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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

What is pulp?

While there's is a lot of crossover between superhero and classic pulp, since the superhero genre has its roots in the pulp adventures of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and it could be argued that superhero comics were really just a subgenre of pulp... pulp with pictures, as it were... still, pulp is the father and grandfather of the superhero, and a broader, richer vein to mine.

Many classic pulp do gooders had classic superhero trappings... secret identities, melodramatic code names, costumes, parahuman powers... just as the earliest superheroes were, at that time, unabashedly pulpy. Superman and Batman were, in their earliest appearances, very hard to distinguish from characters like Doc Savage, the Spider, and the Shadow, and Batman hasn't changed all that much over the years. Superman, however, evolved away from his lurid origins and quickly became the archetype for a clearer, more distilled and crystallized presentation of The Eternal Conflict between darkness and light, good and evil, law and lawlessness, order and chaos.

Superheroes were a facet of pulp... the facet with the masks, the flashy costumes, the alter egos, the magic powers, the code names. Nearly all of the more melodramatic aspects of pulp went into the funny books. But pulp itself contained more than that; pulp heroes did not have to have capes or domino masks or skin tight bodysuits or goofy code names or hidden identities. They didn't have to have superhuman abilities, either. They could be deep sea divers, jungle explorers, frontiersmen, immortal soldiers cast by unlikely wizardry to the surface of distant alien spheres, mighty thewed barbarians, millionaire philanthopists, stage magicians, cowboys or Indians, archeologists, or pilots.

Pulp was not limited to modern settings or the surface of the Earth, nor was pulp strictly limited to protagonists with altruistic motivations. Pulp heroes could simply be adventurers; men (and even women, although this was rare during the period) who simply got into trouble a lot, and then shot, punched, slashed, or whipcracked their way back out of it again, usually with a beautiful member of the opposite sex and a plucky young sidekick in tow, while carrying some priceless treasure from a long forgotten city or buried tomb, and always with the minions of some calculating crimeboss, evil overlord, ancient undead emperor, or cackling mad scientist in hot pursuit.

Pulp is, above all other things, visceral; it is written from and to the gut, not the intellect; it originates in the heart, never the head. Pulp is fantasy, it sets your pulses pounding, it carves its images from the universal id. It is noble good guys fighting evil bad guys, all of whom are somewhat larger than the real life folk they are marketed to. It is thrilling adventure and astonishing action and heart pounding peril!

It is heroes that never say die, and villains that always scream DIE!

The Set Up

Our setting is New York, 1938. Your character is a larger than life adventuring pulp hero in the tradition of the Shadow, Doc Savage, the Phantom Detective, The Spider, Tarzan, the Lone Wolf, Flash Gordon, Captain Future, etc. Your character is the do gooder sort, who lives to battle evil and defend the innocent from the predations of the wicked.

I've decided to go with the recommendation in the SAVAGE WORLDS Explorer's Edition, with one twist, as recommended in the PULP TOOLKIT, for character set up: set PCs up as Novice characters, then take 12 advances, to bring your character to the borderline of Heroic/Legendary. (The 'twist' recommended for Pulp Heroes is to get rid of the 'one attribute raise per Rank' restriction, which I'm happy to do.)

To recap standard character set up:

Every character starts with a d4 in each attribute, and has 5 points with which to raise them. Raising a d4 to a d6, for example, costs 1 point. You’re free to spend these points however you want with one exception: no attribute may be raised above a d12.

You have 15 points to distribute among your skills. Each die type costs 1 point as long as the skill is equal to or less than the attribute it’s linked to (listed beside the skill in parentheses). If you exceed the attribute, the cost becomes 2 points per die type. As with attributes, no skill may be increased above d12.

Human characters get one free Edge, and you should all be human characters. You can take further Edges by balancing them out with Hindrances. You can take one Major Hindrance and two Minor Hindrances. A Major Hindrance is worth 2 points, and a Minor Hindrance is worth 1 point.

For 2 points you can:

• Raise an attribute one die type (you may raise your attributes before purchasing
skills).

• Choose another Edge.

For 1 point you can:

• Gain another skill point.


To this, I'm going to add, every time you take an Advance, you may, if you wish, give your PC another Major Hindrance or two Minor Hindrances, and use those points as well. These additional Hindrances should represent things that could have occurred to your character over a long and storied career.

Every 5 points accumulated grants a hero an Advance. An Advance lets a character do one of the following:

• Gain a new Edge.

• Increase a skill that is equal to or greater than its linked attribute by one die type.

• Increase two skills that are lower than their linked attributes by one die type each.

• Buy a new skill at d4.

• Increase one attribute by a die type.


Instead of Minor Hindrances, GM will award the same points as a Minor Hindrance for Stylish Trademarks, such as the eerie, trilling sound that Doc Savage involuntarily whistles when he is amazed, or the platinum domino mask shaped badge carried by the Phantom Detective to prove his identity to police. This will be something that adds flavor to your character and distinguishes them from anyone else.

Players in this scenario don't need to worry about starting money. You can basically have whatever equipment fits your character concept -- if you're a rich world traveling philanthropist like Doc Savage who also happens to be a brilliant multi-discipline scientist, you can have a skyscraper headquarters with an armory and lots of lab space. If you're a millionaire newspaper publisher who dons a domino mask and a black fedora to fight crime as the Melodramatically Named Good Guy, well, you can have a major metropolitan newspaper and a secret closet in your penthouse apartment like the Comedian's where you keep all your gear. Etc, etc. If you're an ex cop who was thrown off the force when a crooked politician pulled some strings, who is determined to balance the books with your fists, your gun, and your blackjack, well, you probably don't own much besides your fists, your gun, and your blackjack... but if you want to take a bulletproof vest, too, I won't kick.

Established, near legendary pulp hero/adventurers are rarely living at a subsistence level; all that globe trotting and all those souped up, bulletproof sedans cost a nice chunk of change. That's not to say you need to be rich to be a nearly legendary pulp hero/adventurer, you could be a former Texas Ranger who doesn't own anything he can't pack into the saddlebags on his motorcycle, cruising into the big city with a six gun and a lariat, looking for the little sister of your dead best friend, to fulfill a vow you made as you cradled his bullet riddled body in your arms one night on the edge of the desert. Or something. I'm just saying, whatever equipment fits your character, you can have... barring, of course, stuff that will make it much too easy for the scenario to be any fun, like an advanced alien computer with all Earthly knowledge programmed into it, or something equally buzz harshing.

Use your imaginations, make a character you'll enjoy playing, equip yourself well. Anything can happen.

Some suggested Pulp specific Hindrances and Edges, from the Pulp toolkit:

Sample Hindrances

Glass Jaw (Major)
Your hero has a glass jaw and can’t take a solid hit He suffers a –2 penalty to Soak rolls

Xenophobic (Major)

Whether because of simple ignorance or from past dealings, the character has a dislike of all cultures other than his own and finds dealing with them unpleasant at best He suffers a –4 penalty to Charisma when dealing with foreigners Openly voicing his xenophobic beliefs, something he finds hard to control, may lead to confrontation or ostracism.

Sample Generic Pulp Edges

Bring ’Em On! (Combat)
Requirements: Novice, Agility d8+, Fighting d8+, Notice d8+
Opponents never get a Gang-Up bonus in combat with the hero, no matter how many there are facing the hero

Explorer (Professional)
Requirements: Novice, Vigor d6+, Survival d8+
There are two extremes of climate in the world, and this character has endured them both and lived to tell the tale He gains a +2 bonus to Survival rolls In addition, he has a +2 bonus to Vigor rolls made to resist the effects of hot and cold environments.

Femme Fatale/Ladykiller
(Social)
Requirements: Novice, Attractive, Persuasion d8+
The hero or heroine (or more likely, villain) is a stunner, and knows how to get the best out of the opposite sex by using his or her charms The character may use Persuasion as a Test of Will against members of the opposite sex, pitting their looks and charm against a foe’s Smarts. The character may add Charisma bonuses to her roll as well.

I Have One (Weird)
Requirements: Wild Card, Novice, Luck
Heroes are only human Sometimes they forget things, like torches, rope, ray gun batteries, and the like Once per session the hero may “suddenly remember” that he has a much—needed piece of equipment on his person The item must be capable of being stored in the character’s pocket or a bag and the Game Master has the final word on what can be found (for example, finding lockpicks the guards missed to aid an escape from prison may be acceptable if it fits the story). This Edge is not usable during cliffhangers.

Improvisational Fighter
(Combat)
Requirements: Seasoned, Smarts d6+
This Edge requires you to be using the improvised weapons from the Pulp Gear Toolkit Heroes often find themselves fighting with pieces of equipment or furnishing not designed for combat A character with this Edge has a knack for using such improvised weapons, and does not suffer the usual –1 attack penalty when wielding them.

Iron Jaw (Combat)
Requirements: Novice, Vigor d8+
The hero can take a hit with a baseball bat like he was a brick wall. He gets +2 to Soak rolls.

Slugger (Combat)
Requirements: Novice, Fighting d8+
The character is handy with his fists and has defeated more than his share of villains armed with melee weapons. He never counts as an Unarmed Defender.

Sucker Punch (Combat)
Requirements: Novice, Agility d6+, Fighting d8+, Intimidation or Taunt d6+, First Strike 16
The character doesn’t know the meaning of the words “fair fight ” If he succeeds in a Test of Will against an adjacent opponent, the character receives a free Fighting attack. This attack does not incur a multi action penalty.

A couple of Hindrances just for the pulp era:

WILL NOT KILL (Minor) The PC will not take a human life, even in self defense, and goes to great lengths to prevent doing so, including always employing nonlethal damage.

ALTER EGO (Minor/Major) At Minor level, the PC has an alternate identity that they adventure under and that, for whatever reason, they go to great lengths to keep others from identifying with their real identity. At Major level, the PC has an actual split personality and is unaware that under certain conditions, he or she becomes their alter ego. Player may specify these conditions; for example, whenever the 'normal' identity sees others in danger, or whenever the 'normal' identity is physically threatened or frightened for his life, the normal identity will 'black out' and change to the alter ego.

Grand Heroes

Publicly known background information on The Velveteer -

The Velveteer first appeared at a ‘Fairy’s Ball’, a party of dilettante men, dressed in his flamboyant costume. At first seeming to be no more than one more limp wrist, when notorious black hat "Moxy" Redd and his thugs showed up to rob the assembled queens, he burst into action! Battering numerous thugs with his sheathed cane, he seized the darts from the targets on the walls of the bar, pinning several others to woodwork throughout the building. Moxy lost an eye to a ‘lucky’ throw, and although he was hauled away with his goons when the police showed up, has sworn vengeance. Recently busted out of Sing Sing by persons unknown, he may be trouble for ‘The Scarlet Primpernel’, as some of the media have taken to terming The Velveteer.

Dressed in his signature black tuxedo, crimson silk top-hat and a scarlet-trimmed royal purple velvet cape, sporting a black domino mask held in place with a crimson silken Zorro mask and a diamond-tipped cane, the Velveteer swept down upon the street hoods of Brooklyn and Queens, leaving dozens of muggers, rapists, and such-like at the steps of the nearest precincts, frequently needing trips to the nearest hospital. Rescuees describe him as a witty swashbuckler, and confirmed his preference for the lads on many occasions.

It is known that his cane has a sword within, and that the Velveteer is a master fencer, frequently demonstrating vast skill as he carves V’s into his foes. He is also deadly accurate with thrown objects of any sort, and apparently prefers typical barroom darts, which he seems to have an inexhaustible supply of secreted within his cloak and jacket. Several of his viler apprehendees have had to be unpinned from the woodwork. Some of these darts have been reported to have very unusual properties, like sleeping poison, paralysis, electroshock (pain), and even one case of an explosive dart he used to blow open a barred door preventing his escape from the police at the scene of his defeat of Eddie ‘Sixguns’ Thompson. It is rumored that his cape is possibly bulletproof, as witnesses were certain that The Velveteer must have been struck by at least one of Sixgun’s bullets, yet no blood was evident upon investigation.

The Velveteer has worked with several other masked vigilantes in the past, including labor activist Union Jack Murphy and sky pirate Black Scorpion, both known killers, but to all reports has not yet killed anyone. Several femme fatales have also worked with him, but unlike the men he's worked with, there have been no rumors of liaisons twixt him and them. The Velveteer is not the only name he has been called by his critics. ‘The Gay Blade’, ‘The Caped Catamite’, and several other choice monikers have been attached to him by an unfriendly press, and whenever he has worked with other male masked avengers, their names have immediately been dragged through the same mud. This has made many of them reluctant to work with him, and even led to some brief altercations, one or two of which may have been staged to avoid such associations.

It is rumored that The Velveteer is in good with gays all over the Big Apple, and has taken a dim view of attempts to blackmail or otherwise harass them. It seems therefore likely that he has a network of gay citizens from all walks of life that can provide him with shelter, info, or other aid at need. It is even rumored that if one says the right thing to a hairdresser, one can get in touch with The Velveteer within a day.

True or not, The Velveteer was recently implicated in a jewel heist, and a warrant for his arrest is on the books, though as yet no member of the masked avenger society has stepped up to bring him in. No word at all from the ‘Scarlett Swordsman’ on his own side of the story…

Publicly known BG on Cap Atlas, NPC -

Born in 1901, Jeremiah Atlas ran away from the family farm in Minnesota at the age of 15 and made his way to Britain by the time he turned 16. Lying about his age, he enlisted in the British Air Corps and quickly made ace.

After the War ended in 1918, at the ripe old age of 17, Atlas drifted east... far east, to the Pacific rim. There, along with a few older pilots, he got work carrying cargo up and down the Asian coastline in various decrepit crates barely held together by his constant mechanical tinkering and haphazard repair work. In 1922, an older pilot named Tim Truman formed the Four Aces Cargo Carriers Company; Atlas was one of the other three aces who were founding members.

Based out of the Kowloon peninsula, the Four Aces Cargo Carriers prospered. In 1925, after a fight with Truman regarding Atlas' attentions to Truman's 18 year old half Korean daughter Min'ten, Atlas quit the Four Aces and formed his own one man freight company, Atlas Flying Freight deliveries. Shortly thereafter, the Sky Sharks, a ring of air pirates operating an aerial protection racket shot Truman's plane out of the sky when he refused to pay their 'subscription fees', killing Truman. Atlas retaliated and after a series of dogfights over the South China Sea, destroyed the Sky Sharks.

Atlas then returned to the United States, rumors swirling about him that in his time in Hong Kong, he had amassed a significant fortune from various activities, both lawful and illicit, and that he had also made several secret breakthroughs in aviation technology. Within months, Atlas had purchased a small, bankrupt metal foundry just outside of New York City, as well as a Long Island estate with a small adjoining private airstrip, and several other additional properties. Within a year, Atlas had overseen the manufacture of the prototype of his soon to be famous 'Pegasi' aircraft, small single prop fighter planes capable of astonishingly high speeds, and, according to some reports, even hovering for short periods in place like an autogyro.

Atlas used his first small group of Pegasi craft to successfully wreck Hugo Random's scheme to hold New York City hostage with a fleet of incindiery dirigibles. This brought him to the attention of the press, who dubbed him "Evil's Number One Enemy!" and, later on, the first and foremost of the so called "grand heroes".

Less than a year after the first Pegasi craft were seen in the skies over New York City, Atlas unveiled his most impressive construct... his so called Flying Fortress, a vast metal dirigible appointed as both a fully equipped aviatior's headquarters and a luxurious home base. This dirigible houses a small fleet of Pegasi planes, most of which are single seat, extremely maneuverable, heavily armed fighters, but at least one of which is a much larger craft with significant cargo carrying capacity.

Using these tools, Atlas has embarked on a career as a globetrotting adventurer and philanthropist, spending his life fighting evil and helping those being preyed upon by the wicked, the powerful, and the criminal. An SOS sent on his dedicated radio frequency will always reach Atlas, either at the Flying Fortress or his other bases of operation, or, if he is away on a mission, it will be taken by his loyal house servant, Min'ten, and passed along at the first opportunity.

Talking the talk

Bennies will be given for proper use of the lingo:

1920s

# ace
( n ) One dollar bill. Let's eat out tonight; I have a couple of aces burning a hole in my pocket.

# all wet
( ap ) Wrong. You're all wet. The New York Giants didn't win the 1937 World Series.

# And how!
( int ) An interjection of strong agreement. Did I have a good time? And how!.

# Applesauce!
( int ) Nonsense! Applesauce! The New York Yankees won the 1937 World Series.

# attaboy
( int ) Well done! Attaboy, Greg. You show them!

# attagirl
( int ) Well done! Attagirl, Gwen. You show them!

# ax
( n ) Dismissal from work. The fourth time they caught her sleeping on the job, Constance Noring was given the ax.

# ax
( v ) To fire. He just got axed from his third job this week.

# baby
( n ) Sweetheart. She's my baby and I'd do anything for her.

# balled up
( adj ) Confused. Rodney's all balled up; he doesn't know if he is coming or going.

# baloney
( n ) Nonsense! That's a lot of baloney and you know it! None of it is true.

# bearcat
( n ) A sexy or seductive woman. Man, that Cindy Lou is a lot of fun! What a bearcat that woman is!

# beat one's gums
( vp ) To talk. We were just sitting around, beating our gums about nothing.

# beef
( n ) A complaint. Why are you complaining? What's your beef?

# beef
( v ) To complain. Stop beefing about the curfew; you can't do anything about it.

# bee's knees
( np ) Something excellent, outstanding. Mavis, that new perfume you got is the bee's knees!

# beeswax
( n ) Business. What's my name? None of your beeswax.

# bell-bottom
( n ) A sailor. She has dated every bell-bottom in San Diego.

# big cheese
( np ) An important person. He thinks that he is a big cheese just because he has a new Oldsmobile.

# big shot
( np ) An important person. He thinks that he is a big shot just because he drives around in a Caddie.

# big six
( np ) A strong man. He's a big six in my book any day.

# bird
( n ) An eccentric. You never know what that old bird is going to do next.

# blind date
( np ) A date you have never met before. The bonehead never went out on blind dates because he thought they were with girls who couldn't see.

# bluenose
( n ) A puritanical person, a prude. The party was filled with so many prudes and bluenoses nobody had any fun.

# boocoo
( adj ) Much, a lot. I don't have boocoo time to help you with that.

# boocoos
( n ) A large amount. I had boocoos of money before the market crashed.

# booger
( n ) A bit of dried nasal mucus. Hey, Jeremiah, you have a booger hanging from your nose.

# bootleg
( adj ) Illegal, smuggled. His dad made enough money running bootleg liquor to open a bank before Prohibition ended.

# bozo
( n ) A stupid or foolish person. That bozo doesn't know ham from a hammer.

# breezer
( n ) A convertible car. Let's put the top down on the breezer and let the wind blow through our hair.

# Bronx cheer
( np ) Blowing air through the closed lips to make a disgusting sound. When he cut in front of the taxi, he received a Bronx cheer from the cabbie.

# Buddy Roe
( int ) A threatening form of address for a male in the South. Look out, Buddy Roe, or you'll get into trouble!

# bug
( n ) A burglar alarm system. He was caught when he broke into a house that was bugged.

# bull session
( np ) An informal conversation. The boys got together at Raphael's for an all-night bull-session.

# bump off
( v ) To kill. The boss thought we ought to bump off the informer.

# bum's rush
( np ) Ejection by force. Stanley became so obnoxious, we had to give him the bum's rush to get him out.

# canned
( adj ) Drunk, intoxicated. The woman is canned; have her husband take her home.

# caper
( n ) A crime. Sturgeon thought he was a master mind but the cops caught up with him after 4 or 5 capers.

# carry a torch
( vp ) To love someone. Maxwell's carrying a torch for Madeleine.

# cat's meow
( np ) Something excellent, outstanding. Wow, Kathleen! That new hat is the cat's meow.

# cat's pajamas
( np ) Something excellent, outstanding. I hear LaVern's new Duisenberg is the cat's pajamas.

# chassis
( n ) The female figure. She is a lovely lady with a classy chassis.

# cheaters
( n ) Eyeglasses. He can't see past the end of his nose without his cheaters.

# clam
( n ) A dollar. Hey, this suit cost me 20 clams!

# clip
( v ) To steal. He clips something every time he goes into a store.

# copacetic
( adj ) OK, alright. Everything between me and my baby is copacetic.

# corked
( adj ) Drunk, intoxicated. Lorimar is too corked to go home alone.

# crackers
( adj ) Crazy, insane. He offered me $250 for my Stutz-Bearcat. He must be crackers!

# crush
( n ) An infatuation. She has a crush on her teacher and spends all day studying biology.

# daddy
( n ) A rich male protector who usually expects favors from his female charge. Tillie has a (sugar) daddy who takes care of all her bills.

# dame
( n ) A female (offensive). She's a swell dame; I like her a lot.

# date
( n ) A person of the opposite sex you go out with. I have a hot date tonight, so I won't be able to go out with you guys.

# dead soldier
( n ) An empty beer bottle. They were in the living room surrounded by a case of dead soldiers.

# dick
( n ) A private investigator. Sally hired a private dick to tail her husband.

# dive
( n ) A cheap bar. I wouldn't drink any of the hooch they serve in that dive.

# dog
( n ) A foot. Boy, are my dogs tired!

# doll
( n ) An attractive female. Maria was quite a doll when she dressed up.

# Don't take any wooden nickels
( phr ) Don't do anything stupid. When you go to the big city, Luke, don't take any wooden nickels.

# doozy
( n ) Something excellent, outstanding. He came home with a doozy of a knot on his head.

# dumb Dora
( np ) A stupid female. What a dumb Dora she is: when her husband asked if she like the new China, she replied, 'No, I hate the communists.'.

# dynamite
( n ) Heroine. He is a lovely man but they say he is addicted to dynamite.

# earful
( n ) A significant statement. When Russell came home plastered, his wife gave him an earful that he will never forget.

# edge
( n ) State of drunkenness, intoxication. Let's go; I'm getting an edge.

# egg
( n ) A person who lives well. Oh, you never want to miss Lucien's parties; he's a very good egg.

# embalmed
( adj ) Drunk, intoxicated. Lance was so embalmed that he didn't come to as they rolled him down the hill to the car.

# fall guy
( np ) A scapegoat. The dumped all the evidence in Preston's locker, deciding to let him be the fall guy.

# fin
( n ) 5-dollar bill. Hey, Wayland, loan me a fin until payday.

# fire extinguisher
( np ) A chaperone. Priscilla was so hot, she could never go out without a fire extinguisher.

# fish
( n ) A college freshman. Hey, guys, the freshman looks like a fish out of water; let's make him water the shrubbery in the rain.

# fix
( n ) A bribe, bribery. The cops never pick up Joey because the fix is in.

# fix
( v ) To bribe. Barney fixed the judge in his case, so he got off Scot free.

# flapper
( n ) An exciting woman in short, stylish skirts and short hair. In her youth Purity was one of the best known flappers in town.

# flat
( adj ) Out of air. The cause of the jostling was a flat tire.

# flat tire
( np ) A stupid female. I took that flat tire out once--never again!

# flivver
( n ) A Model T Ford. Sure, he's hot: he took me out in his dad's flivver.

# fly boy
( np ) An aviator, someone in the Air Force. Prunella is going with some fly boy out at the base.

# frame
( n ) To give false evidence. My best friend tried to frame me for flushing the cherry bomb down the john by putting the rest of them in my locker.

# fried
( adj ) Drunk, intoxicated. He was so fried we rolled him to the car and he never came to.

# gam
( n ) A woman's leg. She has a great figure and even greater gams.

# get a wiggle on
( vp ) Speed up. We're going to be late for the ballet--get a wiggle on!

# giggle-water
( np ) Liquor or other alcoholic beverage. He poured me a glass of some kind of giggle water and that's the last thing I remember.

# gigolo
( n ) A kept man who lives off women. His mother has a gigolo that she spends a lot of time with.

# gin mill
( np ) A bar. She dragged me down to some gin mill where her sister sang and hoofed.

# glad rags
( np ) Dressy clothes. Hey, Daisy, put on some glad rags and I'll take you to a ritzy night club.

# gold digger
( n ) A female after a man's money. She doesn't love him; she is just a gold-digger after his money.

# gold-digger
( n ) A woman trying to marry a wealthy man. Do you really love me or are you just another gold-digger after my money?

# goofy
( adj ) Crazy, insane. He gone goofy over Alice.

# grand
( n ) A thousand dollars. His salary is twenty grand a month.

# guy
( n ) A fellow. That guy's been in a lot of trouble, (bloke).

# handcuff
( n ) An engagement ring. I love the woman but she'll never get the handcuff on me.

# hard-boiled
( adj ) Tough and cold. Harry's a hard-boiled cop who doesn't take anything from anybody.

# hayburner
( n ) A gas-guzzling car. He has a cool set of wheels but his dad drives a hayburner.

# hayburner
( n ) A horse that never wins a race. Don't talk to me; I just lost a week's salary on a hayburner at the track.

# heat
( n ) A gun. Watch out for John, he's strapped with heat.

# heater
( n ) A gun. The mobster had a lump in his coat that suggested a heater.

# heebie-jeebies
( n ) Nervousness. Just thinking about the dentist gives me the heebie-jeebies.

# heist
( n ) An armed robbery. There was a heist at the bank today.

# hick
( n ) A clumsy, unsophisticated person from the country. Patsy is dating some hick who wears a straw hat.

# high-hat
( v ) To snub someone. When I asked her out, she high-hatted me and walked away.

# hit on all sixes
( vp ) To perform perfectly. We lost last night because our star player was not hitting on all sixes.

# hit the road
( vp ) To leave. Man, it's 11 o'clock; time for us to hit the road.

# hood
( n ) A hoodlum, gangster. It is a nice neighborhood except for a couple of hoods who live down the block.

# hoofer
( n ) A dancer. He's dating some hoofer at Radio City Hall.

# hook
( v ) To addict. They say Zelda is hooked on heroine.

# Hoopty-doo!
( int ) An interjection of celebration. Hoopty-doo! Fred got a promotion and a big raise!

# horse
( v ) To play with carelessly. I don't have time to horse around; let's get down to business.

# horse feathers
( int ) Nonsense. Horse feathers! You never dated Clara Bow!

# hot
( adj ) Fast (music). I like my jazz hot, not cool.

# hot
( adj ) Electrically charged or radioactive. He accidentally picked up a hot wire and got a shock.

# hot seat
( np ) The electric chair. Marcus got the hot seat for murder.

# hotsy-totsy
( adj ) Seemingly excellent, outstanding. He thinks that just because he drives some hotsy-totsy Stutz Bearcar, he's the cat's meow.

# hype
( n ) Hypodermic needle. If you aren't on drugs, why are all these hypes in your room?

# hype
( v ) To swindle by overcharging or short-changing. I think they hyped me back there at the store.

# it
( n ) Sex appeal. Whatever it.

# jack
( n ) Money. He's a nice-looking guy but he doesn't have enough

# jalopy
( n ) An old, beat-up car. Where did you get that old

# jane
( n ) Any female. He picked up some

# java
( n ) Coffee. Give me a cup of

# jazz
( v ) To enhance, make more decorative. He

# jazzed
( adj ) Drunk, intoxicated. Get him out of here; he's totally

# jive
( n ) Fast jazz of the 20s-30s. I know a little club where they play jive until 2 in the morning.

# jive
( v ) To mislead, deceive. Don't try to jive me, man. I know what's what.

# jive
( v ) To play fast jazz of the 20s-30s. He had a group that would jive all night.

# jive
( n ) Worthless, crazy, or unpleasant talk. Don't talk that jive to me, turkey; I don't believe a word you say.

# joe
( n ) Coffee. Give me a cup of joe, Joe, and a piece of Mabel's crabapple pie or whatever it is.

# john
( n ) A toilet or the toilet. When he flushed the john, he was surprised to see his cap disappearing down the hole.

# juice joint
( n ) A speakeasy. For five years Myrtle ran a juice-joint until they caught her for selling bootleg hootch.

# killjoy
( n ) A squelcher. My parents are killjoys who don't want me to wear so many beads.

# kisser
( n ) Mouth. Watch what you say, Bub, or I'll pop you one in the kisser.

# kosher
( adj ) Fair. Well, the deal to trade your car for his motorcycle doesn't sound kosher to me.

# level
( n ) Honest, truthful. Level with me: did you really take Jeanette MacDonald out?

# line
( n ) Flirtatious talk designed to pick up a date. He fed me this line about how many banks he owned which didn't work when I saw the jalopy he was driving.

# lit
( adj ) Drunk, intoxicated. He came home lit and fell into bed like a rock.

# make whoopee
( v ) To hug and kiss. They were making whoopee in his Model-T Ford.

# Mrs. Grundy
( np ) A priggish or prudish person. She is such a Mrs. Grundy that she refuses to go into the water.

# night owl
( np ) A person who stays out late. Bertram is a night owl who seldom gets up before noon.

# Now you're on the trolley!
( phr ) Now you have caught on. Yeah, Yeah! Monday comes BEFORE Tuesday. Now you're on the trolley!

# nudnik
( n ) An irritating person. Get that nudnik out of here; I can't stand her.

# off the deep end
( pp ) To lose control of yourself, go crazy. Billy Ray went off the deep end when his wife left him.

# oil can
( n ) A stupid female. I took that oil can out once--never again!

# old man
( n ) Father. His old man won't let him drive the car.

# on the lam
( pp ) Fleeing from the law. Morgan was on the lam for five years, then spent five more in the joint.

# on the level
( pp ) Honest, truthful. On the level, now, did you take Mary Pickford out to supper?

# on the make
( pp ) Flirting, looking for someone to seduce. The way she is talking to all the men looks like she is on the make.

# on the up and up
( pp ) Honest, truthful. I think he is on the up and up when he says he owns 27 banks.

# ossified
( adj ) Drunk, intoxicated. He was so ossified we had to drag him to the car.

# over the edge
( pp ) Crazy, insane. I think another bit of bad news would push Billy Ray over the edge.

# owled
( adj ) Drunk, intoxicated. He was so owled we had to drag him to the car.

# palooka
( n ) A strong male. I'm just waiting for the right palooka to come along and sweep me off my feet.

# pet
( v ) To hug and kiss. They must be in love; I saw them petting at the drive-in last night.

# pig
( n ) Glutton. He is a pig at parties.

# piker
( n ) A cheapskate. The piker always makes me pay for the gas.

# pill
( n ) An unlikable person. She is a bitter pill to take with her uppity attitude and all.

# pinch
( v ) To capture or arrest. I heard Sedgewick got pinched for shoplifting.

# pip
( n ) Something excellent, outstanding. Gwendolyn always pays the bill; she's a pip.

# pipe down
( v ) Be quiet. Pipe down! I want to hear what the president is saying.

# plastered
( adj ) Drunk, intoxicated. He was so plastered we had to roll him down the embankment to the car.

# pop
( v ) To hit. Shut up or I will pop you.

# potted
( adj ) Drunk, intoxicated. He was so potted we had to drag him to the car.

# primed
( adj ) Drunk, intoxicated. He was so primed we had to pull him to the car in my kid brother's wagon.

# pull rank
( vp ) To force someone to do something because you have the authority to do so. I didn't want to go but the boss pulled rank on me and made me.

# punk
( n ) A young hooligan. All the punks in the neighborhood hang out at the pool hall.

# punk out
( v ) To back out from cowardice. We were going over Niagara Falls in a barrel but Jason punked out.

# pushover
( n ) A person easily convinced. Ask Zelda for 5 bucks: she's such a pushover, she'll give it to you.

# put on the Ritz
( vp ) To do something in high style. I just got my bonus--tonight we're putting on the Ritz.

# queen
( n ) A male homosexual. He is a lovely old queen who would do anything for you.

# rag
( n ) Newspaper. We get very little international news in our local rag.

# razz
( v ) To tease, make fun of. The baseball fans started to razz the umpire.

# red hot
( ap ) Exciting. Your idea is really red hot.

# ritzy
( adj ) Luxurious. She expected to be taken to a ritzy uptown club, not to a dive in the Bronx.

# rube
( n ) A clumsy, unsophisticated person from the country. I must have looked like some rube when I signed the contract to buy the Brooklyn Bridge.

# rubes
( n ) Money. I have to stay home tonight: no rubes.

# sap
( v ) To hit, to club. The police sapped all the strikers and chased them away.

# sap
( n ) A stupid person. Don't be a sap! If it looks too good to be true, it isn't.

# Says you!
( int ) An interjection of disbelief. It's going to rain tomorrow? Says you!

# scram
( v ) To leave. You're getting on my nerves, so. scram!

# scrooched
( adj ) Drunk, intoxicated. You came home totally scrooched last night; don't ever talk to me again.

# shack up
( v ) To sleep with someone at a hotel or motel. Claudia shacked up with her husband's business partner.

# Sheba
( n ) A sexy or seductive woman. She is just the Sheba I've been waiting for.

# sheik
( n ) A sexy man. Who is the sheik I saw her with last Friday?

# shiv
( n ) A knife. If you are popular, why do you think you have to keep a shiv in your pocket all the time?

# sinker
( n ) A doughnut. Hey, Joe! Give me a cup of joe and a couple of those week-old sinkers over there.

# slay
( phr ) Be very funny. What a story! You just slay me, Ferdie!

# slum
( v ) To go to a bad side of town. So what brings you to this side of town? Are you slumming?

# smoke
( v ) To kill. The mob didn't like him muscling in on their territory, so they smoked him.

# speakeasy
( n ) An illicit bar selling bootleg liquor. Ebenezer ran a speakeasy until the cops discovered it and broke it up.

# spifflicated
( adj ) Drunk, intoxicated. You're so spifflicated you can barely walk; you certainly can't drive.

# steady
( n ) Boyfriend or girlfriend. Natalie's steady is a hunk who works as a lifeguard at the beach.

# steam up
( v ) To make angry, mad. Don't get so steamed up over the issue.

# stick
( v ) Keep (contemptuous rejection). You can take your job and stick it.

# Stick 'em up!
( phr ) Raise your hands. Drop that gun and stick 'em up!

# struggle buggy
( np ) The backseat of a car. The struggle buggy is a parent's worst nightmare.

# stuck on
( adj ) To be in love with. I think Arnold is stuck on his secretary.

# swanky
( adj ) Luxurious. They spent the night in a swanky hotel with a ritzy restaurant on the top floor.

# sweetie
( n ) A term of affection for a female. Check out the sweetie by the bar.

# swell
( adj ) Excellent, outstanding. Thanks for helping out, Eula, you're really swell.

# take
( v ) To swindle or cheat. He was taken for all his money at the casino.

# take for a ride
( vp ) To drive someone away to kill. The capo ordered that the informer be taken for a ride.

# The bank is closed
( phr ) No kissing or hugging. I like you, Mac, but tonight the bank's closed.

# the berries
( n ) Something excellent, outstanding. You have to see the new exhibit at the art museum; it's the berries.

# the hair of the dog
( np ) A shot of an alcoholic drink to relieve a hangover. Wow, my head hurts! Give me a little hair of the dog that bit me and see if that helps.

# the real McCoy
( np ) Something genuine. That girl of his is not just good-looking; she's the real McCoy.

# torpedo
( n ) A hired killer. The torpedo she hired to off her husband turned out to be an undercover cop.

# twerp
( n ) Petty, immature brat. The little twerp told her mommie!

# twisted
( adj ) Perverted. I wouldn't go out with him; everyone says he is twisted.

# washed up
( adj ) Finished, done in. When the cops caught him, his criminal life was done in.

# wet blanket
( np ) A squelcher. Ralph is such a wet blanket, I doubt you can get him to go a party.

# wet rag
( np ) A squelcher. Arnold is such a wet rag he won't even dance.

# What's eating you?
( phr ) What is wrong with you? You don't want to see the Dodgers play? What's eating you?.

# Whoop-de-doo!
( int ) An Interjection of happy surprise. Our final has been cancelled? Whoopty-doo!

# whoopee
( n ) A good time. I've had a tough week. Let's go out and make some whoopie this weekend.

# whoopee
( n ) Hugging and kissing. They were in the living room making whoopie.

# whoopie!
( int ) An Interjection of happy surprise. Whoopie! Mama hit the jackpot!

# yahoo
( n ) A clumsy, unsophisticated person. Reba is going out with some yahoo from the sticks.

# zozzled
( adj ) Drunk, intoxicated. You're so zozzled you can't stand up.

# dumps
( n ) Depression, melancholy. His girl left him and now he is in the dumps.

# hot
( adj ) Electrically charged or radioactive. He accidentally picked up a hot wire and got a shock

# Jump in the lake!
( phr ) Don't bother me; you're crazy. You want me to loan you $5? Go jump in the lake!

# gravy train
( np ) A source of easy money. Boy, I wish I were a computer geek and could ride that gravy train.

# garden path, the
( np ) Misleading direction, deception. I'm afraid Grady has led you down the garden path, baby. You'll never get your money back.

# pooch
( n ) A dog. Hey, man! Where'd you get the cool pooch?

# conk
( v ) To hit. I think a brick must have fallen and conked Fuzzy on the noggin.

# hairy
( adj ) Crude, clumsy. Franklin made a hairy gesture and skiddooed.

# pick up
( v ) To try to get a stranger of the opposite sex to go home with you. Hey, let's go to the football game tonight and pick up a couple of girls.

# pick-up
( n ) You can always find pick-ups at a Hot 101 concert. You can always find pick-ups at a Hot 101 concert.

# hooey
( n ) Nonsense. All that stuff about inheriting a million dollars is just a lot of hooey.


# in hot water
( pp ) In trouble. As his wife had predicted months earlier, Bradley's gambling finally got him in hot water.

# hook
( n ) To get someone addicted to. I think Melvin is hooked on Gwendolyn; I saw her wearing his Yankees cap this morning.

# nerts
( adj ) Crazy, insane. You are completely nerts if you think I will go with you.

# bug-eyed
( adj ) Wide-eyed with astonishment. I've never seen anyone so bug-eyed as Turnips when I showed him the $100 bill.

# peg
( v ) Figure out, come to understand. I've got Randolph pegged: he's a dirty, rotten rat!

# lug
( n ) Coercion, pressure. He wouldn't pay until we put the lug on him.

# tearjerker
( n ) Sentimental story or movie. The TV series "Touched by an Angel" was a real tearjerker.

# booboisie
( n ) All boobs (knuckleheads) taken as a class. I'm never invited to Riley's parties: he only invites the cream of the local booboisie.

# potty
( adj ) Slightly crazy, insane. You must be potty to go out with that geek

1930s

# all nerves
( np ) Tense, nervous. By the time I got my convertible out of the car wash, I was all nerves.

# all-nighter
( n ) A restaurant that stays open all night. It was 3 AM but they found a little all-nighter on the corner where they could get a cup of java.

# bananas
( adj ) Crazy, insane. The guy went bananas when I asked him to leave.

# bang
( n ) Fun, pleasure. I get a bang out of bungee jumping.

# bash
( n ) A try, an attempt. Move back and let me have a bash at it.

# beat all
( vp ) Be outrageous. Doesn't that beat all?

# behind the 8 ball
( pp ) In trouble; disliked by someone. I forgot Mavis's birthday and now I'm behind the 8 ball.

# bent
( adj ) Upset, angry. After being bent for so many years, Barry is now a broken man.

# bill and coo
( v ) To hug and kiss. Don't you just love to bill and coo with your girl on the beach?

# blabbermouth
( n ) Someone who talks too much. That blabbermouth told my girlfriend that he saw me with another girl.

# blimp
( n ) A very fat person. I hate to have a blimp sitting next to me when I fly.

# boff
( v ) To hit. He gets into trouble at home when he boffs his brother.

# boogie-woogie
( n ) Jazz of the 30s and 40s. Boogie-woogie is really cutting the rug!

# boondoggle
( n ) A con game, a deceitful transaction. Government contracts are often thinly veiled boondoggles.

# boondoggle
( v ) To swindle or cheat. Heathcliff was boondoggled into selling his car for half of its value.

# broke
( adj ) Without money. I'm broke man; don't ask me for money.

# buck
( np ) Money. I need to make a quick buck.

# buddy
( int ) Form of address for a male in the South. Hey, buddy, can you spare a dime?

# burn up
( v ) Make angry, mad. That really burns me up!

# bust out
( v ) To escape. His mother and three of her buddies busted out of prison but was caught 3 days later.

# certifiable
( adj ) Crazy, insane. Stay away from that woman; she's 100 percent certifiable.

# chintzy
( adj ) Cheap. That really was a chintzy present you got him.

# cool
( v ) To kill. The mob cooled him a year or so ago.

# cracker
( n ) A white person (offensive). That cracker just doesn't get jive.

# cram
( v ) To study hard. He didn't study all semester and had to cram before exams.

# cuddle
( v ) To hug and kiss. Let's go over to my front porch and cuddle some.

# cut
( v ) To dilute. They cut the whiskey with water at that bar.

# dead
( adj ) Quiet. This disco is really dead tonight.

# deep pockets
( np ) Much money. Her boyfriend has deep pockets.

# dibs
( n ) A claim. I have dibs on the shotgun seat.

# dip
( n ) A stupid or foolish person. The guy who flunked four out of five classes is really a dip.

# drop
( v ) To knock down. Say another word and I'll drop you.

# Drop dead!
( int ) Absolutely not! Drop dead! I'll never go out with you.

# duds
( n ) Clothes. I see you got some new duds for the dance.

# fade
( v ) To leave. I have homework to do, man, let's fade.

# flivver
( n ) A broken down car. Stewart will never get me into that old flivver his father drives.

# gasser
( n ) A great time, something hilarious. The new comedy on TV is a real gasser.

# get first base
( vp ) Have initial success trying to seduce someone. He couldn't get to first base with her, let alone score.

# ginchy
( adj ) Sexy. She is the ginchiest girl I've ever seen.

# go bananas
( vp ) To lose control of yourself, go crazy. I am going to go bananas if I don't have a vacation soon.

# go steady
( vp ) To date only one person. They went steady for a year, then broke up.

# goof
( v ) Loaf, waste time. They used to goof on their way home from work.

# goon
( n ) A stupid thug or bodyguard. The mob boss was accompanied by a couple of his goons.

# guts
( n ) Courage. It takes a lot of guts to give the boss your true opinion.

# hep cat
( np ) A cool jazz-lover. Nathan is the hep cat who took me to Birdland for the first time.

# on the take
( pp ) Taking bribes. You'll have to find a judge on the take to get out of this one.

# history
( adj ) Over, done with. I don't have any idea where my old boyfriend is. He's history.

# hot
( adj ) Stolen. The police stopped them because they thought the car was hot.

# hot seat
( np ) A critical position with great pressure for success. Dwayne is in the hot seat now: if he doesn't make his quota, he is history.

# hotshot
( n ) A person who thinks he is very important. Look at Bud with his collar up; he thinks he is such a hotshot.

# keen
( adj ) Wanting to, excited about {British}. I'm keen to go to the motion pictures.

# keister
( n ) The buttocks. Llewelyn slipped on the wet floor and fell on his keister.

# lick
( n ) A short musical improvisation. He isn't that creative a trumpeter; he gets most of his licks from others.

# lightweight
( n ) Someone who cannot get things done. You don't want to give a job this important to a lightweight.

# Mack
( int ) Form of address for a male. Hey, Mack, where is the nearest truck stop?

# malarkey
( n ) Nonsense. He said he aced the chem exam. What malarkey!

# Mickey-Mouse
( adj ) Minor, unimportant. Boswell ran some Mickey-Mouse radio station in Florida for a few years.

# minxy
( adj ) Alluring, seductive. She is a totally minxy fox.

# Monday morning quarterback
( np ) Someone who offers advice when it is too late. Fritz is a Monday morning quarterback who is never there when you need him.

# mule
( n ) A carrier of illegal drugs. The cartel uses her as a mule to get their drugs into the country.

# nogoodnik
( n ) A bad or worthless person. So then the nogoodnik tramped across my clean kitchen floor in his muddy boots.

# odd ball
( np ) An eccentric. Freddie is a sort of odd ball who likes to take walks in the park.

# on edge
( pp ) Nervous. All this waiting to hear from the doctor has me on edge.

# P. I.
( abb ) A private investigator. Serena hired a P. I. to tail her husband.

# piece of cake
( n ) Something easy. Working on a computer for me is a piece of cake.

# pill
( n ) Anything difficult. Paying $1200 in taxes is a tough pill to take.

# puke
( v, n ) To vomit. I feel like I am going to puke.

# punch-drunk
( adj ) Crazy, insane. Don't listen to that punch-drunk bum; he's crazy.

# put a bee in your bonnet
( vp ) Tell something interesting. Why are you grinning? You look like somebody's put a bee in your bonnet.

# Put 'em up!
( vp ) To raise your hands. Drop that gun and put 'em up!

# put-on
( n ) A deception. It was an elaborate put-on which I almost believed.

# queer
( adj ) Counterfeit. Watch him; he's known for passing queer money.

# raunchy
( adj ) Dirty, grimy. Get out of those raunchy clothes and take bath.

# riot
( n ) A great time, something hilarious. The comedy program was a real riot.

# rip-snorter
( n ) Something excellent, outstanding. His party last night was a rip-snorter.

# rip-snorting
( adj ) Excellent, outstanding. Let me tell you, it was a rip-snorting party.

# scag
( n ) An ugly female (offensive). He was seen last night in a sketchy part of town with a scag.

# Shoot!
( int ) An interjection of disappointment (euphemism for s - - -). Shoot! I just ripped my pants.

# short
( n ) A car. He was trying to sell a hot short to a salesman on a car lot.

# shotgun wedding
( np ) A wedding forced by pregnancy. The marriage didn't last because it started out in a shotgun wedding.

# skip
( v ) To miss, to not attend. Let's skip chemistry today and go to the library.

# slap-happy
( adj ) Crazy, insane. Roland has been slap-happy ever since he left the ring.

# snoot
( n ) Nose. She popped him on the snoot.

# So what?
( int ) I don't care. So, Nellie got into Smith. So what?.

# solid
( adj ) Excellent, outstanding. That bash at her house was solid!

# soup up
( v ) Increase the power and speed of a car. Sure, he wins the drag races: his car is souped up.

# soused
( adj ) Drunk, intoxicated. He came home soused and his wife locked him out.

# speedo
( n ) Speedometer. The speedo was showing 35 mph but we seemed to be going much faster.

# spook
( v ) To scare, frighten. A snake spooked the horse and he threw his rider.

# spot
( v ) To loan. Could you spot me $10 until payday?

# squad car
( np ) Police car. There is no way out; the house is surrounded by squad cars.

# stick
( v ) Force someone to do something unpleasant. He left early and stuck me with cleaning up the house.

# tag along
( vp ) Come with. Mind if I tag along for the ride?

# take a hike
( v ) To leave. I am tired of all your complaining. Take a hike!

# the word
( n ) The latest news or gossip. Say, what's the word on Jenny?

# throw a bone
( vp ) Help out with something small. Look, if you make a lot of money, throw your old friend a bone.

# tied to an apron string
( vp ) Dominated by the wife or a woman. Fred can't go fishing on the weekend; he's tied to his wife's apron string.

# tomato
( n ) A female. That Shelly's one red hot tomato.

# torch
( n ) An arsonist, someone who starts fires illegally for money. Burnham Goode was a torch for the mob until the police collared him on the job.

# torch
( v ) To commit arson, to burn down illegally. I hear Burnham Goode torched his own restaurant for the insurance money.

# twit
( n ) Petty, immature brat. The little twit barfed all over her date at the pizza parlor.

# twit
( n ) Superficial person. She is such a twit who spends most of her time shopping.

# welch
( v ) To fail to meet an obligation. He welched on his promise to help paint my house.

# What's with you?
( phr ) What is wrong with you? Hey, what's with you, man. You're really bent.

# whiz
( n ) Talented person. He is a whiz at the computer.

# doodly-squat
( n ) A small, worthless amount The president doesn't know doodly-squat about running a country.

# lame-brain
( n ) A stupid or foolish person. This lame-brain thinks it is the Umpire State Building in New York.

# lame-brained
( adj ) Stupid or foolish. I've never heard such a lame-brained idea in my life.

# thingamajig
( n ) An object for which a name is unavailable. What was that thingamajig he was holding?

# fly
( v ) Be workable Your idea doesn't have legs; it won't fly.

# fly the coop
( vp ) To leave, elope, or escape. When he saw you coming up the walk, he flew the coop.

# drip
( n ) A weak, indecisive person. That drip doesn't know how to tie his shoes.

# spiv
( n ) Slick con man. Some worthless spiv married Myrtle, took her money, and left her.

# dish
( n ) Something you like. Playing quoits on a Sunday afternoon is not quite my cup of tea.

# dish (out)
( v ) To serve, to do something hard or harsh. Tommy isn't afraid of flamers; he can dish it out with the best of them.

# cup of tea
( np ) Something you like. Playing quoits on a Sunday afternoon is not quite my cup of tea.

# jitterbug
( n ) A nervous person. Calm down, Donny, don't be such a jitterbug.

# crunch
( n ) Climax, critical point. Bertie is someone you can count on in a crunch.

# pooch out
( v ) Stick out, protrude. Millie, why is your stomach pooching out like that?

# cheesecake
( n ) Photography of well-proportioned women. Betty Grable was a popular piece of cheesecake during World War II.

# gun
( v ) To accelerate something suddenly. When Pedro saw Maria down the road, he gunned his old jalopy.

# wrap up
( v ) To finalize, bring to an end. Merlyn wrapped up his presentation with a chorus of "Happy Days" played on the piano.

# plugged nickel
( np ) Something worthless. That car of his isn't worth a plugged nickel.

# payola
( n ) A bribe to promote a song on radio or TV. It is hard to believe that most of the songs we sing are popular only because disc jockeys received payola.

# savvy
( n ) Brains, intelligence Ask Jean-Phillippe; he has a lot of savvy when it comes to car engines.

# Yikes!
( int ) Interjection of surprise. Yikes! That was a close call!

# shot
( adj ) Tired, exhausted; worn out, broken down. I can't go anywhere tonight: me and my car are shot.

# nelly
( n ) Male homosexual That sweet old nelly wouldn't hurt a fly.

# jerk
( n ) A stupid or foolish person. The jerk kept hitting on my girl while I was in Iraq.

# bats
( adj ) Crazy, insane. You're completely bats if you think I'll lend you $5.

# crate
( n ) An old car or plane. You can always find some schnook to sell that old crate of yours to.

# lug
( n ) A thug. The big lug never forgets my birthday.

# snazzy
( adj ) Smart, stylish, nice looking. Did you see that snazzy new car Sue Barew is driving around in?

# corny
( adj ) Simple-minded, trite. I get so tired of Hugh Jeego's corny jokes I don't know what to do.

# boob
( n ) A stupid or foolish person That boob O'Reilly picked his nose three times at the dinner table.

# plonk
( n ) Cheap wine, wine of poor quality. Mable, we can't serve plonk with these bugers; they deserve better.

# groove
( n ) A situation in which you feel comfortable, competent. I just can do this, man; I'm not in my groove.

# hoo-ha
( n ) An uproar, commotion. Why all the hoo-ha over calling my secretary "Sweetie-pie"?

# scrag
( v ) To kill. Maxi got scragged in a car accident

TGD Timeline

RECENT TIMELINE, "This gathering darkness..."

1931 - Captain Jeremiah Atlas foils the plans of the air pirate Hugo Random to hold New York City hostage with a fleet of incindiery dirigibles. "Cap Atlas" instantly becomes an international celebrity and proclaims himself "Evil's Number One Enemy!" / Later this year, it is revealed by Ned "Newshound" Logan that the secret Satanic Society, led by prominent city socialite Scarlett Flayme, have been in covert control of Mayor Jimmy Walker and most of the City Council for years, using vice based blackmail as well as threats of occult retaliation. The scandal costs most of the incumbents their offices.

1932 - The menace of the Ghost Serpent is ended by Candace "Congo Queen" Carson, former big game hunter and international adventurer. / In September, Dr. Julius Vector's scheme to steal the mayoralty through new voting machines with hidden 'hypno beams' is disrupted by Rick Shaw, the Fastest Man Afoot. / On New Year's Eve, Scarlett Flayme is presumed dead after her attempt to avenge herself on the City by hiding a bomb in the Times Square ball is wrecked by the Black Scorpion's timely interference.

1933 - The Drag Queen's scheme to poison the City's water supply is foiled by Danny "Swordfish" Sullivan. / The "Toy Soldier" crime wave ends when Orson "the Dollmaster" Wegand is dragged into jail unconscious by adventurer Jason Royal.

1934- The waterfront piracy of the Great White gang is brought to a halt by the Congo Queen and Rick Shaw working with "Swordfish" Sullivan. / Cap Atlas smashes a plot by crime boss Zack "the Saxon" Sayers to blow up the just-completed Empire State Building. / A new mystery man named Fian Fall, aka "The Liberator", appears on the docks, battling protection racketeers preying on longshoremen with fists, pistols, and the occasional well lobbed bundle of dynamite. He quickly becomes as well known for urging the longshoremen to unionize as for his victories over organized crime.

1935 - An attempt by "Moxy" Redd's gang to rob the 'easy targets' at the underground Pixies Ball is foiled by new mystery man The Velveteer. / While the Black Scorpion and Cap Atlas battle at 40,000 feet over Manhattan in a charity airshow, the Jack of Diamonds leads a robbery spree through Diamond Row. Both renowned crimefighters vow to bring the Jack of Diamonds to justice. / Jack Smithers, out of work longshoreman, known as "Union Jack" due to his own efforts at organizing labor, begins a vigilante crusade against sweatshop owners, especially those employing children. In late 1935, he and Fian Fall meet for the first time, battle inconclusively, then set aside their differences to work in tandem against Boss Jobber, an organized crime chieftain who runs most of the sweatshops in Brooklyn and on the Lower East Side for more respectable backers who do not want their names associated with such questionable enterprises.

1936 - Olympic gold medal winner Charles Champion aids Jason Royal in defeating Hugo Random and Julius Vector's army of marauding 'robo-killers'. / Black Scorpion foils an attempt by the murderous Salamander to burn down most of the lower East Side, unfortunately, hero and villain both perish in the resultant warehouse fire. / Cap Atlas finally halts the crime spree of the Jack of Diamonds gang. / After teaming up to battle a grand villain calling himself Rex Monday, King of the World, the Velveteer and Union Jack Smithers brawl viciously if inconclusively on the sidewalk and in the street in front of the Plymouth Theater.

1937 - After an investigation taking 18 months, Fian Fall, Union Jack, and Ned "the Newshound" Logan bust open Boss Jobber's rackets, revealing that several prominent New York City businessmen own secret interests in sweatshops, as well as other illegal enterprises. Mayor Fiorella and City Attorney Victor Shanley promise "justice will be done, and that, right swiftly". / The Black Scorpion reappears, teaming up with the Velveteer to defeat the Drag Queen and her Flaming Furies. / When the Congo Queen smashes a gang of masked criminals known as the Tarot, their ringleader, the Empress, is revealed to be Scarlett Flayme.

1938 - the present -

Almost a month ago, the ferry carrying tourists to Liberty Island ran aground... and upon investigation, was discovered to be completely abandoned... except for one young boy, found hiding in one of the small forward storage areas, his hair gone prematurely white, his eyes wide with terror. Whatever happened to the lad has driven him permanently mute with terror... despite repeated questioning by authorities, he's been no help in determining what happened to the 124 tourists and crew members who were aboard the ferry when it left shore barely twenty minutes before.

Down in the Bowery, several vicious attacks by apparently hydrophobic vagrants have made local residents too terrified to walk the streets after nightfall. Even police patrols have been attacked; two of these reportedly 'rabid bums' fell to police gunfire, but the cops in question swear they had to empty their weapons into the derelicts to drop them, when normally a single swipe with a nightstick will suffice to quiet even the most obstreperous drunk. The city coroner is supposed to be studying the bodies of these bestial bums... but to date, has not released any results to the public. Meanwhile, night time attacks by crazed winos are still being reported.

Three weeks ago, Ned "the Newshound" Logan broke the story of the latest fad among top criminal bosses - "monster" bodyguards. These huge, ogre-like creatures have been seen accompanying several of the most prominent gangsters in the City, including "Moxy" Redd, Victor "the Eyeball" Grecco, and "Bloody Mitts" Mulhaney. Their origin is unknown.

An odd flu like virus seems to be sweeping through New York City, as well, with over two dozen cases admitted to various city hospitals and an unknown number yet unreported. Symptoms include high fever, excessive mucous production, vomiting, loose stool, and an extreme aversion to bright light. Three flu victims have been reported expired to date, all of them in the process of being transported from one hospital to another. The city coroner is also studying these bodies. Details will be forthcoming shortly.

A 'dark fog' or 'black smoke' filled Madison Square Garden ten days ago during a sold out prize fight, and hundreds suffocated before they could reach the exits. The overworked City Coroner has asked next of kin and loved ones of the deceased to be patient; the bodies are being stored in guarded, refrigerated vaults until appropriate research can be done to determine whether these were accidental deaths, or the 'black smoke' was deliberately caused by some intelligence.

Last week, a gigantic wolf like creature went berserk in Times Square shortly after moonrise, killing 17 and injuring over 30. Dozens of police responded, and despite coordinated attempts on their part, the creature escaped... according to one cop, "into thin air". Police Commissioner DeWitt has vowed to "get to the bottom of these strange, horrific events".

Blessed Event

1938 had been, historically, one of the hottest summers New York City had ever seen. People had fanned themselves with copies of the Globe, sweltering in their shirt sleeves, since late May, praying for the heat wave to finally break with autumn's onset. But September had rolled in and back out again like a disappointing low tide full of dead seagull feathers and spoiling crabmeat, and on October 3, Ned Logan sat on the Manhattan penthouse balcony of one of New York City's richest adventurers, staring out over Long Island Sound and wishing there was a breeze.

Idly wishing, with maybe a tenth of his consciousness. The rest of his brain was firmly fixed on the woman leaning fifteen feet away from him, one Amazonian hip hitched casually to perch on the top of the safety rail running around the lip of the balcony. She sat with a panther's grace, dressed casually in what some conservative types still called, fussily, 'men's clothes'... corduroy trousers, a white button up short sleeved cotton shirt with shoulder epaulets, unbuttoned halfway down to show deep swells of cleavage as tanned as her equally bare arms. A battered safari hat sat casually on clean, coiled blonde tresses that fell, half pinned, to below her collar.

"I've never been in the Congo in my life," she said, her deep voice carrying a hint of laughter, leaning forward slightly to give the statement a confidential tone. "I did most of my hunting in Zaire and Rhodesia. That pirate crew I kicked hell out of off Zimbabwe? I got sold to them by a crew of ivory poachers who slipped me a mickey in Capetown. Went back and finished those jamokes off a month after I guided the Barbary Queen back to shore... they were surprised as hell to see me, you betcha!"

"I wasn't the one who came up with the 'Congo Queen' tag," Logan said, half apologetically. He scribbled in his notebook, then tucked his pencil stub back through the wire binder and picked up his glass of iced tea. Sipping it, his nose wrinkled. Too much lemon. His mother had always kept a pitcher of the stuff in the icebox in the summer when Ned was growing up, but hers had been strong and unsweetened.

The French doors from the air conditioned living room opened; a tall, muscular man with black, curly hair, glinting blue eyes, and an athlete's controlled agility paced out, turning to carefully close the doors behind him. He was dressed as casually as the woman, although his outfit of choice were white tennis togs.

You wouldn't have thought either of them could possibly be packing, Logan reflected idly to himself, yet he'd have placed at least a fin that a strip search of either would turn up at least one automatic pistol each. Charles Champion, collegiate All American and multiple Olympic medal winner, could rely on his judo and boxing skills in a crunch, but neither he nor Candace "Congo Queen" Carson would be caught completely unarmed by choice in the presence of any unknown. Even as apparently unimpressive an unknown as Ned Logan.

Champion sat in a wire chair and leaned back, keeping his balance with the unconscious ease of a lifelong world class athlete. The Queen lifted her hopelessly unladylike hand -- all callouses and cracked nails -- and affectionately stroked a curl of dark hair back off his forehead. His eyes glinted appreciatively at her, then focused on Logan.

"No," he agreed, having apparently heard the conversation from the sumptiously appointed living room, "you didn't. That was that rat Kent, at the Planet."

Logan nodded. "He works the 'action and adventure' beat for them," he said affably enough. "I did hang the Black Scorpion's monicker on him, though. He wanted to call himself the Ace of Spades. What with that turret mounted autocannon sticking up from the tailpiece of his plane, though, it looked kinda scorpion like... and my editor prob'ly wouldn't have printed the other."

The woman known around the world as the Congo Queen narrowed her eyes. "I met the Scorpion, a few years back. He's a good man. I was as glad as anyone when he made his comeback... that Salamander thing was a tragedy." She stopped, as if inviting comment.

Logan just pursed his lips and sipped his lousy with lemon iced tea. He knew what she was hinting at... there were rumors floating that the resurrected Black Scorpion was, in fact, another black ace pilot and crimestopper using the same name and costume as the one who had perished in that warehouse fire. To Ned, that was funny... like the yegg who spent all those years trying to prove that the Odyssey had actually been written by a completely different Greek named Homer. But if he knew anything and wanted that thing known, he'd put it in his column, not drop it in casual confab with a couple of modern day privateers like these two.

"You don't look like much in person, Mr. Logan, " Champion observed casually. "That must come in handy to you."

Ned raised his eyebrows. "Beg pardon?" he said, innocently enough.

"I had Scarlett Flayme in her Empress outfit chained to a radiator on top of a burning skyscraper for twenty minutes while I was waiting for Charles to get back with our autogyro and rescue us," Miss Carson mused. "She's quite chatty when you get her loosened up... but you'd know that, wouldn't you, Mr. Logan? Two years undercover as her valet, infiltrating the Satanic Society. that takes a kind of cold, hard nerve uncommon even in our line of work..." She gave him a frankly admiring look, then chuckled. Ned could not imagine the Congo Queen doing anything as girlish as giggling. "I actually learned one or two new curse words from her, when your name came up in our conversation."

Logan smiled... more around the eyes than anywhere else, but even that was more than he usually let on. "I wouldn't buy too much of anything that dame tries to sell you, Miss Carson. Not to put too fine a point on it, but her reputation ain't exactly sterling."

"She had little reason to lie about you," the Congo Queen responded, smiling widely. "And probably wasn't fully in control of her faculties, given the number of times I'd kicked her in the head in the preceding half hour or so."

"Or so she wanted you to think," Logan pointed out. "She eeled out of the paddy wagon pretty slick for someone with a concussion."

The Queen's smile curled a bit, then vanished. "Well, yeah," she admitted. "We should have taken her in ourselves."

"Wouldn't have mattered," Logan said, a trace of bitterness in his tone. "We didn't pop the whole Satanic Society... she's still got people under her thumb all over the City. Somebody would have left a door unlocked for her, soon enough. Hardly anybody who's anybody in New York society wants that bird singin' on a witness stand."

Charles Champion fidgeted. "If you're suggesting, Mr. Logan, that Candace or I should have facilitated a more permanent solution... we are both staunch believers in due process of law."

Logan couldn't help it; he had to chuckle at that. "Alla you joes say that stuff," he said. "Well, alla you but maybe that anarchist fella, Red whatshisname." The levity fell out of his voice like a dropped cloak as he continued: "But we all know, there's some folks out there that just need killin'."

"I've killed nearly everything that walks, crawls, or flies," Candace Carson said grimly. "Including men, when I had to... in self defense. I'm tired of it. And I'd never urge anyone else to do it. It leaves a mark on a person's spirit, Mr. Logan. I'm very glad, for Charles' sake, that he hasn't been pressed to that necessity."

"You must have had the opportunity to kill Miss Flayme a time or two, during your long stint within the Satanic Society," Champion observed. "What stayed your hand?"

"Nothing," Logan gritted. "I poisoned that bitch three times, when I saw some of the things she was gettin' up to. And at the last, when the clean cops from the list I passed out to Commissioner DeWitt broke in and all hell broke loose... almost literally... I put two bullets in her back, point blank range, from her own .32." He shook his head, then touched the streak of pure white that ran back through his otherwise carroty red hair. "Where do you think I got this? That woman won't die... not until her Master in Hell wants her to. Not then, if she can squirm out of it somehow. And I wouldn't bet against her."

A shadow seemed to fall over the 42nd floor balcony then, although the sky was clear of clouds.

Finally, Champion cleared his throat. "Do you think Flayme is behind all these recent... strange...events?"

After a moment's thought, Logan shook his head. "It ain't her style," he said. "She tried for revenge on the City once, with that Times Square bomb, but she's normally more cold blooded. She likes behind the scenes stuff... getting control, pullin' the puppet strings." He shrugged. "It could be, I s'pose. Don't feel like her, though. But people change."

Carson spoke up. "We've been keeping our ears to the ground," she said. "Jeremiah is too..." Ned nodded, that would be Cap Atlas... "and the Velveteer has access to extraordinary information, sometimes. But none of us have heard anything meaningful about any of this. It does feel... rather Satanic, though."

Logan turned one hand palm up. "Sure," he said. "But she generally doesn't show her hand like this. Her schemin' is all done in private, off stage. Ideally, she don't want anyone to even realize anything is goin' on, while she sits in the middle of her web, pullin' on strands." He looked at both of them, puzzled. "So... I thought you guys had a scoop for me? Did you just want to chew the fat over old cases instead?"

The two exchanged glances, then locked hands. "No," Champion said, clearing his throat. "We do have rather a story for you, old man. Ah... hrm..." He looked abashed, something Logan found confounding.

"I'm pregnant," the Congo Queen finally said, correctly judging her paramour paralyzed by the announcement's weight. "Due in April. Charles and I are going to be married on November 15th, in Madison Square Garden."

"They'll carry the ceremony live on the radio, we think," Champion spoke up, weakly. "But you're the first newsperson we've spoken to, really."

Logan's head was buzzing. Pregnant? Out of wedlock? But going to be married... Good God, it would be the wedding of the century! Everyone who was anyone would want an invitation... the whole world would listen in... his paper's circulation would jump another hundred thousand once they printed this...!

"Wait," he said. "You get married in public, every black hat in the world is gonna come gunnin' for you. Especially if they know you're expectin'." He looked up, warily. "If this is a hoax, to smoke Scarlett Flayme out of hiding... or whoever's behind all this spooky stuff lately..."

Champion stared at 'the Newshound' directly. "This is no hoax. And we are going to be taking it easy for the forseeable future, so if anyone else out there could find a way to deal with these eerie events, we'd be very appreciative."

Candace "Congo Queen" Carson tilted her head slightly. "As for my wedding," she said, quietly... "Let any man, or woman, who wants to try and put my child, or my beloved, in danger..." Her eyes flashed, and her hands, perhaps unconsciously, mimicked the motions of gripping a large bore elephant gun. "Well... let them try." She paused, then stood to her full six feet of height, squaring her broad shoulders, the tendons in her arms flexing under tropically tanned skin. "I said I was tired of killing. That doesn't mean I shan't kill if its needful."

Ned Logan picked up his notebook again, and began writing. This would be the scoop of a lifetime... and he felt sorry for anyone who tried to mess with this wedding.

They would, doubtless, forever hold their peace... at least, when bride and groom were finished with them.