from snatching up the wrappers to finally head inside the house, his next step hit something soft. It squished beneath his boot like dog shit. Noah looked down, only to see a squirrel, his tail pointed straight out and now his head collapsed, under his foot.

“Shit.” he moaned. Noah kicked the dead animal with force. His boot caught it just under its torso, sending it flying up into the leafless crown of the tree. “Piece of shit.”

As the words came out of his mouth, there was a sudden deposit of tiny rodents that dropped out of the branches above. They toppled on top of Noah, maybe twenty or thirty of them, all with their tales stiff and their eyes open.

“Christ.” said Noah. Upon further inspection of the creatures, he noticed something. Their bodies weren’t frozen or indicative of decay. They were still living, their bodies drawing long, slow breaths. The only thing that Noah could think to do was look up at the branches, as though the tree itself was going to give him an answer to the scene surrounding him.

Imagine his surprise when it did.

He peered into the tree for nearly twenty minutes until the numbing of his ears snapped him out of it. The first thought to pop into his mind when he turned away was just how much Mikey would enjoy a treehouse.

#11: Baron Hawke

| November 13, 2010 | 0 Comments

Better late than never! I’m about a day behind, but hopefully I’ll be getting up to speed this weekend. This entry comes from the same world as Sir Gustavus and Reebooshalictivus. Enjoy!

All of the Hawkes were noble, but Baron Hawke was the noblest. All of them flew in formation behind him, ducking when he ducked and weaving when he weaved. North, south, east, or west, Baron Hawke was the epitome of their species and looked upon as the overseer of the entire land.

Baron Hawke flew over the carnage swiftly. He was always present for the misdoings of the land creatures but was never dull enough to sink to their level of childish meanderings, striking at one another through the cover of darkness. The Hawkes were watchers; Baron had trained his people to become the Lords of the Sky, watching over the lands below with objectivity and sincerity. From their point of view, distinction between Feral, Feline and Kane was irrelevant; all creatures were but a small blotch on their keen radar as they pierced the atmosphere.

Baron Hawke was  the eldest of his kind. Of any kind, really. He had seen war, plenty of it. More than he’d care to reflect upon. But flying over the wreckage of the destroyed Kingdom was nearly enough to bring tears to his eye. As a symbol of the ancients, the old world, Baron found it difficult to drudge up much emotion about anything in this day and age. He had seen the world rise, fall, lay stagnant, and rebuild… twice. There was a cycle to their seemingly random existence and the world was immeasurably old. As far as Baron knew, he was the oldest living creature on the Earth.

And that’s why his sudden emotion surprised him to the fullest.

At first, he flew slowly over the Kingdom, observing the destruction. Kane bodies were spread about, maimed and broken. The villages had burned, houses razed and the castle overrun with Ferals. The Kingdom had become a wasteland. Unity of the underprivileged, spurred on by a thirst for revolution, had finally won out.

Baron Hawke and his kin certainly had the means for intervention, but they were merely observers. Some of the younger members pleaded with Baron for a retooling of their longstanding rules, but he held true to his forefathers. He had held the tradition for innumerable generations and there was no reason he was about to stop now.

In secret, he wondered if his younger kin was right. Perhaps he was out of touch? Maybe it was his unwillingness to evolve their role in the ecosystem of their society that had caused the ground to act with such despair and violence. The thought weighed heavily on his proud mind, causing heaving flap of his wings to feel ten times heavier. Every breathe was deeper, every call tired.

Before this moment, Baron Hawke had never felt old.

#10: Regular Joe

| November 11, 2010 | 2 Comments
One of the most horrifying concepts to me is amnesia. Knowing that you’ve lost all memories of your life and the people you knew. F*cked up.

His eyes opened just a sliver at first. The sunlight pouring in the window was too much to handle all at once. He heard a few voices around him; voices he knew but couldn’t quite recognize as his brain scrambled to restart. It was all quite confusing. There was a loss of time and space. His memory was distorted, sort of an all encompassing blur of the events that led to this particular moment.

After a few minutes, he was able to open his eyes to a thin squint. The sun was still painful, but he could make out the figures that surrounded his bed. For some odd reason, the very first thing he did was glance at his feet. They poked out of the bedsheets, covered in thick wool socks. He could feel the sweat between his toes, and for this reason knew that he must not be paralyzed. At least that was some good news.

He shifted focus from his feet towards the people that occupied the room with him. He saw their lips moving, though their faces were still obscured by the brightness of light. He heard their voices talking but everything sounded as though it was being regurgitated through water before it hit his ears.

“Get him something to drink,” said the tallest figure. “Get the nurse, too.”

One of the dark figures scuffled out of the room in an instant, leaving the remaining few to hover over the bed. As his eyes adjusted, he recognized the figures as two females and one male. All of them had rather light hair, though he wasn’t sure if that was merely a reflection of the bright sun or their natural color. Soon the person that had left returned, water in hand. He was a young boy, maybe 7 or 8, wide-eyed and delicate. Slowly, he felt the bed begin to rise from behind his shoulders, lifting him into an upright position. It was clear to him now that he was in a hospital room, but why? How did he get there?

There was silence in the room and his visitors stared at him as though he had been brought from the brink of death. Before he had time to think too much, the nurse strolled into the room with her pen out and clipboard ready.

“Good morning, sleepy head,” she said. “Your family’s been very good to you.”

All of the people surrounding him smiled.

“I…” he started, but never finished his thought.

“Hush, now,” the nurse continued. “You save your breath. Let your family do the talking for now, fill you in on what happened.”

He stared at her for a moment, nodding in reluctant agreement.

The patriarch of the group spoke. “Welcome back, son.” The man smiled.

The eldest woman had tears in her eyes as she stroked his hair. His feet were really sweating.

The nurse smiled. “I’ll leave you to it, then.” Her exit from the room was brisk. The older man gave a quick glance towards the door as the nurse left. Just as quickly, he gave a subtle nod to the young boy. The child strolled over to the large window, staring directly at him in his bed, and smiled. Without pause, he pulled the blinds shut, banishing all light from the room.

As the darkness returned, he realized that he did not have amnesia. He wasn’t missing memories; he knew who he was. These people weren’t his family. He didn’t know them at all.

#9: Hattie the Elephant

| November 9, 2010 | 0 Comments

Yes, that Hattie the Elephant. If you read my #8 entry, The Candy Apple Man, you know what I’m doing here. This is not representative of the real, actual elephant (though, her thoughts might be), but the version that appears in my last entry.

I am smart.

I wake up.

I see lady.

I leave cage.

I do tricks.

I get peanuts.

I get kicked.

I see crowds.

Crowd laughs.

I get laughed at.

I get kicked.

I drink water.

I eat food.

I do tricks.

Crowd laughs.

I sit down.

I get treats.

I do tricks.

I get tired.

I get kicked.

I do tricks.

Crowd laughs.

Sun goes down.

Crowd leaves.

Nice lady leaves.

I go in cage.

I fall asleep.

Nice lady never comes.

I give up.

#8: The Candy Apple Man

| November 9, 2010 | 0 Comments

I’ll be throwing up two entries today, the first of which is courtesy of my girlfriend Stephanie, as discussed over steaming hot (and delicious) soup, amidst a round of air humping. While normally I’d argue that killers without motive are far more terrifying, killers out for sympathetic vengeance are undeniably fun. Please leave a comment or three, and thanks for reading!

December, 1922.

It feels like just yesterday I was standing at the gates of the Central Park Zoo, standing like a baffoon with my hands full of candied apples and my voice echoing over the heads of the patrons. Parents who had brought their spoiled little brats to ogle the giraffes and orangutans, sitting in their own shit, boring themselves to death. Still, a man has to make an honest living. Mama showed me how to make candied apples when I was a boy, after Pa died, to try and ease the loss. I figured I could come to the big city and make a buck.

I never expected to meet Patricia. Meeting her shaped who I am today, whether that’s a good thing or bad I’ll leave for you to decide. She worked as the trainer for Hattie, the smartest elephant in the world. Every day, she’d finish her nightly routines with the beast and then stroll out the gates, happy as a clam. I envied how much joy she took from her work, especially inside a zoo that was run by men. It couldn’t have been easy for her to step all over the machismo of the brutes, taking the credit for the success of Hattie. I guess that’s probably why what happened, happened.

Folks’d come from all over the States to see Hattie perform. Patricia was responsible for all of it. She’d explained the story to me at one time, about her father’s trip to Ceylon and how he’d acquired the beast. She’d demanded to stay with Hattie when she was sold to Bill Snyder in ‘03. Of course Snyder, the rat, took all the credit for Patty’s work, and his employees followed suit. Anyhow, every day she’d walk past my apple cart flashing those big green eyes, and I finally mustered the courage to ask her out one evening. As my luck would have it, she accepted and before you knew it, we were engaged to be wed.

Boys will be boys, of course, and the news of our engagement spread throughout the zoo like wildfire in the West. Being one of ‘em, I can still never understand how a man can elevate himself above a woman but always feel like he’s got to fight for her affection. Long story short, the boys were jealous. First Patty had taken their spotlight, and now I had taken Patty. They even went so far as to put some sort of African dung in my candy brew and made the few customers I had sick as dogs. Flubbing with me was fine, but it’s what they did to Patricia that I can’t stand.

As a prank one evening a couple of months ago, they scared the holy Hell out of some of the elephants, just as Patty had finished her nightly routine with Hattie. Leaving the pen, she was trampled. Flattened like Mama’s flapjacks. Outside the walls, I barely even heard the scream. The sun went down and as old Bill Snyder came out, locking the gates, I knew something wasn’t right. He didn’t acknowledge me at all. I jumped the fence that night, and I can’t rightly recount what it is I found, as the pieces were indistinguishable from the woman I loved.

Not long after, just last month in fact, Hattie passed. The animal doctors said it was an unidentifiable illness, but I know what it was. Hattie had been with Patricia since she first arrived in the States. Living without her wasn’t manageable.

For a while there, I had considered layin’ right down next to the beast and dying myself. My wife, my love, gone, with no due justice. Bein’ a candy apple vendor isn’t exactly a respected profession; the NYPD wouldn’t give me a second glance, especially not up against a local entrepreneur like Bill Snyder. The zoo brought in thousands of tourists every summer. It was naive to think that a citizen would take precedence over the Chamber of Commerce. Realizing the futility of my case, I’m bringing matters into my own hands. I got one thing at my disposal after all, and that’s making the best damn candied apples on the island of Manhattan. But as business must, it’s got to evolve. Revolutionize. I’ve got a new recipe that’s been a hit in this dirty city.

I can’t bring back my wife, but I can make the children of her killers eat their Daddy’s hearts.

#7: Rip Nixon

| November 7, 2010 | 0 Comments

In under the wire! Rip Nixon is the closest I’ll ever get to creating a superhero character. More than that, he’s a means to explore workaholism, something I may or may not suffer from. Enjoy.

Rip walked in the door of his two-story rural home to find his lovely wife Veronica cooking a roast. Somehow, the juicy flavor of the meal permeated the oven and wafted under his noise in the form of the most delicious smell he’d ever smelled. Upstairs, he could hear his kids bouncing around, playing some imaginary adventure game that he was sure they saw in their minds as real as the clothes on their bodies. It was another average night in Nixon household, the perfect American family. Rip struggled to take it all in and ignore the intense pain shooting through his body.

“Hey, honey.” Veronica said, giving Rip a nonchalant peck on the cheek as he walked in the kitchen. He wanted to grab her and kiss her with all of his being, but resisted. In her mind, she’d only just seen him this morning. Her smile pierced him.

Rip snapped out of it, putting down his briefcase and sitting down at the dinner table.

“How was your day?” she asked.

“It was… good. It was good, dear,” he replied. “How was yours?”

“Johnny got sent out in the hall at school today, apparently,” she said with disdain. “He told Ms. Howser to go to hell. Any idea where he got that from?”

She shot him a playful look of distrust. It was the greatest thing he’d felt in years.

“I love you, Veronica.”

His wife was taken aback at Rip’s bluntness. Every day he surprised her. When he’d left this morning, he was ecstatic about his coming work day. But now, returning home, he seemed war torn. Like he’d been through hell.

In Rip’s mind, that wasn’t far from the truth. His life was becoming more blurred as the job went on. He’d leave for months, sometimes years. But for his family, for Veronica, Johnny, and Claire, it was hours. As far as they were concerned, Daddy left for work in the morning and returned home in the evening. Monday through Friday, he was your typical Joe businessman.

The truth was, Rip had lived nearly twenty years in the past two months. Going back and forth in time, doing the dirty work of his employers. Real time was a blur. He couldn’t reconcile his real ife with his work life anymore. At what point does your job become your life and your life become your job? As the work went on, it became more and more difficult for him to remember why he loved his wife and kids. Ironically, they were the reason he accepted the job in the first place. He was unsure of how much longer he could walk through that crimson door and hide his relief to be at home. He hadn’t seen Veronica in twenty years, but he had to act like it was only 8 hours.

“I love you too, sweetie,” she smiled. “Can you go get the kids ready to eat? Dinner’s ready.”

She turned away from Rip, preparing to remove the roast from the oven and complete her meal.

Rip sighed, happy to carry out such a menial task. As he climbed the stairs towards the bumping of the kids’ playroom, an all-too-familiar beep sounded, muffled from the pager’s placement in his pocket. The sound stopped Rip dead in his tracks. He shook his head and moved into the bathroom to take the call.

Talking into the small communicator, Rip was noticeably unhappy.

“I just got here. Give me the night. Please.” he pleaded.

A voice echoed form the device, filtered through static. “No can do, cowboy. We need ya now. Urgent.”


“30s. Chicago. Should be fun.”

“It better be less than a week, and I want two full days off, guaranteed.”

“It’ll take you three days max, and I’ll give you one day off.”

Rip paused, then sighed. “Deal.”

The communication ended. Rip snuck down the hall a ways to peer in on his kids. They were fighting with swords made of poster tubes, apparently pillaging and plundering as pirates. He smiled, then turned away.

He had a passing thought that he might be a workaholic.

#6: Jack “Slim” Pickens

| November 7, 2010 | 0 Comments

Running a bit behind this weekend, but here’s my entry for yesterday (more to come later); #6, Jack ‘Slim’ Pickens! He’s from the same world as previous entries Rusty Palmer and Linda McKibben, so read up kids!

Franklin Row is the kind of city that you come to die in.

There ain’t no promotions here, there ain’t no money, no tree lined streets, and there sure as shit ain’t no future. But it’s alright. Every day I walk into the Dine-o-rama with it’s broken neon lights and creaky door. They call me Slim, some sorta irony I guess considering how much god damn food I eat.

Anyhow, every day I walk in to eat and see Cindy. I ain’t got no wife, no kids, not even siblings. I wake up alone, I shower alone, I talk alone. And for a fat old fart like me, it’s likely I’ll die alone. But Cindy makes sure that I ain’t ever gonna dine alone. Every single day I walk in for my breakfast at around 8 or 9 PM (night shift’s a bitch), and Cindy is always ready for me. There’s a crap load of other regulars too, but she always makes the special effort to talk with me about… well, anything she can drudge up, really. I ain’t got much to talk about. Workin’ security for an office building ain’t much to speak of when ain’t nothin’ happens. Even if it did, I’m too old and too out of shape to chase anybody.

You’d think I’d be a miserable sack a shit, if you were gonna read my life out loud on paper, but I promise I ain’t. I guess you could say I had it tough as a kid, first with my parents up and dyin’ and then the foster care systems bein’ as bad as they were back then. I ain’t ever left the Row, and I’m too damn old to start now. I’ve accepted my role in this life, perhaps in the next things will turn out different.

A lot of that acceptance does come from Cindy, I s’ppose, being as she’s always ready with my five eggs, over easy, home fries with ketchup, OJ, coffee light and sweet, buttered corn muffin, and five strips of bacon, but patted down with a paper towel to get rid of that extra grease. It don’t take much to satisfy me, and a meal like that is a surefire way to get me ready for my day. My shift usually ends ‘bout 9 AM, but I never go to the Dine-o-Rama for dinner. They ain’t servin’ steaks and such that early in the mornin’. The owner, Ralph Parcell, says I’m such a good customer that he don’t mind bendin’ the rules for me a bit, but I don’t want to put him through no trouble.

It’s at night — well, morning for everybody else — that I wish I had somebody. Not even a lover or nothin’, just a friend. Or sister or somethin’. Somebody to shoot the shit with. For a city that ain’t had any crime in years, it’s amazing how nobody here gets along. I share the same counter at the diner with five other fellas that I known for years, but ain’t one of us have anything in common with one another ‘cept for Cindy.

It’s alright though. I know my time’s coming, and I’m looking forward to it. I ain’t gonna end it early or nothin’, so don’t get any ideas, but I look forward to what the Lord or whoever has got in store for my next go-round. Hopefully I don’t wind up back in Franklin Row. Until then though, at least I know that I got the best damn eggs on the east coast waitin’ for me fresh every morning.

#5: Reebooshalictivus

| November 5, 2010 | 4 Comments

Hooray, it’s Friday! I got a good response from my entry #4 (Sir Gustavus), so decided to continue this little world of house pets turned revolutionaries. In this entry, I introduce Reebooshalictivus, street cat living in poverty turned radical revolutionary. Based, of course, on my adorable little cutie kitty Reebo. Enjoy!

Night after night he’d emerge from the sandy underbelly of the market shops on Main Street, just as the elite had decided they’d had their fill of beefy loins and fresh fish for the day. The rich and richer would look to the sky to see the sun deteriorating, a sign that the Ferals would soon take over the streets of the small village. Not long after, the upper class would be tucked into their homes, drinking and laughing of the day’s happenings.

Reebooshalictivus had brains that the rest of his kind did not posses. He was adept at surviving on his own. He’d never needed a pack to roam with to ensure there was food. He’d brave the Felines calling in the members of the guard to carry him off to the Shelter, should he be spotted in daylight. Most nights, he’d leave his hiding spot under the shops at twilight, giving him first choice of all the discarded waste that had been left in the garbage pails and alley ways. He may have been at the bottom of the food chain between those in the Kingdom, the Felines and the Hawkes, but Reebooshalictivus  was a survivor in every sense of the word.

Ever since he was small, he could remember his parents living in fear. They had instilled in him the way of things. The Kingdom were top dog, playing up their pretension by constantly reminding the lands around them of their places. They were evil, hunting down Feline or Feral, it mattered not. With these teachings came a learned resentment of the Felines; Reebooshalictivus couldn’t understand how one people could divide themselves when there was a greater threat at hand. A threat that had been omnipresent for generations, and likely generations to come if no one would stand tall. For now, Reebooshalictivus would have to accept that his people were divided. One class had become two, and the world had run rampant with tyranny and abuse because of it.

As he would soon learn, things can only be pushed so far before revolution is thrust upon you. You can either back away in cowardice or step up and take charge.

One evening as Reebooshalictivus rounded the corner to an alleyway he had never explored before, he stumbled upon a pack of Ferals, whom he initially paid no attention to. Minding his business and content in leaving them be, he backtracked with the intent of inspecting the next block. As he rounded the corner, a raucous cacophony of shrill shrieks penetrated his chipped ears, causing his thinning hair stand on its end. He darted back to the alley, only to find the horrid site of his kinsman tearing each other at the seams over a half eaten chicken bone. Hair was strewn every which way, eyes gouged, bodies pierced.

“My kin!” shouted Reebooshalictivus, as loud as he could. “Brothers! Sisters! Madness!”

With his words reaching deaf ears, Reebooshalictivus dashed forward into the scuffle. Almost immediately, he was hit with a stray claw, directly to his chest. The puncture was deep and hard, taking the breath out of him. He slammed to the ground, the blood pouring steadily from the wound. As he lay for a moment, waiting to regain his wits, the night air went soft and silent. There were no more cries. The fighting had ceased.

Reebooshalictivus slowly rose to his paws. The sight of the battle’s aftermath was more painful than any physical abuse could have possibly mustered up. There before him were the bodies of his kinsman, battered and broken, the half eaten chicken bone laying between them. Division amongst one people was, apparently, not enough; instead the subclasses now required breaking.

That was the moment that Reebooshalictivus realized he’d had enough. Enough infighting, enough division. It was a time for unity. And it was unity he would bring.

#4: Sir Gustavus

| November 4, 2010 | 0 Comments

And now, for something different. My last entries have been relatively based in reality, but in honor of my awesome dog Gus celebrating his 5th birthday today (monetary donations can be arranged), I thought it’d be fun to turn him into something fun for the Challenge. Thus, Sir Gustavus was born and the fruits of my labor can be seen below. As always, comments are appreciated. Enjoy!

The valley was vast, but it was not as he remembered it.

As he approached the zenith of the hill, he looked down upon the scorched valley he was once boastful to call his Kingdom. He had served proudly and well, offering his undying devotion to the King and Queen, serving out any task they requested. Now, upon his return, he came to find ashes and stone in place of all that he had held so close to his heart whilst seeking out the support of the bordering lands.

On top of the hill he stood for hours, gripping his sword ever the more tightly as the hours passed. Finally, as the moment came where he accepted his Kingdom’s fate, he slowly removed his helmet, letting it drop to his side with a clank. It teetered for a moment before gravity overtook it, sending it bouncing down the other side of the hill to the fires below. His ears flapped in the silent breeze. His nose twitched with every passing gust as the stench of his burned brethren and charred villages seeped into this nostrils.

Sir Gustavus had never been one to allow his emotions to gain control of his better judgement. Even when he was plucked from the litter as a youngling to be trained in the highest of guilds to serve and protect, he did not weep. But now, for the first time, he could feel the sting of tears in his eyes as he gazed upon the wreckage of his home.

The Ferals had long impeded on the Kingdom’s borders, taunting their very civilization for years on end. Yet there had been no war. No battles. Only years of endless taunts, seemingly meaningless jests of annoyance, on both sides of the spectrum. But now, in one fell swoop, the Ferals had banded together and left this great civilization in ruins. The Ferals had left behind their nomadic bands to form a single cohesive unit, collectively striking against their natural predators and effectively ending the ancient standoff.

As Gustavus stood upon that hill, the breaking dawn upon his back, he could see the faintest movement amongst the wreckage. Planks shifting, bricks rolling, fire stifled. Drawing back his tears, Gustavus instinctively gained focus, his keen eyesight sharpening the scene even miles in the distance. There, trotting around his former lands, stomping on the bodies of the deceased and scouring about for days-old fish carcass were Ferals. Dozens of them, scattered about like flies on his excrement.

In that moment, Gustavus stood tall. And for the first time in the many months of his journey, he spoke.

“The Ferals have taken our land, Brothers,” he said. His voice was a low rumble, spoken succinctly and true. “This day, they have stagnated evolution and returned us to our primal states. So shall I.”

Slowly, he began to shed the armor that protected his modest frame, piece by piece. From gauntlets to chainmail, all was removed, added to the pile at the bottom of the hill where his helmet lay. Lastly, he rested his sword on the ground.

Gustavus dropped to all fours, his ears pushed back and his lips curled. He bared the savageness of his teeth so ferociously that even Ferals miles away could stand to look away. His tail went horizontal, his hair raised, and he arched his back downwards, digging his hardened paws into the hard soil. With a howl, Gustavus charged fierce towards the remains of his Kingdom, bringing forth a new hunt.

#3: Linda McKibben

| November 3, 2010 | 0 Comments

My entry #3 is Linda McKibben, wife to yesterday’s entry, Rusty Palmer. Yes, she kept her own name. Enjoy, and feedback is always appreciated!

Rusty —

I apologize for the rather dramatic display you’ve probably just stumbled into. Hanging is melodramatic, I know, but maybe it’ll be enough to jump start your life again.

Please, don’t take my leaving as any sort of fault of your own. In fact, I’ve had the thought of doing it myself before we even got married. It’s hard for people to realize that I accomplished all of the goals I established for myself before I was 30. There was a satisfaction to that, sure, but then what? What’s left? New goals would seem logical, but when your town is utopian and you lose your biggest accomplishment has become moot, what have you got?

For these last few years, I’ve watched you clock out and go and sit in that diner on 5th. And for these last few years, you’ve asked me, night after night, to join you. But I never have. Instead, I’ve wandered the streets, waiting for something to just jump out at me. Attack me, frighten me, rob me, anything. Nothing ever changes, and I wind up safe and sound in our bed. I haven’t unholstered my weapon in five years.

When I left Indiana I felt like I was walking towards the horizon that I always thought was out of my reach. Coming to this town, ranking hard and fast in the FPD… I wasn’t the ambitious little nerd from podunk anymore. I was respected for my drive, willpower, and ability. My intellect. You see these movies about mentally challenged kids that these Hollywood clowns win Oscars for, but no one bothers to show the struggle of the smart kids? More specifically, a smart kid with tits?

Ever since this place cleaned up, I’ve lost all of that. The rooks don’t come to me with questions anymore. There’s no murders to solve or suspects to question. I feel like I’m all grown up but I’m back in podunk on the porch at my step-father’s house. Waiting, dreaming.

Well, I’ve finally found that next horizon. The next big challenge to tackle. Because guess what, Rusty? Whether you’ll accept it or not, something has happened to this place. I’ve covered every inch of this city for years in search of an answer. The only logical conclusion I can come to is that I — we — did our job.  We succeeded. But when Columbus “found” the Americas, what did he do? He destroyed what was already there.

I love you, Rusty. I hope you can find your next purpose, just as I’ve found mine.


#2: Rusty Palmer

| November 2, 2010 | 5 Comments

Hello, all. Back again for day #2. This time, it’s a character from a long form comic that I’ve been working on for about a year. Fun stuff. Enjoy!

The air smelled as it always did when Rusty was around. The feint smell of burnt coffee and the molding filter resting above the pot. Cindy had stopped brewing him fresh pots years ago; he’d come in and sit for hours on end, not taking a sip of his cup until it was just above room temperature. Since the beginning, they hardly spoke more than the obligatory greetings that necessitated the waitress/customer relationship.

Rusty would stumble in the at the same hour every evening, 7 PM, just getting off his shift down at the precinct. He’d wander in, blank faced, almost bored. Most nights Cindy was standing behind the counter, wiping down some mess that Bobby, Slim, or some other regular had left in their place. The jingle bells attached the rickety old door of the diner seemed to have a different ring to them whenever Rusty walked in. Every time, without fail, Cindy would look up at just the right moment to see Detective Rusty Palmer walk through the door frame, removing his jacket and tossing the day’s newspaper on the counter top of his regular booth.

The evening had gone just like every shift before it, for as long as Cindy could remember. Except this time, when she wandered over to Rusty to give him a fresh cup of hours old coffee, something changed. A dimming of the street lamp outside, a pitch change in room tone. Even the static electricity between Cindy’s blouse and skin felt different. Thicker. It wasn’t long before Cindy realized why that was: as she leaned over to deliver Rusty’s new cup of coffee, his eyes weren’t adrift. They weren’t gazing into the ether, pondering whatever it was a loner dreams about. They were locked right on her.

In the split second where their eyes caught one another, Cindy didn’t feel awkward. There was no sense of aggression or mistrust between the two, it was as though after years of minimal conversation a flower had blossomed and their lives were out in the open. Years of silence suddenly giving birth to a genuine friendship. And then, more surprisingly, Rusty spoke.

“Have you read the paper today, Cindy?” he asked.

She hesitated for a moment, still trying to understand why he had chosen this moment to hold a friendly conversation about the news. She felt nervous.

“I… haven’t, no. I don’t typically read the paper unless a customer brings it in and leaves it but the only customer that I ever really see with it is you and you always take it when you leave so–,” was all that came out before Cindy realized that she might be making a fool of herself, rambling on to him like that. Rusty only smiled.

“There’s no point, really,” he replied, rather gently. “Nothing happens in Franklin Row anymore. Pretty frustrating for a cop, you know?”

One of the waitstaff dropped a plate in the kitchen as the shattering porcelain rang throughout the entire diner.

“Cindy, you’ve served me year after year, the same time, the same booth, the same order,” Rusty continued. “Don’t you find it strange that the highest ranking Detective in Franklin Row has nothing better to do with his evenings than sit in a mom and pop diner reading a newspaper that lost its crime section four years ago?”

Rusty stood up slowly, finally taking a sip of his fresh cup of coffee. He rolled the newspaper into a cylinder and handed it to her.

“Read up, sweetheart,” he said. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

As Cindy stood there stunned, Rusty threw on his jacket and walked out the door, the bells jingling as it slammed shut behind him.

#1: Luanne Phillips

| November 1, 2010 | 2 Comments

Here we go! This is my first entry, Luanne Phillips, the mother character in my work-in-progress Roscoe and Alice Find God. You can check out the initial 8-pages here, and you’ll see that she’s a fun, horrifically abnormal human being that we spend far too little time with. The artwork in this post is Jonathan Moore’s work from the comic, so enjoy!

I’m not crazy. I’m not. I just needed a baby. I wanted his baby. Roscoe should have been mine anyways. All I really did was free him of the prison sentence he was being born into unwillingly. I’ll be his mother, his father, his best friend and his lover. I can be everything for him.

When Michael left me, I knew that he was confused. We were young, he wanted to “experiment”. But he broke my heart, and I couldn’t just let him get away with it. After the day he left, I hardly spoke to him again. But I followed him wherever he moved to, I isolated myself like I’m going to isolate my son. Call it tunnel vision if you want, but my goal was clear cut. Unfortunately, that dirty c**t Mary Beth had to get involved and ruin everything.

My plan changed. They got married. She got my life. So I took it back.

It was for the best. Some part of me is always going to have to live in fear, I guess, but when you look at the situation from the view of everyone in Michael and Mary Beth’s lives, no one had seen me in ten years. I’m sure Michael never even mentioned me. I’m sure all my photos were still in his mother’s basement where we used to f**k, and he hasn’t so much as thought about them in the past decade. The hardest part of taking my baby back is that I’ll never know what will become of Michael. He’ll kill himself maybe, after losing his whole “world”, but I guess that’s what he deserves.

We moved to Idaho and settled in some hick town. The community was nice enough. They didn’t ask questions and I prefer it that way. As far as they were concerned, Luanne and Roscoe are an unfortunate case of lower-middle class America whose Daddy left them in the lurch. In my opinion, that’s not too far off from the truth.

We did everything together, Roscoe and I. We did all the normal stuff kids are supposed to do. He went to school, we built tree forts, we got ice cream. Those years in Idaho were the best times of my life. Roscoe had it tough in school, he’s different. Quiet. But when he’d come home, he was the polite, happy boy I raised. We’d play board games and watch Entertainment Tonight. He was always mesmorized by Hollywood drama and all that.

Then when Roscoe was about seven or eight, the trail seemed to heat up a bit. I got paranoid. More than a few cops had been by asking some questions, saying it was in regards to the town census or something or other. They drove Ford Crowne Victorias and I’ve seen too many cop movies not to know they were undercover. The neighbors started watching too; snooping around. So I decided we would leave. That was really the end of the happy times.

I brought Roscoe back to the Berkshires, where I grew up. I wanted him to experience the same great schools I had in my youth. But the same thing happened. He was picked on, ignored. He did make one friend, but she’s a spoiled, free-thinking little happy-go-lucky brat that doesn’t deserve to know my son. As he grows older it’s harder for me to connect with him, at least it feels that way. He grew a lot tighter, spending more time in front of the TV and inside his own head than talking to me. Still, I was happy just sitting with him while he watched.

It’s Christmas time now. The snow is heavy and the weather is cold. At least we’re safe. Roscoe has got a school performance coming up for the holidays. He’s nervous as hell but late at night I can hear him practicing the song in his room, when he thinks I’m dead asleep. More than once I’ve sat in the hallway outside his door just listening. It’s so sweet hearing his soft little voice being used.

30 Characters Challenger: Joey Esposito

| October 28, 2010 | 3 Comments

Hey everyone, my name is Joey, I’m a writer from New England currently shoehorned into Queens, NY. Okay, so technically it’s Long Island, but Queens sounds “better”.

I write comics — no real artistic skill here, so I fear you’ll be reading lengthy character sketches and journal entries from me for the next 30 days! But it’s nice to find something like this that isn’t restricted to artists only! Currently, I’ve got two projects in development, one of which, Roscoe and Alice Find God, can be seen here, and the other which is super-tip-top-secret! For a day job (or… night job, I suppose), I’m the Comics Channel Editor for CraveOnline, covering all things throughout the industry as well as dabbling in other areas. I also freelance for a variety of other sites, covering topics that range from awesome to “making a buck”. During the day, I make videos for an online toy retailer. You know, the American dream. I’m also the drummer of a band called Hounds Basket that your mother would hate.

More importantly, I love ice cream, my cat, dog, girlfriend and fish. The order is up for interpretation. Working as much as I do, I find the creative outlets in my life constantly being pushed to the side in favor of something considerably less exciting. 30 Characters sounded like a stellar opportunity to force myself into creating, so I hope it triggers some mad desperate need to get crackin’.

So here goes nothing, and I can’t wait to see what every pumps out! You can find me on Twitter, or feel free to e-mail me.