Monday, March 14, 2016
'Risk Taker' from Millsy - 'Nothing Ventured...'
The attic workshop of Sir Michael Awdry. Limehouse, London, 1889.
Dr Sir Michael Isembard Kingdom Awdry, inventor and taxidermist (MA).
Colonel Curtis Pettigrew Campbell III, unbridled enthusiast and compulsive early adopter (CC).
Reverend Miles Josiah Reidy, man of the cloth and unwitting test subject (MR).
The Right Dishonourable David Docherty, inveterate gambler and frequenter of saloons (DD).
Act I, Scene I:
CC: Gadzooks Sir Michael, you've certainly outdone yourself this time sir! A triumph my good fellow, that's what this is! [Ahem] What do they do then???
MA: I call them my Patented Energetic Transmutation Capsules. They transform biological matter from a solid state to a form of invisible energy and then transfer that same energy betwixt themselves (by means most cunning!), thus enabling instantaneous travel between two points in space.
CC: Marvelous, simply marvelous! I don't pretend to understand a word of what you've just said but I can't imagine anything finer. Can we try them?
DD: This is the trouble with you Campbell! Every time someone presents you with something new and exotic you can't help but compliment them, often without even the slightest idea of what it is you're looking at. Remember the last time you fell over yourself to try one of Sir Michael's creations?
CC: Actually, I'm afraid I don't as it happens...
DD: My point exactly! Goodness knows what other lasting effects you suffered. Nor do you seem to remember the 20 guineas I won from you at whist immediately beforehand I'll be bound [whistles to self].
Just look at poor Reverend Miles here for example! He tried that cursed contraption out too and now he can't be exposed to direct sunlight or he grows hair over his entire person and howls at the full moon. Its 96 degrees and he's attired from head to foot for fear of a little sunshine! Poor Mrs Jenkinson will never be the same. What housekeeper has ever had to wax her employer head to foot before?!? And the less said about what he tried to do to poor old Rousell’s leg the better – that is NOT behaviour suitable for ANY Christian gentleman, let alone a man of the cloth, for heaven's sake!
MA: I say, that's rather extreme! It's only teething problems and he's much improved. He's walking upright again now isn't he? Amazing stuff that Mind Bleach, I must say. Besides, Rousell appeared to be enjoying it so no harm done…
MR: Grrr... Woof woof!
CC: [Absently throws a tennis ball into the corner of the attic. Reverend Reidy goes in hot pursuit]. Oh come now Docherty, I think you're being jolly unfair. Poor Sir Michael has invested so much effort to create these wondrous devices and here you are pooh-poohing his efforts to his very face. I'm going to give them a try. Nothing ventured, eh what?
DD: I like a wager as much as the next man, as well you know, but even I wouldn't stake my person on those odds. It's your funeral, Campbell. Or worse! Just remember, some risks just aren't worth it no matter what. The Challenge is to work out which is which...
This one rattled round in my head for a good few weeks until it tumbled out all at once. As Mrs Millsy has just pointed out "The stories are half the fun for you aren't they?" and she's 100% correct. To be fair, even when she isn't I tell her she is. Choose your battles and all that!Once I had the germ of the plot it was simply a matter of time and effort to get this one going. The pods took a bit of work but that was more about a balance between form and function than anything else. I wanted them looking suitable steam punk but not overwrought as Sir Michael would never engage in such gauche creation. They're a combination of pill bottles, plasticard, cardboard and MDF off-cuts - simple but effective. One will remain here and the other will go to Curt to make future Curtgeld submissions cheaper and more straightforward.
The stage was something of a late addition as the pods and protagonists alone didn't tell the story nearly well enough when completed. Loading it up with references to past entries from Sir Michael was, as Evan put it, "riffing on the great man's work" as opposed to outright plagiarism. Student's of Mr Awdry's wonderful creations will recognise a number of elements from his past efforts.
That's all I have to say on this one. I hope you've enjoyed it folks.