Kathy craine voice
I wanna sound and talk like Kathy Bates. Please compare me to her and tell me what things I should focus practice time on.
2023.05.31 04:44 EebamXela I wanna sound and talk like Kathy Bates. Please compare me to her and tell me what things I should focus practice time on.
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2023.05.30 21:12 MjolnirPants Jerry and the Goddesses: Part 33
Part 32 on HFY
"I think I found it," I said, knowing that Inanna and Sarisa could hear me. A second later, Sarisa popped into existence next to me. "Huh," she said.
The map she'd shared with the rest of us showed a single row of houses fronting the natural area, but I could clearly see the roof of a building, set far back from the homes amid the trees. A wide driveway with the single white line they used here to differentiate traffic lanes emerged from between two properties with a gate closed over it.
A sign hung from the gate, unreadable with all the bullet holes in it, but the operating hours at the bottom were unmistakable. This wasn't another home, but some sort of public-fronting establishment. "I definitely have no knowledge of this building. I think you've got it."
"Will you get the others?" I asked. Sarisa smiled and vanished again. A few minutes later, Gary and Kathy emerged from around a corner with Sarisa.
"Where's Ana?" Gary asked as they approached.
"She peed herself," I said.
"What?" Gary face scrunched up and I laughed. "You heard me."
"Well, how the hell did that happen?"
I shrugged. "The usual way, I guess. She's been telling me about getting tired and feeling confused on a repeating schedule and having to make an effort to return to her usual health. I suggested she try staying hydrated, because it sounded like dehydration that she was describing. So she started hydrating and..."
"And she forgot to go tinkle," Gary grinned. I winked at him, and then noticed Sarisa giving me a look. I responded with a "what do you expect?" gesture, and she sighed and shook her head. Sarisa never liked it when I told little white lies, even though it turns out she's told a few, herself.
Inanna emerged from the closest home, then. She was still in the same khakis and unbuttoned-most-of-the-way outfit she'd worn in, but she was dry now. "It wasn't pee," she announced.
Gary looked back and forth between us, eyebrows raised. "Okay...."
Kathy suddenly smirked and turned away. Well, damn, that was quick. I had to remember not to underestimate her.
"It doesn't matter," I said, "Look." I pointed to the gate. "That has to be the museum."
"Well, whatta we waitin fer?" Gary asked and walked over to check the padlock on the gate. He gave it a quick look, then took off his pack and dug around for a second, producing a pair of smallish bolt-cutters. He lined them up on the lock's hook and, with a quick jerk, brought the jaws down on it. The padlock fell to the ground with a clatter and Gary opened the gate wide enough to walk in.
We all followed him in through the gate and he pulled it shut and used a rock to wedge it in place. Up the long drive, we found a small parking lot and another shot-up sign. But this one had the words "museum" and "north" still readable in Armenian printed on it, so if we'd had any doubts during the walk up, they were gone.
Inanna simply magicked open the locked front door and we walked in. We split up, wandering the halls and searching the various rooms an exhibits. I moved down a hall with prints of medieval paintings of vikings and little placards describing the circumstances of the original painting as well as the events portrayed. The first three doors I found were bathrooms and a closet. The last entrance had no door in the frame, and it led to a room full of weapons.
A few actual viking-age and earlier weapons sat in glass cases in the middle, with reproductions bolted to the walls. Apparently, the museum was family-friendly, because foam versions of the weapons were stacked in an umbrella stand in one corner.
As I was returning to check another hall, I heard Kathy's voice "I think I got it!"
I followed the sound through a few rooms and found her and the others gathered around a small glass display case on a pedestal in the middle of a room whose walls were bedecked with paintings, both ancient and modern, of Norse Pagan religious subjects. Squeezing between Inanna and Gary, I saw it.
It was just like the last one, except the teeth were arranged slightly differently.
"So can we just, like, take it?" Kathy asked Sarisa. Sarisa shook her head, "Not without interfering with the magic. We have to share secrets again."
We all looked around at each other. This was actually getting more difficult, as we were a pretty tight group. We simply didn't have a lot of secrets. I broke the ice.
"When I was in my junior year, I stole three books from the college library, because they wouldn't let me check them out."
Kathy snickered. "I bet that's the worst thing you've ever done, too."
I turned towards her. "They were three volumes of a history of video games. The nineteen eighties through the two-thousands. I still have them in my closet." Kathy laughed and held out a hand for a fist bump. I gave it to her, unsure of why that would be fist-bump-worthy until she said "I figured they'd be dense academic works on some obscure aspect of history. Or maybe porn."
"The second volume covered erotic games," I admitted, "but there weren't a lot of titillating images, unless a screenshot from Custer's Last Stand is the sort of thing you find sexy."
I felt an easing in the tension of the room which I hadn't recognized until that moment. It had worked. Inanna spoke up next. "I'm keeping the baby," she said.
Everyone looked at her. Sarisa spoke first, "Sister, that is possibly the least-secret secret I've ever heard of. I don't think any of have had any doubt that you would keep the child you made with the man you love."
Inanna turned to me, "Did you know?" I shrugged. "I never really considered that you'd end the pregnancy. It would be very out of character for you."
"And you're okay with that?" she asked me? "Of course," I replied immediately. "Why wouldn't I be?"
She wrapped her arms around me and leaned her head against my chest. I smiled. This was nice, Inanna showing affection without being all grabby.
"I'm going to have to think about it for a minute, then."
Gary took a deep breath. His face clouded for a moment, and then he cleared his throat.
"I killed two civilian boys in Rukha, in Afghanistan back in 2001 to stop them from alerting Taliban in the region. We were moving through some fields, coming down into the valley from the north. We needed to get to a high point that sort of split the valley, to call in some JDAMs on a couple Taliban positions down in the valley. We didn't see the boys at first, they were hiding in some bushes or something. But as we got close, they broke cover and ran. I didn't even hesitate. I knew if they made it into town or to someone with a phone, the locals would fill the streets to gawk and the Taliban would abandon their positions.
"I saw them running, had just enough time to recognize the threat, and then I shot them both in the back. Neither one was armed. Neither one was older than about twelve." His voice was rough and raw. It was obvious he was digging deep for this.
"I still sometimes have nightmares about it," he added, and then he closed his mouth and stared at the ground. I felt the tension ease a bit more.
Kathy put her hand on his shoulder and he reached up to pat it. "I abandoned my best friend throughout middle school, Maryann, because she wasn't popular enough to suit me when we got to high school," she said.
"When we started as freshmen, we both made a bunch of new friends. She had a harder time of it, just because she wasn't as sociable as I was, but she was my friend, so she kinda tagged along as we became the 'in-group'. But some of the other girls didn't like her. Maryann listened to different music than most of us, and liked different actors and dressed different. It was super petty, I know, but at the time, those things seemed important." She laughed ruefully, "Like listening to Shinedown somehow made her a bad person. Anyways, it got worse over our freshman year. When we started sophomore year, I decided to cut her loose. So I told my mom a boy was harassing me, and she changed my number. A couple of the other girls did the same. We gave each other our new numbers, but not Maryann."
Kathy sniffed and I could see moisture in her eyes.
"She just seemed so confused at first. None of us were willing to just tell her that we didn't want to be friends, so we made excuses. I told her my phone was turned off, and said that I had plans every time she wanted to hang out. When she finally figured it out, she didn't even get angry. She just, like, vanished. She stopped coming to school, and stopped eating at the diner where we always used to get burgers after school.
"After a couple of months, I started to get worried about her. So I went to her house and knocked on the door. Her mom answered and told me that Maryann didn't want to talk to me and that I should go. And that was the last I ever heard from her."
Sarisa put her arm around Kathy's shoulder and squeezed her. "It's not too late," she said, then Kathy turned into the hug and they embraced. I heard Kathy take a few shuddering breaths, and then she pulled back. "I know. And I plan to go to her, as soon as this is done. I won't take no for an answer, this time."
The tension eased further. Only the goddesses remained. Inanna had, predictably enough, managed to sneak a hand down my pants while Gary was talking, but her fondling was subdued, more of an idle fidgeting than her usual concerted attempts to arouse me. The thrill of being touched by a goddess remained, however, which is why I was keeping my mouth shut.
Sarisa broke the silence. "I slept with Astoram, once."
"What?" I choked out in unison with Inanna. Inanna jerked her hand free and spun to face Sarisa.
"I thought you said that night with Jerry was your first time."
"It was... Listen, it wasn't actually me who slept with him, but an avatar of mine who lived in my temple in Mohenjo-daro. I was experiencing everything she did, but I wasn't in control of her actions. The truth is, I wasn't even paying her much attention, and she had long since grown into her own being, making choices that sometimes surprised me. Astoram came to her in a manifestation. He pretended to be distraught after Loki had foiled one of his schemes, and he seemed to think the avatar was me in a manifestation. He played at humility, confessed that he was always jealous of how smart I am and just generally seemed remorseful, and possibly not such a bad god, once you got past his public facade.
"The avatar had been quite lonely, and had grown quite human, having lived among them for so long. So she was moved by his words and..."
"And threw him a pity fuck," Inanna said.
Sarissa nodded, "And she threw him a pity fuck, yes. Of course, that was his plan, all along. He impregnated her. He was so livid when he found out she wasn't me that I had to have Krast pin him down until he swore not to hurt the avatar. Even then, I was still so concerned for her safety that I sent her to Scandinavia to bear her son in peace."
"The avatar, that was Aelfrida?" Inanna asked. Sarisa nodded, and Inanna turned to me. "Jerry, now you three are the only people alive who knows the name of Grendel's mother."
"The baby was Grendel?" I asked, surprised. Sarisa nodded again. "Yes, and he was a lovely creature for a very long time, until that drunkard, Hrothgar built his little party shack and drove the poor thing insane with all the noise." She shook her head sadly.
The tension eased more. It was barely there. All eyes were on Inanna now. She gave us all an askance look, as if she didn't like being the center of attention.
After a moment's silence, she turned back to me and wrapped her arms around my waist. She leaned her head against my chest again and spoke, not looking at anyone.
"I've thought a lot about what we're doing and what it might entail, from a practical perspective. I've communed with Ixy on it, as well, as he's the oldest of all of us. As best I can guess, the actual method which we're trying to learn is not to kill Astoram, or even to put him back to sleep. It's to cut off his manifestation from his divinity. It would open his domain for grabs by the rest of us. I'm sure Ixy plans to seize as much of it as he can, the moment we succeed.
"I can't think of any other method of defeating him that's even remotely possible. Sarisa, you know we've discussed this." Sarisa nodded. I knew, too. I'd heard them talking about it a few times, and had a general idea of their logic. It was complex and sometimes irrational, but if you squinted just right, it sort of made sense.
The gods' divinity wasn't who they were, but a natural product of living beings interacting with the universe and each other, that occasionally grew into something so coherent and powerful that it took on a life of its own. As best I understood, Ixy was the first god. He came into being when human ancestors began really differentiating themselves from the other animals with their cleverness, a sort of reflexive kickback against said cleverness. Every time an animal did anything, a trickle of energy was added to Ixy's domain, but every time an especially smart animal followed its instincts, he got a huge jolt of power.
Eventually, all that energy coalesced into the nightmarish entity that Ixy can be if you don't know him. Because those ancestors were smart and they contributed so much, Ixy developed a literal mind of his own. A simple mind, about as intelligent as your typical chimpanzee, but with the social bonds of a dog.
As time passed and humanity evolved into its modern state, that growing intelligence that it brought flowed towards Ixy. But Ixy didn't want it. Ixy liked being Ixy. So he sequestered these little disembodied minds off from the rest of himself. And things continued like that for a very long time.
But humanity was only just beginning to get clever. As tribes and clans took hold, complex social behaviors developed, and those behaviors differentiated themselves from the primal energy that defined Ixy. One by one, these energies, these divinities, grew dense enough to power a god on their own. The minds that Ixy had sequestered were not comatose or unaware, and they saw this happening. Eventually, one of them escaped and tied itself to a divinity. They became the first generation of the gods. Hunting, bloodlust, simple lust, hunger, loneliness. Base concepts that all of humanity knew.
This first generation eventually experienced the same fate as Ixy, only without the entirety of the animal kingdom feeding them a steady drip of power, they grew weak as the energies split apart. To offset this, they emanated; breaking off parts of their own minds to take command over the diverging and clumping divinities that had once been entirely theirs. As these emanations seized their own divinities, they became the second generation of gods. Sarisa and Inanna were both second generation gods. The second generation was supposed to serve the first, but after some time, they rebelled.
The first generation was gone; slain somehow in a great war that had been wiped from the minds of all survivors, even the gods themselves. Only Astoram remained of their number. Sarisa and Inanna had discussed how that might have happened, even before Astoram's awakening, and the consensus they had established was that one or more of their 'sibling' gods had learned how to separate a god from their divinity.
Once that was done, then there would be little left but the mind, unless said god had been manifesting. In that case, they would survive not as a disembodied mind, but in whatever form they had taken. And that was what we planned to do to Astoram. What it wasn't, however, was a secret. I looked down at Inanna, who glanced up and caught my eye. When she spoke, I knew she was speaking to me.
"If we succeed. If we find a way to strip Astoram from his divinity, then after we've defeated him, I want to be stripped from my own. I want to live whatever remaining life I have in this body with you, Jerry."
Holy fucking shit.
---- As a reminder, this whole story is available at JerryandtheGoddesses
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2023.05.28 21:14 SwissCheese4Collagen The !s Fertility Tour Part 2: BabyMoon Booglaoo / Hawaiian Getaway Leaving Our Son For a Week
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Howdy folks, The !s beat OfNostrils to the punch on the Tube this week fueling my theory about Kath!'s Kompetitive Nature. If she didn't beat her to the birthing suite, she was going to get that Friday night scheduling slot. OfNostrils is up next in my queue of recaps.
But anyhow, they open with Jed! calling Tru! "Chickies" which, is repeated before the end of the 20 second intro as he is passed off to his grandma on Kath!s side. At least Tru! in staying with Grammy! we won't be hearing "chickies" every five seconds. Tru! Is handed off to Grammy! after being fussy and crying the entire first half of the intro. When I comment that Tru! Learn how to cry in Italy and he has been throwing a tantrum when he sees the camera, Baby Swiss says that Tru! gained consciousness too early, he must be replaced...Too bad his parents don't recognize or care that he doesn't like being on camera. They fly over the Grand Canyon and Jed! Steves shows it to us through the window. Tru! is the opposite of the Baby on Dinosaurs, he's a Grammy!s boy Jed! successfully pulls off the \"hang 10\" move with his hand.
They arrive in Hawaii for their anniversary trip, it's the first time leaving Tru!. Kath! says that Tru! is doing well and so are they. Well no shit, you're in Hawaii and he doesn't have a camera stuck in his face.
They walked through the "drizzles" to find breakfast, McDonald's if I were a betting woman, Kath! does her very best Mary Anne from Gilligan impersonation beachside. Meanwhile Jed! tries to comment on how Hawaii is the prettiest of the 50 states, but the captions think he's hungry and change it to steaks. He gets as mushy about the beach and mountains as his brother J'Obnoxious James did about Switzerland. I'm scared to know what he thinks is a good steak. \"Let's Go Cruisin' \". Let's not. Kath! wisely films while Jed! \"cruises\".
The !s pickup an "SS Camaro", even though as a car salesman Jed! should know that you usually do the model then the trouble but can't draw that too long because student yammer on about how convertibles are the most rented car in Hawaii. Of course they are, it's perpetually 80° and sunny. People are on vacation, and want to treat themselves. Kath! however has a different theory, she says "it's a must because it's so beautiful here." The captions once again prove they have no love for Jed! as they turn "let's go cruising" into "let's get crazy". Kath! gets some scenery J'B roll as Jed! drives up the tip of the island. The wind tries to do us all a favor and blow so loud that it almost
drowns out Kath!'s voice as she states that Jed! is going to set up his drone to flyover for Hawaiian scenery
Non-tent. After Kath! splashes in a couple of beautifuls and gorgeouses into the conversation the drone takes off and gives us the scenery footage. Judd aka Jed! #3 in Home Adrone 3: Hawaiian Vacation!
The next day begins with one of the craziest sentences I think I've ever heard is Jed! states that he was "burnt to a pulp". Apparently Jed! got sun poisoning because he didn't wear any sunscreen for three hours of Hawaiian beach time. Proving that Blame Shifting was a key subject studied in the Wisdom Booklets, his excuse is that there wasn't sun at home because it was winter and just now turning into spring. Kath! had no problem putting some sunscreen on herself. Either way they hike up to Manoa Falls, a "big" waterfall which ends up being tall but not wide. The !s also point out streams, and shades of green...the way they made it sound was like it should have been basically Niagara Falls on steroids. Kath!s magic pregnancy shirt takes her from eight months to four months. This is not a conspiracy, we know these fools actually get knocked up though, I just want to know where she got the shirt because it is extremely slimming. She says the hike is not as easy as it set on yelp and not just for pregnant people but also for people with sun poisoning. Both said it was worth it. Burnt. To. A. Pulp. like, is his brain just a MadLib or did he Chat GPT this vlog? No Sunscreen + Toxic Masculinity + 3 hours in Hawaiian sun = S-U-N P-O-I-S-O-N-I-N-G. I've never wanted these jokers to link a product so bad before. That shirt is magic. Did he bring the whatsits pops this time for her?
Kath! flashes leg in the convertible and tries to flash "hang 10" but ends up more in the area of "call me" as they head to, oh Lord, they're going to go to Pearl Harbor. Let's see what bullshit they have to say about this. They stop for lunch as Jed! shoves a giant burger in his mouth. As they walk up to the USS Missouri Jed! states that he is read all about Pearl Harbor, of course he has. I trust SOTDRT's history lessons were also from the Wisdom Booklets and probably have some story about how a sailor prayed his way through the attack on Pearl Harbor or some shit. Great. Kath! is excited to see it, not sure why you would be excited to see something like this but not my vlog. She's also happy it's cloudy and they are going to be inside to give their skin a break from the sun.
They read the engraved plaque about the surrender on the USS Missouri deck. Both say that this is it "this is where World War II ended" Jed! says that "it ended right here, well here the deck not here Hawaii" basically. They go inside and Jed! states that he learned something new about Pearl Harbor. I can't tell if he learns something new every day and this is a common experience to him because he didn't learn anything as a kid or if he just doesn't learn anything wonders through life perpetually just avoiding knowledge. He was named one of the one that was supposed to be good at school with SOTDRT, and both he and Kathy mentioned they don't like reading the things in museums but that's the only places they go to. Well let's see what they learned from this museum shall we? What happened to all the BeAuTiFuL sUnShInE?
The !s begin to tell the story of the Japanese attacking Pearl Harbor, states that the planes and a lot of boats were destroyed and damaged. Since the US thought that the Japanese are going to come back invade Hawaii. Both told a different aspect of the invasion defense plan, Jed! mentioned the barbed wire on the beaches and asked Kath! to explain the second part which was marking Hawaii on all of the money so that the Japanese couldn't use captured US dollars to devalue Hawaii's economy. Of course these chucklefucks don't even come close to explaining it that succinctly and it sounds like the Hawaiians printed Hawaii on all the money that if they invaded, then no one could use it. These poor children, we can only hope Kath! doesn't have the patience for homeschooling and they get shipped off the public school. Although knowing her rich ass she's gonna send to a J'boarding school she has to. Jed! blathers on about how he had no idea that Hawaii was an invasion target, despite saying he read all about it. \"Very Interesting\"....what does he even mean? Is Obama not allowed to have any association with restaurants?
Off they go to Hawaiian shave ice, Jed! points out that there's "lots of flavors, so Hawaiian". Among the options listed are Waiola Rainbow and an Obama Rainbow. I will absolutely lose my shit if either of them picks the Obama Rainbow option but my official bets are that Kath! will take the Waiola Rainbow and Jed! will pick something like Grape. Of course Jed! makes some weird comment about how it's interesting that there is an Obama rainbow option, and discovers Obama is from Hawaii as a cashier salesman on his recent American History knowledge. See what I mean? Does this happen to him every day or is he just like constantly oblivious? Turns out, Jed! picked strawberry and lemon lime for his shave ice, which is basically the figure red pop and Sprite combination so a fundie Shirley Temple? Kath! on the other hand, proves she's pregnant by choosing bubblegum and banana. Yeah, now I really need to know where she got that shirt or Kayte #5 was standing in on the hiking scenes. Kath! mentions that the shave ice is not like "shaved ice", a.k.a. snow cones, which she says are "Icy", while shave ice is creamy. Almost like gelato, huh? I wouldn't have picked either combo, what is wrong with their tastebuds?
Since it's a rainy day the next day they end up at Kualoa Ranch, Where Jurassic Park movies and most importantly, according to Jed! Christian movies like Soul Surfer have been filmed. They show us, but it's raining so they don't want to go. Back to the car they go where they show mountains on one side and on the other side of the road like they aren't in a state comprised of tiny islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean? Next day, they rent scooters like they wrote in DC a couple of years ago and had a blast. After that they drive around until they get to their last day in Waikiki. Was Kirk Cameron in that movie too? Rain and Scooters: A Hawaiian Lurv Story She better hope he puts the top up.
The !s toss the extra suitcases that won't fit in the trunk of the Camaro into the backseat. What could possibly go wrong with this scenario? I hope they buckled the little bastards in before they flew out of the car. As it is, suitcases are so packed according to Kath! that she has to wear big giant floppy hat. Between that and the suitcases, I'll be surprised if it all makes it to the airport with them.
The !s get preferential service from Southwest Airlines being allowed to pick her seat and board first due to what the airline employee calls "her temporary disability". Excuse me, Southwest Airlines employee but that's a "precious blessing from the Lord, an arrow for Big Head Jed!'s quiver" thank you very much. The !s take advantage of it, though and happily scurry onto the plane. Did she buy a shitload of clothes even though they didn't get their luggage lost again?
They get to the condo in Maui, floppy hat securely on Kath!s head. Jed! finds the pool as Kath! shows off the garden. They get dressed for dinner because it is their second anniversary and they're going to a fancy restaurant. Jed! says "these have been the best years of both of their lives". Kath! chimes in that "it's not just a cute cliché either". Whatever you say kids. What are they having for dinner you might ask? Kath! sings "Italian!!!!!!"
.......this damn bitch was just complaining, in ITALY,
about how she didn't want to eat Italian food. Anyways she goes and gets American Italian food by ordering Carbonara, because now she's "always curious about it after Italy". Meanwhile Jed! orders a pizza margherita. Mr. Swiss guessed they had pizza. I'm surprised Jed! didn't ask her what cliché meant when she was popping off from the couch. Who wants to bet that Ra! already has a matching smocked dress to match Kath!...?
The next day, they're going snorkeling with turtles and hopefully whale watching, if the whales haven't left for the summer. Jed! tells us to "stick along" as Kath! tells us Jed! has never snorkeled before. The convertible wasn't all it was cracked up to be or Maui was out of them because now they just have a plain old Impala. Kath! jumps in the water first and shakes her head no when Jed! asks if it's cold. They jump in and take some underwater non-tent. J'Chad...
For the last day in Maui they take the road to Hana, a 3 to 4 Hour drive. Jed! comments that stops along Hana Road it can be up to 10 hours. Rookie. They do stop along the way when they find a horse, Jed! asks for bread and Kath! hands over what appears to be a Bundt cake in Saran wrap. Jed! breaks off the tiniest
little crumb to give this horse. Apparently this was a trick, because the next thing you know they get stopped by a rockslide. Maybe you should give them the whole piece a cake to the horse then maybe the rockslide wouldn't happen but whatever. Jed! gets out to get the rocks out of the road and wishes all he had to do was sweep cracker crumbs up.
We get to their last meal in Hawaii which is at a Chick-fil-A, go figure. They say "Truett" three times, Probably hoping to make the owner appear like a genie out of the styrofoam cups. They promised to take us along for the ride and catch up with us when they get back to Arkansas. Caaaan't wait. As Kath! speed walks through the airport, Jed! comments that Kath! is usually a slow walker, but in her excitement to see Tru! she is hauling ass. It's been 12 days, and she is ready to her son. Meech could never, but there is a wrinkle in Kath!s plan. She states that Tru! will probably be more happy to see Jed!, but he doesn't want to see either of them. Not only does he cling to Grammy!, he leans away from his mother a second time, and then tries to pull himself back to Grammy! by clinging to her shirtsleeves. He doesn't even look happy when Jed! holds him and calls him "Chickies" one more time. Oh, I'm pretty sure he remembers you and he knows it's back to filming.
And that's the end of the Hawaiian baby moon/anniversary vlog, so now I guess all we have to do as far as The !s are concerned is to wait for Ra!s appearance to be announced. It's cracking me up that Tru! is so pro-Grammy! Thanks for your patience this week, and if I missed any typos let me know. Mr. Swiss said we should have set the dictation software to a Southern accent since I was just on vacation and I'm way more on the Kentucky end of a Kentuckiana accent right now. But otherwise, this method should make it way quicker to do recaps once I get everything set up and dialed in. Thanks again, have a great day and a better one tomorrow!
2023.05.26 21:52 BizarreFog [TOMT][SONG][2000s][Techno] Possibly nightcore, had a robot voice, upbeat and fast
Hello! This is a song my brother used to play when we were kids but hes since passed and I can't ask him what it was, the beat of the song is stuck in my head, I have no way of recreating it, he had it in a playlist that was full of Nightcore songs, but this one isnt neccsarrily nightcore, the robot's voice isnt pitched up, but the beat is fast and the robot sounds happy
I dont remember any of the lyrics but I remember something about the robot talking about a loved one the phrase "I need you" comes to mind but im not 100% that its a lyric
it's not any of these songs: Dont Stop the Rock by Freestyle Kathy's Song (Come Lie Next To Me) Daft Punk - Robot Rock Apollo 440 - Cant Stop the rock
However the robot's voice sounds very similar to these songs, its just that in this song the robot sounds more energetic, a bit happier
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2023.05.25 20:08 MjolnirPants Jerry and the Overkill
Note: This takes place during the climax of Aaina and the Disney Vacation. This is the assault that she only saw the aftermath of.
"It really seems like overkill," Julie said, looking at the reports on the enemy's forces versus our own orders of battle.
"Overkill is underrated," Gary muttered in response. I glanced at him, and then decided to unpack that for Julie's benefit. She didn't have centuries of hard-won lessons in war floating around in her head and her muscles the way some of the rest of us did.
"Overkill is the best advantage one can have in any battle," I said. "It makes the battle play out faster, gives you more options to deal with the unexpected, undermines the enemy's morale, reinforces your own force's morale, increases the likelihood of the enemy surrendering and reduces the likelihood of your own side taking casualties. Overkill is a damn good thing. It's ideal, really."
"Okay," Julie said. She flipped through the paperwork on the binder she clutched. "I was going to sign off anyways. You guys make the tactical decisions, I just write the checks."
She found the page she was looking for and signed it. "Did you get the paperwork from the court?"
"Yes," Inanna replied. "The state police, the sheriff's department and the local police have all been notified, along with fire rescue and the ambulance services. There will be fire trucks, ambulances and police with transport vans standing by for the aftermath."
"Okay. I'm going to return to the office, then. Will somebody give me a call and let me know how it turns out?" I nodded. She flashed me a smile through which I could see the pain she still felt, and then left.
"Let's go," I said. I grabbed my staff and walked out of the room.
The enemy had an unknown number of poorly-trained demigods that likely didn't reach double-digits plus about a hundred and fifty mercenaries.
We had two dragon-riders and their mounts, six demigods, all of whom had a severe propensity for violence, eight einherjar chomping at the bit to kill something, two hulks leading a team of six retired Army Rangers, two goddesses of time and dreams respectively, one god of war and his two adult children, both wearing battle rattle with an ease that suggested skills I hadn't known they'd possessed.
And I was pissed.
There wasn't much of a plan, because there didn't need to be one. The dragon-riders would be circling the area, creating a burn zone to block any escape and maintaining a bird's eye view of the battle, sending reports to the rest of us.
The einherjar and the security team would be approaching the campground at a ninety-degree angle from each other, in a classic pincer maneuver. The rest of us would be teleporting into the fray to wreak havoc and destruction, and keep the enemy from organizing a counter. At least, the others would be doing that. I would be finding Eddie and hurting him, as Inanna would be searching for and securing Aaina.
Not killing him. Hurting him. The way he hurt my daughter.
A crowd had gathered at the parking lot across from the Tallahassee police department to ogle the dragons. A murmur spread through them as the riders mounted up in the tank-like turrets they carried on their backs, and then a collective gasp rose as the first dragon beat its wings and rose into the air.
The dust and dead leaves swirled around, but the crowd didn't mind. I saw a teenager among them. He was skinny and frail-looking, dressed in a Star Trek T-shirt and jeans a size too big for him, held up by a tightly cinched belt. His face was suffused with awe as he watched the dragons take to the skies, and he continued to stare after them as the rest of the crowd began to disperse.
I imagined the wonder he must feel, getting to witness a sight like this without the crushing weight of years of experiencing such things, fear for his child's safety and rage at the evil men who threatened her turning it into something almost mundane.
"Remind you of someone?" Inanna asked mildly as she caught me staring. I glanced over at her.
"He could be you," she said. "Eighteen, twenty years ago."
"I would have stared just like that," I agreed. "I wish I could take the time to really appreciate the magic that's returned to the world. I wish I still had the ability to see the wonder in it all, instead of just the threat."
She rubbed my arm. We were waiting for Kathy to bring a humvee around, for us to head out there, and the humvee was parked a few blocks away, so it would be a moment.
"I should have known the Brotherhood weren't the extremists we first thought they were," I said. "Their tenets are entirely reasonable. I may not agree with all of them, but I certainly understand them. I should have known they weren't behind the attacks. I should have had more security on Aaina and the other two."
"You shouldn't search for ways to blame yourself, Jerry. Aaina's eighteen. She's entitled to make her own decisions, and you agreed with her with a clear mind. You just didn't know all the facts. Besides, Ningur and Swaim are goddesses. It would have been irrational of you to assume they needed more protection."
I shook my head. "That's the thing, baby. The gods aren't omnipotent, omniscient beings. They're demigods on steroids. They're people, and they're complex beings with known weaknesses. The fact that they can wield power on a scale no mortal can match doesn't make them invulnerable. It just makes them powerful."
The humvee turned the corner as Gary, Glenda and Jack stepped up beside us.
"Let's go make an example out of these fuckers," Gary said as Kathy came to a stop. We climbed in.
Inanna and I popped into the center of the campground a few moments after the dragons began to spit fire to wall off the site of the battle from the rest of the world. The sun was low in the sky, stretching out the shadows.
Our armor resembled that worn by the men around me, so nobody blinked when I appeared. A hundred and fifty men was too many for everyone to know everyone. To them, I was just another former Sarisa cultist. One fellow squinted at the staff I held in place of a rifle, but that was it.
I turned to Inanna, who was wearing a veil of inattention. It was a literal veil, a gauzy face covering that had been one of my early experiments in artifact-making. Only, Inanna being Inanna, she had added an extra strap to the bottom so that she could wear it like a G-string. Once upon a time, that would have gnawed at me, especially given the stakes here, but she was who she was. I knew she was as upset as I.
Besides, this made for only the second time to my knowledge that she'd worn underwear.
"Please find her," I said. "I will," she promised me with a quick kiss. "Please make that fucker pay," she asked in turn.
"I will," I promised. She turned and walked off, dodging around a pair of men who almost bowled her over without even registering that she was there.
I grabbed a guy walking close to me by the arm.
"Where's Eddie?" I asked him.
"He was in the chow hall a half hour ago. I don't know where he is now," he answered. I let him go and nodded. It was strange, to be surrounded by men I could barely see as human beings. Men I knew would be dead or arrested in mere moments. I walked around, looking for any sign of Eddie.
As I moved, I heard a distant shout of "Fire! Forest fire!" Men turned their heads in that direction to see a column of smoke rising from the trees. Gunfire erupted.
"Shit!" one man near me shouted. He immediately grabbed a radio and began shouting orders into it, so I pointed my staff at him and triggered one of the spells. The top half of his body simply melted into a reddish-pink slime that splattered to the ground. A nearby gunshot rang out and I felt a hammer blow strike my back plate.
I turned to find a man aiming a rifle at me. I brought up my energy shield a split-second before he fired and the bullet slammed into it, melting and splattering the ground with hot lead.
Two more men close to him noticed and followed his cue, raising their rifles at me. I lifted my free hand and muttered "Burn," under my breath. a fireball engulfed them and they began to scream and flail about.
I brought the ground up in front of a pair who were running past me, tripping them. I gestured with my staff and the gravity around them suddenly increased tenfold. They groaned and struggled to breath under their own weight as I moved on.
I moved between two of the log cabins and a man appeared at the other end of the narrow passage. I immediately recognized the magic within him. He was one of the demigods.
We met eyes and he scowled at me and drew a pair of overlarge kukris, almost falcatas, from their sheathes at his waist.
"What," I said. "No katana? I thought you guys liked katanas."
He didn't respond, pacing forward towards me. I let him get a few steps closer before swapping my staff out for my sword.
Godslayer was probably the most potent artifact in existence. The magic was so strong that the air rippled around it like a heat illusion. Trapped inside was the soul of an evil god, a soul bound and beaten into a tool, a mere component of the magic it contained. A conduit that allowed injuries to a being's body, regardless of the nature of that body, to be transformed into injuries to its very being. It could simply erase a god from existence. The things it could do to a demigod were similarly bad.
The blade was a smokey gray that glittered with the power contained within. A thin line of red-glowing steel formed the edge, an edge that hadn't needed sharpening in years, thanks to the enchantments I'd woven into it before its transformation into the bane of the gods. Latin runes, etched into the length pronounced 'cognoscere hostem tuum', or 'know thy enemy'. Near the hilt, the blade thickened and formed a stylized skull with elongated canines, wearing a shemagh over its head like a cowl.
The demigod before me paused as he both saw and felt the weapon.
"Godslayer," I told him. "This is the blade that took your mistresses life, leaving behind no core, no soul, nothing. I sent her to oblivion with this weapon."
"You talk too much," he growled, rushing forward, spinning his blades around in a complex scheme that might have intimidated someone who wasn't already intimately familiar with the notion of swashbuckling.
He slashed at my face with one and my legs with the other, almost simultaneously. I spun my left foot forward to avoid the leg slash and raised Godslayer over my shoulder, blade angled down to intercept the other. That had been a strong opening move by him that would have put most men on the defensive. But, though it was both a blessing and curse, I am not like most men. I struck out with my left hand, grabbing the front of his body armor and spinning to slam him hard into the side of one of the buildings. I heard the wood crack under the blow, though he didn't even drop his weapons.
He hacked at me again, but Godslayer was already lined up for a decapitation strike, so I swept it forward. He abandoned his own attack to duck, getting his feet under him and bull-rushing me into the other building. I felt the breath explode out of my lungs as we hit.
I brought an elbow down on his shoulder, eliciting the crack of a broken shoulderblade and a shout of pain from him. I could see his shoulder bubbling as the injury healed itself. We were too close for me to bring Godslayer's blade to bear, so I punched one of the stubby, ornate quillons into his back, instead.
He screamed and I felt one of his blades bite into my side below my armor. I looped my left arm around his right, the one holding the blade he'd stabbed me with, and reached up around it to seize his hand.
I yanked the hand and the knife it held away, then squeezed down with my fingers, crushing his against the handle. His hand crackled and popped like a bowl of Rice Crispies and the blade fell to the ground right as the other one slammed hard into my armor on the right side.
I ignored it, twisting his hand until he let go of me and spun, dropping to his knees. I had room to move now, so I brought the tip of Godslayer down, thrusting it into his torso from above, right behind his clavicle.
He gasped as the blade sank in to the hilt. He made a harsh wheezing sound that descended into a cough that sprayed blood against the wall opposite us. I cocked my head to the side, and for the first time ever, I considered how... Sexual this was.
It wasn't arousing. The coppery smell of blood mixing with the sharp scent of fear and adrenaline rolling off of him, the hot droplets of blood that struck the arm that cluctched Godslayer's hilt, the anger roiling through me and the deep, hollow fear that we were too late eliminated any possibility of me enjoying this. But still, it was sexual. I had penetrated him, all the way through his body, and now he gasped and shuddered, caught in the throes of a biological process he could not escape. I wondered idly what the magic of Godslayer felt like. Was it agony to have your magic ripped and shredded apart and then drawn out of you? To me, it felt almost like stepping in front of a heater after having been out in the cold all day. A warmth ran through me, along with the oddly-pleasant sensation of a chill being pushed out of my body by it.
I cleared my head of idle thoughts and wrenched the blade left and right, destroying lungs, stomach, intestines and liver alike. He would not heal from any injuries inflicted by Godslayer. Disrupting divine magic was a core principle of how it operated, after all.
I yanked the blade out and let him topple over, dead. Or rapidly dying. Either way, the result would be the same.
I continued on in the direction I'd been going, emerging back out into the open. Men rushed around all over, reacting to the attack. I scanned their faces, but I could not see Eddie anywhere.
The advantage to having wells of dream and meta magic are that I can cast spells without the need to specifically weave the patterns I needed to get the effect I wanted. I could push my intentions into dream magic, and let it shape the meta magic into those patterns based just on my intentions and pre-existing knowledge, and then I could simply feed power into it and watch it happen.
Using a word to help cement my intentions was helpful, I'd found, so I hissed through clenched teeth as I summoned forth power.
The thirty or so men running around the clearing I faced all dropped in their tracks and began to convulse and scream, throwing dirt and dried pine needles around them as their bodies reacted instinctively to the pain coursing through them.
I strode forward and shifted my intentions. "Die," I hissed. One by one, their heads arced back and they froze for a second before turning limp. I walked through a field of dying men and continued my search.
I found him leaning on a cane, directing two men with quiet words and gestures.
"Eddie!" I called when I saw him. He spun, his eyes widening as he spotted me.
I turned my eyes on the two men he was with. "If I were you, I'd run. If you drop your weapons, you might survive."
One of them took my advice, throwing down his gun and darting off.
"Coward!" the other one snapped as he raised his rifle at me. I let him shoot. I let the bullet splatter against my shield and start a small fire in the dried pine needles at my feet. He fired again, with a similar effect.
"Crumble," I said as I raised a hand towards him.
He dropped the rifle immediately, both arms snapping in the middle of his forearms. His upper arms snapped next, curling his shattered limbs up against his shoulders. His shins and then thighs followed as he let loose a loud, shrill scream of agony. Ribs snapped and tore loose, splattering Eddie with blood as he tried to quickly hobble away. Finally, the man's head simply imploded, releasing a gout of blood and pink gore that abruptly cut off the scream.
"Trip," I said mildly and Eddie obligingly fell forward, sprawling on the ground. He rolled over and raised both hands, a raging inferno springing forth from them and rushing towards me.
"Chill," I said and felt my body temperature drop. The flames struck me, their heat too much for my usual magical defenses to handle. But the excess heat was only a little more than what was needed to bring my body temperature back up to normal. I began to sweat almost instantly, the heat prickling at my skin and threatening to burn my hair.
I summoned my staff into my left hand and pointed it at Eddie, triggering one of my newest spells.
A black dot shot out of the tip, rapidly growing in size until it resembled -in form, if not in color- one of the spidercrabs that had once served the primordials. The spider-thing slammed into Eddie's throat and immediately sank its fangs in. The flames stopped as the conjured creature silenced Eddie's magic.
"You hurt my daughter," I said as I walked forward.
"I'm gonna kill your whole family!" he spat in response, so when I got to him, I brought up a foot and stomped down on his crotch, smashing bone and flesh to mush. He screamed in agony.
"That silent spider isn't the only bug I keep in my staff," I said, placing the base into the ruin of his groin. Tiny insects swarmed out of the wood and spread out over the injury, greedily ripping into his flesh and consuming it. I let him scream in agony for a moment and then dismissed them. I didn't want him to die just yet.
I reached out to Godslayer and called forth one of the older enchantments. The blade began to glow, first red, then white hot. When the heat was so much that I had to shield my hand to keep my grip on it, I brought it down in a kneeling chop through his thigh, just below the hip.
He grunted as I took his leg, leaving behind a seared, cauterized wound. I didn't waste any time taking the other. When I was done, I straightened and kicked the limbs away.
"It's really your hands," I said. "Your hands are what hurt my daughter. And others, I have no doubt." I reached down and grabbed one of the hands he was currently using to try to shove the silent spider off him. He fought me, his broken body still possessed of the strength of a demigod, but I was stronger still, and had a better angle. I straightened his arm out and brought Godslayer down across the top of his bicep.
He screamed at this one. He continued to scream as I grabbed his other hand and stretched that one out as well.
"You'll never heal from these injuries," I told him as I took his last remaining appendage.
"You will forever be the worm you always were," I said. I stood there and watched him scream for a while.
It couldn't have been more than a minute or two, but it felt like hours later when I finally, blessedly, heard Aaina's voice.
"Hi, dad," she said. I glanced up to see her walking towards me. She was filthy and naked, still missing a pinky, though it looked like the wound had healed. I stepped over Eddie's screaming torso and embraced her.
"I'm so sorry, baby," I whispered, afraid that my normal voice would break into the relieved sobbing I wanted to do so badly. "I'm so sorry for everything you had to go through. This whole operation was a complete wreck from the beginning, and you're the one who bore the brunt of it."
"It was my choice, Dad," she whispered back.
"That doesn't change anything," I said, squeezing her tightly against me as Inanna walked up and put her arms around both of us. We enjoyed the moment for a bit, until Aaina let her arms drop and turned her head towards Eddie. His screams were dying, his vocal chords torn and ruined by the force of his cries.
"What are you going to do with him?" she asked.
I shrugged. Honestly, I didn't have much of a plan. I'd been too upset to really think things through. "I was going to let the silent spider hang onto him for a few hours," I said. "Until the healing process gets started. Maybe leave it on him for a few months, let him feel every second of pain until it's gone. Then, I was going to put him in a hole somewhere."
I saw her shake her head and then felt her take my sidearm out of the holster. "I want to do this," she said as she stepped towards Eddie. I moved to intercept, but Inanna caught my arm. When I met her eyes, she shook her head very slightly, and I knew what she meant.
Aaina was an adult. This might be a mistake, but it was her mistake to make.
I watched her straddle him. "I've killed two people because of you," she said. I could feel the exhaustion rolling off of her. The stress and pain.
Eddie opened his eyes and met Aaina's gaze.
"I feel like shit," she went on. "I hate you. I hate Jake, and Jessie, and I hate myself. And it's your fucking fault." She raised the weapon and sighted it at Eddie's head, slipping a finger into the trigger guard.
"You get mercy. Which is better than anyone you've hurt has gotten. Be grateful for that while your soul rots in whatever fucked up afterlife is waiting for you."
I saw her flinch as she pulled the trigger. When it was done, she lowered the weapon, letting it hang from limp fingers. I stepped over and took it from her, safeing and holstering it.
"I want to go home," she said in a voice that had belonged to her eight years ago, when we first brought her home. Inanna produced a blanket and tossed it around her shoulders.
"We can go home, baby," she said.
"Go on," I told her. "I'm going to ask Gary if he can oversee things. I'm assuming the fighting is all done."
"It is," Inanna said.
"I'll be right behind you," I told them and then I watched them vanish.
I walked over to where a group of figures stood in the smoke-filled air. I picked out Gary and asked him to walk with me. We stepped away from the others and I led us around the shattered remains of one of the two buildings between which I'd fought the first demigod.
Gary glanced at the body. "That you?" he asked. I nodded and then sank down to the ground, my eyes filling with tears and a sob breaking free of my chest.
Gary didn't say anything. He just dropped to the ground with a groan and a creak of aged knees next to me. He brought his knees up and rested his arms on them, breathing deeply while I sobbed it out next to him.
"Ya liked it, didn't ya?" he asked after I started to calm down.
"God help me, I did," I said, sniffling.
"Ain't nothing wrong with that, you know. You meted out justice. That's why it felt so good."
"It wasn't just that," I said. "I enjoyed crushing them like ants. Lording my power over them."
Gary draped one of his arms around my shoulder. "Ayup. It was how easy it was. How the answers to the question 'what do I do now?' kept coming to you. How you knew what you were doing while your enemies flailed around, confused. Ain't nothing wrong with that, either."
"I'm just scared, man," I admitted. "Scared that I might still become that guy."
"I ain't," Gary said with a confidence I wished I could feel. "Tell ya a secret that didn't come with the deluxe badass package. If you want to be a warrior, you gotta be an asshole. You can be more'n just an asshole, of course. And you ain't even got to be an asshole all the time."
A helpless chuckle escaped my lips. "I don't even know how to do that."
"It's easy, really. Well, I should say, it's simple, but not always easy. For you, I think it might be easy."
"It would help if you told me what it was, instead of just describing how easy it is," I deadpanned. I wiped my nose, which was running a bit. Gary chuckled and gave my shoulder a squeeze and a shake.
"All you gotta do is hate the fuckers you gotta kill, and only kill the fuckers you hate."
"Gary, that sounds like good advice, until I consider that's generally what the Nazis did."
"Are you a Nazi, Jerry?"
"Hell no," I said.
"Well then, it'll be easy for you. You know who to hate, brother. That's something about you that I have the upmost confidence in. You just keep sticking to your principles man. You're gonna do fine."
"Thanks," I said. "And thanks for letting me get all emotional there."
"Ain't no thing," Gary drawled. "War is an emotional thing, and I know you got a lot of fears of what you might become, and that you got good cause to have them fears."
"Emperor Gerard is someone I'm sure I'd hate."
"Yeah, but Jerry, he wasn't the only version of you that you saw in one of them dreams, was he?"
"Um, if you recall correctly, Field Marshal Jerry spent years hunting you down, then executed you."
"I still think it'd be a mite harder to do than than your dreams suggested," he groused, making me laugh. "Yeah, it seemed a little odd that it only took me a few years. You'd be a nightmare of an enemy."
"Yes I would, but that's not the version of you I was talking about. I was talking about president Jerry."
I nodded. I had, of course, told Gary all about all of this stuff. Him and Inanna and Yarm, because I trusted all of them. I'd have told Kathy too, but Kathy looks up to me so much that I've found myself reluctant to admit any sort of doubts or weakness around her. She knew the broad strokes, and one of these days, I knew I'd have to fully open up to her. But Gary... Gary was easy to open up to. He was a macho badass competent, thoroughly impressive guy, and also one of the slowest people to judge I've ever met.
"The way I figure it, all of them visions were possible futures, which means all of them versions are inside you, right now. And I tell you true, no bragging, if president Jerry and me became enemies, you'd have lost."
I nodded. "I agree. That version of me that beat you was utterly ruthless. In a way, he was much scarier than Emperor Gerard."
"Ayup. And what I'm telling you is that a Field Marshal Jerry, with President Jerry's moral center, is a beautiful, amazing thing. If you can become that guy, you could do more good in the world than you could as either one alone."
"If I ever get elected president, I need you to swear to assassinate me," I said.
"Can I have that table saw you hardly ever use if I do it?"
"I've already left it to you in my will," I said. Gary pumped his free fist and we both chuckled.
"Thanks, Gary," I said again. "Do you think you can handle the cleanup for me? I really want to spend some time with Aaina right now."
"Not a problem, man," he said, drawing his arm off my shoulder. We both stood and embraced.
"Go on, then," he said after a minute, pushing me away. I clapped his shoulder and stepped back, teleporting to my living room.
Aaina was sitting on the floor with a controller in her hand as Sara stood next to the TV, pointing her around the latest castle she'd built in Minecraft. Her hands shook a little, but her hair was wet and she was wearing one of my T-shirts and her gym shorts. I knew the scars from what she'd been through would stay with her for a long time, but the smile on her face as she did this simple thing she'd done so many times before.
Inanna was sitting on the couch, watching them and Junior was excitedly telling his sisters about all he'd done to help Sara finish the castle.
I sat down next to Inanna and put my arm around her. She leaned into me and I felt the tension fading. It didn't go away entirely. I'd been through too much myself for that. But it was getting better.
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2023.05.23 20:39 hanas_lin (Former Hopewell Pastor passed away): Tim Keller Taught Me About Joy
was a recliner. Whenever a particular group of my friends would get together, discussing some personal, social or philosophical issue over Zoom during the past few years, you could see Tim just chilling and enjoying it, lounging back in his chair. The conversation would flow, and finally somebody would ask: “Tim, what do you think?”
He’d start slow, with that wry, friendly smile. He’d mention a relevant John Bunyan poem, then an observation Kierkegaard had made or a pattern the historian David Bebbington had noticed. Then Tim would synthesize it all into the four crucial points that pierced the clouds of confusion and brought you to a new layer of understanding.
I used to think of it as the Keller Clarity Beam. He didn’t make these points in a didactic or professorial way. It was more like: Hey, you’re thirsty. I happen to have this glass of water. Want a sip?
It was this skill that made Tim Keller, who died on Friday at 72, one of the most important theologians and greatest preachers of our time.
American evangelicalism suffers from an intellectual inferiority complex that sometimes turns into straight anti-intellectualism. But Tim could draw on a vast array of intellectual sources to argue for the existence of God, to draw piercing psychological insights from the troubling parts of Scripture or to help people through moments of suffering. His voice was warm, his observations crystal clear. We all tried to act cool around Tim, but we knew we had a giant in our midst.
Erudition was not the core of who he was. Early in his career he pastored a church in the small town of Hopewell, Va., where only 5 percent of the high school graduates went on to college. References to Hannah Arendt were not the right way to connect. But Tim had this uplifting sense that the hard part about faith is persuading yourself to believe in something so wonderful.
On the cross, Tim wrote, Jesus was “putting himself into our lives — our misery, our mortality, so we could be brought into his life, his joy and immortality.” He enjoyed repeating the saying “Cheer up! You’re a worse sinner than you ever dared imagine and you’re more loved than you ever dared hope.”
Tim spent most of his career at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, ministering to young, highly educated people in finance, medicine, publishing and the arts — often fallen-away Christians, seekers and atheists. Tim found himself surrounded by people with the unquenched thirsts of modern life, the deep longings that work, autonomy and moral relativism had failed to satisfy.
Timothy Keller, in suit and tie, peers through an opening in a red curtain from a darkened backstage. Tim KellerJames Estrin/The New York Times He didn’t fight a culture war against that Manhattan world. His focus was not on politics but on “our own disordered hearts, wracked by inordinate desires for things that control us, that lead us to feel superior and exclude those without them, that fail to satisfy us even when we get them.”
He offered a radically different way. He pointed people to Jesus, and through Jesus’ example to a life of self-sacrificial service. That may seem unrealistic; doesn’t the world run on self-interest? But Tim and his wife, Kathy, wrote a wonderful book, “The Meaning of Marriage,” which in effect argued that self-sacrificial love is actually the only practical way to get what you really hunger for.
After some time in marriage, they counseled, you’re going to realize that the wonderful person you married is actually kind of selfish. And as you realize this about him, he is realizing this about you.
The only way forward is to recognize that your own selfishness is the only selfishness you can control; your self-centeredness is the problem here. Love is an action, not just an emotion, and the marriage will only thrive if both people in it make daily sacrificial commitments to each other, learning to serve and, harder still, be served. “Whether we are husband or wife,” the Kellers wrote, “we are not to live for ourselves but for the other. And that is the hardest yet single most important function of being a husband or a wife in marriage.”
Tim’s happy and generous manner was based on the conviction that we are born wired to seek delight, and we can find it. “Anybody who has tasted the reality of God knows anything is worth losing for this,” Tim preached, “and nothing is worth keeping if I’m going to lose this.”
Tim kept contact with his friends as he was dying of pancreatic cancer — one time even calling into our group Zoom from a hospital emergency room. He told us that he and Kathy cried a lot during these last few years, but their faith became more real. In an essay for The Atlantic, he wrote that he never experienced more grief than when dying, but he had never experienced more happiness either.
Tim was confident, cheerful and at peace as he spiraled down toward death and up toward his maker. His passing has made us all very sad, but if you go back and listen to his sermons, which you should, you come back to gratitude for his life and to the old questions: Death, where is your victory? Where is your sting?
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2023.05.23 20:34 Ok_Put_6826 First time rolling a joint. How’d I do?
2023.05.22 19:29 MjolnirPants Jerry and the Goddesses: Part 32
Part 31 on HFY
I gaped at Sarisa, who was standing there staring right back, her eyes wide and wild.
"What?" Inanna said.
"You're pregnant! Like, from just now!"
"I thought it took up to 24 hours to conceive," Inanna replied.
"It does, but, hello, goddess of knowledge with the ability to peer into the future?" Sarisa gestured to herself in an up-and-down motion. "If you want me to be completely literal, then let me rephrase: The only way you won't be
pregnant by this time tomorrow is if you cut it off at the pass, right now. Expel the spermatozoa from your body, eliminate your body's ova so there's nothing to inseminate, or maybe just, I don't know, douche with bleach or something. But if you don't do any of those things, you're having a baby."
Inanna stared for a moment, then lowered her face into her hands. "What the fuck is wrong with me?" she muttered quietly.
I tried to process it all. Inanna was a goddess. Her body was a puppet which her non-physical, original 'form' (I use the scare quotes because they don't have any geometric configuration of energies or anything of the sort; they just kind of existed
) controlled in order to interact with the world in a manner that was easier for humans to understand. It was not, strictly speaking, a normal human body. I remember Sarisa explaining to me that they didn't have a normal human genome. Seventy-eight chromosomes were in each cell, each of which was a potpourri of genes from various ethnic groups, historical individuals, animals and even plants.
It was anatomically
human, however. And no, I'm not forgetting about Sarisa's normal habit of having no genitals or nipples (but for reasons I couldn't comprehend, she maintained an anus, which I discovered to my great chagrin the first time she bent over to pick something off the floor, years ago). I meant it was anatomically human down at the cellular level. Her body would do things like absorbing alcohol and allowing it to bind with neurotransmitters, or getting goosebumps or releasing epinephrine when she was startled.
But pregnancy shouldn't be possible. Sure, a sperm could wiggle its way through the gelatinous envelope of one of her oocytes, but once there, my genetic material and hers would be so utterly incompatible as to stand no chance of her actually getting pregnant. I mean, I had forty-six chromosomes, compared to her seventy-eight. Not even in the same ballpark.
"Wait, so does this mean that the DNA of Inanna's manifestation is fully human?" I asked.
"No! That's the crazy thing!"
"I don't understand..."
"I don't, either!" Sarisa's eyes gleamed as she spoke, and suddenly I understood her excitement. This wasn't knowledge to which she had access, the understanding of which was blocked by a veil of mystical secrecy or ignorance, like the location of the museum we were hunting for. This was an honest-to-all-the-gods mystery. Which meant Sarisa, the goddess of learning, had her first opportunity -in either a very long time or ever- to learn something.
Inanna looked almost panicked. Her eyes were darting back and forth between us. "Will one of you fucking nerds please explain to me what the fuck is going on?!" she exclaimed. I looked to Sarisa, being the closest thing to an expert we had on divinely manifested biology.
Sarisa gestured to herself, then grabbed her shirt by the hem and lifted it up, exposing her breasts. She had nipples now. She'd had then a few times before that I've seen, when she wanted to. I didn't understand the point of having them right now, however.
"I didn't do this," she said.
"Didn't do what?" I asked.
"Grow nipples. Or genitals. Instead, they're growing on their own. It takes an effort now to go back to not having them. It's not much of an effort," her nipples retreated into her breasts and smooth skin flowed over them, "But still. When I first manifested in your room, not having them was as easy as choosing not to one time, as I manifested. After that, it required nothing else on my part, because my body stayed in the form I made it in. But now, if I stop putting effort into maintaining that state..."
Her nipples reappeared. She quirked an eyebrow and pulled her shirt back down.
"It's happening to both of us, this change."
"Should I dissolve this body and manifest a new one, do you think?" Inanna asked, but Sarisa shook her head. "I've already done that. Seven times, actually. It's not making any difference, because the issue isn't with the bodies themselves, it's us."
Inanna groaned. "Oh, hell, you know what this means, don't you?" Sarisa nodded.
I looked between them. "I don't know what it means," I said.
Both of them ignored me. "This is exactly what Enol was going on about for so long."
"Who's Enil?" I asked.
"Fucking hell," Inanna said, "I never would have thought that blowhard would be right about anything."
"Well," Sarisa responded, "He's the only one to have done this for so long before us."
"What did he do?" I asked.
"Still, who would have thought he'd be right about anything
Sarisa shrugged. "I mean, even the worst liars and braggarts are right from time to time, but yes, this is exactly the sort of thing he would exaggerate or just invent."
"What sort of thing?" I asked.
"So what should we do about it?"
"I don't think there's anything we can do," Sarisa said with a shrug, "At least nothing that either of us really wants to do. I'm not willing to give up and go back to sleep, or set myself up as the leader of an imperial cult."
"Yeah, me neither," Inanna shook her head. I heaved a great big sigh, tired of being ignored. It was time for drastic action. I walked over behind Inanna, reached down a hand between her legs and grabbed a handful of her whosawhatsit. She let an involuntary moan slip and turned to face me.
"Will you stop ignoring me now?" I asked.
"Absolutely," she purred, turning around and returning the favor.
"Okay," I said, freeing my hands and holding them up and away from her. "Then answer my questions and we'll take time for one more quickie, alright?"
Inanna pouted. The truth is, she could probably make me have sex with her, and I don't mean in a rapey way. I mean she was perfectly capable of filling me with desire to the point that I'd forget anything else I wanted to do and just hurl myself at her. In fact, she had done that a few times, early on. But that wasn't her style anymore. So instead, she pouted and gave me puppy dog eyes. And played with my junk, of course. She was always playing with my junk.
Which was still shockingly effective, but dammit, I needed answers.
"Fine," she relented after a moment in which my only reaction was a redirection of blood flow I didn't have any conscious control over. "What do you want to know?"
"Just please tell me what you're talking about, with Enol and his bragging and whatnot. I don't even know who Enol is, unless you're referring to my friend from the fourth grade whom I haven't seen in forever."
Sarisa gently took Inanna by the forearms and guided her hands back to her sides. I was both mildly disappointed by this and very appreciative of it. I may be used to it by this point, but it can be kind of hard to maintain focus when the goddess of sex is idly masturbating you.
"Enol is one of the gods. His domain is the air, clouds and he shares domain of storms with his 'brother', Eloham. They're not actually brothers, any more than Inanna and I are sisters, so I guess 'BFF' would be a better term for it. In any event, he's always been prone to bragging. Whatever any of us did, he did the same thing, but bigger. Any interesting worshipers we got, he got three who were even more interesting. And he also loved to just prattle on about things he didn't really understand. Astoram actually looked up to him for a long time, despite being older, because Enol was less of a psychopath, and the other gods liked him better.
"About nine thousand years ago, Enol and Eloham manifested a single body, each. They set themselves up as chieftains of a couple tribes and just lived as humans for a few centuries. Eventually, they gave up those bodies and rejoined the pantheon. At which point both of them -but especially Enol because Eloham wasn't anywhere near as much of a braggart or attention-seeker- began ranting about becoming more human. Talking about aches and pains, being hungry and thirsty and getting caught up in things they had dominion over."
"The clouds are so beautiful!" Inanna said in a mocking, artificially deep voice, which made Sarisa chuckle.
"We all just blew it off." Sarisa continued after a moment. "We assumed Enol was just bragging about being closer to his worshipers than the rest of us, and Eloham was backing him up, because, you know, BFFs. All of us have manifested bodies before and walked among humans, and none of us have ever noticed anything of the sort.
"But then you summoned me, which woke me from a deep slumber. And a few weeks later, you summoned Inanna, and we've been here ever since. Six years, which is about twice as long as any of us have maintained a single manifestation, except for Enol and Eloham.
"And there's more. You see, the first time Enol and Eloham did this, they claimed it took several decades, about a whole human lifespan, before they began to notice the changes. And the thing was, at the time, they were running what was just this side of an imperial cult. They told their subjects not to worship them, but they still used their powers to serve themselves and their people.
"And then there was the second time..."
Inanna groaned, "Oh, I hate the second time. Fucking bizarro world bullshit."
"What happened the second time?"
"Well, the second time, Eloham did it alone. And he decided to go through the whole human lifecycle. He manifested a body, seduced and impregnated a woman who was about to be married off, and then disposed of his first body and took the fetus over."
I groaned, "Oh shit, I think I know this story..."
Sarisa nodded sadly. "Yes. You and most of the rest of the world."
"Why would he even take on a fake name, is what I don't get," Inanna opined.
"His parents gave him that name."
I braced myself, but I had to be sure. "What was the name?"
I groaned again. Yeshua. An Aramaic name which would be translated into Greek as 'Ἰησοῦς, and from thence into English as 'Jesus'.
"Are you for real?"
Inanna nodded. "Yup. That was Eloham, cosplaying as his own high priest. At least he had a decent message, even if he leaned a little too heavily into the apocalypse stuff."
"Such a shame what humanity did with it, really." Sarisa added. I had to agree. The Crusades, witch burnings, rejection of gay children... Don't get me wrong, there was plenty of good being done, but all in all, it was a net wash, in my opinion.
"So what was the deal with the changes that time?" I asked, eager to get away from the subject of undermining the second-largest religion in the world with insider gossip.
"Well, according to Eloham, they were much more profound and happened much faster," Sarisa told me. "He said he was 'fully human' by the time he was a toddler. Again, most of us didn't believe him, because he used his powers quite a few times."
"I almost believed him for a bit, after I visited," Inanna said.
"Why is that?" I asked.
"Well, because his body was about seven or eight years old, and all he wanted to do was play hide and seek with me. I humored him for a bit, but it got old after a while. Still, I found it a little odd. Eloham's always been a little childish and playful -in a nice way- but that was a little overboard, even for him. I eventually chalked it off as him just hamming it up, but for a little while, I had my doubts."
"And it seems both of them were right, after all."
Inanna nodded. "Yup. So it seems like not only does it happen, but living more human-like lives speeds it up."
"So what does this mean for you? Are you losing your divinity?"
Inanna scoffed. "Pffft. As if. No, our divinity is just fine. I can still feel every fuck, every expression of love, every gasp of awe at some beautiful sight, and every warrior doing every warlike thing, right now. I'm literally more powerful now than I ever was before my hibernation, and I'm having no trouble accessing any of that power.
"No, the issue is that we're thinking and behaving like humans, and as our bodies start to do the same, it's a self-reinforcing cycle. And the thing is... I'm not even sure it's a bad thing."
"I for one, am quite happy with it," Sarisa opined.
"Me too, honestly." said Inanna. She looked me right in the eyes, and for once, I didn't see a hint of lust in hers. "I've never been in love before, and it's amazing."
I smiled. "I love you, too. I couldn't imagine feeling this way about anyone else, ever." We kissed. Sarissa sighed. Gary shouted "Put some pants on!" as he rounded the bend. Kathy whistled from beside him, presumably at my lilly white butt cheeks, which were facing her. Ixy boiled and roiled at her side.
"So what's this I'm hearing about becoming human?" Gary asked once Inanna had magicked some pants back on the both of us.
Sarisa explained, "Inanna and I are becoming more human in our thoughts and behaviors. Our bodies are also becoming more human-like, so for example, I've been wearing clothing a lot more both because people usually wear clothes, but also because my nipples and genitals keep coming back whenever I'm not paying attention."
"Oh, well, I could have told you that." Gary said offhandedly.
Inanna turned a level look on him. "What," She demanded.
"Yeah, it's obvious, really. I mean, both
of y'all wearing clothes more often now. Sarisa still ain't shy about sharing the showers, but then, she's actually showering
to begin with, not to mention the fact that she ain't Barbie-smooth no more. You used to always be pristine looking and smelling, but the last few months, I can smell the funk and see your smeared makeup every time you an' Jerry run off to slap lasagna. You're both letting Jerry and I take the lead on things and do them the human way, when y'all could just blink and have it done."
He shrugged again. "It's just obvious, is all."
"So is there anything you guys can do about it?" Kathy asked, eyeing Sarisa with a bit of concern.
Sarisa shrugged. "Not really. Nothing we're willing to do. It's not really a problem either."
"Yeah, we've got at least four or five months before it becomes an issue," Inanna said.
Kathy and Gary both turned to her. "What happens in four or five months?" Kathy wondered.
"I'll start showing," Inanna said, picking up her rifle and shrugging her armor on.
"Showing what?" Kathy asked, her brow scrunching in confusion. Inanna turned to her and held a hand in front of her belly. "You know, showing? Craving pickles and ice cream? In dire need of constant foot rubs?"
Gary and Kathy's jaws both dropped.
Here we go again... Part 33 on HFY
---- As a reminder, this whole story is available at JerryandtheGoddesses
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2023.05.22 19:23 MjolnirPants Zelda and the Mating Hunt
"It's important that you not kill anyone," Sookie said. Zelda heaved a sigh. "My spawn will require sustenance-"
"It's. Important. That. You. Not. Kill. Anyone." Sookie interrupted emphatically. "I'll buy you all the cheeseburgers your spawn can eat. But whoever you find, you have to ensure they survive the process. Seriously. Jerry's been scowly and brooding for months, and he didn't want me helping you in the first place. If you kill the guy, he's likely to come gunning for you. And trust me, you don't want that."
"This seems... Inefficient," Zelda pouted. She crossed her arms and then, still unsure of this new lower half, spread her legs in the chair. This was more comfortable than sitting with her.. What were they called again? Knees, that's it. This was more comfortable than sitting with her knees crossed, anyways. Sookie tilted her head down and grinned.
"You forgot your underwear," Sookie said. "Not that I'm complaining."
"I did not forget," Zelda said. "They are inefficient."
"See?" Sookie said with a wide grin. "This is why we get along. I'm not wearing underwear, either. And for the same reason."
The lower body clothing Sookie had given her was a short tube of stretchy fabric that barely covered anything. Sookie had explained that this was deliberate. The way the 'miniskirt' rose over the large muscles at the top rear of her legs was intended to entice men. Zelda would never admit it, but she liked this.
She was used to her lower body being a large mass of tentacles. She was used to her genitals being hidden in the center of that mass. The exposure that legs and this clothing provided, however, was... Exciting. She enjoyed the thought that men might see her like that. She didn't entirely understand why men would like a glimpse of those large muscles, but she could readily understand why they might enjoy seeing her genitals. She was eager to move forward in her task of finding a mate.
"Now, it can be really easy to find someone," Sookie explained. "I mean, almost any single man will be willing to go fuck if you just ask. But simply grabbing the first guy you find is a mistake."
"Why is that?" Zelda asked.
"Well, for starters, I said almost any single man would be willing. But the truth is that some guys can be... Wary. Men know how women act, and they don't expect women to act with a great deal of forwardness."
"So I should not simply ask a man to mate with me?" Zelda asked, frowning in confusion.
"No. Double no if you intend to use the word 'mate' like that."
"So I should ask if they want to fuck?"
"Uhhh, that's better, but not much. Just walking up and asking a guy if he wants to fuck is only generally going to work on guys you probably don't want to fuck."
"Ugh," Zelda groaned. "This is so confusing."
"No!" Sookie objected. "I know it seems like a lot, but it's not so bad. You know what? Instead of telling you all the things you shouldn't do, let me tell you what you should do." An eager gleam lit Sookie's eyes as she considered that. "Yeah, I think that's the best idea."
"Okay," Zelda sighed. "What should I do?"
Sookie explained as Zelda listened intently.
Zelda took in the large building and the large crowd in front as she stepped out of the conveyance.
"Please remember to rate your experience!" the driver called. Zelda turned to look at him. He seemed a handsome sort, with very dark skin and a shaved head. He had a blunt, happy-sounding accent that she found pleasing.
"Are you single?" she asked him, wondering if she might make faster progress than expected. He held up the back of a hand and wiggled his fingers. Zelda wasn't sure what that gesture meant.
"I have a wife and three children," he explained.
"Ahh," Zelda replied, disappointed. "Well, then I wish you good fun mating with your wife." She turned away from his surprised and confused look and walked towards the crowd.
They were a diverse bunch. Many wore clothing that was wild, colorful and whimsical. Many of them wore makeup. There were more normally dressed people, as well, though some of them also wore makeup, sometimes highly imaginative. She saw a man in a nice looking flannel shirt, accompanying a woman in a floral print dress. Both had complex makeup that entire obscured their faces, transforming their heads into long-snouted creatures that Zelda didn't recognize. The woman had large teeth and eyes inside of her mouth, perched on her tongue. The man had eyes on the ends of his fingers and big, blank holes where they should have been on his head.
There were people of all skin colors here, something Zelda knew that humans cared about to some extent. Many claimed not to care about it, but she noticed that almost all humans had an opinion on the subject.
There were people of all shapes, too. Large, muscular men and women. Thin, slight men and women. Heavy, overweight men and women. And perhaps most intriguingly, there were men who looked like women and women who looked like men. If not for her mating senses being dialed up in preparation for the season, she wouldn't have known. They smelled like the gender they presented as, but her magic flowed around and reported back their anatomy to her. The men dressed as women seemed to have smaller genitals than others, and the women dressed as men tended to present as more masculine than the other men.
Zelda was unfamiliar with this, and so she followed around a few such people, observing how they interacted with others. In every case, they seemed to be the gender they had chosen in all respects except for their genitals. Zelda decided that they'd simply chosen a different gender than they'd been born with. She'd have to discuss the issue with Sookie, later.
She got tired of wandering the crowds out front in time, and made her way to the entrance. She stood in a line and waited as everyone was made to place their belongings in a basket and pass under some kind of plastic arc. Sometimes, the arc would beep, and then the person would be pulled aside by a uniformed man or woman, who would wave a plastic wand around them before sending them on.
When her turn came, the arc did not beep.
"What is the purpose of the wand?" she asked the uniformed woman who had peered through her purse.
"If somebody sets off the metal detector, we have to check them for weapons."
"There are many weapons here," Zelda said. "I see many people carrying a surprising variety of weapons."
The woman rolled her eyes. "Real weapons. We get a lot of cosplayers who think wearing a costume means the fancy sword they bought from Spencers in the mall is somehow acceptable to bring in here."
Zelda barely understood a word of that, but she didn't want to hold up the line, so she nodded and took her purse, moving inside.
At the main doors, a man held out his hand for the ticket Sookie had purchased her. Zelda handed it over and he peered at it before digging into a box underneath his podium. He produced a small plastic bag and a plastic card of some sort on a ribbon.
"This is your gift bag," he said as he passed the bag to Zelda. She took it and glanced inside. It contained many scraps of colorful paper and few small, plastic bits, including a sculpture of a man in a yellow costume with knives extending from his knuckles.
"This is your badge, you'll need to wear it at all times inside the con," the man said as she accepted the card. She looked at it, and was surprised to see the photo Sookie had taken of her printed on it, next to a name.
She hooked the ribbon around her neck and the man gave her a thumb's up. "Enjoy the convention," he said, already turning to the next guest.
Zelda walked inside and stopped in awe at the crowd. It put the crowd outside to shame. She glanced around and stopped counting likely mates around a hundred. Sookie had been right. She could afford to be choosy. She recalled what Sookie had told her about what to look for to identify the good ones and stepped forward.
Four hours later, she was so frustrated by her repeated failures that she had to slip into a crowded restroom to masturbate.
As she tugged her skirt back down, someone knocked on the door to the toilet stall she occupied. "If you're done playing DJ Slippery Fingers, some of us actually want to use the toilet," an annoyed voice called.
"I am finished," Zelda announced, unlatching the door. A woman dressed in a blue, spiked bikini with startling blue and silver makeup pushed past her into the stall as she stepped out. Almost immediately, Zelda heard splattering liquid and a deep sigh of relief.
She walked back out, unsure of what to do.
She'd tried everything. She had found likely mates and paid them compliments, as Sookie suggested. She had licked her lips while smiling at them. She had bent over in front of them. As all of Sookie's advice failed to yield results, she'd even resorted to directly propositioning them.
One of them had seemed such a good mate. He'd been staring at all of the women, begging many of the more extravagantly dressed ones to take photos with him, making what Zelda thought were flirty remarks to them. She'd walked right up and, remembering Sookie's advice, asked him not if he wanted to mate, but if he wanted to 'go home' with her.
He'd blinked and frowned and asked her if she had a friend who could take her home. When she pointed out that he could take her home, he'd claimed to be worried about her and tried to lead her to one of the groups of uniformed people scattered around. She had to slip away, lest the hosts think something was wrong and expel her.
Zelda sighed. Sookie had made this sound easy, but it wasn't. She found a quiet hall, lined with chairs to rest her feet (which were hurting from being on them so long, something else Sookie had neglected to inform her of) and took a seat, a few chairs down from a slight young man bent over a book.
She eyed the young man up and down. He was short and thin, traits she didn't normally associate with a good mate. His face was youthful, with a patchy beard that failed to offer any real coverage. The book in his hands was full of blank pages, and he was busily drawing or writing something on one of them.
Peering closer, she saw what it was he was drawing. A nude woman, held in the grips of a large kraken. The beast had inserted the tips of several tentacles into the woman's orifices, mouth, anus and vagina, and her belly bulged with the shaped of coiled tentacles.
"Do you like tentacles?" Zelda asked, the drawing intriguing her. The man started at her question, clutching the book to his chest.
"Sorry!" he exclaimed. "I didn't see you there. I was just, uh... It's nothing, really, I... It's a commission!"
"What is a commission?" Zelda asked.
"Uh, it's when you draw something for money, something someone asked you to draw?" The young man's explanation sounded more like a question to Zelda. As if he was unsure of himself.
"Someone asked you to draw a woman ravished by tentacles?" Zelda asked.
"Uh... Well..." the man said. His face changed colors, becoming very pink.
"May I see it?" Zelda asked.
"Uh... You want to... You want to see it? I mean, it's... It's hentai."
"I don't know what hentai is, but I caught a glimpse of the image before you hid it and it interests me."
The man looked around, as if they were doing something wrong, then slowly handed Zelda the book. She glanced down at it.
The drawing was relatively simple, with few lines and almost nothing in the way of shading. But despite this, he'd managed to make it quite illustrative. It was very clear what was happening, even down to the shape of the tentacle in her belly. The woman's proportions were a little strange, with a narrow waist and overlarge breasts, but not so strange as to not be pleasing to the eye.
"Who is it that asked you to draw this? I'd like to meet him."
"Uh..." the man's face turned red again. "I, uh... I... Well, he... Crap."
He heaved a big sigh. "I kinda lied about it being a commission."
"So nobody asked you to draw this?" Zelda asked.
"No... I was just doodling... I sometimes post them online. I have a Patreon and I make a little money from it."
"So you like tentacles?" Zelda asked. She flipped through the pages and saw several more drawings. Tentacles featured prominently in many of them, but she also saw other things. Werewolves and giants and other monsters, usually with extremely large members, mating with women who seemed to either be immensely enjoying themselves or struggling to escape, with no in-between.
"I uh..." the man said.
"I see many tentacles with women... What of a woman with tentacles?" she asked.
"Um, I never really... I mean, I guess, if someone's into that. I'm not really into, uh... Getting... Uh... Penetrated."
"Tentacles can stroke and grab," Zelda said mildly, still looking at the drawings. "They're actually not very good at penetrating."
"Oh, yeah. Um, I guess that sounds pretty hot," he said. "I could draw something like that, if you want to commission me."
"I'm more interested in whether you'd be willing to do it yourself."
"Uh, you mean fuck a tentacle girl?"
"Yes, exactly," Zelda said.
The man made a nervous laugh. "I mean... There's a reason I draw this stuff. But I doubt I'd ever meet a tentacle girl. At least not one who wanted to fuck me."
Zelda stopped turning pages. This was a woman alone. She had the lower body of an octopus, only with a normal human vagina between two of the largest ones. Her upper half was bare, and she was squeezing her own breasts in her hands.
"Like this," Zelda said, showing him the drawing.
"Like sexy Ursula?" he asked.
"I don't know Ursula, but I am familiar with women like this. Only they have more tentacles, not as thick, but longer for the most part. With smaller ones surrounding her genitals, so that such a pose would be impossible."
"Uh.. I don't really understand. Do you want me to draw that?"
"No, I'm asking if you would... Fuck such a woman."
The man chuckled another nervous chuckle. "I mean... Yeah. I've always wanted to get with Ursula."
Zelda grinned. She stood up and glanced around. Sookie had been clear that exposing her genitals in public would cause trouble. But there was nobody in the hall but her and the young man. She unzipped the tube of cloth around her hips and wiggled out of it.
"Holy shit," she man gasped as he saw her.
"Tell me if you like this," Zelda said, her voice low and sensual as she let the magic forming her human lower body fade. The hall filled with her tentacles.
The man gasped and stared. Zelda ran a tentacle up his leg to stroke his inner thigh and he suddenly shuddered and moaned, grabbing the chair and shaking.
"Are you unwell?" Zelda asked, alarmed by his sudden seizure.
The man continued to shake for a moment, quick, jerky motions that grew more spaced out over a few seconds and then faded. A wet spot appeared on his pants between his legs and grew.
Zelda sighed, recognizing that he'd just spent himself.
"This is not as easy as Sookie said," she grumbled as she remade her legs and pulled back on her miniskirt.
The man sat there, breathing heavily.
Zelda groaned and turned, heading back into the conference room in search of someone who would actually finish inside of her.
"Well," Sookie announced as she burst through the door of Zelda's hotel room.
"How'd it go?"
She looked around, as if expecting to see a man there. After a moment she spoke, her voice less excitable.
"That bad, huh?"
"Your advice was worthless," Zelda said, standing up from where she'd been sitting on the bed. "Most of the men were far too dense to understand when I was being subtle as you recommended. When I turned to the more explicit euphemisms you offered, they all seemed to think I was unwell and needed to be escorted home by the host or by some friend they all assumed I had attended with."
"Wow," Sookie said, shaking her head sadly. "I never really have much trouble, but then, I've been doing it for centuries..."
"I wish you had come with me. You could have attracted a few men and saved me the embarrassment of..." Zelda waved her arms around vaguely.
"Sorry, I had to be on set for the pre-production work. The set builders are good, but they never seem to grasp that we need to actually film on the sets they build."
"Humph," Zelda said, crossing her arms and pouting. The urge to mate was getting stronger with every hour that passed. Soon, she would pass the point where she could even take Sookie's advice, and she would simply find a body of water with men nearby and pull one under to give her the seed she needed to maintain her sanity.
"Okay, well, there's one more thing you could try..." Sookie said.
Zelda lay on the hotel bed, fully sated and ready to drift off to sleep as the door closed behind the man she'd chosen. She found the purse and inside it, the phone Sookie had given her. She pressed the buttons on the screen and placed the call.
"Well," Sookie answered. "Did it work?"
"It did," Zelda purred, running her hands down her body and caressing her legs. She could really get used to this. Having only two appendages down there made playing with herself, and letting men play with her, easier.
"I told you!" Sookie crowed, giggling in delight. "Was it good?"
"He was not well endowed. Nor particularly skilled, or imaginative. He required significant instruction," Zelda admitted. "And I had to repeatedly scold him not to finish until my needs were met. But he was very obedient, so it was sufficient. And..."
"And he gave me money. Three hundred dollars. I think I will buy myself something, if you wish to accompany me."
"The hooker trick always works," Sookie said.
Kathy Evenson, Finally Home
Kathy walked in to find Nick taking full advantage of his new body. Well, she revised her estimate in light of who Nick was. He was taking advantage of it, if not full advantage. He was sprawled on the couch, with Lya sitting on the floor in front of him. They were mostly absorbed by what looked like a true crime documentary on the television. Every once in a while, she was raising her arm to jab him in the side with a finger, eliciting a barked laugh and a series of playful slaps.
"Seriously!" he exclaimed, "Stop it!"
"I will not!" Lya laughed. "You cannot grow a body, discover that it is ticklish, and then expect me to leave you alone! It is not done!"
Unnoticed by the others, Kathy crept forward, leaned down, and spoke gently, very close to Nick's ear. "Whackfuck."
He jerked and immediately curled into the fetal position, eyeing her with fearful eyes as he covered his groin. Kathy laughed.
Lya turned, noticed her and sprang up to enfold her in a hug. "Welcome home!" she cried.
Kathy kissed her, a quick peck, but she quickly realized that it wasn't enough. She pressed her lips to Lya's and they kissed deeply for a long moment while Nick turned his eyes back to the television.
"So how were things while I was away?" Kathy asked when they finally separated.
"Good," Lya said. "More drama at the office between Paula and Clifton, of course, but that's to be expected."
"They're gonna get called into Julie's office, soon," Kathy agreed.
"Nick made dinner. There are burgers in the oven and fries on the stove for you."
"Oh really?" Kathy balked. She eyed Nick as he turned back to look at them.
"I was in a good mood," he said.
"Well that's good," Kathy responded. "You've been in a funk since you got back from the Spirit world. I thought having a body again would lift your spirits, but..."
Nick shrugged. "Time heals all wounds," he said.
"Time and..." Kathy pressed, hopping over the back of the couch to plop down next to him. "Come on, did you meet a cute girl? Spill it."
"Yes and no," Nick said. "You don't want to know."
"I've been pestering him to tell me all day," Lya said, going back to her spot on the floor, which put her between Kathy's legs. She leaned against one knee and Kathy enjoyed the touch for a moment.
"Come on, Nick," she said after a while. "You've intrigued us. We want to know."
Nick sighed. "I don't think you do..." he said.
"We do, you obtuse ass!" Lya added with a chuckle. Nick leaned back.
"Fine... I sort of met a girl. By which I mean, I picked up a lady of the evening down on Bronson Boulevard."
Kathy groaned. There was the Nick she knew.
submitted by MjolnirPants
to JerryandtheGoddesses [link] [comments]
2023.05.22 05:15 Objective_Tea_ Kathy Griffin is gonna tear into the Harkles y’all
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Extra Extra: just saw this podcast: we had some bits from Chris Rock and now Kathy is performing after a long break getting right into the current news including the Harkles shenanigans. You know it’s gonna be fun. If any sinners catch it in Vegas give us a briefing please! submitted by Objective_Tea_ to SaintMeghanMarkle [link] [comments]
PS be kind to Kathy folks.. Her voice sounds different because she’s had some recent health battles.
2023.05.21 04:17 wrathofotters Scenes I wrote for season 4 ep 1 that incorporate Bobby into the story
Hi all! I was really inspired by all of the discussion about the Johnny/Robby arc and people wanting Johnny to try more. Here are some scenes that have been in my head. Open to constructive feedback.
(Scene: Flashback to 1984 after the All Valley tournament. Kreese is berating a young Johnny Lawrence for losing. Current Johnny watches this scene from a distance. It's a scene that has replayed in his head far too many times He looks on helplessly as his younger self is nearly strangled to death by Kreese. Suddenly the scene shifts. And instead of young Johnny being strangled, it's Robby.)
(Johnny wakes up from his nightmare in a cold sweat. His breathing is labored and heavy)
(Johnny looks around his room helplessly. He takes a sip of a half empty coors banquet on his night stand. He is panicked. He then gets up and grabs his keys and exits his apartment)
(In the next scene, it's still nighttime Johnny is sitting in his van parked outside of the Cobra Kai dojo on the opposite side of the street. He stares at the building intently)
(Scene- break of dawn. Johnny drives his van back into the parking lot of his apartment complex. Rosa is outside the Diaz apartment drinking a mug of coffee enjoying the sunrise. She notices Johnny. He stumbles out of his van towards his apartment. He looks exhausted. And scared. Rosa approaches him)
Rosa: Mijo! Estas bien?
(Johnny looks towards her. He simply shakes his head. Rosa sympathetically offers him a sip of her coffee)
(Scene: slight rewrite of the Diazes eating dinner at Johnny's place. I decided to cut out the whole dialogue of Miguel revealing that Johnny saw Ali, and the subplot of Carmen deciding to take things slow. After they talk about the tournament and Miguel getting back together with Sam, the following dialogue takes place)
Johnny: What time is it?
Carmen: It's almost 8. Why?
Johnny: Erm. I better get going I have a uhh…a thing
(Rosa eyes him knowingly)
Johnny: I'm doing a moving job. A buddy of mine is moving up north. Way up north. I'm helping him with the U Haul
Miguel: This is kind of a random time to do it isn't it?
Johnny: Less traffic at night. Sorry I have to leave but you guys enjoy. Have as much mango salsa as you want (He gets up)
Carmen: Why don’t you fix your friend a plate, Johnny? Moving takes a lot of energy (As soon as Carmen says this Rosa hands Johnny a tupperware packed with food from the table)
Johnny: Woah…how did you do that so fast?
Miguel: Oh, Yaya's the tupperware queen. If there were a tournament for leftover prepping, she'd be the champ. (Rosa makes a muscle with her arm)
Johnny (chuckling) Well…Gracias. I gotta jet but you guys feel free to hang out as long as you like. Watch a movie if you want. (Johnny gestures to his VHS collection)
Miguel: (laughing) I can't believe you still have a VCR, Sensei. And a rewinding machine? (He gets up to get a closer look at the set up, his back is turned to Johnny, Carmen and Rosa)
Johnny: (to Carmen) I'll see you soon (he instinctively leans in to kiss her goodbye)
Rosa: A-HEM! (She nods her head towards Miguel. Johnny and Carmen stop in their tracks alarmed.)
Johnny: Um…you…got an eyelash. (He blows a puff of air off of Carmen's shoulder. She cringes)
Miguel: (Is oblivious. His back still turned) Your living room is literally a museum. We should charge admission to all of Reseda to come view these relics of the past
(Johnny, Carmen and Rosa laugh extra loudly. Miguel turns around and gives them all a confused look. There's an awkward pause)
Johnny: Okay. Bye
Rosa: (sarcastically) Que Buenas noticias! Tenemos que limpiar su cocina. Huevon.
(Carmen and Rosa clear the table and begin to wash dishes and put things away. Carmen notices the childhood soccer photo of Robby on the fridge. It takes her a moment to realize who it is. She is at first startled. Then contemplative. She examines the photo closely)
(Scene- Johnny breaks into the back of the Cobra Kai dojo.He quickly sneaks into Kreese's office. He ponders for a moment. He grabs a marker off of Kreese's desk and writes something on the tupperware.He puts the tupperware in the mini fridge and runs off. Robby and Kreese are in the front room of the dojo. I would place the dialogue from the original episode that began with Robby saying "I never said I was joining. I just needed a place to crash" here. They then both hear Johnny running out of the back entrance. Kreese goes back towards the office to see what's going on. The office is empty. Johnny leans against the back wall outside.)
Johnny: Hope you're okay, kid.
(Scene- Rewrite of Daniel and Johnny hashing out their differences after their argument at Miyagi Fang practice. Nighttime- Daniel approaches Johnny’s apartment with a case full of Coors banquet. He knocks on the door. No answer. He knocks again. Rosa enters from the Diaz apartment. She waters a hanging plant on their porch. She notices Daniel)
Rosa: El no esta aqui
Daniel: (turns around) Oh. Hola Rosa, como estas? Um…..donde esta….
Rosa: He’s keeping watch.
Daniel: Keeping watch?
(Scene- Johnny is parked on the opposite street of the Cobra Kai dojo. He stares in its general direction. He looks weary and exhausted.Daniel pulls up and parks behind him. He calls from the car)
(Johnny is startled and looks in the direction of Daniel. He is a bit embarrassed. He gets out of the van and leans against it. Daniel walks towards him and stands next to him)
Johnny: What are you doing here?
Daniel: Guess I could ask you the same thing.
(Johnny doesn't have a response)
Daniel: You've just been sitting out here? All night every night this week? What do you think that's going to- (Daniel stops himself when he sees Johnny’s distraught expression. Daniel looks towards the dojo) Amanda tried calling him a few times and offered the guest house. Even offered him money for a hotel but….. he's a stubborn kid.
Daniel: There really isn't any other person he could stay with for the week? What about his grandparents?
Johnny: Shannon’s parents don’t want anything to do with him after he stole from them.
Daniel: What about your rich stepdad?
Johnny: I’m not leaving him alone with Sid.
Daniel: Why? It’s gotta be a better option than-
Johnny: I am NOT leaving him alone with Sid.
Daniel: He doesn’t have any friends he could stay with?
Johnny: No. Those two dirtbags he hung out with are in jail. His only other friends were….well you and your Miyagi Dos. And a fat lot of good it did him
Daniel: And what does that mean?
Johnny: I mean the fucked up thing you said to him when you were at my place. You knew that would hit him where it hurt. He looked up to you. He was just trying to protect Sam…..who you should hold accountable for once in your life
Daniel: Do not talk about my daughter
Johnny: But you get to say whatever you want about my son?
Daniel: I apologized to Robby for that.
Johnny: Yeah and then you sprung the police on him. Shannon told me how that all went down. How did you think he was going to feel about you pulling that shit without talking to him first?
Daniel: The kid was gone for two weeks in a stolen car. I couldn’t trust that he wouldn’t run away again.
Johnny: Then that tells me you don’t think much of him. So why did you even bother getting involved with his life?
(Johnny turns away from Daniel and starts pacing)
Daniel: I don’t think much of him? Did you even think about him AT ALL until recently? Did you know that he was sitting alone in the dark with no electricity or hot water when I took him in? Were you even aware of that Johnny? (Johnny stops pacing. His back is turned to Daniel. His shoulders stiffen. He looks devastated.He turns towards Daniel)
Johnny: (softly) What?
Daniel: That's right. That was happening. And where were you? Making nice with Kreese. I can't believe YOU are lecturing me on how I let down YOUR son. You abandoned him his entire life! For all your machismo bullshit about “being a real man” you don’t know the first thing about it. No real man would walk out on his kid!
(Johnny shoves Daniel)
Daniel: That’s right Johnny go ahead. That’s the only way you know how to solve your problems right? (Daniel pushes him back)
Johnny: What are you doing here Larusso? Did you drive all the way down here just to tell me I'm a shitty father and a shitty human being? Well I beat you to the punch. I TELL MYSELF THAT EVERY DAY OF MY GODDAMN LIFE! . Now go home. Go home to your kids where you know they are safe and not with a fucking ….psychopath. (Johnny's voice cracks). Fuck. FUCK. (Johnny beats the van in rage until he hurts his hand. He leans on the van, his head buried in his arms) Shit….shit shit shit.
Daniel: (Daniel looks at Johnny with pity. His tone softens) Johnny….
Johnny: (His voice is hoarse and tired) I thought Robby living with you would be the worst thing to ever happen. But no….the worst thing is happening right now. It’s a nightmare. I mean training with Kreese is one thing but living with him?
Daniel: It's just another week. I'm sure Robby will be alright.
Johnny: Every second he's in there I can't breathe. It wouldn't take much for the kid to get on Kreese's bad side……and he can hit him, he can hurt him….he can…strangle him. And I let this happen.
Daniel: No. (Flashback from Season 2. Daniel to Robby at Johnny’s place “You want to end up like him? Fine”. Robby’s heartbroken face looking at Daniel leaving) WE let this happen. (beat) Johnny……you should go home. Get some sleep. Let's give both of our dojos a break from training for the weekend. You aren’t any good to your students….or to mine if you arent rested. We are going to take down Cobra Kai. And Kreese won't have Robby in his grasp anymore
Johnny: Not a chance in hell am I getting any sleep
Daniel: Yeah. I probably couldn't either if I was in your shoes. At least go home. Try to rest. I’ll stay here….. and take the next watch. (Johnny looks at Daniel. There is gratitude in his eyes. Johnny gets into the van and starts it) Johnny…..if Robby doesn’t want anything to do with you and he doesn’t want anything to do with me….there’s got to be someone he can stay with. Someone he can trust
(Scene- Cobra Kai dojo daytime. Bobby enters the dojo, the bell dings)
(Bobby surveys the dojo. He sees the cardboard cutout of Kreese and the snake in the cage. He rolls his eyes)
(Kreese enters from his office. Bobby's shoulders stiffen at the sight of him. Flashback: Karate Kid. Kreese: "I want him out of commission" scene. Bobby throwing his belt at Kreese's feet)
Kreese: Can I help you sir?
Bobby: It's me….Bobby. Bobby Brown?
Kreese: Are you a parent of one of my students? Don't think I have a Brown in my class.
Bobby: (realization dawns on him. His expression is a mix of shock and hurt) You…. you don't remember me. You don't even…..wow. I….wow
Kreese: Forgive me sir. I meet a lot of people in my trade. Refresh my memory
(Bobby takes a moment.)
Bobby: Ah. No. Forgive ME. I'm a pastor. I thought I recognized you as one of my parishoners. My mistake. I guess you have a doppelganger out there in the world.
Kreese: I'm not much of a church goer.
Kreese: Can I help you with something?
Bobby: I'm…Robby's uncle. Shannon is my…… step sister. I came down here from up north. Um. Way up north.
Kreese: Ah. I'm happy to hear that Shannon is getting her life on track. Robby unfortunately hasn't had any other good role models in his life. Especially that father of his.
Bobby: Yeah, we're all very proud of her. . I actually wanted to see if Robby could stay with me for a few days, so we can…plan her homecoming. Get her new apartment ready
Kreese: A boy needs his mother. That relationship is important
Bobby: Yeah. Do you know where I could find Robby?
Kreese: I believe the young man likes to frequent the skate park at this time of day.
Bobby: Thanks for the tip. It was…….a pleasure to have met you
Kreese: The pleasure is all mine.
(Bobby exits the dojo and walks into the mini mall parking lot)
Bobby: (seething) I threw everything away for you and you just forgot me. I bet you don't remember Tommy either. I guess that's why you weren't at his funeral you piece of shi- (Bobby clenches his fists and takes a deep breath. He looks towards the sky holding his hands in prayer) Forgive me, Father. (He gets into his car and drives off)
(Scene- Robby and Bobby at the skate park. Robby is sitting down taking a break from skating drinking from his water bottle. Bobby approaches Robby)
Bobby: Hey Robby. Fancy running into you here.
Robby: Running into me? Since when do you go to the skate park Pastor Brown? It looks like you came here looking for me.
Bobby: What? Just because I’m a pastor doesn’t mean I can’t pop a wheelie like the best of them (He takes Robby’s skateboard and attempts a trick. He hits himself in the knee and quickly regrets it) Ow. (Robby gives him a look) Yeah you’re right I came here to talk to you. (He sits down next to Robby) So….what’s going on?
Robby: Sounds like you already know.
Bobby: The bulk of it. I mean…..it’s kinda dumb you have to admit. It sounds like you sleeping on the floor of a dojo with no one but some old guy to keep you company hurts you more than it hurts anyone else. What does Kreese even feed you besides black coffee and sardines?
Robby: I can take care of myself. Did Johnny really send you to try to convince me to live with him? That’s pretty pathetic.
Bobby: Look …..you can stay with me until your mom comes back. I have a guest room. And food that doesn’t come from a can. And Netflix.
Robby: And what’s in it for you?
Bobby: Just to know that my best friend’s son is safe.
Robby: Your best friend didn’t seem to give a shit until now. Weird time to do it.
(Bobby looks down forlornly. He doesn’t have a response for this)
Robby: I don’t understand. What is so bad about Kreese? So he’s a little tough. Big deal. Doesn’t seem so different from when Johnny was running Cobra Kai. Except Kreese isn’t a drunk idiot.
Bobby: No one ever told you about what happened to your dad at the '84 All Valley?
Robby: Yeah. He got his ass handed to him by Mr. Larusso. All he does is bitch about it.
Bobby: I mean after the tournament in the parking lot ….this is more your dad’s story to tell than mine…… Kreese nearly strangled him to death. It was pretty brutal. I mean…..it messed me up just watching it. I imagine it messed Johnny up pretty badly too.
Robby: (pauses and looks down hiding his expression. Then laughs) Yeah well…..fucker probably deserved it. Wish I could’ve had a front row seat.
Bobby: Oh wow….you’re really hurting aren’t you?
Robby: Actually I’m not. For the first time in my life it feels like no one can hurt me. I like it
Bobby: It’s an addictive feeling for sure
Robby: Look…..if Cobra Kai messed up Johnny so badly why did he bring it back in the first place?
Bobby: (he sighs) To be honest with you…..I don’t know Robby. I thought it was a dumb idea and I told him that. I guess maybe he thought that he could reform it…make it better…..make it his own.
(Robby looks out into the distance considering this)
Bobby: I kinda wish this was a conversation that you and your dad could have.
Robby: That’s not happening. Is you offering your place some sort of trap? Are you going to make me talk to him?
Bobby: No Robby…..I’ve learned pretty quickly there’s no making you do anything. You got a will of iron…just like your fa-……..just like some people I know. Like I said….I just want to give you a place to crash until your mom comes back. That’s all. I won’t lie to you.
Bobby: Really. C’mon I’m a pastor…..it’s not a good look to break the Ten Commandments. Unless………. it’s REALLY necessary. Plus I don’t want anything to do with the karate drama. I made that pretty clear to Johnny. I’ll tell you now if you are going to stay with Cobra Kai….don’t ask me for advice on it. You gotta navigate those choppy waters on your own. Looks like there’s some lessons you can only learn by living them. I know you'll figure things out. You're smart. A lot smarter than I was at your age. But I’ll just tell you this about working with Kreese….don’t let anyone take your integrity away from you. I know integrity doesn’t seem like a lot. It’s not speed, or strength or a good hook kick. But it really is something you don’t want to lose.
Robby: Yeah well….I just got out of juvie…..so it’s a little late for integrity.
Bobby: Don’t say that. There’s a passage in the Bible that says-
Robby: Oh GOD. Is that what this is? Are you going to try to convert me? Like lock me in a prayer closet? Drown me in a baptism pool?
Bobby: (laughs) Okay okay. I hear you loud and clear. I won’t talk about Jesus stuff if you don’t talk about Cobra Kai stuff. Deal?
(Scene- Bobby knocks on Johnny’s door. Johnny opens it. He looks exhausted)
Johnny: Did it work?
Bobby: Yeah. He’s at the house now
(Johnny lets out a huge exhale)
Johnny: Is he okay? Is he okay?
Bobby: Yeah Johnny he’s fine. He’s just hanging out with Kathy and the dogs right now
Johnny: (relieved. Almost breathless he clutches his chest) Oh god. Thank you. Thank you dude. (he heads towards the fridge to grab a beer. Bobby follows him and closes the door behind him)
Bobby: Are YOU okay?
Johnny: I felt like I was having a heart attack that lasted for three days straight. It’s the weirdest fucking feeling ever. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. Maybe it’s indigestion.
Bobby: I think it’s just called loving your son.
Johnny: I’m just glad he’s out of there.
Bobby: I mean….he’s still dead set on training with Kreese.
Johnny: Well.I’ll put a stop to that once we beat Cobra Kai in the tournament.
Bobby: You really think that’s gonna solve everything?
Johnny: I need a beer. Do you want a beer? I need a beer (he grabs a Coors banquet from the fridge and practically drains it in one gulp. He cracks open another one and drinks.)
Bobby: Wow Johnny…you’re drinking like they are going to take it away from you. It’s barely 11am
Johnny: Oh come on Brown, don’t pretend you're above day drinking. Remember when you snuck a whole six pack into homeroom? Can’t believe we got away with that one.
Bobby: I don’t know if you noticed but we are not 15 anymore.
(Miguel enters the apartment carrying a tupperware container)
Miguel: Hey sensei. Yaya wanted me to bring you some leftover encebollado. She’s noticed you’ve been tired a lot lately and says this is the miracle cure. It’s also a hangover cure…… which…you look like you are on your way to needing.
Johnny: Hey, Johnny Lawrence doesn’t get hungover. He just has times when he needs to stretch and hydrate. Diaz, I want you to meet Bobby Brown. Cobra Kai’s most badass fighter and my best friend.
Bobby: The latter is true not so sure about the former.
Miguel: Oh yeah! Sensei told me all about you and the legendary flying tornado kick from ‘82. He STILL refuses to teach me that move.
Johnny: I will when you're ready, bud
Miguel: (to Bobby) It’s an honor to meet you (shakes his hand)
Bobby: The honor’s all mine Miguel. Nice to meet last year’s All Valley Champ.
Johnny: And he’s gonna be this year’s too. Just you wait.
(from offscreen) Carmen: Miggy! Can you come help me with these groceries?
Miguel: I gotta go. Sensei, are we still watching Young Guns 2 tonight?
Johnny: Hell yeah we are.
Miguel: Cool! It was nice to meet you Bobby. (Miguel sets the tupperware container on the counter and exits)
Johnny: He’s a great kid isn’t he?
Bobby: Yeah. You guys have gotten close huh? I don't notice any other students coming over for movie nights. Looks like you have a favorite
Johnny: It's not just that. I've kinda been close with his whole family.
Bobby: Huh. You're not hooking up with his mom are you?
(Johnny and Bobby exchange a look)
Bobby: WHAT? I was joking! You are seriously hooking up with his mom?!
Johnny: Shhhh! Keep your voice down. He doesn't know yet
Bobby: Johnny! Oh my god. (Bobby puts his hand over his mouth when he realizes he said the Lords name in vain. He puts his hands together in prayer and looks upward) Forgive me father.
Johnny: I haven't had a chance to tell him yet. A lot's been going on.
Bobby: It seems like there's always something going on with you Johnny Lawrence. You always seem to go looking for chaos.
Johnny: Look I didn't go looking for trouble this time it just…happened. I never met anyone as beautiful as her before. And I'm not just talking about her looks
Bobby: That's the first time I've heard you use a word other than "hot" to describe the opposite sex. Just…be careful Johnny. It's kind of a dangerous game you are playing.
Johnny: I know what I'm doing. Anyway. Thank you for taking in Robby. I really owe you one.
Bobby: It’s no trouble at all
Johnny: He’s not giving you a hard time is he?
Bobby: No….why would he give me a hard time?
Johnny: Well…he's just been…pretty angry lately. He's been on the warpath ever since that school fight.
Bobby: Why do you always think the worst of him?
Johnny: What? I don’t. Not at all. I want him to live with me don't I?
Bobby: Do you really, Johnny? You say that all the time but do you really make room for him in your life? Where is he even going to sleep in your one bedroom apartment? Are you going to build him a bed from Coors banquets?
(Johnny stares at the floor)
Bobby: I saw him in that juvie center when you didn’t show up Johnny. He wasn’t angry. He was scared and lonely. He needed you. He opened the door for you to come back into his life and you slammed it shut. You practically walked him into Kreese’s dojo. Everytime Robby gets angry at you. Or slams a door in your face. Or cusses you out. I want you to picture him as a hurt little boy. Because that is what he is.
Johnny: I don’t think I can do that. I’d feel too guilty
Bobby: Well……get over it.
Johnny: Kinda harsh huh? Not very Christian of you.
Bobby: Hmmm let me see if there is a Bible verse that applies. Well Corinthians….nah I’m just gonna say again “Get over it”
Bobby: Sorry if it’s harsh Johnny. But you hurt your son. You abandoned him on his very first day in this world. He’s gonna be mad. It's gonna take some time for him to trust you again. But it's YOU who has to keep that door open. Even when its difficult. You are the adult. I know I’m a pastor. But I’m also your friend. And I’m never going to pull any punches with you. I know you can take it. I’m showing you “no mercy” on this one (he playfully punches Johnny’s arm)
Johnny: Speaking of……you haven’t met the rest of my Eagle Fang students. If you ever wanted to come by and maybe co sensei with me…..
Bobby: No. No way dude.
Johnny: Why man? You are so talented. You seem great with kids. And you were always such a good fighter
Bobby: (softly) Not a memorable one apparently
Bobby: Nothing. Look, Johnny….I don’t expect you to get this. Or maybe you do. But something in me died that day when I let Kreese talk me into injuring Daniel Larusso at the All Valley all those years ago. And it never came back to life. I don’t think I could ever put on a gi again. Plus now that you are working with Larusso…..running into him would be…….awkward. I don’t think I can even look him in the eyes after what I did to him. Let alone work with him. Seeing those ads everywhere still make me feel like garbage
Johnny: Kind of hypocritical coming from the guy who wants me to get over it and face up to my guilt. What happened to…I don’t know…..He who shall be without sin cast the first stone
Bobby: Nice one!. But I never said I was without sin. You made that pretty clear to my parrish when you told them about the soccer moms. Thanks for that by the way.
Johnny: Always happy to help out a priest (Johnny toasts his Coors banquet to Bobby who rolls his eyes)
Bobby: I love you, Johnny. And Robby too. I want you guys to win. I'm rooting for you both.
Johnny: Well only one of us can win unfortunately.
Bobby: I'm not talking about the tournament. Take care of yourself okay?
(Bobby exits. Johnny looks at his Coors banquet. He finishes it, tosses it in the trash and grabs another one from the fridge)
(Bobby re enters)
Bobby: I miss Tommy.
Johnny: I know. I do too.
Bobby: (more emphatically) Take care of yourself. Please.
Johnny: Yeah. Sure okay
(Bobby exits. Johnny cracks open the other Coors banquet and drinks)
(Scene- rewrite of Johnny and Daniel in the Miyagi Do parking lot right before they discover Hawk and the kids building the Okinawan sparring deck. I basically want their argument from the original episode that took place in Johnny's living room to take place here
Johnny is alone by his van. Daniel hasn't shown up yet. Johnny is practicing what he wants to say to Daniel)
Johnny: Larusso …..it turns out you were right about a lot of things. No. No I'm not saying that. I feel like a jackass. How about…(Johnny struggles with this) I'm …..sorry about interrupting your practice. I'm sorry about what I said to you in the parking lot that night. No. No don't apologize that shows weakness. (Johnny huffs.) Goddamnit I sound like a pussy. Alright Lawrence…..just…get over it. (Johnny says this next part without hesitation) Larusso…….thank you for your help with the Robby situation. I owe you. It turns out you were right. About a lot of things. I'd like to call a truce?
(Daniel pulls up and gets out of his car)
Daniel: Hey. You're here early. Did Robby find another place to stay for the week?
Johnny: Yeah. He's staying with…(Johnny thinks better of bringing up Bobby's name around Daniel) a friend.
Daniel: Oh good. I'm glad to hear it.
(There's a beat)
Johnny: So it turns out-
Daniel: I wanted to say I'm sorry.
Daniel: I'm sorry for snapping at you and being so critical at practice last week. I didn't really consider how much you had on your plate with the whole Robby situation. I could have been a bit more patient and understanding
Johnny: Well, it turns out-
Daniel: Johnny….Ive done a lot of thinking over the weekend. And I've come to respect how hard it must have been to come to my dojo. I know things we left things in a tense spot. But I think we can agree there are big things at stake here. And these kids……they've been through enough. We've been through enough. Right?
Johnny: Yeah. Well it turns out-
Daniel: That's why. ……..For the sake of the kids…I think it's time you joined Miyagi Do.
Johnny: (pause. Apologetic Johnny goes right out the window) Um. Fuck you Larusso.
Johnny: (indignantly) Are you serious right now? That's your solution? Why should I join YOUR dojo?
Daniel: Because the more we fight the harder it is on the kids………
"Dialogue from living room argument scene takes place here"
Daniel: You know if this is final we are gonna have to tell the kids eventually
Johnny: Screw it. Let's tell them right now. Rip the bandaid off.
(They hear the commotion of Hawk breaking down the fence and the kids building the sparring deck. The next scene proceeds as it did in the episode)
(Johnny surveys the scene of the Miyagi Dos and Eagle Fangs working together in front of him fondly)
Johnny: Building a bridge
(The next scene is a montage that takes place over a few days. It starts with Johnny in his apartment typing into Google "How to convert your one bedroom apartment into a two bedroom". Measuring the space in his living room. Buying plywood and materials at Home Depot. Noticing a Misfits poster in the store and adding it to his cart. Putting up the walls and installing a makeshift sliding door. Putting a bed together. When he is done Johnny surveys his work proudly. He takes a picture of the room on his phone. He sends it to someone. He then dictates out loud as he clumsily texts.)
Johnny: "Dear Robby. I just learned to text on the smartphone. I know you said not to talk to you anymore but I guess this doesn't count because it's writing to you. I just want you to know….my door is always open. This room is yours for whenever you want to come by. I hope you and your mom had a good first day in your new apartment. Signed, Dad. P.S The bed is IKEA. It's Swedish.
(Johnny presses send. His face then falls. He sees on the screen "Message not sent. Message blocking is active".)
(Johnny then tries to call Robby. He hears a busy signal. He stares off into space)
(Miguel walks into the apartment)
Miguel: Hey Sensei. Woah. What did you do to your living room?
Johnny: Hey, what does Message Blocking is Active mean?
Miguel: It means whoever did that doesn't want you contacting them. Sam blocked me for a bit when we broke up. It sucked
(Miguel grabs a Slim Jim from the pantry and sits on the couch eating it)
Johnny: (quietly) It feels like garbage.
Miguel: (chuckling) Awwww who blocked you, Sensei? Was it Ali?
Johnny: Uh. Yeah.
Miguel: I told you not to info dump about Iron Eagle in all caps to her. It's okay. We can re activate your dating profile. Get you back in the game! (He gestures to the makeshift bedroom) What is all this?
Johnny: (pauses) Um. Nothing. Hey buddy, how about we get out of here for the day? You know where we haven't trained in a while? Big Bear Lake. Let's get a break from the Valley. Switch things up a bit
Johnny: Yeah! Why not?
Miguel: Are the rest of the Eagle Fangs and Miyagi Dos up for a field trip?
Johnny: No, man. I'm just talking about you and me! Whaddya say?
Miguel: (his face lights up) Okay
Johnny: Alright (he puts his arm around Miguel as they exit)
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to cobrakai [link] [comments]
2023.05.20 13:03 FelicitySmoak_ On This Day In Michael Jackson HIStory - May 20th
| || |1972 submitted by FelicitySmoak_ to MichaelJackson [link] [comments]
- "Rockin' Robin" enters the UK Top 50 Singles chart where it will peak at #3 during a fourteen week run. 1973
- The Jackson 5 had a two-show gig at Vets Memorial in Columbus, Ohio. Ticket prices were $6, $5, and $4.
The next day, The Dispatch
published a review with glowing terms, including "undeniably funky." The story, Soul-Swinging Jackson Five Score in Two Shows, said the performances "turned out mostly J-5 patriots" who had waited nearly two years for the Motown rockers to return to Columbus. (Previous shows were at Vets Memorial on 1/30/71 & at the Ohio State Fair on 8/28/71)
The evening performance featured 18 songs, including Stevie Wonder's "Superstitious" & The Temptations' "Poppa Was a Rollin' Stone."
"Individually, Michael and Jermaine lead the vocal work," reported Jack Willey of The Dispatch staff, "with Michael's striking flexibility acting almost like a lead instrument for the band. Whether fronting his brothers ... or soloing ... his style is clear, precise and very much his own."
The opening band was a new soul group called the Commodores 1975
- On their Destiny Tour, The Jacksons play the Orpheum Theatre in Memphis, Tennessee 1997
- Michael Jackson's Blood On The Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix
was released in the US
- Michael Jackson's video HIStory On Film Volume 2
- Michael Jackson arrives in Indianapolis with his cousins Rijo, Simone, Elijah & Levon. He came to give a deposition in court following a lawsuit brought by Steeltown Records boss Gordon Keith. The lawsuit accuses the Jackson Five and others of infringing the trade name of Ripples and Waves, another Gary band from the 1960s, and two of their songs.
The time and place of the deposition are being kept secret, but some fans thought they knew where it would take place.Jackson's attorney has also asked to keep the transcript of the deposition sealed, bar media from the deposition room, and prohibit recording devices other than those utilized by the court reporter and videographer.
WISH-TV reported that a few dozen fans gathered outside the Canturbury Hotel, where Jackson had rented out the entire 12th floor, in downtown Indianapolis in hopes of catching a glimpse of him
Fans got their first closeup glance of him as he toured Circle Centre Mall
People who waited to meet Michael say he was nice and courteous. He signed several autographs and even at one point ended up in the middle of the crowd while trying to get out of the mall.
He's expected to spend most of tomorrow afternoon giving his deposition
But fans just wanted to know if his Indiana roots are still in tact.
"Michael, what's it like to be back in Indiana? What's it like to be back in Indiana?'
"It's the best! Best baby, yea."
- Trial Day 57 Michael
goes to court with Katherine & Randy.
Amidst speculation that the trial could wrap up as early as next week, Michael's former defense attorney resumed his testimony. Mark Geragos told jurors last week that he had ordered the surveillance of the Arvizo family because he was concerned they were meeting with a lawyer to make some accusation or sell their story to tabloids.
The lawyer also said he did not remember being told that the Arvizo family had returned to Jackson's Neverland Ranch in mid-February and said he was uneasy about that possibility because he "was concerned about a false story or a concocted one."
Geragos testified that he gave a broad directive to investigator Brad Miller to follow the family, instructing him to find out who they're meeting with and what they're doing. However, he said he did not specify the particular surveillance methods to be used.
Prosecutors have previously shown surveillance videos of the family to support their allegations that Jackson & his associates were attempting to hold the Arvizo family captive.
Prosecutor Ron Zonen tried to link Miller to the alleged kidnapping conspiracy. He asked Geragos if he was aware that an employee of Millers is alleged to have thrown rocks at the house of the accuser's grandmother.
Geragos responded, "I don't send people out to throw stones at people's houses"
Prosecutors also questioned Geragos about the Arvizo familys interview with the DCFS in February, 2003. In previous testimony the mother, Janet Arvizo, claimed that Miller & a man she knew as Asef had attended the interview. She said Asef, whom she believed was a part of Jacksons security team, had asked her to secretly record the interview. She further claimed that Asef had threatened the safety of her parents should she not comply.
Geragos testified that he was aware the interview was taking place but said he did not direct Miller to attend or to secretly tape the interview. Importantly for the defense, he also said that Asef Vilchic in fact worked for Miller and not for Jackson.
Once again, exchanges between Zonen and Geragos were often heated. At one point, Judge Rodney Melville criticized the prosecution for approaching the witness stand too often without permission.
Geragos had refused to answer certain questions during his testimony last Friday due to a limited waiver of his attorney-client privilege. Judge Melville had been under the impression the waiver was complete, but in fact it only covered Geragos for events leading up to Jacksons arrest.
Judge Melville said I feel deceived by Mr. Mesereau and I am considering ... sanctions of some sort against Mr. Mesereau. Mesereau had apologized for the confusion, explaining that he had not thought the period after the arrest would be relevant. Court observers expected the sanctions to include a fine.
The Judge said that he could have stricken Geragos testimony from the record but did not feel this was viable as the jury had already heard his testimony. However, he said he would entertain the prosecution's motion to strike the testimony from the record once completed.
Judge Melville also stated that a condition of his allowing Geragos to resume testimony was that whenever prosecutors asked him about events after November 2003, he was to tell the jury, "I refuse to answer that question based on attorney client privilege."
Zonen stated in court Friday that the defense may rest their case as early as next week.
"We're approaching the end of trial," he told Judge Melville. The defense has indicated they may be resting as early as next Tuesday."
Defense attorneys did not contradict the statement but did not comment on it. Court Transcript 2006
- Michael meets with Prince Abdullah (Bahrain) for the last time and informs his host that he is travelling to London and Tokyo. Shortly after producer Bill Bottrell and drummer Brian Macleod arrives in Bahrain to work on new songs for Michael’s project 2009
goes to Dr Klein’s in Beverly Hills
- Kenny Ortega and Randy Phillips announce
in a press conference that the 4 opening O2 shows have been rescheduled from July 8 to July 13 due to production delays 2009
- In a letter signed by Michael, Leonard Rowe is prevented from working or speaking on his behalf. Frank Dileo is now Michael's one & only manager.
The letter was only publicized after Michael’s death. Leonard Rowe also claims (Like Tohme Tohme) that he never received such letter. The letter did have a Michael Jackson signature. By whom & when was this letter was actually signed is unknown. 2013
- Jackson v AEG Trial Day 14
Katherine, Rebbie and Trent Jackson are at court. LATimes
reported that Jacksons offered a settlement.
Kevin Boyle , a lawyer for Katherine Jackson and Michael's kids , said they offered to settle the lawsuit against AEG, but that they never got an answer. Kevin Boyle said the family made the offers in January & March. Boyle would not provide details but said AEG's insurance would have paid, which means they could have settled the case without them paying a dime of their money. He said AEG has never offered to settle & they haven't apologized.
Marvin Putnam, an attorney for AEG, said it was inappropriate to discuss settlement discussions, "We don't settle matters that are utterly baseless. We believe that is the case in this matter. I can't see why we would consider a settlement as anything other than a shakedown"
CNN Reports there was a snack controversy during trial: AEG lawyers gave a bag of peppermint candy to the bailiff to hand out to the jury this week. Even Katherine Jackson enjoyed the treat but Jackson's lawyer raised an objection, suggesting jurors might be influenced if they realized the source of the sweets. A compromise was reached. Each side can provide snacks for jurors, but they'll be placed at the bailiff's desk before jurors enter court so they have no clue who brought it. Shawn Trell Testimony Jackson direct
AEG Live General Counsel, Shawn Trell, told jurors that he had forgotten that Kenny Ortega was working under a signed contract.
Trell said he met with his attorneys last night and reviewed one doc -- Kenny Ortega's contract. "He had a written contract," Trell said. "I remember the email dynamic. I'm not too proud to admit that I didn't recall the cover contract," Trell said he was changing his previous testimony to add that Ortega had a written contract, not only emails between him and AEG
Next topic was Insurance: Cancellation/Non-Appearance/Sickness. Trell said he started working on insurance for the tour in November of 2008. Panish showed several chains of emails where the parties talked about the insurance for the tour
Email from Bob Taylor insurance broker to Trell on 1/7/09:
Prior to speaking with carriers we ask the artist to attend medical with a doctor...A full medical with both blood/urine tests. The doctor also wants to review the medical records over the last 5 years to ensure full disclosure. Insurers require further medical examination to be carried out by their nominated doctor. They may restrict illness coverage or death from illness coverage until this examination has taken place
Email from 4/30/09 - Wooley to Trell :
"We have no coverage against Michael sickness unless and until he submits to another medical in London
Email from 5/28/09 - Trell to Taylor:
"We really need to get that medical done"
Email from 6/23/09 - Trell to Taylor :
"Any update on the availability of Term insurance?" (life insurance)
Trell said if they secured life insurance, they would get money if Michael died. "We would get the money owed to us, yes," Trell testified. Trell also said he continued discussions with an insurance broker about additional coverage to recoup AEG Live's investment if the tour had to be canceled.
Email from 6/24/09 -Taylor to Trell :
Insurers have refused to move on this. Huge amount of speculation in the media regarding artist's health. They feel if they're to consider providing illness to cover this particular artist, they must have very through medical report
Email from 6/25/09 - Gongaware to Taylor :
"If we don't get sickness coverage, we are dropping this policy"
Email from 6/25/09 - Taylor to Gongaware :
The consultation in London is critical. The doctor is holding the afternoon of the 6th July open at Harley St. But keep in mind the visit could take 2 hours plus
Next topic: Budget/Costs. Panish showed an email from AEG's Rick Webking to Michael's estate with 1st report of artist advances/expenses. This was a letter sent to the estate containing the expenses incurred, Trell said. "It seems to me we submitted this report for their review, I don't see any request for payment," Trell said.
Trell said he spoke with Randy Phillips and Paul Gongaware about Michael's physical condition prior to coming to testify. "I had heard about rehearsals in which Mr. Jackson was fantastic," Trell said
Trell said he's aware of email from Ortega saying doctor was not allowing Michael to attend rehearsal on June 14, 2009. "I was aware of the doctor not allowing him to attend rehearsal," Trell said
Email from 6/17/09 from Phillips:
"...Ortega, Gongaware, Dileo, and his doctor Conrad from Vegas and I have an intervention with him to get him to focus and come to rehearsal"
Email from 6/17/09 from Gongaware to Phillip's assistant:
"We need a physical therapist and a nutritionist"
Email from Production Manager - Gongaware/Phillips on 6/19/09 :
"Paul/Randy I'm not bring a drama queen here. Kenny asked me to notify you both Michael was sent home without stepping foot on stage. He was a basket case and Kenny was concerned he would embarrass himself on stage, or worse yet, be hurt. The company is rehearsing right now, but the DOUBT is pervasive"
Email from Randy Phillips to Tim Leiweke on 6/19/09 :
"We have a huge problem here."
"I think he recognized there was a problem on the 19th," Trell said. "I would take it seriously, as I believe Mr. Phillips did." Trell agreed with a statement by plaintiff's attorney, Brian Panish, that company executives knew by then there was a "deep issue" with Jackson
Does Trell consider that exchange a "red flag" that AEG Live should have noticed, Panish asked. "I would take it seriously, as I believe Mr. Phillips did," Trell answered. "I don't know I would use the word 'red flag'
One of the emails shown to the jury was from Jackson estate co-executor John Branca, sent 5 days before Jackson's death & marked 'confidential':
"I have the right therapist/spiritual advisosubstance abuse counselor who could help (recently helped Mike Tyson get sober and paroled) Do we know whether there is a substance issue involved (perhaps better discussed on the phone)
The email was sent the same day that a meeting was held at Jackson's home with Murray. No further info given to jury.
Trell said Mr. Phillips never told him about this email
Email from Ortega to Randy Phillips on 6/20/09: (chain of emails)
"I honestly don't think he is ready for this based on his continued physical weakening and deepening emotional state"
Trell said he didn't see these emails. He said he spoke with Randy Phillips about Phillips' perception of Michael, in order to prepare for testifying, but not about specific emails. Trell has been designated as the most qualified person to speak on behalf of AEG
Email from Phillips to Gongaware on 6/20/09 at 1:52 am :
"Tim and I are going to see him tomorrow, however, I'm not sure what the problem is Chemical or Physiological?"
From Gongaware to Phillips, on 6/20/09 at 5:59 am :
"Take the doctor with you. Why wasn't he there last night?"
From Phillips to Gongaware, on 6/20/09 at 2:01 pm :
"He is not a psychiatrist so I'm not sure how effective he can be at this point obviously, getting him there is not the issue. It is much deeper"
Trell said Randy Phillips went to a handful of rehearsals, three at the Forum and two at Staples Center. The head of the marketing department attended rehearsal on June 23, 2009. "She was blown away by it," Trell testified.
He said he was unaware of issues with Jackson at rehearsals."I knew of no problems with Michael Jackson at all",Trell testified.
Trell said he never saw the emails from Phillips directing people to exclude images from This Is It
of Michael looking "skeletal" while rehearsing. "What were his observations of Michael's physical condition during rehearsal," Trell said. "I asked for his (Phillips) personal opinion."
Next line of questioning is about human resources and background checks. Trell said they can be valuable and useful tools when hiring. Background check costs around $40 to $125. Trell said AEG Live could afford this fee. "We don't do background checks on independent contractors," Trell said. Trell said he was involved in the hiring by AEG Live for the This Is It tour. His department was responsible for retaining independent contractors. Trell said he is not familiar with background check process for hiring. "I am not familiar with the process of doing background checks," Trell said. "No training."
Panish: "There was no hiring criteria for the This Is It tour, correct?"
Trell: "Not to my knowledge"
Trell testified that when it comes to independent contractors, they have either worked with the artists, AEG or known in the industry. Trell agreed that no background check was done on anyone working on the This Is It tour. AEG Live General Counsel Shawn Trell told jurors that no legal or financial checks were done involving Conrad Murray or anyone else who worked as an independent contractor on the This Is It shows.
Depending on the nature of the position, a background could be done, Trell said, like for potential employees in the financial area. Trell said he thought a background check would be appropriate for people working in financial roles, but not tour personnel who weren't employees of AEG
As to independent contractors, Trell said there's no supervision and monitoring like there's for employees
Panish: "You don't do anything to check into background, supervise or protect the artist?"
Trell: "No, safety is a concern"
Trell said that AEG did not hire Murray, that the doctor was like many independent contractors, "When they leave the environment, what they do on their own time is their own business.
Trell testified he doesn't believe the artist is more at risk because AEG Live doesn't do background checks
"We did nothing to monitor Dr. Murray," Trell said. "We did not monitor whatever it was that he was doing, no."
"It called for Michael Jackson being able to terminate Dr. Murray at will," Trell said about the contract. "If the concerts didn't go forward, and he was terminated under this provision, Dr. Murray would not be paid going forward," Trell explained
As to Dr Murray being under dire financial straits, Trell said that he doesn't know if he agrees with it, everyone's perception is different
Trell: "I certainly wasn't aware of it at the time"
Panish: "Because you didn't check, right?"
Trell: "That's right"
"I don't think conflict of interests are a good thing, and we would want to prevent it," Trell said
Email from Kathy Jorie to Shawn Trell on 6/24/09 at 12:54 am:
Subject: Revised agreement with GCA Holdings/Dr. Murray
It had two attachments Attachments: Revised Michael Jackson -AEG GCA Holdings Murray Agreement 6-18-09 Final MJ -- AEG GCA Holdings Agreement (Dr. Murray) 6-23-09
Email chain from 6/23/09, 5:39pm from Jorrie to Wooley, Murray
Subject: RE: Michael Jackson - Revised Agreement with GCA Holdings/Dr. Murray Email:
I have redlined the Word version so that you can see all of the revisions. In addition, I've attached clean PDF version for execution" (The email says that if Dr. Murray approved it, he was to print it, sign and send it back to Jorrie)
Panish: "Did Ms. Jorrie call this contract a draft?"
Trell: "She called it a Final Version"
"Every document is a draft until it is executed," Trell said.
Panish showed emails exchanged among AEG executives that contained drafts of Murray's contract. Although Murray had signed a contract with the company, neither Jackson nor anyone from AEG had added their signatures. Trell testified that a copy of the contract had never been sent to Jackson
With Trell on the stand, Panish played part of an interview that AEG Live President Randy Phillips gave to Sky News television soon after Michael's death. "This guy was willing to leave his practice for a very large sum of money, so we hired him," Phillips said. Panish also showed jurors an e-mail between AEG lawyers suggesting that Phillips told other interviewers AEG Live "hired" Murray.
Panish: "Isn't it true that Randy Phillips made numerous comments that AEG Live hired Dr. Murray?" Trell: "I know he has made that statement"
Panish said AEG higher-ups became concerned after Phillips made such admission. Trell said he didn't know if that was true. Bruce Black is the General Counsel for parent company of AEG and AEG Live. Michael Roth is AEG's media relations
Email from Kathy Jorrie to Bruce Black and Michael Roth on 8/25/09: Subject: AEG Live president says AEG Live hired Dr. Conrad Murray
Panish shows Trell a deposition, under oath, given by insurance broker Bob Taylor on another case. Trell said he has never seen or read it. Trell denied having a telephone conversation with Mr. Taylor where Trell asked him if a doctor's compensation was covered in the insurance.
Panish: "Does that refresh your recollection that AEG was employing Dr. Murray?"
Trell: "Mr. Taylor has this completely wrong"
After lunch break, Brian Panish asked if Shawn Trell wanted to change anything else in his testimony, to which he said "No"
Bruce Black, attorney for Anschutz, was present in the meeting with LAPD. Trell met with the police on 1/12/10. Trell told the police that day that Dr. Murray would receive $150,000 compensation per month. Trell also said that Dr. Murray requested and AEG would provide necessary medical equipment and a nurse. More than five months after Jackson's death, Trell said, he informed LAPD detectives that Murray initially requested $5 million to join the tour but eventually agreed to a salary of $150,000 a month for 10 months.
Panish: "As far as you know, all the agreements written for TII tour was done under AEG Live Productions, right?"
Panish: "Was Dr. Murray trying to help AEG get insurance?"
Trell: "The policy was in both names, so he was helping both parties"
Trell said Dennis Hawk, who represented Michael, was in touch with Taylor regarding the insurance
Panish: "As of June 2009, you don't even know whether Mr. Jackson had a personal manager working for him, right?"
Trell: "Well, my understanding at the time there were a couple of people acting in that capacity"
Email on 6/2/09 from Randy Phillips to Jeff Wald:
"Jeff, remember getting Michael to focus is not the easiest thing in the world and we still have no lawyer, business manager, or, even real manager in place. It is a nightmare!"
Trell said the only time he saw an artist's signature required to retain an independent contractor was for Dr. Murray. Trell said his understanding was that Dr. Murray worked for Michael for 3 years; didn't know how many times MJ saw Dr. Murray. "I've never spoken with Dr. Murray ever. And I met/spoke with Mr. Jackson once," Trell said.
"He was a significant expense," Trell testified about Dr. Murray. Trell said AEG Live didn't do anything to check Dr. Murray's competency as doctor, other than checking his physician license. Trell said AEG didn't do anything to determine Dr. Murray's financial conditions in 2009.
Jury was shown an email that Phillips sent to Kenny Ortega on night of June 20, 2009. It was email urging Ortega to stand down.
Email on 6/20/09 Phillips to Ortega :
Kenny it's critical that neither you, me, anyone around this show become amateur psychiatrist/physicians. I had a lengthy conversation with Dr. Murray, who I am gaining immense respect for as I get to deal with him more. He said that Michael is not only physically equipped to perform & discouraging him to will hasten his decline instead of stopping it. Dr. Murray also reiterated that he is mentally able to and was speaking to me from the house where he had spent the morning with Michael. This doctor is extremely successful (we check everyone out) and does not need this gig so he is totally unbiased and ethical
Panish asked Trell whether Phillips "characterization to Ortega, given no background check was done, was a lie". Trell responded that he didn't know what Phillips knew or was thinking when he wrote that email to Ortega. Trell also said he expected Randy Phillips to testify at some point during the trial, so he could address the email himself
Panish then asked Trell, "Sir, you never checked out one single thing about Dr. Murray -- you've already told me that, correct?"
"As of the date of the email, that would've been correct",Trell said.
When pressed by Panish, Trell said that Phillips' statement that Murray had been checked out, along with the executive's claim that the doctor 'does not need this gig' were inaccurate. "I don't know where Randy's understanding or impression comes from", Trell said. Trell testified that Phillips might have been "misinformed" or simply was stating his impression of the Las Vegas cardiologist
Panish: "But no one at AEG checked Dr. Murray to see if he was successful or not, isn't that true?"
Panish then asked several pointed questions about whether Shawn Trell agreed with Phillips telling Ortega they'd checked Murray out. One of Panish's questions was whether Trell thought Phillips' email was 'acceptable conduct'
Panish called Phillips' statement "a flat out lie" and asked Trell whether he agreed with it or if it signified how AEG did business. Trell said he didn't know what Phillips thought he knew when he wrote the message. "I know this statement is not accurate, but you'd have to speak with Mr. Phillips about what he thought or meant in saying it," Trell said.
Panish: "That's a flat out lie, isn't it sir?"
Trell: "I don't know what Mr. Phillips intended to say, this should be a question to him"
Panish: "You don't know if he was successful or facing bankruptcy, did you?"
Trell: "I know the statement is not accurate. You have to speak with Mr. Phillips about what he meant to say"
Panish: "Do you agree with the CEO of your company making untrue statements?"
Trell: "I don't know that he didn't know it wasn't true when he said it"
Trell said Phillips never told him that he checked Dr. Murray out. As to reference in Phillips' email about Dr. Murray being unbiased, ethical, not needing this gig, Trell said it was Phillips' impressions. He said AEG typically only runs background checks on candidates applying for full-time jobs with AEG, not independent contractors.
Panish: "Isn't it true AEG Live does not do background check on independent contractors?"
Trell: "That's true"
Trell said that no one from AEG interviewed Dr. Murray because he was an independent contractor.
"Did anyone from AEG ever at any time interview Dr. Murray", asked Brian Panish
"No", Trell replied.
Panish showed a document used by AEG entitled "Disclosure and Authorization to Conduct Background Check". Doc is used for employment, promotion, retention, contingent or the rate staffing, consulting, sub-contract work, or volunteer work. Panish asked if there was any reason why Dr. Murray was not given a background check. "He wasn't an employee, he wasn't applying for a full time position with the company," Trell explained. Trell said theoretically they could've asked to check Dr. Murray's background and credit. AEG Cross
Jessica Bina began her examination by showing the letter submitted by AEG's CFO to the Estate of Michael Jackson for their review. She asked Shawn Trell about the estimate presented to Jackson's estate that included Murray's $300k fees. She asked why it was prepared. Shawn Trell said it was done at the request of the estate. He said Jackson's estate wanted to know state of tour finances when Jackson died. Trell said the report was requested by the Estate after a series of meetings after Michael's death. "The purpose of the meeting was to wind up the business affairs of the tour due to Michael's death", Trell said. "It was my understating in June Tohme was back in the picture in some capacity. I'm not sure which, Mr. DiLeo was in it too," Trell said
Bina: "Is there any request for payment?"
Trell: "No, there's no demand for payment, it's for review"
Stebbins Bina asked about the inclusion of Murray's fee in the document. Bina showed the report that was attached to the letter. Murray's fee on the document had a footnote. Trell read what that footnote said, and explained why estate wasn't asked for Murray's fee. Next to "Management Medical" there's a reference to footnote 3. Note 3: 'Contract is not signed by Michael Jackson and such signature was condition precedent to any payment obligation' - Footnote on Murray fee. Trell testified Webking, the CFO for AEG, did not ask Michael's Estate for payment of Dr. Murray's salary
"You testified you were somewhat confused (by the inclusion of the $300,000)?", Bina asked Trell as she projected the list, dated July 17, 2009, on a screen for jurors.
"Do you see there's something in parentheses?', Stebbins Bina asked, zooming in to blow up a footnote from AEG CFO Frederick Webking that stated Michael Jackson never signed Murray's contract, so its terms were not enforceable.
"Is Mr. Webking asking the estate to pay?", Stebbins Bina asked Trell. "No", he replied, explaining that upon reflection he believed Mr. Webking was just being 'thorough' by including the $300,000 as a budgeted cost.
"Did Mr. Webking make a mistake as you thought yesterday?",she asked.
"No, he did not", Trell answered
Second report made to the Estate on 9/18/09, there was no amount next to management medical. Stebbins Bina then showed a Sept. 2009 report of This Is It's finances to Michael Jackson's estate. Murray's fee is not listed in that document
Trell went through his job description with AEG. He said he has five lawyers in his department and has worked on thousands of agreements. Trell explained what PMK is -- Person Most Knowledgeable, identified by the company to testify on its behalf. Trell said he didn't know about all the topics he was designated, so he had to do some studying and interviews with people
As to Ortega's contract, Trell said he was aware of a string of emails being at least a part of the original agreement with Kenny. "When we were done here yesterday, I looked at Kenny Ortega's original agreement," Trell said. Trell noted he hadn't looked at Ortega's agreement since it was entered into in 2009. Before the afternoon break, Trell and jury were shown Kenny Ortega's tour agreement. It was signed in April 2009. The agreement was three pages of legalese, with several pages of emails attached that confirmed the terms. The first three pages included some paragraphs that described who owned the rights to This Is It content. A large number of emails are part of the agreement as exhibits. Trell said he recalled the emails exchange and admitted again not being proud of forgetting the cover contract portion. Bina showed Ortega's executed contract with everyone's signature on it. Trell said Kenny Ortega was paid after his contract was signed.
Trell, Phillips and Kathy Jorrie were involved in drafting and negotiating the contract with Michael Jackson. For MJ, Trell said Dr. Tohme Tohme and attorneys Dennis Hawk and Peter Lopez represented him. He said there were multiple drafts. "It's my understanding they were talking to, or at least receiving offers from, a competitive of ours, Live Nation," Trell said. Trell also said that before signing an agreement with AEG, Jackson had been considering a tour offer from its main competitor, Live Nation.
Bina showed the jury the final tour agreement. Trell said he went to MJ's home at Carolwood to sign it. Upon arrival, Trell said Mr. Jackson got up from where he was seated, and said 'Hi, welcome, I'm Michael." Trell said it was pretty funny, since he was a very distinct person. Trell said they shook hands, he had a good firm handshake and his voice was not what people think
"He popped up, came over, introduced himself, was very cordial, there was a real positive energy, good vibe in the room," Trell said. "He seemed genuinely enthused," Trell added. "He had the contract in front of him, said he read every page, seemed very enthused." Trell said they all signed it and Mr. Jackson was really keen on the 3-D stuff, that he was already down the road in his mind. "I was probably there just a little less than an hour. And that was the only time I met him," Trell recalled.
Bina discussed the contract for the tour agreement:
A first class performance by Artist at each show on each of the approved itineraries. Contract: Artist shall perform no less than 80 minutes at each show, and the maximum show length for each show shall be 3.5 hours. Artist shall approve a sufficient number of shows on itineraries proposed by promoter or producer as to recoup the advances made. Trell said compensation was agreed on 90-10 split. Artist received 90% of what's defined contingent compensation.
Trell explained to jury how concerts get paid for. One scenario is artist pays for production up front. A second scenario is that the promoter gives artist an advance, and then they use the money to put together the show. The third option, Trell said, is the artist pays someone like AEG Live to produce and promote the show, with costs to come out of their pay. Trell called the second and third option like an interest-free loan. In Jackson's case, AEG agreed to a 90/10 split of show's proceeds. Jackson would have received the 90 percent portion, Trell said. Jackson was also on the hook for a 5% production fee
AEG Live was promoter & producer. "We advanced the money necessary to mount the tour," Trell explained. "It's interest free money". Trell testified that Jackson's advance, which covered his $100,000-a-month rent on his mansion and a $3-million payment to settle a lawsuit that would free up his performance rights, was considered a loan to be paid back to AEG.
Part of the advance was to pay off the settlement agreement of $3 million in London court. The underlying dispute was that a company owned the rights for Jackson's live performance. "The rights needed to be freed up," Trell said. The advances were to be paid back to AEG Live before the split of revenue. Production Advances were capped to $7.5 million. Contract:
Artist was responsible for all the production costs in excess of the cap and had to reimburse promoter.
"Michael Jackson was known to have very elaborate productions," Trell said. "Production values can get significant, for lack of a better word, it really depends on how many bells and whistles they want," Trell said. Trell said AEG would not advance money without the artist requesting it.
Trell said it's not only typical and customary, but standard and artist needs to secure either non-appearance or cancellation insurance. Their interest in the policy, Trell said, was to cover the advances and production costs incurred with the production of the show. "If the were no obligations to AEG, the payout would go back to the artist", Trell explained, "It just recoups our loan made to the artist."
Trell was also asked about elements of tour insurance policies and an agreement with former manager Tohme Tohme. Jackson's contract called for him to represent to AEG that he didn't have any health conditions that would keep him from performing.
Artistco hereby represents and warrants that artist does not possess any known health conditions, injuries or ailments that would reasonable be expected to interfere with Artist's first class performance at each of the shows during the term
Oh Tohme's $100k per month agreement, Trell was shown a January contract that Jackson signed to pay that amount. However, Trell said Tohme's agreement was predicated on Jackson getting tour cancellation insurance by a certain date. Deadline passed and by that point Tohme was no longer Jackson's manager, so he wasn't entitled to be paid his monthly fee.
January 24, 2009 -- agreement entered with Dr. Tohme Tohme. Trell said Michael was involved and signed this agreement. "This agreement was entered into January 26, Trell testified. "There are conditions that needed to be met before any payment could be made." One of the the conditions was placement of non-appearance insurance, Trell said. That placement was done in late April, early May. In May, AEG received letter from MJ saying Tohme didn't rep him anymore. "No payments were ever made under this agreement," Trell explained. Julie Hollander Transcript Shawn Trell Transcript
2023.05.19 00:41 MjolnirPants Aaina and the Disney Vacation: Part 13 (Final Part)
The throbbing had returned. She didn't know how long it took to return, but it had been four hours since it did. Her stomach felt cramped, stabbing out into her chest and hips every time she shifted, desperate for any food. She'd pissed herself again, but with no clothes to hold it to her, the urine was long since gone, leaving behind nothing but a chalky film.
Aaina waited for the sounds she knew would come. The explosions, the screams. It was inevitable. Her threats had not been idly made. She knew her father would come, and that he would bring hell with him for her captors.
What she didn't know was if he'd come soon and fast enough.
To keep herself occupied, she wiggled her left arm. She'd found some slack in the ropes that bound her after the last time Jessie had come. She wasn't sure if he'd done it, or it was just time and her own struggles, but there had been a tiny bit of slack there. She'd been working it ever since.
She wiggled and wiggled and, at some point during the fifth hour since the throbbing had returned, she felt the rope catch.
Her heart jumped into her chest. She craned her head to the side to look, and saw that the fibers of the rope were getting stuck in a crack that ran deeply through the arm. The throbbing increased in pace as her heart raced with excitement, but she didn't care. She'd stopped counting throbs when the rope first caught on it.
She wiggled her arm to hook the fibers again and then yanked. The crack widened, then closed back up as she released the pressure. She did it again, holding pressure and carefully following the crack with her eyes. It didn't look like it would split the handle of the chair, but she thought if she could work that crack open, she might be able to remove a chunk of wood, making the rope even looser. Perhaps loose enough to slip her arm free.
She wiggled and yanked. The rope kept slipping free after a certain point, but she wasn't dissuaded. She worked the crack over and over, widening it slightly more each time. After what seemed like hours, she let off the pressure to see that the mouth of the crack remained open.
Hope flared inside her chest.
She pulled up and back with her arm, carefully. She got what she hoped was enough of the rope into the crack to break it and gave a hard yank.
The rope slipped out as her hand throbbed and burned from the effort.
Aaina took a moment to catch her breath. Tears slipped from her eyes at the pain. She waited until the throbbing eased and then tried again. This time, she got even more of the rope in the mouth of the crack. She gritted her teeth, braced herself for the pain and yanked.
With a rippling crack, a chunk of the wood broke free and fell to the floor. The pain was even worse this time, making her sob reflexively. She tilted her head back, praying that her efforts had paid off as she weathered the agony and waited for it to subside.
When she thought she was ready, she opened her eyes and checked it out. A good inch had been removed from the diameter of the arm.
"Yessss," she hissed under her breath. By rotating her arm at the elbow, she was able to walk the rope up it to the break, where it slipped in and the pressure on her arm from it suddenly vanished. She wiggled and tugged on her arm, the process frustratingly slow, but after several long minutes, it paid off.
She pulled her left hand free.
She immediately reached for the collar around her neck. There was a magical hook in it that should have prevented the person wearing it from removing it, she knew. But that hook required an artifact; a carved wooden disk inscribed with runes, and she had not seen any such artifact. She prayed that they hadn't used it while she was unconscious as she scrabbled at the buckle.
After a few minutes, she decided that either they had used it, or she simply wasn't able to do this with her injured off hand alone. So instead of messing with it further, she reached over to the ropes binding her right hand to the chair. She found the knot and began to work it. Millimeter by millimeter, she worked the knot open until her right hand came free. With both hands now, she reached up and began working the collar.
Her heart fell as the buckle refused to give way.
"Shit," she muttered. She reached down and untied the knots binding her feet and waist to the chair, and then stood. She immediately collapsed, her knees too weak to support her weight.
Cursing herself for not taking her time, she used the chair to pull herself back upright. She got to her feet and waited for the weakness to pass. It took a while, but it eventually faded until she took an experimental step. She kept upright.
She walked the room, pacing around the perimeter. Now that she could see the back end, she noticed the medical gear there. A defibrillator, stands for IV bags, a couple of rolling trays, an EKG machine that looked like it was older than she was.
As she was pacing, she heard it. The sounds she'd been waiting for. A man yelled something indistinct, followed by a scream of pain. Distant gunfire erupted.
She froze, thinking furiously. No doubt, Eddie or one of his men would be coming, either to move her or kill her. She looked at the door, which opened out. Nowhere to hide, there. Instead, her eyes alit on the chair and an idea came.
She moved back to the chair and picked up the lengths of rope. She tied off her legs with a slip knot that would come free with a single yank on the loose end, but remain otherwise tight. She did the same for her waist. For her right arm, she put the free end under her palm, where she could rip it loose. For her left arm, she'd just have to jam it in tight enough to pull the rope taut.
She slid the loop of rope still tied around the left arm of the chair forward, past the missing chunk. Before she slid her arm in, she glanced down at the chunk on the floor. She needed to hide it, she realized. Then, she noticed the shape. It was long, thick at one end, but tapering to a very sharp point.
Like a weapon.
She leaned over and scooped it up just as the doorknob began to rattle. Clutching it in her mangled hand, pressed to the underside of her forearm to hide it, she slid her arm through the loop of rope as the door opened.
Jessie stood there, a knife in his hand.
Her heartbeat escalated, pounding almost painfully in her chest. She gripped the sliver of wood tightly as he simply stood there, staring at her with what looked like a conflicted expression. She knew that he wasn't a cruel man already. His argument with Eddie had shown that. But the mere fact that he was here, working with Eddie established that he was not a good
Add those together and compare to the way he looked now and what she knew about Eddie's plans, and she was sure he was here to kill her, not move her.
She sucked in deep breaths as she watched him. She struggled against her restraints, being careful not to undo the knots or slip the rope down her left arm and expose the fact that it was loose.
She held her breath and pushed to exhale, a feat she remember from the brief happy portion of her childhood, once she'd discovered that her tears could sway Mom and Dad's opinion. Her eyes swam and warm, salty water ran down her cheeks. When she spoke, her voice cracked and sounded exactly as pathetic as she hoped.
"Please don't. You don't have to do this. I didn't do anything to you, I didn't have anything to do with what happened to Eddie..."
Jessie stepped forward at her words. She squeezed the wooden spike so hard her knuckles turned white and her missing pinky screamed with fiery agony. He stopped with his feet a bare few inches from her. Aaina sobbed.
"Please don't. Jessie, please. Please!"
He crouched down and regarded the knife. "I can't believe I'm about to do this," he muttered.
An explosion sounded from outside. Both of them flinched, but Jessie did not turn away as she'd hoped. Aaina continued to cry and suck in deep, shuddering breaths as she eyed the spot on his neck where she planned to bury the spike.
Jessie heaved a sigh and reached out with the knife.
Aaina exploded into movement, yanking her arms free. She whipped the spike of wood around as fast as she could, even as her right hand came up to grab the hair at the back of Jessie's head.
The wooden spike drove into his throat. She felt the fragile wood splintering and shattering as she drove it in. She felt the resistance of flesh and muscle and the sudden give as it reached its limit. She saw a flash of Jake's face, shocked expression, eyeball popping out of the socket as the skin of her hand pushed the wooden spike deep enough to smack into the skin of his neck.
He reeled back, eyes wide. It seemed to take a long moment before the first spray of blood erupted from his neck, splattering the wall, six or seven feet away. Aaina jerked free the rope around her waist, then reached for the rope around her feet, only to freeze when she looked down.
The rope had been cut.
Jessie's knife lay on the floor between her filthy feet, the freshly cut ends of the rope laying on either side of it like a pair of those arrow stickers they put on photographic evidence in court. Look, Aaina, they said. Look at the knife he was using to cut you free, to help you escape as you viciously rammed a wooden splinter through his carotid artery.
"What the fuck?" she asked breathlessly. The blood rushing through her veins pounded in her ears, muffling all the sounds around her. She heard more gunfire, more explosions, and a deep rumble like a train passing.
She tore her eyes free and fixed them on Jessie. He lay on the ground, one hand pressed to his neck in a futile attempt to arrest the rhythmic spraying of blood. It arched out of him like a rooster's tail as his free hand dug into the pocket of his cargo pants, pulling out a wad of bandages.
"What the fuck?!" she asked him as he brought the bandages up to his chest.
"Heeeh," he rasped.
He sucked in a breath that sounded like a pig squealing and wheezed again. "Hep knee."
Aaina stared in horror as he tried and failed to unroll the bandages one handed. He sucked in another wheezing, whistling breath and fixed his eyes on hers. He spoke slowly, his breathy, gurgling voice barely intelligible.
He was rocking in time with his breathing now. It seemed to take all of his power just to suck in and blow out each one. He finally got the roll undone and shook it out with a deeply trembling hand.
His eyes pleaded with her, but she could not move. She couldn't budge from the chair, staring in horror as she realized what she'd just done.
He brought the bandage up to his neck, then carefully began to wind it around the injury. He got three full winds around his neck before he stopped as if to take a breather. He dropped his eyes to the floor and stared at it, sucking in laborious breaths. After a moment, he fell over onto his side.
The fall struck the blunt end of the wooden spike and Aaina shrieked involuntarily as the sharp end erupted from the flesh on the other side of his neck.
He sucked in a deep, wheezing breath and then he let it out in what sounded like a snore. He passed gas loudly and as the smell reached her, she flashed back to Jake again.
Aaina trembled in the chair. Her eyes filled once again with tears, this time unbidden. She wasn't sure how long she had sat there, staring at Jessie's body when another figure appeared in the door.
"Baby!" Mom shouted, rushing forward. She was in her tactical gear; a tight black t-shirt and cargo pants over combat boots, a plate carrier that crackled with dense magic over top. She carried a rifle in one hand and she threw the other around Aaina as soon as she was in range to do so.
"Mom?!" Aaina gasped.
"I got you, baby, I got you... Are you hurt?" Mom pushed her back out to arm's length and examined her. "Aaina? Honey?!" she asked. "Are you hurt, baby?!"
Aaina blinked and focused her eyes on Mom's. "I... I stabbed him... I..."
"It's okay baby," Mom said. "You did good. Are you hurt?"
"I'm okay, I just..."
Mom dug into one of her pockets and produced a wooden disk. She pressed it to Aaina's collar and then unbuckled it. Almost immediately, her missing finger began to burn and itch fiercely. She ripped off the bandage right as the odd sensation faded to see a patch of twisted skin, cleaner than the surrounding flesh covering the stub of her pinky.
She looked back up and swallowed the lump in her throat. "He was cutting me loose," she said.
Mom looked over at Jessie's body. "He was working with Eddie. Fuck him." She looked back to Aaina and took her face in her hands. "One crisis of conscience doesn't undo all the harm he's done. He was one of them, and now he's dead. That's all that matters right now, baby. Now, we need to go."
Aaina followed Mom out the door. As she stepped into the next room, she recognized it as a cabin. It was old, worn down and falling apart. There was no furniture, no fixtures other than some cabinets and a counter with a gaping hole where a sink used to be. As they walked to the door that led outside, Aaina realized that the only noise coming from outside was the crackling of many fires and a single voice, screaming in agony.
They stepped outside in a scene of devastation unlike anything Aaina had ever seen. Even the village where she'd grown up, Nangalam, hadn't looked like this after the extensive battles fought there.
They were in a cluster of old, dilapidated cabins that looked like a long-abandoned summer camp. The buildings on the outskirts were universally destroyed, smoking husks that glowed with orange flames in the purple, early evening light. The forest, she could tell, had once encroached tightly onto the camp, but the trees for as far as she could see were stripped of vegetation, their bare limbs supporting flames that reached up into the air, chasing black smoke.
There were craters scattered around, ranging in size from a few feet wide and a foot deep to large impacts deeper than Aaina was tall. Smoke filled the air, making it impossible to see more than a few hundred feet in any direction, giving the whole scene an otherworldly feel. And there were bodies.
So many bodies lay scattered around. Men in black combat gear, pieces of men in black combat gear. Blood spattered almost every surface. She almost stepped on a foot that had been severed and left to bleed out its meager supply of blood into a paltry puddle in the dirt.
Mom led her off in one particular direction. As they walked, standing figures came into view. She saw men and women in DCM combat gear, standing around talking or walking around, checking the intact bodies for signs of life. As they got closer, she made out two impossibly large, hulking figures and recognized feminine curves. Closer still, and she could make out others she recognized. Aunt Sookie, Aunt Kathy, Uncle Gary, Uncle Yarm.
As they approached, she saw two of the DCM soldiers break off and approach her. She recognized them as Eddis and Yarm Junior. They each embraced her and told her how happy they were that she was safe. She smiled, happy to see their faces, but unable to keep it up for long.
The screaming man had gotten louder. She turned in the direction of the sound and walked. After a moment, she saw a figure standing there. A figure she recognized so easily, which filled her heart with relief in a brief respite from the horror her life had become, recently. Dad.
He stood over a lump that was the source of the screaming. As she drew near, she saw that Dad was impassively watching the lump. As she drew closer still, she recognized the lump. It was Eddie.
He had no arms or legs. His groin was a mess of smashed meat and gristle. He bled from countless cuts and holes in his face and neck. His screams were harsh and rough, his vocal cords already tearing from the effort of screaming away his agony.
She stopped. Eddie had some kind of spider clinging to his throat. Black-carapaced and with dozens of limbs, it clung tightly to him. With her magical senses restored, Aaina could sense the magic in the spider, and she recognized it as the same magic that made the collars work. That, then, was the source of his agony.
"Hi, Dad," Aaina said, her voice small and choked. Dad looked up, then stepped over the lump that was Eddie and embraced her tightly.
"I'm so sorry, baby," he whispered. "I'm so sorry for everything you had to go through. This whole operation was a complete wreck from the beginning, and you're the one who bore the brunt of it."
"It was my choice, Dad," she whispered back.
"That doesn't change anything," he said. She held on to him for a moment in silence as Mom walked up and put her arms around both of them.
After a while, Aaina let her arms go limp and she looked at Eddie. "What are you going to do with him?"
"I was going to let the silent spider hang onto him for a few hours, until the healing process gets started. Maybe leave it on him for a few months, let him feel every second of pain until it's gone. Then, I was going to have him put in a hole somewhere."
Aaina shook her head. She grabbed the handgun out of Dad's holster. "I want to do this," she said.
She stepped forward and straddled him. His screams had finally torn through and he was now making a hoarse, shouting whispering sound.
"I've killed two people," she said to him. "Because of you."
He didn't respond, though his eyes met hers, pleading.
"I feel like shit," Aaina said. "I hate you. I hate Jake, and Jessie, and I hate myself. And it's your fucking fault."
She lifted the gun and pointed it at his head. His pleading look changed. She saw relief and gratitude in his eyes as she slipped her finger into the trigger guard.
"You get mercy," she told him. "Which is better than anyone you've hurt has gotten. Be grateful for that while your soul rots in whatever fucked up afterlife is waiting for you." She squeezed the trigger and winced as the gun barked in her hands.
---- Two Weeks Later
Aaina sighed into the phone. "Yeah, I mean, it can't possibly be worse than Disney." Ningur tittered on the other end.
"Amsterdam it is, then," she said. Aaina turned to Swaim, in the driver's seat. Swaim smiled brightly and they both turned to Larry, in the back seat. Larry sighed and gave a thumb's up. Being dumped had not done a lot for his already oft-negligible enthusiasm.
Aaina reached back and patted his knee. "There's lot of hot guys in Amsterdam. There's this one guy I know from Discord. I mean, he's another Eddie, but you didn't meet the first one, so you're fine."
"Maybe," Larry said sullenly.
"Maybe we should bring Aunt Sookie," Aaina said. "She could probably use a break, too."
"Fine by me," Swaim said. Larry shrugged. "Sure," he muttered.
Swaim heaved a deep sigh. "Okay, well, you'd better get to bed, girl. You got that picnic with the fam tomorrow, and you don't want to be all cranky for it."
Aaina smiled and opened the door, stepping out. "Okay. Larry, you can call if you want to talk, okay?"
Larry nodded, sighed and the met her eyes. "You're the best best friend, Aaina. I know I'm all mopey, but I mean it. You're the greatest."
"What am I, chopped liver?" Swaim asked. Aaina leaned back in. "You're awesome. And purple."
"Purple?" Swaim asked, frowning. Aaina nodded sagely, then shot a hand forward and pinched her nipple. "Purple nurple, bitch!"
Swaim cracked up with laughter as she slapped a hand over her offended bit. "I'm gonna get you back, one of these days!" she swore. "When you least expect it!"
"Looking forward to it, sweetums!" Aaina said, blowing her and Larry a kiss. Both blew one back. "I'll talk to you guys later!" she said cheerfully as she closed the door and skipped inside.
Mom and Dad were still up, cuddling on the couch under a blanket. The bare shoulders peeking out ensured Aaina stepped carefully around the edges hanging onto the floor, lest she inadvertently pull it off of them.
"How was the movie?" Mom asked with a smile. Aaina shrugged. "It was alright. Not as funny as I hoped, but they can't all be hits."
"Hmm, indeed they can't," Dad said with perfect seriousness, not meeting Aaina's gaze. Her easy expression melted into a disgusted curl of her nose. "Eww, you're fooling around under that blanket."
Mom grinned like the cat who caught the canary. Dad blushed.
"Okay, I'm going to bed, then."
"Remember to set your alarm for the picnic!" Mom called as she walked down the hall. She stepped into her room and pulled the door closed behind her. She used her vanity mirror and some wipes to clean off the light makeup she'd been wearing, and then stripped down to nothing and pulled on her sleep clothes; a pair of gym shorts and a tank top. She plugged in her phone and checked to make sure her alarm was set, climbed into bed, willed the lights off and was asleep within minutes after a long day spent with her friends.
"I was trying to help you!" Jessie shouted, blood spraying from his lips with every word. Aaina turned and fled as fast as she could, through a forest of white sand and towering pine trees. As she ran, another figure stepped out in front of her.
Jake's eye still dangled, the side of his head was still smashed in, but his voice still came out as clear as a bell.
"I liked you, Aaina. I just wanted to be with you. I wanted to make you feel good."
Aaina screamed as the world changed, shifting from the moonlight-dapped forest to her dark bedroom as she shot upright in bed. Her eyes filled with tears and her shoulders shook. She sat there, sobbing in the dark until her eyes dried. She lay back down, grabbing a pillow and pulling it into her chest. She clung tightly to it as exhaustion overcame her terror and sleep took her once again.
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2023.05.18 19:44 AlySedai RS has Top Billing at NYC Comic Con
2023.05.18 19:07 errjaded OFMD at NYCC!
2023.05.17 19:33 MjolnirPants Aaina and the Disney Vacation: Part 12
Aaina sat in the dark room, tied to a wooden chair. Her head was pounding, throbbing in time with her hand. Her stomach gurgled and rumbled, having had nothing in it for days. Her jeans were soaked with piss that had smelled intensely bad when she finally couldn't hold it back anymore. Her mouth was as dry as a desert, and it hurt to move her tongue around inside of it. Her shirt was soaked through with sweat from the oppressive heat in the room.
She marked the passage of time by the throbbing in her hand and head. The bleeding had stopped a while back, which was a relief. She'd bled for so long that the left leg of her jeans was soaked and there was a drying puddle still on the floor.
As best she could figure, her hand was throbbing about eighty times a minute. So she'd taken to counting out eighty throbs, then reaching down with her middle finger to scratch a line onto her jeans. Every time she got to sixty lines, she dug her thumbnail into the chair and scratched a line there, then used her fingertip to erase the lines in her jeans to start over.
She had scored thirty five lines into the chair, and was scratching the forty-sixth line into her jeans when the door opened.
She blinked in the blinding light the door let in. Two silhouettes appeared there, blocking out most of the light and allowing her to see. One was the scarred man, the other, a large, heavyset man carrying a large bag.
The door closed and her eyes began to readjust to the light.
"Go on," the scarred man said. The larger man walked over to Aaina and set his bag down. He grabbed Aaina's left arm and dug his thumb into the crook of her elbow, prodding around.
"She's really dehydrated," he said.
"Cut her shirt off," the scarred man rasped. The big man turned to look at him, not saying anything.
"There's a method to my madness," the scarred man said. "Do it."
The big man sighed and turned back. He retrieved a pair of scissors from his bag and began to methodically cut her shirt off. When he was done, she sat there in her jeans and bra, glaring at the two men.
The big guy went back into his bag and produced a bag of clear fluids and some clear rubber tubing. He stepped away behind her and returned with a rattle of plastic wheels on the floor a second later. He fiddled with the tubing just out of her sight, then tied a rubber strip around her upper arm. He dug out an IV needle in a sealed package from the bag, carefully pricking a vein inside her elbow and taping it down. He opened the valve on the bag and let the fluid drip out of the end of the tube for a moment before hooking it up to a needle. When he was done, he went into the bag again, and this time, came out with a plastic bottle of orange juice.
"You need to get some fluids in your stomach," he said, his voice methodical and cold. He opened the bottle and held it up to her lips.
She wanted to spit it out in his face, but she couldn't help but eagerly gulp down the sweet liquid. The man carefully kept the bottle tilted just right for her to drink from it.
"She's in really bad shape," the big man said.
"Good," said the scarred man.
The big man shook his head and pulled the empty bottle away from Aaina's lips. With some fluid in her mouth, she could finally speak.
"You're all going to die," she said.
The scarred man laughed. "Cut her bra off."
The big guy sighed and did as he was told.
"You're still going to die," Aaina said. "Every single one of you. My dad has been in a bad place for a long time, and I promise you he's in a rage right now. He still has friends in the CIA who will find you, and he's going to be bringing a whole fucking army of demigods and special forces types with him."
"Cut her pants and underwear off," the scarred man said. The big man stood and faced him, jabbing an accusing finger at him.
"No, Eddie. You can be a fucking pervert on your own time. I'm here to get paid, and every fucking thing we do to her that isn't about keeping her alive, healthy and safe reduces the chances of us getting paid."
"And who's paying you?!" the scarred man -Eddie- snapped. "Me. I'm the one who paid you up front, and I'm the one who's going to split the haul when we're done. So cut her fucking pants and underwear off, Jessie."
"I fucking said no already," Jessie responded. "Now fuck off, Eddie. I have shit to do. This is the fucking job you hired me for, and this is what I'm doing. I didn't agree to torture little girls for you, you fucking pervert."
Jessie turned and walked behind her again, returning a second later pushing a tray table on wheels. He began pulling items out of his bag and placing them on the table. A toothbrush, a handful of tiny hypodermic needles. Little bottles of medication. A roll of tape. A tube of cream or gel with a complicated word Aaina didn't recognize on the label. Bandages and cotton swabs.
"I'm gonna work on your hand," he said. He took one of the needles and drew some of the medicine from the bottles into it. He then began injecting it into the nub that was all that remained of her left pinky. He jabbed it in, squeezed in a little medicine, then moved to another spot.
Aaina winced at the pinch of the needle, but after a moment, a numb coolness began to spread from the injury. The throbbing faded.
"What is that?" Eddie asked.
"What is what?" Jessie responded. "In the needle," Eddie clarified.
"It's lidocaine and a tiny little bit of dilaudid," he answered.
"You're wasting painkillers," Eddie growled.
"If she jerks her hand around while I'm working on it, I could make it worse," Jessie explained calmly. Aaina felt the chill continue up her arm. It reached her shoulder. If the room hadn't been so warm, she'd have shivered at it. The man finally put the needle down and took another out of the package, filling it with a slightly blue-tinted liquid from another small bottle.
"This is antibiotic," he muttered, injecting it even closer to the wound. Aaina didn't feel the needle this time.
The chill filled her body and settled into a comfortable, warm buzz.
"You should have just let her regenerate the damn finger," Jessie said.
"Fuck that," Eddie responded. "She can suffer."
"You know," Jessie said as he put down the second needle and picked up a slightly larger bottle with a regular cap. He opened it and poured some clear liquid on the wound, then began to scrub at it with the toothbrush. "For a guy who claims to be objective, you're just obviously
"I told you all what my goals were. I want payback. I want that man's wife and kid, and I want to make them die slow. I never hid that. What I said was that I promised you guys could do your job and get paid. I never claimed it wasn't personal, Jessie."
"Uh huh," Jessie said. He put the brush down. Aaina glanced at the wound to see that it was bleeding again. The medicine coursed through her, blurring her thoughts and making her feel oddly relaxed, despite being tied to a chair and having her amputated finger cared for by a guy who looked like a street thug.
Jessie wiped away the blood and rubbed some gel from one of the tubes into it. He squeezed some more gel onto a cotton swab, then pressed that to the wound. With one hand, he grabbed the roll of bandages and began to wind them around her hand. Aaina watched him work. She tried to plan her escape, but she kept losing her train of thought. After a few minutes, Jessie taped down the bandages and stood.
"Okay, she's good now. We'll leave those IV fluids in till the bag's empty.
"I need to take a piss," Aaina said.
"Go ahead," Eddie said with a sneer. She thought he looked a little like a frog when he did that and giggled.
"I need to take a shit, too," she said.
Jessie sighed. "She's got the collar on, Eddie. She's already pissed herself at least once. Letting her sit here, marinating in her own shit and piss is not going to keep her in good shape."
"You know what?" Eddie snapped. "Get the fuck out, Jessie. I'm sick of you arguing with every goddamn thing I say. Just fucking go and let me handle her."
"You're gonna fuck this up," Jessie snapped back. "You're gonna kill this fucking girl, and we're not gonna get paid. And when that happens, every single one of the guys is going to turn on you, Eddie. Nobody cares that you used to be the Lady's right hand man. We're gonna string you up and bleed you out when you fuck this up."
Jessie threw his stuff back into his bag and stormed out. As he passed Eddie, the latter man darted an arm out to seize Jessie's. Jessie turned an incredulous look on him, and opened his mouth to say something, but Eddie spoke first.
"Leave the scissors," he said.
Aaina could see the bag out of the corner of her eye by craning her neck.The throbbing and headache had faded, leaving her with no way to count the passage of time. She tried to figure out how long the IV bag should take to drain, but she couldn't recall enough human biology for that.
Instead, she sat naked in the chair, with piss puddled on the floor beneath her, mixing with and rehydrating the dried blood from her finger. Shit was smeared to her bottom and the back of the chair's seat. She didn't remember shitting. Everything after Eddie had cut her pants off and then smacked her across the face was a blur. She wondered if he'd touched her, but she really couldn't recall.
She supposed that was a good thing.
She had no idea how long she'd been there. The drugs had worn off a long time ago. The bag had emptied a while back, too. She sat and waited for something to change, with no idea of how long it had been.
The door cracked again at one point, and Jessie stepped inside. He had another bottle of orange juice, and a package of wet wipes. He fed her the juice, then carefully cleaned her bottom and between her legs with a clinical detachment, muttering to himself in a language Aaina didn't know the whole time.
"There, you're clean now," he said as he tossed the last stained wipe into the corner.
"Thanks," Aaina mumbled.
"Yeah, well, you're our meal ticket, girl."
"I meant what I said before," Aaina said. She looked up and met the man's eyes. "You know who I am. You know who my dad is. You know what he can do."
"Last I heard, he was telling Jimmy Fallon that he'd sworn off killing and was living the quiet life, working an office job."
"That was before Sarisa killed my mom and my brother and sister. Over and over. Dad didn't know she was killing them so much. He only knew about the one time. Me, too. But it was enough. He broke his promise not to kill and went looking for Sarisa. He worked out a way to kill a god, and when he found her, he did it."
"If he tries to attack us, you're gonna die, you know that, right?"
Aaina laughed. "That will only make him madder."
Jessie shook his head. "Madre de Dios," he said.
A song she'd found online popped in her head. It was a horror parody of a nursery rhyme, a form of music she'd learned was called a doggerel. It was something Aunt Kathy might sing. She channeled Aunt Kathy and eyed Jessie through her eyebrows. A few tiny changes to the lyrics and she began to sing softly.
"First, he'll take your fingers off,chop them into strogonoff.Then he'll pull your guts right out,through you butt and through your mouth.Then he'll squash your testes flat,use them as a welcome mat.Then he'll pop your eyeballs free,toss them up into a tree.Then strip your skin off inch by inch,laughing as you scream and flinch.Then he'll put you on a spike,run it right up your tailpipe.When you finally pass away,he'll save your soul for more fun play."
Jessie eyed her. She could sense the fear in him, see it shining through his eyes. She'd gotten under his skin.
"You're all going to die," she said again. Jessie flinched and backed out of the room.
---- Jerry Williams, Still Trembling with Rage
"The Joe Budd Wildlife Management Area," Agent Reeves said as he walked into the room. Everybody looked up at him.
"You found them?" Inanna asked, standing up. Reeves nodded. "More specifically, the Lake Talquin State Forest."
"How?" Inanna gasped, taking the papers from Reeves' hands and flipping through them. Jerry leaned forward to see they were satellite photos.
"I'm not at liberty to say, exactly-" Reeves said, but Jerry interrupted him.
"The Palantir Satellite," he said. "I helped design it. It's a satelite that can basically see magic happening. Pretty simple tech and enchantments, really, but very useful."
Reeves blinked at him, then sighed. "Yes, it was a satellite. Palantir seven had a good chunk of northern Florida in its field of view at the time the raid happened. It picked up traces consistent with about seven people teleporting into a spot in the woods. We did some digging, and there's a cluster of cabins there, an old summer camp that's been abandoned for years."
Inanna handed Jerry the photos and he flipped through them. Black and white aerials showed the familiar bumpiness of trees, interrupted by the sandpaper-like texture of fields and the smooth sheen of water. A purple blob in one of the wooded areas showed where exactly they'd spotted the magic.
"This is good," Jerry said.
"Um, it's kind of remote. Hard to get to," Reeves said. "I think-"
"This is good because
it's remote," Jerry interrupted. "The fewer innocent people around, the better." He glared at the photo and in his mind's eye, he could already see the forest burning. Part 13 (Final Part)
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2023.05.16 19:31 lunanightphoenix The origin of the white car, the Dullahan, and the Cú Sidhe
Part 3: https://www.reddit.com/nosleep/comments/1034ykd/i_am_an_exterminator_for_the_supernatural_and_im/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=ios_app&utm_name=ioscss&utm_content=2&utm_term=1
Sorry, I know it’s been a while since you’ve heard from us. We’ve been so busy recovering from our various injuries, cleaning up debris, helping Aunt Kathy repair her house (again), getting to know Naoise and Manannan, teaching the Cú Sidhe some basic English commands, returning the monster’s stolen body parts to their owners’ families, submitting our account of the whole debacle to the Bureau of Supernatural Services regarding the newly discovered American Dullahan because obviously those are now a thing…
All right, enough avoiding it. I’ve just gotta face it. This entire ordeal messed me up badly in the head. It messed all of us up, but for some reason I was the most affected. Maybe it was because I was the first person to have physical contact with it? I don’t know. Since this is the first American Dullahan encounter that has ever been documented, it’s certainly possible that it has unknown abilities. It was able to trap Dana in her first sleepwalking episode in years and bring her right to it, so I don’t see why it couldn’t mess with someone’s mind…
Basically, I had some serious PTSD. Every time I tried to type this post over the past several months, I would immediately start getting flashbacks and go into a panic attack. Apparently since the Dullahan was dead, I finally had time to feel all the emotions that I had been able to cover up with my adrenaline and protective instincts. That combined with whatever the heck the Dullahan did to me before we finally managed to kill it caused me to have a small mental breakdown.
Dana somehow managed to contact the BoSS (she said it’s best if I don’t know how she did that). After some discussion among the bosses of BoSS (sorry, couldn’t resist), they decided that they would be able to help me without breaking any rules or confidentiality. They were not particularly fond of the idea of a girl who gets supernatural premonitions potentially having flashbacks of a battle with a creature that is not supposed to exist in public.
Regardless of their motivation, we were all incredibly grateful for the help. After several months of anonymous therapy sessions with a therapist specializing in supernatural trauma, my PTSD has diminished to the point where it doesn’t take over completely anymore. It still affects me and probably always will, but I can control it now for the most part, hence why I can finally write this post.
After Dana and I were released from the hospital, we got a phone call from the exterminator. He discussed what had happened with us and said he would be on his way as soon as he found some gold. I asked why he needed gold and he explained that gold is the only known weakness of the traditional Irish Dullahan. The problem was that he wasn’t 100% sure that the gold would work because this Dullahan was some sort of evolved form of the Irish Dullahan. Unfortunately the Bureau of Supernatural Services had no information on this form of Dullahan, so we would just have to hope that this would work. After informing us that he would be at our house a little before sunset, we ended the call.
“Luna, you feel that itchy feeling on the back of your head too, right?”
“Yep. Any ideas for a Plan B, Dana?”
As I mentioned in Part One, Dana and I feel strange sensations when something is wrong or something bad is about to happen. The last time we felt this sensation was when our town was preparing for a bad ice storm that was almost certainly going to take down power lines. Mom made sure that we had two racks of firewood in case our generator froze. She offered to help our paternal grandmother get firewood, but grandma insisted that she would be fine since she had a generator. Dana and I felt this same itchy feeling on the back of our heads and tried to get grandma to change her mind, but she wouldn’t listen.
The generator ended up freezing when grandma and grandpa lost power. Dad had to bring them to our house until they had power again so they wouldn’t freeze.
In other words, as awesome as the exterminator is, Plan A was just not going to work. We needed a backup plan.
“Do you think Aunt Kathy might know how to contact Deirdre’s old owner? If she knew what Deirdre is, there’s a chance that she might know a way to beat this thing.”
“That’s brilliant, Dana!”
We found Aunt Kathy behind the house by the lake. I was still trying to rest my throat as much as possible so it could finish healing, so Dana did the talking.
“Yes, Dana? What’s up?”
“Luna and I were wondering if you have a way to contact the friend that gave you Deirdre. We think she might know something that could help us.”
“Oh, actually, I have her address! Orla ended up moving into a smaller house than the one that was destroyed. She’s about 30 minutes away from here.”
After Aunt Kathy gave us the address, we told Mom that we were heading out to visit a friend of Aunt Kathy’s. Mom was understandably concerned based on everything that had happened recently, so she told us to take Deirdre with us. Deirdre excitedly jumped into the car. I smiled and was about to get behind the wheel when Dana snatched the keys out of my hand.
“Aren’t you forgetting something, Luna?”
“Huh? What are you talking about?”
“It’s my turn to drive this week.”
A sense of dread slowly crept over me.
“Dana, we made that agreement for use at home. You have no idea what the roads are like here in Florida, especially with the ongoing hurricane recovery.”
“So? You never specified that the agreement only applies when we’re home, so it’s my turn.”
“We just got out of the hospital a few days ago! Are you trying to put us back in?!”
“Luna, come on, I’m not that bad at driving.”
I just stare at her. “Do you not remember the passing disaster two weeks ago?”
“I didn’t do anything wrong! We were stuck behind a tractor going 10 miles per hour in a 55 mile per hour zone that allowed passing!”
“Dana, you were driving uphill! You couldn’t see the cars coming at you and you almost got hit!”
“It was fine, Luna! He missed us by at least ten feet!”
I threw my hands in the air in frustration. “That’s still too close! And let’s not forget about driving on the sidewalk for a full thirty seconds-“
“The road was iced over!”
“-hydroplaning during that thunderstorm last month-“
“It was too dark to see the water!”
“-dragging that traffic cone for ten miles-“
“We were on a four lane road and I couldn’t switch lanes to avoid it!”
“-and of course the incident with the chocolate milk tru-“
“You promised never to speak of that again!”
I sighed in frustration. “Dana, give me one good reason why I should let you drive the car.”
“I’ll buy you a warm Starbucks brownie every day for a whole week.”
Dana excitedly jumped behind the wheel and I reluctantly got into the passenger seat. “Dana, at least try to be careful, okay? Deirdre may be essentially indestructible, but we’re not and there’s no way Mom and Aunt Kathy can fight this monster without our help.”
“Alright, alright, I’ll try to be careful.”
After surprisingly surviving the 30 minute drive, Dana pulled up to a nice but small house. As we all got out of the car there were suddenly two deep barks. We turned towards the house and two massive black dogs came out of nowhere and started barreling towards Deirdre. Dana and I panicked for a moment until we realized that Deirdre apparently knew these dogs based on the way she ran to meet them and happily started playing with them.
While we were trying to figure out how Deirdre knew these dogs, the front door of the house opened and a kind looking woman who looked to be in her early sixties began walking towards us. While the dogs did their thing, Dana introduced us.
“Hi, miss! I’m Dana and this is my sister Luna. Are you Orla? Our Aunt Kathy told us that you were Deirdre’s previous owner.”
The lady smiled at us and started to speak with a lovely Irish accent. “Yes, I am Orla. It’s so nice to meet you girls! Kathy talks about you two a lot and I was hoping I would be able to meet you one day. Please excuse Naoise and Manannan. It has been quite some time since they have seen their sister.”
“Miss Orla, could we please go inside if you don’t mind? We have some questions that we need to ask you. It’s extremely important,” I said.
Orla’s warm smile quickly turned into a frown. “Oh dear, of course! I’ll help in any way that I can. Please come in! Deirdre, Naoise, Manannan, teacht!”
After we had all found seats (or floor spaces) in the living room, Orla turned to us. “Now, what’s going on, girls? I’ve raised Deirdre and her brothers since they were puppies and I can tell that Deidre is on edge about something. I can also see a fading bruise shaped like a handprint on your throat, Luna. What happened?”
Dana and I looked at each other uncomfortably trying to figure out what to say. I decided to just ask. “Miss Orla, do you know anything about an Irish creature called a Dullahan?”
Orla’s jaw dropped, then she stood and started pacing the room angrily while muttering some Irish phrases that I assumed were not very polite. All three dogs had started growling after I said the name of the creature.
I wasn’t quite sure what to say to that, so Dana decided to speak up. “Miss Orla, I’m sorry, but could you please speak English? Luna and I don’t speak enough Irish to understand what you are saying.”
Orla stopped pacing, gave the dogs a command that made them stop growling, turned to face the two of us, and sighed. “Oh, girls. I am so, so sorry that I dragged you into this. This is all my fault.” Dana and I were extremely confused. How was the Dullahan’s attack the fault of this sweet and kind woman?
“I can see that you girls are very confused. That’s completely understandable. I know you have a lot of questions and I will gladly answer all of them to the best of my ability, but first I need to tell you the history between me, this Dullahan, and the Cú Sidhe.
“It happened about five years ago. I still lived in Ireland at the time. I was walking home from visiting a friend on the other side of my little village. It was around midnight, but I didn’t think anything of it since there was essentially zero crime in our village. I had just reached the main crossroads when I heard the sound of horse hooves on the road. I figured it was just one of the villagers on their way home, so I kept walking. When the carriage came alongside me, I turned to say hello to the villager and froze in shock.
“The horses didn’t have heads. It was a Dullahan’s carriage.
“I stood as still as possible and did not look at the carriage driver. As long as the carriage didn’t stop, I would be safe.
“I started to hyperventilate and looked up to see the Dullahan climbing off the carriage and walking towards me.
“What made me even more frightened was that this Dullahan’s head was still attached to its body. Dullahan literally means “without a head”, so this one still having its head attached to its body told me that something was very wrong with this one. I had no idea what to do, so I just did nothing and accepted that it was going to kill me.
“Just as it was about to wrap its hand around my throat, something jumped in front of me. It was Granuaile, the village Labrador Retriever. She was growling and barking at the Dullahan in an attempt to protect me. The creature simply laughed at her and raised its whip. I crouched down and wrapped my arms around her in a vain attempt to protect her from being harmed. The Dullahan was just about to bring its whip down upon us when there was a huge angry roar that shook the ground followed by the Dullahan letting out the most horrific sound I have ever heard in my life.
“I looked up to see what appeared to be a huge black dog blocking my vision. It was a Cú Sidhe. They are known to haunt crossroads but no one in the village had any idea that one haunted ours.
“As the Dullahan continued shrieking I was able to make out some of what it was saying. It was ranting about never getting to take any lives because of Cú Sidhe interfering every time it tried. Apparently there was some agreement among the Sidhe that because it wasn’t a “proper” Dullahan it should not be allowed to take lives. It also said something about this being the last time it would be denied its prey and that it would find me again one day. It suddenly disappeared along with the horses and carriage as if it had never existed in the first place.
“The Cú Sidhe turned to me and Granuaile. As I wondered what it was going to do to us, I suddenly heard a gruff, otherworldly voice speaking to me in my head. It was the Cú Sidhe. He said that our bravery and willingness to give our lives for each other had truly impressed him, so he decided to help us since we were on his crossroads. He confirmed that the Dullahan was not finished with me and would find a way to hurt me again in the future, so he was going to give me some protection. Granuaile happened to be in heat at the time, so he was going to mate with her. He explained that the resulting puppies would be my protection. They would be half Cú Sidhe and would have all of their father’s abilities, but the lab from their mother would decrease their size to help them pass as huge but normal dogs as well as give them the loyalty and love that their mother had shown to me. He told me to go home and that he would send Granuaile to my cottage when it was time for the puppies to be born. After they were weaned, they would be mine to do with as I pleased.
“I thanked him for his help and somehow managed to make my way home. Granuaile showed up at my front door two months later ready to have her puppies. She gave birth to two males and one female. I named them Deirdre, Naoise, and Manannan. Once they were weaned I moved to Florida with them. I knew that the Dullahan would still be able to find me somehow, but I hoped that moving here would give me a bit more time. When the hurricane destroyed my house, I somehow knew that the Dullahan would take advantage of the aftermath to try and attack me.
“I asked Kathy to take Deirdre to hopefully protect her. She inherited her father’s red eyes and I was worried that the Dullahan would try to kill her if he saw her eyes because of what her father did to save me. Naoise has green eyes and Manannan has blue eyes, so I figured that it would be safe to keep them with me.
“I am so sorry, girls. The Dullahan said he was going to find a way to hurt me one day, but I had no idea he would go after my friends.”
Dana and I were stunned. Once we had taken a minute to process all of that, we reassured Miss Orla that none of this was her fault and that we did not blame her at all, which seemed to help put her at ease. Dana pulled out the list of questions we had put together and crossed out most of them since Miss Orla had already answered them. She then handed her the remaining questions.
“Okay, girls, let’s see here. I honestly have no idea why the Dullahan is driving a white sports car. It’s certainly inconvenient to drive a horse drawn carriage in Florida. I’m not sure how it got Dana to sleepwalk to it. The Irish Dullahan does not have an ability like that.
“As for a weakness, the only weakness that a Dullahan has is gold.”
I explained to her what the exterminator’s plan was and she shook her head. “That’s not going to be enough to kill it. That’s definitely enough gold to hurt it, but not kill it. I do have something that will, though. Do either of you girls know how to shoot a hunting rifle?”
“I do,” I said. “Grandpa was in the army and he taught me how to shoot.”
“How good is your aim?”
“I’m definitely no sniper, but my aim is pretty good.”
Miss Orla got up and left the room. She came back a few moments later with a hunting rifle and a box of ammunition.
“Luna, this is a box of armor piercing bullets. They are coated in a thin layer of pure gold. There are about a dozen of them. Even if you can only get one bullet into the Dullahan’s skull, it will incapacitate him long enough for the exterminator to use the other gold to finish him off for good. I’ve had this hunting rifle specifically modified to fire these bullets.”
I carefully took the rifle and the bullets while Dana expressed our thanks.
“Also, take Naoise and Manannan with you, girls. Deirdre will likely need her brothers as backup in this fight.”
Now that we had a good Plan B, we could head back home and get ready to… ready to… to…….
Hey guys, this is Dana. Luna is alright. She had another flashback. Her therapist expected this to happen and she should be able to write the rest of what happened within a few days after she takes some time to cope. I hate that this happened to her and I’m so glad we killed that thing. It was a crazy fight and you guys will definitely enjoy it, but I’m not good at writing that stuff, so I’ll wait until Luna can write it. Thank you all for your help and support and Luna will hopefully be able to post the rest soon!
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2023.05.16 19:03 MjolnirPants Aaina and the Disney Vacation: Part 11
Part 10 Gary Johnson, Gray Team Lead
Gary was busy setting up a hide in the glade to the northwest of the Brotherhood clubhouse when his radio crackled to life.
"Multiple teleports at the target site. Fifty hostiles, armed and converging on the structure."
Gary dropped the knife he'd been notching a branch with and grabbed his radio. "All units, commence assault on hostiles at target site. Watch for magic-users, take prisoners when possible."
He took his rifle in his hands, pointed himself in the direction of the clubhouse and flat out ran. He jumped the barbed-wire fence separating the lot with the glade and the road, then jumped the six-foot chain-link fence that surrounded the property. As his feet touched down, he heard the distant muffled crack of a flashbang going off, followed almost immediately by a rippling crack of what sounded like a couple of dozen guns firing in volley.
He burst through the treeline surrounding the property and raised his optics to his eye. Black clad figures were moving towards the house. Bodies already lay on the ground, and two of them were smaller, dressed in civilian clothes. Gary lined up his shots and mentally flipped his fifth-gen Spear to anti-demigod mode; an experimental new ammo that could disrupt the healing abilities of magical beings.
His first round went through the head of a man about to kick in the door. Another man dropped as someone else in Gray team landed a shot. He transitioned to his second target, and then a third, fourth and fifth. Finally, they realized they were being counter-assaulted and turned.
Gary dropped, laying in the high grass, letting the clear lenses he wore over his eyes paint red outlines of the enemy to track them. He continued to shoot and scoot, moving after every enemy he felled to mitigate his lack of cover.
As the enemy began to notice the tiny flashes of men firing through fifth-gen suppressors and their rounds began to land closer and closer, more gunfire erupted from inside the house.
It was a cacophony, blowing out the glass in the windows and lighting up the interior with a chaotic strobe effect. Bullets flew out of every opening in the building. Gary watched as one man was struck in the head and toppled, only to climb back to his feet, ripping his cored helmet off and flinging it away. Gary caught a glimpse of the wound closing, and decided to take this guy.
He drew up power from his wells, poured it into his energy shield and then rushed forward. Rounds splattered into him, flashing into a golden light and then falling, melted, to the ground around him. The wet grass hissed and spat and steamed in response to the hot lead.
His target noticed him at the last second, and wisely chose to draw a knife instead of trying to shoot him. Gary didn't care, though. He caught the man's predictable belly-thrust and viciously yanked the blade out of his hand in a well-practiced move that shattered his thumb.
The guy gasped and swung his other fist into the side of Gary's head, but he accepted the blow. Stars danced in his vision as he slammed a fist full of Kentucky-tough knuckles into his mouth. Teeth shattered and flew in response. Gary brought up the hand he had blocked the knife strike with in an uppercut that caught the man's chin and sent a solid inch and a half of his tongue flying out of his mouth, severed by what remained of his teeth.
The man reeled back. He wasn't trained for this kind of brutal fighting. Few men were, mostly because such training didn't exist. The only way to train for it was to do it. And Gary had been doing it for many, many years. He hauled off and soccer-kicked him in the nuts, relishing the brief, spongy resistance of testicles that popped under the blow, followed by the sudden release of further resistance as one or both of the man's pubis bones snapped.
The guy dropped, a scream tearing its way loose from his throat. A bullet from the house impacted Gary's shoulder as he stepped forward, his shield dropped. But he was still suffused with magic, and the round had barely come to a stop, smashed against his upper humerus, before the healing action forced the bits of led right back out the hole they'd come in and closed it behind them.
A boot came down on the guy's left knee even as his hips and genitals began to heal. More crunching, grinding sounds announced more grievous bodily harm under Gary's boot, and he didn't hesitate to draw his own knife from his armor and bring it down at the top of the man's thigh. He ripped back and up, slicing a fillet of bloody flesh that rewarded him with a spray of blood that arced ten feet into the air and drenched Gary instantly.
As the man squirmed and screamed and grasped at his injured leg, Gary dropped to his knees beside him and caught one wrist in his free hand. He pushed forward, as hard as a thrown punch, wrenching the man's shoulders off the ground and pushing him over to his belly.
The knife came down on the guy's neck as Gary carefully laid out a wet blanket spell over him. It had taken forever to learn, but it was worth every minute. The man tried to teleport away, but then cried out in shock when nothing happened.
"Both fucking hands, right fucking now!" Gary shouted at the top of his lungs into the man's ears. He jerked in surprise, so Gary repeated himself.
"Hands behind your fucking back, or I swear to god I'll cut your spinal cord and do it myself!"
One of the man's hands was trapped under his body. The man tried to wiggle it down to the sidearm sheathed on his hip, so Gary drove his knife into the man's armpit, sinking the blade to the hilt and severing both nerves and blood vessels.
"Last chance, asshole! Hands behind your back! Right fucking now."
Another bullet dug a furrow across Gary's back, managing to slip under his backplate. He winced, but remained focused.
The guy growled, clearly not willing to give up. With a shake of his head, Gary ripped his blade free and punched it into the back of the man's neck. He went limp.
Gary left the knife in place as he wrenched his arms together and used an enchanted pair of zip-cuffs to secure them, then repeated the trick with his feet and finally clipped them together with a steel clip.
His fingers were starting to shake from the exertion of keeping the spell in place, so he grabbed the silent collar off his belt and quickly slipped it around the man's neck. He had to pull the knife free first, and he paused to let the wound heal before closing it. As soon as the man began to jerk his body again, Gary buckled the strap and hit the security lock.
He leaned down to whisper in the man's ear. "Your ass belongs to me, now." He slapped the ass in question as he stood. The gunfire was beginning to peter out, so he looked around.
The attackers were mostly down. One of his guys had another one hogtied a few dozen feet away. The rest were dead, except for three running north towards the road. Gunfire from inside the house chased them.
"Cease fire!" Gary shouted, directing his voice towards the house. "Cease fire! Cease fire! Cease fire!"
He stomped over to the bodies he'd noticed on his way in and sighed. "Shit."
He clearly recognized Ningur. She'd been cut in half by large-caliber rounds. Her upper body lay half across her legs at a right angle. The other one, Gary was fairly sure was Swaim, though it was missing its head and one arm. Another victim of an HMG, it seemed. Inanna
, he sent along the magical comms in his head. Get your ass out to the clubhouse now, and leave Jerry behind. On my way,
she replied immediately, trusting his judgement. A few seconds later, she popped into existence next to him, still in her cop clothes, wearing police-style armor and carrying a shotgun.
"Motherfucker," she swore as she spotted the bodies. "Where's Aaina?" Gary shrugged. "I just clocked these two and immediately called you, I-" He stopped when Swaim appeared next to him in a pop of expanding air.
"They got Aaina!" she said. A second later, Ningur appeared.
"What happened?!" Inanna demanded.
"They threw a stun grenade in the house," Swaim said, breathing heavily. "Ningur froze time in the area and pulled us into a new, uh..."
"Flow," Ningur said. "We were executing the attackers. We got two, and then the third had dream magic, and was able to break into our flow with it. I don't know if he pulled the others in with him, or if they did it alone, but about a dozen jumped into our flow and attacked. Me and Swaim were overwhelmed, but they were making a point of not killing Aaina."
"I saw the leader," Swaim added. "He had a mangled arm and leg, and his face was heavily scarred. I don't know how old he was. He had dark dirty blonde hair, or very dull brown hair. Cut short. He was about six feet tall and he walked with a cane. I can produce a rendering of him, if you give me a little bit."
"They grabbed Aaina and bound her. They had a silent collar," Ningur said. "They put it on her then they teleported away."
Inanna growled, a low, deep sound that rumbled out of her chest. Gary looked at her, noticing the orange hellfire glow in her eyes.
"I think that change of tactics is worth revisiting, now," he said. "Maybe we need less investigative teams and more death squads."
"Jerry's gonna go on the warpath," Inanna said. "There will be no reasoning with him, not after what happened to me and the kids. He's going to lose his shit. It's going to cause all kinds of trouble. We're going to be dealing with this fallout for a while."
"You thinking you might calm him down?" Gary asked, a little skeptical of the notion, himself.
"No," Inanna said. "I'm thinking I'm gonna help him make that trail of death and destruction even wider."
"Ayup," Gary said. "Sounds about right."
---- Jerry Williams, Trembling with Rage and Fear
Jerry stared at the monitor, clenching his fists at his side.
"...The woman Esmeralda Boucher and her daughter Maria," the scarred man said as he walked around Aaina's bound form. Jerry's eyes were locked onto those of his daughter, who was staring fearfully at the camera.
"In addition, I want ten million in cash. Unmarked bills, you know the drill. Have the cash in five duffel bags and the woman and girl brought to the return address on this disc by midnight, the night of November fifteenth. I expect all of your people to be outside of a five-hundred meter radius by the stroke of midnight.
"If you do not comply, the first consequence will be another video. This one will be much longer, and shot from multiple angles. You'll like it," the scarred man smiled at the camera. "Because it will be a gang-bang porn. Right up your alley, Jerry. Only, it will be starring your daughter, I'm afraid.
"After that, I'll resume the bombings. The Brotherhood of Mankind is feeling a little desperate, so they may not be confined to places magic users congregate, I'm afraid. And if that's not enough, well, I'll start mailing you pieces of this little girl."
The scarred man tapped Aaina's arm, bound to the chair with tightly wound wire.
"In fact, allow me to demonstrate my resolve," he said. He grabbed her hand and pressed the knife down on her pinky. Aaina's eyes widened and Jerry heard her muffled shouts of protest as one of the men from the background stepped forward and pressed a button on her collar. The scarred man pushed down as Aaina's shouts turned into a pained scream and her finger fell off the arm of the chair. The scarred man scooped it up and held it up for the camera.
"I'll mail you her whole body, one piece at a time, Jerry," he snarled, his friendly facade gone now. "Don't test me."
The video ended.
Jerry glanced over at Inanna, whose face was entirely blank. Behind them, Kathy spoke up.
"That collar is one of the CS models from last year," she said.
"Where d'ya think he got it?" Gary asked.
"A leak? Maybe? I don't know," Kathy said. "The Group is surprisingly good at internal security. It probably has something to do with the fact that a quarter of our employees can magic up a lie detector in the blink of an eye."
"They came from the Sixteenth World," Jerry said through gritted teeth.
"Oh shit! Those hulks and Griselda!" Kathy replied. She remembered searching two bodies and one prisoner and finding the collars they'd been wearing when they escaped.
"Them boys at the clubhouse were not using Sixteenth World gear," Gary said. "AKMs and MP-443's. Russian gear, but the stuff that's easy to get here in the states."
"It's Eddie," Jerry whispered. Inanna turned to her. "Who?" she asked.
"It's Eddie," he said louder. "The one who tried to kill me with his buddy in Antarctica. The one we left with Dylan after we killed his friend."
"So this is payback," Inanna said darkly. Jerry nodded.
"Which means," he said. "That whether we give him what he wants or not, he's never going to let Aaina go."
He turned and walked out. "Where you goin?" Gary called.
"I'm going to the office," Jerry said. "I'm gonna find this guy and I'm gonna..." he trailed off with a sigh. He was going to do bad things. Evil things. He tried to work up some qualms about it, but he couldn't make himself feel the slightest twinge of conscience. Only fear. And rage.
He heard Gary's voice speaking again as he left. "Make the calls," he said.
---- Sookie, Busy at the Moment
Sookie grunted as the machine pushed her newest toy deep enough that her sphincter closed around the base and she could actually feel the cold metal of the shaft. She grunted again as the machine pulled it back out until just the tip remained inside of her.
"Shit, I need more of these," she breathed. She grabbed the remote and was about to turn up the speed of the machine when her phone rang, sounding the emergency ring tone.
"Oh for fuck's sake, I was so close!" she shouted. She pulled herself off the toy, which had pushed back into her as she groused. To her relief, the sensation of the toy being yanked out was just enough to push her over the edge. She slapped a hand down between her legs as she shook in the throes of an orgasm.
"Holy shit," she muttered when it finally passed. She reached for the phone and hit the accept button quickly, pressing it to her ear.
"Yeah..." she panted. "What's... What's up?"
"Aaina's been kidnapped and is being held somewhere in the US Southeast," Kathy's voice said. Sookie promptly forgot about her machine, which continued to push the enormous, floppy toy back and forth across her back.
"Shit, I'll... Get my bat," she said. "Bring your rifle, too. Meet us at the Orlando PD HQ," Kathy said, then disconnected.
Sookie stood on wobbling legs. "Shit..." She glanced down at the machine. "I think I need to... Pay the centaurs another visit. That was fun..."
Shaking her head to get back into the game, she walked to her closet and pulled open the small door there to reveal her arsenal.
Not her 'arsenal', the array of sex toys in custom-cut foam mounts prominently displayed in her living room. This was an actual arsenal. She grabbed the bat, once a cheap, novelty sex toy she'd picked up at some cheap shop in Brooklyn, now a heavily-enchanted weapon capable of smashing heads and pounding even the most potent magical armor into scrap. The tip was so full of magic, it barely even wobbled anymore. Hitting people with it was less fun than it had once been, but the mystical effectiveness it had now far outweighed that loss.
Another weapon, a rifle that was also -predictably- shaped like a penis joined the bat in her arms. Sookie regarded it. "Oh, we're going to fuck some shit up," she said.
---- Glenda Wilmington, Enjoying her Day Off
Glenda slapped the buttons on the side of the pinball machine, sending the ball rocketing to the 10k bumper. It struck it, then bounced into the automatic paddle on the side, which sent it right back into the bumper.
"Yes!" she cried as her initials swapped places with Dave Trout's on the leaderboard. "Suck my dick, Dave!" she shouted over her shoulder. Dave, sitting at the bar, responded with a middle finger and a laugh.
She managed to score another two thousand points before the ball slipped between the paddles and the game finished. She turned to grin at Jack, but her grin didn't last long.
Jack's face was angry as he hung up his phone and slipped it back into his pocket. "Let's go," he said. "We need to grab our gear. There's a buncha heads suffering from an acute lead deficiency, and we're gonna go fix 'em right up."
"What happened?" Glenda asked, frowning in concern. "Jerry and Inanna's girl, the oldest one. Some fucker kidnapped her and is holding her ransom."
"Shit, this is gonna get ugly," Glenda said.
"Ayup," Jack agreed. "And we gon' go make it even uglier."
---- Brekka, In Her Comfort Zone
Brekka closed the refrigerator door on the bowl of gelatin and went to check the chicken cordon bleu in the oven. The home phone rang, but her hands were dirty.
"Eddis!" she cried.
"I got it, mom!" Eddis called from the living room. The sounds of his video game stopped and she heard him answer a moment later.
He didn't say anything for a moment.
"Okay, I'll get in touch and let him know... Yes, I'll tell her, too. No, fuck that, I'm coming. She's my friend. Alright. See you soon." Brekka heard the phone click back on the cradle.
"Who was that?" she asked. Eddis appeared in the door. She took a second to marvel at how much like his father he looked. He was leaner, and insisted on remaining clean-shaven, but his eyes and nose could have been copied and pasted. Then she realized that he looked furious.
"What's wrong?" she gasped.
"That was aunt Kathy," he said darkly. "Aaina's been kidnapped down in Florida somewhere. They're holding her ransom."
Brekka gasped, dropping the rag she had been wiping her hands with. "Call your father," she said when she could speak. Eddis shook his head. "I'm getting my shit. Will you let him know? We're supposed to meet them at the Orlando Police Department's headquarters."
Brekka frowned. The thought of her boy going off to... She took a deep breath. He was his father's son, there would be no gainsaying him. And he was a smart and talented young man. And he would be going with his father.
"Okay," she said. She rushed forward and squeezed him in a crushing hug. Eddis hugged back, because he was the best young man in the world who never failed to hug his mother back. As she let him go, Yarm Junior appeared.
"What happened?" he asked. Eddis turned. "Aaina's in trouble. You wanna come?"
"Fuck yeah," he said. Eddis looked at Brekka, a question in his eyes.
"You're both men now. Living at home with your mother doesn't change that," she said. Junior walked over and hugged her, and she squeezed him just as tightly as she'd squeezed his brother.
"Get ready," she said through the tears that filled her eyes. She swiped angrily at them. They would be fine. They would be with their father. "I'll contact your father."
---- Michelle Vasquez, Just Finishing her Third Set
The phone started ringing while she still had three reps to go. She pushed the handle up, willing her weakening arms to go faster. "Eight," she breathed. She let it fall towards her chest, then pushed explosively against it. "Nine," she huffed as it reached the extents of her arms. The phone continued to ring, taunting her. Growling, she let the bar bounce off her chest and shoved. Her elbows shook. Her arms threatened to give out. She prepared to go big in an instant if she lost it.
But the bar crept up, slowly. She got it pushed all the way. "Ten!" she shouted, angling the bar back and letting it drop to the handles.
"Shit," she muttered, sitting up before she was ready. Her head spun as she grabbed the phone and answered it.
"Vasquez," she said. She listened to the voice.
"Motherfuckers," she swore. "I got it. Yeah, I'm up in an hour, might as well get an early start. Let me go, so I can call in."
The phone call ended. Michelle dialed the ready room and Angie answered after two rings. "Hey babe," she said.
"Get the team ready," Michelle told her. "Jerry's on the warpath. Somebody kidnapped his daughter."
"Oh shit," Angie said. "I just sounded the alert. You coming in?"
"On my way from the gym. You'll have to pardon my stink, I don't have time to shower."
---- Julie Allard, Still Grieving
Julie sat in the dark room and stared at the guide on the television. She'd already called out on the latest hike with the girls. Kathy wasn't going to make it either, so Astrid would likely cancel. Julie felt bad about it, but the thought of leaving the house and pretending to be happy was just too much for her to handle right then.
An alert popped up on the television, finally catching her attention and drawing her out of her spell. The QRF at the Baltimore office had been put on alert. She leaned forward and read the description, her eyes widening.
This was bad. Despite their reconciliation, Jerry had been different since the incident with Sarisa earlier this year. More somber, more serious, and more easily angered, too. He hadn't yet yelled at anyone, but he'd been grumbling to himself whenever things went wrong, which was a major shift from the man she'd first met.
Jerry still had Godslayer, and the gods were mostly keeping their distance from humanity as a result. Which meant there would be no intervention from them if he got out of control. And with his daughter in danger... The old Jerry would have gone after her, of course. But the old Jerry would have cared about things like collateral damage. She honestly didn't know if this new Jerry would.
She pressed the button on the remote that brought up her computer on the screen, then grabbed her mouse and keyboard from the side table. She logged in and checked the data pool on the investigation he'd been running. She found a video file that had been newly added and pulled it up.
Her eyes widened as she watched a scarred and maimed man make demands, and then cut one of the young girl's fingers off. Jerry was going to go apeshit.
She grabbed her phone and dialed the office. Gregg answered.
"Put the whole company on alert," she instructed. "Get rescue teams on alert. Start sending them to Miami, Atlanta, Montgomery and Tallahassee. Contact all the first responders we have any relationship with anywhere in the Southeast US and warn them that shit might get apocalyptic soon."
"This is about VP Williams' daughter?" Gregg asked, already aware of the situation.
"Do you want me to try to find someone to calm him down? We could get a Black Div team to do this quietly."
"Gregg, I just watched a video where the man threatened to film a young girl being gang raped and tortured to death, and then I watched him cut one of her fingers off and hold it up for the camera."
She heard Gregg make a sharp hiss as he sucked in a breath.
"I don't want to calm him down. I want you to send every active QRF team to Orlando to assist him."
"Gotcha," Gregg said. "Want me to call Frank, too?" A spark of vicious delight alit in Julie's soul. It didn't last any longer than it took her to imagine what Frank might contribute, but for that split second, she felt like her old self again.
"Yesssss," she hissed.
---- Frank Stillman, Director of Central Intelligence
"I understand," he said. "I'll see what I can do. Thank you. Yes. Goodbye."
Frank pressed the disconnect on his desk phone, then lifted his finger and dialed a number.
"Avery," he said when the line clicked open. "I want you to get the handler working the Sarisa remnants issue and have him take a mirror to the Orlando office."
"Yes sir," Avery said. "Anything else?"
"Yeah, now that I think of it. Scramble two Terragons and have them head to Orlando, as well. Mark this as a training exercise."
Avery choked at the idea of dragon riders operating on American soil, but he managed to gasp out a "Yes, sir." Part 12
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2023.05.16 04:15 MjolnirPants Jerry and the Goddesses: Part 30
Part 29 on HFY
"Two hundred fifty three," Gary said. I clicked my scope up to two hundred meters and moved the crosshairs a little above the officer's head.
"Red," I said, using the jargon Gary had taught me. There were people behind the officer, civilians. I kept the crosshairs over his head as he paced back and forth, yelling at the figures kneeling in front of him. "Yellow," I added as he moved off to one side of them, but not far enough for a clean shot.
He moved back in front of the prisoners. "Red," I said again.
"This fucker is gonna go green in the worst way, I jest know it..." Gary muttered. I had the same idea. I wasn't going to get a clear shot until he stood in front of someone and executed them. It seemed inevitable at this point.
Sure enough, he stopped in front of an older man, who glared up at him with hatred in his eyes. The old man spat something out and the officer put his handgun to the man's forehead and pulled the trigger.
"Green," I said through gritted teeth and squeezed the trigger. The officer's head exploded into a pink mist and the remaining soldiers gaped for a second. I shifted my aim to the one standing furthest from the captives and fired again. Another pink mist erupted. This time, the soldiers got the hint and scattered.
The captives didn't need any more encouragement. They scattered, too, most of them running out the iron gates of the walled courtyard they occupied. I caught a glimpse of a muzzle flash from one of the windows and a woman who was attempting to herd two children, all with their hands tied behind their backs, tripped and stumbled. I put my crosshairs near the top of the window and squeezed the trigger until the magazine went dry.
Gary handed me another, which I reloaded as quickly as possible. This was a kind of fighting I could handle. The enemy didn't know where we were, and weren't even shooting in our general direction. But the firing at civilians was making me angry. Gary wasn't much happier about it, judging from his tone.
"Come on," he said, "Let's get closer." Gulp. They would be able to shoot back if we got too close, but Gary knew what he was doing better than I did. And there were other courtyards with other groups of civilians. I had expected an attempt at ethnic cleansing in Ethiopia (and according to the news, hadn't actually been disappointed, though I hadn't witnessed it firsthand), but Sarisa and Inanna had been clear that the fighting here was more conventional.
Apparently, 'conventional' simply referred to the fact that they were using tanks and jets and artillery in addition to soldiers. But ethnic cleansing was still, unfortunately the order of the day. It was the Azerbaijan military, attempting to wipe out the Armenian majority in this region, this time.
We moved down the stairs carefully, my long rifle slung over my shoulder while I carried my MP5SD in my hands. Gary had his super-stubby assault rifle with a long suppressor bringing the length back up, and he carefully and quickly checked every corner before we went around it.
Emerging from the rear door, we moved down an alleyway, perpendicular to the direction we wanted to go for a few blocks before turning. We hadn't gotten more than a quarter of the way forward when a group of soldiers rounded the building ahead of us and stopped, surprised at our appearance.
Gary reacted instantly, snapping his rifle up and shooting the lead soldier twice in the chest. I reacted second, spraying the whole group with my submachine gun. I gave them a nice, long hose-down, courtesy of Inanna's magic magazine which never ran dry. I'd asked her about doing something similar for Gary, but she had told me that her ability to do that for me was contingent upon our physical relationship.
I knew she was with us, however, because two of the soldiers who survived the spray of nine millimeter bullets managed to get their guns pointed at us, and then both experienced misfires that made the action of their rifles explode. Gary cut them down quickly, and the last survivor ran off, leaving a blood trail behind him.
"Come on kid, before more of them fuckers show up," Gary said and we took off again. A few more blocks passed beneath our feet and we found another four-story building, so we decided we were close enough. We went in, carefully clearing each room as we made our way up the stairs to the top floor. This one had a roof access, so we took it.
Up on the roof, we had an expansive view of the area we needed to search for the second key in. We grabbed some empty cardboard boxes that were stacked up beside the door back down and taking them apart, then draping them over ourselves and crawling slowly to the edge. I could see eight groups of soldiers, one of whom had a couple of large artillery guns set up in their midst. On top of the soldiers, I saw two groups of three tanks, and I could hear idling engines in the distance.
After watching for a while, Gary eased back down over the lip on the roof. "I ain't got no clue where the key might be," he admitted.
"Me neither," I said with a sigh.
"I think we'd best just call Ana and let her clear the area. We're too close for sniping; they'll beam in on us right off the bat." I nodded. That worked for me. "Inanna," I said, "We haven't got anything so far. I think we're going to need you to get rid of these soldiers so we can take some more time to search."
I heard her voice, coming as if she was standing right in front of me. "Gotcha. Sarisa and Kathy can handle this area now. I'll be there in just a second."
Literally one second later, I heard gunfire and shouting. I peeked up over the edge again. Six groups of soldiers were now running around, finding cover and beginning to move to the west. The group with the artillery guns was loading them up, awaiting coordinates to aim at, and the last group, the one furthest to the west, was laying on the ground in the middle of the street, bleeding out. All of them.
Damn. I'd seen Inanna go into warrior mode before, but it never ceased to amaze me. As I watched, I saw her appear, moving down the middle of the widest street moving east-to-west. The second group to reach her came from directly in front, and she just kinda waved her gun around for a second, fire spitting from the barrel, and that was that. They were all dead.
"Ana," Gary said, "Think you could give us some AT? There's six IFVs nearby, and we might be able to take care of a couple of them for you before we bug out."
I felt, rather than heard an affirmative response, and then noticed a couple of olive drab tubes laying on the roof next to us.
"So how do we use these?" I asked Gary.
"Watch," he said, and threw off his cardboard, coming up in a crouch. He took one of the tubes and extended it, then flipped out an eyepiece. He pointed to one of those switches with the safety covers on the side. "This is the safety, you've got to flip this cover up and hit the switch to arm it."
I grabbed the other tube and followed his example. We armed the missiles inside, and as per his instructions, I centered the reticule on one of the tanks and pulled back on the trigger slightly. The reticule flashed for a few seconds, then turned green.
"Three, two, one..." We fired on zero, a pair of missiles streaking out towards the tanks.
We didn't wait to see what happened. The missiles would impact (most likely) or they wouldn't. Either way, our part was done. A loud explosion sounded as we scrambled back inside and down the stairs, moving quickly now and not slowing down until we reached the doors on the bottom floor.
As the ringing in my ears from the explosion cleared out, I could still here gunfire and yelling from the northwest. We moved a couple blocks east, then turned back north.
"Where we going?" I asked. "To spike that arty," Gary answered, peeking around a corner quickly. "They're right here. Now listen, I've got some C4 here and a remote clacker. When we turn the corner, you're going to have to do more than just spray-and-pray with your never ending magazine, there. We need to take out the guards, first. The guys with rifles. Once they're down, we can shoot the gun crews, if they're still around. Once the area is clear, I'll plant the explosives on the guns and then we'll beat feet west, to meet up with Ana. Got it?"
I nodded, "I think so. Shoot the guys with guns first, then the guys without gun, then wait for you, then we run west."
"That's it!" Gary said, clapping me on the back. "Hey, one more thing..."
I looked over at him. "What?"
"Your pants are dry."
I glanced down. Huh. Would you look at that?
Just then, Sarisa and Kathy appeared next to us.
"Hey," Sarisa said brightly. "Need a hand?"
Katrhy was holding a submachine gun like mine, only she didn't have unlimited ammo, so she had a bunch of magazines stuffed into pouches on her body armor. She looked very tiny in the armor, knee and elbow pads and helmets that Inanna had insisted the both of us wear. I probably looked like a cosplaying idiot, myself, so I didn't say anything. Sarisa was dressed like Inanna: t-shirt and thin body armor, tight jeans and carrying an assault rifle. Inanna had an American-style AR-15, but Sarisa had the same AK variant the soldiers here were using. It looked more advanced than the ones the paramilitants had in Ethiopia, and hers had a red dot sight on it.
"Hell yeah," Gary said, and I wholeheartedly agreed. "Kathy, when we turn this corner, we're shooting anyone who's armed first, and then the guys running the big guns."
"Big guns?" she asked.
"Yeah, you'll see. Just shoot anyone with a rifle. And stay close to Sara."
Kathy nodded. She looked a lot less scared than I felt, which made me a little jealous.
Gary counted down from five, then ran around the corner to a low wall. I followed him, noting the positions of the guys with guns as I ran. Right as I arrived, Gary leaned around the edge of the wall and began firing steady, paced shots. I squeezed up against the building the low wall extended from and fired from over top of it. Sarisa and Kathy joined in from the corner, behind.
The whole thing lasted just a few seconds. A bullet came flying back, striking the wall in front of me and throwing chips of concrete in my face. I flinched back and ducked down. I didn't think sticking my head back up would be a good idea, and Gary was blocking me from shooting around the end, so I stayed low until the gunfire ended.
Everything was quiet. Even the distant gunshots from Inanna's battle were gone. Straining my ears, I thought I heard revving engines. "Sarisa, Inanna's got like, four tanks that are probably coming for her. Can you help her?"
"I could, but she won't need it," Sarisa responded, smiling at me. I blinked, confused for a second, then realized. Duh. Goddess of war.
As if on cue, a series of explosions sounded from a few blocks away. "That would be the end of those fighting vehicles," Sarisa said. Kathy walked forward and began speaking to Gary, who was applying grey putty to the base of the big guns. He handed her some paper-wrapped bricks and what looked like USB sticks and she moved to another one.
Inanna suddenly appeared. "You guys done spiking the cannons yet?"
"Just about," Gary said. He finished what he was doing and walked over to check the guns Kathy had handled. After a moment, he made a 'wrap it up' gesture and we all headed back to the west.
We found a sturdy-looking storefront, with thick concrete walls a few blocks away and piled inside. Gary held his clacker out by the door and squeezed it three times. The explosion that followed was the loudest one yet.
"So where's this museum at?" I asked Sarisa once the ringing in my ears was down to a manageable level. She shrugged. "Somewhere in this neighborhood. I'm not sure exactly, and that's why I suspect it's there."
"Are you making progress with getting access to the secrets Fulla is protecting?"
"Not really," she shook her head, "The timescale for that will be measured in decades. It's not something we can count on. I just knew from other avenues that there was a museum of Varangian artifacts here, and when I couldn't pinpoint the exact location..."
"So should we split up and search for it?" Kathy asked. Inanna shook her head, "No, it's too hot here. The Azerbaijani military is trying to wipe out the Armenians, so they're shooting first and asking questions later. We should stick together, so I can protect us and Sarisa can heal anyone who gets wounded anyways. No offense, Gary."
Gary shrugged, "None taken, Goddess of warfare. The fact that you let Jerry run off with me once already is plenty complimentary, 'far as I'm concerned."
Inanna smiled. "You are quite good, Gary."
Sarisa produced a map from thin air. "Well, let's get started. We'll go street by street, block by block. If we encounter a building or road that's not on the map, consider that a good sign."
I sighed. We'd been on our feet all day, fighting on and off for hours. I was pooped. But there was nothing for it. I stood up, situated my three guns better, and we took off.
Inanna slapped my butt as I passed her by. I was too tired to protest. Part 31 on HFY
---- As a reminder, this whole story is available at JerryandtheGoddesses
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2023.05.15 15:14 WinnieThePootietang anubis’s first prime was the merchant in RE4 Remake (repost with IMDB credits)
2023.05.14 03:01 Ok_Dig_5957 Nelson's groupies are more pathetic and dependent than any recent church president and they're about to lose their rock star that they literally use to manage their mood to make them feel the happies. This kind of worship is common and culty and non transferrable.
2023.05.13 14:19 LonnieJay1 Storytime: $8,500 and a relapse
“Damn, this is a pretty slick car,” James says, in his Tennessee drawl. Before we even get in the red rental Toyota Corolla, I regret saying I would drive him and his girlfriend, Kathy, back to their sober living. James, although he is old enough to seem somewhat feeble, is a big dude. He is at least 6'4” and 220 pounds, with slicked-back hair and dark brown eyes.
If James was just big, I wouldn't be intimidated by him at all, but he's sick in the head, too. Not everybody that does drugs or gets severely addicted to them is crazy, but if there's an addictive drug that causes you to lose your mind, it's meth, and James has done a lot of meth – on top of the opana and moonshine that he talks about constantly.
He left for this treatment, New Reality (editor's note: not the real name of the treatment center), before I did. He was at my previous treatment, HealthFirst (editor's note: also a fake name), with his girlfriend, Kathy. Kathy got kicked out of HealthFirst for snorting her wellbutrin and came straight here. James followed her. That doesn't bother me at all.
What bothers me about James, besides his mental instability, is that he was deeply involved in the criminal element of the drug game, and often talks about cooking meth and being the ‘king cook’ and the power that came with being a meth cook in Tennessee.
I was in several treatment groups that became dominated by his war stories. His face would darken as he would tell the stories, and I became certain he was going to relapse. He had the insight to talk about how he knew he was more addicted to the power and control that came with being the ‘king cook’ in Nashville than the drugs themselves, yet he seemed to have no desire to get away from that lifestyle, despite being out on parole and facing more prison time. He also frequently implied that there was a lot of violence in his past. Several people have become suddenly and unpredictably violent around me in the past. Drugs and insanity aren’t a good mix.
Despite my discomfort and prejudice, I know that many of us addicts get misjudged, and he does seem to have a gentle side to him. Either way, James and Kathy are human beings, they need a ride back to their sober living, and I have a car.
“Thanks, man. It's a rental,” I say, sitting in the driver’s seat and buckling up.
“Right on,” he says, as he and Kathy get in the car and buckle up, too.
“I have the address,” Kathy says, looking at her phone. Kathy is a rather plain-looking southern belle, with blonde hair, blue eyes, and very few teeth.
“You read my mind,” I say, starting the car. She gives me the address. I plug it into my phone’s GPS and start driving.
“So, how do you like it here, so far?” James asks.
“It isn’t so bad,” I say.
“That didn't sound very convincing,” Kathy says.
“Well, I don't really have a problem with the place. A rehab is a rehab, right? It’s all the same group therapy. I just really need to be training for basketball, but my ankle hurts,” I say. They both know my backstory; my obsession with playing college ball and my defunct ankles.
“I'm sorry, bro,” Kathy says, from the back seat.
“I hear you, buddy,” James says, before starting to light a cigarette.
“Yo, could you not smoke in this? It's a rental,” I say.
“Sorry. I wasn't thinking. My back hurts, though, so I get your ankle pain,” he drawls, putting the cigarette back in the pack.
I want to say, “no you don't. You've never had your dream dangling in front of your face, only to reach out for it and watch it explode, right in your face, wrapped in misery-shrapnel,” but I don’t, because that wouldn’t help anything. Just thinking about playing basketball today makes my right ankle start to radiate pain.
The ankle that is hurting right now is the one that has already been surgically repaired. Soon, my right ankle will stop hurting, and the left, which still needs surgery, will start to hurt.
“Damn. I hope it gets better, man,” James says. He looks over at me from the front seat. I'd say he's smiling, but I can't see any of his teeth, if he even has any left. I look back at the GPS. I just want to drop them off.
“Thanks, bro. I'll get through it,” I say.
“We always do, don't we,” Kathy says. I nod my head, wanting to believe her, but the pain is making me tired, and I am not sure that I will get through this. Silence prevails for a short time. I can barely muster the energy to keep breathing.
“You know, I need your help with something,” James says, eventually.
“Don't ask him, James,” Kathy interjects, quickly.
“Ask me what,” I say, zoning out on the road ahead, depressed about my pain.
“Don't do it. He's having a rough day already,” Kathy says. James ignores her and pulls something out of his pocket.
“Do you know what these are?” he asks, holding something up. It is a pill, with a triangle shape, and an 8 on the front. The pill is unmistakable: dilaudid, 8 milligrams. It is one of the most desirable opioid pills on the market. A huge discrepancy exists between the bioavailability of an oral dose and that of an IV dose, making them coveted amongst IV junkies for the strong rush and powerful euphoria that they produce, which arguably surpass the effects of heroin. On top of that, it is a synthetic opioid that does not show up as an opiate on a drug test. Diaudid is often not tested for because it is notoriously expensive to test for individually, which makes their use even more common amongst us.
I love and hate them. All of us hardcore IV addicts do.
“Yeah, that’s a dilaudid. What about it?” I ask, ripping my eyes away from the pill against their will.
“What do you think is stronger: a blue oxy 30, a half-moon opana, or this dilaudid?” he asks. When we were at HealthFirst, James always asked me about drugs and the drugs he was taking, knowing that I have studied street pharmacology for a decade.
“Well, on an opioid equivalency chart, they are equipotent if you’re going to IV them. Prices being equal, I'd take the dilaudid,” I say.
“Thank you,” James says, before glancing back at Kathy knowingly.
“Why do you ask?” I ask.
“The opanas are better,” Kathy says. I open my mouth to say something about the typical differences in street prices when I notice my hands are gripping the steering wheel tightly and my back is arching with tension. I try to make myself relax. I force myself to think about basketball. If I do any opiates, I won't be able to stop, and I'll never be able to play basketball in college.
“Sorry about that,” James says, seeming to have noticed my tension.
“Don't worry about it,” I say, resisting the urge to tell him to get that pill out of my car, even if he has to jump out the window with it. I look at my phone. We are 4 minutes away. Small talk ensues, which for us means that we talk about how they are both on parole and on the run, with felony warrants out for their arrest back in Tennessee. After an eternity, I pull up to a beautiful house in a really nice suburb of (city name redacted). There are no indications that it is a sober living house.
“Thanks for the ride,” James says. I nod my head numbly and pull off, putting the address for my still-new sober living in the GPS.
When I get back, I will get ready to play ball, and then I will go to the gym. I find myself rolling my wrists, getting my body ready to play, but I feel different today. I usually get excited at the mere prospect of playing basketball; I become manic with desire to get on the court, and escape into daydreams of 30-point games on college teams. The excitement causes Lonnie to cease to exist; there is only the basketball court, which I NEED to be on, and the ball that my body will put in the hoop. Thoughts have no purpose. They don’t help my body put the ball in the hoop, so they fade away.
Basketball is different after my surgery. Unexcitedly, I have to force myself to get loose. I warm up dejectedly, knowing that hidden pain will be rediscovered and made worse with every movement.
My right ankle, my left ankle, my left knee. It seems like there is pain everywhere in my body, but I have to go play basketball. I only have a few months to get into good enough shape to begin my college career.
The sands of time are dwindling further on my athletic hourglass, which seems to make the pain worse as I drive. This hourglass cannot be turned over: when it is too late, then it is too late, and I’m already 25. I notice that I've stopped rolling my wrists.
I need to warm up, but my body hurts too much. I can feel the pressure of the upcoming basketball season increasing by the second. My energy, which is already low from post-acute withdrawal syndrome, is draining out of me like a slashed tire, the pain serving as the knife.
I have to do something to get my mind off the pain and the dilaudid that was just held up to my face. I couldn't sleep last night, my ankle hurts, my throat is starting to hurt like I’m getting sick. I have nothing to do, except train for basketball and maybe look for a job. I’m in PHP, which means I shouldn’t be allowed to leave the sober living, but this place is crooked, so that doesn’t matter.
I'm so broke. I should look for a job. A thought occurs to me, and I instantly sit up straighter in the seat of the car. My lawyer told me last week that my settlement money should be ready next week.
It’s next week.
I pull my phone out and call my lawyer. It rings a few times. A female voice answers.
“Hello?” she asks.
“Hi, my name is Lonnie. I'm a client of Brian's, is there any way I could speak to him?” I ask. My heart is racing.
“Ah, yes. He was just talking about you. One moment, please,” she says, transferring the call. Hold music starts, so I put my phone on speaker and put it in the cupholder. I continue to drive towards my sober living house, the excitement of my racing heart at a stark contrast with the dread in my stomach.
I will get home, and then what? What can I do with this pain in my ankle? If I can't play ball, I have nothing to look forward to. I have thought this through already. I don’t want to live in a world without basketball. There will be nothing left for me except to make a million dollars, and the fastest way to do that is by selling drugs.
As I continue to drive to my sober living house, a familiar feeling overtakes me. I feel dread at every single prospect in my life except for the unholy, uncontrollable excitement I feel at the prospect of making fast money. I listen to the hold music, dread and excitement clashing in waves that disorient me more by the second. It’s as if I am at war with myself, but I am also completely helpless in this battle, forced to sit on the sidelines as a spectator.
“Hello, Lonnie,” an older male voice answers. He sounds the same that he does every time: unhurried, his every word meticulous. Brian is not a fast and slick-talking, tricky, criminal lawyer; he is an ‘accident’ lawyer, and his voice is genuinely friendly. He sounds like a grandpa, but he is still very sharp mentally.
“Hey, Brian, how are you doing?” I ask, grabbing the phone and taking it off speakerphone so I can hear him clearly.
“I'm well, Lonnie. How are you?” he asks.
“Ask me that again in a few minutes,” I say. He chuckles.
“Well, as you know, I have been in talks with State Farm, for your personal injury protection. We signed for the $25K, like you agreed to. The surgery center did agree to the $8,251 amount, which was half the cost of the ankle surgery, so the lien on that $25,000 settlement has been removed. I'm going to have my assistant email you some documents.
“You have to print out these documents, sign them, and then scan them and email them back to us. You also need to send her the account and routing number for the account that you want the $8,564 deposited into. That $8,564 is what is left after the 30% for us. We can wire you that money today, so we will be settled with State Farm.
“Now, with her insurance, I’m trying my best, but the operative report talking about the heroin use, the missing vicodin – it just doesn't look good, Lonnie. If we go to court to fight this and they ask you, ‘so, where are you living now,’ and you say, ‘well, I'm in rehab,’ that doesn't look good-"
“That should make my case stronger,” I interrupt. “I can get 20 people that will vouch for me and say that I was doing great. They’ll say I was sober for a long time, and ready to play college ball before I got that surgery. Maybe the coach of the college that I was about to play for will testify about it. I wouldn’t have taken those painkillers if that lady didn’t hit me and cause me to need the surgery. I lost the one thing that helped me stay off painkillers in the first place because she illegally ran that stop sign,” I say.
“You know I agree with you, Lonnie, but my job is to tell it like it is. If I'm going to tell you like it is, then I have to tell you that I don't think we should go to court to fight this. The operative report, which they can see, has the doctor’s notes about your mom talking to him about how you were missing some of the vicodin that you were supposed to take AFTER the surgery, and how you used to be a heroin addict-”
“I told the doctor I was a heroin addict, and he insisted that I take the vicodin! We’ve talked about this. I’d sue that doctor, too, if I could!” I exclaim.
“I hear you, Lonnie. It’s a sad story, and I can tell you’re a good guy, but you took the vicodin before you were even supposed to, and now you're in a rehab. That's just really not a good thing. I don’t agree with this one bit, and it’s truly unfortunate what happened to you, but I wouldn’t say that the lawyers that I’ve fought in court have been sympathetic to addicts, that’s just the way it is. If we go to court against them, all they’re going to talk about is how you’re an addict. It weakens your case,” he says. I search my mind for something to say, but I feel so helpless.
“Okay, Brian,” I say, trying to keep the resignation out of my voice. I feel like arguing. I want to scream at him on the phone. I want to have my day in court, so I can show everybody what this accident has done to me, but I won’t get it.
I'm a drug addict. As long as my lips are moving, I'm lying. Their lawyers will eat me alive. No judge will ever believe a word I say once they find out I’m an addict – especially one that hasn’t even been sober for 2 months. Brian is right. I should just take whatever I can get, like the addict I am.
“Do you need anything else? Do I need to do anything after I send you the signed documents and the account information?” I ask.
“No, that's it for now. We get the signed documents today; we send you the money today. I’ll get to work on settling with her insurance for the other $25,000. Have a good day. I'll talk to you soon, Lonnie,” he says.
“You too,” I say, and then I hang up. For a second, I feel myself clinging on to the anger, but then I remember that I'm about to get $8,500 wired to my bank account. Excitement explodes inside me. Lately, I have been doing my best to fight the apathy that has been a constant companion in my life, but it has been growing in me like a fungus. The excitement explosion causes the apathy to ignite, and it overtakes me.
Fuck the lady that ran the stop sign. Fuck the doctor that insisted I take the vicodin.
I turn the car around. I have to drive back to IOP, so I can print those papers out and sign them and get the first part of my settlement. In the meantime, I can call Sean and set up my next opiate-blocking naltrexone implant, to make sure I don’t blow all this money on drugs.
If you're getting the implant, you can get high one more time, Lonnie! You can get some oxy on (website name redacted), and then work out today – without pain!!! Then, you can get set up to get the naltrexone implant tomorrow. You can pee in a bottle now, to make sure you have the clean pee required to get the implant.
Do it, Lonnie. Do it right now.
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