This episode of Previously features Doomer Kelso, a disreputable reality-hopping adventurer with an abundance of weird luck. Doomer shows up in a number of Weird Luck stories. We first met him as a reckless 13-year-old troublemaker (still going by his given name, Billy) at the beginning of Andrew’s novel Weird Luck in the City of the Watcher. The adult version of Doomer plays a major role in Cannibal-King (the conclusion to Andrew’s City of the Watcher trilogy), and a minor role in Andrew’s novel Wallflower Assassin. Doomer is also a major character in Andrew’s novelette “Space Pirate Stowaway,” which will appear in the anthology Spoon Knife 3: Incursions, coming later this Spring from Autonomous Press.
This episode, and the accompanying portrait of Doomer, is by Andrew.
See you next Wednesday,
Doomer Falls into 8661 A.D.
The early sun slanted into Zakjak’s garden. He shuffled out in a bit of a daze, steaming mug held with both hands. Warm patches of golden light lay here and there, several of them inhabited by snoozing dragonets. Their fur glistened in the sunbeams.
Growing warmth had cleared the mist, but most of the garden still sat in the cold shadows of the cedars. The marble bench. The ironwork chairs. He could adjust their warmth more or less at will, but that wouldn’t remove the chill of the shadows. He found an empty sunbeam and sat in it. The delicious heat soothed his emergence from dream.
A dragonet hissed. Oh: his shadow lay across it. He moved to another patch of light with no one downstream of him. The dragonet who’d hissed at him stretched, re-coiled itself, settled into stillness. Zakjak sipped his tea.
A person fell out of thin air. Simply appeared and pratfell into the ivy. Crows alighted in the cedars, cawing once in alarm, and took aim with their black beady gazes. The man got blunderingly to all fours, grunting, then leapt to his feet with startling nimbleness for what revealed itself as a tall, stocky frame of non-negligible girth. Huge boots planted themselves in the ivy. Zakjak gaped at the several severed leaves.
“W-heh-hell, whadda we have here?” The interloper’s voice boomed as though he lacked any awareness of its volume. Hair grew from all over his face. His costume, although moderately well-tailored, showed extreme wear and consisted of coarse fabrics and worse. The boots, his coat, and a cap with dangling ear-flaps grotesquely resembled the tanned and treated hides of once-living animals. “Did I hit the year 8661, my man?”
Zakjak made a sour face at this number and attempted the man’s language. “I have familiars with calendar you referred, though this counting not hardly held in favor anymore. None less, that is yes a current year.” He watched the man through his own eyes as well as the eyes of all the crows.
The man stomped around aimlessly, killing more leaves, looking around in wonder. “I like what ya done with the place, man.”
“Who are you, and please stop kill of my neighbors!”
“Neighbors?” The man looked around, some sort of metal weapon gripped in each hand. This brute, whatever he was, had sufficient sophistication to possess interdimensional pockets. Noted.
“Stop step the plant!” shrieked Zakjak, gesticulating, splashing tea around.
The man froze in place and looked down, then at Zakjak, then down again. “Jeezus,” he muttered, “fuckin kidding me,” and tiptoed in his huge boots onto the path. Kicking inadvertent swaths of gravel into the ivy, leaving divots in his wake. Zakjak pressed his lips together, and his teeth behind them.
“And now I insist you must explain who are you, man who interlopes from the middle of the air and to a porch of my Archive!”
“Right, right. Doomer Kelso, at your service.” The weapons had vanished without Zakjak even seeing it happen. Impressive. Doomer Kelso stripped a hide gauntlet from one hand and held it out towards the center of Zakjak’s chest.
This he did not expect. Does this barbarian, brutishness notwithstanding, honor the ritual of eternal mutual recognition?
“You make the Clasp?”
“Yeah sure man.”
Zakjak gripped his hand in his. He expected a blunderingly dominating overly assertive grip from this man, but instead Doomer Kelso matched his pressure exactly.
“So dude, check it out, I got a deal for ya. You got something I want, no bones about it. But—”