Sunday, 23 June 2013

Shikamaru P.I. Intro

Noir is just too easy to parody; it's almost cheating.

I can't remember, exactly, where the idea came from. A joke, I suspect. Conversations about Shikamaru, Lee and Pakkun travelling in a van and solving mysteries.

Shikamaru is undoubtedly my favourite Naruto character. He's cool and clever, and not all about winning at all. In a series filled with people being loud and demanding attention, there's something refreshing about a competent character that wants to actively avoid the limelight. His lazy attitude towards life transfers nicely into the tired thing that noir detectives tends towards. That's before you consider his razor sharp intelligence and it's relationship with the word "detective". It was almost too easy a fit.

Lee, as the series goes, is about as natural a Watson as you could wish for. He's got the optimism and "youth" to bounce off the more hardbitten and cynical Shika, and is just more prone to just asking questions about everything. He's the brawn to Shika's brain - an almost custom made foil.

Welcome Shikamaru P.I. I promise you this: at the very least, it's gonna be one hell of a weird ride.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011


The inkblot darkness had settled around the house earlier, marking the end of day. T.K. sat on the edge of pinewood decking, a short pier before a freshly cut green sea. Even though light had faded, it was still pleasantly warm. The garden he sat facing was wide, flat and open, surrounded by tall green bushes and multi-coloured flowers. A friend's house - well, a friend of his parent's. He had come across an old friend inside, however.
Behind him a door slid open. He turned and saw Kari step through a shimmering curtain of light. His eyes had become too accustomed to the darkness out here. For a moment he could only make out the shape of her as she strode towards him. 'Mind if I join you?' Kari waited until he nodded before sitting down beside him.
'Do you like it out here?' she asked, after a nervous silence.
'It's very calm,' said T.K., 'not like in there, right?' He treated her to a smile.
Kari took a moment before answering, looking out onto the garden. She had left the door open, so now light shone from behind them and cast their shadows onto the grass. 'Yeah.'
'Been awhile, hasn't it?'
'Do you see it too T.K.?' Kari asked, abruptly.
A jester stood on the lawn watching them: his face was half white and half black, his coat was red and he had two swords strapped across his back. 'I think so.'
'I thought I was the only one. I thought that it was because I was the little girl; helpless…I always told myself that I had to help people, keep them happy. I knew I wasn't as strong or as smart or as confident as our brothers, so all I could do help my friends, stop anyone losing hope. It always tough, especially when Wizardmon died, but I always felt I was at least making a difference. In my own way, I was fighting.'
'You shouldn't be so hard on yourself Kari,' T.K. said. 'Without you we never would have defeated Myotismon or the Dark Masters. You were so young too.'
'No younger than you, and you were always so brave.'
'Brave?' T.K. gave a wry grin. 'I was terrified. I…before you and Gatomon joined us I'm sure Tai told you about Etemon and Devimon, I almost lost Patomon to Devimon. Afterwards there were moments - when the fear was so bad. When it was just you and me, at the end, I still feel that fear from time to time. But you've got to keep smiling.'
Kari tried to smile, but T.K. could see a small shiver behind it. An almost imperceptible shudder. 'Smile into the darkness?'
'Come on Kari,' T.K. said, 'smile at the light.'
The jester was still watching them, although T.K. thought he looked fainter than normal in the presence of Kari. Only his face was particularly visible. Like a black and white opera mask, smiling sinisterly. It was the light from the doorway behind her, he realised. Next to him, Kari was draped in a golden cloak.
'But, you rarely seemed very scared. So carefree and happy.'
'You know, I get that a lot. It's like, if people see you smile all the time they presume you don't get sad. I don't think you need to be crying or frowning or anything like that if you're sad, because then you're just dragging people with you. That sounds really cheesy doesn't it?'
Kari chuckled weakly. 'Yeah. Really, really cheesy.'
Again there was silence. In the house behind them the party sounded lively, chatter drifting out and filling up the empty space outside. From laughter to serious conversation about society. T.K. found himself catch the word "come", but the rest escaped him.
'Will it ever go away?'
T.K. looked at the smiling face in the darkness. 'No. I'd like to say it will, but I don't believe it. It was almost too easy at the time, caught up in the adrenaline. There have been plenty of times that I'd rather be facing down the evils we fought, locked in battle. At the time it was simple: scary, but in a way that was easy to handle. I realised recently that that's the easy part. Now that we have to get on with our lives after all that…I don't need to say anymore, do I?'
'You remember when it was only you and I left?' Kari asked. 'Just us and clown.'
'I wanted to protect you then. Like your brother would, like Matt would. They both intimidated me. Without them, where would we be? I wanted to be like them, as cool and as caring as Matt especially. Did I ever tell you that that was the longest amount of time I had spent with him since our parents split?'
'I'm sorry, must be really tough.'
'I keep smiling though.'
'I'm glad you do. Thanks T.K.,' she said. 'I needed to talk to about this with someone - Tai, well, he doesn't quite understand.'
T.K. nodded.
'Shall we go back inside?' she asked him.
T.K. turned back towards the door, his night vision for a moment turning the door into a doorway of pure white. Behind him, he knew the jester was still there, still smiling.


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