Clyde Spendelworth is a villain in the Gerosha multiverse, spanning various versions of The Gerosha Chronicles in Dozerfleet Comics. He featured first in the 2009 Ferris Access Channel miniseries Blood Over Water, and also features in the 2013 novelization of it in the Cataclysmic Gerosha continuity. He replaces Bob Lusital as the CEO of Sleet Mountain, a water bottling plant that hides a sinister agenda behind what at first seems a benevolent operation. He was portrayed from behind by Zach Foster in the 2009 miniseries.
Clyde decided at some point in 2009 that Sleet Mountain wasn't turning enough of a profit. Its shares were down as a company. The bottling plant was inefficient, and produced a lot of waste. His solution was to dump it into a pond not far from the plant. However, he lied about have proper waste removal companies continue to take the pond water away. This was so that he could avoid penalties from the EPA. He initially involved three of his most trusted men in on the conspiracy: Mark Stefflin, Chris Kennal, and George Lawence. However, Mark, in Chris' words, "thought he was too good for the plan." When Mark steals a "Confidential" manilla envelope filled with folders containing redacted files on Clyde's scheme, Clyde orders Chris and Ashley to head over to Mark's house and assassinate him. The plan proves largely successful, with Ashley getting Mark to open the door and Chris able to strangle Mark to death. However, Chris fails to find the "Classified" information. He has a meeting with George and conspiracy newcomer Kyle Tugrass about their need to go over and look. When Aaron Stefflin gets involved due to his curiosity at Mark's disappearance, Clyde's plans begin falling apart rapidly. He sits back quietly in the background, however, trusting that Chris and George will handle everything.
However, Clyde overestimates Chris' loyalty. When Chris murders George and Kyle in order to avoid having to execute Aaron and Monica, Clyde demands that Chris come in and "fix things." Chris instead tells Clyde off and then flees town. Clyde is left to his own device to distance himself from the murders, as well as to keep Sleet Mountain from being shut down due to the heavy lawsuits brought on it by the EPA when they learn how they've been tricked.
Clyde is revealed in this continuity to have been a very cruel and manipulative genius, as well as a monstrous sexual predator. He became the overseer of a ruthless cartel called "Gleeful-N-Young," which gained control in numerous pimps across the US. Gleeful-N-Young was infamous for not always making sure the models it abducted and enslaved were of legal age for the activities they were expected to engage in. Clyde manages at one point to break the psychotic George Lawence out of a mental health facility, then recruits him to work for him. He soon engineers his way into the ranks of Sleet Mountain's corporate structure, where he befriends the naive Bob Lusital. Bob makes moves to declare Clyde his heir, as Bob plans his own retirement. However, Clyde makes that arrive sooner than Bob planned when he sends George to assassinate Bob.
Clyde immediately begins converting Sleet Mountain Lower Northern's bottling plant into a front, so that he can store archives of Gleeful-N-Young videos in a vault. Vance Lingolin, a worker at the plant, grows suspicious that something's up. He uncovers evidence that Gleeful-N-Young has been at the company. Clyde tries to blackmail him, along with a few other workers at the plant, into going along with his scheme. He also involves them in his cleanup fraud plans. He initially gets Chris Kennal and Mark Stefflin on board to help out, along with George specifically to make them uncomfortable about saying no.
However, Vance refused to go along with plans as Clyde laid them out. He did his own research before the group meeting, and learned about the Gleeful-N-Young archives. When he walked out of the warehouse and threatened to expose everyone, George followed Vance out. Vance was never seen again. Clyde decides from there to lure the easily-corrupted Kyle Tugrass into getting involved as a replacement for Vance. Chris, George, and Kyle form a band of hitmen that carry out Clyde's bidding whenever anyone threatens to expose either the cleanup fraud scheme or Clyde's link to Gleeful-N-Young.
Alas, Clyde's manipulations begin to fall apart. The company starts making millions in excess profits, and the trick then becomes how to hide that fact from the IRS and EPA. On top of that, Mark tries to infiltrate the Gleeful-N-Young archives to see if there is anything in them incriminating enough to get Clyde locked away. Mark decides he cannot, in good conscience, cover for a dirty old man like Clyde any longer. He was fine with the cleanup fraud, but the brothels and disappearance of Vance were taking things too far. His initial plan to steal a video is faltered when security hears noises and suspects too much. Mark instead manages to make off with a "Confidential"-labeled manilla envelope filled with folders full of redacted files. The folder contains information about the cleanup fraud Clyde was engaging in. Mark decides that if he is unable to get Clyde in trouble with the FBI and IRS right away, he'll settle for the EPA.
Clyde takes notice immediately that the Confidential files are stolen, but decides to play innocent with the other conspirators in front of out-of-the-loop company employees. He does, however, blackmail Ashley Phillips into going over to Mark's house to persuade him to surrender the folder and "work things out." Realizing that Ashley might defect to Mark's side, he sends Chris to follow Ashley, and to assassinate both of them if necessary. Chris manages to execute Mark with remarkable efficiency; but then decides to spare Ashley's life. He instead forces her to help him remove evidence of the murder. Upon returning with her to Sleet Mountain, Chris is surprised to have been tricked by Clyde. He thought Ashley would be handled properly in fleeing elsewhere. Instead, she is abducted by armed-to-the-teeth thugs from Gleeful-N-Young. Clyde then manipulates Chris into watching a Gleeful-N-Young porn video featuring a young woman similar to Ashley as the similar-looking woman is tortured and raped. Sick to his stomach, Chris begins plotting how to overthrow Clyde - how to succeed where Mark failed. Chris was fine killing over the cleanup fraud. But upon realizing what Clyde was really trying to protect most, Chris prepares to switch sides.
For all of Chris' success with getting rid of Mark, he was unable to find the "Classified" data. Clyde encourages Chris to send George and Kyle over to take care of that minor detail. However, all of Clyde's plans begin falling apart when Aaron Stefflin, Mark's twin brother, gets himself involved by accident. Clyde continues to attempt various manipulations to keep his core assassins hard at work to figure out what's going on. Meanwhile, Chris tries not to let the others know that Aaron is the new target. When that all falls apart, Chris is forced to pretend to go along with an assassination plot against Aaron in order to retain George and Kyle's trust. That Aaron gets Monica involved only further results in Chris becoming morally conflicted. Just like with his miniseries counterpart, novel Clyde overestimates Chris' loyalty. Chris successfully steals a video of a Gleeful-N-Young under-aged prostitute being tortured, then decides to use the addresses contained therein to find out what happened to Ashley. Chris stages the Aaron and Monica execution, but then betrays and shoots dead both Kyle and George when they least expect it. Chris knocks out both Aaron and Monica, separating them and leaving a note for Aaron explaining everything.
Clyde catches wind not too terribly long afterward from a lower-level employee at the company that much of the upper staff is either dead or missing. The phone rings, and the EPA starts demanding answers while threatening a lawsuit. Clyde soon knows that his end is coming, so he contacts a friend at Shiny Horizons and flees town. Sleet Mountain soon finds itself with no leadership, a hefty lawsuit from the EPA, and FBI inspectors everywhere. Clyde manages to have all under-aged prostitutes in the Gleeful-N-Young brothels executed, so that Hebbleskin Gang inspections won't find any. From there, Shiny Horizons buys him out completely. He has a close call when he learns that one of the brothels had been raided by a crazed gunman, one who killed the entire staff of pimps and bodyguards working there. One particularly interesting fact was that a certain Ashley Phillips was among the women who escaped. Clyde immediately deduces that it was Chris who carried out the raid. The personal war between Clyde and Chris officially begins, as both fugitives look for a way to destroy each other while keeping the law far away from themselves.
Clyde has always been portrayed as somewhat "cold" and "unfeeling." He has always also been shown to be insanely greedy and arrogant. While the miniseries did little explore him beyond that, the novel went to great lengths to expand on it. He is portrayed in the novel as also being a tad sadistic, and a depraved dirty old man. He is able to carry out his schemes with a small amount of charm to his demeanor, enough to numb some to the reality of how evil he is. The novel also plays him up to be far more manipulative than his miniseries counterpart, and better at plotting his own escapes.
In the miniseries, he shows zero emotional concern over Chris' guilt-burdened confession of being guilty of triple homicide. In the novel, he seems to actually enjoy the revelation that Chris killed Mark. He gets more logically angry that George and Kyle are dead; but tries to make an appeal to Chris anyway purely out of arrogance. He does, however, show himself in the novel to have the kind of manipulation skills that he would logically have needed to have in the miniseries, but was never expressly revealed to have.
In spite being so central to the entire story of both Blood Over Water and its novel counterpart, Clyde was actually a very late arrival in the story's development process. It wasn't until Part 5 of the miniseries that the class decided that a central figure of evil had to be not-so-secretly pulling the strings behind everything. After all, a company like Sleet Mountain wouldn't suddenly decide to engage in pond pollution and cleanup fraud out of nowhere. Someone at the top had to be behind it. Someone at the top had to also be the reason why Chris, George, and Kyle were so eager to commit murder to cover their tracks. Shoehorning Clyde in at the very end was scriptwriter Angelica McClary's way of attempting to appease the Theory of Narrative Causality. However, the attempt fell flat as there was no longer enough time to develop Clyde into anything more than an excuse for the plot. Viewers learn virtually nothing about him, save for the mere three lines of dialog he gets in the entire show (cut to two in the Dozerfleet edits.)
In this regard, he was even less developed as a character than Ashley Phillips; who at least got to show her face (albeit, poorly lit) when making use of her only two lines of dialog. Clyde was for the only three scenes he got to be in, in a style reminiscent of Dr. Claw from Inspector Gadget. Part of why the creative team went this route was so that Zach Foster could play the role when none of the other candidates were available or willing. Class instructor Nathan Meadows was originally to be cast in the part, but declined. TV program department head Fred Wyman was also suggested for the role, but was not available on the shoot day.
Most telling about Clyde's ominous nature in the miniseries was the fact that he was rarely - if ever - addressed by name by anyone. The miniseries never depicts anyone calling him by his name. His name of "Clyde Spendelworth" was actually chosen some time later, for marketing purposes. The original script merely described him as "the CEO" or "mysterious man." Chris Kennal merely addresses him by pronouns.
When it was decided that the novel would be more of a tragedy / corporate drama rather than a mystery like the miniseries was, the act of Clyde being mysterious was dropped. He was given a full name, a bit of a personality and backstory, and logical motives for most of his crimes. Fans would go from knowing everything about Chris and (almost) nothing about Clyde (or anyone else,) to knowing nearly everything about almost everyone. Much of Clyde's arrogant demeanor and other personality quirks in the novel are inspired by the character of Arthur Petrelli from Heroes.
Having Clyde have motives to use Sleet Mountain as a front to help hide his side operation with the Gleeful-N-Young brothel was part of a move to ensure that he'd become an offensive and despicable villain to both sides of the US political spectrum. Almost nobody identifying as conservative would defend a man who runs a brothel. Ever. And liberals who might go out of their way to perform the moral gymnastics necessary to excuse him for that would not want to be caught defending him for pollution and cleanup fraud. Arguably, this meant the novel dropped some of the character's subtlety and mysterious aura of unknown horror and gloom in exchange for shock value.
Making Clyde an equal-opportunity-offensive bad guy also served to seem as a "balancing act." Given the teacher and his agenda, the miniseries' original script was mandated a bit of a left-wing bias in terms of what motivated the villains. Giving the villains sex-related vices of the sort some on the left might defend, however, made it clear to all viewers that Clyde and his ilk were evil period, without feeling like any particular agenda was being pushed more than another in terms of how to depict them as evil.
His joining of Shiny Horizons at the novel's end, a front for the Hebbleskin Gang, serves as a way to integrate Blood Over Water into the greater whole of The Gerosha Chronicles. The story otherwise appears to happen unto itself, detached from the greater continuity family. Likewise, Clyde gets rid of the under-aged slaves in his brothel, so that the Hebbleskins will work with him. This is a nod to the fact that, going as far back as Ciem in 2007, even the evil Hebbleskin Gang had lines they refused to cross. One of those was an intolerance for child sex trafficking, deemed too evil even for them. (Even as they were willing to murder Phexo children simply for being Phexos.) For this reason, the Hebbleskin Gang targeted the Kerpher Gang for extinction. Clyde eliminates under-aged prostitute business in Gleeful-N-Young because he knows better than to risk putting himself in the same awkward position as Victor Nanale - having very little support from either side of the law.
Much of Clyde's appearance stems from his Sims 3-generated form, which was in-turn sculpted using an Aaron Stefflin template that was slightly modified - and then aged up and given extra weight. This, in turn, is homage to the fact that he was the third character to be played in one fashion or another by Zach Foster in the miniseries. His voice, while intended to sound natural in the novel, was clearly a voice masking effect.
- Clyde's SDCPM file
- Blood Over Water
- Blood Over Water (novel)
- Aaron Stefflin
- Monica Shelly
- George Lawence
- Kyle Tugrass
- Chris Kennal