Here I was: I found myself standing before the mouth o’ Osequus Cave, where legends say roams the great prophet, J. J. W. Mezun, who is said to have 1st discovered the obscure tales o’ Autumn Springer, the great thief o’ Boskeopoleon folklore.
Tho I knew this was a prophet, like many, perennially drunk on inspiration, & could be a danger to my life & soul, — when I would quiver for my life @ the thought o’ bumping into someone on domestic streets — as a prophet myself, a collector o’ all Boskeopolis’s best myths, I had no choice but to venture onward into the darkness o’ this grotto, a black hole that promised no return.
I didn’t wander long inside, with the limp light o’ my flashlight revealing li’l & my breath held tight, before I heard a voice, deep & hoarse from rare use, call out to me in a strange language that I, thankfully, in my deep studies, knew. Roughly translated, twas:
You must be Nasrin Mohsen, the Speaker o’ the Eye. I flushed & felt my stomach churn @ the unexpected recognition & the bizarre title they had given me. ¿How many others know who I am, & do they all call me by this odd — & undeserved — appellation? The voice continued,
I hope you can get into my lair.
I felt my nerves shudder as I witnessed a lanky creature whose shape did not seem to fit any terrestrial being lumber out o’ the shadows — a creature o’ unknown species; but if one had to designate one, ’twould be mostly a mix o’ crustacean, tortoise, insect, & human, for, putting together all o’ the few witness accounts, they had a human head & torso, but with crablike claws, a tortoise’s shell on round their back, & long, black, thin legs like an ant’s. Since so few had seen this being & lived to conjure up a Latin name, likely referencing their favorite musician, like Prodigiosum ladygaga, the species — or e’en family, or order, or phylum, given how many their various parts encompasses — is still unnamed. But since this was likely the only instance o’ this class, it probably didn’t matter; I already knew a name for this thing: Prof. — tho in what dark subject matter they studied is unknown to all who speak — J. J. W. Mezun.
You have come to learn the truths ’hind the legends o’ what they call the Red Devil, ¿is that correct, Madasir? — That is how you prefer to be called, ¿correct?, said the creature. Tho the latter question was far too complex & arcane, involving many strange superstitions, for a mere nod to do justice, I nodded all the same, for the 1st question a’least, not wanting to stay in this cold wasteland any longer than necessary.
The creature continued:
The thief called Autumn was not born in these stories, but in works o’ an artform that mixes visuals & words, known as “comics”. These “comics” went by the name, “Pendejos”, which means many things in Spanish — idiots, assholes, all the worst dregs o’ modern man. I had dreamt o’ these things, & tho wisdom has too many times told me not to force my dreams into the waking lands, on a February morn in the year o’ the Hand, 2009, I etched into my sketchbook the closest assimilation to the visions I had seen in my dreams….
Prof. Mezun reached 1 o’ their claws ’hind their back & then pulled it back out, now holding a dusty, yellowed sheet o’ paper. I took a deep breath, edged forward, & grabbed the sheet by the fringe hanging o’er their claw like a wide tentacle, being careful not to brush my fingers gainst such a sharp claw, all the while my heart pounding @ the possibility that this creature might snatch me & devour me in 1 o’ their many sexual-communist rituals.
I took small steps back, hoping Prof. Mezun would not notice, & then looked down @ the paper, which said @ the top in big, rounded letters, “Pendejos”, & to the right o’ that 2 rows o’ text, in smaller letters, “Created by JJW Mezun” & “2/16/09”.
Below that, on the left, were sketches o’ stick figure characters, the topmost a glaring unknown boy in a backward cap with short tufts o’ hair popping out next to sketches with the same face, but with different hair styles, the 1st with a mohawk & the 2nd with a large bang that spread forward o’er his face, defying gravity. These other 2 were crossed out. Below this picture were the large, square-shaped letters, “DANTE SUMMERS”. Next to him was descriptive text that seemed to be cut off @ the rightmost edge that said, “Pompous, arrogant, narrowminded, obnoxious asshole. Works as bagboy at Safeway. Lives in his parents’ basement. Secretly in love with Autumn. High school flunky […] age 19. Compulsive liar. [...]”.
Below this were a line o’ sketches o’ a stick figure with the same glaring face with eyelash lines on their eyes. Like “Dante”, they all differed by hairstyle, & all but the last were crossed out: the 1st had hair that went down to her shoulders, but flowed backward; the 2nd had short hair; the 3rd had short hair with a bun; & the 4th, uncrossed sketch, had a ponytail with spiky bangs o’er her face. Below were the letters, “AUTUMN”. To the right was a description, also cut off, that said, “Pissed off, selfish, gre […] Coniving [sic], grudge-holde […] Slightly crazy asshole. Lives in small apartmen […] works as cashier at Jack […] the Box. Also flunked high school. Age 19. Secret [..] in love with Dante”.
& below that were various sketches o’ a skull, 3 o’ which were attached to stick figure bodies. None o’ these sketches were crossed out. Below these sketches were the words, “EDGAR WINTERS”, & next to them was the text, “Slightly timid, emotional, insecure, often mocked and picked on by Dante and Autumn. Spineless. Age 18”.
Below these were mo’ sketches o’ these characters, but with actual bodies & clothing, including Autumn standing in a jacket & jean skirt, standing in a tanktop & sweatpants, & then finally sitting in a tanktop & jean skirt. The human characters’ eyes were still lines, howe’er. These were presumably made weeks later, as the 1st dozen or so comics had them in their earlier stick-figure blob bodies.
While hiding 1 o’ my hands ’hind the sheet, I turned the hidden hand back & snapped a photo o’ this sheet with my watch. Below is the photo:
¿Who was this sketch here labeled Ruby?, I asked.
That was the earliest form o’ the one they now call “Dawn Summers”, answered Prof. Mezun.
I handed the paper back to Prof. Mezun, & they continued:
The comic itself is too unspeakable an abomination to show you. ’Twas from an archaic era o’ my time, when I was a lord o’ the edge, before I realized what a waste o’ time their ceremonies were. A shadow seemed to shade Prof. Mezun’s uncovered eye. I knew no gain would come from trying to delve deeper into the subject.
Prof. Mezun continued,
A year or so later, after I’d unceremoniously ended “Pendejos”, I started a comic named “Pendejos Venturas”, an adventure comic starring Autumn, Edgar, & an anthropomorphic feline Spaniard named Montago, wherein Autumn would lead them on adventures to collect treasure. It is in these comic scripts wherein originated such stories as “DIGNITY 40 DEGREES BELOW DIGNITY”, but without Cap’n Syrup & her piratical crew; Autumn’s ’scape from what was then called “Motel Malo”; Autumn’s adventures thru Tangerine Temple, then unnamed; her ’scape from the circus o’ Cap’n Matador, — then called only “Captain” — but without the story o’ what happened to them after their ’scape; Autumn’s adventure going far into the future & meeting her mechanized future self; & many mo’. These comics’ scripts were much shorter than the average short story, which is why the stories for “CIRCUSES” & “MACHINE” are so short, while the others were expanded. “MOTELS” was much different than what it came to be. Originally, Autumn tasked Edgar with helped her ’scape. But there was a much mo’ dramatic change, that I probably should not reveal to the world, for fear o’ inflicting the world with horror: in a previous life, the skeleton Edgar, gentle, tho still flawed, was less-than-gentle satire o’ those known as “nice guys”, & a stalker who stalked Dawn, who in this previous life had a completely different personality, & was much less friendly toward Edgar or Autumn. This earlier version o’ this tale was e’en called “MOTELS AND STALKING HAVE NO RELEVANCE, SO STOP BRINGING THEM UP”.
I won’t lie to you, whoe’er reads this: I felt a shiver o’ the cold wind o’ this revelation, up here in these lonesome mountain ranges. But I tightened my coat round myself & ventured to ask,
¿Are there still remnants o’ these early works?.
Prof. Mezun appeared to shift uncomfortably in place; but they finally began digging inside their o’ersized carapace & pulled out 2 half-sized pieces o’ paper, yellow from age & tattered @ the edges.
Here are incomplete shreds o’ what most experts believe to have years ago been a completed story. Mythologists believe that a complete version is out there in 1 o’ the quadrillion “dark fibers” out in this universe o’ silicon, but so far it has been yet to be found. Don’t get your hopes up too much, tho: it is known for fact that some stories, such as the comic version o’ “HOLLY DAZE ARE THE HOLIEST OF DAIS”, which still used the traditional, reactionary Christmas as opposed to our mo’ modern Marxmas, were ne’er completed.
I read the sheets they gave me & recite them here for you in the script format in which they were written, with all errors preserved:
[ ed. note: Due to the abrupt beginning, many mythologists believe that parts o’ the beginning had been lost. ]
Edgar: (Walking down the sidewalk) What a beautiful town this is. (some cat gets shot at) The bristling trees, the gleaming buildings, the... (sees woman) (really cheesy panel with Edgar, then returns to normal) (Hides behind bushes, staring at her.)
Autumn: (waking up, abruptly) What is it? (opens door)
Manager: Hello, madam. We’ve noticed that you have been staying here for a long while.
Autumn: Not that long.
[ ed. note: there seems to be a missing section here ]
Autumn: I would love to, but... I... don’t have friends.
Manager: Well, then enjoy your stay. (leaves, locks door)
Autumn: (tries opening door) How can you just lock me in here for not paying my bill? I don’t even think that’s legal. (calling) Edgar, got any money?
Edgar: Autumn? You won’t believe this beautiful woman I met! She has long, black hair, like the majestic wings of a raven, and a long coat, red like hearts...
Autumn: Edgar. Edgar! What have I told you about talking? Nobody cares about you. Okay, let’s talk about me: I need about thirteen hundred dollars brought to “Motel Malo”.
Edgar: Don’t you have any money?
Autumn: I’m not paying for this dump, are you crazy?
Edgar: Well, gee, I would love to, but I don’t have that money.
Autumn: Edgar, this is more important than some physical limitations. I haven’t eaten since, like, last night!
Edgar: Don’t worry, Autumn; I’ll think of something.
Autumn: I trust in you. (off of phone) Well, no chance of him being useful. I guess I’ll have to do this myself. I’ll just climb out the window.
You’ll note that in addition to Edgar’s mo’ questionable morality, Autumn, too, is different in character: much less clever & careful than her current form & treats Edgar far mo’ shabbily. Also note the way this script is written in ol’-fashioned English, without inverted ?s & !s @ the start o’ questions & exclamations, #s spelled out in alphabetically letters, & with words like “mo’” & “OK” spelled archaically. This is no surprise, as Prof. Mezun would only gradually climb up to speed with contemporary English round season 3 to 5 in Boskeopolis Stories in its current form.
After I handed the sheets back to Prof. Mezun & they had stowed them back into their shell, they asked me,
¿Did you notice how much mo’ brazen & comical Autumn was & how backhandedly she treated Edgar?. I nodded. Prof. Mezun continued,
She still hadn’t completely evolved into her current — well, her last persona.
I asked them the question that was on every mythologist’s mind: what had caused them to move on from the comic with their lavish hand-made illustrations, traditionally used by all the highest prophets to bequeath the greatest esteem ’pon them, to the humble codex with its common but quick-to-produce abstract letter forms, before then used mainly only for jotting quick notes till the great Red Devil mythos brought them to their current popularity.
Prof. Mezun laughed — the 1st time they seemed to show any human emotion. They said,
You just answered that question yourself: the literary form was less expensive, specially in those ages when hard drive space was still expensive for an impoverished monk like me. A full draft o’ a novel cost less than 2 MB; a single comic page cost 4 times that, & that was just the raw form, not including multilayered Photoshop files. Such large files on such complex software also slowed my computer down to a crawl. I recall that @ that time I relied on a grape-colored laptop with 7 GB o’ hard drive space, most o’ which was taken up by the operating system, & only 169 MB o’ memory. There was also the cost o’ good pens & sturdy paper & a scanner. Finally, as you can see by that example you saw, I ne’er had a handle on the comic form, anyway, being trained in the meager spritely form1, rather than the high styles o’ ink & paint the greater artists studied.
This led to the next obvious question:
Clearly some o’ these scripts exist in comic form. ¿Do any remain?.
Prof. Mezun nodded.
Yes, but they are missing dialogue & coloring; & without my prompting, they brought out not sheets o’ paper, but a folder made of ol’ bullhide & opened it to show pages that seemed to follow the general stories o’ “DIGNITY 40 DEGREES BELOW DIGNITY” & “TOMBS IS DOOM SPELLED COMPLETELY DIFFERENT”, as well as the 1st few pages o’ what seemed to match the script for “MOTELS AND STALKING HAVE NO RELEVANCE, SO STOP BRINGING THEM UP”.2 It’s clear they were drawn in the order “SHIP”, “TOMBS”, “MOTELS” by looking @ them: the “SHIP” pages were scratchier & were fading, while the unfinished “MOTELS” pages were the cleanest, with the sharpest & darkest lines. That these were in graphite & not ink indicated that none o’ them were finished, howe’er. Finally, there was a title page for the “SHIP” story, further backing up that ’twas drawn 1st, in colored pencil, which revealed that the 1st story was earlier titled just “DIGNITY 40 LEAGUES BELOW” & depicted Autumn as a blonde caucasian.
Tho these pages now showed Autumn with a full — albeit chibi-sized — body in her typical denim skirt & black shirt, — tho still in a tanktop ’stead o’ her usual “PHAT LOOT” T-shirt — Autumn still had simple lines for eyes, didn’t wear glasses, & had a much rounder head, like in the Pendejos character sheet.
Most striking was that 1 o’ the “TOMBS” pages’ panels was clearly an early version o’ the illustration that accompanies the final “TOMBS” story in its literary form; but the newer literary illustration was colored in with Autumn’s final brown-skinned, red-haired form, & with her modern anime-inspired eye wedges & glasses3. This original ’splains the sloppy look. Note howe’er that Autumn still has a tank top, e’en in the final version.
Much like with the earlier pages, I was able to sneak snapshots o’ 1 o’ these under Prof. Mezun’s blurry attention. Here is the cover to the “SHIP” story ( Unfortunately, due to finger slippage on my part, I took a low-resolution photo. My apologies. ):
As I returned the folder to Prof. Mezun, I asked,
¿When did you say you began Pendejos Venturas?.
I don’t remember. Let me look.
Prof. Mezun opened the folder & held up a page perpendicular to their eye so that they were staring @ its thin edge.
The “TOMBS” pages, which are labeled, “baa01”, were made back in November 2010. After examining mo’ pages, they said,
The “SHIP” story, labeled, “ccb02”, & the “MOTELS” story, labeled, “acb03”, were both March 2011.
¿The “SHIP” pages came after the “TOMBS” pages?, I asked incredulously.
¿Do you remember what the codes mean? They don’t seem to fit the codes currently used for the literary stories.
I don’t remember.
¿Do you remember if they refer to the comic pages themselves for the scripts?.
¿Do you remember illustrating any mo’ pages after these 3, which have just been lost to time?.
I don’t remember, no. I was already turning toward the literary form by this point.
¿This was when Pendejos Venturas turned into Boskeopolis Stories?.
No, this was when Pendejos Venturas turned into Boskeopolis4, a novel I began reciting in April 2011.
I became intrigued. My mythcaeologist senses rang on that 2-year gap ’tween early 2011 & mid 2013, e’en allowing a full year to create season 1. I had my answer.
¿Did this novel stitch together the Pendejos Venturas stories into 1 coherent story?, I asked, trying to imagine for myself how this would look.
No, ’twas completely different, & I didn’t originally make it as a continuation o’ Pendejos Venturas @ all, hence the completely different name. ’Mong the mo’ than 50 novels I read that year5 as part o’ my intense study o’ this new literary form, I was reading 1 called The Grapes o’ Wrath & was inspired by a line I unfortunately forgot regarding the machine monster o’ capitalism to tell a tale o’ the war ’tween the alien monsters like those I met in my dreams, ravaging the great city o’ Onett with their psychedelic pastel eldritch realms. These alien monsters ravaged the city littered with trees known as Boskeopolis in a civil war ’tween the Republic o’ Boskeopolis & the Democratic Republic o’ Boskeopolis.
The capitalist Republic o’ Boskeopolis was ostensibly led by the Gold Mayor Pennybags & Silver Mayor Monopoly, 2 sides o’ the same face, in Atlas Tower ’cross the oily ocean round the rich western seacoast; but the city streets were truly led by a vicious gang o’ business leaders led by a man named Fitzgerald J. Gatsby — tho you now know him by “Chamsby”. Howe’er, the strings o’er all o’ them were held by the Gold Machine, a giant machine with claws made o’ gold nuggets, rubies, & diamonds.
Meanwhile, hidden underground in Wasabi Woods off the impoverished eastern side was the cultlike commune led by a seemingly genial goofball named Vladimir Trotsky, but ’hind the scenes led by a a ringleader named Joe Steel, & hind him, the Marx Machine, a red alien figure made o’ 3 thin bodies with a giant ring shared as a stomach, with 2 arms made o’ chains, ending in a hammer & sickle, & the 3 bodies’ long necks twisting together serpentinelike to end in the emblems: a peace sign, a mountain, & a loaf o’ bread.
I was astounded by this revelation. Tho many commentators had latched onto any hint o’ Prof. Mezun’s Englesist Magical Socialist teachings in Boskeopolis Stories, in truth, Magical Socialism had li’l apparent influence on these myths, which are now mo’ associated with Somnoculism. But here we have proof o’ a much stronger Magical Socialist influence, with the 1st work to bear the “Boskeopolis” name originating as a telling o’ the great war ’tween the Gold Machine & Marx Machine, 1 o’ the most significant stories in the great Economicon, 5th Edition, after only perhaps the story o’ the ’ventual floods ( or hellfire, depending on which side o’ that schism you’re on ).
Prof. Mezun continued,
Since Autumn was a treasure hunter already familiar with the treacherous pull & push o’ the capitalist mode o’ production, I chose her eyes thru which to tell the story, a thief to survive, only to find herself on the run for her life after accidentally robbing a member o’ the Gatsby gang. She flees to Wasabi Woods, only to stumble ’pon the commune, where she hides out & pretends to be a loyal communist while sneaking ’hind leader Trotsky’s back to pull off further heists in Boskeopolis. There she is made to share a room with a mysterious man covered in a robe named Edgar, who gets pulled into Autumn’s schemes, specially after she learns that he is secretly a skeleton with magical powers.
Howe’er Autumn’s schemes begin attracting attention from the communist leaders, leading them into confrontation. While Autumn uses Edgar’s magic to scare off Joe Steel, Trotsky does not back off, but unleashes the Marx Machine on them. While Edgar finally argues with Trotsky, his father who refused to acknowledge him for fear o’ being biased, Autumn battles the Marx Machine & finally defeats it, opening the commune up to true democracy.
Howe’er, in Autumn’s sleep she hears the call o’ the Gold Machine & ’pon waking decides to venture off to defeat it. In this 2nd half o’ the novel, Autumn & Edgar travel thru Wasabi Woods, Boskeopolis, — with a detour thru “Carnival Capitalism Zone” — riding ’cross the oil ocean to Atlas Tower, where she finally confronts & defeats Fitzgerald J. Gatsby, & then the Gold Machine itself. After a long struggle, she defeats the Gold Machine, causing Atlas Tower to collapse, ’long with the Republic o’ Boskeopolis. What happens afterward is unanswered — tho legend says that the city o’ Boskeopolis as a whole finds true democracy, too.
¿& may I ask, I began to say with a bit o’ shyness,
if you still have any remnants o’ this work?.
I have the full rough draft lying round somewhere in this cave & a 2nd draft o’ Part I.
A few weeks later, after some back & forth with Prof. Mezun, I was able to get a copy o’ the 1st chapter o’ the rough draft, titled “Kill the Poor”. Unfortunately, space concerns do not allow me to print e’en the whole chapter here. But here is an excerpt:
My feet clapped against the sidewalk as I pushed myself forward from the crazy madness that was Gatsby's gang. Stumbling over pebbles and leaves, ducking and squeezing through trees and shrubs, cunningly calculating which direction I should take each turn—and by “cunningly calculated”, I mean “randomly guessed”.
To say that this was tiring would be an understatement. My legs and feet ached and burned over miles and miles of identical slabs of sidewalk; my heart begged and gasped for me to stop—just for a little rest, they’re not that close! My lungs wailed in pain like balloons stung by needles. Thrice I tripped on some stupid stone or slipped on some rude leaf, banging head and knees on pavement. Enduring slaps in the face by loose tree limbs wasn’t exciting, either. In fact, it was actually really painful.
None of this deterred the Gatsby's gang; in fact, I think it probably helped them. I looked back at them every once in awhile—a major cause for my mishaps—just to see if I lost them, or even if they gave up. They didn’t. The unfortunate truth was that I think they were actually getting closer, which alarmed me quite a bit. In their grubby fingers laid a plethora of tools which I would guess they planned to use on me: a knife, a baseball bat (somehow I doubted that they would want to challenge me to a round of ball), a crowbar, a wine bottle, and a kitchen sink. Yeah, that guy kind of lagged behind a bit.
You might ask why such a bloodthirsty menagerie would want to chase a perfectly honest young woman such as myself, or why nobody, you know, intervened in any way. Well, the truth is that there was nobody else except me and them—and I would personally be fine with this equation, if only we cut them out of it, too. All that lived around us were rows and columns of brown and gray buildings, worn and graffitied, accompanied by trees of all species, brown and yellow leaves crumbling apart by autumn ritual. The only living soul, if souls exist at all, were a few chirping birds; and birds don’t help much against crazy mobs.
And even if there was anybody else around, they'd either do nothing or hinder me even more than mother nature here. You don't mess with Gatsby's gang, not even the police (or what calls itself the police). As far as the cops are concerned having something utterly useless to them is grounds for them to feed me to the sharks, or at least for the police to conveniently look away when they do so.
Still, I kept my hope up. Through my exhausting voyage I looked in every corner my rushing eyes could look to find something that could help me, and, to be honest, I didn’t find nothing.
Oh wait, I did find something: a dead end.
This pleased the mob immensely, as I am sure they were as tired as I was of running for so long. Of course, I doubt they felt the sheer skirt-wetting terror that I felt thinking fondly of my future as my head is carried around on a stick as I am sure Jack and his lords of the flies wanted to do. In fact, they seemed to be downright excited over catching their prized game.
I was surrounded by all five of them. Gatsby was in front, of course. Surrounding him were his four goons: R. Fellow, Vanderbilt, Carnegie, and Halliburton. Fellow had his favorite little hunting knife in his bumpy paws and a slobbering grin of crazed delight on his face. His face was long and narrow, and he had short, messy white hair sticking forward out of his golden top hat. His green eyes look sunk in. For reasons I don’t know, his posture was always slowly bent, menacingly. Vanderbilt looked the least menacing, and, in fact, looked more bored. He had an almost triangular-shaped face, rounded at the chin. He was smiling patronizingly faint, barely pushy his rosy pink cheeks. His blue eyes were dull with boredom. Brown, curly hair stuck out of his hat. He held a crowbar limply from his right arm. Carnegie had a grumpy look on his square face, while panting loudly. He was clearly the oldest of this group. His hands shook wildly as he tried to hold his broken wine bottle. Lastly, lumbering in the back, was Halliburton with his stupid kitchen sink. His laughter—and, honestly, how could you not laugh when you’re carrying a god damn sink around with you—formed a big, crooked grin, where a hole shone through his teeth. He had the noisiest, snortiest, laugh I have ever heard.
They composed the Gatsby gang, the only gang to run around in golden tuxedos and top hats, as opposed to the normal white variety. They were also the toughest group in all of Boskeopolis.
“It’s the end of the line, crook.” Yeah, I think I guessed that already. It wasn’t like I stopped for a quick cup of coffee.
I, of course, refused to bow down to their baseless threats and TV clichés with full bravery.
“No, you must be mistaking me for somebody else. I’ve, I haven’t ever seen you in my life.” It wasn’t the best alibi, I’ll admit.
Gatsby himself stepped forward. He had a round face, bumpy with wrinkles. The long nose and ears, as well as his short stature, made him look kind of like an elf. And his small eyes compared to his giant, round glasses didn't help him, either. For such an important guy, he looked pretty silly.
He said, “Really? Because you looked back at us a couple of times. That was a good way to fall on your face, by the way. But don’t worry: we can make sure you don’t have a face to fall on, if you want.” Strangely enough, I didn’t want that. I would prefer falling on my face a million times to that, honestly.
“Humph. She must have been living under a rock if she'd never heard of us. As if she couldn't recognize our obvious gold tuxedos,” Vanderbilt said.
“The bitch is lying, god damn it,” Carnegie grumbled.
“I was aware of that.” Vanderbilt snapped back.
“Enough talk! Let's skin her alive already!” R. Fellow snarled, nervously feeling over his trusty knife.
“Oh, I don’t think that’s necessary,” I said.
“Then return to us what is ours,” Gatsby answered back.
The mob was stepping forward, causing me to back right against the alley wall, almost tripping over a trash bin. I then used said trash bin as a shield between us. It protected me as well as it sounds.
’Gain, note the difference in Autumn’s characteristics: not as dim-witted as portrayed in the earlier Pendejos Venturas comic, but still mo’ loquacious & less stoic in tone & diction.
Continuing my interview, I asked,
¿What caused you to abandon this novel & transition into the short story series?.
I felt I had been getting ’head o’ myself, starting with a novel, when most, it seemed, such as King7, & e’en the renowned Joyce, started with short stories. So @ the beginning o’ December 2011, a few months before I finished the original Boskeopolis novel’s rough draft, I wrote the 1st story I wrote for Boskeopolis Stories, “LOVE CAN’T BUY HAPPINESS”, which you probably already know, was ne’er published.
¿What was this story ’bout?.
’Twas a strange tale, still from Autumn’s primordial personality. While dining in what was probably Dawn’s restaurant, Autumn sees a homeless stranger with a guitar whom she falls in love with & tries to impress with her riches, — for this story took place after she had amassed her riches in early 2014 — only for him to angrily reject her pretensions. This leads her into a deeply despondent drunken depression in which she questions why she bothered amassing her riches in the 1st place if the world would continue to loath her & refuses to leave her home, leading Edgar & Montago, who was still written as a friend o’ theirs, to go round trying to find someone who has a positive opinion o’ her, to their failure. Meanwhile, for unexplained reason, that very day random people knock on Autumn’s door as she tries to sleep & ask her for charity, which she gives, partly out o’ sympathy after hearing the kids complain ’bout being made fun o’ for their scraggly clothes, & partly just to get them out o’ her way. For mysterious reasons, this leads a random woman to randomly invite Autumn to a protest to bank bailouts given to Syrup Bank, who needed it, ironically, due to Autumn robbing it, as shown in the story later written & actually published, “BANKRUPTURE”. There she runs into the homeless man, where they make up. In the original draft, the story ends with them walking off together & Autumn asking, in her clinical way if he would mind holding her hand, while in the 2nd draft, the homeless person only gets a hint o’ Autumn’s affections when she leaves ’lone, & the story ends with a different scene in which the homeless person comes to her house to ask her out, only for Autumn, gainst her desires, to decline. Afterward, Autumn reveals to Edgar her new reason for amassing money: to give to charity so she could “prevent as many people as possible from becoming as neurotic and miserable as I am”.
Tho my memory is hazy, I can tell by the multiple drafts that I tried to force this story into the series for a while, only to give up, unable to reconcile the story’s many oddities with the series as a whole &, moreo’er, unable to keep the story stable while fixing the contrived elements.
¿Were there any other stories that didn’t get published?, I asked.
Prof. Mezun nodded.
Yes, mainly from these early years, where I still didn’t fully understand Boskeopolis Stories. Just a few months after this story I wrote “ANOTHER YEAR ANOTHER 365 DAYS EXCEPT FOR LEAP YEARS”, a very short story wherein Autumn is surprised when Edgar gives her a present for their “5-year anniversary” & rushes out to get a present, only to have no idea what to get. The story ends with Autumn deciding to make Edgar a handmade card with a letter & a note. @ the end o’ 2012 I wrote a story ’bout Autumn getting the flu & having to endure Lance capturing her while Edgar goes out to get her medicine, only to come back with medicine “for drowsiness” — as in, it helps keep one awake, not sleep. In spring 2013 I wrote a cliché stream-o’-consciousness story called “SLEEPTIME FOR SELF-ESTEEMS”, which is just Autumn trying to sleep @ night & fretting ’bout her next heist & her general future.
What Prof. Mezun neglected to mention, but which was found in some o’ the stray material they sent me, was the outline for a story called “SUNNY-SIDE-UP CLOUDS BEANSTALK RANDOM WORDS”, so long, ’twas mo’ a novel. This “story” was a bizarre tale o’ seemingly random events that somewhat coalesce round mystical fruit that can revive one ( & does revive Autumn & Edgar @ points in which they die ), a beanstalk, & an alien invasion. Most notable ’bout this story was that the different chapters, which swung from focusing on Autumn, Edgar, Dawn, & Montago, were planned to be in different media & genres. From start to finish we have: a 1st-person narrative, a sprite comic ( an idea they would return to with the “DESERT” stories ), a chibi comic, a script, a picture book, a diary log, a text adventure with a word search puzzle to pass thru locked doors ( an idea Prof. Mezun would return to, but with the easier-to-program “Lights Out” ’stead, in “A QUEST THAT MAY INCLUDE A DRAGON BUT DEFINITELY NOT A KING” ), a poem, a pencil comic, &, finally, a video game.
When I asked them ’bout it, they spoke with amused embarrassment, but assured me that they were not trying to cover it up, but had, in fact, forgotten all ’bout it. They claimed that there was no other writing ’bout the story, & certainly no rough draft, & added that the absurd story likely came from “that convincing con artist for stories, dreams”. This document’s last modified date was in March 2012, just a month or 2 after the rough for the Boskeopolis novel was finished & after only 2 or 3 Boskeopolis Stories stories roughs had been finished — 1 o’ which included the aforementioned rejected “LOVE” story.
This left us with 1 last question — the most vital question o’ all:
Prof. Mezun squinted their 1 visible eye in a look that looked both concentrated & confused.
I do not remember, in actual — specially with how awful season 1 was. Wait, now I recall: ’twas ’cause o’ their humble stature that I decided to publish these stories online while I sat on the other novels with delusions that commercial publishers might publish them. I had been twiddling my fingers with these novels & a few episodes o’ Boskeopolis Stories’s 1st season thru 2012 when in round 2014 I lost faith in those 2 novels being o’ any worth, while I was already writing seasons 3 & 4, which I far preferred. One can only imagine the disasters, the lives lost, that would’ve been avoided had I left these cursed stories by the wayside, as a literarist with greater experience would have done.
I almost asked if Boskeopolis or Teamend might not have caused the same tragedies, if not worse; but I thought it might be a touchy subject, & thus did not touch it.
¿Have you mo’ questions for me?, asked Prof. Mezun.
I gathered my papers together. I spoke shyly to them,
No, that is all I need. Thank you once ’gain for giving me the opportunity to collect this vital data.
It is a neccessity, said Prof. Mezun.
Already my hair is graying & my beard is starting to o’ertake my face. Autumn is falling & the winter winds will come11 & cover the flowers with snow. But some will not return….
I must confess, my selfish side felt unnerved by the pitiful sight o’ this decaying creature in this barren cave staring @ me with that 1 hollow eye, & I wished to get ’way as soon as I could; & when I did, I knew I would ne’er see it ’gain. Perhaps nobody would. To console myself, I told myself that I was doing the best I could for this creature, incubating their progeny as a permanent — well, as permanent as possible till the heat death o’ the universe annihilates all — record. It’s no different from what I would want after I have died — all ’lone, as would be my just retribution for my life o’ craven selfishness.
So ends my chronicle o’ the origins o’ the story o’ the Red Devil o’ Boskeopolis, Autumn Springer. May you keep this story in your memory as long as you can.