Campaign of the Month: October 2017
Blood & Bourbon
Neurotic academic with a god complex
“It’s not that you’ll never be anything. Everyone is something! You’ll just never be anything that matters.”
Appearance & Attire
Zoe’s style is the fiery clash of stuffy prim and formal proper against rebellious trims and satanic trappings of mid-2000’s rock culture. The daughter of a congressman is born into a life of expectation more than a life of privilege. Expectation in behavior; in schooling; in friendships, and romance. Certainly, there is an expectation in how one presents themselves to the world, whether at a formal ball or on the streets of New Orleans. Zoe toes the line—or, sometimes smashes the line entirely with a hammer, if she’s feeling particularly a cunt—between respecting her parents’ wishes and earning their ire with scandalous choices in clothing and makeup.
Growing taller than her sisters in conjunction with a family nutritionist that embodied function over form more than any member of the NOLA aristocracy yielded a distaste for food and a diet marginally shy of healthy intake for Zoe, giving her a more-slender-than-healthy appearance by the time she developed her mid-adolescent body. She’s since told the woman that if she ever so much as breathes a thought of nutritional advice in the same room, she’ll not only have her fired, but will have her serving O’Tolley’s on the midnight shift and order it weekly.
Name: Zoe Josephine Kelly
Aliases: None. She gave you a name. Fucking use it.
Date of Birth: July 19, 1990 (New Orleans, Louisiana)
Weight: 119 lbs
Eye Color: Blue
Hair Color: Brown
Complexion: Pale, well-maintained, smooth
Education: Ph.D. Biology (Tulane University, 2014—present), M.S. Biology (Tulane University, 2012—2014), B.S. Biology (Georgetown University, 2008—2012)
Occupation: Clerk, Hex (2010—present), senatorial intern, Joseph Kelly (2010—2011)
Born the daughter to a lecherous pig who’d sooner curl up on a deathbed of glittering gold and gems than ever dream of carving his own path and a paragon of feminine power, Zoe was forced into a realization early in her life: she could either wade through the mire of mediocrity and clamber up the mountain of corpses, or sink into complacency and become one more hindering footstep in the way of someone who mattered.
The first in a new generation of Kellys, Zoe had everything she could want or need as a child, from a live-in nanny to early enrollment in the city’s finest preschool (McGehee School for Girls, thank you very much). What she didn’t have were parents. Although Rosalyn and Bob planned on further children to carry on the Kelly name, at the youthful ages of 31 and 25, their careers were only just beginning to bloom. Rosalyn had ambitions of running New Orleans’ financial system and she would not allow those ambitions to be derailed by something as trivial as caring for her daughter. Bob was snooze-yawning his way into a political career prepared by Zoe’s grandfather, and the less said of his initiative as a father, the better.
Dran Frescher was the unsuspecting candidate chosen from a lengthy list of applicants to care for their first daughter. Though she had minimal experience in rearing children, the soon-to-be-congressman was adamant on her hiring, citing an innate fondness between infant Zoe and her.
By the age of 4, Zoe had proudly learned the difference between red, purple, and not throwing paint at her teacher. Of course, this didn’t prevent any future paint-or-otherwise related incidents. She simply learned the difference, and that sometimes who you are is more important than how old you are.
It was when Zoe began first grade that she met Susan Malveaux, and subsequently her sister Charlotte through a playdate. The three became fast friends, and the members of young Charlotte’s class only needed a single reminder that should she be bullied, they would have the two of them to mete consequences magnitudes greater.
Zoe shined as a star among her peers, and her merit earned her a seat in an accelerated curriculum. However, the brightest stars die first, and the mind that burns so brightly is only a gift when metered by healthy expectations. Her grandfather had pressed her to join McGehee’s debate team, citing it as a preparatory exercise for any budding politician. Zoe veiled her absent interest in behind a polite smile and a nod, but assented that he was correct and quickly found enjoyment in relieving others of any confidence behind the sturdiness of their argument. Her mother refused to see a world where her daughter wasn’t a gleaming pinnacle of business know-how, and so signed her up for Model Entrepreneurs. Susan talked Zoe down from proposing her ingenious—at least, to her—faux-business mechanizing local drug lords into a supply chain for pharmaceutical companies. Susan realized Zoe had an ethical grey-streak. Zoe realized Susan may have sat on a stick.
One extra-curricular, then two. An extra assignment. A bonus credit. An opportunity to volunteer at the hospital. Another extra-curricular. The track team would look great! Don’t you want to go somewhere worthy of the Kelly name? Two extra assignments—both due the next day! Yes mom. Yes grandfather. Yes Mr. Morris. Of course, Ms. Laurent! Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yesyesyesyesyes. Always yes.
Her parents would regret that in hindsight. They weren’t concerned about her red-lining stress. All high-school kids were stressed! It was part of that stage of their career. No, their regret in Zoe skipping a grade is that it allowed her to meet and befriend the year-older Samantha Watts in Honors Physics, who had recently transferred in to McGehee.
Sami and Zoe were keys to each other’s kingdoms. Zoe became Sami’s guide to luxury and privilege she’d longed to be part of. Contrarily, Sami led Zoe down a filthy path into underage drinking, recreational drugs, and casual sex.
During some of these unsavory fetes, Zoe was introduced to freedom of expression like never before; a complete lax in expectations, and the need to be anyone but you who were in the deepest chambers of your heart; to sing because a song bubbled up inside you, and to fuck with books on witchcraft because it sounded like a rebelliously-fun, good idea. Both of these would become strong interests for the girl and would drive her hobbies for years in the future.
With every lofted heart through positive experience comes the inevitable precipice and sudden drop into the void. Zoe had lied to her parents about her comings and goings, claiming study groups and evening school programs and meetings at the local (see: secure, safe, within their development) park. The deeper she delved into vice, and the more she eschewed her boundaries, the harder it became to cover where she really was.
Recovery & Self-Loathing
Addiction has a way of eating you from the inside out. You don’t feel it consuming you at first, and those in your life don’t see the bits of flesh disappearing inside you until that necrosis finally reaches your skin, and that facade you held unknowing even to yourself cracks and burns and is eaten through, revealing that ugly truth you held inside you; that creature you nurtured like a child in-womb through every little concession and excuse you made.
Zoe was ugly. So ugly. She was a hideous creature; a sickness that needed to be purged; a living vessel of sin and…
She’d lost her way.
She’d lost it, and though she’d recovered in a manner of weeks, her home had become a prison cell. A necessary prison cell, mind. She lost her phone and never tired of regaling her friends that “the contacts were deleted, the SIM card ran through a shredder once, then perpendicular, then baked at 400F for 30 minutes and blended into a smoothie, which was then fed to the dogs.” She was fortunate that her parents hadn’t learned of AIM and that the internet could be used for chat as much as schoolwork in the middle 2000s, or she might have, in her words, “died from loneliness.” Still, for a time she kept her contact with Sami and her band—something she’d become part of during that era of her life—to a minimum, lest she be tempted off her set path once more.
She didn’t see them again. Not that year. Not the next.
A Return to Greatness
With her somewhat-self-imposed isolation, Zoe’s performance in academia took a leap toward the stars, and despite her hiccup, she managed to land a secure position at Georgetown University’s biology track by the time she graduated McGehee in 2008. She could be anything she wanted. She had the path to a prestigious degree before her. She had a powerful father, an even more powerful grandfather, and a wealthy mother. With their triple influence and her intellect, she could—in time—find a job doing almost anything she wanted, or create a business herself through their funding.
She moved to Washington D.C. to attend her first year of college, where she would be independent but still not too far away from Daddy, Granddaddy, and their congressional staffs. Given years of trust rebuilt, she was allowed the freedom to make her own decisions, which included living on her own and being granted a car for travel. Zoe would do well in her time at Georgetown, and in the years between 2008 and 2012 she would acquire a Bachelors of Science, placing summa cum laude. She returned to New Orleans to earn a Masters of Science in Biology at Tulane University, and was accepted into a prestigious PhD program at Tulane School of Medicine.
Over the years, Zoe rekindled friendships with many of the people she’d bonded with during her darkest teen months, including Sami Watts; the one she felt hadn’t quite matured in the ten years she’d known her, and the one she felt the need to pull up from the mud.
How many years had it been since she felt that temptation? That vice, prodding at her heart and mind? It wasn’t Sami’s fault. She didn’t blame her. Not really. She’d offered. That was all.
Do it. Just once. You’re a big girl. They’ll never know.
You’ve grown so much. You’re stronger. Stronger than anyone. You can overcome anything; resist anything.
It was the soft brush of a lover’s tongue in her ear, and the firm hand she loved at her throat at the same time, all without a motion or word spoken. It was her; her mind; her will; her spirit.
Broken. A will shattered as if made from imperfect glass.
When her family learned of her relapse, the action was swift and absolute: she would keep the family name, but lest she drag them with her, she would keep nothing else. No allowance. No living space. No transportation, and they would be writing President McGregor to recommend termination of her program, close as it was to finishing.
They couldn’t take that from her. Tulane couldn’t lose a star. Not when she was likely to make them a fair sum when she graduated if she chose to stick around with them.
But with nothing to support her, how could she continue?
To acquire a place to stay. Given that she was evicted, she’s currently without a place to go at all.
To finish her PhD, by any means necessary. Without an income to live on and a place to stay, the meager salary that provides her may not be enough.
During her years exploring the side of life her parents would have rather she had left rotting on the side of the road, Zoe came to understand a love for music. She’d sung throughout her youth in private moments—the showers, as so many did, or the car—but a deep-seated fear of judgment—or worse, being pressed to hone her talent with expectation beyond her own enjoyment—precluded her from pursuing singing in any forum. The care-free nature of her new friends opened her eyes and opportunity to the fact that she could be herself without pressure. It was that freedom to explore and a drunken night of karaoke at Saturn that she finally said why not? and formed their amateur alternative-punk-with-a-twist-of-lime rock band, Deep-fried Orphan Tears. They would go on to become a fairly popular local group in the indie music scene.
At the same time—and courtesy of the same group—Zoe found herself reading through the early pages of Witchcraft and YOU: From Growing Glorious Gardens to Punishing Pernicious Peckers. Those few pages sparked a roaring flame of interest in the occult, much to her family’s chagrin—though it took her parents a few years to learn of the hobby. Even her sister’s felt that she’d taken her interests a hair too far, but Zoe found catharsis in studying the workings of spells and ritual, even if she didn’t entirely believe it would ever bear fruit. It was fun. It gave her hope. That was all she needed.
Home is where the heart is, and hers is broken.
Zoe is the unstoppable force that makes the immovable object quit its job and return home to seek therapy on giving life meaning again. She is a driving force of her own desire, and all but a select few people in her life are either tools to make her own lofty dreams blossom, or toys to play with.
• Charlotte Malveaux: A childhood friend. They continue to be relatively close to this day, despite their distance.
Christopher Downs: Zoe’s boyfriend. Worked as an assistant district attorney with aspirations of becoming DA someday. Cheated on Zoe, revealed in a coffee shop during the Worst Day Ever and died under mysterious circumstances.
• Samantha “Sami” Watts: A friend of Zoe’s from high school. She first introduced her to the underbelly of party life, and a number of fair-weather friends through that. Without her, Zoe’s life would have been a clean and straightforward track, but she doesn’t blame her.
• Susan Malveaux: A childhood friend. They fell out of touch when she decided to become a fucking nun.
• Arthur ‘Artie’ ‘The Commander’ ‘Command Deez Nutz’ Dolan: Long-time friend of Zoe’s since childhood. Their relationship danced on the edge of romance throughout high school, resulting in several short-lived flings, but the two never lasted long enough to develop beyond friends. Plays XYZ in Deep-Fried Orphan Tears.
• Cassidy McGinnes: Met Zoe at a party during her middle-adolescence, bonded over a shared enjoyment for music, pineapple on pizza, and rolling eyes at Arthur. Plays the electric fiddle in Deep-Fried Orphan Tears.
• Darcy Quillen: Friend of Zoe, but only because she feels she has to due to the on-again-of-again romantic connection between her and Darcy. Zoe never understood why Cassidy continues to entertain her, and considers Darcy ‘a toad, but less successful’. Plays bass for Deep-Friend Orphan Tears, though Zoe has suggested a number of replacements over the years.
• Lezlee Sides: Friend of Zoe, and she means it, though the two haven’t always been on good terms. Along with Sami, she helped Zoe fall hard into a life of carefree debauchery. When Zoe’s parents forced her to correct her ‘errors’, the pair fell out of contact, which Lezlee didn’t let go for a few years. The terms ‘traitor’ and ‘typical white daddy’s girl’ were thrown around, courtesy of Lezlee. Zoe feels that if she applied as much effort toward ‘challenges’ as she did toward throwing a mean party, she’d probably be the wealthiest woman in NOLA. Shares a singing role in Deep-Fried Orphan Tears with Zoe.
• Tyler Macintosh: Past member of Deep-Fried Orphan Tears. As the circle grew up, his persistent need to talk down on anyone not present grated on Lezlee and Artie, and Zoe agreed. Little spits evolved into fiery fights, and in the end he went his own way. Arthur never saw the irony in calling Tyler a ‘wrinkled choad’ once he left the room.
• Hillary Cherry: Met Zoe during one of her and Arthur’s many hangouts post-closing at the Commander’s Palace. Though she’s never said it to her face, Zoe pities her for incessant need for validation by whoever gives her attention that night. Something in that pity brings out Zoe’s dead, motherly drive, and in the end she finds a need to care for the girl. Sometimes.
• Moonshadow: Single long-term member of Astral Tulane, and one of the few that play with the occult in Zoe’s circle with real belief behind it.
• Big Eddie: Zoe’s dealer once she’d been sufficiently indoctrinated into drug-life in her teens, and continues to be her dealer in the current day. Though the two aren’t ‘friends’, there’s something to be said about customer loyalty over so long a period, and Zoe’s connections brought him plenty of business here and there.
• 1. Joseph Kelly (b. 1926) + Dorothy Kelly (née Lawless) (b. 1931)
Bethany Whitney (née Kelly) (b. 1951, d. 2008) + Lyman Whitney (b. 1949)
• 3. Warren Whitney III (b. 1972) + unknown mother
• 4. Sarah Whitney (b. 1998)
Rebecca Whitney (b. 1986, d. 2004)
• 2. Edward Kelly (b. 1957) + (his wife)
• 3. (Edward’s children)
• 2. Robert “Bob” Kelly (b. 1965) + Rosalyn Kelly (née Dyer) (b. 1959)
• 3. Zoe Kelly (b. 1990)
• 3. Gabriella Kelly (b. 1992) + (Gabriella’s husband)
• 4. (Gabriella’s children)
• 3. Samuel Kelly (b. 1994)
• 3. Susannah Kelly (b. 1998)
William Dyer Sr. (b. 1900, d. 1962) + Mollie Boyd (b. 1900, d. 1973)
• 2. John Dyer (b. 1927) +
Ellen Boyd (née Hyde) (b. 1928, d. 2004)
• 3. (John’s adoptive children)
• 4. (John’s adoptive grandchildren)
• 5. (John’s adoptive great-grandchildren)
• 2. John Dyer (b. 1927) + (his second wife)
• 3. Vera Malveaux (née Dyer) (b. 1957) + Matthew Malveaux (b. 1954)
• 4. Adam Malveaux (b. 1985)
• 4. Savannah Malveaux (b. 1987)
• 4. Susan Malveaux (b. 1990)
• 4. Charlotte Malveaux (b. 1992)
• 4. Elaine Malveaux (b. 1994)
• 4. Virginia Malveaux (b. 1996)
• 2. John Dyer (b. 1927) + (his third wife)
William Dyer Sr. (b. 1900, d. 1962) + Clara Dyer (née Beaumont)
William Dyer Jr. (b. 1928, d. 2007) + (his second wife)
• 3. Nicholas Dyer (b. 1956) + (his wife)
• 4. James Dyer (b. 1984)
• 3. Rosalyn Kelly (née Dyer) (b. 1959) + Robert “Bob” Kelly (b. 1965)
• 4. Zoe Kelly (b. 1990)
• 4. Gabriella Kelly (b. 1992) + (Gabriella’s husband)
• 5. (Gabriella’s children)
• 4. Samuel Kelly (b. 1994)
• 4. Susannah Kelly (b. 1998)
Mildred Ramsey (née Dyer) (b. 1931, d. 2014)
• 3+. (See: The Ramsey family)