J. Robert Hinkley (1908)
Description: A handsome young lad, athletic, and immaculately groomed. Cheerfully nonplussed in the face of stress, over-flowing with confidence imparted by mail-order "how-to" manuals, he is seeking success in the "Mythical Old West". If he can win the sweaty affections of a healthy frontier lass along the way (or two... or three) then so much the better.
Clichés: Compulsive Consumer of "Mail Order Miracles" (3), Nice Young Man Who Is Going Places (3), Unflappable Self-Improvement Success Story (3), Teen-Age Casanova (2).
Lucky Shots: [ ] [ ] [ ].
Hook: Short Attention Span (if it doesn't pertain to his primary interests then it's in one ear and out the other).
Equipment: Pulp magazines and mail-order catalogs. Lots of crazy mail-order products and how-to manuals. Conservative wardrobe. Inexpensive revolver (purchased mail-order from Sears for his trip west).
Tale: Born in early 1890, John Robert Hinkley quickly discovered the thrill of scientific romances from the likes of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells. John's father, a physically and mentally abusive New England preacher of the fire-and-brimstone variety, viewed such literature as dangerous atheist propaganda. As a result, John was forced to conceal his interest by borrowing books from his few friends, and spending countless hours in the library. His many trips to the library took him through some rather unsavory neighborhoods. Eventually, he suffered a terrible beating at the hands of some young toughs. Finding no sympathy from his furious father who now saw through his son's deception, John was determined to use the Science! of Wells and Verne to better his miserable existence. With little schooling other than religious classes that he couldn't remember, the best he could do was order the scientific manuals to a better life advertised in the back of old detective magazines. Within weeks, they started arriving and John devoured them, absorbing wisdom that only he could find in their pages. Discovered pilfering from his father's wallet, he was forced to run away from home. Using newly gained knowledge of social dynamics, he was able to con his way into a small New York tenement. To make ends meet, he began running errands for the Five Pointers gang under the notorious Paul Kelly. Oblivious to the crimes he was facilitating, he continued his private "studies" supported by that modest income. Then, in 1907, he was involved in a caper that went sour. His associates were all killed or captured. Seeing as how he kept their ill-gotten gains and was sure to feel the wrath of remorseless killers, he opted for a change of scenery. He left New York for the mythical "Old West" that he had read about in dime novels, convinced that the "frontier spirit" was just what he needed to continue to make his mark on the world. In 1908, he found himself in Silverlode, Colorado, as one of the first students of the Silverlode Institute of Science and Technology.
Compulsive Consumer of "Mail Order Miracles:" Calling on all-manner of bizarre and surprisingly helpful advice from countless self-help manuals; producing just the gizmo or bit of snake-oil for the given situation; finding mail-order products that actually work as advertised; receiving packages in spite of unreliable or even non-existent postal service; ordering things on credit.
Nice Young Man Who Is Going Places: Projecting an aura of respectability and self-confidence that impresses girls and their adult guardians; smooth-talking his way into and out of tricky situations.
Unflappable Self-Improvement Success Story: Remaining calm and full of cheer, regardless of circumstances; being a former 98 lb. weakling who can now kick-ass on a semi-regular basis; exuding self-confidence and creepy charm.
Teen-Age Casanova: Winning the affections of soiled (and not-so-soiled) doves; letting girls down easy; avoiding guilt and flying objects when that doesn't work; writing horrible, yet strangely-effective love poetry.
Created: 12 March 2004 / Last modified: 30 May 2006