Collectively, I've just been referring to them as "West," me being the master of original titles that I am. I'll be posting the stories a couple of pages at a time periodically - say three days a week. Not having anything resembling a readership, I suppose that's mostly for my own amusement as well as not having a couple of mile-long posts on this blog. You can begin reading after the jump.
Poorer Than You Came, Part 1
by Gordon Graham
Panel 1: Wide shot of the desert, with a bone-dry, dead tree in the middle distance, off center. Cacti dot the landscape, and at the base of the tree, a dark lump can barely be seen, about the size of a person.
Panel 2: Same shot, except now the shape turns out to be a man who was wrapped up in a bedroll, now sitting bolt upright. This is Thomas Kearn, though we can see little of his features at the moment.
Panel 3: Medium shot of Kearn as he rubs his head, eyes still heavy with sleep. Arrayed around his sleeping site are the scattered collection of goods a man might need to live in the desert, with his bowler hat nearby. He himself is dressed in long underwear, with his suit neatly folded on a rock at the base of the tree. On his face is a harrowed, distant expression.
Panel 4: Close-up on his hand as it gropes for a battered map. On the scrap of map we can see, there is evident a marker of a town, near a pictogram of a well: Boneshade
Panel 5: Kearn has risen to his feet, and is shrugging into his shirt as he absently looks at the map in his hand. In the background, the sun is rising over the desert.
Panel 1: Kearn shades his eyes with his hat, and the camera sees over his shoulder as he stares out west into the desert. Off near the horizon, there is the barely visible sprawl of a shantytown.
Panel 2: Kearn looks back down at the map, in another shot over his shoulder. We can now see that he’s wearing his vest as well, now.
Panel 3: Kearn looks east in much the same way, and we can note the direction because the sun is clearly over here. On this side, the desert is empty.
Panel 4: Extreme closeup on Kearn’s eyes, squinted with a humorless smile. his skin is sunburned and peeling, with deep bags under his eyes.
Panel 5: Close up of kearn grabbing a water bag
Panel 6: Closeup of Kearn grabbing a satchel, overflowing with official looking documents. a few of them have words and phrases visible on them, like “Final Notice,” “Court Summons,” and “Formal Investigation.”
Panel 7: Wide shot of Kearn walking off into the west, towards the sprawl of town. A satchel is slung from one shoulder, while the waterbag trails from his other hand. At this point, he is fully dressed in his suit, sending up a slight trail of dust in his wake.
Panel 8: Same shot, except that he has walked further from the “camera” by now, and the camera has pulled back a bit to show more of the tree and campsite.
Panel 1: Establishing shot of Boneview down main street. It is the very picture of a sticktown in the Old West, with faded, splintered facades on buildings that were crappy collections of crappy wood when they were new, which was some time ago. Visible are the Wellspring Hotel, Stucky’s Saloon, the well in the middle of town, and the dust-coated, apathetic air of a town just waiting to die. In the distance, we can barely see the speck of what might be a figure approaching the town (Kearn, in point of fact.) Off to the left, in front of the saloon, Chuck Quinn is tying a horse to a hitching post (Note: the horse is a bony, broken down skeleton, more bones than skin.) Frank Bolewood
Chuck: Over... under... through...
Frank: Well, hey there, chuck! Ain’t seen you in town fer a spell!
Panel 2: Side shot of the two of them, affording a clearer look at their features. The heat - warped horizon still presents its tiny view of kearn incoming. Chuck is standing ramrod straight with a blank expression and his arms hanging at his sides. A human wall. Frank is posed much more naturally.
Chuck: Ah don’t know what ta tell you, Frank. Stacy’s been draggin’ me in ta town every month, like always.
Frank: That girl. She keepin’ you busy?
Chuck: Busy enough. Ah’m tryin’ ta keep HER busy.
Chuck: Too sharp fer her own good, her momma always said.
Chuck: Now ah guess AH say it.
Panel 3: Same angle of shot. Chuck is standing with the same posture, but Frank is scratching the back of his head and looking at his feet, semi-embarassed. Kearn has drawn closer, and a person or two is in the background, looking in his direction.
Chuck: Was there sumthin’ you wanted, Sherrif?
Frank: Ah, well, I guess I was just thinkin’...
Chuck: T’aint no harm in thinkin’.
Frank: Yes, Chuck, I am aware... but I was thinkin’ about somethin’ in particular.
Panel 4: Chuck is still standing the same way, but now Frank has his hands forward, as if placatingly, although he’s looking up the street towards Kearn, who has drawn closer still. one or two more people are visible in the background looking at the approaching figure.
Chuck: An’ whut might this particular thing have ta do with me? You know I’m not particular.
Frank: Damn it, Chuck, I’m tryin’ to say! The town... I just think...
Frank: ...What’s all this commotion about?
Panel 5: Shot from behind Kearn as he arrives on the end of main street, arms spread wide, with the eastern sun casting his long, larger than life shadow towards the six or seven people in the streets and on the boardwalks examining him.
Kearn: Hail there, fine citizenry of Boneshade!
Kearn: My name is Thomas Kearn, and I come with potentially joyous tidings for your quaint and bucolic town!
Kearn: Though I regret that my horse has succumbed to these climes, my belief in the task at hand has nonetheless driven me onward!