“Soaps of Denial”

I originally wrote this one for the HUGE PROJECT, but it really didn’t fit within the storyline, so I had to scrap it. Luckily it found new life in strip form. 

The thing I like about this strip is that it introduces Debbie’s soap-making, which I think is an interesting hobby. And I think it works well for her character. They say that once you know your characters, they tell you what they want to do, and it sounds like a bunch of self-indulgent, as Bridget would call it,  “pseudo-artsy fiddle-fiddle” but it’s really kind of true. At first Debbie was going to be baking cupcakes, but it just didn’t work. It’s well established in earlier strips that Debbie cannot cook at all, so cupcakes had to go. We know Debbie is not very smart, but a bit creative. She did, after all write her really terrible mystery novel starring Detective Jack Hammer. (Read the whole Debbie novel storyline in the old comic here, just remember to start from the bottom of the page)

But I liked the idea of stirring something with fury, so I thought, what else involves mixing? Soap. People like fancy scented soaps, and even though Debbie is a bit of an airhead, I wanted her to be good role model, and to process her anger productively and healthily. Instead of screaming, or throwing  things, or something else destructive, Debbie turns her anger and frustrations into something lovely. Soaps won’t change the world, and soaps aren’t going to get her novel published, or get her personal validation, but they just might make her hands smell delightful after washing up.

An amusing note about Detective Jack Hammer. His name was unintentional. I created him for a much older project I worked on at around age 20. It was a series of comedy stories about horror archetypes, not G-rated, but not without its merits. Still, that project went into retirement along with so many others, because it turns out my heart lives in G-rated entertainment. I just like it. I like the challenge of not being able to fall back onto shocking or innuendo-ridden jokes. Anyway, during the horror archetype project I was talking to my then best friend about Detective Hammer, and had been for a good 20 minutes when I suddenly stopped and yelled, “OH! I get it! Detective Jack Hammer, like jackhammer!” which was a weird thing to yell considering I was the one who came up with his name in the first place. I wanted him to have one of those absurd fictional detective name and “Jack Hammer” had a nice ring to it. It seriously took me about a week to get my own joke.

So, what is this detective book of Debbie’s called? What is it about? Why did she write it? Can I read it?

Her book is called… I don’t know actually. Give me a minute and I’ll come up with something brilliant. She wants it to be the first in a series of Jack Hammer novels, so that should be taken into consideration when we pick the name. And the villain of the piece is known only as, “The Scavenger Hunt Killer”  and her writing style is terrible, rife with similes like, “he stood in the downpour, eyes like grubby pen nibs, the anger smoldering within him like a steaming bowl of seafood chowder.”

Okay, I lied. I said I would come up with something brilliant, but I haven’t. Dude, if you have a suggestion, comment.

What were your other questions? Oh right, what is it about? Well it’s about a seasoned  detective who is too stubborn to retire, and he is after a criminal called the scavenger hunt killer. He’s called the scavenger hunt killer, because he leads Detective Hammer around from one place to another leaving a new clue each time.

Why did she write it? Because she lost her job and thought it would be easy to just write a book and get it published. She was incorrect.

No, you can’t read it because most of it doesn’t exist, but here, I’ll channel Debbie and think up the opening paragraph right here…

Squiggles of summer heat shimmered up from the ground with the rising smell of armpit, and asphalt. Detective Jack Hammer wiped his hand across his forehead, leaving a mucky streak of sweat and dust. “You’ll never catch him” Teresa chirped like a late 90s cell phone, fanning herself with her floppy,  wide-brimmed hat. “He’s too good. You might as well just give up and retire Jack, look what happened to Barlow, you don’t want to end up like him do you?” She sipped her iced tea and gazed across the street, over the volleyball players on the beach, and rested her eyes on the horizon, which sparkled like a the late night lights of Las Vegas.
Jack scowled at his young partner. Oh she was beautiful to be sure, with her lush meatloaf brown hair that danced with a hint of cornbread yellow in the sunlight, and her don’t forget her eyes, glossy black marbles in endless pools the color of champagne.

You know what? That was actually really fun to write.

308 Soaps of Denial

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