American Disaster / Tonywrld

American Disaster / Tonywrld is set in the 1980s, entailing the life of Tony Blanco and his strange relationship with the sense of belonging. The story is split in five parts: Suburbia, Splendour & Despair, Runner’s Syndrome, The Bitter Mile and Curtains, the former half narrating Tony’s life and self-discovery in a suburban beach town during his senior year, while the latter half concerns the disasters of his fate and eventual limp back home during his 20s. American Disaster explores Tony’s constantly-distorting purpose in life and the search to call a place home, first mindlessly living through the system in his late teens, before completely abandoning his dignity when it seemed clear that life was never to be fair with him. Despite having died a thousand times, Tony eventually manages to crawl into peace with himself, after having spent 20 years trying to grapple with his fate.


Suburbia is set in the early 1980s in a suburban coastal beach town, colloquially known as Summer-by-the-sea (or simply “Summer” by residents). Summer’s shy population of ~25,000 residents makes it a tightly-knit community, the bulk of it made up of white middle-class Americans. The town is considered to be a dream, largely untouched by tourists yet comfortably populated with those possessing thick pockets to fuel life in the area’s economy. While residences are mostly made up of comfortable suburban homes, there is an area dedicated for low-income housing, “Hyacinth Park”: an odd placement of run-down apartments populated with mostly lower-class Americans and immigrants. The park’s residents find itself in a constant clash with Summer’s more affluent neighbours, the latter often referring to the now-ancient project as a ghetto that was “diseasing” the town. 

Summer, while it has a few commercial blocks, has exactly one school that virtually every child in the town attends, from preschool to senior year. Oceanside is a go-to for many children of the town, and its singularity means that classmates often grew up together and formed close bonds into adulthood. Hearing a Summer born-and-bred child not going into Oceanside is a subject closely monitored and gossiped; there were parents who were affluent enough to send their child into expensive boarding schools outside of town, but outsourcing a school often meant that the particular child did not fit in Oceanside. The pupils’ long and lasting friendships also meant that an outcast would always stay an outcast, and children who had trouble fitting in who eventually transferred somewhere else were generally looked down upon (or at least, was a bottomless source of housewife talk). A rising pride in Summer takes form in a football team, Oceanside Sharks, whose record victories has shifted the school’s budget to mainly sport-oriented ventures, such as the building of courts and sports fields within the past few years.

Summer’s population is mostly concentrated within an area, with its commercial blocks placed strategically near a passing highway, and Oceanside placed somewhat at the centre of the residences. Hyacinth’s Park is situated somewhat at the outskirts. The town has been faithfully mayored by the Bates family for generations, the town carefully and meticulously planned for by Agatha Bates and a group of town councils, with monthly resident meetings to discuss the betterment of the town. A frequent discussion was Hyacinth Park’s existence; the park’s residents managed to argue tirelessly for the park to stay, while their suburban neighbours often muttered of rising crime rates (it was false) and abolishing the project to make way for another school to offset Oceanside’s growing capacity. Otherwise, Summer remains a town whose worst scandal in the past fifty years was a break-in conducted by drunken teens and a few vengeful conducts of vandalism by jealous neighbours.

Tony lives in one of the apartments in Hyacinth Park, with Oceanside being a twenty minute walk. His workplace, Price General Store / Exxon Gas Station, is another ten minutes from Oceanside, and the beaches are almost always some ten minute walk away from any of these locations. Summer has three bus stops; one near Hyacinth Park, one outside Oceanside and one towards the outskirts of town, though Tony is not economically equipped to afford it. Teddy Carter, Tony’s classmate and eventual boyfriend, lives a road away from Oceanside, and his proximity (as well as Tony’s estranged domestic circumstance) makes it easy for Tony to frequent his house after school. The Bates family, including Freddy Bates, live by the docks. Michael “Mickey” Price, Tony’s boss and owner of the Price General Store, lives as far away from the Bates as possible due to past false accusations of tax fraud, living in a complex near Hyacinth Park.


Hyacinth Park
Hyacinth Park is a low-income housing area, comprising four apartment buildings. As its name suggests, the area was built as a parkland, with specially designed jogging trails, outdoor sports facilities and various lakes. The project has been left to ruin when focus shifted towards refining the suburban residences, and the town planners hasn't looked back ever since except with intentions to destroy it to make way for new facilities. Hyacinth Park has its own informal councils of sorts, formed out of the need to fight for the right to reside in Summer. Despite numerous appeals towards the town mayor, Hyacinth Park remains to be run-down and deliberately uncared for, the park maintained by community effort. 

Tony lives in Building D, known to be in the poorest condition out of the four buildings. The apartment consists of a small hallway, leading to a joint kitchen and living room, with only one small bedroom and a barely adequate bathroom. When not moping around in the gas station, Tony locks himself in his room, mostly occupied in moving his bed towards a place where the ceiling doesn't leak and catching up with missed schoolwork. His mother, Igrayne Garcia, sleeps in the living room on a couch. 

Creek Avenue
Known to be one of the two most expensive areas in Summer, reserved for the wealthier population (the other is Boardwalk Road, by the docks). While Summer has mostly been cleared away to make lawns, Creek Avenue is laden with trees at either side of the road, making the area the most sheltered despite the town’s year-long heat. Creek Avenue is located a road away from Oceanside. Teddy lives at the end of Creek Avenue, which leads to Boardwalk Road towards the beach.

Oceanside School
Summer’s only K-12 school, consisting of two buildings for kindergarten-grade school to middle-high school, as well as sports facilities built during the recent years. There is an unspoken yet visible divide between its mostly-white affluent students and Hyacinth Park-resident students, with yearly accusations of the school giving more opportunities towards white affluent students despite their immigrant, poor or coloured counterparts performing just as well, if not better. Oceanside reflects Summer’s wealthy population, equipped with well-paid teachers as well as pristine classrooms, and has a field that can accommodate the town’s monthly meetings. Despite backdoor efforts of segregation, the school has a pass rate of nearly 95%.

Price General Store / Exxon Gas Station
The town’s one of two gas stations, the other one placed nearest to the passing highway. Due to its placement, the gas station rarely has any customers. The general store, however, is popularly visited by the residents of Hyacinth Park due to its relatively cheap prices and outsourcing of imported goods, such as spices. Its owner, Michael “Mickey” Price, is known to be incredibly bitter to his white middle-class customers, due to a past town assembly where suburban residents reviewed the town’s planning and voted his place to be “as shoddy as Hyacinth Park”. An additional accusation of his store being a front organization by Agatha Bates created tension between them, making the gas station relatively empty due to further boycott from white residents.


Tony Blanco
The protagonist of American Disaster, often in a state of disconnect from reality. Tony is constantly in a state of recluse, believing that he is not of importance to anyone else, finding it difficult to crack himself open until Teddy brings a sense of purpose to his life. He feels no sense of belonging in Summer and lives his life in cycles, living in fear of his adulthood where, eventually, the cycle would break, and he'd have to rebuild himself again from square one.

Teddy Carter
Tony's later acquaintance, as well as his eventual highschool sweetheart. Characterized by his passion and optimism, Tony often seeks refuge in Teddy's presence, finding Teddy to be some sort of piece of life he'd barely salvaged - except it was the other way round. Teddy greatly cherishes Tony despite the latter's oddity, and helped Tony slowly opn up to the highs of life until Tony disappears without a word.

Freddy Bates
A boy who chose to exert his rage by absolute control and tyranny to those who cannot fight against it. His victims are most often pronounced Hyacinth Park residents, bullying them for financial gain or simply for the jest of it. His senior year has been mostly focused on making Tony's life as miserable as possible. Funnily enough, when making acquaintances - especially towards the rich and popular (Teddy) - he sucks up to them, almost like a bootlicker, hiding any of his ill intent.

Michael “Mickey” Price
A gruff, intimidating figure who lends his softness only to those who needed it. He's quite notorious for barking off Summer's racist white residents, only hospitable to those he deemed worthy of his respect. A key, almost fatherly figure in Tony's life, he helps the latter financially, feeding the 'kid' and offering him snacks and an assortment of gizmos. Despite Tony's reluctance to open up despite his efforts, Mickey always looks out for him whenever he can.

Felicia Carter “Mrs. Carter”
Teddy's adoptive mother, whose charitable personality largely influenced her son's upbringing. She's known around town to be a kind woman, especially less conservative than her peers. She dotes fondly on her son, and her adoration extends towards his friends - consequently, he accepts Tony as her second son, and often invites Tony simply to have him around, even if Teddy wouldn't be part of it.

Oceanside Sharks
Oceanside Sharks is Oceanside’s highschool football team, captained by Teddy Carter, including Freddy Bates and several members of his crew. The team is composed of many of Teddy’s closest friends, who either bonded with him through football or joined football due to being Teddy’s acquaintance. Tony later becomes familiar with team members outside of Freddy’s crew, though Teddy keeps them in the dark about their relationship until he reaches his 20s.

Agatha Bates
The town’s mayor, and Freddy’s mother. An intricately diligent and disciplined woman at the front, enthusiastic for the betterment of the town, but was revealed to be incredibly authoritarian with her son. By the time Freddy moved out, she had mostly lost her composure and was voted out to be replaced by Michael Price by the end of Runner’s Syndrome.

Igrayne Garcia
Tony’s mother. Her presence is incredibly passive in Suburbia, most often only denoted by her absence. She's relatively invisible and clammed up - not even Tony knows where she works.

Splendour & Despair

Splendour & Despair is set in the middle and late 1980s, in the small port town of Everton. Despite being a relatively small town of 11km², its empty and sparse population gives off the impression of endlessness. It's a commuter town made up of mostly an aging population, with a peculiar concentration of a student population surrounding Everton College, with a shopping centre uphill some few kilometres away. The town is mostly shrouded by fog from the nearby port, infamously known for its small commercial fishery and quiet beaches. The only movement the town has seen in the last few decades is the regular commute of students to its only college, as well as surviving bars and taverns—a remnant of the popular fishing town filled with sailors that Everton used to be. There is a certain feeling of unease in the town; even residents, whose families grew up in Everton throughout multiple generations, generally feel as if they do not quite belong. While the economy is relatively stable and rent is cheap for the youth, Everton's uneasiness drives any prospective residents away from living here. 

Besides population concentration difference—those staying near Everton College's apartments versus quiet houses near the commercial blocks—there's not much that Everton has to offer, besides the quiet. The only ongoing trouble the town has is near-constant complaint of those living in the student apartments, citing loud parties and general disturbance. Everton's aging population quietly resents its student population, yet remain mostly tight-lipped as many employees of the commercial block are youths, not to mention most of those "rowdy" lot are their own children and grandchildren. As Everton is surrounded by similar sleepy commuter towns, many go to Everton for its community college, as it's the only of the only few colleges in the county.

The only apartments available for rent are the student apartments, an extension of Everton College to house its students. Coloquially referred to as the Everton Block or simply the Block, the singe-floor apartment rows sit adjacent to Everton College. Despite its straight and monochrome appearance, many consider the Block as the liveliest part of Everton. Due to the students being concentrated in one area, those living in the Block are are tightly knitted to each other, causing a non-intentional divide between "Block residents" and "non-Block residents". The apartments have single, double, or three-bedroom options, and is generally considered to be economically friendly to students. Renting with a non-student is uncommon, but is allowed on a case-by-case basis.

Tony began sleeping around the port, before eventually moving in with Michelangelo "Mike" Romano, Olivia "Goya" Spruce and Silas Dean. Mike is a non-student, working part-time in the town's local fishery, as well as the town's infamous dealer of common party drugs. Both Goya and Silas are enrolled as students studying for associate degrees, for arts in teaching and business administration respectively. Tony works in a gas station, whereas Goya works in a community centre.


Everton College
One of the few community colleges in the county, Everton College brings in numerous students from both Everton and the towns surrounding it. The college itself is nothing noteworthy to an outsider, but it unites the youth from the county, bringing them in exactly one building. The college, however, notoriously hosts campus parties in order to offset private parties in the student apartments—a compromise made between the school and the adult population to reduce rowdiness in the apartment area, where it's closer to the town's regular residences. While Mike Romano is not an Everton student, most know him as "Goya's friend" who lounges around campus to meet a few friends, as well as the campus party's "unofficial" dealer. Unsurprisingly, Everton's students provides Mike a few easy customers. It's a rumour that Everton likes to keep its town records clean, and hence the campus turns a blind eye to Mike's shenanigans—which would explain why Mike didn't seem too afraid to get caught.

Everton Block
Referred to more commonly as simply the "Block", a good proportion of Everton's students rent here as they study. While an extension of Everton College, the college itself has no responsibility over the apartments. Any non-student renters were approved on a case-by-case basis. The apartment blocks are no higher than two floors, though vary in size depending on the amount of bedrooms offered. Mike, Goya and Silas rent a three-bedroom, Tony later on moving in with them. The rent is known to be kind to students, though rumours of possibly abolishing the block have been floating around for the past few years or so, citing neighbours fed up by the nighttime noise.

Opposite the Block and next to the college is a small grocery mart. Mike often cycles between the college, the block, or the mart to sell drugs, sometimes around the port when the college is closed. Mike is extremely well-known to the students, though his "not-my-business" attitude has mostly kept him safe from any unsavory snitches.

Uptown, Everton Commercial Square
Everton's commercial block is nothing short of misery. Many students travel outside town for any indulgent spending, leaving the town's few retail stores to suffer. Some century ago it had been dominated by bars and taverns, as well as inns to accommodate the town's sailor and fishing population. While the bars and inns have survived, many modern stores struggle to flourish. Many shops are barred up or empty; its livelihood only lives at night, when its residents come to dine or visit a bar. It has a port that regularly loads and offloads cargo, and besides the town's local fish market, there's not much else in Everton to visit. Everton has a single gas station, where Tony works as its shopkeeper.


Tony Blanco

Michelangelo "Mike" Romano
Everton's infamous drug dealer—and lesser known as Everton's cargo loader at the port's fishery—Mike is an Everton native, both his grandfathers being fishermen in the last century. Shrouded by an unknown past and a hostile personality, Mike seems to be a personalisation of the town's uneasy feeling; a disturbed guest unwilling—or unable—to be helped or leave. Despite it all, Mike finds belonging in the town's strange atmosphere, only for him to doubt it all over again when Tony's presence threatens his authority.