A Malicious Tea Drinker With Vast Fingers and Tall Eyelashes


This is the comic panel that inspired Gralie Bohe to create the Black Scorpion Cafe in her novel, The Boy in the Yellow Leatherette Portmanteau, which is an imaginary novel about Wm. Yost, the imaginary creator of Geranium Lake Properties. The owner of the Black Scorpion Cafe is a minor deity in the universal pantheon, albeit a major one for jackalopes. He is described in this excerpt from The Boy in the YLP:

“The entity that currently called himself Aliquando Jade Irwin, currently manifesting as a tall, skinny, dark-skinned man, stood at the side of the Pacific Coast Highway as a eucalyptus might stand, an alien, an invader, but at home in the landscape. He wore a business suit, which hung loosely on his slightly stooped frame. Despite being cleaned and pressed, the suit had the appearance of casual clothes, its pale color seemed tropical. The color was called Apricot Ice by the manufacturer, but it was more cream than apricot or ice. The ensemble was completed with a white dress shirt under a black bolo tie, and if the shirt did not dazzle, it was only because the overcast had not yet burned off. (The day would later become unrelentingly sunny but not too warm, another day of perfect weather on the northern end of the central California coast.) The entity that called himself Aliquando Jade Irwin (and tried unsuccessfully to get people to call him Aljair for short) was barefoot, his shoes tied together by their laces and slung over one shoulder. Slung over the opposite shoulder by a wide leather strap was an acoustic guitar, its body finished with an iridescent green surface trimmed in abalone and ormulu.

Aliquando Jade Irwin was a literal child of the Sea, yet currently he felt himself most closely identified with savannas, grasslands and deserts. He did not worry too much about his transitive nature–most of the old gods had highly-developed talents for adaptability. Aliquando Jade Irwin’s divine origin had come with an embarrasingly brief job description, leaving a lot to the imagination. He had been one of 11 children, and his power was mastery over violent storms. That was it, that was his entire origin story. He had been thankful he had been given his own name at least (but that had never stopped him from changing it many times since the Beginning). In his early existence, he had met many fearsome entities who were nameless, or had to share their name with a group, or worse yet, with a concept. That circumstance, so unfotunate for others, had turned out to be a blessing of sorts for Aliquando Jade Irwin. He had established a nice little business for a while, creating and selling names to the Nameless Ones. He was convinced that his exhorbitant fees had been a validation of his genius for realizing the need for good nomenclature, and he had provided sound, durable products. However, eventually, one of the many organized forces for the Preservation of the Inviolable Rules had caught up with him, and had discouraged, with totally uncalled-for punitive action, his efforts to improve the lives of some of the lesser avatars. Apparently he had been messing up the Mysteries.”

I was amused to discover that The Boy in the YLP has inspired a few people to write fanfiction about it. I find this appropriately recursive because Gralie Bohe’s novel is essentially a piece of fanfiction about Yost and Geranium Lake Properties. Here’s a quote from a fanfiction piece, “Striped Tea and Owl Sandwiches” (Aliquando Jade Irwin/Joe Baluende), by GreenTigerLily8304, in which the author brings Aliquando Jade Irwin into the Internet Age:

“He was philosophical about it now, but for a few centuries his pain and resentment had been worthy of legend. He had in fact wrote several legends about his suffering, but his book had never found a significant following, so he had stuffed it into his extra-dimensional drawer with his many other failed endeavors. Since then, he had managed to absorb a few helpful tips from the lectures of some of the most popular philosophers of the ancient worlds, and nowadays he browsed YouTube to catch up with the more modern stuff. Lately he had been thinking about taking out his book and re-writing it. Since the invention of the internet, all the old gods were getting new temples. Even before the internet, his mother had received an auspicious Dungeons and Dragons franchise. Now she was huge. (Huge again, really–her tail had once defined the Milky Way–not too many gods get huger than that.) Aliquando Jade Irwin, aka Ekchuajumudabrutu, was thinking more modestly about Nanowrimo opportunities. Or even fanfiction.”

Second version of the logo for the Black Scorpion Cafe:

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