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'49 was a Bad Year by ZiBaricon
'49 was a Bad Year
Whoop, did an illustration for the short stories I did with Boyer. If you're interested, they're in three parts:

NOIR SHORT: '49 was a Bad Year
NOIR SHORT: '49 was a Bad Year Part II
NOIR SHORT: '49 was a Bad Year Part III

WARNING: The story does contain self-harm and alcoholism, so if you're not comfortable with that, don't read it.
AHAHA! I finished draft 2 for Noir! Final word count: 91,548!

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Why can’t we ever have normal faculty meetings?

Stepping in from the harsh cold, I stomped the snow off my feet. I could already hear the crash of pins and bowling balls across the room, along with the chattering of my fellow coworkers. With a sigh, I went up the stairs. Christmas garland wrapped itself around the handrails, despite January already being half over—as if the holiday wasn’t already gluttonous on time.

I should’ve just came late, I thought. At least I’d bypass this small talk before we actually get to business. Making my way towards the bar—Stop that! Just get the damn shoes and be done with it!

Making my way towards the shoe counter, I watched all the professors mingle—squabbling over points, clinking glasses together, and yammering on about their winter break.

Slipping on the rentals, it wasn’t long before someone was on my case. Erickson crouched down, meeting my eyes with a mouthful of chips and a dished caked in salsa.

“Boyer! I’ve been waiting for you!”

“What now?”

“Try this! Tell me how authentic it tastes!”

Tilting my head, I eyed the sauce. My sinuses squirmed at the mere smell of it. “I’m not eating that.”

“Why not?”

“I don’t eat spicy food.” Laces tied, I got back on my feet.

“But you know what real salsa tastes like, right?”

“As opposed to what? Counterfeit salsa?”

“You know what I mean! Just try it!”


“Willy!” Is that a headache coming on? That twiggy prick Sampson wandered over, still insisting on that full suit with that cheap smile. Did he not understand casual wear?

“Can you believe this guy?” said Erickson. “Won’t eat spicy food!”

“You should make those pumpkin bars next time! I’m sure he’s got the sweet tooth for that!” Grin widening, he jabbed me in the stomach. Before I could act upon my desire to snap that pencil neck of his, Sampson wrapped an arm around me and yanked me towards the bowling alley.

“What did you do on your break?” he asked.

“Nothing of importance.”

“Come on! How was the family?”

“I didn’t see anyone.”

“You can’t just not do anything on the holidays!” Sitting near the scorekeeping table were Turner and Mullins. Turner eyed us, fingers drumming against his thigh while Mullins stared off into space, oblivious of our arrival entirely.

“It’s fine—”

“Didn’t even celebrate New Years?”


“Come on! It’s finally good ol’ ‘54! A perfect chance at a fresh start!” Pulling up a chair, Sampson peered at the score pad. “Didn’t you two get started?”

“Why didn’t you grab Erickson?” asked Turner. Of course those two had to sit evenly on the damn bench. No matter what spot I pick, I’m huddled up next to someone.

“Willy’s a better bowler.”

“No one’s taking this shit seriously. Pick someone less weird!”

“I already invited him!” The twig grabbed his ball.

Turner groaned, sprawling himself onto more of the bench with his gangling limbs. I took my chances near Mullins, who only then came back to reality. She grinned at me, her bug-eyes swiveling around in her oversized head.

“Good evening!” she said. “I’m glad you could join us!”

“It wasn’t voluntary.”

“How was your birthday?”

My insides frosted over. How does she know my birthday? I’ve never told anyone! She must know more than she’s letting on—that’s ridiculous! There’s no way she does! Lucky guess? Must be—no, she sounds confident! Who is she working for? Why is she doing this? Is she toying with me—

“Mr. Boyer?”

“How did you know that?”

“Know what?”

“That I just had a birthday!”

She waved her hand, rolling her eyes. “You’re such a Capricorn.”


“Your sign. You just scream Capricorn.”

I stared. “That’s the most arbitrary reason I’ve ever heard.”

“As your kind would say.”

“Myra! It’s your turn!” Sampson jotted down his spare.

She stood up, wandering over to the lane. As she selected her bowling ball, there was that nagging feeling that I was being watched. It was only when Turner coughed did I notice him much closer than he was before.

“What do you want?” I asked.

“You weren’t even watching her bend over!”

“Why would I?”

He leaned in. “Do you like girls?”

If this isn’t a loaded question, then I don’t know what is. “Sure.”


“What the hell are you getting at?”

He flicked my hair—my curls rested halfway down my back now. “What kind of man lets their hair get that long? There’s something wrong with you!”

“I’m sure there’s a good reason he grows it out!” Sampson said behind a forced grin, eyes darting away from the topic.

“Like what?” Somehow, I don’t think, “It keeps me from screaming at my reflection,” is the answer they’re looking for.

I groaned. “How uneducated do you have to be to not realize that it’s part of my culture?”

The prying bastard paused, glancing at Sampson for confirmation. Met with a shrug, he turned back to me. “It’s—I knew that! It’s just strange is all!”

“Lay off the damn pills,” I said. “They’re warping your mind.”

“They’re for my heart!”

Glaring at the snickering twig, Turner folded his arms and fumed. Mullins returned to her seat, exasperated at the split pins she left behind.

“Your turn, Mr. Boyer.”

Giving myself distance from the conversation, I staked out a ball—one with holes big enough to accommodate my gloves. Five years already, and not a soul knows anything of what I’ve done. Either I lucked out or everyone I’ve met has loose change for brains.

I walked to the isle. How long will this last? Someone must’ve figured this out by now. Was it just a matter of finding me? I don’t want to run again—I never knew stability could be so comforting.

The ball rolled down the lane. Kind of wish I had someone to at least talk to—Don’t be dense! That’s what got you in this mess in the first place!


Keep to yourself—it’s safer.
NOIR SHORT: '49 was a Bad Year Part III
Part 1: NOIR SHORT: '49 was a Bad Year
Part 2: NOIR SHORT: '49 was a Bad Year Part II

That's it for this short! I'll keep making others with the rest of the Noir cast, though I'll do more Boyer if there's a demand for it.

If you'd like to see more Noir content, check out the blog here:

Since I finally decided on a pen name, I've set up social media for that Noir novel I'm working on! First draft done and halfway through second! Aiming to get it to a literary agent sometime next year when it's complete.

Once published, you will find the book under the name Beck Keep (Beck to keep my gender ambiguous because haha, woman can't write thrillers and Keep because Burg means "Castle," and apparently there's a fictional character that uses the pen name Castle already so I picked a word relating to it).

If you're interested in following the latest updates of my book, I've got a Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook set up as Beck Keep! A personal website will be at but I need a wait a day before I can get it up there (it'll be the Tumblr account set on its own site). I'll edit this when that's ready.


Edit: Got working!

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TheSkull31 Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Hi there! Number one fan of "A Loonatic's Tale" here. I just thought I'd let you know that I was finally able to post the first six pages of my second fancomic "Redefining Sanity" and the entire first fancomic "Mandrake's Day Out" to my gallery here on DeviantArt. They're in my folder "ALT Fan Comics" if you'd like to look at it sometime. Any and all feedback would be greatly appreciated! ----->…

TheSkull31 Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Hey there, Beck. Do you remember when I came up with the idea of the "Williams' Syndrome Symphony" in my fan-series 'Meet The Bronwyns' a couple of years back? Well, I just want to clear the air real quick and say that in my "Bronwyn Chronicles" book series my intent was to make the aforementioned noun the "Williams' Syndrome Symphony of Clearwater" to make sure that it doesn't get confused with the "Williams' Syndrome Symphony of Treaka," which is what I should have referred the noun as in my "Meet The Bronwyns" fan-series.

By the way, have you taken a look at my "Bronwyn Chronicles" literature in my If not, then let me go ahead and link you to it just in case you have some spare time to read it. ---->

Feel free to let me know what you think of it whenever you can. I'll wait as patiently as I can, so in the meantime I'll idle around online to keep myself busy. :iconawwplz: :D :) :pat:
Phenoca Featured By Owner May 26, 2015
PrincessCarol Featured By Owner May 26, 2015  Student Photographer
happy birthday :D 
TheSkull31 Featured By Owner May 26, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Hello, Beck. Happy 27th birthday to you! By the way, just out of curiosity, how's that "Noir" project coming along, and do you have any more ideas planned for A Loonatic's Tale?
ZiBaricon Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2015  Professional General Artist
It's on draft three, so getting close! And for ALT, I plan for that to be a game in the future.
TheSkull31 Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Awesomesauce! By the way, do you have any plans on making ALT an animated show on television in the future? I have plenty of potential stories related to ALT festering in my mind and just waiting to come out.
TheSkull31 Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Hey, Beck. First of all, I want to congratulate you for surpassing the 100,000 view mark. Second, quick question because I use Skype: do you and Rick Skype?
ZiBaricon Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2015  Professional General Artist
Thank you!

I actually don't really get use Skype, to be honest—neither does Rick. We're kind of social recluses that way.
TheSkull31 Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
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