Last Orders at the Blue Whale
My second published piece of fiction for the Dark Shadows range, Last Orders at the Blue Whale was featured on the short story collection Phantom Melodies.
It was arguably a thankless task to be offered this one as the protagonist is Harry Johnson – described by the Collinsport Historical Society as “the Jar-Jar Binks of Dark Shadows”. Frankly he wasn’t a great character on the show, wasn’t especially well-portrayed and then vanished without trace one day without even a mention. My brief: give him a leaving story.
Thrown out of Collinwood, petty criminal Harry Johnson is waiting to catch the next train out of town but a rash decision in the bar of the Blue Whale will unwittingly lead him into a battle for his very soul.
Thankfully it seems I got away with it. It went down surprisingly well.
“Last Orders at the Blue Whale is a winner. Morris happily lacks fandom’s sadistic streak… and attempts — successfully — to paint Harry as a confused, sympathetic figure. It’s a good script and a terrific delivery by Matthew Waterhouse, who’s tasked with not only playing the entire cast, but also in making sure we never lose track of the story’s rising menace.” – Wallace McBride, Collinsport Historical Society.
“Rob Morris is the undisputed King of Dark Shadows and here he has the man himself Matthew Waterhouse narrating his tale as Harry Johnson. Rob Morris paints a picture in words of a slimy desperate man who will betray anyone to save his own skin, even those he regards as friends.” Ed Watkinson – Planet Mondas.
There are I think many who could legitimately dispute the claim that I’m the king of Dark Shadows, not least the people who I’m lucky enough to be sharing disc space with. The talents of Penelope Faith, Ian Atkins and Ian Farrington are each worth the price of the collection alone. Get this if only for their gorgeous words.
And, frankly, the performances are worth a tenner too. Matthew Waterhouse narrates mine brilliantly (it was written for him, admittedly, but he managed to take it to another level), but Andrew Collins, Stephanie Ellyne and Nancy Barrett are all amazing too.
As they would be: none of these actors can put in a bad performance. Which in some ways is extremely annoying, but also a gift to a writer.
The trailer is below: