Dan: Hey, it’s nice to finally sit down with the two of you and have a conversation!
Charles: We don’t. Unless you count that poem we were in together…where you wouldn’t even have a single drink. And why do I have to be interviewed next to this guy? He’s half made of wood and keeps chewin’ on his licorice tail.
Hank: Half licorice tail…
Charles: You eat the other half already?
Hank: No…Nina chopped it off with a number 2 pencil sword…
Charles: That sounds interesting. Is there going to be any scotch during this interview? And how long do I need to sit here? I have cases to solve.
Hank: Oooo! I know what they should call you!
Charles: …the solver?
Hank: What? No, that’s a dumb name. Charles “The Cases” Splints.
Charles: That’s a dumb name.
Hank: Anything is better than “The solver”…
Dan: Guys! Can we get to the interview already?
Charles – Hank: Fiiiiiiine…
Dan: Ahem, alright. So…
Hank: His throat is clogged! Call an ambulance! Stay with us, Dan! You’re going to make it! Just be brave!
Charles: What the hell is he doing? He was just clearing his throat! Get down off the table you maniac!
Dan: Hank, stop! I’m fine!
Hank: Yes you are, Dan! You’re going to be just fine! Stay with us! Don’t walk into the light!
Dan: Stop shaking me! Charles, help!
Charles: You created him. He’s your problem, not mine.
Dan: I created you to solve problems!
Hank: Stay with us! Hey, stop…I’m helping him!
Charles: Get down before I rip off the rest of your tail!
Dan: I’m fine, Hank. Really…I’m okay…
Hank: I saved his life! I’m a hero! Chuck, did you see?
Charles: The name is Charles. And yea I saw….good job. Now let’s get this interview over with.
Dan: Yes, I agree. Is everything okay now?
Hank: You tell us, Dan. Is everything okay? Would you like me to conduct the interview?
Dan: Absolutely not. Now, first question and I want only Charles to answer. Why do you think I brought you back after first writing you into a single story in my collection ‘Blissfire’?
Charles: Because you missed me.
Hank: Me next! Me next! You keep writing about me because…
Dan: Hank, it’s not your turn yet. Charles, please explain.
Charles: You portrayed me as an old detective in ‘Losing Focus on Reality’ that had taken to the bottle so many times he’d lost sight of everything in his life. Then, you brought me back a bit younger in ‘Devil’, still a bit out of shape but I’ll deal with it. You keep writing about me because you know I’m not afraid. You know I am willing to go farther than you ever can. I’ve been to the bottom; I’ve seen the world you’ve created. I’m the one strong enough to rise up from it.
Hank: Snap! That was deep.
Dan: Brutally honest, but I see where you’re coming from. What’s it been like since you’ve been back?
Charles: You’d know better than me. I’ve taken down every thug in the dismal city you’ve thrown me into, but a new one always takes his place. It’s the never ending game of cat and mouse and you’re not letting me know which role I belong to. I’ll keep thinking of myself as the cat.
Hank: Awwww, nice kitty.
Charles: Stop petting me! The hell is the matter with you?
Hank: I don’t know, ask Dan.
Charles – Hank: Well?
Dan: Hank is another version of you Charles.
Charles: What? How? He doesn’t even drink!
Hank: I love the taste of water! Thank you very much!
Dan: Hank solves problems too, granted he probably creates more than enough of them as well. But he’s living in a world without limits, a world where anything and everything can happen…
Hank: This is all sounding pretty cliché. I have an idea!
Charles: What? What is this? Where are we?
Hank: Inside my umbrella!
Charles: That’s not even possible!
Dan: It is for Hank. His stories bend the rules all the time. I’ve even been in a few of them myself.
Charles: Is that a flying giraffe?
Hank: No, that’s a zebra with a long neck and the same pattern and colors as a giraffe.
Charles: Wouldn’t that just make it a giraffe?
Hank: No…it’s definitely a zebra. Dan, you believe this guy? Doesn’t even know what a zebra looks like.
Charles: Whatever. This place have any scotch?
Hank: Here, try this.
Charles: It’s pale blue and creamy. This looks disgusting.
Hank: Just try it.
Charles: If this sucks…so help me…
Hank: Help you with what?
Charles: This…this tastes like scotch. What is it?
Hank: I don’t know. I got it from this salesman over here.
Salesman Jim: Hey, Salesman Bob’s the name and selling delicious shakes is my game. Would you like to sign up and earn sixteen Shake Points? This offer expires in ooooooooooh you just missed it. You have to act faster next time. The next offer will be in three minutes. So, what do you say? You want another shake?
Charles: Hank…make this man go away…
Hank: How? He just showed up here. I don’t know where he came from.
Dan: Wh…what? Sorry, it’s just that this shake is so good. I signed up for a lifetime supply and got 400 Shake Points!
Charles: What do the Shake Points do?
Dan: I have no idea!
Hank: I’ll take one of those shakes please.
Salesman Jim: Ohhhh, sorry, all out. I do have some Shake Points for sale though.
Hank: Can I use them to buy a shake?
Salesman Jim: Sure, why not! How many would you like?
Hank: Enough to buy a shake.
Salesman Jim: 4,000 shake points it is.
Hank: How much do I owe you?
Salesman Jim: How much do you have?
Hank: Hmmm, let’s see. I have….a rubber chicken…two nickels…six bowling balls…a magic toaster…some N64 controllers…and a pack of gum.
Salesman Jim: Throw in a million dollars and you’ve got yourself a deal!
Hank: I don’t have a million dollars.
Salesman Jim: Alright, that will all be fine then. Here’s your certificate for 4,000 Shake Points.
Hank: Thank you. I’d like to use this to buy one shake please.
Salesman Jim: Oooooooh, sorry. The price just went up. It’s now 500,000 Shake Points for a shake.
Hank: What the…how the…why?
Charles: I’ve had enough of this guy. I’m switching into first person narration mode. I grab the scummy salesman by his shirt collar and pin him up against the lime gelatin wall. He screams for help, but nobody hears him over the sound of Dan enjoying his shake very loudly.
Hank: WHAT! I CAN’T HEAR YOU! DAN IS ENJOYING HIS SHAKE VERY LOUDLY!
Charles: Dammit, Hank! I had a good scene going there! Get lost salesman!
Salesman Jim: I’d…I’d better be going now…it was a pleasure doing business with you all. Dan, you can expect your shake shipment to ship on Sunday with a super shipping savings solution plan.
Dan: Thanks pal!
Charles: Get back to this interview already. And I’ve had enough of this freaky umbrella world. I’m taking over.
Hank: Whooooa…where are we now?
Charles: In a bar.
Hank: I’ll have chocolate milk! Make it a double! On the double! I don’t have all day! I came here to have a drink before I go home to my cat and DVR! You know what? You just lost your tip, bartender! Yea, that’s right!
Barkeep: Here’s you milk…it’s on the house.
Hank: Oh, tee hee, thank you. Here’s a certificate for 4,000 Shake Points.
Barkeep: Keep it.
Charles: So, Dan. Here we are again. You going to have anything?
Dan: I’ll take cup of black coffee if you got any.
Barkeep: I have enough for a cup. What you want Splints? I hope you’re not here to start trouble like last time.
Charles: I don’t start the trouble…
Barkeep: Yeah I know. You just “finish” it. Well the real trouble is when I have a heap of bodies lying around my bar and no one awake to pay their tab.
Charles: You’re welcome.
Barkeep: Sure sure, now what’ll it be?
Charles: Crack open that black label and pour me a glass.
Barkeep: We’ve got a bottle of blue if you want a swig.
Charles: I don’t make enough to pay for age, barkeep.
Barkeep: Then why go for the black? They’re other labels besides black.
Charles: Black. Now pour me a glass.
Barkeep: The boy’s coffee comes first…
Dan: I’m…I’m not a boy…I’m…I’m twenty-five actually…
Charles: Compared to everyone else in this room. You’re a boy. Now drink your coffee and get to the rest of this interview.
Hank: This chocolate milk is hitting me pretty hard! This night is going to get craaaazy! Am I right, guys? You know what I’m saying?
Charles: I don’t think a single person on this planet has a clue as to what you’re saying.
Dan: I do…kind of.
Hank: This guy…this guy right here…he gets me…he’s like…my best friend…
Dan: Hank, you’re drinking milk. There’s no alcohol in milk.
Hank: You guys…you’re silly…you two…has anyone ever told you that you two look like brothers?
Charles: Never. Now sit down, shut up, and drink your milk.
Hank: Yes “The Cases” , whatever you say!
Barkeep: He always like this?
Charles: Ask this kid. He’s the writer.
Dan: Yeah…yeah he is.
Charles: So, what other questions you got for me?
Dan: Yes, of course. We should get back to the interview. Where do you see yourself in five years?
Charles: On a bookshelf next to the nitwit trying to put his certificate into the jukebox.
Hank: Why won’t this work! I want my rubber chicken back! Jeffery! Jeffery the chicken!
Dan: How do you think you’ll get there?
Charles: Because I know you, kid. And I know you’re never going to give up writing. You love it too much. You spend days, nights, sipping at a cup of coffee just like that one writing yourself into worlds no one else could imagine. You’re also pretty damn stubborn, so giving up on writing isn’t possible for you.
Dan: Thanks, Splints. I hope you’re right.
Charles: Of course I’m right. Now go interview the nitwit for a while and wrap this thing up. I’ve got cases to solve.
Dan: Yeah…I know you do. I’ll be right back.
Hank: Why won’t this work! Jeffery!
Dan: Hank, chill out. The jukebox doesn’t take Shake Points.
Hank: These points have to be good for something! Tell me what they are good for!
Dan: Hank, chill. I want to ask you some interview questions. Can we sit down at the bar?
Hank: Sure, I guess that’d me alright. So, mighty proper day we’re having isn’t it?
Dan: Yeah…mighty proper.
Hank: Let’s hear those questions!
Dan: Where do you see yourself in five years?
Hank: In a mirror. Next question.
Dan: Alright, where do you see your stories five years from now?
Hank: Written down. Next question. I’m good at this!
Dan: Do you want to buy this pen from me for 4,000 Shake Points?
Hank: Yes! Yes I do!
Hank: This is the best pen I’ve ever seen! I’ll cherish it forever! If only Jeffery could have seen this pen…he loved to write you know…
Dan: I’m sure he did.
Charles: The interview over?
Dan: I think so.
Charles: What’s he doing now?
Dan: Writing dollar signs on napkins and trying to shove them into the jukebox.
Charles: That’s not going to work.
Dan: I know.
Charles: Does he?
Dan: I doubt it.
Charles: Wait…do I hear music?
Hank: IT WORKED!
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