Bob Sparker: Ahhh!! Boss, you completely forgot to tell me that I had a question in here!!
Oh shit, I’m sorry! Well, you can go ahead and answer it now.
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!"
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!
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."
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:
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.
As a matter of fact, it’s the only place to be.