Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Tom Waits and my weird imaginary city.

So, here is one of the projects I am working on. In my previous post, I said that I would be beginning work on the strange city my imagination goes to when I listen to Tom Waits. I am also working on an Alpha Blue mini-setting inspired by David Bowie, Carpenter Brut's Turbo Killer music video, comparative religion, and ADD medication. Below is a work in progress, feel free to critique or give general impressions. Normally, I only post finished products, but its been a few days since my last post, and I want to keep the momentum of posting onto my new blog.

Mean, wonderful streets...
The city is a place who's reality has become senile. The welcome sign at it's limits is blank. The records hall is filled with so many uncertainties that it's dangerous to go in alone. The city is an anyplace that could be anywhere. Its citizens care little for specifics as long as they get what they want by the end of the day. Facts here are as concrete as a passing fad and the year is just a vague notion.

Noir Weights is the quintessential bad part of town. The streets alternating between cracked asphalt and broken cobbles. Rarely, a streetlight will flicker on when the world realizes that it should be night. A neighborhood of derelict housing, with the occasional empty warehouse or abandoned factory. All the roads here either lead to the old distillery or straight out to safer environs.

Among the rows of decaying houses is one that has seen a modicum of repair and habitation. By the standards of Noir Weights its a mansion, anywhere else it'd be condemned. A three-story affair, its exterior the no-color of sun bleached wood, the lawn overgrown and mostly dead. People come calling at all times of night and day, street-folk mostly with the occasional uptown slummer. Construction can be heard at all hours. Salvaged junk and building materials are frequently brought into the house, carried by the nervous and twitching folk of the street.

The owner is a tall, skeletal man who needs to stoop when entering and exiting the house. His hair is iron gray and always slicked back. His face, drawn tight against the skull with a permanent 5 o'clock shadow. His eyes are sunken and the same no-color as the house. He's always dressed in a tailored black suit that has threadbare with age.

An endless, holy creation.

What's he building in there?
Waylon, the owner, is constantly working on a mad construction he calls 'The Alter'. It takes up the entire first floor, the walls having been removed to make way for his ever expanding vision. The scuffed floorboards buckle under the weight of the thing, making the house groan as people pass through it. The Alter is a conglomeration of television tubes, ancient radios, engine blocks, and so many other junk-artifacts.

What's new? - 1D4
The Alter is in a near constant flux from Waylon's 'improvements'. What's been added since the characters' last visit?
1) Tesla Coil: A Tesla Coil juts out at a precarious angle from a stack of old radios. The entire construction hums a bass so low it vibrates the body rather than the eardrum. Arcs of electricity lick out of the coil, touching the dials of the various radios its attached to. Rather than a loud snap, the arcs sound like music and talk-show banter.
2) Mannequins: Amid tumbledown mounds of wires and television sets are a trio mannequins attached to a complex set of motors and pulleys. A podium is set before the group, its surface covered in vacuum tubes and wires, its top is one large selector switch. The switch is marked with four settings: sex, drugs, music, and off. One each setting the mannequins will come to life and each one in turn will cry-out the worst, best, and last of whatever the switch is set to as well as the time and location it was experienced in. (ex: Sex: Tammy Fulton, Senior Prom, School Parking Lot. 'Crystal', Yesterday, 5th Avenue Gentleman's Club Parking Lot. Mable Werner, Forty-Seven Years From Tomorrow,Shady Palms Rest Home.). There is a 1 in 6 chance that when the switch is set to off the mannequins will sing in harmonized falsetto, the relative date and method of the user's death. No one has tested to see if their predictions are true yet.
3) Television Wall: Set in a relatively clear area of the house is a wall of televisions from various eras, five-hundred pound console sets to three pound flat screens. Before the wall is a ripped, brown recliner, its seat half sinking into itself. From outside the chair, the sets cycle through channels and snow, never holding a particular picture for more than a few moments. From the recliner, the pictures focus to perfect clarity on a number of scenes. Each set focuses on a pivotal moments in the viewer's life, and then plays out what could have happened if the situation ended in the best or worst possible outcome (1D2: 1 – Worst Possible Outcome 2 – Best Possible Outcome). These sessions usually leave the viewer either sullen from seeing how much better their life could have been, or a nervous wreck over how close they have come to death or worse.
4) Stationary Bike: An age worn and rusted stationary bike set among, and connected to, a near endless tangle of wires and cables. Attached to the handlebar is a small white basket, a bright silver bell, and pink streamers affixed to titanium-white handle-grips. Before the bike, and attached to with with thick cables, is a wide metal door frame. Placed upon the seat is a helmet made of a stainless steel cullender, it's surface covered with wires and nine-volt batteries. If the bike is pedaled, and the cullender worn, the door frame first fills with a swirling purple static then... (1D8: 1 - The rider's parents dancing for the first time. 2 - The rider's most longed for companion, usually 'the one who got away', walking arm in arm with the rider is some idyllic park. 3 - The rider's childhood home, morphed into an idealized version fit for the cover of the Saturday Evening Post. 4 - The rider's parents fighting, one drunk and violent, the other bleeding and crying. 5 - The bitterly regretted fight between the rider and their most longed for companion, the one that got them to leave forever. 6 - The rider's childhood home, burning, caretaker screaming, the rider a child hiding in the closet. 7 - The rider pedaling the bike watching the rider pedaling the bike watching the rider pedaling the bike watching... 8 - The rider resting on the bike, blood soaked knife clutched in one hand, companions' faces clutched in the other.)

Sit back and relax.

At the Alter...
Despite the chaotic mess of its construction, the Alter has a purpose that has called so many street-folk to come at worship before it. Waylon is an inventor. Waylon is a visionary. Waylon is a prophet. Waylon is THE priest. The Alter is the culmination of mad obsession and magic, a calling place for Other Folk to step through and visit. Each night the homeless and mad gather before it, each one hoping and dreading for Waylon to choose them to that night's vessel. Waylon has always remained elusive as to what the Other Folk are, but it is clear that they are only able to interact with the world through the possession of a host. During their possession, their bodies go through a number of changes, and their behavior drastically changes to fit that of the summoned Other Folk. Those that live through the experience are changed, granted boons and knowledge by the being that possessed them. Each of the Other Folk have a unique form and personality separate from the possessed. Through the flipping of switches, turning of cranks, and buzzing of transformers a vague form will flow out of a static filled television screen and into that night's vessel.

 
Mister Stitches, a yet to be described being of thread and binding...
 
Tonight's Guest (Sample, more to come)
1) The Grins: AppearanceThe vessel expression slowly changes to a wide smile, usually from one of terrified awe. Soon, however, the smile spread beyond what should be physically possible. Stretching out to wrap around the jaw and cheeks to touch ear. The grin becomes taller as well, growing up to swallow nose and eyes until there is nothing but hair, forehead, and grin. The teeth remain the same size, but the grow in number until they are layered over one another and reach back in rows down the vessel's throat. BehaviorCondescension and false joviality drip from every utterance in voice that fluctuates between the deepest basso profundo and the highest falsetto. He offers everything, and asks for very little. A favor, not now, later. Later, when the buyer is comfortable and secure. Later, when the buyer has ever-so-much more to lose.