This episode finds Jules and the others in Hope’s crew scrambling after an unexpected turn of events with Smiley and his men, and then on to New Louie for their concert in the Gamma ‘verse.
When I started The Multiverse Blues serial, I made sure I had at least a couple of episodes written and recorded before they aired, giving me a cushion of time to work on the next episodes so I wouldn’t fall behind. Given the current situation of pandemic lockdown, you’d think I’d have even more time to get ahead of things, right? Wrong. I’ve been working my day job from home, so the only extra time I’ve gotten has been from not commuting, and not socializing, other than the occasional Zoom meetup. When I’ve had downtime, I’ve found myself sapped of energy, not feeling as creative as I needed to be.
So, this episode is a bit fresher than usual, having been written and recorded within a week of broadcast. I have the next one started, at least, along with plans for where it’s going after that.
Last night, my friends and I played the Animal Crossing RPG, a one-page Lasers & Feelings hack. Since I love one page TTRPGs, awhile ago, I wrote my own hack of the L&F system, a monster hunting game called Saving People / Hunting Things. To say that these games are different is a vast understatement. Mine’s about mystery, horror, and action, while Animal Crossing RPG is idyllic and peaceful. This shows the powerful flexibility of the Lasers & Feelings RPG engine.
I GMed this game for some of my gaming group over Discord last night, and we all had fun. TBH I think the players had more fun coming up with their characters than anything else. Unfortunately, the game was interrupted by a nasty thunderstorm and tornado watch (half of us lost power), so we didn’t find out if the characters would be able to deliver Pecan’s antique chest across town and over the brook to Kicks.
Even still, it was a perfect diversion during the pandemic lockdown, a nice, calm setting for escape.
This was a story that originated in late 2014 as a self-challenge: to write a short story set in one of the universes featured in my novel Reality Check. It kicked off the beginnings of a sequel to that book, which sadly became too tangled to finish. Never fear, I have a better idea for how the sequel should go, and you get to enjoy this as the original stand-alone project it was intended to be.
This is also the universe in which The Multiverse Blues takes place.
When I wrote this story in 2014, I couldn’t have pictured our current pandemic lockdown. I decided to post this episode earlier than it appears in my Alien Beer and Other Stories anthology because of its timely topic — social isolation. In Trog’s case, the cause is supernatural, rather than viral.
Inspiration is a funny thing. It can come to you anywhere, anytime. The idea for “A Bone to Pick” came as I drove into work, and I was forced to call my own phone to leave a voicemail so I’d remember it later. This one came as I was walking in a cemetery, enjoying the view from the highest point, and was approached by a sweet girl with none of the usual caution you’d expect her to have around strangers. The main character of this story isn’t me, but I have social awkwardness that approaches superpower levels at times; which is why the smile and high-five from a stranger was especially touching. I wish making connections, however brief, was always that easy and heartwarming.
Jules meets the other members of the interdimensional rock star’s crew; stage manager Harlan, general manager Marcy Davenport, drummer Dribbler, bass and backup singer Babs, and enchanting alien singing sensation Hope herself.
Just about to pass through the Arch to Gamma Earth, Jules and the crew are stopped for inspection by Beta Earth’s dreaded TSA. Jules does not have an interdimensional passport.