Storyline of Better Days
The storyline of Jay Naylor's comic Better Days (2003-2009) follows approximately 25 years of fictional history in the lives (including romances, tragedies, triumphs and quandaries) of Fisk and Lucy Black, two Georgia-born cats, and their family and friends.
- Chapter 1: "Honest Girls" - Fisk has his sister Lucy deliver a love note to a popular girl, who turns him down after another girl reads it aloud to other girls in a locker room.
- Chapter 2: "How to Impress" - While Fisk attempts to impress Jenny's parents, Lucy refers him to a Bible verse where David presented foreskins to King Saul in order to marry his daughter.
- Chapter 3: "My Sister's Keeper" - While taking care of his sick sister, Fisk accidentally gives Lucy the wrong medicine, resulting in a family emergency with Lucy's life in the balance and Fisk's guilt issues overwhelming him.
- Chapter 4: "The Bedbutter Chronicles" - An example of one of Naylor's more political arcs, Fisk's mouth gets him in trouble with his Democratic teacher. When Sheila comes in for a parent-teacher conference, she and Mrs. Bedbutter get into a heated argument dealing with feminist issues.
- Chapter 5: "Predators" - Sheila goes on a date with Principal Longfellow, whom she met in the last chapter. He lies about having known Sheila's deceased husband during the war, and when she confronts him about it, he rapes her. Fisk catches him, and knocks him unconscious with a baseball bat. Longfellow dies under suspicious circumstances while undergoing reconstructive surgery (it is hinted that Sheila's dead husband's CO, the friend that alerted her to the lie, is involved in Longfellow's death).
- Chapter 6: "Tough Love" - An 11-year-old female hyena named Nikki shows her interest in 10-year-old Fisk; the two end up having sex. The FBI discovers that the hyena's father is wanted for murder and rape, and it's implied that he sexually abuses his children, a reason why the girl insisted on sex with Fisk.
- Chapter 7: "Of Mice and Idiots" - A new year at school, and most of the girls have hit puberty - except for Elizabeth, whom Fisk asks out after Lucy blackmails him.
- Chapter 8: "Chess" - Fisk has a discussion about war and human nature over a game of chess with a family friend.
- Chapter 9: "Lucy's Mom" - Ted, a football player at school, asks Lucy out in order to get closer to her mom.
- Chapter 10: "Brother's Arms" - When Lucy finds out the truth behind Ted dating her, she's an emotional wreck. When Fisk comforts her, things take a turn for the intimate. This marks the beginning of Lucy and Fisk's incestuous relationship; it is implied that this the relationship continues on and off until Lucy leaves for college and Fisk leaves for the Army.
- Chapter 11: "Armed and Amorous" - Ready to date again but concerned about safety after the Longfellow incident, Sheila seeks self-defense training from Sam Tobs, a next-door neighbor in a cold marriage. They end up becoming intimate, only giving fodder to the private investigator Tobs' jealous wife hired.
- Chapter 12: "Exemplary Girls" - It's time for the Halloween Dance, and Fisk is hooked up with a cheerleader's sister who turns out to be the polar opposite of her sibling - a Wiccan lesbian. Womanizer Randy asks Lucy to the dance, which turns into nothing short of a drama fest. Lucy also becomes worried she may have caught something when she discovers Randy didn't use a condom while having sex with her after the dance.
- Chapter 13: "Thicker Than Water" - The Black family visits relatives when they hear their grandfather is dying. Fisk decides to join the army.
- Chapter 14: "All the Wrong Places" - Lucy seeks out relationship advice from her roommates while getting used to life at the University of Georgia. She ends up fooling around with Tommy, the boyfriend of one of her roommates, Rachel, who has been unsuspectingly cheated on for years. Fisk visits Lucy after finishing basic training at Fort Benning.
- Chapter 15: "Reconciliation" - While in training, Fisk injures himself, and his nurse turns out to be Nikki, the same hyena from his childhood.
- Chapter 16: "Lucy Black" - Lucy has to deal with office politics during her internship at CNN. Tommy has to deal with his Catholic parents in the aftermath of his breakup with Rachel and his new relationship with Lucy.
- Chapter 17: "Trial By Fire" - When Fisk's about to finish his service in the army, The Gulf War (Operation Desert Storm) begins, and he's dragged into the fight.
- Chapter 18: "Reacquainted" - The Gulf War is winding down. Fisk talks to friends about what they'll do when their service terms are over.
- Chapter 19: "Party Girls" - Robert proposes to Jessica, and the Bachelor/Bachelorette parties are planned. However, this leads to trouble over strippers being booked for both.
- Chapter 20: "The Art of Living" - Lucy hears news of a disastrous U.S. Army operation in Somalia, where Fisk's Ranger unit is operating (the incident later becoming known as the infamous Battle of Mogadishu). The Black family and their friends agonize over whether Fisk is alright or not. Their fears are put to rest when Fisk manages to call them, only having suffered minor injuries from the fight (despite claiming to have not gotten a scratch). Later on, Fisk's lover Beth goes to New York to display her artwork at her sister's gallery, and starts to believe Fisk may be the one for her.
- Chapter 21: "Father's Footsteps" - Fisk learns that his late father had an undercover CIA job, and that when his father died, the agency went rogue. He agrees to join what may now amount to an illegal terrorist organization. It is subsequently shown that they endorse bombs, murder, and 'above the law' (Black <pun?>) operations, with an emphasis on out of country 'spook' work. The rogue nature of the group may also only be a cover, as Fisk's mother Shiela, got a hold of her late husband's former C.O., Robert Kelso, at his office at the C.I.A. Operations Division in chapter 5 "Predators", after the agency supposedly went rogue. The group bears some similarities to "The Campus" from Tom Clancy's Teeth of the Tiger. In both cases, the organizations operate without government oversight or authorization, and fronts as financial trading firms .
- Chapter 22: "Roll Play" - Lucy gets talked into joining a Zombie Campaign in a D&D game by Tommy along with three of his friends.
- Chapter 23: "Persia" - Fisk tracks down his cousin Persia when she goes missing.
- Chapter 24: "Men And Women" - Lucy stumbles across Aron and Beth having sex and finds herself being attracted to Aron, while Elizabeth catches her husband David cheating on her and starts her own affair with Fisk. Afterwards she finally confronts David and leaves him and she says that she's finally happy because she's in love with Fisk. Meanwhile, lucy tells Beth about her attraction to Aron, but she finally decided to solve her problem by going to 'get him' and Beth thinks she's going to have sex with Aron. But to her surprise, she goes to Tommy's office and kisses him and tells him to come to her apartment after work. They both spend the night have sex and rekindling their love for each other, and Lucy finally realizes that she truly loves Tommy and asks him to move in with her.
- Chapter 25: "Better Days" - the conclusion of Better days: Beth and Aron begin their new lives in Florida, Persia and her boyfriend Flounce receive sympathy back pay and severance from Persia's old porn director, and newly-married Fisk and Elizabeth decide to have children.
The following is not to be considered serious or at all accurate. What follows is a collection of visual clues seen in the comic throughout its run so far and was assembled into a rough timeline.
- The main characters are first seen as nine year old kittens at the start of the comic. At the same time, the political button on Miss Bedbutter's shirt has the number 80 on it, further solidifying the time period of the arc being in 1980.
- The song "Into the Groove" is used in Chapter 9 and that same song was released in 1985 as the B-Side of the single "Angel" and was featured in the movie "Desperately Seeking Susan" that same year. Both Fisk and Lucy are 14 in that arc and starting high school as freshmen at that time.
- About a third of the way through Chapter 11, a 1985 calendar turned to November can be seen on the wall of Sheila's home office.
- "The Wall" is visibly seen and they have graduated or are very close to graduating high school which places the two main characters at about 17 or 18 years old.
When taken into consideration, the following trivia can be assumed:
- Fisk and Lucy were born in 1971.
- The comic starts in 1980.
- They enter high school in 1985.
- They graduate from high school in 1989 (somewhere between chapters 13 and 14). Operation Desert Storm will begin two years from their graduation.
- Actual concrete evidence of the current date is seen in the last strip of Chapter 21. In it, Fisk receives plane tickets for a flight that arrives at its destination on May 11th, 1993. Fisk is also shown to have fought in the infamous Battle of Mogadishu in Somalia, which occurred in October of that same year.
With research done, this could be the most accurate timeline (year, age of the Black twins):
- Chapter 1: Honest Girls - 1980, 9
- Chapter 2: How To Impress - 1980, 9
- Chapter 3: My Sister's Keeper - 1980, 9
- Chapter 4: The Bedbutter Chronicles - 1980, 9
- Chapter 5: Predator - 1980, 9
- Chapter 6: Tough Love - 1981, 10
- Chapter 7: Of Mice And Idiots - 1983, 12
- Chapter 8: Chess - 1984, 13
- Chapter 9: Lucy's Mother - 1985, 14
- Chapter 10: Brother's Arms - 1985, 14
- Chapter 11: Armed And Amorous - 1985-1986, 14-15
- Chapter 12: Exemplary Girls - 1987, 16
- Chapter 13: Thicker Than Water - 1988, 17
- Chapter 14: All The Wrong Places - 1989, 18
- Chapter 15: Reconciliation - 1989, 18
- Chapter 16: Lucy Black - 1990, 19
- Chapter 17: Trial By Fire - 1990-1991, 19-20
- Chapter 18: Reacquainted - 1991, 20
- Chapter 19: Party Girls - 1992, 21
- Chapter 20: The Art Of Living - 1992, 21
- Chapter 21: Father's Footsteps - 1993, 22
- Chapter 22: Roll Play - 1993, 22
- Chapter 23: Persia - 1993, 22
- Chapter 24: Men And Women - 1994-1995, 23-24
- Chapter 25: Better Days - 1995-1997, 24-26
- Birth of Lucy and Tommy's son Leo- 1997-1998, 26-27
- Birth of Fisk and Elizabeth's daughter Janie- 1998-1999, 27-28
- Birth of Fisk and Elizabeth's son Thomas- 2000-2001, 29-30
- Birth of Fisk and Elizabeth's daughter Abigail- 2002-2003, 31-32
- Birth of Aron and Beth's daughter Lillith- 2004-2005, 33-34
- 1. Clancy, Tom (2003). Teeth of the Tiger, The. G.P. Putnam & Son. ISBN 0-3991-5079-X.