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In 1997 Combs switched his stage name to Puff Daddy, and he released his debut single “Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down” which was on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, number one. His first album “No Way Out” was released 1st July 1997 through Bad Boy Records. The album sold over 561,000 copies in one week and earned him five nominations at the ... Sean 'Diddy' Combs, Actor: Get Him to the Greek. Sean Diddy Combs, AKA Puff Daddy, is the definition of a mogul. Starting his career as the director of A&R at Uptown Records, he was integral in launching the careers of Mary J. Blige and Jodeci, and later started his own label, Bad Boy Records, which has fostered talent that includes Mariah Carey, Method Man, Boyz II Men, Lil' Kim and more. P DIDDY has been left “devastated and shocked” by the sudden death of ex partner and mother to his children Kim Porter. The 47-year-old actress was found unresponsive yesterday at her Los ... P.Diddy’s Ex Girlfriend Reveals How She Aborted 2 Pregnancy For Him While He Was Dating Cassie Huynh claims Diddy forced her to undergo two abortions which he paid $50K for her to “get rid of it.” Steve Perry is opening a charter school in Harlem, and rapper Sean 'Puff Daddy' Combs is a partner in the venture. It seems that Perry initially tried to discourage Combs from opening a school- and from trying to do so as a partner with Perry. As the March 28, 2016, Los Angeles Times reports: Puff Daddy P. Diddy Puffy Diddy Brother Love Love Full Name Sean John Combs Zodiac Sign Scorpio. Who Is Sean Combs? Cite This Page; Sean 'Diddy' Combs Biography (1969–) Updated: Jun 26, 2020 To highlight you about the famous couple, Puff Daddy and Kim, started their relationship earlier in the 90s, and gave birth to 3 kids through a complicated life and relationship. Their first son called Christian, 20, and 11-year-old twin daughters D’Lila Star and Jessie James. Puff Daddy Jenny from the Block dated fellow music artist Puffy Daddy/Sean John Combs (now known as Diddy) from 1999 to 2001. They began dating around the release of J.Lo's debut album On The 6 ... Diddy's Ex-Girlfriend, Mother of His Kids, Kim Porter Found Dead at Home at 47 Kim Porter Diddy's Ex Found Dead at 47. 11/15/2018 5:06 PM PT Ciara Talks Puff Daddy Convincing Missy Elliott To Rap For The First Time On A Record One of the Songwriters Hall of Famer's earliest appearances on a song was a feature for Gina Thompson. Yohance ...
Welcome to South App #4: "Outside 101"
2020.08.18 04:22 welcometosouthappWelcome to South App #4: "Outside 101"
Monday, August 17th, 2020 Winston Beavers was having a very bad day. It all began at 5 AM when his phone alarm vibrated. He rolled over on his belly and silenced it before it could wake Tai. It was the first day of class, but Winston wasn’t rising early to drink coffee and read the student newspaper. Instead, he grabbed his trusty silk tie and used it to hang his tablet from the sprinkler head. He slipped his headphones on, booted up some porn, and got straight down to business with both hands. Now his contraption was holding on by faith and faith alone. But Winston paid no mind. He listened to Irish redheads moaning in his ear while he arched his back and curled his toes. And with each passing second, the weight of the tablet began to wear on the old, rusty sprinkler head. So, when Winston exploded, so did that sprinkler head. “Fuck!” Winston yelled, choking on a mouthful of rusty water. He tumbled off the top bunk, landing square on his ass. He scrambled to his feet, grabbed a binder from his desk, and rushed out the room - slipping on the puddle on his way out. Tai was already in the hallway, naked and wrapped in a wet blanket. “What the hell, asshole?!” Tai blurted out, shivering with his laptop and backpack in each hand. “I told you not to jerk off like that!” “Save your breath, partner,” Winston reassured him. “This here binder is the only important thing in that goddamn room.” As water seeped into the hallway, Winston reckoned his luck had finally run out. Earlier this week, the Asheville PD had informed him that his prized Single Action Army was nowhere to be found in evidence. But he still had his precious binder, with the letters BDE inscribed on the spine. And when the water was finally shut off, Winston stuffed the binder back in his desk and made Tai pinky swear to keep it a secret. *** A few hours later, Tai sat on the sofa in a local Asheville coffee shop with a drink and a bible in front of him. “As your wing-woman, I shall provide some friendly reminders!” Gigi cheerfully told Tai over the phone. “Make sure you’re facing the door so you can see when he comes in. Oh, and remember the order of operations: turn a page, sip your drink, make eye contact. Turn, sip, eyes!” “Uh, are you sure you know what you’re doing?” Tai whispered, as sleepy, hungover students filed in. “I’m setting you up on an impromptu date on a Monday morning, am I not?” “And have you run this strategy by amateur wingman extraordinaire Winston Beavers?” Gigi paused. “Winston and I are...no longer on speaking terms. Sorry! I do not consent to any conversation about the aforementioned obnoxious brute whatsoever. Good luck!” Gigi hung up. So Tai, who had never touched a bible, flipped to Ephesians like Gigi had coached him before. In fact, she’d planned out everything down to the last detail: the NIV version of the bible, the iced caramel macchiato, and the red and white checkerboard Vans he wore. But Tai’s mind wandered to a more interesting book that he also had not yet read. He wanted to know what the hell was in Winston’s binder. Suddenly, Jacky California walked into the cafe. Showtime. His 7:30 coffee break was expected. (Gigi found Jacky’s schedule on Facebook, and a quick visit to this cafe before 8 AM Intermediate Spanish just made sense.) Check. Turn, sip, eyes. Jacky waited in line, wearing a slim-fit red Abercrombie polo, bleached holy jeans, and his prized red and white checkerboard Vans. And his shoe decision, yet again, was also expected. (Gigi discovered that Jacky had only two classes on Monday, influencing his choice in that comfy pair of shoes that he wore in his profile pic). Check. Turn, sip, eyes. When Jacky stepped up to the counter, he ordered an iced caramel macchiato. And, once again, Gigi predicted this move. (Whatever the weather, Jacky’s SoCal roots virtually guaranteed an icy, watered-down coffee approach. Not to mention, nobody drinks hot coffee after sitting in the tanning bed for 30 minutes. Which, according to Gigi’s sleuthing, Jacky partook in every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.) Check. Turn, sip, eyes. Finally, while waiting for his order, Jacky pulled out his NIV study bible and flipped to the Book of Acts. (This time, Gigi was only partially off-base. His Facebook modeling photos were actually captioned with Ephesians bible verses. Nothing a quick fix couldn’t remedy). So Tai flipped straight to Acts, took a long sip of his macchiato, and made direct eye contact with Jacky as he walked over. “Bro, this is freakin’ gnarly!” Jacky said in disbelief, pointing out their matching shoes, bible, and drink. “This is some righteous Revelation-level prophecy if I’ve ever seen it. Hey, my name’s Jacky. Is this seat ocupado?” *** “Oh no!” Claire exclaimed, stroking Winston's fuzzy beard. “I’m, like, totally sorry about my stud’s mishap this morning!” “Thank ya, peach pie,” Winston said, shaking his head. “I reckon they’ll move my ass to the broom closet and hang me out to dry.” Claire and Winston were sitting in the Rec Center courtyard in athletic gear, along with several other hungover students. This was the Outdoors Adventures Seminar, AKA “Outside 101.” For many, it was a breezy way to snag the required Health and Fitness credit hour. And that's exactly why Gigi and Frank were also in this class. They sat on the opposite side of the courtyard, quietly gossipping and shooting the occasional glance their way. “Your friends over there are, like, totally ignoring us!” Claire piped up, tugging Winston’s sleeve. “That’s, like, so rude.” “Don’t trouble yourself, puddin’ muffin. They just ain’t ready for us yet.” “And, like, oh my God! Ryan flat-out told me those are, like, the two people who broke into the frat house and blew up his daddy’s ashes! They are, like, total thugs. Ew!” “Ah, my sister explained to me that it was a big misunderstanding, bundt cake,” Winston replied, feigning interest. “Well, you should totally talk some sense to that Asian friend of yours, or else this class is gonna be, like, hella awkward,” Claire suggested. “She has, like, a salt and vinegar chip on her shoulder! It’s, like, totally not my fault that I can pull off a sports bra while she’s wearing those baggy clothes!” True enough, Gigi and Frank had been giving them the cold shoulder ever since the frat house raid. For Frank, this was because of Winston’s affiliation with Claire Dansby and the notorious fraternity she represented. As for Gigi, it was more simple and personal: the lap dance. “Ahoy, ladies and germs!” greeted the rugged Australian instructor, decked out in bushman’s gear. “My name is Angus, and I want to welcome ya to Outside 101. While you shop different classes, I indeed hope you’ll choose to spend your semester with us. Today is the Gauntlet Challenge, where we’ll break off into groups and compete for a mighty fine prize!” With that, Angus hurled an ax at a target behind the students. Bullseye. Everyone stood up to clap and cheer. “Now, everybody come up front and grab yourselves a fine ole’ nametag so we know who you are!” Winston sprung up and headed for the front of the line. Gigi stood with her back to him, her long black hair draping over her Under Armor tank top. He cleared his throat. “Howdy. Looks like we’re gonna be getting a workout in today. So hey, can I have a word with ya in private?” She spun around, showing him a forced smile. “I’m sorry, sir. I don’t consent to this conversation.” With that, she grabbed a nametag and wrote “Gigi.” Winston cocked his head. “So, I seem to recall Sarah telling me that you’ve got a South Korean name that only your father calls you.” “Ah, but what’s in a name anywho?” pondered Frank, stepping forward. “Sir Winston, I wish to extend a sincere congratulations to your acceptance into the Beta Delta Epsilon Sausage Club. And to that brazen bull of a woman under your thumb. Alas, a braver man than me are you!” Gigi narrowed her eyes at Winston. “You don’t know my real name?” she stated matter-of-factly. “Do you even know me at all?” Frank and Gigi walked back to their seat. The hair stood up on the back of Winston’s neck. But before he could retort, two late students entered the courtyard. “Hey, what’s up dudes and dudettes?” Jacky greeted casually. “Sorry we’re late. We couldn’t find the-" “Hellooo everyone!” Tai greeted the class flamboyantly. “Jacky-boy, I hope you’re ready for a totally fabulous time! Ready to sweat? Oh, will you look at the sports bra on that blonde gal over here! Looks like Victoria can’t keep her secret for long. Am I right, Tai? Hey, boo-boo! Yes, you in the sports bra. You are killing it!” Claire giggled, thanking Tai. But he and Jacky wound up sitting next to Gigi and Frank instead, introducing each other. Winston watched from afar, shaking his head. So this is how my roommate acts when he’s no longer single, he thought. Then, when no one was watching, Winston reached into his pocket and pulled out a 20-dollar bill. “Oi, Steve Irwin,” Winston whispered to Angus, slipping him the money. “I need ya to put me and my friends together in a group.” Winston pointed out his four friends, scribbled “BAMF” on a nametag, and walked confidently back to his seat. Then, when Gigi was watching, he gave Claire a sloppy, wet kiss. *** “First elimination challenge is ax throwing!” Angus announced, behind the wheel of a Volkswagen VW bus. “The world’s second-oldest profession.” Per request, Angus had formed a group out of Winston, Claire, Frank, Gigi, Tai, and Jacky. Now, he was driving them to a deserted field at the base of Mount Pisgah in the Asheville wilderness. Once they arrived, he set up a huge wooden target, then tossed Winston an ax. “Now you look like a bloke who’s done this before!” Angus remarked. “Hell, my daddy had to put a lock on the shed,” Winston bragged. “Winston is, like, totally a wild man when it comes to the outdoors!” Claire chimed in. “I’m, like, super-stoked for him to totally man-handle me in the bedroom.” The other four cringed at each other. Then, Winston reared back and hurled the ax with two hands, hitting a large ring. “Three points!” Angus called out. “Claire, think you can conquer this beast?” Claire stepped forward and grabbed an ax. As a former high school cheerleader, she hid some muscles under her small frame. But what surprised everybody was how she tossed hers one-handed. She hit an inner ring: a five-pointer. “This, like, ain’t my first rodeo, cowboy!” Claire teased. She brazenly grabbed another ax and under-handed it to Gigi. She yelped, but Frank stepped in and caught it. “My stars!” he said to Claire. “A woman so supple, yet so brazen around the edges. A fine mistress you doth make!” Winston walked over to Gigi and gave her a puzzled look. “In the words of Richard III,” he began. “It looks Frank would trade his kingdom for a whore.” “Um...since when have you started dabbling in Old English plays?” Gigi asked, a bit uneasy. “Looks like you don’t know me much at all yourself.” Gigi blushed, either enraged or embarrassed. She left him to stand next to her boyfriend. Then, Frank performed a one-handed throw, landing an inner ring. “Five points for Shakespeare!” Angus cheered. “Let’s see if Miss Hathaway can cut the mustard.” Before Frank handed Gigi the ax, she was already tense. He helped her hold it with two hands in a beginner’s stance. “But soft!” he said, as Gigi took aim. “Plant it straight in the heart! Just like I shall soon plant my seed in your womb.” Flustered and distracted, she heaved the ax for an outer ring. “Oi, only one point,” Angus declared. “Better hope our last two competitors think off target!” Jacky grabbed an ax and faced Gigi. “Bro, your boyfriend’s a perv. And so is that chick.” Jacky pointed straight at Claire. She giggled obnoxiously, flicking her long blonde hair. Jacky rolled his eyes. “God, please bring this lost sheep home,” he quietly prayed. He flung it from over the shoulder, missing the target completely. “Ah, I can tell you’re fancy a boomerang by the way you throw that bugger!” Angus chuckled. “Our first elimination. Last one, come on down!” Before Tai could grab his ax, Gigi pulled him aside. “Um, as your fellow wing-woman,” she started, “I suggest you launch the caveman hunting apparatus into the margins for the express purpose of aborting and creating a more intimate scenario with your beloved wave rider.” Now Tai had grown a little closer with Gigi ever since she matched him up with Jacky. But all he could muster was a blank stare. Gigi leaned in closer. “Lose on purpose so you can be alone with him!” she hissed. “Oh, got it,” Tai whispered back. “Hey, Gigi? Do ya think I can borrow your room for a bit? There’s no way Jacky can find out I live in a flooded swamp.” Suddenly, Jacky’s ax boomerang came twirling back around, heading straight for Tai. He jumped to the side with a shriek, watching the ax fly into a tree. “Righteous!” Jacky cheered, running back to fetch it. So with that in mind, Tai took aim and tossed his ax boomerang-style. As intended, it went flying far and wide past the target. “And Tai and Jacky have been eliminated!” Angus declared. “That means the rest of ya advance to our next challenge. And an impressive performance from the blonde bombshell and Italian stallion, I might add.” Claire walked up to Frank and slapped his ass. “Looks like we pervs, like, totally got it going on!” Winston and Gigi stared at each other in shock. But before they knew it, Tai’s ax boomerang came soaring back, nailing the side of Angus’ Volkswagen. *** “FIX THE FUCKING AC,” growled Evelyn the RA in a low, demonic voice. “I WILL BURN THIS MOTHERFUCKER TO THE GROUND.” In Sarah and Gigi’s room, Tai and Jacky had taken shelter from this emo demon, who was now stomping up and down the hallway. Sure enough, the AC was broken again. And after Tai had escorted Jacky up seven flights of stairs to “his” room, they’d found it virtually impossible to stop sweating. “So let’s dive into Genesis 5 where we left off,” Jacky suggested, as they sat together on the futon. “It’s a little gnarly since it’s all genealogy. We’ll have to quiz each other when we’re done so we make sure we got it down pat!” Jacky cracked open the bible, just as Evelyn screamed from the hallway. They rushed to the door and peeked out. Evelyn had let down her jet-black hair and had smeared mascara on her, sweating pale face. She locked eyes with the two young men. “WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING HERE?” the demon within her tremored. They quickly shut the door and got back to their bible study. “Well...anyway, this is the written account of Adam’s family line,” Jacky read. “Basically, this is gonna be a righteous heck-ton of funky names to remember. My youth pastor showed me an easy way to memorize them, where-” Death metal blared in the hallway. Over the heavy muted guitar and the rapid-fire double bass, Evelyn released a primal roar. “So yeah, an easy way to memorize the names is word association!” the sweating Jacky yelled over the screeching guitar solo. “For example, take Adam and Seth, who-” “EVERYBODY BREAK SHIT,” Evelyn screamed, as the deafening breakdown began. Tai rushed to the door and peeked out again. This time, she was breaking off a long fluorescent light tube from the ceiling. Several of her female hallmates observed like visitors at a zoo. Evelyn reared back and smashed the wall, shattering the light into pieces. “All right, bro,” Jacky finally sighed, shutting the bible and standing up. “Look, let’s just go to your actual room.” “W-what?” Tai stuttered, closing the door. “Come on brochacho,” Jacky said, slicking back his long blonde hair. “You think I didn’t catch on? There are the female girls in the hallway with the female devil incarnate. Not to mention the…dreadful taste in bedroom decor in whoever’s room this is. Come on, man. I wanna see the real you.” They stared into each other's' cool grey eyes. Finally, Tai nodded and reached out to shake on it. Instead, Jacky held his hand and interlocked his fingers. They sneaked out into the hallway, and Jacky led the way to Tai’s room. “H-how do you know where we’re going?” Tai asked. “I’m your mailman,” Jacky answered, giving his hand a squeeze. “I know a lot more about you than you think. Heck, don’t even get me started on your roommate’s male enhancement subscription.” As they descended the stairs, a herd of female students tried to restrain the spawn of Satan in the hall. *** “Next up is the zip-line races!” Angus announced. He drove the four competitors deep into the Pisgah National Forest with the ax still lodged in the van. He slowed to a stop in a green, tranquil meadow where sunlight peeked through the treetops. There, two huge zip-lines ran from the tops of starting platforms, all the way to a platform on the far side of the clearing. Angus passed out a few safety harnesses, and everyone suited up. “Mine’s, like, a little too big!” Claire whined. “Gigi, you should totally trade with me since you have a tad more cushion for the pushin’! Hey, at least your boobs are smaller than mine! That, like, must be so convenient.” Gigi ignored her, hooking herself to the lane behind Winston. Claire attached herself to the lane behind Frank. And Angus began the long walk toward the finish line platform. Now out of earshot, both groups began climbing the long rope ladders up to their platforms. Winston purposefully took his time. Halfway up the ladder, Winston stopped and looked down at Gigi. “Hey, I know I’m being stubborn,” Winston said. “But I really wanna talk to you, if you’ll have me. Just give me a chance to explain-" “She’s a total bitch!” Gigi hissed, surprising even herself. “If you’re dating her, we’re no longer friends.” Frustrated and torn, Winston sighed. “Right. I reckon actions speak louder than words anyway.” He reached into his shorts pocket and pulled out a mini can of WD-40. Then, he proceeded to spray the shit out of both of their zip-line hooks. “W-what the hell is wrong with you?” Gigi exclaimed, choking on the fumes. “WD-40 is God’s lubricant,” Winston explained. “Now we’ll have a little speed boost when we race ‘em. Sorry, buddy, but I need us both to win so we have some alone time to sort things out.” “You’re being absolutely ridiculous!” Gigi said, flabbergasted. “I realize that. So I reckon I’ll make you an offer. When it’s me versus you at the finals, I’ll let you win so you get the Lazy Basil gift card. Deal?” Suddenly, Gigi’s big, brown eyes shot open and her countenance sang a different tune. Lazy Basil was the finest Italian restaurant in all of Asheville - maybe all of North Carolina. And Frank would not be cooking her an Italian dinner until this Friday. After tasting a little bit of chocolate every day to prepare her body for cheese, she could not wait a day longer. “Pray tell!” Frank suddenly yelled, looking down from his platform at the stragglers. “Art thou stuck on the ladder, Sir Winston? Mayhaps we require usage of a construction crane to haul up your portly frame.” Winston grunted, then spat on the ground. “So what was that you were saying about my girlfriend being a bitch?” Winston asked Gigi. Reaching the top of the ladder, Winston and Gigi stepped onto the platform. A perfect view of the bright green hemlock trees of the Pisgah National Forest. From the finish line platform, Angus pumped his fist. “Let’s get these wagon wheels a’rollin’!” his voice echoed across the forest. “Fellas up first!” Winston made the mistake of looking down at the endless ocean of treetops. Stomach lurching, he closed his eyes and took a deep breath. Then, hands trembling, he moved his greased-up zip-line hook to the starting position. Gigi tapped his shoulder. “Are you...afraid of heights?” she asked, more like a mother than a caring friend. A sudden breeze caused their platform to sway ever-so-slightly. Winston hunched over and vomited his morning screwdriver into a nest of endangered birds. He wiped his mouth and looked up at Frank’s shit-eating grin. Winston simultaneously flicked him off while giving Angus a thumbs up. “Ah, we’ve got ourselves a fighter!” Angus called out. “Ready. Set. Go!” Winston and Frank kicked off their platforms, soaring over the forest. Sure enough, his WD-40 hack gave him the extra acceleration he needed. He held a clear lead over Frank as Angus’ platform grew closer and closer. Not even Frank’s Italian expletives could stop him. “Wiiinston wins!” Angus cheered, as Winston whizzed up to the platform. And only a split-second later, Frank came in hot, landing gracefully. “I underestimated thy aerodynamic stature!” Frank admitted. “Mayhaps I too require an uptick in fine American cuisine, say steak and potatoes?” Back at the starting line, Gigi grabbed her hook and slid it into a starting position. She looked up at her hands, now slick with grease. “I’m, like, totally sorry about being so rude earlier,” Claire said, making a pouting face. “Look, if you let me win, you get to leave class early with Frank, and I can have the gift card! And not to be totally awkward, but I think you could, like, have a super-hot figure without that Italian food in your diet.” Two minutes later. “Gigi wins!” Angus cheered, as she came careening to the finish line. A split second later, Claire came flying by - seething. “Like, it’s totally not fair!” Claire cried, stomping her feet. “Gigi, like, totally called me a hashtag raging thundercunt! It, like-like-like-like-like, totally distracted me from the race!” Again, more crocodile tears while Claire buried her face in Winston’s shoulder. “Woe is me!” Frank cried out, grabbing her shoulders. “Oh, the humanity! Alas, say you did no such thing!” “There, there,” Winston said nonchalantly, patting Claire’s head like a dog. “I’m sure it ain’t that serious.” Angus covered his mouth. “Oi, Miss Gigi: did you in fact call Lady Claire a raging thundercunt?” Gigi politely crossed her hands in front of her waist, her messy black hair cascading over her pale face. And then: a tell-all smile. “Well, you know we handle potty-mouths in Australia, right?” Angus asked. “We fuckin’ celebrate ‘em! And as for sore losers? We make ‘em walk the plank!” Angus shoved Claire and Frank off the platform. They screamed until the cable pulled taut, leaving them dangling in midair. “Congratulations, ya raging thundercunts!” Angus said to Winston and Gigi. “Now off to the finals we go. And doncha’ worry, ya blimey losers. My teaching assistant will come get ya down and give ya a comfy ride straight back to campus!” Winston and Gigi climbed down the ladder and followed Angus out of the woods, leaving Frank and Claire as dinner for vultures. When the two were alone, Claire kicked off her tennis shoes and stretched out, showing off her flat stomach. “I, like, always thought I had sex in every possible position!” Claire reflected. “Well, except for the Amazon position, since my fraternity forbids it. Awwwkward! But I’ve, like, totally never had sex in midair. Should we try it, Frank?” *** It was a manic scene in the 700 Hall of Firewater. Hesitant to get the police involved, Evelyn’s roommates were in the process of summoning a Catholic priest to perform an exorcism. But she was no longer Tai and Jacky’s concern. The muffled screams, crashes, and bangs faded in the distance as the two guys entered the 300 Hall. “We’re actually...not supposed to be here,” Tai cautioned, placing his hand on the doorknob to his room. “How come, brotherman?” Jacky asked. “It’s my roommate: Winston. There’s something in there that he doesn’t want me to know about. And he made me promise to not even let any visitors in our room.” “So did he get it in writing, with a notary standing by?” Jacky joked. “Pinky swear,” Tai corrected. “Far out,” Jacky marveled. “That’s some next-level serious business.” Jacky chuckled, slicking his hair back. “So let me ask this about your roommate: would he rather us be in your room, or his sister’s room?” Tai froze. Finally, he unlocked the door. “Touché.” The mildew hit them like a freight train. The mattresses, rug, and futon cushion were all gone. Besides that, Jacky was standing in a typical college dorm. A football schedule and Megan Fox poster on Winston’s side. Video game and anime posters on Tai’s side. A dirty microwave and a mini-fridge, probably filled with light beer and leftover Chinese takeout. Tai sat on the metal futon frame and patted the spot next to him. “So, what if we used flashcards to memorize some of those biblical names? It’s important for me to - WHAAA-!” Jacky was frantically searching through Winston’s drawers. “Bingo, my man!” He held up the binder and read the spine. “What’s BDE anyway? Does it stand for big...uh, big-penis energy? Sounds like your roomie has some gnarly ego issues.” Distracting himself, Tai opened the bible in his trembling hands. “So...uh...there’s Shem...Ham...and Japeth, the three sons of-” Jacky plopped down next to Tai and opened the binder. “Dude! Do you know what this is?” Tai looked down at pages upon pages of driver’s licenses in card sleeves. Every race, creed, and gender under the sun. And all featured photos that could pass for any young-looking 21-year-old. Tai and Jacky had just uncovered Beta Delta Epsilon’s secret fake ID operation. Jacky searched through a few pages, and finally pulled out an ID that could pass for Tai. He removed it from the sleeve and placed it in Tai’s shaking hand. Then, he sat on his lap and held up an ID of a tan white guy with blonde hair. “I don’t wanna talk about Shem and Ham, my dude,” Jacky declared. “I wanna talk about our new legal names: Caleb and Demitri.” “Ah, now I have an actual black guy’s name,” Tai chuckled, forcing a smirk. Suddenly, he slipped his hand up Jacky’s shirt, feeling his rock-hard abs. “I, uh...so do you want to roleplay...Caleb?” “Not just roleplay, my dude,” Jacky whispered into Tai’s ear, nuzzling his cheek. “I want to help other people roleplay. Dude! What if we stole these fake ID’s and sold them to every underage student on campus? Think of how freaking righteous that money would be!” Tai’s heart raced as Jacky swung his legs over Tai’s waist, straddling him. Jacky ran his lips from his collarbone to his ear. “That’s...illegal,” Tai moaned softly. “Not to mention a little ungodly.” “Maybe so,” Jacky said, nibbling his ear. “But I follow God, not the world. Some people don’t know the difference. “Caleb” and “Dimitri” rolled off the futon, kissing, biting, and scratching each other until the clothes flew off. And little did they know Evelyn was scouring the 300 Hall with a chef’s knife in her hand, searching for them. *** “The grand finale!” Angus announced. “The rock climbing wall!” Angus led Winston and Gigi to a huge rock wall on the face of the Pisgah Mountains. This time, there was no cheat code in the world that would work in Winston’s favor. While his upper-body strength toppled that of Gigi, he was simply hauling a much larger load. “The rumors are true!” Angus chuckled. “There is a 50-dollar Lazy Basil gift card up for grabs for the first one to reach the top.” He strapped Winston and Gigi to the climbing cables, then took a step back. The trembling Winston glanced over at the cool, confident Gigi. “It looks like it’s just me and you, buddy,” he said. “So, do ya reckon you can tell me what I can do to make things right?” “Go, go, go!” Angus suddenly shouted. Gigi, quick and nimble, jumped straight up and grabbed her first hold. With ease, she began traversing the wall like an orangutan. Winston chugged along, contorting his body in awkward positions just to keep from falling. “Look, Gigi!” Winston called out. “I hate that it’s like this between us. Man, I just wanna know what I can do. Hell, you can have my purple V-neck shirt that you accidentally stole.” No response still. She worked swiftly and calmly as she approached the halfway point. Winston caught a lucky break, catching some easy holds as he covered a few feet. But there was no way in hell he could match Gigi’s steady pace. Plus, the higher he got, the higher the screwdriver rose in his throat. Desperate, Winston reached around with one hand and unstrapped his vest. “Oi, what the fuck are ya doing, mate?” Angus spat from far down below. Winston slipped out of the vest and pushed it to the side. Now, he was climbing freely. Fear coursed through his veins, but so did adrenaline. He used that stress to heave himself up much faster than before. Gigi, now past the halfway point, looked down to see Winston’s pleading eyes looking up at her. “Gigi, I’m sorry!” Winston yelled. “Look, I...I can’t honestly tell you that I’m sorry for meeting up with Claire at the house. Because I’m not. But fuck, I’m sorry you had to walk in and see it! And...I’m plum-fuckin’ sorry I didn’t consider your feelings for me at the time. I reckon that ship has sailed. But fuck, I don’t wanna lose our friendship over it, Gigi!” Gigi smiled at Winston for the first time that day. She shut her eyes tightly, fighting to block the tears. When she opened them again, Winston’s white knuckles curled around a tough hold. “I’m not sure how long I can hold on, partner,” Winston groaned, smiling weakly. Slowly, piss began running down his leg, trickling a long way down to the ground below. Gigi began quickly backtracking, holding her breath. “Winston,” Gigi consoled him calmly, now by his side. “I need you...I need you to reach out and hold me. Don’t let me go.” He took a deep breath, then wrapped his arms around Gigi’s slim waist. His legs dangled free, supported only by her. Breathing heavily, Gigi kicked off the rock facing. Slowly, they began to descend. “My real name is Ji-hye,” she said, as they approached solid ground. “Ji-hye,” Winston repeated, his heart pounding as he held her in a death grip. “So, uh...why did you wanna tell me that?” “Um...because we’re friends again!” she cheered, as they reached the bottom. But before he could release her, Angus yanked his collar and held a hunting knife to his throat. His hair and face were drenched in Winston’s piss. “Oi, I oughta gut you like a fuckin’ fish, ya blimey bastard!” “Wait, it’s not his fault!” Gigi interjected. “Um...a yellowjacket got caught between his shirt and vest and stung him pretty bad. He’s allergic, so he had no choice but to take it off!” Angus cocked his head, letting her words marinate like the piss in his hair. Then, a proper belly laugh. He gave Winston a shove and put the knife away. “Yellowjackets?! Why, you Americans and bonafide pussies, that’s what ya are! Oi, you wouldn’t last a second down unda!” Angus reached in his pocket and pulled out two 50-dollar Lazy Basil gift cards. “Fuck it, take ‘em both. After all, that was a mighty impressive showing of teamwork up there!” Winston cleared his throat and held his hand up. “Thanks for the offer, Angus. But I’m a proud conservative. And I don’t need no goddamn participation trophies.” Gigi socked him in the stomach. “Accept the gift card or we’re no longer friends!” she hissed, salivating over her imminent cheese dream. *** “YOU HAVE SOMETHING I WANT,” the demon growled in the hallway. Evelyn slowly dragged her chef’s knife across the door of Room 309 - a knife much larger than Angus’. Tai stared out the peephole, then rushed to the futon to grab his bible. “We need to perform an exorcism ourselves!” Tai suggested, wearing nothing but bright blue boxers with coconut patterns. “RIghteous idea, my man!” Jacky replied, donning yellow pineapple briefs. “The word of God is an indispensable weapon during the end times that we live in!” Tai stared out the peephole again. Now, a senile Evelyn gently tapped the door with the tip of her knife. “Hey, uh, Evelyn,” Tai called out softly. “Why don’t we comb through Genesis together? I sure could use your help in memorizing the lineage of Adam!” “NO BIBLE. I WILL STRANGLE YOU WITH YOUR INTESTINES!” Jacky gave a thumbs up from the frame of the futon. “See, it’s working! That’s the devil in her trying to resist. But no man, woman, or spawn of Satan could possibly resist the righteous infallible word of God!” Tai chuckled, half-nervous and half-relieved. Then, he opened the door halfway. “Welcome to our bible study, Evelyn! So if you would have a seat on our super comfy futon, we can-" Suddenly, Tai lept behind the door as Evelyn charged through the room with her knife held high. “DIE! DIE! DIE!” she shrieked, heading straight for Jacky. He swiftly rolled under the futon frame, as Evelyn began stabbing through it, aiming for the head. “Fuck!” Tai screamed, frantically flipping to Genesis 5. “Um, um...let the power of Christ compel you with His holy word! Enoch begat Methuselah, and Methuselah begat Lamech, and Lamech begat Noah!” “WHY CAN’T I HAVE WHAT YOU HAVE?” Evelyn screamed. While Jacky cowered in a fetal position, she reared back and stabbed a hole in the wall. “Oh, Evelyyyn?” Sarah Beavers called out, stepping into the room. Evelyn spun around to face her, tears and mascara running down her face. She dropped the knife. Then, she swiveled her head around the room, dazed and confused. “Oh...no,” Evelyn whispered in her normal voice. “Sarah, I did something bad, didn’t I?” “Shush, it’s all gravy,” Sarah assured her, while Tai and Jacky looked at each other in shock. “Boys, let this be a lesson to you. Envy possessed Evelyn today. Not only was she envious of your AC, but also of your totally-rad same-sex relationship.” Tai and Jacky realized they were still half-naked, and that it was too late to hide it. Evelyn, moaning softly, crawled over to Sarah and lay her head on her lap. Then, she began playing with Sarah’s dangling dreadlocks. “Now, now - no touchy-feely of the genitals,” Sarah politely warned her. “An asexual chick like myself ain’t no lamp in a corner, ya dig?” Then, Sarah spotted the BDE binder on Tai’s desk. Cocking her head to the side, she slowly stood up to take a closer look. “Shit,” Tai whispered to Jacky. “What do we do?” “We can’t let her know about our operation,” Jacky whispered back. “So, if my inner chi serves me well,” Sarah began, flipping through the pages. “You two plan on stealing Beta Delta Epsilon's fake ID collection from Winston, in a grand scheme to sell them to underage students?” “What in the H-E-double-hockey-sticks?” Jacky whispered to Tai. “A psychic hippie? What kind of friends are you rolling with, bro?” “I can hear you,” Sarah advised. She sat down next to Evelyn and slipped out an ID of a brunette hipster girl with straight hair. “It’s a crying shame that Winston didn’t think to include any white girls with dreadlocks. Simple-minded if you ask me. Oh! Evelyn, I found an ID just for you. See, she looks just like the chick from The Ring.” “I will eat your soul,” Evelyn said in her normal voice. Suddenly, she pinned Sarah down and started tickling the hell out of her. “Wait, so you’re not mad?” Tai asked Sarah, watching Evelyn win the completely non-sexual “game.” Sarah caught her breath from her massive tickle-fit. Then, she snapped the binder shut. “Mad? Are you high? I’m a broke college student too. As a matter of fact, if you’re going to be making crazy money, I want in on it too. Evelyn and I both want in. And nobody, I mean nobody, breathes a word of this to my brother.” *** Nine outgoing calls. Zero incoming calls. Gigi slipped her phone back into her purse, fighting the urge to make it 10. On that windy night, she stood in downtown Asheville in front of Lazy Basil, waiting for Frank to fall from the sky. She was dressed up in a black polka-dot maxi dress with a white bow in her hair, knowing that she would be turned away for so much as thinking about blue jeans. She grabbed a menu and read through the appetizers. Tempura Fried Calamari? Maybe. Chunky Spinach and Artichoke Dip? Eh. And then, her big brown eyes widened when she saw it. Caprese salad: fresh buffalo mozzarella topped with local organic tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, and fresh basil leaves from our herb garden. “So he stood ya up, huh?” Winston leaned against the streetlight in a black suit and tie. He took a final puff on his cigar, tossed it, then walked over to Gigi to read her menu. And like always, the smell of tobacco was masked by Winston’s signature sandalwood cologne. “I can’t decide if I want the loaded macaroni and cheese,” Winston pondered, “or the fried cheese logs with marinara. Hey, ya reckon we could order one of each and share?” Gigi wiped drool from the side of her mouth and came to her senses. “Um...wait, you’re not here for a date with Claire?” Winston took out his phone and showed her the screen. Sixty-eight outgoing calls. Zero incoming calls. “Reckon I should try to call her one last time?” he asked with a grin. “I mean, I don’t wanna come off like a simp or nothin’.” Fifteen minutes later, they were seated at a candlelit table for two. While they sipped on large glasses of red Moscato, Gigi explained her lactose intolerance and Frank’s plans to introduce her to cheese for the first time. “So let me get this straight,” Winston said, leaning in. “You consider this cheating on your boyfriend, don’t you?” “Um...well, it has nothing to do with you!” Gigi laughed nervously. “It’s...well, it’s cheating if I eat that.” The waiter came over with a platter of Caprese salad and a refill of red wine. Winston picked up a soft, fluffy cheese disc and tore it in half. “I’m not a betting man. But I wager if your boyfriend wanted to have dinner with you, he’d be the one sitting across from ya.” Gigi stared into Winston’s pale blue eyes, then at the mozzarella. Slowly, she reached out and placed it on her tongue. Then, she closed her eyes as the creamy, silky flavor graced her palate. She swallowed, then grabbed another, shoving the whole disc in her mouth. Satisfied, Winston pushed the plate toward her. Then, he took out his phone and turned on the camera. “Here’s to Gigi’s first dairy experience,” he announced, taking a photo. “And, I reckon, the moment before one of her many trips to the bathroom.” She gasped, tossing her dinner napkin at him. They laughed, garnering the attention of a couple of older, quieter patrons. But Winston and Gigi lived in their own world, sipping refill after refill of wine as she alone cleaned that plate. Before long, the waiter returned with fried mozzarella logs for Winston and loaded macaroni and cheese for Gigi. “So, all jokes aside,” Gigi started. She leaned forward, the candlelight casting a golden glow on her grinning, pale face. “In your old YouTube days...how long would it take you to eat everything on this table?” “Son of a bitch!” Winston laughed, dunking a log into his marinara. “I knew my sister told ya about my eating channel! How much of it did you get around to watching?” “Oh, you don’t want to know!” Gigi giggled, taking her first-ever bite of mac and cheese. And while the two loyal friends shared stories and cheese dishes, their other friends betrayed loyalty that night. Sarah, Tai, Evelyn, and Jacky used Winston’s fake IDs to bar crawl all over downtown Asheville. And Claire sneaked Frank into the Beta Delta Epsilon frat house, where they rolled in the sheets all night long.
Electrofuck bases his operation out of Sector Sixteen, right at the western corner where it touches the walls with Eighteen, Five, and Three. Staying near Sixteen I understand - Electrofuck’s appetite for thump is legendary and his thirst for flesh is a close second. I’ve gone over what this place is like. What I don’t get is why one of the most feared crime lords in the world would put his home base within coughing distance of Sector Three. Sector Three - the location of Thousand-Eyes Keep, the Hall of Resolution, and the Sink. Those are, if the profound subtlety of those fun-sounding names didn't give it away, the headquarters of the Watch, the city's courthouse, and the prison, respectively. The High Marshal lives in a literal castle not even an entire sector’s distance away. I’ve heard that it’s some kind of macho thing, and I guess I believe it. Electrofuck’s the kind of guy that will kill you for not looking at him funny (he likes attention) and then compare dick lengths post-mortem to make sure he was right. I’m way out on the fringes of the sector, where the residential choke starts to give way to wider spaces and more utilitarian buildings. I’ve gone over what this place is like. At least it’s early in the morning and most everybody is still asleep. The swelling’s down for these inflamed streets, for now. There’s an uncommonly chill morning wind, bringing breakfast smells, dust, and plastic bags like a flock of birds across the pavement with me. They’re all the company I have here. There’s a lot of shadow. But it’s the wrong kind - softer. And not cast by the Wall, the sun’s too high now. I look up- Oh. Clouds. Heavy ones, like the sky is toast and someone just spread a big healthy layer of gray jam over it. They look hard and rough, like beaten iron. An armored sky. It only gets cloudy in winter here, when the currents shift and carve some sopping wet air off the top of Thousandmire, dragging it north into the Desert. When I was a kid, I was trained to always look forward to this time of year, because the rain meant my birthday was coming soon. These days I’m just thankful for the break in the heat, like everyone else. One of the warehouses around here is listed as abandoned, because the city long since gave up trying to figure out a solution to Electrofuck. You can tell it’s not abandoned, because there are a couple of big fuckers standing outside the front door, wearing gaudy lightshow implants, scrolling LED sunglasses, and spiked multicolored denim. Electrofuck tends to make his guys dress like him, which is to say, like a robot clown that was murdered in a hardware store. You can also tell this is Electrofuck’s warehouse because he had the facade painted bright fucking yellow, with big splattery black letters that say “THUNDERBOLTS” across the whole wall. Smaller black letters over in one corner also say, “ELECTROFUCK FUCKS YOR MOM”, in case you weren’t sure who could be responsible for this. The Thunderbolts are the only gang in the city brazen enough to shriek the exact location of their hideout like this - even the Fangs put up some pretense of hiding in between carving up civilians for their meat and hide. I approach the door, and one of the bouncers levels a punch gun at me. I look down at him like he’s a fire hydrant. His vitae is mostly orange, and flapping like a flag in the wind. High as fuck, probably hasn’t slept in three days. The other guy, who has bleach-blue spiky hair (another style affectation directly imitating their boss) is a bit more measured. Green and yellow. He just puts one hand on a hip holster and looks at me. I can tell he isn’t high, unlike his partner, whose eyes are buzzing like fruit flies. I’m not sure which of the five of me he’ll shoot. Calm Son says, “The fuck do you want?” I smile. “To get inside, please. I owe your boss a million credits. I’m here to pay.” He holds out a hand. “I’ll get it to him.” I look down at his hand, then back up to his face. My apertures narrow on him. “Do you think I’m a fucking idiot?” He smirks. “Not anymore.” The smirk melts. “Is that a fucking sword?” “Yeah.” “It’s fucking huge.” “I’m fucking huge.” “... Yeah. Take it off and leave it here while you’re inside.” “No. By the time I get back you and your little friend here will have sold it for a bulk pack of lace doilies or whatever you people are into.” “Then you ain’t gettin’ in, asshole.” “This one has a punch gun. You’ve got a… yeah, that’s a slab stunner. I don’t think your mommies would approve of you playing with such dangerous toys. So obviously you’ve been hitting precinct armories, or you know someone who has. And there’ll be more shit inside. Do you really think Electrofuck is gonna give a shit if I bring a big knife inside? He’ll probably think it’s funny.” He glares at me for a moment, then points behind my back. “Step back a minute.” I step back. He turns around and picks up the receiver of a telephone box by the door. He has a brief conversation with someone, then turns around to face me again. “Go ahead in.” I nod thanks at him, then go through the door. Electrofuck has spent a lot of time, money, and manpower turning the inside of this warehouse into a kind of insane sultan’s palace, the kind that a Valtean rancher baron with really bad synesthesia might build. There’s hanging curtains strung from every angle and in every color, breaking up the space. Rugs just kind of… tossed all over the place. Couches, chairs, low tables all burdened with pills and piles of powder of every description and side-effect. Most of the Thunderbolts here are lounging like well-fed lions. Draped over the couches dazing into a boiling rainbow galaxy that only they can see, grouped up in a corner playing with some stolen Watch weaponry. To my surprise, there’s a surprisingly well-equipped dining area off to one side, where some of the thugs are cooking. I didn’t know thugs knew how to cook, as a general rule. That kind of thing is generally why one becomes a thug. There’s fucking cats everywhere. Just… everywhere, relaxing with the gangsters like they’re all the same species. There’s got to be at least fifty of them. And at the rear of the room is the sultan himself. The king of fear and dosage and cats, the ruler of a full quarter of the city’s underground substances trade, the one who’s given me money with one hand and yanked my leash with the other. Electrofuck. He’s part-sitting, part-lying in a huge throne that someone must’ve custom built for him, one leg over the armrest like a petulant teen. The thing goes all the way to the ceiling, covered in cushions and drapes of every color, forming a canopy over him that smears across the roofbeams and spreads to every corner of the room, like the web of a gaudy tie-die spider. There’s an orange-and-white cat lying on his belly, and he’s petting it very lovingly, making kissy sounds. He’s using a static electricity field in his fingertips to attract shed fur out of the animal’s coat, flinging it idly off the side of the great chair every once in a while. I know a happy cat when I see one, and there’s two of them. Electrofuck is pretty big for a skinny, maybe a bit more than six feet and two hundred pounds. There’s not an ounce of fat on him. With his cream coffee-colored skin, he looks like he was chiseled out of a block of frozen caramel. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him wear a shirt, presumably so he can show off his various implants, piercings, and tattoos. He’s got so many of each that it’s kind of tough to even tell where his outline is - the eye just kind of slides off all the art and metal. Electrofuck must also keep some kind of body carver on his staff, because in addition to the red LED lightshow implants in his biceps, pierced nipples (and navel and ribs and nose and et cetera), and cornea-scrambling tapestry of cartoons all over him, he has subcutaneous liquid crystal reservoirs that have been configured to flash with the electrical current given off by his heart. Every thump causes a brief glow under his skin, in a different color each time. It looks like if you cut him, he would bleed an entire rave, thudding dance music and glowsticks and all. Like a lot of the cronies who have copied his style, his hair is threaded into an orb of bleached spikes the color of a periwinkle’s ghost. Even his eyes haven’t escaped the ferocious editing - he’s got some kind of electroreactive contact lenses that put a glowing yellow ring around his normally blue irises, making them look sort of like light bulbs. His vitae is… imagine a huge thunderhead, dark gray and pregnant with storm, hovering over his head and all around him. The flashes rumbling inside it are purple and yellow, and it extends oily black-white-yellow iridescent tendrils all over everything around him, occasionally flickering and twitching with energy. It’s like a massive jellyfish made out of weather and directionless rage, draped over his shoulders and roiling above him. There’s also a… guy, standing off to the right of Electrofuck’s throne. Wait a second… I recognize that fucking guy. Wide straw hat. Blanket-y robes, wispy gray beard. This is the sleepy oldtimer who got on the train with me the other day like it was nothing. He’s leaning a bit on a metal staff, and I can see under the brim of his wicker hat that he is looking dead at my face, with an expression that’s resting comfortably between disdain and outright hatred. I wonder what I did to him. I’ve never seen him here before. Or anywhere else, before a few days ago. His vitae is the same as it was then, that strange array of gray and yellow magnetic field lines, slowly shifting and orbiting like the tide line on a beach. I approach the throne, and as I do, Electrofuck catches a glimpse of me from the corner of one glowing eye. His eyebrows shoot up, and I can tell it’s taking every ounce of self control he has to gently pick the cat up and set it on the ground instead of exploding out of his chair like a volcano. Once the cat is clear, he leaps up off the thing and stands upright, looking down on me from the raised platform. He smiles. His teeth are all gold. “The Beast enters my pleasure kingdom once again.” I meet his eye, smiling neutrally. “How you been, Electro?” “Oh so good, my heavy friend. So good. Everyone SHUT THE FUCK UP!” He claps his hands together. This causes a brief flash of white energy to erupt around his hands and an actual thunderclap, the pressure wave I can feel from where I’m standing. Someone cuts off the blast metal music that was playing over by the kitchen. Everyone in the room freezes like a stuck videotape. Interesting, the old man by the throne rolls his eyes, and I have no idea what that implies. I’ll let you know when I figure it out. Electro takes in a deep breath, which means he is about to yell. Electrofuck likes yelling. For him, yelling is what causes the people around him to conform to his wishes. For him, yelling is really all it takes. “WHY. Has NO ONE. Given my motherFUCKING friend BAULRIC FEATHERLIGHT a DRINK YET? Why the FUCK is one of our most favored guests APPROACHING ME without having been offered a FUCKING REFRESHMENT?!” The silence in the warehouse is the same as the silence that follows a lightning strike. And there’s rarely just one. Electro’s hands ball into fists. Furious ropes of lightning explode all over his skin, lashing out at the rugs and concrete - his face is twisted into a mask of total animal rage. “FIX IT! NOW!” In the flickering shadows cast by Electrofuck’s loss of temper, his cronies start scrambling like their pants are on fire, which might very soon be the case. Even the ones that are off in their own rainbow dimension, though they’re scrambling less efficiently. Within the space of fifteen seconds, I am fucking swarmed by gangsters, each one desperately offering me some kind of something. No exaggeration, some of them are kneeling before me. Beer, whiskey, wine, laser gin, jus de mutant, packs of smokes, shiny plates of lines of powder. Some guy in a chef’s hat even brought me a platter of fucking bacon and eggs. I take a me-size can of beer off one of the guys and say, “Fellas, fellas, it’s ok, I’ve got my drink.” I wave it helpfully at Electro, who has mostly calmed down. “Thanks, Boss, this’ll do me.” A few of the kneeling gangsters, who ordinarily would knife me in the ribs for my wallet if they thought they could get away with it, look back at their boss, praying that this is good enough. Electro waves a dismissing hand at them. “All of you fuck off. The next time a fucking gentleman and friend of the Thunderbolts walks in here without this treatment, recruitment posters are going up.” That means he’s going to kill a lot of them. In case you weren’t sure. They all go away back to whatever they were doing. I open my beer and take a sip. Actually not bad. These guys make enough money to afford the good stuff. Maybe I should be a gangster. Electro walks down a couple more steps. Predictably, he doesn’t go down so many that his head would wind up lower than mine. Not yet, at least. “What blows you to my doorstep, big son? Work or play? Plenty of both here. Anything for my friend the Beastman.” “I came to talk about what I owe you.” I take my smokes and lighter out of my coat, but Electro jumps down off the platform and smacks them out of my paw like they’re a lit bomb. I frown at him. He pulls his own pack of hyper-elite gold-leafed smokes out of his pocket, reaches up, and plants one between my lips. He lights it very daintily, saying, “No pal of mine smokes that Outer Ring gutter-ass Shallowgrave shit. My friends smoke like lords.” I take a puff or two, and god damn is he right. This stuff is genetically modified, top of the line, laser engraved tobacco from the kinds of laboratories that get funded by tax hikes. Precision engineered for the most luxurious death sprint one can possibly experience. These are what cigarettes turn into when they’ve died having lived a life devoid of sin and desire. He stuffs the pack and the fancy black-gold butane lighter into my hand. These two objects are worth an amount that could feed a poor family of four for about a week. Electro backs to a respectful distance, because he is an animal and sees me as another, larger animal, despite his objectively superior killing capability. Getting too close is a sign of aggression, and Electrofuck was only ever aggressive toward me the first time I met him. This was years ago. To keep a long and very weird story short, Electro had gone to a merc board putting up a listing for someone to help find one of his cats that had gotten lost. Now, he put up this listing under his real name, and I didn’t know it at the time. So I took it, because the payout was huge, not knowing that everyone else had ignored it because they knew something I didn’t. I’ve done plenty of lost pet cases before, they’re easy when you can smell vitae and think like an animal does. I showed up here, very confused, thinking the listing’s address must have been wrong. But nope. Electro was a fucking mess, crying, throwing bolts, wrecking up his palace over a single lost cat. I’d never seen a man so distraught. He made it very clear to me that if I came back with bad news, or mistreated his precious kitty in any way at all, I was a dead man. Some of those things not being in my control, I was pretty convinced it was going to end up that way regardless. But I got lucky. Dr. Whiskers was less than a block away, mating with a stray in a drainage pipe. Guess he had a date and didn’t want to tell the Boss. I grabbed him and brought him back safe and sound, even fixed the loose ventilation panel that Dr. Whiskers had probably escaped through. And that was it - from that point on, to Electro, I was a prince. Best friends. He’d insist I come around to drink, party, be pals. You can’t really say no to a man like Electrofuck, so, I did, as infrequently as possible. A few times (while very drunk) I even performed feats of strength for a laughing audience of thugs. Benchpressing their biggest guy like he was a stick, using my magic to lift and throw cars. It was fun. Electro came to respect me in his own weird way, because strength talks in these circles. And that’s how I fell in the hole with him. He let me borrow when I was down. That’s the trick with men like Electro, though. One minute he’s your friend. The next he’s atomizing a guy for overcooking his dinner. He continues, “I heard the insects I sent to your place, to give you a helpful reminder, were disrespectful to you. They came back home to daddy, crying with shit in their pants, saying you were so mean.” A raised eyebrow. He’s testing me, to see how I’ll respond to this. “Yeah, I was mean. They shocked me. I’m mean to people who shock me.” He nods, smiling, but with a regretful edge to it. “Yeah. They said. You know, Baulric, they took my fucking words. My words, you know? And they… scrunched them all up,” he crushes something invisible between his hands for emphasis, “into this… fucking fuck ball, and tried to give it to you. I said one thing, and they just… did something else. They thought- they thought, haha, that I meant to scare you. Can you believe that.” I nod sagely. “Misunderstanding.” He waves a finger. “They made me into a fuck-ball, Baulric. Me. What a guy says is what he is, and they enfuckened me into a wad of fuck by trying to shove you around. They hurt you. Now, now you’re the fuckin’ bull, two bugs aren’t gonna do shit to you. But they tried. And you know? You know what, my Featherlight?” I smirk. “What.” “You coulda stomped ‘em into sauce. Squished ‘em up into burger meat. But you didn’t. You sent them back to me, only, to tell me that you were gonna pay me back.” I swear he looks like he actually might cry. Electrofuck is a complex being capable of feeling many emotions, but he always feels them with their meter pegged to maximum. “I wouldn’t have even been mad, my chum. Not a little. But you didn’t harm a hair on their precious little moron heads.” I shrug. “Not a big deal. I figured it was just a mix-up. It happens, water down the gutter.” He walks back up to me and pokes me in the chest. I feel a little zzzt of static. “You. Are. The. Big. Fucker. That’s what I like about you, Bauly. You don’t let shit get to you. It just bounces the fuck off. I don’t - haha. I don’t have that kind of self-control. Haha, when, when they came back? I fucking fried them so bad, haha.” He wipes a tear from his eye. “When they told me what they did to you. I was so fucking mad. I just! I just lost it! Completely! You don’t even do that shit. I wanna be just like you when I grow up, you fucking beautiful meat fuck. I could smooch you. I won’t, but I could.” I smile at him, glossing right over the extremely possible possibility that he actually did tell those two poor fuckers to try to intimidate me, and just forgot about it. Or just meant it as a joke. It’s impossible to tell with him. “It takes all kinds, Electro. This world needs some of me, and needs some of you. Otherwise shit would get boring, huh?” He nods, hands on his hips, like I just said something very profound. “That is damn right, you know. That is damn right. Damn. Just… right off the top with that shit, huh. You’re like some kind of… wise old… fuckin’... guy. Just like that. Wow.” He shakes his head a few times, eyes wide. “So you got my money back? Shit’s turned around for you, huh. Knew it. Can’t keep a fuck like you down, huh. Haha.” A stray bolt flashes off him, and his head twitches. I have to play it careful, here. Electrofuck cares about his money, and me phrasing this like I fucked it off will end poorly for me. But I can’t try and lie to him, or it’ll end even worse. “I’ve got bad news and good news.” He puts his hands on his mouth for a second. “Oooohhhh no. I hate this shit. What are you gonna tell me, bubby. What’s about to go down. You’re gonna scare me!” “I don’t have any credits. There hasn’t been any work. None that I can do, or that people will hire me for, at least.” Electrofuck’s thunderstorm vitae darkens. He isn’t smiling. “That’s a real shame, my friend. My maximum guy. Because- because, it would be kind of, fucked up? If I thought you were, you know, taking advantage of me. Of our friendship. Like I’m some kind of fuckin’-” Lightning crackles on his arms, like waiting, angry snakes, appearing and disappearing. Tzzt. Tzzzzt. “- like a fuckin’ bank. I’m not a fuckin’ bank. I’m a guy. I’m the guy. I’m ELECTROFUCK. I own these STREETS. I am a BIG. DEAL. And a SERIOUS VIOLENCE DEMON. I am THE GRAND VIZIER OF THE ENFUCKENING.” I have to head him off, or he’ll just work himself into a tantrum that no one will be able to bring him down from. And you can never just tell Electro to calm down - he sees it as an indictment of his character. You have to distract him. Thankfully, I brought just the thing. Calm as a cream puff, I continue. “I went to the Library, you know. To find some stuff to study. I got back last night.” He squints at me. “No shit? Big brain shit. Fat brain shit. Learning how to cook up strategies to pay me the fuck back, probably. Is my guess.” He’s still charging up. “I met the Librarian. He’s a nice guy. He didn’t have the books I need, but he gave me this sword to make up for it.” “Oh yeah tell me more about your cool new sword Baulric. Excellent fucking barbarian shit on you, really great and good.” “I got something else from him, too.” I reach into my coat and pull out the kitten, enclosed in my fist. I hold out my two hands and open them. Sitting in my palms is the dark metal masterwork of magical artistry, innocent and perfect. It gives off a tiny mew, while looking the crackling Electrofuck right in the eye. All the energy goes out of him. He falls to his knees, right there on the steps leading up to his throne. His hands go to up to his hair and there are tears in his eyes. “Oh my fucking god. Oh my fucking god Baulric. Baulric oh my god.” He starts writhing around like a fish that can’t get its last breath. “It’s so cute I’m going to fucking die Baulric. I’m gonna fucking croak. Please. I’m gonna die.” I kneel down to his level on the floor, and put the kitten on the wooden platform. It stands, shakes itself, and rubs its head against Electrofuck’s knee. There’s a few little purple arcs between them at the contact. The animonculus starts purring, which sounds like a comm on silent mode. He just starts crying. The tears crackle and spit a little as they run down his cheeks. He’s so paralyzed by love for the creature that he’s short-circuiting - I can see his heart rate going nuts under his skin. I’ll have to help him along. “It’s called an animonculus. Made by the dustfolk before they went extinct. It’s thousands of years old. Doesn’t eat, doesn’t drink, and it’s completely indestructible. Doesn’t even need batteries. It’s magic. It’ll never die.” I stand up, leaving Electro down on his knees, crying in total mental gridlock at the mechanical marvel that is trying to climb up his leg into his lap. I say, “Pretty neat, huh?” He sniffs. He hasn’t even dared touch the thing, not even to help it onto his lap. Because it isn’t his, and despite everything that Electro is, he respects when something belongs to someone else. “Yeah. Pretty neat.” He’s wrapping around from raw unparalleled joy to abject misery at the knowledge that he does not own this thing. “Does she have a name.” Now’s where I strike. I put my hands on my hips. “That’s where I was hoping you could help me.” Electrofuck, gang boss of the Thunderbolts, one of the most feared criminal organizations in the entire world, looks up at me with tears streaming down his face, barely holding back sobs. “W-what do you mean.” “I’ll make you a deal, Electro.” His eyes widen. I can see his pupils dilate. His underglow accelerates its pulsing. In an attempt to make himself weirder, Electrofuck has made himself extremely easy to read. “I just can’t get any work, Electro. And I’m in the middle of a fucked up case. You heard about the thing with Sidri Rediron?” He nods. “I’m on that. I was gonna get paid for it, but the Watch fucked me. I can’t just let it go, though. Some people might get hurt, and I can’t take another job and let that happen. That make sense?” He wipes his eyes, a little more together now. “Yeah. Yeah I get that. Honor shit.” I nod. “Honor doesn’t pay well. But I can’t help it. It’ll be a long time before I can get your money. Too long. You know how shit is for me. So, here’s what I propose. You cut me a break on the money I owe you. Yeah, I fucked you, but I didn’t mean to. And I know that just sounds like excuses. So, how about I make good by leaving her here, with you.” Fzzzzzzt. A ripple of current thrums across his entire body for a moment. “Are you fucking serious.” I nod, very seriously. “Serious. Call it a thank you gift, for being an understanding guy. I don’t want you to see me as a charity case, so here’s how I can square up.” He looks down at the metal kitten with the most reverence I’ve ever seen a man express. Gentle as the antennae of a butterfly, he picks the construct up, and holds it above his head, more tears pouring down from his glowing, sparking eyes. “HER NAME. IS.PANCAKE.” A terrible discharge erupts from his entire body, and I have to step back to avoid getting conducted to. The old man by the throne waves his free hand subtly. Something weird happens to his vitae - the field lines extend like the tentacles of an octopus, and connect to Electrofuck’s vitae, which is currently undergoing its own personal apocalypse. I can see the voltage run out of Electro’s aura and into his, where it just… disappears. The real-world visible electricity lessens to match. I wonder what that’s about. Pancake, for her part, does not give a shit about being charged with enough current to melt a solid steel block, and replies to Electro with a single mew. [you can find the first chapterback here. the rest of the chapters you can find under my reddit profile or down there in the comments, gathered by the helpful robot. and if you think my work is worth paying for,why not flip me some spare change? freelance writing is tough, but i can keep going with help from readers like you. i'd really appreciate it ♥] [you can readthis story on Royal Road too, if that's the kind of thing you're into. reviews would be greatly helpful for a new guy on the scene ♥] [extra note: 30+ posts into this, im looking at the upvotes some other stories get around here, and i can't help but wonder - am I posting to the wrong subreddit? it kind of looks like people generally prefer... other kinds of stuff, than this sort of story, around here. is this piece "not HFY" or something? i dunno. maybe im just being insecure about the numbers. response has been kind of... tepid, it seems. i don't mean to complain, i just don't want to be posting in a place where my work doesn't belong, is all.] [either way, thanks for reading. ♥]
2020.07.30 14:00 comic-book-jawns6x01 (EXTENDED): I'm officially using this as a spec script for writing fellowship! So I've adjusted it a bit to match official Superstore script formatting, including adding about 10 pages! So here it is in full!
COLD OPEN INT. BREAK ROOM - DAY - MORNING Amy is going over the morning announcements. AMY And, lastly, please do not sell the clothes off your back to customers. MARCUS Oh, so if we bring in our dirty laundry - AMY No. That's not - Seeing Marcus about to retort, Glenn clears his throat. GLENN Amy, wasn't there one more announcement you wanted to make? AMY Yes. Thank you, Glenn. Amy takes a deep breath, steeling herself. AMY Recently, I was offered a position at corporate, and I've accepted it. So this will be my last week here at Store 1217. Momentary silence broken by Mateo fake sobbing. MATEO (melodramatic) Amy, oh my god... what will we do without you?! Cheyenne sympathetically grabs hold of Mateo's hand. CHEYENNE Mateo, Amy already told us yesterday. Don't you remember? Gasps. Mateo drops the act and Cheyenne's hand, annoyed. MATEO (clenched teeth) I was acting, Chey. SAYID So Amy's showing favoritism again, huh? AMY No, it wasn't like that - SAYID Who knew that Amy was leaving? Dina, Jonah, Chey, Mateo, Glenn and Garrett raise a hand. DINA I knew first. (beat, to Amy) You told Brett? We see Brett, stone-faced as usual, has his hand raised. SAYID I guess I should have asked who Amy didn't tell? Most employees in the room raise a hand and glare at Amy. AMY Look, I'm sorry. I - CHEYENNE Guys, it doesn't matter anyway. It's not like Amy's really leaving. Tense silence. AMY (delicately) Chey... what do you mean? CHEYENNE Well, you can't work for corporate. They're in California. This is just you trying to be "Cramy" all over again - like "Yo, guys, I'm moving across the country." And we're like, "Yeah, okay." And you're like, "No, I'm serious." And we're like, "Uh-huh, nice try." AMY (beat) But I am moving. CHEYENNE Yeah, okay. Cheyenne looks around the room, like, "Can you believe her?" AMY Chey, I'm being serious. CHEYENNE Uh-huh, nice try. Jonah, who's sitting adjacent to Cheyenne, turns to her. JONAH Amy's telling the truth. We signed a lease for a place... in California. AMY (amused) We? You couldn't afford the security deposit. Jonah gestures to Cheyenne. JONAH Hey, I was trying to - CHEYENNE (voice trembling) So... so you're really leaving? Like for real? AMY (sympathetically) I am. Cheyenne starts laughing uncontrollably. Mateo holds her hand. Glenn goes to rub her back but thinks better of it and awkwardly pats her head instead. Amy grimaces. DINA Amy and I went to high school together. All gasp, including Cheyenne who stops laughing. Amy gives Dina a quizzical look. CUT TO: MAIN TITLES ACT ONE INT. CUSTOMER SERVICE - A FEW MINUTES LATER Amy is leaning against the desk, ostensibly doing paperwork but really spying on Dina, who's out on the floor, looking a bit dejected. Garrett is finishing announcements. GARRETT And if you find any expired products, remember, it's buy one, get one free. So stock up! (beat, to Amy) You really did a number on her. Amy turns and shoots him a look. AMY It's not like I can go back in time and make her not promise to not tell anyone. Garrett cocks his head and smiles slightly, amused by Amy's wording. Amy doesn't notice and looks back at Dina. AMY And, besides, you know how she is... she would've brought it up all the time... What choice did I have? Understanding Amy's point, Garrett decides to shift gears. GARRETT (beat) So what she like in high school? AMY Oh, I mean, honestly... Amy turns back to Garrett and lights up. AMY Really bubbly! GARRETT (incredulous) No. AMY (laughing) No, I'm dead serious. Like... happy-go-lucky even. GARRETT Damn. (beat) So when did she - Amy grows somber. AMY I don't know. I guess with all the stuff with her dad maybe, eventually, she just kinda... GARRETT Yeah. GLENN She was definitely not a happy camper when I interviewed her. Amy jumps at Glenn's sudden appearance. GLENN But I knew she was having a hard time with the transfer and all, so... (beat) I thought her personality would change once she got happier, but I was very wrong. AMY Wait, Dina transferred here... from another Cloud 9? GLENN Oh, yeah, she started out at Bel-Ridge with - AMY (starting to put the pieces together) Colleen. GLENN Yeah, they had a falling out. (beat) I was never sure why... but since Dina was the one who requested a transfer... They all look over at Dina, who's now berating Elias for not doing an endcap to her standards. DINA Damn it, Elias! Do I have to everything myself?! (beat, a bit softer) Just go. Elias turns down an aisle. Dina starts disassembling the endcap to start it from scratch. GARRETT And she wanted to come here, specifically? GLENN Yep, because of Amy, actually. AMY What? Glenn nods. AMY You're sure? GLENN Yeah, I asked her why she'd chosen this store, and she just said she went to school with someone who worked here. Amy is shell-shocked. GLENN I was never sure who she meant until today... though I suspected. Glenn smiles rather poignantly at Amy, who's still processing. DINA (yelling) Glenn, just because you're the father of a toddler I gave birth to does not mean I will let you slack off! GLENN Duty calls. Glenn starts walking away but then abruptly turns back to Amy and Garrett. GLENN (excitedly) Huh, I don't think I've ever actually said that before... in all my years - DINA GLENN! Glenn wheels back around and walks toward Dina. GARRETT (to Amy) What are you gonna do? Amy stares at Dina, who's still working on the endcap. AMY I - I don't know. GARRETT You are such a good friend. INT. ENDCAP - DAY - CONTINUOUS Dina continues working on the endcap. Glenn reflexively starts helping. Dina notices and smiles a bit to herself, making sure he doesn't see. GLENN You know, I'm not a floor worker anymore. DINA Doesn't matter. I still outrank you. GLENN (quietly) For now. Dina immediately stops what's she doing. DINA (sharply) What? (beat) Has Amy picked her replacement? GLENN I don't know. Has she? Dina rolls her eyes. DINA Are you or are you not taking over for Amy? GLENN I mean she hasn't "asked me." But you don't want it, and I'm not sure that I do... But someone has to do it, and I have the most experience... Who else would it be? INT. AMY'S OFFICE - SAME TIME Mateo is leaning back in Amy's chair with his feet up on the desk, while Cheyenne is sitting on the desk, absentmindedly swinging her feet and kicking drawers. CHEYENNE (excitedly) So you're really gonna be the new store manager? MATEO (confidently) I mean she hasn't "asked me." But Dina doesn't want it. Glenn doesn't want it. And I'm literally her assistant, so you know... Mateo puts his hand under his chin like he's posing. MATEO Heir apparent. Cheyenne nods but looks unsure. Mateo puts his hand down. MATEO (concerned) What? You don't think Amy will pick me? CHEYENNE Oh, no, definitely! (beat) But what about... Cheyenne nods toward Mateo's ankle monitor. Mateo looks at it, then swings his feet down, self-conscious. MATEO I know. Mateo looks up at Cheyenne. MATEO But my trial is coming up... and maybe Glenn could be like interim manager until I'm... qualified. Cheyenne smiles. CHEYENNE Yeah, totally! Mateo smiles back gratefully. Cheyenne's smile fades a bit, and she looks down. CHEYENNE You being store manager would make me feel less sad about Amy leaving. Mateo puts a hand on Cheyenne's leg. MATEO (sympathetic) I'm sorry, Chey. CHEYENNE (more cheerfully) At least she's coming to my party. MATEO (scoffs) You mean St. Louis' own Fyre Festival? Mateo puts his feet back up on the desk. CHEYENNE Oh, yeah, I've just decided not to worry about it. It'll work out. Mateo swiftly retracts his hand and swings his feet down in the same direction, forcing Cheyenne to dodge them, then stands up and grabs both of Cheyenne's hands. MATEO That kind of attitude is exactly why Fyre Festival became Fyre Festival! INT. FASHION DEPARTMENT - DAY - AFTERNOON A tall teen girl is seen "driving" a hot pink electric kid's car, while texting. She's sitting on the trunk, pressing her right foot on the gas and "steering" haphazardly with her left foot without looking up. The teen proceeds to crash through a full-length mirror. She and the car come out the other side covered in glass. The car's front bumper is badly dented, and the teen is bleeding from her forehead but continues driving, completely unfazed and still texting. INT. CENTER STORE - A LITTLE LATER Jonah is restocking family-size chip bags. Trying to stock three at a time above his head, he drops one. After getting the other two on the shelf, he turns to grab the third but is surprised to find Marcus has just picked it up for him. JONAH (impressed) Thanks. Jonah reaches for it just as Marcus opens it. JONAH (unimpressed) You can't just - Marcus waves him off and he leans against the shelf, enjoying his chips. MARCUS Relax, I'll go back to the warehouse in a minute. I just wanted to get some air. Jonah surveys their surroundings. JONAH But you're still inside. Marcus doesn't register the comment. MARCUS (laughing) So you're really moving across the country for Amy? JONAH Yeah, so what? MARCUS So... can I come, too? (beat) I've never been. One time when I was a kid, I stowed away in the back of a Target delivery truck, but they found me before we made it to California... before we left the parking lot, actually... I did not hide well. Unsure what to say, Jonah resumes restocking. MARCUS So what are you gonna do there? Jonah grows contemplative. Marcus rambles. MARCUS I'm thinking... surfing. Jonah grabs another chip bag but doesn't restock it. JONAH I hadn't really given it much thought. MARCUS But I'm scared of dolphins. After a moment, Jonah realizes what Marcus said. JONAH Sorry, you're scared of dolphins? MARCUS Yeah, man, they hunt in packs. JONAH But they don't hunt peo- MARCUS And they're really pretentious. Jonah cocks his head and opens his mouth to respond but finds himself at a lost for words. FADE OUT END OF ACT ONE ACT TWO INT. CHEYENNE & BO'S HOUSE - NIGHT High school party vibe. EDM Music. A handful of 20-somethings are dancing, shouting, playing games, while some Cloud 9 employees stand around talking. Amy & Jonah walk in. JONAH Surprisingly low turnout. CHEYENNE Thanks! Amy and Jonah jump slightly as they come face-to-face with Cheyenne, who's holding Harmonica. Amy smiles. AMY Happy 21st, Chey! Amy hugs her and Harmonica, then hands Cheyenne a box. AMY It's just earrings... My mom gave them to me for my 21st... And apparently silver is "not Emma's color"... If you don't like them either, though... Cheyenne, in shock, opens the box, revealing small, silver, leaf-shaped earrings. Cheyenne, misty-eyed, looks at Amy and wordlessly pulls her in for a hug. Bo calls across the room from a beer pong table. BO Ay-yo, Cheyenne, I need my partner back! Cheyenne pulls away, laughing a bit and wiping her eyes. She puts Harmonica down. CHEYENNE Go over to Daddy, sweetie. INT. LIVING ROOM - A LITTLE LATER A 20-something, manning a keg, fills up a red cup, then turns it upside down like he's serving a Dairy Queen blizzard, spilling beer on the intended 20-something recipient and the floor. Jonah, who's walking past with two red cups, hops out of the way and continues toward Amy. JONAH So, I'm not totally sure what's in these. The cooler was just labeled "Marxism." Laughing, Amy takes a cup and a sip, as Jonah turns to stand next to her. Amy starts coughing and holds up the cup. AMY (croaking) Give my regards to Karl Marx. Jonah smiles, but it doesn't reaches his eyes, surprising and concerning Amy. Mateo walks up to them. MATEO (impressed) Hey, you made it. Amy continues looking at Jonah for moment. MATEO Make any business decisions yet? That gets Amy attention. She smiles wryly at Mateo. AMY I haven't forgotten about you, if that's what you're asking. (beat) And I want you to keep me posted about, you know... Mateo smiles appreciatively. Amy smiles mischievously. AMY And about you and Eric. Mateo rolls his eyes. MATEO He's your brother. AMY Yeah, but he won't tell me anything! MATEO Neither will I! JONAH (beat) So, this isn't... Jonah gestures at the room. MATEO A disaster? Yeah, so Cheyenne's friend, Korona - CHEYENNE (slurring) She's going by Kovid now, actually. Cheyenne, holding a cup, leans on Mateo. MATEO Right... we got Kovid to throw a fake party in the woods. Amy and Jonah are nonplussed. Mateo scoffs at having to spell it out. MATEO The only way people would ditch this party was if they thought there was a better one. CHEYENNE (slurring) So, we let them take their money back... so they could give it to Kovid instead. JONAH But how is that not just another Fyre Festival? MATEO (laughing) Oh, no, it totally is. It's just not our problem. EXT. WOODS - SAME TIME Apocalyptic chaos. Hundreds of 20-somethings are screaming, running in terror, holding up phones and shoving each other trying to get reception, sitting on the ground and rocking back and forth while covering their ears, fist fighting. INT. LIVING ROOM - A LITTLE LATER Jonah stares off into space. Amy tries to bring him back. AMY Hey, so are you... JONAH Sorry, what? Jonah turns to face Amy. AMY Are you okay? You seem... distant. JONAH Sorry... I'm just still kinda processing... everything. AMY Oh... (beat, laughing) Sorry, it just seemed like you were thinking about bailing or something. Jonah doesn't respond and can't help looking guilty. AMY (beat) Oh. INT. KITCHEN - NIGHT Glenn opens the fridge, looks inside, leans in and pulls something out. He closes the door, revealing a carton of orange juice in his hand. He tries to open the spout but can't pull it out. He turns around, places the carton on the island and tries again, harder this time, but to no avail. He starts to whimper but keeps trying. EXT. FRONT DOOR STOOP - LATER Amy is sitting alone, holding her drink and staring out at the night despondently. Jonah opens the door behind her. Amy turns to look up, but seeing who it is, wordlessly turns back. Jonah gingerly sits down next to her. JONAH So, Bo and Harmonica make a shockingly good team. Amy laughs, just barely. JONAH Dina and Cheyenne, too. AMY (interest piqued) Really? JONAH Dina will trash talk anyone... even a chi- AMY (sighing) Jonah, what are we doing? Jonah goes silent for a moment, steeling himself. JONAH I don't want to be Adam. AMY (perplexed) What? JONAH You've spent your whole life, since you were a kid, supporting other people. (beat) You finally have a chance to do something for yourself... Between the kids and Adam... I don't want you to have to take care of me, too. AMY But, Jonah, it's my choice. And I want... I want you to come. JONAH And I want to come, too! (beat) But this is the first place where I found... stability in my life... (beat) It's your time to move on... but I don't think it's mine... yet. Jonah turns to face Amy, getting emotional. JONAH And I don't want to find that out the hard way... I can't - I won't do that to you... Amy and Jonah tear up. Jonah looks down. JONAH I am so sorry... I never meant to make this harder... I just... I really wanted... Amy takes Jonah's hand. Jonah looks at her. AMY I know. Jonah cups Amy's cheek with his other hand. She turns to face him. He leans in and kisses her on the forehead. Both close their eyes, then open them and hold each others' gaze as Jonah pulls back. INT. HALLWAY - A LITTLE LATER Dina walks down the hall, opens the bathroom door, catches a brief glimpse of Amy and immediately closes it. DINA Sorry! I mean, you should've locked the door, but... Amy calls out from inside. AMY (muffled) Dina, it's fine. Dina reopens the door slowly, revealing Amy sitting on the side of the tub. The door swings wider to reveal Cheyenne kneeling over the toilet. Amy is holding her hair back. AMY Hey. Amy smiles wanly. INT. BATHROOM - CONTINUOUS Dina shuts the down and sits down beside Amy. AMY (beat) I'm sorry. DINA I can hold it. I've been training extra hard ever since Garrett... Dina momentarily trails off, still bitter about the prank. DINA (beat) But how long are we thin- Amy can't take it anymore. She has to get it off her chest. AMY I'm sorry for making you keep our past secret. Dina looks down and tries to brush it off. DINA Don't worry about it. I know how you are about personal stuff. AMY But it wasn't just my stuff... Amy looks over at Dina. AMY I shouldn't have decided for the both of us. Dina laughs slightly to herself and looks up. DINA [email protected]#$ that. Caught off-guard, Amy recoils a bit and faces forward again. AMY Umm... Dina laughs again and looks over at Amy. DINA That's what you said to me at my Sweet Sixteen. Amy looks over at Dina, confused. DINA My dad was a no-show... again. But I held off on cutting the cake... you were the only person who stayed. Amy smiles poignantly, beginning to remember. DINA And I told you that it was my fault I expected him to come - that "I shouldn't have decided for the both of us"... And you said... Amy laughs, remembering now. AMY "[email protected]#$ that." Dina puts her arm around Amy. DINA God, I have so many embarrassing stories ready to go once you leave. Amy laughs and leans her head on Dina's shoulder. CHEYENNE Oh, no. Amy! Amy lifts Cheyenne's hair up higher as she throws up. FADE OUT END OF ACT TWO ACT THREE EXT. AMY'S HOUSE - THREE DAYS LATER - AFTERNOON Amy, Jonah, Emma and Adam are carrying boxes from the house to a moving truck. Parker is doodling on a box in the background. They all stop when they hear, then see, Dina's truck roll up with Garrett in the passenger seat, Cheyenne, Mateo and Glenn in the back seat, and Sandra and Tony in the bed. Sandra is holding onto Garrett's wheelchair. Amy smiles but looks confused as they get out. She turns to Jonah, who shrugs. AMY What's going on? MATEO Well, we were supposed to have the day off. Mateo gives Dina side-eye. DINA Hey, you're not in the store, are you? GARRETT Dina rounded us up to help you guys. JONAH (trying to be nonchalant) So, it wasn't your choice, then. GARRETT Nope, I was supposed to be playing Skulls of Death 2. Just came out today. Amy turns to Jonah. AMY Damn it, I told you I was forgetting something! GARRETT I figured you would be busy, so... Amy turns back to see Garrett holding a copy of the game. AMY (excitedly) Oh my god... thank you! As Amy takes it, we see Cheyenne, who's wearing Amy's earrings, grow concerned. CHEYENNE Wait, were we all supposed to bring something... 'cause I didn't. GLENN Amy, I have a gift for you, I swear. But I left it at home. Glenn glares at Dina. GLENN Dina wouldn't even let me go back in to get my other shoe. We see Glenn is wearing only a sock on his left foot. AMY It's fine, guys. I'm not leaving until tomorrow... You don't even have to stay. We're pretty much done. We see the inside of the moving truck. It's mostly empty. DINA Mateo, Cheyenne, Garrett pack up inside. Sandra start carrying boxes. SANDRA Actually, my doctor - DINA Shut up, Sandra! Amy turns to Tony. AMY Why don't I get you a ride home? This is gonna be really boring. TONY Oh, no, I don't mind. Tony smiles conspiratorially. TONY Mom says I'm not allowed to be home alone, anyway. Tony walks over to Sandra. Amy smiles, shaking her head slightly, then turns to Dina. AMY You really didn't have to do this. Dina smiles. DINA Grab a box, Sosa. MONTAGE - VARIOUS INT. AMY'S BEDROOM - A LITTLE LATER Music starts. Mateo and Cheyenne are taking Amy's clothes out of the "keep" box and throwing them into the "donate" box. Amy is returning them to the "keep" box. EXT. AMY'S HOUSE - LATER Jonah and Garrett are playing catch with a taped up ball of bubble wrap. Emma's in the middle holding up Parker, who's trying to intercept it. INT. AMY'S BEDROOM - LATER Amy and Cheyenne are sitting on her bed. Cheyenne casually braids Amy's hair, while Amy feeds her cheese puffs. Both laugh as Mateo walks in and grandly gestures behind him to Jonah wearing Amy's most tragic outfit. Jonah does a twirl and bows. Amy, Cheyenne and Mateo clap enthusiastically. EXT. AMY'S HOUSE - LATER Amy brings out old color guard flags and waves them at Dina. Dina laughs. Amy tries to hand Dina one, but Dina shakes her head and backs up. Amy persists and starts chanting. We can't hear it, but we can see it on her lips: "Dina! Dina!" Garrett, Jonah, Mateo and Cheyenne join in. Finally, Dina relents and takes the flag. Everyone cheers. INT. AMY'S LIVING ROOM - SAME TIME Music cuts out. Sandra and Tony are the only ones inside and still packing. EXT. AMY'S HOUSE - SAME TIME Music resumes. Amy and Dina begin their routine. Emma crouches behind Parker and covers his eyes but can't help watching and smiles herself. Amy and Dina continue, smiling at each other. Adam smiles as he films the routine on his phone. Jonah looks over at Adam a bit sadly, then down to Emma and Parker, who's moved Emma's hands out of the way just enough to see. Emma and Parker begin clapping. Jonah looks over to Amy and Dina, who are bowing, and starts clapping himself. END OF MONTAGE EXT. AMY'S HOUSE - EARLY EVENING Cheyenne and Mateo are both slowly carrying a box that either could easily have carried alone. They pass by Amy and Dina, who are looking on as the last of the boxes are loaded into the almost-full truck. DINA So have you decided who's going to be the new you? AMY I have an idea... I don't think you're going to like it. DINA (beat) I got your back. Amy smiles. AMY I have something for you. It's in your truck. DINA (scandalized) You broke in? Amy smiles wryly. AMY Your window was open, Dina. Amy turns to help Emma with a box. Dina walks over, looks inside and finds a photo frame turned upside down. Dina picks it up and turns it over. It's of her and Amy smiling at each other (from end of 1x05). The frame is white with birds painted on. Dina tears up. Glenn runs up, panting and holding something in his hand. GLENN Amy... Amy, I have... it... Amy turns around, having loaded the box onto the truck, and looks at him in disbelief. AMY Glenn... did you... did you run home... and back? Glenn, head down, hands on his knees, nods. GARRETT But didn't put on your other shoe? We see that Glenn still only has a sock on his left foot, and it's now very dirty. Glenn looks up, a bit dazed. GLENN What? AMY Let's go inside and get you some juice. Amy walks over to him. Glenn holds up a small, blue rectangular sign. Amy takes it and reads "Sosa Room." Amy looks back at Glenn, touched. AMY Is this... GLENN For the break room, yeah... I thought maybe... I mean if anyone deserves it... AMY Thank you, Glenn. She smiles brightly, and Glenn smiles back. Just as Amy goes to hug him, he passes out. AMY Oh, god. INT. AMY'S LIVING ROOM - A LITTLE LATER Everyone's gathered in the living room, drinking and eating snacks. DINA Aren't you forgetting something? Amy cocks her head. Dina gestures to the room, which is still fully furnished. AMY Oh, no. I sold all the furniture to the family moving in here. We're gonna buy new stuff in California. Dina scoffs and folds her arms. AMY What? DINA All these people volunteered - Dina gestures to the room again. AMY Unwillingly. DINA ... to help you pack up. And you're not gonna first dibs on anything? Amy gives her a quizzical look. AMY You guys have furniture. You don't need more. DINA Oh, wow... Okay. AMY Dina. DINA So just because we don't "need" it, we can't have it. AMY No, you can't have it because I already sold - Dina calls out to the room. DINA Hey guys, Amy won't sell us her furniture because we're not poor enough for her standards. Gasps. Jonah raises his eyebrows, a mix of confusion and amusement. AMY Okay, that is a misrepresentation - MATEO Oh, so now we're not smart enough to understand you? CHEYENNE Wow, California really has changed you. Frustrated, Amy goes to respond but Mateo interjects. MATEO Has it, though? Cheyenne nods and points at Mateo in agreement. CHEYENNE True. AMY (frustrated) Guys - SANDRA (meekly) Amy, I don't know if now is the right time to say this, but I broke a couple things while I was packing. AMY (alarmed) What? Amy phone rings. She groans, takes it out her pant's pocket and answers. AMY (annoyed) What? (beat, alarmed) WHAT? INT. CLOUD 9 ENTRANCE - A LITTLE LATER Amy, Dina, Jonah, Glenn, Garrett, Mateo, Cheyenne, Sandra and Tony come through the glass sliding doors and stop in shock. The store is in utter chaos. INT. CLOUD 9 - VARIOUS - SAME TIME In PRODUCE, we see some of the 20-something from Kovid's fake party - dirty, raggedy, bloodied and bruised - scrambling for avocados and biting into them, skin and all. IN ELECTRONICS, we see some 20-somethings fighting over display computers, iPads and phones, and others fighting over chargers while trying to find outlets for their phones. In ALCOHOL, we see 20-somethings grabbing boxed wines, cutting holes into them with carved up sticks and shotgunning them. In a deserted AISLE, we see cases of water bottles, completely untouched. INT. CLOUD 9 ENTRANCE - SAME TIME Amy rounds on Mateo, who looks nervous, and Cheyenne, who is rather in awe of the chaos. MATEO Amy, I swear we did not tell Kovid to tell them to come here. Amy is still suspicious. AMY Where was the "fake" party? CHEYENNE In the woods behind the store. MATEO Chey! CHEYENNE Well, how were we supposed to know they would come here? Mateo rolls his eyes and groans. JONAH Actually, it did take them three days to find their way here, so that is kind of a fair point. Amy rounds on him. AMY Who's side are you on? Jonah throws up his hands in apology and backs up. Amy sighs and faces forward again. DINA I can call the police. I have them on speed dial. Garrett cocks his head. GARRETT Doesn't everyone? DINA No, I mean, I literally I have them on speed dial. Dina takes out her phone. DINA All I have to do is hit - AMY Don't! (beat) They need medical attention. I'm not adding to this store's body count on my last day as manager. GLENN Wasn't yesterday your last day? Amy's eyes widen in recognition. AMY Oh... right. Where's that interim guy corporate sent? Suddenly, Bo - dirty, raggedy, bloodied and bruised - pops up in front of them. BO What up, homies? Peow, peow, peow! Everyone jerks back in alarm. CHEYENNE Bo?! BO Yo, Chey, check it! Bo holds out his shirt, which he's using like a pouch to store various electronics. Cheyenne is apprehensive. CHEYENNE Bo, you need to put those back. (beat) It's not fair to take them from the people who really need to steal them. BO Man, I am one of those people. I lost my phone is the woods. That's why I didn't call you. Cheyenne smiles, satisfied with his explanation. CHEYENNE Oh, okay. Amy looks back and forth between, concerned and confused. AMY So you didn't know where your husband was for three days? Cheyenne laughs and waves it off. CHEYENNE Well, I knew he was somewhere. Sandra suddenly looks around, concerned. SANDRA Has anyone seen Tony? FADE OUT END OF ACT THREE ACT FOUR EXT. CLOUD 9 PARKING LOT - NIGHT 20-somethings are being triaged and treated by EMTs in the parking lots and picked up by concerned parents rushing to hug them. INT. CLOUD 9 BREAK ROOM - SAME TIME Glenn is trying to pull the current break room sign off the door, but it won't budge. He gives up in frustration, then comes back a moment later with a marker and writes "FORMERLY KNOWN AS" above the sign. Then a moment later, he sticks Amy's sign to the door and writes above that "NOW KNOWN AS." He steps back to assess his work and smiles in satisfaction. INT. CLOUD 9 BACK HALLWAY - SAME TIME Dina walks past Amy's cleaned out office wistfully, takes a step back and leans against the doorway for a moment. She straightens up when she hears muffled crying nearby. She walks down the hall and slows to a stop in front of the supply closet. INT. SUPPLY CLOSET - CONTINUOUS Dina flings open the door, revealing a small 30-something man in business attire sitting on the floor, hugging his knees and crying. He looks up in alarm. Dina smiles at him fakely. DINA So, you're the guy who ruined my best friend's officially non-official last day here. INT. CLOUD 9 PARKING LOT - SAME TIME Sandra is helping Tony treat one of the 20-somethings. She smiles at him proudly. SANDRA So what made you want to be an EMT trainee? TONY Well, Glenn doesn't know how to swim... but he does it anyway, so that's how I learned why it's important to know CPR. Sandra is a bit taken aback but tries for a smile. SANDRA Oh... right. EXT. CLOUD 9 ROOFTOP - SAME TIME Amy and Jonah are sitting on lawn chairs. AMY So what is this? JONAH I mean, do we want to know? Amy laughs. AMY Not this. Amy lifts up a can of Cloud 9 caffeinated malt beverage and takes a sip. AMY Is this... the end? Jonah takes a sip from his can and looks up at the sky. JONAH It's more like... a supernova. Amy scoffs and rolls her eyes. JONAH (laughing) Just hear me out... Amy signals for him to continue. JONAH A supernova is - AMY An explosion of a dead star. JONAH Exactly. AMY (laughing) How is that comforting? JONAH Because you can still see it... The star is still there. It's just... changed form... Amy is looking up at the sky now, too, and doesn't have a comeback. JONAH And it burns brightest after the explosion... and continues to burn long after. Amy looks over at Jonah for a long moment. Flashback to pilot stars scene? AMY I love you. Jonah looks over at Amy. JONAH I love you. After a moment, Amy leans in and kisses him. After a few more moments, rain begins pouring down, out of nowhere. They ignore it, until they hear thunder and break apart laughing. AMY Did you not check the weather before you brought me out here? They both stand up and start to get smaller and quieter as the store starts coming into view. JONAH It said it was clear! (beat) Or maybe that was Cupertino. AMY (incredulously) You haven't deleted Cupertino? Both laugh and head for the door, leaving the chairs and drinks behind. AMY I am kinda gonna miss these freak storms. JONAH Oh, don't worry you'll have earthquakes... AMY Thank you, Jonah. Amy opens the door. We can see almost all of the store now. JONAH Mudslides... Jonah holds the door open above Amy's head. JONAH Wildfires... Amy steps inside. AMY Just make a Powerpoint for me. Jonah follows, and the door swings shut behind him. The store is in full view. END OF EPISODE
2020.07.08 15:04 comic-book-jawns6x01: The Conclusion — it gets real, y'all
INT. CHEYENNE & BO'S HOUSE - NIGHT High school party vibe. EDM Music. A handful of 20-somethings are dancing, shouting, playing games, while some Cloud 9 employees stand around talking. Amy & Jonah walk in. JONAH Surprisingly low turnout. CHEYENNE Thanks! Amy and Jonah jump slightly as they come face-to-face with Cheyenne, who's holding Harmonica. Amy smiles. AMY Happy 21st, Chey! Amy hugs her and Harmonica, then hands Cheyenne a box. AMY It's just earrings... My mom gave them to me for my 21st... And apparently silver is "not Emma's color"... If you don't like them either, though... Cheyenne, in shock, opens the box, revealing small, silver, leaf-shaped earrings. Cheyenne, misty-eyed, looks at Amy and wordlessly pulls her in for another hug. Bo calls across the room from a beer pong table. BO Ay-yo, Cheyenne, I need my partner back! Cheyenne pulls away, laughing a bit and wiping her eyes. She puts Harmonica down. CHEYENNE Go over to Daddy, sweetie. INT. KITCHEN - NIGHT Glenn opens the fridge, looks inside, leans in and pulls something out. He closes the door, revealing a carton of orange juice in his hand. He tries to open the spout but can't pull it out. He turns around, places the carton on the island and tries again, harder this time, but to no avail. He starts to whimper but keeps trying. INT. LIVING ROOM - NIGHT Jonah walks over to Amy with two red solo cups. JONAH So, I'm not totally sure what's in these. The cooler was just labeled "Marxism." Amy laughs, takes a cup and takes a sip, as Jonah turns to stand next to her. Amy starts coughing and holds up the cup. AMY (croaking) Give my regards to Karl Marx. Jonah smiles, but it doesn't reaches his eyes, surprising and concerning Amy. Mateo walks up to them. MATEO (impressed) Hey, you made it. Amy continues looking at Jonah for moment. MATEO Make any business decisions yet? That gets Amy attention. She smiles wryly at Mateo. AMY I haven't forgotten about you, if that's what you're asking. (beat) And I want you to keep me posted about, you know... Mateo smiles appreciatively. Amy smiles mischievously. AMY And you and about Eric. Mateo rolls his eyes. MATEO He's your brother. AMY Yeah, but he won't tell me anything! MATEO Neither will I! JONAH (beat) So, this isn't... Jonah gestures at the room. MATEO A disaster? Yeah, so Cheyenne's friend, Korona - CHEYENNE (slurring) She's going by Kovid now, actually. Cheyenne, holding a cup, leans on Mateo. MATEO Right... we got Kovid to throw a fake party in the woods. Amy and Jonah are nonplussed. Mateo scoffs at having to spell it out. MATEO The only way people would ditch this party was if they thought there was a better one. CHEYENNE (slurring) So, we let them take their money back... so they could give it to Kovid instead. JONAH But how is that not just another Fyre Festival? MATEO (laughing) Oh, no, it totally is. It's just not our problem. EXT. WOODS - NIGHT Apocalyptic chaos. Hundreds of 20-somethings are screaming, running in terror, holding up phones and shoving each other trying to get reception, sitting on the ground and rocking back and forth while covering their ears, fist fighting. INT. LIVING ROOM - NIGHT Jonah stares off into space. Amy tries to bring him back. AMY Hey, so are you... JONAH Sorry, what? Jonah turns to face Amy. AMY Are you okay? You seem... distant. JONAH Sorry... I'm just still kinda processing... everything. AMY Oh... (beat, laughing) Sorry, it just seemed like you were thinking about bailing or something. Jonah doesn't respond and can't help looking guilty. AMY (beat) Oh. EXT. FRONT DOOR STOOP - NIGHT (A BIT LATER) Amy is sitting alone, holding her drink and staring out at the night despondently. Jonah opens the door behind her. Amy turns to look up, but seeing who it is, wordlessly turns back. Jonah gingerly sits down next to her. JONAH So, Bo and Harmonica make a shockingly good team. Amy laughs, just barely. JONAH Dina and Cheyenne, too. AMY (interest piqued) Really? JONAH Dina will trash talk anyone... even a chi- AMY (sighing) Jonah, what are we doing? Jonah goes silent for a moment, steeling himself. JONAH I don't want to be Adam. AMY (perplexed) What? JONAH You've spent your whole life, since you were a kid, supporting other people. (beat) You finally have a chance to do something for yourself... Between the kids and Adam... I don't want you to have to take care of me, too. AMY But, Jonah, it's my choice. And I want... I want you to come. JONAH And I want to come, too! (beat) But this is the first place where I found... stability in my life... (beat) It's your time to move on... but I don't think it's mine... yet. Jonah turns to face Amy, getting emotional. JONAH And I don't want to find that out the hard way... I can't - I won't do that to you... Amy and Jonah tear up. Jonah looks down. JONAH I am so sorry... I never meant to make this harder... I just... I really wanted... Amy takes Jonah's hand. Jonah looks at her. AMY I know. Jonah cups Amy's cheek with his other hand. She turns to face him. He leans in and kisses her on the forehead. Both close their eyes, then open them and hold each others' gaze as Jonah pulls back. INT. HALLWAY - NIGHT (A BIT LATER) Dina walks down the hall, opens the bathroom door, catches a brief glimpse of Amy and immediately closes it. DINA Sorry! I mean, you should've locked the door, but... Amy calls out from inside. AMY (muffled) Dina, it's fine. Dina reopens the door slowly, revealing Amy sitting on the side of the tub. The door swings wider to reveal Cheyenne kneeling over the toilet. Amy is holding her hair back. AMY Hey. Amy smiles wanly. INT. BATHROOM - NIGHT - CONTINUOUS Dina sits down beside her. AMY (beat) About this morning... Dina puts her arm around her. DINA Don't worry about it. Amy smiles to herself and leans her head on Dina's shoulder. CHEYENNE Oh, no. Amy! Amy lifts Cheyenne's hair up higher as she throws up. EXT. AMY'S HOUSE - DAY (A FEW DAYS LATER) - AFTERNOON Amy, Jonah, Emma and Adam are carrying boxes from the house to a moving truck. Parker is doodling on a box in the background. They all stop when they hear, then see, Dina's truck roll up with Garrett in the passenger seat, Cheyenne, Mateo and Glenn in the back seat, and Sandra and Tony in the bed. Sandra is holding onto Garrett's wheelchair. Amy smiles but looks confused as they get out. She turns to Jonah, who shrugs. AMY What's going on? MATEO Well, we were supposed to have the day off. Mateo gives Dina side-eye. DINA Hey, you're not in the store, are you? GARRETT Dina rounded us up to help you guys. JONAH (trying to be nonchalant) So, it wasn't your choice, then. GARRETT Nope, I was supposed to be playing Skulls of Death 2. Just came out today. Amy turns to Jonah. AMY Damn it, I told you I was forgetting something! GARRETT I figured you would be busy, so... Amy turns back to see Garrett holding a copy of the game. AMY (excitedly) Oh my god... thank you! As Amy takes it, we see Cheyenne, who's wearing Amy's earrings, grow concerned. CHEYENNE Wait, were we all supposed to bring something... 'cause I didn't. GLENN Amy, I have a gift for you, I swear. But I left it at home. Glenn glares at Dina. GLENN Dina wouldn't even let me go back in to get my other shoe. We see Glenn is wearing only a sock on his left foot. AMY It's fine, guys. I'm not leaving until tomorrow... You don't even have to stay. We're pretty much done. We see the inside of the moving truck. It's mostly empty. DINA Mateo, Cheyenne, Garrett pack up inside. Sandra start carrying boxes. SANDRA Actually, my doctor - DINA Shut up, Sandra! Amy turns to Tony. AMY Why don't I get you a ride home? This is gonna be really boring. TONY Oh, no, I don't mind. Tony smiles conspiratorially. TONY Mom says I'm not allowed to be home alone, anyway. Tony walks over to Sandra. Amy smiles, shaking her head slightly, then turns to Dina. AMY You really didn't have to do this. Dina smiles. DINA Grab a box, Sosa. INT. AMY'S HOUSE - DAY A montage of packing begins. Mateo and Cheyenne are taking Amy's clothes out of the "keep" box and throwing them into the "donate" box. Amy is returning them to the "keep" box. EXT. AMY'S HOUSE - DAY Jonah and Garrett are playing catch with a taped up ball of bubble wrap. Emma's in the middle holding up Parker, who's trying to intercept it. INT. AMY'S HOUSE - DAY Amy and Cheyenne are sitting on her bed. Cheyenne casually braids Amy's hair, while Amy feeds her cheese puffs. Both laugh as Mateo walks in and grandly gestures behind him to Jonah wearing Amy's "most tragic" outfit. Jonah does a twirl and bows. Amy, Cheyenne and Mateo clap enthusiastically. EXT. AMY'S HOUSE - DAY - EARLY EVENING Amy and Dina look on as boxes are loaded into the truck, which is almost full. DINA So have you decided who's going to be the new you? AMY I have an idea... I don't think you're going to like it. DINA (beat) I got your back. Amy smiles. AMY I have something for you. It's in your truck. DINA (scandalized) You broke in? Amy smiles wryly. AMY Your window was open, Dina. Amy turns to help Emma with a box. Dina walks over, looks inside and finds a photo frame turned upside down. Dina picks it up and turns it over. It's of her and Amy smiling at each other (from end of 1x05). The frame is white with birds painted on. Dina tears up.
Glenn runs up, panting and holding something in his hand. GLENN Amy... Amy, I have... it... Amy turns around, having loaded the box onto the truck, and looks at him in disbelief. AMY Glenn... did you... did you run home... and back? Glenn, head down, hands on his knees, nods. GARRETT But didn't put on your other shoe? We see that Glenn still only has a sock on his left foot, and it's now very dirty. Glenn looks up, a bit dazed. GLENN What? AMY Let's go inside and get you some juice. Amy walks over to him. Glenn holds up a small, blue rectangular sign. Amy takes it and reads "Sosa Room." Amy looks back at Glenn, touched. AMY Is this... GLENN For the break room, yeah... I thought maybe... I mean if anyone deserves it... AMY Thank you, Glenn. She smiles brightly, and Glenn smiles back. Just as Amy goes to hug him, he passes out. AMY Oh, god. EXT. CLOUD 9 ROOFTOP - NIGHT Amy and Jonah are sitting on lawn chairs. AMY So what is this? JONAH I mean, do we want to know? Amy laughs. AMY Not this. Amy lifts up a can of Cloud 9 caffeinated malt beverage and takes a sip. AMY Is this... the end? Jonah takes a sip from his can and looks up at the sky. JONAH It's more like... a supernova. Amy scoffs and rolls her eyes. JONAH (laughing) Just hear me out... Amy signals for him to continue. JONAH A supernova is - AMY An explosion of a dead star. JONAH Exactly. AMY (laughing) How is that comforting? JONAH Because you can still see it... The star is still there. It's just... changed form... Amy is looking up at the sky now, too, and doesn't have a comeback. JONAH And it burns brightest after the explosion... and continues to burn long after. Amy looks over at Jonah for long moment. AMY I love you. Jonah looks over at Amy. JONAH I love you. After a moment, Amy leans in and kisses him. After a few more moments, rain begins pouring down, out of nowhere. They ignore it, until they hear thunder and break apart laughing. AMY Did you not check the weather before you brought me out here? They both stand up and start to get smaller and quieter as the store starts coming into view. JONAH It said it was clear! (beat) Or maybe that was Cupertino. AMY (incredulously) You haven't deleted Cupertino? Both laugh and head for the door, leaving the chairs and drinks behind. AMY I am kinda gonna miss these freak storms. JONAH Oh, don't worry you'll have earthquakes... AMY Thank you, Jonah. Amy opens the door. We can see almost all of the store below them now. JONAH Mudslides... Jonah holds the door open above Amy's head. JONAH Wildfires... Amy steps inside. AMY Just make a Powerpoint for me. Jonah follows, and the door swings shut behind him. The store is in full view.
2020.06.26 03:44 LinguisticPugilistThe stupid wiki is annoying and they wouldn't let me publish it. I'm going to one way or another to get this story out. And expose the liar and thief who stole my original story.
SCP-- Answers Object Class- Apollyon Description- REDACTED Reality really only has two truths: What reality truly is What we would like them to be I look down and throw the briefcase to reset the timeline. It's growing dark. I can not see anything else around me. The light at the top slowly dims. I don't want to die. Oh, so that's how it is" This is Dr.Bright, scientist and researcher for the SCP foundation. We did not contain "IT." The creäture has now arrived and is hunting down everyone. I stand over the ruins of Site 19. The frail whispers of personnel out life. The creäture deciding to speak."You have tried so hard to contain that which can not be contained. I am an entropy. I am the void. I am all that you dare not imagine, for once you do know; the truth you will know the inevitable. That your precious foundation overstepped its bounds. You or no being can stop me. You, foolish mortals, think you are above reproach. For your transgressions, I will make you all die, slowly, painfully, without hope. Without solace or release and be perpetually killed over and over till I feed on the very souls agony and I feel bliss. I do these things because I need no reason...I do them cause I can. And before I destroy your earth, all that you hold dear will suffer and die. All my children you contained will be taken from existence by my hand. You should have not stared into the abyss. Because I will stare back." Then levitates and proceeds to fly upwards, with a thunderous bass drop that can be felt like a sonic boom. The creäture escaping into the stars of space. The sky releases a torrent of blood raining from above hitting the charred remains of SCP 343. 06/16/2020 1 day before Arrival It's only been one day since the Crimson hooded figure Arrived. We should have never mapped the psycho space. Before the arrival of the creature, SCP 682 was going mad. Saying he must leave for something is wrong. And that his father the Scarlett King has been slain. For the very first time, we saw fear in its eyes. "You must let me go... I will not die to that being... It will not let me die fast. It never has let anyone die with dignity. My father...the most feared creäture of the cosmos was usurped by this creäture. We call him IT. But you know him as -redacted. This creäture will not stop at me. He will kill and destroy all that challenge his power. No one can escape him, living nor dead. He created humans as a means of entertainment and loved to watch conflict and discord. He has created wars, famine, and sadness. And...even Genocide. Please...let me go. If I must die...it will be on my own terms." Tears of blood running down from 682. Dr.Bright for the first time had no comeback. No witty retort. SCP 682 was telling the truth. Bright looking at his medallion and it starts glowing. His head throbbing. "The only way we can survive this is by uniting. Or we, and all the cosmos will die for it's a delight." Bright immediately calls Dr.Clef and tell him to get the fuck down to the cell immediately. But it was too late. A shriek of terror can be heard from the reptile and Dr.Bright stood frozen in horror. What appeared before Bright was the embodiment of fear, genocide, rage, and sorrow. There stood a humanoid figure, floating above 682. Its eyes glowing crimson, its cape and hood blood red. It flowed as though it was alive and breathing. His body covered in armor that showed every muscle. Resembling the highest grades of kevlar. It was its skin. The creäture finally speaks, IT's voice echoing and changing pitch like he was speaking many times at once. All could be heard even through the endless echo of voices. "My dear sweet child. Have you forgotten your place? Your father did, and I bathed in his blood. I killed him, over and over and over again. Til his very essence was absorbed. His stupid crown laid down at my feet. He thought he could walk without impunity. DID YOU THINK YOU COULD DARE HIDE FROM ME?! I AM THAT ALL WAS AND EVER WILL BE. I AM ETERNITY. I AM ERTARC!" The mobile task force arrives with DR.Clef. "Dear God," Clef mutters as he sees ERTARC. "I haven't been called that name in a while." Then the task force opens fire. The bullets are absorbed and do nothing. ERTARC stares at them. In his hood, you can see the smile, teeth jagged, long and almost porcelain-like. The shadows covering his face and crimson eyes. He raises his hand and unleashes the bullets back on to the task force. They all die as the bullets tear through the body ricocheting between each other. The bodies are ridden with holes. The miasma of death has filled the air. The blood hitting the acid, sizzling on the surface, and crackling like hot skillet water was dropped on. ERTARC looks back to 682. "Now where were we?" He reaches his hand and launches himself to the reptile. He moves so fast the sound has to catch up. 682 struggles and can't break his grip. He launches up into the air at what maybe Mach 20, and destroys the bulletproof glass and knocks Dr.Bright and all the remaining personnel down from the force. 682 can be heard screaming. The later reports confirm that the reptile was thrown into the middle of the sun. If it did survive it has not yet returned from the celestial body. Dr. Clef "We are in a fucking world of trouble. Bright get in contact with Pietro Wilson and anyone else related to SCP 5000. We need fucking answers and we need them now!" By this time the world knows. ERTARC was beyond anyway to administer amnestics to those who saw at this point. The sky had turned crimson red. Bright later has a conference call with Kondraki and Gears. Clef and Bright also are present during the call. "We can confirm multiple killings of multiple Keter class SCPs. Personal loss is in the thousands and many SCPs have escaped the pandemonium. Across the world news spreads of a mysterious human-like entity destroying cities in its wake. The death toll already in the millions. Dr. Gears " I thought that SCP 5000 was fucking contained. How in the hell did this thing get here?!" The doctor is slumped in the chair. Not sure what to make of it. We have to contact the GOC, the church of the broken god, and the serpent's hand for help. We can't do this alone." Well, things have gotten a little worse" bright retorts. "How?!" Kondraki utters in dismay. Bright turns on the T.V. on the screen it shows wormholes opening up and the other SCP foundation that killed the earth has arrived. "Oh fuck me..." The intercom interrupts the conversation with a sudden announcement. Attention all personal. ZK class scenario under progress please report to the nearest portal for extraction to exclusionary sites for your own safety. Do not try to reach loved ones. Do not try to save civilians as doing so will only put more lives at risk in the process. The GOC and serpents' hands are fighting the Alternate universe foundation above. "By orders of the 05 councils, the site will activate its warhead in 30 minutes. That is all." Bright and the remaining leaders hurry to the portal for extraction. SCP 49 present among the other operatives. "Ah, I see you have met the great pestilence. But we must not delay good doctors as I will fill you in on the other side." The intercom relays the next message: "Self destruct sequence has been activated. This may not be aborted. All people report to the platform." Dr.Bright sighs deeply and walks through the portal. Dr.Bright is in disbelief. Many SCP is present in the area and is among humans. I look up to see the site name. We are in Ganzer. Above us are the remaining 05 councils that have not died. "Welcome to Ganzer. We can not go to UnLondon as the other organization already knows its whereabouts. We uncovered this entity during our research as project Pneuma. Pietro Wilson tried to save us. But as a result, doomed us all. In this project, we covered the psycho space and mapped the human soul. What we thought we would find was a god. As it turned out... God was not a benevolent being. This entity is the source of all SCP beings. The progenitor of the anomaly that we try to contain. Essential personal will be used to help us fight the entity along with other SCP who wish to continue to exist. If you do fall under the entity it is advised to end one's own life by their will. For being killed by ERTARC will launch the victim into perpetually being killed multiple times endlessly until it decides to erase your existence or make you its pawn. That will be all for now." Doctor clef lights a cigarette. He takes a long draft from the smoke as if it's a lullaby to calm him. "Well Plague Doctor I hope you have some good fucking good news, cause I don't know if I can take any more bad ones." "Well, I hope your affairs in order." Scp 49 proceeds to laugh. "Ahem... As I was saying. We SCP have been in contact with each other. Those who had the power and ability have been relaying information to each other to tell any SCP of the impending creäture that has come. The pestilence that I have warned about. As we speak the more powerful SCPs are in front of the city becoming its front lines of defense. We SCP as you like to call us all have been in contact for quite some time, as we had our own communication network." The SCP operatives are in silence at this point. None had anticipated that SCP 5000 was a catastrophe waiting to happen again. Dr. Glassman enters the area. Her icy stare only adding to a void of depression around the room. The SCP 999 is secure in this facility at this current time. We will put him on the watch. We have been contacted by SCP 343. He is arriving shortly. He vows to destroy the creäture himself and said to protect ourselves as a celestial battle is happening all across the cosmos with ERTARC and his forces. Dr. Brighy is interrupted and hears ERTARC's voice. It's cold dead tone devoid of human reason with a warm base that mocks those of villains you imagine in hero films. "Did you know you know of your brother bright? "What brother?! Bright shouts in his head. "My dear puppet you did not know? The foundation hid your brother from you and your father." His laugh echoes within his head. "Yes, the foundation you hold so dearly? Well, they have your Brother captured. He is there, in your facility. It's the least I can do before I kill both of you. I rather hear the screams of two and bask in your sorrows as you both die to my hands. Again. And again. And again. Til I break your soul and all that remains is a lifeless husk." The Tao 5 task force militia to walk around the city. It was only natural that the strongest of forces be used to also help protect foundations members with each their own personal Tao protecting them. Dr. Everett man has been put in charge of experimental empowerment of the tao to bolster the strength and help create strategic defense and counter analysis of the forces above. Thunderous booms can be felt and heard from the SCPs, and the ensuing battle above as the GOC and Church of the Broken God now fighting Keter class SCPs from the alternate universe. "Jack, what the hell is wrong with you?" Kondraki utters as he sees Bright's face turn pale. Dr.Bright clears his throat and says it's nothing, and that he is only coming to terms with the creek of shit he now resides in. Reports of SCP-2399 has been mobilized and is heading toward earth. Transmissions stating it is coming to our aid to fight against cosmic entities around our celestial planet. "Well that's the kitchen Sink then" Dr.Clef mutters as he is shining his shotgun. Glassman is here. Everett is here. The fucking 05 council is even here." The plague Doctor slams his fist at the table which they are all sitting. His first creating an artistic impression on the now dented Table. "The pestilence will not wait for too long before he resumes his attack on the planet. He will take his time but if we don't act before he comes back after fighting the Eldrich Gods we will die." SCP 3456 can be heard as hooves are galloping in air and tapping the floor. In the sky above SCP 343 appears. "This creäture must be stopped." Scp 343 fully appears along with multiple SCP 3456s that resembles Griffin. Their Gold manes shining in the light with Eyes that sparkle in metallic silver that shimmer in the light like mirrors. The snakes on their tails swaying in the air. The intercom reports that at the entryway SCP 096 and 76 are fighting. No word yet on who is winning but blood is flooding the sands and multiple tao have been killed in the process. Replacement units are sent to help be used as Auxiliary forces to help 76 fight SCP 096. The radio signal ends and static continues. Dr.Bright excuses himself from the meeting. Even though his immortal body he feels sick to his stomach and has to look for where his brother is. As he leaves the area Dr.Clef notices his hasty exit and raises his eyes. He knows Bright is up to something. 343 and 49 looks at each other. The scope of 3456 tense up. The plague doctor melts into the floor and disappears. SCP 096 swings at 76 wildly. Its arms and almost malnourished muscle attached to thin skin slashed from the blades of 76. Its blood hitting the ground in time as if a metronome. SCP 76 plunges toward 96. 96 Screams and runs toward him. Then goes for 76's head but the swordsman is too agile as he corkscrews his body in the air and slices the one arm off the creäture. SCP 096 stares at its arm and then picks it up and swings it at 76, catching him off guard and hitting him senseless. smashing into the wall. SCP 76 gets ups. swiping the dust and debris off his clothes. "This fucking thing doesn't know when to quit." Able looks at the bodies around the facility of the tao units. SCP 96 this time picks up part of the wall and as it throws it kicks it making debris for that Able has to swipe away. As able swipes at the rubble or rock and steel, he takes his eyes off 96. As he does he sees 96 is behind him. It slashes his stomach exposing part of his ribs. Able attacks delivering a side elbow and knocking the creäture back. Part of its jaw on the floor and the other half dangling out of 96. Its blood dripping and gurgles take place of its groans. It doesn't take its eyes off him. Able has taken much damage already. He knows he won't die but will not be able to help defend the foundation if he is bound back to his coffin. He then nods his head as he can hear the wind pick up in the silence. Only the drops of blood break the dissonant dead quiet that is unusually for the chaos ensuing around them. But it's not quiet. SCP 96 and 76 are just focused on solely only each other. Able proceeds to draw a weapon not seen before. It glows red with gold runes on it. His tattoos start to Glow Gold and His hair starts to grow. The Takemikazuchi has been unleashed. Thunder cracks the ground from the sky as Able looks to 96. He knows he must put everything into this shot or else this body will die. If he fails then he may die as a result of being locked in his sarcophagus. SCP 96 darts toward him faster than anything ever recorded in the logs. Able Charges breaking the ground beneath his heel. He drags the sword and the thunder crackling along the ground it launches up into SCP 96. He is flown airborne as his chest cavity is ripped open completely. Able blinks and immediately is above 96 in the air. He raises his sword with Two hands and Calls upon red lightning. He smashes down into the creäture with such force hit creates a giant sonic boom. As they both hit the ground a thunder-clap explodes, temporarily clearing the crimson sky. Only ash remains of 096. Able has won the battle. Dr.Bright looks out the window. The tao unit guarding him is out front. He bypasses the level clearance and sees A file named subject SCP 590- TJ bright. Bright reads the file. His rage growing and not believing what he is reading. He sees another folder titled "Execution." Bright double clicks the file. The video shows T.J. frail, barely moving. The cell door opens and footsteps can be heard. T.J. stares up, not knowing the doom that approaches. In walks Dr. Clef. He is leading his shotgun, checking to make sure it won't lock up. He enters the containment cell finally. Bright is whispering to himself " No. No. No. No. Don't. please no. Don't..." The tears start to form around his eyes. His pupils dilated from the stress. Clef cocks the shotgun. He stretches his neck to pop it. He takes aim at T.J. The SCP just stares coldly, almost devoid of life. His expression changes. He has figured out what is happening. He accepts he is going to die. The sound of the gun ignites the speakers in the room the from slam of the shell. T.J.'s brain matter slowly falling down on the wall. "This is DR.Clef and SCP 590 has been terminated." Sending in D Class to dispose of the body. The video stops and only static remains. Jack Bright, falls to the ground. A broken man. But he knows one thing. Dr. Clef killed his brother and the foundation wronged his family. "Does it hurt? Knowing that your brother died like a bug swatted by a giant? Do you feel the rage of loss knowing you will never know him? Would you do anything to get him back? I can give you the power to exact revenge on Dr.Clef, but you must first pledge allegiance to me." Dr. Bright is still sunken to the floor. Curled up in a fetal position. His tears still not stopped. He gets up. Wiping his tears. "Yes." Dr. Gears sits in his chair in his office. He pours himself a glass of vodka and sets it down. His hands rubbing his head, his skin turning red from the friction. He can't think of a way out of this. He thought the crimson King would be the destruction of reality, but... He was wrong. Gears take a sip from the glass. He coughs slightly from the strength of the alcohol. As he looks up he sees Dr. Kondraki. He drops his glass from the scare of his sudden appearance. "Don't fucking sneak up on me like that Kay!" he exclaims with what little breath remained after the gasp. "We have to keep an eye on all our staff. There is no telling what they may do or if they break from the pressure of what's going on. What concerns me more is they gave power to Glassman and Mann! Glassman should be in a fucking containment cell along with all those other fucking things. Then to only make matters worse that fucking psycho Mann is being allowed to experiment again on D class along with another anomaly." Dr. Kondraki sits down on the leather sofa in front of him. Gears hand him a glass and pours another for himself. "No one says we trust them. They can't be trusted. But if we did not do everything in our power, the world and all of the reality along with it." Dr. Gears takes another sip of vodka. The ice hit the edge of the glass. Breaking the silence in the room. "But... your right. We do need to keep an eye on them. Mann could easily go off his rocker and try to kill the 05 council members. Glassman is a fucking Cognito hazard. We will engage in the distributing of your camera in mass quantities to staff as surveillance gear for the tao to keep track of them." Dr. Kondraki nods in approval. "Good that's a start. But we should really get started on a plan." They turn on the light in the room and clear a table. They pull out a piece of paper and start to jot down ideas. The light flickers off the reflective metal surfaces of the laboratory area. The hum of computer servers sounds off like a metronome to the otherwise dead silence. Dr.Mann is looking at a microscope of remaining skin from 682. Mann rubs his eyes from taking a break from the magnetic lenses he was looking through. "You always are engrossed in your work aren't you?" Dr.Glassman says. She is sitting having tea. Her icy white and blue eyes pierce through her glasses. Her presence that of a child in her innocence. Beneath the presence malice brewing inside her. "Yes, I focus on my work. Because of my focus for my work you are still alive." Glassman proceeds to stand up from her seat and put her tea down. Her movements are graceful as if she is being glided down an automated path. "And that's why I married you." Glassman and Dr. Mann kiss. They engage in sexual acts and Manns's wallet falls off the table. In it, there is a picture towards the front. A picture of a wedding a younger Dr.Mann and his bride; Glassman. Dr.Bright finally lifts himself off the floor. His rage has finally subsided. The fatigue from strong emotion has finally taken him over. He wants to stay angry, but can not send for the strength to continue it. Dr.Bright then looks into DR.Clefs personal file. In it, he finds the multiple killings of various SCP he deemed too dangerous to live. In it he discoveries the entry of SCP 239. He soon realizes that not only were the SCP's a threat to humanity, but also the foundation. He exists the file and breaches SCP 239 security clearance. It turned out that SCP 239 could not fully be killed like previously thought. It turns out the little girl had transferred her soul to a recently deceased Foundation scientist. That scientist was Dr.Glassman. Dr.Clef exists in the common area. He shoulders the spas 12 shotgun over his shoulder. He knows something is not right with Doctor Bright. He sees a room being guarded by a Tao. He realizes he can not just barge without good reason to interrupt Dr.Bright. He sees a room with its light shut off, but can hear the noise. Clef decides to investigate the area. As Dr. Clef opens the door, he flips the switch. Dr.Mann's research facility still humming from all the equipment left turned on. "This asshole trying to kill us us?" He shuts down the electron microscope he was using to analyze SCP 682's skin. On the side of the microscope, he sees a tattered notebook. Its leather is worn from heavy use with the odd paper sticking out. He undoes the not that has it. In it, he sees notes of the hypothesis that elements of 682 have been tested successfully in creating hybrid troops. He hears walking headed towards the room. Clef quickly ties it back up to make his quick escape before he can be caught by whoever's is coming to the room. He steps and feels a lump. He looks down and sees it's a wallet. He hesitates but can hear the footsteps coming closer. He grabs the wallet and exiting the room before Dr.Mann can walk in. Clef hugs the wall and hides from Mann and the Tao unit like an espionage agent. Mann finally opens and enters his facility. Clef takes a deep breath and relaxes his muscles. As he opens the wallet he sees a wedding picture. He recognizes Dr.Mann but did not know he was married. The bride is Dr.Glassman. "The pestilence is upon us. I tried my best but have failed. Mankind is doomed. That creäture still made it through. I remember... Remember a time where things were simple. I used to be a scientist. I found joy in the discovery of new things in life. But... slowly my life became like acid, I felt my self dissolving piece by piece every day. My soul with yearnings to expect any new emotion except the constant feeling of familiarity and disappointment. I even had a name. I was part of a respected family. I worked for the foundation itself that I am now a prisoner in. my name is Jack Bright." When I threw my amulet through the portal I wound up in ancient Paris. My amulet lost and my body became that of a shadowy void. I knew I had to develop a cure before this pestilence emerged from its hive in the other universe. I must stop "It" and the plague of death it will spread across the cosmos. 49 Looks at his sharp knives as he folds them into a trench coat like a jacket. Its black long flaps expanding to the floor and collar up above, to the middle of his head. The shimmer of white reflects off his nose into the LED lights from above. "Come on out old man. If we must fight, do it now." A sloshing is heard in the room as slime slowly spreads across the wall. The wall, covered in mucus-like membranes, underneath brown flesh-like skin in the wall. From the ground, a dark space slowly grows in size. A figure slowly raises its head. The face rotting and sheen coming off the wet decay. It reaches the neck level. 49 staring at it reaching slowly into his jacket for his weapons. The smile staring back at it. It was an SCP 106. "You have been an agent to the pestilence a while. A soldier sent to spread his vile corruption torture and death to feed his masters most inner desires. You enjoy the screams of all way of life. You kill for ERTARC because you're his dog!" SCP 106's body fully emerged at this point from the ground. 49 reaches into the coat and brings out two machetes blades. The handles smooth with finger gripping and ebony gloss finish on the edges. The blades have the description "nous nous battons dans le noir pour que vous puissiez vivre dans la lumière - we fight in the dark so you can live in the light." 49 races toward 106 dartings like a jaguar hunting its prey in the wild. But, he was not quick enough. He is in the lair of 106. Its walls filled with blood and sinew of its victims. Bodies are flayed and still living. Some bodies are sewn together in random orders, some the leg where the head should be. 49 takes the blades and clasps them together to form a long Dai Katana. He raises the blade near his head to see his surroundings. He turns the blade slowly to catch the light and cover his blind spots. He hears footsteps race next to him. 49 shifts his body fast but sees nothing. He looks to the ceiling. Nothing there. Suddenly he feels a hand grab him. It's 106 from below, he slashes the hand and slides his feet covering distance and getting away from the rotten appendage. He is struck from behind from 106 and then from the top. Cracks are forming around the mask like the face of the plague doctor. 106 can teleport at will in his domain. There must be some sort of pattern. 106 sheathed the sword and brings out 2 daggers. He smashes one in the ground. Scp 106 hits 106 with an elbow, the force immediately knocking him to the ground. As 49 is about to hit the ground and breaks his fall. He spins and prepositions himself. 49 takes the other dagger and lays it into the ground. He then darts and proceeds to throw 8 more. They form a pattern now. 49 in the middle of the knives once again separates the two main blades. His blades forming an x from how they are positioned. Once again 106 strikes from below but 49 is ready. He dodges and grabs the dagger and hits 106. The rotten humanoid is stunned for a brief second and 49 grabs another dagger...and another, and another. 106 is punctured from the blades. One in his head, one in each hand, one in each knee, one in the heart, one in each shoulder, one in his throat, and finally one in his groin area. 49 moves in for the kill. "All of your kind will die!" But alas... it was not a kill of no cost. As SCP 106 was punctured from the top of his chest and the blade slid into his neck and got caught in his skull through his mouth. His hand puncture 49, his heart out of his body and beating in its hands. In one last move of defiance 49 slips the blade and slice the skull in half, and then shoves the blade in the rest of its neck. The blood spewing black with mixtures of green. That resembling mucus and snot. Both bodies hit the ground. SCP 106 and 49 are dead. Dr. Bright sits down at the lunch area. He is met by Kondraki and Clef. Clef and Bright stare at each other. Hate-filled intent in Bright eyes, who once gleamed with hope and prayer for the future now filled with vengeance and judgment. "You fucking okay Bright?" Bright adjusts the top of his soda. "Yeah just fucking great, considering the whole world is ending and all I want is a chimichanga and want to watch Netflix." Clef looks around and waits for the tao unit to pass. " I have something important to tell you guys-" The alarm interrupts them. The intercom says the following "Pietro Wilson has just gone missing! I repeat Pietro Wilson has just gone missing and has taken the absolute exclusion harness." It felt like the air was sucked from the room. All foundation staff had stopped in their tracks. "I repeat Pietro Wilson and the absolute exclusion harness is gone." The intercom went into silence. "Guess it will just have to wait till later then." Clef casually picks up his bagel and walks away. Bright releases a deep sigh of relief. He knows he must keep his cool and Clef is no failure to notice even the slightest change in someone. Reports come in from SCP 2399 that the harbinger has appeared from the portal and space battle with the other organization has begun. Dr. Gears is alongside with Kondraki at the office. "Well, we have no choice. We have to give your camera to Mann to be used to find and apprehend Pietro to keep him safe. Gears knew along with the rest of the foundation that if Pietro was killed in the ensuing battle going on, there would be no way to ensure the survival of the human race along with the rest of the cosmos. "Fuck it, but I want 10 Tao units to keep watch on him at all times" Kondraki retorted." Dr.Glassman was downstairs and could hear the ensuing conversation. She had to tell Mann. SCP 76 finally reaches the bottom of the floor and is met by personnel. They help him to medical facilities until his advanced regeneration cells become active. He sees his brother SCP 73. "Well, I see all the right assholes got here." 73 grins, "over a thousand years ago and you still haven't forgiven me." 76 smacks 73 in the face, immediately regretting his decision. "Just know this, when this is all over. We will settle this once and for all." 76 flips him off and walks through the medical bay door. The darkness of space is vast. Lights can be seen as SCP 2399 engaged in battle with the other organization. ERTARC lowers his hood. His hands weave the motion of a circle. It's a mirror. He looks in and shakes his head. "Oh, so that's how it is." He makes the mirror vanish and resets his hood. ERTARC stops to think of his past lives. When he reset the timeline he was eternally cursed by the Scarlett King for Spoiling his plans. In it, he would have to relive the incident every time, for eternity. He would remember the previous deaths. All more gruesome than the next, and live failing to reset the timeline in this nightmarish reality. It wasn't until Mary Nakayama intervened and freed him from the hell he found himself in. She needed the give his power in order to escape. But, she couldn't save the soul as she thought. After the millions of deaths, he suffered from various SCPs in different ways he was eternally corrupted. He swore vengeance on all who did this to him. He vowed to feed off the misery of others and then when he had enough power to wipe existence he would. He attacked Mary Nakayama but knew she could not really be destroyed, so he scattered her power into different SCPs to keep her away. Dr.Clef sits in his chair. "I'm going to need more than this piece of shit." He sighs and sets the spas 12 on the desk. His hologram transmission alerts him of a message from Dr. Gears. "Good news Clef we have successfully created your mobile task for you wanted." There is a booming knock on the door. Like a man who contained abnormal strength was doing it. The door opens to reveal clefs new task force. In walks SCPs 2639 and one new member. "Scrubs reporting for duty!" They all come to attention. The newest member doesn't speak. "Don't mind him, sir, he is a mod." Clef looks at him and has a chill to his core. The figure is a human. Large in size. He can be heard cracking his knuckles. A twin-barrel shotgun to his side. An energy sword in his left. He has a retractable blade on his right hand and a mounted cannon on his shoulder. The armor a darker green riddled with scars. SCP 2639-B "The Doomslayer." Clef smiles. "Warning hordes of infected SCP 008. Requesting Dr.Clef to easter quadrant." Clef grabs the spas 12 from the desk. He proceeds to load the gun and SCP 2639 gets their weapons ready along with SCP 2639-B. "Time to work on my K/D/A." Dr.Mann changes the sample of tissue in the electron microscope. "Could really use a soda right now." As he reaches into his coat pocket, he breaks a cold sweat. His wallet is missing. "Fuck. Fuck. This is not good. Not fucking good. Someone has it and is bound to find that fucking picture. Shit... okay think you're a smart guy. What do I do? Who would I use to find it?" Suddenly a smart idea enters DR.Manns brain and he knows what to do. He reaches into his desk and pulls out a bell. He rings it and summons SCP 662. Mr.Deeds. The dapper gentlemen enter the door, a towel on his arm, and the other straight to his side. "You called sir." Mann nods and to do. A message from Clef arrives. "Glassman and Mann are married. The whole resistance may be compromised from Mann and his insanity. Be careful and ditch the Tao troops. I sent someone to help you." In walks a new SCP 2639. His suit is skin tight. A bandana on top of his head. A combat harness connected to his body. And he lights his cigarette. "War...War never changes..." He puffs out the smoke, showing his glowing red cybernetic monocle. SCP 2639-S Solid Snake. "Can I count on you to not get caught and killed." 2639-C puts out his cigarette. "You didn't till I came." Kondraki looks and sees the Tao unit unconscious. "They're strong, but they are stupid and easily tricked." They both nod to each other. 06/17/2020 Dr.Bright wakes up and looks to his phone. 7:00 A.M., he drags his feet as he turns on his coffee maker. He thinks about his time joining the Foundation as a recruit. "Welcome to the SCP foundation. You are all in a probationary period, and as such will only be allowed to work on safe class anomaly until you are proven trustworthy." Bright turns to his left. Hey, what's up man as he sees another recruit excited as he is. Hey, what ups man? My name is Jack. The muscular recruit shakes his hand with a firm grip. " What up, names Pietro." "All right time for close combat drills, everyone picks a partner." Pietro and Jack nod to each other and start. Jack is floored and loses every round of sparring to Pietro. "Jesus dude where did you learn to fight like that?" Jack Bright taking heavy breaths as he is hunched over. "I wanted to be a pro-MMA fighter." "Well, I'm surprised you didn't make it." " This job came up first. Hahaha." The intercom interrupts Dr.Brights memory. "Doctor Bright request to Dr.Gears office. Dr.Bright please report to Dr.Gear's office." Bright finishes up his Keurig coffee and walks out of his dorm. On the nightstand is a picture of Pietro Wilson and Dr.Bright with black eyes at the training facility smiling. "Great Bright your here. Let me fill you in please take a seat." Dr.Gears gestures toward a chair and Bright sits out casually, drinking his caffeine of the gods. "Better late than ever bright," Clef replies as he is playing solitaire. "Good now that you are both here, I can give you the briefing. Bright you and Clef will both be tasked together with his special task force and be sent to site 19. Director Miller has not been responsive so it is your job to investigate the area. Bright you will be given an exclusive bodyguard as direct orders of 05-01. SCP 76 and 73 will both be your guardians on this mission. Find Dr.Miller and report back to me. If it is code black exfiltrate Miller and bring him back. That is all gentlemen." Bright stands up and leaves the room without even looking at Clef. "He's a pocket full of sunshine, isn't he?" Clef slips the final ace and finishes the deck of cards. "Until we can confirm that the prophecy is true, we must keep Jack out of the way." Clef waves him off as he leaves the living area. An invisible Tao unit is on the wall. Dr.Mann smiles and rubs his hands together. "Good." Dr. Kondraki is given a message from SCP 2639-S. "The Doctor is getting messages from something or someone. He may be up to foul play, will relay new information when I get thr chance. He double clicks his mouse on the computer and the hue of teal green envelopes his silhouette. " Dr.Pietro Wilson, close friends Dr. Jack Bright, girlfriend Angelique Carlon. Status- Missing." He clicks his camera and a bright flash envelopes pitch room. "Where are you, Wilson?" "Asshole!" "Goat Fucker!" "Romaine Ass Lettuce!" SCP 73 and 76 change verbal barbs at each other. One of the 2639 and 2639-B are are arm wrestling. Eventually, the boulder breaks under the pressure of the heavily armored colossus on it. Dr.Bright is writing down the insults he never heard before. Clef sips slowly from his flask and closes his eyes. " All right assholes break over. Time to keep walking." Clef and Bright were dropped 10 kilometers from sight to keep them safe from possible meter SCP inside that may be out in the open and the chance to investigate surrounding areas and see the fallout. As they are walking Bright stops. He sees a ruined jewelry store and thinks it looks familiar to him. He hurries back before he can get complained about from Clef. Bright wonders, if he kills him or leaves him to die, or leave him alone would anyone would care? "All fight we're here. 2639 Charlie and Bravo you're on the lead scout patrol. Bright you get the middle and scan our far left and right. I will stay in overwatch with 2639 Alpha and 2639-B." Clef releases the duster he has on showing a new gun. It's appearance meaning with its space-age design and intimidating shape. It was an AUG. "Oh, yeah daddy like." Clef looks at the machine of death like he will serenade it. "All foundation members must be combat proficient as required by 05 council guidelines. Don't disappoint me Bright. And if you slow me down, I may kill you anyway." Clef laughs as he proceeds to enter the walkway. Blinkers are posted in front. One currently killing a poor soul. He screams as the blinker's arm is slowly shoved down his throat. Bright tried to run to the man's aid Clef slams him into the wall. The other Blinker starts walking toward them. Clef signals for his task force to blend in. "73 and 76 your turn. Be quiet." Clef snatches bright into the dark corner and puts his one hand over his mouth, the other hand pointing the gun at his stomach. 73 vanishes in the dark hall. 76 pulls out one of his blades and stabs it into the roof, hanging like a spider. Steps can be heard closer as the blinker gets closer to the pillar clef and Bright are. The girl finally dies as the sound of sloshing can be heard as the blade dips from her throat and chest cavity as the blinker frees his arm.
2020.06.26 02:02 GentlePurpleGiantAlright, let’s go over today $IDEX
I am not a professional, you also don’t have to agree with what I say. Alright kids, gather round, and let’s go over today, what happened, and why I think everything is still okay. Take a deep breath, for those of you who are still holding strong, and tell yourself it’ll be okay. Because it will be, and here’s why. I also want to remind those who may have forgotten, if you are still in this and haven’t sold, you haven’t lost money. Until you sell for a loss, you haven’t lost money, the stocks value has just gone down. And most likely only temporary. $IDEX was heavily, heavily attacked by shorts and those who want to see it not progress further than it already has. My first theory as to why it dipped as hard as it did and why it was attacked so heavily, besides the debunked Hindenburg, which I’ll talk about in a min. Sorry hold on, throwing a period in there, that run on sentence was a bitch. Anyways I was thinking and who loses the most out of Ideanomics becoming a near future giant in the green energy industry? Big oil, those fucks are so scared because fossil fuel has been their money makers. And if the world goes green, what the fuck do we need their oil for? Not nearly as much as we currently do. China is the 2nd second biggest oil consumer IN THE WORLD. Do you understand what that means if they are going green? Take a look at this article that talks about back in 2018, they were looking to go green and cut out fossil fuels in the future. 2% of EV vehicles accounted for the vehicles in use. The fact that $IDEX has now taken the lead on their transformation to green energy, is fucking insane. In that article it also mention Russia and Saudi Arabia wanting to sell even more crude oil to China. Alf mentioned in the interview today, how Mongolia is RICH in mineable materials. But it’s shut down do to micro toxins released into the air from the fossil fuels heavy duty mining vehicles. He also said how they have have proven to them, that their mining trucks release zero toxins, allowing mining to potentially resume. Do you know how much money is in that alone?? Fuck you and fuck me money. Alf also mentioned how they have their hands in multiple areas of business involving green energy, not just EV and HV. They literally just signed a deal where they are the number one investors in providing energy for 5G ... that’s reoccurring energy that doesn’t run out, and you know what? IT’S FUCKING CHEAP. Way cheaper than crude oil. The cost to operate an EV compared to a fossil fuel car is less than half. And don’t you think that all these companies who Ideanomics is partnered/invested/in business with would start speaking up if all this was a scam? Why would they want their names/reputation tarnished? They wouldn’t. And they haven’t said anything. Alf is a professional, he knows the companies worth, and he knows what they are going to achieve. Why the fuck should he have to worry about wether a picture of his MEG parking lot is photo shopped or not? Fuck that noise. That’s all they are accusing them of. AND EVERYONE LOST THEIR MINDS. They didn’t look into anything themselves, they just thought, “oh shit I’m a pussy who can’t think or DD for myself, SELL”. Pshhh I could keep going, but this is long enough. Load me up with questions you cream puffs. Daddy is here for you. Edit: Fuck it I’m adding more. So since China is committing to Clean energy, and Ideanomics has that market by the fucking balls, why wouldn’t they start working with other countries? Which they said on their website they were already in the process of doing, With us, you dip shits. The U.S of Fucking A. Ideanomics is going to be worth a fuck load of money in the coming years. Hold your shares tight when you go to sleep, don’t give them to anyone. Just buy daddy a fucking beer when this pans out for you. Also I’m on mobile, and I didn’t edit shit. So apologies for any errors. Whatever number edit this is: Can we all also agree that this information couldn’t possibly be falsified? And that if Ideanomics was a sham, there would be no way these guys would even put a nickel towards them? Also, could y’all please spread posts like mine around to others? I don’t want anyone to not make money. We are all in this together. I’m not trying to take advantage of anyone, because do you know how many fucking beers are going to be owed to me in like, half a year? Edit: Like I said guys, do your own research and don’t just blindly follow. To those of you saying I am “a part of something” or trying to manipulate this stock, I’m not. I have 2,490 shares at a 2.86 average. Of course it sucks having this dip so low. However I posted links for a reason, I have been doing my best to research. It’s also the fucking internet, so anything can be manipulated. But like I said before, why all the prominent investors and why hasn’t any of them said they aren’t a part of this, if this was a sham? I really think they are going through a smear campaign. It is good to play devils advocate though. The pictures Hindenburg posted that their “Investigator” took THIS WEEK.. the signs have fucking 2019 on them. Why would we be half way through the year and they haven’t updated the signs? And there’s massive travel restrictions/regulations still? 🤔🤔🤔 Can one of you fucking shorts explain to me how TreeLetrik, a legitimate company, now has 51% of its stake owned by Ideanomics??
2020.06.05 18:39 FundamentalBasicDenise Richards & Aaron -- The history of trauma & context behind their outrage
This is long. I'm sorry. Bear with me. There's no concise way to tackle this. It's deep. It's dark. But I think it's something we viewers need to understand. There are facts, a traumatic background that Kyle, Erika, Rinna, and Teddi have conveniently ignored. It's public record, so there's no logical claim of ignorance for them. I posted about it last week, but I think it is something that we probably need to emphasize for those that haven't followed Denise's life and career before RH. We need to rub our collective nose in it now, particularly since the cast is now deflecting and engaging in what I believe are pre-planned PR diversionary attacks. IMO, knowing the facts is especially important in order to evaluate the source and level of Denise and Aaron's disgust with this cast. There is a logical context that makes it completely understandable. Suffice it to say, over the past 15 years or so, Denise has spent a great deal of time and money sheltering her girls from adult behaviors and choices that have an ongoing potential to harm them emotionally, and even physically. Filtering input and shielding them is nothing new for her. This is not an act for the cameras. She is not pretending to be a protective mother to make others feel inadequate. Protecting Lola and Sam, and now Eloise, has pretty much been her life since her children were born. Some details of what Denise has protected them from, are outlined in Denise's sworn affidavit, linked below. It was filed in 2006, when Lola was a baby, and Sam was a toddler. Trigger warning: It includes a detailed account of Charlie's behaviors relating to having sex workers in the home with his children, gambling, substance abuse, physical abuse, death threats, psychological and verbal abuse, and even child pornography. http://www.thesmokinggun.com/documents/celebrity/charlie-sheen-divorce-bombshell As stated, Denise's affidavit documented events that had occurred up to 2006 when they divorced. So the scope is limited. But have things changed? Improved? Not really, IMO. Since then, a quick review of search history reveals that Charlie has had periods of lucidity and relative outward calm, and dark periods of regression that involved his children. Sadly, he chooses to publicize these dark times by documenting his warped thoughts on social media and in interviews. He has regularly targeted Denise, called her names, and said very cruel things. He has acted out publicly in ways that have directly involved his daughters. He has chosen to publicize these behaviors, to the ongoing detriment of Lola, Sam, and Denise. Denise was relatively removed from the public eye for years, no doubt because of the stigma he created, and in an effort to shield her children from further exploitation. Out of sight, out of the mind of the media was likely the assumption. But when Charlie announced that he had financial problems, Denise likely felt financially compelled to re-enter the limelight to make ends meet. And clearly there's a price tag. Exploitation and the potential for more damage to her daughters. The bottom line is Denise has gone through hell to limit the damage Charlie's behaviors could cause Sam and Lola. And she also has a now 9 year old little girl with additional needs to protect as well. Having a group of women defiantly add more risk to this complex situation must have been shocking. In 2019 -- after years of publicity documenting the aftermath of an adult lacking discretion and exposing his daughters to adult themes and behaviors -- we have a group of women, that insist that it is acceptable to discuss group sex in the presence of Lola, Sam, and perhaps an 8 year old, Eloise (I wasn't clear whether she was home during this party), plus their underage party guests. They were listening -- we saw it in the footage. Denise was upset, asked them to stop. The women became angry. They proceeded to attack Denise, in order to justify having an inappropriate conversation with children present and listening. The attack has been relentless. Zero boundaries. For instance, Rinna asked Denise if she had ever spoken to her girls about prostitutes. IMO Rinna was implying that Denise willingly crossed a boundary, voluntarily introduced adult themes to her children prematurely, and now tries to impose boundaries that she herself violated years prior. In other words, she's a hypocrite. But, Rinna ignored the reasons why Denise discussed Charlie's prostitutes with her children. So let's review the possible reasons why. In 2010, Denise invited Charlie on vacation with her and the girls to NYC. While there, Charlie invited his sex worker to dinner with Denise, Lola, and Sam. And then he did drugs in the hotel room, flipped out, and attacked the sex worker. The police arrived to his trashed hotel room. His prostitute was hiding in the room, in fear of her life. Charlie was literally out of his mind. Blind rage. Incoherent per the police. His children were staying in the SAME hotel. What did Denise do? Denise took Charlie to the hospital. She demonstrated kindness and compassion. I would have left him in that hospital, BTW. Out. And I'm a pretty compassionate, patient woman with lots of experience dealing with mentally ill persons. Props to Denise. https://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/gossip/charlie-sheen-trashes-plaza-hotel-suite-naked-drunk-rage-hospital-article-1.193125 Imagine the dinner conversation with your two little girls staring at Daddy and this woman. They were probably completely wasted on god knows what. Imagine the plane ride home after Daddy destroyed a hotel room and ended up with a pysch hold in a hospital. Charlie has ZERO discretion. He's sick. So just imagine what he, himself, has told Lola and Sam over the years. Consider the possibilities of what they may have endured and what emotional triggers could evolve from that damage. Read that affidavit. So, yes, Rinna, Denise had to discuss Charlie's prostitutes with her minor children. She had to explain to her daughters WTH had happened to Daddy in that fancy hotel. Who was that woman at dinner? Why is Daddy in the hospital? Imagine being a woman tasked with that conversation. Then imagine her friend of 30 years using that conversation as ammunition 9 years later in a petty war to avoid accountability for indiscreetly exposing the same children to adult themes. In 2006, when Denise drafted that affidavit, Lisa Rinna was there with Denise. Rinna was her friend. She undoubtedly has personal knowledge of all the details in that affidavit and how traumatic and dangerous it was. Rinna said herself that she knows Lola and Sam, personally. She likely knows MORE information that was not made public to protect the girls. Who knows what they have seen and endured with that man. But despite this, it seems Rinna decided to target Denise. Exploit her weaknesses for a storyline. What is Denise's "weakness"? Charlie Sheen? Her sex life? Her unfiltered mouth, and penchant for adult conversations about sex on camera? Or is her weakness her focus on protecting her children? If Denise feels like RH risks the emotional health and safety of her children, Rinna knows that Denise will likely leave the franchise. IMO, Rinna chose to focus on Lola, Sam, and Eloise, because it is the one thing for which Denise has zero tolerance. Back to prostitutes -- a few years after this NYC debacle, Charlie brought a sex worker to Thanksgiving. I think this was the same year that he went on a Twitter tirade insulting Denise because she refused to allow the sex worker to enter the home and be around the kids on Christmas. He then had a public meltdown about not being invited on the family vacay despite that his kids were using his private jet. Lots of name calling, etc. https://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/gossip/denise-richards-pleads-charlie-sheen-stop-sending-hateful-messages-article-1.1557351 Yet another example of Charlie, a sick man, publicly exploiting his children to avoid taking accountability for his own choices that are completely inappropriate and unhealthy for his daughters. But anyway, Charlie has confirmed that he brought a sex worker to Thanksgiving and left her in his car. Denise went to the car, and offered her a meal. So, yes, Rinna, the topic of prostitutes was likely tossed around with Lola and Sam. Why? Because a prostitute was sitting in their father's car, in the family driveway, on Thanksgiving! Again, imagine the conversation that unfolded that day in Denise's home. Denise faced yet another Charlie-imposed trauma, had to explain it to her daughters, and treated a sex worker like a human being by offering her a meal rather than letting her sit in a car on a holiday. I think that was a brilliant way to create good from bad, and teach those girls about compassion and kindness in the face of obvious wrongdoing. But Rinna passive-aggressively twists this into Denise being a hypocrite, complicit with Charlie's abusive, negligent disregard of his children's emotional well being? And then Rinna passive-aggressively slut shames Denise, pointing to her acting roles involving sex. As Denise said, what is the relevance? As if Rinna doesn't understand how actresses and actors can effectively compartmentalize a public persona, and at the same time maintain a healthy, productive private life with boundaries and discretion, particularly around children. (Rinna clearly does not have this skill, BTW -- but I am certain she recognizes its value in retrospect) FWIW, I am pretty sure Denise has taught her daughters to understand the concept of acting, the difference between playing a character for public entertainment, versus their actual mother. What successful, emotionally stable actress with children hasn't done this? Rinna's minions pile on more of this sophistical BS. They suggest that Denise must not really have boundaries for Lola, Sam, and Eloise because for them, it would impossible to shield a child from social media, television, and movies. Kyle says Denise is in "denial" if she thinks her daughter's don't watch RH. She believes that Denise is passive-aggressively challenging Kyle's parenting and uses it as an opportunity to boast about her exceptional parenting skills. They rationalize their choices by saying, indirectly, that Denise must not adhere to boundaries with Sam, Lola, and Eloise, because when she is not around them, she talks about sex. Then Erika refers to the prostitute, saying "they had a prostitute" at Thanksgiving. And sorry Erika, it was not a reference to a general "they", because the preceding comments were about Denise's girls, and Dorit referred specifically to "a 14 year old" questioning Denise about threesomes. But Erika -- let's be real clear about something -- "They" meaning Denise's children, did not have a prostitute. Charlie Sheen did. A father invited a prostitute to his children's home. Big difference. Don't twist it to rationalize your conduct. Then the final blow, Erika quips that "they" , again, referring to Sam, Lola, and I guess Eloise, likely already know about threesomes anyway, and they've likely had them. Therefore, she implies, it's perfectly acceptable for Erika, and her friends to overrule Denise's boundaries and decide what they can discuss in Denise's home because Lola, Sam, and Eloise have already been tainted and exposed. This week's episode was more of this same thing. A group of women doubling down to avoid being held accountable. They are deflecting, attacking, provoking to gain emotional outbursts that can be used as ammunition to deflect further, trying to refocus the audience on Aaron, on infidelity, on anything but their own misconduct. Sound familiar? It is exactly what Charlie does to Denise when she enforces her boundaries. They are acting like malignant narcissists. Text book.
If you assert yourself, prepare to encounter their wrath. In fact, it may blow up in a puff of smoke, leaving you confused as to how you suddenly became the bad guy. “When you give a narcissist any kind of critical feedback whatsoever, even in the gentlest way, they bite back extremely hard, acting as though you attacked them or wronged them,” says Dr. Ho. The type to launch smear campaigns or call upon humiliation tactics, Dr. Ho says narcissists who are the highest on the spectrum can be downright cruel when challenged—growing violently insulted and offended, easily and often. “A narcissist will often imagine that other people are belittling them or trying to harm them, even if the person is simply trying to set a small boundary or give constructive criticism during a business meeting. They often react with rage or a defiant counterattack. And it can get ugly,” she says.
https://www.oprahmag.com/life/relationships-love/a31189989/what-is-a-narcissist/ Teddi points to Denise's impulsive, angry use of the f word when Dorit's daughter was nearby and chuckles victoriously that Denise is a hypocrite. She pretends to be amused by the situation, smiling, laughing, and finds Aaron's disgust incomprehensible. Months later, she is insulting him on social media, along with Kyle and Erika. Erika suggests Aaron is on drugs because he defended his children and was outraged that grown women would delight in exploiting them simply to rationalize their own poor choices that mirror the same indiscretions that they have endured their entire lives. Let's be clear -- those are HIS step children. It was HIS home. He has every right to express his views on their behaviors and words. He would be morally wrong to sit silently and allow his children to endure more trauma and exploitation by a group of thirsty women. So let's summarize Erika, Kyle, Rinna, and Teddi's position this season: They are exploiting children, literally saying that there is no point to adhering to boundaries around these young girls, because their parents haven't done so. The reasoning likely goes: If Charlie can parade a line of sex workers in front of Lola and Sam, then it's cool to talk about sex in front of them. If Denise works in a movie depicting group sex, then it's ok to talk about group sex in front of her children. If Denise talks about sex, swears inappropriately, and occasionally crosses her own boundaries, even though she corrects herself, it doesn't matter -- we are morally authorized to say whatever we like in front of those children. If a parent acts inappropriately around a child, anyone can do the same, without guilt. And if Denise protests, she's a hypocrite, worthy of contempt. And next week, what? Brandi will come on our screens and explain how Denise committed adultery, Which establishes what exactly? That she's a bad human being, therefore her boundaries regarding minor children are not worthy of respect? The cast is on social media, frantically spinning the narrative away from their own conduct. I'm pretty shocked that a production company allowed a group of women to exploit children relative to sexual issues, in 2020. Look at the history. Read that affidavit. Haven't they had enough ? Those sweet girls are so young. Lola just graduated from middle school! Eloise just turned 9! And she has additional needs. Sam has never had a day in her life that wasn't overshadowed by Charlie's indiscretions with porn (even child porn, per Denise's affidavit), sex workers, drugs, a long public record of meltdowns and verbal abuse. Yet, Evolution Media spent months beyond the standard production time, blew well past filming deadlines, and crafted a season focused on ADDING inappropriate content to this dumpster of a memory bank? They are children! WHY? So what does this mean for the future. Children are fair game. Teddi is going to allow her children to be exploited if it suits someone like Rinna? Is Portia going to be fair game? Dorit's little ones? Are they really going to open that door for ratings? So, that's my take. Thanks for reading. If there isn't a huge pricetag for this cast for this, I'm going to have to stop watching BH. Children really should be off limits, especially when these children have a history of trauma and the filming involves topics of a sexual nature. There is truly NO defense to this. ETA: I want to thank this Reddit community for the love, the awards, and for your collective intelligence in recognizing how terrible and morally wrong this situation is. It was truly heartwarming to read the comments. I've been feeling so incompetent lately, so sad after losing my father and business partner. The world is a mess. These are tough times for so many. It makes me cry to know that so many people are so kind and smart. Thank you. FTR -- If this weren't about minor children, I'd just switch the channel, hop on Netflix and be done with it. But I just cannot. Kids are sacred. Conversations about sex and adult topics are not appropriate. There is no justification. Dragging kids through the mud created by their parent to rationalize exposing children to adult topics like group sex, adding to their trauma in the process is absolutely unforgivable to me. If we viewers don't challenge this, and voice our opposition, my fear is that using children as props to promote personal agendas around adult themes , will become the norm with the production companies that create Bravo shows. Eventually, it will stifle the ability to recruit and retain quality HWs who can inspire and entertain us, with their relatable struggles, parenting dilemmas, and quests for healthy relationships, life skills and habits. They act like we don't matter, that we will accept whatever they throw on the screens, like we want this. But that's not true. We can define their threshold and boundaries. I'm not saying don't watch , I'm saying we need to demand change. This has to stop. They can do better. We are talking about children, right? It's not debatable. So, please, cut and paste the above and do with it what you think best. I cannot share it via my social media without doxing myself. Don't worry about credit to me. FundamentalBasic is just a dumb name that I accidentally created using a synonym finder only later to realize it sounded like a homage to Stassi. True story. I am not a basic bitch. I'm an idiot with a laptop in quarantine. It's not about me. So post away. Get it out there. I'm doing this for Lola, Sam, and Eloise. Let's create a better franchise in BH and help some kids along the way. Again, thank you all. Love, love, love. ( Just to let you know, I just blew kisses like Teresa, using her voice. It's what I do. )
2020.05.21 18:25 The_Lonesome_HoboLost in the Brighterside: Track Three - Part Three
Track Three Part Two (Part three) - https://www.reddit.com/lifeinapost/comments/gm4a23/lost_in_the_brighterside_track_three_part_two/ Track Three - The Hardest Button to Button - The White Stripes Part Three - The Other Family Family Gatherings Handful of times throughout the year the elder generation of this family liked to get together. Two things to know about the elder generation of my family. One is that they're all women and two is that once they're gathered together they literally do not stop talking from anywhere between twelve and sixteen hours.. give or take. I've always been the type of guy who's willing to go as long as someone else. Meaning I was generally the last man standing after all the other kids passed out. May be one in the morning or just before the crack of dawn, there's one image that stands out in my mind rather vividly. With only one light on in the entire house, the kitchen always seemed to glow a pale yellow when I'd first look towards it. Eyes focusing in now I see the kitchen almost like layers of the earth. Looking at the top layer you see the kitchen at it's brightest because just below that you see the second layer. A respectably dense cloud of smoke that's just lingering in the air. Where a freshly exhaled puff of smoke is like many small frantic waves moving outwards, this cloud of smoke had long slow flowing waves that had found their home. Only thing disturbing them now are the vibrations coming off of the third layer, the huddled mass beneath the cloud just chain smoking away. The cloud they feed blocks out the light found in the middle of the ceiling making the layer they're in just a little bit dimmer than the one above. Given the ungodly hour you would happen upon this scene it was never one you walked into, always one you stumbled onto. Lazily rubbing sleep out of my eyes, making my way down the stairs, usually wasn't until about halfway down I'd notice the yellow glow coming from the kitchen. My mind would try to prepare itself for what I was about to enter into but there was never any use. Having the mental fortitude required to enter into a room filled with the elders of this family was a hard enough task when I had the sleep one would need in order to be ready for anything. Now sleep is all I was wanting and emptying a full bladder or curing a parched throat were the only things my brain was capable of thinking about. It was always a bit of a relief when I just needed to go to the bathroom. The bathroom was just before the kitchen so I could use it without drawing too much attention. When it was thirst or hunger bringing me downstairs, well, those times you just gotta accept your committed now and there ain't no turning back. There were certainly a few times when id stand at the top of the stairs, having noticed a light on down below before I started making my way down, and consider whether or not it was worth it. When you gotta go you gotta go so there was no question about it if I was needing to use the bathroom. I was never starving or dieing from thirst though so if it was one of those two then I had options. We lived in a house that was over a hundred years old. With a house that old you best believe we had some creeky ass stairs. As soon as someone stepped on one of them, didn't matter where you were within the house, you knew someone was going up or down them. They were also fairly steep stairs so there tended to be a good amount of force used whenever a foot would land on one. So, as long as I didn't start the decent, no one would know there was someone upstairs stirring around. I could change my mind without having piqued anyone's curiousity. I'd say, as a kid, I'd only decide against going down there maybe once out of three or four times. I wonder if they could pick up on my unease. Every time I would end up going into the kitchen it seemed that whatever buzz I was feeling before crossing the doorway would disappear as soon as I'd enter. If this was just as the night was winding down, just as the kids start dropping, I might wonder about that. Might even poke and prod a bit. At the very least I wouldn't have left the lion's den without at least a wise ass comment or two. It was important not to show weakness in this family as just about everybody would be waiting to pounce on it. Give anyone of us an easy kill and we'll take it. It is the easiest way to survive after all. The nights I was wiping sleep from my eyes were a whole different beast. Seems like, if it was late enough, every time I'd walk into that kitchen they'd all suddenly freeze with fright. Like mama bears afraid to startle the half asleep cub as it mindlessly follows it's belly. The sudden silence after entering into the room left only the noises I made to linger in the air. The opening and closing of a cupboard, the clanging of glassware, the rattling of condiments within a fridge door. Even the liquid splashing onto itself seemed almost deafening as it echoed up and out of the glass. Beginning to focus in now I can start to hear little things. Like the sound a coffee cup makes as it's being carefully set down on to a table or the one an ashtray makes as it vibrates against a hard surface whenever a cigarette is being tapped onto it's rim. The kind of sounds that would only stand out within an atmosphere as still as this one. Where the heads on the bodies at the table seemed stationary before, I'm starting to notice the slightest of movement whenever I walk behind somebody. Every single one of these people are watching me and they have been from the moment I walked in. Despite climbing upwards against gravity, despite trying to balance a glass of liquid I almost assuredly over filled, it would take me about half the time going up the stairs as it did coming down. You don't go from feeling anxious to feeling calm within the blink of an eye. It happens in stages. Stage one happened when both my feet were off ground level and on the staircase. That's when I knew I was on my way. Stage two happened at the top of the stairs as I was making the one hundred and eighty degree turn into the hallway. The goal was insight now. About six to eight quick paces and a closing and locking of the door behind me would bring me to the third and final stage. The goal was achieved, no more curious stares creating unasked questions that I couldn't answer. I could now be me and do whatever it is I would do. The Grandparents The women folk, three middle-aged sisters and their mother. It might be interesting to note here that the matriarch of the family is not the oldest woman sitting at the kitchen table, it's the second oldest. I called her mom. From the way she tells it she was around thirteen when she started having to worry about whether or not her and her three younger siblings were going to have something to eat. You could have called her father a rambling gambling man. He had himself a townhouse in the burbs at one point. Think that's when he met his wife. If my grandmother was a happy person at some point I'd imagine it would have been then. Finding herself someone who offered her a nice house to raise a nice family in and make a nice life. Then they do it. Pump out a couple kids and.. well I guess get bored. Grand Pappy wasn't about that life anymore. It was time for something new. Turned out to be a great many things that would be new. At some point he became a bit of a con man, ripping off chain department stores. "He made a point of it never too steal from the working man" my mother tells me. Fair enough, personally I really ain't too bothered by someone who wants something and then ends up taking it from someone who will never have to want for anything. Far too many mouths in the world for any one person to be deserving of that luxury.. She also told me that he used to make a point of taking her along with him on his trips to those stores. Her being the nerdy book worm type that she was, she legitimized him. Made him seem more respectable and therefore easier to believe. If I'm being honest there's really only about one thing my mother has said to me that made enough sense for my subconscious to decide to remember and that thing was.. I actually can't remember. The gist of it though was that if you're going to be up to no good don't look like a person who's up to no good. The way she said it would leave someone with the impression that if you were going to be up to good don't look like a person who's up to good. I think that's where my subconscious disagreed and did a bit of editing before imprinting the memory. After they made their little score she would go home to feed the family and he would go off to the tracks to turn a pocket of gold into Fort Knox. My mother told me I reminded her of him (had a bit of a scam going on myself. You'll hear about it at some point I'm sure), if he were like me I doubt he would ever of dreamed quite so big. Imagine he would have known the odds he was playing against; would of known Fort Knox was nothing but a pipe dream. That's only if he were like me though. I couldn't say for sure if he was myself. Never knew the guy. Though I might know a couple more things about him. Like I might know I was about a month old when he died. I have this notion that's why I my mother went back to Wisconsin after I was born, to help her mother out after he passed. I also might know that the "gold" plated three leaf clover buried in my tote of past things was given to me by him when I was born. Other than that though I'm afraid the ole memory banks are depleated when it comes to Gramps. I remember my mother telling me how her relationship with her father was different from everyone else's. She was daddy's little girl and everyone else favored their mother. Think that might be the reason the two of them never really connected. Some kind of jeasously her mother felt towards her due to her, more or less, replacing her. My mother always had it in her head that hers didn't really much care for her and, as a result of that, her children. As far as I could tell the two always seemed friendly to me. Maybe it was just nothing more than that though, I couldn't say. What I can say is that my relationship with my grandmother was virtually nonexistent. Certainly there were a couple comments exchanged here and there and maybe even a question or two asked. I just don't remember any of them. Only memories I got of my grandmother are her sitting at the kitchen table and walking in and out of our house. Now there seems to be in image of her at a casino or one of her at my aunts trailer; maybe even another place or two. But it's always the same, her sitting at a table being conversational and friendly enough and then her walking in and out of places seeming a tad bit more serious. Would like to be able to say more about my grandparents but that's all I know. There's plenty more I could say about the rest of my other family though. The Three Families For me, there's three different generations to my family. You got the elder generation, their kids making up my generation and our kids making up the younger generation. Both older generations have a kid that fell into the cracks. You got my brother uncle from the older generation who was too young to be equals with his siblings and too old to be equals with us kids (my sister kind of pairs up better with him because of her age difference with me. Imagine she shared a lot more personal experiences with him than I did with her). Then you got cousin Al. Now she's too young to be equals with us but too old to be equals with our kids. She'll later on end up playing the role of a caring playful aunt to near perfection. Thinking the narrow age gap is what let her do it so well. Her and the kids sure seemed to benefit from the relationship they would end up having. Always seemed like a pretty good one. So now that you have layout of the generations and know about the few outliers that exist within them you know what to disregard. Real deal crew of our family was me and the cousins. I got five cousins total (excluding the second, third and fourth layers of our family on the other side of the country. That's the other other family. A whole other deal) but we are only worrying about four here. Including me that's five kids total. If you sort all five of us by age you'd find about a year or two gap between each of us. I honestly can't remember the actual ages of anyone. Just remember it was about that give or take. I'd reckon the age difference between the eldest and youngest was close to that of me and my sister, about five years give or take. Every sub group of our species has its own convoluted politics dictating the direction the group goes in. This group was no different. You want to understand our politics, you got to understand the three families. Everything starts at the top. Let's start with me, the head honcho. Typically I called the shots. The women folk of our gang never kissed the ring but with the two knuckleheads following my every command meant there was never any doubt that I had majority control. Add in the fact my mother was the matriarch of the three families. Eighty to ninety percent of the dealings we had happened on our block, in our town. You'd think with the two other families living in the same small town of Grantsburg Wisconsin that we'd come to them, but nah. There's a cost to being the boss but there's also benefits. One of the benefits being far less tedious hour long road trips. We earned our place. There's a reason this bigger town only takes one family to run while the smaller one takes two. Our family were the figure heads. Of the two other families you got the wild cards, ran by the second eldest of the three sisters, and the Runts, ran by the youngest sister. Two cousins come from the wild cards (including cousin Al, the one that fell between the cracks) and three of them from the Runts. Within our crew there were two girls and two boys with me being stuck right in the middle of them. The Silent Partner I was the head honcho but that didn't mean I was always calling the shots. The eldest, Tabby, was our wild card. We'll call her the silent partner. Real Harley Quinn type that one. Charm ya enough to get you to give her your heart just so she doesn't have to go to the trouble of ripping it out herself. Her age difference made her just old enough to get mixed up in the older kids business. That meant she tended to lead me to far more interesting places than the ones me and the boys would end up. Only three places she took me that seem to stand out my mind. Two of those only involved me and her and both of them happened in garages. She seemed to know that if it was something you weren't supposed to be doing, garages were a good place to do them in. First one happened sometime when I was around six; give or take a year. She managed to snatch up a couple of smokes right out from beneath the elders noses. Them guys, so high and mighty, always got their heads lost in the clouds. Got no idea what's happening down on the ground they're walking on. Just nod politely and they see nothing. She takes me out into the garage but this isn't my garage, this is someone else's turf. Doesn't matter though, it's all about what's going down. Tabby pulls her hand out of her pocket and fans out a couple of cigarettes slick as a Las Vegas dealer fanning a deck of cards. Wanna try one? Heh, ain't no thing a wise guy like me ain't willing to try. Grabbed one out of her hand, lit it up and puffed away. They're might be conspiracies out there but fact of the matter is is that I never did inhale. Wouldn't inhale a puff of tobacco for another six years from now and that's the honest truth. Hand to God. I only tell it to ya straight. Unlike that memory, this next one takes place on my turf. But just like that one, that don't matter. Don't matter who's turf your on, if the wild card wanted something, she knew how to get it. You see I was about eight or nine around this time and I had a bit of a debt to pay. A debt that I just so happen to conveniently forget about. Didn't bother her none, she knew how to get what she was owed and knew how to do it with no fuss whatsoever. She got what she wanted from me and all she had to do to get me to give it to her was play a little game of peekaboo. One day we were lounging on the couch in my living room with both of our heads at either end so we were laying feet to feet. We were watching some scary movie on the television. Playing on the VCR actually. No editing for TV going on in this flick. A sex scene makes its appearance. I take a quick glance to my right, see she's just boredly watching along. Cool, can focus in on this glorious piece of cinema now. Few moments later and I notice movement out of the corner of my eye. Another quick glance right and, using the blanket that's only covering her legs, she goes peekaboo. Eyes pointed straight foward, seemingly focused in on the movie, she's not making a sound. I've suddenly forgotten the garbage film playing in the background. I couldn't believe it. All these years and I never knew peekaboo was my favorite game. She flashed me a couple more times before she finally turns her head and looks at me. Tells me she's got an idea, asks if I'm interested. Not needing any more information than that, I just nod my head. She leads me out into the garage and has me take off my clothes. I'm standing there naked, my curiosity is making me ignore the awkwardness of the situation. For about two or so minutes she would check me out one moment and run off the next saying there was something she needed to get in order for us to do whatever it was she had planned for us to do. Don't ever remember her bringing anything back. Just came back, had a couple more glances while nervously pacing around and ran off again. So this goes on for a couple minutes before she tells me she has another idea. Without anything actually have happened, other than me just awkwardly standing there naked, I end up getting my clothes back on. I don't remember what the new idea was. Far as I know we could have just gone back and finished the movie. I do remember walking back up to the house however. Remember wondering what the hell that was all about and probably understood the disappointment the girl from Barron felt for the first time. Got to watch that hope from getting too high or that fall's going to be quite the bummer. But like I said, I had a debt, fair's fair. Ain't no Runt Let's start in on the Runts. Our crew had three of them guys. The three of them being younger than me and the silent partner helped them live up to their name. The oldest of them was Sammy. She was a runt that had no interest in being one. When that family was doing whatever it was that family did Sam was the big dog. The two younger ones didn't stand a chance on the own against her. Thing about knuckleheads is is that, while alone they can be easily handled, when they group up they can become a force worthy of concern. When those two teamed up against her they were able to go toe to toe and toe to toe they'd go. Pair any two of the three and I've watched them go at it at least a handful of times. All three wanting it their way and no one willing to yield. Now, I'm a guy who's no stranger to roughhousin' so I can tell you, when they went at it, that wasn't roughhousin'. Biting, scratching, hair pulling, pinching, punching, kicking, eye gouging, you name it. When push came to shove the rules meant nothing when the Runts went at it. I'd say Sammy typically came out on top.. as it seems to go with the women of this family. All the guys of this family just so happen to be younger than all their sisters (with the exception of an uncle we don't talk about. The eldest of the elder generation, he was exiled after my mother caught him molesting their youngest sister. She never forgave him for that and, really, who could blame her). What are ya gonna do? Ya gotta work with the cards your dealt. When those three were together they had their own dynamic. I don't know about that. I know about the dynamic we had when we were together. With Sammy, it's like I said, she was the runt who refused to be a runt. She was too young to lead and too old to follow. That made her a tag along. We'll call her the Merc. So long as her terms were met, she'd join ya. I would say more times than not she wasn't all too interested in what me and the boys were planning on getting into. Where the boys were just happy getting to do things with me, she actually needed to be interested. If she was she'd be happy to come along and if not, well, she seemed perfectly content with being on her own. There is really only one time I can specifically remember doing something with her back when we were kids. I mean, we were always very friendly with one another. Never got on each other's nerves; always got along fairly well. Suppose we just weren't interested in the same things so when it came to doing things there just wasn't a lot of common ground. The time I do remember involved me, the silent partner and the Merc. We were hanging out in the stairwell of the apartment complex one of their parents was living in at the time. It was a two to three story staircase that was completely enclosed. It had doors leading into the hallways on each level. The door at the top of the stairwell lead out onto the roof. That's where we were hanging out. Just on the inside of the door at the top of the stairs. We decided to play a little game of you show me yours and I'll show you mine. I remember both of them ended up showing me theirs but I don't remember showing them mine. They gave me a quick peek, we had our giggle and went off to do something else. I would eventually show Tabby a year or two down the road but Sam would never get to collect on that debt. Statue of limitations being what they are on that sort of thing, well, that's just a regret she's going to have to live with for the rest of her life. Couple of Knuckleheads Josh and Jeremy, the two runts of the Runts. Out of these two only one true runt. That'd be Jeremy. Every social circle I hung around for any extended period always seemed to have a runt. The kid who is always willing and or easily pressured into doing the amusingly stupid things no one else wanted to do. That was definitely Jeremy's role. There was one time it was me, Red, Josh and Jeremy hanging out in an empty room of an apartment they just moved into. It was completely blank, nothing but neutral white floors and walls. Only thing on the walls were outlets. Bunch of boys hanging out in a room with nothing but an outlet in it, of course there's going to be a dare for someone to stick their dick in it. Of course the person who's getting dared is going to be the runt. Luckily his first attempt to penetrate something resulted in failure. He gave it a poke and we all thought it was a lot funnier than we should have. Where Jeremy was out looking for trouble Josh was standing back watching out for it. That made him seem a lot more chilled out. A thing that made him a lot easier to accept for the people around him. He didn't get on people's nerves like Jeremy would. I think he preferred doing the kinds of things a chilled out dude likes doing. Relaxing with TV and movies, playing with toys inside, video games, those sorts of things. Wasn't as if he wasn't willing to go outside and play. When they were over and we were all hanging out I remember him joining in whatever it was we were doing. Just seemed as if he'd rather be in a calm environment instead of a chaotic one. A thing I totally get. Unfortunately for us that's not a thing that's easily achieved within this family. Something I've always just accepted and did what I could with. Don't think he accepted it quite as easily. I remember a good amount of fit throwing when things didn't go his way. Though that was all of them. Probably why they always were getting into fights with one another. Just constantly getting tired of putting up with each other's shit. I want to say the last time I actually remember playing kids games with them was around when I was eleven or twelve. It was just a little after the movie Scream came out. All of us were outside by the garage and decided to roleplay a scene from that movie. Now I say it was the last time I remember playing kids games because I remember me, Sam and Tabby weren't interested in playing pretend. We were interested in convincing Jeremy to let us hog tie him using duck tape. Happens to be a scene from that movie where the father of the main character was tied up with duct tape and thrown in a closet. Convinced Jeremy that was the role he should play. He was interested, interested enough to let us have our way with him. After taping his wrist and ankles together behind his back we told him we changed our minds, decided we wanted to do something inside the house. We left him hog tied on the ground and made our way up the walkway and into the house. Told the elders what we did. Everyone gathered in the back porch to look out the window and watch the kid squirming on the ground, crying out for help. Everyone had themselves a chuckle before his mother made her way out there to set him free. After they made it back in he was hanging on to her awfully hard. Decided he wanted to let us all know how mean we were. Even all the adults because of how they all laughed at him. He said that while having his arms wrapped around his mother. Thought I should point out she was laughing alongside everyone else. He looked up to her. She didn't admit to it, but she didn't deny it either. He understood what I said to be true and that made him start crying even harder. I don't think it ever occurred to me that what was clearly just a prank to everyone else was something completely different to him. Track Three Part Four - https://www.reddit.com/lifeinapost/comments/gp4apu/lost_in_the_brighterside_track_three_part_fou
2020.05.12 15:43 40_forty_40No boundaries allowed, or else I'll mope and think you don't love me.
While I will say there was not INTENTIONAL sexual abuse here, I still think my mother should've known this was inappropriate, and it often took multiple 'no' or for me to raise my voice for her to stop. Usually with an exasperated sign or a comment of "I'm just playing with you!" List of weird things: -Constant grabbing of my ass and obsession with my ass. Throughout my young childhood, my mother would squeeze my butt really hard and make a deep guttural laugh. Apparently my ass was just cute to her and she was "proud of making it/me." It stopped after I flipped out around early middle school because I was developing into a teenager and it was fucking ridiculous and embarrassing. I remember one point she tried to slide her hand into my back pocket while at a pizza place and I immediately ripped her hand away because that felt like a gesture saved for partners, not children. I was probably middle school age then. -Walking around completely nude in front of both my brother and I. I understand this is common with very young children, but it continued into me being in high school. I told her over and over that I just didn't want to see her naked body. But the bathroom door HAD to be open, her bedroom door HAD to be open, and she HAD to wear no towel walking in between the two. One day she came into my room naked and wanted me to rub lotion on her back. I got upset and told her no. She bitched to my father that "my daughter thinks I'm disgusting." My mother could've been Sasha fuckin' Grey, I don't want to rub lotion on my mother's back. -She use to do his weird thing when my brother was a baby, he had learn to walk at this point. She use to slam her breasts into him to knock him down when on the bed. She thought it was funny. Like she's lift her breasts up and just whack him with them. I fucking hated it and my father told her to stop. -Insistent about talking about sex. I was helping her with laundry one day and she told me not to touch a particular towel. I said sure, and went about my business with other laundry. Didn't think a damn thing of it. Did not show any interest in the towel, figured it had chemicals on it. After about a minute of silence she loudly says "Its because daddy and I had sex." Another time I was swimming in my aunts pool and two dragonflies had clearly been mating and drowned. She picked them up and keep asking "Do you know what there doing? Do you know what this is? Can you say it?" I remember her insistence because she chased me around the pool asking over and over. I never answered her. -She's often complain to me about "your father thinks I'm ugly and won't have sex with me." She didn't have friends so I had to be her confidant, which is a whole other story. -Found out I lost my virginity by reading my messages when I left my facebook open, and to her that meant I was fucking everything. She bought a bunch of shorts that were way to big the day after she found out, I told her I wasn't wearing them. I was getting ready to go to a friends house in a normal pair of shorts and a tank top in 80 degree weather. She slut shamed my clothes. And when I came home asked if I gave them blowjobs. ???? -When she found out my brother was bisexual, she kept repeating "I just don't want him getting fucked over." I finally got pissed and said "Are you just worried he's going to be the receiving end of anal sex? Are thinking about your son getting fucked on the ass." And she said yes. -This isn't sexual but she's often insistent on talking in a baby voice to my brother and I which makes us uncomfortable. She claims she's just joking. Doesn't stop until someone flips out at her. This is just what I remember. And most of these continued happening over and over. I know she was sexually abused but you'd think she'd realize maybe CONSTANTLY obsessing about sex and her children wasn't the best idea. Ugh. Who the fuck thinks their child wants to obsessively talk about sex all the time? It only stopped because I would blow up at her because its the only thing that makes her stop. She'll huff and puff and whine. And now she acts like she can't talk to me about anything, and her "choosing her words carefully" just turns into her continuing to talk about sex but in an infantilized way. Another example: Was trying to warn me of a sexual assault on a show I was planning on watching. Totally reasonable right? Instead of just saying "There is a sexual assault, just warning you." She makes a big deal about how to say it and says "I don't know how to say it without making you mad...he puts the peepee in his bumbum." and I was like THAT IS HOW YOU MAKE ME MAD. Two adult women do not refer to genitals that way. For fucks sake guys. I'm stressed. Thank god I eventually learned boundaries but before that, I ended up in alot of places being touched in alot of ways I didn't want to, because I learned early on my No wasn't worth anything. Thanks mom your kid got raped too. Because you needed to obsessively touch me all the time!
2020.02.24 20:57 diabetes_is_a_bitchDamon's application to a security guard job advertisement [Part 1&2]
Following the stunning dark haired women who I made out to be the receptionist, I was led down a long corridor without a door in sight. The steps of our shoes clicked and clacked for what felt like half an eternity, until we reached a wall that looked like every one before it. With gentle pressure the receptionist turned the wall around, revealing an eye scanner and a numpad. She bent down to scan her eye, and typed in what felt like a sixty four digit code with speed and grace I would assume one to unlock her Majesty's Treasury in the middle ages. "This your first day, too?" I sneered, trying to get the pounding in my chest under control. Everything was a touch excessive for a security guard position in a medical storage facility. Her head snapped around with a stern expression, as if she was trying not to break concentration. "The code changes every hour and I have to do the math manually in my head, would you like to give it a shot?" Looking at her expression and her fingers on the numpad I quickly backed off, leaving her to enter in a code that was too long for anyone to remember. With a beep the wall behind us lowered, revealing a long spiral staircase that leads into a dark void, stretching further down than I could see. "I hope you aren't afraid of a little darkness. There will be light. When however, will depend on your answers" My answers? Darkness? The staircase was perfectly lit, maybe it was metaphorical. That's some serious intimidation tactic for a medical facility job, I trailed off. Why would they use such measures? "I'll be fine" a quick confident response is what I deemed appropriate for such tactics. Walking down the stairs for what felt like another eternity, we arrived at a door that opened another room, a small one with one door on each wall. She broke the tense silence by clapping one of her heels at the side of my leg with a little nudge, showing a hint of emotion for the first time "Take a seat in the room to your right, someone will be with you shortly" And just like that, she was gone. Clicking and clacking back up the stairs just like she did on the way down. Walking towards the door, I pulled out my phone to look how long we've been walking, only to be met with no service and no clock on my screen. So far underground, of course there's no signal I thought to myself, but why is the clock gone too? I pulled the door open to be greeted by one of the most stunning waiting rooms I've seen in my entire life, I mean seriously beautiful, even the light had a warming color that felt like a kiss on my skin. The interior chairs were made of barely worn in leather, tables with refreshments and an entire buffet stood in the corner, with a crystal carafe of shining, sparking water. "Welcome, take a seat. Your interviewing partner will arrive momentarily" I snapped out of it, looking for the source of the voice, unable to find it. "Thank you" I confidently say to whoever might be listening, making my way towards the refreshment table, pouring myself a glass of water. Sitting in the leather chair was perfect, the lumbar support was set perfectly, as if someone knew my height and the problems with my spine from all the battles I've fought. Sipping on my glass of water I wait and wait, with the only thing I can remember being a hint of fresh lemon in the water before everything turned black. "Welcome back! Did you enjoy your rest?" I open my eyes, sitting on a chair across a man, about 25 years old, in a suit with no tie, looking like a trust-fund kid that grew into daddy's work clothes and decided to put them on. "What the hell is this?! Did you fucking drug me?" "What was in the water that I drank?" I notice the restrains on my wrists tied to the chair which is bolted to the floor. "Of course not! You fell asleep in the chairs we set out for you, and we carried you over to the interview room" the man gleamingly said. The restraints are for your protection, so you don't freak out and do something you'll regret. We carried you... something I'll regret.. Fog still dancing in my head from the apparent sleep, I try to get my composure back. "What kind of interview tactic is grabbing someone who's asleep and dragging them to a hole that looks like a black site for interrogation, even going so far as restraining them?" "I told you, its for your own good, now watch." Four black suit wearing men came in through a door I couldn't see, with a restrained woman between them. As they approached I could hear the woman speaking inaudibly at first, which turned out to be her begging for her life, pleading for her family and children. She was thrown to the left side of the man I was sitting across, on her knees looking up, tears in her eyes begging for him to spare her life. "Please don't do this, I beg of you" she pleaded. With a smiling nod from the man sitting, she was hoisted by her arms to a standing position, and one of the men put a gun to the back of her head and pulled the trigger without hesitation. Some blood splattered on the man's face and clothes from what just happened. I screamed like my life depended on it, for someone to hear me, for someone to come save me. But in the back of my head I knew. I was not getting out of this alive. After watching her lifeless body get dragged away, the man sitting across from me turned his attention back to me and smiled warmly, with blood covering most the left side of his face. Procuring a handkerchief from his pants pocket, he wiped up the blood on his face. I felt sick to my stomach, threw up in my mouth and had to choke back tears, but I had to get as much information as possible before a similar fate awaited me, so I could report this to anyone who would listen, if by a miracle I actually made it out of here. "She chose this for herself. I didn't", the man interrupting my thought process that was going on for 30 seconds, but felt like racing thoughts towards eternity. "What on earth could she have done to deserve such a cruel fate? Plus, she said she had family!" I replied, feeling the need to get more information on this cold blooded execution I just witnessed. "She does. Three boys, a girl and a loving husband. But I told you, she chose that for herself, I didn't" "Why would anyone chose death and then beg for her life?" The man chuckled, shaking his head. "All in due time, all in due time." "Let's continue with your interview for the position, enough of this nonsense about a woman being shot" Nonsense, a word that meant different things to different people, but a woman being shot right in front of you can not be considered nonsense. But I needed information. Why everything happened, and why I was here, after all I applied for a job in a god damn medical facility to protect equipment worth a buck fifty, and saw a woman get murdered in cold blood right in front of me. My head was spinning and I felt that passing out was in my near future, but If I wanted to get anything from our exchange I needed to play the game, too. "Alright then" I mustered, the man sitting in front of me raising an eyebrow, seeming very intrigued by my sudden change in demeanor. "So why am I here?" the man laughed right in my face. "Well that's new. I haven't had a reaction like that in a long time. Are you a psychopath?" He is asking me if I'm a psychopath? After what just happened, that's rich. "Why am I here" I respond firmly, lowering my voice slightly to sound more serious. The man leaned back in his chair, resting his elbows with his arms pointed up on, making gestures with his hands. "You wanted to join the company based on your application, and your resume in the intelligence and military service speaks volumes to your operational capabilities and patriotism" Taken back by his information of classified data I take a few seconds to respond, formulating an answer. "Patriotism, you're funny. If you have such deep knowledge of me and my career, you would know that I left because of what I was forced to do for a corrupt government that only served itself and their interest in power" I felt the blood rushing to my head, my face started to feel hot and a deep seated feeling of dread in my stomach didn't help me stay clear, either. "I know. Isn't it perfect?" the man relaxed even more, laughing as if he knew something I didn't. "What I'm offering you is exactly that. To serve a company, a country, that is only interested in the survival and betterment of humanity, whatever or whomever it may cost. Although I can't say we aren't out for our own interests, either" A country? Maybe they're foreign intelligence recruiting former spies and military officers into their ranks to serve as double agents. "We are the reason mankind has left the planet, after all." the man broke my thoughts again, claiming feats for himself that have been the combined effort of many nations and his and my seniors. "So you're telling me you put a man on the moon? Yeah, right." The man slowly rose from his seat, getting a stern expression on his face. He stared down at his watch, furrowing his brow as if he was thinking about something uncertain. "It's almost time." He took slow steps towards me and pulled a pocket knife from one of the pockets in his jacket and flung it open in front of my face. "Will you behave?" he asks, as if I have a choice with armed men watching me from wherever it is they watch from. I nod, and with a self-satisfied nod to himself he cut open my restraints. "So now what?" I ask, massaging the marks the restraints left on my wrists from all the pulling during my scream. "Now you get up and follow me, this way" he said as he motioned towards the door the men with the woman came through. Putting down the knife on a side table I didn't know was there as he went around me. His back was turned to me and he started walking as if he was invincible, as if I didn't just witness him murder a woman in cold blood right in front of me. Leaving the knife like this as if he was provoking me to do something. I got up and started following him, leaving the knife behind out of self preservation of knowing better than to take the most obvious route. After exiting the door into yet another long corridor, and me walking behind him, he turned his head slightly back. "You're going to like the what happens next" We silently walked down a long hall, with me always a few feet behind to make a b-line and run if I have to, until we came to an automatic, two-sided door. "In here" he motioned, walking towards the automatic door that opened with motion sensors. As I turned the corner I was inside a hospital wing with what I presumed to be a nurse behind a counter, not paying us any attention. We walked by a few empty rooms until we came to a stop next to a man standing in front of a glass window with a white room behind it. Looking in I saw the just murdered woman, laying dead on her side in a very expensive looking king size bed, with a sheet covering her lifeless body. "This is Sheila's husband" he motions towards the man standing next to us. "Nice to meet you, I'm Tom" he extended a friendly hand towards me, which I shook hesitantly. "First timer?" he turns towards the man who's name I didn't know yet. "Yeah, you were freaked out beyond belief too, remember? And unlike you, he didn't take the knife" The knife he left on the table? I think to myself Did this happen to him in the exact same way? His wife is in there, she's dead and he killed her. "How can you stand here and watch your dead wife so calmly after he murdered her in cold blood?" Tom turned towards the man, making a questioning face. "Did you even tell him anything at all?" The man pants in response "No, not yet. Same as you" Tom turns towards me and motions towards the man. "This joksters name is John, by the way. He's always coy about his name, even though its the most common name there is." "It wasn't when I got it" he said, appearing sensitive on the subject. "Most common name there was, then" Tom chuckled. Confused I look back and forth between Tom and John, not sure what to make of the bizarre situation I'm experiencing. The husband of the wife laying dead in front of us, talking to the man who ordered her execution ever so calmly. In a bed that was upholstered with silk, and a white smooth sheet stained with spatters of blood. All of a sudden the dead woman's body starts to jerk. "Finally!" Tom proclaims, gleaming with excitement. John turns towards the counter, calling for help. The nurse behind the counter and a man in plain clothes started making their way to us, splitting off a few rooms further down to retrieve something from a cooler. As both the plain clothed man and the nurse entered the room, the woman I just saw getting shot in the back of her head started to sit up on the table. Her back was turned to us, with her hands wandering to the back of her head where she was shot. "Don't touch it" the nurse said to Sheila who promptly removed her hands from the wound on her head. The man hands her a cup and tells her to drink, while the nurse goes around the table to the back of her head to check on the wound. "What happened?" I turn to John and Tom again. John, who's name I now knew turned towards me "She was deemed worthy and has been chosen to be among us by our senate and the king himself." "King?" I mutter, after all real monarchies are a thing of a world long past. "Yes, our king. The man who succeeded in creating the philosopher's stone during the fall of rome, he who reigns over all of us and shapes humanity with his own hands." I scratch my head on one side, trying to remember what I learned in history class about alchemy and other wrong or outdated science and practices during earlier periods of humanity. "Philosopher's stone, the alchemical substance that was to turn metals into gold or some sort?" John and Tom both laughed at the sight of my little misinformation. "Well, yes and no. it can turn base metals such as copper or lead into gold, yes. But it's more complicated than that. Keep watching" I turned my gaze back towards the room with the formerly dead woman, now standing in a hospital gown in front of a mirror, touching her face. "It feels different, overwhelming even, I think I need to-" She threw up in a bin that stood behind a corner I couldn't see from my vantage point. As she knelt down I could see the wound in the back of her head convulse again and again, until a little piece of metal rolled out of the back of her head. Already expecting this, the nurse held a petri dish out to catch the dropping piece of metal from her head. As the nurse brought the petri dish with the bullet around to Sheila, she seemed to compose herself and straighten back out. "Look hun, here's the start of your new life" A huge grin befell her face, as she grabbed the bloody bullet with her fingers. She turns towards the three of us standing in the window, gleaming with excitement. "Tom!" She proclaimed as she started to run towards the exit door before the plain clothed man stopped her. Pushing a cup in her other hand he motioned for her to drink again. "Drink more, you need at least two treatments for it to be permanent." She nodded and drank as she made her exit towards the door, and John turned to me. "We shouldn't spoil the first memory of a reborn citizen by loitering here with her husband. Let's go" And with that we left, this time walking side by side. "So what really happened, John? Why did you shot her in such a dramatic fashion? Why did she act? Did she?" I motion freely, seemingly at ease with everything that transpired, relieved that the woman I saw didn't get murdered in cold blood. John puffed a bit of air out of his nostrils and had a slight chuckle with closed lips, before responding. "You have to see what we do if we have to. We will execute whoever we need in whatever fashion we need if it's what needs to happen. The death she felt, and the death that you might feel are the initiation to everlasting life, granted by our king and his knowledge of the philosopher stone's substance. Her act was to convince you of her imminent demise, so you wouldn't think that she was in on it, or that we used blanks, which we obviously didn't." Not knowing how to process this yet, we continued to walk down the same corridor we originally came in from a few minutes ago. We arrived at an elevator with dark, sturdy doors that looked thick and enough to transport tanks up and down. John entered a code on the side of the elevator which opened it's doors, and we stepped in. "Onto the really interesting part of the interview." "So a woman getting shot in front of my eyes begging for her life wasn't enough?" I egg on John, my dry sense of humor already shining through this horrible experience that should have given me a mental breakdown. "No, after taking all of what happened so well and not questioning too much, I will take you down to my country." As if in a movie, an exclamation point appears before my inner eye. "Right! What the hell is all this about everlasting life. So she actually died?" The elevator hummed to life as we descended downward. "Yes, but she drank the first part of the elixir granted and supplied by our king and his philosopher stone to start the transformation into an immortal, which gets triggered by dying." He scratched his head as to remember details of a time long past. "That's how our king found out about it, too. He drank what he thought to be a misfired philosopher's stone substance to keep it from being stolen during the invasion of rome, and died in the process of defending his home and research" The elevator slowed to a halt, it's doors opened and we stepped off an edge onto a high rise building in a coastal town with a fresh breeze whizzing around my nose. I take a look from above, down on a city with blooming life, bakeries, clothing stores, a small forest and a beach, with a sky that gave so much warmth that it seemed like we ended up in paradise. "So did you take me somewhere else after I fell asleep? Where are we?" John chuckled again. "No, we just went further down. The sky you see is projected onto the dome that holds the ground above our heads. It's a dome." He motions towards a crew of workers at the highest building in the town, working on a big black piece of screen in the sky surrounded by beautiful clouds. "Look, some of our maintenance crew is working on the sky as we speak, one of the projectors malfunctioned and they have to replace it, probably." I tilt my head a bit after realizing all of what I see is artificially made. "Even the water on the beach back there is hauled in from clean ocean sites." John interjects again. "The water looks like it's going on forever. I assume there is a limit to how far you can go out and then there's screens too?" John nods in agreement "You catch on quick. Take a look over here" John said as he motions towards what looks like a university. "This is where our native citizens learn about the world above, and about the things humanity can't know or understand yet without blowing themselves to pieces. If you aren't born here, most of the knowledge taught at this school will never reach the small scale of your horizon, and we make sure that it stays that way, in ways that I demonstrated to you, if we need be." I turn back towards John, still puzzled that we're still underground in a vibrant town full of life and color. "What do you mean by native citizen?" "Right, most people that live here were born and raised here, only about three percent are people like you and me who came to this place by selection through our government or the king himself." "Like this right here" John points towards an outdoor restaurant where a group of thirty five to forty people close to the same age bracket are enjoying a feast of monstrous proportions. "All of these people, except for the few spouses present, are descendants from a single person at that table." "If you accept our king's treatment, you stop aging. The man on the far right in the blue collar has been here for about 600 years, and all of the people at the table are his children, his children's children, or his children's children's children, their respective spouses and so on." John turns to his left and points towards a house on top of a hill near the beach. "That's our kings residence. It doesn't look very imposing because our king is spartan about his personal living conditions, but as you know there is always more than meets the eye. I hear that there is a museum, with old alchemy scrolls used to create the first treatment, carved in the hill below his house, perfectly preserved for over one thousand and five hundred years now." With a puff I snap out of my trance like state as John claps his hands. "And this is all the time we have for now. Time to go" And as quickly as we stepped into this bizarre world, we stepped back into the elevator that brought us here. With a few beeps on the keypad John brought the elevator back to life. I was speechless, standing in that humming elevator trying to process everything John told me. We stepped out of the elevator back into the corridor we came from, walking back towards the hospital wing. Walking by, we saw Tom and his wife Sheila still talking to the nurse and plain clothed man, getting explanations on how to conduct themselves with injuries and other illnesses in the future. John stood in front of the automatic door without triggering the motion sensors and waved towards the happy couple, who waved right back. "Depending on what you do next, this will either be the start of your new life or the biggest secret you will carry to your grave without knowing it." John said with a compassionate smile towards me. A sudden pinch in the side of my arm leaves a bump, which begins to burn slightly. I turn to John "What was that? Did you just give me a shot?" John throws away an injection pistol. "Yeah. Memory altering drugs, the kind we don't tell humanity about because of the mischief that could be done with it, because of its ease." John puts a hand on my shoulder and looks directly into my eyes. "The seventeenth hour from the time you leave the front door, that's your time frame. If you decide to come back before then, we will initiate your transformation and give you the antidote, if you decide to stay away your memories of today will dissipate and you will have a job offer from a consulting business in your email inbox in two days, guaranteeing your lifetime employment in a city of your choosing." I gulp, not knowing how to respond to a statement like that. John starts walking towards the door we originally came from, which led back to the spiral staircase. John motioned towards the other doors, opening one, which was the interrogation room I was held in. "See? I told you we didn't really move you. It just looks very different inside and outside. Just like our entire country." I nodded, finally grasping the complexity of the setup they created to recruit me. We turned back towards the staircase, and this time John climbed the stairs with me. "So why me?" I finally broke the silence about halfway to the top of the staircase. John didn't respond for a while before formulating a response. "To be honest, I really don't know. I was told to give you the tough love recruitment and that was it. I didn't bother asking why or for what purpose you would be recruited. Not all of our citizens venture out into the world, but after the drill I put you through I think you would be working on the surface alongside a few of our citizens. Maybe you were right about the double agent thing, after all." John chuckled to himself while saying it "It's not like we get all this knowledge and influence over the world by letting other governments reign free over their people without at least a little oversight." John pulled out a pack of gum from his pocket, and held one out for me to take. "The invalidity of alchemy by current standards is mostly our doing, too. The king decided a long time ago that the power of the philosopher's stone would be too destructive for the wrong person to get their hands on, so our nation was created for that purpose originally, but branched out to other forms of destructive power that could render humanity unable to evolve further, or wipe them out entirely." Chewing on the undistinguishable gum flavor that I got from John my head started to spin as we ventured our way all the way to the top of the staircase into the corridor I came in for my job interview what felt like years ago. As we continued walking towards the exit we passed the receptionist's desk who originally led me in, only to see that she was replaced by a bald man in a business suit and glasses. As we stepped through the emergency exit door out into an alley, I started to realize that rain is trickling down from storm clouds. Traffic was as loud as ever and shops all around me smelling like food I know, compared to all the bizarre things that I just experienced in a world beyond normal grasp. I pulled out my phone, only to realize I've barely spent 4 hours underground with John. Standing in the rain, John handed me a business card with an address. "Get there before your time is up if you decide to join. If not, it will disintegrate in two days, just like your memory. Goodbye for now, Damon. I hope we see each other again." With those words the door closed behind me. Back amidst a world of people unaware of the wonders that lie beneath our feet, I stand among the raindrops pouring down. My cell phone in one hand, and an innocent looking business card in the other. What should I do?
2019.11.25 07:25 RocknockerDemolition Days, Part 53
Continuing “Oh, yeah ‘hey. I’m going to back to the USSR.” I reply during drinks. “You are one crazy fucking American.” the beautiful and sonorous Amsterdam barkeep tells me. She’s right, of course. I offer to buy her a drink, the standard Baja Canada ‘thanks for pouring them like you don’t own them’ gesture. She laughs and gets herself a cappuccino. The airport is slowly coming to life, and it gets a bit busier. I settle up with Zoe and say I’ll look for her the next time I pass this way. She smiles and says she’ll be sure to see me if I wear a similar outfit. Off to the departure gate just as they announce Business and First Class boarding. Another four and a half hours and I’ll be in Moscow. After a thoroughly uneventful flight, the flight attendants pass out landing cards to everyone. They were in Russian with cryptic translations in English, French, and German. I’ve been down this road before and know that one must be scrupulously correct in filling them out. One little misplaced check mark could mean hours of waiting at passport control until they figured you’d suffered enough for your egregious transgressions. I help out some of the other folks in Business who for them, this was their first trip over to the Rodina. They ordered my usual drink from the cabin crew for me as a means of thanks. I used the aircraft facilities as close as I can to our landing time. I know it can be an ordeal in customs and passport control. There are no facilities until you get past baggage claim in Sheremetyevo Airport, our destination. I advise the others on this fact as well, demonstrating bladder solidarity. We land in Mother Russia and bumpily taxi some miles, it seems, to our gate. This was, by far, the most turbulent part of the whole flight. At out gate, we deplane and are met by an airport bus. We were Western foreigners and therefore either weren’t to be trusted or someone wanted to keep an eye on us. The few locals were allowed on the jet way, we, on the other hand, were herded onto the old diesel-belching Soviet era bus. I informed my fellow travelers that this was the norm. It may profess to be a classless society, but it was certainly stratified. I advised them to get used to ‘separate but unequal’ handling. We arrive at our interim destination and I walk off the bus. Everyone defers to me and follows me like I’m some sort of Pie-eyed Piper. “This way folks. Watch yourself. The ground here is terribly icy.” I caution. Into the arrival area and it’s a madhouse. Typical for this airport. I seek out the passport control station line and see they’re fully 35-40 people deep. Normally, this would take literal hours to pass through. Now I deploy my secret weapon: my brand new Diplomatic Passport. No waiting. I was the only one in that line. I know the drill. WAIT! Behind the yellow line until you’re called. Even if you’re the only one in line, wait until you are called. The uniformed characters milling about with the AK-47s have less than a little sense of humor. I am motioned to proceed by the unsmiling passport control guard in her bulletproof cubicle. “Papers!” was all she said. Don’t smile. They think Americans smile far too much. Remain taciturn, and do as they command. I hand her my new passport, letter of invitation, and boarding pass. They want to know where you’re coming from as well as where you’re going. “Destination?” she brusquely asks. “Moscow. Then Krasnoyarsk. Then Yeniseysk.” I reply in my best Russian. “Hmmm….” she scrutinizes my passport. “Cнять шляпу!” Remove hat!” “Da!” I comply. She looks me up one side and down the other. Convinced I was mostly harmless, she stamps everything in triplicate, hands me back my papers, and motions me forward. “Спасибо. Thank you.” I say, still unsmiling. “Humph!” was the only reply. My luggage was already at the arrivals carousel. I gathered it up on a complimentary airport luggage cart and head out to the departure area. Before I left, I had realized I was a bit hungry. I had heard of this new Irish Bar that just opened in the airport, and rumor was they had killer pub grub. I wanted to check this out before I hit the city. Alas, I had no Russian Rubles. These were not a convertible currency and therefore worthless outside the countries of the USSR. I wandered over to the currency-exchange desk and looked at the ‘official exchange rates’. According to them, US$1.00 would net me 0.99 RUR. HAHAHA! Yeah, right. I took a chance to see if the Irish Bar accepted other currencies. They gladly accepted ‘hard currency’ and at this time US dollars were polycrystalline tungsten carbide. Over a bowl of really fine Irish stew and a nitrogen-draft Guinness, Zack, the bartender told me that with American dollars, I could expect a ‘gray market’ exchange rate of better than 100:1, maybe even 200:1. I left him a large US dollar tip for the information. I went outside the airport so see this huge queue of ‘official’ Moscow Cabs. But first, I wandered around a bit, fired up a cigar and waited for the ‘gray market’ to appear. Three puffs later, a sneaky looking little guy wanders up and asks if I have American cigarettes. “Yes, I do,” I reply. “You have hard currency?” he asks in heavily Russian-tainted English. “Maybe,” I reply, “Who wants to know?” “Oh, I am just curious.” He says, smiles through his stainless steel teeth, and silently slinks away. “KGB operative” I think, “Kind of obvious.” Half a cigar and five or six more curious characters later, I decide to get a cab and continue this at the hotel. Luckily with my passport and credentials, I didn’t require a ‘handler’. I find a relatively well-appointed Lada and ask if he can take me to my hotel in the core of Downtown Moscow. He speaks fairly passable English and after wrangling a price, we force all my gear into the little 4-wheeled beast of burden and head into the very belly of the beast that is pre-wall falling Soviet Moscow. Very little traffic so the ride is relatively smooth and disaster free. After the initial pleasantries, he gets my abridged background and asks the inevitable question: “You want to exchange hard currency? Can give you best rate.” “Look, Ivan”, as that was the name he gave to me, “How can I be sure you’re not KGB? Why should I take a risk?” “Because I give best rate. I know you Americans. I can be driver for you. I’m a businessman like you. Not KGB!” he insists. “OK, Ivan” I say, “What’s the best rate for US dollars if I was maybe, purely hypothetically speaking, thinking of possibly of converting US dollars to rubles?” I ask. “Oh, let us see”, I van continues, “I can do 250 ruble per dollar if you want. You need a driver while you are in Moscow, I can do 350.” Damn, they learn quickly. “We’ll see”, I say, “Let me check at the hotel. Is that OK?” “I’m must wait until you exchange dollars at the hotel anyway, I must take rubles for the cab ride. It is law.” He winks. Cagey little bastard. At the hotel, I tell Ivan to wait, and even leave my luggage hostage while I check the conversion rates at the hotel. They are offering a spanking new In-Tourist rate of 10 Russian rubles per American dollar. Back at the cab, while Ivan helps me remove my luggage before the redcap arrives, I slip him $200 US and ask for his business card. See, I’ll need a driver while I’m in town. Ivan smiles and returns to me 70,000 rubles. I ask him how much for the ride and he tells me that since I just hired him, the first one’s free. I give him US$10 as a tip and we’re both all smiles as he fires up the Lada for his next fare. I check into the hotel and I am handed a thick packet of papers and messages. After reviewing the data and when I feel I am over jet lag, I am to call my Russian counterparts in Krasnoyarsk. They will arrange for me access to the so-called ‘soft-data’ while I am in Moscow. After that, they will organize my Aeroflot flights to Krasnoyarsk, where they will meet me. I was glad that I had retained Ivan as a driver. This will streamline the processes here in Moscow greatly. I am taken to my room on the eighth floor of the hotel. Luckily, this was the first floor where if you looked out the window, you weren’t blocked by the adjacent building. You had a clear view of Red Square. I tipped the Redcap one US dollar. You would think I handed him the keys to the bloody city. “Anything else, sir?” he eagerly asked. “Anything at all I can get you?” “Sure” I replied, as I handed US$10. “See if you can find me some good cigars.” “Right away, sir!” He snapped to attention, and almost saluted. Yep, this cat was active, or at least previous, Government Issue, I concluded. But I broke no laws, just another ugly American looking for some smokes. The room, for what it was costing the JV, was utilitarian, to say the least. The carpet was slowly unraveling in long, smelly coils. The wallpaper was peeling and yellowed. The shower was positively medieval. The toilet one of those weird Russia designs, with a plop-pad, so you could see what you were leaving before you flushed. They had that John Wayne style toilet paper. It took no shit off of anyone. The TV was ancient, even by Soviet standards. It received all three of the current broadcast channels, all under strict government control. But, it was livable. I decided it was time for a smoke, drink and a rest, in that particular order. I went ahead and tried their so-called ‘room service’. I think word got out fast that I was a heavy tipper. I ordered a bucket of ice and they brought it one cube at a time; or so it seemed. I reclined on the too-short bed and waited for the inevitable cracking and groaning of the thing from my bulk. It complied in spades. I made sure to sit and lie down gingerly. I pulled up the plastic-coated chair, put my unshod feet up, flipped on the TV, waited for it to warm up, and fired up a heater. After I woke to the door being pounded upon, it was my breathless redcap from before with two boxes of Cuban cigars. I made sure he received a nice tip, but not too excessive. Any further word got out, I’d be beholden to the entire hotel’s staff. I decided I needed a bit of unkinking, so I went to go for a wander around Moscow. It was already dark as Moscow may have White Nights in summer, but come winter, its twilight gloom all day. The city wasn’t lit up especially well and I was cautious wandering around Red Square with my new cigars. Not a lot to see this time of day. Huge, empty boulevards, with the occasional government Zhuguli zipping past to some officious meeting. The Lenin Mausoleum, with the pickled prick out on display. He looked positively green. His personal cosmetician needed to give him a tune up. I walked back to the hotel and took up residence on their version of Mahogany Ridge at the bar. I was too jet lagged to sleep, so I figured I’d sink a couple drinks and then return to my room for a snooze. I ordered a Baltica #9 dark beer and 100 grams of their best vodka. They might titter at my vodka and bitter lemon, but they all respected Ёрш, or Yorsh. I tried to have a conversation with the bartender as he was the only other person in the bar, except for a couple obvious naughty ladies of the evening. But, I guess I was just a little too weird for them with the Guayabera shirt, down vest, and Stetson. The bartender, once he saw I had hard currency, did everything but handstands and spit kopeks trying to wrest some of them out of my wallet. I had had enough. I ordered one last Yorsh and took it to my room. I needed some downtime and a readjustment to 24-hours of dark and eight hours’ worth of jet lag. In the morning, after a hotel restaurant breakfast of boiled eggs, red caviar, blini, and warm yoghurt, I had the hotel place a call to Krasnoyarsk and my Siberian compatriots. I went to my room to await connection. Three hours later, my phone rang. It was Sniggims, the Eastern Siberian think-tank from whence my compatriots operated. I told them that I was ready to review the data anytime now. Just give me the word and I’ll go to wherever is necessary to take a look at things. They said it would be at least tomorrow before they had everything arranged. They would call the hotel with the necessary information and letters necessary. I told them I had secured a driver, so that would be no problem. I would begin data review tomorrow and let them know how long I figured it would take. Then they could arrange for my plane tickets east. We all agreed and signed off. Now I had some more definite information, I had the hotel call Houston for me. Five hours later, I‘m chatting with Esme. I told her that it was full-steam ahead. The usual slight speed bumps on the road to international relations, but nothing I couldn’t handle. She sounded very tired, I asked is everything back home was OK. We had to talk fast, no telling how long we could keep this line open. She said things were fine. Oma was there, and helping out greatly. Khris was into everything, still trying to ride Lady, as usual, but being overall well behaved. She commented that she herself was tired, very tired. “I don’t remember feeling this out of it the last times”, she told me. “Just take it easy, you know what the doctors have all said. “ I replied. “If you can’t handle the home front, leave for me. I’ll take care of things when I get home. Don’t stress yourself out.” “Of course, Rock. Daddy knows best.” She said, tiredly. “Go on now. Go take a nap. Everything here’s under control. I’m sure Oma’s got everything home 5 by 5.” I said. “I’ll call before I leave for Siberia. Love you and Khris and Oma. See you soon.” “Bye, Rock. Love you. Hope it all works out.” Esme says, signing off. I wished the same for her. I was somewhat concerned. I got word to Ivan to meet me at 1000 the next morning. I had the instructions and directions for the repository I was to visit. This was serious, a key part of the JV deals, and so I wore my best Hawaiian shirt and dusted off my Stetson. Ivan was right on time and handed me a cold breakfast beer. Evidently it was a long ride to the repository. Ivan was a great driver and a good comrade. He knew the ropes and helped me out many times with the Soviet bureaucracy. I time, we arrived at some official-looking government building, and Ivan told me here I was. This was where they keep all the state secrets, he laughed. I told him I had no idea how long I’d be, but here’s a ten-spot just to hang around waiting for me. He gratefully accepted, put the Lada in park, and lit off his “Occupied” cab sign. He was reading today’s Pravda before I was up the building stairs. I entered the building and it was the usual rococo-baroque Soviet brick pile of indentured opulence and lack of attention. The place probably looked old as it was being built. I walked up to the only desk in the atrium and presented my papers to the unsmiling secretary. This caused some consternation. Here’s an obvious outsider wanting access to all the goodies we’ve got stored here. How is this possible? I must get my superior’s on the phone. These papers are not-in-order, or are they? What should I do? I just sit and wait, unsmiling, until this storm cloud of officiousness rains itself out. Finally, I and told to go up to the third floor, room six. There I will meet Dr. Dannyye, the one responsible for geological and geophysical state secrets. Of course, I was closely shadowed, so I made certain I went directly to where I was to meet the good doctor. I knock on the outer door and am bade to enter. Through the next door, I see Dr. Dannyye at his desk, reviewing some papers. “Good morning, Dr. Dannyye” I greet him, offering him a handshake. “Good morning, Doctor Rock.” He replies in Oxford-tinted English. Oh, this will be easy. He speaks very good English. We spend the next couple of hours getting to know each other. There seems to be a genuine opportunity for camaraderie here. He’s helpful, has a great sense of humor, and not at all who I expected to be guarding these secrets. He makes a call and suddenly two heavily armed, uniformed guards appear. “These two gentlemen will escort you to what you wish to see. Please remember, no copying, no retention of original materials. Notes only. However, if you wish to use my office copier for well headers and such, please, alert me.” He said. I could almost see him wink slyly at me. “Thank you, Doctor” I reply and am escorted out of his office and down the hall. I am taken to what appears to be a huge door to an even larger bank vault. When they say “state secrets”, they’re not messing about. The guards ask me to sit in an anteroom while they open the vault. I do so and a few minutes later and allowed into the geological sanctum sanctorum. As it’s arranged like most other geological libraries, it’s oddly familiar. The guards ask if I will need any assistance finding anything. “No, thank you. I think I can handle it from here.” I reply. “Very well”, they say, “we will remain outside.” The unsmiling guards take up posts on opposite sides of the door and resign themselves for a long stay. It’s really a treasure trove. Full of geological reports, seismic data, satellite photos, aerial photos, thematic imagery, core descriptions, well logs, and even ‘corrected’ maps. Maps back then were published with intentional distortions, so if they fell into enemy hands, they’d be of little use. Here, were the maps shown with what I’d need to do to correct them back to reality. They were really dropping their metaphorical pants here. This was indeed a first, I came later to learn. Time passed quickly, and around four hours later, Dr. Dannyye dropped by and asked if I’d like a bit of a break. He’d arranged for some light snacks and the opportunity for a smoke, if I desired. “Oh, yes. I desire” I said. I made certain to lock my notebooks in my well case and bring it with to Dr. Dannyye’s office. “Light snacks?” I asked, agog. The good Doctor had provided a sumptuous repast. Caviar, blini, egg and potato salad, pelmani; those delectable little Siberian ravioli-oid dumplings, vodka, beer, cognac, and champagne. He was really pulling out all the stops. Genuine comradeship or did he have something ulterior on his mind? Thanks Rack and Ruin. You’ve infected me with your suspicion of everyone’s motives. We sat in his office, chatted, and were served by twin tea-boys of Central Asian extraction. They spoke no English, I spoke no Uzbek; I wondered if that was a mere coincidence. Over lunch and many, many bottoms-up vodka toasts, Dr. Dannyee figured, incorrectly, that I’d be pliant enough to hear out his plans. Yeah, good luck with that, Comrade Doctor. He thought I’d be sloshed and thus more receptive to his wishes. He didn’t know I was an ethanol-fueled organism. He was going to be in for some surprises. He was offering his services to our Joint Venture as a hired-gun consultant. This was very, very highly irregular, not to mention borderline illegal. He was already highly placed in academia in the Soviet Union, obviously a card-carrying Commie, and yet here, he’s applying for a job with a western company? I could turn him in to his superior for trying this. He was hoping I’d be so sloshed that if I did they’d ignore my accusations. Or, I could be so sloppily snozzled that I’d jump at the chance to avail ourselves of his services. Either way, a low risk situation for him. I sat back, pulled out a cigar, rolled it around a bit, and said: “Well, Doctor that is very interesting. Let me ask you; in Russia, is it customary for people apply for a job without supplying a curriculum vitae?” He was stunned, to say the least. “Yes, Doctor. You see, I’d need to determine if your background and experiences would provide for a synergistic fit with our corporate culture and the direction we have planned for our projects.” I say in my best corporate-speak. He looked at me, stunned. He jumped up, grabbed a lighter, and offered to light my cigar. “I will have one for you by the time you leave today.” He breathlessly said. “Oh, that won’t be necessary. I’m staying at the Grand Moscov Hotel. Please meet me there tonight for drinks as we can discuss your wonderful data repository” I smiled through a huge cloud of blue smoke. “What time?” was all he asked. At 2000 that evening, on the spot Dr. Dannyye arrived at the hotel restaurant. A Russian rarity. We shook hands and I directed him over to a table out of the way of cynosure from the lobby and in a quieter, darker, more placid part of the restaurant. A booth in the back, in the corner, in the dark, as it were. We were attended by the same waitress I had that morning at breakfast. I felt she was harmless, but remained cautiously quiet whenever she was within in earshot. We order drinks and dinner at the same time. This would give us the most opportunity to chat undisturbed. The good Doctor says that he feels he can trust me. I assured him that he could. I was a fellow scientist and here trying to develop the natural resources of the Rodina for the benefit of all. He passed me a manila envelope. “As you requested, Doctor. My CV” he smiled. “Thank you, Doctor.” I replied. Rack and Ruin are going to have kittens with all the data I’m getting. “I know of your project in Siberia. If you like, I could generate a catalog of all geological and geophysical data within your proposed prospect area. It would save your Joint Venture much time as I know where it resides already. Would that be of use to you, do you think?” he smiles. “Fuck, yeah!” I think. This would be a data coup. It would also save me days if not weeks or months in that damn data vault. I play it cool. “Umm”, I say as I stroke my beard in faux contemplation, “That could, potentially, be of some limited use.” I say. “But I’d have to see it as soon as possible.” “Would tomorrow be soon enough?” he asked. “Tomorrow would be fine.” I said. “I’ll stay at the hotel instead of coming to the data repository. I’ll claim jet lag or intestinal distress. No one will be the wiser.” “Except for your Western comrades?” he anxiously asked. “Perhaps”, I say, “But first, I’d need to review the data package.” “I’ll have it here for you before lunch” he smiled. “Doctor”, I replied, “Do you know something? I have this feeling that this could be the beginning of a beautiful, and profitable, friendship.” Over a couple of bottles of fine Armenian cognac, and a few more of finer Russian vodka, Dr. Dannyye is loosening up significantly. He’s getting toasted. I’m just fueling up. He tells me, in utmost confidence that he knows the Soviet Union is on its last legs. He knows so much, and he has so much to offer potential new partners that he feels it’s worth the risk talking with me. He’s trying to position himself for the best possible outcome when the inevitable, he feels, will soon happen. Can’t dog a man for looking out for himself. I offer him a cigar and order another bottle of that fine cognac. He just stares at me. He asks: “Are you certain you’re not KGB? You act so Russian!’ he chuckles. I look at him, smile, but not too broadly, pour two healthy tots of cognac, and raise my glass to toast: “To our continued collaboration and the triumphant success of all our ventures.” How that for heartfelt and vague at the same time? Later, I pour Dr. Dannyye into the cab and send him off for the night. I retire quickly to my hotel room to have a look at everything the good doctor’s delivered. “Hmmm”, I hmmmmed, “Impressive CV. Years of experience all over the Soviet Union. Central Asia, Far East, Sakhalin, Western Siberia, Eastern Siberia. Yes, this individual could be of no small interest.” I stash his CV in my personal well case. Ain’t no one, without an official warrant, getting in there. I have the front desk try and call the home office. There are a few items I have that might interest them. Unfortunately, the lines are currently all busy. “Oh, well” I tell the front desk, “Please keep trying.” I spend the rest of the night and well into the next morning on my personal notes. I have an already nearly full field book. I wonder if I might be able to source something equivalent here. I call the front desk again. A redcap is at my door within minutes. “Yes, Sir? How may I be of assistance?” he asks. I show him one of my empty field books, as I explain what it is and how it’s used. I ask if he knows if something similar is available here. “Oh, yes sir!” he replies, eagerly, “That is Geologist’s ledger. I can find some of those at university. They have bookshop.” “Splendid!” I state, as I hand him a $20 bill. “Please take this and get me at least five of the books, if possible. You can keep whatever change is left for your trouble.” I know that there will be at least $10 left, given the exchange rates. He’s off so fast, he barely has time to salute before he runs off. “Yeah. Civilian. Right.” I muse. There’s a knock at my door. I answer to see Dr. Dannyye there. I invite him in. “Please. Come in. Sit down. Care for a small refreshing drink?” I ask. “No, thank you, Doctor.” He replies. I ask him if he’d mind my having one or several. “Not at all.” He says, “Well, maybe I’ll have a small vodka with you.” I prepare our drinks and offer him a cigar. He accepts, but tucks it away for future use. He opens his briefcase and extracts several volumes. Each is at least two solid inches thick. “Here is what we discussed yesterday” he reports, “I do hope you find them useful.” “I thank you, Doctor”, and raise a toast to him and his speedy staff. “Please, if asked, you do not know from where you received this data” he pleads. “Doctor, see this?” I ask as I show him my Diplomatic passport. “These go into the Diplomatic Pouch. They are now, by international law, sacrosanct in American hands. Immune to inspection.” He visibly relaxes, pulls out the cigar, and allows me to offer him a light. He can’t be away from the office too long, so he thanks me again and makes certain I have his business card. I do and assure him that I’ll be in touch soon after I return to the US. “Спасибо, доктор.” He says, nearly shaking the palm off my hand, “I look forward to your call.” “Not to worry, Doctor.” I reply. “Leave everything to me.” I pore over the data he’s provided. It’s an international coup. Just with this, I could easily push this deal to the next step. The phone rings. “Your call, Doctor”, the front desk tells me. I spend the next 15 minutes going over what been going on here with John O’D back in Houston. It’s heavily coded, in case anyone’s listening. I doubt any Russian interloper would be able to translate ‘it’s a bird’s nest on the ground’ as something very important. He’s happy and pleased with the developments so far. He wants to see the CV I’ve been able to obtain. I tell him I’d feel better faxing it from Siberia once I arrive. He agrees, wishes me continued luck, and signs off. Since I have the open line, I try to call home. Miracle of miracles, it goes through. I talk with Oma as Esme is having a nap. Oma expresses concern that Esme is sleeping rather a lot, but then redoubles as she tells me of her pregnancies all those years ago. “Jah, they were so tiring”, she recounts. I ask if everything else is progressing well to which I receive the affirmative. I tell her that I‘ll be off to Siberia in the next day or so and could be incommunicado for a while. She assures me again that everything’s fine at home and she’ll relay my information to Esme. With that, the line goes dead. Ah, well. Good thing I got through for as long as I did. I call my comrades in Eastern Siberia and tell them I’m ready to fly on down for inspection. They inform me that my tickets have already been sent to the Aeroflot office. I can send someone from the hotel to retrieve them, they say. I call Ivan my driver and he’ll be happy to retrieve them for me. However, he might need a few American dollars to speed them on the way. I meet him in the lobby and hand him $20 in singles. “No use using up all your bribe money at once”, I chuckle with him. I’m at the hotel bar when the redcap returns from the university. He had located 10 Russian geological field notebooks for me. He thought he’d get a few extra as they were the equivalent of US$0.45 each. I told him to keep the change in any case. He was well chuffed. Ivan returns with my tickets to Krasnoyarsk. They were for 1201 hours tomorrow. Or, 1 minute after midnight, tonight. He advises me that no matter where I get airline ticket, and no matter where you’re flying, all Soviet Union tickets are on Moscow time. Seems that’s caused a bit of confusion with Western travelers previously. “Thanks, Ivan. Goods to know”, I told him. He still had $14 bribe money. I told him to hang on to it, as he’s taking me to the airport around 2000 hours. “Yes, sir” he says, “See you in a few hours.” I go back to my room and pack. It only takes a bit of time and I leave a couple of packs of American cigarettes and a few dollars for the housekeeping group. The room was old and decrepit, but they did their level best to make it livable. I call the front desk and tell them I’m checking out. My redcap friend is there spot on five minutes later. I check out and settle bills. I still cannot believe how cheap it is here, even in the In Tourist hotels. Out in the wilds of Siberia, where there is no In Tourist, I wonder what prices will be. I’ve still got over 55,000 rubles. I feel that should be sufficient. My gear is packed in Ivan’s cab and we begin the long trek to Domodedovo Airport, the airport for ‘internal’ flights. We arrive after about an hour and this airport is incredible. An incredible dump. It’s old, unwashed, decrepit and literally falling apart. I’m not terribly reassured. No Duty Free, no lounges to speak of, no real amenities of any sort. This was for the Soviet man to take a Soviet trek. It is most assuredly not crawling with creature comforts. It took some doing, but after parting with several thousand rubles, my luggage is put on the plane and I have my boarding pass. It may be a ‘classless’ society, but with the application of some hard currency, I have one of the few choice seats forward in the immense Ilyushin Il-86 aircraft. It’s a four-engine jet behemoth that looks like someone took a Boeing 727 and stretched it by another half. They allow my cabin carry-on only because I flashed my Diplomatic passport. This thing was proving to be worth its weight in gold. No X-ray, no pat down, no overt security. I could have brought along my own dog and pony if I wanted. Luckily, I had packed the large size local Stolichnaya for the trip. We sat, empty save for me, in the plane on the tarmac for an hour. With the sound of a gong, or bell, the floodgates opened. The plane was swarmed by Russians heading east. They poured onto the aircraft, and even with my Stetson and Hawaiian shirt, I didn’t generate as much as a sideward glance. I asked if smoking was allowed on the aircraft, and the stewardess wanted to sell me a pack of cigarettes. I had a whole row to myself, evidently I had tipped for the VIP seats. Or rather, my comrades in Siberia had sorted it all out for me. I cautiously pulled out a cigar and fired it up. If they wanted me to extinguish it, no problem. The only problem is when the pilot came back and asked if I had any extras. I parted with four for the whole flight crew, admonishing them that this was only if he could guarantee a smooth flight. He laughed and gave me a thumbs up. I hope he was laughing at my shaky Russian and not the idea of a smooth flight. The plane filled and there were the obligate safety briefings. Everyone was silent and paid rapt attention. I decided to do the same. First in Russia. Then in Uzbek. Then in who-knows-what-language-this-is? Then German. And French. Finally, English: “Sit down, shut up, and watch out the windows. Keep your belt tight.” Or something very close to that. The door was closed and for a while, I thought we were taxiing to Siberia. Finally we turn, and before the big plane is aligned, thrust goes to 110%. Everyone is slammed back into their seats. To be continued.
2019.08.11 23:10 Bigdogsz1928 [m4f] Big & Tall, ethically non-monogamous, and looking for a FWB or romantic partner
Hey there! I'm Tyler, a 28 year old tree seeking tree-huggers and those who love a good climb :P ...Or maybe I'm a 6'7" human looking for FWB/play partners and potential romantic partners, you be the judge ;) So first off, I'm in an ethically non-monogamous marriage and currently only have one partner, my wife. We live in Grand Prairie and have a kiddo and fur baby. A bit about me: I enjoy wearing bow-ties, stroking my beard in deep thought, having my beard stroked by others, telling epic dad jokes and puns that'll either knock your socks off or make you cringe, playing video games, board/card games, and basketball, and eating good food. I'm a goofy, fun loving guy, a good listenesafe space, and I give good hugs and coodles _^ I'm also an ISFP and Gryffin-puff. If you're into kink, I'm a service top with pet ownebrat tamer interests and am good at Daddy Dom-ing. If you are interested, please send an introductory message along with a picture of yourself. I will reciprocate, naturally :) Also, I’m totally open to gaining new friends to chat and meet with as well in the event our interests/desires don’t end up matching!
2019.08.11 23:00 Bigdogsz1928 [M4F] [Grand Prairie, TX] Looking for women into tall, bearded nerds
Hey there! I'm Tyler, a 28 year old tree seeking tree-huggers and those who love a good climb :P ...Or maybe I'm a 6'7" human looking for potential friends, romantic partners, and/or FWB/play partners, you be the judge ;) A bit about me: I enjoy wearing bow-ties, stroking my beard in deep thought, having my beard stroked by others, telling epic dad jokes and puns that'll either knock your socks off or make you cringe, playing video games, board/card games, basketball, and eating good food. I'm a goofy, fun loving guy, a good listenesafe space, and I give good hugs and coodles _^ I'm also an ISFP and Gryffin-puff. If you're into kink, I'm a service top with pet ownebrat tamer interests and am good at Daddy Dom-ing. I currently only have one partner, my wife. We live in Grand Prairie and have a kiddo and fur baby. If you are interested, please send an introductory message along with a picture of yourself. I will reciprocate, naturally :) Also, I’m totally open to gaining new friends to chat and meet with as well in the event our interests/desires don’t end up matching!
2019.07.23 06:39 Bigdogsz1928 [M4F] [Grand Prairie, TX] Looking for women into tall, bearded nerds
Hey there! I'm Tyler, a 28 year old tree seeking tree-huggers and those who love a good climb :P ...Or maybe I'm a 6'7" human looking for potential friends, romantic partners, and/or FWB/play partners, you be the judge ;) A bit about me: I enjoy wearing bow-ties, stroking my beard in deep thought, having my beard stroked by others, telling epic dad jokes and puns that'll either knock your socks off or make you cringe, playing video games, board/card games, and basketball, and eating good food. I'm a goofy, fun loving guy, a good listenesafe space, and I give good hugs and coodles _^ I'm also an ISFP and Gryffin-puff. If you're into kink, I'm a service top with pet ownebrat tamer interests and am good at Daddy Dom-ing. I currently only have one partner, my wife. We live in Grand Prairie and have a kiddo and fur baby. If you are interested, please send an introductory message along with a picture of yourself. I will reciprocate, naturally :)
2019.07.23 06:27 Bigdogsz1928 [M4F] Tall, ethically non-monogamous, and looking for a FWB or romantic partner
Hey there! I'm Tyler, a 28 year old tree seeking tree-huggers and those who love a good climb :P ...Or maybe I'm a 6'7" human looking for FWB/play partners and potential romantic partners, you be the judge ;) So first off, I'm in an ethically non-monogamous marriage and currently only have one partner, my wife. We live in Grand Prairie and have a kiddo and fur baby. A bit about me: I enjoy wearing bow-ties, stroking my beard in deep thought, having my beard stroked by others, telling epic dad jokes and puns that'll either knock your socks off or make you cringe, playing video games, board/card games, and basketball, and eating good food. I'm a goofy, fun loving guy, a good listenesafe space, and I give good hugs and coodles _^ I'm also an ISFP and Gryffin-puff. If you're into kink, I'm a service top with pet ownebrat tamer interests and am good at Daddy Dom-ing.
My father’s knight is not one of heroism or courage, lacking shining alloy armour and without the title of dragon slayer. He doesn’t smile in the face of my father’s whispered praise or serve a cause more valiant than his own selfish desires. He’s entirely like you and I, you see, except he’s not of the same breed as we are. No, he’s something else. I was terrified of him as a child - and who wouldn’t be? He was this shrouded figure that would enter our home during the nights, sweeping across the floors until he would find my father. The few times I witnessed it, they would dance around each other: my father laughing softly, perched on his armchair (newspaper scrawled across his lap, glasses low on his nose) while his knight would lean against the doorway (a stark tower that took up too much room despite his minute presence). And I would watch as he drifted over to my father, ridges of paranoia clogging the breath in my throat. They would always talk too quietly for me to hear, sometimes my father would look concerned or harrowed or smile at his knight. He was the same every time, though, and without fail his head would turn toward my position at the top of the stairs and I would flee back to my room, tuck myself in, and pretend I was asleep minutes later when my father would come to kiss me goodnight. Even with a wild imagination as a child, I didn’t know what to make of him. He was strange and new, an anomaly within my otherwise tame life. He didn’t upset anything, as far as I observed. My father made no mention of him ever, and this stranger only visited during the night hours. And even then, their meetings weren’t consistent. As the curious thing I was, I asked about him - and this, I remember too vividly. It’s the exact moment in which I became aware of everything around me -, “Dad, who’s that man that visits you?” I was seated at the small table in our kitchen, my father packing my lunch for elementary school while I sat at the table eating breakfast (though the food was unattended and forgotten). He turned to me with laughter that I didn’t recognise as nervous. I remember his expression too, a weird concoction of complicated emotions: surprise, terror, an anxious smile too wide for his face. “Mallory, sweety,” he had said to me, apologetic, almost. “He’s a very special man, alright?” “Is he my new Mom?” I asked, and even then, I knew mothers didn’t skulk around in the basement and hide from their own children. Dad had laughed at that, shaking his head. “No, he’s… he’s a guardian - a knight, that protects us, alright?” “From what?” “He keeps the monsters out from under your bed.” I was delighted at this, and though I wanted to tell everyone that I had a knight, my father told me to stay quiet about it. He said Luck (the name Dad had given to me) needed to remain hidden from the monsters, and that telling my friends - or anybody, really - would hinder his battle against them. I obsessed about this for a little while, or rather: I had Dad tell me stories of all of Luck’s adventures and conquests - and thinking back on them, they were ridiculous but entirely believable for a child. And I clung to them, picturing them before I went asleep, musing on them during school hours. I had decided something then: I needed to talk to Luck, our valiant guardian, my father’s knight, to hear more. An opportunity didn’t present itself until a few days later, and I nearly squealed when I saw him. Positioned at the bottom of the short stairway, looking strangely mundane for a knight (though that had mattered little to me). I had thundered down those stairs quickly, so intent on meeting this gallant creature that I nearly tripped on the way down. I remember Luck turning to me as I barrelled toward him, and though I can’t recall what he looked like then, I imagine he looks much the same as he does now: a black gaze and curly dark hair, angular features and a weathered expression. A youthful face despite his eyes being a thousand years old. Though my father was less than pleased I had stayed up past my bedtime, he allowed me to talk with Luck - or rather marvel at him and continuously pester him for more noble tales. Luck was reluctant, but he eventually relented. I can’t recall in fine detail of what he told me, just that the stories he weaved were tamer than those of my father’s - fables of him slaughtering beasts that feasted on the flesh of men and women and children, creatures without remorse for life, eternally damned in hunger for their hubris. A bit brutal for a child, but I was still enraptured with them. (My father argued against Luck telling them, but the knight always said they were parables.) Where my father’s stories are now wildly unbelievable when I think back on them, Luck’s have no absence of truth to them. Knowing what I do now, it’s hard to pick apart fiction from reality in the tales he weaved. And Luck was never this fabulous knight I depicted him to be - and I’m getting ahead of myself, more on that later. With our first meeting, and the ones thereafter, Luck became increasingly more comfortable in our home. His night visits became more frequent, he would even occasionally make an effort to arrive earlier so I could talk to him before my bedtime (and I never had a clue from where he entered, because he would always be in the basement when I looked for him, even if I spent the evening by the front door). He would sometimes be there in the mornings, looking as though he had slept. Even then, I noticed he wouldn’t eat anything, would just talk with my father or I. I grew attached to him as he became a constant. Though he certainly wasn’t a replacement for a mother, or even another parental figure… he was an echo of something like that, I suppose, and I knew he was trying his best to get along with me. Though whether that was for my father’s sake or my own, I still don’t know. . My father and I had a tradition, mostly taking place when I was younger. I always had - still have - trouble sleeping, whether it was rooted in nightmares crafted from my imagination or not simply being able to get to sleep (and I would lay awake, thinking of what I could do the next day or simply writing a story with my mind). On nights my insomnia was particularly bad, making me restless, I would wake my father up, and he would prepare me a cup of hot chocolate or bowl of ice cream depending on the time of year. Though I suppose it could be considered insignificant, I always treasured those moments between us as it was only us. In (eventual) relation to this, I never understood the relationship between my father and Luck. They behaved like friends around each other, Dad treated him like one of his friends. But beyond that, there appeared to be nothing. (And I noticed they would take walks around the garden in our backyard, but only when I was tucked into bed and supposed to be asleep.) And there were little things I saw, but didn’t quite notice, not until I went to wake my father for some hot chocolate - I must have been around nine or ten at the time, young enough that I don’t remember particularly well but enough so I can recall the impacts and implications. It was, uh, quite the shock when it was Luck that had turned to me in Dad’s bed and clearly agitated and tired, but when I managed: “Uh, Dad makes me hot chocolate when I can’t sleep,” he simply lifted himself from the bed and I followed him into the kitchen. There was a delicate air to it, I suppose, where my father and I would talk and laugh, Luck and I simply remained in a silence while we waited for the water to boil. It wasn’t an uncomfortable atmosphere, just unfamiliar. Even with me fawning over Luck, I didn’t know him like my father or anyone else. He was still an anomaly, even if he was sharing a bed with my father. When he gave me my favoured drink, he simply sat across from me and stared out the small window in the kitchen into the night. I would occasionally glance at him as I waited for the hot chocolate to cool. I’ve never liked the quiet (quiet? It was fucking silent) - even attributed it to my lack of sleep -, so I asked, “Luck, do you have any more stories?” And he looked at me again, expression flat yet pensive. “As long as you don’t tell your father I told you this one -” I nodded up a storm, and even now, I can recall how excited I was. Secrecy - even the promise of it - was something I both abhorred and loved as it was something that was rampant within my childhood home (and even now, too). My family name uses secrecy as pillars of support for this strange creature that upset the balance of our mundane lives. Fuck, Luck is the reason why you’re even hearing about this. (I added personal notes, indicated by the “[ ]” for when something needed clarification, I also disregarded the bits that were just his ramblings (which are generally unimportant for the message I’m attempting to deliver), which I have substituted for “...”. Everything below is paraphrased as complete accuracy is impossible.) Luck told me this: “When I was a young knight [he was never young, just as he’s never old]... I came across a man that would eventually become a companion of mine. Our friendship began when I killed an awful beast that had been terrorising him… we met in a cold land, far away from this one [he answered this when prompted, where did you meet him?]... his name? Ludo [when I asked who this stranger was] ... He owed me a favour, so I asked him to house me for a few weeks, while I recuperated. Ludo was… different, he didn’t fear me like other people did, he was.. [he paused here, lost in his own memories]. I liked him, Mallory, he promised to keep me safe and kept me fed [the emphasis on that word will become relevant later]. He helped me hunt beasts too - he helped in the tracking, not the actually slaying … Eventually, we both moved somewhere safer, where we could settle down. He started a family, and though we drifted apart, he never shattered the promise between us … Me? I hunted the demons in this new land, though I would always return to Ludo [he responded with this when prompted with what happened to you?] … He’s a good friend Mallory, one of the few I’ve ever trusted - including you and your father.” Initially, I was disappointed in this. This didn’t seem like a tale that would have my father be pissed for it being told; it was mundane compared to the other ones he relayed to me. I remember trudging off to bed after I had finished my hot chocolate, a little upset but also pondering over this Ludo character, as all of Luck’s tales have sense of truth to them. When I was older, his words finally registered in a mind that could make sense of them. My grandfather’s name is Ludo. . To preface the next passages: guilt is both being responsible for the commission of an offense or the terrible feeling that comes along when you know you’ve done something fucking horrible and simply not worth forgiving. I didn’t know of guilt - though it was another sensation omnipresent within my childhood home - until I was well into my teen years. At this point, Luck was a constant in my life, his relationship with my father an open point within our family. Thus, I treated him as a parent, and he opted into that role perfectly (though he wasn’t ideal, this I now know). Sure, I had experienced guilt in little bouts before: knowing I had done something I wasn’t supposed to, ie. sneaking the last few cookies when my father told me to put them away, staying up past my bedtime, asking about my mother when it clearly was still a sensitive topic (and a strange one at that, even Luck seemed uncomfortable with it). I knew little of this awful feeling. And my introduction to guilt was neither slow nor congenial. It was a tidal-wave, all encompassing, made me feel as though someone had cleaned my organs out from my body and left me hollow, yet still alive. Like they had only programmed me to feel one emotion; for days, guilt made me bed-ridden, unable to stand on shaky legs, feigning sickness to my worried father. (And regarding Luck, I felt as if he knew everything I had discovered. It wouldn’t be that far of a reach, considering his uncanny ability to read others.) Even now, I am still riddled with the feeling. It nearly destroyed me, knowing I would have to undertake such an awful burden, and completely ruined my relationships with the rest of our family. Completely erased the bond I had with a man I cared so much for. (And Luck still knows, and he doesn’t care. He’s more apathetic toward me than he was with my father.) I was home a day I was supposed to be out with friends, probably doing something like laying up on my bed and reading. My father brought some random woman home, and at first, I didn’t think much of it. He was always bringing his friends over to look at his garden in the backyard. And no, my father wasn’t going to have some candid affair with this lady, he was far too loyal to Luck for any actions of infidelity. She must have left sometime before I went downstairs because my father was alone in that garden. In that moment, I had too few pieces of the puzzle that was my family’s grandest secret. So I reiterate: I didn’t think much of it. I didn’t ask about her. I didn’t think about her. I forgot about her for a time, too. Now, you probably have some vague idea about where I’m about to turn this narrative. For those who don’t, I will lay it out in the entries below: I never saw what she looked like, just a glimpse of her from my bedroom window - I know what she looks like now, I have a picture of her face from an old newspaper clipping dated that year, the same week as that visit (I will be keeping her name out of this, simply due to respect). During that period, I remember hearing about a woman visiting from another town over that went missing. It seems glaringly obvious now, but teenage me didn’t care much for it (as awful as that sounds). There was another one, a man this time, more than half a year later - eight months later, to be exact, on the second Thursday of January, 1997. This one, I don’t have any evidence of or really know anything about, just that he disappeared under the same circumstances as that woman. Only there was no media coverage about this one, I only have the memory to attest to the verification of this. There were more, scattered about during the later years in my childhood home, the flowers and bushes weaning from the garden simultaneously. Perhaps it was always happening - people disappearing in my backyard without a trace as to their existence in the space save for my father standing alone out there - and I only took notice when I witnessed the aftermath of one such dissipation. I obsessed over this for a little while, was paranoid of everyone my father brought home, that they would disappear in that fucking garden like those who came before - and Luck knew, he fucking knew why I was so queasy some days, feigning sickness to my father in order to avoid questions. And Luck - that fucking bastard, he is the goddamn reason. He’s the goddamn reason why any of this happening, why I’m typing up this documents for strangers to read, why everyone is gone. He’s fucking destroying my life, and he’ll ruin my child’s life too - but there’s nothing I can do. I owe Luck; my father loved him, and while Luck’s nothing more than the absence of an estranged parent, I suppose I love him too. . Allow me to reminisce on something before we move forward and begin to tie together all these hints and cliffhangers I’ve been leaving around: my mother. Maybe even my grandmother too. I never knew either of them. My grandmother apparently ran off with another man when my father was young, and my mom died shortly after my birth - for reasons my father still hasn’t divulged in. Though I understand it’s a sensitive topic, I had a right to know as she was my mother, and not just my father’s wife. My father insisted that my grandmother was a good mother - from what little he can remember of her -, but that doesn’t necessarily make her a good person. My grandfather absolutely refused to talk about her, and there was nothing that was hers in his house. I was left with an imagined picture of her in my mind, and the comfort that a woman awful enough to abandon my grandfather had no part in my life. My own mother was an enigma. Dad seemed to have somewhat conflicting views of her; he once said she was beautiful and strong, a woman he loved with all of his heart. Another time he got angry when describing her, and though he attempted to hide it, I knew the motions well enough: his neck would flush, jaw flexing, lips pressed tight together, a flat expression, and told me bluntly that he didn’t want to talk about her. Most of the time, however, he refused to discuss her, even if I pushed at it. Admittedly, it was an uncomfortable subject and I still regret my continuous questions, even if I had that lack of social grace that accompanies being a child. It was a taboo subject that I only began to tread carefully around when I was made aware of the relationship between Luck and my father. Surely, it would have been awkward and probably would have upset both of them. The one time I can directly recall asking about her was when I was around seven years old, sitting at the dinner table, colouring while my father cleaned up supper from that night. “Where’s mama?” I had asked in a childish innocence - I had noticed the other children had mothers too, but I didn’t. I wasn’t sure how to feel about that, as I would eventually have Luck to shallowly fill that void. My father stopped where he was, still for a moment, then another, before he turned to me. Even at a young age, I could recognise my father was faking a smile (his mouth stretched too thin, lips bloodless, expression flashing with some foreign emotion). He knelt in front of me, his large hands holding mine, “She’s gone, sweetheart. It’s just you and me.” “But what happened to her?” A well-deserved silence, my father frowned and said, “When you’re older, Mallory, okay?” after a brief pause. Of course I was upset with this, I was being denied knowledge that I had a right to, but I waited. I asked again when I was fifteen, only to bet met with the same response. Once again when I was eighteen, My father shook his head as he helped me pack for college, I was quiet for a moment, and then I said: “I’m ready to hear it - maybe you’re just not ready to tell me,” there was no response to that and we spent the remaining hour in silence. I never asked again, I never mentioned her again. I knew I would be met with the same response, because my father was a coward when it came to revealing the truth - the horrid secret that drenched our family in a sinister entity was no different. Even something as mundane as telling me about my mother or grandmother should have been - it should have been… Even my grandfather refused to tell. I felt alone, alienated. I didn’t even consider going to Luck about it, my mother was a taboo subject whenever he was around and he was just never around whenever my grandfather was - though they knew each other, I was absolutely positive of that. (I always suspected Granddad disapproved of their relationship, hence his strained attitude toward my Dad and how they always seemed to avoid the topic of Luck even if it was common - and familiar - territory.) A thought (of a question) occurred to me just now, as I’m reading this over before I move on: did Dad leave my mother for Luck? It’s entirely too possible, my father loved Luck and while I don’t know the full length of their relationship, I assume it started at some point in my childhood - and were my theory true, Dad was probably with him prior to my birth, when he was still married to my mother. And that alone is… not enough to make me despise him - both of them, all four of them, even (for Luck messing up my chance at a normal life, my father for keeping his secrets close, my maybe-alive mother who didn’t try and reintegrate herself into my life, my grandfather for not acting as a median between our family and his sinister promise). I never did find out what became of her - whether she died, left my father and simply forgot about us for a better life or if my father left her for a man that my grandfather brought from Russia, or if… if she became a victim of whatever takes place between the walls of my childhood home and disappeared in that garden like the others. . My father was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's a year after I finished college. Luck had been the one to call me, one lazy afternoon where I had been job hunting for something where I could put my degree to use. I didn’t recognise his voice at first - it’d been over five years since I heard it, and I’m sure my silence made it clear to him that I wanted no part in… whatever he was up to (though I remained in consistent contact with my father - and my grandfather, until he passed). He didn’t sound like… anything, really, when he told me, just a flat monotone (like he was almost tired), and it was sudden - too sudden, but I remember my grandfather indulging some of his worries about Dad during a phone call a few years ago and I had brushed them off in favour of remaining optimistic and hopeful (because Dad was always forgetful, I told my grandfather). So, I suppose it wasn’t entirely unexpected. It was absolutely devastating to hear - I’m sure you can imagine how brutal it was, my father was my only family at that point in my life, and I was going to lose him to something that was nearly impossible to fight at that time -, and though I had settled nicely a few cities over from my hometown I rushed back to my childhood home. The trip was - in reality - only a couple of hours, but felt like an eternity (and I was too aware of the time left with my father slowly dwindling, every moment felt like it was being taken instead of time simply passing). My old home was as I had left it, though the walls had lost that pretty blue shade for a dark brown instead and a few pieces of furniture had been replaced. But it was still the same, there’s nothing that can change the whispers that the walls secrete or the short lifespan of the flowers in the garden. But my father had changed, that was too evident. Wrinkles were etched lines on his skin, creasing his face with every expression. His dark hair was slowly giving way to threads of grey, his smile had dimmed at the corners and his eyes darkened with the weight of something I couldn’t even begin to identify (words would mean nothing in this context, knowing what I do now, words wouldn’t even begin to equate the burden that my father once bore - the one that I do now). And Luck - what was I to expect with him? He was what my life revolved around when I was a child: always by my father’s side, our secret that no one was to know about, the second Thursday of every eighth month, the absolute silence that spanned our household when he was near, the wilting of my father’s flowers and bushes. The only thing that changed about Luck were his clothes, maybe. He was (is) as young as the first time I saw him, at the bottom of the basement steps, talking with my father: his face that of a young man with eyes older than a thousand years, angular features bearing a weathered expression. They both welcomed me back, though Luck was more frigid (it was expected, our relationship was tense even before I had left for college) but easily settled into the rhythm and routine of having me around again - and honestly, I did too. Luck and I didn’t speak unless it involved my father, and those conversations were always stiff, yet being around him again felt natural (and I suppose that’s fairly accurate, he did help raise me, even if his role was minimal). The next few months I spent looking for jobs in the area and the rest of the time spent was with my father. We managed to burn through every favourite movie of his (the list was stupidly long, I assure you, though the time with him was appreciated), and catch up on series he was watching but never finished. We even took a few road trips to some conservation parks and went a few towns over just for some ice cream. It was like a second childhood, every moment still remains suspended in my mind, float-y and faraway as though it never really happened (and there’s nothing but Luck’s and I’s memory to attest to the fact it ever occurred - and we never speak of it, either). The next two years of my life was spent like this, though we went out less frequently and stayed inside - occasionally venturing out into the garden, where the flowers remained vibrant under Luck’s care - with Dad’s mind slowly deteriorating. Luck and I kept our patience with him, helping him remember minor things (a memory, where he had placed his newspapers and books). As his condition worsened, Luck and I both came to the conclusion that placing him in a nursing home was our best course of option (neither of us had the experience to take care of him, though we gave our best, he needed proper care). This was on the cusp of the third year of being back home, and was the first time I had seen Luck express anything other than a shred of vague happiness. After reaching our shared decision, Luck had frowned, his eyes obviously wet, staring down at the registration form. “Humans are fragile. It’s unfair.” “It is,” I agreed quietly, my father should have had another twenty or thirty years of life - only for it to be robbed by something none of us could help him with. It was weird - awkward, uncomfortable, eerie - seeing Luck broken for the first time (and though I fucking hate admitting it, there was a rush of vicious satisfaction that accompanied that). “Luck, you can -” “Louet.” “What?” “Luck’s the name your father gave you to protect me,” he looked at me for the first time, eyes sad and expression harrowed, “My name is Louet.” I wasn’t aware how to process this information. It was just another piece that fell into the puzzle that was the secret of this man - and that implies he’s human, doesn’t it? -, something of which my father lied to me about. Of course I understand why he did it, but that didn’t lessen the sting and made me question what else was - is - being kept tucked away from my eyes. (And what did a new name matter anyway? He would always be Luck, even if he insisted on being Louet). I moved on. “It’s not like we’re abandoning him, we can still visit everyday.” And then Louet turned away for a moment, another few seconds of silence while he weighed some unknown decision behind his wet eyes. He relaxed back into his seat, staring at the wall while he said, “You know what time is approaching, don’t you?” I could have feigned ignorance or got up and left or simply denied him, but I didn’t. No, instead I froze, eyes wide and focused on him - on the imprint of the echo his words left in the room - and breath lodged tight in my throat. My paralysis answered his question. (And some part of me knew that everything would eventually accumulate into this exact moment - maybe in a different place, a separate time, but this interaction was entirely inevitable. There’s no one else but me left, I’m the one who must -) I didn’t have the courage to deny him. My thoughts wandered off to the garden, with it’s pretty colours and fresh dirt and the way the flowers preened under the sun’s attention ( - attend to Louet, there’s no one else -). If I had snapped at him, called him out, ratted him to the authorities, would I have ended up like that of the wilted flowers that were culled the second Thursday of every eighth month? No, that wasn’t going to be me. I answered, “Yes.” “You know what needs to be done?” ( - I’m the last Warrane, I’m not -) “Yes.” Louet left after that, and I was alone in that basement. Thinking of a stranger and the garden and the terrible thing I forced myself into. ( - exposing my child to this fucking thing.) . First and foremost, I want to apologise. I feel as though the stress I am currently subject to and my own emotions bested me and accumulated into very personal and biased work (the outbursts above, I’m sure you know what I mean). However, I will not be deleting what I wrote, as (I feel) this contributes to the air of the burden my family keeps a secret. I’m hoping that, through these cracks, you will be able to understand my situation better and perhaps analyse the events that lead me to that moment. I am aware that this also diminishes my credibility, but I implore you to continue reading. Louet’s story doesn’t end with my father’s absence. . Christi was the girl I brought home the Second Thursday Of Every Eighth Month. She was pretty and nice and smart, someone I would have been genuinely interested in had it not been for the circumstances. Everything about her was so vibrant and there was authentic interest and excitement coating every fucking thing she did. Of course I was awkward around her, bantering with shy smiles and quiet laughs, not from lack of social grace but because I knew what was to become of her - that our conversation was meaningless and every word or grin that assembled to form the basis of attraction within me was fucking nothing - she would be gone in the morning, nothing more than a thought adrift in my mind (and a welling sense of guilt that will fester into self-hate). Though, I can recall that I was curious - even looking forward to - about what might happen to her in that garden, what Louet had intended for her, what flower would wilt this time (whether it would be the pink ones or the singular blue one? I never bothered to learn their names). It was the rush that came with knowing that you were about to commit to something entirely unholy. I eventually swept Christi away to the house, giggling about nonsensical things and swapping stories from our childhood - every word she spoke simply didn’t register in my mind, it was like she wasn’t speaking yet the way she behaved told me she was, and I was simply responding on autopilot - and laughing about past partners and goofy memories. Christi was comfortable, someone I would have talked with to escape my worries as a young adult. She was a lot, I’m sure you can fathom, as I seem to endlessly describe and ramble about what she was like. There’s nothing else left of her besides the words you have just read. There is nothing else. I need help remembering her, too - I can’t even tell you what the colour of her hair or her eyes were. We stumbled into the living room, holding hands and snickering over nothing, and then I glanced to the door that leads into the backyard and mentioned the garden. She came willingly, eyes wide as we stepped into my father’s and my grandfather’s legacy. There wasn’t much to look at, the flowers ugly shades in the darkness and the bushes were nothing more than blobs, but I felt as though she could sense that it meant a lot to me - and it did, probably not in the way she assumed, however. We stood there for a few moments, the backdoor opened and bleeding light into our moment, holding hands and watching the darkness around and the stars above us. “It’s quiet out here,” she had said, and I noticed it too. No birds, or wind, or bugs or any other sound that accompanies nature. “It is,” I agreed, the world around us was silent enough that I could hear her little puffs of breath, even the joints in her hand creak and shift as her fingers squeezed mine, the sound of her cheek between her teeth as she worried at it. Then, she was gone. Her grip disappeared, so did all of the noises she was making. I didn’t notice at first, and when I looked beside me - to where she had been standing - there was nothing but bushes and flowers filling my vision. And maybe, she was as ugly as they all were - but I can’t remember, and you have no idea what I’m talking about, do you? (Sad as it is.) I turned around and went back inside, closing the door behind me. I even followed my nightly rituals to prepare for bed (all of it methodical, familiar, comforting, I didn’t have to think). In the morning, I discovered that it was the blue flower - all the way to the left of the main patch, by itself - was the one that had wilted. It was on the kitchen counter, it’s roots splayed and petals saggy and leaves gone. Yet there was a melancholy beauty to it, I suppose. I think I threw it out after staring at it, as much as a trophy as it was a reminder of what I had done. . On the night of July 21, 2019 - years after the events listed above -, my own son was seated at our kitchen table, kicking his legs as he coloured in a book, occasionally glancing up to me as I washed dishes. “Mommy,” he had called, paused entirely in his actions until I had turned around, wiping my hands on my pants in case he needed something. “Where’s daddy?” I had heard this question countless times already, and each time I encountered it I would come close to flinching, something unfathomable welling inside me (some concoction of every sin that’s branded my skin and every misdeed that boils my blood). Each time I approach him, kneeling in front of him, taking his small hands in my own. Smiling, even as I thought of a shrivelled flower, I said, “He’s gone, sweetheart. It’s just you and me.” And Louet. Only a thought, nothing more. The garden listens, even if it attests to this with silence.
2019.07.18 02:59 SabatonBabylon[OC] The HEL Jumper [Chapter 2.15]
Book 1 of The HEL Jumper ----- PreviousFirstNext ----- ‘General Osmundson, retired Colonel Marshall Winters, co-founder of Omega Division has arrived. Shall I show him in?’ The blond, barrel chested man stood from his desk and replied to his VI. “Yes, of course Alfred. And you don’t need to remind me who my foxhole buddy is,” Osmundson grumbled, looking up away from his personal display to survey his desk and office. It was a conservatively furnished space atop a modest three-story building that overlooked the launch sites of Cape Canaveral, which the United States had ‘graciously’ supplied to the budding HEL as a symbol of good faith and prestige. Sure the Europeans and Chinese had screeched about it, but neither was forthcoming with launch capabilities of the size and scope necessary to build the lunar military and research facilities that currently housed the about half of on duty Beta Division personnel as well as various contingents of Delta and Omega soldiers and scouts training for low gravity deployments. Those countries’ HEL personnel had been allowed to plant flags on the lunar surface though, so that had appeased everyone involved. Osmundson chuckled to himself as he recalled the first launch, one that he’d watched from the same office along with Marshall Winters and the man’s two younger children, Alice and Russell. “Oh how very far we’ve come. I’m sorry, Marshall.” The general’s musings were interrupted by a crisp rapping of knuckles against the oak wood door. The entry hissed quietly and swung open unaided, belying the antique design. ‘Colonel Winters, welcome to the office of General William Osmundson,’ came the prim and professional voice of the general’s VI, styled after a British butler of days past. “Yeah, thanks for that,” the man said shortly, looking around the office and noticing almost nothing had changed since his last visit, from the broad oak desk to the wooden ceiling fan. General Osmundson, like many humans, still enjoyed the aesthetics of pre-uplift society, even if his desk contained the quantum processor for a VI and his personal computer, from which he governed almost every high level aspect of Omega Division. Winters stood at attention. “General.” “Cut the shit and get over here, Winters. You and I have killed too many people for that sort of nonsense,” Osmundson ordered, extending a hand and meeting the blue eyes of his comrade as they firmly shook. “Damn Marshall, I swear you don’t look a day older than when you left the force.” “And you know as well as I do that a marine never truly hangs it up. Omega will always have my service but it’s no match for Sandra.” “Heh, quite so. How is the missus anyway?” “She’s not well, William. That’s why I’m here.” “No, I never did take you for the type to show up in person for a social call. Sit, please.” Osmundson motioned to the two leather chairs that faced his desk, waiting for Winters to be seated before he did so as well. “Can I offer you a cigar?” “Not if it’s Cuban, can’t stand those.” “Aw, c’mon Marshall. They aren’t that bad.” “Doesn’t matter if the embargo was lifted following first contact, they still ride along on their history and reputation. I’ll take Nicaraguan leaf any day. There’s passion in those,” Marshall declared, withdrawing a long, silver container from his jacket pocket. Osmundson let out a bark of laughter. “Sandra know about that little piece you’ve got there?” He asked, reaching into a drawer and collecting his own stash of Monte Cristos and a lighter. Winters passed his cigar case across the leather surface of the desk so Osmundson could see it more clearly. MW was monogrammed across the worn silver surface. “Sandra had it made for me, said I earned it. Bit of a retirement gift for managing to get that rebellious final child of ours on the straight and narrow.” Both men furrowed their brows as Winters made mention of the obvious shadow hanging over them. As cigars glowed orange and smoke wafted upward to be dispersed by the rotating blades of the ceiling fan, they finally got down to brass tacks. “I know why you’re here, Marshall.” “Then what are you planning to do about it?” The colonel demanded. “This is the first time a ship has missed the hard line. There are considerations that need to be taken into account and-” “Damn the talking heads and damn the UN and damn the Ghaelen and anyone else concerned with the ‘sensibilities’,” Winters thundered. “In defense of the space elk, they don’t know about this yet.” “We’re talking about my son’s ship, William! Omega has about two hundred personnel assigned to active scout teams, four Dakota class ships. A quarter of those lives are now in limbo.” “And if something did happen they’ve been dead for months! I know how serious this is, Marshall!” Osmundson’s voice had risen to match his friend’s, the two men having long since abandoned their seats. “I know how important your family is to you. I know you were there for probably half of that crew’s graduation ceremony. Hell, if I recall correctly you pinned that girl’s captain insignia yourself. But you chose to retire and that means you can’t come storming in here and demand I send ships that I just don’t have after your boy. Marshall…” Winters had slumped back into his chair, his cigar hanging from his lips. “I’m sorry, William. I know I’m out of line.” “Stow it, soldier. I know damn well you’re here as a father, not a colonel. Just know that if I had a spare Dakota class on my hands it would have been dispatched yesterday. As things stand all of our active scout ships are on missions. The next Dakota class in production won’t be ready for sortie for another six to twelve months. Delta’s few dreadnaughts groups are all monitoring conditions on the pacified worlds or guarding Sol. You know as well as I do that no one in the entirety of the HEL would leave less than two capital ships and their accompaniment in this system. The next Dakota class hard line is four months from now, the Chevalier. Our only options are to wait or petition the Ghaelen to send one of their ships.” “And that would go down even worse than sending one of those floating fortresses away,” Winters agreed, leaning back in resignation and closing his eyes. “That’s my son out there, Will, my youngest. Do you have any idea what it would do to Sandra if he never came back? He’s going to be twenty five in May. Hell, there were times we weren’t even sure he’d make it to enlistment age the way things were going but…you have no idea how proud she is of him.” For a long moment William Osmundson considered that he might be the fortunate one, having chosen Omega for his wife instead of a woman. Alfred’s voice broke the silence. ‘Sir, you have an unannounced pair of guests.’ “Tell them I’m busy, Alfred,” Osmundson snapped before taking a long drag of his cigar. “Sir, the party has ignored my insistence that they return at another time. They are on their way to your office now.” “God damn it, I don’t have time for this shit,” the general fumed as his door opened and Winters stood to regard their unwanted visitors. “What the hell is the leader of the nerds doing here?” “Now now, is that really how you want to start off this conversation, with petty insults?” The man asked, towering over them both at 6’3”. “Anyone ever tell you that you don’t look like a Kaczynski?” Winters drawled with another practiced puff of his cigar. “You think you’re the first shock jockey to give me that one? There’s literal living, breathing space elk out there with warp drives, but a Polack and a Kenyan falling in love has you bent out of shape, Winters?” “Wait, daddy?” A reserved voice called out, stepping past the cover of the door and her imposing commanding officer. Winters almost let his cigar drop from his mouth. “Alice? What are you doing here?” “Excuse me, Alfred was it? Could you do something about the smoke in here? It smells like an old men’s club,” Kaczynski complained. ‘Of course, Admiral Kaczynski, establishing negative pressure,’ Alfred replied. “Would you shut the fuck up about the smoke and tell me what’s going on, Natori? Why is my daughter here?” Winters demanded with unconcealed suspicion. “Yes, I can see the two of you are in no mood for polite conversation. I hear you have a missing ship on your hands.” “Osmundson?” Winters snarled. “I’ll be ordering a complete scrub of Omega’s entire data infrastructure the moment this conversation is concluded,” the general promised, glaring venom at Kaczynski. “I guess we’ll add interdepartmental espionage to Beta’s long list of ignominious achievements.” “Admiral, what’s going on?” Alice Winters pleaded, her hazel eyes sparkling with fear. “I believe it best that your father tell you this, Alice. If he’s here I’m sure your mother knows as well.” “Someday that clever brain of yours is going to get you killed, Natori. Alice,” Marshall looked at his daughter with a haggard expression. “For what it’s worth these days this information is classified. But I’m sure as hell not going to enforce that. Your brother…his ship’s hard line was two days ago.” “Oh god…” Alice clapped her hands over her mouth as Natori steered her gently to the final chair in the room. Her lips quivered as she let out a pained sigh. “Oh god, Rusty. Dad?” “Nothing’s entered or emerged from the Sol warp point in over a week. I’m sorry, Alice. I was going to tell you and the others when I returned home from here, though it seems Beta plans to use my family against me in some way,” Winters finished by directing another furious glare at the dark-skinned admiral. Kaczynski chuckled. “I have no intention of doing anything of the sort, Colonel. We believe knowledge is power in Beta Division, and I am here to extend an offer of aid on its behalf.” “Unless you have a warship in your pocket, Admiral, I don’t think you’ll be of much use to us,” Osmundson declared. Natori only smiled. “I was hoping you’d say that.” The man reached into his back pocket, withdrew an encrypted data disc, and inserted it into his A-MACS, an arm mounted analysis and communications suite. It was a version of the B-MASS that had been slimmed down and designed for non-frontline military and civilian use, another of Beta’s many advances in popularizing and commoditizing the various computational advances made possible by Ghaelen technological exchange, facilitated by Alpha Division diplomats. The device took a scan of Kaczynski’s retinas and unlocked the files, displaying a behemoth of a warship that slowly rotated in holographic form before them. “May I present to you all the HEL Military Vessel HMV Dreadnaughty McDreadnaughtface!” Absolute silence reigned as a clump of ash fell from Osmundson’s cigar onto his desk. Natori looked around as Alice stifled a giggle in spite of herself, momentary shock at the admiral’s joke overwhelming her concern for her brother. “What? Is that not funny anymore? I just learned about Boaty McBoatface the other day. I guess that bit of internet history passed me by. Anyway, may I actually present the HMV Event Horizon, hull number forty two.” “Fucking nerds,” Winters grumbled. “Dad!” “Sweetie, I’m extraordinarily proud of your xenobiology masters and your assignment to Beta’s PhD program, but that doesn’t change the fact that Russell’s ship is MIA and Beta’s Admiral is here showing off his new toy.” “And what if I told you that I intend to save your son’s life with his ‘toy’? If he still lives, of course.” “Then you have my undivided attention, Admiral.” “Excellent! With your permission, General Osmundson?” “Just get on with it,” the Omega head commanded as he searched for an ashtray. “Indeed. The Event Horizon is a novel concept ship, part dreadnaught and part research vessel, featuring new technologies both co-developed and of purely human design. It features gradient artificial gravity thanks to its elongated fusion core and warp drives, allowing for laboratories with an extraordinarily wide range of possible conditions, fully sustainable manufactory bays with the ability to harvest raw materials from low gravity moons or asteroids, as well as a fleet of shuttles capable of planetary landings. The crew is over two thousand strong including sailors, a platoon of marines, a squad of Jumpers, pilots, researchers, and their families. It is intended to, among other things, explore various conditions that might present themselves if humanity is ever to develop colony ships or fully independent space stations.” Admiral Kaczynski paused for a moment, clearly very proud of his baby. Winters was looking intently at the specs. “William, don’t authorize this,” he eventually declared. “What?! Dad!” “Alice, I will not send two thousand souls to die just for a chance at getting Russell back. Natori, this is a fool’s errand.” “I’m afraid I do not agree, Colonel.” “You’re talking about sending the equivalent of a carrier vessel unescorted into unknown territory, you cocksure fool! Slapping a fixed gun to a long ship doesn’t make it a capital vessel! Sure, you have an unproven shield generator, a hangar full of first generation zero-g fighters, and a handful of Gatling rail cannons. What the hell is that going to do for you against an alien minefield? What’s that going to do for you against an enemy capital vessel? This goes against every tenant of naval doctrine pre or post uplift.” “We would have time until they saw our light coming out of warp. With that momentary advantage we could warp back out if the situation was untenable. We’ve already tested the drive and it’s proven capable of producing a suitable warp field less than five minutes after coming out of jump space.” “The Lancer had the same advantage and she isn’t here right now, Natori. The only case in which your plan works is if the Lancer suffered mechanical failure or if it ran into a natural or synthetic anomaly that affects ships based on their mass, which would admittedly be less effective against yours since you appear to have a Dakota class sized hangar in here as well.” “I estimate the likelihood of such a scenario to be rather high, Marshall.” “And if you’re wrong your crew will pay with their lives,” Winters hissed. “As will I!” Natori bellowed. “You can accuse me of many things, Winters, but cowardice is not among them. For too long my division has rested in the shadows of Omega and Delta while providing you with everything you need to do the extraordinary things you do. We will not remain in that shadow any longer.” “So this is a personal glory mission?” Osmundson cut in disparagingly. “If it gets your people back what do you care, William? I know as well as you do that you have no ships.” Silence again filled the room as the three men looked at one another. The electricity was palpable. “Dad, please,” Alice said softly. “Let us try to find him.” “Us?” Winters repeated with cold fury. “Us?!” “Your daughter has a keen mind and an impressive resume, Marshall. She’s a natural candidate for one of the research positions.” “Winters, calm down,” Osmundson cut in, watching his old friend’s face as it changed to the passive mask that he used to wear during operations. “Natori do you really think it’s wise to send another of Winters’ children on this mission even if you get approval?” “I already have approval, General.” Winters’ teeth had ground the butt of his cigar into mash. Osmundson looked ready to join him. “It will be announced tomorrow. The Event Horizon will begin its maiden voyage along the trail established by one of Omega’s most successful scouting vessels, the Lancer. We just won’t come out of the same warp point everyone back home expects. I intend to find your son and the rest of his crew and bring them home. The shuttles to Luna will conclude their launches within the week. We can be out of system by next Monday.” “Dad?” “You’re not to go, Alice.” “I’m twenty seven, dad! This isn’t your call to make!” “Do not test me now, young lady, not now! Do you have any idea what your mother would do if she lost both of you?!” For the first time since he’d entered the room Natori’s confident demeanor faltered as he imagined a grieving mother. The raven-haired young woman reached for her father’s hand. “And it will tear me apart knowing he’s out there and I’m not going after him when I could have. You always told us to push the boundaries, dad. The Event Horizon is revolutionary. It has some of the best labs and nano-fabricators ever made. This is my chance to work on some of the projects that will define humanity! Please, I’ve wanted this from the day I signed up.” Well Winters, I can’t say I envy you fatherhood right now, Osmundson thought, watching his old friend closely as his face slowly changed and cycled through rage, understanding, and the cold murderous intent he usually reserved for the people trying to kill him. The marine eventually relented. “If you get my daughter killed, Natori, I will ensure you die painfully.” “If she meets her end among the stars, Marshall, there won’t be any of me left to kill. You have my word.” Marshall turned to face his daughter. “Alice, you’ll be coming home with me on the next shuttle to New York. You will spend the night with your mother, brother, and sister and you will tell them all about your exciting new opportunity aboard the Event Horizon as it traces the path of the Lancer’s last completed mission. You will remain at home until the day of your shuttle’s launch. Is that clear, young lady?” Alice wanted to jump for joy. The nerdy girl inside her was screaming with delight. She was going to follow her little brother off-world. She was going to work among the stars on the Event Horizon! She stood and saluted her father. “Yes sir. I apologize, Admiral Kaczynski, I hope you didn’t pay for a second ticket on the shuttle back to Houston.” “Think nothing of it, young lady. While you are enjoying the New York countryside I would suggest you review the crew dossier that will be sent to you and everyone who receives final approval for this mission. While an adviser is not required, you may wish to seek one out as you work towards your doctorate.” “Yes sir, I’ll do that. And thank you again, sir…for telling me the truth.” “I’m sure you father will impress this upon you, Alice, but the only reason you know of our destination at this time is because you are family. The rest of the crew will be made aware one hour before departure, giving everyone enough time to decamp to Luna base if they do not wish to carry out the mission. Watch for your shuttle assignment. General, Colonel, I apologize for the interruption. I’ll be taking my leave now.” “Just bring my ship home, Natori,” Osmundson replied. The two men exchanged salutes before Kaczynski turned to Winters. “Be strong for Sandra, Marshall. We’ll find him.” The old soldier gritted his teeth but nodded. “I’ll not deny help where it’s given, especially since you seem committed to this mission. May God protect you all.” “I never took you for a religious man, Marshall.” “It’s true what they say about atheists and foxholes. And I never took you for a Kaczynski, Natori, but thank you.” The admiral smiled at them both and bowed cordially. “Then I’ll be on my way, gentlemen. I look forward to reviewing your work, Alice.” With that he departed, delivering a final farewell to Alfred the VI. Winters and Osmundson extinguished their cigars and shook hands. “Can’t say I expected that, but Natori’s always been a wildcard. That being said, he is where he is for a reason. We may not like it Marshall, but we don’t exactly have a choice. I had no idea that thing was operational already.” “I know, William. If he gets back I’ll buy every damn sailor on that ship a drink. Thank you for seeing me unannounced.” “Anytime, old friend. Give my best to Sandra and the kids,” Osmundson said with a nod to Alice. “Of course. By the way, congratulations on not killing that plant. I swear that thing’s as old as the HEL itself.” “Oh, you mean Steve? Something tells me that plant’s going to be around when we’re both in the dirt. If that swill they claim is coffee can’t kill it, I don’t think I could,” Osmundson declared, the two men engaging in just a bit of revelry now that there was a sliver of hope that the Lancer could be searched for on a timely basis. With a final salute, Winters and his daughter bade the General farewell and descended the stairs of the building before emerging into the late afternoon Florida sun. As they made their way along the path to the transit hub, flanked by swaying palm trees, Alice hugged her father tightly. She took in the familiar and comforting scent of Nicaraguan tobacco that had come to define him as he aged. Contrary to what one might have expected given his career or service, he easily threw an arm around his daughter’s shoulders. “I’m very proud of you, Alice.” “Thanks dad.” “Just remember your escape pod drills and zero gravity training.” “I will. Russell taught me all about that stuff! He was better than half my instructors. Do you…do you think there’s a chance he’s alive.” “There’s always a chance, Alice,” Winters affirmed as they swiped their HEL ID’s and made their way to the terminal for the northeastern shuttles. “But without knowing what happened to the Lancer all I can say is that your brother is one of the most capable human beings alive when it comes to survival skills. I don’t say that lightly. He was also given a prototype VI designed for front line combat and exploration.” “I just hope he’s not out there all alone,” Alice whispered, suddenly reminded of her childhood fear of the vastness of space and the eventual heat death of the universe. “Me too, dear. Me too.” ----- Veera awakened to the sound of snow melt dripping from her roof. She listened to the tinkling of rivulets of water that collected beneath the overhangs of every building in the village and flowed along the drainage routes to eventually be deposited outside the palisade. Seil was rising earlier and higher in the sky each day. The time of Kel was almost at a close. Spring was upon them. Io and Fenrir snoozed together at the foot of the bed, the young hyrven having taken a liking to the moon-shaped standby image that the AI projected during her slumber. The cozy feeling within vanished as she turned to look down at the face of her husband. His brow was furrowed and she could make out beads of sweat despite the still cool temperatures of dawn on Mara. With tender care she leaned down and kissed his shoulder, working her way along his clavicle, up his neck, along the shell of his jaw and finally arriving at his lips. She found them awake and responsive, diving in as he groaned and shifted beneath her. “Another nightmare?” She asked when they broke apart. He nodded, rendering a simple reply that conveyed his undying gratitude as well as his determination to say no more on the subject. “Thank you, Veera.” “When you’re ready to talk, I’ll listen,” she insisted, settling herself down upon him and eliciting a satisfied moan from her human. “Now that you’re not going anywhere for a while, are we ready to leave tomorrow?” Veera’s giggle turned into a gasp as Winters grabbed her hips and slowly thrust into her, filling her completely. They rocked into an easy rhythm that had Veera laying herself on his chest and her tail roaming merrily over his legs. Winters kissed her as her body slowly began to work them along the road to climax. “I know what you’re doing, Veera,” he informed her in the low, guttural voice that she was coming to understand meant he wanted very much to mate her. “I figured it was pretty obvious, my human.” “Thanks, beautiful.” “I’d do it even if you dreamed the sweetest of dreams every night.” “Wouldn’t be as sweet as this. I love you,” Winters affirmed, feeling the heat of his partner’s body loosen the shackles of his mind. “It was my family this time, not the raid.” Veera kissed him sorrowfully and he could feel her center slow its movement in response to her change in mood. He compensated by rolling his hips gently against her, stroking her fur and caressing her lips. “I’m so sorry, Russell.” “Veera, there’s always a chance I’ll see them again. There’s nothing for me to complain about.” “I have closure, Russell. You don’t. You remember our vows? I will always lend you an ear.” “I don’t think I could ever forget, Veera. Enough about that, come here.” At his insistence Veera held him tightly and the two of them pushed one another towards and over the inevitable cliff. She whimpered into his neck and bit down softly, delighting in the fact that even after many cycles she still found a thrill in bringing her mate to completion. He clearly felt the same as he bit and kissed at the shell of her ear, finally answering her question as they both came down from the peak. “I’ll be paying Ratha’s temple a visit today, believe it or not. Need to pick up that tent and some blankets for us, flint and tinder, that sort of thing. Then Io and I will head on out to the pod, get every battery we can as well as whatever weapons and gear are still there, and set up our signal. Then it’s back here for our last dinner with the young ones. You’re all squared away with Staroth?” “Yes, darling. We’ve agreed that for now there’s no reason to go looking for new recruits. That can wait until the last of the rubble is cleared and the new homes are built. I’ll be on gate duty this morning and then I have the afternoon free to say farewell to Gentia, Thantis, and Antoth. Do you think there’s something wrong between him and Ratha?” Veera inquired with a bit of concern in her voice. “That was out of left field, why do you ask?” She was about to ask what left field was when Io joined the morning conversation. ‘She’s not pregnant yet, you dolt.’ “Aww, is the AI cranky?” Winters teased, looking down the bed at Io’s projection, which had in turn awakened Fenrir. The pup promptly hopped off the bed and went outside to relieve himself against the wall of their house. ‘I’m about to be locked up within my own mind for twenty out of twenty one hours in the day while this fanged beast over here gets to romp and play to his heart’s content for months. Though he certainly gets points for no longer urinating on everything in sight.’ “Aww, who’s a good boy?” Veera cooed, prompting the now sizeable hyrven pup to hop up onto the bed and integrate himself into the post-coital snuggle session. He was soon rewarded with a gentle brushing from Veera. “But yes, Russell, I was referring to the fact that Ratha is still without cub. I know it hasn’t been a full season so she might not have been fertile but…” “Something tells me that’s none of our business,” Winters demurred, not wanting to consider Antoth and Ratha getting down to business. “If you’re of a mind, ask Antoth when you see him today. He hasn’t said anything to me about it but I guess you never know with that guy. It could be any manner of things, all of which are between the two of them.” “I suppose you’re right. I just hope he’s well. I know he didn’t want to be priest of Seil,” Veera said sadly before rising and busying herself with breakfast. Winters took over the comforting of Fenrir, now the size of a mature ocelot. The pup had done nothing but put on mass for the entirety of winter and was now full of energy with spring on the way. His coat had begun to change too, with speckles of brown and gray mixed in with his pure white infant coat. It was difficult to top mating with Veera, but watching her wander about their home, clothed only in her fur, with a smile on her face and humming a tune to herself was a close second. Fenrir’s company didn’t hurt either, as the cub seemed to share very little of the excitability common in domestic canines. About an hour later the two were dressed and ready for the day, with Veera taking Fenrir’s leash. “I’ll see you tonight, feather kitten,” Winters promised with a peck on the lips. Veera reciprocated before turning and heading off towards the eastern half of the village. ‘I swear that little hyrven becomes cuter with every passing day,’ Io remarked, gazing after the pup’s wagging tails and waddling gait. ‘I wonder when they transition from cute, bumbling furball to murder machine.’ “Sooner than we’d like, I’m sure,” Winters opined, heading north through the alleys that would eventually lead him to the temple of Valta. When he entered he found it much the same as it had been for the last couple of months, the only change being that with most of the ursae meat preserved in various forms the hunters had moved on to fashioning tools, leather, and pelts from the less perishable parts of the beast. The hunters present turned to look at him, most of whom at least acknowledged him with a nod or curt wave. “I’m here to pick up the gear I commissioned a while back, is it ready?” Winters looked around as the hunters glanced silently at one another, sharing some unknown knowledge. He was about to ask what had rendered them all mute when Ratha stepped out from behind the pelt that separated her chambers from the rest of the space. Immediately the hunters sitting around tables in the back returned to their game of dice, the rest resuming their work of honing bone knives and scrapers, or preparing hide for tanning and salting. “Yeah human, it’s done,” she informed him as though challenging him to a duel. Io threw her hands up in confusion as he cocked his head at the short, well-built Cauthan. “Without booby traps?” He asked, earning her knife whistling towards him again in recompense. This time he reached out and snatched it from the air, confident that the material of his gauntlets would hold against the admittedly well sharpened edge of bone. He wasn’t disappointed, seeing only a tiny groove carved into the dark, flexible surface. Ratha clearly was. “You’ve got to be joking. Does that armor have any weaknesses?” She demanded as Winters strutted up to her and returned the blade. She replaced it at her waist with a huff. “If I told you that I’d have to kill you,” Winters informed her with ill-concealed humor, laughing as Ratha drew the knife again and attempted to stab him repeatedly from his shoulder on down to his waist and thighs, the bone blade clanging uselessly against space age alloys. Winters allowed her to vent for a moment before slapping the blade away. “You have my stuff or what?” “Yeah, I’ve got your stuff. Nice bloody armor, by the way. Get in here,” she ordered, leading the way back to her private room. Winters looked around at the other Cauthan who were doing a very poor job of trying to look busy while focusing intently on the actions of their high priestess and the alien. “You’re not fooling anyone, you know that?” Winters yelled to the room before following after Ratha’s auburn tail. He sat at her insistence as the Cauthan made her way to a normally unoccupied corner of the room which was now stacked full of gear. She grabbed the first item and brought it to him. “Standard hunter pack designed for multi-day treks. Tent gets bundled under here with the leather straps, water skin goes here, torch on the opposite side if you have one, and there’s a separate compartment inside that’s double lined with leather for food. Don’t put anything bloody in it,” Ratha ordered as though certain Winters would do exactly that the moment he got a chance. As he began to look it over she turned and retrieved the tent. “Ursae leather tent, standard design.” She dumped it on the table and allowed Winters to fix it to the leather straps hanging from the underside of the pack before grabbed yet another item. “Standard hunting bow and six arrows.” Winters noticed they were not fletched with Ratha’s own feathers, but she was already headed back to the pile. “Two water skins, a tinder box, and an ursae blanket large enough for two…” Ratha’s disgruntled noise made it very clear what she thought about Winters and Veera sleeping together under the stars. “Yes yes, I get it. Enough of your passive aggressive bullshit, Ratha. I didn’t even commission these items with you. Why the hell are you the one doing all this?” “Suppose I owe you that much. Tea?” Ratha asked. Winters was too heavy in the Aegis to fall out of his chair so Io did it for him, clattering to the ground of his HUD with an audible thud before walking off-screen with a call of ‘I give up’. “You know what, why the hell not? I’ve been missing dangerous situations since I took that ursae down,” Winters reasoned, removing his helmet and extending his translator to Ratha, wondering what she’d do with it. After the requisite look of disgust she fitted it into her ear canal and set about the fire. “How far do you intend to go?” Ratha asked once she’d set water to boil. Winters knew the surprise was showing on his face. “As far as we can over the course of a season,” he told her. She looked intently at him. “I envy you, human.” “I…you what?” “Our ancestors came all this way on a quest to figure out what the world held for us, or so the stories go. Well, we found a decent little spot in the forest, sure, but there are tribes to the north and south. We didn’t go as far as we could go. I want to know what’s out there just as bad as anyone else…but the longest I’ve ever been out is about half a cycle,” Ratha explained, absently adding dried leaves to mugs. “The hunt when you killed those raiders?” Winters asked seriously, watching as Ratha’s neck snapped his way and she fixed him with a gaze of ice. “Scarface told you, didn’t he?” “He did, and he’s still in awe of what you did, Ratha.” Winters felt his mouth hook a slight grin as Io held up a sign in his visor requesting what in the HEL he was doing. “How are the two of you, by the way?” “None of your damn business,” the huntress snapped, roughly passing him a mug that sloshed a bit of brew onto the table. “Antoth’s a close friend and comrade. It is some of my business,” Winters insisted, wondering what in the name of the gods was compelling him to poke at a question that he’d insisted that very morning was off limits. Ratha obviously shared that sentiment. “You first then. How are you and…Veera?” The huntress stumbled over the name but smirked at him anyway, feeling she’d laid down an appropriate challenge. Winters replied with a shock and awe approach. “She and I mate pretty much every morning. Sometimes she’ll sleep in and I’ll make breakfast though. Other than that it’s pretty much the most blissful thing that’s ever happened to me,” he said happily before taking a sip of his beverage. “Not bad, thanks Ratha.” “Gods damn you,” the huntress whispered, looking down and away from him. “What’s wrong? Trouble for the queen of the Cauthan?” “I’m no bloody queen.” “You’re the most powerful female in the village other than maybe Gentia, and that’s a different power. Antoth is high priest but that’s the same thing as a king. You command absolute obedience from that group out there.” Winters jerked a thumb over his shoulder to indicate her hunters. “All that and one Cauthan is giving you issues?” “He’s not just one Cauthan, you insufferable alien! He’s the only Cauthan that matters!” Ratha whispered vehemently before biting her tongue and baring her teeth at him. Winters frowned. “What’s wrong with him?” “That’s between us and us alone, human. Don’t you dare presume to come between us.” “I wouldn’t dare,” Winters assured her earnestly. “Just take care of him. I’m sure you know more than anyone that he’s stressed by everything riding on his shoulders.” “I’ll tell you the same thing I told you the night you left to slay that ursae, human. I know him better than you ever will. And I love him more than anyone on this damn world ever will. I will enjoy every moment you and that feisty little half-breed are gone.” “If you hate me so goddamn much why did you make me and Veera a bunch of camping gear?” Winters demanded. “Because Valta would curse me if I didn’t give you the best this temple can offer. You intend to explore her wilds beyond anything even I’ve seen. In that endeavor and that endeavor alone, you have my whole support. Bring back something worthy of the goddess, human.” Io had twisted her neck almost in an owl-like contortion trying to display her confusion at Ratha’s reason. Winters knew he wasn’t faring much better. “I…thank you then, Ratha. If you weren’t such an irredeemable bitch you’d make a great HEL Jumper.” “What the hell is that?” “My unit, the type of soldier I was trained to be.” “Save your redemption, human. Antoth and I will find it in one another and that will be all I ever need,” she declared passionately. Winters nodded dumbfounded, unable to deny the words and demeanor of the Huntress. Strange as it seemed she was passionately in love with Antoth, and showing it in a way only Ratha could. Winters cleared his head and gathered his things, slinging the pack over his shoulder and then the bow. He drained his beverage with a final gulp and set the mug gently on the table, still unsure what to make of Ratha’s constant oscillation between insufferable and completely reliable. “I’ll try to do the goddess proud, Ratha. Thank you for this. Try not to be such a prickly bitch while I’m gone, eh?” He saluted with a wave over his shoulder only to feel Ratha’s knife clatter off his back plating. “Worry about yourself, you insufferable alien.” “I’ll miss you too.” ----- PreviousFirstNextWikiSupport MeSwag ----- Own The HEL Jumper: Survive in the format of your choice: hardcoverpaperbackepubAmazon Kindle
Before the alarms started blaring, he already knew. The hair on the back of his neck was standing up, the sun reflecting off of the glaring windows of the buildings on the sides. The clouds gathering, darkening, raining. He stepped off the bus and sat on the first bench he could find. He took out a cigarette, lit it, and let out a long stream of smoke, closing his dark eyes. The night was split into two, the before and the after. So much still left to do, so much to see. And yet, so little time. Suddenly, the ever so quiet megaphone poles came to life. He jumped instinctively, since he was standing right next to one of the poles. “MISSILE THREAT INBOUND! SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER! THIS IS NOT A DRILL! THIS IS NOT A DRILL!”. 15 minutes... So much time if you think about it. So many things you can do, if you aren't very needy. If you spend them by the minute. He sat, with his eyes closed, feeling the world collapsing in on itself around him. It was already dead. It just didn't know it yet. He opened his eyes and rose to his feet. People were moving all around him, screaming, pushing, forming into one big blur. He spotted her, through the mess of the people. She was running towards him from the bus stop, flailing her handbag around and tripping, staring into his face with fear. He watched her closely. “God, what do we do?” She said, grabbing him by the arm and shaking him. “Here, have these,” he said, reaching out his hand and offering her the bouquet he was holding. “Flowers? What, are you crazy?” She spit into his face. “Take them,” he simply said. “And lets step aside, or else we will get trampled. Lets go for a walk, we have just enough time to get to our favorite bench.” She seemed to have calmed down. “You promise?”“Of course.” He smiled, feeling his insides freezing with fear. 14 minutes... His hands flew up and he slightly stumbled back from the recoil of the Magnum as the bullet left the chamber and connected with the chest of the man, and he stood watching as the man slid off his chair and onto the floor, as lifeless as a doll. “Nothing personal. It doesn't matter at this point anyway.” He blew out the smoke on top of the gun, holstered it, and turned around, facing his boss's secretary, who was frozen in the doors of the office, staring at the body on the floor and bending in the knees. He pulled the gun out, raised it, but then thought against it and approached her. The killer carefully took the folder out of her hands. “Run.” He advised her. He suddenly saw that his black leggings were covered in dirt. He hit them a couple of times, raising dust. “Run. As fast as you can. Maybe you will have enough time.” 13 minutes... The old man was sitting completely still and staring at the chessboard. The black king was cornered, protected by the few pieces left. His opponent, his old chess partner, was leaning back in the chair, grunting and groaning, desperately clawing at his chest, ripping up his shirt. He grunted heavily, and then fell over, coughing up blood. They met here every Friday night for 30 years. A nice, round number. A long date. The old man looked around. His surroundings were a mix of noise. Glass breaking. People screaming. Feet shuffling. Cars smashing. He barely noticed the kids running around, in panic, or the desperate moms trying to catch all their kids, crying their eyes out. His eyes landed on a strange couple. A man, with sharp features, a pointed chin and a long, thick beard, and his partner, a tall, blonde woman clutching a flower bouquet. The man was hugging the woman around the waist, holding her close. His sight slipped over the old man, not noticing him, completely ignoring him. The old man pulled his sight back towards the chessboard, coughed, and carefully moved his knight to a black tile. 12 minutes... “If I leave right now, will you arrest me or what?” Said Ray, twirling the golden ring around his finger. He then looked at the cashier over the glass case with the jewels. She didn't hear him. Her face was completely white, and her fingers were twirling the pendant around her neck. The other cashier was standing in the corner of the store, screaming loudly. The security guard looked at Ray, then suddenly took off and slammed his fist into the face of the screaming cashier. “SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP!” The guard kicked the woman on the ground repetitively, screaming at the top of his lungs. Ray smiled, put the ring on, and hid his hand in the pocket of his expensive coat. He remarked at how the ring was perfect. Not too tight nor too loose. He then grabbed the other necklace off the counter, smiled at the frozen cashier, and waltzed out the door. 11 minutes... They were sitting inside the stopped train, and passed the bottle of whiskey to each other. “Things didn't turn out that well, huh,” said Patrick, trying to smile, but his jaw twitched and his face whitened with every sip out of the bottle. “Didn't think I'd die like this.” “Maybe it's a drill...?” Started Rob, but cut himself off. “Its a shame we never got to Kid's house. Everyone's gathered at his place, his birthday after all. Must be a jamming party.” “Think it would've been easier there?” Rob thought about it, then shook his head and took another sip. “Well, might as well eat the cake.” He looked out the window. “Look at all those people, alive. Living out their lives.” Outside, a tall man with in an expensive coat was walking, his hands outfitted with the most selected of jewels. “Guess this is the end of the line,” joked Pat. He took a long sip, and frowned. 10 minutes... “You know, I have always wanted to tell you this.” Jake stopped flicking from one channel to another, all of them giving him a blank page. He put the remote aside. “What?” She said blankly. “I've never loved you. Should've gotten rid of you all the way back in Chicago. Could've made it look like an accident.” “Bastard!” She slapped him across the face, hard. She want for another slap, but he grabbed her hand midway and twisted it behind her back. When his wife started screaming from the pain, he ushered her to the open balcony doors, bending her arm further and further. “Don't!” She tried to grab the door frame, but her fingers slipped and fell. He tossed her off the edge, barely containing himself from jumping as well. He watched as her body fell. The sound of it slamming against the ground couldn't be heard. The air around him was trembling with the sound of the sirens. Jake took out a cigarette, smoked it. 10 years. 10 years he hasn't had a taste of the smoke, just because his wife wanted so. People were running around on the streets, yelling, bumping, pushing. Only a homeless man was sitting calmly by the fence, moving his hat around, which sounded like it was filled with coins. His jacket was being kicked around by the panicking crowd, and was at the other end of the street at this point, but he took no notice. He put his head down, and suddenly, someone threw a Magnum onto the his lap.“There should be bullet left.” The homeless man didn't lift his head, but his eyes followed the black leggings of the man, partially covered in dust and dirt. The homeless man kicked the gun away, and started making a low, growling sound. Beside him, a pigeon landed, and pecked at a tiny bread crumb on the ground. 8 minutes... In the movie theater, someone was being viciously beaten. The crowd was punching and kicking the screaming body on the ground. “Don't look.” He gently grabbed her chin and turned her face away from the man suffering on the floor. “I'm not looking.” She bravely shrugged, even though it was easy to see she was scared. “I won't leave you.” He said quietly. “What?” She didn't hear him. She plugged her ears and screamed at the top of her lungs. “I AM SO TIRED OF THESE SIRENS!” “Don't worry. It will all be over soon.” “You promise?” “Of course.” A few seconds later, they were both shot by an overgrown homeless man. He raised the gun to his head and clicked. Empty. The gun only had 2 bullets. “No... NO! Screw you! SCREW YOU!” He yelled at their lifeless faces. No one was listening to him. There were only 2 men, sitting in a stopped train, eating a cake with their bare hands, staring at him. 7 minutes... “Thanks, Kat. I couldn't have done it without you. You can barely hear the sirens now.” The tall women came over to the man in the bed. “Quiet.” She said strictly. “You shouldn't be talking.” “What difference does it make now?” He laughed, and then started coughing. A tiny drop of blood rolled from his mouth and fell onto the clean, white sheets. The woman tucked the blankets tighter underneath him. She sat down next to him and examined his face. “Kat...” He slightly moved, and raised himself onto his arms. “Read me something." “Would you like Shakespeare?” “Sure.” She didn't need to reach for the book, which was laying underneath the lamp. She placed a hand on his chest, and slowly started humming Shakespeare. 6 minutes... Pastor Williams sat on his knees, staring up into the face of the God Almighty. His hands were folded, his mouth was rapidly moving, reciting all the known prayers. In front of him stood the altar, with mounts of religious items piled onto it. Behind him, in the long rows of aisles, sat people. Many people. All of their eyes were closed, all of their mouths moving. All of them praying, praying to all their gods and goddesses. Pastor Williams rose to his feet and, sighed, and slowly turned around. His fixed everyone with a warm smile. “My lovely ladies and gentlemen. Today, we have come to the End. The Dying. The Armageddon. Let us all unite today, and meet this end together!” Everyone stood up, some with tears rolling down their faces, others white-faced, but all of them raised their arms to the portrait of the God Almighty behind the pastor. Pastor Williams coughed, raised his hands, and began screaming out the prayer. 5 minutes... “Mommy, how long are we going to have sit here?” The child's voice rang through the deadly silent train. “Quiet. As long as we have to,” said a woman. And again, everything went quiet. Only the sound of heavy breathing broke the dead silence. “I'll pop outside for a moment,” said one of the conductors, pressed a button on the wall, and one of the doors of the conductors' car slid open with a quiet hiss. He sighed, and carefully jumped out. He took out a cigarette, lit it, and took a long puff. “Should we go to the nearest station?” He called out to the other conductor, Timothy, who was sitting very still and staring dead ahead of him. “Why? At least its not as crowded here. There is chaos happening there, especially with the escalators being turned off. So why bother?” The conductor outside leaned against the car, and marveled at how quiet it was. The only sound he could hear was the dripping of water, and the humming of the lights of the car. He sighed again, threw away the cigarette, and climbed into the car. “Really, why bother. We're on the Downtown Line, everything will collapse in on itself here.” Timothy let out a nervous chuckle. “I feel like a plane pilot. The plane is already broken, and is crashing towards the ground and mind-bending speeds, and there are only a few moments left to live.” Timothy reached into his pocket, pulled out a pendant and popped it open. Inside were two pictures, of a middle-aged woman with long, brown hair and a baby, most likely a girl. Timothy stared at the pictures for a few moments, sighed, closed the pendant, and reaching over, flicked a switch on the console, and the lights of the train flickered off. 4 minutes... There was someone sitting in front of the house, playing a guitar. Alex took out his keys and unlocked the door. It clicked open, and he stepped into the poorly lit landing of the first floor. He cracked his neck, and slowly made his way to the 5th floor. Suddenly, he heard quiet crying. He turned around, and saw a young girl in a pink jumpsuit, crying her eyes out. He approached her and got on his knees in front of her. “So, why are you crying?” The girl slowed her sniffling and raised her eyes. “I'm scared...Mommy isn't opening the door. Her and Daddy got into a big fight, and suddenly, everything became quiet. I heard everything through the door.” “Became quiet? That's not good.” Said Alex with a tinge of humor in his voice. “Listen, do you want to go up to the roof with me? I know a way.” She looked at him with shock. “Mommy never allowed me to go up there, especially with strangers.” “Hey, I'm no stranger. I live right across from you.” She looked over his shoulder at his door, and covered her eyes. Alex carefully took her hands off her eyes, and winked. “You can see for yourself.” Stomping, they made their way up the stairs, and climbed out at the very top of the building. Alex was tightly holding the little girls hand. “Here we are.” Alex took off his coat, and placed it on the ground. “Sit.” The girl complied, and sat down, staring up at the sky. “Great. We'll sit here for a bit, look around, and then you will get to see Mommy and Daddy again. How does that sound?” The girl visibly got excited. “That sounds good.” He sat down next to her, and also started staring at the bright blue sky. He wondered, if he would see the missile or not. 3 minutes... He sat on the bus, paying no attention to the people trying to stuff themselves into every crevice of the tightly packed bus. Someone ran over his feet, painfully stepping on his toes. That was the last straw. He lost all of his control. He stood up, and letting out a beastly roar, jumped on someone. He didn't know who he was punching. Whose nose he has broken. Whose rib-cage he kicked in. He saw red. Only red. He kept punching and kicking, feeling the entire range of emotions. He got clocked over the head, and the last thing he felt was before falling into an abyss was excitement about the fact that he escaped the upcoming doom and the imminent pain. He got the easy way out. He has won. 2 minutes... The wind stopped growing. Time squeezed in on itself, since millions of people were right now thinking of the same thing. How they could slow time down, extend these last moments. It can never be the way that everyone wants. There always has to be one conclusion, one ending. If you were lucky, you had a few extra moments. 1 minute... It was as if someone drew a white line straight through the sky. It kept getting thicker and longer. And ahead of it, a glowing dot could be seen, tearing through the sky, as if it was a meteorite, which would wall and leave a small crater. I wish that it simply dropped and made a small crater. Please, just a small crater. And then afterwards, everyone could return. Pick up all the garbage. Clean everything up. And keep on going with their lives. The world was quiet. I understood that no one heard my prayers. Soon, this city will become a glass dome, trapped in this moment forever, simply melted into the core of the Earth.
2019.06.19 02:15 TessaBissollithe stories - true or false?
Stories that could be true and how:
The way Sam told the story was that one night, an old friend showed up at his door scared. The friend told Sam he was leaving town, that he was in danger and that he needed someone to care for a little girl that her father had died that night in a fire. So Sam took the little girl in, and he raised her as his own always sheltering her from the truth about her biological father. =>The friend that arrived at Sam's door could have been Katarina. It does not conclude Sam took the girl that night.
Ah. A Russian milonga. Watch closely, Lizzy. Everything you need to know about negotiation is there in the tango milonga. At the outset, they are opponents. Each has something the other wants. They size one another up, assessing risk, setting boundaries, challenging each other to breach them. A sensuous battle-- violence and sex balanced on the blade of a knife. Nothing given that is not earned-- nothing taken that is not given. This is the pure essence of negotiation. Not a poker game, but a milonga. A tango. A seduction.=> This describes pretty well Katarina and RR
Be careful, Lizzy. Because the truth of it is, once you start down this road there's no logical place to stop. You can see to her education, health insurance, housing. You can watch her or have her watched keep her safe try to ascertain her hopes, dreams, desires. Pull strings, call in favors to discreetly smooth the path. And for the first few years, it may work. You'll draw some measure of virtue from being her invisible benefactor. But that won't last. It's all a fraud. That it's really not about her at all. That it's all about you. And you're just going through the motions to salve your own guilt. Look, all the money, all the time and effort, all the favors in the world cannot possibly equal what you took away from her. Everything else is just a nice gesture. => If he had a part in the death of her mother or father, in her growing up without them.
His story to Zoe about having a daughter: Do you have kids, Kenneth? I do, a daughter. The two of you close? It's complicated. She doesn't like anchovies? - You know, I don't know about that. I wish it were that simple.
Years ago, a Wisconsin housewife named Maureen Rowan was outside in the wee hours with the family dog, Dodger. It was absolutely frigid. No one in their right mind would've been out in that kind of bitter cold, and if not for Dodger's aging bladder, I imagine Maureen would have been fast asleep. But as fate would have it, her neighbor, Alexei Lagunov [ Sighs ] the avtoritet of a Russian bratva, felt given the late hour and windchill, he and his boyeviks could move a body from his basement to the trunk of an associate's car without being observed. They didn't count on Dodger's call to nature. So Maureen had a choice between remaining silent or doing the right thing. She chose to testify. And while she helped to bring Alexei Lagunov to justice, she also forfeited the rest of her life in doing so. She's on that list....Maureen Rowan is Kate's sister-- uh, Mr. Kaplan's sister. I didn't need to find her. I just needed to make sure no one else can. => she could be in WITSEC for another reason, or he could have looked for the list for a different reason, but it could be as simple as it seems. However the name Maureen Rowan meaning Maria Red seems... too much on the nose.
I'll never forget a puppet show I saw when I was 5, maybe 6. "Hansel and Gretel. " Scared me to death. But it wasn't the witch. It was the oven. Imagine an oven puppet. I don't think I set foot in our kitchen for a month
I haven't had a babysitter since Brenda Gilroy. My God, pot pies, Lawrence Welk, bath time with Brenda. Still my perfect Saturday night.
I haven't felt this giddy since Herbie Hunnicutt and I pooled our box tops and sent away for the decoder ring and periscope.
Funny.The janitor at my elementary school was called "Smokey." No idea why. He never smoked a day in his life
I so wanted to be a scout-- tying knots, the Pinewood Derby, and the campfire songs. Oh, those songs. I keep trying to explain to Dembe, but I'm no singer.
The first time I ever smoked a cigar was with Marnie Petersen in fifth grade. Funny, little, bat-faced girl. I adored her.
When I was young, I romanticized the life of an outlaw Bad guys. That was a long time ago.
When I was young, I loved fairy tales. I was always partial to shapeshifters, who seemed good and sweet, but they were full of unimaginable darkness
I knew a Marlin when I was young. Marlin Trout. One boy, two fish names. Funny
When I was young, I wanted to be able to dance just like Gary Goddard. I still remember going to the Snowflake Dance and watching him for the first time. That kid, man, he could move. Won the eighth-grade talent show. He was on the Yell Squad. Gary even danced his way into Helen Hummer's pants, and let me tell you something, that was like breaking into Fort Knox.
I remember the name of the baker I stole the strawberry bismark from when I was 11 years old and his wife-- Trudy Svoboda
I attended summer camp with this little stick of a girl Twila Stansberry. Hell of an athlete capture the flag. Had an unrelenting passion for fitness.
Sacrifice the bishop. Reykjavik, '72. God, I can remember it like it was yesterday. I was in Steven Bash's rec room down in the basement, eating fried egg and bologna sandwich when he did it....Bobby Fischer.
BJ Simpson and I started a lawn-mowing business in the summer of '72-- bagging, hedging, the whole ball of wax. One day, I'm out rototilling Pat Hunt's garden. I go in for a bottle of pop-- must have been 110-- and there's BJ in the sunken living room, shoes off, feet up on the couch, eating a fried-bologna sandwich, watching Mike Douglas. Mike Douglas! Can you imagine? I quit that day.... Point is, I haven't had a partner since.
Rosie Cavendish had a bulldog. Franklin, named after her great-uncle. Poor guy had eczema, dermatitis, seborrhea one skin condition after the next. The dog, not the uncle.
[The car did ]Like Bergita Olofson in her parents' rumpus room on a Saturday night.
I spent two summers operating the Whack-the-Cats at the Emmet County Fair.
You know, when I was 15, I had a summer job installing carpets for Albert Kodagolian on Lake Charlevoix. Horrible job hot, indoors, forced to listen to "The Gambler" on 8-track while the rest of the world was at the beach. Three days into the job, I knew I had to quit. I asked my father for advice. All he wanted to know was whether I'd given my word to Mr. Kodagolian that I'd work the summer. I told him I had. My father suggested I stick it out. I'd given my word. Worst eight weeks of my life.
[I want] another spin of the bottle in Melanie Reichman's basement, but I'll settle for you.
I was a lifeguard my junior year in high school. Had to give mouth-to-mouth to Mrs. Beerman. She belched up a lung full of corned beef and chlorine. I haven't been in a pool since.
This reminds me of our high-school production of "Guys and Dolls." A rousing rendition of "Fugue for Tinhorns."
From as early as I can remember, I dreamed of someday being captain of a ship. To be out there on the ocean in the middle of the night, navigating by the stars. I always thought it would be the greatest life on earth. ... . I've never told anyone that before. About a life at sea.
With anyone else, Steve Lyditt would have won the North American pairs. We didn't even make it through regionals. I abhor working with a partner. Sharing my hand with anyone goes against every instinct I have.
As Old Man Quimby, my fencing instructor used to say "If ifs and buts were candy and nuts, oh, what a Christmas we'd have." My God I loved the foil…."If wishes were horses, beggars would ride." Ah, Quimby. The man was a walking aphorism
I can't even think about derivatives without thinking of that tutor in manor hall Cindy something-or-other. Never wore a brassiere; Always a bounce in her step.
Yes. [remember Anna McMahon] Like my first STD…. It was pubic lice. Crabs. Caught them on Hammamet Beach in Tunisia. She was a Vassar girl traveling with a bunch of pals from the French house. Two years after graduation, and they were still making up for lost time. My God. What a weekend. But like you, they get right in there and feast away without mercy until you want to douse the whole area with kerosene and set the little varmints on fire. Sorry. You and the crabs, not the Vassar girls.
Tastes like Patty Sutton
Luther, I never thought I'd enjoy having anything in my mouth as much as Petty Officer Virginia Sherman, but this My God! It tastes so good
As Old Man Quimby, my fencing instructor used to say "If ifs and buts were candy and nuts, oh, what a Christmas we'd have." My God I loved the foil…."If wishes were horses, beggars would ride." Ah, Quimby. The man was a walking aphorism
I'm actually a great proponent of marital therapy. Worked for me. Then again, I had sort of a thing for the therapist. Lovely voice.
Stories we know are true:
I once bankrolled a diamond mine outside Tshikapa. One day, a man showed up alone, unarmed, started to talk to me about the mine. I had guns and guards and an enterprise worth I don't know, $50, $150 million dollars. He had nothing but a story about greed driving atrocities and conflict, about armed groups using mass rape and mutilation as a means to control people in the villages around the mines. I had bullets, he had words. But when he was done talking, for the first time, I truly understood which of those was more powerful. I abandoned the mine, agreed to finance his campaign of protection and protest, and did so until two months ago when you had him murdered.
Therapy helped me become - an entirely different person….Several years ago, one of my bankers in Liechtenstein shared with me some unpublished works by Carl Jung handwritten notes on napkins, journals, and such. It was easily the most enlightening, consequential five days I've ever spent in a chalet. D: What about that week in Davos? Yes. Well. That was a cottage.
We were camping in the altogether under the most delightful autumn moon in the Forest of Dean when a wild pig came out of nowhere and gored my left flank, so to speak. And Melissa here not only slew the beast and salved my wound with a honey of … yarrow compress, but also made the most scrumptious pork pie in the monarchy.
I know an ex-SEAL commander, recruited some former colleagues, formed an elite heist crew. I hired them once to get back a shamefully expensive Patek Philippe I foolishly left on the nightstand in Ras Al Khaimah after a dalliance with a lovely but very… Oh, never mind.... I traded it for a bowl of pongal and a slightly used Ruger after a particularly rough night in Bengaluru. But I will forever be grateful to you for retrieving it.
Some years ago, I had a rather awkward encounter with a bull shark while diving off the Great Barrier Reef. I actually think it was trying to be affectionate, even a little forward. But the net result was excruciating. But I did spend a glorious month submitting to the healing hands of an utterly divine lighthouse keeper on Bramble Cay a low-lying island that's rapidly
Have you ever been spearfishing? You should go spearfishing. I love spearfishing. On the Ambergris Caye, there is a reef—…. An aggressive, invasive species threatens the local habitat, leaves destruction in its wake. Sound like anyone we know? ... I took aim and released. In the water, it sounded like a dull thud, but the spear passed clear through. I'd already bagged six of them with glancing blows, tail shots. So I knew this last predator was mine. And the destruction it had caused was over. And then it wriggled free.
Kirk is dying. And the Ribowski virus is a temporary antidote to what afflicts him…. He has aplastic anemia-- a systemic failure to produce viable bone-marrow cells. It's been a death sentence for generations of men in his family, except a distant uncle, who had contracted the Ribowski virus. After getting the virus, the uncle lived longer than any other Rostov with the blood disease…. It's a simple math problem, really. Kirk's disease prevents his body from producing enough blood cells. The Ribowski virus results in a rare form of leukemia which creates the opposite problem-- too many blood cells.
Remember that wretched bit of business on the Malay Peninsula? I was positive I would rot alone in that holding cell in Surat Thani. Slowly eaten alive by mosquitos to the constant refrain of body blows and screaming. 47 interminable days of near-constant rain. I couldn't be sure any of my messages had been dispatched. And then, on the 48th day, they swung the cell door wide and handed me a package. Half a dozen tins of chilled Beluga caviar and a note."Love, Marvin. " When I think of it-- guards on two continents-- the bribes alone must have cost you a fortune. I still cannot fathom how you managed to pull it off from inside a federal prison. But you had my undying gratitude, so when the opportunity arose, I facilitated your freedom.
possibly post 1991
I was taken by Somali pirates last March, spent three weeks in a shipping container. The first two were a nightmare. The third one was actually quite pleasant. Even so, that won't happen again.
I spent a month in silent meditation at a monastery just outside of Kunming. It was a wonderful escape from the distractions of everyday life. I can't imagine the distractions one might encounter down here.
Dear Fredrick was waiting tables when we first met strange little man, built like a fireplug. He was living here with his mother until she died. Poor Fredrick couldn't afford to stay on, so I bought the place for him.
Laurence Dechambou.... owns that nightclub. Last time I was there, we had a great deal of fun, until she tried to strangle me with her stocking.... Or just bend over any available piece of furniture and let her slap you on the ass. She loves that.
Years ago, I used to smuggle small shipments of oaxaca-highland gold into this airstrip. Beautiful space. Bumpy as hell. ... .At any rate, have a safe flight. And buckle up. This runway is a bitch.
Allies today, enemies tomorrow The world is a complex place, further complicated by man's fickle nature. Years ago, I saved a man's life under a beautiful old cedar tree in Lebanon. A month later, he tried to kill me in a hotel in Damascus. I understood. Allegiances shift. A month later I broke his neck with a shower caddy.
Oh, my God. If only I could do just one. [Mescaline steam bath] No, last time I played around with that, I ended up naked in the desert trying to hitch a ride to Tuba City. Those Navajo tacos-- Oh! Heaven!
Pagosa Springs public library? I had a water pump go out in Pagosa Springs.Bitch of a mountain Wolf Creek Pass.Thought I was gonna end up living out there with the hill people until this Teddy bear of a man fixed me up at the local garage.I'll never forget him. Tracy Woods. You don't know Tracy, do you? Leather vest, mustache Tracy Woods? ... I wonder if he's still fixing water pumps. Anyway, it'll always be a fond memory.
I was once on the island of Ko Ri, free-diving in the Andaman Sea. I felt terribly ill stung by a lionfish. I was dehydrated, in excruciating pain. I had lost all sense of time and place. I was completely disoriented. But I knew I was dying, so I readied myself for it. And in that moment, at death's door, I looked up, and standing over me in the brightness was this landless Moken sea gypsy just standing there, smiling. She and her tribe nursed me back to health, good as new. And when I left the island she kissed me. It was like a burst of sunlight on my cheek. It was It made nearly dying well worth it.
I once shared a ride with the man on a twin-engine prop from Port-Au-Prince to Baracoa. We had to counterweight the plane with three containers of Russian R.P.G.s just to accommodate his girth.
I had the good fortune of sharing a cell in a prison outside Sochi with a An associate of yours, Yevgeny Bushkin. Big bear of a man, 150 kilos on an empty belly. As I remember it, Yevgeny went on hunger strike to protest some oil pipeline that threatened a vital something-or-other. You probably remember better than I. But the point is the old boy didn't eat for 74 days.
I once spent part of a summer in Bermuda. The island. Certainly not the shorts. Not a lot to do there except ride motor scooters and play checkers with the locals. I'm more of a chess man myself. But one tactic that came naturally was the concept of forced capture sacrificing a checker to force your enemy in one direction while your forces lie in wait for the exquisitely satisfying double jump.
You know, some years back, I was hiking Devils Tower for a bracing dip in the spiritual vortex, when who did I run into but the tribal leader of the Lakota Nation, a man of vast responsibility.He invited me to witness the extreme version of the Sun Dance ritual.
I once stayed at a villa in Bali with a view of the Indian Ocean. Every morning, all I saw before me was possibility. That and a gorgeous housekeeper named Putu
I must say, The Bunker compares rather favorably to a Malagasy cave I once had the misfortune of inhabiting
What happened in Iztapalapa was a terrible mistake. I regret it dearly, and I had no idea she was your mother.
Have you ever heard of Bruno Ashmanskis? The most skilled cat burglar I've ever had the pleasure of working with. Bruno mostly did jobs on commission, but he always wanted to do something for himself, something special, so he got it into his head that he was gonna break into the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge to steal an imperial vase from the Qing Dynasty worth millions-- the single biggest trophy of his career.... I never heard from him again. I'd always assumed he'd succeeded, that he was sipping some umbrella-clad cocktail on a beach in Tahiti, until five years later during a remodel of the Fitzwilliam, they removed a wall. There was poor Bruno-- what was left of him, anyway-- stuck inside a heating duct, still clutching that vase. I prefer to think of old Bruno on that beach in Tahiti.
Have you ever heard of Mugs Kalinowski? Lovely guy. Ugliest man I ever laid eyes on. That's why everyone called him Mugs. Except his dear mother. She was an art professor at Bard. Lovingly referred to him as Picasso….Well, it was an apt nickname. His face was all over the place. But perhaps as a result of that nickname, Mugs grew up with a great appreciation for art. He fenced some of the most extravagant pieces in the world. He only had one rule. Out of respect for dear mom, he'd never lift a Picasso. Felt it was bad luck. Then one day, he got a tip from a source about a piece sitting in a huge loft in Soho. So one evening, Mugs shimmied up the drain pipe, broke in, and lo and behold, there hung on the wall, Les Femmes D'Alger. A spectacular Picasso. One of a series of 15 and astronomically valuable....Mugs was convinced that was the single biggest stroke of bad luck he'd ever suffered. Well, what he didn't know was the source who'd given him the tip was working with the feds. The painting had a tracking device on it. Sometimes, bad luck is the best luck you'll ever have.
It may be hard for you to imagine, but I once had a relatively normal life-- bills to pay, playdates, family, some friends, people to care about. Lost all that..... In Mexico, there are these fish that have colonized the freshwater caves along Sierra del Abra. They were lost. They found themselves living in complete darkness. But they didn't die. Instead, they thrived. They adapted. They lost their pigmentation, their sight, eventually even their eyes. With survival, they became hideous. I've rarely thought about what I once was. But I wonder if a ray of light were to make it into the cave, would I be able to see it? Or feel it? Would I gravitate to its warmth? And if I did, would I become less hideous? I didn't want you to come here, follow me here. Because the truth is if I don't stop Braxton, what he'll discover is that he can't get the Fulcrum without you.
The other one, the watercolorist, she-- legs like a shot-putter. She gets me in this headlock. I black out. Next thing I know, I wake up, no sheets, vaseline everywhere. The lipstick on the mirror overhead reads, "Same time next year?" I haven't missed an art expo in Basel since.
I knew a guy that happened to all the time. Best glass-Smith in new England. Nobody could free-blow a vase like Theodore Bundy. Can you imagine? Ted Bundy, an amazing craftsman, couldn't sell a vase.
Have I ever told you the story about Ian Bartleby and his wife and the beekeeper they fell into bed with on the Isle of Skye? Fascinating, illuminating story.
Robert took me under his wing. He taught me how to be a fugitive. I trusted him with my life and my life's savings. Which he convinced me to invest in a cattle ranch in Paraguay. Or so I thought, until I went down there and found out it was a whorehouse just outside of AsunciÃ³n.
This reminds me of Sok Pich. We were navigating the backwaters in western Cambodia hoping to steal some sapphires from a mine foreman. Got as far as Pailin when the monsoon struck. Took shelter in a root cellar of all places. I've never seen so much rain. Winds like a monarch gone mad. All we could do was hunker down and wait it out. But Sok he just made a run for the village. So, there I was soaking wet, alone. Three days of absolute misery. And then on the fourth day, I was overcome by this incredible feeling of peace. Something about being hidden there underground while the rest of the world was being torn apart outside…. You have every right to be afraid. Just don't let it control you. Poor Sok learned that the hard way…. He died. Didn't get six steps before the wind blew a blade of lemongrass into his skull. You're in a storm, Lizzy. You need to find the peace below the winds.
I was completely swept up in the idealism of the theatre owner-- a pipe-smoking cream puff of a German named Gerta. She read "Mother Courage" to me aloud-- the whole play in one sitting. A brilliant exploration of the politics of war and those who profit from it. Sadly, it was 1991, and audiences were going in droves to see "Cats." Gerta lost every penny of my investment, but she remains grateful to this day.
I admire the way you're dealing with your addiction, Donald. I tried NA once after an opium den in Kuala Lumpur got the best of me. Didn't stick. I couldn't get past the requirement to believe in a power greater than myself.
Would you look at that? 416 Rigby Mauser. And fully loaded, no less. Ah. An African bull elephant weighs 14,000 pounds, and this can bring one down. I happened upon one of those magnificent creatures in the Zambezi Valley, and one of these came in quite handy....I shot the poacher that was about to kill the elephant.
Dying isn't so bad. I did it once in Marrakesh.
"Embrace the Struggle"? Zig Ziglar at his most persuasive. Are you familiar with his work? He's a motivational speaker. Who motivated me to quit smoking and shoot from the neck down.
I once spent three weeks cooped up in motel on Zihuatanejo just glued to the telenovela Amorcito Corazon-- "My Darling Sweetheart. " This unlucky-in-love architect who lost the love of her life when she was 18 because of her controlling father. But perhaps I cut too close to the bone.
I had a brief professional relationship with your father, a man who wrestled with significant demons. I know his wife, your mother, is a manipulative creature whose own husband didn't trust her. Whose answers to the questions you wanna ask her could never be trusted. All that really matters is that you vanished off the face of the earth nearly 30 years ago. And yet, here you are. Leave the past in the past, Tom. Nothing good will come from digging up secrets.
I first met Stratos Sarantos when he was running guns to Cypriot resistance fighters in 1987. For more than 20 years, he's overseen my shipping concerns from the Bosphorus to the Suez Canal
I must admit, I've always been somewhat seduced by the idea. Bill Miner, the old gray fox. Butch Cassidy. But I've never really felt the itch until now. So you're gonna walk back to wherever it is you walk to and get the manifests, or I'm gonna stop this train, take your money, and give this rail line the most ridiculous PR disaster since the Newton Boys robbed that mail train in Rondout.
I haven't been in steerage since Li Yanping and I stowed away on a Chinese destroyer off the coast of Pulau Belitung.
Have you ever sailed across an ocean, Donald? .. On a sailboat surrounded by sea with no land in sight? Without even the possibility of sighting land for days to come? To stand at the helm of your destiny, I want that one more time. I want to be in the Piazza del Campo in Siena, to feel the surge as 100 horses, I want another meal in Paris at L'Ambroisie in the Place des Vosges. I want another bottle of wine. And then another. I want the warmth of a woman in a cool set of sheets. One more night of jazz at the vanguard. I want to stand on summits and smoke Cubans and feel the sun on my face for as long as I can. Walk on the wall again. Climb the tower. Ride the river. Stare at the frescos. I want to sit in the garden and read one more good book. Most of all, I want to sleep. I want to sleep like I slept when I was a boy. Give me that. Just one time.
A farmer comes home one day to find that everything that gives meaning to his life is gone. Crops are burned, animals slaughtered, bodies and broken pieces of his life strewn about. Everything that he loved, taken from him. His children. One can only imagine the pit of despair, the hours of job-like lamentations, the burden of existence. He makes a promise to himself in those dark hours. A life's work erupts from his knotted mind. Years go by. His suffering becomes complicated. One day he stops. The farmer, who is no longer a farmer sees the wreckage he's left in his wake. It is now he who burns. It is he who slaughters. And he knows, in his heart he must pay. Doesn't he, Stanley?
Stories about his loses
Losing someone we love is painful. Agonizing even unto death. The Japanese call it tako-tsubo a grieving surge of abnormal electrical waves that causes the heart to deflate and contort until it resembles a a fishing pot. Hollow and cold, an empty vessel at the bottom of a fathomless sea. I'm sorry for your loss.
Searching in the desert for a drop of vengeance to slake an unquenchable thirst is a lonely walk, my friend.... Donald, I understand how you feel. Beneath the iron-and-rust exterior beats the heart of a man swimming in immeasurable grief. I am truly sorry about Audrey. There are few that understand love and loss more than I...Let me tell you something that someone much wiser than I told me at a similar point in my life. Go home. Turn back from this and go home. It may seem like the hardest thing in the world, but it is profoundly easier than what you're contemplating.....Agent Ressler. Once you cross over, there are things in the darkness that can keep your heart from ever feeling the light again.
Donald, I want you to know that I do understand how you feel. There is nothing that can take the pain away. But eventually, you will find a way to live with it. There will be nightmares. And every day, when you wake up, it will be the first thing you think about. Until one day It will be the second thing
I ran out of gas.....I was so excited to get home, I didn't even bother to look. My head was just I ran out of gas.... It was Christmas Eve. I pulled off to the side of the road. Seemed like it'd been snowing for days. No traffic. No cars to come help. Just me and a car full of gifts. It was more than 20 years ago. I must have walked four miles five, maybe. It was so still. Just cold and white. The whole time, all I could think about was them in our house. The warm light in the windows, the smoke from the chimney. The sound of my daughter at the piano. The smell of the tree and the fire, oyster stew on the stove. I was so upset to think that I'd ruined Christmas for them, being late, leaving the gifts in the car. But the closer I got, the more I realized how funny the whole thing was, how much they'd love the story, daddy running out of gas, how every Christmas they'd get such joy from telling that story at my expense. And then, finally I got there. I walked I walked through the door. And there was just blood. All I saw was blood. All there was was blood. I can I can still s-smell the nape of her neck feel her little fingers on my cheek her whisper in my ear. That's why I didn't show up in Florence. It's why I haven't shown up in a lot of places over the years.
There are foundational elements in our lives. People that form the brick and mortar of who we are. People that are so deeply imbedded that we take their existence for granted until suddenly, they're not there. And we collapse into rubble. I've stood over the open grave of someone I've loved too often. Once for my mother. And then the others. I needed to recall this feeling because I'd be staring at another body right now if not for you, Aram.
Dembe didn't stay with me because he saw me as his savior. He stayed with me because he saw me for the man I really was a man surrounded by darkness. No friends who could be trusted, no faith that loyalty or love could ever truly exist. I was… Well, I was younger then. Angrier. Dembe connected his life with mine to show me, that day and every day, that the world is not what I fear it to be. He is the light in the darkness. Living proof that there is another way, that life can be good that people can be kind, that a man like me might one day dream of becoming a man like him. He pledged his life, offered it up as evidence that I was wrong about this world. Dembe guards my life because he's determined to save my soul.
Stories we know are inventions:
H-Hello, Diana. This is Stanley Kornish. I'm in a bit of a panic. My dog has gotten out, and I've lost my cellphone with the tracking code. I was wondering if I might bother you for the code and if you could reboot the application for this mobile device. He's an emotional support dog. Please hurry. My heart, it's pounding, and I'm hang trouble breathing.
There you are! What the hell happened to you?! You just leave me stranded with that awful Algerian?! He's been hitting on me for 20 minutes! Well, not secure[area] enough if you ask me, sister. You know what? Why don't you ask Rasil? We wouldn't even be here if it weren't for that troublemaker. Always an agenda with him. Cultural attache. Culture my ass. The things I do for this one. Gallivanting around the globe for your little assignations with you-know-hmm-hmm, carrying her furs and bikinis as if I wouldn't rather be back in Dutchess County with my shelties. Hey, don't take anything for granted! Everything you have was bought and paid for by your boyfriend! Do you have any idea whose horn this tramp is blowing? Let's just say it starts with Bashar and ends with Assad, gassing you faster than a sunni. So, let's get her out of the hot seat and into a limo-- good God! - Crumbs up! – Your cummerbund. Pleats up! You look like Bob Yoshimura in 8th-grade swing choir. It's upside down!
According to the missus, always. Gambling. He lost his daughter's college fund playing Caribbean Stud, left home in embarrassment, Helen's worried sick. It's a mess.
You must be Lisa. Max said your eyes were radiant, but my God. Mesmerizing. It's a very small space. We want to brighten. I love mauve, but a soft, creamy yellow will just open up the entire room. We also need to land on cabinet options and millwork today. I'm already arguing with my supplier. Tell me if I'm going too fast.
You see that lovely woman there? The one with the camera? She's a stringer for UPI. Dear, dear friend. Shoots my Christmas card every year. She has a wonderful eye for composition and detail. An intuitive sense of timing to capture the moment. A warm embrace between old friends. The exchange of a gift. The intimacy of a quiet conversation in the backseat of a car. But the curious thing is, pictures never tell the whole story. For instance, the only story here will be your friendly meeting with an international criminal wanted by the FBI, Interpol. I wonder how long you'll survive once that story hits the Venezuelan press? I'm sorry. I can't help myself. It's a photo album for your press clippings. Rafael.
25 years in Chicago parking on the street, and my car gets taken in Monte Carlo. I'm telling you, my mother used to say, a driver's license is nothing but an invitation to injury and heartache. She was agoraphobic Monsieur, did you see the person who took your vehicle? Yes, absolutely I saw them. They took the damn thing right in front of me. They had the audacity to wave as they went away....Uh, well, the one, the The white one had a ponytail. The other, the black one, very worked out. He must drink a ton of those muscle shakes....Gray Mercedes. CLS-550. License plate "B" as in boy. "A" as in apple...Right, okay. Uh, BA 204 T R. God knows where they are now and what they've done to my car.…That's them. 100%. Ponytail. Muscle shake
I haven't picked my car up. I've been in your restaurant eating lunch. A lemon-verbena iced tea and salmon salad, - which was overcooked, for what it's worth. And I'm certainly not one of these meatheads who tells you to keep it close
"Storm on the Sea of Galilee." ...The thing's hanging on the wall of my house on Lake Como. Oh, my gosh. That's it. I don't know why I didn't think of it earlier. We're having a get-together at the house Saturday. You should come.
The whole charade of Grayson Blaise's house: Why aren't you destroying everything?...They haven't notified you? We're on the brink of a Level 4 breach! ...My name?Caden Gard, Chief International Council for your employer....I don't have time for this. I-I'm only here because Blaise has been arrested less than 20 minutes ago, and within another 20, this place is going to be crawling with Carabinieri. I called ahead, gave explicit instructions that everything was to be destroyed..... That Blaise was arrested. What do you think I'm standing here for? Miss Chloe and I are only here because this is a Single Scope SCI sweep....Oh, my God. Where is Peniford?...All right. Radio your team Everyone! Tell them I'm on site and we're at Tier 3, okay? Miss Chloe, contact our man in Interpol....If anyone shows up, the alert word is "pumpkin." You, inside.
The Legate charade, a mythic assassin
stories about his extended family:
See, this is why I don't go to family reunions. Aunt Lucile is always arguing with Buddy, Uncle Scott is drunk by noon, and someone's hand is always in the wrong cookie jar.
Head on. 35 miles an hour. Just like my uncle Vic on a Saturday night
Stories about Katarina Rostova
When your mother was pregnant with you, it was terribly inconvenient. The Cold War was ending. Her country was falling apart. Everything she had ever known She dreaded having a child. Almost aborted it. Not one day of her pregnancy did she ever think of you as anything but a curse. And then, from the second you were born there was never a day when she thought you were anything but a blessing. In my experience, there is never a convenient time to have a child.
Your parents loved each other very much. The Cold War was hard-- too hard for your father. When the Soviet Union was collapsing, he took you from her. She gave up everything to follow him, to follow you. The night of the fire-- that's what they were arguing about? Your mother, despite what he'd done, she wanted him back. She wanted them to be a family. As much as it pains me to say it, he was probably the only man she ever really loved. And I shot him.It was an accident... Your mother was never the same after that. The man she loved killed by the child she adored-- it was just too much. Two months later, she went to Cape May and left her clothes on the beach, walked into the ocean, and was never seen again. So, that night, I killed both my parents. You were a child. There should never have been a gun for you to grab. Looking back, I'm not sure I shouldn't have raised you myself. I don't want you looking back with that kind of regret.
She was a KGB officer. Would it surprise you to learn that she and I had quite a complicated history? Sex, drugs, rock 'n' roll. Did I say "sex"? Sex.... How about that Katarina hid the fact that she was a KGB agent, stole the coordinates for the submarine U.S.S. Gideon, and passed them on to her superiors? That she, in fact, was responsible for the deaths of those brave young men?
You know what else is possible? That I was framed by Katarina Rostova, which I could prove if Your Honor would grant me even the shortest
35 years ago, a Naval intelligence officer working for the US government fell fell into a relationship with a beautiful Russian woman. Unbeknownst to his superiors, that relationship, which started as guarded attraction, quickly evolved into passion, which resulted in pregnancy. They had the child. A girl, whom they both loved. What the Naval officer didn't know, but certainly should have suspected, was that the Russian woman was a KGB officer that Katarina Rostova had been assigned to get close to Raymond Reddington and steal classified information from him. What Reddington could never have suspected was that though she was a KGB agent, Rostova's real handlers were members of a secret criminal organization, a multinational cabal working in the shadows to manipulate world governments, economic markets, trade, and international alliances. When Reddington discovered this, he confronted Rostova, who warned him that if he threatened to expose them, the Cabal would destroy his reputation, discrediting him so he could not discredit them. And that's what happened. With the help of the Cabal, Rostova framed Reddington with the very evidence you've heard in this courtroom. To prevent him from protecting his country, she made it appear as if he had betrayed it. As a result, the Cabal remained in the shadows, Rostova disappeared, and Raymond Reddington became a completely different person. A man who has done many brutal, scary, illegal things but not a single one ever that was treasonous.
RWBY Volume 1 is a case of early instalment weirdness. Most of the problems the fans had with RWBY as a whole could arguably be traced back to this Volume. People complained about the tonal shift? That’s because, in spite of some dark moments, the Volume was more fun and bouncier in contrast to the other Volumes. People complained about Jaune Arc taking up too much of the screen time? The only time that’s relatively happened is when we had an entire month of Jaune-centric episodes. Bumblebee seeming like it came out of nowhere and destroying all the build up that Black Sun had? There wasn’t enough cues for Bumblebee before Sun took center stage. As such, I decided to do a tweaking of RWBY Volume 1. I’m gonna try to keep most of the story beats intact save for switching around scenes. However, in contrast to Volume 6, I’m going to overhaul some elements and even characters. This is to build upon what is established in later volumes so as to keep a sort of consistency and even a warning flag to the audience that lets them know ahead of time of the tonal shift rather than have the rug pulled from under them like what happened to some in Volume 3. But first, let’s address an elephant in the room: TL;DR If you want a better tweaked Volume 1, I highly recommend the manga that’s currently being published as of this writing. The Trailers They’re staying as they are, but the major change is that, about a month or so before RWBY premieres, an Episode 0 is put online. It’s a compilation of the four Trailers, but each of them is fleshed out a bit with World of Remnant-styled 2d animation expositing on a major aspect of the setting. This way the viewer can get introduced to the setting without much need for exposition in the show. Ruby’s segment begins with a fairy tale talking about the Grimm and how only a trained person known as a Huntsman can defeat them. It’s revealed this is a story being told to Ruby by Summer and we see her grave. Red Trailer begins, but the Beowolves look more like the ones in the show. Weiss’s segment is told in a news-like style, talking about how the Schnee Dust Company has acquired yet another Dust mine and dropping the information that they’re not only the life essence of humanity, but that it’s in a finite amount. It then talks of a rumor about how the heiress, Weiss Schnee, is going to Beacon Academy instead of Atlas Academy. Cue White Trailer and make it explicit that she gets her scar from the Knight. Blake’s segment is a speech on how the Faunus are treated. It starts off with Ghira’s voice before it trails off into Adam’s and their tones shift as well, Ghira talking about how the Faunus and Humans should get along before Adam talks of how the Humans must pay for their crimes. Cut to the Black Trailer, but showcase Adam’s manipulation and not his strength. Yang’s segment is a lecture from Taiyang about how Aura works (get the fact that it needs to be active right out of the gate so that we don’t get those arguments in the future) and warns them to be careful of criminals, as there were reports of them being more active these days. Cut to Yellow Trailer, but downplay Yang’s destructive behaviour. The Entrance Arc The episodes are reworked to be 10-15 minutes, with the finale being about 20. Any episode split into Part 1 and Part 2 are merged. Now we got that out of the way, let’s begin. Episode 1 remains roughly the same, but Ozpin’s interview with Ruby discusses a bit more about Summer. In particular, Ozpin is more wistful on the topic, foreshadowing to what I mentioned in the Tweaking of Volume 6 where she one of the many Huntsmen that Ozpin sent to their death fighting Salem. The interview ends with the idea that Ozpin had Ruby join Beacon because she managed to put Roman on the ropes, but the heavy implication is that he let her in due to her Silver Eyes. Episode 2 has Ruby meet up with Weiss, Blake, and Jaune in the same manner, but also bumps into a cute clumsy girl named Gretchen. Yes. I’m doing this. You’ll see why in a bit. Anyways, once introductions are out of the way, Ozpin gives a speech, but instead of focusing on knowledge, it’s more focused on choice. Importantly, he asks his students “Why do you want to become Huntsmen?” And we end the episode there. The Emerald Forest Arc Episode 3 begins with the group getting ready for their entrance exams. Basically the same thing that happens in the show, but Ozpin gives the stipulation that, once they recovered the relic, they are to bring it to the top of the mountain at all costs. To foreshadow both the tonal shift and his rivalry with Ozpin, Jaune is the only person to question Ozpin’s stipulations without any sort of humor to them like in the original. They get catapulted as Ruby bumps into Gretchen and Weiss meets up with Jaune. Blake eyes Yang and stalks her through the forest until Yang comes across Ursa Majors and she ends up killing the last one. Blake mentions how she never intended to get a partner, hence her avoidance, and that she picked her to follow because Yang looked the tankiest of the bunch. But Yang flirts with her and teases that she likes her, setting the foundations up for Bumblebee. Throughout the arc, we get interactions between the lot. Gretchen and Ruby have adorable bonding times, Weiss scolds Jaune over not activating his Aura as well as ask what his Semblance is, and Yang and Blake discuss the question that was asked to them, with Blake saying that there’s a lot of injustice that needs to be taken care of. Yang finds this confusing, since the main role of a Huntsman is to kill Grimm… The arc hits its climax in Episode 5 when Jaune finds what he presumes to be the relic only to find it’s really the stinger of the Death Stalker. Meanwhile, Yang and Blake wake up a sleeping Nevermore in the middle of a fight. Ruby and Gretchen are the ones to get to the main place first and grab their pieces, only for the other four, followed by Ren and Nora on an Ursa, joining up. Ruby sees the Death Stalker and tries to solo it, only for the Nevermore to pin her cape… When it seemed like the Death Stalker is about to kill Ruby… Gretchen takes the save. The stinger is impaled onto Gretchen and Ruby takes this opportunity to use her scythe and cut off the tail. Foreshadowing! There’s a quick chat about how to save Gretchen, but it’s made clear that Ruby has to get the relic to the top. Ruby refuses and tries to carry Gretchen, believing that Ozpin and Glynda will treat the wound and poison. Unfortunately, the Nevermore attacks Ruby, attracted to her grief, and Gretchen is forced to save Ruby again. In a rather depressing scene, she sacrifices herself to save Ruby by hurling herself onto the Nevermore and wounding it just before the Nevermore chucks her off the mountain. Ruby, filled with grief, ends up activating her Silver Eyes for the first time, creating a bright light that blinds everyone. This light is seen by Ozpin and Glynda, as Ozpin gives a smirk and mutters “Perfect…” Beacon Routine Arc Episode 6 opens when Ruby wakes up in the medical bay where the others were. Ruby asks about Gretchen, but the silence is enough for her to realize that, yes, Gretchen is dead. She mourns for her death, only for Ozpin to come in. He formally apologies for the incident, but reminds them that they are to be inducted into Beacon’s ranks, with the ceremony announcing the teams taking place within a week to get things settled. With that in mind, however, he announces that, since Ruby’s without a partner, the teams will be shuffled. As such, based on what he saw between Weiss and Jaune’s fight, decides to make Weiss Ruby’s partner and have Jaune partner up with an exchange student from Haven Academy, as he had informed the Headmaster there that they were in need of a spare student. He then asks the group to leave him and Ruby alone, and here’s the scene where I decided adding Gretchen would be a good idea for this Tweak/Rewrite. Ozpin berates Ruby. She had a mission: recover the relic and get to the top at all costs. When she argues that she needed to save Gretchen, Ozpin tells her that a sting from a Death Stalker is fatal and that all she did was slow herself down. He goes into a small rant about how one’s emotions can make a person lose sight of what’s important before he takes a moment, adjusts his glasses, and thanks Ruby regardless for at the least trying to bring both Gretchen and the relic to the top. Gretchen’s death is to set up multiple things at once.
Obviously, sets up Hazel’s desire for revenge on Ozpin.
Establishes the dark tone that RWBY would eventually take in Volume 3.
Pays off the Silver Eyes earlier.
Sets up Ozpin’s shadiness and the eventual mistrust from the group on the word go.
Sets up Ozpin’s Reincarnation gimmick early on.
There’s probably other things, but for the most part, these are the major five I wanted to establish in Volume 1. Ruby suffers the fallout of Gretchen’s death pretty hardly as Yang looks from afar. She tells Blake how this isn’t the first time she’s suffered loss and talks about her mother, Summer. She establishes that Ruby changed her last name to Rose to honor her (getting that complaint of “HoW cOmE tHeY hAvE dIfFeReNt LaSt NaMeS?” outta the way) and Yang gets a little sentimental. An eagle-eyed viewer would notice how Blake, Weiss, Ren and Nora are the only people not depressed with Gretchen’s death, setting up that they’ve become accustomed to it. Speaking of, Ren and Nora were assigned to Jaune and this is where we have Nora and Ren act like surrogate big siblings to Jaune in a rather fun adorable way to lighten the mood. The episode ends with Pyrrha Nikos arriving and Weiss freaking the hell out. Episode 7 gives a small exposition on who Pyrrha is and Weiss becomes jealous that Jaune gets the celebrity while she gets the crybaby child. Yang gets furious with Weiss and calls her out on her snooty nature, to which she asks why she became a Huntress. Weiss replies to restore the Schnee Family Name, which Blake balks at. Yang deconstructs Weiss’s reason. “How can you restore the Schnee family name? You’re gonna be risking life and limb slaying monsters, meanwhile Daddy Warbucks is gonna fret and wonder whether his daughter will come back in one piece or in a box!” “Funny. You’re implying my dad gives a damn about my well-being.” An awkward air hangs in the air as Yang drops the topic and coldly tells Weiss to reconsider her words when talking to Ruby. Weiss and Ruby interact for the first time and Weiss does try to not get upset, restraining herself in the process. Ruby knows better though and tells her to give it to her straight. Weiss inhales and tells her the truth: “Gretchen died. That’s sad. Your mom died. That’s also sad. But wallowing about them isn’t going to bring them back. Nor is trying to fight against the monsters that killed them. What matters is that you keep a brave face despite the tragedies that come and to keep moving forward.” Ruby is blown away by the motto. “You know, for an ice princess, you sure have a warm side.” Weiss has a brief smile before she says that she knows what it’s like to lose loved ones. Cut to Blake who is trying to calm down Yang, although she’s more upset about Weiss than Yang is. “You shouldn’t get too upset with Weiss. I mean, with how her company works Faunus to death, it’s no surprise she doesn’t care about Gretchen.” She brings up a mining incident that killed a friend’s parents and mentions how people were “scarred by the company”, hinting to Adam. Yang notices something, but keeps it to herself. Jaune, however, is nervous around Pyrrha as she notices how… unskilled he is. He cracks, however, and asks Pyrrha to train him, mentioning how he felt like what happened to Gretchen was his fault. Pyrrha’s humbled that Jaune is willing to confess how he entered Beacon and accepts his request. Ren and Nora become shippers on the deck. We cut to the Emerald Forest where we hear a woman’s song and see the Nevermore, turned to stone, suddenly crack. Episode 8 is the Badge and Burden thing where Ruby and Weiss struggle to get adjusted to one another. Ruby being too carefree and flighty while Weiss is more ridged and structured. Though it’s not like Blake and Yang are doing any favors as well, since Blake relies more on soloing and Yang tries to give every opening she can for Blake to do a team up attack. Port realizes the dis-coordination and organizes a field trip for the cast to go to the Emerald Forest for some Grimm hunting. Upon realizing that the group will return to the place where Gretchen died, Ruby seizes up and it takes Weiss to lead her there. It’s here that the pairs get more used to one another. Weiss realizes that just because she’s cold and detached doesn’t mean her partner should also be and tries to warm up to Ruby. Yang and Blake talk about their past, though, with Yang talking about her birth mother and the reason she became a Huntress, to go and find her. Killing Grimm is just the bonus. She mentions how Blake looks a bit like her. Blake, meanwhile, confesses that the reason she approached Yang was because she reminded her a lot about her mentor. She doesn’t directly namedrop him, but Yang gives a knowing glance that makes Blake shudder. Suddenly, the Nevermore comes out and attacks Ruby. This is where the epic fight from Players and Pieces happens and the team finally coordinates and fight as one… Though this is short lasting as Yang and Blake share stares with each other. Yang then says this: “You remind me a lot about my mother… In more ways than one.” We then cut to Roman Torchwick as he plans what is to be the biggest Dust heist in Vale. Fangs of Resentment Arc Episode 9 begins with the Vytal Festival being set up, with Weiss talking about how there’ll be a tournament held during the last days of the festival. Ruby and Yang are hyped as their parents were part of the tournament, along with Ruby’s mentor Qrow. Blake, meanwhile, is more intimidated with Yang’s presence. Then the whole bit from the Stray kicks in as Weiss berates the White Fang for yet another dust robbery. As Blake tries to say that Roman could be behind it, Yang and Ruby agree, though Weiss gives a question that fazes them all: “What if it was Roman and the White Fang working together?” Blake is the first to react, saying how the Faunus and Humans don’t work together, only for Weiss to bring up “unless they were forced to”, reminding Blake of the Faunus labours in the SDC. The argument is interrupted by Ruby finding a masked person, a tell-tale sign of a White Fang member. The group gives chase, with Ruby cornering the person with her speed. Blake notices who the man is and attacks Ruby to prevent him from getting captured. The group confront Blake and Episode 10 has Weiss and Blake argue about what happened, with Yang siding with Weiss, telling Blake exactly what sort of injustices she’s going after: The SDC. Yang reveals to Blake that she’s not some dumb blonde and had dug up on Blake after the initiation. She’s Blake Belladonna, daughter of the founder of the White Fang, Ghira and one of the few members who stuck around when the leadership switched hands. She points out that the masked man they nearly caught was a White Fang general named Adam Taurus and that he was always seen with a “small black cat”. She then goes for the bow as Blake goes on the defensive and that confirms that Blake is this black cat. She then runs off. This is broken up with some nice scenes of JNPR helping out CFVY for the festival. Episode 10 is basically the group looking for Blake and the group finally coming to blows with one another over the emotional baggages they have. Ruby with Gretchen’s death, Weiss with her abusive father, and Yang with her abandonment issues. Blake, meanwhile, reacquaints with Adam, but realizes that he really is working with the humans and how he’s gone pretty coocoo for coco puffs. Blake tries to abandon him again, but is slapped by Adam and establishes from the word go that he’s an abusive ex instead of waiting three years to show that and thus have people confused when it happens. Episode 11, the team finds Blake and save him from Adam, but it’s clear enough that they’re all emotionally compromised and, in tangent with Torchwick’s handiwork, they were unable to beat Adam. He wants to kill Blake, but is told to back off for now. He begrudgingly agrees the order and runs off while Torchwick gives them a parting gift: The Deathstalker that killed Gretchen. Episode 12 is the final episode, in which JNPR are informed what’s going on and move in to help RWBY fight the Deathstalker. It’s a pretty epic fight scene utilizing all of their moves and abilities, and ends with Ruby impaling the scythe into the Deathstalker and avenging Gretchen. The group managed to have some good teamwork and have resolved their baggage, though Yang confesses to Ruby that her reason to be a Huntress is not as bright as the other reasons, confiding in Blake that her mother also went into Beacon with the intent on training to kill humans. Finally, the group is formally inducted into Beacon, in which RWBY is named, JNPR is also named, and everyone is happy… Ozpin gets a message later that night saying that “the queen has pawns.” He just replies and says “me too”. Cut to credits. Stinger is that Roman and Adam talk with the person who commanded them: Cinder Fall. Instead of showing off her magic, she instead sings and we find out the song that woke the Nevermore from its stone case was Cinder. This time, she causes a Beowolf that was inside the warehouse they were talking in to come by her side as she pets it like a dog. DVD Exclusive Episode If they have the budget for it, RT might sneak in an extra episode for fans of JNPR that is effectively the Jaundice Arc. Though, it’s done in a similar manner to Episode 0. Namely, it’s split into four parts based off each member. Well, eight parts, the past and the present of each member. Jaune’s story is how he was able to get a faked transcript. Possibly from Lionheart? Anyways, the present segment has a bully, Cardin, overhearing Jaune on the rooftop about his transcript. He is blackmailed into sabotaging Ren but resists and they attract Grimm, which Jaune is able to seemingly kill. It basically is an abridged version of the arc, skipping out the whole blackmail thing and getting right to the bit where Jaune fights an Ursa and seemingly kills it. Nora’s backstory is a bit of the Kuroyuri story from her perspective and the present bit is her trying to comfort Velvet. Pyrrha’s story is how she is sent by Lionheart to Beacon to replace Gretchen and the present story shows how she lifted Jaune’s shield with her Semblance. Ren’s story is the other part of Kuroyuri and shows why Cardin hates Ren: he’s the only one of the bunch who stood up to Cardin upon remembering his dad’s advice. We end on Ren looking over both JNP_ and RWBY and giving a smile, nodding to his voice actor being the creator. And we’ll probably hint that Gretchen’s brother is not to pleased with her death. Maybe? And that’s it. That’s how I’d tweak Volume 1. Thoughts?
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Puff Daddy [feat. The Notorious B.I.G. & Busta Rhymes ...
Partners For Life - P. Diddy
Puff Daddy - Best Friend (Official Music Video) - YouTube
Puff Daddy- Come With Me - YouTube
Diddy Feat. Jamie Foxx - Partners For Life + LYRICS
Puff Daddy [feat. Faith Evans & 112] - I'll Be Missing You ...
'Can't Nobody Hold Me Down' the debut hit single by rapper Sean 'Puff Daddy' Combs. It appears on Combs' debut album No Way Out and it was released as the fi... Official Music Video for Puff Daddy [feat. Faith Evans & 112] - 'I'll Be Missing You' directed by Hype Williams from 'No Way Out' (1997) Subscribe to the cha... Official Music Video for Puff Daddy [feat. The Notorious B.I.G. & Busta Rhymes] - 'Victory' directed by Marcus Nispel from 'No Way Out' (1997) Subscribe to t... And make you my partner for life So we can chill (and have a little fun) ... Puff Daddy, Mase & The Notorious B.I.G. - Been Around The World - Duration: 5:26. MvP2O13 3,073,572 views. .Sometimes I don't think you motherfuckers. Understand where I'm coming from. Where I'm tryin' to get to. Sometimes I hear voices. Turn the lights on. Check ... Partners For Life - P. Diddy Featuring Jamie Foxx 2006 great tune. rap Puff Daddy- Come with Me Official Music Video for Puff Daddy - 'Best Friend' directed by Paul Hunter from 'Forever' (1999) Subscribe to the channel http://bit.ly/SubscribeToBadBoy Wa... Family Of Sean Combs and Cassie Ventura - Famous Singer, American rapper, songwriter, and actor Sean John Combs also known by his stage names Puff Daddy, Puffy, P. Diddy, Diddy, Brother Love and ...