REPOST/MISC/ACRA: Guttertrash #25 (4/4): A Suicide in Destiny City

Arthur Spitzer arspitzer at
Thu Feb 12 19:02:51 PST 2009

Beginning of Part IV

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(I strongly suggest you read the story first before you read the Author 
Notes because the story is a lot better written, and there is some stuff 
in the notes that might ruin the story for you...)

Notes from the Gutterground:

This issue is bitter sweet.  This was supposed to be the triumphant 
return of Guttertrash, but do to things that I really can't speak about 
it's more like the issue that killed Guttertrash.  (Ah, if you only knew 
the soap operas that happen behind the scenes while making RACC 
stories.)  In case you're wondering, I did get Abhay's permission and 
blessing to post this issue.  (Which was probably a big mistake, but I 
won't go into that...)

I'd like to post a link to past issues of Guttertrash, but they've all 
been purged from the archives as have everything else Abhay ever wrote. 
  Guttertrash was series of self-contained stories that twisted around 
with the superhero genre.  It ran from December 10, 1996 up to June 11, 
2000.  Besides Abhay, the other writers of Guttertrash included Matt 
"Badger" Rossi, Marc "The Jazz" Singer, "Joltin'" Jeff McCoskey, Peter 
"Tick" Milan, and Jamie "I don't know his nickname" Rosen.  It was great 
stuff, and it's a shame that it's no longer in the archive.  If you had 
a chance to read it, you were lucky... And if you didn't?  Well, tough 
luck I guess.

One of my favorite things about Guttertrash and for that matter any 
Abhay Khosla story were the Author's Notes at the end.  Sometimes the 
Author Notes were even better than the actual stories.  And so because 
of that I'll be rambling on a bit with my own (less entertaining) Author 
Notes.  So get out now, while you still have a chance.

So why did I do this?  Well, I've always wanted to write an issue of 
Guttertrash.  And I had this story in my head.

The characters in this story were actually characters I created when I 
was a little kid (I changed the names of them however).  Around the time 
that I was in third to sixth grade I created an entire universe filled 
with superheroes.  I had this team called the Dominators (Yeah, I know. 
  Great name for a group of superheroes) who were sort of this Avengers 
type group.

They were led by Julius Wolfe, who was also a superhero called The 
Dominator.  He was this billionaire Iron Man - Tony Stark rip-off.

The Mirror was originally called Mirror Girl.  She had the power to 
reflect any physical attack against her.  If you hit her, you were 
hitting yourself.  If you killed her, you were killing yourself.

The Shadowraiser was originally this supervillain called Sun-Down.  He 
was the arch-enemy of Captain Japan who was kind of this Ultimate Ninja 
type character.  I think he was also Captain Japan's evil twin.  He was 
part of this secret society of ninjas who could use shadows as weapons. 
  Sort of a Reverse Green Lantern Corps.  I like the name Sun-Down, but 
it's not exactly a heroic sounding name.

The Midas Touch was originally called Golden Man.  He was this King 
Midas rip-off.  Everything he touched turned to gold (although he could 
control it).  I think when he was normal he was blind, but when he was 
powered up he could see.

The Breeze was originally called Speed Ghost Girl.  She was the sidekick 
of a character called Speed Ghost.  You can probably guess what Speed 
Ghost's powers were.

RESULT-O was originally called ROBOT-O.  He was this wise cracking robot 
who was a swiss army knife of weaponry.

The Second Hand was originally called the Executioner (which I thought 
was a pretty clever name till I found out that a Marvel character also 
had that name).  The Executioner was a scientist who had this mystical 
hand which could kill people by just touching them.  The hand could also 
warp reality, reach into other dimensions, and create portals to travel 
into time.  His purpose was basically just to kill every single hero and 
take over the world.  He was the Dominators biggest foe.  I remember 
writing a story in which he killed all the heroes.  I can't remember how 
the Dominators got out of that one.

The reason he's called the Second Hand is because, well heck, all the 
good 'Destroy the World as We know it' names have already been taken. 
In the Destiny Patrol Universe Mythology, there is a First Hand which 
created the Universe.  The Second Hand is the one that will destroy the 
Universe.  Somewhere along the line I made him a teenager.

The Asteroid Sphinx was the Asteroid Sphinx.  No name change.  He was a 
big cosmic robot cat who conquered worlds.  He gave his potential 
conquerees a chance to save themselves if they could answer the riddles 
he gave them.

I changed the name of the Dominators to the Destiny Patrol because it 
sounded cool.  I created Destiny City to give a logical reason why they 
would call themselves the Destiny Patrol.

This story I guess is me giving the "Watchmen" treatment to my 
characters.  I have over the years had a ton of potential storylines for 
a Destiny Patrol series.  I doubt I'll ever do more Destiny Patrol 
stories for RACC.  If a series ever happens, it will be a Real Comic 
Book series in the Real World.  Not that that's ever  going to happen 
unless I win the Lottery or something.

As for this story...

Well, you know, there's a certain type of story that writer's should 
never write.  Here's an example of one.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

The Really Happy Kid Meets the Really Happy Genie

by Arthur Spitzer

Once upon a time, there was a really happy kid.  He had been happy ever 
since he was just a tiny zygote.  And each second he existed, his 
happiness increased just a little bit more.  By the time he was eight, 
he was eight times happier than he'd been when he was born.  He was 
really happy.  And everything he wanted, he always got.

Once upon a time, there was a really happy Genie.  He had been happy 
ever since long ago when a Sorceror had conjured him up.  And each 
second that happiness increased.  By the time he was 3000 years old, he 
was 3000 times happier.  Being trapped in a lamp made him happy.  And 
when people would rub the lamp to release him to the outside world that 
also made him happy.  He enjoyed granting peoples wishes.  He enjoyed 
giving people anything they could possibly want.

One day the Really Happy Kid was walking down the street.  He spotted an 
ancient looking lamp.  He went over and picked it up.  He decided to rub 
the lamp because rubbing lamps made him really happy.  The Really Happy 
Kid was shocked when a cloud of blue smoke came from the lamp.  And even 
more shocked when the cloud changed into a genie.  A Really Happy Genie!

"Ah, thank you for releasing me from my lamp," said the Really Happy 
Genie.  "And to reward you for releasing me, I will grant you three 
wishes!  You may wish for anything your heart desires!"

"Wow!  Three wishes!" shouted the Really Happy Kid.  "Jeepers!  This has 
got to be the best day ever!"

"Yes, I know what you mean," said the Really Happy Genie.  "It does have 
that Best Day Ever type feeling, doesn't it?  So what's your first wish?"

"Gosh!  Let me see!  Oh, wait!  I've got it!!  Here's my first wish:  I 
wish that every single thing and person in the universe was happy!  That 
every single thing and person had been happy since the beginning of 
time!  That the happiness of every single thing and person had increased 
a little bit more every time each second passed!  That every single 
person and thing always got whatever they wanted, and they would never 
get hurt or die (unless getting hurt and dying would make them happy)! 
And I mean everything happy!  I'm talking the birds, the grass, the 
rocks, cereal bowls, God, Satan, tv sets, robots, space aliens, people 
in the afterlife, planets, suns, imaginary friends, atoms, quarks, and 
even abstract concepts like Time and Space!  Even the concept of 
unhappiness!  I want everything to be happy!  Everything smaller than a 
quark and bigger than the Universe!  That's what I want!"

"I'm sorry, Really Happy Kid," the Really Happy Genie said.  "But I 
can't grant that wish!"

The Really Happy Kid was dumbfounded.  "Gosh!!  Why not?!"

"Because," and then a really big grin broke out from the Really Happy 
Genie's face, "Because, it's already true!  Every single thing and 
person in the Universe is already happy!"

"Gosh!  You're right!" the Really Happy Kid said giving his forehead a 
slap.  "I forgot all about that!  Well, okay then!  In that case, how 
about you just give me the Three Most Perfect Wishes!"

And the Really Happy Genie nodded his head and granted the three most 
perfect wishes which made the two of them really happy.  Even happier 
than they had been at the beginning of the story.

And every single person, thing, quark, and quark's uncle lived happily 
ever after.  Really, happily ever after!

(This is my 24 minute story, by the way...)
*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

So what's wrong with this story?

There's no misery, no sadism, no masochism, no depression, no 
humiliation, no torture, no drug abuse, no hatred, no talking gorillas, 
no angst, or sex.

Everyone in this story is too damn happy.  No one wants to read a story 
where all the quarks in the universe are happy.  People want those 
quarks to suffer.

The only way you could save this story would be to reveal that it's just 
a hallucination from some transvestite homeless person dying of leprosy 
in the back of an alley.  Otherwise, this story just really sucks.

The ugly truth about superheroes and superhero comics is that the 
superheroes can never win.  Only in imaginary, or 'What If?' type 
stories can superheroes ever achieve any type of peace.

The mutants will always be hated.  The Joker will always escape so he 
can kill again.  Spider-Man will always have someone framing him for murder.

You can give characters a happy ending, but once you do that -- that's 
it.  Because if you ever continue their adventures, you're going to have 
to make them suffer again.

I've always been fascinated by the concept of happiness and the idea of 
utopia.  Various stuff I've written, like Saviors of the Net, and the 
Daily Super Short-Short Story have dealt with those themes.

This story owes a lot to Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman's work on 
Miracleman.  As well as various Philip K Dick stories dealing with the 
concept of reality and so on.

Could you ever make a world where everyone was happy?  Probably not. 
Misery and Happiness seem to be bound together.  Why is it that someone 
in some third-world country that is doing everything just to survive 
doesn't kill themselves, and someone like Kurt Cobain who would seem to 
have everything a person could possibly want does?  (Well, maybe living 
with Courtney Love is really a bitch.  Or maybe she did kill him!)  But 
there's always some celebrity out there living a very self-destructive 
lifestyle, which will probably in the end kill them.  (Hunter S Thompson 
committed suicide right while I was in the middle of writing this story. 
  Although I think he had medical reasons for doing it.  Still, he 
certainly lived a not-very healthy lifestyle...)

I didn't intend for the ending of this story to be shocking (but it 
probably is).  But when I thought it up, I just had to do it.  Does it 
destroy the story, or make it better?  I'm not sure.  I think it makes 
it better, or else I wouldn't have done it that way.  I guess the ending 
is about perception.  We can never really know what people are like. 
How they feel.  Some person who always seems happy on the outside could 
be horribly depressed when you don't see them.  Do we see the real Alice 
Queen in this story, or just an idealized version of her that's in 
Charlie's mind.  Did any of the stuff happen?  I don't know.  It's 
ambiguous I guess.   Some movies like the Sixth Sense are better because 
of the ending and some like Unbreakable are destroyed because of it.  I 
hope it worked for you...

I've got another idea for a Guttertrash story...  Something called the 
"The Runaway Chaotic, Sporadic, Traumatic, Make-it Up As You Go Along 
Story Game".  It will probably take me a few months to write it though. 
  Unless I get a bad case of writer's block...

Damn.  So do I have anything else to say?  I guess not.  Guess I should 
just end this incredibly long endless ramble.  Well, I guess that's it.

Arthur "Somewhere under the rainbow" Spitzer

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