Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Coming in 2012
Episode One of the Bay Phantom Chronicles should be coming out in February. I'll have more details for you when they become official.
The story is set in the present day in my old hometown of Mobile, Alabama. It is the story of a pair of unlikely friends and comrades: Joseph Perrone, 94 years old, a former pulp-era masked adventurer, and 19-year-old Janie Marie Colson, a college student with a lot of baggage. Perrone describes himself as "semi-retired," though he has done little else over the past 50 years than drink to excess on a daily basis. Janie, slowly recovering from a recent trauma, has developed a similar fondness for the sauce.
After a late-night encounter with two muggers in a graveyard, Janie and Perrone become friends. Janie proposes that the Phantom write his memoirs, with her assistance. The pair find an increased enjoyment of life as they work on the project, but a shadow falls over them when Janie discovers that the Phantom's arch-enemy, the diabolical Doctor Piranha, has just been released after serving 70 years in Leavenworth. The Doctor, as is the fashion among super-criminal madman, swore revenge on the Bay Phantom-- no matter how long it took.
After that, the process got easier. And I realized that, for the first time in a long time, I was having fun.
One Friday night I was at the Phantom’s pad—which I had cleaned up to the point where it was just a hellish mess and not a toxic waste dump—going over my notes on the laptop. There were a couple of things I wanted to check out, so I went online.
“Janie,” he said, “I don’t know that I’m entirely comfortable with you stealing this, ah, Wi-Fi service from my neighbors.”
“Funny you should say that,” I replied, “because I don’t know that I entirely give a shit whether or not you’re comfortable with it.”
He sighed and shook his head. “Were you raised by wolves?”
“I was raised by a newspaper crime reporter.”
“If my thievery bugs you so much, why don’t you kick my ass and have me locked up?”
“Don’t think for one minute that I haven’t...”
At that moment, I had to interrupt him. I had just discovered something that warranted an outburst:
“Oh, godDAMN! Oh, god-freaking-DOUBLE-damn!!!”
“Janie,” snapped the Phantom, “is it necessary for you to curse like that all the time? In my day, young girls didn’t...”
“I don’t care what young girls didn’t do a million years ago, and yes, it is absolutely goddamn necessary. Your abominable Doctor Piranha is not only still alive, he was released from prison four months ago!”
He cursed, and kept on cursing for quite a while. When he got tired of that, he gave voice to paranoia.
“He swore revenge,” the Phantom said several times. “No matter how long it took.”
“Yeah,” I said, “but people say stuff like that all the time. It’s been almost 70 years! He’s 98 years old! One foot in the grave!”
“Right. Your point?”
Hissing in annoyance, he jumped out of his chair, dashed over to the front door, and started checking the locks. I had to admit, he was in really good shape for a man of 94, or even 64, and maybe even 34. I doubted that the same held true for Doctor Piranha, but then who the hell knew?