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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/books/item_id/1829165-The-Ballad-of-James-McKenna
Rated: 18+ · Book · History · #1829165
Hear a song of violence and a song of peace. Hear a song of justice and the savage street.
The Ballad of James McKenna:
A Character Sketch


In an America torn apart by war and supposed reconstruction, there are some who stand for order. In a world of mechanical wonders, there are some that stand for awe. In a city that never sleeps, there are some who maintain vigil, ready and waiting to hold the light of justice up to the darkness and stare into the abyss.

There are some who uphold the law.

James McKenna is one of them. And this is his song.


*Gear* *Gears* *Gear* *Gears* *Gear*


For "Invalid Item

To read a bit more about Jimmy, Nate, and their awesome, steampunk world, go see my (completely and totally unfinished) story: "We Never Sleep [18+]

*NoteR*One last thing! Did you know this is my second go around with the Character Sketch? If you want to meet my first character (and a lovely lady she is), or see just how much good this contest can do, please check out: "A Demystification: Eve [18+] (Also, I won!)*NoteR*

Second Place Finisher for Round Three! YAY, Jimmy!
Day One: Hello, Stranger
December 3, 2011 at 11:58pm
Day One Hello, Stranger Word Count: 2495 James McKenna hated newspapers. Actually, it was newspaper men he hated, who scrambled around like a group of monkeys after every scene, reaching and grasping, scribbling fiercely in their notebooks and asking questions no one wanted answered. They screeched and howled, frenzied little monkeys all fighting for their story, and ruining his crime scene in the process. By the time agents could get there, every newspaper in the area (and, by... [Read more]
Day Two: Word Focus
December 5, 2011 at 1:51am
Day Two Word Focus Silk: Word Count: 443 Jimmy once bought his mother a silk scarf, back when Father was alive and most of his paycheck didn't go to keeping them in homespun and stew. He'd furiously debated whether or not to purchase the dress hanging on the mannequin in the front window--it was brown, with little flowers picked out in green and red--picturing mother sashaying about Cincinnati looking like the Queen of England herself. But sense had finally won out--di... [Read more]
Day Three: Fruit
December 5, 2011 at 1:51am
Day Three Fruit Word Count: 502 Jimmy wished that his father were still alive. It wasn't that he missed him, which he did, or that his life had become a nightmare since his loss, which it hadn't. It was mostly that his Father's death had brought manhood crashing upon him much faster than Jimmy had intended, or had been prepared, for it to arrive. He had a family to take care of now, and they had just been thrust upon him without any notice. Jimmy had always thoug... [Read more]
Day Four: Tears
December 6, 2011 at 1:56am
Day Four Tears Word Count: 1003 The bodies, what is left of them, have been quietly buried, without ceremony and without witness, in the police yard. They've been given the same plain pine box prisoners get and a wood cross with their name scribbled on it in cheap paint. If you didn't know they were victims, you could stroll on by and believe that they were the condemned, the gallows dead, another of the bone gallery on display. You could shake your head and spit on their gra... [Read more]
Day Five: The Best Laid Plans
December 7, 2011 at 2:31am
Day Five The Best Laid Plans Word Count: 1295 "So, those plans are officially out the window." Nate harrumphed, spooning cream of asparagus soup into his mouth with obvious glee. "Well, I did tell you we were going to have to hit up the Negro centers of town." Tapping his napkin against the curls of his mustache, Nate sat back and shrugged. "But you were right about Moody; he did turn out to be spectacularly useless to us. I find it hard to believe the newspape... [Read more]
Day Six: Win or Lose
December 8, 2011 at 6:17pm
Day Six Win Or Lose Word Count: 1914 (Word Count does not include historical note at the bottom.) The Oval Office was smaller than Jimmy had thought it would be. It wasn't often that agents got to visit the White House. Usually that sort of thing was done by aethograph or, if none were available, telegraph. And if, for some reason, a visit to Washington were required, they usually met with a government liaison in the lobby at Willard's. Jimmy heard tell that General Grant ... [Read more]
Day Seven: Unique
December 9, 2011 at 1:04am
Day Seven Unique Word Count: 1169 Nate had broken his audichronicler. "If you didn't use it to stub out your cigarettes, maybe this wouldn't happen." Jimmy looked up at his partner, goggles magnifying the world around him until he felt almost as if he were staring at a painting from so close that the colors had begun to melt together. Nate snorted, so it was quite likely that he looked rather ridiculous himself. "It's not funny. These things could cost you ... [Read more]
Day Eight: Money
December 10, 2011 at 6:39pm
Day Eight Money Word Count: 1053 "The boys have wired our monthly salary from Chicago." Nate collapsed into the wingback next to where Jimmy sat reading (not a newspaper this time, but rather Shakespeare), the sounds of a phonograph clipping and scratching in the background. He'd been on the aethophone all morning, mouth shoved into a transmitter and head into receiver, with the home office, giving an update on the case and giving the regrettable news that they wouldn'... [Read more]
Day Nine: Picture Prompt
December 11, 2011 at 3:19pm
Day Nine Picture Prompt Word Count: 814 It is night when Jimmy steps out into the streets, desperate for some air. Inside, the factory workers have crowded, sloshing alcohol and songs about, draining whatever they'd earned that day down their drunken throats. He might have joined them, but he didn't know Italian and that might have made things awkward. There was a sharp disconnect between immigrants like them and sons of immigrants like Jimmy, one that was more than ju... [Read more]
Day Ten: Free Write
December 12, 2011 at 10:34pm
Day Ten Free Write Word Count: 978 Jimmy hadn't expected to see Jacob that evening. Every July, to mark the victories at Gettysburg and Vicksburg, the Union boys in any given town would get together to celebrate the victories that marked the turning point of the war. Usually, there was singing and drinking and storytelling and, if they were lucky, there'd be someone who could play an instrument and hadn't had their hands blown off. Jimmy could play the fiddle, and... [Read more]
Day Eleven: Creative Process Through Music
December 13, 2011 at 9:05pm
Day Eleven Creative Process Through Music Word Count: 677 Nobody's Hero by Dropkick Murphys But he's nobody's hero Saves a drowning child Cures a wasting disease Hero, lands the crippled airplane Solves great mysteries Hero, not the handsome actor Who plays a hero's role Hero, not the glamor girl Who'd love to sell her soul If anybody's buying Nobody's hero. It had shocked Jimmy to his very core to hear Jacob, whom he'd regard... [Read more]
Day Twelve: Friendship
December 14, 2011 at 2:44am
Day Twelve Friendship Word Count: 1543 1865 The Pinkerton building didn't stand out much from the others. Apparently, that was the point. A lot of their business was undercover, or the kind of work that required more than simple discretion. But still, Jimmy was shaking with nervous excitement as the man next to him--Jeremiah Leary, onetime protector of Abraham Lincoln--pulled the door open and shuffled him into. He reached up and grabbed his hat--his artillery cover, and t... [Read more]
Day Thirteen: Rise of the Antagonist
December 15, 2011 at 1:41am
Day Thirteen Rise of the Antagonist Word Count: 1006 June 1877 Jimmy was alone, blessedly alone, in the mechanical room, with only the sound of turning gears and ticking timepieces to keep him company. He needed this time to himself, truth be told, as exciting as solving cases normally was. And judging by the amount of work to be done here, Pinkerton's probably needed him there, as well, which was completely fine by him. After this last case, especially. A cult of scientif... [Read more]
Day Fourteen: Introspection
December 16, 2011 at 1:33am
... [Read more]
Day Fifteen: Divinity
December 17, 2011 at 11:00pm
Day Fifteen Divinity Word Count: 812 There once was a Pope who so despaired of the Emerald Isle, he excommunicated it. Or, at least, he threatened to. The Book of Kells put a stop to that nonsense, and quite a piece of art that was. The bells of St. Patrick's rang through the streets, a song so beautiful and of such majesty that Jimmy felt the power of God swell in his chest. They reverberated through his bones, each clang dancing through his body, coming down as if from Heave... [Read more]
Day Sixteen: Love the Way You Lie
December 18, 2011 at 1:03am
Day Sixteen Love the Way You Lie Word Count: 1216 Jimmy doesn't lie. No, this isn't quite correct. Jimmy has lied precisely once in his life. And he got caught. It wasn't a large lie, as far as lies go, not really. But it was bad enough, and he felt so ashamed of it that he'd never done it again. It happened when he was twelve, at home in Cincinnati, when Father was alive and healthy and the nation hadn't ripped itself apart over the sanctity of owning anoth... [Read more]
Day Seventeen: Trigger
December 19, 2011 at 2:14am
Day Seventeen Trigger Word Count: 945 The day dawned bright and blessedly clear, with a slight, crisp breeze that made the necessity of jackets a comfort rather than an odious thing. Jimmy was glad of it. After a week of rain had brought their investigation to a stand-still, sunshine and good air were just what they needed to continue working. It was past time to finally solve the thing, to bring rest to the victims and closure to their case. He was missing Chicago, truth be told, an... [Read more]
Day Eighteen: ABC's
December 20, 2011 at 4:11pm
Day Eighteen ABC's Word Count: 975 Alabaster clouds lined the sky above them, rich and fluffy cream-puffs that seemed to bode well for the day to come. Between they and the sky and the cool breeze, Jimmy was almost positive that something good had to happen today. Considering that just about everything that could go wrong had gone wrong, something good was bound to happen; the law of probabilities practically dictated that something good happen to them eventually. Despite the opt... [Read more]
Day Nineteen: Safety
December 21, 2011 at 9:41pm
Day Nineteen Safety Word Count: 720 When Jimmy was young, he had a blanket. It was real Irish wool, and it had followed his mother all the way from County Cork when her family took to the ships in a desperate attempt to escape the ever-tightening vice of English rule and black-rotted potatoes. She'd wrapped him in it when he was born, though it could have fit him five times over. As he'd gotten older, it had become something of a safety blanket to him. All he had to do was pu... [Read more]
Day Twenty: Last Words
December 22, 2011 at 2:20pm
Day Twenty Last Words Word Count: 805 The President had given them the use of his private zeppelin for the flight back to Chicago. Nate had wanted to turn it down, but Jimmy, more practical and quite probably more jaded these days than he had any right to be, had talked him into accepting the ride. It made no sense to pay for train tickets--Pinkerton wouldn't pay it once he found out they had been offered a free ride--and there weren't any horses east of the Mississippi anymo... [Read more]

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