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"I'm Around": maudlin/self-indulgent glimpse of my life post-divorce

2020.11.27 23:39 throwawaypostdivorce "I'm Around": maudlin/self-indulgent glimpse of my life post-divorce

“I accept and wish that others should confer upon me a being which I recognize.”
Jean-Paul Sartre The Look
The neon orange coil of an electric stove. The patch of rawness on the roof of your mouth. A girl’s capacity for grace. The things you press, touch, prod to gain the sort of understanding that only comes with going too far.
I lie on the couch early on a Sunday afternoon in October in a tiny rural town in upstate New York you wouldn’t have heard of. It’s charming if you want it to be, oppressively dead-ended if you want it to be. But it never makes self-indulgent analogies about itself, so it and I are not without some differences; but over a long enough period of time living in a place, I think something has to give. Either the place has to contort the person into its mold, or else, if you’re motivated enough, maybe you can alter the identity of the place instead.
My apartment would never be thought of as charming. The white vinyl siding is chipped. The outside wooden doorframe has thumb tacks pushed into it in spots and I always feel a sense of contempt for the last painter who just coated them in paint rather than bothering to just pluck them out but I realize that I will probably never bother taking them out either.
Behind the apartment is a corn field that spans the distance to the Delaware River where New York ends and Pennsylvania begins. A road borders the front, and beyond that a steep incline mounted by train tracks, and beyond that a looming feed mill that fills the air with a cloying sour smell of ground corn. The corn used for animal feed which is, I’m told, flavorless if not inedible.
Inside, the place is fairly spartan. Crooked tile floors throughout except for the two bedrooms that have faux hardwood veneers peeling up at the corners. The bedrooms are for my 6- and 8-year-old sons on the days that their mother deigns to let them over. There are books, some photos on the wall, and a Father’s Day card with Batman on the front and an inscription the older boy printed out that says You are my best buddy. Both sons scrawled their names in it, and one of them wrote their mother’s name, telling me they didn’t think she would want to sign it. Or maybe they just wrote mommy rather than her name. I don’t remember, as I don’t like looking inside of it, and even if I wanted to now I couldn’t as I’m nowhere near the apartment, or the boys, or the mother.
I am in Nashville, and I don’t know why.
Like with most things, I guess it’s probably because someone suggested I ought to. None of them said so outright, but I imagine that they thought I meant to kill myself — which is at least somewhat flattering, having people that believe me capable of that sort of nerve or motivation — and that getting away and moving in with my best friend would somehow sort things out.
I had cracked on the Sunday in the apartment. I hadn’t binged, but had kept up a steady enough stream of Keystone Ice for a long enough stretch that while I probably wasn’t even over the legal limit, everything was a bit gauzy and nauseous and overwhelming.
On the worst day of my life I had screamed at my wife that I wouldn’t be made to be white trash. Now bent empties of Keystone-fucking-Ice had made me a liar. The town had had its way. My wife had had hers. I had become who they both either thought I was or needed me to be.
In a few hours I would drop the boys back at the house I had bought a decade before and still paid the mortgage on. Then I would come home and lie on the couch — I never gave myself a bedroom so they could each have their own — and cry over the fact that I’d just let them pass the day playing Minecraft in their respective rooms because I was too lazy and exhausted to have any sort of meaningful interactions. And cry over the fact that I was relieved to be alone again.
I text my wife that I love her. She does not respond. She never responds. Apart from the occasional and pointedly terse answer to a direct question about the boys’ schedules. I text her that in spite of everything, I only ever watch porn that features women that look like her. Eventually she responds that she doesn’t want disgusting texts. With intentional obtuseness, I reply that I am not disgusting, that plenty of people find me attractive. I tell her that she is fat, which isn’t true, and that she is unlovable, which is probably not entirely true either. That she is frigid, which was certainly true for me, though to be fair most women are not drawn sexually to men they despise.
The same woman I’d convinced in high school to fall in love with me. The same whose belly I’d watched get carved open twice and a baby plucked out as I held her hand and she cried. Who had let me hold her hand for the first time on a charter bus on our high school band trip. Who had, on our last wedding anniversary, felt my hand touch her hip in bed and asked why I was touching her. Who finally told me, in the third month of my sleeping on the couch, that if I needed sex I would have to find someone else for it. Who responded, every time I launched into this same sort of self-pitying list of injustices in my life, by moaning Poooooooor Patrick…
I text her that I need her to come pick up the boys ASAP and to never bring them back. I smile blandly as I pack their suitcases.
She sends a friend over and the boys go along in mild confusion over their early departure. I offer a vacant goodbye.
A state trooper arrives. Seems friendly enough, but I’m indignant over the visit and not especially polite. He asks how I am. Fine. Just been drinking for forty-eight hours. He asks if I have any intention of hurting myself. No. And he leaves.
Having made my best effort at nuking my family life, I feel a bit lighter. Just the same I text my wife suggesting that I am the one who ought to call the cops on her for being an insufferable cunt. I send a few others, but none as clever, and objectively I do think it’s a funny line, apart from being vile and hateful.
But my attempts at negative attention prove no more fruitful than the preceding months of seeking positive attention, so I turn my efforts to a girl I’d been seeing who lived a hundred miles away. She loved me, told me I was handsome, sought out my touch and conversation as though they were worth something, and was endlessly kind. These qualities in a romantic partner naturally filled me with a profound sense of suspicion and anxiety.
I tell her that she is a dirty immigrant soiling my country and that every terrible thing that has ever happened to her has been deserved. Which, like my wife’s weight, is a tremendous insecurity she harbors. She responds that she knows I don’t mean these things and am just trying to push her away. It’s a brilliant counter, and also exceedingly annoying. So I keep it up until I’m bored and then block her.
A bit lighter still.
In Nashville, I sleep on an air mattress that fills the small gap between my friend’s bed and the wall. Sometimes he fucks women in the darkness while I sleep. One, a travelling nurse, whispers in ecstatic gratitude that she is so lucky to have found amazing Nashville dick.
I start sleeping on the couch. Until he inevitably sabotages the relationship with the nurse — that’s my boy! — and I return to the air mattress and we sleep alone again, apart from his yapping little dog that I hate with as much feeling as I can muster for an animal. The immigrant loved dogs. I told her I did too. She asked if one day we could have one that we could put into costumes. Of course.
As nothing matters anymore and I am a free-spirited Bohemian, I try marijuana for the first time. It makes me feel drunk. I close my eyes and try to think of my wife’s face but can only see it as a stylized bit of pixel art, which is as strange as it is annoying.
I download a dating app, feeling guilty as I swore to the immigrant that I would never date again because if I couldn’t make it work with her I’d never be able to make it work with anyone. Which wasn’t meant to be a lie. In fairness, I am not seeking a relationship, but make a profile that states I am looking exclusively for sexual congress. But referring to it as sexual congress makes it seem like I am making a joke or being absurd. I go out for drinks with a clever and cynical blonde woman who keeps tugging at the hem of her tube top. Eventually she states that I don’t reeeeally think I’m getting laid on a first date, surely? I respond that I don’t know how I could have been any clearer about that. She laughs.
Still, there’s validation in the smile she gives me at the end, the assurance that she had a wonderful time, the fact that she lets me drive her home, which girls aren’t typically supposed to permit as you might come back later and kill them.
Another girl I talk to over text for weeks. She is incredibly nasty to me, in a half-joking way, which creates a comfortable dynamic. But after the third time she sets a date and cancels, I delete her number. Besides, she had told me she was a virgin, and I told her I was incredibly uneasy about being someone’s first or last anything. I told her I needed to be meaningless, and while she assured me I would be regardless, it just seemed like a bad idea.
I go out with another, a girl with an English accent. She seems more vapid in person and drinks like a fish, worrisome because my bank balance is low. It’s exhausting to carry the conversation and I fall back mostly to asking about England and sharing my experiences there. In the end she says she could never date an Anglophile and then orders another drink, meaning I must sit and continue making incredibly awkward conversation for another ten minutes.
Luckily, my card is declined and she is forced to pay the tab.
While I mention in my dating app profile that I have estranged kids and an ex-wife, I’m never sure if it’s noticed and I avoid discussing the boys. I feel like Peter, so ardent in his love for Christ that he is willing to take up arms against the whole Roman army. Then someone asks simply if he knows Jesus and he says no.
Finally, I match with a girl in the early afternoon and plead outright for her to meet up for sex. Twice, unprompted, she tells me that I am incredibly handsome. Mostly in the context of expressing confusion over my level of desperation. Whatever her reasoning, it makes me happier than I have felt in a long time. By 9 or 10 that night she gives in and I drive twenty minutes to her apartment.
She meets me in the parking lot and I talk about the drive over and how nice the building looks, then how nice the apartment looks, how well-furnished, until she says Soo… and raises her arms slightly, palms extended like you might do to the local priest to show off stigmata.
Right, I laugh and press her against a wall and put my mouth against hers. I don’t know her last name. Her mouth yields and yaws and is so exquisitely soft, wet, warm. I don’t know what color her eyes are. I peek but of course they’re closed. Why do we always close them? But she has a broad band of black eyeliner on her lids that I find incredibly attractive.
I lift her hoodie, her waist is tiny, soft and arcs beautifully to her hips. I squeeze her ass, run my hand over her belly, under her bra, thumb a pierced nipple, grab the doorframe beside the wall and pull against it to press every part of my body into contact with hers. Occasionally, a tiny moan, halfway between a hum and an exhalation, flits from her as I tongue the roof of her mouth.
When I slide my hand under the band of her yoga pants, she utters a casual No and touches my wrist. I pull my hand away and we continue to kiss.
Minutes later she gives me a can of Coors Light and we sit on the couch, her legs over my lap. As we talk I run my hands over her thighs, the ridge of her shins, her green painted toes. I palm her breast, occasionally interrupting her midsentence to press my tongue into her mouth, which she inevitably, gamely widens for me.
The casual intimacy is surreal. I plead with myself not to decide I am in love with her, and I feel sure, to my surprise, that I can keep from doing so. I feel fairly certain I will never talk to her again, and the memory won’t be one she returns to often if at all. It’s as if I’m not even there and I’m so deliriously happy I can’t stand it.
I’m home at 3 in the morning, giddy. I wake my friend and cheerfully lie that I finally got laid. He’s furious at being woken and tells me that I’ve ruined my children’s lives and that he wants to kick my teeth in. But he says that all the time and I don’t let it bring me down.
He savagely and mockingly asks if I told her I love her.
Good, he spits, then more calmly offers his favorite bits of advice. Never put pussy on a pedestal, and We’re garbage, dude. Just a couple squirrels trying to get a nut.
The air mattress is slightly deflated as I crawl onto it. Whatever side of my body I sleep on will be sore in the morning. I feel the old temptation to offer up a prayer of gratitude but know I can’t until I get through this pathetic hedonistic streak and see if I can navigate myself back to something like adulthood and repentance.
I text the girl in the darkness. Tell her I feel giddy. Both the open fondness of the statement and the immediacy of sending it so soon would earn me scorn from my friend for the poor tactics, so I don’t tell him about it.
I tell her that I hope we can do it again.
In the morning she hasn’t responded. I text again.
Whenever you want. I’m around.
submitted by throwawaypostdivorce to Divorce [link] [comments]

2020.11.27 22:18 daecrist Vampire Vixens From Planet X! Chapter 1: Sparklefang

“All I’m saying is I heard a rumor Shatner was going to be here, and…”
Whatever else Michael was about to say was cut off as one of the most beautiful women Liam had ever seen appeared in front of him in the hotel lobby.
She wore a formfitting outfit that’d carved a groove deep in his psyche as a young man when he’d first seen Vampire Vixens From Planet X! on a beat up old VHS he’d discovered in the deep dark corners of his parents’ basement.
She looked like a sexy Han Solo. Like not actually Han Solo, the dudes never did anything for Liam for all that he respected anyone who walked that path, but more the idea of the lovable Han Solo type rogue that’d taken hold in the ‘80s channeled into a sexy costume for women. She wore a leather crop top up above, lots of skin showing above and below, and a distractingly tight pair of shorts complete with two blasters at her side.
She turned and looked at him, and he grinned. That made her stumble just a bit, staring, and he wondered if he’d done something wrong. Sure she was in cosplay, but cosplay wasn’t consent and all that. He was well aware some people got tired of being stared at all day long.
He’d endured some of that himself since he spent enough time in the gym to pull off superhero costumes without any added padding. He’d discovered, much to his delight at first and eventual annoyance as the weekend wore on, that women could be just as bad as men about trying to cop a feel when they were getting a picture with a cosplayer.
He didn’t get a chance to find out whether this particular cosplayer’s stumble was an annoyed or interested stumble, though. No, a vampire vixen stepped between them and hit him with a seductive grin even as he tried looking past her to the woman he was really interested in.
The vixen opened her mouth revealing fangs that looked like something out of the Halloween section of a local drugstore around the middle of November when all but the saddest clearance items had already been picked over.
“Hello there, my pretty,” she hissed, giving him an up and down that might’ve had him interested if he wasn’t still trying to catch a glimpse of the other woman. “Imagine seeing a tasty morsel such as yourself at a convention like this.”
He craned his neck to see around her, but the sexy rogue had disappeared into thin air. There was nowhere she could’ve hidden in the sparse crowd dotting the hotel lobby, but she was gone. He sighed. So much for that moment they may or may not have shared.
“Hey, buddy,” the vampire said, dropping the seductive act. “I’m trying to do a thing here. Could you at least pretend to be scared?”
Liam hit the nice lady in the formfitting sparkly outfit that looked like a cross between tinfoil and ‘50s retro futurist chic with a goofy grin.
“I mean that’s not the greatest pickup line I’ve ever heard, but we could work something out over a couple of drinks if you want,” he said, winking.
“Please,” Rick said.
Liam turned to see his “friend” crossing his arms and glaring. No doubt Rick was upset that Liam was getting attention, but whatever. That was hardly a new development.
“Attention people of earth!” a voice boomed through the massive hotel lobby. “You are in grave danger!”
People looked around with a mixture of worry and confusion. Meanwhile Liam couldn’t help but grin as a few more women, and at least one dude, dressed as Galactic Enforcers complete with prop visors that were supposedly impossible to see through when the movie was filmed but had been improved upon so they were actually usable by enterprising amateur prop makers in the decades since, stepped into the hotel lobby.
Their outfits looked similar to the vampire vixen in front of Liam, though theirs were more robotic. At least they looked like what costume designers in the mid-80s had thought costume designers from the early ‘50s thought robotic looked like.
Someone was clearly paying attention when they put together those outfits. They were sleek black with lines of white and blue running all over. The lines didn’t glow like in the Vampire Vixens movie, though that could be forgiven since he was pretty sure that was something that’d been added to the costumes in postproduction.
The Galactic Enforcers moved in and started fighting with the vampire vixens, including the one in front of Liam. Which got really interesting a couple of times when it looked like the two beautiful women having it out were one torn strap away from having a very interesting wardrobe malfunction.
“Now this is the stuff!” Michael said.
“Please,” Anna said, smacking him. “Remember you’re here with someone.”
“And I tried to get you to wear one of those outfits!” he said.
One of the vampire vixens flew past Liam and slammed into the ground, doing a roll that wouldn’t have been out of place in the original Star Trek. The only thing missing was a boulder that pressed in on impact revealing it was made out of foam rather than solid rock.
“Get down, civilians!” one of the Galactic Enforcers growled.
Liam looked around the room. He figured it was a pretty obvious tell things weren’t nearly as dire as the Galactic Enforcers wanted them to think it was that hotel security was standing around looking like hotel security always did at these conventions: bored out of their gourds.
They looked at the demonstration like they’d rather not have this shit going on in their convention center and hotel, but they had to play along with the nice paying customers who were a little weirder than the usual business types.
“Anna’s right. Let’s get going,” Michael said, suddenly sounding sour on the idea of staying for the full show. Liam figured getting in trouble with his girlfriend had something to do with it.
“Come on,” Rick said. “We don’t have to leave right away, do we?”
He stared at the demonstration with rapt attention, and he clapped as one of the lady Galactic Enforcers appeared in front of them. Though that grin quickly turned to a frown as one of the male Galactic Enforcers got in between her and Rick.
Unlike the lady Galactic Enforcers in formfitting outfits that didn’t leave much to the imagination, the male outfits didn’t leave anything to the imagination.
Vampire Vixens From Planet X! had been heavily influenced by Conan, and the male Galactic Enforcer outfit consisted of bare chests, a sparkly loincloth, and not much else.
Though the guy standing before them was a little more doughy than the Schwarzenegger stand ins who’d starred in that cult classic.
“Happy to assist you, earthling!” the guy said, glancing at Rick and then blinking when he realized Rick was glaring at him.
Rick hit the Galactic Enforcer with a one fingered salute. The enforcer’s response was to raise his prop sword, a sure sign of a cosplayer who’d lost it.
“For the galaxy!” the enforcer shouted, brandishing his sword that was clearly a fake. That obvious fakery didn’t stop the security guard closest to them from springing into action, though she looked like she wasn’t happy about leaving her spot against the wall, and grabbing the guy’s hand as soon as it became clear he’d gone rogue.
They started arguing over whether or not the enforcer could wield a sword that was clearly a prop, and Liam figured that was a good time to get out of there before Rick got them pulled into an altercation with con security.
“We should go check on our reservations,” Liam said.
“Good idea,” Michael said. “This place looks like it’s filling up.”
“Totally,” Liam said, taking a look at the crowds all around them.
There was something slightly off about the crowd this year. Which had everything to do with the massive posters hanging all over the hotel lobby and outside the convention center advertising the Sparklefang event.
“I can’t believe we have to put up with this crap at our convention,” Rick said.
“Believe it,” Liam said, looking up at the massive banner running down the side of the lobby. It matched banners that’d been up on billboards around the city for the past couple of months.
Liam wasn’t exactly happy that they were staring up at the sparkly visage of Jacob Grey, better known to the world and his legions of screaming fangirls as the vampire heartthrob/superhero Sparklefang.
“It’s bad enough people talk about those movies like they’re actual comic book movies,” Rick said. He scowled at Jacob’s banner now rather than at the Galactic Enforcers doing their cosplay demonstration.
“Gatekeeping much?” Liam asked.
“What?” Rick said, sounding defensive. “Those stupid books give real comic books a bad name, and you know it!”
“Yeah,” Liam said, rolling his eyes. “Because there are so many normal things that happen in regular comic books that don’t hold a candle to a sparkling vampire superhero fighting evil.”
“He’s got a point,” Anna said. “That wouldn’t even register in the top ten weird things Batman has done.”
“He doesn’t have a point, and I’d ask you to keep Batman out of this,” Rick said with a sniff. “Comic books are a legitimate form of art, and this vampire shit is tweeny pop bullshit masquerading as legitimate comic book art invading our convention.”
“And before Robert Downey Jr. and John Favreau saved comic books by turning them into movies people actually wanted to see, comic books were just as ridiculous as anything you’d see in Sparklefang,” Liam continued, not willing to concede the point. “Come on. There’s legit a comic about a swamp creature that took on another man’s memories after it absorbed him.”
“And the ‘80s Swamp Thing movies along with the Alan Moore reboot are masterpieces of the genre,” Rick said. “Which is more than I can say about a movie that throws a bunch of glitter on fucking vampires and turns them into teen heartthrobs! I actually saw that asshole on the cover of Lion Beat once!”
Anna giggled.
“What’s so damn funny?” Rick asked.
“Do you spend a lot of time looking at magazines designed for the consumption of twelve-year-old girls?” she asked.
“Shut up,” he said. “I just saw it in passing on a magazine stand.”
“I’m amazed you saw a magazine stand at all in this day and age,” Liam said. “That magazine sounds like the kind of thing you have to really go looking for.”
“Whatever,” Rick muttered. “I don’t have to take this abuse.”
“You don’t have to take it,” Liam said. “And we don’t have to hang around you if you’re going to be a gatekeeping asshole.”
“Oh my God!” a girl squealed from beside them, as though on cue to maximize Rick’s irritation. “Sparklefang is so hot! Way better than stupid Iron Man or Superman, or whoever’s in those silly Marvel movies.”
“Come on,” Rick muttered. “Iron Man is clearly Marvel and Superman is clearly DC, and anyone who doesn’t know the difference is an example of what I’m talking about with these teenyboppers invading our convention!”
“The door’s over there,” Liam said with a shrug. “I’d be more than happy to have a hotel room all to myself this weekend. I can afford the room on my own.”
Rick stood there seething, but Liam brushed it off. It’s not like it took much to set Rick off. Especially when his favorite local convention had been overrun by a bunch of twentysomethings who’d been teens and tweens when Sparklefang first became popular, and the teens and tweens who were still discovering the joys of Sparklefang once the hormones kicked in.
“Come on,” Liam said, trying to sound like the voice of reason. “It’s not like this is a bad thing. It’s just a matter of perspective.”
“What perspective could possibly make this anything but the disaster it is?” Rick asked.
Liam looked around the hotel lobby. It was full of attractive women dressed in Sparklefang attire looking super excited to be at the con.
“Maybe if you took some time to stop gatekeeping and actually look at the convention around us you’d see there are plenty of college and young professional women here to relive old memories, dust off some of their old Sparklefang fanfiction, and have a good time.”
“Your point?” Rick asked.
“His point, doofus, is there are going to be a lot of women at the convention and at the parties after hours, they’re all going to be hopped up on the thought of getting to meet Jacob Grey, and maybe you can capitalize on that,” Anna said, spelling it out when Rick clearly couldn’t read between the lines right in front of him.
“I know I’m looking to capitalize on it!” Michael said, grinning.
That earned him a snack from Anna, and he looked down at her like he was insulted.
“I mean you’re going to be one of those ladies getting all worked up thanks to Jacob Grey, and I’m going to reap all the benefits!”
“Sure that’s what you meant,” she said. “But it’s not like I’m making you put on glitter lotion before we fuck,” she said.
“I mean if you were into that then I’d do it for you,” he said. “That’s one of the important things in a relationship. You have to be willing to go there for your partner. You know, you have to…”
“I’m not wearing that stupid vampire vixen cosplay, and that’s that. They’re way more expensive than something I want to wear to get it on with you once.”
“Who said it had to be just once?” Michael asked.
“Have you seen how cheap those costumes look? We’ll be lucky if that thin fabric makes it through me putting it on, let alone you ripping it…”
“The point is,” Liam said, steering the conversation away from his friends’ sex life. “There are going to be a lot of ladies here this weekend getting hot and bothered and looking to relive the good old days when the worst thing they had to worry about was whether Sparklefang or a werewolf with a six pack would get the girl.”
“Sometimes they wrote fanfictions where both got the girl. Some of the best ones they didn’t need the girl at all for a good time,” Anna said, licking her lips with a far off look that left Liam wondering if she’d maybe written some of those fanfictions back in the day.
If that was the case then she’d be far from the only one. There were supposedly even a few events dedicated to reading old fanfictions if someone was brave enough to share.
Liam figured Kevin Smith had been right on with his prophetic talk to a comic con crowd out at the big one in San Diego years ago. Sparklefang had brought a lot of women into the geeky convention milieu, and anything that brought more ladies in was fine with him.
Especially the ones who wore skimpy cosplay like the space pirate in leather he’d seen earlier. He did another quick scan of the room to see if she was around, but came up with nothing.
“Whatever,” Rick said, refusing to play nice. “You’ll see. The con is going to be ruined this year, and it’s all because of those vampire obsessed idiots.”
“Misogynistsayswhat?” Anna said.
“What?” Rick asked.
“Exactly,” Anna said.
“Anyway,” Liam said as they walked towards check-in. “It’s not going to be all that bad even with the Sparklefang crowd. The Sparklefang stuff also means they’re putting on other vampire related things. If it weren’t for Sparklefang we wouldn’t be getting the retrospective on Vampire Vixens From Planet X!
“Is that what those costumes were?” Rick asked. “That campy old movie from the ‘80s? The one where alien vampires try to take over the world in between having the kind of orgies that makes old late night Cinemax movies look XXX in comparison?”
“I figured you’d be familiar with that kind of movie,” Liam said with a grin.
Rick looked between all of them like they’d lost their minds.
“Oh come on,” Liam said. “It’s a classic of the genre! Not to mention Helena Howard was the kind of woman that could save my world, if you catch my drift.”
“She was a hottie,” Anna said.
“Really now?” Michael said, wiggling his eyebrows at her.
“Keep dreaming,” Anna said.
“Anything can happen at a con,” Michael said with a shrug.
“The point is they wouldn’t be having a Vampire Vixens retrospective if it weren’t for all the Sparklefang people creating enough of a draw for the vampire crowd that they could add other programming that wouldn't normally go.”
“The man has a point,” Michael said. “The money from all those women getting thirsty for Jacob Grey in glitter lotion is paving the way for more interesting niche programming.”
“Well no matter who’s here, we’re home,” Anna said, looking around the place and taking in a deep breath.
“We are home,” Liam said, taking in a deep breath of his own.
There was always a certain smell to these conventions that took him back to some of the best memories he’d ever made.
It was the smell of vacuum formed plastic from costumes people had painstakingly constructed in their garages or basements. The smell of dust from old collectibles that’d been sitting in booths for decades.
It was the smell of a combination hotel and convention center that’d been scrubbed with a healthy dose of industrial-strength cleaning fluid. It was the slightly sour smell of people who thought the laws of hygiene didn’t apply to them when they walked through the doors to a convention, but he could deal with that.
The point was, it was home, and Liam couldn’t help but feel a twinge of excitement as he took in that breath and thought about all the fun they were going to have over the three day weekend.
“So are we checking in or what?” Anna asked.
“You know it,” Liam said.
“Fuck,” Rick said. “It’s already started. Would you look at that?”
Liam turned to follow Rick’s gaze, and his mouth fell open. Rick was staring at a group of pretty young college girls wearing glitter lotion and not much else, which had been the outfit of choice for the heroine in some of the later Sparklefang movies.
All Liam could think was “damn” He was looking forward to this weekend if it was going to be like this!
Thanks for reading! I've submitted a few short stories here over the past few weeks, and now I'm getting ready to start a new full-length novel that could kill a small yappy dog with sufficient application of gravity were it a physical book and not characters on a screen!
Vampire Vixens is the story of a group of friends going to a weekend convention. There's tension brewing between the convention old guard and a bunch of new fans streaming in for a retrospective on the wildly popular vampire series Sparklefang.
The vampire theme and all the money pouring in from Sparklefang fans has also inspired the convention to do a retrospective on the cult '80s classic Vampire Vixens From Planet X!, but our heroes are about to discover their favorite cult movie might not be as fictional as they thought...
Sexy vampires from beyond the stars! Sexy interstellar cops from outer space! A sexy combat AI looking for a new host to rescue her from the vampire menace! An unassuming hero who will finally get a chance to use his VRFPS skills to frag some alien invaders!
I plan on releasing new chapters three days a week for the next fifteen weeks or so until it's completed. I hope you like it!
submitted by daecrist to HFY [link] [comments]

2020.11.26 14:14 OldmanRevived I saw five movies (Hillbilly Elegy, Let Him Go, Buddy Games, Happiest Season, Uncle Frank)

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
First up was Hillbilly Elegy
When it was published in 2016, J.D. Vance's memoir "Hillbilly Elegy," unread by me, was slammed by many for indulging in the same hackneyed stereotypes about rural America that it was theoretically designed to deflate, and for reducing the impact of social, political and economic factors in order to favor a more inspirational narrative of triumphing. In this story, a young man, attending Yale Law School, returns to his hometown in Ohio to help his mother, who recently overdosed on heroin. While that story plays, the man's past, as well as flashes from a more distant past, reveals itself, showing us what it was like for him as a child, living amidst economic uncertainty and various unaddressed conflicts within his family.
Indeed, there are at least a few broader stories in the background of Vance's personal account. One of them is what happened to the family's native spot in the Appalachia region of Kentucky, once prospering with the jobs and industry of a local steel mill but later, by the time he is aware of it, filled with boarded-up storefronts, as people linger on streets, sidewalks, and parking lots with nothing to do. This juxtaposes the family's return home with their initial migration to Ohio. The mill was running back then, when J.D.'s grandparents packed up the car and moved.
The other broader tale belongs to the family, beyond adult J.D. (Gabriel Basso) and his younger self (played by Owen Asztalos). In the present, J.D. is looking for an internship at a law firm that will keep him close to his girlfriend Usha (Freida Pinto). While dining with prospective law partners, he receives a call from his sister Lindsay (Haley Bennett), who inform him that their mother Bev (Amy Adams) overdosed. He returns home and tries to arrange a place for Bev in a rehab facility, all while he has a job interview the next morning.
In the past, J.D. had to deal with the mercurial moods of his mother, while seeking support and attention from his grandmother, affectionately called Mamaw (Glenn Close). We see the start and decline of Bev's addiction; she's a parasite, an addict, a narcissist, and a desperate user of others, notably her own family. J.D. foots the bill for a week-long stay on four credit cards, only to learn that Bev has no interest in going into rehab. As a former nurse who trashed her career when she roller-skated through the corridors of a hospital after popping pills, she's been shooting heroin, and she seems to be going down fast.
How did J.D. go all the way from Middletown to Yale? We're not entirely sure, though we know that he got there, so there’s not much suspense about whether he figured out how to transcend his past. The film keeps flashing back to his days as a teenager in the late 1990s. J.D., it's suggested, gets lost because his mother flees from one man to the next. When she marries on a whim, he winds up with a druggie delinquent stepbrother. A scene or two later, he has fallen into delinquency himself, a transformation that is less than convincing.
The movie's tone, guided by J.D.'s narration, veers between romanticizing certain elements of this downhome culture, a scolding attitude toward certain issues and a dismissive outlook on others, and just wallowing in the abject misery of this place and these people. It's all over the place, really, although there's one position upon which the movie never genuinely stops: compassion. Director Ron Howard works in the tradition of Colorful People who relentlessly inflict their colorfulness on us as if we could not see in the first six minutes that they were afflicted.
Give some credit to Glenn Close, who spends most of the movie with a cigarette in her mouth, wisecracking to everything that stands in her way. She acts as a person who is tired of being colorful, and even more tired of having a colorful family. What's best about the movie are the actors' human qualities. Amy Adams has a direct, blunt honesty that is appealing, and it's put to a good effect here. Both Asztalos and Basso have a dry way of sardonically holding their distance, but there you have the role of most narrators, anyway.
If I spent a lot of time performing a census of the cast, it is because the movie seems to rotate among its characters as if taking inventory. Nothing happens in "Hillbilly Elegy" that I cared much about. The movie leaves me with such vivid memories of its times and places, its feelings and weathers, and yet leaves me so completely indifferent to its plot. It presents the cycles of addiction and abuse, not with any insight or thoughtfulness, but with a sense of inescapable fate. From this perspective, these characters are essentially condemned to these lives for reasons beyond the movie's ability or willingness to confront.
"Hillbilly Elegy" hinges on Mamaw's hope that she'll leave her family better off than she found them, and it’s clear that J.D.'s story has fulfilled that wish almost as soon as this movie starts. But the process of watching him cut his losses and recommit to his own success is rendered in a way that just isn't dramatically satisfying. Everyone else's lives and problems really don't matter to this story, except that they give J.D. a few lessons to learn and a whole lot to run from. This is a movie that's surprisingly good in areas where it doesn't need to be good at all, and pretty awful in areas where it has to succeed.

Next up was Let Him Go
The opening images of "Let Him Go" include Kevin Costner standing behind a fence and watching as a horse jogs around in the pasture. He spends a lot of time standing alone, doing nothing, maybe thinking nothing, observing as if it is a task that provides him with purpose. He's not bitter or depressed or anything of the sort. He's simply content. This is just another relaxing start to his day.
George (Costner) and Margaret (Diane Lane) have been married for decades. Living on a ranch in Montana, the two are finally and completely happy when we first meet them. Their house evokes the healing serenity of wide-open spaces, overlooking fields that are perfect for horseback riding. They have an adult son, James (Ryan Bruce), who has married and given the two their first grandchild. All of them live under the same roof. When George and Margaret are sitting at the table eating breakfast, they look so comfortable with each other that they make us feel cozy.
Suddenly, tragedy strikes when James dies in an accident, and their insular, peaceful world is understandably shattered. A few years later, his wife Lorna (Kayli Carter) marries Donnie Weboy (Will Brittain), but it’s obvious from their dour ceremony that this is a union of necessity. While in town one day, Margaret sees Donnie abuse Lorna, as well as her grandson Jimmy. She tells George, and they go to the apartment where Lorna and Donnie live, hoping to take custody of the boy. Instead, they find that Donnie has abruptly packed them up and moved to parts unknown.
Margaret refuses to accept the situation, planning a road trip across state lines to retrieve Jimmy and raise him. George is reluctant, but she eventually convinces him. After packing his suitcase, George wanders out of the room without it. Margaret thinks he has changed his mind, but he explains he's just turning off the water. "I'm not coming home to busted pipes," he says. They pack up the station wagon for a road trip to begin the process of tracking down Donnie. She even packs George's old service revolver, just in case.
They travel from Montana to North Dakota, making a few stops along the way for information or to rest. George's connections as a retired lawman, vaguely famous in the region, help. They meet Peter, played by Booboo Stewart, a young Native American man living off a stolen horse, but not looking for any loot to steal. George and Margaret reminisce and occasionally bicker, but the two mostly share comfortable silences that say everything.
On a plot level, that ramps up the tension as George and Margaret encounter various members of Donnie's family (Jeffrey Donovan plays a false-smiling uncle, and Lesley Manville shows up as the tough, authoritative matriarch), leading to an unstoppable series of threats and violence. There’s a third act that's so wildly out of left field, it could have shifted the tone completely. But somehow, it works, because the movie never made me lose interest in its central characters. There's still a reticence, an unwillingness to push the violence beyond where it wants to go
Faithful readers will know that I have a certain fondness for movies with villains who are so despicable and repugnant that we cheer when we see something horrible happen to them. "Let Him Go" does not disappoint in this regard, although it does cost us something extra in the process. I still have yet to decide if the movie's ending is a particularly good one. As silly as it sounds, I really came to enjoy the company of George and Margaret, and I couldn't bear to see anything nasty happen to such good people. Oh well. Maybe it's another example of how sometimes we just have to face reality.
Many of the reviews of the film have criticized it on the basis of its plot and its tonal shift. I like it because of the time I got to spend with the characters as they dealt with family matters over a period of days. It was intrinsically interesting, not because of what it was about, but simply because of what it was. I think perhaps "Let Him Go" is gently trying to be a movie about imperfect but interesting people, the goodness of whose souls is tested by a private crisis. No great lessons are learned, no great statements made, but by the end of the film we have spent some interesting time with these people, and know them better.

Next up was Buddy Games
Although I am aware sperm is a precious bodily fluid, I don't find it an especially funny one. In "Buddy Games," the male characters are neurotic about three subjects: the size, experience, and health of their reproductive organs. This movie is like a study of de-evolution and man's ability to cheat natural selection. It's full of material that would be rejected from most third-grade recess periods for lacking wit and dignity.
Josh Duhamel, an actor who projects likability, makes his directorial debut with this comedy, which he also co-wrote and stars in. Looking at the film's press notes, he informs us that he always wanted to direct, and that writing a screenplay seemed like the natural way to start. He was close. Writing a bad screenplay is a natural way to start. There's no excuse in making the decision to film it. What he has made is yet another hymn to arrested male adolescence that should be mandatory viewing in convents to prevent nuns from thinking of renouncing their vows of celibacy.
Duhamel plays Bob, a successful businessman who has created the Buddy Games, an annual competition in which him and his friends strive to beat each other in a variety of contests. Indulging their "primal need to dominate," the guys usually aim for a lame trophy and, more importantly, bragging rights. The other members are Durfy (Dax Shepard), Doc (Kevin Dillon), Bender (Nick Swardson), Zane (James Roday). At the beginning of the movie, Sheldon (Dan Bakkedahl), the most avid competitor, is having a glorious time, until someone shoots him in the testicles with a paint gun.
Cut to five years later: Sheldon has been in a funk ever since, having lost both precious orbs of manhood. Bob, meanwhile, has a beautiful girlfriend (Olivia Munn), and he's also quite rich, which enables him to restart the Buddy Games at the behest of Sheldon's mother, who thinks it's the only way to lift her son out of his suicidal depression. When the other members prove reluctant to go along, Bob throws in a $150,000 prize as an enticement.
But Sheldon will only come back if Bender, the guy who shot him, will be excluded. To dissuade Bender from joining in, Bob tells him that there's a substantial entry fee. To his surprise, Bender successfully raises money by prostituting himself and selling vodka in his mini-van. Eventually, the group reunites for a new round of games, which include such not so hilarious exercises as attaching steaks to their heads and confronting a giant lizard. The most extended segment involves the men ingesting laxatives at a crowded bar and trying to persuade women to buy them a drink before the drugs take effect. It's no spoiler to reveal that not all of them succeed.
These guys seem to have it out for each other. Sure, a couple of them talk about how the game has kept them together all these years, long after one would imagine childhood friends would go their separate ways. To what end does it keep them together, though? The movie wants us to simultaneously view these characters as representations of middle-aged vulnerability and sometimes as literal punching bags, constantly to be beaten, smashed, and pulverized. There's something wrong with these people, and the simple fact of the matter is that watching them satisfy their masochistic tendencies isn't fun or funny.
There is a kind of one-upmanship now at work in Hollywood, inspired by the success of several gross-out comedies, to elevate smut into an art form. This is not an entirely futile endeavor; it can be done, and when it is done well, it can be funny. There's a scene in this movie where Bender also tries to appease his guilt by offering Sheldon a refrigerated humidor full of his own semen. Later, when Sheldon is in the kitchen making Pina Coladas, he grabs the semen and mixes it in. Yuck. Millions of little soldiers being massacred for a laugh.
For a fleeting moment, the film stops trying to break the Guinness Book record for offensive crudity and decides to simply be funny. The best part of "Buddy Games," and really the best part of any bad movie, is Olivia Munn. When Bob tells her about his plan to start the games again, she doesn't waste any time ditching him. Then, at the end, she rushes over to Bob in hopes that the games are finally over and they can start a life together. She pulls out the little black box, and shows him a ring. What does he do? He rejects it. At this point, it was clear that none of the idiots in "Buddy Games" are worth saving. I don't know about you, but if Olivia Munn walked up to me and handed over an engagement ring, I would take my chances.

Next up was Happiest Season
There is an emerging genre of movies about family reunions at holiday time. It seems to be a truth universally acknowledged that most reunions at Christmas end happily, while most reunions at Thanksgiving end sadly. That's odd, because the way things shake down in the world of fragmented families, we tend to spend Thanksgiving with those we choose, and Christmas with those we must. If those two lists are identical in your life, your holidays must all be joyous, or all not.
Perhaps what drives audiences to films like "Happiest Season" is that certain sense of empathy. The people onscreen may or may not look like us, but we can find some relatability and understanding in their comic foibles and tragic events. The simplest situations conceal hidden traps, and by the time the story arrives at its more serious point, we fully buy into it, because these characters have so endeared themselves to us through the comedy. It's funny in an innocent screwball kind of way.
The basic setup involves Abby (Kristen Stewart) and Harper (Mackenzie Davis), who have been dating for about a year as Christmas approaches. Abby isn't into the holiday season. Her parents, who really were into it, died when she was 19, as Harper loves to point out in expository dialogue. Being a fan of the season, she wants the woman she loves to have that sensation of Christmas joy again. So, she drunkenly invites Abby home for Christmas to meet her family. Regretting the move in the cold light of day, she waits until the car ride to reveal that she isn't actually out to her family.
Harper asks Abby to keep their relationship a secret while they're at the house, with the promise that she'll finally be honest with her family once the holidays are finished. Abby agrees, although it certainly ruins her plans to propose to Harper on Christmas morning. She meets Harper's parents Tipper (Mary Steenburgen), who's more than a bit of a controlling presence in the house, and Ted (Victor Garber), a local city council member who's running for mayor on a platform of some pretty conservative platitudes. Harper's older sister is Jane (Mary Holland), an odd one who always seems to be vying for attention. The eldest sibling is Sloane (Alison Brie), formerly a successful lawyer who quit to raise her children and make custom gift baskets.
From there, the film becomes a full-on farce, complete with eccentric characters, plenty of misunderstandings, and even some close-call gags involving doors and bedroom escapades. It's everything we expect from such material. Most of the action takes place in the house, and whatever happens will have to happen before everybody heads back to the airport. That creates an artificial deadline that makes everything seem more urgent and requires that the truth be told or love declared right here and now, or not at all.
The film is warm-hearted, funny, and involving. Stewart and Davis are well-cast. But it's not completely successful; I have an idea that writer-director Clea DuVall didn't know how to end it, and so she orchestrates a final scene at a gas station that owes more to screwball comedy than to the truth of the story. Some of the characters are broader than the material requires, but one of them, Abby's gay friend John (Dan Levy), is a wonderful comic creation, and there are some scenes of him just answering the phone that are inexplicably hilarious.
Look, a great movie this is not. A pleasant holiday entertainment it is. The generosity of the film is in how DuVall presents these characters without judgment and with considerable sympathy. Harper is in love with Abby; that's not in doubt. But she is slow to understand the depth and complexity of Abby's fabrications. She's sweet, and naive, but not the brightest bulb on the tree. What defines her for the family is not the fact that she's gay, but her own concealed romanticism. By the end, we understand that although life may not give us too much, it often gives enough.

And the last one was Uncle Frank
"Uncle Frank" presents material that cries out to be handled with quiet empathy and hammers us with it. I understand what the film is trying to do, but not why it does it with such crude melodrama. The tone is all wrong for a story of homosexuality; the conclusion of which is not necessarily false, but it does feel a bit dishonest in its simplicity. When you lay it on too thick, the audience is distracted by implausibility rather than identifying with the characters.
The movie begins in 1969 with 14 year old Beth (Sophia Lillis) dreaming of someday escaping the backwater South Carolina town where she lives with her family and seeing the world. She is encouraged in this by her Uncle Frank (Paul Bettany), who did just that; he now teaches at NYU. Frank's rare returns home are marked by the obvious coldness that his father (Stephen Root) demonstrates towards him for absolutely no evident reason. Four years later, driven by Frank's encouragement, Beth is now attending NYU, and it takes only one surprise appearance at a party at Frank's apartment to discover that he is gay and living with his lover of ten years.
Wally (Peter Macdissi) is Frank's committed partner. Just as Beth is figuring out how to react to this information, the phone rings in Frank's apartment. Daddy Mac has died. It's time for Beth, Frank, and Wally to take a road trip, back to South Carolina for the funeral. That's when the perspective changes to Frank, whose cheerful mood drops upon realizing he has to return home and further declines when Beth starts asking about his romantic past. Through flashbacks, we see what has long haunted the uncle, as a teenaged Frank (played by Cole Doman) experiences his first relationship with a young man.
As you might guess, it ended tragically, and as the memories form more clearly, we understand why Mac's death, which Frank confesses to imagining so often, has brought up not relief, but only so much hidden pain. Frank wallows in self-pity and, upon arriving in his hometown, travel-sized bottles of booze. Bettany plays Frank's overt charms and silent despair with equal degrees of effectiveness, although his internalized performance is let down by director Alan Ball in the third act, when the character lets out all of that built-up pressure in drunken arguments and tearful confessionals.
The movie denies Frank of his big moment for a confirmation of Mac's deplorable nature. Instead, we're given an informative glance at the dynamics and conflicts within the extended family. Mac's wife Mammaw (Margo Martindale) is sweet and kind. Beth's father Mike (Steve Zahn) is verbally abusive toward his wife Kitty (Judy Greer) and anyone whose behavior seems out of line. The sister, Neva (Jane McNeill) is mostly quiet, which becomes odd later, when she becomes a vital figure in Frank's constant debate between keeping his secret and finally being honest with his family.
As for Frank, he stays out of the way, quietly reading on the porch as he lights up cigarettes. Lillis' promise as a young actor continues, but Beth is something of a stock audience stand-in device. Either Frank has been incredibly subtle over the years, or she can't see anything in front of her if it's more than an inch away. "I've never met a gay person before," says Beth. Oh, but she has. Frank also points out that the choir director at the First Baptist Church was also a homosexual. "But he’s so religious!" she exclaims.
"Uncle Frank" is a film that starts with promise; I liked the early dynamic between Lillis and Bettany. But it succumbs to so many clichés that anything remotely genuine gets smothered. It's a deeply frustrating movie as Ball has assembled a cast who can undeniably do deep work and then gives nothing but a shallow script. He seems merely thrashing about in a plot too transgressive for his skills. The movie looks upon his process with such skepticism that the movie doesn't even bother an attempt to explain it.
The story becomes less about the man's attempt to come to terms with those feelings and more about waiting to see what will happen. Each of the family members have at least one scene in which they can be honest with Frank, and the movie's final scene, in which they finally say what has needed to be said for a long time, is quite affecting. It's far too long of a wait for such specificity, though. "Uncle Frank" operates primarily as a message movie, and as necessary as that message might be, the movie's lack of a unique and personal approach to the material means that it's not a necessary part of the conversation.
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2020.11.24 01:15 OldSchoolHorror Night Terrors

Thom sat in the head shrinker’s office. Dr. Norvak had painted the walls in soothing pastels while muzak pumped through hidden speakers softly as to be almost inaudible. It was meant to be soothing but it grated on Thom’s already frayed nerves. Thom had heard somewhere that the pastel colors were supposed to put patients at ease. Maybe it even worked but most people didn’t have some awful thing under their bed every night.
Thom wondered if places like this, doctors, dentists, psychiatrists, and other medical places all consulted the same interior decorator. Bland colors with near identical boring artwork, a sailboat or a Norman Rockwell’s “The Runaway”, and the same six months out of date magazines. He could finally look and see who won the Super Bowl back in February. In Thom’s opinion all medical and medical related offices should have the same kind of décor, not this, more honesty. Thom had a strong dislike for modern medicine, doctors in general, and psychologists in specific.
All medical offices needed relocation to basements with bare stone walls that were always damp for no discernable reason despite the torches burning in sconces. The patients waiting in the office should be chained to the walls while the doctors and staff walked around topless with black leather hoods. Because that’s what these places really were; torture chambers.
Why try to hide it? Why lie? Might as well let people know what they were in for. Honesty, personal accountability was in short supply these days.
The only good thing Thom could see was the furniture was all high enough the light fully illuminated underneath. There were few shadows. None under the chairs or couches in the waiting room nor in the inner sanctum. He expected the sanctum to be dimly lit, shadowy, a million different places something might grab him, drag him into the dark.
Thom refused the psychologists offer to pull the blinds. The sun in his face was a relief. Warm, comforting, safe. There couldn’t be enough light.
Thom hadn’t shaved in days and his face was covered in stubble. Likewise, his hair was greasy, unkempt, in turn clinging in limp clumps or standing on end. Dark circles surrounded his sunken bloodshot eyes. His handshake with the doctor was quick and his palms were sweating. An aura of body odor around him Thom tried to hide underneath a heavy application of deodorant.
Thom looked like what he was: a man on the verge of a complete nervous breakdown. His body and mind were preparing to collapse from exhaustion. Lack of sleep was literally killing him.
Thom hadn’t had a decent night sleep in four months. He was starting to hallucinate. It was under the bed he shared with Libby through ten pretty good years of marriage.
Libby didn’t seem to notice or maybe it wasn’t bothering her. Little Marion didn’t seem to be bothered either. She went to bed with no more than the usual two-year-old amount of fuss. Nothing out of the ordinary there either. Thom wasn’t a saint and never made the claim.
Hey, he was human. What was he supposed to do? Say no?
In ten years of marriage to Libby he had been a decent husband to her, maybe he had been a little distant, and he was completely devoted to little Marion. Marion was his miracle. His low sperm count made it unlikely Libby would ever conceive.
The swimmers he did have were too much like him, lackadaisical. Unmotivated and unambitious they swam lazily. Libby called that lazy streak Thom time. He wasn’t lazy, he liked to do things at his own pace.
That thing under the bed couldn’t be dealt with in Thom time. It had to be handled soon. He couldn’t go much longer without sleep. When he first started hearing it he thought maybe there was a rodent in his bedroom. Foolishly he had gotten out of bed, set his feet down RIGHT BESIDE THE MATTRESS. He had no idea why he was even still here.
He fetched the flashlight from the kitchen and was coming up the stairs pretending to be a Jedi wielding a lightsaber. That’s when he saw It. Thom had turned his head toward his bedroom, blocking a laser blast in spectacular, effortless fashion. The underside of his bed was illuminated for a split second. It was under there. Looking at him. Wiry hair and pointed teeth. But in that split second, Thom saw its eyes. Red and horrible and greedy as the depths of hell. Staring hungrily at Thom. And Thom knew that if he went back to bed it would grab him by the ankle and jerk him into some awful unknowable darkness.
He ran back down the stairs flashlight and thoughts of Jedi forgotten. He had his hand on the doorknob unsure of where he was going. Anywhere that thing wasn’t worked for him. Then he thought about Marion. Imagining that thing skulking down the hall toward his sweet daughter’s bedroom. His cowardice would condemn his little girl.
He had to stay so it would leave his baby girl alone. Thom didn’t think about his wife that long first night. It was under his bed mere feet from Libby and she never entered his mind until the sun began to rise. He could hear it moving. There would be an occasional hiss of course hair moving against the underside of the box springs. Occasionally Thom heard it snort like the snot in the things nose was making breathing difficult. It was letting him know it was still waiting for him to come back to bed.
As the sun rose Thom began to feel a little silly. There were no such things as monsters. There certainly weren’t any underneath his bed. He was a grown man and such fears were for children. He wasn’t a child he was a man and he was going to act like a man; terrors of the night be damned. He marched determined not to acknowledge the creeping fear rising up his spine drawing the skin of his testicles tight.
He was going to march confidently into his bedroom, kiss his wife good morning, get dressed, eat breakfast, have coffee, and go to work. All normal boring adult things. No room for monsters under the bed.
Any minute now his legs would begin to move again.
The rising sun crept through his window and slid across the floor chasing away the shadows in the bedroom. Golden morning light, safe morning light, pushed the shadows further under the bed causing those remaining to thicken and blacken. The sunlight fought its way just underneath the bed and Thom heard a low growl. The sound was more the release of breath, like through a snotty nose.
Every night since had led Thom through the same routine. After dinner they gave Marion a bath. Then they would put her jammies on her and lay her in new big girl bed. Her outgrown crib replaced with a new toddler bed. Marion took to it right away telling them, “I go big girl sleep.”
After Marion had her fill of stories and drifted off into big girl sleep, he and Libby headed downstairs to clean up the dinner dishes. They never started the dishwasher until Marion had her bath. They might share a glass of wine. Thom would stream some music through Spotify or Pandora or on occasion Slacker Radio while they did the dishes. Thom would make a show of knowing all the lyrics, albums, and bands that came on. Libby pretended to be impressed.
After the dishes, Libby would take a quick shower and the pair would spend a couple of hours watching television or playing Diablo 3. Nothing satisfied like finding a fresh new piece of epic loot. A love of dungeon crawlers and loot hunts were a thing that had brought them together in the beginning of their relationship. They had their favorites, she still liked Minecraft. Thom liked role playing, action role playing, and shooter games but they shared a common passion for dungeon delving.
During the childless years they spent most of their free time enjoying worry free sex and hunting for loot. Entire weekends could easily be spent naked with a bottle of wine, a pizza, two controllers, and rumpled sheets. They were good years even without children but then Libby announced one morning she was pregnant.
She did it while making breakfast. Pass the butter, thanks. How much bacon do you want? Three cakes should do me. We’re going to have a baby. No big deal. Thom had burst into tears and then they had laughed at him. It was a good morning.
Marion had filled a void that Thom didn’t know had been growing between Libby and himself. She was an easy baby. She smiled and laughed all the time. She loved her mommy, but she was without a doubt her daddy’s girl. Thom could always make her go to sleep where she wouldn’t for Libby, or get her to eat, or most importantly he could get her to stop crying when her mother couldn’t. Marion would look at him and grin, hold his face in her tiny little hands, and whisper, “Daddy.” All the love in the world lived in her shiny face and that single breathy word.
He couldn’t leave her because It would have her. Libby didn’t seem to interest It much. It wanted him. Thom had to do something. His work was beginning to suffer. He was a programmer for a mid-sized firm and so far his skill set kept HR from firing him.
He had pulled off enough code Fu and IT wizardry in his eight years with the company that he got a little slack for his increasing level of flakiness. In fact, his work had talked to Libby to get him to go see a therapist. They were concerned the current round of pressure and deadlines was leading to burnout. They didn’t want to lose him as an employee. If he kept on they would have no choice but to fire him.
He went to the shrink more at Libby’s insistence than out of fear he might get fired. He was an experienced capable Software Engineer with a proven track record. Finding work would never be an issue for him again. His promotion to project manager meant he no longer had to be in the saddle for eight hours a day or more.
Now here he was in a psychologist’s office.
How could he explain there was a monster waiting in his home under the very bed he shared with his wife? Whenever Thom tried to sleep it came for him. He had tried sleeping on the couch only to hear it drag itself out from under the bed and begin slumping down the hall.
It moved slowly, heavily, so he would know it was coming. Moving ever closer. And when he slipped up and tried to sleep it would have him. Thom’s final moments would comprise of gnashing teeth, screams, and pain. While his sanity walked on out the door. Hell waited in the shadows beneath his bed. How could he explain? No prescription contained the cure for what ailed him.
Once he started down that path this nice well-meaning doctor would throw him into a nice well-meaning mental hospital where he would be unable to protect his baby from the thing under his bed. Who knew what other terrors lurked in the shadows? Would he be locked in a rubber room with a metal cot bolted to the floor? A room where the overhead never turned off so there would always be bristly hair or sharpened claws scraping the underside of his metal bed?
Would it whisper never ending stories about taking his family as he lay locked up, helpless? Would it tell him how his daughter screamed? Thom didn’t know and didn’t want to find out.
Dr. Norvak was missing a leg. The doc walked with a pronounced limp and the aid of a cane. He had a kind face with sharp and inquisitive eyes. Here is a man who regularly gets his eight hours sleep, Thom thought. His clothes were pressed and clean unlike the rumpled outfit Thom wore. Thom, Thom the wrinkle bomb.
“So, Thom, I hear you’ve been having trouble sleeping? Trouble at work?” Dr. Norvak asked. He looked at Thom at what Thom supposed was supposed to be concern. The stare was a little too direct, too intimate. A person didn’t become your best friend because you made an appointment. People who assumed intimacy got on Thom’s nerves. Friendship should be earned slowly, like trust. Hard won, easily lost.
Thom gave a vague nod keeping a distance from the doctor. Thom drifted near the window to stand in the golden patch of sun painting the floor. Well lit didn’t mean the room was trap free. Since this thing appeared in his life Thom had seen all manner of horrors. Things lived in the shadows no one should see. Most didn’t. Most people went about their lives oblivious of the hungry faces leering from dark places.
He heard homeless ranting about evils in the dark. Hard to avoid them in the city. He used to think them crazy. Ravings easily dismissed, crazy talk, not reality. Now he knew differently. Paranoid rants echoing between buildings contained more truth than he’d ever known. The thing under his bed confirmed it.
Looking at his appearance reflected in the doctor’s windows he didn’t see himself. The software professional, upwardly mobile successful man was gone. Haunted eyes stared back at him from a face he barely recognized. Stubbled cheekbones jutted out. He resembled one of those insane ravers. Dr. Norvak could only offer platitudes, dig into his childhood, or worse prescribe a sleep aid. Thom had moved beyond help. He’d lost sight of the path.
Dr. Norvak stared at him expectantly. He must have asked a question Thom completely missed.
“What did you say? Sorry, I was…. somewhere else.” Thom’s cheeks reddened. Focus never used to be a problem. One more thing he had lost control of. He hated it. Now he kept up with shadows and paths of shadows.
“I asked if you’d like to sit down. It’s ok if you’d prefer to stand. Never mind, where did you go?”
“It doesn’t matter.”
“Of course, it matters. You don’t think I can help you, but I can.”
Sure buddy, sure you can, Thom thought, got a flamethrower? An old priest and a young priest? All I need to do is tell you about the monster under my bed. A monster who won’t let me get any sleep. My work is suffering? Who gives a fuck about work? It wants to eat me or my daughter. Perhaps both, like a two for one. Get a clue.
Thom didn’t say any of that. He said, “No, you really have no idea.”
The doctor grinned. Condescending jerk, Thom thought. He sat behind his desk, fingertips meeting in a little teepee over a yellow legal pad, smiling over his glasses at Thom. Thom was too far away to read what was written although he had no doubt the words hospital and paranoid were somewhere close to his name.
“Let me take a shot in the dark, and if I’m right, you sit, and we talk like civilized men.”
Thom nodded said, “But if you’re wrong, I’m out of here and you write up a glowing review. I get back to my life.”
This time the doctor nodded and then continued, “Fair enough. You haven’t been sleeping well, that’s obvious. You’re edgy, on guard, shadows make you nervous. Out of high school you went to college where you got by, not great, not bad. From there, you landed a job where you do enough to not get fired.”
Thom wasn’t overly impressed with the loose generalities. A bunch of carny bullshit meant to fool rubes. If this was his best bit Thom was wasting his time.
“You have a wife you’re slowly becoming disinterested in. You don’t know why. One child, maybe more, and the child is the reason you’re still around. The sex is boring, repetitive. Life has shown you all it has to offer leaving you feeling stale. So, you went out and made a mistake.”
The doctor had his attention. Still, millions of married people felt the same.
“Guilt about the mistake claws at you, an affair, maybe you stole something…no,” now the doctor seemed to be considering him for the first time. Thom felt like a bug under a microscope. All secrets laid bare. “No, I don’t see a thief. You don’t strike me as a particularly violent man either. Let’s rule that out, shall we? Your sin was betrayal, I think. You thought you could get away with it, keep it to yourself, but it’s haunting you.”
Thom stood considering.
“It won’t let you sleep. The lack of sleep is affecting every other aspect of your life. You’re trapped. You don’t want to lose your family. You can’t move past the guilt. To confess might cost your family and that’s too high a price. How am I doing?”
Thom crossed the room and sat down.
“Close. But not quite.”
Dr. Norvak raised his eyebrows slightly. “Okay, let’s start with what I got right.”
Thom leaned back in the chair and closed his eyes for a second. A low growl echoed from behind a bookshelf. Thom’s eyes snapped back open and he exhaled a breath he wasn’t aware of holding. Dr. Norvak appeared not to notice.
“I hate my job. Up until this…this…insomnia started I hated my life.”
“Lots of people hate their jobs. They make changes to improve their lives.”
“Yeah, but I’m not lots of people.”
“Do you think that attitude is a little self-absorbed? Empathy binds us together as a society. It makes us human.”
“I know how fucked up it sounds. We’re just getting started.”
“My apologies Thom, I don’t mean to be confrontational. Please, continue.”
Thom shook his head, “Growing up I always felt there was something to look forward to. There was always the next level to aspire to. A goal to work toward, you know?” Thom didn’t wait for an answer. He had opened the flood gates. The story would be told.
“After graduation, I was married, had a kid. I’d locked down the big tech job. All that remained was…routine. I’d get up, drink coffee, go code, come home, eat dinner, watch tv or play a game, go to bed. The next day I’d get up and do it again. Nothing changed. Ever. I wondered, is this it? Is this my life? I felt like I’d been programmed into an endless loop. Every day was the same.
One day we had a retirement party for one of the senior partners. The guy already looked dead to me. In a way I knew he WAS me, thirty or forty years down the road. Congrats, here’s a cake and a cheap watch. Go home. Try not to die. I turned to leave and ran into her.”
“Her?” The doctor raised his eyebrows.
“Yes, her. Don’t most stories in here involve a her?”
“Please continue. Her.”
“She was interning. Still in college. Hopeful. You know the type, pretty, fresh, bright eyed, naïve, nice tits. Starry eyed a senior project manager bumped into her. I took advantage. She asked if she could take me to dinner. Pick my brain. I guess she wasn’t quite as naïve as I thought.”
“Go on.”
“She was fun, flirty. Didn’t really talk about work. Her youthful optimism, things she wanted, places she wanted to go, her passion was infectious. Libby, my wife, droned on about neighbors or the baby. I felt like I was suffocating.”
“She talked me into going to a club with her. She didn’t have to try hard, I wanted to go. She looked amazing.
The club pulsed with heat, noise, desperation. Conversation was impossible. It didn’t matter. She took me by the hand, led me to the dance floor, fed me a pill that was probably ecstasy but I’m not certain, and we danced.”
“You danced? Nothing more?”
“Well, by dance I mean she was grinding up against me. Rubbing my hands up and down her body. Libby never moved like that. Even when we were young, she never moved like her. I should have felt awkward. I didn’t. Older guy, hot young girl, the drugs, fuck it’s cliché.”
“The next morning, I came home and told Libby a lie about staying in the office. She asked why I didn’t answer the phone I told another lie about being in the secure server room. She doesn’t know it doesn’t exist. She never understood much about what I do. I went directly to the shower and then to bed. That’s when…never mind…
Libby didn’t suspect anything and why should she? I’d never done anything like this before. I’d been Mr. Dependable for years. Staying out all night was an anomaly, a one-time deal, nothing to be concerned about. Either that or she didn’t care. She trusted me, couldn’t conceive of me being unfaithful. I don’t believe she knew how unhappy I was either. I don’t know. You’d have to ask her.”
“You interrupted yourself. You were going to say that was the first time,” Dr. Norvak made circles in the air with his hands, the universal GO ON gesture, “what?”
“Doesn’t matter.”
“That isn’t the whole truth, is it? Let’s do an experiment.” Dr. Norvak stood up. Moving toward the beaded chain which would close the blinds. “I’m going to close these blinds. Each lie you tell, I turn the rod blocking out a little more sunlight.”
“Please, don’t. You don’t know what you’re doing.” Thom jumped up, rushing toward the door. The knob wouldn’t turn. Dr. Norvak locked the door sometime during his story.
“I know exactly what I’m doing, Thom. This is a place for honesty. Confession. More lies and we’ll sit, locked in together. In the dark.”
The square of unfiltered sunlight now marred with thin shadows thrown by the blinds.
The doctor looked at him flatly, all kindness and consideration gone. “Sit down, Thom. What you do determines what It is going to do. It’s like a bear in that regard don’t you think? Yes, quite like a bear.”
“What am I supposed to do? What is It? How do you know about It?”
Dr. Norvak tapped his missing leg. “I’ve dealt with It before. Confess. That’s what It wants, why It chose you. Your guilt called It.”
“But I did confess.”
“The whole truth, dear boy.”
Dr. Norvak twisted the clear plastic rod and the blinds rotated. The shadows thickened into bars.
“It was an accident! How much do I need to suffer?”
“You took on a special burden when you chose to reward faithfulness with betrayal. You chose. Now own your choice, take responsibility.”
Another twist. The bars thickened. Sunlight swapped places with shadow becoming thin beams cutting the darkened square.
“I can’t do that!,” Thom wailed, “I can’t lose Marion!”
“Your wife leaving you, taking your daughter is a possibility. It taking her where you will never see her again is a certainty. It will suck your pain and guilt forever. That’s not possibility. That WILL happen. You look close to breaking, and I’m a fair judge, I don’t think you have much time at all.”
A claw emerged from behind the bookshelf scratching a fine tear in the silken wall paper.
Tears ran down Thom’s face. Somehow this doctor knew. If the rod twisted anymore the blinds would cut off the sunlight completely. Thom knew when it happened his guilt was inescapable. Everything comes home eventually. “You know what gamma-hydroxybutyric acid is?”
“GHB. A date rape drug.”
Thom’s voice was flat, mechanical, relating the details of premeditated rape as casually as reading off a grocery list. “I’d gotten some before the retirement party. I’d had my eye on the intern since she started. I asked her out. I asked her to the club. My heart was pounding as I slipped it into her drink. I took her on the dancefloor to speed it through her system. I guess I used too much, she started to go limp. I drug her to the bathroom.”
Dr. Norvak said nothing. The claw had been joined by another, tearing new strips in the wall.
“While having sex with her-“
“Raping her.” Dr. Norvak corrected.
“Yes. R-Raping her. She stopped breathing. I got scared and left her on the toilet. Later I heard she died. It wasn’t my fault.” Thom’s eyes pleaded for Dr. Norvak to understand, to open the blinds.
“You raped and murdered a young woman, left her in a filthy bathroom to die, because you got bored.”
“N-no” Thom blubbered. “I didn’t mean to-“
“What? Kill her? Violate her? What exactly didn’t you mean to do? Go to the police. I’ll give you one day and then I’m duty bound to call them. One day, Thom. One. Your hour is up. If you want to talk further, your company isn’t going to pay for any more of my time. That will be on you. If you’d like to discuss anything else, make an appointment with my secretary. Get out of my office.”
Dr. Norvak twisted the rod. Sunlight flooded back in chasing away the shadow.
Confessing to Libby went the way he imagined. Three days ago, she’d taken Marion and left. He was sure the police were looking for him. There had been several knocks on the door. Now they were out there pounding. The frame shook beneath the force. Pictures of his family rattled, falling off the walls shattering. Broken glass tinkled along the hallway. His cell phone indicated seventeen missed calls.
He’d pushed all the furniture out of the bedroom except for the mattress and the lamps. No shadows in here. He’d figure a way out of this mess, but first he needed to sleep. As he lay staring at his bedroom door, the closet swung open on silent hinges. A low growl emanated from the darkness within.
Outside the front door he heard, “Cut the power, we’re going in.”
submitted by OldSchoolHorror to libraryofshadows [link] [comments]

2020.11.24 00:15 darkrealm190 Would love some feedback and guidance on how my writing is doing for my fantasy book! New to writing to this extent.

Hello! Just for some clarification, I graduated with a degree in English Education but the only papers I had to write were big research papers. I have always loved fantasy and finally fishing the outline of a book I'm writing and would love some feedback on what I have so far. I accept all constructive criticism because I genuinely want to get better! Thank you in advance! (Still workshops some names of my places) EDIT: Hopefully I fixed most of the formatting mistakes! I was on mobile at the time.
The Broken Alliance
 “Look at him,” Reeve said staring through the line of sight. “I wonder when I let this go, if all the other men will go running.” Jorm came up behind him patting his back with a thud. “If they do, the dumb shits will end up face first in the mud!” He trailed off back to his covered hole with a chuckle. Sitting there so cramped with his big belly he had to undo his belt. Reeve gave a little laugh, “Sit there like a pig any longer and they’ll stuff you with an apple.” The sun was just starting to go down and the sky was getting dark so Reeve prepared some climbing gear for when the time came Jorm could get down. He looked to the sky whispering, “As soon as the first star shines, we strike.” Jorm giggled, his rosy cheeks puffing out and with a white knuckled grip he held his pike. He carried it with him everywhere he went and it had a long wooden shaft that led to an intricately carved spear point. The tip of it was outlined in gold that gave it a faint glow in the encroaching darkness. He looked at Reeve through the bushes, “This’ll be the biggest haul we ever had!” “Yes, so don’t mess this one up Jorm, you don’t want to see that pike shoved up your ass.” The two were posted on a cliff edge over looking a glen that served as an outpost for the Fangthrim infantry and a waypoint for traders and merchants of the like. The soldiers below were stoking a fire that was roasting a wild deer. There were only about six of them each with a gold crest of the Fangthrim family on the front of their breastplates. The crest was a golden stag and in its horns rested three glowing orbs. They represented the three main factions of Seervale. The pale opaque blue orb represented the Elves who were ruled by the great elder Alahandriel, who has lived longer than any one creature in Seervale, or so they say. An orb, as red as blood with gold flowing underneath the surface, represented the Dwarves. The Dwarves lived mostly underground in their mountains ruled by the four Dwarven kings Golfrin, Jornstun, Durndon, and Yondir. The Dwarves were known for keeping to themselves and rarely meddling with affairs of the surface, coming out only when political needs called for it. Lastly there was the green orb that represented Man who is ruled over by many kings and their land is greatly divided, always at war with each other. The orb was green because it has been said that the gods, called the Bestowed, created Man from the forests that existed on Seervale. 
Through pale blue eyes Reeve watched all of the men with a cold look setting onto his face. “C’mon Reeve,” he said to himself “Don’t let this take you. Not now.” He put his face in his hands, the vile feeling moving from the back of his head to his brow. “Reeve buddy, what’s wrong?” Jorm said with genuine concern. “Ahem, um nothing, I’m fine,” Reeve mumbled pushing back the pain, yet his head was still burning. He turned to the sky, “Oh look, first star! Get ready and back into place.” Reeve turned back to the men, took a deep breath and let an arrow fly straight through the first soldiers face with a wet thump. The soldier landed face up in the mud, eyes open and his mouth gurgling with crimson blood. Reeve then jumped off of the cliff, almost weightless, and landed silently on the ground. His black leather armor kept him from making any noise and in the night he was just a shadow. Jorm went running to the cliff face yelling, “WAIT FOR ME!” He started down the climbing gear Reeve set up with a whimpering sound. “Dammit Reeve, you know I hate heights!” He shouted down with a huge bellow. A burly soldier came up to Reeve with a giant greatsword twice the length of himself and Reeve greeted playfully, “Fine night my friend, is it not?” As the silver plated soldier angrily lunged at Reeve he was surprised to find that the silent figure was already behind him, blades out. The cold steel crossed his sweat glistened throat in an instant, decapitating the large soldier who couldn’t even shout. Hearing the crunch of two sets of boots to the left, Reeve spun around and ducked underneath two swords slicing the air just above him. As he stood back up two soldiers were staring at him, each one with a wild look in their eyes. “Well now men, do you think this is a fair fight? Two against one?” The three of them were strafing around the other. Reeve was still holding his blood soaked daggers in his hands waiting for them to make the first move. The two soldiers grunted and launched themselves at Reeve with their swords aimed straight for his face. In one swift movement, he walked in between the two soldiers faster than they could even run, then turned around and pushed the daggers into the small of their backs, breaking the spine of one of them in the process. They both fell to the ground with a thud and the first one got up and ran at Reeve again. Before he could even swing his sword Reeve struck him on the side of the helmet and ripped the sword from his hand. “Well, it looks like this is mine now!” Reeve let out a short laugh before he took the sword and shoved it in the soldier’s neck until it was buried to the hilt and sticking out of the other side. As the soldier tried to claw it out, he tripped on his partners boot and fell backwards, impaling the one that was still on the ground with the other side of the sword that was protruding from his neck. By the time Jorm made it down Reeve had already slain three men. Now it was three against two. With his short strides he rubbed his red braided beard and decided what to do next. “Look at you, and all yer fancy twirling Reeve. Almost as graceful as a dancing schoolgirl! You only left three, where’s the fun in that?” Jorm playfully chided as he slipped in between the legs of another soldier and buried his pike through a slit in the armor. The tip of it landed right between his shoulder blade and chest; a loud crunch could be heard as his heart was pierced leaving a trail of thick blood flowing from the exit wound of the pike. The other soldier seemed to underestimate Jorm because he charged after him the instant he saw his partner die. As Jorm turned and ran he slammed the end of the pike into the ground, its wooden shaft going about a third of the way down into the hard dirt. After about twenty seconds he couldn’t hear the soldier behind him so he turned around and winced. The soldier that had barreled towards Jorm was so focused on him, he didn’t see the pike that was buried in the ground and had run face first into the spear tip. By the time Jorm got over to his weapon, the dead soldier had already slid down the length of it. He grimaced as he shook the weapon free and wiped the pieces of brain that were stuck to it. All that was left was the captain of the little battalion. He was on his knees and shaking as Reeve and Jorm walked up to him. The captain’s eyes widened, “By the Bestowed! It can’t be,” What he saw were the pointed ears on Reeve with his long black hair and the short man with a beard who only reached up to a knee. “An Elf and a Dwarf? I thought the LeVillian alliance between the two was broken!” For a minute both sat there completely unspoken looking between each other. “Oh it is,” Sighed Reeve, “But that doesn’t mean WE can’t work together. Also, this is where you are going to come in” He slapped the captain on the horned golden helm with the tip of his sword and grinned. Jorm chuckled to himself thinking of the loot they were about to receive. “Look at the poor sod Reeve. He’s practically about to piss himself!” Reeve looked at the captain with the golden uniform. Dawning a steely expression, he whispered, “C’mon, take off the uniform before we gut you and leave.” The captain stripped and handed it to Jorm who looked surprised. “You think I can wear this? The old man’s sanity has been compromised!” After Jorm handed the uniform to Reeve, they lifted the naked captain who was whimpering. Reeve rolled his eyes and joked, “The Capital really makes nerves of steel they do, leaving me to wonder why all we see are idiots that can’t keep their own bodily fluids inside themselves.” After a bit more joking, they tied him to a horse bound with a gag in his mouth. Reeve leaned in close to the man and whispered, “We are going to let you leave now and you better hope someone finds you. And when they do, you do not speak a word of what happened here to anyone, or else you are going to have a much worse fate then what happened here to your men. Do you understand?” The horrified captain nodded his head violently hoping he got his own point across. Reeve slapped the horse on its flank, and it took off running into the night. “Well, what in the hell did you tell him? He looked like a ghost after that,” Jorm asked Reeve with a quizzical look. “Oh, just something to make sure he wouldn’t give us up or talk about a Dwarf and an Elf working together.” The two cleaned up the camp and took all of the supplies that the soldiers raided from some poor village to the east. Some essentials were then packed up and they both set off to the North and headed onward to the main city of men. Tiirdon.
“What in all of Seervale is this Reeve?!” Jorm boomed while lifting a spoon from a wooden bowl that was handed to him. A vile thick, black liquid cascaded from it and plopped down back into the bowl. They were sitting beside a tiny fire on a bed of grass in the Greenwood forest about 5 miles from Tiirdon. The forest was notorious for bandits and mercenaries of the like to camp out in waiting for lonely vulnerable merchants to pass. The area was regarded with much caution and the king’s men in Tiirdon tended to not meddle in the affairs that went on here. It was an infestation that cost too much to handle. Reeve looked at Jorm with a scowl, “That, my little dwarven friend, is filled with everything you need to keep those tiny little legs of yours running.” “It looks like it was made with the inside of your boots after a long day of wading through shit,” He lifted a spoonful close to his nose, “Ugghhh, and smells like it too!” “Well, maybe if you would actually try something that I made for once, that gigantic stomach of yours would go down a bit!” He laughed with a sly smile crossing his face. Jorm looked down and grabbed a handful of his own stomach, “Hey! I’ll have you know that this is muscle. A dwarf does NOT get fat. We proudly work all day in the mines of our ancestors. All day in there swinging a pickaxe is bound to grow some muscle. So shut yer sodden elven mouth,” With his pride getting the better of him, Jorm shoved a spoonful of the black liquid into his mouth. His eyes widened and in an instant he had the bowl pressed against his lips draining the liquid from existence. “Well, well, well Jorm. You seem to have had a change of heart,” Reeve laughed while filling another bowl for the Dwarf. “You tricky bastard Reeve. Something that looked and smelled as evil as that, I was sure it was going to rot my insides out for a month!” “Yes, well, if you haven’t found out by now, I’m always full of surprises. If you haven’t, you are a lot less intelligent than you already look,” Reeve was looking into the night sky like he has done for all of his life as long as he could remember, “It’s getting late now and the moon is completely overhead. On the marrow we have to meet Bjorn.” “That snake of a man? He gives me the chills Reeve. I feel like the second he is confronted, he would give everything away for nothing more than a copper shiln.” “He is a paying client. He is the reason we are still alive in the first place, gives us money to feed ourselves and continue to do what we do. We help people with anything they want. As long as they pay, we lend our services,” Reeve was running blades of grass through his finger as he talked, “We will see what he wants and then we will decide on a price and do our job. We can’t let emotions get in the way of that.” “Aye Reeve, I trust you and that you will do the right thing. I’m with you all the way and wouldn’t trade it for anything. C’mon, who would give up that black, foul smelling, horrendous soup you make?” He laughed a deep hearty laugh while stroking his long beard. “Let’s get some rest, we have long day ahead of us.” They put out the fire so none of the other mercenaries or bandits would sneak up on them in the night. Not that anyone would survive an encounter with the two most well known freelance mercenaries in all of underground Seervale. ... “Wake up.” 
Jorm was greeted with a slight shove in the ribs from Reeve, who was already cleaning up the last bits of the camp that they had set up. “Oi! What in the hell are you doing Reeve? Why are you waking me up this early? You very well know how a Dwarf gets when he doesn’t get enough sleep,” Jorm was staring at Reeve waiting for an answer. “Someone was here while we were sleeping. Which makes me a slight bit nervous because I didn’t know until I woke up,” He looked around peering into the woods and Jorm could see a bit of worry underneath his normally stern features, “Even in my sleep, be it man, dwarf, or elf, I would be able to hear or smell them. The only reason I knew they were here is because there was the faint imprint of a boot right next to your head and note left laying beside you.” Reeve was gifted the day he was born with extraordinarily strong senses. Elves are known already for having an amazing sense of smell, sight, and hearing, but Reeve surpassed all of his other brethren. When he was just a boy, the hunters would all argue who was going to take him on their trips because he was unmatched when it came to hunting wild animals and forging for food. Growing up, Reeve finally started to understand his abilities and when the alliance of the Dwarves and Elves crumbled, he broke away from his clan in search of a job more suited to him and his abilities. “What in all of the Bestowed does it say? Why and the hell did neither of us wake up?” Jorm was already picking up his gold outlined pike, watching it shimmer in the sun coming through the green trees above. He walked over to Reeve who was pulling the note out of his pocket and Jorm stood beside him so he could get a look as Reeve read it out loud. “Those who meddle in the affairs of others do not end up in the favor of those most dangerous. What you, the dwarven and elven duo, do not understand and continue to pursue, will end up being your untimely end. If you continue along this path, this road of redemption you seek in bringing the dwarves and elves together again, you will be cut down like the sneaky and bothersome rats that you are.”
submitted by darkrealm190 to fantasywriters [link] [comments]

2020.11.23 07:56 muffinartillery Dark Times in Zone Five

Chapter I
There was nothing worse, January thought, than a ghost that had been starving for years.
It wasn’t a real ghost, of course. There was no such thing as ghosts. But shades were a bonafide reality— hair-sheddingly, scream-inducingly real as you or anyone else. It made no difference whether you were a cross-clutching New Dawner or a sworn atheist; one look at that shimmering, inscrutable visage and suddenly you’re hoping to meet your maker sooner rather than later.
Today was that day for January.
It had started routine enough. Her first two alarms failed but the third— the one she had built herself from a genuine, Alaskan-made Jack Skittle salvage kit— shuddered noisily next to her mattress and got her up in time to grab the last of the warm ‘shroomtack and lukewarm coffee. She had even considered being generous; she could’ve kicked the door of the room across the hall and ensured that the latest recruit wouldn’t have to go out on an empty stomach. But she didn’t kick the door and the new recruit slept on, probably dreaming of better times and better breakfasts.
The last thing January could think of now was food, since what little she’d had was now threatening to come back up. Four hours later found her at the center of a room that someone had once called grand. Maybe a diplomat had lived here— maybe his children had slid down the bannister in front of her, now shrouded in lichens and blackwort. Something was very wrong with these lichens, January saw. As she moved the beam away from them they wilted, turning ash-gray in the darkness within seconds. The weak torch of her flashlight, she realized, was the only thing keeping them alive.
And that, January thought, was a bad sign.
On the far side of the once-grand room, something moved. January’s beam was swallowed up by the darkness the instant she tried to illuminate the corner. It was just as well; had something appeared in the light, January wasn’t sure she wanted to see what it looked like. Even so, she knew it was there. A fetid, almost grassy smell hung in the air, and she was beginning to experience a gnawing sensation at the tips of her toes. After years of training her body to rebel against a hardwired fight or flight responses, this was the only vestige of her former instincts— the part of her that would have whimpered and wet itself as soon as the beam evaporated.
January heard a crack on the front porch, not unlike the sound of a bug zapper. She knew that the last good light source— beyond the pitiful ray from her flashlight— was now toast along with the tungsten filament that had powered it. Simultaneously, the face of a radium-painted dial began to glow on a sideboard she hadn’t noticed before. That was also bad; time on the job had taught her to memorize her surroundings in an instant. Fuckups mean you end up like that lightbulb. Maybe worse.
Glancing at her Seiko she was relieved to see the hands moving steadily, counting seconds with even precision. It was 17:36, with plenty of time left in the evening to make a bad decision.
January decided that the safest course of action for now would be, quite simply, to back up. Even that was not without its risks. As a check-riding apprentice she had once observed the consequences of reflexive, uncontrolled flight. A young Assistant Detector with at least five years of experience but two nights without sleep had turned his back on the shade in front of him, ignoring the shouts of his partner. The spirit had closed the distance between them in a matter of milliseconds; January was unable to see what precisely happened, but knew from the screams that it couldn’t be good. She later learned that he was lucky to still have half of his arm; which dimension the other half was in now, only God knew.
Now, with conscious, painful effort, she lifted the heel of her right foot ever so slightly off the wood floor, silently praying for her orthopedic sneakers— recommissioned from a nursing supply store on 8th— to do their job and dampen any body sounds. Those snap-crackle tendon pops tended to attract notice from an ornery shade. Not that it was ever personal. Everyone was bound to die; quiet bodies just seemed to die a lot slower. Starved of life, light, and— in the worst case scenario— any sense of chronology, shades remained as reflexively, and sometimes aggressively responsive to the living as the knee to a hammer. This, at least, was the analogy that had been afforded to January and her peers back in training.
Of course, the researchers who had written the only existing primers on Detection were probably dead. January had certainly never met one; the closest she had ever come to a scientist was the waxy-looking intern behind the desk at the recruitment station who had tapped the boxes for January to initial with the one-remaining finger on her right hand. At least it was a well-manicured finger; Jill Skittle Birdseye Blue #6 nail plastique and the hair color to match. If you’re going to go, January had thought, might as well go out looking pretty.
January was not feeling pretty and thus not particularly keen on going out just yet. She reminded herself to keep moving. Heel lifted, she picked up her foot with caution and backpedaled with slow deliberateness. With her right foot now planted, she prepared to move her left. Just as the toes on her left foot began spreading in anticipation, she heard a noise from the looming shadow in front of her.
No, not actually a noise, January thought. More like the suggestion of one.
Shades didn’t make sounds, not really. There was nothing physical to produce a frequency; no larynx to squeeze and hiss; no epiglottis to vibrate, nor tongue to click. The best way that January could describe the sensation she experienced on her first checkride was the impression of a sound, as if someone had prompted her by whistling a few bars from her favorite song.
There was nothing comforting about this prompting, however. The “sound” felt hollow and raw, and she suppressed the urge to self-soothe in that moment— talk to herself, or even crack a little joke. Instead, she swallowed the pre-scream bile rising in her throat as soundlessly as possible and willed her left foot to move. It worked; the foot was in the air, and the sound stopped as soon as it began.
There were exactly six steps behind her and the door. She knew because she had counted them as soon as she arrived, exactly as she had been trained to do. It was unusual to find a shade so close to the entrance; most of them were in a back room somewhere, or perhaps an attic. January had once found a shade alone in an old speakeasy— precisely 15 steps toward the dartboard at the far end. She had to back away from that one as well; her eyes never left the dartboard, even as she took her final step out of the room and closed the door.
That one probably hadn’t even been all that dangerous; while it had never been proven, most researchers remained confident that the most malignant shades resided closer to Ground Zero. The speakeasy had been in Zone Five; incredibly active, but still manageable for a solo Detector. Following an encounter in Zone Five, folks might even emerge with their limbs still intact.
While shifting her weight for Step No. 5, January began to move her hand towards the belt at her waist. The panic button rested directly above her right hip; with one simple motion she could summon aid in time to salvage whatever would be left of her in five minutes. The button was encased in a tiny nutshell of lead; while the lightbulbs failed around her, the button was engineered to withstand the peculiar brand of particles these shades threw around.
The trick, January thought, was to never put yourself in a position to use it.
Step five taken, step four commenced. You’re doing alright, kid. Just remember to choke up a little when you step up to the plate.
What was that now? January shook her head with the subtlest of motions. That thought hadn’t been hers. Whose, then?
Still stepping backwards, January tried to peer out of the corner of one eye towards the dry-rot afflicted furniture against the wall. Houses like this were usually looted by squatters; chances are there were no photos or personal items left. And yet she looked, if only to give her eyes something else to focus on besides the darker-than-dark shadow in front of her. Your average shade was scary enough in the abstract. There had been five others in January’s cohort. Upon seeing their first shade one of them didn’t take it so well. They were later assigned to a desk job— one that didn’t involve staring into an interminable, soul-sucking void. Against all reason (and against chapter 20, section 5.5 of the textbook’s guidelines), January had looked.
Not as bad as it could be, January thought. It looks a bit like water, like ripples.It didn’t actually look like water, but it helped to compare it to something familiar and relatable, like the way the light played on the bottom of a swimming pool.
At least, that sounded like something she’d come up with. It sounded like her. But as her foot came to rest behind her, she felt less sure of her thoughts.
January had never been a particularly superstitious person. Unlike many of her friends, the incident on Day Zero had failed to incline her towards a faith, or any form of spiritualism. That day she had been seated at a bar on the top floor of Markfield Towers, sipping her second Sawyer gimlet made from genuine domestic bitters and trying to get a closer look at the vintage cufflinks on the gentleman’s wrist to her direct right. Cufflinks were a rarity these days; who needed to cuff a shirt, anyway? She must have been none too subtle about it, because the man wordlessly unbuttoned the cuff and placed it next to the sweating stem of her glass.
January looked up and the man smiled— a kind, permissive smile. She looked down again, then slowly reached out a hand and picked up the jewelry.
And then the world exploded.
By the time January made it down from the tower along with a hot stream of panicked bodies in the stairwell, she could scarcely describe what had happened. Her right hand was hurting; opening it slowly, she realized that she had been gripping the cufflink the entire time and that it had left an indent of wounded flesh at the center of her palm. There was also some blood on her shoes, and blood on the shoes of the dazed people pouring into the street. Someone puked loudly on the parking meter directly to her left; to her right, a group of teenagers stood pouring water over their heads with plastic bottles. Ignoring the community hour, others tried frantically to make calls but heard only chirpy, state-sanctioned messaging.
After walking slowly for half a block, January found an open spot on a curb and sat down next a wheezing middle-aged woman. Staring down at the ground, she noticed something gleaming against the concrete.
It was a human tooth, still wet with saliva.
A vibrating sensation on her thigh snapped her from her reverie. In front of her, the shadow shimmered with mirage-like haze. Although she knew that no one— at least not in the real sense— was in the room with her, January still couldn’t shake the feeling that someone else was sharing the same space. The buzz at her side increased; it was her silent Geiger, reminding her that in all probability she stood mere yards away from a generous source of isotopes— and not the friendly kind, either. Her flashlight began blinking rapidly. A fresh trainee would have sworn, maybe hit the flashlight against the butt of their palm. January stood still instead, watching the blink pattern closely. Four blinks, then pause. Four more blinks, then pause again.
Years back some young, ambitious engineer had rigged up a clever way to soundlessly gauge the p-count. Four blinks certainly wasn’t promising; the shade was proximate— or, more specifically— it was probable. Four meant that things might start getting wildly anomalous. A veteran Detector had once described a p-count of 5 to January as a “poor man’s acid trip.” Time seemed to stop, even go backwards. Parts of the floor began tiling up into the ceiling like some kind of Escher drawing. By that time he had even given the shade a name and begun telling it his life story; his buddy on the rescue team told him that they found him on the floor explaining baseball stats to someone named “King Chowder.”
Just as she finished her silent blessing to the maker of p-counting flashlights everywhere, the beam began to flicker and fade. “Cheap Kentucky shit,” she thought. She had about 3 hexes left in the Skittle kit; if she made it out of here (which she was still determined to do), the light was destined for cannibalization.
She began to sweat with urgency, but her fingers had found their way to the belt at this point. With subtle, inching movement, January pressed the button. A dull glow emitted from the trigger on her hip; to the best of her knowledge, someone would be looking for her soon. January hoped that they would arrive in time. Sometimes Detectors knew when their ticket was about to get punched; out of honor, or most likely shame, they would find some nearby closet and close the door behind them. It’s never a good day when your friends have to find your blistered corpse. It was too bad that there was no real way to feed a shade; after all, what could ever satisfy the embodiment of emptiness? Denied easy exit, they simply kept roaming, and growing.
As a young girl, January had once skimmed a book (a real book!) about Chernobyl in the local public library (a real library!). Amid the photos of diagrams and scientists, one image in particular stood out: that of the elephant’s foot— a petrified mass of basalt, concrete, and radioactive matter that had burned its way through three layers of flooring on a determined path to the earth’s core. After reading the caption, January decided that the most terrifying aspect of the photo was the nickname given to the mass. There had been nothing remotely recognizable about that vague, grotesque shape— until she read the caption at the bottom of the page. Once the comparison entered her mind, however, it became harder to shake. The mass was a living, familiar thing— crawling angry atoms looking for their missing parts and gobbling up materials along the way.
Shades were the same way, really. They were no more humanoid than the mass had been elephantine. Sharpened with the radioactive flavor of Cesium-137, though, even a mere rock could put a hole in your hand in seconds.
The light suddenly went out. “Fuck” January heard herself say. Instantly, the Geiger on her hip began to vibrate with more urgency. At this point she knew that the game had to be up. Even without a light to see by, January sensed that the shade was somewhere close. Her mouth welled up with saliva that tasted vaguely of foil. Never a good sign. No longer worried about sound, nor movement, January extended her leg behind her and waited for her foot to bang into something. Preferably the door. For some inexplicable reason, she glanced down to her wrist to check the time. It’s been some kind of fun, she thought. And then, I hope that Greaves is the one to step in what’s left of me. Always was an asshole. The numbers swam up through blurred vision.
“No way” she said aloud.
They read 17:36, with plenty of time left in the evening to make a bad decision.
At that precise moment, January’s foot hit the door. But not the door that she was expecting.
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2020.11.20 10:31 naturalbirthsupport Season 3 Concept Material

It was Holdon Ford’s first day of road school, for the national Board for Hydration and water sports. Road school was a travelling class which would visit young children and teach them about hydration and the proper reasons for it.
Nervous, with one hand hidden sneakily in his pocket, he addressed the first class of his new career.
“Now”, he began cautiously, “can anyone here tell me the deFINITIon of hydration.”
All the children raised their hands, but Holdon immediately knew he had to pick the small fat girl sitting in the back row, because she was just cute as peaches and sweet as candy.
“You”, said Holdon, pointing at the girl, “what do you think hydration means?”
The thick girl took a pause, before blurting out :
“Hydration… is… when you drink water.”
“Wrong!” replied special agent Ford, stifling a laugh. Who else wants to give it a go?”
All the children lowered their hands and looked anxiously at one another.
Grasping for ideas, Holdon turned to ms Antwoninette.
“What do you think hydration is, teach?”
The class looked at ease.
Taken aback, ms Antwoninette took a moment to gather her jumbled thoughts.
“Answer the fucking question..”, breathed Agent Tench down the teacher’s neck, with his 45. Pressed firmly into the small of her spine.
“Ding ding ding and your time is up, teach!!”, screamed agent Ford, in an effort to inject some spunk in to the children’s weary smiles.
“Hydration is actually when you drink water and it hydrates you”, said Holdon, folding his arms as a smirk crept across his face.
The room was silent for a moment. Then, Agent tench stepped back from the teacher, holstering his sidearm and looking his new protege dead in the eye. First one clap, then two, then three…
The room erupted into thunderous applause.
Leaving the elementary school by the side exit, to avoid fans, Bill and Holdon began towards the parking lot.
“Holdon!”, barked agent Tench.
Agent Ford stopped dead in his tracks and spun to face Bill.
“What’s up?”
“Keep walking goddamn it, we’re in a rush” spat Tench, hurried for refuge from the rain. “Why’d you always stop when I call your name?”
“You told me to hold on.” replied Holdon, nonchalantly.
“No dag-nab it you stupid son of a bitch, that’s just your first name” explaimed Tench, with a confrontational, bemused expression.
Upon realising his blunder, agent Ford drew a deep breath and began forwards once again.
“I swear Holdon” continued Tench, “half the time its like working with Holmes and the rest of the time you’re like those kids down at the ‘special’ school…”
Tench trailed off as he locked eyes with Brian, sat in the back of the beige sedan. His face dropped.
“Bill…” started Holdon.
“I know, shit.” replied Tench.
Turning to face one another, the pair shared in an angst filled wince.
“Why did you bring Brian again, Nancy at a meeting?” enquired Holdon.
“I never really know why Brian’s here.” said Tench under his breath.
Back on the road, Tench nodded absent mindedly to David Bowie’s Young Americans playing on the car stereo, glancing occasionally over at his partner, who appeared deep in thought.
“Bill?”, started Holdon, staring out the car window at the mighty oak thoroughfare.
“What?”, replied Agent Tench bluntly.
“How’d you read that teacher? Do you think she really didn’t know the definition of hydration or was she playing us for fools?”
A little started, Tench took a pause.
“Playing us for fools… for school children? Really Holdon?
“I don't buy it Bill.” Holdon turned to face Tench with a manic glimmer in his eyes. “How does a woman get to 35 or 40 and have never encountered the meaning of something so elemental. It’s the central pillar of healthy living for christ sake, isn't it part of the curriculum?”.
“Why’d you think they brought us in Holdon?” replied Tench, cracking the window and lighting a cigarette.
“Ok Bill, what about the name then? Ms Antwoinette? This isn’t New Orleans, the odds of finding a fourth or fifth generation French immigrant in up-state New-York strike me as significant.”
“So!?” replied an irritated Tench. “What doesn’t add up?”
“There's something fishy going on here Bill.” Holdon sighed and loosened his tie, focusing his gaze once more on the forest. “Very fishy indeed. And when I smell fish, I gravitate towards the source, no matter how horrifying it might be and not only because fish fingers are my favourite meal. Because bad fish smells like good evidence.”
Dr Carr stood up, grabbed her takeaway coffee and casually slung her satchel over one shoulder. As she left the buro cafeteria, she took note of each officer who lowered their voice as she passed. She’d been there a couple of months now and yet it seemed her subordinates were still unaccustomed to having a woman in charge.
“Dr Carr... you despicable cunt!”
The voice came from behind her. Wendy stopped dead in her tracks. She knew that familiar rasp anywhere.
“I told you not to bother me at work any more, Amile”, replied Dr Carr, without turning.
“Yeh? Well you should've told me that before you got this fourth-grader so nice and... hydrated…”
A silence came over the room as each officer turned to face the doctor. Wendy paused, lifted one finger and tilted her head, turning to face her acquaintance.
“Yeh? Well call me Wilma-Wheat-Thins because I’m about to suck that h20 directly out that big ‘ol head of yours and put in somewhere useful!”
The silence pondered. The officer’s stares penetrated her icy resolve. Dr Carr, hot-flushed and staring at the floor spoke harshly:
“Meet me in my office.”
“Ah, Agent Ford, I’ve been expecting you”, remarked Deputy Director Bullock, lighting and then immediately extinguishing a thick cuban cigar.
“You did ask me here sir, that’s why I came”, replied Holdon, tiring of the endless exchange.
“Ah ha! You see!? That is precisely why I was expecting you to come!”
“Well that seems reasonable.”, replied Holdon. “Well Mr Ford, I’m a reasonable man”
‘Am I going to do this’, thought Holdon to himself. ‘I have to ask. We need more time in New-York, what if those kids are in danger?’.
“Sir...”, began a hesitant Holdon.
Holdon immediately fell to the floor and began uncontrollably spazzing the fuck out, knocking his chair over and smashing the director’s prized heirloom china Vase.
“I’m… having a… panic… attack!”, chocked Holdon through laboured breaths as a small pool of foamy saliva gathered by his head.
“This shit for real?”, queried the befuddled director, looking angrily at Tench.
“Apparently”, replied Tench, adorned in the coolest grey see-through rain jacket.
After a brisk ten minutes, Agent Ford rose to his feet, brushed himself off and adjusted his tie. The director, rendered silent in disbelief, glanced frantically between the two in expectation of a proper explanation.
“So, like I was saying,” continued Holdon. “Bill and I are going to need a little longer to work the class in New York. I’m certain there’s something to be uncovered and I’ve built up a small file of evidence regarding the teacher, a Mizz Antwoinette, who clearly had a deeper story to tell than that which she was willing to let on. Let me show you here…”
“Let me stop you right there Holdon”. Bullock cringed. “This isn’t the FBI holdon, despite your briefcase and plastic badge. You aren’t an agent, neither’s your little buddy here, neither is anyone else in this entire building. Perhaps you’ve forgotten but this is the Buro for Hydration and Water Sports.”
The director turned to face the window, placing one hand in his pocket and swirling an old fashioned in the other.
“You are a Hydration National Representative Holdon, not a goddamned special agent. So, either you start acting like one and drop the FBI stchick, or it's your job. You got that?”
“Sir, I think what Holdon is trying to say is that…”, Bill started, interrupted by a stern Bullock.
“And the same goes for you Tench!”, snapped the deputy director. “I think you two have been watching too much TV.” He sighed. “The ‘investigation’ ends here.”
“Boy,” said Holdon, “that was one hell of a Bullock-ing.”
Tench didn't answer.
“Bill? You didn't hear what I just said? Bill?”, insisted Holdon.
“Yeh, I heard you”, replied Bill, sounding deflated, his voice husky and quiet.
The pair sat, for what seemed like hours, on the front step of the small office building. So rarely were they silent for so long.
“Are you still on your meds, Holdon?”, asked Jamie.
“No, you?”, replied Scott.
“No. No I’m not.”
Dr Carr looked up from her desk with the click of her office door. In came the disgruntled looking Tench followed by a sunken eyed Ford. She flicked her hair to one side, folded her arms and rested back in her luxurious pleather desk chair.
“Back so soon? I thought road school was all you two were interested in anymore.”
Neither Tench nor Ford answered. Holdon paced back and forth across the room whilst Bill remained planted in place, hands clasped behind his back.
A moment passed as the room bled with tension.
“Wendy,” started Tench, finally. “I think we need to talk. Me, you and Holdon.”
“Ok,” replied Wendy, taken aback by Bill’s sombre tone. “Can it wait?”
“How come?” enquired the anxious Bill.
“I’ve got a meeting any minute, don’t you see, I’ve got my fancy hat on.”
“Wendy, this is important”, insisted the guilt-ridden Tench.
“Cmon Bill,” spoke up Holdon, “we’ll be back this evening Wendy. But Bill’s right Wendy, we do need to talk.”
With that, Wendy watched as the duo left her office, clasping the turning lock carefully on their way out, so as not to cause another ruckus.
Alone again in her massive office, Wendy reached below her desk and produced from her purse a small blister packet of pills. Popping the thin layer of foil, she took a glass of water and raised it to her mouth.
She hesitated.
‘This ain’t me anymore. I’m not here.’, thought Wendy, dropping the pill, which rattled around on the floor like a big ‘ol rattle.
Dr Carr got to her feet, gathered her things and made for the door. Reaching for the handle, she felt it turn in her hand and watched, sunken hearted, as the door swung open to reveal the fourth grade girl. She looked betrayed.
“You never had any intention of meeting me, did you Wendy?”
‘Why lie’
“No, sorry Amile, I simply don’t have the time or energy for this anymore.”
Wendy stared, emotionless, in to the eyes of the girl. Unrelenting, the two locked eyes for half a minute.
“Run away then, again, you prick. See if I care.” Said the 8 year old girl, before turning around and sprinting for the nearest open window, in one fluid motion, jumping, and performing a textbook combat roll on to the grassy knoll outside.
‘Oh, how time flies, my child’, thought Dr Carr. ‘How time flies.’
Later that evening, Dr Carr, Agent Tench and Agent Ford met at the dive bar next door to the buro. The atmosphere was electric, despite the trio’s markedly subdued dynamic. Sitting, evenly spaced around a small circular table, each nursed a signature drink - Wendy, a classy Manhattan cocktail, Tench, a 12-year rye on the rocks and Holdon a pint of Nesquik banana Milkshake. Their comparative disease was highlighted by the light hearted jests of the other cops, playing drinking games, groping the black barmaid and taking it in turn to use the bathroom stall to snort the fresh pickings from the evidence locker.
“So, why are we here?”, enquired Wendy, breaking a half hour’s silence.
Bill and Holdon exchanged a glance.
“Well, Wendy, we have a proposition.”, said Bill.
Holdon leaned back on his bar stool, relieved that Bill had taken the reins of the conversation. However, he forgot he was sitting on a bar stool and fell backwards, head-first on to the cold, hard laminate floor.
Rising immediately back to his feet and dusting himself off, Holden again took his seat at the table.
“Yeh Wendy, a proposition, of sorts”, he echoed.
Wendy looked puzzled.
“Ok but wait… first I’ve something to tell you two.”, interrupted Wendy.
She paused. Tench gestured for her to continue.
“I’m… I am… well. I’m off my meds.”
Wendy cupped her hands about her mouth and exhaled a brief sigh of relief.
“Wendy,” began Tench, with a stern expression, just to raz her. “So are me and Holdon. We’re free-thinkers once again.”
Wendy leant in to Tench with a poorly hidden distress in her eyes.
“Wait, Scott too?!” she whispered.
“Yeh but don’t worry Luce, he’s doing just fine. We both are.”
Jamie seemed at ease. With reassuring eyes, he placed one hand over Lucy’s.
“We’re ok. We were right. Nothing bad was ever going to happen. You hear me?”
Lucy nodded. Reassured.
Snapping back to reality, they turned to face Holdon. Wendy smiled at Holdon and flicked her hair to one side, tilting her head.
“I’m proud of you.”
“I’m proud of us all”, replied Holdon, as a cheeky smirk crept across his chops.
“So, this proposition?”, continued Wendy.
“Holdon?”, said Tench.
“Well, me and Bill have been thinking”, started Holdon, “if we want to start this detective agency, why wait? Ever since we first watched Mindhunter, we’ve had it in our heads that we need to get over the therapy sessions and all the drugs first but, now we know we’re afine without them, what the hell’s holding us back?!”
“That’s right”, Bill chimed in, “there’s no time like the present so let’s stop doubting ourselves. We can DO this Wendy.”
Holdon shuddered in anticipation, his eyes locked on Dr Carr. Bill swirled his drink, before downing the lot and slamming his tumbler as hard as he could on to the flimsy wooden table, creating a small round indent.
The whole bar fell silent and turned towards the trio.
“We CAN do this Bill.”, said Wendy. “Let’s get to work.”
By the next morning, Bill, Ford and Wendy had set up shop at Tench’s family lake house in Washington State.
So, they were out of the loop a little but they had a place!? Didn’t they!?! And that's definitely not not something!! What, do you own a detective agency that’s in a cooler location!? Ah, thought not! So shut your trap, arsehole!
Anyway, before that incredibly rude and fucked interruption, I was saying…:
  1. That Bill had gone to his family’s lake house in Washington State.
  2. That Agent Ford (Holdon) had gone to Agent Tench’s family’s lake house in Washington State.
  3. That Wendy (Lucy??) had gone to Agent Tench’s family’s lake house in Washington State.
  4. (1) - They all went there in order to set up shop.
  5. (2) - They set up shop there.
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2020.11.19 17:29 SaintRidley Wrestling Observer Rewind ★ June 13, 1988

Going through old issues of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and posting highlights in my own words, continuing in the footsteps of daprice82. For anyone interested, I highly recommend signing up for the actual site at f4wonline and checking out the full archives.
The Complete Observer Rewind Archive by daprice82
1-4-1988 1-11-1988 1-18-1988 1-25-1988
2-1-1988 2-8-1988 2-15-1988 2-22-1988
2-29-1988 3-7-1988 3-14-1988 3-21-1988
3-28-1988 4-4-1988 4-11-1988 4-18-1988
4-25-1988 5-2-1988 5-9-1988 5-16-1988
5-23-1988 5-30-1988 6-6-1988 *
  • The WWF is the source of most of the news this week, and the first major thing is the Superstars taping on June 1. Dave was in Oakland and gives a full recap of the show. They had 12,120 in attendance (around 9,000 paid) and a gate around $110,000. Dave compliments the show’s atmosphere and WWF’s commitment to putting on a show, even if their style has some drawbacks. He does say that for an arena show, 29 matches is normally way too many, but since it was a tv taping, you know what you’re getting yourself into. Everyone who complains about modern tv tapings, be glad you weren’t going to these. They managed a good pace overall and kept the entire taping under 4 hours (last year’s taping in San Francisco was nearly 5 hours and had fans booing everyone in the last hour because they just wanted to see Hogan and get their money’s worth before leaving). Anyway, if you know 1980s Dave, you know his first major complaint is always going to be about unannounced changes to the advertised card. All during their tv hype for this, they were pushing Honkytonk vs. Beefcake with Jimmy Hart banned from the building. They forgot about that last bit and Jimmy was there. Then they talked about how the next show in town, Jimmy would be banned from the building. They also advertised free t-shirts to all fans in attendance, and they didn’t come through on that. Dave thinks it’s a real swing and a miss - 12,000 fans all wearing a Randy Savage t-shirt would have been a remarkable sight and been really effective. Anyway, Dave thinks most were pretty happy with the show as a whole.
  • I’m not going to go through everything on this taping, because Dave seriously covers all 29 matches, but here are some highlights and even that’s a lot. Dave gives a Brady Boone vs. Steve Lombardi dark match 3.25 stars. WWF is now doing all announcing from their studio in Connecticut, so no live announcing in the arena or even intros for each hour of the taping, which makes it hard to tell what’s going to be on what week’s show. That said, this did help things along in terms of speed. They had Slick do an interview introducing the Big Boss Man, and because they didn’t really work to change his look, he got some chants of “Bubba, Bubba” from those who recognized him. Dave takes the time to comment on Warrior’s utter lack of conditioning, as he was winded before he could even finish his entrance and could barely beat his chest. He says it’s a real statement to call anyone a worse worker than Andre the Giant right now, but Warrior has him beat by a mile. Bossman’s tv debut match was against Louie Spicoli. He squashed Spicoli in about a minute or so, then cuffed him to the ropes and beat him with his nightstick. The Hart Foundation has reunited as a face team and kicked Jimmy Hart to the curb. Rick Rude has a lot of heat thanks to the angle with Jake Roberts, and Dave can’t remember the last time a heel was so universally hated. At most he had a dozen women cheering for him, while everyone else was against him. Don Muraco “chased” Jimmy Hart to the back in an angle clearly setting him and Greg Valentine up for a feud and potentially writing Billy Graham off as a manager, but Jimmy ran so much faster that he beat him to the back by a mile and a guy behind Dave joked that Jimmy Hart is the best athlete on the show. The Rockers re-debuted for WWF and have made it two days with the company, doubling their previous record for WWF tenure. Dave thinks Michaels and Janetty are exactly what WWF needs: a babyface tag team with a rock and roll gimmick (WWF has never done that before, while other promotions have overdone it) and they got a good reaction. Dave makes an ill-advised comparison between Beefcake being over big in the area because he’s billed from San Francisco to “taking pride in living in the AIDS capital of the world.” I think we can expect letters about that in the coming weeks. Badnews Brown is doing a thing with the raising a black gloved hand in the air and Dave thinks it would have been really over if this were 1969, but it’s about 20 years too late to really strike that iron effectively and Dave jokes that you’d think Verne Gagne came up with that one until you realize he only just learned last year that baseball broke the color barrier. Dave compliments Rude again and says he’s such a good heel that Dave doesn’t even like watching him. By hour 3, fans were catching on with the Bossman’s gimmick and it was getting some good heat. The Hart Foundation’s first face match saw them beat a face jobber team and wrestle like heels while playing to the crowd like faces. The crowd was a bit confused, but Dave thinks faces who wrestle like heels could get over well once the crowd shakes off the classical conditioning. He especially compliments Bret’s fake knee injury as the best thing on the card and best sell of a fake knee injury he’s ever seen in WWF. Fans started leaving after the 26th match on the show and by the time the DiBiase vs. Savage (with Elizabeth) match happened, there were fewer than 7,000 left (and under 4,000 left by the finish). Dave quips that they probably left after seeing what Liz was wearing. Sure, Dave.
Watch: Big Boss Man makes his WWF tv debut
  • Electronic Media Magazine wrote a pretty frank kayfabe-breaking note in their May 23 issue, and they predict Ted DiBiase as the next WWF champ. They say:
While sports prognostication is normally a risky business, the scenario of who becomes the World Wrestling Federation’s champ is scripted out months in advance. It’s based on the popularity of the wrestler, not his record, according to the results each performer inspires in WWF’s multimillion dollar merchandising sales. Based on that criteria, insiders are laying odds that the next WWF champion will be “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase. But look for Hulk Hogan to reclaim the crown in a matter of months.
  • Anyway, Dave gives his thoughts on this prediction. Dave figures Hogan’s a draw with or without the belt, so he’ll probably be paired with Bossman and Andre for the fall while Savage needs the belt right now to remain a draw. He’s reminded of New Japan 1983, where everyone assumed the boom from January to August was due to Inoki and without him things would stall out, and the same would be the case for WWF this summer without Hogan. New Japan didn’t stall and that eventually led to the split that created the original UWF. WWF doesn’t have to worry about anything like that happening, but it’s conceivable that WWF continuing fine without Hogan could reduce Hogan’s pull because the company would know they can weather through without him. So Dave thinks, given that and how far behind the NWA is, that keeping the belt on Savage for the time being (provided he still remains able to draw) is the smart move. Ultimately, when Savage loses the belt comes down to Hogan’s ego and whether Hogan feels he needs the belt and if he’ll demand it when he returns, if he’ll have patience, or if he’ll leave the company if he can’t just call his shots. If Savage does stop drawing, by all means transition to DiBiase then Hogan, but right now Savage is working as an attraction and it’s best to work in such a way where you can have two of those (Hogan and Savage) rather than only just one. It may even be better to have Savage as champion since Hogan only works weekends and tv, rather than the full schedule like Savage does.
  • WWF is also expanding their schedule again beginning on July 7. They’ll be running a fourth touring group to hit small towns they used to consider too small to be worth going to and do charity shows. Dave interprets this as WWF’s attempt to deliver a killing blow to the other promotions that are currently run pretty ragged. The charity shows, for instance, are most probably designed to be able to snipe charity deals from smaller promotions because WWF will be able to offer a more lucrative product in place of, say, a charity show run by Ron Fuller. It also opens roster spots up for WWF, which means plenty of room to hire disaffected NWA guys.
  • Finally, on to something not WWF: Chigusa Nagayo appears to be preparing to retire from All Japan Women. The promotion is planning a huge show in a baseball stadium to commemorate her retirement. Chigusa is easily the most popular and highest paid woman wrestler in the history of the business, and she’s only 23. The implications for All Japan Women are huge. They just had three other key retirements recently, including Devil Masami, Dump Matsumoto, and Yukari Omori. For big draws from their golden era of 1984-86, they only have Lioness Asuka left, and her popularity is significantly down from its 1985 peak. Surprisingly, it looks like AJW wants her gone just as much as she wants to be gone. Maybe she’s outgrown the company and become difficult to deal with, maybe the promotion doesn’t feel they need her enough that they need to submit to her demands. There’s also the fact that since she has had her peak popularity, the promotion is worried that keeping her as the main attraction will make the promotion look bad for being centered around a fading star (Dave gives examples like Dusty in the NWA, Inoki in New Japan, the original Sheik in Detroit, the Von Erichs in WCCW, Lawler in Memphis, etc.). Just as the Beauty Pair (Nancy Kumi and Jackie Sato) and Mimi Hagiwara gave way to the Crush Girls (Lioness Asuka and Chigusa Nagayo), so too must the Crush Girls give way to the next big stars, and AJW seems to want Yumiko Hotta and Mitsuko Nishiwaki to be the next major stars.
  • Chigusa leaving will be a big blow to AJW for a long while, but if they can get these new wrestlers over, they can build up again. The company and Chigusa both know that she can’t be on top forever and she has nowhere to go but down from being the top star of the women’s wrestling industry. Chigusa has numerous options available to her. She has a clothing company, can use her celebrity to do game shows, and could even gather wrestlers together and start her own promotion, as some of the speculation suggests. Dave spends a bit of time describing Japanese teen idol culture and concludes that it’s very fun to follow how it all works and how it intersects with wrestling. Anyway, this is all a bit premature and a false alarm (the part about Chigusa retiring - all the implications of what would happen upon her retirement is super interesting and important to consider). Chigusa will do a tour in the U.S. and Canada later this year and will return to AJW in the fall, before retiring for the first time in 1989 (she’ll unretire in 1993.
  • The June issue of Washington Monthly has a piece on commission regulation of pro wrestling. Mostly it kind of laughs at how wrestling is regulated currently. It’s written by the same guy who wrote the Penthouse piece on the Von Erichs that’s in development hell. That’s tentatively scheduled for the September issue now, by the way.
  • There were three shows in Oregon last weekend: Owen, Haynes, and McMahon. Haynes put on his championship tournament final and won that in front of a crowd, while Owen did a kids get in free gimmick and had Buddy Rose vs. the Assassin in a bullrope match to main event. WWF, however, drew their biggest crowd ever in Oregon on May 30, getting 7,500 people (Hogan never even cracked 5,000 in Portland).
  • Also, the advertised Hennig vs. DeBeers AWA title match in Salem Oregon on May 19 did not happen, as expected. Hennig was no longer champion and didn’t even show up, so they made a battle royal the main event. Matt Borne won. DeBeers claimed in an promo that “Verne Gagne has put economic sanctions on me.”
  • The IWGP Title is currently held up because of silliness involving Riki Choshu. The main event on May 27 was originally supposed to be Fujinami defending against Seiji Sakaguchi, but Riki Choshu complained and got inserted as challenger instead. The finish to the match, which to be clear was obviously a work due to the fact that Fujinami took his boot off, involved the ring breaking and Fujinami “spraining” his ankle. So Choshu attacks the ankle, Fujinami removes his boot and tries to fight on, but they stop the match and rule it a no contest. Choshu says that since it was an accident, he didn’t want to win the title that way, so the belt is held up until the June 24 show in Osaka.
  • Owen Hart also won the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight title on the same night. He’ll likely drop the title before the end of the tour, but he is scheduled for another tour in late August, which throws a wrench in Dave’s understanding of any plans he has vis a vis WWF.
  • Adrian Adonis is being cheered in New Japan. He was a big star here several years back and the fans still remember him. He’s definitely put on a lot of weight since those days, though, so the fans have also been pretty shocked by his physique.
  • Steve Williams is probably not going back to New Japan any time ever. He’s skipped out on too many tours and they weren’t happy about that.
  • UWF has announced their June 11 card. They’ve got Maeda vs. Takada in the main event and Kazuo Yamazaki vs. Norman Smiley. The show is already sold out (7,000 seats at a price of $28/ticket = $106,000). All Japan has a show in the same building a week earlier and tickets are selling slowly. UWF is trying to get Bob Backlund in against Maeda for their December show, but that’s conditional on getting Backlund to do the job. Good news from the future: Backlund will be on the show. We’ll get into the details and how plans change down the line.
  • Devil Masami came out of retirement for JWP’s May 28 show. JWP was going to fold on May 29, but they managed to draw 4,000 fans and are going to do occasional spot shows from here on out. Dave says those shows will be “promoted by the local mob” and that may or may not be snark, I’m honestly not sure.
  • No real news from All Japan Women beyond the Chigusa Nagayo situation. Retirement rumors are swirling, and Leilani Kai beat her in a non-title match on May 28, so it might be that they’re prepping Kai as her retirement match.
  • The lineup for the second NWA Clash of Champions has changed. Barry Windham will now be wrestling Brad Armstrong in what’s sure to be a fantastic match if it’s given time. TBS’s press release about the show gave Dusty the biggest bio (no surprise) which called him “one of the two biggest stars in professional wrestling today, along with Ric Flair.” Dave notes that Windham’s bio calls him the “frequent tag team partner of Lex Luger,” so obviously these are a touch dated. Clash shows are set for September 7 and December 7 as well.
  • [NWA] Jimmy Garvin did a great promo on the June 4 TBS show. He admitted he’s married to Precious and really heated up the rivalry with Kevin Sullivan. Dave thinks it’s no coincidence they’re doing this at the same time as Rick Rude is feuding with Jake Roberts over Jake’s wife. It’s a formula that gets over big.
  • NWA is putting a lot of hype into Luger vs. Flair at the Great American Bash, and it’s getting lots of buzz among fans. Most people Dave talks to think they might even put the title on Luger. Nothing’s certain yet, but they’re definitely doing good work in the build here.
  • [WWF] Islander Tama (Sam Fatu, aka Tonga Kid) has quit WWF. That leaves the islanders as Siva Afi and Haku, which really sucks because Tama and Haku worked really well together and Siva is… not great. Dave’s heard two stories here. One is that he was upset with his Wrestlemania paycheck and the other is that he was upset with how Sika was let go and the rest of the family put pressure on him to follow suit.
  • [WWF] At the Rochester, MN tapings on May 11, Vince apparently gave a speech about the evils of steroids. According to the speech, being on tv will make you larger than life and you won’t need steroids because you’re on tv. This all stems from an employee in some auditorium finding a needle and leftover steroids backstage after a WWF show and accidentally getting stuck by the needle and freaking out about potentially getting AIDS. Remember, kids, don’t share needles.
  • Terry Taylor is coming to the WWF to work as a babyface. I think he’s too chicken to try being a WWF heel.
  • There’s talk of WWF doing a feud between Cheryl Roberts and Raven. No, not Scott Levy. Cheryl is, of course, Jake Roberts’ wife. Raven is Rick Rude’s valet, played by his sister Nancy.
  • TV in Memphis to set up the June 6 Hennig vs. Lawler match was really hot. They had Hennig in studio making fun of a local car dealer and attacking him, then later demanding Lawler come out and when Lawler didn’t come out he destroyed the studio. Lawler only came out when Hennig threatened to beat the shit out of Lance Russell if Lawler didn’t come out by the count of 10. Of course, they kind of undercut some of the tension by having the Toyota dealer promise to refund the fans if Lawler doesn’t win on June 6.
  • WCCW’s Memorial Day card in Fort Worth drew roughly 1,500 (5,000 claimed on tv). That’s the biggest crowd they’ve had in a long time. Plans for Lawler to come work with Kerry Von Erich appear to be shelved - he’s coming in on June 17-19, but he’ll be working with Terry Taylor and Iceman King Parsons instead.
  • Makhan Singh is a heel and currently feuding with Kerry Brown in Stampede, but appears to be developing a cult following. He’s doing well on promos and he’s doing color commentary with Ed Whalen and a lot of folks feel like his work on the desk has significantly improved the show. So he’s developing a fanbase that quite likely will cheer for him. Can you believe that this guy winds up being Bastion Booger?
  • Dave gives a June 1 Continental match between Tom Prichard and Tony Anthony 4 stars. It was a 9 minute first blood match and Prichard bled first, but Danny Davis wiped the blood off him to keep the referee none the wiser.
  • In USA Wrestling, Doug Furnas almost won the Tennessee championship from Buddy Landel in a tv match, but Guerrero shenanigans kept the gold off him. Furnas won clean, but Hector Guerrero slipped a foreign object into Furnas’s trunks and told the ref, who reversed the decision promptly upon discovering the weapon. Guess we can see where Eddie got his ideas from.
Watch: Hector Guerrero lies, cheats, and steals
  • Over in Europe, Otto Wanz still reigns supreme. Scott Hall is over there right now working for him, and Wanz is defending his version of the world title against Bruiser Brody on July 9. Apparently he got Andre the Giant back in January and Andre did a job for him too. Well, it was December, and it was by countout, but yes.
Watch: Otto Wanz vs. Andre the Giant, December 1987
  • AWA is looking for a new booker. They fired Wahoo McDaniel and Ray Stevens for running their own independent show in Virginia without telling AWA about it. Just in case you thought Vince was the first promoter to not like his guys running their own shows.
  • Windy City Wrestling is holding a show on July 16 at DePaul University and they’re hoping to get Brody in to wrestle Nord the Barbarian in a cage match. Brody is already booked that weekend, though, so if he doesn’t come, it’s because he’ll be in Puerto Rico. He really should have picked Chicago that weekend.
  • There’s a really fascinating letter about the western Pennsylvania wrestling scene from the 1950s and into the 70s. They used to get tv from the International Amphithetre in Chicago featuring guys like Thesz, Gagne, Buddy Rogers, the Lisowskis, and others and the letter writer wonders if anyone still has the old film of those matches sitting on a shelf somewhere. They did, and there’s a youtube channel dedicated to all this old wrestling: The Chicago Film Archive. Anyway, by the late 50s, tv wrestling in Pittsburgh got taken over by a live studio show from Philadelphia every Saturday, but it wasn’t very good and then another promoter took over the tv there and you had guys like Waldo Von Erich, the Tolos Brothers, Ilio DePaolo, and others. Soon after, Toots Mondt (an associate of Vince McMahon Sr.) started romoting in the area and brought in the best of the NWA at the time - Argentina Rocca, Buddy Rogers, the Kangaroos, Haystacks Calhoun, Sweet Daddy Siki, and a young Bruno Sammartino. But the biggest star was the Crusher (Reggie Lisowski), who started heel and became even bigger when he turned face, and in his later years they tried turning him heel again to go against Bruno, but the feud died because his appeal was gone and turning him heel was a mistake (this is weirdly reminiscent of Steve Austin’s trajectory and the mistake of his heel turn, it feels like). When Bruno became the champ, that was shortly after WWWF broke off the NWA and the local shows started to die off as he went on tour, but the big shows still did well and there was still a surge of excitement and popularity. Big monthly shows in the local arena did well, but rarely sold out. Things went bad when Bruno dropped the title to Ivan Koloff and wrestling interest dropped significantly and it wasn’t until Bruno got the title back that things interest started rising again. It’s really remarkable how important a figure Bruno was in the western Pennsylvania scene at the time.
  • A writer asks Dave if he thinks Flair should consider jumping to WWF, and Dave responds. He says there’s a bigger chance of it happening now than at any previous point (not that he’s saying Flair will jump, just that the circumstances are most favorable to a jump right now), and that does make it an interesting question. If they wanted to, they could go all in on Flair and he’d be a big draw. But because Flair’s synonymous with the NWA, there’s a lot of ways they could sabotage that because of the egos at play and the need to show that they’ve been better than the NWA all along (see WWE and anything remotely WCW in the past 19 years). And some of the reasons they might convince themselves Flair wouldn’t get over with their audience are even valid: Flair thrives in long matches and WWF doesn’t really do those. He’s pushing 40, and that’s pretty old (ha!). So yeah, if Flair were to be the top of the card in WWF, that would feel to some like an admission that the NWA is on par with the WWF, and that won’t sit well with some of the suits with big egos. But at Flair’s age, a run with WWF to make the big bucks and work shorter matches is likely to have some appeal - he’s an old man in a young man’s game, and he’s got to know that. Well, let’s look at what Ric Flair had to say about the idea of being too old to do it and retirement, about 20 years later.
Watch: Ric Flair’s thoughts on being an old man in a young man’s game and retirement
  • Another letter asks Dave for some more information on his sources for the OWF debut and the World Class Texas Stadium show. Basically, some quibbles about attendance in the former, including asking for clarification on what Dave meant when he said the crowd had “a higher class of fan, similar to a WWF crowd.” In the case of the World Class stuff, the writer straight up disagrees on the quality of the latter and asks Dave to be more positive about WCCW for the sake of the business. Dave goes ahead and answers the challenge. He names the source for his claim on the “higher class of fan,” which he meant in terms of socioeconomic class: Mike Rodgers, who publishes the major newsletter on the region called Ring Around the Northwest. Rodgers has been following wrestling in the area enough to know what kinds of crowds different promotions draw in the area and Dave stands by Mike’s assessment. As for World Class, Dave had 21 letters from those who attended the show and all but four (and those four include this letter Dave is responding to) considered the show subpar, and Dave makes sure to clarify that he didn’t call it subpar, but that he reported fan reception as indicating it was subpar. Dave even called a contact who knows the regulars for WCCW’s shows in the area after getting this letter and asked him what people generally thought, and that contact also reported general disappointment. As to being more positive about WCCW, Dave gives credit where due (he was very positive on Michael Hayes as a booker), but the promotion is showing no signs of a turnaround. It’s loads better than it was when Fritz was still in charge, but they’re still flubbing basic business in so many ways and making terrible booking choices and Dave can’t just give them a pass for that. There’s also some stuff about WWF in here where the writer calls WWF fans idiots and claims nobody intelligent would pay to go to a WWF show, and Dave mentions that he has paid to go to WWF shows and finds them enjoyable as a social outing with friends, even if he’s not interested in their wrestling enough to go on his own. So yeah. Mostly included the stuff on this letter because it’s a peek behind the curtain of Dave’s contacts and how he gauged fan reactions back in the day.
  • Also, Percy Pringle is playing face and holding the mic for interviews on World Class tv now. Dave says his facial expressions are hilarious, and I’m demanding we get a Percy Pringle facial reactions subreddit and simp account like the Alexa Bliss one asap.
NEXT WEEK: NWA Blows Clash II advertising, Clash II review, Bodyslam movie review, Brother love coming to WWF, Summerslam announced, and more
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2020.11.19 13:17 SamanthaR29 Maria Is Missing (Part Seven)

(Part one here)
(Part two here)
(Part three here)
(Part four here)
(Part five here)
(Part six here)
“That’s completely fucking insane, you get that right?”
Those were the first words that Candace said to me once I had explained what had happened. I wasn’t in the mood for her scepticism right now. After the shit I’d seen today I wasn’t in the mood for someone giving me some Agent Scully horseshit about how I was seeing things or being conned and there was a rational explanation.
“Oh I’m sorry, were there not enough people coming out of walls or appearing in mirrors for you?!”
I don’t know why the fuck I’m like this. I don’t know why my brain goes right for the most hurtful or nasty thing I can think of to say to someone when I’m mad or stressed out. It’s like my brain just files away the shit they tell me to use against them later. It’s like it’s always looking to make a weapon out of every interaction I’ve ever had with someone.
Candace’s face crumpled and it was like she shrank in her own clothes. She hadn’t been expecting that.
“You said…you said you believed me”
“Yeah well…believe me.
I saw what I saw. This shit happened. If you don’t believe it that really isn’t my goddamn problem”
Do you ever just listen to yourself and think “Shut up you bitch” at the words you hear leaving your own mouth? Ever find yourself wishing that someone would mute you so you can stop being an asshole?
I knew full well that whatever she’d been through was real. She’d come here less than a week ago scared out of her damn mind. The fact she’d come here to the house of someone she barely knew? Made me think that with Maria missing she didn’t really have anyone else she could turn to. Now I was throwing it back in her face.
Just like I’d done whenever Hannah and I would fight. Just like I’d done to countless ex-friends over the years.
I expected Candace to scream at me. Or tell me to go screw myself and just walk out of the apartment. It wasn’t like I was giving her a lot of incentive to stay right now. I wouldn’t blame her if she wanted to get as far from me as she could and never bother with me again. Instead she pointed at the card in my hands and asked what was on it. What had Kismet given me?
Despite how crazy my story had been about what had happened, she believed me.
That just made me feel worse honestly.
The web address answered that question. Maxwell Gardener was throwing a party at one of his homes.
“Ticket holders and their invited guests will know the when and where” it read.
I held the card aloft and waved it at Candace.
“Looks like it’s a golden ticket to Willy Wonka’s Psycho Factory”
“And you think Maria will be there?”
I honestly didn’t know. Kismet hadn’t exactly been giving me straight answers and it wasn’t like I was in the mood to trust that psycho. I had no idea what their stake in all this was or what game they were playing but I was pretty sure it wasn’t one I wanted them to win. And I was equally sure they sure as hell weren’t on my side.
But maybe they weren’t on Gardener’s side either.
“You’re going, aren’t you?” Candace asked. I didn’t need to tell her my answer.
“Then I’m going”
“Absolutely fucking not”
“Absolutely fucking yes. If Maria might be there I’m going with you”
And for the second time that day I knew that I’d already lost the argument.
Just like for the second time that day visions of just how badly all of this could go danced themselves into my head. This kid still had it in her head that I helped people. That I was any good at saving people. Probably all she knew about P.I work was from old movies and crime shows and she’d created some image in her head of what I’d been like at my old job based on that.
And I just knew it was going to wind up getting her killed.
The party Gardener was throwing was just a day away. I didn’t have anything in my own closet that would remotely help us blend in at one of these gatherings. I’d never been the suit and tie or ball gown type even before things had gone to shit and with my current living arrangements and meagre cash flow it wasn’t as if I had the money to go out and treat myself or anywhere to go to that I’d need to treat myself for.
Candace had gone back to her apartment, saying that she had some stuff there that might work. I waited there as she did so as she’d not really wanted to go back there alone. The place looked normal when we came in, no sign of any of the weirdness that she’d described. But I stood and waited all the same like a guard dog. The place might not look all that strange but I couldn’t deny that there was a weird energy about the place.
I think most people who claim that places or people give them “Vibes” or they can feel their “Auras” are hippy dipshits for the most part but that place really did put me on edge as soon as I walked in there. And there was this strange scent in the air, this electrical burning smell. Something had happened here.
I found myself constantly looking around, eyes darting about the place. Expecting something to be watching or waiting. Ready to pounce. Luckily the most threatening thing there was a letter from her landlord reminding her that the rent was due that week. With outfits in hand we headed back outside to her car and headed over to my place once again.
Candace had picked out this sparkly little red dress for herself. Not something I would have imagined she’d own but it suited her all the same. For me she’d grabbed a smart looking tux that was actually a pretty decent fit. I gave a little mock twirl in it.
“How do I look?” I asked.
Candace stared just a little bit too long. There was a look in her eye and a bit of a flush to her cheeks.
That was the absolute last thing I needed right now.
“You look…fine.
I mean good. I mean…nice….you look…nice” she said at last and swallowed hard.
Goddamn it.
On the list of things I could not be dealing with right now, a twenty two year old with a puppydog crush on me was somewhere in the top five. I didn’t want to be working with a partner on this case to begin with and now I had one who was looking at me in a way I hadn’t been looked at in a long time.
I felt like an idiot for having missed out on the obvious before now. But then it had been about seven years since I’d last been in what you could even charitably call a relationship. Of course I hadn’t picked up on it.
“This isn’t a date” I told her flat out. The flush on her cheeks intensified.
“No, no I know that! Obviously. I just meant you look…you know. Nice”
“We’re going to a party being thrown by Maxwell Gardener. That means you keep your eyes on what people are doing. You look out for anything that looks even a little…even a tiny bit…suspicious.
Not on me. You get that?”
She nodded. I hoped it was sincere.
The drive out to Gardener’s place took us well outside of the city. Gardener’s house where he was throwing this little get together had been built pretty much in the middle of fucking nowhere. I could pretty easily hazard a guess as to why. Nowhere to run. Nowhere to hide. The nearest people living or working anywhere near the area a good forty or fifty miles away in either direction. Try to call for help and it would take the cops an hour or two minimum to get out here.
And on top of that it eliminated the problem of unwelcome observers. No neighbours to overhear whatever was happening, no joggers or people driving to or from anywhere to accidentally glimpse something that they weren’t supposed to see. People here could scream bloody murder and there’d be no one around to hear it. The perfect place for a man involved in god knows what to build himself a cosy little murder house.
The house itself was a bit of a surprise as it came into view. Having met Gardener I’d expected it to be some gothic looking pile, something that could have been straight out of Edgard Allan Poe or Lovecraft. Instead the house was a gleaming steel and glass affair, the towering white marble pillars circling around the structure and the overall look of the place putting me in mind of Grecian temples more than anything else.
White marble statues and columns dotting the exterior of the place. Two large red metal doors leading into the place. It was a garish looking eyesore alright, like some kind of bizarre tourist trap or a theme park attraction. There were two dozen cars already parked up around it and I could see people milling about outside, glasses of champagne in hand. Some of them about my age, some of them looked even younger than Candace. All of them dressed extravagantly, gold jewellery glittering against smart black suits and dazzling dresses.
One or two looked like they could have wandered off the set of a period drama. Powdered wigs and frilly shirts and expensive looking frock coats, like extras on the set of a drama about pre-revolutionary France just waiting for the director to call “Action”. As our car came to a stop, looking woefully out of place beside the sleek and expensive looking vehicles that surrounded the place a man walked up to us, asked to see our ticket.
As soon as I flashed it he smiled and nodded.
“Of course ma’am. Enjoy the nights delights”
As soon as he had departed Candace gave me a look.
“Literally everyone can tell we’re not meant to be here” she hissed. She was right. Out outfits might pass at a red carpet event or a normal party. Here though we wound up looking woefully underdressed.
“Just act like you belong. Try to radiate smug asshole and we’ll be fine”
I saw a few familiar faces among the partygoers. Actors, directors and a few politicians here and there. A couple of republican senators sharing drinks with someone who I didn’t recognise but who looked every bit as obscenely wealthy as the others milling about. A director who I’d seen on some award show once but whose name escaped me was speaking with a couple of ridiculously fit and gorgeous looking people who I guessed had to be actors or models.
In fact apart from the older people in the crowd a lot of those gathered here were ridiculously attractive I had to admit. The women were all drop dead gorgeous and some of the men…well put it this way, if I was into guys I’d have been taking a second look. This many Hollywood Pretty people in one place had me wondering if what we’d come to here was some kind of orgy Gardener was throwing. Wouldn’t have come as a huge surprise.
I motioned for Candace to follow me into the house as we made our way through the crowd, one of the sharp suited bodyguards or butlers or whatever they were standing at the ready to let us in. Despite our own outfits looking pretty damn shabby by comparison no one seemed to be taking too much notice of us. Maybe we were blending in better than I thought we would. Or maybe everyone was just too damn self absorbed to take too close a look at us. Either seemed like a likely enough explanation right now.
The interior of the house was every bit as striking and gaudy as the exterior. Red and white tiles, colossal chrome statues of men and women with imposing physiques or come hither poses along with statues of what looked like some kind of vast serpentine like thing. A dragon or something like it. Chandeliers dangling from the ceiling. An orchestra was sat in a roped off section of the entrance hall playing something. I’m no classical music fan so I couldn’t quite place it.
The outfits got more and more ridiculous the further we got into the house. Glittering masks, ludicrous wigs, gowns and coats and hats and cloaks combined with glittering sequin bodysuits and bright silver outfits that clung lovingly to the form of those that wore them, the overall effect being one that made the place look like it had been transplanted here from the past and future all at once.
The steady background babble of conversation and laughter filled the room, so loud it was hard to imagine how anyone could hear each other. I couldn’t see any sign of Maria. I looked this way and that.
“How delightful that you were able to make it Miss Lane”
The voice made me freeze in my tracks. I turned. Stood behind me was Maxwell Gardener, dressed to the nines and smiling that smarmy little smile. I looked around as panic gripped me for a moment and he waved a dismissive hand in my direction.
“No need to worry about your little friend. She’s just over there with an associate of mine, see?”
I looked over. Candace was indeed a few feet away, speaking with a woman I didn’t recognise. I still cursed myself for taking my eyes off her and letting us get separated. Sure she didn’t look like she was in danger right now but she sure as hell wasn’t safe either. Neither of us were. Whatever was going on here tonight was more than just a bunch of posh assholes getting together to show off how much money they had to each other.
There was more to whatever was happening tonight. More to whatever Gardener was involved in. And I knew I shouldn’t have brought her here with me. I knew I was getting her involved in shit she had no idea how to deal with, no way to be prepared for. Even I wasn’t really prepared for what had happened so far on this case, even with some of the shit I’d seen over the years.
And here was Gardener himself, smiling that smug fucking smile that made me want to break his cane over his head. That arrogant and knowing look. The look of someone who knew something terrible was about to happen and couldn’t wait.
“I understand you spoke with a business colleague of mine yesterday. Didn’t go so well for him”
“Not that I give a damn about your pet cretins wanking hand, but it wasn’t me who cut the guys fingers off. That was your buddy in the red suit and her creepy pal in the mask”
For the second time since I’d first encountered this prick I saw that smug emotionally vacant façade on his face waver. He didn’t like me talking about his little buddies so casually. And I was going to press that.
“So are Better Films here tonight?
Is this there “Better Audience”, a bunch of rich idiots come together to circle jerk about their bank accounts?”
His grip had tightened on the head of that ludicrous cane of his.
“If you knew who they were you wouldn’t be talking about them so casually.
You have no idea…none at all…just who you’re dealing with right now”
“I’m shaking” I replied. I wasn’t going to back down to this smirking little creep. Not even if my life depended on it was I going to allow some rich bully boy in a tacky looking purple suit threaten me like that.
“You know I’m getting very tired of you interfering in my business Miss Lane. I tell you to back off, I tell you it’s being handled. And what do you do? You show up here at my house, poking around with your little friend, probably looking to cause trouble.
It’s sad really. It’s sad that you have nothing better to do than go after someone who’s doing so much for a lot of very important people here tonight”
“I don’t give a fuck about your business connections Gardener. I want my niece back, safe and sound. And I really don’t care what I have to do to make that happen” I said.
His eyes narrowed a little. That smirk had returned to his lips but it was more forced than ever now.
“How’s one billion dollars sound to change your mind?
Or two billion. For you and your little…girlfriend or whatever she is. Two billion, to get out of my business”
Am I a bitch that I considered it? Am I really that shitty of a person that for a genuine moment I thought about saying yes to that offer. Two billion dollars. I’d never even seen two billion dollars. If I said no I’d never see it again, that much was for sure. I would literally never get an offer like this again for as long as I lived.
And nothing I spent it on would stop me hating myself more than I already did if I took it.
“You know what I think to that offer?” I asked. He motioned for me to continue, curious about what I was going to say next maybe.
“I think if you’re willing to offer me that much money…you must REALLY want me to stop asking the questions I’m asking. And that means I’m on the right track.
So take your money and go shove it straight up your ass. That’s what I think to that offer”
He shrugged his shoulders.
“Can’t say I didn’t try and play fair Miss Lane. Enjoy the rest of the party. Enjoy the show”
I didn’t get a chance to ask him what the hell that was supposed to mean. He was already walking away and waving for the woman talking to Candace to follow him. She hurried over towards me, a panicked look on her face. I was about to ask her if she was alright but when she spoke I realised that wasn’t the problem. She’d been worrying about me.
“I’m so sorry! She came up to talk to me and then when I looked over he was already with you and I couldn’t…”
I held a finger up to her lips to stop the babble of words coming out of them. I didn’t need apologies right now and I didn’t need her having a minor freak out in the middle of this place. I needed her focused as much as possible and keeping her mind on what we came here to do. Nothing more, nothing less.
“It’s fine. I’m fine”
“That was him…that was Gardener”
“Yeah, I’ve already have the “Pleasure” of meeting him, remember? And he was just as pleasant this time around.
Now come on”
I motioned for her to follow me. She hadn’t gleaned much of value from the woman she was talking to which wasn’t surprising. She’d obviously just been a distraction. She did say that apparently Gardener had been throwing these “Parties” about twice a month for almost a year now and that this was the last one in the US. That he was moving things to one of his “Overseas properties” next. She didn’t know where though and it wasn’t likely we’d be able to get into another of these things even if she did.
Besides I was banking on Maria being here. Maria or some clue to where she’d went.
We made our way around the house, trying to avoid any prying eyes as we did. A lot of the other rooms were locked. Others were just mundane shit like bathrooms, coat closets and a few little rooms that didn’t seem to contain anything more than furniture, book cases and paintings. I wasn’t all that surprised to see that Gardener had a minimum of three portraits of himself hanging in the house because of course the little prick did.
I saw something that I recognised in one room though.
The same strange device that had been in Maria and Felix’s apartment and that had been in the backroom of Better Video. The same strange metal and wood and glass contraption, identical to the first two. What the hell had Larry called the thing…a König Key? I had no fucking clue what that meant or what it did. All I knew for sure is that in both places I’d seen one of these things something terrible had happened and it had happened because of those creepy pals of Gardener’s.
As we made our way out of that dusty room we noticed right away that the partygoers all seemed to be making their way towards one room in particular.
“Follow them” I said and Candace nodded, taking my hand and gripping it tightly. The feel of her hand in mine and that firm and reassuring grip…it felt nice. I told myself I didn’t have time to feel nice about things like that right now. But I held onto her all the same and told myself it was just because I didn’t want us getting separated again.
The room they’d filed into looked like it had been a ballroom of some kind. There were tables and chairs, a large dance floor area, a stage set up further back. The orchestra had set themselves up but were presently silent, awaiting their next instruction. All around us the constant babble had been replaced by an excited and anxious hush. Everyone was waiting for something, eager and a little nervous.
I could relate to that second part.
Gardener was stood on the stage like some ghoulish MC, a wide grin on his face.
“Ladies and gentlemen, my brilliant and talented friends. My partners and those who help make all this possible. You all know why you’re here”
There was a soft murmur that ran through the crowd.
“You all have so much. So much money. So much property. We can buy anything, sell anything. Buy anyone, sell anyone. We have everything.
And that means nothing really surprises anymore does it?
Nothing really excites us anymore.
And that’s why you’re here tonight. Because you want that feeling back. And you know I can give it to you”
There was a round of applause from the crowd. Gardener took a bow. Beside him I saw the hulking form of Mr Sharp, the tall and bald man with that mouthful of little shark teeth. He was wheeling the König Key out onto the stage. One hand rested on that, the other rested on…
“What is that? Is that a leash? Or a chain or something?” Candace asked. I didn’t get a chance to answer. We both saw what was attached to it soon enough.
Sharp was dragging a man out onto the stage, his arms bound behind his back and a sack over his head. A muffled sound was issuing from beneath the heavy black sack that might have just been screaming or might have been a desperate attempt to form words. Threats or pleas for help. The crowd were grinning up at the stage, sickly wide grins and gleaming eyes full of anticipation.
Sharks in the water, scenting blood.
The König Key turned on. Those lights began to flash and pulse. The group…the group was chanting. One word. The same word over and over again.
“He hears you!
He’s coming…he’s coming to give us all what we’re here for! What we’re owed! What we deserve! Gardener yelled above the chant. Behind him the curtain at the back of the stage was pulled back.
It was as if someone had wielded an unconnected section of house to the back of this room. Instead of the blank wall that should be there, there was a long corridor. A red glass chandelier hung from its ceiling, red and white tiles stretching further and further back. Gleaming red metal statues, shining white sculptures that seemed to pulse with some internal light.
Someone was coming down the corridor.
And impossibly it was a figure I had seen before.
It was the figure I had seen in my dreams.
The same bright red frock coat. The same strange face, the flesh of it looking as if it had been stretched across an ill-fitting skull and then pinned into place. The chant grew louder and louder as the figure came to a stop beside the figure with the black hood upon its head, standing upon the stage and looking impossibly too…too something.
It was as if the colours of this man who stood there were too bright, too vivid. His movements were all wrong. His whole body was wrong. Too thin in the wrong places, his fingers too long and pointed.
There was no other way to say it. What was on the stage wasn’t a person.
“A fresh canvass.
How thoughtful of you Maxwell”
His voice sounded like nails scraping across a chalkboard, like the whine of an electric saw crossed with the metal on glass. His mouth didn’t move in time with the words. As he turned to look at the whimpering hooded figure, the man in red’s neck seemed to twist and distend as if it was coiled like a snake, a muscle or a thing of rubber instead of bone.
“Let me look at you.
Let me see you, sweet one”
He stroked his hands across the figures head, the bag and whatever gag they had in underneath it doing little to muffle the screams now. The howling had risen to a crescendo as the crowd began to approach the stage. I realised that many of them were carrying blades. In fact all of those walking toward the stage were carrying blades.
“Cut the cord.
Birth my child”
The crowd surrounded the figure and as I watched they fell upon him as one. There was the sound of blade on flesh and cloth as the hooded man was laid into by at least twenty of the ground. I heard laughter and shouts of delight.
Candace’s grip on my hand had tightened to that of a vice. Her eyes were wide and transfixed on what was happening on the stage, her mouth hanging open. I began to tug her towards the exit but she was rooted to the spot. She couldn’t move, couldn’t will her body to move. I could tell she was seconds away from going into shock or collapsing into a screaming fit.
And I simply did not have time for that shit.
“Come on” I hissed in her ear. She took a few steps back in response to my tugging on her arm and began to follow me out. The crowd didn’t seem to notice. They were too occupied by what was happening on the stage.
Something was rising from the murdered mans body.
Something was uncoiling itself, pulling itself up out of shredded flesh and broken bone. Something far too large to have fit inside the body of the man who had been dragged out onto that stage. Something with a long extended head like that of a horse and a thin, whip like tail like a mouse or rat. Something that was letting a low growl from somewhere at the back of its throat.
Candace and I didn’t see what happened next. We could hear laughter and shrieks of delight coming from the room behind us as we made our way out. The dark suited man by the doors made no attempt to bar our exit as we made our way out to the car, my trembling hands yanking the passenger door open and bundling Candace in before getting behind the wheel and tearing out of there.
We were less than a mile away from the place when Candace began screaming.
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2020.11.19 12:03 remote-enthusiast Collection of 85 remote jobs published recently

Hello friends! These are the open remote positions I've found that were published today. See you tomorrow! Bleep blop 🤖
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2020.11.19 00:44 girl_from_the_crypt An open letter to Sabrina S.

Dear Miss Sabrina S.,
My apologies for not meeting with you in person to relay this to you. Without further ado, these are the events that preceded your visit in Hills' Watch.
I won't start at the very beginning, it'd take too long. I will however gladly go a year back, to when I last saw Madison B., your missing partner. I say "saw him" for good reason. I can hardly call this odd sighting an interaction. I did meet and talk with Madison prior to his disappearance, but what I'm about to tell you will certainly be of greater interest to you. At least for now. After all, I need to get your full attention somehow, and that is what I'm about to do; humor me.
I don't know what the meeting in the town hall was about anymore, but I believe it was unrelated to the disappearances. Attendance was kindly requested but not mandatory and the majority of our community had decided to come. One by one, they came trickling into the large room and took a seat. It was odd but I remember that hardly anybody appeared to want to sit in the front. Most of them situated themselves as far away from the stage as possible. I had no intent to do the same; I have bad eyesight and I had somehow left my glasses at home that day but I still wanted to get a good look at what would go down. Good thing too, even though I obviously had no idea what would happen next yet.
I sat down in the first front row seat right next to the passage in the middle of the hall. Soon, a few familiar faces came up from behind. Adam and Janine, two friends of mine with their little boy and baby daughter in tow. Janine smiled at me and gave a few warm words of greeting before plopping down beside me, followed by her kids and husband. We made smalltalk but kept our voices quiet until the town mayor came up on stage. He started giving his speech, whatever it was about, until all of a sudden, his voice trailed off. It looked like something on the side of the passage had caught his attention. He was staring at the large door with a frown on his face. And that's the point at which I started remembering things quite clearly.
At this point, Madison had already been missing for over half a year. The whole town had assumed him dead, and so had I. There had even been a police investigation at some point but it had yielded no results. Ironic for him to go missing after he'd been sent out here trying to find that little rich runaway. And well, there he was, standing at the far end of the passage, clinging to the edge of the large open door. I didn't recognize him at first since he was too far away to see with my poor eyes, but when he came staggering forwards, grabbing onto the back- and armrests of the chairs he passed now and then in a struggle to stay on his feet, his figure got clear enough.
I still remember what he'd looked like when I'd last seen him seven months before that. He was wearing the exact same clothes as he had back then, jeans and a gray blazer. Even his hair looked unchanged, dark brown with way too much gel in them. My breath caught in my throat when I watched him approach. I was panicking; my mind was racing and I had to curl my hands into fists for them to stop shaking.
Try not to show it, I thought, over and over again. It was hard not to freak out though. The last time I'd thought of Madison at length had been when I'd been washing his blood off my hands.
The closer he got to me, the harder my heart was pounding in my chest. My ears had started to ring. I prayed he wouldn't recognize me, as slim as that chance might have been. I could make out hushed gasps and whispers coming from the other attendees all around me. At least my shocked and confused expression would fit in this way. My hopes were crushed when Madison reached my chair and grabbed onto my armrest. His eyes were wide and bloodshot, a ghastly sight combined with his open mouth and bared teeth. He looked a bit like some sort of rabid animal, cornered and frightened but furious at the same time. Foamy saliva had collected in the corner of his mouth and a few drops of it fell onto my shirt when he leaned in.
I tried to draw back as best I could but my seat was holding me back. Madison's eyes were darting about frantically but he managed to focus his crazed stare on me nonetheless.
"What…" he uttered, only to rear his head back in a silent scream. He rounded my chair with faltering steps and propped himself up right in front of me, arms on either side of the seat and effectively blocking my path. "What do you want?" he pressed out through gritted teeth. "Stay away!" he hissed, his words sending specks of saliva flying onto my face. "What are you? What the hell are you?"
"Get off me," I breathed. I'd meant it to come out as a command but my voice was shaky and meek.
For a split second, a hint of clarity washed over his features. He shut his mouth only for it to fall open again when he let out a wail of despair. He threw his head back again, pressing his eyes closed as though he were in great pain and began to gasp for air. He crumbled to the floor, keeping his grip on my armrests and looking up at me from below. "Serenity," he muttered, only to repeat himself a few times. His voice and gaze trailed off once more as he seemed to lose himself in his own confusion.
I started to glance about, hoping to find security or someone else coming up to help. I was right; the mayor was ushering two men into our direction and they came running down the stairs. But just before they could reach him, Madison let out one last ear-piercing cry. And then, all of a sudden, he was gone.
He didn't dissolve or become one with the floor, he simply disappeared. I was left with my back pressed up to my seat and tears running down my cheeks.
I've described this encounter in a lot of detail, so you might think it was longer than it truly had been. Actually, it had been over in just a few seconds, maybe not even a full minute. Apparently security had been outside the building as well, but the guards didn't see him come in. Granted, there had only been two of them and I don't believe they were paying much attention at all, but I imagine the reason they had not noticed him was a different one. The way it looks now is that your long-lost partner appeared just outside the hall, walked down the aisle to me and then vanished. Impossible, right?
Well, no. For one, a lot of people saw this. On top of that, even though I'm not exactly sure what happened that evening, I can imagine what had gone down. Roughly. Obviously, I won't be letting you in on it anytime soon. The sole purpose of me starting this retelling with the brief reappearance of your coworker is to catch and hopefully keep your attention. I don't want to confuse you, but it's not my job to make yours any easier either.
As to why this sighting disturbed me, I should preface my explanation by admitting that I was indeed present when your partner first disappeared. I know what happened to him that night. I did not hurt him, mind you, but I know for sure that what had been done to him should have made any kind of reappearance impossible.
At last, I'd like to give you a piece of advice. I think it's really nice you're looking for Madison, but thinking of others before yourself can sometimes do more harm than good. Get away from this town and forget about your buddy. Your investigations will get you nowhere at best and to the same place as him at worst. This isn't a warning, just advice.
Kind regards
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2020.11.18 18:28 VoidKiller826 Wonder Women #14 - Not So New Era

Wonder Women

Issue Fourteen: Not so New Era
Arc: House Painted in White
Written by u/VoidKiller826
Edited by u/MadUncleSheogorath & u/Fortanono
“Greetings.” Normal speech.
‘Greetings.’ Thinking speech.
[Greetings.] Comms and phone speech.
{Greetings.} TV and Radio speech.
Sandsmarks Home - Gateway City - Time: 07:30 PM
{The waiting will aggravate you. Calling it early and making a mistake will bury you. Here are the results…}
Cassandra drank her soda as she watched the news of the election through her phone, enjoying the fresh air she’s getting when she decided to sit on the roof of her house. While usually at this time of day she would be hanging out with her friends, Emily and Miguel at some coffee shop watching the election. But she opted to crash at her mom’s place for the time being while all the mess is happening.
Not helping with the fact that she already knows the results coming long before the news decided to fling support to Cale.
{...Florida goes to Veronica Cale…}
Cassandra sighed, tapping her sneakers on the rooftop as she waited for the announcement, the soda already feeling spoiled.
{Veronica Cale is now the President of the United States. A historical announcement first heard here!}
She pursed her lips; even though she expected the results, it still annoyed her to see that Veronica Cale of all people would win the seat of the president, and all it took is riling the people’s feelings after Coast City.
‘People are pissed… and if someone tells them what they want to hear they’ll flock on their back…’ Cassie turned her phone off after the camera changed to a rally where Cale will do her speech, hearing her voice will just get the young girl pissed. ‘If Diana saw this…’
Cassandra slumped down on the roof, staring at the stars above, or rather the lack of it. Going through everything she went this year, from Colonel Poison, helping out her old friends, the battle against Steppenwolf and Diana’s body disappearing, to Artemis nearly dying.
Full of ups and downs, and she is amazed why she hasn’t just decided to hit her head on the nearest wall, but now seems to be the more appropriate after seeing Veronica Cale’s name pop up everywhere, which will continue from this day until she takes up office.
“Thanks for nothing, people of America…” Cassandra muttered under her breath, laying on her back and staring at the dark skies, the day already peaked in the worst way imaginable.
“There you are.”
Her ears perked up, turning her head slightly to see her mother, Helena, leaning by the edge of the roof after using a ladder to climb up.
“You could have told me you were coming up here,” said her mother, climbing on the roof with her daughter. “I thought you went out with your friend after they called.”
“Yeah… sorry about that.” Cassandra sat up as her mother climbed up the roof, she was dressed casually, black long shirt and pants. It was pretty weird to see her dressed that way, all Cassandra could remember was wearing only suits for work, so seeing her dress casually was nice. “Wait, friend? You mean Emily?” she asked, confused.
Her mother sat beside her, looking at the horizon ahead. Downtown Gateway City was full of lights and fireworks after the announcement of Cale’s win, celebrating among themselves. Cassandra had to fight the urge to not scoff with her mother by her side.
Helena nodded, “She called earlier asking about you.”
Cassandra sighed. “They wanted to hang out and watch the election but it ain’t exactly the best time with all this…” she waved at the entire city ahead. “...Mess.”
“So you decided to hang out with your dear lonely mom?” Helena asked humorously. Before noticing Cassie not answering, lips still pursing in thought about Cale. “Not happy with the results?” Helena asked.
Cassandra fought the urge to not scoff at the presence of her mother, “Come on mom, you know how I feel about Cale, and her being a president just means more headaches for everyone. For me, for my friends, for the whole country.”
Cale’s whole campaign has been completely focused on abolishing vigilantes, not exactly a new topic, politicians always use it for their speeches when superheroes began propping up through the years
But after Coast City, everything changed. The topic of whether vigilantes, especially ones with powers that can wipe an entire city out of the map, has become hotly debated, with many supporting that humanity should govern themselves and use their own resources instead of leaving it to the heroes in dealing with the baddies.
Even after everything that has happened this year, the effort put by her friends in making the world a better place after Coast City, it is not enough to convince the people. Cale continued on her campaign, using Coast City as her go-to example to talk the people into believing her words.
And she did, beating Jefferson Pierce, a former superhero at that, like some sort of message.
“I know…” Helena sighed. "But whatever happened, it happened, we can’t do much but stave off what’s to come.”
“That sounds annoying…” she propped her knees up and hugged them close, staring at Gateway in disappointment. “All they will be talking about is her ideas and the fact she is the first woman to be president… which is great and historic, but it had to be from the last and worst person in the world who should be taking it.”
It’s like putting Lex Luthor into the office, except they have long hair and of the opposite gender, and all the jealousy of supers put into the max.
\‘Sheesh… now I sound like Cizko… ’** she thought in disgust, she’ll probably take a shower later.
Helena shrugged, looking up in the starless skies. Compared to every other mom in the country who flock in support of Cale, her mom opted to just focus on her work and not bother herself with the mess unless it involves her profession, and so far it hasn’t.
“Maybe I like to keep a more optimistic view of the future, I am old fashioned like that.” she turned to Cassandra, “All we can do right now is wait what’s to come for us to react.”
Cassandra sighed, she wished she shared that view. Diana said the same thing, keep your head up even in the face of defeat or seeing something you don’t like. She wanted to agree with that idea, hell she believed in it for so long she basically had to keep a better view on the world like her mom and Diana had.
But after everything, she sees it impossible to keep up the same ideals.
She hated that Veronica Cale won, and she isn’t shy to admit that to anyone, especially with how Cale tried to discredit Diana for a long time, while her mentor always saw the good in people, and Cale was no exception. Cassandra however did not see that in Veronica Cale, all she saw was a jealous woman, who hated everything Diana represented since arriving in Gateway City.
And now she is the President of the United States of America.
And Diana is no longer among them to react to the news.
“Hey, what say you help me clean up a few terracottas that came in from Egypt? Might help you clear your mind off for a few days.”
“Hmm…” Cassandra thought it over before nodding, not like she had anything better to do, already having a few days off from college anyway and it’s been a while since she hung out with her mom. “Alright, but if you can bring out that wine again, it will make my suffering a lot easier."
Helena shook her head. "Not this time, young lady, I want your hands steady when we start cleaning," her mother stood up, taking a deep breath in enjoying the calm night around their house. "Because if there is one thing I don't want you doing, is break important artifacts."
"Sheesh… fine, let me suffer with my thoughts then…"
The two Sandsmarks shared a small laugh together. Cassie made the right choice to hang out with her mom during election night, she could relax even for a few days before she goes back to the world.
"Say, how about we invite Artemis over? We can order Chinese again."
"Nah," Cassandra shook her head as her mother started climbing down. "She said she had to watch the streets tonight in case people start messing things up because of the election."
The former Wonder Girl looked at the city ahead, full of lights and full of life. Celebrating a new era to the country, an era Cassandra hopes is for the better.
She fought the urge to not scoff with her mother this close, yeah right, new era her half God ass. She crushed the soda can and floated down from her roof.
The Lowell Hotel - New York City - TIME: 08:10 P.M:
Veronica Cale loved hearing a crowd cheering her name, she loved seeing signs with her name, quotes, and whatever her marketing and election team put out were all written on them.
Cale 2020. Madam President. No More Vigilantes. America is a Woman.
All hers, all her name, all her image.
Veronica Cale knew it in her heart, she reached a place few have reached.
She straightened her back and smiled for the camera, standing on the podium as she addressed the crowd and press after she won this year's election. Her team made the decision to make the conference in the Lowell Hotel, a five-star establishment that has a large open area made for weddings.
And now she is using The Lowell Hotel as her official declaration for winning the presidency.
"...I would at first like to thank Jefferson Pierce for his effort in the past four years, your reforms will be honored by the next generation and remembered for years." Said Veronica, smiling to the cameras as flashes of lights came from the cameras. “But now, thanks to your support and for believing that we Americans can truly come back from the brink that nearly toppled this great nation. I aim to bring back what this nation once stood for, for it to be a land of opportunity! For all who come here! No matter where you are from that we can stand against all who go against humanity! As a united people! As united Americans!”
The crowd cheered, agreeing with words. Cale has been focused on curbing vigilantism and security from these superpowered beings, and she aims to give it to the people.
“To the people of America, I put my trust in you making the right choice, and tonight my trust is rewarded.” Veronica cited, eyeing up the audience, all cheering for her. “Now I will reward your trust back! Starting today, you will see changes that will be made! All in the name of safety and taking this nation to a prosperous future! A new era for the United States of America!”
She raised her arms, her voice growing higher and confident as she continued telling her speech that she had prepared since she started this venture.
“Starting today we all no longer need any of these so-called super idols walking the streets thinking they know what is safe! No longer will we fear that any day our homes, our buildings and streets, and our city, may fall because of these metahumans like what happened to Coast City! Starting today until I serve you as long as you allow me, I will make this country stand above the rest!”
Her eyes centered at the cameras, all from different news outlets that are airing her conference to the entire country, no, to the world.
“Starting today, I stand with you all as your President, your leader, with a promise that I will deliver to those who have wronged our nation the needed justice! In the name of God’s Vengeance falling down on them!” She proclaimed, her smile widened at the cheers and camera’s light flashing all over the area. “Thank you all for choosing me! And God bless America!”
Veronica Cale allowed the cheers to drown her, hearing the mothers who came in support, the small business owners, the different people of color, and nationality all coming to support her. The little boys and girls who came to cheer for their new President.
The people have found their idol, their hero for the new age.
Veronica Cale has reached the top of the world, above all the rest who doubted her, who laughed at her. The politicians who said she couldn’t go far. The billionaires who said she couldn’t succeed in that world the same as she did in the business world with her company.
But here she is, standing on the podium with hundreds of people cheering, reaching the highest pedestal as the new leader of the free world.
And yet, she feels incomplete.
Her smile slowly faded, lowering at each passing second as the cheers, the clapping, and the shouting faded, drowning all the annoying noise out made by these fools.
She won, she reached her peak. Veronica can float to everyone in the world for this win.
Except for one person, a person she cannot tell them with confidence that she won.
Diana Prince, Wonder Woman, the greatest female hero of all time as some people call it. And the person she desires the most to tell them that Veronica has won.
And yet, she is not here, living, not here to make that woman shake her hand because she won.
Veronica Cale is now the President of the United States of America.
While Diana is not here to see her win.
Gateway City - Financial District - TIME: 07:30 P.M
{...I stand with you all as your President, your leader, with a promise that I will deliver to those who have wronged our nation the needed justice! In the name of God’s Vengeance falling down on them!}
The man sniffed his nose as he stared at the tv screen curiously of Veronica Cale’s press conference. Almost every news outlet has made the announcement of her winning over Jefferson Pierce and making him a one-term president. Historical night as the media are making it out to be.
“The first woman for prez, huh…” muttered the man before turning to his buddy. “Hey, who did you vote for?”
“Didn’t vote.” His buddy answered, grabbing on a set of ropes from his bag. “Never trusted that Cale chick, she’ll probably just ride it and let those old men cup a feel.” explained his buddy, tying up a rope. “And Pierce hasn’t done anything except make headlines about being the second black president, I mean… where are the jobs he promised?”
“Oh right… remembered you listen to Cizko…”
“The stuff he says makes sense you know.”
“Yeah, if you were from the 18th century. And no respectable place will be taking your dumbass for anything.” The man complained, looking back to the screen of Cale waving at the crowd. “Cale seems promising at least.”
“I don’t know man… women leading anything sounds like an apocalypse happening. Do we even know if she will provide more jobs for people like us?”
The man scoffed and turned fully to his buddy, he was dressed in a tracksuit and a mask that covered his entire face, the face had the appearance of President Bush. “Who in their right mind would hire your dumbass. Besides, where’s the fun in doing a normal job.”
“Maybe because I want to stay alive and safe?”
The man in the George Bush mask scoffed as he walked up to his buddy. “Yeah right, anyway you need any help?”
“Nah, I got this one.”
The bank employee sobbed quietly as the buddy, dressed in the same tracksuit but wore a Richard Nixon mask, tied up her arms and legs, and put her with the rest of the bank employers who were working late for the night.
“Alright people, we are not here to steal your money, only the bank money,” Bush said loudly to the employers. “Just keep quiet and no one will get hurt like your boss who tried to be cute by calling the cops.” he pointed at the large bloodstain painted on a wall nearby as if he was thrown into it.
“I never knew banks open this late.”
“They don’t, but it's election night, and every rich fucker wants to get their money back in case the results come back shitty,” Bush answered, carrying a heavy assault rifle on his hip. "Bad luck tonight I guess… Whiteman said it will be quiet."
The two turned to the noise outside, the cheering and fireworks coming inside. The people of Gateway were parading the streets after Cale won, celebrating everywhere.
Of course, that gave them an opening to come in the bank and steal the money without anyone noticing.
"You two are done?"
Bush and Nixon turned to see two of fellow robbers coming out of the vault, carrying four bags on their backs. One wore a George Washington mask, the other a Dick Cheney, who carried all four bags on their bags.
"What took you two so long?" Nixon asked.
"Trouble with the system, but we took care of it," Washington answered. Nodding at the two. "We should be in there in a couple of minutes, then we are golden."
"Whiteman should be happy." Nixon noted but Bush let out a scoff.
"Yeah right, that will be the day…"
Cheney walked up and gave the two their bags, and it nearly fell off their hands.
"Jesus… these things are heavy…" Nixon complained as he strapped on the bags on his back. "How the hell did you carry these all together?" He asked Chaney, who before could answer was interrupted by Washington.
"Not now, we need to meet up with the Whiteman." He cited, nodding at the noise outside. "We can use the crowd to move without drawing any attention, so keep your guns hidden and don't draw any attention- AH!"
Washington grabbed on his shoulder as blood poured out of it, a red arrow pierced through his flesh.
"What the shit?!" Nixon shouted in shock, searching the large room just where the hell did that arrow come from.
"Above us!" Bush aimed his weapon upward, noticing a glow. "There is something there-"
He could finish his sentence as another arrow flew through the air and hit him through his leg, causing him to shout in agony.
Washington removed the arrow off his shoulder, "Fuck!" He shouted in pain as he threw the arrow away, already losing some blood. "Waste them!"
Obliging on the order, Bush and Nixon sprayed their bullets toward the rafters of the bank, aiming to kill whatever was shooting arrows at them.
And that whatever came flying down on them as they jumped off their spot and landed in front of them, their weight cracking the marble floor of the bank.
"Oh, shit…" Nixon said in fear, turning white underneath his mask. "It's…"
Washington and Bush did not waste time to stand in fear or awe as they aimed their weapons at the newcomer.
She stood tall, muscular, armed with a shield in one hand and a red arrow in the other, her sword dangling by her hip. A red longbow and a quiver strapped on her back. Dressed in her predecessor's iconic clothes and colors, of a red corset and a blue skirt.
Artemis of Bana-Mighdall, aka Wonder Woman, readied herself as she brought up her shield. Carrying a focused expression as she glared at the robbers.
"Waste her!" Washington shouted as he and the other two sprayed bullets at the red-head.
Artemis moved, her size betrayed her Inhuman speed as she dodged their bullets. Using her shield would cause a ricochet and possibly harm the hostages they had tied up.
Left and right, dodging every bullet aimed at her until she came closer to the one who wore the Washington mask, twirling in her step as she used her shield as a weapon and swung it, hitting him on his face at full force and sending him flying, crashing into a wooden wall nearby.
Not wasting time, Artemis lunged at the next robber near her, the one who wore George Bush, who fired at her in a panic. Artemis rushed forward, raising her shield to block to the oncoming barrage, and directing it away from the hostages. The Amazonian grabbed the assault rifle and pulled the robber closer, delivering a vicious headbutt, and the sound of nose breaking echoed around the large room as the robber grabbed on his face and shouted in pain.
She grabbed his arm and raised him up, easily so, and turned to Nixon and threw the agonizing robber towards him, flinging him across the room and crashing into the confused buddy.
Ten seconds, that's how long it took her to beat them.
All but one.
Artemis heard a gasp behind her, turning to face the last remaining robber who held a hostage closely.
"Release her," Artemis demanded, brandishing her sword. "Or you will be regretting it."
The robber who wore the Dick Chaney mask let out a small giggle, grabbing the bank teller's jaw tightly. "Now that's not a very Wonder Woman way of hostage negotiation." Said the robber, their voice is clearly that of a woman. "The last one would have said some nice words, convince me to not go through it."
Artemis narrowed her eyes, her voice seems to indicate that she knew Diana in the past. Is she an old enemy? One who still has a vendetta against Wonder Woman.
"So I wonder if you will be just as fun…"
The woman in the Chaney mask threw her hostage aside and charged forward, cutting the distance between them as she crooked her fist back.
Artemis, on instinct, raised her shield from the incoming attack, and instead of repelling the attack like she always had, she was sent flying through the air, crashing through the walls and into the street outside.
As the dust settled, the hostages who were tied up stared in shock from the woman dressed in Dick Chaney's mask inhuman strength to be able to send Artemis, who is strong herself, was flung out of the building like she was nothing.
The woman cracked her neck as she took off her tracksuit to reveal a tight black/yellow jumpsuit, and underneath her mask revealed a beautiful woman with a short red-hair.
And some noticed that… she became a little bigger.
She turned to the unconscious bodies of the bank robbers who were her partners, and she gave a quick scoff of disgust.
"Weak, thinking they could take her on…" said the woman as she walked up to the entrance, leaving them and the money behind. “You,” she pointed at the one wearing the Nixon mask, being the only one who was still conscious enough and less hurt compared to his friends. “Get out of here, we already did our part, so I’ll stall her in the meantime.” she ordered Nixon who all did but nod furiously.
Her body started to change, her arms expanded, her legs grew in height and in size, her entire body doing the same.
"Guess I'll show them how this is done."
Giganta continued expanding her size.
"Hades breath…"
Artemis pushed off the door from her as she got out of the car she found herself in after getting thrown out of the bank by that woman. The shock from the hit gave her little time to properly fix her flight after getting punched.
Especially from such power delivered.
'Just what was that strength…'
The Amazonian noticed the many eyes that were focused on her, from friends to families all walking the streets in celebration of the news of Veronica Cale winning.
Artemis will admit, she never cared that much about the election as is no different from a King taking their crown. Only it's more of who is popular than simply merit.
"Mommy! That's Wonder Woman!" A small girl pointed at the Amazonian as she got out of the wreckage.
"Please everyone, leave the area!" Artemis called the onlooker's attention. "You will be in danger!"
She heard someone scoff nearby. "Yeah right… probably because it's their fault we are in danger."
"Yeah, Cale was right, these people are just bringing in trouble and wrecking stuff up!” another commented, pointing at the car she landed on. “Like the car!”
Artemis gritted her teeth, now it's not the time to argue with her about politics and whether she is doing the right thing.
Her ears perked, turning her focus where the noise came from and her eyes widened. The bank walls open wide as a giant red-headed woman comes out of it, her height breaking the roof of the building and she proceeds to walk through the walls. The giant scanned her surroundings until she finally settled on Artemis.
“Giganta…” Artemis muttered, an old enemy of Diana who emerged a few years ago, her usual criminal activities have been serving others deeds for tasks, but bank robbery is a first for someone like her.
The crowd of people, finally realizing what Artemis has been warning them about, all ran the other direction as Giganta shook the ground at every step she took. Causing several parked cars to sound the alarm. Slowly, the street was empty, with everyone either giving a few blocks of distance or hiding inside any nearby building.
Artemis cracked her neck and rotated her arms as the giant woman approached her, looks like this will be a long fight. She unwrapped the lasso that was hanging by her hip, now it seems to be the most appropriate time to use it.
She lunged forward, using her winged slippers to help her in the jump, giving her the needed boost as she came closer to the giant woman.
Giganta raised her hands to swat the Amazonian away, but Artemis dodged the attack, twirling her body as she felt strong wind coming from the hand that passed by her. She threw the lasso, which wrapped around Giganta’s hand, and using her Amazonian strength, Artemis pulled the rope and flew forward, passing by Giganta.
“What the hell is this?” Giganta asked in confusion as she tried to tear the lasso off of her, but it was stronger than it appeared. “AH!”
Giganta was pulled back, her arm stretched forward thanks to Artemis’s lasso, showing that the Amazonian’s muscles were not for show. The giantess tried to pull herself back but before she could grab on the lasso, Artemis dove downward, bringing Giganta down with her.
Artemis fixed her flight landing feet first on the street and pulled the lasso with all of her strength, dragging Giganta and causing her to trip and fall face-first on the pavement, letting out a large crack on the floor thanks to her size.
Now with an opening, Artemis flew once more, the lasso stretching as long as she can make it go, quickly tying the giantess up starting of her both of her hands before flying to her legs, it won’t be long before she’ll have Giganta taken care of-
Artemis stopped mid-flight as she felt the lasso being pulled, which made her grimace as she also felt her shoulders getting pulled from the sudden action. Looking back, she saw Giganta use her large fingers and wrap the lasso around it, giving her a chance to pull Artemis back.
Grabbing hold of the golden lasso, Giganta pulled her back, slamming the Amazonian on the ground hard, cracking the Earth with her weight and strength from the throw. Not stopping her attack, Giganta pulled her legs back and kicked forward, hitting a dazed Artemis and sending her flying across the street and hitting a nearby store, crashing inside.
“Dumb bitch!” Giganta stood up as she unwrapped the rope off of her arms, “You think this is the first time I got lassoed up! The last one did the same thing on a daily basis!” said the giantess form experience. “Think of something new!”
Artemis coughed out the dust that came from her crash, slowly standing and fighting off the pain that screamed all over her body. Even with her shield, it couldn’t absorb the whole attack because of Giganta’s strength, and not even a small shield can stop that.
She spat out blood and looked at her surroundings, thank Hera the place was empty, it would have been bad if anyone here got hurt because of Artemis. Standing up and walking out of the store, bleeding from her head.
“Oh? Still there little girl?” Giganta asked, amused. Looking down at Artemis like she was a bug. “I have to say, all this talk about a new Wonder Woman being this scary muscled chick that will kick anyone’s ass,” she noted and widened her smile. “But all I am seeing is someone pretending they are someone else!” she mocked, hands-on-hips.
Artemis sniffed her nose and cracked her neck, another day, another monologue, she’s been getting those a lot lately. All judging her place as Diana of Themyscira’s successor, from enemies to the public, from those she thought that can be allies to herself.
She brought out her shield and sword, taking a stance despite being bloody.
“Are you done?” she asked, her tone still carried confidence under it. “Because there is only one result in this, with you beaten and going to prison.”
Giganta scoffed, finding her words amusing.
Before the two could continue, from above Artemis noticed something black approaching them. Her eyes turned and widened after realizing what it was.
Giganta raised an eyebrow, confused at her action, following her line of sight and sharing the same reaction as the Amazonian.
Four armored… people were descending down upon them, flying by what appears to be wings on their backs and carrying a different set of weapons individually. Their focus was on Giganta as the first flyer, a giant of a person, swung a black hammer. Giganta tried to block it but the hammer is proven to be stronger as it pushed her hand back, and the giantess grunted in pain.
Two other flyers followed behind the Hammer, the two each had a weapon of their own, one had a set of claw gauntlets while the other carried a sickle, who each proceeded to slash her legs, causing the giantess to scream in pain as she got down to her knees.
The last flyer came in slowly, they carried what seemed to be a club in their hands. Before pressing on a button, the club sprouted out spikes and an electric current surge around it as they swung a powerful attack at Giganta, hitting her face and sending an electrical shock all over her body.
The four continued attacking Giganta until she finally fell down on the ground after the last attack from Hammer knocked her out. The action caused her to shrink back down to her normal size.
Artemis was flabbergasted at this attack. She will commend them for the tactical approach, overwhelm the opponent until they are down, but doing so… brutally was too much for Artemis, and she is from Bana-Migdall, and she enjoys a fight just as much as anyone, but she recognizes brutality.
“Wonder Woman,” one of the armored flyers, the one who had claws as their weapons, approached her. The armor covered their entire body, with a helmet that bore a resemblance to that of a hawk. “You are under arrest for your vigilante activity,” said Claw, a woman underneath the armor judging her voice.
Artemis narrowed her eyes, arrest? Really? These people must be joking.
Claw noticed Artemis tensing up as her hands slowly reached her sword. “Resist and you will be met by extreme force-”
“That’s enough Sergeant.”
Claw stood straight from the voice while Artemis looked behind her as another of the flyers came forward, the one who had a club as their weapon, who stood taller than Claw.
“We are here to arrest criminals, and Doris Zuel is a known criminal,” said Club, his voice commanding, stern, and deep, contrasting to the abrasive tone of Claw. “And it wasn’t for Wonder Woman things would have been worse…”
Claw scoffed. “Things are worse because of her-”
“I understand, but I repeat, she is not a criminal...” Club cited Claw, looking down on the smaller armored flyer before turning to Artemis. “...Yet that is.”
Artemis furrowed her brows. “And you are?” she asked, noticing the armored flyers were cuffing the unconscious Giganta as she heard police approaching their location.
Club’s expression remained hidden but Artemis could feel he was amused by her question. “We are the answer to all the city's problems.” he answered, “Today is our first day of duty too. Don’t want to miss out on our chance to show that to the city.” he turned to Claw and nodded at her. “Get her out of here, the holding cells should be up now.”
Claw still had her eyes set on Artemis before turning to Club. “Understood, Commander…”
Club turned to Artemis after the two were left alone, his hands still gripping his weapon. “That should at least let her focus on other issues. Now, back to our conversation.”
“You haven’t answered my question,” Artemis cited, eyeing him in suspicion. “I never knew Gateway Police carries such weaponry.”
“We can thank our newly elected President for her contribution.” Club answered. “Moving forward, things will be different in Gateway City.”
Artemis did not like the sound of that part, her eyes narrowed and she asked. “Meaning?”
“Meaning you are not needed.”
She had to fight to urge to not hit him right there for his words.
“If you are angry, blame it on your kind for bringing destruction to the world,” said Club as he walked back. “Remember this, we aren’t arresting you because you’ve done a good job in protecting the city, but moving forward you are walking a thin line, should you stray from it, we will consider you an enemy and a criminal that will be put down.”
The sound of armor clicking came as he walked back but not before leaving one last comment.
"It's a new era, Wonder Woman. An era where vigilantes are no longer needed. An era of law and order to stop this needless destruction such as this fight of yours. And it starts here."
Artemis did not answer back, she knew it would be a wasteful thing to do. Around her, she saw the people who were hiding inside the buildings come out and stare at the display in front of them, many had their eyes on the four-winged armored squads arresting Giganta as police finally arrived.
She knows defeat and she is feeling it.
Artemis turned and leaped forward, somewhat wounded and exhausted, she used her winged slippers to fly through the air. Whatever is going on in this world, is changing, and she can feel it.
Wonder Woman Vol 3.
Previous Issue <> [Next Issue]()
submitted by VoidKiller826 to DCNext [link] [comments]

2020.11.17 03:25 Interesting_Head I am 40 years old, I make $198,000 a year, live in Washington, DC, and I work in government affairs

Section One: Assets and Debt
Hello! Like others before me, I have written a small novel about my finances. Enjoy!
Retirement Balance: $655,724.99 (my 401k) + 262,817.64 (spouse 401k) + $52,020.06 (two IRAs, identically invested) = $970,562.69
Brokerage Accounts: $245,752.89
Home Equity: $327,100.23
Misc. Joint Savings Account Balance: $71,816.55
Joint Checking Account Balance: $37,706.45
Health Savings Account: $6,283.17
Credit Card Debt: $0
Student Loan Debt: $0
Car Loan Debt: $0
Section Two: Income
Income Progression: I have been working in my field for 17 years, and my starting salary was $25,000. Currently I make $198,000 + Spouse Salary is $150,000 = $348,000 + bonuses.
Monthly Take Home from Myself and Partner:
No Side Gig or Other Monthly Income: I used to sell things through Poshmark but that wasn't exactly a lot of money.
Section Three: Expenses (monthly averages when needed)
Total spending for the Week:
Some Reflections:
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2020.11.12 00:03 SabatonBabylon The HEL Jumper [Chapter 3.31]

Book 1 of The HEL Jumper
Book 2 of The HEL Jumper
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Thanks to Big_Papa_Dakky, Darth_Android, bloblob, AMERICUH, The_Real_Jumper, Ironwing, Mr_Polygon, Krystalin, Mamish, Vikairious, Sam_Berry, RedHawkdude, KillTech, LilLaussa, Daddy_Talon, Gruecifer, Gaelan_Darkwater, Konrahd_Verdammt, red-shirt, DaPorkchop, Benjamin Durbin, Siddabear, and everyone supporting me on patreon.
“Feels different, doesn’t it?” Winters asked, standing just beyond Veera’s old farm and looking out at the site his pod used to occupy. The lush grasses of Mara’s plains had already reclaimed the impact site after a year of growth, obscuring the entirety of the disturbed ground save for the small, square area where the pod itself had rested. Nearby, nature had also begun its work of reclaiming Veera’s farm. The polymer irrigation system they had built for her was still in fine shape, but here and there stones were missing in the rock wall, having fallen into the tilled soil or rolled down the nearby hill towards the river. All manner of assorted grasses and weeds grew there instead of dato, making good use of the otherwise pristine plot of land left unattended.
‘No need to be so modest, sir. It looks different,’ Io agreed. The AI was resting casually in one corner of his HUD, taking a break before they left for the morning hunt. The early light of sunrise was just peaking over the horizon to the west, and so she donned a simple button down shirt over her underwear while she ‘enjoyed’ some coffee. He glanced at her, then lingered.
“Trying to give me a case of jump bone before we get started?” he chuckled. Instead of coming back with a witty retort as was so often her forte, she stared into her cup.
‘Sorry. I’m glad you like this form though.’
Russell breathed deeply and reached his hand for his neck, finding his armor and quiver of arrows instead. He had his knife, canteen, and pistol at his waist, but had left the rest of his gear back in the village. “You wanna talk about it? Shy isn’t really your thing, especially when you’re half naked.”
‘My reputation precedes me it would seem. I wouldn’t know where to start,’ Io admitted, taking another sip as he sat on one of the western facing walls to watch the sun come up on a cool, slightly overcast day. ‘Yesterday changed everything.’
“Alright, well answer me this then. How long did it take you to start after we got on board the Event Horizon? Did you wait until I was off the shuttle at least?” Russell asked with a cheeky smile.
‘Du barbar! I waited until it became clear we could trust Natori to at least not cave to the whims of the Ghaelen emissary aboard his ship. But yes, construction began shortly thereafter,’ Io admitted.
Russell slipped his knife from its sheath and began playing with the point. “And he’s been helping you on this project since then?”
‘Russell, I told you this wasn’t a matter of trust,’ Io pleaded. ‘Please, don’t say it like that.’
The Jumper felt a small pit open up somewhere near the base of his stomach. He tapped his foot against the sod beneath them. “Yeah, I guess that’s what I sounded like, didn’t I? Sorry, Io. I think I understand. Let’s just say I would never want Veera to see some of my baby pictures, any of them really. Hey, that goes for you too!” he insisted as Io’s eyes lit up.
‘But surely you were super cute!’ the AI wagered. He groaned.
“Yeah sure, if you consider human babies to be cute. I wouldn’t know; I was a fat little poop machine.”
‘I suppose we should all be thankful that your father and mother didn’t see it the same way?’ Io proposed. He nodded.
“That’s the AI I know and love. I think… I’ll enjoy having little fluff balls instead,” he admitted. “Does that make me a bad person?”
Io tossed her coffee over her shoulder as she threw her hands up in frustration before summoning it right back, steaming softly and inviting her to take another sip. ‘You and your emotionally laden single sentences,’ she groused. ‘But it is an opportunity to talk about you instead of myself, so I will take it eagerly. I do not think it makes you a bad person, sir, though I must warn you there will still be ample excrement. Your sister was similarly enamored with Cauthan infants, to say nothing of the well documented human tendency to protect small and soft critters. As for your own cubs, I would find it quite odd if you preferred the idea of human to Cauthan infants since you now have two to claim as your own. They say everything changes when they’re yours. I assume this is true.’
“I guess I do have a choice, but I don’t feel like I do. The only course of action is to accept it,” Winters insisted. “Probably naive, but I don’t think Veera slept with another Cauthan. It’s just difficult to speak about with her around, you know?”
‘She does have more claws than you do, more talons as well,’ Io agreed before looking sincerely at him. ‘When those cubs are born they will be some combination of black and gold, I’m sure of it, sir. However, you have my word that should you need to vent or express darker emotions about the situation, I am an open ear and a closed mouth. It must be difficult to balance your misgivings with your desire to support her.’
“Darker emotions, huh?” Winters repeated, watching as a wave of wind carried across the fields that stretched out before him. He wondered where Veera’s tribe was, whether they were already moving south for the winter. “Not sure I’ve even decided on them yet, even if it weren’t for yesterday. Feel like filling me in now?”
Io sighed and took another sip. ‘I guess I can’t stall forever, can I?’
“You can, I’m not sure I’d appreciate it though,” Russell replied evenly.
‘Yes yes, I get it. I don’t really know what there is to say though, sir. I have desired such a thing for a long time,’ she admitted quietly. He nodded.
“I know. Remember that hunt of ours way back when, saying I wanted to hold you and everything?” Russell felt himself flush slightly inside his armor. “I think it felt more poignant in the moment, maybe because I never thought it would be possible. Right now it’s a tad awkward to be honest, thinking you actually look like that.”
‘My dear Jumper you wound me,’ Io told him. ‘But if it is uncomfortable-’
“It’s not, Io. Yesterday was just… I don’t know. We’ve talked about it gods know how many times but then suddenly there you were, right in front of me, me and Veera. I could touch you, hold you. Do I sound like an idiot? I sound to me like I sound like an idiot.”
Io smiled gently, feeling his heartbeat subtly accelerate within the Aegis. ‘I understand how much I’m asking from you when I ask for the truth, Russell. You have a wife. You will have children. But you and I have both professed to love one another, and now that some aspect of that can be physical I’m asking you again. And then I’ll tell you whatever you want to know about my body.’
Russell looked at her for a long while, at her milky legs curled under her in that chair and the loose fitting shirt over her body. It was easy to focus on her eyes though. “After what we’ve been though? I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love you, but don’t count on someone like me to understand what that implies.”
‘You forget that I have this,’ she reminded him, setting down her morning beverage and summoning forth the neural map of his reaction to Veera’s confession of love. ‘I know it’s true. I just wanted to hear it again. I understand yesterday was not the time or place, however.’
“Well now you have, Io. So what was under the Aegis then?” Russell wondered. She shook her head.
‘An unfinished mess, sir. And to think I once had hopes of a fully human body. You asked about the Admiral? His primary contribution has been to ground me and my expectations, sir.’
“How real are we talking here? Like artificial womb levels of real?” Russell demanded, cursing himself internally for being stuck on that particular function of the female body. He felt little choice in the matter for the time being. Io glanced away from him.
‘The thought did cross my mind, though I did not need outside input to quickly determine that such fancies are a pipedream for the time being. Eventually, even things like a working digestive system fell by the wayside in favor of a body that is outwardly human with simplistic innards.’
“Well mission accomplished as far as I’m concerned,” Russell said approvingly, recalling the warmth of her cheek and the way she’d blushed and cried as they’d touched for the first time. “I honestly couldn’t tell the difference.”
‘I am so glad to hear that, sir. However, the fact remains that even when it’s completed I estimate that body will need to be serviced every couple weeks or so to remain at an acceptable level of humanity, let’s say, as opposed to functionality. I have said this before, I am sure, but the human body becomes more and more incredible the more faithfully one attempts to replicate it. The amount of technology I would have to invent just to digest food and turn it into both energy and suitable biomass at an efficiency even close to natural is staggering. I think it’s safe to say that even now, current HEL battery technology is not nearly as efficient as the cellular engine of humanity. It’s on the list, but substantially below hugging you and Veera.’
“And where does it rank relative to showing off your legs like that?” Winters followed up with a cocked brow.
‘Ah… below that as well,’ she admitted, extending one of them for his inspection. ‘In my defense I have very nice legs, and it’s significantly simpler to make them smooth, shiny, and well defined than to try to miniaturize a nano-forge!’
“I’m sure it is simpler. And I never said I was complaining either,” Russell clarified. “So what’s the plan then, beyond yesterday’s spontaneity?”
‘Well, per Antoth’s request I have every intention of having a fully functioning body by the time the harvest festival rolls around. I had hopes for various semi-biological systems to be integrated by that point, but after spending some time in the Aegis I think power concerns will be my primary focus. I have been given access to all available information on the power core recovered from the Forge, and Natori has requested that I collaborate with his researchers, when I am not hunting with you, of course.’
“That sounds… dangerous,” he replied uneasily. She nodded in agreement.
‘And what I wouldn’t give to touch you now, and to ask that you place the same faith in me that you placed in me to live at all, sir.’
Russell threw his head back and laughed, perhaps a bit too emotively but he felt some relief in its wake. “I’m never going to win another argument in my life between you and her, am I? Io? Hey, don’t go quiet on me now.”
‘My apologies, Russell. It’s just when you say those things, treat me the same as the woman you took as your wife, I… well I’m not sure if I misunderstand or simply hope for too much. But at a minimum, I take it to mean you’ll trust me if I need that sort of power?’
Russell rested an elbow on his knee, propping up his chin like a Rodin sculpture. “Sure, let’s contemplate a complete revolution of humanity’s technological playing field. That actually sounds less dangerous than… you and Veera? Oh boy.”
‘You know that even if I succeed, that invention might not make it anywhere, sir. We still don’t know what the HEL will do with me when we return,’ Io pointed out, allowing him to remain focused on technology for the time being. She did not know exactly what it was like to have a stomach, even with her new body, but the conflicting subroutines were more than enough to set her heart beating quickly even as she avoided the other subject. A part of her had yearned for him ever since her handful of teenage days, and yet the idea of being directly compared to his wife struck her with dread far beyond even Natori seeing her half constructed or taking a look at her code.
“Yeah but let’s be honest, I’m not sure Natori is the kind of person to keep something like that under wraps even if he does hide you out of concern or some sense of duty. I can never get a bead on that guy. I suppose at this point all I can say is that if you do decide to try and stick a nuclear reactor into that body somewhere, be careful?”
‘Oh yes, what would I do without my dear operator? Why I was just considering using radium to make my eyes glow and get just a bit more green out of them!’ Io remarked sarcastically before bobbing her head and addressing him with more sincerity. ‘Of course I will be careful, sir.’
Russell nodded and looked to the western skies as the sound they’d been awaiting finally reached them. “I guess we’ll have to table the rest of this discussion for another time, Io. Looks like our hunting partner has arrived.”
‘Try not to sound like you want to kill them when you say hello, or that you were unpleasantly surprised when Natori approved this idea?’ she advised with a smirk.
“Is it that bad?” he asked, standing from the stone wall and stretching his hands above his head before grabbing his bow.
‘Oh I can assure you it is, sir. And while I certainly understand your perspective, perhaps it is time to be the bigger man, so to speak? I am aware of just how… robust that one Private is but my point still stands.’
“Alright alright, point taken,” Winters agreed as he walked over to where the shuttle was touching down nearby. As though jinxed by Io’s previous statement it was none other than Rex who hopped out before smacking the side of the aircraft to signal Natalya that she could be off.
“Private… Rex,” Winters said, returning the Private's salute quickly because it was a preferable alternative to punching him straight in the helmet. He made a mental note to ask Io to look up the man’s last name sometime when they were all bored.
“Lieutenant Winters.”
“I had hoped to get going a bit earlier, Private,” Winters began, causing Io to roll her eyes and change into her hunting gear, muttering about men and animals.
“Sorry sir,” Rex said with zero concern. “I would have left earlier but those doors in that Forge of yours just really needed someone standing in front of them for several hours at a time.”
“Did you try headbutting one?” the lieutenant wondered sarcastically, prompting Rex to bark with laughter.
“Yes sir. Even gave it a whack with my hammer, here. Didn’t seem to work very well.”
“So you figured a little jaunt in the forest with me was preferable to standing around waiting for someone to science their way past one of those bulkheads?”
“Yes sir.”
“Have you ever been hunting before?” Winters wondered, turning for the bridge and assuming Rex would follow after. He certainly had no intention of babysitting.
“No sir,” the Private replied. That gave Winters a momentary pause.
“Your father never took you?” he wondered, looking over his shoulder when Rex didn’t reply. “I asked you a question, Private.”
“What father, sir?” the burly Jumper growled back. Winters glanced at Io, who shrugged.
‘Don’t look at me, I let it go when you put him in the hospital. Given his size I think it will be necessary to share our little program, unless of course you wish to take a stroll through the forests all day and come back empty handed on account of his lumbering bulk.’
“Sure, fine by me,” Russell agreed before addressing Rex again. “Apologies, Private. Didn’t mean to bring up unpleasant memories. While under other circumstances I wouldn’t mind wandering around Mara for a day I have a pregnant wife and wild dog to feed, so consider yourself under orders to learn and utilize the program that was just pushed to your Aegis.”
‘And before you wonder how he managed to do so, it was me,’ Io added, taking a curious look around. ‘Hmm, looks like the Mark 3 didn’t upgrade much in the way of digital infrastructure.’
“Hey wait a second, aren’t you the digital chick that was screwing with the Admiral a while back? I thought you had a body now. What gives? And how did you get in here?” Rex demanded, only to feel the joints of his armor lock and his HUD flash an angry red.
‘I may not be in possession of any sort of official rank but you will address me with respect, Private. I am no ‘chick’, and what I do or do not do with my body is none of your business you meatbag! Now review the program before I decide to lock your armor somewhere in the forest so my operator and I can hunt in peace!’
In a remarkable display of prudence, Rex did not make any sort of smart aleck reply as Io huffed her way back onto Winters’ HUD. “What happened to letting it go?” he inquired with a chuckle.
‘I am not a chick!’ she insisted with crossed arms, showing him a rather cute pout. ‘I am the greatest marvel of human scientific achievement to date!’
“And you have great legs,” Winters reminded her with a coy smile.
‘Only for you!’ she yelped before throwing her hands over her mouth and blushing to the tips of her ears. To Winters’ credit, all he did was raise both of his eyebrows to the point he could feel the resistance of his helmet pushing back on the wrinkling of his forehead. ‘This was a mistake.’
“Let’s just go hunting, yeah? Speaking of which, when were you going to tell me about Rex? Feels freaking awkward now, like I’m trying to play daddy.”
‘For both of our sakes, never say that again,’ Io requested. ‘As for the Private, I know that both you and Natori would be much more disappointed in me if I went digging for personal information on people we didn’t have a good reason to go snooping for.’
As they entered the forest proper, exchanging scattered morning sun for the cool shade of the trees above, Winters nodded sagely. “Yeah, that’s a good point Io. Well here goes nothing, I guess. Everything working on your HUD, Private?”
“Isn’t this cheating?” Rex asked incredulously. “I thought the point of hunting was, you know, the hunt?”
“We don’t know each other well enough for you to drop the customs and courtesies, Private Rex,” Russell replied easily, taking a moment to string his bow as Rex huffed inside his armor and restated his question, reminding himself that it was better than sitting around inside that old alien tomb.
“Isn’t this cheating, sir?” he tried again.
“Yes, Private. It’s cheating,” Winters replied with no hesitation. “I told you already, the only thing I care about is feeding people. Watch your step.”
True to Winters’ warning, Rex’s visor began flashing red to warn him of a nearby branch that, if stepped upon, would alert nearby wildlife. He stepped around it, wondering just how much to press a certain issue. “So you mentioned… that Cauthan woman. She’s pregnant?”
“My wife, you mean? Yes, she is,” Winters confirmed icily, walking onward and waiting for Io’s program to pick up the trail of a chesko or hyrven. Either would do. It was a while before Rex spoke again.
“And you’re going to raise them, the kids I mean?” he wondered. The Omega Jumper stopped walking and stood straight, not bothering to look back at him.
“I’m going to raise my cubs, yes,” he affirmed, as though challenging Rex to drop any number of criticisms. There were plenty to go around in military life, especially when surprise pregnancies were the topic of conversation. Io felt the need to interject at that point.
‘I could attempt to explain if you wish?’ she offered. Russell shook his head firmly.
“Doesn’t matter, Io. It’s not worth it. And of all the people I don’t feel the need to explain myself to, he’s top of the list,” Russell explained before adjusting his radio to speak to Rex again. “Let’s move on, Private.”
To their collective surprise, Rex seemed rather amenable to the suggestion. “Yes sir. Didn’t mean to imply anything. Any chance we can hunt one of those bears?”
“An ursae?” Winters questioned, glancing at Io with no small amount of dread in his eyes. “If you manage to find one out there maybe the Admiral will let you go after it, but count me out. Once is enough.”
Contrary to the expectations of both men, the morning proceeded without incident. Rex, despite his bulk, was still a Jumper and managed to avoid doing anything that would prevent Russell from making a kill. The chesko was brought down shortly before midday, and the two men took a pause to partake of ration bars, dried meat, and water while the carcass was drained of blood. Winters himself was no veteran huntsman, but experience had proven the greatest of all teachers.
"Not going to lie, Private, I could have used you on my first outing."
"Why's that, sir? Enjoyed having someone walking behind you all morning?" Rex wondered sarcastically. Per Io's recommendation, he allowed the comment to slide and instead explained how on his first hunt he'd not field dressed his kill. Rex chuckled in spite of himself when Winters explained how he'd been hunted in turn by a starving hyrven.
"So there I was with two dead animals and not much daylight, definitely an experience," Winters recalled, screwing the cap back onto his canteen before drawing a hunting knife he'd had made back in the village and carving into the chesko.
"That sounds more like my kind of hunt," Rex said. "Let the beast come to me and snap its neck? Easy."
"Most hunts are pretty easy when you've got an Aegis," Winters pointed out. "But you may get your chance. Most of the hunters don't bother field dressing kills. Getting back to the village before a hyrven pack gets to you is more important. I got lucky it was just the one. Still would have been in the shit without my armor. Keep a lookout, would you?"
"Yes sir," Rex groused, finding himself employed in the same task he'd left back at the Forge.
"I could teach you how to gut a chesko if you prefer," Winters offered with a shrug.
"No offense, Lieutenant, but we're not good enough friends to be doing that father son shit."
"Didn't think we were friends at all," Russell replied as Io rolled her eyes.
"You talk a lot less than Lipper, which is a positive far as I'm concerned."
"Thought you two were dating."
"Even I can make exceptions. He's not my type though," Rex declared, leaving Winters silent for a moment. "Jesus Christ, Lieutenant, neither are you if that's what you're worried about."
"Duly noted, Private. You want to take that call?" Winters asked as the two men received a hail from the bridge of the Event Horizon. Rex nodded once and accepted.
"Admiral? There haven't been any accidents if that's what you're wondering," he said into his radio. Natori nodded with a thin smile.
"You have no idea how pleased I am to hear that you and Lieutenant Winters managed to go several hours without trying to kill one another, Private Rex. I hope I'm not intruding on boys time, but there is a situation the two of you should be made aware of."
"Patching the Lt in now, sir. Is it one of those bears?" Rex asked almost eagerly.
"Ursae," Russell corrected.
"Yeah, whatever, those things."
"It is not, gentlemen. It is a rescue mission," Natori informed them with a suitable level of gravity. "Let's just say i heard it from a friend who heard it from a friend."
As Russell continued to remove certain bones and guts from his chesko, he and Rex listened to Admiral Kaczynski's description of a little game of telephone that had begun around the watering hole back at the village. Sentaura had been chatting with a friend, the wife of one of Ratha's more experienced hunters. He'd been expected back that morning, but had yet to return. Lachlan either overheard the conversation or was told directly by Sentaura. He then filled Alice in, who made the decision to get in touch with Natori.
"And so you want us to find him?" Rex guessed. "Not sure if you can tell, sir, but this forest is pretty damn big."
"I am well aware of that, Private," Natori assured him. "I have asked my watchstanders to assist us in this endeavor."
"Ratha's going to be pissed," Russell opined. Rex scoffed.
"That the one who wanted Lipper's head?"
"She'd be upset?"
"The fuck… sir?"
"You get used to it. Not saying we shouldn't, just don't expect a thank you," Winters warned. "Do you have anything, Admiral?"
"Not yet, Lieutenant. I was hoping to pick your brain on the subject," the Admiral replied, regularly glancing away from them to review some reading or another on his holoscreen.
"I don't think I'm any better equipped to locate a dead body than you, Admiral," Russell said as Io looked downcast, taking some time to review what data was available thanks to the Event Horizons sensors, the vast majority of which were trained on the forest north and west of the village.
"Of that I have no doubt, Lieutenant. For now, however, I would prefer to operate under the assumption that our missing alien is alive. You would know best what steps someone in his position might take."
Russell looked at Io, hoping she might have something insightful to add. "I wish I did, sir. If he was attacked or wounded but somehow survived, he'd probably be doing his best to avoid the hyrven. It's already been a day. I’m not sure how long he could last. For what it’s worth I’ve never really had to learn how to survive out here against normal fare. Aegis is pretty handy for that."
“I suppose it would be,” Natori acknowledged with a nod, stroking his chin. “Very well, I will have my crew monitor the few groups of these animals that we’ve picked out, as well as scanning for individual lifeforms. A difficult task, but perhaps not impossible.”
“I’ll go,” Rex volunteered suddenly, gesturing to the day’s kill. “The Lieutenant hauled a lot more than that back when he needed to.”
“Not really your call, Private,” Winters reminded him, wrapping the choicest parts of the animal in its skin to carry back to the village. Natori’s news had put a sense of urgency behind his actions, and he found the task proceeding faster than he was accustomed to. “But it’s not like I called you out here to be a pack mule either. I’m sure Lance Corporal Mendes has that more than covered. I don’t need him, Admiral. If he wants to, that’s up to you. I can scout around as soon as I get this back to the settlement. I’m always down for an opportunity to annoy Ratha.”
“Sir?” Rex demanded again. The Jumper was growing visibly agitated, pacing back and forth over loosely packed dirt and undergrowth. Winters and Io both nodded to Natori.
“By all means, Private Rex,” the Admiral agreed, prompting the Jumper to take off and a brisk run without so much as a thank you. The dark-skinned commander of the Event Horizon shook his head apologetically. “You’ll have to forgive the Private, Lieutenant. He enjoys being active and has a… rather complicated past. Both the Lance Corporal and I thought it would be best to have him join you instead of Private Orlova or Private Lipper.”
Winters waved off the apology, shouldering his kill and planting his feet as he hefted it into a comfortable position and pushed himself upright. “Not a problem, sir. I’d never say it to his face but he was a fine enough companion today. As for his background, he’s a foster kid, right? Probably got abused once or twice?”
Natori’s stone-faced silence told Russell all he needed to know about the accuracy of his prediction. Io’s hands made their way to her hips as the Admiral glanced at her instead. ‘Don’t look at me, Natori. That was all the Lieutenant.’
“I am simply surprised that Private Rex chose to confide in you is all,” Kaczynski replied, sounding very much like a father discussing his own wayward son. Russell shook his head.
“Sorry to burst your bubble, sir, but he did no such thing. He just wears his emotions on his sleeve and reminds me of a few people from my past. There was only one public high school in my district. We took everyone.”
“I see,” Natori replied shortly before glancing away from their conversations. “Yes Patel, what is it? Understood. Lieutenant, Io, I must be going. While such things are out of my control I hope that today will not color your opinions of Private Rex too strongly.”
“Even if it’s a good thing?” Russell asked pointedly as he set off for home. “We’ll radio when I’m ready to head back out, sir. I hope you find him.”
The Admiral blinked slowly before smiling and acknowledging the message. “Very well, Lieutenant. Please proceed at all possible haste. Kaczynski out.”
When Russell returned to the village a most pleasant sight awaited him. He waved to the Cauthan guard atop the gates, grinning as her black and gold plumage began waving when she recognized him. Scampering down the ladder to the gatehouse, she was there to meet him when the gates opened. He allowed her to remove his helmet and give him a long kiss.
“Our family will eat well tonight,” she said quietly, a thrum of excitement coursing through her at the implications. He nodded in agreement, though his happiness at meeting her there seemed short lived. “What is it, Russell?”
“Walk with me? Just to the temple and back,” he offered, not wanting her to think he was dismissing her or suggesting that she abandon her post. With a quick signal to her compatriots, Veera followed and Russell explained the situation out in the forest.
“Another one? This year has been very difficult,” Veera lamented before she and her husband began negotiations with one of the butchers. Most hunters who survived Valta’s trials over the years remained with the guild, processing kills, smoking and curing meats, crafting tools, and otherwise performing the necessary but less flashy functions to keep the group operational. Given that Winters had become something of a regular customer, they were in and out in a few minutes, with promises of fresh steak for dinner, bacon and cured strips for breakfast, and ample jerky and smoked meat for the weeks to come. Back at the gates they were met by none other than Fenrir, who seemed more excited than usual to see his master. The reason was apparent the moment Winters took a knee to greet him, with the hyrven sidestepping his outstretched hands in favor of licking his armor clean. Russell could only tisk and look up at his wife, who was similarly laughing at their ‘dog’.
“Can you believe him?”
“I can,” she replied. “You should take him with you. You never know if he’ll be of help.”
“Does Ratha know?” Russell wondered. Veera’s crest laid flat against her head.
“If there’s one Cauthan who doesn’t need to be told when something happens to one of the hunters, it’s her. I’m sure she realized the moment he didn’t return last night.”
“And Antoth would be furious if she went out looking, to say nothing of Valta.”
“Good thing you serve Valta’s father,” Veera agreed, helping him to his feet and hugging him tightly. “I know you’ll be fine, but please be careful all the same.”
“When did I ever say I serve Kel?” he wondered quietly. She nipped his ear as the sun beat down on both of them, burning brightly through the cloud cover as early afternoon arrived in the village.
“Enough with that! Promise me.”
“You know I’ll be careful and that I’ll come back,” he replied. “I came back from the ursae. This will be nothing.” To his surprise, Veera smashed her fist against his armored chest.
“Don’t tempt the gods with your pride, Russell! My parents are gone. I’m going to have cubs. I cannot lose their father too. Take this with you, please. And I’m sorry for being like this,” she finished, reaching into her satchel and removing one of her old, carved wooden idols, the shield of Uthos. Io began sobbing in his ear.
‘Repent for your hubris, you monster!’ she wailed hysterically. He felt, with justification, she was only half joking. He couldn’t help but wonder if the stereotype of female behavior while pregnant had much more to do with the anticipation of being a mother than any particular batch of hormones.
“Don’t be sorry,” Russell told Veera, taking the idol gently from her and holding it in his hand for a moment, gazing at the whittling marks on the wooden surface. He stashed it safely in his pack before returning his attention to her. “I’m just going to refill my canteen and then head out. Not sure I’ll be back by dinner, but if it’s going to be a very late night I’ll let Alice know. She’ll find you. We already have one of the others out there looking for him.”
“We won’t turn down help when it’s given, even if I still don’t like them very much,” Veera replied. “Go then, darling. If I get hungry I’ll eat without you.”
“Alright. Fenrir, let’s go buddy. You don’t get to skip out on both hunts today. Don’t look at me like that!” Russell ordered as his pet proceeded to lay down in the street, his tongue hanging out. He rolled his eyes at Veera. “I swear he doesn’t even know he’s a hyrven. Alright, you want to be that way? Come on then.”
Veera waved goodbye as Russell grabbed Fenrir by the collar and literally dragged the hyrven out of the village, nevertheless rewarding the beast with a bit of dried meat when they reached the trees before disappearing back into the forests. Atop the wall, Veera pulled her summer cloak’s leather hood over her feathers to shelter herself from the sun. She rummaged around her pack until she found and retrieved her idol of Valta, a Cauthan-like goddess reimagined as the apex predator of Mara. “I know you and I haven’t always seen eye to eye on things, but please see him safely home,” she prayed. Out in the forest, Io made contact with the Event Horizon.
‘Admiral, we have departed the village and are ready to assist with the operation. Where should we begin?’ she requested. Natori replied shortly thereafter.
“I’m sending you the data now,” he said as a map of the surrounding forests was pushed to Russell’s armor. The crew on the bridge were busy filling it in with topographical information as well as marking the presence of chesko, hyrven, and other points of interest. There were several markers that indicated possible locations where the missing hunter might be located, and Russell set off at a trot for the nearest one with Fenrir loping alongside him, no doubt wondering what the special occasion was. In the relative coolness of the forest shade, he was suddenly more alert and active. Kaczynski continued. “If you could please investigate these areas? As you can see, Private Rex is already handling some of the further flung regions. I would send the rest of the team to join you, but they are investigating the Forge’s control room at this time.”
‘Mein Gott, they’re what?’ Io demanded.
“Please don’t worry, Io. They’ve reviewed all relevant footage, including your reports on the robotic Cauthan.”
“It’ll be alright,” Winters agreed. “Let them handle this one, Io. I’m sure if they come across anything important they’ll need you there in due time. We have our own mission right now.”
‘Yes sir,’ the AI agreed. ‘I have my own tasks as well, after all. Admiral, we will make contact again as soon as we arrive at the nearest site.’
“Very good you two. Godspeed,” Natori wished as he was hailed by one of his watchstanders.
“Sir, one of the hyrven packs seems to be exhibiting standard documented hunting behavior. Private Rex is closest to their location.”
Natori shook his head and touched his forehead as he took a look at the distances involved. “Send him immediately. Endurance running is not exactly his strong suit.”
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2020.11.10 22:43 500scnds [Table] r/books — I am Allie Brosh. My main abilities include writing, drawing, caring, and hiding, but you can ask me whatever you want. AMA (pt 1/2)

Questions Answers
the below has been split into four
Hi Allie! I have a couple questions and not a lot of tact. I also have a lot of gratitude for you because you've been a (a, itself, or a source of, whichever) tether more than once, so thanks! 1. How are you handling all this everything since you announced your aliveness publicly? Thank you for asking these! They're great questions! I'm doing better than I thought I'd be doing at this point, so that's good. Having trouble sleeping sometimes because I get too amped up, and my hiding instincts start come on strong, but overall it has been a pleasant, interesting experience. You guys are very kind and understanding toward me, and I feel tremendous gratitude for that.
2. You talk about trying and keep on keeping on quite a bit - my longest relationship has been with depression, and while I'm not suicidal, I'm often just tired, so I have to ask... how do you keep up with trying? I've been considering pure spite, but I'm super open to other options. This is a particularly good question, and I'm still kind of trying to answer it myself, but I think, at some point, it became clear that trying was the only logical action I could take from the position I was in. Because if I don't try, my situation is left completely up to chance, and it may never improve. Will I succeed? Who knows! Trying is the only guarantee. It's the only strategy I can rely on pretty much no matter what (because it doesn't depend on results—the process itself counts, and it can be modified and improved constantly). That being said, trying can be exhausting. And it can be frustrating. And it doesn't always feel very rewarding, so I have to try to create that sense of reward for myself. One thing I've been doing recently is pausing to internally celebrate my little, invisible personal victories. I'm usually the only one who could understand how hard they were, so it's my job to recognize the effort. If I did something hard—and I mean that relatively, because there are a lot of things that are hard for me that aren't necessarily hard for others—I take a moment to recognize my efforts. Yeah, it was fucking UNBELIEVABLY hard to summon the willpower to walk to the mailbox today. Good job, me for doing it anyway! That kind of thing.
3. Can you please elaborate on the simple dog? Specifically, is the simple dog simply a strange dog, or does the simple dog have a diagnosis? The simple dog was never diagnosed officially, though our vet agreed that she seemed to have some cognitive quirks (just the way she relates to the world seems kind of different—the things she gets confused by, the body postures she assumes, etc.).
4. Do you have anything you hope someone asks? That is it. I think. Thank you! Yes. I think I was secretly hoping somebody would ask me what my favorite Hearthstone class is, because then I could ask them to guess, and I'd get to find out what class I seem like I would play. It's silly, but that's my real answer (or one of them, at least).
the below is a reply to the above
I know little to nothing about Hearthstone, but I choose to believe you're the beastmaster one or whatever it's called. As a thank you for this AMA and for being you (the Alot holds a special place in my heart for a multitude of reasons that I can't/won't list here), please enjoy a picture of my dog. https://i.imgur.com/XqCvaeM.jpg PoV: you just coughed and Tucker is now trying to lick the inside of your mouth. It's Rogue, but your dog is making me reconsider the whole beastmaster situation... basically, I want to touch your dog. With tremendous strength. But I would restrain myself, because I could never harm such a gentle creature.
the below is another reply to the original answer
It’s Paladin, isn’t it? I feel like you didn’t come out and say it because it’s Paladin and you are rightfully ashamed (it’s ok I played nothing but face hunter for most of my time in the game, I have no room to judge!) Nope, it's Rogue! I'm sneaky like that ;) (Thank you for guessing. This was very fun for me.)
the below is a reply to the above
Let’s keep going! What’s your favorite neutral hearthstone card of all time? As a warrior main I loved Grim Patron, there were so many crazy interactions you could have in a single turn with it that just getting it on the board and getting a few whirlwinds in felt fun, even if I never felt like I played it optimally. Second place for me goes to the Azure Drake, it was one of the first golden cards I got and it just seemed to fit in every deck for a long time! I still keep the golden drake in my hall of fame, I refuse to disenchant him :) Ooooo, good question! I'm gonna need to break it down into categories to answer, though. Art-wise, Faerie Dragon is, and always will be, my jam. I like Wild Pyromancer a lot for his versatility (though I don't often get to play him in Rogue decks), and Leeroy Jenkins because I have probably played Leeroy Jenkins more than any other card when you count replaying after Shadowstep (which is my favorite card, period). Leeroy is just kind of my buddy at this point, and I will always miss him. I have a lot of cards I refuse to disenchant too. Twilight Drake, for example. And my original set of non-golden Mana Wyrms (I played a ton of Secret Mage back around Kobolds and Catacombs). Warrior is way up there on my favorite classes list. I never got to play patron warrior, but I hear it was, like, a transcendent experience, and I love decks that have many lines of play to choose from (hence my love of the Rogue class—it's like a decision-making simulator!) What's your favorite voice-line?
the below is another reply to the original answer
what's your favorite Hearthstone class? I've been following your stories since like 2012, so thats pretty cool Rogue :)
Do you play? If so, what's your favorite class? (I like learning about why people like the classes they do. It helps me appreciate things about the classes I don't play as often)
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Hi Allie (or Kevin!) Hyperbole and a Half blogspot kept me alive through some very dark times in the beginning of my university career and I’ll always be thankful for it & you. I’m so excited to read Solutions! I’m so, so happy you’re back and writing/posting. Here are some questions, please feel free to answer any number of them or none of them at your whim. Apologies for the wide variety of topics: 1. Would you ever consider writing/publishing fiction, a novel? No need to apologize! I actually kind of like the variety ones. I don't know why—maybe I'm responding to the bulleted presentation? Anyhow. I would, and I fully intend to one day!
2. You must pick one: diarrhea or vomiting. Which one? Diarrhea 100%, no questions.
3. What’s your McDonald’s order? If you don’t eat McDonalds, first of all why, second of all I’ll take any fast food or restaurant order for an answer. I am medically forbidden from eating at McDonald's (celiac disease), but, before I was diagnosed, I would have ordered a Big Mac, medium fries, and a water. My taste in food is one of my most basic qualities, and I accept it.
4. What kind of animal that is not a pet would you want as a pet? I've always wanted a fox, but that's probably because I have unreasonable expectations about what foxes would be like as pets. Also a dragon. Do dragons count?
5. Favourite painting Thank you, you’re the best, hope you have a wonderful night. Oh god... I love so many paintings! I have folders and folders full of screenshots of paintings I like (purely for my own enrichment), but I don't know who hardly any of the artists are. I will say that I am particularly grateful to Simon Stålenhag https://www.simonstalenhag.se/ and I have spent countless hours analyzing his brushstrokes at an absolutely ridiculous zoom level. He doesn't know this, but he has been a living art syllabus for me.
the below is a reply to the above
Please tell me you’ve seen Tales from the Loop!! My coffee cup is currently resting atop the copy I keep on my bed :)
Hey, Allie! I know you’ve probably heard it a lot but Hyperbole and a Half really changed my life. I had never related and resonated with something so deeply. I was like... how am I just like her? In so many ways? You explained my depression in ways I could never put in to words. I’m working my way through Solutions and Other Problems and you have had me laughing out loud multiple times. I can’t thank you enough for bringing me joy (during such high anxiety times, but also always lol), but also making me feel less alone and less like a crazy person. Also, not to be a downer in the chat, but I lost my sister earlier this year and dealing with the grief and guilt has been hard. I know you lost yours, too, and I hope you’re doing as well as you can be in that regard. I’m sorry for your loss. On a lighter note, what is your favorite smell? And what are you looking forward to doing most once quarantine is over? Thanks again, Allie! ETA: I also love Magic the Gathering. What is your favorite deck of yours? Mine is an all white fox themed deck. I feel you, and I completely understand, especially the guilt part (we don't need to talk about only lighter things here). It's hard not to question what more you could have done, or whether you were a good sister (or brother). I don't know how to fix it, but I want you to know I understand <3
Are you ready for an abrupt transition? Hopefully you are, because I'm going to tell you my favorite smell now, which is dry leaves on a hot, dry day (at least currently—I love smells).
My favorite Magic deck would have to be Tarmo Twin or UB Fae from six years ago. But foxes are my favorite tribe! Foxes are just cool.
Hi Allie!! Many years ago when I was a young teen who got her heart broken, I reached out to you on Facebook and we had some intermittent correspondence about heartbreak, love, healing, and life in general. We also spoke briefly on OPB a few years ago and I got the chance to thank you for that. I want to thank you again for your kindness and inspiration and for always making me laugh. I’m so happy to see you’ve made it though your own heartbreak and darkness. ❤️ For a question: when did you first realize you were funny? And what’s your favorite kind of dog? Nicole! I was actually just telling my husband about our correspondences, and I'm delighted to encounter you here! How are things these days? To answer your questions, I don't think it was a realization—more of a learning process. I have always been better at appreciating humor than generating it, so I had to learn how to do it by watching others. But I suppose there was a point where I realized I was getting there... maybe the first time I made my childhood friend Joey laugh? Joey is extremely funny, and his tastes are very specific. Also, he is brutally honest and loves making fun of me (we have a very sibling-like friendship). So it felt like a MAJOR accomplishment to make him laugh with me instead of at me.
My favorite kind of dog would probably be... whatever kind of dog loves laying around and hanging out. Also maybe the dog loves me. And we go on slow adventures together.
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Well that just made my whole day! Life is good! The boy who broke my heart back then continued to for many years, as boys do. I’ve since moved on and have a very sweet boyfriend who checks all the boxes on the list you advised I make of what I’m looking for in a partner. I cherish your advice to this day and am so thankful for it! Thank you so much for answering! I think the Joey benchmark is a good one. It must be wild to know you’ve made millions laugh since then! Lazy, loving dogs are truly the best. I’ve got one of my own, she’s both a red heeler and a heart healer. I’m so so glad you’ve returned to the internet. I’m sorry for the rough times you’ve had in the meantime and I sincerely wish you the best!! The universe has really neat ways of connecting humans and I feel very fortunate that our paths have crossed in the ways they have :) This warms my heart in the best possible way. Would it be weird to say I'm proud of you? It sounds like you're doing great, and you sound so grounded and assured in yourself now, and I remember how hard things were when we first became pen-pals, so it's really cool to see where you are now, a full decade later :)
I have been a huge fan since your early blog days and I am so happy for your continued success!! My copy of your new book is arriving any minute now. I wanted to know how you’ve been coping during quarantine. I struggle with depression and anxiety and this pandemic hasn’t made my brain feel too great. What helps you feel grounded in your toughest days? Sorry if this is too personal! Not too personal at all! I welcome personal questions, and I believe it should be easier to talk about them than it currently is! To answer your question, I cope with very deep loneliness by having written conversations with myself (among other things, but that's been a huge one). I have a document called "talkin' bout shit with myself," and I open it, and just ask myself how I'm doing. Then I do my best to respond as honestly as possible. Then I just keep going like that. It usually starts out extremely serious, then derails into inside jokes. I can post an excerpt if you'd like.
Other things I've found helpful (in no particular order): music + imagining happy/inspirational experiences I would like to have, talking to myself, learning things (it feels like participating in an activity with yourself, which is kind of like participating in an activity with a friend), and honestly, giving my own shoulder a friendly squeeze when it seems like I need that. I'm trying to be a good friend, and sometimes that means doing whatever weird thing it seems like I need.
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Personally an excerpt would be unbelievably helpful! Okay, here's my favorite one so far (I never bother putting the quotation marks in because it's just me, but it switches back and forth with each new line):
(6/4/17 11:56 PM)
Hey bud, how ya doin?
I feel weird.
Oh shit buddy, I'm sorry to hear that. Are you okay?
Probably, yeah. I don't know. I feel weirder than usual. Maybe I only said yeah because it seemed like I was supposed to. Not being okay isn't cool. That feels like… a loser.
Do you feel like a loser?
I'm too earnest. I try too hard.
—hang on; there's more: am I stupid? Do I even make sense? When people see me, do they feel alienated? Do I seem like an alien? I honestly feel like I might. Like a… something weird. Like a land squid. They see me and don't know what to do. They think 'what is that?' Do they want me to go away? I start wondering that, and it brings up the question: is that what they felt like every time? Like the times I thought they were thinking "that is a nice other person" or "good for you, little camper"—I like to think they're thinking that——not exactly those words, but something friendly like that——like they want the best for me and each other—but what if instead, they just think I'm weird? What if they think "that is a weird other person" or "NOT good for you, weirdo crab animal! Go away!!"? Do they think I act like a crab?
—hold up, what do you mean by "do they think I act like a crab"?
You know the way crabs are? Like: ck-ck-ck-ck-ck-ck, ffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff, sideways crawling away with their eyes like ⊙.☉?
Sometimes I feel like I seem like that. Like when they see me, that's the impression they get. And not like, in a good way. It's awkward. They don't like it. Sometimes I wonder if anybody knows how to like eaCH OTHER—oh no, CAPS LOCK. I feel embarrassed. Why do I feel embarrassed? "o shIT
—hang on, I have an idea. You know how much you love that one meme?
What meme?
You know what the fuck I'm talking about. The one like 'here come dat boi!!!! o shit whaddup!'. This:
I knew the whole time. It just felt awkward without a segue. Like people reading this wouldn't believe that I knew.
Okay. My point is: I think that meme might actually be profound.
What do you think?
I think… yeah. I like that lizard.
It's a frog. But, yeah, the reason you like it is because it's relatable, and the way it's relatable is… the exact essence of… something.
Maybe everybody feels like that frog sometimes.
That's why it's a meme. Because other people like it too. And probably for some of the same reasons. It's not like you've got a monopoly on feeling like a frog on a unicycle.
He's a frog, but everybody's still like "here come dat boi!!! o shit whaddup!" I love the part where it goes like: 'o shit whaddup!'.
Tell me what you love about it.
I want to see everybody like that and them see me like that. Like, when I see them, I want to feel like 'o shit, whaddup!', and they feel that for me too. We're all basically lizards on unicycles, and that's okay. We're ALL lizards on unicycles. So it's okay. And we don't have to be embarrassed. We can just be like 'o shit, whaddup!'
It's a frog.
O shit.
Look at you—look how cool you are!
Good point. I feel better.
Are you a wizard?
Are you asking that because I made you feel better in a similar way to a wizard?
No, I just know how much you love that frog meme. When you typed 'o shIT', I took it as a signal that you wanted to see the frog meme.
Thank you.
You're welcome.
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I would love to eat mushrooms with you and be frogs on unicycles for a while. I hope that's not alarming. I mean it in the most platonic frog-friend way. That sounds pretty much exactly like my ideal day, so definitely not alarming!
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This is amazing and I'm totally going to try doing this for myself. Also I agree with the other comment, I would like to do mushrooms with you and think about lizards. Are we planning a party? Because, as soon as quarantine is over, that is the party I want to go to.
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Can I come to this party too? Sounds right up my street. Of course you can come to the party! Everybody who is cool with the party and wants to be at the party is invited to the party!
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“oh shit, waddup!” would be an awesome title for an Allie Brosh book. It isn't my meme, unfortunately. I just have a deep respect for it.
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I struggle with very deep loneliness too. <3 I feel you. <3 <3 <3
Hang in there, friend. We can do this.
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I know you won't see this, but I have a document I do the same thing with. Only mine is called "What the Hell Is Going On?" Thank you for Hyperbole and a Half. Humans are social animals needing validation from other humans to develop a healthy sense of self, even the unusual introverted ones. It made me feel more validated as a human to read your book and see someone else who had a similar thinking style. Surprise!! :D I can't respond to everything you guys are saying, but I do my damnedest to read all of it!
As a social animal who needs validation interacting with hundreds or thousands of other social animals who also need validation, it's the least I can do.
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Have you ever had your toes sucked? Yes, and it wasn't really my thing, but I think it's rad that other folks seem to enjoy it!
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I don't know who put baby in a corner, but nobody puts baby in a corner... Hello, Reading your recent Slate interview, I notice coffee as an important part of your day. * What and/or which coffee maker do you use? Percolated? Brewed? Pressed? Medium roast? Dark? Espresso? Gonna answer them in order, guy. Here we go: I had a cheap coffee maker at one point, but now I just put the grounds in a cup and brew it in the microwave . Turkish coffee. Or that's what I'm calling it, at least.
* What is your dream coffeemaker? Where are great coffee shops you would recommend? My dream coffee maker would be one that intuits my every need and can act as a benevolent caretaker in times of distress. I would obviously return the favor to the best of my ability (though I do not currently know how to read minds).
* Do you enjoy shooting firearms? If not, have you tried shooting firearms? If yes, which were your favorite? I do not know whether I enjoy shooting firearms because I have not tried it yet, but I intend to try it someday, and I quite enjoy shooting arrows. Arrows are my jam.
* Also, thank you for Today's Taco Tip...guess who's making a trip to Taco Bell? Time's up...This guy! I'm not sure if I'll get a Double Decker Taco or just regular tacos, but rest assured...I will eat them in your honor. My guess for who is making a trip to Taco Bell is Spider Man.
Thank you.
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Scoundrelic: I am very curious about this technique... Is there a youtube video of someone doing this I can learn from? TheSaulK: I also drink this coffee. The method goes as follows- You put grounds in a cup, then you put water in the same cup, then you put that cup in the microwave. Then you use the microwave in a microwavey fashion. Bam. Coffee. Note this method yields "chewy coffee" on the bottom quarter inch or so. I think what Kevin is trying to say here is that one day our coffee maker broke, and I haphazardly came up with what I thought would be a temporary backup plan, but it became less and less temporary, and here we are.
I'm sure there are videos on how to do it the proper way, though.
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Allie! I was literally browsing your blog not 30 minutes ago because I wanted to relive your relatability. Had no idea you'd be here doing an AMA! The universe smiles upon me. 1) What's your favorite kind of sandwich? 1) Favorite sandwich is tacos, and, before anyone asks: yes, I believe tacos qualify as a sandwich. And I can argue my case if necessary.
2) Are you doing okay? This year has been a doozy, especially those of us with histories of anxiety/depression. I applaud you for getting a book out this year. Today I could barely pull myself out of bed (haha! Such lighthearted banter! I'm so good at this!) 2) For the most part, yes. I still have depressive episodes, and struggle with anxiety, but I'm getting better at coping. And the heavy stuff is just as legitimate as the lighthearted banter. The world is crazy, and life is full of pain, and maybe if we talk about the heavy stuff enough, we'll find a way to be more lighthearted about those dark moments. Thank you for being willing to share your experience!
3) What song(s) are you jamming to right now? 3) Song currently playing in my headphones: Changes by Tupac. Before that, it was The Quiet Earth by somebody named Thomas Barrandon, and before that, it was Idioteque by Radiohead. I can link the whole playlist if somebody can tell me how to do that (I use Spotify and/or YouTube)
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All three of those songs are amazing! If you could link a Spotify or YouTube playlist, that would be rad. In Spotify go to said playlist, click on the three dots above the first song. Make sure you mark the playlist as public and after that click share and you should get a link you can copy :) Okay, here it is! https://open.spotify.com/playlist/4TEpH4eEI9nu6P7x11Jb0O?si=blRqP-zMQZelTfOSWx2W2g Thank you for helping me!
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I don't want to argue about the tacos, but I want to hear your opinion anyway. Would you like me to strawman the argument anyway? That would be helpful, yes. I believe that a taco qualifies as a sandwich, so I am naturally biased when it comes to generating counter-arguments.
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The taco is most decidedly not a sandwich. A sandwich is predicated as being something on sliced bread, or at least something acting as bread. A pita pocket is a sandwich. A hotdog is a sandwich. A taco is no more a sandwich than a tamale is, as the tortilla isn't sliced. Thank you for this rebuttal, Rootkit9208 My main objection to this argument would be 1) the assumption that the bread must be sliced (pita pockets, for instance, are not sliced—they are peeled apart), and 2) that a sandwich requires bread by definition (source: ice cream sandwiches, cracker sandwiches).
While I do not believe that tacos occupy the most central, definitional category of sandwich, I do see them as a subtype of sandwich, just like hotdogs, burgers, and any other portable food that is constructed according to the principle: Layer A
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You just proved tacos are a sandwich because you recognize the hinge as an acceptable part of the hypothetical sandwich. Taco shells are corn and you can make bread from corn. Taco shells are basically crispy bread. Yes, the hinge gets rejected as being part of a sandwich, but I would ask these people to consider whether subs qualify as sandwiches, and then, depending on the answer, to consider whether other hinged starches that contain sandwich fillings could be considered a sandwich in the same way.
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Maridiem: I want you to argue that point about Tacos so badly, if only to just read your deeper opinions on it. Also please, please share your playlist! Music is such a great way to connect to how others are feeling, for me! Songs as a way of coping with emotion is something I use all the time. If on desktop, and you have a playlist, go to the playlist, and right next to the Play button you'll find a "..." button. Click that and choose "Share", then "Copy playlist link" and put it here! redmage311: Looks like Allie's a structural rebel, ingredient neutral on the Sandwich Alignment Chart. I don't exactly know why, but I feel proud to be this chart's version of chaotic neutral.
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I would argue true neutral, depending on her preferred shape of taco. She didn't say a burrito was a sandwich (but maybe that also is true!) A soft or crunchy taco with standard taco ingredients fits within true neutral hot dog limits. Structure rebel, ingredient neutral would also include things like empanadas. Uh oh, that means a quesadilla might be a structure purist, ingredient neutral sandwich. I have feelings about that. Describe the feelings, please.
I love hyperbole and a half so much! (Stay away from me on my cake days, though... that cake is MINE). If I may ask a personal question, how are you doing with your depression? I suffer myself and your story about passing through to the stage of not giving a fuck, and laughing hysterically at a bit of food on the floor resonated with me, and I often wondered how you were doing. I still get depressed regularly (February is my usual low point), but I'm getting better at dealing with it. I find a bit of peace in accepting its presence, and it doesn't get in the way as much now that I know a bit more about how to work with it.
It also helps to know that it's somewhat cyclical. If I'm having a particularly rough time, I have enough data to know that it's probably temporary. It might take a while to get to the other side, but I've seen the other side enough times to trust it'll be there eventually. Then maybe there will be another tunnel, then another other side, and so on. But I'm learning how to be content under a wider variety of circumstances.
I am just so glad to see you’re back and that you’re doing so well. This may sound weird, but we used to talk a lot back in the day! I recognized simple dog from a real life photo on an old pet forum and commented something like “hey that looks like simple dog from hyperbole and a half!” And you slid into my pet forum dms and gave me the best news that it was the very same doggo! Honestly, this was a life highlight for me and i brag about this to all my peers. Anyway, we spoke a lot about our pet rats. I had a little lady called patches and you had a little rat called (this is going to be so incorrect and i’m already laughing) dump truck? Monster truck?? Some Sort of Lorge Truck-Like Vehicle?? POINT IS i have thought about you often over the years, always hoping you were doing well and able to live your best life, and i can’t wait to see what amazing things you’re going to do. Question: looking at where you are now, what would you tell your younger baby self to get you through the tough times? Ah yes: my beloved Elliott Megatruck! I remember both you and Patches! I loved those conversations. I met some really amazing folks on that forum. Speaking of which: fantastic question! I think, judging by what I seemed to struggle with the most, I would tell younger me that my own approval counts too. That was an extremely recent revelation! What advice would you give to younger you?
I'm so excited to be here on time that I can't think of anything insightful, so I'll go with my default icebreaker: who are your top 3 favorite fictional characters, and why? First of all: that's an ambitious-as-hell icebreaker, and I love it. Never stop swinging for the fences, man!
My favorite fictional characters would have to be Don Quixote, Wall-E, and an old witch named Bridgette, who doesn't technically exist yet, but will probably exist someday.
No for the explanation phase:
Don Quixote: I thought the book was hilarious, and it was largely because of how relatable Don Quixote (and his relationship with Sancho Panzo) seemed. I admire him as a weirdo. Weirdos are my people.
Wall-E: I love nonverbal characters, and Wall-E is a great example of that (he makes expressive noises and says a couple words here and there, but for the most part, it's just expressiveness). And he has a good, gentle heart.
Bridgette: I like a lot of things about Bridgette. Her gumption, her practicality, her willingness to be strong when somebody needs to be and nobody stronger than her is around. She's the kind of old lady I want to be when I grow up.
I...uh... I am not eloquent. Like...at all. None eloquence. But, I lost my brother 2 years ago and your new book was like a side hug and a shoulder for me while I’m still going through the grieving process. So, thank you. edit I should ask a question since I have the opportunity. Where were your most favorite places to jump over logs? First of all, I am sorry to hear that you lost your brother! I feel like after you lose a sibling, other people who have lost siblings become siblings of a sort. We are brothers/sisters in this particular kind of pain, and my heart goes out to you.
To answer your question, my most favorite place to jump over logs would be the far South side of the West Lake in Twin Lakes Park in Gunbarrel, CO. My favorite log ever is there. My other favorite places to jump over logs would be the woods uphill of biggest river crossing on the Deschutes River Trail, and the logs in the park closest to my house, which I will not name specifically, but you'd recognize what I'm saying if you saw them :P
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I'm a little disappointed you didn't name the logs specifically, so I'll do it for you: Edward Jennifer Raul If you have more than 3 logs in the park closest to you I apologize. Raul is exactly what my favorite log would be named!
I never comment on AMAs because I never catch them with the author or person still here, but on the off-chance that you read this, Allie, from the bottom of my heart, I am so happy that you are thriving, and writing! Hyperbole and a half changed my whole mindset about depression back when I first read it (when it came out). Whenever I would go back to check the blog, I would find forums of people wondering where you went or what happened. It's been decades but I've been finally dealing with my own mental health, and I'm nearly 40 (diagnosed ADHD). I'm just crying from happiness like an old sentimental fool and probably not making a lot of sense, but thank you for the laughs and the tears. Both are important. Cake is the only thing that matters. I could talk about ADHD for days, man... hit me up with some ADHD questions! Let's get speculative, even. In my opinion, this is the exact kind of situation where our ADHD is an asset rather than a hindrance. With our powers combined, maybe we can really figure some shit out, you know?
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What happens after you get diagnosed? I'm 43 and am pretty sure I have it. My mom told me I probably did growing up, but she didn't want the diagnosis or drugs to be a crutch, so I've just rolled along in life. My son was diagnosed a couple of years ago and takes some meds for it, but he doesn't love them (though he recognizes their value). As a functioning adult, or as functioning as I know how to be, I wonder what improvements are out there for me, or if I should bother. The laziness and the fear kick in, and I just ignore it again. My life substantially improved after my diagnosis (well, my second diagnosis. I was diagnosed as a child, but didn't start medication until much, much later).
As far as the particular types of improvements, medication was a game-changer for me, personally. ADHD meds have such a stereotype surrounding them (lol, speed for kids!!! hahahaha), but they truly can be tremendously beneficial for certain people.
When I'm not medicated, the amount of nonsensical information my brain bombards me with feels genuinely unbearable. I feel constantly exhausted by existing in the same space as other noisy, moving things (tree branch shadows, for instance), and I experienced so much anxiety for so long simply because I didn't know what was causing it (crazy that amphetamine salts can make a person feel LESS anxious, eh?)
You can also get things like extra time on tests (for students, obviously), and it's just generally helpful to understand what's going on with your brain. Aside from medication, that was the biggest thing for me. The most useful thing about a diagnosis is that it helps the patient learn to understand how their brain works, and how to work with their brain instead of against it. I speak with a psychiatrist every week, and we kind of strategize together how I can be a more functional person (it's probably slightly different for everybody, so it takes a lot of trial-and-error).
Anyway, ADHD is a very misunderstood condition, so it's definitely worth reading up on.
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ADHD is both my own personal superpower and also the siren singing at me constantly. What is your favorite part of ADHD? Did your relationship with it change when you discovered drugs? (non-rx, I mean) Another great question! My favorite part of ADHD (and this will come as no surprise to those who have it) would probably be hyperfocus. When I'm really interested in something, I have almost superhuman stamina (I can write or draw or learn about math or play Hearthstone for 20 hours in a row—occasionally more than that if my sleep schedule is fucked up—and I barely notice that time has passed.
And, you know, now that I think about it, I do think drugs have changed my relationship with ADHD a bit. Not necessarily in a specific sense, but my experiences with drugs (especially hallucinogens) have changed my relationship to thinking, and ADHD is highly related to thinking.
To me, drugs are a psychological sparring partner. I take them, they fuck up my perception of reality, and then I get to practice thinking and functioning under a wider variety of conditions. If I start to have a bad trip, for example, I get a lot of very extreme practice directing my attention, controlling my emotions, and also letting go of control (if necessary).
I don't think drugs are for everybody, but if having a psychological sparring partner sounds fun to you, you're probably the kind of person who would enjoy the huge variety of experiences that drugs offer. As long as you approach with an open mind, practice good drug safety, stay honest with yourself about how/why you're using them, and steer clear of the really addictive ones, drugs can be highly interesting and educational.
Allie, I just wanted to say that you're awesome. I discovered your blog when it first came out, and immediately fell in love with your humor and honesty. Then your book was released, and that was just amazing. I got your new book last week, and I'm halfway through it; I haven't finished it yet, because I'm savoring it like a...fine cheese. I do have a couple questions. When the world isn't falling apart anymore, do you think you may do an in person tour, or is that too much for you? Also: favorite sea creature. I'd consider it! At the very least, I'm trying to think of ways to expand the tour to be more accessible to more people. A Twitch stream or something. Maybe a drawing/painting stream? I don't know yet. But I want to do something more involved.
As for favorite sea creature, I'm gonna go with sea cucumber. I just kind of relate to them.
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I personally think you are an A Cucumber. Thank you!!
Hey Allie. It's a bit early for the big life questions, so I apologize. Your new book has a lot to do with existentialism, at least to me. Were you reading or exploring any philosophy during the creation of this book, and if so, what perspectives did you find to be the most compelling and or the most defeating? Also, I really like your book. Yes, actually! And I think I identified most with absurdism. I'm not an expert on philosophy by any means (I just think about it a lot), but the ideas behind absurdism seems like a logical, healthy response to some of the questions raised by nihilism.
Initially, nihilism felt pretty defeating to me, but that's because it represented the loss of meaning. But with that loss comes freedom, and boy howdy do I enjoy freedom!
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Absurdism is great! I'm partial to existentialism as a response to nihilism myself and have been trying to rebuild a sense of my own meaning in the world lately, but damn if it doesn't feel good to laugh at the absurdism of the world. I don't know how to phrase this in eloquent terms, but does your preference have anything to do with existentialism having more of a built-in ethical structure? I'm curious because I see that as a compelling argument for it, and also talking about philosophy with people who like philosophy is one of my favorite things.
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Dude, good question. I know, right? This guy cuts straight to the chase!
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2020.11.09 20:00 Sooperdude24 Unleashed pt. 45

Some words from u/eruwenn and I. Enjoy?
First / Prev / Next


  Chae’Sol stood at the centre of a large command deck, meticulously peeling the protective film from his new captain’s chair. The sensation of the slow but steady yielding of the film, the sweeping line following the contours of the seat in flowing curves; it was incredibly satisfying. Finally, with one last gentle pull, the last of his chair was uncovered and he stood back to admire his throne. Aside from the freshness of the seating itself, there were shiny new holo displays, touch sensors, and comms relays that were within easy reach of his seated fingertips. This ship would be the jewel in any fleet, a prototype Dreadnought made by the infamous Bardul of Shi’an. The Gowe Military faction had run into financial problems, and it had been left unpaid and unclaimed. What sorcery Kadir had used to find it, and purchase it, he did not know.
His comms unit beeped and Danyd’s voice came through. “Chae’S-” -He grumbled incoherently- “Captain, we’re ready to get underway.”
The Niham turned and sat back on his pristine chair, swinging his long legs over the armrest. “That was quick, Chief Engineer Ef’Yto
Danyd grunted at the use of his title. “Aye, these Awakened are efficient bastards.” The Satryn looked around at the enormous engineering bay. The entirety of the Porkchop Express could comfortably sit inside, and two of them could likely squeeze in. “Plus, this thing has never been used; feels weird not having anything to work on. It’s state of the art, and I’m having to read the manuals on half the new systems.”
Chae’Sol laughed, looking around at the Awakened as they were preparing their workstations. “Yeah, this command deck is a little intimidating. Even the Niham Armada didn’t have ships like this. There are fifteen weapons stations here, what in Tulseria’s name were the Gowe planning to do with this thing?”
“No idea.” The chief engineer walked to the large seat in front of his new work terminal, and hopped up onto it. The protective covering squeaked. “This thing has more firepower than half their fleet, it must have been something big. We’re lucky Kadir found out about the graveyard of unclaimed ships from one of his contacts.”
The newly-minted captain swung his legs down and sat up, straightening his black uniform and white collar. “That’s another thing: how does he have so many contacts? I was in the Tulseria-damned military, and I had no idea they would sell us fighters and weapons.”
“I know the feeling.” Danyd watched a junior engineer – Lily, an Awakened who wore a headband in her silver hair that sported long Kittran ears on it – begin running diagnostics on the Hoban Field Generator. “I'm aware he got the automated weapons for the system port from my people, somehow. As for how he accomplishes all he does, I think his time working with that fancy Anatidae councillor opened more than a couple of doors for him.”
Chae’Sol stood, running his fingers through his perfect hair. “Doors, windows, rear entrances and damned secret portals, all leading to a dark realm of shady deals and supplies. We have an Imperium Capital Ship for Tulseria’s sake! Nobody knows where he got it, or where he’s now hidden it.” He looked at his holo display, noting the specks springing blinking into existence as the other ships of Federation origin came to life. “Let’s just be glad he’s on our side.”
The chief engineer tugged at the green collar to his uniform. “Our side used to be a damn sight smaller.” Lily had finished her diagnostic tests and sent the results to his console. Her report included an adjustment that would create a potential three percent increase in crystal efficiency, and a small drawing of a smiling leokit with a crim-bar. He groaned, then reported back with, “We’re ready to go when you are.”
The Niham strode confidently across the command deck, stopping to stand in front of the huge vid screen at the front of the room. All around him were his crew, made up mostly from the Ashi, Awakened, and Kasurians. “Let’s get this show started.”
Jaym sat with a bowl of Tony the leokas cereal in front of her. It wasn't just a catchy advertising slogan - it really was great. She and Elizabeth had worked together so much in the engineering section of the Porkchop Express that they had become close, often spending their free time together. Indeed, Elizabeth currently sat opposite her, carefully rebuilding a power coupling and occasionally tapping at her datapad. Shortly after the results of her most recent tap played out, Elizabeth paused her work on the power coupling. Without speaking, she held up her datapad so that Jaym could see.
On the screen was Tony and his mate Jolie, and Skeena’s voice could be heard excitedly talking about collecting urine samples from the female. Jaym screwed up her face at first until Skeena announced the pregnancy test was positive. Tony was going to be a father! She couldn't contain her joy and screamed loudly, grabbing the screen and running all the way to the bridge to show the others.
Ranjaz was stretched out across the captain’s chair as Jaym burst in, and didn’t open his eyes until she began shaking his leg. Even then he didn’t pay much attention. “I told you not to let Elizabeth play with any more systems till after the mission.”
She blushed slightly, as their last improvement had inverted their water treatment system and blown six power couplings. "It's not that!" she said, holding up the datapad and starting the video. "Look!"
At the first syllable of Skeena's voice, Ranjaz sat bolt upright. The video held his full attention, and when Tony's impending fatherhood was announced the Kittran's whoops of delight could be heard all through the Porkchop Express. He reached underneath his seat and retrieved a small, fluffy bed, then picked up Aiov. Ranjaz led his unusual dance partner in a quick spin of joy before replaying the GalacTube video for her. “You’re going to be an Aunty!”
Eruwenn leaned back in the large seat that had once been Embar’s. “I didn’t think they were related?”
The Kittran nodded. “Aiov is Tony’s sister. Aaron adopted them both, and that’s how human families work. They just keep adding members, like a Dular adding shells to its burrow. Family is family.”
Cygna pressed a few buttons on her Navigator terminal, moving the video to the main screen as well as starting it over. “I still can’t believe you keep one of these under your seat. I mean, it’s a leokas!”
Ranjaz held Aiov up and they briefly rubbed noses. “Just a little one!”
The Anatidae laughed. “I can see living with the human has had quite a profound effect on you.”
With one of his trademark grins he held Aiov out towards Eruwenn. “Wanna nose rub?”
"Ah," the councillor said, shrinking back from the offer, "despite her size she is still a predator, and I am not quite ready for such a close encounter.”
From the pilot seat Ripley stood, taking Aiov from Ranjaz. “She is not a toy.” She briefly snuggled the tiny leokit to her chest, then passed her to Jaym. “Take her for food and exercise; she must grow up strong.”
Jaym also cuddled the wriggling Aiov close, and not just because the little leokit was adorable. Aiov had tripled in size, and was becoming a bit of a handful. “Thor was preparing her food; I’ll take her down to him.”
Once the junior engineer had left, and Ripley returned to the pilot seat, Ranjaz began tapping on the console in front of him. “Looks like we’ll be free to take the shuttle down to the surface with the next group.”
Cygna drummed her fingers on the arms of her chair. “I didn’t realise it would be so busy.”
Ranjaz shrugged. “There was a quake on the fourth planet, so mining colonies are shut down while the nerds poke around. Along with that, we got three big freighters waiting for resupply. That’s a lot of bored folks looking to kill time.” Ripley grunted, prompting a chuckle from the Kittran. “You don’t approve of their choice of leisure activity?”
After their few cycles together Eruwenn was already learning a lot about her shipmates. Ripley, for instance, wasn’t one for talking. She decided to interject before the Captain irritated her too much, as they would need her focus soon enough. “Gambling and pleasure palaces are not to everyone's taste, of course, but these sorts of things are covered under local governance.”
Without skipping a beat Ranjaz replied, “I know that’s the official line, but you sure as shit have tax codes for all of it. If you want to look down on folks, don’t pretend you aren’t profiting from it.”
Cygna, ever defensive of her mentor, jumped in. “That’s a bold statement for someone who never paid a credit in tax until it was automatically deducted from his Galactic Federation pay.”
Ranjaz laughed, then continued, keeping his voice care-free. “Taxed on what? I never owned anything.”
Eruwenn could see the trap her junior was walking into but decided to let this be a learning experience. The Kittran was wily, and the Anatidae found him entertaining. Cygna, as she had predicted, scoffed at his claims. “I’ve read your file. When you were arrested you had a ship, five shuttles and thousands in valuable goods confiscated.”
“Exactly!” His eyes lit up as he cornered her. “It was confiscated because it was stolen, so I didn’t own it. Imagine a world where you can keep stolen goods if you pay tax on them. Even I think that’s crazy.”
The Fae’Dan paused, and the anger evaporated from her voice as she realized what he had said, replaced by a slightly impressed tone of surprise. “Well, maybe, but… Really? You stole all of it?”
Ranjaz shrugged. “Or won it. I’m pretty good at Dalcho.”
Cygna perked up. “I play Dalcho myself, we shou-”
“No,” Eruwenn interrupted. Some lessons were too expensive. “Do not play Dalcho with someone who can get free priority entry permits to a casino.”
The former operative shook her head. “I’m a great player, you’ve seen me in the council chambers. I took that Ley’Rulian trader for five hundred credits.”
The Anatidae smiled kindly. “And he had five shuttles when he was arrested.”
Cygna slowly turned from Eruwenn to Ranjaz, noticing his grin and the sparkle in his eye. It was most definitely the smile of a predator. He gave a little chuckle. “Don’t worry, it’s been a long time since I played. No gambling on Galactic Federation ships, you know.” He laughed again. “Oh wait, you read my file.”
The Fae’Dan nodded. “Perhaps we should focus on the mission.” She gave a slight bow to Eruwenn before returning her attention to her console.
Ranjaz looked at Eruwenn and stuck out his tongue. “Don’t ruin my fun!”
The Ambassador smiled. “I don’t play Dalcho, but there is a human game called chess I quite enjoy. Perhaps we could play sometime?”
The Kittran gave a nod. Keeping his voice neutral, he replied. “I don’t know that one, but there’s another human game we could try. Poker?”
"We have permission to dock at the holding ring and send down a shuttle," Ripley abruptly called out. "Let’s get this whatever it is and make the rendez-vous.”
Both of Ranjaz’s fangs showed as he grinned. “If we’re going to pull a job on Chisola Prime, first you’re going to need to look the part!”
Aaron walked down the corridor of the Hive ship, the strange spiderlike creature trailing behind him as he followed one of the corpse vines as it receded deeper into the ship. He turned and watched the creature, which shrank back from him and crouched low to the ground. “I’m sorry I kicked you. You simply startled me; you don’t have to hide.”
The lighting never changed in the endless corridors of the ship, and only the most uninteresting of doors deigned open for him. At this point, he had lost track of time completely. Through perseverance he’d made several important discoveries. The bulbous shapes in the flower vase room were seats; he was fairly certain of that after finding another room with bodies sitting in them. The vines that came for them were the ones he was now following, and by now he must have seen hundreds of dead Hive.
The second discovery was that the Hive came in a variety of shapes and sizes. There were two main ones, as far as he could tell, and the first were the four legged kind that had so kindly thrown him in the rejuvenating jelly bean. The second was bipedal, and looked a hell of a lot meaner. While the ones he deemed workers looked somewhat like ants to him, in shades of reds and browns, the second type looked much more commanding. Their carapace had thicker layers of armour in green, gold and red, and was spiked at the shoulders and joints. Even their legs had spines and to top the look off their heads were much more angular. Whether they were soldiers, commanders, or something else, he didn’t know. Through observation of the corpses he had discovered the most confusing feature yet: a strange section in the centre of their abdomen that was filled with what seemed to be a grey fluid.
Ahead of him, not skittering away like the rest, was an aphid that no longer emitted a pale green glow. Something whooshed overhead towards the slow and sluggish aphid, and Aaron instinctively threw himself to the ground before he realized what it was. "That's how you get kicked!” He stood up, brushing himself off. “Fuck, that scares the ever-loving shit out of me every fucking time.”
The huge creature looked up at him and whined as it munched on the sick aphid. He was probably imagining the apology in its eyes, but Aaron still shook his head. “I know, I know. It’s your job. They clean the floors, you keep their population healthy. Just stop leaping over me like that, fuck. I’m going to have a heart attack.” It whined and backed away from his angry words, and he tried to keep his voice to calmer tones. “Don’t be like that. I’ve told you enough times.”
When he looked down the corridor again, the retreating corpse vines had disappeared around a corner. Aaron began to jog after them, and after he'd put some distance in he heard the pattering footsteps of his terrifying shadow. He tried to pay it no mind. Once the vines were back in sight he slowed and followed behind them, singing his direction song quietly to himself. “Left, right, straight. Left, left, right. Straight, straight, left, left. Right, right, straight, right, right.”
The ship was massive and, other than some areas smelling funkier than others, there was no variation in lighting, decoration or layout. The song was his map back to the rejuvenation pod, which was his only safe source of hydration. His companion padded along behind him, a friendly nightmare to accompany him on his seemingly endless journey. “We really need to give you a name.” He wished he had his phone with him so he could channel all his nervous energy into making a video. “The audience demands a name. Plus, I won’t be able to sell merch without one.” He turned and looked at the creature. “I’ll probably have to create space-halloween first, or maybe I’ll get lucky and find that you’re cute to some species.”
Aaron returned to following the corpse vine, waving a hand high as he spoke, gesticulating to the heavens. “The name is what matters: a good name makes all the difference.” He began seriously pondering the naming matter. “Aragog, Shelob; you know, lean into your size for a characterization. But then again, that's not really going to make people like you.” He looked back over his shoulder as the unnamed beast trotted happily behind him. He assumed happy, at least. It now tended to make an odd gurgling noise after eating, and it roamed closer to him than before. “You know, I never got to name Sassie – she’s my dog. I told you about her yesterday, or the day before.” He really was losing track of the days he’d been here. “I got her from a rescue. She was skinny, and so damn angry, with scars on her legs and under her fur. I had to have special visits before I could keep her. Prove I was worthy.”
Talking helped take his mind from the gnawing emptiness in his stomach. Hydration and nutrients osmotically obtained from some weird pod were nowhere near as satisfying as a burger and a cold beer. “Her first visit, she had a rubber ball. It was her only possession, and she loved it.” There was a touch of pride in his voice. “Took me an hour before she gave it up to play. The lady from the rescue centre said I was the first.” He choked up, blinking back tears. “Anyway, couple more visits and she got to stay. Crazy dog was such a handful. She once tried to climb a tree to chase a squirrel. Got her legs over the first branch and just dangled, kicking her back legs.” He began chuckling to himself. “She once tried to jump through a car window; some guy was parked at the lights as we walked past.”
He was just chatting now, lost in his memories as he walked. “You know the type, loud radio, windows rolled down on a sunny day, annoying the shit out of everyone in the town. He tossed some litter out of his window and she just launched herself at him. Scared the life out of me at the time - funny as fuck now, of course.” He laughed again. “Then there were the swans. Man, were they not ready. She loved to swim – I told you that before – swimming and splashing was her favourite release. Well, that and chasing rabbits which is, kinda, how I ended up here. Anyway, she would just swim up and down, right past the ducks and stuff, somehow never interested in them. Then one summer these swans came along...” He paused, realising his new friend didn’t know what a duck or a swan was, or even summer, probably. Before attempting to explain, he realised they also didn’t understand english, so it really didn’t matter. “Anyway, swans being belligerent bastards, I called her out of the water straight away. Those mean white fuckers chased her all the way to shore.”
He turned around, now grinning broadly. “But, once her feet hit the ground in the shallow water and she was able to stand, did those sons of bitches turn and swim away as fast as they could.” He paused, trying to remember his original point. He really was very hungry. “Oh yeah, so trying to stop her fighting everything that moved meant I didn’t have time to teach her a new name. Figured it would be confusing to her. Sassie she was, and so Sassie she stayed.”
There was a tightening in his chest as he thought of her missing him. “Took a lot of years and a lot of time for her to get where she is now. I know Alexa will take care of her, but still, it’s my job, and I need to get back to doing it. She won’t understand…” He choked up completely, taking a moment to compose himself before clearing his throat and returning his monologue to its original course. “Anyway, names. Names matter.”
“Maybe you’re a girl monster. Charlotte?” He shook his head. That name just didn’t seem fitting. “We could call you Peter Parker? Although, you’re more of a man-sized spider than a spiderman... Parker Peter? Then again, big, scary spiders say one thing to me. Australia. You like to jump, we could call you Roo? Or, how about Ozzy? Or Bruce? Hmm, that’s a sharks name though… can you swim?”
His train of thought derailed suddenly as he saw an open door ahead of them through which the vines were receding. The pair of them continued walking behind the vine until it disappeared into the doorway and Aaron ran forward, pulling something from his pocket. He’d been saving the foil wrapping from the ration bricks, folding them together to form a wedge. He jammed his makeshift door stop under the bottom corner of the door as it began to slide shut. It ground to a halt. “Boom! Told you it would work.”
He stood and finally looked into the vastness beyond. Through the doors was, somehow, a rolling meadow, complete with trees, giant mushrooms and plants he had no name for. Vines were also everywhere, receding further across the great wilderness. “What the hell? I thought I was on a spaceship? Am I underground?”
Staring intently at the sky, he stepped onto the deep moss beyond the door. He looked at the wall around the interior and saw it was rock, and more plant life clung to every crack and crevice. As he walked slowly forward his eyes followed the vine as it headed for a large, colourful, monolith. He approached and saw that its shape was similar to the vase flowers. He watched as the corpse vines deposited their cargo on top of the monolith. Not on, he corrected himself;they were dropping inside.
He looked back to the door, nervous that it might close and lock him in. A large black shadow lurked just beyond the door, and he was torn. Should he explore this 'outside' world, or retreat to the place where he at least had the rejuvenation pods? He looked up at the sky, basking in the warm and invigorating embrace of the sunlight. He blinked at the brightness, being cautious to not look at the sun directly, and something else suddenly caught his eye. It was, incredibly, a door. A door that floated in the sky.
The thing about human eyes is that they might be easily fooled, but a shift in perspective can easily change what you see to something entirely different. Aaron was looking up at a ceiling, like the one in the Atrium back on the Azrimad, but a hundred times more convincing.
Once back inside the doorway he watched the spiderling he was beginning to think of it as a friend dancing back and forth a short distance away. It seemed… happy. “Ok buddy, I’m back.” Aaron’s stomach made a loud gurgling sound and he rubbed it, trying to squeeze the hunger away. Fingers found muscle easier than usual, and he knew he was definitely losing weight. “We should head back. I need sleep.” He thought for a moment and made a final decision, bending down to pull the foil wedge clear. “I doubt there’s a communicator or command deck in there. Let’s go home, Ozzy.”
The trip back was uneventful, Aaron sang his direction song as they navigated the labyrinth. A few more aphids were snacked on by his leggy companion, but his own legs were heavy by the time he was almost back to the jelly beans. Despite being exhausted he had made two stops to create another pair of flower vases for the aphids, as well as scattering a ration brick as he passed by. The aphids waited, as they always did, till he and Ozzy were far enough away before enjoying his bounty. Still, the human derived satisfaction from their presence.
Exhausted and weary, Aaron was glad to finally make it back to the room he was reluctantly calling his temporary home. As the door to the rejuvenation pod slid open he was met, forcefully, by the barrel of an energy rifle. Unfortunately for Aaron, due to a considerable height difference, the barrel had struck him squarely in the groin, and he instantly fell to his knees. He came face to face with his attacker with tears in his eyes, clutching his tenderness and coughing. From the other being came incomprehensible yelling, as well as a lot of gun waving. Also, there was coughing.
Aaron, eventually mustering enough self-presence to do something other than deal with the after effects of the gun-to-groin encounter, wiped the moisture from his eyes and tried to butt in to the one-sided conversation. "Relax! I'm the one who just got snookered in the fucking balls, here! Why in the world are you so mad?"”
The gun was pressed to his forehead by the tiny attacker, who shouted something unintelligible with their black eyes focused on him. They paused to cough, then stepped back, glaring at Aaron until they seemed to feel comfortable enough with the situation to take one hand off of their weapon and pull out a datapad. They held it up, and Aaron frowned at the familiar but still unintelligible colours that swirled on the screen. Then a small vent at the bottom of the device squirted out a puff of sickly sweet scent.
Aaron pulled back from the odour. "What the fuck was that?"
With some distance between them, the human finally got a good look at his opponent. They were barely waist-height, furry, with a long nose and dark banding across their brown fur. The banding was heaviest across their eyes and although that’s where the similarities ended, it was enough for the human’s brain to forge a connection. “Listen, Rocket, there’s a virus on this ship. You need to get in the jelly bean. Trust me.”
The rifle was thrust at him shakily in one hand, the tablet again was raised and a swirl of colours and shapes greeted him. “I don’t speak fucking winamp plugin!” On the wall behind his captor Aaron spotted a dull orange aphid, struggling to climb the wall. He smiled as he slowly leaned to one side. “Have you met Ozzy?”
The huge arachnid leapt over them both, causing the newcomer to blindfire at the wall. Aaron seized his chance and snatched away the weapon. He grabbed the newcomer by the front of their armoured uniform and slammed them to the ground. They cried out in pain and began their incomprehensible yelling once more. The accompanying coughing fit was bad, and Aaron dragged them to their feet. Realising that his solitude had caused him to revert to English, he switched back to galactic standard to offer a warning about the disease. “You’re going to die!”
A shocked look crossed their face as the human effortlessly lifted them and slam dunked them into a blue jelly bean. Ozzy gurgled happily through his aphid crunching. Aaron snatched up the energy rifle, but found it was difficult to hold due to its small size. He leaned over the jelly bean, noting the occupant drifting off to sleep.
Hunger and tiredness were forgotten as adrenaline flooded his system. There was no way the newcomer was alone. He left the pod room to begin searching, and Ozzy seemed to pick up on his intention and followed behind, keeping close to the human. “Good boy!” He had no idea what prompted it, likely some automated response, and it was as though he watched his movements from outside of his body as he reached back and gently scratched the arachnid's head. He was rewarded with happy gurgles, or at least that's what he hoped the noises were. “You did good back there.”
He made his way along the corridor towards the same airlock he had once chosen as his final exit. His recent suspicion proved correct as he heard a strange sound up ahead, as if someone was running a wet finger around the rim of a glass. He carefully leaned around the curve and saw another figure, dressed in the same uniform as the first. No fur on this one, although they were equally small in size, and they somehow looked like they were made of glass which couldn’t decide on a colour.
This time he remembered to use galactic standard. “Keep your hands where we can see you. We’ve got you surrounded!” The figure was clearly startled, as the ambient resonating noise began varying wildly in pitch at the same moment as their colour shifted to a solid blue. Aaron cursed. He didn’t have a translator, having instead opted for learning standard and winging everything else. The whole federation knew standard, so he hadn’t truly considered getting the implant. “Something is wrong with our translators,” he continued to bluff. “Do you speak galactic standard?”
A datapad was hastily pulled from a pocket, and as buttons were pressed the resonating sound became more rhythmic. From the datapad sprung noises. No, it was a voice! “Why do you speak Procyon? Where is Commander Bertolannixostraphes?
Aaron began relaxing at the situation he found himself in, but inside he was brimming with joy. Finally, he could talk with someone! “There is a virus on this ship, and many are dead. If your commander is the raccoon-looking guy, I got them into a healing pod. They’re going to be fine.” Under his breath he added, “probably.”
The resonating began and shortly afterwards the voice translated, “Who are you? Why did you not answer our communications.”
Opting for honesty in the hopes of leniency, Aaron stepped into view. “I’m a passenger. I don’t have access to the ship's systems.” The newcomer was looking at the tiny gun, so the human tossed it forward. “I didn’t know if you were friendly. I can take you to your friend, and you should probably get treatment as well.”
The now-orange alien walked forward, their movement accompanied by the strange sound of ceramic plates rubbing together. “That won’t be a problem, we Tricinic do not catch meat diseases. I am Tsy'lo, take me to the commander.” They turned to look behind them. “Where are the others?”
Aaron pointed to Ozzy. “It’s just us two.”
Colours swirled and the small glass person thrummed. The datapad spoke, “You are the last human, the Ambassador. Correct?”
Turning and gesturing to be followed, he began to lead the way to the rejuvenation room. “I am the first human, Ambassador Aaron Cooper, professional bounty hunter. Just call me Aaron. Are you the rescue party? Is Alexa here? Did she bring Sassie?”
It took a moment for the translation to come back. “I don’t know those names. We are the Special Tactics and Rescue Squad and we responded to distress calls and found this ship. Adrift.” They had walked a little way when Tsy'lo stopped and regarded Ozzy, who was still faithfully following behind. “Why does the achalo follow you?”
“Ozzy?” Aaron shrugged. “I think he was lonely. So, were you sent into Hive space to find me, or are you on some top secret mission? You aren’t with the Sentinels, are you?”
“Lonely? But it is an achalo.” Tsy'lo was confused and their colour visibly swirled. “Why would a rescue mission be secret? And, we weren’t sent, we were already here.”
Now it was the human who was confused. “Like spies behind enemy lines? Is that why you are in Hive space?”
The Tricinic hummed at a higher frequency. “It is our space. We are the Hive!”
Admiral Pelar of the third fleet stood in the centre of the training mat. On the floor around her were four tough looking Ashi, while a fifth was now squaring off against her. She blocked the jab and the surprise knee strike that followed, turning effortlessly to bring her elbow to her opponents ribs. With another deft turn she was behind him and kicking his knees forward. He tried to roll clear but she had anticipated the move and, as he rose, her spinning boot struck the side of his head.
“Nice try gentlemen.” She walked away and caught a towel thrown by the drill instructor. “That last one has potential,” she said, and the drill instructor nodded. “Next time, I expect at least one of them to land a hit. If not, I’ll have you in the ring instead, to make sure you still have what it takes.” She saw the fear in his eyes. “I accept nothing but the best from the Third Fleet.”
The medics ran onto the mat as she dabbed at her forehead, and she spotted Jar’Bek sitting on a bench nearby. She walked over to him and he stood, straightening what was no doubt an extremely expensive suit. “From one disappointment to another.”
The lawyer smiled. “Imagine only seeing your son when he is paid to be in your presence,” he countered.
She smirked. “Your tongue is still your most deadly weapon.”
He nodded. “Ah, but it must make you proud to see me make use of the things you taught me.”
Her face twitched. “I taught you to be a true Ashi, a soldier. I taught you to respect-”
Jar’Bek held up his hand. “I’m here on my client’s business, not yours. And, as I am paid a considerable sum per gal, let us not waste their money on matters that are concluded.” He enjoyed the irritation on her face. “I am here to finalise the amnesty treaties, and conclude your membership as citizens of Earth.”
The Admiral held up her hands, looking down at her combat training clothing. “I must shower and change first. Please, wait for me in my private office.” She smiled politely.
“No.” His smile seemed to hover as if it was a mask that could slip at any time. “You may have disowned me, but I still remember your tricks. You knew the time of our meeting; you had me brought here so you could intimidate me with this display of aggression. Then you ask me to wait in your office amongst your memorabilia and trophies.” He watched the anger behind her eyes. “You really think these tired old tricks will work on me?”
She sneered. “At least you remember something.”
“Oh, I had the scars removed, but I kept the lessons.” He walked away. “My client's time is valuable and I have scheduled a meeting with the other fleet Admiral’s for later this cycle. Since we have no time for your games, let us go to the briefing room. My team is already set up. If you wish to shower, know that it is more of your negotiating time you are wasting, and I do so hate waste.” He collected his briefcase and walked out of the room.
Captain Loring hurried after Jar’Bek, catching him as he entered the elevator. “You sure you want to antagonise the Admiral like that?”
He leaned back against the wall of the elevator and relaxed, letting out a small sigh. “A little negotiating trick a Kittran taught me. Anyway, she is no longer my Admiral.”
Elora’Tan leaned back on the opposite wall. “She is your mother, Jar.”
“Ha.” Jar’Bek laughed. “She disowned me. This is the first contact we’ve had in I forget how many celes. Her first thought is to try and intimidate me with that display. She likes to beat on cadets, she likes to cause pain, and she wanted me to watch.”
Loring gave a weak smile. “It forges strong soldiers. We can’t afford weakness.”
The elevator stopped and Jar’Bek took a step closer to Elora’Tan. “You think it was weakness that made me leave?” He didn’t let her answer, turning and exiting into the hallway. His voice now resonated with authority as he growled, “In case you people have forgotten, the Ashi will operate under the same rules as the rest of the colony. My mother is not the law... I am the law.
submitted by Sooperdude24 to HFY [link] [comments]

2020.11.09 07:22 scoutydouty I am tripping at the beach for the first time tomorrow and I have mild anxiety about it as I haven't tripped in a while. Help.

So I am experienced with LSD. I probably have over 100 trips under my belt. However, after the lockdown began I was in a terrible place mentally, physically, financially. You name it. So I took a large break to avoid bad trips (I am acutely aware of what makes things go south for me at this point.)
But the last couple months things have very much turned around. I broke off a few toxic relationships. I went back to work after a year of unemployment. I am no longer homeless. I did TMS therapy which changed my life and essentially put me in remission from almost a decade of chronic major depression. I am off all my meds, I just bought my first car. I feel like I am ready to trip again.
Mostly I want to have a very mild pleasant trip allowing me to delve into this new phase of my life. I want to learn to let go of these painful things and embrace change and moving forward, as even with the good things happening, I still feel weighed down by the past. I know this is possible. Ive done it before.
So I have tomorrow off from work. My good buddy has agreed to trip sit me and take me "island hopping" by driving me to different places near the scenic beachy parts of my state. I only plan to take one tab (already freshly acquired. My dealer was ecstatic that I messaged him seeing as I haven't hit him up in several months.)
Sounds good to me I think. I have a trusted sober friend who can watch out for me, he has taken acid many times too, he is chill. The set is good. I can control the tunes and I have a say in where we go. I have no responsibilities after i dose and I cleaned my room and took care of laundry.
It's the going that makes me nervous.
I have never tripped by the beach. Most of my trips have been in my ex partners sheds (decked out to be perfect trip spots) or friends houses and occasionally in the woods. My family who I live with is very not cool with drugs (they get irritable just catching a whiff of bud off me) and we have a tumultuous relationship to say the least. So I can't just go home if I start having a bad time without risking them making it worse should they somehow realize I'm tripping sack. Plus we will be an hour away from home.
I fear bathroom insecurity. What if I have to poop and there's nowhere but trying to find a secluded spot? What if some stranger is there and sees my high ass pooping in public?
I fear other people. I dislike being around the public sober and on acid it manifests as full blown anxiety. "They know im tripping omg" kind of unfortunate thoughts.
I fear having a bad trip and the emotional labor it would cost my friend (even tho I know he accepted this as a possibility and will be there for me should this happen.)
I am nervous about tripping somewhere Ive never been (read: acute awareness of what contributed to my past bad trips). I enjoy trips more when I know what to expect, I am in familiar surroundings etc. Im afraid the island hopping will make me anxious and would prefer to just go to one spot and spend the time there but idk if my buddy would enjoy that too much and I want him to have fun too cause he won't be tripping. I want it to feel more like we are hanging out than him babysitting me.
Basically I am anxious about tripping but even more pressing is the excitement of what could go RIGHT. So I think I will still do it.
Any tips, advice, words of encouragement? How was tripping near the beach for you? Thanks.
submitted by scoutydouty to LSD [link] [comments]

2020.11.08 01:29 Hi-ya_Buddy New Clash Royale Update!

That would be better than Clan Wars 2. But, now that you are here, let's talk.
Part of the reason Clash Royale is declining is because it is not as exciting and fun to play as it was in the beginning, circa 2016-17. What makes Clash Royale so fun and exciting is immediate and intense PvP gameplay, mostly from ladder. Here are ten things Supercell should implement right now as a comprehensive update to refresh the game and make it more fun for both F2P and paying players:
  1. Allow set starting hands: When you order your deck in your deck slot, the order 1-8 is the order in which you receive cards to start each match. Do you hate getting starting-handed by skill-less golem players? Not anymore, baby! Golem players, don't you just hate when you can't plop down a golem first play? Have I got something for you!
  2. Instant ladder rematch: Similar to the "Play Again" button in 2v2, if both players press this button after a ladder match, you rematch with the same decks. Rematches are worth triple trophies (so, if you were the initial loser, you gain ~60 over initial; if you were the initial winner, you gain ~90 over initial). Only reason you lost was bad matchup? Try "Rematch Bo3," which would take you into a separate Bo3 rematch where you could pick three decks from your deck slots. Again, triple trophies. "Accepted Ladder Rematches" and "Declined Ladder Rematches" become stats on your profile, so everyone knows quien es mas macho.
  3. Ladder Gold Battles: Somewhere in your profile you can enable "Ladder Gold Battles" and set the amount to risk for each Ladder Gold Battle. If both players in a ladder match have this enabled, the winner receives from the other player the amount of gold risked by whichever player between the two risked less gold, up to a cap of 500 gold. Loading screen tells you if the battle is a "Ladder Gold Battle" or not right as the match begins.
  4. Clan Wars Heroes Battle: Your clan nominates five players as heroes to battle against the other clans' five heroes in the boat race. Your five heroes have to complete these four battles within a reasonable amount of time or you forfeit. If you must have ten members to compete in clan wars, you should be able to find five people dedicated enough to be your heroes. This would make Clan Wars less remote (asynchronous battles against clans not in your boat race) and more in keeping with what makes Clash Royale fun - immediate battle against an opponent who is right in front of you. Clash Royale already has a sort of ping system for top ladder ("Another top player is looking for a match"), so it could do something similar for Heroes Battle ("Another Hero is looking for a match").
  5. Paid ladder bans: Are you a sissy like me, and just swipe out of the game when you see archers split behind the king tower? Let's stop wasting everyone's time and allow players to pay gems to ban certain matchups for limited periods of time during the season. So, if I pay X gems1, I don't have to play against Hog 2.6 for a period of 24 hours. There is a lot of room for modification - can you ban one card or a whole deck? Maybe you can ban 1-8 cards and you have to pay more (or less) to ban fewer (or more) cards. Bottom line is this idea is fire and gets us closer to a world where X-Bow players are partitioned off from the rest of the fine, upstanding people of Clash Royale, and who can argue with that?
  6. Paid card boosts: When I played Clash of Clans, you could pay to boost troop production, and I was able to do it every once in a while with free gems. Why shouldn't Clash Royale players be able to pay 25, 50, or 100 gems to boost certain cards for limited periods of time? With paid card boosts, you reinvigorate F2P players who are only losing because their fireball is level 12 (sure, buddy). One hidden benefit of paid card boosts and paid ladder bans: you artificially inflate trophy counts of certain players throughout the whole season, reintroducing into late-season (+4000 trophy) ladder some of the random chaos that occurs in early season (+4000 trophy) ladder. This makes it more possible you will be able to hit a new trophy high in a given season. Wouldn't you like to enjoy playing late-season ladder again? (This feature should probably be disabled for top-1000 players, at least for the last 5 days of the season, if you are as concerned with the ABSOLUTE INTEGRITY of top-ladder battles like Supercell is (rolls eyes)).
  7. New party mode - no direct-damage spells: Wasn't it more fun when you couldn't just rocket cycle and you had to get a prince connection on the tower like back in 2016? Well kids, lemme tell ya - it was. In this party mode, you are going to have to get troops to the tower because there are no damaging spells allowed. Also, I would make party modes rotate every 24 hours and offer two unique party modes at all times (instead of just one). They don't offer two now, I suspect, because waiting times would be too long. But once you get a bajillion people back into the game from implementing all of these suggestions, that won't be an issue.
  8. Challenge revamp - Novice Challenge: Henceforth there shall be three types of challenges, no more, no less. Three shall be the number of challenges, and the number of the challenges shall be three. Four shalt thou not have, neither thou have two, excepting that thou then add one to have three. Five is right out.
    1. Novice/Gold 12-Win Challenge: Free to enter if <1000 (<5000?) wins in profile, rewards gold primarily - only (very small number of) common and rare cards rewarded if any cards at all. 10 gems to enter if >1000 wins in profile. A win (12 wins) earns a Classic 12-Win Challenge entry ticket. Not sure whether to call it "Novice" or "Gold" as the goal is to make it both a place to farm gold and a place where less experienced players can improve their skills with meta decks at tourney standard.
    2. Classic 12-Win Challenge: 10 gems to enter, rewards 50% of current Grand Challenge rewards. A win (12 wins) earns a Grand 12-Win Challenge entry ticket.
    3. Grand 12-Win Challenge: 50 gems to enter, otherwise the same (not gonna argue if you want to increase the rewards here).
  9. Top 10 Decks: Instead of TV Royale, replace that tab with "Top 10 Decks" tab. You get to see the top 10 decks by popularity for your arena (<4000 trophies) or your 500-trophy band (>4000 trophies). When you click on the decks it takes you to your partners like statsroyale or royaleapi. Take the battles from TV Royale and package them out to your content creators to make highlight videos like "BM'ers get DESTROYED! SAD!", "Top 10 Worst Beats", and "Two Ice-Bow Players Rocket Each Other for FIVE WHOLE MINUTES!"2
  10. Beat the Pros PvE: This is the most far out-there idea, so bear with me and understand this may not work or may need significant reworking.3 Boat battles was a poor attempt to introduce PvE because boat battles are kind of divorced from what makes Clash Royale fun (again - immediate and intense PvP gameplay). So, how do you make PvE like PvP? When you enter Beat the Pros, you are shown a specific situation from a CRL match in the past. You are then given the opportunity to do your best in that specific situation and your result is compared to how the pro did. So, for instance, you start the game where the Javi14-Airsurfer match begins with 26 seconds left at :42 in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RybZfMOEqz0. You succeed / fail based on how well you attack/defend relative to how the pro did in that same situation. Maybe this is a party mode you can play for free, maybe it is a separate mode you can pay for to get rewards (that is NOT a challenge, as the number of challenges shall be three). As a bonus, you can offer a link at the end the player can click to watch the CRL match to compare.
You may say, "They'll never do that," or raise pretty good reasons why some of this may be unworkable. But, like Clash with Ash has been saying, what do you have to lose, Supercell? It is time to try something. And you cannot deny, if I gave you two buttons on your device, one to enter Clash Royale with the Clan Wars 2 update and the other to enter Clash Royale with my update, you would click into mine 100% of the time.
Some of these things are not entirely new ideas, too. That is true, but the point is that Clash Royale needs a BIG update that is fun and appeals to new and old players, and any recycled ideas here have been modified and paired with fresh ones to create a game plan for the type of comprehensive, big update Clash Royale needs.
I welcome your input.
1For paid ladder bans, you could also make them payable in a lot of gold, like 1M gold. That would give max players something on which to spend their useless excess gold.
2This probably is not how Ice-Bow mirror matches work. But only probably.
3I understand the most unworkable part of this is that it requires some sort of AI/bot to play the part of the other pro, but I am attempting to minimize that issue by making the task limited to attacking/defending for one push.
submitted by Hi-ya_Buddy to ClashRoyale [link] [comments]

2020.11.03 18:24 TGreener540 Troops First Announces Major Suicide Prevention Effort For Service Members, Vets

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Troops First Announces Major Suicide Prevention Effort For Service Members, Vets

Warrior Call seeks to generate thousands of calls between battle buddies
RIVERDALE, Md., Nov. 2, 2020 -- The Troops First Foundation today announced a national push to create greater connection among military personnel in an effort to stem a troubling rise in suicides. By asking service members and veterans to reach out and connect with former comrades the message from Troops First is clear – make a call, take a call – it could help save a life.
Research shows that active duty service members and vets in need of support often don't seek help on their own. The Foundation's effort, known as "Warrior Call," is calling on those who are wearing or who have worn the uniform to share a sense of responsibility for those with whom they have served. The Foundation's goal is to have at least 50,000 current service members and vets make a phone call and connect with another by the end of the year.
"Our message to current service members and vets is simple: Connect with your battle buddies. Be honest with them. Let them know that you care about their wellbeing," said Frank Larkin, co-chair of Warrior Call, who has experienced firsthand the indescribable loss and anguish of losing a service member son to suicide.
Worsening trends in suicides is driving the action by Troops First and a host of partners.
The suicide rate among active-duty troops is on the rise, according to the Pentagon's latest figures. In 2019, the rate of suicide among active-duty troops was 25.9 per 100,000 troops. That represents an increase from 2018, when the rate was 24.9 per 100,000 and 21.9 per 100,000 in 2017. The rates have been since 2014.
At the same time, the Army has seen a 30 percent increase in 2020 in deaths by suicide, from 88 deaths by suicide in 2019 to 114 this year, the Associated Press has reported.
The story among veterans is similarly troubling. The suicide rate among vets is now approximately double the rate of the general population.
Another reason for the big national push now by Troops First is the impact of the pandemic and its heightened stressors. The Army's leadership issued a statement recently underscoring concerns about the impact of COVID-19 on the mental health of soldiers. "At this time of additional stress, we want to make certain that the nation's warriors, whether retired or active duty, connect and check in with one another. All it takes is a simple call," said Leroy Petry, a 2011 recipient of the Medal of Honor and co-chair of Warrior Call.
Service members and veterans are encouraged to go to https://warriorcall.org/ for more information on how they can participate and for resources on suicide prevention.
Founded in 2008, the Troops First Foundation implements initiatives that foster connectivity, build trust and address reintegration in post-9/11 warrior care.
submitted by TGreener540 to Military [link] [comments]

2020.11.02 03:14 Dayymmson When is cheating acceptable?

So been dating a girl for some time now (since pre covid) as a super casual thing. Suites both us and we'll and still does.
I'm developing some feeling and starting to consider her as a potential partner.
She's admitted a lot of things about herself and past (I find people do in early thirties to kinda get straight to the point and go full honesty).
Most of it I can brush off as no-one is perfect and I'm very open minded.
The big one is that she cheated on her last partner. She admitted this when asked but I didn't press too much because at the time she was more a fuck buddy.
It's playing on my mind a lot and creating internal push pull for this girl.
How do I approach this?
Current thoughts are..
Do I ask to hear the full story and her thoughts on it?
Or just cut all ties, live by the motto "once a cheater always a cheater" and let time heal my lust so I can move on.
Thanks guys!
submitted by Dayymmson to dating_advice [link] [comments]

2020.11.01 02:11 ConorCulture Book Jon Moxley’s AEW World Championship Reign - Part 3: Blood Feuds, Ancient and Modern

Jon Moxley has now surpassed a year as AEW World Champion and what a 365 days. Last time we started with him and Fénix doing battle after an intense build, seeing Kurt Angle get involved at one point. They had a great bout that ended in the death of Death Triangle, after Pentagon Jr. turned on his brother out of a cocktail of feelings: hate, jealously, anger, spite and more. This led us into Full Gear, where Pac also got involved and ended the 4 month saga between Jon Moxley and Death Triangle with a huge Four-way main event between everyone, seeing Jon retain his title.
We then learned more about Moxley’s year in NJPW - how he lost his IWGP United States Championship to Will Ospreay early in the year and then went on hiatus to pursue glory in AEW. Hiromu Takahashi would soon become the first non-Gaijin to win the title and go into Power Struggle with the title. After a successful defence against Juice Robinson, Jon Moxley would challenge Hiromu to a Winner Takes All Match with both their titles on the line at Wrestle Kingdom 15. This match would happen, with Moxley winning and entering his third reign with the title.
Lastly was Revolution where the third instalment of the Omega/Moxley series took place - and this time it was a 30-minute Iron Man Match. Kenny had become an ultra mega dick heel after Full Gear; refusing to speak anything but Japanese, having a geeky translator by his side at all times, having burned every bridge he crossed and lambasting in it. But there was an air of trade by about it - Kenny no longer had any friends. This was made present have he snapped on Jon when they tagged together. Jon exposes that Riho, Nakazawa, Page, The Bucks - not even Ibushi were his friends anymore. They fought to a 2-2 draw, with Jon only barely scratching out the win. This is the set up for where we begin now...
Book Jon Moxley’s AEW World Championship Reign - Part 3: Blood Feuds, Ancient and Modern
Revolution is in the rear view mirror but Kenny Omega will not rest until this injustice is righted. Jon barely won at a Revolution - only winning by a draw and having to scrape that out anyways. Omega is back to talking in English because he doesn’t like his translator anymore - and hits the One Winged Angel on him. Kenny wants to beat Moxley fair and square. Jon tells him next week he won’t be getting a singles match for the title, so what’s he gonna get? A tag match? Not like he has any friends who will want to help him out. Omega interrupts him on that. “Funny you say, Jon. I think you’re forgetting I’m the EVP around here, and I can make stuff happen. I can make myself some new friends. Would you like to meet them?” That’s when Kip Sabian and Miro run down to the ring and assault Jon.
A Blood and Guts Match is confirmed for the March 31 edition of Dynamite, between Team Moxley and Team Omega. It will be four-on-four, both guys need to fill out their squads for then. With two weeks left of Dynamites to go before the big fight, Miro and Moxley fight. Jon scrapes out a win after Darby Allin skates down to his rescue to prevent Kip Sabian from interfering. Will Hobbs soon joins the fray to take down Miro. It’s now three men on either side, and the go home week we will discover both teams fourth men. Kenny hyped up his fourth man as “The New Muscle”. He tells Jon he may not know him right now, but reeeaaal soon he will. Mox retorts that his fourth man is someone Kenny knows very well. In the main event both teams will have a contract signing and reveal their fourth men.
Moxley’s is Adam Page, who comes out and assaults Omega with words. Omega’s man does an assault too, but is more a psychical one. “Meet Schaff, ladies and gentlemen!” Kenny declares before a giant man sprints down the ring and wrecks SHIT UP. SCHAFF HAS ARRIVED TO AEW! So it’s set: Team Moxley (Adam Page, Darby Allin, Jon Moxley and Will Hobbs) vs. Team Omega (Kenny Omega, Kip Sabian, Miro and Schaff) - Blood and Guts Match. Last year saw Omega and Page compete, but they had a rough time of it. This year starts off as Omega/Moxley, and soon Schaff joins the fray. Darby Allin comes to the rescue though. Then Kip, then Hangman. Lastly are the two big guys: Will Hobbs and Miro. This is where we enter The Match Beyond. Chaos ensues; including a spot of Darby doing a Coffin Drop off the roof into everyone. In the end Omega hits a Super One Winged Angel on Moxley, but hurts himself in the process and can’t cover. Instead Kip Sabian does it, and gets the win for his team.
Kip Sabian is now in line for an AEW World Championship match, but says he doesn’t want it - he just cares about his TNT Championship. This leaves the AEW World Champion #1 Contender a mystery, but it will be solved with a Casino Ladder Match on Dynamite. April 14 is when it’s announced, and we immediately get people confirmed. Schaff and Miro will take part due to both being on the winning team, as well as some guys high up on the rankings in Pentagon Jr, MJF and Brian Cage. Shawn Spears will represent The Four Horseman, Brodie Lee representing The Dark Order and Kenny Omega for nearly getting the pin. The ninth man is of course a mystery. The week before the match on April 28, Moxley runs down every competitor and all their flaws. The ninth man is the returning Fénix! Coming back from injury after having his arm broken for a second time by Pentagon Jr.
MJF wins the match with some help from Wardlow, and heads into May as the #1 Contender. There’s four weeks of Dynamite let until Double or Nothing, and I would keep a lot of the actual MJF/Moxley build the same. You can’t do the whole presidential campaign shtick since there would be no election in May 2021, but you can still do MJF petitioning that he the rightful man to lead the charge of AEW for the next 25 years - not a scrub like Jon. Jon takes offence to this, and calls out MJF as a man who doesn’t know a thing about getting extreme, because all he knows is being privileged and being protected by a gush of wind. May 19 episode of Dynamite then is where we see MJF commit a brutal assault on Jon, busting him open and flogging him with a belt. This leaves Jon’s back blistered and bruised. The go home week is the same contract signing, but they agree to a Barbed Wire Steel Cage Match - a match especially designed by Jon to be the most violent match AEW has ever seen. MJF agrees to compete in it. “We didn’t even need to break the table” says Jon.
Double or Nothing 2021:
Jon Moxley vs. Maxwell Jacob Friedman - Barbed Wire Steel Cage Match for the AEW World Championship
Double or Nothing has been an incredible show so far, with the Dallas crowd have been loving it all night. We’ve reached our main event, and Maxwell Jacob Friedman walks out first as the challenger. He comes out with his private lawyer, Mark Sterling, as well as his family. We see his millionaire parents in the front row, with them isolated from the fans as they don’t want to be near lesser people. Moxley meanwhile walks out, but when he reaches the guardrail he sits down beside MJF’s parents to get a picture. Mox then says he’s got his own buddy - AND OUT COMES NICK GAGE!! He was meant to be in the All Out Casino Battle Royale, but was injured. I’d love him in AEW but the TNT executives would probably run for their lives at the sight of him with an open mic, so here he is supporting his buddy. Gage takes MJF’s parents seats, who walk away and prefer to stand than sit beside him.
MJF and Moxley both step inside through the door, and it is then locked shut, with chains wrapped around to prevent no escape. As well as that, barbed wire is wrapped around the top of the cage walls. The bell is rung but neither attack each other straight away. They take a moment to embrace where they are. No escape, in a cage of death. On the floor beside them is a barbed wire board, and in each corner is a pane of glass. Another barbed wire board is leaning against the ropes, and on the opposite side is a board of mouse traps. A bag of thumbtacks is on the floor, a chainlink of chairs is against the wall, and various light tubes are stuck to the walls. They both walk around and look at everything, taking in what they’ve signed up for. MJF looks scared, but for the first time we’ve ever seen - so does Jon Moxley.
They start off with a collar and elbow, which MJF gets into a headlock. He Irish whips Moxley out to the ropes, who rebounds but is caught with a shoulder block. MJF then drops and gets him in another headlock, which he gets into a head scissors. Moxley escapes and they’re back to their feet, which is then put into a another collar and elbow. This time Jon slips behind into a waistlock, and slams him down! Then Mox gets in his first headlock. Eventually he’s had enough and lifts MJF UP INTO A MOXICITY ONTO THE BARBED WIRE BOARD. He walks over to the cameraman outside the door and tells him “it’s time for some fucking garbage wrestling.” He then grabs a light tube off the wall and advances towards a writhing Friedman.
He pulls the light tube up and goes to smash it down, but FRIEDMAN WITH A LOW BLOW!! HE SPITS IN JONS FACE!! Jon is blinded and stumbles backwards. He doesn’t seem the LIGHT TUBE BEING SMASHED OVER HIS HEAD!! Jon then falls to the floor as MJF is now on top. JR slowly realises “we’ve only ever seen Maxwell as the arrogant, cocky and brash douchehead- but we have never seen him go to such extreme places. He has this dark place in his mind that he goes to, and when there’s no escape in this cage there’s no escape from that place in his mind.” Mox falls back to a glass window but doesn’t fall through. Jon runs forward at MJF, and they start to trade trying to snatch the light tube remains. Eventually MJF gets hold and SMASHES IT OVER MOX’S BACK, AND THEN SMASHES THE TWO LEFTOVER REMAINS INTO HIS HEAD!! Jon falls in a heap.
MJF GOES FOR A FRIEDMAN ARMBAR SPECIAL BUT MOX ROLLS OUT INTO HIS OWN!! They lay in the pile of glass as Mox wrenches the hold. MJF escapes and scurries for the ropes. MOX THEN HITS HIM WITH A DROPKICK INTO THE CHAINLINK CHAIRS!! He tries MJF’s arms up in the ropes to hold him still, and STARTS TO SWING THE LINK OF CHAIRS AGAINST MJF. He keeps going and going, making MJF feel how he did during that flogging. He eventually lets go after 10, and MJF falls to the floor with a bloody face. Moxley seems happy with his work and wipes some of MJF’s blood onto his own face. Nick Gage passes him some spikes through the cage gaps, and shoves a baseball bat in too. Wardlow runs out to fight with Gage, WHO HITS HIM WITH A PILEDRIVER ONTO THE OUTSIDE!! Meanwhile inside the ring, MJF sets up both barbed wire boards on top of each other. MJF THEN HITS MOX WITH A DOUBLE CROSS ONTO THE BARBED WIRE PILE!!!! 1...............2...........KICK OUT!!!
MJF grabs a spike and the bat and shouts at Nick Gage, telling him to try and save his friend. He places the spike on Mox’s forehead, and TAPS THE SPIKE WITH HIS BAT!! Mox’s is now gushing and his face is painted with a crimson mask. MJF THEN SEES NICK GAGE CLIMBING UP THE SIDE OF THE CAGE!! He climbs up and the two try and knock each other off, but can’t get past the barbed wire mesh. The distraction is enough that Moxley can set up the board of mouse traps below them. He climbs up and starts to bang his fist against MJF’s back. MJF KNOCKS MOXLEY OFF, AND GOES FOR A SWANTON BOMB!! HE DIVES - BUT MOXLEY MOVES OUT THE WAY!!! MJF CRASHES DOWN ONTO THE BOARD OF MOUSE TRAPS!! MOXLEY COVERS!! 1.............2.........KICK OUT!!!!
Mox grabs the chainlink chairs and snips two off, and folds them upright. He places a glass sheet across the seats of them, and then another on top of that across the handles. He brings MJF over to try and HIT A SUPER PARADIGM SHIFT THROUGH THE GLASS TOWER! MJF STOPS HIM, AND GOES FOR A BACK BODY DROP!! MOXLEY STOPS, AND STARTS TO CLIMB UP THE CAGE WALL! MJF CLIMBS AFTER HIM!! SUPER SOUTH HAMPTONS PLUNGE FROM THE CAGE WALL THROUGH THE STACK OF WINDOWS!!!! HE THEN CLIMBS UP FOR A SWANTON BOMB TO FINISH IT!! With blood and glass everywhere, MJF is going to become the AEW World Champion. BUT THEN MOXLEY GETS UP!! MJF TRIES TO KICK HIM IN THE HEAD TO KNOCK HIM OFF! MOXLEY CROTCHES MJF!! Moxley meanwhile grabs the remaining two glass sheets, and all the light tubes. He stacks them on top to make a glass catastrophe. MJF KICKS MOXLEY IN THE HEAD AGAIN AND STARTS TO CLIMB THE SIDE OF THE CAGE WALL!! MOXLEY FOLLOWS AFTER HIM!!! AIR RAID CRASH BY MOX THROUGH THE PILE OF GLASS DEATH!!! 1..................2...................3!!!!!!!!!
Jon Moxley defeats Maxwell Jacob Friedman (25:56)
The match at Double or Nothing is in the rear view mirror and it sure grabbed people’s attention. Moxley and MJF killed each other so much that they take weeks off after Double or Nothing to heal. It was a proper CZW style deathmatch, between two former CZW World Heavyweight Champions. Fyter Fest is the next show in line and that is where we will see AEW make their Japanese debut. In collaboration with DDT Pro Wrestling, Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling and New Japan Pro Wrestling - AEW will host a Supershow. Moxley returns on June 10th, where he confirms that he’s been told that him and Kota Ibushi will face off in a non-title match at Fyter Fest in the main event. This receives a pop.
Jon says he’s excited for the match as he wanted this at Wrestle Kingdom 15, but his commitments in AEW got in the way again. He did lose his IWGP United States Championship to Jay White however at Wrestling Hinokuni however. Ibushi last year said in an interview with Sports Illustrated about a match with Jon Moxley in the G1 Finals: “I have never had a match against him, so I do want to have such an opportunity. The first time that I have that chance is in the G1 fighting at the final.” Ibushi says once again in a NJPW interview that “I still want that match with Jon Moxley, but I don’t feel nervous. He is not credible enough because of his lack of ability to keep hold of the United States Championship. That is my opinion on Moxley-san.” Jon feels the sting of that.
At Fyter Fest, they main the show in a 30-minute epic. Moxley has done several of these thus far against guys like Pac and Kenny Omega, and Ibushi wrestles a similar fast paced style. But the thing both these guys have in common is THEY ARE LUNATICS. Ibushi hits a Phoenix Splash to the outside at one point, and also takes a Gotch-style Piledriver from the top rope. Moxley meanwhile takes a Canadian Destoryer off the apron through a table. Ibushi is the only NJPW representative wrestling on the show. He fights for his company, wanting to prove he is worth the IWGP Heavyweight Championship he lost to Hiroshi Tanahashi earlier in the year. The finishing sequence sees Moxley slide under a leapfrog and go for a waist lock, WITH IBUSHI FLIPPING OVER AND HITTING A KAMIGOYE FOR THE WIN!!! After this Jon takes to the mic and says he wants to face the new IWGP Heavyweight Champion, Tetsuya Naito. Champion vs. Champion, for Naito’s belt. He gets this match as it’s confirmed for the upcoming G1 Special in USA before the thirty-first G1 Climax begins.
G1 Special in Dallas:
Tetsuya Naito (c) vs. Jon Moxley - IWGP Heavyweight Championship
Naito has had quite the year thus far. He started off as the Intercontinental Champion, having successfully defended against Will Ospreay on Night One of Wrestle Kingdom as part of the second ever Double Gold Dash, but lost in the main event of Night Two to Kota Ibushi for both belts. He then went on to lose the New Japan Cup Finals to Tomohiro Ishii after a gruelling bout. He would get his redemption though as at Dominion he defeated IWGP Heavyweight Champion, Hiroshi Tanahashi to win the gold. Now he heads into the G1 Climax as part of Block A, but first him and Jon Moxley will have a non-title Champion vs. Champion Match here tonight. Jon comes out with Shooter who holds his belts for him, while Jon takes in the Dallas crowd reaction. This is the second time these two men have faced off, last time being two years ago on Night 10 of the 29th G1 Climax – when Moxley first arrived to the company, and won.
Tetsuya Naito is very slow in his entrance, very much taking his time with his arrival. He raises a fist to the Ingobernables in particular, one junior in the crowd gets special treatment - #LIJIsForTheChildren. Jon tries for a collar and elbow to begin but Naito falls to the ground and lays in the corner. He just has a stroll around ringside – every 20 seconds rolling back in, just to roll back out. He has a nap on the floor while Moxley gets restless. Naito offers his hand for a collar and elbow, but just turns it into a fist to the sky. JON THEN GRABS HIM AND GOES FOR A LARIAT! NAITO DUCKS AND LANDS AN ARM DRAG! MOX IS THROWN INTO THE ROPES AND LOOKS TO BE ON THE RECEIVING END OF A CHOP…but El Ingobernable relaxes and pats Jon on the chest, and throws his hands up in surrender. He then lies down as the One True Tranquillo.
Moxley has had enough and lifts Naito up for an Irish whip. He predicts Naito stopping before Jon connects his move, and so hits a SNAP DDT! JON IRISH WHIPS HIM TO THE CORNER AND HITS A FOREARM SMASH!! HE FOLLOWS WITH A RUNNING BULLDOG!! MOXLEY THEN GOES FOR A RUNNING CROSSBODY!! NAITO CATCHES WITH A KICK TO THE MIDSECTION! HE THEN LIFTS MOXLEY UP FOR A DRAGON SUPLEX! JON ROLLS TO THE CORNER WHERES HES HIT BY A BASEMENT FOLLOWED BY SLINGSHOT DROPKICK COMBO!! Naito then rolls back and places the LIJ fist to Moxley’s prone head. He rolls outside and grabs his most coveted item – his LIJ cap, and places it on. He lies in the ropes and waits for Jon to get up. When he does reach his feet, MOXLEY PULLS TETSUYA OUT AND HITS A TORNADO DDT!! HE THEN HITS NAITO WITH A FRONT DROPKICK WHILE HES IN THE ROPES, TAKING HIM OUTSIDE!!
They now are on the floor. Moxley sweeps both legs and starts to unload a flurry of punches. He then lifts Naito up for a DEATH RIDER, BUT NAITO ROLLS FORWARD AND HITS A GERMAN SUPLEX!! He then grabs Moxley by the back of the head and brings him to the timekeepers’ area. They fight on the top of his desk. They start trading elbows on there, AND THEN NAITO HITS A SUPER HURRICANERANA THROUGH THE COMMENTARY TABLE!! MOXLEY FLIES OVER THE HEAD OF JUSHIN THUNDER LIGER AND CRASHES THROUGH THE TABLE!! His legs hit off the guardrail so its like he’s folded in a heap of broken wood. Once they’re back up, Moxley refuses to be thrown in by Naito, instead kicking him in the gut and throwing him in instead. Jon then hits a Rolling Release Suplex! 1……2….KICK OUT!! MOXLEY THEN LANDS THE RUNNING CROSSBODY FOLLOWED BY A SERIES OF PUNCHES TO THE DOME!!
MOXLEY GOES FOR A PARADIGM SHIFT, BUT NAITO FLOATS OVER AND HITS A GLORIA!!! HE FOLLOWS BY RUNNING THE ROPES AND HITTING A SOMMERSAULT SENTON!!! 1…...2….KICK OUT!!! Naito then realises he needs to try the Destino. MOXLEY PREDICTS IT AND HITS A BIG ELBOW STRIKE!! He headbutts Naito into the ropes, and then runs up for a FRONT DROPKICK!! NAITO GETS OUT THE WAY AND MOXLEY GOES TO THE APRON!! NAITO THEN HITS A VALENTIA ONTO THE APRON!! They both fall to the floor like a ton of bricks. The IWGP Heavyweight Champion is first up and rolls back in, where he takes a nap. Jon meanwhile waits for his neck to turn back from being dust. He gets back in and flies in with a DIVING ELBOW DROP!!
Moxley now takes Naito out and its his turn to deliver the pain. HE GOES FOR A PILEDRIVER ONTO THE APRON!! NAITO GETS OUT, BUT EATS SHIT WITH AN APRON DEATH VALLEY DRIVER!! Moxley then takes him out to the crowd for a public beating. He throws him to the floor and bangs down punches while the fans count each one. He then gives rest to soak in their response. He sees Tetsuya getting up, WHO THEN HITS A FLYING FOREARM SMASH!! HE THEN IRISH WHIPS HIM INTO THE GUARDRAIL!! Moxley falls over, and IS THEN HIT BY A FLYING CROSSBODY FROM NAITO!! NAITO THROWS HIM INSIDE AND HITS A EVOLUCION!! 1……….2……KICK OUT!!!! JON THEN GETS UP AND BLINDLY SWINGS, NAITO TURNS INTO POLVO DE ESTRELLA!! HE RUNS THE ROPES – AND IS CAUGHT BY A KNEE TO THE GUT!! DEATH RIDER BY MOXLEY!!! 1………2…….KICK OUT!!!!!!! THE DEATH RIDER IS KICKED OUT OF BY THE IWGP HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION!!!
Jon Moxley then goes on to enter the G1 Climax. He competes in the A Block, which looks like this:
While Block B looks like:
Yes, Kenny Omega makes his return to NJPW as part of the G1 Climax and is one of the most controversial names in modern NJPW - after The Elite exodus was a bit messy. Moxley or Omega don’t show up on Dynamite for the whole of the G1, which causes some uproar in the company. The TNT Title becomes the main championship while a Yugi-Oh style Duelist Kingdom tournament takes place. People compete over poker chips on Dynamite, and then all those who have chips fight in a tournament to determine the winner - who then is allowed to enable an “anytime, anywhere” match for the AEW World Championship. I think it’s a cool idea and it takes concepts from anime and Lucha Underground - I’m sold.
Adam Page works his ass off to earn chips, jumping over hurdle after hurdle to reach the top. Meanwhile Brodie Lee wins a chip off of Marko Stunt, and then has his cronies win chips for him that are then handed over to them. This punches his ticket straight to the finals - which earns the ire of Hangman. They face off in early August. Then when Jon Moxley returns, he comes back as a villain amongst the roster. Adam Page specifically who has been building as the new ace of AEW in Omega and Moxley’s absence is especially annoyed. He calls out Jon for being a bad champion. While he respects him for surpassing 500 days as AEW World Champion, he doesn’t just get to slack off to Japan while the rest of the roster go to war with each other for a CHANCE at his title, meanwhile he’s off losing that tournament in Japan.
Jon then tries to retort, but for the first time ever he’s booed. The fans are annoyed he’s left for a month for his other commitments. Moxley then says “well I don’t care if you like me or not because guess what - I’ve been champion for over 500 days and have defended it successfully 9 goddamn times.” They boo him louder. Jon looks like he regrets saying that. Page then tells him “well if you don’t care then there’s a viable replacement who does - me. I’ll can knock you out of your trance because I have this anytime, anywhere match clause. And you know what Jon? I’m enabling it. I will wish you the best in your future endeavours - at All Out.” The crowd pop. “Fine.” Jon says and storms off. Page leads a cowboy shit chant to close the segment.
So the match is made, and Jon doesn’t know what to do. He was a man of the people, but one tour in Japan later and he’s now an ego obsessed douche. But Jon refuses to believe he is this - no, the FANS are the ego obsessed douches. Jon explains this in an interview. Tony then tells him “well, look around you kid. Will Hobbs doesn’t want to associate with you anymore. Darby Allin don’t got your back anymore. Sting isn’t proud anymore. Adam Page is completely against you. Is it that everyone around you are just against you in a big conspiracy?” Jon dissects that, and feels it sink in the truth. “You called out Kenny Omega for burning every bridge when he became inflated with his own self. I’m seeing that in you.” Jon stays silent. “Heck, you even said the fans were the real champions 18 months ago when you won the title. Now they’re the enemy?” Jon simply says “guess so.” and walks off.
All Out 2021:
Jon Moxley vs. Adam Page - AEW World Championship
This is set to be Moxley’s tenth defence of his AEW World Championship, and tonight marks his 547th day as AEW World Champion. Adam Page comes out on a horse, with Excalibur noting “may Hunter Horse Helmsley rest in peace.” The fans lead him in a “Cowboy Shit” chant, all raising their alcoholic beverage glasses to the air at him. He is most certainly the fan favourite in this scenario. Jon Moxley usually walks out through the crowd because he always belived them to be safer to be a part of than the locker room – but this time it’s through the curtain and down the ramp. He’s booed at his arrival, and doesn’t know how to react to not being who he thought he was – or not knowing who he thought THEY were. Adam Page goes for a handshake before the match which earns applause. Moxley looks angry at them cheering him for such a small act, and spitefully accepts the offer. PAGE THEN BEGINS THE MATCH STRAIGHT AWAY WITH A MOONSAULT FALLAWAY SLAM!!! 1……...2…….KICK OUT!!!!!
WOW! What a start. Jon gets up, shocked by the sudden attack. Page shrugs at him and heads to his corner again. Mox gets really annoyed at what Hangman just tried. Page runs for him but IS CAUGHT BY A KNEE TO THE GUT!! MOXLEY THEN HITS A CROSSBODY TO THE FLOOR AND STARTS TO UNLOAD PUNCHES TO PAGE!! He lets go when the ref threatens to ring the bell. HE LIFTS PAGE UP FOR A SUPLEX! PAGE GETS OUT AND HITS A SUPERKICK!! HE GOES FOR A POWERBOMB BUT MOXLEY PUSHES HIM DOWNWARDS AND STARTS TO ELBOW THE SCALP OF HANGMAN! PAGE SLIDES UNDER HIM AND HITS A DISCUS FOREARM SMASH WHEN JON TURNS AROUND!! GERMAN SUPLEX!!! 1……..2…..KICK OUT!! MOXLEY THEN HEADBUTTS PAGE AND HITS HIM WITH A DROPKICK INTO THE ROPES!! Page falls outside and Moxley follows him out there.
HE FOLLOWS OUT WITH A SUICIDE DIVE I MEAN! Page falls up the ramp where Moxley entered from. MOXLEY GOES FOR A PARADIGM SHIFT THROUGH THE RAMP!! PAGE GETS OUT AND RUNS FOR THE RING; ASAI MOONSAULT TO MOXLEY!!! PAGE THEN HITS A FALLAWAY SLAM ONTO THE RAMP!! They both lay there in hurt from all the moves they just hit each other with. Hangman and Jon both shuffle back in under the ropes. Jon pulls himself up by the turnbuckles, and waits for Hangman. HE THEN RUNS UP FOR A TORNADO DDT OFF THE ROPES!! 1……KICK OUT!! The crowd applaud loudly and Mox is ballistic. “HOW DARE YOU!” he says before going for a forearm smash. HANGMAN SLIPS UNDER WITH A SUPERKICK TO THE CHIN! HE THEN RUNS UP THE RAMP AND BACK DOWN FOR A BUCKSHOT LARIAT!! MOXLEY CATCHES HIM WITH A MOXICITY!! PAGE REVERSES INTO A CUTTER!! Now they’re both down.
Hangman sits down at the bottom turnbuckle while he waits for Jon to get up. Jon gets up in the opposite corner. They then rise up at the same time. PAGE GOES FOR A CLOTHESLINE BUT MOXLEY WITH A HANGING SOCCER KICK!! Page stumbles back but rebounds with a forearm smash. MOXLEY THEN HITS HIM WITH A PENDELUM LARIAT!! Jon soaks it in for a moment, befor falling to cover. PAGE WITH A BOOT TO THE HEAD! HE GETS UP AND IRISH WHIPS JON INTO A CORNER DROPKICK!! HE TRIES FOR A RITE OF PASSAGE!! MOXLEY REVERSES AND APPLIES A REAR NAKED CHOKE!!! PAGE ESCAPES AND RUNS TO THE CORNER – BUT SO DOES MOXLEY WHO HITS HIM WITH A FOREARM SMASH! HE FOLLOWS WITH A RUNNING BULLDOG!!! 1………..2……….KICK OUT!!!!!!!!
Page rolls outside to recover and Moxley lays on the apron. He walks around ringside for a moment and takes in the crowd reaction to him. He looks at a chair set up nearby, and starts to advance. HANGMAN THEN HITS HIM WITH A FRONT DROPKICK TO THE BACK, KNOCKING HIM INTO THE CHAIR!! Moxley topples over and now Page waits on the apron. HE DIVES OFF WITH A SHOOTING STAR PRESS!! HE THEN THROWS JON INSIDE AND GOES FOR A BUCKSHOT LARIAT!! CONNECTS!! 1……….2……..KICK OUT!!!! JON THEN GETS UP AND STARTS TO SLAP THE SHIT OUT OF PAGE!! He slaps him over and over while shouting. “YOU. WILL. NEVER. TAKE. MY. CROWN” he says in tandem with every slap. After the one said alongside “crown.” PAGE ONCE AGAIN SLIDES UNDER FOR A SUPERKICK!! HE HITS THE CRACKER BARREL!! He can’t get the cover however.
All Out is done, and Moxley has defended his belt successfully for a tenth time. But at what cost? He originally stated the real champions were the fans - but look at him. He’s calling them ego obsessed douches. JR says that he never knew what being hated felt like and went into defence mode - he didn’t know what else to do and the jealously of Adam Page fuelled the fire. But with Page dealt with, that’s in the rear view mirror. There are 12 weeks left until the next PPV in Full Gear, so exactly 3 months. Before we get into what transpires over those 3 months, let’s go back to our antagonist we haven’t touched upon fully since March - Kenny Omega.
At Double or Nothing Kenny Omega would face off against Kip Sabian at Double or Nothing in a losing effort. This would send Kenny on a spiral of redemption, as he fill into pit of his own ego over the summer. A trip back to a Japan and a match with Kota Ibushi later and Omega was back on track. He returned to the States no longer the bad guy he was. He apologised to everyone and especially the fans when he came back, and said he wants to lead them into the next era of AEW. This is what triggers Moxley. The week after All Out, Kenny Omega is seen with Adam Page backstage comforting him on the loss. They seem to be buddies again. Moxley walks past and sees this, and then walks off angry. Next week then is when Moxley snaps on, who runs off on Omega. “You accept him but not me? Why because he’s now a soft?” Jon asks.
He then feels Omega’s soft touch the week after - in the form of the barbed wire broom. After some hardcore cleaning Omega explains why he has got redemption. “Because I am not insecure, Jon. I accept failures, I can overcome being pushed away. You can’t, Jon. You aren’t able to function without the support of the fans. They’re the crutch of your title - and without them it’s falling apart.” We build towards October 6: AEW Homecoming, where we will see Kenny Omega and Adam Page team up to take on Jon Moxley and a mystery partner. That mystery partner is spoken about by Moxley. “Me and him used to be close, but like everyone he left me. He’s the only guy who will give me a second chance, and for that I’m grateful.” Is it perhaps Will Hobbs? Is it the debut of Nick Gage? Someone we haven’t met?
Well it’s none of the above - it’s Darby Allin. Allin has forgiven Moxley and is back to help him. The match main events and runs 20 minutes with limit ad breaks, and the finish sees Page and Omega double pin Jon after a Buckshot Lariat + V-Trigger combo. This means they both are earned a title match in the future. The week after Moxley has his promo where he says he is looking for forgiveness - but not asking, he doesn’t deserve to request. A man can dream though. The match is then made by Jon himself. “Kenny - our saga has three singles matches so far. The score is currently 2-1-0, but sanctioned as 1-1-0. At Full Gear we will settle it - in our last ever bout. A Last Chance Match. If Kenny wins he will never challenge for the title again. There will be No Time Limits to prevent another draw. And most specially, it will be a Three Degrees of Pain Match.
This is elaborated upon as being essentially a Three Stages of Hell Match. Moxley will choose one stipulation, Omega will choose another, and then The Khan Family will choose the third. Omega says his stipulation will be a standard Singles Match. Moxley’s will be a Barbed Wire Massacre. Then Nik Sobic speaks on behalf of Shad and Tony Khan to announce the third stipulation will be...a Three-way Match with “Hangman” Adam Page. If Hangman wins his fall, he will be added to the rest of them. If not, whoever wins between Moxley and Omega earns the point. In case of a 3 way tie, it goes to sudden death. Everyone agrees to this in the contract signing beforehand. Two years on from when it begun - Omega and Moxley put their war to an end.
Full Gear 2021:
Jon Moxley vs. Kenny Omega - Last Chance No Time Limit Three Degrees of Pain Match for the AEW World Championship
Moxley gets the first, Omega gets the second, Omega then wins. The reign ends at 623 days.
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2020.10.31 00:55 ConorCulture Book Jon Moxley’s AEW World Championship Reign: Part 2 - American Venom

Last time we were here we saw Jon Moxley make his fourth AEW World Championship successful defence. He had overcome Death Triangle, and May even have planted the seeds for their eventual dissolving. Him and Pac went to war for 30+ minutes at All Out, and that came after over a month of fighting. They had wrestled in tag matches twice already in the build up, with Moxley getting pinned for the first time all year twice in that time.
He had successful defences against Kenny Omega, Brian Cage and Darby Allin up until this point. Omega and Moxley had their first authorised match in the main event of Double or Nothing for the gold. Moxley won after a hellacious war, but on that same night - new arriver to the company, Brian Cage, won the Casino Ladder Match in his debut to become #1 Contender.
They would fight in Wembley Arena, England at Fyter Fest, where Moxley won in a Machine’s Rules Match. Not before The Man Called Sting showed up. Mox and Sting made friends, and head into Fight for the Fallen facing against a man who found himself first on the rankings, Darby Allin.
Allin and Moxley faced in a No DQ match, and despite the weapons and blood - what hurt Jon most was he felt like he was fighting himself from 10 years ago. Out of respect he offered friendship and to team together. They did, where they faced Death Triangle. Pac and Moxley entered feud, where Brian Cage and new pal Ricky Starks entered the fray, along with The Rhodes Brothers. This led to a 10-men Tag Team Match on Dynamite, which marked Sting’s final ever match. That ended with Fénix pinning Jon Moxley, earning himself a title match. Mox then would defeat Pac, where we ended off. This leads us into...
Book Jon Moxley’s AEW World Championship Reign - Part 2: American Venom
All Out is finished - Jon Moxley defeated Pac in the main event to retain his AEW World Championship. But that’s not the saga of Jon Moxley and Death Triangle over and done with yet. Fénix pinned Jon Moxley a couple weeks ago and is owed a match for Moxley’s title. The Dynamite after All Out, a banged up Jon Moxley comes out and says that him and Death Triangle’s war isn’t over yet. When Fénix walks out from the ramp on his own, Jon tells him to see him next week. FÉNIX HITS MOXLEY WITH A TOPE CON HILO THOUGH BEFORE HE LEAVES!! FÉNIX THROWS HIM OVER THE GUARDRAIL TO THE FLOOR!! He stands tall and walks off in victory, flapping his fingers up and down to the fans for their reaction to be louder.
By next week Moxley now has a hurt arm since he landed on the concrete with it. Him and Fénix have a meeting authorised by Kurt Angle! It’s the same set up as Jericho and OC’s debate authorised by Eric Bischoff, it has Kurt on the stage as his desk with Fénix and Jon at their own stands either side of him. Fénix has a translator with him. He compliments both men on their work before hand, and lets the challenger speak first. Having Fénix speak in his raw Spanish voice will make him seem the most emotional, rather than have his eyes be lost trying to think of how to say what he wants in English. The translator tells Kurt that Fénix says Moxley may have defeated the rest of Death Triangle, but he hasn’t beat him. As far the records go, Fénix is 1-0 against Jon. Angle and the translator could probably have a funny moment, since Kurt is just a funny guy.
Moxley rebounds with a retort, saying it’s hard to take Fénix seriously wearing his little superman mask and having his nerdy translator speak for him. He laughs at the translator and jokes he should face him instead. “Some real competition” Mox laughs. The translator mumbles what Moxley said to Fénix. He asks if he can jump Jon right now. The translator asks Angle, who tells him “well he already knows what’s coming”. Midway through that sentence though, FÉNIX RUNS ACROSS AND HITS MOXLEY WITH A FRONT DROPKICK!! JON GOES FLYING OFF THE STAGE!! Pac and Pentagon come out then and laugh with Fénix. They all hold up a Cero Miedo taunt, with Angle in the background doing one upside-down.
Fénix and Moxley’s clash is set up for the AEW Dynamite Anniversary Show: Chris Jericho’s 30th Anniversary of Wrestling. This means they have 3 weeks until their clash. Moxley would come out again, looking for a non-title match with Fénix this instant. Fénix would come out, slowly walking towards Jon. Jon would retreat as soon as Fénix steps through the ropes. He looks confused at why Mox left straight after calling him out. Mox then says “…now.” AND OUT COMES WILL HOBBS!! Fénix turns around into a SPINEBUSTER!! Jon then rolls back in and says “now we’re even. Next week I want you at your edgelord brother to take on me and my new pal Will.”
And that much happens, as The Lucha Bros take on Jon Moxley and Will Hobbs on the September 30th edition of Dynamite. Hobbs gets a lot of time to shine, showing off his athleticism. The highlight of the match being him doing an ASAI MOONSAULT TO THE OUTSIDE!! The ending spot sees The Lucha Bros win after pinning Will Hobbs with a Fear FactoDiving Foot Stomp combo. This means Fénix is now 2-0 against Jon. The go home week sees Jon do one of his usual promos outside under of the hot Nevada sun in front of a graffiti covered wall. He says this will end the months of torment him and Death Triangle have put each other through.
AEW Dynamite Anniversary Show:
Jon Moxley (c) vs. Fénix - AEW World Championship
One year ago Dynamite made its inception, the launch of a brand new promotion’s first TV Show was happening live on TNT. On that episode in the main event we witnessed Jon Moxley interrupting the match to attack Kenny Omega, and hit him with a Paradigm Shift through a glass coffee table. The week following we witnessed Fénix make his Dynamite debut in the First Round of the AEW World Tag Team Championships tournament, where him and his brother Penta took on Marko Stunt and Jungle Boy of the Jurassic Express. One year later.
During Jon Moxley’s entrance, he bumps into a wild Hiroshi Tanahashi. Tanahashi is here to celebrate with Jericho for his 30th Anniversary of Wrestling. Tanahashi bows to him and Moxley pats him on the back, before continuing on his march. He hops the guardrail and as if the match could start any other way - FÉNIX WITH A TOPE CON HILO STRAIGHT OFF THE BAT!! The bell rings and the match has started with a bang. Fénix hits him with an elbow before throwing him to the ring post. He looks down at the AEW World Championship and holds it up to the crowd, proclaiming it to be his. HE THEN TURNS AROUND TOA KNEE TO THE GUT FROM MOX!! He throws him into the ring and now we begin.
Moxley hammers elbows to Fénix, but then when he rebounds off the ropes for a Lariat - FÉNIX WITH A HURRICANERANA OUT OF NOWHERE!! Fénix with an Overhead Chop to Jon! He then runs the ropes for a Head Scissors, but Moxley rolls through with it. He slides to the outside. Then Fénix runs up for a Baseball Slide - BUT MOX CATCHES HIM AND THROWS THE CHALLENGER INTO THE GUARDRAIL!! MOXLEY STARTS TO SHOULDER BARGE FÉNIX AGAINST THE STEEL!! Jon then takes his title back up from the floor and hands it to Justin Roberts. He says a few words to him, but from behind is FÉNIX RUNNING UP FROM BEHIND WITH A FRONT DROPKICK!! HE THROWS MOX BACK IN AND HITS THE LA GARRA DE FÉNIX!!! 1..............2.............KICK OUT BY MOX!!!
Just a few minutes have gone by and we’ve already seen all of this. This is the definition of balls to the walls wrestling. Fénix gets up and looks at Moxley, angry he didn’t put him down straight away. Fénix gets up to his feet and lifts Mox up with him. Jon with a quick elbow to the head and follows with a MONEY CLIP!! FÉNIX ESCAPES!! Fénix arm drags Mox to the corner and hits him with his TIGHTROPE KICK!! Jon falls and Fénix scales the ropes again. He’s crotched by Jon however! SUPLERPLEX FROM MOXLEY!!! 1.......2........KICK OUT BY FÉNIX!!! FÉNIX GETS UP AND HITS A SUPERKICK!! HE GOES FOR A HANDSPRING CUTTER! MOXLEY CATCHES AND GOES TO THROW HIM OUT THE RING!! FÉNIX LANDS ON THE ROPES, JUMPS ON THEM A FEW TIMES - SPRINGBOARD TORNILLO!!
Once they’re back up they stand on opposite corners as the crowd applaud their performance. FÉNIX THEN SPRINTS WITH A SPRINGBOARD KICK IN THE CORNER!! He goes for a Snapmare but Moxley picks him up into a MOXICITY!!! JON WITH A DIVING ELBOW DROP!! 1.............2.........FÉNIX GETS THE ROPES!! FÉNIX WITH A CORKSCREW ROUNDHOUSE KICK!! He slides out to the apron. HE DIVES FOR A SPRINGBOARD DRAGONRANA!!! MOXLEY CATCHES AND HITS THE MONEY CLIP!! 1.............2............KICK OUT!! MOXLEY GOES FOR A PARADIGM SHIFT!! FÉNIX ESCAPES AND HITS THE SPANISH FLY!! He throws Moxley into the ropes. FÉNIX THEN WITH A SPRINGBOARD MISSILE DROPKICK FROM ONE SIDE OF THE RING TO THE OTHER!! Moxley is knocked out the ring. FÉNIX THEN WITH A SOMMERSAULT TOPE SUICIDA!!
They’re now both laying on the outside. Fénix overshot the mark and now is in some front row sitters laps. He goes to jump off the guardrail but Moxley catches him! He places him on the apron. Jon gets up with him and hits a kick to the head! JON THEN LIFTS FÉNIX UP FOR A GOTCH-STYLE PILEDRIVER - ON THE APRON!! MOXLEY ROLLS HIM IN, AND GOES FOR AN ELBOW DROP!! FÉNIX LIFTS HIM OFF THE THE TOP ROPES AND TRIES THE BLACK FIRE DRIVER!! HE SPINS MOX AROUND, WHO FLIES OUT OF IT!! DISCUS LARIAT! FOLLOWED BY THE MOTHER OF ALL PARADIGM SHIFTS!!!!! 1..............2...........3!!!! MOXLEY RETAINS AFTER A WAR WITH THE MAN OF A THOUSAND LIVES!!!
Jon Moxley defeats Fénix (14:56)
After the match Moxley limps out the ring and back up the stage, his title slung over his shoulder. Meanwhile Fénix lays in the centre of the ring, gassed out of his mind from what just happened. His brother, Pentagon Jr. walks out to comfort his brother. A man in pain, and feeling grief. Pentagon lifts Fénix up, and looks past the mask to see who he knows more than anyone in the world. He offers a Cero Miedo, and Fénix lifts up his arm to do the same. Then when they throw their hands down into the taunt - PENTAGON GRABS FÉNIX AND ARM DRAGS HIM TO THE MAT!! He know kneels above, still holding the arm. He then slowly reclines it...AND SNAPS THE ARM OF HIS OWN BROTHER!! Pentagon looks at Fénix, the same blood as his, writhing in pain at the hands of him. He then grabs Fénix by the jaw and makes him look at him, barely conscious. “Cero...Miedo...”
Next week opens with a recap of the events that transpired last week. We see the high spots of Fénix and Jon Moxley’s war over the title, and then to Pentagon Jr’s attack of him. This then cuts to a promo package for that man, Pentagon Jr. To the backing of Marilyn Manson’s “The Nobodies”, we see the man who Pentagon truly is. He then explains why he did what he did. He explains he doesn’t feel empathy for what he did, he thinks he was perfectly justified. He explains how it benefits him. Later on in the show, Fénix and his translator come out. The translator explains that Fénix has seen the video himself. In the man of a thousand lives words, “those are the emotions of a psychopath. 30 years, and I don’t even know who you truly were.”
Pac comes out to Fénix and tells him: “Death Triangle is dead.” He then explains how he himself is furious at Pentagon, because he still considers Fénix his amigo. Moxley then comes out and says he thinks they both deserve rematches for the AEW World Championship, as they’re both still Number 1 and 2 on the rankings. But he then says that next week on the special episode of Dynamite: “SuperBrawl”, he will allow Pentagon to get what he wants. Because he saw the seeds being planted for this moment back when they faced. So next week if Pentagon can defeat Fénix, it will be a Four-way match between all of them at Full Gear. He then gets a text from Tony Khan confirming it. Pac then tells Fénix “you can trust me.” Fénix shakes his head though. He can no longer trust anyone. HE ITS PAC WITH A BLACK FIRE DRIVER!!
Next week is SuperBrawl and Fénix and Pentagon have pretty much the same match they had in real life, which at the time of writing was last weeks Dynamite. Pentagon wins by targeting Fénix’s arm throughout. Then on the go home show at the beginning of November, all four of them have a contract signing. They all sit at chairs in the four respective corners of the ring. They’re all wrapped in chains so no one attacks anyone. They will only be unchained when they go to sign the contract. Fénix is wearing a sling for his injured arm. Pentagon says nothing throughout despite being the centre of criticism. When he steps up he signs it and walks straight back, despite having security guards watching him like a hawk. The rest all sigh it, but the main part of it is everyone throwing barbs at each other from each corner of the ring. Pentagon is then demanded he speaks. He waits a moment, before saying “larga vida al rey.” Excalibur says that means “long live the king.” They’re on all escorted off ahead of the bout.
Full Gear 2020:
Jon Moxley (c) vs. Fénix vs. Pac vs. Pentagon Jr. - AEW World Championship
The final pay-per-view of the year is reaching its crescendo to close off the year. Every one of them have been main evented by Jon Moxley, everyone of them for the AEW World Championship. This is hyped as the first ever non one-on-one match in AEW main event history, featuring the four best the company have. Jon Moxley and Death Triangle’s war has gone on for 4 months at this point, since July. We’re now in November and it’s come to a close, with us coming full circle. Everyone of them back where they started - vying for the AEW World Championship. Fénix and Pentagon have never main evented a PPV before, with Pac being only in one. Moxley on the other hand has been involved in every single main event, excluding shows he wasn’t on (Fight for the Fallen and All Out 2019).
Moxley has been entering through the crowd since Dynamite Episode 4, when Pac blindsided him during an entrance. He couldn’t trust people after that, and started travelling his own path. Fénix enters out down through the crowds seats, being with the only people who’ve stuck by him. He climbs down the stairs, first out. The Bastard is now in a tweener role, garnering him a mixed reception. It’s Pentagon next, but he doesn’t come out. Instead Moxley is given the call it’s his turn. The fans all wonder why the champ isn’t out last. Then when Mox has arrived - Pentagon steps through the curtain, and it is nothing but boos. No ironic cheers, not even entrance music - his mere presence earning the ire of the fans.
Fénix starts off with a bang, HITTING PENTAGON WITH A SUPERKICK STRAIGHT AWAY!! HE HITS PENTAGON WITH THE BLACK FIRE DRIVER!!! Pentagon rolls out while Moxley looks out in shock. FÉNIX THEN JUMPS OVER MOXLEY WITH A SPRINGBOARD TORNILLO TO THE OUTSIDE!! That leaves it to Pac and Jon. These two faced off last at All Out in a hellacious bout, and here they are again. PAC jumps up with a Leg Lariat straight off the bat! MOX THEN REBOUNDS WITH A DISCUS LARIAT!! HE LIFTS HIM INTO A MOXICITY STRAIGHT AWAY!! HE LOCKS IN A BOW AND ARROW!! PAC ESCAPES INTO A BRUTALISER!! Mox breaks free, but is then hit by a German Suplex!! PAC THEN FLIES OUT TO THE LUCHA BROS WITH A BRITISH AIRWAYS!!!
Moxley rolls outside to join the hoard. He starts to stomp around all of them, but of course is overwhelmed by numbers. HE TURNS AROUND TO A RUNNING APRON KICK FROM PENTAGON!! Pentagon then drags him inside and licks his lips. This is a dream encounter and the fans cheer. They start booing though when Pentagon gets the first bit of offence with a chop. Moxley no sells it though and hits Pentagon with his own chop - Cheer. Pentagon chops - Boo, and so on. Eventually Pac and Fénix have had enough and both springboard into the ring, both hitting their respective rivals with STEREO SPRINGBOARD CROSSBODIES!! Now it’s these two. Pac tries to conform to Fénix but he’s having none of it. So Pac has to show him his real side.
SUPERKICK BY PAC, INTO A TIGER SUPLEX!! 1......2.....FÉNIX KICKS OUT AND ROLLS THROUGH INTO A LANZA TO THE BACK!! FÉNIX THEN HITS A 540 ROUNDHOUSE KICK!! He fires himself up for a Handspring. He does it, BUT PAC CATCHES HIM WITH A DROPKICK MID MOVE!! PAC THEN WITH A DRAGONRANA!! 1..........2......MOXLEY BREAKS IT UP!! Mox comes in and starts to unleash his brawling on two guys at once. Punch to Pac - punch to Fénix - back to Pac - then again to Fénix. He runs the ropes for a Rebound Lariat, BUT PENTAGON PULLS HIM OUT!! He holds it him in place for someone to dive at him. Fénix does so with a Cannonball Tope Suicida, but instead hits Pentagon! MOXLEY THEN SLIDES IN WITH A LOU THESZ PRESS TO PAC MID RUN-UP!!
It’s now a quadruple down as every man is taken out. They’ve all practically destroyed themselves by this point. Fénix is first up and throws Moxley out the ring. That leaves it to just the original three...Death Triangle now at war. Pentagon gets up and is shouted out by both men. He steps forward, and falls to his knees. He asks for Fénix to hit him. Fénix takes the offer and lifts him up for a Superkick - BUT PENTAGON CATCHES IT AND SPINS HIM OUT OF IT!! MEXICAN DESTROYER!! HE THEN GRABS PAC INTO THE SACRIFICE!! HE’S GOING TO BREAK HIS ARM!! PAC ROLLS OUT OF IT AND HITS PENTAGON WITH A SWITCHBLADE KICK!! PAC THEN HITS HIM WITH A KNEEDROP SHOOTING STAR PRESS!!!! 1.............2...........ITS BROKEN UP BY A LA GARRA DEL FÉNIX!!!!!
It’s Fénix and Pac now, and Pac is pleading for Fénix to not hurt him. Fénix shakes his head at Pac’s pleading, until he points at Pentagon Jr. Them and the crowd then get excited, and they get to work on the double team. FÉNIX HITS A BLACK FIRE DRIVER, WHICH PAC FOLLOWS UP WITH A BLACK ARROW!! They can’t decide who goes for the pin though. THIS THEN TURNS INTO A KICK FIGHT!! They trade Superkicks until JON MOXLEY SLIDES IN AND JOINS THE PARTY!! HE HITS A DOUBLE PARADIGM SHIFT!! HE THEN DIVES WITH A FLYING ELBOW DROP TO PAC!!! 1................2................3!!!!! MOXLEY RETAINS THE TITLE, HAVING GONE THROUGH WAR WITH THREE OTHER MEN. He stands up shakily, looking down at all the wreckage. He then pushes a guy who offers him some ice away as he walks through the crowd, AEW’s hero.
Jon Moxley defeats Fénix, Pac and Pentagon Jr. (35:13)
We’re out of Full Gear and now on the road to the biggest month of AEW’s calendar year - January. Not only do we start off with Homecoming on the first Dynamite of the month, we then get the Jericho Cruise and Bash at the Beach - all on the road to Revolution. Then for certain members of the roster they travel to New Japan Pro Wrestling - a place Jon Moxley spent a lot of time in last year. But this year, not so much. Moxley defended his IWGP United States Championship at Sakura Genesis against Will Ospreay - which he lost. Ospreay winning his first piece of heavyweight gold in NJPW. Afterwards Jon would say he will spend more time in America this year as he is AEW World Champion, and thus won’t compete in the G1 Climax.
Meanwhile Will is on fire. He enters the G1 Climax as part of Block B and fares well for himself. He has tough competition with the likes of Kota Ibushi, Tetsuya Naito, Minoru Suzuki, Kenta and Shingo Takagi - but he holds his own. He then goes on to defend his IWGP United States Championship at Wrestle Dynasty against fellow CHAOS stablemate in Tomohiro Ishii. He defeats him. Afterwards Ishii goes for a handshake, but Ospreay turns on him! The Great O’Kharn and Bea Priestley help beat down on Ishii. Okada then rushes out, but the gang escape in time. They then face off at Summer Struggle in Jingu, where Okada loses. Okada goes on to win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship off of EVIL however at King of Pro-Wrestling. On that same show however, Will loses his title to the first ever Japanese born man to hold the gold - Hiromu Takahashi.
Back to AEW, Jon Moxley has now had his sixth successful defence of the belt and is steadily approaching a year with the title. At Full Gear we witnessed Kenny Omega defeat Adam Page to win a #1 Contenders Tournament. This immediately sets up Moxley’s next challenger, Kenny Omega. Speaking of, what’s Kenny been up to since Double or Nothing? After losing their tag titles to FTR at All Out, they’d go their separate ways. Now both are alone, with The Elite having disbanded earlier in the year. Omega starts to act more heelish while Page earns more sympathy, his only companion now being the bottle. They come to blows at Full Gear and Omega officially turns heel on that night, attacking Adam with a barbed wire broom afterwards.
Next week on Dynamite is the return of The Cleaner. We saw the tease on the build to Double or Nothing, but he never fully capitalised. By dangling the carrot and then taking it away, you switch the fans from expecting something to hoping for it back - and when they get it back it’s an even bigger deal. He comes out with the shades and jacket; a new man - a more evil man. He comes out for an interview with Tony Schiavone, and when asked why he attacked Hangman - he answers in Japanese. He refuses to speak anything other than Japanese. This is the opposite effect of him only speaking English in promos while in NJPW. Jon Moxley comes out the week following to tell Kenny he doesn’t have a damn clue what he said last week, but all he knows is he’s going to beat him for the third time in a row at Revolution. Kenny then hits him with a V-Trigger to show who’s boss. Goodbye and Goodnight.
Jon the heads east to Japan in time for Power Struggle, where everything for Wrestle Kingdom 15 is set. The second ever Double Gold Dash between Kazuchika Okada (HW), Tetsuya Naito (IC), Kota Ibushi (G1) and Will Ospreay. Hiromu defends his IWGP United States Championship against an American in Juice Robinson, which he wins. Afterwards Jon Moxley makes his triumphant return to NJPW. He says that he’s not owed any match from Hiromu, but he wants that third US title reign. So he isn’t asking for anything - but just putting out the offer. If Hiromu gives him the match, he will put his AEW World Championship on the line too. Takahashi gives Jon a hug and accepts. He then does something weird, causing Moxley to leave with a eye roll and light smile.
Moxley then tries to scare Kenny when he comes back at the end of November with the barbed wire bat, but Kenny doesn’t budge. He has his own translator with him, to tell Moxley what he thinks. I think Kenny as a heel and a goofy translator character could be entertaining, since Omega has comedic chops and hopefully they can find a guy who does too. Firstly Kenny tells Jon that he’s above speaking the language of everyone in AEW because he’s on the next level above them. They are inferior to his new being. Kenny then says he has claimed every top title he possibly can - IWGP Heavyweight, KO-D Openweight from DDT and the PWG World titles. But that - what Moxley’s holding - has alluded him. He will take it.
Then it’s December, and we start Dynamite off with an angry Jon Moxley carrying out Michael Nakazawa to the ring. He has a barbed wire bat with him. He threatens to assault him unless Kenny speaks English to his face. Omega walks out to stop it...and then points the finger gun at Nakazawa. V-TRIGGER!! Did it for Mox. Kenny then leaves Jon with a broken man in the ring. After this, Kenny cuts a backstage promo with subtitles. He says Jon is what Pac said - he can’t wrestle. He can only do crazy hardcore spotfests, he can’t get down and technical. Meanwhile Kenny is the best in the world at that, and he knows if they fight in a clean match he WILL win. So he proposes that they fight in an Iron Man Match at Revolution. A DQ will result in a fall to the other wrestler, meaning if Jon gets extreme he will give Kenny a lead. The last Dynamite of 2020 sees Moxley bring Omega out to the ring to accept, and then attack him with the bat. Moxley then travels east for Wrestle Kingdom.
Wrestle Kingdom 15 Night Two:
Hiromu Takahashi (c) vs. Jon Moxley (c) - IWGP United States Championship and AEW World Championship
The second night of Wrestle Kingdom has arrived and it’s set to be a big one. The first night saw the beginning of the second ever Double Gold Dash - where we saw Tetsuya Naito defeat Will Ospreay to retain his Intercontinental Championship along with Kota Ibushi defeating Kazuchika Okada to win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. Not only that but we also saw Jay White and Hiroshi Tanahashi in a grudge match as well as SANADA and EVIL do battle in a No Disqualification Match. Night two is now set to see Will Ospreay and Kazuchika Okada do battle as well as Okada and Ibushi fight once again for both belts. But before all that it’s the United States Championship match, and it all begins with The Death Rider
Coming out on his finest Harley Davidson, Jon Moxley drives out through the Tokyo Dome to ringside. The Young lions offer him help, but Mox hand selects his boy, Shota Umino, to help him out. The two pull it over the barricade and Moxley sits on it with the title slung over his shoulder, while Shooter does his best Shibata of arms folded and stone faced. “DEATHU RAIYDAH...JONAH MOXUREE!!!” Mox poses with the AEW World Championship. With that wacky entrance over we go to a man who can top “Wacky Dean” in every way you can do wacky possible, Hiromu Takahashi. He walks out with Daryl and Naoru, who hold the IWGP United States Championship between them. Jon sighs at this sight. Takahashi does his weird tongue taunt at all the people in the crowd, as there is no better greeting possible.
Once we’re underway Hiromu panders to the crowd for a minute or so, and then the lock up starts. A chinlock by Moxley is rolled out of and Hiromu rebounds with an arm drag into a school boy. Moxley kicks out and swings at Takahashi, who is already running off the ropes but is caught by a Big Boot! Jon then throws him into the corner and starts to unload punches. He then hits a big knee to the gut. A Snapmare and Soccer Kick follows. Jon is in control and applies a Nerve hold. Hiromu quickly sweeps out of it though and lands a Head Scissors Takedown! Hiromu puts his fingers in a v-shape and locks in between because he’s a weirdo. Commentary laugh at this but not so much at his HESITATION DROPKICK!! HOOKS THE LEG - JON KICKS OUT!! HIROMU THEN LEFTS HIM UP FOR A FALCON ARROW, BUT MOXLEY FLOATS OVER AND HITS A RELEASE SUPLEX!!
Moxley pulls himself up to stalk Takahashi in the corner, who stands up with him. He tries to get at Jon by raising his fist up towards his for a bump, and calling him “brother.” Moxley laughs it off and raises his hand, to the air, tue LIJ taunt. MOXLEY THEN HITS HIROMU WITH A SCOOP SLAM!! CURB STOMP FROM THE CORNER!! 1................2...........KICK OUT!! Jon pulls him up for a PARADIGM SHIFT - BUT HIROMU COUNTERS INTO THE DESTINO!!! 1.............2..........KICK OUT!! Both are down having done their partners moves - now learning they can’t follow any path but their own. They both recover on the outside after the kick outs from big moves. Takahashi is first back up and takes Jon back inside. He lands a Superkick to knock Moxley over the ropes, and then heads to the top ropes. HE DIVES OUTSIDE WITH A DIVING SENTON!! HE THROWS JON BACK INSIDE AND LOCKS IN A TRIANGLE CHOKE!!
He pulls and pulls on the hold, but then Jon reaches the ropes. Hiromu tries to Superkick him again BUT JON HITS HIM WITH A PENDELUM LARIAT!! HE TRIES FOR THE PARADIGM SHIFT AGAIN BUT TAKAHASHI FLOATS OVER INTO A CANADIAN DESTORYER!! MOXLEY ROLLS OUT AHD LOCKS IN A FUJIAWARA ARMBAR!! MOXLEY STOMPS ON THE HEAD FOR FURTHER DAMAGE!!! HIROMU IS FADING - UNTIL HE ROLLS OUT!! SUPERKICK FOLLOWED BY A DYNAMITE PLUNGER OVER THE ROPES TO THE APRON!! TAKAHASHI THEN FLIES OUT WITH A TOPE CON HILO!!!! Commentary are screaming for Hiromu to throw him inside and finish the job, but he’s too banged up from the fall. The ref’s 20 count begins, but by 15 they’re both back in.
Takahashi thinks for a cover, but considers it too late. He rethinks and goes for a Time Bomb, but Moxley gets out and HITS AN ELBOW TO THE BACK OF THE HEAD!! ONE HITTER BY JON!!!! 1.................2.............KICK OUT!! TAKAHASHI BREAKS OUT AND HITS THE JOHN WOO DROPKICK!! He rolls out and sets up one of NJPW’s famously hard wood tables. HE GOES FOR A SUNSET FLIP POWERBOMB TO MOXLEY!! BUT JON BLOCKS IT, AND HITS A PARADIGM SHIFT TO THE OUTSIDE THROUGH THE TABLE!! HE DRAGS HIROMU TAKAHASHI BACK INSIDE AND COVERS - 1...................2...............3!!!!! JON MOXLEY HAS WON THE IWGP UNITED STATES CHAMPIONSHIP FOR THE THIRD TIME IN HISTORY, AND HAS SUCCESSFULLY RETAINED HIS AEW WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP!! Afterwards he grabs a microphone and says “Naito, Ibushi - I don’t care which one of you, but whoever you are - I want to hold four titles.”
Jon Moxley defeats Hiromu Takahashi (20:11)
Jon says he’s heading back home in the press conference with two titles, and says that after 18 months under his tutelage - he’s letting Shooter spread his wings and go off as his own man. “I’ll see ya soon bud.” he tells him as he walks off through the door, both belts slung over his shoulders. Jon returns home to the States on the week after AEW Homecoming, and the week before the Jericho Cruise sets sail. He comes back and while passing him backstage, says to Kenny Omega: “くたばれ!” (In romaji: (kutabare!”) (means “go to hell!” Literally means "Drop dead!") A match is confirmed for the Jericho Cruise ship, where both guys will team together to run a gauntlet. The build for this is seen when Omega opens the show with a backstage promo (because this show needs promos where every third word isn’t cut off by reception).
He says that Jon may think he’s now the king of Japan, but he better no who he’s talking to. Former IWGP Heayvweight, Intercontinental, Junior Heavyweight, United States, Tag Team and NEVER Openweight Six-man Tag Team Champion. Jon can’t and never will top his Puroresu credentials. So he’s going to get to watch Omega to do what he did for 10 years and feel what it’s like to be the lesser, because he needs to be knocked off his perch now he’s passed over 300 days as champion. Jon comes out normally but Kenny has all the bells and whistles, as he enters to “Dragon Heart” from Seiken Tsukai No World Break. He’s led to the ring by a group of dancing ladies with brooms, as he basks in his own ego. They ultimately fall to FTR - the team who defeated Page and Omega at All Out, after a miscommunication.
Bash at the Beach and they have a match with FTR, this time for their AEW World Tag Team Championships. Cash slips out of a One Winged Angel and locks in a Fujiwara Armbar. Omega struggles in it but then he’s done for when Dax drops down with a Knee. Omega then instantly tap. Afterwards Jon goes ballistic on him for not making him a triple champion. “No wonder everyone you loved left you.” he says in an interview with Tony Schiavone next week. After that Kenny challenges Moxley saying that everyone he loved left him. Moxley then slowly brings out all his buddies. Darby Allin, Sting, Will Hobbs and Shota Umino. He then starts to call for Omega’s friends. “Riho? Nakazawa? Hangman? The Bucks? No one home it seems. But what hurts most is this: IBUSHI? dead silence” “Now all you got is your dumbass translator. Speaking of - attacks translator” Kenny walks off in defeat.
The go home show confirms a Hardcore Match between Kenny Omega and Michael Nakazawa. Nakazawa left Kenny as a friend after he turned to the dark side. This is a match driven by enough but told through DDT hardcore spots. I think I’m the only person on earth who enjoyed Nakazawa/Jebailey so I’d like this, also considering it contains Kenny Omega in it. Omega wins with a One Winged Angel onto a pile of loose arcade buttons. Afterwards he speaks in English for the first time all year. “Jon - what I do to you at Revolution will end your fairytale of a title run. I am not who you had your first successful defence against, you have seen god damn nothing.” This means we’ve reached our destination - Los Angeles, the city in which we will witness the Iron Man Match between Kenny Omega and Jon Moxley.
Revolution 2021:
Jon Moxley (c) vs. Kenny Omega - 30-minute Iron Man Match for the AEW World Championship
Revolution has seen a lot so far, and is already in the history books as one of AEW’s best ever PPVs. But you have to save the best for last, of course. The main event arrives, and it starts with something hardcore...BABYMETAL. Live on the stage are the most Kenny Omega band imaginable, signing a song about hardships and overcoming defeat via perseverance. Then a fan walks on stage and starts to jam out, and the bad stop and look at him weird. Lights go out...ITS KENNY OMEGA!! AS AKUMA’S RAGING DEMON!! His hair is dyed red and spiked up and he has the demon symbol painted on his back. They then resume the song as Omega walks down. Justin Roberts has really strapped up his boots for this one and he has to do not one but two dramatic ring introductions for this match.
Jon Moxley then doesn’t have a Harley Davidson like last time (some things are too good to be true), instead having to walk like a beta. Nevertheless he still has two titles with him, commentary pointing out his IWGP United States Championship - also mentioning the belts inaugural champion was Kenny Omega - but now Moxley has held it three times. He walks past his wife Renee Paquette in the crowd who wishes him good luck. Jon slithers into the ring and makes Omega watch as he raises up both titles. Excalibur says that Omega will be the third man in history to have held a major heavyweight championship in Mexico, Japan and the United States if he wins. Previous winners being Antonio Inoki (IWGP, WWF and UWA) and Vader (IWGP/AJPW, WCW and UWA). Also j the crowd for this match are Alex Jebailey who receives a boo at his arrival. The cameras then go to Renee who gets a pop.
The bell rings and the match has started. Kenny and Jon slowly advance, doing little circles around the centre. Then they pounce into a lock up. Kenny misses the chinlock and instead is on the receiving end of one. He tries to slide out but Jon snatches him back with an armhold. Omega kicks up to knock Jon off and get away. He dusts his hands and this time leapfrogs Moxley when he goes for him, and grabs him by the waist. He slams him back and gets a rest hold in. He applies a headlock and rolls back into a mini Crossface. Jon grabs the ropes and retreats to his corner. Eventually he gets bored of this and wants to fuck shit up, so when Omega runs at him he hits a kick to the midsection! Moxley then with an EXPLODER SUPLEX STRAIGHT AWAY!! He hits it and basks in the soaking applause of the fans.
Jon lifts Kenny up but he’s hit by a Enziguri!! HE FOLLOWS WITH THE YOU CAN’T ESCAPE! As soon as the Moonsault lands he covers, 1........2......KICK OUT!! Jon then connects an Arm Drag and follows with a Kitchen Sink! HE TRIES FOR AN EARLY PARADIGM SHIFT!! OMEGA FLOATS OVER AND LANDS A KOTARO KRUSHER!!! HE HITS ANOTHER ONE INTO THE CORNER!!! He flies over the ropes with the second and so starts to scale the turnbuckles to get back in. HE PULLS JON UP BY A GUTWRENCH!! He tugs and tugs but Moxley sandbags. He still gets him to the first rope. He’s looking for Dr. Wiley’s Powerbomb! MOXLEY THEN LIFTS HIM FOR A SUPERPLEX!! KENNY STAYS PUT!! MOXLEY THEN CATCHES HIM WITH AN AIR RAID CRASH!! HE FLIES!! 1.............2..........3!!!!!!!!!! Jon Moxley earns 1 point.
Omega is flustered by that sudden pinfall. Moxley is arrogant about getting a quick pin and turns around to showboat. HE’S THEN CAUGHT WITH A REVERSE FRANKENSTEINER BY OMEGA!! Kenny then slits his throat and points a finger gun at Moxley’s head, BEFORE LANDING A V-TRIGGER!! HE HITS THE AOI SHOUDOU!! HE THEN RUNS THE ROPES FOR ANOTHER V-TRIGGER BUT HES CAUGHT WITH A HEADBUTT!! MOXLEY THEN HITS A CUTTER!!! 1..KICK OUT!! OMEGA GETS UP AND HITS A MISSILE DROPKICK TO THE BACK OF THE HEAD FROM OUT OF NOWHERE!! This man is not fucking about. He pulls Moxley up and thinks he’ll hit him with his own move, the Paradigm Shift. MOXLEY COUNTERS WITH A BACKBODY DROP TO THE OUTSIDE!! Omega lands on his feet, but is immediately hit by a SUICIDE DIVE FROM MOXLEY!!
Both guys are now on the outside after the big dive. Moxley isn’t much of a high flyer aside from his elbow drops, but here he just went. He gets up with a middle finger in the sky to show he enjoyed that. He drags Kenny back in with him. He throws Omega to the corner and starts to come in with punches and stomps. He runs for a HESITATION DROPKICK!! He then lifts Omega up for a chop. He readies himself...OMEGA HITS A V-TRIGGER!! DRAGON SUPLEX BY OMEGA!! RISE OF THE TERMINATOR BY OMEGA TO THE OUTSIDE!! He then bashes Moxley’s head off the ring post a few times until he throws him back in He irish whips Jon to the corner, who jumps to the second rope, and IS THEN HIT WITH A SUPERKICK TO THE REAR!! OMEGA CLIMBS UP AND HITS A SUPER CROYT’S WRATH!!!! 1..............2..............3!!!! Kenny Omega earns 1 point.
We’re now approaching 20 minutes and the score has just been made equal. Omega climbs up and is now the one who gets cocky. He comes prepared for the surprise attack as he flips out of a German Suplex. SUPERKICK INTO THE ROPES, BUT IS CAUGHT BY A PENDULUM LARIAT!! MOXLEY THEN GOES FOR A SPINNING PARADIGM SHIFT! KENNY ESCAPES AND RUNS THE ROPES, BUT IS CAUGHT BY A KITCHEN SINK!! JAPANESE ARM DRAG BY MOXLEY!! They’re desperate for the second point and the clock is ticking. We’re over 20 minutes now. Omega kicks into gear when he attempts a One Winged Angel and the fans leave their seats. Moxley quickly slides out though and scurries for the corner. Kenny basks in the glory of embarrassing the world champion. HE’S THEN ROLLED UP BY MOXLEY!! KICK OUT AND A DOUBLE DOWN FROM STEREO CLOTHESLINES!!
Continues in comments
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