Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Characters: Wealth and the Zen Gunslinger

Continuing the series on the currently popular character attributes - Wealth, Dominance and Jackassery. First Post Index of the Whole Series (scroll down to the bottom of the post).  This week we're talking about Wealth.

Yesterday, in our ongoing series about characters and wealth and power, I talked about one of my richest characters, George Starling of The Man Who Did Too Much. One of the things I mentioned about him is that he really doesn't care much about money and might even be happier if he didn't have it.

Today I'm going to talk about another pair of characters who have no use for money -- and that's a good thing because they generally don't have much of it: Mick and Casey McKee of the Mick and Casey Mystery series.

The Zen Gunslinger

Mick McKee is not what you'd call wealthy, though he is what you would call entrepreneurial: he and his wife Casey are gunslingers for hire in the old west.

They own their horses, their weapons and gear, and the clothes on their backs.  Since they are young and inexperienced and one of them is a girl and the other a bit too sweet-natured to impress people as an effective gunman, they really don't get your top-of-the-line gunslinging work.

When they get a little extra cash, Casey might insist on upgrading their hats or their weapons.  But Mick?  He's always happy when they have enough cash to sleep in a real bed.  The fact is, there are really only two things he wants in life: Casey and pie.  He'll even give up the comfortable bed for a little more of either one of those.

One irony of their life: they probably have more money than it seems, because on those occasions when they have more money than they want to carry around, they put the extra in the nearest bank.  It's never very much, but they have cash squirreled around all over the west.

But as it is not the age of Paypal and internet transfers, most of the time that money is out of reach.  So they live hand to mouth, day to day.    And now and then, they truly hit bottom: at one point in Have Gun, Will play, they find themselves stripped of everything -- horses, weapons, gear.  Casey has managed to hang on to her boot gun, but Mick barely even has the shirt on his back.

Though that is the low point of the story for he and Casey, it is also the high point, as they sit and make love under the stars.

They are very existential that way.

What would happen if Mick and Casey were to become fabulously wealthy?  There might be a few Beverly Hillbillies moments, but I suspect they'd put the money in a bank and ride away.

When I think about both my mystery series -- not only Mick and Casey, but also George and Karla from yesterday's posts -- the characters are pretty zen about money.  They're detectives -- their interest in is in justice and figuring things out.

And though there is always a certain level of laid-back existentialism in my fiction, wealth plays a much more powerful (if not important) role in lives of the characters of The Serial (a.k.a. The Perils of Plink -- which started with The Misplaced Hero.)

I decided, because it's different, to stop here and tell you about Alex. Plink, Thorny and Rozinshura in tomorrow's post.  (Once again, you'll find the index to the series at the bottom of this post.)

See you in the funny papers.

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Kyra Halland said...

I really liked that part in Have Gun, Will Play. Really sweet to see Mick and Casey just interacting with each other with no one else involved.

And I think if they ever get a lot of money, Casey should get those silk drawers.

The Daring Novelist said...

Thanks -- and actually I (and Mick) are both hoping to get those silk drawers. (A even a small reward should provide enough for that, with maybe some left over for pie.)

I have this image of them riding along, and her kind of grumpily wiggling in the saddle because that silk is _slippery_.