Deadlands Commonplace Book
You hold in your hands a mysterious notebook. It’s green cloth covers are somewhat worn, as if the book has been though many adventures. In fact the smaller size of the notebook makes it ideal for a traveler. The inside front cover is signed with the mark of ownership of someone named Neville Douglas.
Good god, where am I?
I think I’ll try this new Guacamole recipe for the office Christmas party!
Ingredients: avocados, lime juice, salt, cumin, cayenne, onion, tomatoes, cilantro, garlic.
Mash avocados, lime juice, salt, cumin, and cayenne. Then mix in onions, tomatoes, cilantro, and garlic. Let sit for an hour then serve.
Party not such a success. Type writer ate all of my guacamole, then someone got a little drunk and knocked over the type trays, so we had to spend an hour picking up the letters. And then the Chief made everyone look for the Man-Spider. Suffice to say, nothing came of it. Merry Christmas! Well, at least the cat liked the guacamole.
Can anyone hear me? I can’t even hear myself.
McCullen’s Outfitters Notes: Shopping experience is excellent for travelers stuck in Chicago for a layover. (But why would you need to lug around more items? Isn’t it better to travel lightly?) Hotel: Very comfortable and clean with modern luxuries like water brought to your room in pipes, and electric lights. Dining: Very reasonable prices on beef considering the quality of the establishment and the food. Good selection of side dishes. Potatoes on the small side. Two saloons in complex: One has a very good selection of drinks, the other seems to be your standard seedy western bar. (Actually, one might say it seems too seedy, as if it was something put on for the tourists.) The “gentleman’s club” actually holds a surprising secret: Yes the rumors are true, it has one of the best cheese boards I have ever tried.
Cherrywick Hotel Notes: Conveniently located across from Dodge City convention center. While the hotel rooms are simple, the Bowers family keeps the hotel in pristine shape and are extremely attentive to guests’ needs.
Before I left town, Bertha Bowers shared her Shortbread recipe.
Ingredients: 2 cups butter, 1 cup brown sugar, 4 1/2 cups flour.
Cream butter and sugar. Add flour. Knead for 5 minutes. Roll out and cut into pieces. Bake at 3250 for 20-25 minutes. Wait that’s not right who did that?
Crystal River Hotel Notes: While I found both the quality of the food and the cost of the lodgings to be excellent, I was a bit put off by the constant wailing during the night. Whether it was the manager or restless spirits, I’ll never know, and I thought it rude to ask. The hotel should really be avoided, but in general this entire town should be avoided.I just get a bad feeling.
There’s something else here.
New recipe came to me in a dream:
All you have to do is take a cup of flour, Add it to the mix. Now just take a little something sweet, not sour, a bit of salt, just a pinch. Baking these treats is such a cinch, add a teaspoon of vanilla, add a little more, and you count to four and you never get your fill of cupcakes, so sweet and tasty. Cupcakes, don’t be too hasty. Cupcakes, cupcakes, cupcakes, cupcakes.
It’s a little cute and vague, but it could work.
It doesn’t feel right. It feels very, very, wrong.
I’m really looking forward to Salt Lake City. Not to say that I don’t like the dining choices in smaller towns, but there’s always more variety in the big city! Then again on the other hand the produce is usually fresher out in the country, and people are more likely to want to show off their special recipes. But I guess I’m getting paid to talk about restaurants, not grandmother’s kitchens. (But I wish I was!) Anyway, Salt Lake should be fun! I hear they have a theme bar called the “Rustbucket”! I wonder what that means?
I feel like its eating away at my very existence. I feel like I’ve been ripped in two. But something else did that.
This was a pretty weird idea I had in retrospect. I’m surprised the Chief printed it!
Notes on food in Salt Lake City:
Deseret Cafe: Coffee shop without caffeinated drinks. Gee, great…
Edna’s Eats: Wonderful pies and cakes. Like the sort you would find in a grandmother’s kitchen!
Salt Lake City Hotel: Real French cuisine! Fabulous sauces! An absolute delight.
Anyone? Please? Help?
Notes on bar scene:
The Ledge: I’m scared of heights…
The Steamer: Too hot, but the beer is cold (comparatively), and the steam keeps the soot down.
The Rustbucket: God no. Oh God. No.
The Monkeywrench: Ok, this is a bar! Great selection of Microbrews. Although, given that this is a Mad Scientist bar, maybe I should be careful what I drink.
I think I’d like to go to Shan Fan. The local food sounds totally different than what I usually try. I’ve heard the chefs there do amazing things with noodles and dumplings!
Notes on Prosperity Hotel: Bad ant problem. Also this town is totally abandoned, so I don’t know why I’m bothering with review notes. Force of habit? Anyway, Dear diary: California Sucks.
I’ve been having the weird dreams telling me how to make food again. But I’m having more of them where I’m not sure if they really should be eaten. Am I getting sick? Is it this place? Is it California? There’s something wrong about this state. It doesn’t feel right, any of it. The famine just doesn’t seem quite natural. Is this rambling? Maybe I am sick. It would be nice to be somewhere with a doctor, rather than merely an abandoned doctor’s office.
I had dreams about a nothing that ate everything. Is this where I am? Nothing? Am I nothing?
Recipe for cake:
1 18.25 ounce package chocolate cake mix. 1 can prepared coconut pecan frosting. 3/4 cup vegetable oil. 4 large eggs. 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips. 3/4 cups butter or margarine. 1&2/3 cups granulated sugar. 2 cups all purpose flour. Don’t forget garnishes such as: Fish shaped crackers. Fish shaped candies. Fish shaped solid waste, Fish shaped dirt. Fish shaped ethyl benzene. Pull and peel licorice.. Fish shaped volatile organic compounds and sediment shaped sediment. Candy coated peanut butter pieces, Shaped like fish. 1 cup lemon juice. Alpha resins. Unsaturated polyester resin. Fiberglass surface resins. And volatile malted milk impoundments. 9 large egg yolks. 12 medium geosynthetic membranes. 1 cup granulated sugar. An entry called ‘how to kill someone with your bare hands’. 2 cups rhubarb, sliced. 2/3 cups granulated rhubarb. 1 tablespoon all-purpose rhubarb. 1 teaspoon grated orange rhubarb. 3 tablespoons rhubarb, on fire. 1 large rhubarb. 1 cross borehole electro-magnetic imaging rhubarb. 2 tablespoons rhubarb juice. Adjustable aluminum head positioner. Slaughter electric needle injector. Cordless electric needle injector. Injector needle driver. Injector needle gun. Cranial caps. And it contains proven preservatives, deep penetration agents, and gas and odor control chemicals. That will deodorize and preserve putrid tissue.
What the hell did I just write?
Was this a warning? Was the recipe, or whatever the hell this was, trying to warn me away? Or was it drawing me in?
Ok, I’m pretty sure I was just dehydrated. I stumbled into an inhabited town, drank some water, ate some beans, rested for a little while and I’m as right as rain. Ok, maybe it was a weeks rest. Under a doctor’s care. But I’m back to 100%. Ok, maybe 75%, but who’s a 100%, really? Anyway, it appears that although little towns like this one barely have enough beans to feed themselves, let alone random dehydrated food writers, the city of Lost Angles has more than enough for their citizens. What’s their secret, and why the hell aren’t they sharing it with the rest of the state? I’m going to get to the bottom of this, investigative food journalist style!
Please! Please if you can hear me, stay away from Lost Angles! They are eating people! I…I think they may have eaten me. Just stay away from that place. STAY FAR FAR AWAY!
And Please! Please help me get out of this nothing I’m trapped in. I’m so alone.
I feel as though I’m being torn to pieces. Please, can anyone hear me?
Hello! You can hear me? Where am I? Who are you?
This journal is the property of Rabbi Abraham.
What? A Journal? Is this my journal? I think it’s mine! Am I trapped here?
Who are you? What’s the last thing you remember?
I’m Neville Douglas. I’m the food critic for the Tombstone Epitaph. The last thing I remember was being in the dungeons of the jail in Lost Angels. I was talking to a shaman. They pulled me out of my cell and then…
Despite the famine, in Lost Angels there is always food on Sundays. I snuck into town past the guard posts to find out where they get the food from. But they caught me in the kitchens and sent me to the prison out in the bay. There I found out where the food comes from. That prison is their slaughterhouse! They kill their enemies and make stew of their flesh and water their gardens with their blood. Stay away from that wicked city!
We’ve crossed paths with those cultists before and we are working to stop them for good. We will try to get you free of this book.
Thank you! Please hurry! I’m so alone…
Hello? Neville? Are you there?
Who are you? Are you with the Rabbi and the lady?
No, I’m a reporter with the Tombstone Epitaph. You were eaten? Where are you now?
I…I think I was? I don’t know where I am now. I’m nowhere?
Is the Rabbi or the lady with you?
No, they are not here, are you sure they aren’t with you?
No, we don’t know these people. Hold on we will try to help you out!
Hey Rabbi Abraham? Lady? Are you there? Do you know this reporter? She’s with you guys, right?
What? I’m the only Epitaph employee here. Who is this person?
I don’t know. She certainly wasn’t here. I assumed she was with you.
Ok. Epitaph reporter, who are you? Where are you? What year is it?
Wait! I have an idea. This should clear things up.
I think that should explain things adequately.
I like yur pick-ture, Mr. Ghost Neville. It dun’t look evil. May be that furst guy. The mule is durn pretty.
Someone else! And who are you? I didn’t make that drawing, I assume it was the lady with the Rabbi? (By process of elimination she must be Adele. I doubt mules can draw.) Are you one of these people in the picture? Or are you with the lady reporter? Man, I’m so confused. Can I have a head count of how many people I’m talking to and who knows who? That’s a real um… accurate picture, I’m sure, but um… maybe if you guys spelled this all out in words I’d understand what’s going on a little better.
Good day to you sir! This is Captain Roderick Pennington-Smythe from the Shan Fan lodge of the Explorers Society. I understand you are trapped in a book. How fascinating! Could you speak a bit on that? Did it involve a curse? Have you angered any dark wizards lately?
What? Someone else? Who are you with? I can’t keep all of you sorted out!
Well, I’m not with these adventurers. But they are newly minted colleagues of mine, and they were quite kind enough to allow me to examine this volume. To be quite clear good sir, I borrowed this volume by the leave of Miss Fox of the Epitaph, Miss Jones, and Mr. Hu. I am not certain of the employer for the last two I listed, but I am sure it is an honorable one. Or perhaps their employer is the same as mine: ADVENTURE! I confess I cannot place these other people who have been writing in this book from afar. I’ve never heard of such people in my life. And they certainly look unique enough, I think I would remember them!
rite u iz, Misstur fancee limey! Iz on the trael of ADVENTURE, & mi big bruthor, Matt Jones. Yuz book-ghost folk havnt ceen him? Hope not! I waz with the Pony Xpress Co ‘til lass fall. So, if u didn drawr it——musst be a hell (pard-un, ma’am) of a mess o’ folk in this book. I’m gunna give it a firm shaken—-see whoz fallen out!
Look now, uh Miss Jones? I’m the only person here. (At least I think I am.) I should know or otherwise I wouldn’t be so damned lonely.
To my dearest friends, my name is Rabbi Abraham ben Elam. It is my pleasure to communicate with you, and to tell you the story of our incredible adventure.
My story begins in Austria nearly 2 years ago, but began in earnest when I encountered Sean Calhoun, a fiery and fascinating fellow from Ireland. Sean and I met on the East Coast of the New World and began wandering westward almost immediately. If you are in similar circumstances I suggest being wary of institutions calling themselves gentlemen’s clubs. They are neither for gentlemen, nor do they involve large sticks for use in clubbing.
Our first adventure began with an exhibition of scientific marvels. Naturally it is with great excitement that I report an enormous metal creature went insane and had to be put down. This is where Sean and I first encountered Reggie. Soon we were joined by Adele, White Sun, and the one without pants.
We journey by train above and under the ground, and it was with great excitement that we witnessed the end of the transcontinental railroad. I slept through a large explosion. And then there were many other misadventures. A spectacle was destroyed, towns saved, demons defeated, and I have many words of wisdom for all people in all places and at all times.
Beware all rabbits. Always carry plenty of fire, so that you may destroy any hostile trees you encounter. Become very good friends with the staff of your local newspapers, and even national newspapers. These people will be allies for a long long time. If possible try to acquire a blimp.
If you should ever encounter a young woman, or a device that seems to communicate with perfect strangers, including two doctors, Watson and other, you should understand that she has powers beyond those that are obvious. The doctors have great wisdom, but seem to be unfixed in time. I may be able to shed some light on that situation. Today is the 16th of Elul in the year 5640.
We believe that the time is swiftly coming, that the despicable Rev. Grimm and his cannibalistic cohorts will forever be removed from this world. This is the final day in which I may be able to communicate for I believe that this may be the last that some of us see of this life. G-d has promised us that we shall have rewards for our good acts, and now as I see my brother, and as we use water and fire to end the reign of terror that has too long gripped California, I believe that my reward may simply be to free others through my own sacrifice. Usually there is very little time to write, but in the last few days I have had time to share this with you, in the hope that somewhere a person will benefit from our experiences.
Fight injustice. Always put your family first. And never, never do what the rabbit suggests. If I am able to respond, it will be because we have survived, and our wisdom is greatly enhanced. If I do not respond, it may be because the manatees have failed. At least, I think that’s what they’re called, sea cows. Right?
One last thing, if you are a person who deals with Smith and Robards, you should be advised that unusual happenings are occurring there, and that the children of Lilith are to blame.
Y’hi ratzon milfanekha A-donai E-loheinu ve-lohei avoteinu she-tolikhenu l’shalom v’tatz’idenu l’shalom v’tadrikhenu l’shalom, v’tagi’enu limhoz heftzenu l’hayim ul-simha ul-shalom. V’tatzilenu mi-kaf kol oyev v’orev v’listim v’hayot ra’ot ba-derekh, u-mi-kol minei pur’aniyot ha-mitrag’shot la-vo la-olam. V’tishlah b’rakha b’khol ma’a’se yadeinu v’tit’nenu l’hen ul-hesed ul-rahamim b’einekha uv-einei khol ro’einu. V’tishma kol tahanuneinu ki E-l sho’me’a t’fila v’tahanun ata. Barukh ata A-donai sho’me’a t’fila.
Jeez man, that sounds pretty bad. Are you ok, did you guys survive?
Hey! Mr Rabbi? You in dere? You ok?
Aw, come on guys! How many times do I have to tell you he’s not here! It’s only me! And I don’t know what happened! Your guess is as good as mine!