Friday, August 11, 2017

Dark Identity


If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times (actually, that number is pretty accurate, to say the least): creative fuel can come from anywhere, and I do mean anywhere. There’s a fucking movie about emojis, for shit’s sake (which is also accurate considering there’s a poop emoji as one of the main characters). Back in the year 2004, a different kind of creative fuel flooded my mind: an X-Box game called Unreal Championship. It’s a first person shooter featuring sci-fi creatures, clowns, robots, giants, the works. The female aliens and clowns had raspy voices that reminded me somehow of Starscream from the Transformers cartoons in the 80’s. Thus, the seeds are sown for a one chapter novel idea slash pencil and paper RPG called Dark Identity.

Keep in mind, this was the year 2004, so I was five years away from being a serious reader and even further away from being a semi-pro. In a world of genetic engineering and stratified warriors, you had a badass motherfucker named Dujak Heil (nice last name; not racist at all). He went to a peaceful town armed to the tooth and got arrested for vagrancy in a scene laced with profanity and anti-Nazi references (from a guy whose last name was Heil).

This was the second and final story I submitted to my creative writing class at Olympic College (the same one where I went berserk after a kid named Patrick said my writing sucked). This second outing was much better than the Raggyd presentation. I had students tell me my story should be on Adult Swim. That’s a fucking compliment if I’ve ever heard one! And then I had a bearded troll named Alex tell me he wants Dujak to die a nasty horrible death. The feeling was mutual at the time.

Could Dark Identity have been something more than a one chapter cluster fuck? With some research on genetic engineering and serious commitment to the story, yes, it could have. Do I want to recreate this concept in the year 2017? Probably not. This whole story was centered around Unreal Championship fandom and hearing female clowns yell, “Enemy flag carrier is here!”

I officially beat Unreal Championship in February 2005 (just days after I was suspended from college for writing a nasty poem about my geology teacher). I’ve played it a handful of times with friends since then and that’s about it. So I guess it’s safe to say I’ve outgrown that game. I’d definitely consider playing it again to refresh my memory, but I must confess, the thumb stick sensitivity in that game makes it next to impossible to aim properly with anything but an automatic rifle.

Aside from outgrowing a popular X-Box game, maybe there was some truth to what Alex said about Dujak being a hate-worthy character. He betrayed his tribe, he brought weapons into a peaceful town, and he made wisecracks at the guards for trying to arrest him. Unless there’s some mustard behind those remarks, those aren’t likeable qualities in a main character. The best kinds of protagonists are the ones we can sympathize with. That’s why we have a lot of heroes as protagonists rather than villains: because most of us can relate to being good people with hearts of gold. Mitch McLeod needed a massive overhaul in his character in order to make Occupy Wrestling as polished as it is today.

Dark Identity is just another potentially good idea that got lost in the shuffle of other projects. It hasn’t aged well since 2004/2005, so it won’t be made into a novel or short story. The lesson of the day: not everything you touch will turn to gold. Knowing the difference between diamonds and coal is something all writers need to do. I once heard an internet personality call it a “crap detector”. We all think our crap detectors are strong until we’re proven otherwise, but even then some authors will fight that uphill battle until the end. Listening to your peers (the helpful ones) is paramount to success as an author. We’ve got ears, say cheers!


These days, I can’t really decide between having a lot of projects to do and having a small amount. I’m either bored out of my mind or overwhelmed to the point of chaos. I need to find a middle ground, but I’m no closer to finding it now than I was the past few weeks, where I had so little to do that I got bored easily. One of my solutions to this boredom is to write short stories for American Darkness 2 and Poison Tongue Tales 2 outside of the WSS. I did that for the first Poison Tongue Tales book back in 2015 during NaNoWriMo and it was a massive success. Perhaps I could do it again this time around, provided I have the energy for it. It turns out, though, that the next AD2 story I plan on writing fits in with the WSS prompt for the week, which is “Searing”.


Yes, you’ll notice that both American Darkness 2 and Poison Tongue Tales 2 have different subtitles than what I originally gave them. In the case of AD2, Black State could have so many different meanings that it could be misinterpreted. Now it’s called We Are the Machine. It sounds cool and nobody’s reading too much into its intended meaning. For this collection, the next story will be called “Street Warriors” (another title I’m considering changing) and it goes like this:


  1. Samir the Skull Crusher, Indian Street Brawler
  2. Crackers the Clown, Evil Clown
  3. Kristen Miranda, Runaway Teen

PROMPT CONFORMITY: Kristen starts the story by searching for shelter.

SYNOPSIS: Kristen runs away from home and finds herself in the darkest, dankest part of Paulson City. When she tries to warm up next to a garbage can fire, she’s confronted by Crackers the Clown, who claims that she doesn’t belong in these streets and needs to get the hell out. The only way Crackers will let Kristen stay is if she agrees to have sex with him, to which Samir the Skull Crusher intervenes, claiming to be the one who gets to have her. The two scary characters brawl while Kristen is cowering in the corner wishing she was home right now.


Here’s the story I plan on working on independently. It’s called “Mine All Mine” and it goes like this:


  1. Chris Buyatt, Capoeira Fighter
  2. Michael Tyoni, Pyromancer
  3. Nina Thomas, Politician

PROMPT CONFORMITY: To be announced.

SYNOPSIS: Chris and Michael’s race against each other leads them to the Black Dust Salt Mine, where videotaped evidence against Nina’s corruption is being secretly kept. Chris wants to bring the evidence to light while Michael wants to use his pyromancy to burn it and save Nina from embarrassment. The warrior and the wizard battle it out with Mayor Thomas watching in the background with a shotgun in hand.


With new characters come new drawings. The first on the barbecue rack is Chris Buyatt from Mine All Mine. He was previously used in my Final Fantasy videogame idea from 2002-2005 as Gail Reinhold’s ex-boyfriend, but has since been scrapped until now. Gail is now a part of the Poison Tongue Tales story “Zombie” and Chris will make his official debut in “Mine All Mine”.


CRAZY K: Sensory what?!

DR. CUSHING: Sensory deprivation chamber. You will see nothing, you will hear nothing. Your mind will have nothing to feed upon but itself. It’s a tiny meal indeed. Hahahahaha!

-Tales From the Hood: Hardcore Convert-

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