The Other Burdin (Will Scarlet’s Kiss & Tell)

“From the stage that brought you Will & Allyn’s Interactive Theatre,” Allyn-a-Dale proclaims before the curtain, “here’s Ever On Word’s original talk show, Will Scarlet’s Kiss & Tell.”

Danielle whipped up a logo for me, because she is awesome first class.

The curtain rises, the studio audience applauds, and Will Scarlet himself walks smiling and waving onto the bright, cozy set.

“Hullo, everyone! Let’s jump right into it, shall we?” Leading by example, he hops into his armchair. “Allyn, who is our guest character today?”

As the guest enters from the other side of the stage, Allyn says, “When asked to send a character over, author Alexander responded thus:

Let’s go with Hartnet. He could use a little love. Poor guy’s got it rough having Ty as a sibling.

“Welcome, Hartnet!” Will greets the man now seated in the chair across from his own. “So glad you could join me. First things first – where in the world do you get off having a studlier jaw than me? Like, seriously.”

Hartnet shifts in his chair, absentmindedly rubs a hand across a day’s worth of stubble on his jaw. “Good genetics, I guess,” he says with a small laugh.

“Hmmph. Well, anyway,” says Will, “subtly” re-angling his face to give the camera a better view of his bone structure. “Your brother Ty is the ‘retired’ demon hunter, and you’re the cop. But you’ve got some demon hunting experience, too, am I right?”

“I can definitely hold my own.” Hartnet sits up a little straighter. His jaw tenses. “Growing up in the greatest demon hunting family of all time, I definitely picked up a few tricks and survival habits. I even get to put them to use against bad guys from time to time. After dealing with an Azreal or even a Jinn, some punk hopped up on this or that isn’t so intimidating.”

Will nods. “Right. Totally. I have no idea what an Azreal is, but if it’s anything like an air spirit or a river siren, then I’m perfectly happy to leave it to the professionals. Moving away from business to your personal life, now, how would you describe your and Ty’s relationship? And how does it feel, knowing your little brother to be in constant danger of death by demons or alcohol poisoning or who knows what?”

“Ty’s a bit of a conceited jerk. He only thinks of himself and his own perspective, everyone else’s opinion doesn’t matter for much. He’s kind of the spoiled rock star, reality television show of the demon hunting world. Did I mention I’m adopted?”

“Don’t believe you did, no. But hey, the blood you chose is thicker than the water you’re born into, right? Family’s family, bros are bros?”

Hartnet stares off at the lights. He inspects the back of his hands for a moment. “Yeah, I mean, I’d give my life for Ty, but there are times I think he’d ask for it. That might be his problem. Maybe he’ll grow out of it.” Hartnet shifts a little more in his seat.

“Well, hey, buddy,” says Will, leaning over to pat Hartnet’s knee. “Here’s hoping he will. Now, one last question before we wrap up the interrogation, officer. Tell me, what is your author Alex’s biggest, deepest, darkest, most mortifying and/or hilarious secret?” He smiles devilishly. “Or would you rather kiss me?”

“Sorry, there, but I keep all my kisses for a special lady back home. She’s always got her mind on me. Anyway, if I were one to go around giving away secrets, everyone in the world would know that every night Ty sings ‘I Will Survive’ by Gloria Gaynor to help himself fall asleep. Oops…”

“Haha, does he really?”

Hartnet winks, stands up, and exits the stage.

“Looks like duty’s call won’t wait. Play him out with a word from our sponsor, won’t you, Allyn?”

“Today’s Kiss & Tell segment,” says Allyn, “was brought to you by Alexander Nader’s ‘Burdin’s End’:

Ty Burdin, the retired demon hunter who just can’t stay retired.

In the final installment of the Beasts of Burdin trilogy Ty has found himself roped into working for the Agency, a top secret organization with the sole purpose of eliminating all demon activity, yet again. Demon hunting is a full time job, but luckily Ty has managed to work his way down to a ‘consulting’ position in the Agency after a few disagreements and a couple dead superiors.

Ty’s part-time position becomes far more hands on as the demon activity in his region cranks up to eleven. Demons are crawling out of peoples’ minds and into the real world at an alarming rate and it’s up to Ty, once again, to step in and save the day. First step: get over last night’s hangover.

“As a bit of bonus material,” Allyn continues, “our author’s review of the book is as follows:

Gosh, some people’s attitudes are miserable. And not one healthful coping mechanism to be seen. Of course, narrators are rarely known for spreading sunshine and dishing up entertaining sass both at once. And if I can only have one or the other, odds are I’ll go with the sass.

Burdin's End

Despite his efforts to remain retired, Ty Burdin can’t seem to go more than twenty-four hours or so without hunting and/or being hunted by an unpredictable variety pack of demons. His small circle of loved ones (so… basically just his cop brother Hartnet and secretary/fictional biographer Nora) seem content to take Ty’s life at the beck and call of the Agency for granted, but Ty moans and drags his feet every step of the way. His unrelenting backtalk hurled at his boss Helstrom – or, in lieu of an audience, in his own head – made for some good out-loud chuckles (the man really does have a way with words, provided every third word or so can be a vulgarity), though his passive, self-destructive wallowing did start to get old, after a while.

Then I got about three-quarters of the way through the book, and I was just like, whoa. No. Holy cow, but no. I just want Ty to get up, shake himself off, and get his act together. Can I have that? Will Nader give me that? Or is he going to revel in this twisted turn of events like the evil author in me wouldn’t blame him for one bit?

If you think I’m about to spoil the answers to any of that, you’re one scotch bottle shy of a Burdin liquid lunch. In parting, I’ll say only that, 1) the ending went by a little quick for me; 2) it sounds like some positive change may be on the horizon for whoever survives this latest wave of deadly demon activity; and 3) um, no offense to Hartnet, but I may be Team Helstrom now. The guy’s in his own class.

“Thank you, Allyn – and Danielle,” Will says, then calls offstage, “Thanks to you as well, Hartnet. And thank you, my beautiful audience. Remember, authors – if your characters would like to appear on the show, simply follow the guidelines provided here, and we’ll get them on the schedule. ‘Til next time, lovelies: Scarlet out!”

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