Originally when I wrote these shorts, they were basically meant to promote the series. Usually when I design characters, shorts like these gave me background material to work with.
The characters evolved enough during the short stories that I actually had to rewrite parts of the novels in the Trilogy itself. Scott Murphy’s origins shifted around a little. I was able to show off Matthew Kovach a bit more without needing to write the novels I’ve had outlined for him since 2000. Background characters ended up in the Trilogy, even though I had never planned for them to be there when I finished the first few drafts.
There is even a good chunk of the novel that used to be in A Pius Man. One bit on the first months of Pope Pius XIII, because it was ten pages of background material. I also cut out an example of Father Frank Williams’ operating in the field. I really wanted to use them, and they worked. Who knew?
Tinker, Tailor, Goyim, Spy — what’s a good Catholic boy like Scott doing in the Mossad? Answer? Beware the wrath of a patient accountant.
One Way to Stay out of Jail — if you’ve read It Was Only on Stun! you’ve read this story. It’s the origin of Sean AP Ryan’s security team.
Mile High Murder — There’s a murderer on board a transcontinental flight. No one and nothing will stop him. And no one will want to.
We Have a Pope! — deleted from A Pius Man. I parodied the media quite a bit here, largely stealing from their flip-flopping coverage of Pope Benedict when he was first elected. I then go into how the Pope tried to drive the media insane during his first months in the papacy, from canonizing Thomas Dooley as “Patron Saint of Spies” to installing a North Korean priest with a grudge as the Papal Press Secretary.
Swiss Family Mafia — this was actually a story I first wrote in high school, starring Jonathan Koneig. Yes, the character is that old.
The Boys of the Old Brigade: A Twitter Tale — This is largely the events leading up to It Was Only On Stun! If you remember Stun!, I had several IRA rejects go after Sean. This is why.
Erin Go Boom — terrorists on St. Patrick’s Day. The only thing standing between them and their goal … one Catholic Priest.
See Something… — Two guys are planning a terrorist attack while in the observation deck of the new World Trade Center. Then the cops show up. Then the fun begins.
Let Freedom Ring — Scott “Mossad” Murphy went home to Boston for vacation. It becomes a busman’s Holiday.
God Hates … Superman? — Cult protesters come for Comic Con. Comic Con wins.
Deck the Maul — Sean AP Ryan … at a mall … on Black Friday.
O Little Town of Bethmayhem — Terrorists are going to attack Bethlehem on Christmas Eve, and nobody is going to stop them. Thankfully, there’s a nobody on hand.
Coyote Christmas — the bully of a small California neighborhood tries to hire Sean Ryan for protection. He doesn’t like bullies.
Other contents include memos by the Pope, Sean AP Ryan’s resume, an an essay on how this insanity came together.