Voice on the Radio (part 1) - Trouble at Tracy’s
“Huh? What’s all that over there?” Bob Sparker asked, jerking a thumb towards the far end of the plaza. There was a huge crowd of people pressing near the windows of one of the department stores, milling around restlessly. “Something happening at Tracy’s?”
“You’ve got me there,” replied his companion. She was a tall, fair-haired woman in a light fur coat who towered over Bob, especially in heels. Any citizen of Electricopolis would have recognized her as Margaret King, daughter of Percy King, and it was rare that she didn’t know what was going on. “Is there a promotion or something? I hadn’t heard about it at all.”
“Listen! Will you all just please listen!” came a sharp bark from near the center of the commotion. After a couple moments, the two could see a lady dressed in a clerk’s outfit struggle to her full height, standing above the crowd with a bullhorn. “Your attention, please!” 
“She wants our attention,” Bob chuckled, nudging his friend. “Sounds like she means business.”
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The shopkeeper paused for a moment, mopped her brow with a handkerchief, then continued. “Now, I don’t know whereyou people heard about some kind of sale today, but it’s not true. We’re closing for renovation, you see?” she said, flinging her hand out in exasperation at the notices plastered on the windows. “We’ve had these signs up for a week now!”
“Listen, we heard on the radio about a deal—” said someone in the crowd.
“Today only!” said someone else. “Everything in the store!”
“Well—well, you’ve been misinformed!” the attendant yelled. “Now shoo, go away! Shoo! We’ve got a lot of work to do and you all are blocking the road! How do you expect the trucks to get in here?”
Bob turned away from the commotion, sticking his hands in his pockets. “Hah!” he laughed. “A fake half-off sale! Isn’t that something, Margie? Think it’s a prank?”
“I sure hope so,” she replied, standing up onto her tiptoes. “Last time I saw a store fumble a sale like that, there was a riot right in the streets.” She turned away, pulling her coat around herself. “Anyway, I don’t wanna stick around. Let’s head back, okay?”
“You got it,” Bob said cheerily, proffering his arm. “So, what’ve you got planned for tonight?”
The Top Tier Electric Co. building was only a few blocks away, and they talked as they strolled together through the streets of the city. Aside from the mess at Tracy’s, the night was calm and cool, and there was a little bit of fog in the air that made the white lights of the city soft and diffused.
“No plans at all, actually,” she said. “I’m totally, completely, 100% free tonight. Can you believe it?” 
“Free?” he repeated, giving her an incredulous look. “As in, no photoshoots to show up at, no dance clubs to enrich with your presence, no dinner parties with stuffy old movie stars? Nope, I don’t believe it at all.”
“Me neither!” she laughed, throwing her head back. “I’m thrilled. I’m just going to sit back and waste away on my laptop tonight. That reminds me!” she said, stopping in her tracks and glancing behind her. “Say, that crowd we saw, over by Tracy’s…you know what that could be…”
“What’s that?”
“Well, I’ve only heard rumors so far, but some people on the ‘net have been talking about this weird sort of radio show. Have you heard about it? It’s run by this lady who calls herself Miss Information?” Bob shook his head, and she continued. “What a name, right? Well, anyway, it’s sort of like a gossip show, but it only airs after midnight. She talks about all these different things going on in town, like where to find cheap radio parts, or who clobbered whom in the clubs yesterday, and who knows what all about it is true. I guess maybe she’s in the business of advertising stores now, huh?”
“Wait, so you’re telling me there’s some mysterious lady running a midnight radio show?” Bob chuckled, holding the Top Tier lobby door open as Margaret swept in in front of him. “That’s a great story, Margie. Write it down and send it in to the paper, maybe you’ll make a buck.”
“Don’t laugh! It makes perfect sense,” she pouted, pulling off her coat and hanging it over her arm. “She’s known for pulling pranks. I’ve been trying to listen to it, myself.”
“No kiddin’?” Bob asked. “You always were one for that paranormal stuff. Any luck?”
Margaret sighed, giving her head a little shake as she pushed the elevator’s call button. “Nah, not so far. But hey, maybe tonight’s my lucky night,” she said, giving Bob a little grin. “I mean, she’ll probably talk about the fake sale, don’t you think? Wanna stay up with me and see if we can catch it?”
“Well, now, as much as I’d like to stay up with the boss’s daughter and listen to ghost stories…” Bob said, breaking up into laughter as Margaret gave him a shove. “Sadly, I gotta get my beauty sleep! Lemme know how it goes though, okay, Margie?”
“All right, all right. Wish me luck!” she said, giving him a wave over her shoulder as she disappeared up to her penthouse. “Night-night, Bob!”

Voice on the Radio (part 1) - Trouble at Tracy’s

“Huh? What’s all that over there?” Bob Sparker asked, jerking a thumb towards the far end of the plaza. There was a huge crowd of people pressing near the windows of one of the department stores, milling around restlessly. “Something happening at Tracy’s?”

“You’ve got me there,” replied his companion. She was a tall, fair-haired woman in a light fur coat who towered over Bob, especially in heels. Any citizen of Electricopolis would have recognized her as Margaret King, daughter of Percy King, and it was rare that she didn’t know what was going on. “Is there a promotion or something? I hadn’t heard about it at all.”

“Listen! Will you all just please listen!” came a sharp bark from near the center of the commotion. After a couple moments, the two could see a lady dressed in a clerk’s outfit struggle to her full height, standing above the crowd with a bullhorn. “Your attention, please!” 

“She wants our attention,” Bob chuckled, nudging his friend. “Sounds like she means business.”

Read More

Sparker:
Sorry, folks, no story this week! We’re taking a break before we start posting the next story, because it’s the biggest, largest, longest story yet! It’ll be eight chapters long. It’s also the most important one so far, if you ask me, so we’re taking some extra time to make sure we do it right!
That’s me on the right and Margie opposite me. In the back is Mr. King, in the coat, and over there on the far left is me and Margie’s other best friend, Jam. He’s a singer-songwriter-DJ-activist-general workaholic and does a looooot of good work in the underground, helping up-and-coming artists of all kinds. He ain’t much for small talk, but he’s really excited to make his debut in the next story, I can tell you that for sure.
Me and my big mouth (“my big mouth and I,” says Margie) have already probably revealed too much, but I just can’t help it, so here’s another little tidbit: it’s called Voice on the Radio. What a name, huh? 
So thanks for all your patience, thanks for all your support, and we hope you enjoy the story when it’s up!

Sparker:

Sorry, folks, no story this week! We’re taking a break before we start posting the next story, because it’s the biggest, largest, longest story yet! It’ll be eight chapters long. It’s also the most important one so far, if you ask me, so we’re taking some extra time to make sure we do it right!

That’s me on the right and Margie opposite me. In the back is Mr. King, in the coat, and over there on the far left is me and Margie’s other best friend, Jam. He’s a singer-songwriter-DJ-activist-general workaholic and does a looooot of good work in the underground, helping up-and-coming artists of all kinds. He ain’t much for small talk, but he’s really excited to make his debut in the next story, I can tell you that for sure.

Me and my big mouth (“my big mouth and I,” says Margie) have already probably revealed too much, but I just can’t help it, so here’s another little tidbit: it’s called Voice on the Radio. What a name, huh?

So thanks for all your patience, thanks for all your support, and we hope you enjoy the story when it’s up!

The Pool (artwork by electroluxx)
There was something particularly beautiful about water in Electricopolis. There were no ponds, no lakes, no anything in the valley that surrounded the city, and rains were so rare that they only came two or three times a year. So even the stuff that came out of the tap was a treasure, and if you lived up top, you could hold a glass of it up to the window and see it waver and gleam with a million colors of neon light. 
If you lived up top, though, you could do a lot of things. There was only one swimming pool in the city, wasteful as it was, and it was on the bottom floor of the Top Tier company building. Keep out. Authorized personnel only. 
It was about forty feet long, running from one end of the room to the other. The room jutted out into the lot behind the back of the building, and the walls and ceiling were glass to let in the ambient light. Aside from that, the only lights were in the sides of the pool, casting shimmering columns of yellow and green into the water.
"You can’t drink it though, right?" asked Bob Sparker, sitting cross-legged on the edge near the deep end. 
"Nah, it’s got chemicals and stuff in it," replied Margaret King, wiping it out of her face. "And you gotta be careful with opening your eyes underwater. It stings a lot." 
Margaret was Percy King’s daughter, and though her hair was much fairer than his and her face was much rounder, she had his commanding presence, his piercing eyes, and—most of all—his height. Normally she towered over Bob Sparker, but as he sat by the pool, he craned his neck to look down at her. She peered back at him, squinting through her wet eyelashes. 
"You’re not coming in?" she asked.
"Thanks, but nah," he replied lightly. "I’m not too great with water."
Margaret laughed and turned away. She swam to the end of the pool and then all the way back, kicking her legs to send luminous sprays into the air behind her. 
"To tell you the truth,” Bob said, as she swam back up to the wall, "water makes me kind of nervous."
"How come?" Margaret asked. She leaned over the side of the pool. "The whole electric shock thing? Or is it something else?"
Bob leaned forward a little bit, looking down his long nose into the water. “Well, aside from that. You can kind of see into it, but not much. You can’t really tell what’s down there.”
"Nothing’s down there."
"Yeah, but if there was, though."
"You watch too many movies," Margaret said, and kicked off the wall. She rocketed through the water like she was born in it, reached the other wall, turned, and swam on her back. "It’s not like we live near an ocean," she said loudly, over the sound of splashing.
"Good," said Bob. "I hear there are all kinds of weird things in the ocean."
"You think? I’d like to visit one sometime."
"Then there’d be one more weird thing in the ocean."

Margaret blinked, then burst into peals of laughter. “Oh, shut up!” she exclaimed, swiping a hand out to splash Bob with the water. He inched back, yelping. “I’ll make you come with me. Then we’ll be two weird things in the ocean.”

The Pool (artwork by electroluxx)

There was something particularly beautiful about water in Electricopolis. There were no ponds, no lakes, no anything in the valley that surrounded the city, and rains were so rare that they only came two or three times a year. So even the stuff that came out of the tap was a treasure, and if you lived up top, you could hold a glass of it up to the window and see it waver and gleam with a million colors of neon light. 

If you lived up top, though, you could do a lot of things. There was only one swimming pool in the city, wasteful as it was, and it was on the bottom floor of the Top Tier company building. Keep out. Authorized personnel only. 

It was about forty feet long, running from one end of the room to the other. The room jutted out into the lot behind the back of the building, and the walls and ceiling were glass to let in the ambient light. Aside from that, the only lights were in the sides of the pool, casting shimmering columns of yellow and green into the water.

"You can’t drink it though, right?" asked Bob Sparker, sitting cross-legged on the edge near the deep end. 

"Nah, it’s got chemicals and stuff in it," replied Margaret King, wiping it out of her face. "And you gotta be careful with opening your eyes underwater. It stings a lot." 

Margaret was Percy King’s daughter, and though her hair was much fairer than his and her face was much rounder, she had his commanding presence, his piercing eyes, and—most of all—his height. Normally she towered over Bob Sparker, but as he sat by the pool, he craned his neck to look down at her. She peered back at him, squinting through her wet eyelashes. 

"You’re not coming in?" she asked.

"Thanks, but nah," he replied lightly. "I’m not too great with water."

Margaret laughed and turned away. She swam to the end of the pool and then all the way back, kicking her legs to send luminous sprays into the air behind her. 

"To tell you the truth,” Bob said, as she swam back up to the wall, "water makes me kind of nervous."

"How come?" Margaret asked. She leaned over the side of the pool. "The whole electric shock thing? Or is it something else?"

Bob leaned forward a little bit, looking down his long nose into the water. “Well, aside from that. You can kind of see into it, but not much. You can’t really tell what’s down there.”

"Nothing’s down there."

"Yeah, but if there was, though."

"You watch too many movies," Margaret said, and kicked off the wall. She rocketed through the water like she was born in it, reached the other wall, turned, and swam on her back. "It’s not like we live near an ocean," she said loudly, over the sound of splashing.

"Good," said Bob. "I hear there are all kinds of weird things in the ocean."

"You think? I’d like to visit one sometime."

"Then there’d be one more weird thing in the ocean."

Margaret blinked, then burst into peals of laughter. “Oh, shut up!” she exclaimed, swiping a hand out to splash Bob with the water. He inched back, yelping. “I’ll make you come with me. Then we’ll be two weird things in the ocean.”

Bob Sparker in Hospital (part 2)

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(part 1)

Margaret couldn’t tear her eyes away, but she tried not to shudder as she watched Bob Sparker tense and squirm on the operating table. “What are you going to do?” she asked.

"Well, what I normally do is just let him laugh it all off here, where he can’t hurt anyone,” the doctor explained. “The metal table directs the shock to ground and the shackles monitor his pulse, so—"

"What?" Margaret said, gaping. "That’s all you do? Strap him down and leave him alone?"

"What else is there to do?" Flask replied, exasperated. "I can’t get close enough to sedate him, and even if I did, that ghoul’s got enough voltage in him to stun an elephant. I’m lucky if I only come out with a light burn. And you, my dear," he said testily, "are lucky you’re still standing."

"Hey!" Bob snapped, trying to turn himself onto his side so he could shoot the doctor a nasty look. "Watch your mouth, doc! I’d never lay a finger on her!"

"Yeah," Margie said, rubbing her cheek where he’d kissed her. "I mean, it stings a little, but—c’mon, Bob’s not a bad guy. He just gets outta hand sometimes, he isn’t dangerous or anything—"

"Dangerous?" Flask repeated, his jaw practically dropping to the ground. "Ms. King, with all due respect, are we looking at the same person here?" He jabbed a finger towards the table. "Look at that! That’s not healthy! That’s nowhere near normal!"

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Anonymous asked:

hi, your faithful anon gonna drop quick impressions here (can't do it at your personal blog): it's wonderful how every story so far features a new side of Bob, a different mood for him. you're doing a good job painting a picture of him, adding more through the interactions with all these characters. also: Margaret's cool.

Hello, and thank you so much for your feedback! (I had to disable anon on my personal blog due to safety concerns, but yeah feel free to be anon on here.) 

I’m really glad that every story I’ve uploaded paints a fuller picture of Bob Sparker. For a long time I worried that having him involved in practically every piece was just too much, but if each one can accomplish something new and satisfying regarding his character, I feel like that’s pretty good work. I’m determined to branch out and have other characters take the spotlight more often, especially now that we’re getting into the JUICY ONES like Margaret King, but in the meantime I’m really happy that people aren’t getting burned out (ho ho ho) on Bob.

Thank you so much for your kind words re: Margaret, too. I’m so happy to finally be able to showcase her! She’s a really important character, both in the series and to myself personally. I like her a lot and I’m glad you do, too!

Bob Sparker in Hospital (part 1)

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Margaret King, Percy’s daughter and de facto princess of Electricopolis, sat on a plush little chaise by a windowsill in their apartment. If the richest people in town lived up on top, then the richest of the rich lived in Top Tier’s penthouse suite, staring down at the hustle and bustle of the city far below them.

It was something she could do for hours. Even from so high up she could pick out people skittering to and fro under the street lamps, and the endless march of little cars passing underneath her like shiny black beetles. Sometimes—on the rare occasions when it rained, and the not-so-rare occasions when her friend got caught in it—she could see Bob Sparker hopping and jumping across the plaza, trying desperately to find cover as he left a trail of little sparks in his wake. 

“I’m not surprised you’re best friends,” her father once murmured, with a smile on his sleepy face. “You always did like fireworks, Margaret.”

“I think it might rain tonight. I wonder where Bob is?” she murmured. “It’s not like him to miss a thunderstorm.”

“You didn’t know?” one of the Kings’s secretaries said. She had wide, sympathetic eyes, and she looked awfully concerned. “Mr. Sparker’s in the hospital again.”

“Again? Third time this year,” snorted the other one, busily jotting down notes. She was staring down at her desk, and she didn’t look surprised in the least. “Maybe even the fourth.”

"When did that happen, Maria?” Margaret asked, blinking over at them. "I didn’t hear about it at all."

"Oh, just now. The call went through to Mr. King," replied the sympathetic lady, Maria, as she covered her mouth. "I’m sorry, Miss King, I didn’t want to make you worry.”

"No, it’s—it’s fine," she responded, glancing out the window and all the way down towards St. Celestine’s. It was the biggest hospital in town. She could pick out was the white of the building, and a small neon sign saying HOSPITAL. It was only a few blocks away. "What happened?"

"He overdid it again," chattered the other secretary. "Silly thing thinks he can run his heart ragged without a problem. He’s probably in Flask’s lab right now, getting strapped down like Frankenstein."

Margaret frowned and sat up. “Wait a second, what? I heard Flask was bad, but—“

"Oh, Daisy!" Maria snapped. "Don’t let her get to you, Miss King, she’s just exaggerating. Flask is a good man."

"And handsome too, right?" Daisy sniffed. She gave Margaret a cold, calculating look over the rim of her glasses. "Not that it’s any of my business," she said, "but I’d go down to St. Celestine’s myself, if I were you."

"I-I was just about to say," Margaret agreed, awkwardly pulling her gaze away. "Uh, if dad asks for me, tell him I’m out, all right?"

"Will do, sweetie."

"Whatever you say, Miss King."

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queen-star-dust

antlersquid asked:

Is Electricopolis on Earth? If so, is it during a normal modern setting or like a sort of post-apocalyptic one?

queen-star-dust answered:

I’ve done a lot of thinking about this. I had a concrete answer in mind before, years ago, and did a lot of story planning revolving around it, but now I’m not so sure I want to pursue it anymore. So I can’t give a definitive answer just yet, but here’s what the citizens of the town can tell you:

  1. Electricopolis was originally a mining town founded by a corporation from another city. So, at some point, there was at least one other city in the world, though it’s unknown if it still exists. (The parent corporation is long since forgotten, but it wasn’t Top Tier, which was founded long after the city was born.)

  2. The original name of the town is Boomtown. There are still occasional references to this name—in particular, one of the most popular radio stations in town advertises itself as playing “that Boomtown beat.”

  3. It’s surrounded by a vast, dusty valley, ringed with dark mountains. Occasionally, some people have left to explore the outside world, but most of the citizens don’t see the point. It’s not known if anyone’s gotten past the mountains; if they have, they’ve never come back.

  4. Electricopolis is the place to be.

  5. As a matter of fact, it’s the only place to be.