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The Doclopedia #394

The Alphabet, Again: A is for… Artichoke Kid

The Artichoke Kid was a vicious psychopath and mob enforcer during the 1920-1928 time period. Originally from Castroville, California, he got his nickname from his preferred method of killing: stuffing a small artichoke down the victim’s throat, thereby choking them to death.

Originally named Henry Danvers, he left home at age 13, leaving several corpses throughout the Salinas Valley. Once he got to San Francisco, he went to work for Albert “Bert the Bear” Colletino. At first he was just a numbers runner, but within weeks he was breaking the limbs of loan shark customers who were late with payments. Moving up to contract killings was only a matter of months away.

It is believed that Danvers killed at least 38 people, including mobsters Joe “Big Bones” Morelli, Little George Sponato, Shotguns O’Brien and Nick “The Barber” Santoni. In one day in 1926, he killed the mayor of Sausalito, the police chief of San Francisco and a greengrocer who had no artichokes that day. He shot the greengrocer, having gone to his store because he had run out of artichokes himself.

The Artichoke Kid died on June 4th, 1928 in a shootout with federal agents in San Francisco. It was verified that he had three pistols and a half dozen artichokes on his person at the time.


After The Change Came: Series 2

Sin And The Burning Questions

Hello, folks! Now that I’m recovered from that damned crazyass 24 hour New Years Eve Party AND a few days in Wizard Time (which I cannot discuss right now), I’m going to do what I said a couple of posts back and answer Reader Mail. If this goes well, I may do it again sometime.

Our first question is from Sandi Pelski in Ann Arbor, Michigan: “What was the 1972-1973 Looking For Trouble World Tour?”

Well, Sandi, when we (Doc, Avis, Candy & myself) graduated (Avis & Candy with honors, Doc & I by the skin of our teeth) from Hobart’s School For Young Ladies & Gentlemen on June 3, 1972, we took a year off to travel around the world. This was funded by the many moneymaking ventures that Doc & I ran during our time in school. At first, Avis & Candy didn’t think it was a good idea, but Doc is a silver tongued Yankee devil and before long, he had them convinced and we were off on a big adventure. At some point early on, Candy said that traveling with “these two insane white boys” was just looking for trouble. That came back to haunt her when, on a drunken night in Melbourne, we all got the previously mentioned tattoos. When she woke up the next day, Avis was so aghast at what she had done, she never got drunk again in her life. I’ll note that that time was actually the only time she had ever gotten drunk. Doc’s attempt to cheer her up by reminding her that we had originally wanted to get the tattoos on our asses did little to console her. Anyway, we were gone for a year and a day, had a wonderful time (certain international incidents notwithstanding) and then it was Harvard for Avis, MIT for Candy, the California Institute of Fine Arts for me and ten years living like a hippie in a converted school bus for Doc and the recently graduated Grace.

From Boris Skalnikov in the L4 Colony, the question is “I have heard mention of Weerloos by both you and Doc. What exactly are they?”

It’s good that I’m answering this question and not Doc, because if he did, this would be an obscenity filled rant. Weerloos are one of the many new races of sentient beings created by the Wizards during/after the Change. They look pretty much like humanoid crocodiles and stand about 4 feet tall. They are quite primitive, living in small tribes that are loosely part of a larger clan. They are vicious, war loving, carnivorous little fuckers who, truth be told, aren’t very smart and don’t hold to most diplomatic agreements unless they are backed up by a very real threat of violence. That last would be why Doc is known among the Weerloos as “Taker of Tails & Teeth”. He tends to practice “aggressive diplomacy” when dealing with them.

Weerloos are mostly found on the West coasts of North and South America, with a few clans found along major rivers farther inland (here in California, that means the Sacramento River north of Sacramento to just south of Red Bluff) and in river deltas. They are semi-nomadic, seldom staying in one place for more than two years. There is no inequality between sexes, but if you are very young or very old, life is tough. The young must fight for survival, initially by killing most of their nest mates. Old Weerloos who do not have significant political or magical might (and Weerloo mages are very rare) will find themselves either forced out of the tribe to survive alone or just plain dead.

Once in a while, a few clans will band together in an attempt to conquer or kill a few other clans or maybe some group of another species. This almost always fails due to Weerloo clans turning against each other in mid battle. Back when the 5 Clans of Blood attacked the Short Troll town of Longport (just south of Chico, CA), the battle did not go well due to the Short Trolls having a more organized militia and better weapons. When the Weerloos regrouped, fighting broke out and more than half the forces died. The rest ran home with new hatred of the “traitor clans” in their hearts.

To quote Doc: “Weerloos suck. They really really do.”

Geoff Darcy of London, England asks “Do you always wear ladies clothing?”

No, Geoff, I don’t. Well, except for undies. Those are always feminine and always silk. But when I’m working or doing “guy stuff”, I pretty much dress like any other fellow. I have a whole closet full of concert/band/gaming & sci-fi/touristy t-shirts and several pairs of jeans from vintage Levis to cheaper brands. I even have a couple of suits, including the Armani tuxedo I wore at Doc & Grace’s wedding, which shocked everybody into speechlessness.

All told, I’d say I dress up all manly about a third of the time.

Well, folks, I must get out the door now. There are two paintings, a bunch of errands and a dinner date with a young lady that need my attention. More blogging later!


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