BOILERTOWN: The Most Foul Stench Imaginable.

Photo by Larry Combs

Photo by Larry Combs

This excerpt is taken from the chapter “I Need More Guns.” In which Fenmore LeMerde gets a heavy dose of foreshadowing.

Enveloped in the warm metallic tones of brass, copper, and gold his new best friend Orby blinked slow and methodically charging on a stand next to Fenmore LeMerde’s head. The red light kept rhythm with his soft snoring as he slumped over his desk. “I need more guns,” he mumbled and flexed his trigger finger. It was a rare occurrence that the heir to Boilertown slept. When he did it was for an indeterminate amount of time and there was no waking him up. “More-” This time the air was different, it carried a heavy acrid odor. “What-” Suddenly roused, he picked his head off the work desk. Then he heard it. A voice called out down the hall. “Hey! Who’s there?” Fenmore LeMerde shouted. It was the first time in a very long time that heard a voice that was not his own. But after a spell he began to wonder. He could barely make out the words. It was like an echo before he even spoke. He woke up Orby and wound his way out of the study. Sound swept strangely through the sprawling halls of LeMerde Manor. He held his breath and listened just to make sure he wasn’t the one who caused the echo. Following the voice he walked past numerous doors to tightly packed quarters. “Hello?” He asked when he heard a very familiar person. Himself. “What?” He put his hand on the door knob hesitant to enter. By the tone of his voice there was no doubt he would find himself in a frantic situation.

“Good bye LeMerde” He heard himself say from inside the room.
“Me?” Fenmore LeMerde called out to the other Fenmore LeMerde.
“Good bye LeMerde” He repeated those words over and over until it sounded like he gave up hope.
“All those lives lost.” He heard a woman say in a far away voice. Her anguish was palpable.
“No… Noooooooo,” Just then a third person growled in a low animalistic and angry voice.“Baaaad Gretttaaaahhhhh.”
“Whats going on?” Quite confused the corporeal Fenmore LeMerde asked from the hallway. “Who’s with you- me?” As if in answer a very noxious odor wafted up from below. Very deep down below as if the smoldering caldera that Boilertown was built upon belched up something foul. The incendiary air burned his nostrils and made him cough. He burst through the door fearing the worst.

BOILERTOWN: Chapter Outlines

Photo by Larry Combs

Photo by Larry Combs

Here are the chapter outlines, the titles in bold are the finished ones. There a couple titles missing however for they are just to pivotal to the plot to divulge just yet.


Prologue: The Life, The Death, and The Shit
Chapter One: Dinosaurs in the Sewers
Chapter Two: “I Need More Guns”
Chapter Three: The Unexpected Houseguest
Chapter Four: In Absentia
Chapter Five: The Only Way Out is Down
Chapter Six: The Rats of Boilertown
Chapter Seven: Poltergeist
With the addition of Greta Scot to the household strange occurrences happen more frequently. Stuff goes missing-important stuff. Ms Marlybone looses touch with Mr. Talitee, goes on a rampage, and knocks everyone out- including herself. Shit gets really crazy. Greta Scot hates Orby and in a fit of rage she smashes Fenmore LeMerde’s friend and exposes a gooey surprise.

Chapter Nine: Greta Goes Home
Chapter Ten: Many Surprises
Chapter Eleven: A Cautionary Tale
Chapter Twelve: The Lost City of Caldera
Chapter Thirteen: IMMORTALITY

BOILERTOWN: Character Bios

Photo by Larry Combs

Photo by Larry Combs

Character Bios in Order of Appearance

Fenmore LeVie (P.E. Fenmore) – Inventor, eccentric, philanthropist, and humanist from the mid-nineteenth century who built himself a time machine out of a claw-foot bathtub. One of the first excursions he took was to the very end of the world to see how it all went down. The vision haunted him since and he vowed to do everything is his power to stop it. Through use of his time machine and an indeterminate amount of machinery and manpower he succeeded in capping the intense geothermal heat of a supervolcano before it’s eruption and by harnessing the hydroelectricity of the neighboring ocean he created an immense boiler system the likes of which the world had never seen before. Giant spires erected around the perimeter of the island power a force field to keep the air breathable and the encroaching atmosphere at bay. The remaining populace of the dying planet flocked to the last holdout of civilization and Boilertown was born. As his dreams of prolonging life on earth came into fruition he proclaimed himself leader and called himself Benevolent Dictator of Boilertown Fenmore LeVie, for he was indeed a giver of life. He was never really fond of first name anyway. Naturally with this new title he had taken to wearing white or beige tones. Fenmore LeVie could not have accomplished all of this on his own.

Willoughby– Willoughby is his assistant and a primary operator of the claw-foot time machine. It his duty to travel to the destination first and set the moment up to fall into its proper place in the future: Everything from mining the ore to form the pipes to decimating entire herds of dinosaurs to create more fossil fuels. The youngest in the Fenmore line referred to Willoughby as his butler, but he’s so much more than that he’s a time butler. Unfortunately traveling so much through time has done terrible things to Willoughby’s appearance. It has left him looking brittle, bedraggled, and sometimes barely corporeal. Most of his exposed skin is covered in sores from the onset of radiation poisoning. He is rarely seen in person, he usually flits about in and out of time sometimes in multiple places at once. Willoughby has been known to shove or body slam people to get them where they need to go. He has surprising strength for such an ethereal looking guy.

Fenmore LeMort- Conditions deteriorated considerably as Boilertown passed down from from one Fenmore to the next. LeVie’s progeny was everything the Benevolent Dictator was not. In fact he dropped the name Fenmore, for he was never really fond of his surname to begin with and just called himself LeMort. The Death. Systematically he destroys everything that Fenmore LeVie built. He starts by hijacking the time machine as well as its operator Willoughby. He travels throughout time harvesting people to help with the upkeep of Boilertown. Fraught with earthquakes, a failing shield, fireballs falling out of the sky, a whole ring of supervolcanoes about to explode, and time is about to fold in on itself these desperate times call for desperate measures. Through a grave new technology in the in the Fenmore family name these people undergo a shocking transformation and are reduced to soulless husks. Fleshy-byproducts that move about autonomously as if controlled by an outside force. Rumors circulated that these people were collected for a more sinister purpose other than indentured servitude. A handful of denizens that remained intact fled underground to the Boilertown’s expansive sewer system to escape the clutches of the lecherous LeMort. Their fate is a mystery. The last thing LeMort takes from Fenmore LeVie is his life and then he just disappears. Only one man remains in Boilertown with conscious thought and his body and soul intact.

Fenmore LeMerde– He is the unfortunate heir to Boilertown. Unfortunate in the purest sense of the word for LeMort gave him the title meaning “The Shit,” for not only was he left with the bitter end of of a thriving empire but it also means unwanted. There is a certain resilience his character and he even came to referring to himself as “THE Shit” As a child when things started to go downhill Fenmore LeVie packed him up in the claw-foot time machine and spirited him away to the Fenmore Manor in the mid-nineteenth century. Years later he was bludgeoned by his beloved butler Willoughby and brought back home. His grandfather may very well be dead, his father LeMort missing, and most likely guilty of the foul crime. Boilertown is in utter collapse and time is in ruin. Due to the indeterminate amount of time spent alone in his new home his age is unknown. Though he says he’s been there fifteen years with no one to talk to other than what he refers to as the Peons and they don’t respond to speech or violence. As time passes he grows to hate these beings more than anything for they exist as a constant reminder that he is truly alone. He has committed unspeakable acts as a means of survival. His only friend is a rescued robotic orb he named Orby. Despite seemingly insurmountable odds he is bound and determined to escape and look good while doing it. Somehow through all of this he acquired an impressive wardrobe -some say a time machine was involved. He is brash and when he first encounters Ms Marlybone he’s downright boorish. He is incredibly agile and never falls. Guns and gadgets are his reason for living.

Ms Marlybone – Magdalene Angelica Marlybone would like to think of herself as a right and proper Victorian lady but there is something rather otherworldly about her. For starters she’s always carrying around with her an antique oak box. It’s contents are very similar to that of Fenmore LeMerde friend Orby. Except her constant companion actually answers back. It’s a glowing red ruby with powerful capabilities. It came from a fallen meteorite when the earth was in its infancy. It used to be much larger but over the years its shiny sheer surface has been chipped away and passed through many hands, used for scientific breakthroughs and experiments and so on. In search of a new handler, the ruby was on a traveling exhibit that passed through little Maggie’s town. When she first saw the gem in person it spoke to her saying IMMORTALITY. MR. TALITEE is how her child mind registered it and her friend now had a name. As she grew older, her link with Mr.Talitee appeared to give her preternatural abilities such as sharpened intuition and heightened dexterity, sometimes it seems that her brain isn’t even on this plane but tuned into something far larger than what any of us on earth could imagine. She’s immune to most illness and has an increased threshold for pain. Perhaps Mr. Taltiee was right after all with that very first word he spoke to her and Ms Marlybone was on her way to becoming immortal. In the meantime she’s not particularly dying to find out. Protecting the special space rock became her sole purpose in life, she was trained in every manner of self defense and martial arts and a whole manner of weapons. Though mostly she is her own weapon. She was hired to work with P.E. Fenmore on a new life prolonging technology, unfortunately Willoughby got in the way and she was forcefully spirited away into Boilertown. She may very well be a skillfully trained killing machine with a veritable space alien living in her head but nothing prepares her for what she encounters in her horrible new home. She takes to wearing a Victorian Mourning dress as she grieves her loss of civility.

Greta Scot- Her past is a mystery and her name is made up. She was born in the sewers among the survivors that fled underground. She never saw the light of day. As a child a great tragedy befell her fellow sewer dwellers. Orphaned at an early age a pair of giant sewer rats took her in and raised her as one of their own. As she grew up she lost any semblance of humanity, relying solely on her animalistic instincts to survive. As far as morals are concerned, she’s fairly certain that they are some form of mushroom. She eats whatever creature she can find for there is a surprising amount of life underground being so close to a supervolcano. Rats grow to the size of dimetrodons and there are also dinosaurs down there too. Much like her diet she is an opportunist with her weapons as well, using whatever tools and bones left behind in her childhood home.  She lives in a well fortified sewer den with a stockpile of belongings from her former life. Her skin and hair would have have been pale almost translucent for spending her entire life underground except for the layer of decades worth of  reddish- brown sewer grime. Bathing is out of the question for she has to mask her scent. Greta Scot dresses in the  hide of her fellow giant sewer rats that she lovingly called her parents and sports one of their skulls as a helmet when she goes out hunting. Greta Scot’s life revolves around finding her next meal. In the wake of the death of her parents, they left behind two baby giant sewer rats. Being a good mother and raising them in a good home has taken up most of her time. Life was good in the sewer until Ms Marlybone and Fenmore LeMerde came traipsing in there with their big guns and tranquilizers and dragged her up to the surface. She sorely lacks communication skills but obviously knows a lot more about the current situation than what she is letting on to her new housemates. But then there would not be much of a story.

Boilertown: Blood and Shit.

(Photo by Larry Combs)

(Photo by Larry Combs)

In my perilous quest to finish The Boilertown Saga here is an excerpt from the chapter called “The Rats of Boilertown,” in which Fenmore LeMerde engages Greta Scot in hand to hand combat in order to extract his much needed answers from her. He gets more than what he bargains for.

Greta Scot’s eyes darted this way and that scanning to see if Ms Marlybone was out there somewhere armed with the tranquilizer gun. Then she crouched down low and tilted her head sideways sizing up her sparring partner. Fenmore LeMerde was a formidable opponent exceedingly agile and efficient. Proficient in causing the greatest amount of damage with the least amount of effort. He said so himself he never falls. All those years Greta Scot spent alone in the sewer had left her lean yet sturdily built. She relied on the pure animal instinct to survive. Her fighting style mimicked that of her adoptive parents the Giant Sewer Rats with gnashing teeth and slashing claws. She was grounded soundly on sturdy legs and was somehow capable of taking down monsters much larger than herself. Fenmore LeMerde remembered his first chance encounter with the sewerling and how he and Ms Marlybone interrupted her dinnertime. He hoped she understood this was only a game. Simply speaking to her was getting him absolutely nowhere. So he tried to communicate with her through something she was bound to understand: violence. No guns and no orbs. This is hand to hand combat, he told himself and hoped the look in his eyes conveyed the fact that he wasn’t about to kill her. For a brief second he wondered if he was in over his head. This is Boilertown everything is over my head. Fenmore LeMerde exhaled slowly and took the first swing proving he wasn’t opposed to hitting a girl. She dodged the blow and ducked down low, put all of her weight on the balls of her feet, tilted sideways and aimed her shoulder at his ribcage with the full intention to knock him off kilter. But he recovered too quickly from his misplaced punch, took a swift step back, and put his shoulder to hers to counteract the blow. The impact jarred them both but what he didn’t expect was a sound kick to the Steam Baron’s shin by the sewerling’s heel. He must have lost his touch he thought as the sharp pain shot up to his knee. He vowed to never let that happened again. Taking a step back to regain his momentum, he landed a hard punch to her nose in hopes to remind her of the scratches she previously inflicted to his cheek. Hard enough to make her take him seriously. She growled baring her teeth and shook away the pain. The sewerling flexed her forearms as if preparing to rip him apart. No guns, no orbs, hand to hand combat. No guns- He wished he had a weapon for at that moment she lunged forward and brought all of her weight down hard on Fenmore LeMerde’s boot. Half punching half clawing she then landed a couple powerful swipes, gripped her opponent by the lapels of his waistcoat, and brought his head down to meet hers in a vicious headbutt. Their foreheads smacked together. His brain rattled. He stepped back for a slight reprieve, surely she could not have gone unscathed by such a blow. He blinked away the pain and sized the sewerling up. She fights like a – whats that thing called again? A bison. He thought in a moment of clarity and neatly dodged her following swings. Greta Scot fought dirty and did not know when to quit. She used all of her weight and momentum for the majority of her blows and this he knew he could use against her. He took a step back and expertly blocked the next swipe of her raking claws. He then grabbed her by the wrist and forced her hand back  towards her. Unfortunately, her other hand landed hard at his jaw. He bit his lip tasting blood and somehow managed ignore his impulse to incur further damage. Her got her right where he wanted her. Holding her own arm bent tightly at the elbow with her forearm pressed against her windpipe. Fenmore LeMerde had both of her arms this time as he shoved her bodily up against the wall. “Tell me, Greta,” He said breathlessly and slowly for clarity. “What is happening here?” he asked. “How is this all going to end?” After all the effort, he wasn’t sure if the sewerling was even going to answer. It surprised him greatly that she did. Greta Scot spit the blood out her mouth as it ran down from her broken nose. The sewerling swallowed hard and manged to mutter one coherent word. “Shit,” she said.
“Shit?” Fenmore LeMerde was momentarily taken aback at her utterance. He moved his head to wipe away the blood from his busted lip onto his lapels unwilling to take his eyes or arms off of the rat girl. “What did you call me?” his voice dipped dangerously low as he pressed harder on her arm.
Greta Scot grinned toothily and let out a stifled giggle. “Shit,” she said again and snapped her teeth close to Fenmore LeMerde’s nose.
Before matters could escalate further Ms Marlybone entered the room pausing in the doorway and cleared her throat. The sewerling’s face fell at the thought of going back to sleep. Sure enough the next words out of the Spiritualist’s mouth were, “do I have to knock the two of you out?”
Fenmore LeMerde sighed and let go of Greta Scot who both sneered and looked guilty at the same time. “No.” he added brusquely as they both turned to face her, bloodied and bruised from putting up a good fight. “I was questioning her- it seems she learned new word.”
“Shit,” Greta Scot said again under her breath and smirked.
Ms Marlybone crossed her arms and raised her eyebrows cautiously regarding the sewerling. “Well,” she said at last. “She didn’t learn it from me.”

Escape from Boilertown: THE BOOK


(Photo by Larry Combs)

I have undergone the painstaking process of converting the script of the Boilertown saga into a book format. Three weeks later I’m past the hundred page point and I’m having a great time finding clever new ways of filling the pages. Granted, this particular portion of the story is pretty much pulled out of Super Mario Bros.

Deep down underground in the pipes of Boilertown, barely visible in the darkness, shades of rust and algae were dimly lit by the phosphorescent glow of various plant and animal life. Fenmore LeMerde and Ms Marlybone trekked farther out of Boilertown, the place that held them captive for so long. No one one could say they would miss it much.

They were in a smallish tunnel compared to the ones that he was in previously. This one was only thirty feet high. Fenmore LeMerde looked toward the ceiling and watched a shadow bulge and loom overhead as a creature lumbered toward them from the opposite direction. It had a sharp beak-like snout, a wide brow, and a heavily horned head. The eyes were tiny, beady, and black. “What is that thing?” he asked tilting his head sideways and squinted his eyes for a better view. What they witnessed wholly defied logic. Even for Boilertown.

“And why is it on the ceiling?” Ms Marlybone instinctively pulled out her ray run. Fenmore LeMerde followed in suit. The bulky body of the beast came into view, sturdily reinforced with oval shaped armored plates, ribbed and ridged with rows of horns along the sides of the large outer shell. The clubbed and barbed tail whipped at them and smashed into the ceiling. Pieces of pipe plummeted. “Ahh!” Fenmore LeMerde started and shot up at the small-brained brute. The laser blast ricocheted off the armored body only angering it. Looking down at the offender it blinked it’s beady black eyes. Then the head and all four short stumpy legs withdrew into the shell. Just like that it dropped. Ms Marlybone shot him a look wordlessly calling him an idiot as the shell alone reaching at least fifteen feet in diameter came crashing to the sewer floor. Fenmore LeMerde held down his top hat and put away his pistol. “Duck!” he hollered and they split off, diving into the edges of the tunnel, laid down, and shrank in as far as they could. They sucked in their chests and stomachs and dared not breathe as the shell spun and hurtled toward them, bouncing off the sewer walls. The spikes sent sparks sailing with every impact. It missed the two of them by mere millimeters. Once the shell roared past, gaining momentum with the downward slope, Fenmore LeMerde stood up and dusted himself off. He offered a hand to Ms Marlybone and helped her up as well. All the while she gave him that look. “What,” Fenmore LeMerde said.

“Really?” The shell crashed and boomed as it bounced and slid careening around the corner and out of view. Something snarled as it hurtled toward another obstacle as it continued on its perilous trajectory.

“How was I supposed to know that was going to happen?” 

BOILERTOWN: Dinosaurs in the Sewers

This is the prologue to the epic Steampunk backstory of my housemates and I. Larry Sparrow as “Fenmore LeMerde,” MaryAnne TheContrarian McClusky as “Ms. Marlybone” and I “Greta Scot.” The more we discussed it, our story grew crazier and crazier. It’s set in the future at the very end of the world. There’s violence, science, time travel, and potty humor. The project has been going on for about five years now. I’ve always thought it would make a great cartoon or comic book.


THE BOILERTOWN SAGA: Dinosaurs in the Sewers.
By Jessica Hopsicker 12/18/2013

FENMORE LeMERDE stands in the sewer pipe alone packing a pair of pistols. Directly behind him is a narrow metal spiral staircase, it raises up and up and disappears entirely in the darkness. Nor can he see anything before or behind him.


He says to himself for there is no one else around.


He reassures himself and straightens up his jacket, being the well dressed man that he is, even if he is in the vast underground sewer system of Boilertown.

Fenmore LeMerde raises his pistols and takes his very first step into the great unknown.

Cakes of rusty brown vibrate on the sewer floor beneath his feet. He stops and looks at his shoes.

The ground beneath him jolts and shakes suddenly.

There’s a loud crash. It sounds like thunder. Followed by a great wailing.

Fenmore LeMerde maintains his footing as he’s jostled about. His pistols ready to fire.

The wail becomes a growl and then a furious howl.

Far ahead he catches a strange light glinting off of something white: Teeth.

There is a loud thwack as powerful jaws snap shut.

Not one but two colossal creatures round the corner and rear into view. They’re reptilian out of something he’s only seen in his story books.

They fight to their death right before his very eyes.

The one with the long neck, whipping tale and equally impressive jaw opens up and rears back ready to strike. It’s opponent though far less graceful looking makes up for it with sheer girth and bulkiness, lunges forward and barrels into the body of his assailant, ramming the monster into the sewer pipe wall.

Chunks of brown rain down of Fenmore LeMerde’s head.

The beasts battle, tearing at each other with teeth and talons. All the while they continue barreling down the sewer pipe.

Severely out gunned at a time like this Fenmore LeMerde drops his pistols without a second thought makes a beeline for the spiral staircase.

Up and up he twirls to the surface, gripping the pole tightly with both hands for there are no rails to hold on to. Within reach of neither the surface nor the sewer floor Fenmore LeMerde finds himself in the midst of the the deadly duel.

The staircase just below him snaps like a dry twig as the stocky one rears up on it’s hind legs and lounges for its more slender enemy on the other side.

Fenmore LeMerde hugs the staircase as hard as he can for he finds his boots are touching nothing at all. He lifts his legs at a 90 degree angle as the two behemoths battle directly below his bottom. He hollers until he’s hoarse but his sounds are swallowed immediately by the roaring dinosaurs.

Fenmore LeMerde hoists himself up to the remaining staircase, as a swift flick of the graceful one’s tail knocks the top hat clear off his head.

His hat drops into the billowing dust clouds below.

The creatures disappear around the corner continuing to snap at each others’ throats.

Fenmore LeMerde launches himself up the last steps to the door that leads to his surface salvation.

At the top he looks down one last time into the murky darkness. His belongings have utterly vanished. The top hat he will miss terribly but he could care less about the pistols at this point.

Standing on a balcony with a thin spiral stair that drops off to nowhere Fenmore LeMerde sighs heavily. Exhausted and in a state of shock, he throws open the metal door and falls inside.

The only thing that sticks out of the door is his dirty brown boots.

Fenmore LeMerde
I’m going to need a bigger gun.

He army crawls through the doorway and kicks it shut behind him.

TUMBLETY: Dear Florie

EXT. Ship Deck-Day

FLORENCE CHANDLER stands on the deck, her hands grip the rail as she  squints against the sun as it glints against the abundant waves. The ship pitches and heaves and her stomach does the same. She is green and seasick yet still a vision to behold for the cunning and trolling eyes of James Maybrick. She is a young debutante and the picture of wealth and southern beauty.

James Maybrick slides up beside her unnoticed.

(whimpers and swallows hard)
Please no. Don’t.

JAMES MAYBRICK raises his hands and politely attempts to back away.
I’m terribly sorry Miss, I’ll be out of your way-

FLORIE CHANDLER starts and smiles bashfully and places a hand on her chest as she finally notices him.
Oh! You startled me…I wasn’t talking to you.

And who my dear were you talking to?

FLORIE CHANDLER blushes a touch of color against her pallor.
The waves the ocean…

Are you seasick?

Yes, and I can’t help but keep thinking that land is just beyond the horizon.

JAMES MAYBRICK chuckles in spite of himself.
I am genuinely sorry to hear that, Miss. We have only departed this morning.

I know that. It’s just- and you Sir, if you don’t me asking, where are you from?

Liverpool, England. I know for a fact this voyage lasts six days.

Dear me- Liverpool, what is that like?

My favorite time of the year is June when everything is in full bloom.

That sounds lovely, I would very much like to see it someday.

I am sure you will.

The ship pitches. Young Florie who is too busy staring at James, she looses her footing and falls into his arms.

FLORIE CHANDLER pulls away after a prolonged moment.
I am so sorry Mister-?

JAMES MAYBRICK gives her a proper introduction.
James Maybrick.

FLORIE CHANDLER reciprocates the greeting.
Florence Chandler. I prefer Florie.

Well Florie, it is a pleasure to make your acquaintance. I am sorry we couldn’t have met under more pleasant circumstances. I would very much like to see you again, and it is my selfish hope that time will go by as slow as you think it does now.

FLORIE CHANDLER blushes and blurts out
Will you please have dinner with us?

INT. GALLEY- Nightfall

James Maybrick joins Florie, her mother the Baroness Caroline Chandler Du Barry von Roques, her older brother Holbrook and the Ship’s Captain for dinner.

JAMES MAYBRICK is as guile as ever as he’s introduced to Florie’s Mother.
My Madam, that is a lot of surnames. I am so pleased to meet you.

The Baroness Caroline Chandler Du Barry von Roques blushes just like her daughter.

Florie’s older brother HOLBROOK is uptight and having none of it.
Mr. Maybrick, from what I hear of the cotton trade, if it is going so well for you, whatever would possess you to want to leave the country?

FLORIE CHANDLER chides her older brother.

Death. You see not too long ago, I was mere inches from dying. Stricken with severe case of malaria my own mortality was almost squashed by a singular mosquito.

James Maybrick swats the table for effect.

Both Florie and her mother jump.

JAMES MAYBRICK mainly addresses Florie at this point with the utmost sincerity.
I will never forget gasping for air, each new breath drawn was a battle. I couldn’t breathe, but I could think. Oh God, I could think. It all became frighteningly clear that this was the end and everything that I worked for was for nothing. I thought about my legacy for there was none. Unwed, no children to speak of and no one to carry out my name. It occurred to me that material wealth is not everything. There was family. But by then I thought it was too late for me. With luck, I have recovered and have been redeemed.

Florie Chandler practically swoons.

The Baroness Caroline Chandler Du Barry von Roques has her eyes on the Ship’s Captain.

Holbrook sneers.


Young Florie is in her bedroom, getting ready for the evening. There is lightness about her- a radiance. She picks up her sleeping gown and dances with it daydreaming about a bright and brilliant future.


I’ll be the bell of the ball,
and make every social call.
I’ll have my fortune and my fame,
and cotillions in my name.
I’ll put on airs in all affairs.
Oh, how happy I will be in high society.
A stranger to strife never work in my life
if I could be your wife. Oh James.

EXT. SHIP DECK – night

JAMES MAYBRICK roams the deck alone at night unwilling to retire just yet.

Your beauty cannot compare
to such fruit that life can bear.
With your flowing golden hair
and your lovely dead-eyed stare
like you are neither here or there
With a figure so widely storied
you will be my crowning glory
and I’ll lithely slip inside Dear Florie.

James Maybrick doses.


The SS Baltic reaches land six days later. Two of the five Maybrick brothers show up the dock up to greet James, Michael and the younger brother Edwin.

James Maybrick grins like a cat that ate a canary.

Florie Chandler is linked at his elbow completely over the moon.

Behind them is Holbrook and the Baroness.

Holbrook sneers in their direction.

Michael Maybrick’s face changes in a look of growing concern as the happy couple approaches.

Edwin Maybrick leers at Florie.

Who is this?

Good question.

JAMES MAYBRICK greets his siblings exuberantly.
My brothers, how good it is to see you again! I would like you to meet my fiancée Florence Chandler.

You’re engaged to be married?

FLORIE CHANDLER greets each of the Maybrick Brothers with a big squishy hug. She can no longer contain her excitement.
Isn’t it grand?

MICHAEL MAYBRICK is less than thrilled.
You met in Norfolk I take it.

Oh, no. We met on the ship.

(in shock and disbelief)
On the ship? It’s a six day voyage!

I know!

MICHAEL MAYBRICK leans in closer to James just to make sure he’s hearing him right.
How old is she?


Michael Maybrick clamps his mouth tightly shut unable to respond.

EDWIN MAYBRICK gives James a good nudge with his elbow.
Good job.

Edwin then turns his attention to Holbrook who is still glowering even with all the excitement.

What is going on with him?

James Maybrick shrugs.

MICHAEL MAYBRICK still glowers at his brother.
(under his breath)
My brother is an idiot.

TUMBLETY: The Deathbed

Meanwhile in…


Dismal Creek Swamp, Norfolk, Virginia


A PHYSICIAN walks down the hall and plaintively knocks on the door at the end.

A dry wheezy cough sounds from the bedroom as the door opens a crack.

The door opens for the Physician.

JAMES MAYBRICK a wealthy Cotton Merchant from LIVERPOOL taking advantage of the post war turmoil to get a “leg up” in the cutthroat trade, lays in bed, deathly ill, lost in a state in delirium, stricken with TYPHO-MALARIAL FEVER. His face is darkened and flushed, hot and harsh to the touch. As he struggles to breathe, his mouth is slightly parted revealing a tongue heavily coated and brown, deeply fissured and cracked. His teeth blacked with SORDES, encrustations of blood, build- up and bacteria as he suffers the symptoms of the debilitating fever.

Typho-Malarial Fever occurs in the the end stage of malaria. A most pernicious disease. It is unfortunate this stage can be easily avoided if the proper care and treatment were to be administered in the first place. The fever comes on swiftly, suddenly and often without warning. The first paroxysm is marked with a chill occurring earlier in the day, subsiding at night. Though the patient may feel a couple hours of repose during this remission, the fever never fully subsides. Then the second paroxysm strikes, carrying on with as much or more intensity than the first attack. Thus signaling a series of fits following a remission that decreases in duration until it ceases all together. The fever assumes a continuous form.

MICHAEL MAYBRICK steps into the hallway and closes the door behind him to speak in private about his brother’s rapidly deteriorating condition. His face is tired, drawn and care-worn. The prominent composer who goes by the name Stephen Adams has come to Norfolk, Virginia to collect his brother and bring him back to Liverpool, England dead or alive. It is beginning to look like the latter.

Michael Maybrick and the Physician speak in hushed voices, though it doesn’t make much of difference whether poor James Maybrick hears them or not.

MICHAEL MAYBRICK shakes his head.
The quinine has no effect. In fact he is getting much worse. I don’t know how long he can go on. Earlier, he could barely breathe, much less speak, but when he did he begged for death. Yet, with every jagged breath he cursed the fact he is condemned to die in Virginia

There are far worse things than dying in Virginia.

Please, we’re from Liverpool… And now, now, he just stares, lost to us in state of delirium and debility. And if this forsaken festering swamp takes his life-

We haven’t tried everything.


There is a hint of hope in Michael Maybrick’s voice, despite the fact that his brother is a bit of an asshole, he doesn’t want to see him die like a dog in Dismal Creek Swamp.


I could have had him up and eating, health fully restored before the first remission ever occurred. There would have been no need to resort to something so drastic as a mineral poison such as Fowler’s Solution.

It is a solution of potassium arsenate. A general tonic used to treat an array of afflictions such as ulcers, hypertension, and rheumatoid arthritis. And more severe conditions such as leukemia and syphilis. If you haven’t realized, your brother isn’t the only one suffering from malaria here in Dismal Creek Swamp. Would you like me to administer the drug Mr…?

Adams. It’s Adams. Yes please do.


Michael Maybrick pauses in the doorway of James Maybrick chambers. Expecting fully to see the all too familiar form of his dying brother.

The room is empty and so is the bed. The sheets are stripped and the mattress is bare.

Michael Maybrick looks puzzled. His brother is nowhere to be seen.

Wisps of smoke rise up past the window. Firelight flickers outside.

With trepidation Micheal Maybrick crosses the room to look out the window.

EXT. Outside the Manor- NIGHT

James Maybrick stands in front of a fire watching his bedding burn. He happens to look up catching a glimpse of his brother in his bedroom window. He’s no longer a sickly brownish hue, his skin is flushed from the heat of the fire and not the fever. He breathes in deeply and gratefully, stretching his legs, digging his heels deep into the ground, arches his back, and grins triumphantly and toothily up at his brother.


What was born from the ashes of the sheets of his deathbed was not dear Jim at all. He arose from his expiry as something entirely different. A creature-a creature of habit. Arsenic, I have seen it ruin many good men. Had I been there to intervene with my medical expertise instead of being so wrongfully detained, I could have stopped all this. We more than likely would have met later under less horrific circumstances.

TUMBLETY: The Homily



Francis Tumblety stands at the counter of the coroner‘s office dripping wet from a recent summer rainstorm and on his very last nerve.

The room is ill lit and quite cluttered with piles of paperwork and various organs preserved in jars.

THE CORONER sits at his desk. He is a deplorable looking man, dingy and greasy with questionable stains on his work clothes. He more than likely drinks formalin recreationally. Just the kind of man that Francis Tumblety is looking for. However, The Coroner ignores his only customer.

FRANCIS TUMBELTY clears his throat growing increasingly aggravated as time passes.
Excuse me, Sir. I am Doctor Tumblety and I request your services… Sir… Sir.

THE CORONER finally turns his head and faces his only customer.
(abruptly )

Francis Tumblety glares for a moment taken aback.

What- it’s one in the morning. Can’t you see I have work to do.
(impatiently motions to the paperwork piled on his desk.)
Out with it, I’m busy.

I’m inquiring about your matrices, I’ll pay you-

Mattresses? Look, you’ve come to the wrong place.

Matrices, and you are a man of medicine?

There’s a whorehouse down the street.

Francis Tumblety grimaces at the mention of the whorehouse. There is a short intake of breath then he blows up.

(gathers his composure and continues more candidly)
As I have said before I am willing to pay whatever price for any specimens you are-


Please sir, you are the only one who can help me, everyone turned me down even the Pathological Museum…

I can see why. You call yourself a doctor?

Yes, good sir, I am.

I bet you are, and I’m the fucking Queen of England. What did you say you needed these matrices for?

I’m having a dinner party.





Francis Tumblety’s quarters are well kept and well paid for. He is clearly a man of means and this party is held for Washington DC’s elite, politicians and military men. Noticeably missing from this particular party is women.

Seated at the card table across from Francis Tumblety is Colonel Dunham who looks around the room.

COLONEL DUNHAM catches his host’s attention.

Say Doctor, I happened to notice that aren’t any women in attendance. Why is that? My wife-

Francis Tumblety sets down the deck of cards that he was just about to deal. He looks at the Colonel, his eyes grow as dark as thunderclouds.

Women? No Colonel, I don’t know of any such cattle. And if I did, I would as your friend, give you a quick dose of poison than take you into such danger.

The room grows silent, his gentlemen friends look awkwardly amongst each other at the Good Doctor’s utterance.

Filthy vile creatures, Whorebeasts, Satan himself stemmed from a vagina. I have seen it. The mouth of hell itself.

Francis Tumblety abandons the game of cards and gets up from the table. He purposefully crosses the room to a pair of french doors that he slides wide open.

The parlor has been to converted into a study, or a pathological museum of his own. The room is furnished with cases, some round and square, comprised of glass and others made out of wood resembling wardrobes. Each shelf in each case is entirely occupied with jars of anatomical specimens. Some animal, but most of them are human.

At the Good Doctor’s behest the guests stand to join him in the doorway, puzzled at what Francis Tumblety is about to reveal.


Francis Tumblety approaches one of the wardrobes and swings the wooden doors wide open. As he does so he burst into a homily berating all of womankind with an emphasis on the “fallen ones.”



The sin and folly of dissipation
as self-indulgent as masturbation.
A licentiousness that plagues the nation,
evil is the seed of propagation.
And a whore is a scourge in reprobation
it’s divine right to end this abomination.

Francis Tumblety grabs a jar containing an organ that appears to be a uterus.

A PARTY GUEST leans into another.
Is that a womb?

FRANCIS TUMBLETY (cont singing)

Harlots and trollops,
Pinchpricks and dollymops and whores.
Harlots and trollops,
Pinchpricks and dollymops and whores.

As he sings he dramatically  presents the specimen to his party guests and places it neatly on a desk in front of them. When he is finished there are six of them in total.

COLONEL DUNHAM looks puzzled his eyebrows are knitted in a look of concern.

Well then… I’m sorry I asked.

The room is silent.

The Showdown at the Gloomy Whorehouse


Francis Tumblety immediately halts his musical splendor at the most inopportune time imaginable and steps right into the crowd.

The crowd stands around him utterly confused for a moment at Francis Tumblety’s sudden dramatic outburst and abrupt end.

Francis Tumblety purposefully parts the people as he passes them.

The looks on their faces go from shock to outrage as soon as they realize that the Good Doctor is making off with their hard
earned money.

The crowd quickly escalates into a MOB.

He’s leaving with our money!! GET HIM!

The Mob gets riled up, shouting, and calling him a thief and a quack among many other vulgarities. They begin to close in on the Good Doctor.

Francis Tumblety with his eyes still dark and stormy, face clouded in a permanent glower, indifferently swats them away like flies. He takes long purposeful strides across the road to the gloomy whorehouse.


In the lobby Francis Tumblety approaches his Whore Wife. Fists balled at his sides, his jaw clenched so tightly that veins are popping. Even his mustache bristles with rage.

FRANCIS TUMBLETY just inches from The Whore Wife’s face he opens his mouth and roars.

THE ANGRY JOHN who escorts her inside interjects.
YEAH! and I’m the one who paid for her.

Francis Tumblety ignores The Angry John

HOW? WHY? After everything I’ve given you! I’ve loved you.

Please, the only one you’ll ever love is yourself, Francis.
(she spits out his name in disdain.)

Francis Tumblety readies himself for a vicious backhand.

What, so, you have to sell yourself like- like-
(his voice breaks)

(interrupts angrily)
I said I paid for her!

Francis Tumblety suddenly turns his attention to The Angry John and grabs him by the shirt collar. Standing a head taller than the man and with surprising fury fueled strength, lifts The Angry John’s feet inches off the ground and shoves him bodily into the wall.

Francis Tumblety then turns to his Whore Wife as she glares defiantly back.

THE MADAM of the gloomy whorehouse runs up.

You Sir! Get out before I shoot.

Francis Tumblety turns to The Madam and sees she’s THE MADAM WITH A GUN and drops the Angry John

That’s a whore’s pistol.

The Madam With a Gun cocks her whore’s pistol and pulls the trigger.

A bullet flies past Francis Tumblety’s face within inches and pegs the wall behind him.

Francis Tumblety’s eyes grow wide.

The Madam With a Gun aims again using the second barrel.

 MADAM WITH A GUN threatens and motions towards the door.

And that’s a warning. Now get out.

As soon as I kill my wife.


Francis Tumblety slowly comes to his senses. He looks back and forth from his disgraced Whore Wife who glares back, the Angry John dazed but still standing and looking for a fight, and the Madam With A Gun pointed at his head.

On the other side of the door The Mob is shouting, pounding their fists and out for blood.

Francis Tumblety sees that he is surrounded. No longer able to stand the sight of present company in the gloomy whorehouse he raises his hands in a bitter sign of surrender and takes a step backwards towards the door.

FRANCIS TUMBLETY spits the words out as if they were rotten to the taste.
Fine I’ll go.

Angry John takes a step forward.

The door shakes and thuds with another forceful impact.

(to The Angry John)
I hope your prick goes gangrenous and a falls off… inside her.
(to his Whore Wife, dramatically)
AND THIS! This is on your head!

Francis Tumblety throws open the door. Within an instant several hands grab at him. With one last look to his dear Whore Wife, Francis Tumblety catches her mouth the word “FOOL.”

Clutching and clawing The Mob pulls him out the door.