Below you will find a verbose “character sketch” I wrote for an upcoming role-playing game our group is putting together. If the game goes anywhere, there may well be updates and recaps and short stories about their adventures. And, since I’ve got to make up back-up characters for this brutal Zombie campaign… there are more to come…
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Name: Helen Jubilee Poots / Yelena Skybutrova / Mama Oso
DoB: February 6th, 1977
Zodiac Sign: Aquarius
Height: 5′ 4″ / 162cm
Weight: 104 lbs / 47kg
Hair: Dark brown/Black
Eye: Hazel brown
Features: Pouty lips. Always has big sunglasses on. Long nails, painted a vampy brown/burgundy color.
Build: 30c – 23 – 30 (a busty Ellen Page)
Clothes: Tight, dark jeans tucked into knee-high cognac boots with low, thick heels. Blue lace-topped tank. Light-weight white cotton cardi. Slouchy cognac boho bag.
Purse Contents: Wallet. Cash & Credit Cards. ID. Hair brush. Compact. Guerlain lipstick. Chewing Gum. LifeSavers. Spritzer of Hairspray. Make-Up wipes in individual packets. Travel-sized mouth wash. Disposable toothbrush. Spare sunglasses. Cigarettes & Zippo. Matches from various bars. Hair pins. Elastic ties. Purse-sized torch. Butterfly knife. Pepper spray. Assorted pens. Moleskin notebook. Three flip-phones. iPhone 5. Charger. Nail glue. Nail file. Cult Nails “Vamp” Polish (for touch-ups). Hand Sanitizer. Lotion. Condoms. Novelty (non-fuzzy) Handcuffs. Aleve. Medication 7-day pack.
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She was born on a somewhat cold, damp February morning, and Helen’s mother never forgave her for arriving two weeks early thus forcing Diana to miss the Queen’s speech on the telly. There is only one Silver Jubilee celebration, Helly-Belly, and you made me miss it. A right selfish one, you are. Now put that packet of crisps down before you get fat as a house.
Her father doted on her, in the rare times he was able to be around. Simon was a fisherman and was gone for weeks or months a time. The money was good enough to keep his girls clothed and fed, and the frequent, extended separation is probably the only thing that kept their marriage in tact. Certainly, had Simon known that Diana slept with a whole cavalcade of random men things would have been different. Attagirl, Poots, flip yer wrist a bit and give the pole a good shake. Oi! That’s it! You got a nibble, duck! Gentle now, steady on! Reel ‘er in nice and slow. Right on, my gel, right on!
Helen’s favorite of her mother’s beaus was Ivan Skybutrova; a Russian literature professor who smelled of pipe tobacco and leather rather than the sea and fish. He had a perfectly manicured beard which he stroked into a little point and a supercilious mustache that curled up at the tips. He taught her to read Cyrillic and speak Russian with a proper “Московское произношение” – Moscow accent. Come sit on my lap, Yelena, we will read Dostoyevski and I will tell you all the reasons he was a genius and a fool.
When she was fifteen, her father went missing at sea. The settlement kept them for a bit, but it was not long before Diana was on the dole. Then one of her many beaus introduced her to the needle and before long she was so deep in the heroin she could not remember her own name, let lone that she had a teenaged daughter to look after. A tainted dose took her to the graveyard and set Helen onto the streets. Sweet sixteen, they say. Bugger that. Worst day of me fuckin’ life…
Her mates, who all called her by her unfortunate middle name – Jubilee, snuck her into their rooms and basements, let her sleep on their couches and trundle beds, gave her a place to shower and pee. None of their families could afford to support another mouth full-time, but most of them politely ignored her mother’s demise and did what they could to keep her alive. Oh Harold, it ain’t her fault her mum was a slag. Just eat your parsnips and stop complaining. She’ll only stay a few days…
Amy and Heather Cumberbatch, twin troublemakers a year older than her, had arranged to join Felix Cox and his American cousin, Johnny, on a week-long holiday in Paris the summer after she turned seventeen. When their father caught Heather with her head in Felix’s lap in the backseat of the family van, both girls found themselves shipped of to Saint Theresa’s Academy in the countryside. Amy’s best friend, Joanne, took Felix up on his offer – five hundred bucks for seven days in France. She begged Helen to go with her. C’mon, Hel, the Yank ain’t bad to look at and you’ve never been to Paris, right? It’ll be a crackin’ adventure, eh? Nosh on some stinky cheese, get totally knackered on all that fancy wine, let ’em touch yer tits a bit. C’mon, Hel. Pleeeeeease come wiv me?
Johnny Jolly plied her with cheap French wine and charmed her with his sweet southern drawl. Before she knew it, he had given her a tumble in every room in the suite and when she returned to London, she hadn’t seen anything of the City of Lights outside the hotel room. It was a whirlwind romance like in all those lovely movies and when Johnny asked her to wait for his return the next year, Helen did not hesitate to agree. Of course I’ll wait for you, you mad boy! Hurry back, though, love. I miss you already!
He was good to his word; Johnny came back the following year and took her to Spain. His parents had given him some insane sum of money as a graduation gift and though he told them he was going to spend the whole time backpacking across the continent, Johnny spent most of those three months in a flat in Cheapside, bonking Helen and drinking more ale than could possibly be healthy. When the summer ended and he had to return stateside for graduate school, Johnny asked her to come to The States with him. You’ll love it there, babe, you will. We’ll get an apartment near campus with all the shops and bars and cafés – right on the water. We’ll get married if you want, so you can get a green card, or whatever. It’ll be great.
It was not. She and Johnny bickered constantly – he was always gone, studying he said, and she missed her mates back home. Even when the course of their love did run smooth, there was a tense undercurrent she could not figure out. As it happened, Helen was home alone one afternoon, reading Anna Karenina in the bedroom, when she heard someone enter the apartment. She and Johnny had had another fight that morning and she was feeling petulant, so she decided to wait for him to come to her and apologize. He bustled about in the kitchen and living room – she could hear the banging of dishes and cabinets – but did not come to the bedroom. Finally, fed up and hurt, she tossed her book onto the bed and stormed out to confront him. Only it was not Johnny afterall, but his little white-haired Grandmother, come to visit. Who am I?! Who the fuck are you? I live here, you old bat. What are ya, demented or senile?
She was neither, but she was terribly upset to find out that her precious little John-John had shacked up with a trashy immigrant. Grandmother Janice called her son, Johnny’s father, who called Johnny, who came home hours later with a hand-shaped welt on his cheek and an ultimatum. Break it off with the harlot or find yourself cut off. Johnny was not equipped for a life without trust fund and his decision came a bit too quickly for Helen’s taste. He had to clear out of the flat by the end of the week (to stay with Grandmother Janice in town) and he was not allowed to see her at all. I’ll be done with my MBA at Teddy Larry in a couple years, maybe then, we can… you know, I’ll have my own income and I won’t need… I’m sorry, babe. I gotta go.
Helen had made few friends of her own in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Most of her mates disappeared when Johnny split. She had no way to get back to London, no green card to get legal work, and no money of her own. At the end of her rope and mere days from being evicted from the apartment Johnny’s trust no longer paid for, Helen got a surprise phone call from Amy Cumberbatch. I’m in Baltimore, you silly cow, whyn’t I come up for a visit? My date is like to be tied up in meetings for a couple days here. You know how these American blokes get about business, yeah?
Amy sympathized, but couldn’t afford to give her the fare back to London outright. Money was tight for her right then, for she had just had a ten thousand dollar breast augmentation done to help boost her business, but she had a suggestion. Amy worked for a service out of DC; she was a pretty, perky British companion for hire. Helen was skeptical, but the promise of good money, free travel, and possibly, landing a wealthy husband was too much to ignore. With nothing but a sack of her belongings and ten bucks in her pocket, Helen left Harrisburg and went to DC to meet with Madam Florence. You can call me Flo, darling. We’ll discuss my cut later. First things first, though, Ms. Poots, are you currently knocked up? No? Good. Now I’ve already got a pair of British girls, I don’t really know that there is enough demand for three, especially given your coloring. Hmm. Do you speak any other languages?
And thus, Yelena Skybutrova was born. Helen quickly found that Amy had exaggerated the benefits of her profession and as the lowest escort on the proverbial totem pole, she received a lot of the least choice jobs. Still, the money was good and the hours were excellent and before long, Yelena was one of Madam Florence’s most popular girls. She had saved more than enough money to return to London, but Helen was a practical girl. If she went home now, just past her nineteeth birthday, she would be broke in a month and would only end up on the streets again. Helen decided to keep working for awhile, to take advantage of her youthful good looks while they lasted, and to save every penny she could so that when she returned to London, she would have funds to support herself in comfort until a husband or a new career presented itself. It won’t take me long at all, I bet, to save up a hundred thousand pounds. That’ll buy me a flat outright and then I can just take my time about figuring out what I wanna be when I grow up.
Madam Florence was outed three years later and it was only by paying out a few enormous bribes and calling in favors from a couple of her highest profile clients that Helen avoided jail. She snuck out of the city and raced back to the only American city she was really familiar with – Harrisburg. Business was slower here, and less glamorous, but there was never a dearth of politicians and entrepenuers looking for an exotic, gorgeous young woman to entertain them. It would take longer, she knew, but eventually she would make it back to London. I’ll make it home, I will. And I’ll have proper fish and chips at last. And take a swing around Picadilly and maybe go to Queen Mary and see if Ivan is still there. Wonder if he’ll remember his little Yelena?
One year turned into five, then ten. Somehow, there was never quite enough money in the kitty and the prices in London kept soaring further and further out of her reach. Just as she was reaching her breaking point – depression setting in – Helen stumbled across a scene that changed her life. A young, beautiful hispanic girl, teetering in sky-high platform heels and teensy scraps of sheer fabric covering her naughty bits, was being thrashed by a short, bulky guy with big diamond studs in his ear lobes. Fury erupted within her – a sort of long repressed anger at all men and at her situation – and she set upon him with fists and nails. The pimp, Carlos, crawled away with a broken jaw and three missing teeth – one of which Helen had to have removed from her fist. The hooker, Sofia, was seventeen and pregnant and now, had no one to look out for her on the streets. Helen took the girl, and two of her girlfriends who had also been Carlos’ girls, under her wing. Si, si! Mama-Oso will take care of you, Maria. Carlos won’t fuck wit’ her again and she got contacts. The pigs don’t bother us and we make a hundred times more money too. Lemme give you her card, sis, she’ll set you up right.
Mama Oso they called her. Mama Grizzly. Helen wore the title with a bit of pride, though in her heart of hearts she hated that she used all these pretty young ladies to fund her own dreams. Her operation was not quite the same high-class caliber Madam Florence had run, but Harrisburg was a far cry from DC. She does her best to keep the girls clean and cared for, to keep them safe and well compensated. Though she has run abreast of other pimps and the law, Helen has had a certain propensity for evading serious trouble. At least until a sunny summer day…
Note: Images is “Heather” by binababy from SXC.hu