The Scruffians Project: The Beast of Buskerville
The Story So Far
If you know the score, you can skip ahead to the New Release heading. If not...
So I decided to try out an experiment in direct distribution: offer a story in pdf form to anyone who donated an amount at their discretion via PayPal; and should the story reach a target of two-thirds SFWA pro rates (five cents a word), said story would be put on general release for free download. That worked rather well, so I decided to try out a second stage: if the donations reached a secondary target of full pro-rates, I'd do the same for another story in the series. That worked too for a few stories... up until the last one. By the rules of the experiment, the next story ain't due yet, but in the interests of keeping things running a little longer, I'm going to stick one up anyways and carry over the shortfall into the primary target, see how it goes.
Anyways, we now have four stories available in various formats in this shared folder, direct links below:
"How a Scruffian Starts Their Story"
"An Alfabetcha of Scruffian Names"
So, this time, it's "The Beast of Buskerville," the heftiest story so far, weighing in at 8000 words. Again, I'll stick with the target/rates system established, but bearing in mind the situation with the previous story, well, I have me doubts if this will even reach the primary target, especially given that it's $267 at two-thirds of 5 cents per word. And as for the secondary target of $400? Well, we'll see. If it makes up the shortfall and reaches the first target, I'll post it up for free download like the others. If it makes the second, I have another story ready to go. Still, as before, everyone who donates whatever amount they feel like gets the pdf version whether it reaches the target or not. All's you gotta do is click on the "Donate" button to the left and chuck some dosh my way. Simple, eh?
The Beast of Buskerville? Now there's a tale! Why, it's only the tale of old Whelp, eh? The tale of the most frightsome hound as ever haunted London, and of Yapper, the Scruffian as learned to speak dog, the Scruffian as tamed Whelp... well, as near to tamed him as that snarling, slavering, scurrilous cur of a canine ever could be tamed. But more'n that, scamps, this here's a tale of the single most villainest villain ever to prey on the likes of us, the vulture of vagabonds, the buzzard of beggars, the scavenger of Scruffians... the Waiftaker General himself.
Now, you all's seen the Waiftaker General with yer own peepers, so there ain't no need for conjuring him, right? Back when this story took place, he'd the same beak nose of a bird of prey, the same beady eyes with pin-prick pupils, the same scrawny neck to angle his head this way and that, to size up a Scruffian just Fixed or all set for a Scrubbing. Only thing different back then... though his hair it were slicked back to his skull the same, so's he looks a true hawk -- back then it were black instead of white.
So. It began on a day as seemed like any others for the Waiftaker General, as he rose from his fancy four-poster bed, bid his butler hold the piss-pot for him whiles he drains his bladder, then pour water -- piping hot! -- for him to wash his fams. Why, that butler even buttons up his breeches, he does; helps him on with his big black frockcoat what flaps like wings when he pounces on yer; and knots his white silk cravat so sartorially sophisticated... what only makes his neck look scrawnier, poking out as a vulture's from its ruff.
All the whiles he were dressing, of course, he were already at work, calling in his lieutenant to tell him how many waifs was took for Fixing in the dead of night, and was they Jews or gypsies, paupers or carnies? Was they boys or girls with black mops or blond curls? What ages and stages of starving was they? So what was their worth at the going rates? And all of this writ in his little black book. And then lastly he spins, with a smile cruel as sin, and asks, How many scruffs did the stickmen bring in?