The Ballad Of Danko Jones

Frank ‘POPS’ #2 walks hurriedly into the den to get Mr. Crowley who is putting golf balls into a glass on the floor. Crowley is at the top of The Outfit and while most think (a) Frank calls the shots its Crowley who pulls the strings.

Mr. Crowley! Get out here! We got screwed!

Don’t yell. I’m right here.

Crowley turning to see Frank almost upon him, he picks up his putter and heads into the living room while a ball drops lazily into the cup. Frank turns up the TV and points to the news story on the screen to get Crowley’s attention. A female TV news reporter is setting up a story about a mysterious scientist who has discovered a new cloning technique. The scientist himself won't speak to camera but they speak with his assistant, Jena.

The Reporter is giving her standard setup outside of a posh lab in a tree-lined area of an typical American town, His name is Dr. Lee Dorian and sources say he’s done what no one thought possible. A new cloning technique that seems to be, well, basically a carbon copy. We talked with Dr. Dorian’s chief science advisor to get more information.

So how does this new process work?

Dorian’s protégé, seeming very relaxed and capable, talk to the reporter with an almost dismissive quality, The Dr.’s technique is unique in that it clones not just the subject's body, but also their memories and knowledge. But unlike traditional cloning, the clone doesn’t start as a baby but an exact full grown duplicate.

Dr. Dorian is slowly creeping into the far shadows behind her. He’s clearly interested in the happenings but is careful not to reveal himself to the camera beyond a glancing, hidden profile the camera can steal over Jena’s shoulder.

Can this be done with humans? Has it been tried? The reporter is digging into what she thinks is a scoop. Mainly, she knows, this story will most likely rile up the ethical, puritanical base of the viewership. Ratings are ratings she figures.

Dr. Dorian calls over to Jena mid interview, essentially cutting her off from answering. She walks to the shadows and he whispers something in her ear. Jena seems partially confused as the camera tracks her during the back and forth with Dorian. Leaning into his shadowed profile she asks for and gets clarification on a point she took issue with as Dorian then falls farther into the shadows and walks out of the room. Jena walks back to the reporter and looks directly at the camera rather robotically protestant, as if she’s speaking directly to Crowley, To answer simply: No. Of course not... That wouldn't be ethical.

For any price.

Crowley swings his putter at a nearby Vase, shattering it. He was already angry about the theft that had taken place only weeks before. Dorian was always in the back of his mind as the culprit but he couldn’t be sure. Now it seemed that Dorian was waving it in his face and that…. He could not have.

Bring me the head of that lying sack of shit thief Lee Dorian!

Dr. Lee Dorian, a well dressed, seemingly ageless man, peruses the many volumes of esoteric and ancient alchemical texts in his vast library. His knowledge of long forgotten science, mathematics and genetic engineering has served him well. However, sometimes needing to revert to some petty thievery can lead to results just as potent. His breath shoves a cloud of dust from its home on a crusty leather book as he turns to address the “compatriot” behind him. Dorian is always a bit psychically startled when he looks into the face of one of his “henchmen,” as he imagines his enemies or detractors would call them. True they were clones, clones of him to be exact, but they were different. These were exact duplicates of him at the same age as when he “made” them. They didn’t need to gestate as proto-humans in a test tube or anything as archaic as that, they simply were.

Any word about POPS or The Outfit since our little trip the other night?

The compatriot just nodded a simple no. That was an issue he was still working out. They weren’t stupid or feeble, they just never really seemed to talk much.

Dorian wasn’t a worrier, he felt things usually worked themselves out, sort of a Free-Market, Miltonian approach to life rather than of financial interest. The problems arose when the human element, specifically the criminal element, began to interfere with the natural ebb and flow, rise and fall of that process. Dorian did not see himself as a thief but rather a liberator of knowledge and process he felt should be in the hands of someone who properly understood and deserved the power that came with that certain information in question.

Keep an eye on the perimeter and notify me of anything out of the ordinary. And please prepare my lab for the next round of procedures.

The compatriot lurched off leaving Dr. Lee Dorian a final contemplative thought.

There’s a quiet silence as Danko Jones sits on the edge of his hotel room bed thinking about the past few days, but as a mirror to the past few years. The only word that keeps going over and over through his head is REGRET. Not necessarily of things he’s done, and he’s done plenty of things good and bad, but more of the things he never did and opportunities he let fall away like a hat in a summer breeze.

What the fuck happened? Was what JC thought when he opened his eyes and tasted carpet. The last few hours and days were a blur but nonetheless they led here and this painful morning. He wasn’t even sure if Dan, “the Goon,” made it but thought of himself and which way was up right now.

RUNNING….RUNNING….RUNNING.

Were they being chased, or were they chasing something as well? MOUSE came out from around a corner with his trademark briefcase. No one actually knew what was in there but it always seemed to have the right tool for the job, and that wasn’t usually a socket wrench.

MOUSE had special talents and if you knew how to play his song, then he’d dance the dance. One part gadgeteer, one part cunning brute, MOUSE was usually a pay to play freelancer. He didn’t care which side he was on as long as the grass was greener on that one. He lived for the cold, damp feel of cash and the slow pulse of electrons.

He was in a semi-partnership with KATT. They would often sub-contract each other to complete a job or scenario the other couldn’t quite make work. Of course a lot of that had to do with the fact that KATT was a stunning and powerful woman. She was a known double-agent but everyone made the mistake of thinking they could be the one to tie her down to an idea or side. Naturally she allowed them all to think this as it widened her client base and ultimately her kill ratio. The less people dragging her down meant she was free to make her way all the way up to FRANK, “POPS” everyone called him.

He ran the show and often played his own teams against each other to weed out the weakness and the rats. POPS stood in the window of his office eyeing Caramel City. Where the hell is Danko Jones? he said out loud to no one but cold glass.

KATT was prepping for a new assignment. POPS had retained her to find out where Danko and his crew had gone. What he couldn’t know was that KATT knew exactly where they were and she was the one who put them there. MOUSE was brought on as special ops and was loading his briefcase and cleaning the shotgun that mostly did the talking when lips were tight.

Behind the scenes





EPK