Bio Contributed by a Haunt Resident
Asher Black is an enigma, but observation *will* reveal certain things about him. For example, on the most basic, surface level, it is evident that mine host is a talker first, and a writer second. In fact, he is currently exploring technology that will turn spoken words into written ones, enabling him to conflate talking and writing. Anyone who has spent any time with him at all knows that he loves to hold forth, and discuss, and discurse, and argue, and incite, and bewilder, and instruct, and persuade, and cajole, both in person and in print. And that he does these things most brilliantly after midnight.
Observed a bit more attentively, Asher reveals further a tendency toward devious thought, and an inclination to the heretical. Moreover, he rather likes these qualities about himself. The latter trait arises, perhaps, from the fact that he will listen as intently as he will hold forth, and if he perceives himself to have been wrong about something, he changes his position immediately to be right. (This, however, is a more speculative observation, and so let us return to the traits of Asher’s that pure attention reveals.) He is unafraid of the dark, can think about and act upon several ideas simultaneously, and smokes, not absent-mindedly or efficiently, but ritually (and please put your Freud away. Sometimes a pipe is just a pipe. Now, cigars, on the other hand…definitely Freudian. Just think about it.).
Asher was heard to remark recently, “I like my food like most things (Asher said “women”): delicate yet hearty.” This remark is germaine here because it points to another trait of Asher’s which it is impossible not to observe: he is an epicure of the old school, or at least an assiduous student thereof. In tobacco, food, clothing, and so on and so on, Asher knows what he likes, and what he likes are fine things.
Asher demonstrates an unmistakeable facility in writing, with a tendency toward the Romantic (heretical?). He has written editorials, poems, stories, and other, less easily classified works, some of which he has displayed for the delectation of Haunt residents. A far wider audience is indicated, in the opinion of this humble scrivener.
Another Bio Contributed by a Haunt Resident
Asher Black is rumored to have an alter ego.
Black Asher has the voice of a smoker. Not dry, but a little rough. But his voice is also like the bitterest and smoothest of chocolate, the kind one takes in small bits and toasts over the flame of candle late at night. One sinks slightly into that voice whenever he speaks, without quite being aware of it until one must move to extricate oneself afterward.
He has been called “persuasive”, “resourceful”, “ingenious”, “impetuous” and something of a “miscreant”, but he has a penchant for conspiracy. He has a tendency to teach, even when he doesn’t mean to. His style in everything has the flair of the passionate romantic. He is moody, ranging from delirious comedy to fits of dark brooding.
He is tall, very dark haired, limber, always wears all black, down to his exquisite socks and lacy black wingtips or calf-length black boots. Favors trenchcoats, sometimes but rarely wears a “sam spade” hat. Smokes a pipe – generally black sandblast briar.
He will not say where he is from, and is capable of a variety of strange or foreign accents, and bits of language. His parents, he says, are long dead, and he has no family. It is rumored that he has a secret love. He is also a heretic of several churches.
Familiar with the knife, suggesting a rough background, yet his tastes run to fastidious refinery. He cooks, usually Italian, favors certain wines and liquors but is never drunk, prefers a blend of tobacco that is moist pitch black but not overly sweet laced with spicy turkish and pungent American indian varieties. He tends to look angry or unhappy when he is only thinking, which is most of the time.
Black Asher has certain unusual capabilities or tendencies.
Bio From the Second Haunt
Asher Black has lived in many places, been and done many things, worn and still simultaneously wears many hats. Asher has also, at times, quite drastically changed his appearance, and (in keeping with his motto) changed organizations, beliefs, and relationships. Certain things, however, have remained constant. Asher is currently:
These things seem unlikely to change, since Asher can’t help but do them wherever he goes, in whatever capacity he works or lives, and however he appears. And if one looks closely, Asher has always written, published, or taught, in part, to persuade. So naturally, he has been many times a salesman, business owner, founder and/or leader of enterprises and organizations, and has appeared (on occasion, in one shape or another) before a microphone, in the lens of a camera, and under a public spotlight.
He has sometimes been told to turn off his mind or keep quiet (which, for Asher, are the same thing). But one day, he looked at himself and said (along with Happy Harry Hardon), “So be it.” He has sometimes been called arrogant or foolish for not taking the advice, but Asher long ago found himself unable to be ashamed (again, very much like the Eat me, Beat me Lady). One could even refer to this web site as though it were a nude portrait — “Asher Unashamed”.
From the First Haunt:
Asher thought it best to make the way to his Haunt arduous, the path dangerous, and the distance formidable, so that those who actually arrive are those who are capable of … well… shall we say… withstanding certain rigours….
I first met Asher in a diner, where he was holding forth one night (it’s always at night) on why no one had thought to apply the principle of saline batteries to the fact that the earth is mostly covered by ocean. Recently, he was arguing with someone about the terminology of sex appeal and, during pauses, castigating US foreign policy as based on apocalyptic eschatology. I hadn’t known what eschatology meant until that conversation. To say Asher has a sharp wit is an understatement, but he’s also a bit of a fop. He’ll sit there with a cashmere scarf draped around his neck, ensconced in a velour robe, wearing silk pajamas and polished loafers, smoking a pipe. The waitresses are fascinated by him. When he orders tea, he says “tea service, please”, because he lives in the South, and “tea” by itself is invariably delivered iced.
I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that, for a long time, I took Asher for pompous. Now, I wouldn’t put it like that. He’s arrogant, but he’s actually capable of the things that most arrogant people are pretending about. I will say he’s not fully aware of how other people are feeling at times. If he has an overriding flaw, it’s tending to regard people as interesting objects in an amusement park of ideas and, when they fail to interest him, as mere ornaments decorating and perhaps even interfering with his fascination with the world. Asher doesn’t clearly delineate where the world and people are distinct. As a result, he can hurt feelings, and he can really annoy people who aren’t open to an entirely new form of personality, but if people push farther and get to know him deeply, he is a source of constant interest, intrigue, and moral and intellectual challenges. Asher, in short, is not for the faint of heart – he’s for the brave.
Asher himself is brave, if not invincible. We’ve come to his rescue on more than one occasion when the bar crowd gets out and storms the diner, and some loud pugilist sees Asher’s confidence as a threat to be broken. Most of the time, he can handle it. You’ve seen those movies where the villain doesn’t know he’s dead, but eventually looks down and sees the hero’s handiwork? That’s Asher in a rhetorical conflict. It’s only when the guy is clearly planning to bust him up, that we have to remind everyone that this hodgepodge of jokers, outcasts, and lovers of sci-fi is a group. Mess with one of us, and you get us all, even the scary ones.
Asher needs defending – he’s like a rare savant in the world, except there’s never been anyone quite so endearingly foolhardy and, if Asher is a savant, they haven’t yet invented the subject area that accounts for his brilliance. He’s a bright, pathetic star, that keeps lighting our world. That’s why it hurts so much. That’s why it’s so hard that he’s sick.