Can you think of what three letters can be used to turn a girl into a woman

You think all of these will make her see what a 'good guy' you are because you can spoil her more than anyone else can, but trust me, this only screams desperation and can bring even the sweetest girl to take advantage of your good heart. Don't be naïve. Don't give too much right away and expect her to give back... because she won't. When you want to fully turn a girl on over text, start by telling her exactly how she makes you feel and what you want to do with her. Expressing your desire like this shows the confidence women want in a man and lets her know it’s okay for her to express her own sexual desires to you. When you’re hypnotized you’re asleep. Actually, you are simply relaxed. Your subconscious mind is more active than your conscious (critical) mind. I can’t be hypnotized. Actually, we all go into varying states of hypnosis many times each day. When driving, when watching TV, when reading—you may even be in a state of mild hypnosis right now. What three letters change a girl into a woman? Answer Save. 15 Answers. Relevance. donna. 1 decade ago. Favorite Answer. Age. 0 0 0. ... Watch this video explaining how to use just 3 texts to turn any woman on, and get her out on a date: ... do you think you would bump into anybody? 11 answers. Are there lots of fishsticks in the woods? 11 answers. Below, I’ll list some of the numerous female turn-ons, so you’ll see exactly what turns a woman on about a man and makes her want him sexually. Then it’s up to you to figure out which is applicable to the woman you’re seeing. How to turn a woman on and what makes girls horny. As you’ve seen above, there are many ways to arouse women. Now, as you continue to turn your girl on with your words, you can tell her what you wish she would do to you. This would paint a sexy image in her mind and will have her turned on in no time at all. Of course, make sure she has done many of these things before so you don’t surprise her or come off sounding too graphic or explicit. 38 thoughts on “ What three letters change a girl into a woman? ... Becouse sex also can change it a girl into a woman. Reply. Pankaj. October 31, 2018 at 4:47 am . The answer is AGE ... is it supposed to be dirty ? cause all i could think of is dirty answers. Reply. Leave a Comment Cancel reply. Your email address will not be published ...

1000 most common words in the English language

2020.07.10 14:35 _insertname_here_ 1000 most common words in the English language

a ability able about above accept according account across act action activity actually add address administration admit adult affect after again against age agency agent ago agree agreement ahead air all allow almost alone along already also although always American among amount analysis and animal another answer any anyone anything appear apply approach area argue arm around arrive art article artist as ask assume at attack attention attorney audience author authority available avoid away baby back bad bag ball bank bar base be beat beautiful because become bed before begin behavior behind believe benefit best better between beyond big bill billion bit black blood blue board body book born both box boy break bring brother budget build building business but buy by call camera campaign can cancer candidate capital car card care career carry case catch cause cell center central century certain certainly chair challenge chance change character charge check child choice choose church citizen city civil claim class clear clearly close coach cold collection college color come commercial common community company compare computer concern condition conference Congress consider consumer contain continue control cost could country couple course court cover create crime cultural culture cup current customer cut dark data daughter day dead deal death debate decade decide decision deep defense degree Democrat democratic describe design despite detail determine develop development die difference different difficult dinner direction director discover discuss discussion disease do doctor dog door down draw dream drive drop drug during each early east easy eat economic economy edge education effect effort eight either election else employee end energy enjoy enough enter entire environment environmental especially establish even evening event ever every everybody everyone everything evidence exactly example executive exist expect experience expert explain eye face fact factor 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past patient pattern pay peace people per perform performance perhaps period person personal phone physical pick picture piece place plan plant play player PM point police policy political politics poor popular population position positive possible power practice prepare present president pressure pretty prevent price private probably problem process produce product production professional professor program project property protect prove provide public pull purpose push put quality question quickly quite race radio raise range rate rather reach read ready real reality realize really reason receive recent recently recognize record red reduce reflect region relate relationship religious remain remember remove report represent Republican require research resource respond response responsibility rest result return reveal rich right rise risk road rock role room rule run safe same save say scene school science scientist score sea season seat second section security see seek seem sell send senior sense series serious serve service set seven several sex sexual shake share she shoot short shot should shoulder show side sign significant similar simple simply since sing single sister sit site situation six size skill skin small smile so social society soldier some somebody someone something sometimes son song soon sort sound source south southern space speak special specific speech spend sport spring staff stage stand standard star start state statement station stay step still stock stop store story strategy street strong structure student study stuff style subject success successful such suddenly suffer suggest summer support sure surface system table take talk task tax teach teacher team technology television tell ten tend term test than thank that the their them themselves then theory there these they thing think third this those though thought thousand threat three through throughout throw thus time to today together tonight too top total tough toward town trade traditional training travel treat treatment tree trial trip trouble true truth try turn TV two type under understand unit until up upon us use usually value various very victim view violence visit voice vote wait walk wall want war watch water way we weapon wear week weight well west western what whatever when where whether which while white who whole whom whose why wide wife will win wind window wish with within without woman wonder word work worker world worry would write writer wrong yard yeah year yes yet you young your yourself
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2020.07.09 18:21 Aros001 [Novels] First time read through light novel vol. 12. Random thoughts.

Right off the bat and I love this illustration of the aftermath of Subaru's various deaths. Just at a look and you're able to tell which loop and death it was. From left to right:

Echidna speculated that Subaru's save points were based just on what'd help him be most likely to overcome whatever killed him and that Satella likely didn't care about anyone else in his life. But with the black shadow devouring everything, save for Garfiel, and seemingly heading for the mansion next, I wouldn't be surprised if Satella actually is choosing the points that get rid of others who are important to Subaru so she can have his love all to herself. Rem's in a coma and Subaru can't go back further to save her from that fate and the only reason Emilia is still around is because a lot of the events that kill her tend to also kill Subaru, like Elsa and the Witch Cult, so her death wouldn't exist in a timeline where Subaru also gets to live. In arc 3 Subaru's save point was set after he and Emilia had that big fight and went their separate ways. I wouldn't be surprised if Satella set that point specifically because the two were driven apart and she didn't want Subaru to get a do-over.

Watching Ram, Ryuzu, and all the other people he cared about get swallowed whole, vanishing within the shadow.
But even after so many precious people were stolen from him, Garfiel refused to use revenge as an excuse to throw all decency aside. He wouldn’t tolerate any talk about a victory that involved sacrificing Subaru.
I like to think this is a little bit of a callback to some of Subaru's loops during arc 3, specifically when he was so lost in his selfishness and later his rage at the Witch Cult's massacres that he was somewhat blinded to everyone else and was throwing away his decency; something Garfiel is refusing to do. Again, I don't mind that Subaru has had moments where he's not a good person and has very serious character flaws because the story is about him continuously growing into a better person.

“In this world, when I heard ‘I love you’ spoken seriously to me for the first time...it gave me, an unredeemable bastard, enough power to make me think I could become a hero.”
He was a piece of garbage, twisted down, broken, and ready to flee from everything, but those words had made him believe he could face the future head-on, never giving in—to challenge it once more, over and over, however many times that it took.
As sad as I am that Rem's not in the story anymore aside from being a near lifeless husk, I am glad that her importance on the story and Subaru specifically is still strong. Honestly, all shipping aside, I'm mostly upset that, because of the coma, all of Rem's character development has pretty much been put on hold. I was enjoying seeing her grow and the ways she was reacting to events in the story. For the audience, having her be in a coma is maybe worse than her being killed because there's that hope she'll come back and you're continuously waiting for her to do so; waiting for that part of the story to be allowed to continue.

What could he say, what should he say, that would rub the Witch the worst way? There was no one better armed to get under someone else’s skin than Subaru. So he knew.
Accordingly, Subaru gave a shallow, cruel laugh, turning a look of scorn toward the Witch.
“—I’d rather love Echidna and the other Witches than you.”
...Yeah, that oughta do it. Seriously though, I almost felt all the sound go out in the world at reading that line, that's how much of an "Ohhhhh shit." moment it was, with there being nothing Subaru could have said to piss the witch off more.
I suppose Satella (and Subaru) consuming and becoming one with everything can relate to envy. No need to be envious of what others have when you are both them and what they possess.

He had seen the Witch’s face in the moment just prior to Return by Death —and it was the same face as Emilia’s. After straddling death to come back, he had dragged along a fear of the Witch that stuck with him.
It's temporary but I do like this. For a moment Subaru is in a similar position as those who naturally live in this world. He knows that Emilia is not the Witch of Envy, just as most people in the world could obviously understand, but because of the strong resemblance (and Satella possessing Emilia's body) he can't not see Satella when he looks at her and feel that fear. Obviously it's still wrong to have that prejudice against Emilia and other half-elves whom have done nothing to harm anyone but having even Subaru feel that fear, even for just a moment, does make it very understandable why the people of this world have trouble letting go of it.
I know this is bothering me more than it should and it's not a criticism towards the series, but I always feel bad that Subaru has this perception around him of being a little bit of a crybaby, or at least easily upset and needing to be soothed. Don't get me wrong, I make no demands that the MC always be seen all ultra-masculine manly but from the perspective of others it does seem like Subaru breaks down easily. In the mansion arc with Subaru working himself sick and crying into Emilia's lap to the White Whale arc where Subaru gave up and asked Rem to run away with him to now where Emilia is needing to comfort him inside Echidna's tomb. We the audience know these breakdowns are VERY well deserved after the horrors Subaru has been through and he really needs the comfort, but the other characters don't know and it just looks like he's cracking over nothing. I like Subaru and it sucks that he keeps getting seen as a bit of a crybaby, especially in front of the woman he loves. Emilia doesn't make a big deal of it and Subaru has done plenty to prove his worth and bravery before, but I still can't help but feel a little bad for the guy.
I'm wondering if there's an implication that Emilia's doing better during this loop is because she now feels she's fighting/being strong for Subaru? Kind of like how Subaru has found strength in fighting for her and the others he cares about.

“I did think about it, so I asked Ram to keep him occupied. In the meantime, it’s a date between you and me, Ryuzu.”
“I am unsure what it is you mean by dayte...but I cannot defy you at this point, Young Su. You may do with me and the girl here as you wish.”
“That’s giving in a little too much!"
What is with people continuously thinking Subaru wants to defile them?! Is it the eyes? (It's probably the eyes)
I've heard tales before that Subaru comes to be known as the Lolimancer. Given he now has authority over Ryuzu and a practical army of replicas, I can kind of see that. And it's glorious. Nothing crushes your enemy quite like their opponent throwing a little girl that them...and winning.

Then, after a momentary pause, she slowly nodded and said, “—Ahhh, I understand now. Betty is probably entrusting you with her final moment because...”
Once he heard the answer, there was no going back. —He was certain of it.
And yet, his decision came too late. He had realized too late. It was too late for everything.
“—Sorry to intrude mid-conversation, but...”
A voice he should not have heard spoke. Hastened by a terrible chill, Subaru flipped around.
Then he saw her.
“—Is it all right if I become That Person for you, I wonder?”
Carrying a black curved blade in her hand—a kukri knife—the black- clothed Bowel Hunter stood at the archive’s entrance.
F**K! OFF! ELSA!
Crystal arrows were thrust through her entire body, half of it shattered like inorganic matter. Such was Elsa’s death.
THAT'S WHAT YOU GET, BITCH!
Beatrice’s eyebrows fell as she let out a breath of instantaneous relief, forming a thin smile in the process.
—The tip of a black blade was poking out of her chest.
“—My, what an odd feeling in the hand. A spirit’s belly really is different.”
DAMMIT!

“The letter...that’s right. I wrote a letter. I wrote everything on it, that’s why. I really meant to tell you about everything, but...”
“Tee-hee.”
Ohhhhhhhh no, that's never a good sign. Dark tomb dedicated to a witch, everything else outside going wrong, and Emilia just gives a little giggle like that, talking about how lonely she was and how much she loves him? She didn't even comment on how he's MISSING AN EYE.
Funny enough, for this part I am being reminded of a reaction I had while reading the Goblin Slayer light novels. "Oh, thank goodness this character was only severely beaten and about to be sacrificed to summon a demon old god into the world." "Oh, thank goodness. Emilia's not possessed or under some terrible curse. She's just cracked from mental strain and trauma." It's just one of those times where I have to take a moment and think about what kind of series I'm reading where I'm relieved a major character has only gone insane.
It is kind of cool how she's in a way going through a similar experience as Subaru has. Repeatedly going through a continuous loop of failures she can't overcome but feels she has to for the sake of others, until she finally just hits her breaking point.
I do like how even just Roswaal talking about RBD is enough for the witch to grasp Subaru's heart, even though Roswaal figured it all out on his own. I'm also glad I saw the "Memory Snow" OVA because it does add a nice (and really messed up) layer to Roswaal's manipulations. That even a happy and completely innocent time like that, seeming to exist for no other reason than to give the audience a nice breather before arc 3, was something he figured out how to use to his advantage. It makes him feel like even more of a devious bastard, that he'll be taking such a pleasant and pure memory and using it to get the villagers to fear Emilia.

“The current you is insufficient to bring about the future indicated in the text. Any discrepancy with that recorded requires a correction.”
That makes me curious about how specifically the book works. Before Roswaal and Beatrice were making it sound like the book foretold futures that would happen no matter what, but this line implies that Subaru currently is unable to make that future come to pass, making it sound more like the book describes the specific ways required to make the foretold future happen. Then again, Subaru isn't from this world, so is he maybe somewhat exempt from the book's prophecies? Or is he a requirement for fulfilling them? Roswaal caught on to Subaru's looping because of the book, but how? Is the future changing every time Subaru loops and because Roswaal has read ahead he knew what the future originally was and thus noticed when it changed? Subaru also speculates that Roswaal has the ability to inherit memories like Echidna and thus he can remember the previous timelines, but I feel like he'd be able to understand that the loops were caused by Subaru dying then, since that's the common trait among all of them. Roswaal also says there's no point in talking about thing since he will not be the same Roswaal Subaru meets when he loops again, so I'm assuming that means he can't inherit memories or the new Roswaal, while not the same as the previous loop, would remember his and Subaru's conversation and be able to continue it.
So to recap:
All in all, today's been something of a bummer for Subaru, hasn't it?
In all seriousness though, SOMEONE GIVE THE MAN A HUG!!!
And let's just keep the pain train rolling with Subaru being shown the aftermath of his death after Rem fell into a coma. Seriously, that was heart wrenching, between Emilia's sobbing to Wilhelm's desperation to save him and unable to understand how someone he genuinely respected could take his own life like that.
I kind of suspected this already given the first trial made Subaru confront his past, or at least a version of it, but now with the second trial being "the unknowable present" I'm assuming the three trials are based around past, present, and future respectively.

“—Goodness, can you even stand anymore? Subaru.”
...
For she was the girl who knew Subaru was not strong yet had said to him anyway, “I love you.”
“—Rem.”
“Yes. I am Subaru’s Rem.”
REM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I don't care if it's the Witch of Lust trying to trick him, the story made me need that as much as Subaru did.

“If I was stronger, if I was wiser, if I was a man who could do more...no one would have to suffer, to be sad, to go through hard times like that...”
It would have been so much better if Subaru had been strong enough to do everything, all of it, alone.
Emilia’s sadness, Beatrice’s loneliness, the calamity befalling Petra and Frederica, the menace of the Great Rabbit, Garfiel, who was desperately protecting something... He should have been able to do...something.
Everything, all of it, every last bit of it was Subaru’s fault.
That was why, to balance out his weakness, Subaru had to pay by shaving away his life. —That was what he’d thought, and yet...
“Have I saved...anyone...?”
“Subaru.”
“If those worlds continued after my death, how many times I have I abandoned everyone to die?”
“Subaru.”
“How many times...did I make you die? How many times...do I have to kill you?”
Seriously, why do so many people hate Subaru? And I'm not talking about in-story, I'm talking about how often I see people online just crapping on the guy and really just having such firm dislike for the character. Yeah, he has a bad tendency to shove his foot into his mouth, especially early on, and he most certainly has been selfish and entitled. But he's continuously growing, continuously being made to face his faults and try to overcome them. Most important, at the end of the day he's just a guy who doesn't want anything bad to happen to the people he loves and he tries despite how utterly powerless he is, holding himself to his failures to the point of self-destructiveness. He's far from perfect but he's a good guy who's being continuously pushed to be a better one.

“I’ll show you my weakness. I’ll show you my vulnerabilities. I’ll even show you how I’m a petty, irredeemable bastard. —But the one thing I won’t show you is me giving up.”
Rem had once said...Subaru was her hero.
And Subaru Natsuki had decided to be Rem’s hero.
Again, I don't dislike Emilia at all. I don't even dislike the idea of her and Subaru as a couple, since I can clearly see why Subaru loves her and why Emilia is likely falling for him. But these books have most certainly done nothing to temper how much I love the Subarem ship. How important Rem is to him not only helping to pull Subaru out of his despair over his long string of failures but also how much he wants to be the man she sees him as breaking him out of the Rem-deception. I'm not sure if what I said makes any sense but it's beautiful nonetheless!
The funny thing about Echidna's idea for potential immortality, hopping from one body to the next, is that it's an idea I feel like I've seen many times in fiction and yet I'm drawing a blank on many specific examples. I'm curious if implanting memories into a new vessel is how her tomb works, like she placed herself literally into her tomb and thus why her dream castle exists even after her death?
I am really enjoying Echidna so far. You know Subaru probably shouldn't trust her but she's very good at making herself someone you kind of want to trust. While it's a bit grey to say if she is an outright villain, I think she makes for a very good one.
I feel like I may have a misunderstanding of how Beatrice's pact works. She's to guard the library of forbidden books and sometimes the story makes it sound like she can't leave it, or at least can't leave the mansion, but she has left it a few times now, the furthest being Subaru's suicide jump of the cliff. So is it the overall estate she can't leave or that she can only exit the grounds on certain conditions? Because she and Subaru did have a pact when he went to the cliff.
Next volume should prove interesting, given Subaru seems like he's going to form a pact with Beatrice and Satella just showed up for the tea party. Next volume comes on sale on July 21, so I've got a couple of weeks to wait, unless anyone is aware of any websites that've translated the light novels (not web novels) like Overlord and Konosuba have.
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2020.07.09 17:24 Leopath Bloodlines: The Legacy of Charlemagne (Part 13)

Bloodlines: The Legacy of Charlemagne (Part 13)

Emperor Julien I


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9th of August, 1286
With the coronation now out of the way I spent more and more time with Douce discussing our interests. Tonight though I invited her to the royal bedchambers mostly so we could discuss in private. We talked about more personal matters. I talked about how I did care for Dorothea but never found myself truly in love with her. “I don’t understand” she said to me as I took her hand “Well I just never clicked with her like I did with you. Honestly I compare her to you almost every time, and many of those times I…” when I turned to Douce I saw her eyes wide with expectation “I always thought how I wish it was you by my side.” She smiled at me and then I gave her a kiss. We shared our kiss which turned to more. By the end of it all as she dressed up I asked her “Do you want this to continue?” she smiled to me “You’re the Emperor aren’t you? You can make your own decisions” he put her hair up as I sighed kissing the back of her neck. This was a mistake. I can only think back to my mother's relationship with my father, or my half-siblings. God I don’t want Dorothea to end up like Winfrida. “No, I’m sorry this was a mistake…” she sighed “I know, I should have said no but how could I?” I frowned looking to her hand taking it “I do love you Douce, had we been in different circumstances, maybe. But I can’t do this to my child, my family, or my people. I saw what this did to my father, to my mother. I can’t let that happen to you.” she shrugged “I’ll find someone for you. I’ll arrange a marriage for you with a good man who can provide for you. I love you Douce.” she wiped away a tear “I know, I love you too Julien. Take care.” she said rising up heading out of the room. What had I done?
27th of November, 1286
I’ve honestly not gotten over Douce. The time she was with me here in Guise was the happiest I’d been in a long time. I made sure she married a good man, Baron Robert de Boulogue, a decently wealthy noble with a good heart. Proper age. Seeing her leave was hard. In truth it spoiled the birthing of my child. The whole court was in attendance and I feigned my excitement though it became very real when it was announced to be a boy. Our first child was a Prince and heir! What wondrous news! I had him named Prince Julien and I look to this young baby boy as the bright future for the Empire. I turned to Dorothea kissing her and thanking her. All of her hard labor had truly come to fruition.
14th of March, 1291
I’ve become plagued with Pneumonia probably from one of my latest hunts. Either way each and every breath feels ragged. Due to my illness I haven’t been able to keep an eye on Dorothea and she is currently with our second child. I just hope I can recover before she delivers.
27th of August, 1291
Dorothea gave birth today to our daughter. The whole court rejoiced as I held my daughter in my arms “Sophie” we decided to name her. Dorothea mentioned its a name she always liked. A gorgeous baby girl, I turned to Julien kneeling to let him see his younger sister. The four year old bo gently touched her hair as I felt a joy sweep through my chest a love unlike anything I’d felt before in my life.
19th of September, 1292
While hosting court today my Chancellor, King Hamelin of Brittanny, informed me that it seems there is a serious conflict across our eastern border. The heretic Holy Roman Emperor Eberhard had embraced the teachings of the Fraticelli heretics and has declared war on the young Queen Elisa of Italy. Italy had been France’s ally for decades, what’s more is Elisa is betrothed to my brother Prince Louis. After taking in this information I mulled it over for a moment “We will defend the Italian Queen. Raise the levies and begin the march to Aachen. What’s more, send a letter to her majesty Queen Elisa and inform her that France will stand by her side.” This will help solidify a permanent alliance with the Italians. Of course this marriage is especially beneficial for my family, with the marriage between Queen Elisa and Prince Louis the Karlings will become the new ruling family of the Kingdom of Italy.
15th of April, 1293
Crossing the Alps proved incredibly treacherous and although no battles have been met reports say men have died by the thousands in their perilous journeys. Despite that some successful sieges have emerged in the Imperial territory south of the Alps, namely in Piedmont. I’ve issued orders for my armies to continue marching eastward to meet with the Italian armies. Meanwhile the other forces I have in Aachen have managed to also mount some major victories in the German capital.
19th of August, 1293
Seems another ally had joined us based on these reports. It seems the King of Carpathia has joined in the war as well to support Italy. I suppose the actual motivation is to oppose the Holy Roman Emperor. Whatever it is, a useful ally. We now control Aachen and the county of Julich and it seems the Germans have fled from the northern peninsula, perhaps they are gathering their forces in the east? Either way it seems joining this war has turned the tide and not a moment too soon.
23rd of November, 1293
A sad day indeed, it seems their forces countered my northern offensive. Twenty two thousand Germans attacked my men routing them to Luxembourg where they killed over 6000 and the rest fled into retreat. I’d since ordered the hiring of more mercenary companies to head into western German lands to support my forces. If nothing else, even as we lose these battles here our sieges in Italy are proving successful, their attempted invasion will surely fail.
23rd of January, 1294
I journeyed to Parma to meet Queen Elisa, now an adult woman whose regency had come to an end. When I arrived the first matter of business was the wedding ceremony between her and Louis. It was rather quaint and small which was not surprising considering there was a war going on. After the ceremony I met with the Queen to discuss the ongoing war effort.
Servants poured us wine in goblets as we sat together, Louis sat by his newly wed wife. “I am so very pleased you came for the ceremony” Elisa began as I smiled at her raising my goblet. “I agree, even if we never meet face to face again I am proud that I had the honor of meeting the Queen of Italy at least once.” As we sipped the drink our conversation turned to the war itself discussing our future alliance as the Houses of Karling and Copparo became one. “I believe that these Germans need to be taught a lesson.” I suggested “The Holy Roman Emperor has disregarded the Church and now he thinks he can attack my allies without repercussions? I don’t think so.” Queen Elisa nodded though she kept herself more reserved in how she spoke “Well what do you suggest Emperor Julien?” It was then that my brother Louis spoke up, he’d been quiet through most of the discourse “Me and Julien had spoken about it on the way here. Our brother Baudouin is betrothed to a Polish noble girl, one who can trace her lineage back to the House Piast.” he explained. It seemed Elisa made the connections but I finished my brothers thought anyways “Once the Emperor retreats, the war will come to an end but after that we will launch a new seasonal attack. We will conquer the Kingdom of Poland, and name my younger brother the new King of Poland. All in the name of restoring the old Polish rule to the region. Removing Poland from the Empire will cripple the Germans and hopefully our three Kingdoms can keep the Emperors contained and in check.” Queen Elisa smiled “I like that plan very much, could lead to a prosperous future for my Kingdom with allies in both west and eastern Europe.” she said with a final sip from her goblet setting it down. “It is now late I feel that we should all rest. Emperor Julien you surely have a long journey back to Paris.” I nodded setting my goblet down “Thank you for your hospitality Queen Elisa. Once again I offer France's blessing and wishes of happiness in your union and for your Kingdom.”
26th of April, 1294
It seems the Holy Roman Emperor submitted a surrender to Queen Elisa and a temporary truce is in order. As my men return home I’ve tasked the Imperial Marshal Alain with recruiting more levies to replace our losses, the plan now is to launch the invasion March of next year. Once we do the goal is simple, force the Emperor to surrender the Kingdom of Poland to me, which I will then name my brother Louis as the new King of Poland. I’ve started drafting letters to get support from both Italy and Carpathia in this coming war.
3rd of July, 1294
I was hosting a meeting with my councilors to discuss our progress. Training new levies, ensuring that things are mostly stable, though that’s when the news came to me. King Hamelin shuffled some letters “Your grace, my contacts in the Empire are informing me that apparently the entire Empire has broken out into a massive civil war. Seems the Emperor had made offense to your brother-in-law King Waldemar of Poland. The German Princes are caught up in the fight against one another, besides the war this will surely keep the Emperor weak and vulnerable come March.” he explained. I smiled thanking Hamelin for the update. With these conflict plaguing the Empire it seems the time has finally come to properly strike them down.
27th of July, 1294
Dorothea once again gave birth now to our third child and second daughter. We’ve named her Alice. A healthy child, I held her in my arms with love. In honest truth I did wish for another son. Should anything happen to poor young Julien, heavens forbid, having a second son would help ease the minds of the people. But there is plenty of time for that. I suppose should anything happen there are my younger brothers. Louis would be first in that direction, that would bring on a Political Union between France and Italy. Curious.

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16th of September, 1294
A letter arrived today from Parma. It seems Queen Elisa wants to move forward with the plan a few months ahead of time. With the civil war currently going on, she is moving her armies into Genoa to seize the port city and start connecting her borders. I responded by stating that my levies still haven’t fully recovered and I wouldn’t be able to fully commit until March. However in the meantime I was more than happy to use my wealth and hire mercenaries to join the Italians in their attack. Hopefully the Germans and their rebels will be too busy slaughtering one another to properly defend Genoa.
25th of March, 1295
With the Civil War still raging the alliance of Carpathia, Italy, and France will still continue to focus on Genoa. Our sieges in Piedmont and Genoa itself have been successful, the Holy Roman Emperor might just be fearful of what King Anastasio of Carpathia might do. One doesn’t just create a massive Kingdom such as his without being a competent commander and soldier.
7th of January, 1296
Back in December, a letter arrived from Queen Elisa that Genoa was firmly under her control now. The civil war has ended though many princes of the Empire now are rejecting the Emperor's authority. As if the Holy Roman Emperor didn’t have enough to deal with it seems the Russian Tsar has laid claim to some sort of border province. With the Russians and Germans at war, the perfect moment to strike is upon us. In two months time, albeit a year late, we will invade for the Kingdom of Poland.
5th of March, 1296
Today was the day, the levies have been called and soon enough Italy and Carpathia will both be attacking as well. The Holy Roman Emperor will be invaded from almost every direction. It seems God and the lords of Europe are in agreement that the Emperor had grown much too powerful over the years and now its time to cut them down in size.
29th of July, 1296
We’ve settled into a siege in and around Lower Lorraine. Taking Emperor Eberhard’s local demesne will give him an incentive to surrender. Meanwhile my Italian and Carpathian allies are taking control of Poland itself.
20th of January, 1297
Emperor Eberhard has formally surrendered ready to sign any peace deal I offered. As punishment for attacking Italy he had to acknowledge Italian rule in Genoa, surrender the land I’d taken in Upper Lorraine as well as the whole Kingdom of Poland. It seems the Russian Tsar is facing his own successes in the east. In a few months perhaps I will hand off the land as appropriate. I look forward to it. Either way for now I must minister and distribute titles gained in the war. Perhaps I’ll organize a grand tournament in celebration.
17th of February, 1297
The tournament had begun and just after some preliminary jousting matches I stood as the crowds fell silent. “As you may all know! This tournament is more than a celebration of the martial prowess of my subjects! It is a celebration in honor of our Empire and of my brother, Prince Baudouin!” I gestured to my brother at my side as he nervously waved to the applauding crowd. He was a giant of a man, towering over everyone else but truly a gentle and kind soul. “My brother is a man who has always had a kind christian soul. Truly nobody could show compassion for a people better than he. That is why I am without doubt that he is the best man available for the position I am to bestow on him.” I then turned to my brother as he knelt one of my men handed me a sword as I raised it up. Even kneeling down he nearly met me at eye level. “I, Emperor Julien Karling of France, name thee Prince Baudouin Karling, King of Poland, Duke of Lesser Poland and Mazovia. And I decree Poland to be an independent Kingdom, and for Baudouin to lead his new subjects with honor and grace. For this I give my blessing.” as the sword had touched his shoulders he rose up and the crowds cheered like mad. He gestured for Baudouin to take a seat as I turned back to the crowds “With that let us commence with our tournament!” I sat as all things continued. Baudouin leaned forward and asked “Brother, with all due respect, I am still very young. Surely you have more capable men to hand this position to?” “Nonsense brother. I meant what I said. Poland has been the vassal of the Holy Roman Emperors for too long. Those people need a leader who can show them kindness, someone who has a sense of justice such as yourself.” I explained with a smile to him. “I have faith in you to carry our family's name with pride.”

Kingdom of Poland
27th of March, 1299
The past year has been intense. Constant reports flutter in about new wars in central Europe. The heretical lords of the Holy Roman Empire have been scrambling for power as chaos is sowed in. Many of the Princes had become independent during the Civil War and the invasion of Poland. These Princes are now dealing with invasions from their neighbors as well. Even Baudouin seems to be struggling as Poland is caught up in two wars as well. Of course as chaos and war consumes the Empire, France will continue to prosper as wealth flows into our Kingdom. Though this Fraticelli heresy is bringing abut more and ore violence in central Europe. It might greatly upset the entirety of Christendom if allowed to. Perhaps the Pope should declare a crusade.
Either way all of that has to be put behind me. Today Dorothea gave birth once again and this time to a son! The entire court rejoiced, another heir should anything happen to young Julien who has recently begun his studies to prepare to take the mantle of leadership. We named the newly born Prince Henri as I refuse to name any of my children after my father. As I cooed over my child he gripped my finger pulling on it. What a perfect child.

The 14th Century: The High Middle Ages


The Old World c.1300
The 13th Century had seen radical shifts across the world. Many cultures and Empires fell in that time and many new ones have risen. In the East Genghis Khan had reshaped the political and religious face of Asia creating a massive Empire dominating the Eastern Steppe and Himalayas. This Empire threatened everyone around it and helped spread Mongol influence and culture as well as bring many reforms to spread a more feudalistic style of government among the Steppe Nomads. Though the Mongol Empire has now been decaying for decades as Temujin’s successors have failed to not only significantly expand the Empire, but also keep their many vassals in line.
In the west the Black Death swept Europe with a death toll ranging from 1/5th to as much as 1/3rd of the population. The plague had huge dramatic effects on the societies it hit. In France, the Emperors have continued to try and distance themselves from the Church avoiding partaking in the Sixth Crusade and on multiple occasions attempted to revoke the church's right to invest bishops in French lands. Many in France were split on who to blame for the plague, while some did blame the pope many more blamed Emperor Charles II, better known as Charles the Terrible. Charles had conquered the Kingdom of Arles, launched multiple wars, had a known affair with his wife even producing a child whom he named his heir. When the plague came it even killed his wife and he remarried his mistress the next day. Charles was certainly unpopular but it was during his reign that France had truly reached new heights. Moving outside of France and into Germany, the HRE was deeply shaken by the plague. It created a new level of skepticism of the Church and birthed the Fraticelli movement which believed that the wealth and displays of opulence by the catholic church helped spurn the plague and lead to God abandoning his children. This movement had grown especially popular among the nobility who shifted blame and anger from the peasantry away from themselves and towards the Church until even Emperor Eberhard embraced this heresy.
The Holy Roman Empire had been a center of conflict across the 13th century struggling to try and retake control of Italy, numerous wars against its neighbors in Hungary and France. In the tail end of the century the HRE suffered a terrible civil war that led to numerous princes becoming independent and also gave the French Emperors the chance to invade and liberate the Kingdom of Poland. The HRE continues its gradual decline and with the Fraticelli heresy taking root among the nobility and a potential crusade haunting the horizon its possible the Empire might collapse entirely in the coming years. Only time will tell.
New Empires have also risen over the past century. The Aftasids who ruled Badajoz had managed to successfully unite the Iberian peninsula and named themselves Sultans of Al-Andalus (or Andalusia). Despite this they have had a constant struggle within their own family (every Sultan from 1143 to 1243 was assassinated or murdered consecutively) and by this point are fighting another war against other members of the family over the throne. With the collapse of the Seljuk Sultanate the Crusader Kings of Egypt filled the power vacuum left behind. Conquering the entire Arabian Peninsula and most of the Persian Gulf, Sultan Ashraf had declared himself the first Badshah (or Emperor) of Arabia creating the catholic Arabian Empire. Similarly the Latin Emperors have managed to more firmly secure power over the former Byzantine empire. Having firmly embraced Latin Catholicism and Greek Culture and Traditions in a perfect blend. The Latins have dominated from Bulgaria to Athens to Azerbaijan. Despite this some of the western Balkans and parts of Anatolia (including Trebizond) have escaped Latin control. Nonetheless their position is more secure now more than ever. Perhaps one of the biggest shocks came from the Carpathian Mountains. Various claimants to the throne of Hungary from both north of the Caucuses and Moldavia had taken the Kingdom but then even the Vlach rulers in Moldova were overthrown by King Anastasio of Croatia, better known as Anastasio the Just. Anastasio had conquered Hungary creating a massive domain. After which he dissolved both the Kingdoms of Hungary and Croatia and instead declared a newly united Kingdom of Carpathia. Carpathia now poses a unique challenge and threat in its local region to the HRE, Russia, and the Latin Empire, what’s more is that it is currently supported by and allied to the Empire of France which only complicates things further.
Moving on to Northern Europe. In the British Isles England dominates much of southern Scotland and is a growing power in Wales however their prime position in the Isle is now seriously challenged by the Kingdoms of Ireland and Scotland formally united by the House Ua Mail Sechlainn. So far the two haven’t had any major wars or shifts in land between the two though as less and less minor powers inhabit the British Isles it’s only a matter of time before conflicts emerge. Over in Scandinavia Denmark held a temporary political union over Norway though local peasant revolts ended that quickly. Sweden has continued expanding over Finland and into parts of Norway. Norway is mostly ruled by the Petty King of Oppland. And Denmark rules over Iceland. Probably one of the most unpredictable obstacles in Scandinavia is actually the Teutonic Order. Having once been a German order of knights dedicated to fighting pagans in the north they were initially granted land by the Kings of Norway and Sweden. Now their territories have grown significantly and the northern Pagans are all either converted or killed and so the order has outlived its purpose. They do pose a threat in the region. Only time will tell if the Kings of Oppland or Sweden decide that the Knights must be forcibly removed or if they will continue to hold their lands for years to come. The Tsars of Russia have seen an overall stable period and have put their efforts in conquering the small weak tribes in their north and east growing in power; they are a looming threat hanging over all of Europe. Meanwhile with the collapse of the Kingdom of Finland, Denmark and Sweden have been competing over dominating the eastern Baltic conquering lands in Finland, Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia. Though with Poland recently freed it's possible they may become a new challenger in the Baltic should they be given the chance.
As the 14th Century comes so do the High Middle Ages. The world after the Black Death and mongol Invasions is greatly changed. A new style of politics emerges as feudal empires centralize their power and feudal vassals lose influence. The Black Death has birthed a new outlook on religion for Europeans and its effects will be seen in full motion. But most of all, the new Empires that emerged in the 13th century will come into conflict with one another in greater and larger wars and conflicts mostly over petty squabbles leaving the peasantry to suffer. In general the outlook of many Europeans will begin to shift as well. The Holy Roman Emperors are decreasingly being considered the rightful ‘heirs of Augustus’ in Western Europe as the French Emperors gain that position. The constantly shifting balance of power between the Church and secular kings will continue to wax and wane and by the end of this century European culture and life will certainly be dramatically different..This truly will be the height of medieval life and conflicts to come.

Emperor Julien I


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27th of July, 1300
With a new century comes a new era. A breath of fresh air. And along with that a new child. Dorothea had announced her pregnancy late last year and today we joined in the birth of my third son, Sigismund. A healthy baby boy, a proper Prince to the Empire. I remember of all my father's mad ravings and ramblings when I was a boy, he always worried about what might happen when he died. Would the Empire hold or would it crumble because I was a bastard. As though I had a choice in his mistakes. I look back on that night of weakness, the night I betrayed Dorothea that to this day remains shrouded in shadows only known to me and Douce. I’ve continued sending her letters and keeping contact with her but each time I read her words I can’t help but think back to that night of love making. The possibilities that could have been. It’s very likely we could have had children together ourselves. But I suppose I wouldn’t have had Sigismund or Louis or Julien. Nor my daughters Sophie or Alice. I wonder what could have become but as I hold my baby boy I know I ultimately did what was right. To protect him and my family. Though that night of weakness haunts me, I wish there was a way to repent without confessing my sins. I could never hurt my family not even by proxy through speaking of my infidelity. Even if she writes me and assures me we are still close I know I did hurt her that night. Perhaps my biggest regret of all was hurting her.
11th of August, 1302
With increasing religious hostility in both the Holy Roman Empire along with the Muslim rule in Iberia, I came to agree with a suggestion by one of my advisors to consider building a fortress for one of the Holy Orders so they can establish a base of operations in France. The Knights Templar are perhaps the ones best suited as they are mostly French in origin. I decided a new castle in Provence would be well situated for either occasion and its construction has begun.
2nd of May, 1303
With the castle now done and a town being built around it I’ve granted the entire local Barony of Frejus to the Order of the Knights Templar. Hopefully with this Barony in place the Templar's are able to better operate in and around southern France to root out heretics and defend France from Christendoms enemies.
2nd of February, 1304
Today I filed into Notre Dame surrounded by courtiers and nobility alike. Several people were drinking and making preparations for today my eldest son Prince Julien is to be married. I met Duke Girvais of Poitou, the father of the bride to be. “Ah your grace!” he said giving a steep bow as I laughed “Oh please Girvais, after today you and I are family there is no need to be so formal.” I said as I clapped and a servant approached “Yes your grace?” “Bring me and the Duke some drinks will you?” “Of course your grace.” he said, bowing away as I turned back to the Duke. “Are you nervous?” I asked as the Duke shook his head “Oh no, my son got married about a year ago. I got rid of those nerves a while. I wouldn’t suppose the Emperor could ever be nervous?” I laughed some waving him off as the servant brought us our wine. I held mine up “To Julien and Brandimena, may their marriage be fruitful and bring them happiness!” The Duke raised his own goblet joining in my cheer before I took my seat as the ceremony began. To see my son finally marry it is a reminder that not only am I getting old but really where did the years go? Just yesterday he was born and I was holding him in my hands, his future subjects had seen him born, and now they are watching him marry their future Empress-Consort.
13th of March, 1306
After attending church I returned home to find out that apparently Brandimena, my son Julien's wife, gave birth today to a healthy baby boy! While I was hopeful their marriage would be fruitful I didn’t realize quite how fertile it would be! Either way for a healthy prince to be born so soon it was certainly welcome. As for the naming it was decided he too would be named Julien, which I’m sure won’t lead to any confusion with three generations of Juliens one after the other. To think I’d be a grandfather at 42, joyous indeed.
11th of September, 1308
After increased fevers and general aching pains in my foot my court physician claims I’ve developed Gout. “how’s that even possible?” The physician gave a shrug “I’m afraid I can’t say though these records in the Hospital of Paris say that your grandfather Emperor Baudouin II suffered from gout most of his life, as did his grandfather Emperor Baudouin I. Perhaps your family or your position is likely to cause imbalance in your humors and make gout more likely. Either way I will advise your son and grandson to help prevent this from happening to them.” I groaned as he gave me a cane to help walk when my joints acted up.
5th of July, 1309
I mourned the death of Queen Elisa back when she committed suicide what was it now? About 12 years ago? My brother Louis had to remarry and was utterly crushed. Not only that but my goal and dream of bringing Italy into my family's rule crumbled. Well her Aunt Clara is queen now and much like her niece Clara is facing another German invasion from the newest Holy Roman Emperor, Konrad II von Luxemburg. I’ve called on my levies to raise and sent a letter to Clara to arrange a marriage between her youngest son and my daughter Alice. With their marriage our alliance will be sealed once again and we can properly defend the Italians from the Holy Roman Emperor.
7th of October, 1309
The war is on and my armies are gathering in the northern Alps to hopefully cut off the Empire from even arriving in Italy itself. As my forces were gathering in and around Basel they were attacked by a 20 thousand strong force led by Duke Ehrenfried of Moravia. This report says that the Frenchsoldiers used the mountains and nearby river to force them into a smaller front which was surrounded and quickly devastated. With this major battle a secure victory the Holy Roman Empire is bound to fall. I’ve sent about 12 thousand men to siege the Emperor's capital while the rest will begin their march into the Empire's holdings along the border.
11th of December, 1309
In an almost ironic twist it seems that Emperor Konrad II had passed and of all princes to be elected it was Duke Ehrenfried. Either way this war is just about done. I’m sure the Moravian Duke has no interest in pursuing this any further than necessary.
16th of February, 1310
Another major battle this time at Zollern where over 20 thousand Germans came down on my men, the defense was mounted and despite nearly being defeated reinforcements came by the tens of thousands and routed the Germans. This Battle will certainly go down into legends just as my ancestor King Eudes II in the Battle of Giza or Charles Martel in the Battle of Tours. Not long afterwards the letter arrives from Queen Clara that the war is over.

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15th of June, 1313
As I grow older my gout grows worse by day. Sometimes I can barely feel it and others the pain is unbearable. I’ve turned to drink to help numb the pain and it does do fine work. Though often I find myself stumbling not because I’m missing my cane but due to how intoxicated I’ve become. Drinking makes life in court just a tad more easy going. As I stumbled down some steps I’d seen my young grandson Julien running towards me giving me a hug “Grandfather! I’m learning so much things!” he started telling about the entire lecture when he was scooted away by one of the servants. What an active boy. As I returned back to speak to Julien he wafted his nose “Grandfather, your breath is awful!” I only laughed it off “Only because I’m old Julien, your breath will smell just like mine when you’re my age!” He laughed at me “Nuh uh, I’m never going to be as old as you!” A few gasps around as I laughed it off, children rarely had as much energy or confidence to speak to me so casually it was refreshing. “Alright boy, best you get with your father. Grandfather has more work to be done.” I turned to my son Julien who looked almost concerned “He’s a fine lad. You should remember how you were at that age. Remember that time I caught you sniffing through my personal letters?” I started laughing “You, you drained of color so fast thought I was going to give you the beating of a lifetime.” Julien joined me in a laugh “Yes I do remember that.” I leaned closer winking to him “But no, I sat you down and helped you read the words because” I poked him in the chest “I cared about you and wanted you to have a good education.” I looked at Julien ruffling his hair “Be a good boy Julien and mind your father.” I turned back to my son and nodded “I’ll see you at dinner tonight.” I walked along snapping my fingers as a servant approached and I demanded for a goblet of wine for court today. I could use a drink to get through this nonsense.
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2020.07.09 16:06 efa___ I Read It So You Don't Have To: Love Italian Style (by Melissa Gorga)

As much as I've been enjoying our literary exploration of RHONY's trailblazing cosmopolites, I think it's time to mix things up and travel approximately thirty miles down the road to get a taste of the suburban paradise that is the non-Jersey-Shore part of New Jersey. And since I'm sure we could all use a little bit of extra help keeping that spark alive -- especially in these trying times -- what better place to start than Melissa Gorga's 2013 relationship advice book, Love Italian Style: The Secrets of My Hot and Happy Marriage.
If you were in any doubt as to our author's expertise on the particular issue at hand, never fear! You have only to flip the book over to its back cover to be thoroughly rid of any residual skepticism. What is love, if not those nuzzling noses, that slender hand thrown into contrast against a patch of coarse, hoary facial hair? However, I have to admit that my personal definition of love would probably have included a little help from my friendly neighborhood tooth-whitening app. Between an unfortunately positioned shadow and the striking contrast of Melissa's hyper-peroxided chompers, poor Joe looks like he got pulled into this photo shoot midway through eating a particularly unwieldy Tootsie Roll.
In the introduction ("Blueprint for a Better Marriage"), Melissa primes us on her motivations for writing this book.
Since I entered the world of reality TV, the number one message I get from fans is, "I want your marriage!"
She continues,
The number two message I get from fans: "How do you do it?"
I think a far more interesting question would be, Why do you do it, but that's neither here nor there. Melissa goes to empower the reader with the knowledge that, no matter the state of their marriage, there's always a way to turn things around.
If other women want a close-to-perfect marriage, they can have it, too. It's their choice. Even if they don’t think they are, they are in control. Women steer the ship. What they say and how they act towards their partner will directly correlate with his response.
I am breathless with relief, and immediately begin making plans to send a copy of this book to every domestic violence hotline in the nation. How silly of me -- the solution was there the whole time! How disappointing that all of those other women couldn't have just tried a little harder.
With that selfless act of charity over and done with, I soldier on through the following paragraph, in which Melissa introduces her "overriding 'Gorganizing' principle" of a good marriage: "treat your husband like a King." As a side note, for what I can only assume is an incredibly well thought-out and heavily symbolic reason, the words "King" and "Queen" are capitalized throughout the book (or, at least, throughout this chapter).
But treating your husband like royalty doesn't mean you have to be a subservient pushover! No,
In the game of chess, the King can only move one square at a time. The Queen can zip across the board every turn.
I realize how much my standards have been lowered by my recent run of Housewives memoirs, since my only reaction is to be decently impressed that Melissa got the mechanics of chess correct. However, the metaphor starts to fall apart shortly thereafter:
As the Queen, I create the playbook for our marriage. On our chessboard, I'm zooming up the iTunes charts and performing on concert stages, but I'm never more than one step away from being at my husband's side.
Take that, Bobby Fischer! We next follow Melissa back to her childhood to learn how she became the woman she is today, and she tells us about dating a series of bad boys as a teenager
My OCD kicked in, and I wouldn't let up until they'd transformed.
Despite a few failed relationships, Melissa continues in her unrelenting search for Mr. Right, but is dismayed to find that some men are hesitant to pay her attention -- "Maybe it was because I was sober and not dressed like a slut." We're treated to a family portrait tenderly captioned, "Guidos in pastel" before jumping ahead a few years to the moment that changes it all. Of course, the responsibility of recounting the numerous details of such a monumental event would be too much for a fragile female constitution to shoulder. Thankfully, as we read:
Joe loves this story. One of the secrets of our marriage is to grant him his moments. I call them "Joements." Whenever you see bold type set in a box, like below, know that these are my man's words. For extra fun, read it out loud in Joe's voice.
Hey ladies. It's me. The one and only Joe Gorga. I'm very proud of Melissa for writing this book. I'm honored she wants to hold up our marriage as an example for other woman [sic]. I knew she was the woman for me when I first laid my eyes on her.
Joe begins to tell us the story of meeting Melissa in Cancun while on vacation, but the couple loses touch when he gets "busy with business and with girls closer to home." Nevertheless, the stars align, the lovebirds reconnect, and the passion is unstoppable from there! Melissa encourages us to follow in her footsteps and adhere to the "100-date rule" for having sex. As she explains:
Even if sex with me turned out to be the greatest night of [Joe's] life, he'd lose some respect for me in the morning. I'm not going to apologize about how unfair that sounds, how sexist or old-fashioned. The fact is, a man won't fall hard if a woman is too easy.
Before I can formulate an argument against this, however, I read on to see that Melissa refers to Joe reaching climax as "releasing his poison." I now realize that delaying intercourse was probably the safest strategy for everyone involved, if only from a biosafety standpoint. She then quips:
Some women think waiting to have sex is just a strategy women use to trick a man into marriage. The opposite! For one thing, a "trick" is what whores do.
I have to admit, I wasn't expecting Melissa Gorga and G.O.B. Bluth to have this much in common, but it's always nice when multiple experts agree on a particular concept. Melissa goes on to reassure us that "it's like a math formula," so I'm pretty confident she's got things figured out.
The couple quickly tie the knot and settle into a comfortable newlywed routine. Melissa shares some hard-earned words of wisdom from these early days:
You might think you and your new husband can just sit down with an iPad, and bang out your official policy on the biggies.
Alas, as our guide sagely informs us,
On day 1,001, you'll realize that all those plans you made on the iPad aren't worth a dime.
Considering my boyfriend and I don't even have an iPad, I’m frankly a bit nervous about where this leaves me. Thankfully, the next section of the book promises to teach me everything I need to know to be "a lady in the parlor," so I remain hopeful that I can learn the skills to compensate for these minor deficiencies.
We begin with the topic of fashion, on which Melissa explains,
The one thing I've come to realize is that I need to take Joe into account when I get dressed.
After enumerating rules like "dress to please your man," "dress to please your man, part two," and "a King does not want his Queen to look cheap," Melissa informs us that
It's never appropriate to wear a super-short mini dress with a boob-popping, midriff-baring tube top. Absolutely not.
I agree -- absolutely not! A tube top on top of a mini dress? It wouldn't even bare your midriff at all if you wear it that way! Preposterous! She goes on to sternly remind us that "'I'm insecure and overcompensating' is not the fashion statement that you want to make." But as a matter of fact, I'll have you know that 'insecure and overcompensating' is exactly the aesthetic I've been trying desperately for years to achieve.
Melissa tells us that Joe loves to see her in the color red, so she "[buys] every red dress or shirt I see." It seems like it would actually be incredibly debilitating to live life this way -- I picture Melissa Gorga, quietly sobbing in the checkout line at Kohl's, arms straining under a towering pile of red shirts, red dresses -- red, red, red. She pulls a cart behind her, overflowing with shades of crimson, scarlet, and maroon, as she frantically swipes credit card after credit card, desperate to claim her all-important bounty.
Moving on to beauty tips, Melissa cheerily informs us that "the saltiness in sweat is an all-natural scrub." We next learn that Joe doesn't wear a wedding band, because he has "really chubby fingers" and "thinks that a ring is the most uncomfortable thing ever." Also that he is a "dedicated manscaper." And is "into feet." After reading this, I'm pretty sure it will be at least 100 dates until I have any desire to have sex again.
The next chapter introduces us to the couple's experience with reality television, beginning with their recruitment for Real Housewives of New Jersey:
For the record, Joe and I never called a producer. They found us. If it had been the other way around, we probably wouldn't be on the show. If we'd shown any interest, we would have been ignored. Bravo's style is, the more you want to be on the show, the less likely you are to get on it. Like a house cat, if you grab at him, he'll run under the bed. But if you sit and wait for him to come to you, he'll jump right into your lap.
I swear, if I ever get a cat, I'll name him Bravo. Although I'm deathly allergic to cats, so that may be a problem!
To illustrate the full depth of emotions experienced by a thoughtful, sensitive man in the cutthroat reality television industry, Joe Gorga returns and shares with us the toll this upheaval took on him. Per Melissa's advice earlier in the book, I suggest you read it in your best impression of his voice to get the full effect. .
I'm a simple guy. I go to work every day. We were married six years before we got on the show. I have a wife that doesn’t leave my side. We love to be together. She's my best friend. Every night, I come home. She's in the kitchen looking cute, in those tight pants I love, cooking my favorite food. It was my dream life. I was used to that.
And then it started to change. I'm not going to lie. It took some time to get used to. I remember one time when Melissa told me that she would be out doing press for the show. When I came home, walked into the kitchen, and saw the babysitter holding little Joey, I felt a pit in my stomach. I knew who she was -- I'd hired her -- but I wasn't ready for the reality of not seeing my wife when I walked in the door. In that half second between what I was expecting and what I was actually seeing, I got a little nervous of what was to come.
When Melissa got home, I told her that I was bummed out. I didn't want to make her feel bad, but it was all starting to hit me. She apologized, but there was nothing be sorry for. She did nothing wrong.
Melissa goes on to remark that "the spotlight has actually made me more humble and vulnerable." And perhaps this is why the less-than-scrupulous have always tried to take advantage of her -- "'Film at my store!' 'Plug in my business!'" But Melissa struggles on, and is soon offered the chance to fly out to California to shoot a magazine cover. Joe's response? "No. You can't just fly around whenever you want." You may find this attitude controlling or demeaning, but you would be underestimating the eternal wisdom of the Gorganizer himself:
After many honest and sometimes hard conversations later, I figured it out. Joe was worried. He was worried that if I was flying to L.A. to do a photo shoot on a Wednesday, then what was going to be on my schedule for a Thursday? How far would this go?
This is definitely a compelling argument, and not the literal definition of the slippery slope fallacy.
Melissa effortlessly manages to slip in the fact that this episode occurred "around the same time my first single, 'On Display,' hit the iTunes charts." For a rigorous scholarly analysis of this lyrical masterpiece, I highly suggest you listen to the first segment of this week's episode of So Bad It's Good with Ryan Bailey. The themes of Melissa's work can be quite dense and emotionally weighty, so it's in your best interest to have an experienced guide of Ryan's caliber to help walk you through her masterful prose.
Rest assured, however, not all of Melissa's songs are so enigmatic:
My most popular song on iTunes -- "How Many Times" -- was written for and about Joe. It rose all the way up to number four on the charts. The reason it was such a hit? Fans had an emotional reaction to a song about my love for Joe.
The chanteuse goes on to share advice about how to keep stage fright at bay.
You know that old saying, "To get over stage fright, picture the audience in their underwear?" Well, I just picture Joe Gorga. I will leave the rest of the details to you.
I can only pray those details are ones like "fully clothed" and "giving an enthusiastic thumbs-up sign." And really, it's not like Joe is a mind-in-the-gutter kind of man. He stops by to share with us that, "A lot of my friends go to a strip club every night after work. I'm not that guy." As a matter of fact, as Melissa continues, "with one exception (guess), he never loves me more that [sic] when I'm making pasta and meatballs for our friends and family." She also suggests spicing up a party with "a few unexpected twists and turns." Past favorites of the Gorgonauts have included "an inflatable bull-riding ring" and "a whipped cream fight."
When our guests are doubled over laughing, and saying, "Only at the Gorgas!" I know we're a hit.
Above all, it's crucial to spare no expense when "the happiness of your family and friends is at stake." As Melissa reminds us,
Whatever you put out there in life or on the table -- kindness, love, and quality meats -- it flows right back to you.
I'm not sure if a flowing river of quality meats is the exact metaphor that I would have chosen to express this particular sentiment, but far be it from me to criticize someone so steeped in the romantic arts! What I am more than happy to criticize, however, is Melissa's subsequent revelation that she and Joe spend parties "sending sexy telepathic messages about what we'll do when everyone leaves." She explains, "parties are like extended foreplay for us." This certainly puts a different spin on the "quality meat" references, to say the least. However, I'm blissfully relieved to see "shower before bed" on the list of sexy tips for men that closes out this chapter.
Melissa introduces the next section of the book by telling us, "It took me a while to get 'Gorga-approved.'" As part of the grueling authorization process, her mother-in-law would berate her cooking "for hours at a time " while Joe helpfully offered up "some constructive criticism. I'm pretty sure this is more or less the plot of the second Hunger Games movie, but please correct me if I'm mistaken. The chapter ends with a helpful reminder not to text at the dinner table -- "I don't care what carrier you have."
In the book's next section, Melissa shares her perspective on her and Joe's relationship:
No marriage is perfect. No man is perfect. Joe has his flaws, for sure. I'm not perfect either. The flaws in ourselves and in our marriage cause us to fight. When we do, it's loud. He's a passionate man, and I'm a passionate woman. Our fights go from 0 to 90 in about 2.5 seconds.
And no, she's not just being a hysterical, overdramatic woman (this time!). Joe confirms:
I lose it. It's true. But I'd never let loose if I didn't believe Melissa understood me, and can handle me. It's another version of trust.
Exactly like how I only steal from people when I know they have enough money available for me to take. It's another version of trust. Melissa informs us that, when Joe is mad, "the only defuser that makes a dent in his sulk is to ask, 'Don’t you love me?'" I presume she says this while affecting the accent of a young Blanche DuBois and ostentatiously collapsing across the nearest piece of furniture. At this point in the book, I am caught off guard by the tragic revelation that Joe Gorga suffers from a serious medical condition that puts his life and livelihood at risk. As Melissa explains:
That's when he told me about his severe poison condition. He described the need to expel his junk like it's a real physical crisis. We all know that Blue Ball Syndrome does not appear in any medical textbooks. But for Joe, not having enough sex is detrimental to his overall health. He genuinely can't function otherwise. He gets fidgety and stressed, distracted and irritable.
But Joe isn't suffering alone. This devastating malady is indiscriminate, affecting innocent men around the globe and wreaking its ruinous consequences. As Melissa solemnly intones, "The general consensus though is that if men don't get their minimum of sexual activity (on a sliding scale), they go crazy." Or, as Joe puts it, "Refusing to initiate is a Top Three reason men cheat."
We next learn about some of the expectations Joe has for Melissa in the context of their relationship. For example:
He wanted to make sure that I knew, for example, if I ran out to CVS and he came home from work to an empty house, he didn't like it.
I can only assume that this is because Joe Gorga is an infant child who lacks an understanding of object permanence, and becomes so alarmed at the prospect of an empty house because he is genuinely convinced that Melissa has disappeared off the face of the planet, never to return again. Plus, as she reflects, "In a way, it's flattering that he wants me all the time." Just like how kidnapping victims should be flattered that someone cared about them enough to take them for their very own!
Of her initial response to these rules and regulations, Melissa recalls,
My independent side wondered if he was trying to control me. I tried not to be too analytical about it.
This is the correct response, because women are wildly irrational harpies who lack the intellectual wherewithal to contextualize Complicated Man Things.
Before I introduce the next anecdote, take a second to imagine with me. You are writing a book about your fabulous, indescribably fulfilling relationship with the love of your life, thrilled at the chance to share your hard-earned wisdom with the eager audience. But what particular episodes truly capture the spirit of a marriage for the ages? How can one convey the innumerable intricacies of a decades-long relationship in something as hollow as the written word? After weeks of dogged pondering, you finally light upon the perfect sketch to illustrate your loving husband's tender devotion:
My girlfriend called me up one day from her doctor's office. She was getting her lips done. "Come over and try it!" she said. I was curious. I went over there. I didn't want huge big fake lips, so I just got a little done.
Mistake! Just that little bit made me look like a duck. I hadn't told Joe what I was up to. That night when I was cooking dinner, I kept my back to him so he wouldn't see my face. He noticed, of course. And he was NOT happy. "You look disgusting! You're like one of those freaks from Beverly Hills! What are you doing to yourself? What are you turning into?" He started slamming the plastic tabletop on the high chair (obviously, the baby wasn't in it), and it cracked.
Fat lips tell no lies: I hated the look, too.
He didn't talk to me for two weeks, about as long as the bruising lasted. When they went back down to normal size, I was relieved, not only for his sake. Puffy lips just didn’t feel right for me. Lesson learned. I never got them done again.
Sorry kids, Daddy's not talking to Mommy this week because she made herself look like a rancid Beverly Hills slut. That's love -- Italian Style.
Melissa tells us that she "[insists] on hiring all of Joe's secretaries at work" -- "If the candidate is over sixty, with an eye patch, a hump and a bald spot, she's hired." I can picture the Help Wanted ad now!
But just because your husband has mercilessly established an immovable network of pointless and degrading rules that he forces you to obey for the sole purpose of making his life as pleasant and free from consequences as possible doesn’t give you an excuse to let yourself get overwhelmed, No,
When things get hot, we remind each other that it's all noise. It's a sandstorm. But in the middle of the storm, with the sand swirling around us, we stand together solid as a rock.
This is the alternate music video to Darude's Sandstorm that I never knew I always needed.
We next learn that, "unwavering eye contact -- really staring -- is the test to a couple's comfort level." I've applied this principle in my own life to great positive effect, although my boyfriend was admittedly a bit concerned to wake up with my face inches in front of his own, my eyes strained open to ensure that I start my day with the necessary amount of close corneal contact.
An Odd Couple for the ages, Melissa and Joe Gorga let us know that they deal with conflicts in different ways. Joe "is the Incredible Sulk," while Melissa informs us,
I'm witty to get my way. I'm sarcastic. If he yells and I say, "That's fascinating, Joe," or "You're a real tough guy," he gets crazy.
I'm truly awed by the piquancy of these verbal barbs! I can only hope to channel Melissa's sarcastic wit in my own writing from here on out.
We learn that "men's attitudes are determined by their work and finances." In contrast to women's attitudes, which I assume are determined by how many dishes they have to wash and whether or not there's a coupon for their favorite brand of laundry detergent in today's circular. For this reason, Joe handles the finances for the Gorga household, and this system works exceptionally well. As Joe himself reports, "Our only glitch was when she questioned me about it."
In a heartfelt tribute to the man who's never left her side, Melissa pronounces: "He never wavered, never stopped busting ass." She's also generous enough to include several financial tips to ensure that the reader's marriage has an equally solid fiscal foundation. For example,
Live as well as you can: Buy the best car you can afford. Stretch by buying a house in the nicest neighborhood with the best schools.
I've been grappling for a few weeks now over whether or not to pull the trigger on a $400 Lego Hogwarts, and Melissa has just, however inadvertently, given me the green light. Thanks, girl!!
In the next section of the book, Melissa walks us through the timeline of her singing career, with a heavy emphasis towards the staggering toll her newfound success has had on her man at home. As she informs us, "Joe is empathetic. What hurts me destroys him." And ultimately, "having hit songs will not keep me warm at night. Joe will."
Melissa lets us know that "women are multitaskers" and that "cleaning can be soul-nurturing and creatively productive, if you use it that way." She continues to say that, "anyone can fold laundry on automatic pilot." I have a sneaking suspicion that by anyone, she really means women. After all, everyone knows that if a man folds laundry, he automatically turns gay. It's just science!
Again, you may be tempted to dismiss Joe as a chauvinist, an outdated relic of worldviews past. But that's why you're not the one writing a book about love and marriage, silly!
For Joe, it all comes down to respect. He was offended that I'd want him to waste even twenty minutes of our time together on a chore. Actually, Joe doesn’t want me to do chores either when he got home in the evenings.
And after all -- "Do you really want to see your man on his knees next to a bucket of sudsy water?" Real men should avoid kneeling at all costs, because kneeling is one step away from giving a blow job, and giving blow jobs is bad and gay and definitely not "Italian style." Again,
A man doing the dishes does not turn me on. Talk about crushing the fantasy of his being the big, bad protector.
And this isn't just Melissa making stuff up! She's got science on her side.
Anyway, a study came out recently that pretty much confirmed my belief.
As she elaborates: "When gender roles are confused, sexual roles are, too. If he's at the sink and then changing diapers, then who throws who down in the bed?" This makes absolutely no sense to me, from which can only assume I must have been doing sex wrong for all of the these years. As soon as I finish reading, I'm going to excuse myself to do some frantic and slightly embarrassed googling to clear up my confusion.
Melissa and Joe don't just uphold traditional gender roles in the bedroom, but allow this perspective to perfuse every aspect of their life together. As an example, "he thinks I'm the worst driver in the world."
Melissa tells us that
Joe and I are the King and Queen of the house. Antonia is our princess, and Gino and Joey are the little princes.
I can't help but notice that "princess" and "princes" are not capitalized like "King" and "Queen," although I'd be lying if I tried to pretend I had any clue what to make of this cryptic stylization. Joe writes a particularly meandering "Joement" in this chapter, in which he describes his response to the birth of his first son
"That's my boy!" I put a Giants jersey on him right away.
We should all be incredibly appreciative of Joe's quick thinking here. Without a Giants jersey, how would anyone would have known the baby was a boy? I can only imagine the horrors that could have ensued. Joe goes on to share his parenting philosophy with the reader:
My sons can have a separate entrance to the house. They can come and go as they wish. They can have anyone up to their room. I don't care. But I want to keep Antonia my little girl.
As he continues,
My wish is for her to have one boyfriend for a very long time. They have a mutual breakup with no bad feelings. Then she marries the next guy. That would be ideal.
It is totally normal and by no means invasive for a father to write what essentially amounts to elaborate mental fan-fiction about his young daughter's future romantic and sexual exploits. Joe signs off with the cheeky quip, "I know it's a double standard. But I just don't care!"
Melissa shares the inscrutable observation that when she and Joe first met, "he was like Mussolini." What's more, "it's no secret that Joe is a sexually voracious man and a throw-down lover." It's this experience that empowers Melissa to share with us the tips and tricks she uses to make sure that her husband never goes unsated. For example,
Thick luxurious carpeting can turn the barefoot walk from the bathroom to the bed into an erotic journey.
Joe stops by to proclaim the (patently and demonstrably false) claim that "A man will never go outside his marriage for sex unless he's not getting it at home," before Melissa instructs us that "sex is a marital lubricant." As she lets us know,
I'm proud of how I look, and not embarrassed to say so. Caring about your looks is superficial only if you do it for shallow reasons.
Reminding us that "being his sex object takes effort," Melissa commands the reader to "treat your body like a sex machine." If you let your physical appearance slip, "he might not complain, but that doesn’t mean he's not thinking Ewwww."
The next chapter boasts the vaguely terrifying title, "our version of foreplay." Melissa reiterates a message from earlier in the book, remarking that "Joe and I keep up the romance with extended foreplay." She also provides a helpful analogy to help delicate feminine minds comprehend the irrepressible male sex drive.
Most men are like pilot lights, always ready to burst into flame. They just need a blast of romantic fuel.
Melissa also tells us that Joe has "a tiny foot fetish." While I'm sure she means to imply that Joe's foot fetish is of a manageable intensity, I would much rather interpret this sentence to mean that Joe Gorga has a raging passion for full-grown women with teeny-tiny baby-doll feet.
Chapter fifteen is titled, "Full-Body Gorgasm." And if the physical reaction I had to being forced to read the word 'gorgasm" is any indication of its definition, it's more or less the physiological inverse of a regular orgasm. Displaying a characteristically Housewives ability to completely ignore the canonical definitions of fairly common terms, Melissa explains,
The traditional definition of "open marriage," is when a husband and wife allow each other to have sex with other people. Our version of "open marriage" means open communication, especially about sex.
She remarks that, "I know so much about how Joe's mind works," and I can't say that I'm even the slightest bit jealous. However, the man himself is kind enough to deign to let us in on some of these inner machinations:
One of the ways my wife shows me respect is by making mad passionate love to me. When I knock on the door, it opens!
But don't think this means your sex life has to be boring and staid! Far from it:
When I gained weight during pregnancy, Joe was totally into it. He said it was like having sex with a different woman. He loves variety.
This isn't the only way you can incorporate variety into your sexual repertoire. As another suggestion, Melissa suggests that you "be loud on Monday and whisper on Wednesday." Sing on Tuesday, mime on Saturdays. Also Joe swings by again to remind us that "the little things, touching toes, matter." Sure, just a very minor foot fetish.
Perhaps it's my fault for rushing so frantically through the sexual miasma of the previous chapters, but I'm surprised when I turn the page and am abruptly met with the book's parting words. Thankfully, trying to make sense of what lines like this actually mean will take up, I anticipate, a large part of the rest of my day.
Need is only a four-letter word if you don't accept it as another one: F-A-C-T.
At the back of the book, an exceptionally thorough index provides page numbers for a host of scintillating topics you will undoubtedly want to go back and reference. I'm sure that, generations from now, scholars will run their impatient fingers down this very list, thirsting for the lost vault of knowledge that only Melissa Gorga can provide.
children sex challenges, parental, due to, 225-26
Gorga, Melissa Marco, 48, 89 121, 229, 234 driving and, 179 stage fright by, 117-19
Nars products, 83, 85
Ralph (friend of Joe), 6
respect, 2, 4-5, 45, 52, 65 as cornerstone of marriage, 7-8, 9, 11-12, 186 in lovemaking, 223
sex, 217 faking orgasms in, 225 as marital glue, 11-12, 148-50, 195-96, 227-28 variety's importance in, 224
Short Hills Hilton, New Jersey, 53-57
Thoreau, Henry David, 109
See my comment below for more info on my future plans!
submitted by efa___ to BravoRealHousewives [link] [comments]


2020.07.09 08:50 Justwonderinif S-Town Timeline IV

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Friday, July 10, 2015
  • Reta and Charlie have put a gate across John's property with "No Trespassing" signs.
  • Tyler is taking care of two of John's dogs (Pipsqueak and Madeline) in the trailer he lives in with his girlfriend, and two of Tyler's daughters.
    • Tyler has to scrounge to get money to take the dogs to the vet.
  • 10AM: Probate Hearing to request permanent guardianship over John's mother.
    • Tyler wants to go to to the hearing to petition the probate judge to intervene.
    • Tyler has a bunch of things at Johns ($25,000.00 worth) at John's house. (Tools, spray paint, tea pot, the swing set, lawnmower, welder, masonry stuff.)
    • Tyler has had a falling out with his partner at the Tattoo parlor, and needs his tools.
    • Tyler shows Brian a bill of sale for 2 x school buses and an 18 wheeler trailer. Tyler says these belong to him.
  • Probate Court: Tyler is sitting off to the side. Brian wants to introduce himself to Reta and Charlie.
    • Reta and Charlie Lawrence are at Probate Court.
    • Brian introduces himself, and asks if he can talk to Reta afterwards.
    • Reta says Tyler's been causing nothing but trouble, and Reta and Charlie are leaving the next day.
    • Reta, Charlie, Tyler, Boozer Downs, and Judge Jerry Powell meet in Chambers. (Note: Judge Powell is one of the judges who defied the Supreme Court decision to give marriage licenses to same sex couples.)
    • Tyler asks the Judge for his own things. Judge Powell explains that the hearing isn't about Tyler's stuff. It's about guardianship. Judge Powell says Tyler can take it up with Reta to get his things back.
    • Reta says she can't talk to Brian now, but asks if John told Brian where his money is hid.
  • Brian meets with John's attorney, Boozer Downs:
    • Boozer says John told him what he wanted to do with his assets. But Boozer can't say what that is.
    • Boozer says John discussed suicide.
    • Boozer had suggested John get a nonprofit or historic trust to take care of the property, maze and the dogs. John replied that he spent too much money, and the person who took over would just sell it.
    • Boozer won't say what John's assets are. He gets cryptic. Boozer doesn't know if John took care of his assets. John had told Boozer "The form" of what he was going to do with his assets. Boozer won't explain "the form." John had talked to Boozer about being un-banked.
    • Boozer suggests that the hunt for John's assets is literally a "treasure hunt."
  • Boozer suggests Brian talk to Faye Gamble, and invites Faye over to speak to Brian.
    • Faye and Brian go back to her office at Town Hall
    • Faye says she met John when she became town clerk ten years ago.
    • Faye tells Brian about the night John killed himself and her nightmares.
    • Faye will not show Brian the list of people John wanted contacted.
    • Faye is vague with Brian about instructions John gave, and "certain things" John wanted her to find.
    • John told Faye were to find "certain things," but Faye won't say what those "certain things" are.
    • Faye says that John had previously told her about wanting to leave assets to Tyler and his brother. But that John didn't say anything about that the night he killed himself.
    • Later, Faye lies to Reta and Charlie and tells them she has not talked to Brian.
    • Faye will not give John's contact list or instructions list to Reta and Charlie who find this suspicious.
Mid July, 2015
  • Approximate: Olin Long has not spoken to John for a year. When he calls the house phone number (that the McLemore's have had since the 1960s) is disconnected). Olin googles "John McLemore obituary" and learns of John's death via a condolence web site, six months ago.
  • Tyler steals John's truck from John's property. Tyler takes John's laptop, and every piece of paperwork he can find down to birth certificates and deeds, and John's Grandfather's railroad stock papers, John's two vehicles.
    • In John's house, Tyler found John's "people to contact" list. Fifteen names and numbers on the list. Reta's name, Woodstock Town Hall, Vet, and Lawyer. Tyler's name is not on the list. There's a group of names at the top. Each of those names is a mystery to Brian. Of the first seven names at the top of the list, not one of them showed up at John's funeral.
  • Tyler posts John's truck on Facebook, and sells it. Someone signed John's name on the title in July, and sold the truck for $3,300.00 to someone who lives near the Mississippi state line. Tyler told the buyer that his step-dad was John B. McLemore
  • Tyler posts John's Mercedes on Facebook and sells it for $900.00
Less than a week after Reta Takes Ownership of the Property
  • Tyler notes that Reta has sold all his tools, John's clocks, and cleaned the place out.
  • Tyler has been looking for the hidden treasure, looking underneath John's house, etc. According to Tyler, John showed Tyler gold bars and was buying gold at 30k per clip. "We got to find it, Brian..."
End of July, 2015
  • Tyler has been using a metal detector to search the property. Tyler says it looks like the movie "Holes" on John's property.
  • Reta's neice checks on the property and sees there has been a break-in at the shop.
    • Reta's neice calls Officer Jerry Lightsey who says that he's not going to come over or file a report, and Mary Grace should be calling, not Reta's neice... The next day:
  • Tyler removes the 18-wheeler and two school buses from the McLemore property.
    • Tyler says he showed the police his bills of sale and asked them if he could take the buses and trailer and the police said yes, he could take them.
    • Tyler calls Brian while he's doing this. The buses and trailers are towed out. They are filled with lumber, a clawfoot tub and wood stove. Tyler wants to build a house on his grandmother's property.
    • A friend of Reta's calls her to tell her Tyler took the buses. The next day:
    • Reta and Charlie drive to Woodstock and case Miss Hick's house, taking pictures of the buses and trailers in Miss Hicks's yard.
    • July 22: Reta's Photo of Property Destruction
    • July 22: Buses and Trailer on Tyler's Grandmother's property
    • That same day, warrant is issued for Tyler's arrest for trespassing.
    • Later, Tyler leaves a message on Reta's answering machine saying, "If you don't quit driving by my house, and harassing me, I am going to fill your ass with buckshot."
  • Reta visits The Woodstock Police in person.
    • Jerry Lightsey says, "You have got to stop driving by Miss Hicks's house! You have got to stop harassing him, or I will arrest you!"
    • Reta says, "So, Tyler can steal Mary Grace's shit, but I can't drive up and down a public road?!"
    • Jerry Lightsey says, "Lady, you gotta back off!"
  • Reta has pressed charges for trespassing, for theft of the trailer and buses.
  • Tyler emails a photo of the "people to contact" list to Brian. Fifteen names and numbers on the list. Reta's name, Woodstock Town Hall, Vet, and Lawyer. Tyler's name is not on the list. There's a group of names at the top. Each of those names is a mystery to Brian. Of the first seven names at the top of the list, not one of them showed up at John's funeral.
  • Tyler and Allen Bearden talk the day before Brian meets Allen. Allen buys off on how fishy stuff has played out.
  • Brian meets with #4 on the list: Allen Bearden in Pell City, AL
    • Allen says that Horologists experienced a heyday in the nineties.
    • Allen says that John was out of the business in 2012, when they met. But John helped Allen fix an Elliott Grandfather clock.
    • Allen says John was a master, and explains about the Elliott Grandfather clock. John had an reputation for working on high-end, world-class clocks. John was the best.
    • Allen had tried to get John help, and invited him over to get out on the river. John never came. Could not get away from his mother for that long.
    • Allen says it is fishy and suspicious that he was not notified and he isn't sure why Faye would want to micro-manage and control the situation. Allen suggests Brian call the other people on the list. Allen says those people are on the list for a reason.
Later in the Summer, 2015
  • Approximate: Kendall Burt buys all of the McLemore property from Mary Grace.
  • Brian talks to #6 on the list: Bill Maier.
    • Utah Bill is a friend and clock customer of John's for decades. Bill lives in Utah in a house that is more like a museum than a house. Bill thinks it is so sad to hear that John finally did it. So incredibly sad.
  • Brian talks to a Pacific Northwest friend who says that he only heard about John's death from Faye, after the funeral.
  • Brian talks to Duncan Greig, a respected clock restorer from Tunbridge, England. John and Duncan had never met, but developed a friendship over the phone, and via letters.
  • Brian talks to Tom Moore - John's Chemistry Professor in College, and a lifelong friend. Faye called Tom after the funeral.
  • We don't know if Brian talked to the Birmingham, Alabama mechanic on the list.
    • From all these conversations, Brian learns that: John helped one of his friends rebuild a clock from WWII/Greiling Germany; John worked on a clock once to the point of tears; John worked on a clock for seven years; John could recite Poe from memory; John told some of them he was running down his savings; John told some of them he had converted his money to gold and hid his money; John talked to some of them about a will.
    • All John's friends feel like someone is taking advantage of the situation. They speculate about the Reta & Charlie, Faye, and the Goodsons. Brian thinks that if the Goodsons had the gold they would tell him. John's friends feel like someone is getting away with something.
  • Brian visits another friend of John's named Bill (Alabama Bill) who lives in a suburban house near Bibb County.
  • Just after the trespassing charge, but before the felony charges, Brian visits Tyler.
    • Brian tells Tyler that if he ever finds any gold, not to tell him, because it would be public.
  • August, 2015: Cheryl and Jeff's 12th Anniversary.
End of August, 2015
SeptembeOctober 2015
  • Brian is at the Best Western and runs into Reta.
    • Brian slips a note under her door. Reta, and Charlie and two other cousins of John's all meet with Brian in the Hotel Common Area
    • Charlie thinks it is a terrible idea to talk to Brian who is just trying to pit them against Tyler.
    • Reta and Charlie call Tyler a con man and note that the buses and 18-wheeler were on John's property before Tyler's bill of sale.
    • Brian asks about the text message from John. Reta thinks it was sent by Tyler, from John's computer.
    • Faye Gamble has not shown Reta and Charlie the list of instructions from John.
    • Boozer Downs was supposed to take a written statement from Faye about what John said the night he committed suicide, but he still hasn't done it. Reta and Charlie are suspicious of Boozer.
    • Reta and Charlie think that Boozer is in cahoots with Tyler.
    • Brian asks where Mary Grace is and Reta won't say.
  • Tyler suggests that Boozer is in cahoots with Reta and Charlie to suppress the will and steal the gold.
  • Boozer Downs emails Brian asking to retract his interview:
    • It got ugly in the hearing. I'm concerned that I should not have spoken to you on the recording
    • Boozer says he did not hide the will, because there was no will to hide.
  • One of John's friends emails Brian and says, "Maybe I knew too much."
  • Allen Bearden feels like someone has taken John's gold, and somebody got it, and there is a cover-up happening. Allen thinks someone has the gold.
  • Brian visits Faye Gamble a second time:
    • Faye insists she called everyone before the funeral, right there from City Hall.
    • Brian gives Faye an out and tells her maybe she was too traumatized. Faye insists that that wasn't it, and she called everyone on the list, before the funeral.
    • Faye says she has finally given the list to Reta and Charlie.
    • Faye says Reta is lying, and she never told them she didn't speak to Brian.
    • During this second interview, Reta reveals that John told her that his gold was wrapped in a towel in the freezer.
    • Fay says she told the police that John said there was gold in a towel in the freezer.
    • Faye said she didn't look in the freezer, suspects Tyler, and knows things she can't talk about.
  • Brian visits K-3 Lumber and talks to Kabrahm:
    • Records the story in Kabrahm's own words, for the podcast.
    • Brian said he talked to Kabrahm about a year after his first visit to Alabama. (This places the Kabrahm interview in SeptembeOctober of 2015.)
  • Approximate: Brian interviews Cheryl Acker Dodson and Jeff Dodson.
October 10, 2015
October 17, 2015
  • Brian gets an email from Olin Long, who was not on the contact list. Olin Long would like to listen to the radio episode when it airs. The two arrange an interview.
October, 2015
  • Approximate: Tyler gets a temporary job at a factory in Georgia.
  • Approximate: Mary Grace goes on a River Boat trip, and a trip to Gatlinburg, TN. Mary Grace has gained 18 pounds.
Monday, November 9, 2015
  • Approximate (Four months after John died): Woodstock Town Hall: Tyler's Court Hearing for misdemeanor trespassing for taking the buses and 18-wheel trailer.
    • Reta and Charlie are present. A special prosecutor is called in from out of town. And Tyler's attorney is here from Bessemer.
    • Tyler is not present because of the job in Georgia. Tyler is slapped with a Failure to Appear.
  • Town Hall Parking Lot: Reta and Brian talk. Reta thinks Tyler has been taking advantage of 89-year-old Mary Grace.
    • Reta has found one bank account with 98 dollars in it. Reta thinks that the 18-wheeler and buses could have helped pay for Mary Grace's care.
    • Brian refers to Mary Grace as John's legal heir when court records show that everything was in Mary Grace's name and John was Mary Grace's heir.
    • Reta thinks that John was forced by Tyler to drink cyanide... was cheered on. She told the police she thinks they dropped the ball.
    • Reta speculates that John and Tyler had an argument. Reta thinks that Tyler is a thief who has ransacked the house.
    • Reta has tried to track John's gold by calling the mint and the US Treasury.
    • Reta has John's baby book that includes: Report Cards, Birth Certificate, Family Pictures, and Class Photos. She offers to make copies for Brian.
    • Reta tells John about Mary Grace's weight gain and trips and how Mary Grace is doing better than she had under John's care. Reta says John had boarded up the windows in Mary Grace's room, and Mary Grace has lost ten years.
    • Reta is mad at herself that she didn't put two and two together.
Mid November, 2015
  • Approximate: Brian interviews Mr. Not-A-Good-Person. His wife looks over the shoulder. The man says that John wanted a partner.
    • Brian asks if the relationship was sexual and the man says it wasn't sexual, but John might have wanted to.
    • There is speculation that Mr. Not-A-Good-Person is Tyler's father, Rodney, due to shared mannerisms.
  • A grand jury has indicted Tyler on a felony count for theft of the 18-wheeler, and the buses full of lumber and antiques. Exact date of the indictment unclear
  • Approximate: Reta has asked the police to look into John's missing truck and Mercedes. The Woodstock police came back to Reta and told her that "Everything was fine. The vehicles belong to Tyler."
End of November 2015
  • Tyler goes to pick up his youngest daughter and the girl's mother won't give Tyler his daughter. Tyler breaks down the door, and the police are called. A gun is involved, and Tyler is arrested for "armed burglary."
  • Approximate: Tyler lures an electrician to the house he's building from John's lumber and trailer.
    • Tyler threatens to cut off his fingers for stealing his grandfather's guns.
    • Tyler beat the guy up. And didn't cut his fingers off.
  • Mary Grace's 89th Birthday
Mid December 2015
  • Brian interviews Olin Long for five hours in a hotel in Birmingham, Alabama (and six hours the next day.) Total 11 hours.
December 15, 2015
December 17, 2015
Sunday, December 20, 2015
  • Tyler's mother messages Brian on Facebook and says Tyler will be in jail on Monday. Brian calls and talks to Tyler's maternal grandmother, Miss Irene Hicks, since Tyler's mother isn't up to talking.
    • Tyler has nine felony charges against him.
    • Tyler has a fourth baby on the way with his current girlfriend, Cami.
    • Tyler's mother, Maya, is supported by Tyler's grandmother.
    • Tyler and his kids and Cami are living in a half-finished house in Miss Hicks's yard.
Monday, December 21, 2015
  • Tyler has a court date for the armed burglary charge. Tyler pays his $1,000.00 bond and leaves.
    • Tyler's forgery and theft case are scheduled to go to trial in early summer 2017.
January 2016
  • Reta:
    • Charlie's father has moved in with Reta and Charlie, after surgery.
    • Reta calls Brian, and they talk for three house. Reta is trying to get some information.
    • Reta isn't sure who she can trust and who she can't trust at the Woodstock Police.
    • Reta has discovered that Tyler has sold John's Truck and Mercedes. The State has revoked the title to the truck. The man who bought the truck agrees to give the truck to Reta.
    • Reta believes someone in the police department is feeding Tyler information. Reta has not told the police that she's uncovered the sales of these vehicles, because she thinks the police are feeing Tyler information.
    • Brian tells Reta how Tyler sees her. Brian finds that in contrast with how Reta comes off to him.
  • Brian calls the Woodstock police and eventually visits Woodstock:
    • Officer Lightsey refuses to speak to Brian.
    • Police Chief Len Price says that Tyler was told he couldn't take anything from the house until matters were settled in Probate Court.
    • Police Chief Len Price says that the town of Woodstock had to pay to clean up the suicide scene.
    • Police Chief Len Price says that the cops didn't find any money or gold in John's house.
    • Brian learns that Jerry Lightsey is a family friend of Tyler's. Lightsey is especially good friends with Tyler's mother, Maya. And comes to Miss Hicks's house regularly.
    • Tyler gave Officer Jerry Lightsey a tour of the house he is building using items he took from John's property.
    • Jerry Lightsey was winking and implying that the trailer was a "different trailer" not John's trailer.
    • Maya tells Brian that Jerry Lightsey is stressed over Tyler's legal situation, and that Jerry is eagerly waiting to retire in 2017. Jerry is tired of having to choose between his friends and his job.
February 2016
  • Reta says it was "during this time" that she "spilled her guts" to Brian Reed.
  • February 16: Reta and Charlie meet with the ADA in Centerville. The ADA wants Reta to return for the grand jury on February 24.
  • February 24: At the grand jury, Tyler is charges with the theft of two vehicles, two buses, one trailer and the lumber stored in the trailer.
    • During this trip, Reta makes the decision to sell the McLemore house and property that had been in Mary Grace's family for over 100 years. According to Reta: There was no way I could stop the trespassing and vandalizing of the house and property. Every time I went over there, it was another window broken, another broken lock, just pure meanness! We were taking one step forward and three steps backwards. I had dealt with the odor, the heat, the cold, the dampness, dead rats, and destruction long enough. I really felt that I would get a call any day telling me the house had been burned down. I just could not take it anymore. My mind was made up, I had no choice but to sell the place. Of course, the financial situation was another reason. It really broke my heart.
April 2016
  • April 1: Reta makes a deal to sell the house to the Burt's.
  • April 16: Reta is back in Alabama. Mary Grace had been referred to a surgeon concerning her lifelong condition on her leg, so, I wanted to be there to discuss her options with the doctor. She let him know quickly he was not cutting on her leg. And I [Reta] totally agreed.
  • We moved more stuff from Mary Grace’s to storage, boarded up another window that had been broken out and then I called an Auctioneer to come and pick up anything that was left. At this point I felt I had done all I could do.
  • April 26: Reta heads back to Florida.
August 2016
  • August 11: The sale of the house closes.
Spring, 2016
Summer, 2016
  • June 7: Cheryl turns 44
  • August: Cheryl and Jeff's 13th Anniversary.
  • August 23: Jeff Dodson elected mayor of Woodstock.
Fall, 2016
2017
2018
http://www.al.com/news/birmingham/index.ssf/2018/02/woman_receives_3_million_judge.html
submitted by Justwonderinif to Timelines [link] [comments]


2020.07.09 08:48 Justwonderinif S-Town Timeline II

<
March, 2005
  • Early March; John writes:
    People already stopping by and asking about opening date. We decided on Monday, March 14, day before my birthday.
  • March 3; John writes:
    I buy sign letters from Commander Board. Also deposit another $1,000.00 from the investments account. Exhibit 6.
  • March 9; John writes:
    I pay Mark Gilbert for Dozier work around premises and deposit another $700.00 in the checking account. The source of this money was a milling machine I sold out of my shop in February. Exhibit 7.
  • Mid March; John writes:
    PANIC! Jeff and Cheryl had begin to show signs of losing interest. There was a load of stuff to get done. They encouraged me to go ahead and that is exactly what I did. Only about 5 days before opening day. Tables were built, Mark Gilbert called to help cleanup grounds, posts to put up, chains to stretch, loose stuff on building, garbage still everywhere, tarps to nail and block down, and the whole week freezing and raining. Jeff was rarely seen on weekends these days, and Cheryl and the kids and I finished what was left of the cleanup. Meanwhile Jeff criticizing, this ain't right that don't suit him, this ain't no good, that ain't where it ortta' be.
  • March 12; John writes:
    Buy swing at Lowes so customers will have a sit down place. Two days left to open. For the week of March 5 thru 12 I was pretty much on my own for finishing the extensive list of "to do's"
  • March 13; John writes:
    Day before opening. Last pre-opening order from Deb's nursery. Jeff is in a good mood. We bring ALL container stock over to the shop on Sunday evening in pouring rain, storm and wind. Tornadoes are blowing around Bibb County and weather sirens blowing.
  • March 14: John and Cheryl and Jeff open Woodstock Garden Center next door to her house. John writes:
    Opening day. I deposit another $1,200.00 from my (not the joint) investment account. $600.00 cash out (pay cash for first orders of tender plants in case new suppliers don't trust a new checking account. Exhibit 8. Deposited 2 days later on Wednesday.
    By March 14 my total investment in this business including monies loaned to Cheryl, and cash paid to Deb's nursery, Arvell, Joe, Gray, and others was $9,350.00. By March 14 morning Jeff and Cheryl (my combined 66% parents) had coughed up: 00.00. I had already been paying Cheryl cash for the water, phone, and light bill. Furthermore the sweet promises of payment of the $1,000.00 loan had begun to occur less frequently. On March 14, Cheryl brought by (around lunchtime 50.00 in change for the box. Over the next week she would add the following: [Twin Roll Paper Towels $1.00, Clock $10, Battery for clock $3, two small garbage bins $8, bottle of glue $1, two pair scissors $10, round of drinks for machine $35.]
    Including the 50.00 in change this brought her total investment in this business to about $118.00 between the end of December until closing day on May 16. Many suggestions were contributed (Such as how I needed to buy concrete statuary, etc), but not one penny more was contributed. No sign of the $1,000.00 either.
    Between the end of December and closing day Jeff contributed a paint brush, some stiff wire, some small sheetrock screws, and I would estimate his expenditures to be about $20.00. Also contributed was much complaining, griping, hot air, and cigarette butts. I have difficulty in accurately appraising the exact value of these items. There was to be no more financial contribution by the two of them for the rest of the period the business was open.
    I paid for every single item used in that business from December 30 to May 16 down to the office supplies, bank drawer, pens, paper, light bulb, telephone wire, paper towels, cups, pots, pans, hoses, soap, outlet covers, breakers, wire, all lumber down to the last nail, even to the roll of toilet paper hanging on the stop.
  • March 15: John’s 39th Birthday
    • John and Olin are close friends.
    • Tyler is 13 years old
    • Michael Fuller is 34
    • Rodney is 35
    • Approx: John meets Olin in a parking lot in Birmingham. Olin bought azaleas from the Garden Center. John and Olin laugh about "Megaphone" and share a tender moment. Olin wants to make a move and doesn't.
  • March 17; John writes:
    First stock of tender bedding plants arrives. Exhibit 11 shows payment. Another batch arrives the next day on Thursday.
  • March 21; John writes:
    Another $300.00 deposited. This time the source was books sold out of my shop.
April, 2005
  • April 4; John writes:
    Another thousand dollars deposited as a result of tools sold out of my shop once again.
  • Week of April 18; John writes:
    One of Cheryl's friends goes over to Jim Norman's and buys out his old, mostly dead, and diseased plant stock. Furthermore they plant the choice pieces, and want to bring over the garbage and dump it off onto me to sell at whatever price for them. This material constituted a plant pest/disease problem and I wasn't about to risk several thousand dollars stock to be contaminated by this material. They were also remodeling Cheryl's kitchen, and she was afraid they were not going to finish the job if I couldn't be pressured into taking this stuff.
  • Friday, April 22; John writes:
    Jeff and I go over to look at the crap. He is in agreement. Later on they call me over to the house to discuss it, and Jeff is going hog wild, towering over Cheryl asking "Whaddya think baby tell 'im what you think?!" Meanwhile Cheryl is sitting on a small stool near the floor with tears streaming down her face. Jeff is going into full swing, I am inching my way to the door. Jeff starts hollering at me to get my ass back there, meanwhile leaving room to holler and cuss back at Cheryl, and I make out with some comment like "if they are going to act like that I wish I was out of it especially since I paid for everything anyways."
    To top it off, it is going to freeze, and I had to bring the rest of the plants in by myself. Later me and Mary Grace go over and stash plants indoors and vacuum. No sign of Jeff or Cheryl.
  • Saturday, April 23; John writes:
    Jeff comes over to lecture me on how "we equal partners in dis here and don't you fergit it." Also I heard a lecture on how "this here place is costin' me money every day," (although he hadn't put a cent into it hardly), also a lecture on how he ran a group of forty sheetrock hangers and how this place was "stressin" him and how it wouldn't be worth the stress if it was making a thousand dollars a day. Also much blowing of cigarette smoke in my face, thumping of cigarette butts, Jeff seemed to think a place just wasn't right unless a pile of cigarette butts was laying everywhere. He seemed to enjoy coming over and thumping them out on the grounds, and scowling at me when I stopped to pick them up. After a few weeks the parking lot of Woodstock Garden was beginning to look more like the Green Lantern. I received a finishing lecture from the "equal partner" about how he could "rent this here out or sell this here," at which I offered to take him up on. He didn't seem to like having his bluff called (I had the money and he knew it), and flew into a fit until a customer came in and spent about an hour talking about how her Richard Wright house was falling apart. This seemed to cheer Jeff up.
  • Late April and Early May; John writes:
    Jeff comes over usually after work in variable moods sometimes cheerful and other times scowly. At other times he has started drinking his beer out styrofoam cups on the garden center porch and thumping out his cigarette butts. April 15 has come and gone, and when I gently inquired of Cheryl about the 1,000.00 I was informed that "that money is already gone." In this same month I was informed about how Jeff had bought a thousand dollar prom dress for his daughter and wasn't going to let her wear it; another time I was told that Cheryl's sister had been knocked up by a 16 year old boy and how they were going to have to contribute $600.00 to get her married off, another time I was warned to lock up the money because Cheryl's brother was on crystal meth and had been arrested 4 times this month. Meanwhile they have a huge row one Saturday morning with Arvell Kornegay's grandson and daughter. The whole situation for this time was like a nonstop showing of Jerry Springer.
    Cheryl informed me that I was going to just have to work my thousand dollars out of the business, and sat me down one afternoon for a rethink of the finances. Throughout this time they seemed to enjoy coming over and bragging about how they were spending a thousand dollars here or there... another time it was for a thousand dollar beauty walk dress.
  • Saturday, April 30; John writes:
    I reluctantly place the potting soil order with BWI. This was the purpose of my last check deposited. Exhibit 15. I say reluctant because by this time you never knew what was going on from day to day. When it arrived Jeff wanted to know "What's all this shit doing out here?" His exact choice of words.
May, 2005
  • Sunday, May 1; John writes:
    This is the day of our "rethinking financing" discussion with Cheryl. Sunday. Since I had over ten thousand in by now, and Cheryl and Jeff wanted to quickly make back their 2000 they had already paid Johnnie Faye, she wanted me to start writing checks to herself and myself as a factor of four to one. Her first check was 250.00. I subsequently removed a thousand dollars from the account for myself. Check number 139. Exhibit 16 is Cheryls cleared check.
  • Sunday, May 8; John writes:
    The same situation. 2200 for me, 550 for Cheryl. Her and Jeff were in an extra cross mood on this night (Mother's day Sunday), Exhibit 17. Jeff and Cheryl by this time are constantly criticizing everything. Cheryl comes over to rearrange the merchandise after closing. Nothing suits Jeff, everything is overstocked/understocked, needs to be put here, or over there. Suggestions keep coming about what I need to be stocking instead, but still not a cent more spent by either one.
  • Monday, May 9; John writes:
    Cheryl comes over at lunch, and tells me one of her friends wants to install a little ice cream stand on the garden shop grounds. She wants me to know that whatever objections I have are irrelevant because so far I have been running the show and they have had no input in the business whatsoever. I bite my tongue about no money whatsoever, and assure her I have no objections, and she seems encouraged, cheers up, describes the space required, and informs me that they will be settling up Friday after hours.
  • Saturday, May 14; John writes:
    Friday comes and goes, no ice cream stand in sight. Not one on Saturday or Sunday either. A stack of beer cans has been deposited by Jeff in a cooler out behind the building however. Not well hidden, mind you, in plain view where a customer could pop up the lid and view the remaining coors light cans. They decided they wanted to work the weekend shift, so I only came over for an hour or so those two days and after closing Sunday evening.
  • Sunday, May 15; John writes:
    Sunday Evening. Since we owed ALA TAX about 500.00 and had orders on the way, we did not write checks to ourselves this evening. This week had not been as busy as Mother's Day week. Cheryl remarked the low stock, so I prepared orders for Monday at home that evening. Cheryl was in a good mood while we went over sales slips, the baby playing on the countertop. There was also only about 800 in checking with about 6 or 7 hundred dollars in the drawer.
  • Monday, May 16; John writes:
    Cheryl comes in at noon telling me we are understocked. I place the orders I had prepared the previous evening. Jeff comes in at about three complaining that we are overstocked, and I call back and reduce the orders while he is sprawled out on the potting soil bags. He is doing the beer in a styrofoam and cigarette thumping thing again today, complaining about how his head feels like it is about to bust.
    I ask what happened with the ice cream stand, he just looks at me like I am some sort of idiot. He spends most of the day on the bags of soil with his sunglasses on (doing his Corey Hart impersonation) blowing smoke and thumping butts out the door. I made the grave error of cleaning up some of the King's butts which seemed to set him further into his attitude problem. I had to go over and let the lawnmower man in and out of the fence so Kristy worked for about an hour and a half. By closing time Jeff was fully loaded.
    • In another telling of the same day, John writes:
    Jeff came in that Monday, loading up on Coors Lite, attitude problem painted on and sunglasses in place, piled up on the bags of potting soil (doing the Corey Hart thing), glaring from side to side, blowing smoke, thumping cigarette butts, and complaining about how his head felt like ti was going to bust.
    He wanted "some kinda check," and I explained to him that there was only about 800 in checking, Ala tax was due, and orders were coming in. Also the week after Mother's Day had not sold nearly as much as the previous week.
    I thought he had cooled off, but by closing time, he had an audience on the porch and made a big deal out of telling me that "I hope you ain't gonna try to slip outta here tonight without leaving me some kinda check." He followed me to the truck like some school bully after a kid's lunch money and proceeded to tell me loudly (in order to impress his audience) about how this place was "stressing" him, how it wouldn't be worth it if it was making a thousand dollars a day, and he was ready to close it tonight, and was he and Cheryl were going to dictate to me what was to be done about my investment.
    I went straight to City Hall and told Cheryl that I was being kicked out, I wanted my thousand dollars back, and I wanted Boozer Downs as a witness.
    After meeting, all three of us met in the garden center office, but Jeff wanted to go out on the porch so he could put on a big show and impress the Kornegays. It worked. Their light went on before Jeff finished screaming, hollering, turning red, spittle flying, beer can jiggling in right hand... a perfect Jerry Springer Moment.
    • Boozer Downs says that Jeff was pacing angrily around John while John called out latin plant names, to taunt him; John writes:
    Boozer and I left.
  • Tuesday, May 17; John writes:
    I asked Billie Hudson to perform a bank scan, and asked Bob and Jackie Neff to help me clean out. Cheryl came over at lunch apologetically, and by afternoon Jeff's sister Shelly and a friend came by with a video camera to cause trouble. Jackie called the cops. Before Cheryl got there Jim Normal had driven by twice, Billie Daily had drove up and rocked on the porch, Anne Kornegay's driveway was as busy as a Wal Mart parking lot the day before Christmas, even her sister from Tuscaloosa had driven up to set in the swing and watch the festivities.
    Cheryl had told me that we have until tomorrow (Wednesday) to get everything out, but by (Tuesday) afternoon, had changed her mind because "Jeff was acting crazy and she didn't know what he might do next."
  • Wednesday, May 18; John writes:
    By [this] morning, Cheryl wanted 250.00 which I left with Donna Brothers. When Cheryl picked up the last dollar she was obviously ever going to get out of me, her attitude assumed that of Jeff's. She began moaning, and complaining about how was a pansy, pussy, pantywaist, etc. and having a fit over me actually getting everything out.
    Meanwhile, merchandise began to disappear from the premises. Cheryl told me that they had given a pallet away to one of their friends (Mark Gilbert), and the rest must have been stolen. A police report was filed.
  • Thursday-Saturday, May 19-21; John writes:
    I was continuously put off until Saturday about picking up the rest of my stuff. I counted bags, and it turns out the bag count was accurate. They had hidden the remainder of palletized stock behind their house. This was the most effort they had put forth in weeks. Cheryl acted surprised that the only pallet missing was the one given away. The police report filed shows the material recovered on Friday, May 20th, but it was not discovered "not missing" until Saturday, May 21.
    I never received the rest of my merchandise because Cheryl said that I didn't know what it was like to have to go home and live with and listen to Jeff. So I got out quietly. She promised to mail all of my paperwork to me, but April 15th of [the following] year came and went without a sign of it.
    I have had no communication with Cheryl since that Saturday morning. [May 21]. They attempted to re-open the next season, and presumably sold the merchandise. Currently the premises are for sale still bearing the material I bought and paid for and is still on site.
  • June 7: Cheryl's 33rd Birthday
End of 2005
  • August:
    • Cheryl and Jeff's 2nd Anniversary.
    • Cheryl is 33. She stops working as Town Clerk at some point in 2005.
    • John shows up at a Town Hall meeting and announces, "The Town Clerk owes me 10,000 dollars."
  • October 3:
    • Tyler's father, Rodney is arrested and convicted (same day) for having sex with a 14-year-old girl.
  • November:
    • Mary Grace's 79th birthday
    • Approximate: Reta says that John must have boarded up Mary Grace's bedroom sometime in 2005, since Mary Grace thought she was 78 when John died.
  • December:
    • "Brokeback Mountain" is in theaters.
    • Tyler and his brother and sister and mother move in with Miss Hicks.
  • James Howard Kunstler's book, The Long Emergency is published. John became a fan of the book, of Kunstler, and of the concept of "Peak Oil." John and Kunstler began communicating directly in 2009 or 2010.
  • The web site peakoil.com is created
2006
  • Approx: Cheryl's brother Johnny built the doggy mansion.
  • Cahawba Christian Academy Board of Directors votes to join the Alabama Independent School Association
  • Olin sees "Brokeback Mountain" almost every day. He purchases a giant TV, and asks the local movie theatre to host a screening.
    • Olin tells John about the movie, and John discounts Olin's feelings.
  • John's become close with a guy from town. The guy has some college, and goals. John is head over heels. John tells the guy he loves him, and the guy never calls back.
    • John has been distant from Olin. John connects with Olin and cries on the phone about the man he's in love with.
    • John told Olin he was desperate to have a one on one love relationship.
  • March 15: John’s 40th Birthday
    • Tyler is 14 years old
    • Michael Fuller is 35
    • Rodney is 36 (incarcerated)
  • Olin sends John a copy of the Brokeback Mountain short story. John cried when he read it. John occasionally re-reads the story.
  • John would intimate that he wanted a closer relationship with Olin, but nothing ever came of it.
  • Approximate: Faye Gamble starts working as town clerk (ten years before John's death), and meets John.
    • Faye in a 2017 Photo
    • John came into her office one day and introduced himself by saying, "I guess you know who I am."
  • April: John still hasn't spoken to Cheryl. It's been a year. And John's things are still at the Garden Center. Per the small claims suit, Jeff and Cheryl opened the garden center in April/May of 2006, and sold his merchandise.
  • June 7: Cheryl's 34th Birthday
  • August, 2006: Cheryl and Jeff's 3rd Anniversary.
  • November: Mary Grace's 80th birthday
  • December 12, 2006: John files a small claims suit against Cheryl and Jeff for $2,792.00.
2007
  • Cahawba Christian Academy Board of Directors votes to hire Dr. Steve Morgan as Principal.
  • Approximate year that Mary Grace is diagnosed with dementia
  • John makes a random comment about living with Olin.
    • John asks Olin if he's still looking for a partner. Olin says he's no longer looking. But the two do not become a couple.
  • February 2: John requests an extension on on his small claims suit against Jeff and Cheryl Dodson
  • March 15: John’s 41st Birthday
    • Tyler is 15 years old
    • Michael Fuller is 36
    • Rodney is 37 (incarcerated)
  • April/Approximate: Cheryl is ordered to pay John $100.00 a month per the outcome of the small claims suit.
  • Cheryl Acker Dodson's brother passes away. (Cheryl is 35)
    • Cheryl calls John to let him know she will be missing a payment.
    • Cheryl says John B was broken hearted about Cheryl's brother, and loved him, as did everyone in the town. Kendall Burt pays for Cheryl's brother's funeral.
  • June 7: Cheryl's 35th Birthday
  • August, 2007: Cheryl and Jeff's 4th Anniversary.
  • November: Mary Grace's 81st birthday
2008
  • March 15: John’s 42nd Birthday
    • Tyler is 16 years old
    • Michael Fuller is 37
    • Rodney is 38 (incarcerated)
  • At some point during 2008, Jeff Dodson helps John get the internet at the McLemore house.
  • Cheryl says she would run into John and he'd want to be friendly and have her come to the house, and she said that since he sued her, she never felt like they could be friends again.
  • John is known to have told his friends that he suspected he was suffering from mercury poisoning.
  • April 6: Photos of the property shared by Reta
  • April 6: More photos of the property as shared by Reta.
  • June 7: Cheryl's 36th Birthday
  • August, 2008: Cheryl and Jeff's 5th Anniversary.
  • November: Mary Grace's 82nd birthday
  • December 27: Tyler’s daughter born
2009
  • March 15: John’s 43rd Birthday
    • Tyler is 17 years old
    • Michael Fuller is 38
    • Rodney is 39 (incarcerated)
  • Approximate: John conceives of the maze, and starts clearing the land for the maze.
  • June 7: Cheryl's 37th Birthday
  • August: Cheryl and Jeff's 6th Anniversary.
  • October 26: Planting the maze - Photo Credit: Reta
  • November: Mary Grace's 83rd birthday
2010
  • Cahawba Christian Academy Board of Directors votes to hire Ms. Shelley Jones as Principal.
  • March 15: John’s 44th Birthday
    • Tyler is 18 years old
    • Michael Fuller is 39
    • Rodney is 40 (incarcerated)
  • April 8: Former Woodstock Town Council member Daphne Miller Brooks is sentenced to two years in prison for embezzling almost 2 million dollars from her employer. Daphne was interviewed extensively for S-Town, but most of the interviews weren't used.
  • Approximate: John sends an email to James Howard Kustler and they begin communicating first via email, then via phone. Per Kunstler:
    I heard from John B McLemore of Woodstock, Alabama for the first time somewhere around 2010, maybe, something like that, or 2009. He sent me e-mails, and they were interesting e-mails. You know, they were obviously from somebody who was a fairly erudite person who was interested in the things I’d been writing about in The Long Emergency. We had this correspondence and then he started calling me.
    He was a particularly interesting guy. First of all he had this very flamboyant mode of presentation. You know, he was like a character out of Tennessee Williams meets Bizarro World. You know, he was flamboyantly Southern and he sort of played up on it. And I enjoyed talking to him.
    ...We would mostly talk at first about world issues and economic issues and markets and commodities and oil and natural gas and, you know, all this stuff that I was writing about. But eventually he started talking to me about the town itself that he was living in and how he called it “Shit Town.” And how everything in it was busted, rusted, shot up, broken, deformed, messed up, ruined. You know, in some way that everything including the human personalities and families and relations in the town were all in some kind of terrible condition. And it all seemed kind of emblematic of the ruined condition of the fly over heartland of America that ended up voting for Trump, right?
  • June 7: Cheryl's 38th Birthday
  • August: Cheryl and Jeff's 7th Anniversary.
  • September: Satellite images. School buses and the 18-wheeler on the McLemore property.
  • November: Mary Grace's 84th birthday
2011
  • March 15: John’s 45th Birthday
    • Tyler is 19 years old
    • Michael Fuller is 40
    • Rodney is 41 (incarcerated)
  • April 18: Tyler’s daughter born
  • June 7: Cheryl's 39th Birthday
  • July 24: Reta visits John and Mary Grace
  • August, 2011: Cheryl and Jeff's 8th Anniversary.
  • November: Mary Grace's 85th birthday
  • Undated: Email from John B. to Kunstler. Apparently, Kunstler thinks we are moving to a salvage economy, but John makes the point that nothing new is salvageable.
2012
2013
  • Cahawba Christian Academy Board of Directors votes to hire Rev. Tim Bonds as Principal.
  • Tyler and John work on the maze.
  • John starts calling Faye and talking about suicide.
  • February 21: John comments on an internet forum
  • March 15: John’s 47th Birthday
    • Tyler is 21 years old
    • Michael Fuller is 42
    • Rodney is 43 years old.
    • Bubba said John started getting tattoos at the age of 47
    • Friends say that John started drinking heavily around this time.
  • June 7: Cheryl's 41st Birthday
  • June 16: John tries to upload a picture to his youtube profile
  • July:
    • July 4: Brian meets his future wife
    • July 12: TAL episode "500" is released.
    • Victim complaints are lodged against Ervin Heard
    • After eight years, Rodney is released from prison.
  • August, 2013: Cheryl and Jeff's 10th Anniversary.
  • Approximate: Mr. Not-A-Good-Person does yard work on the McLemore property. Over time, John became attached to the man, and didn't want him to leave... Didn't like it when the man had other commitments.
    • John B. would later tell Brian that he had a sexual relationship with Mr. Not-A-Good-Person.
    • Due to the way Brian ends the podcast, many think that Mr. Not-A-Good-Person is Rodney, Tyler's father.
    • After John died, Mr. Not-A-Good-Person told Brian that he started dating a woman, and John started using derogatory language when talking about the woman. The two had a falling out.
  • September 14: John complains about Gmail's new compose box
  • Fall; John writes:
    In the fall of 2013, three spaniel puppies were dumped in my yard. I had them fixed, and they have been with us ever since. That's how you get dogs around here: they just suddenly appear.
  • October:
    • October 13: John joins Disqus
    • Rodney registers as a sex offender.
    • Black Sheep Ink moves to Bessemer.
    • Whites Only Back room with pool table and stripper pole installed...
  • November: Mary Grace's 87th birthday
  • December:
  • Late DecembeApprox: John and Brian talk on the phone for the first time.
S-Town Timeline III >>
submitted by Justwonderinif to Timelines [link] [comments]


2020.07.09 08:25 Justwonderinif Tara Grinstead Timeline I

1992
1993
  • Paul Bowden becomes District Attorney (prosecutor) for the Tifton Judicial Circuit. A position he still holds as of 2018. He is prosecuting Ryan Duke.
  • June 20: Bo's 9th birthday.
  • Summer: Tara graduates Hawkinsville High School
  • Undated: Tara is Miss Pulaski County (Hawkinsville is in Pulaski County)
  • Undated: 1993 Approximate
  • Fall: Tara starts college - freshman year
  • November 14: Tara's 19th birthday
  • November 30: Ryan's 10th birthday
  • Christmas - may be from a different year.
1994
  • June 20: Bo's 10th birthday.
  • Fall: Tara starts sophomore year of college
  • November 14: Tara's 20th birthday - Tara at 20
  • November 30: Ryan's 11th birthday
  • Christmas - may be from a different year.
1995
  • June 20: Bo's 11th birthday.
  • Fall: Tara starts junior year of college
  • September 22: Se7en is released in theatres
  • November 14: Tara's 21st birthday
  • November 30: Ryan's 12th birthday
1996
  • June 20: Bo's 12th birthday.
  • Fall: Tara starts senior year of college
  • Approximate: Billy and Connie move to Ocilla. Connie says she and Billy lived in Ocilla for eight years, and Tara lived with them for four of those years.
  • November 14: Tara's 22nd birthday
  • November 30: Ryan's 13th birthday
1997
  • Spring: Tara graduated college? - Middle Georgia University? Tara with Billy and Connie
    • Rhett Roberts graduates from Irwin County High School
  • June 20: Bo's 13th birthday.
  • November 14: Tara's 23rd birthday
  • November 30: Ryan's 14th birthday
1998
  • Tara is Miss Charisma of the Georgia Sweet Potato Pageant in 1998. Possible photo from that pageant
  • June 20: Bo's 14th birthday.
  • Fall: Tara is hired at Irwin County High School in Ocilla, GA. Approximate. Tara's sister Anita said that Tara worked at ICHS for eight years before she disappeared.
  • Tara moves in with Connie and Billy who have been living in Ocilla for about a year.
  • September: Ryan Duke and Josh Bowden start 9th grade/freshman year.
  • Football season: Tara is a cheerleading coach - (picture could be from 1999 football season.)
  • November 3: Newt Hudson wins election to Georgia House of Representatives. Where he has served since 1982.
  • November 14: Tara's 24th birthday
  • November 30: Ryan's 15th birthday
  • Tara and Marcus meet at a friend's house. (of 1999)
  • Marcus is a police officer with Ocilla PD.
1999
2000
  • At some point in 2000 (or 2001?), an unnamed juvenile, who had once been in Grinstead's homeroom at Irwin County High, made a a series of threatening phone calls to Connie and Billy's home. The calls were intended for Tara. A trace on her phone determined he was the source. He was moved from her class. And it is thought proven that he had nothing to do with her disappearance. However, when Tara was followed, later this year, she may have over-reacted, because of the phone calls.
  • June: Bo Dukes, Ryan Duke, Josh Bowden - finish sophomore year.
  • June 20: Bo's 16th birthday.
  • September: Bo Dukes, Ryan Duke - start junior year.
  • November 7: Newt Hudson wins election to Georgia House of Representatives.
  • November 14: Tara's 26th birthday
  • November 30: Ryan's 17th birthday
  • Tara has lived with Connie and Billy in Ocilla for two years.
  • Marcus is a police officer with Ocilla PD.
2001
  • At some point in 2001, a former student (someone over 18), followed Tara. According to Marcus: It was basically a traffic incident. He was following her, and she called police. When police responded he ran. She felt threatened. He was arrested.
  • June: Bo Dukes, Ryan Duke, Josh Bowden - finish junior year.
  • June 20: Bo's 17th birthday.
  • August 31: Stalking incident resolved. Lindsey implies this is Vickers, but it's clearly not - if you look at the timeline.
    • According to Marcus: The name blacked out is C** M**, not a juvenile. Was believed to be an isolated incident. It was basically a traffic incident, he was following her, she called police. When police responded he ran. She felt threatened. He was arrested.
  • September: Bo Dukes, Ryan Duke, Josh Bowden - start senior year. According to Bo:
    I was probably the most popular person in my class. I was elected class president... I threw great parties and pushed the envelope every weekend. Ryan was my friend, my best friend, his family was broke and I didn't care, he was my friend.
    My senior year was an election year for my grandfather. There was a flag issue here its really complicated but was the death of the Democratic party in Georgia. I thought it was a mistake then. My grandfather thought "it was the right thing to do". And he got voted out of office for it.
  • Marcus joins the army at some point before the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center. He will eventually become a ranger
  • September 11: 9/11 Attacks on the World Trade Center in New York.
  • Tara has lived with Connie and Billy in Ocilla for three years.
  • November 14: Tara's 27th birthday
  • November 30: Ryan's 18th birthday
2002
  • January 11: After a 3 year absence, the Miss Tifton pageant is back. Tara's 1999 photo is featured.
  • Tara has lived with Connie and Billy in Ocilla for four years.
  • Ryan's senior picture
  • Bo's senior picture
  • Bo and Ryan at Senior Prom
  • June: Bo Dukes, Ryan Duke, Josh Bowden - graduate Irwin County High School in Ocilla, GA.
  • June 20: Bo's 18th birthday.
  • November 5: Newt Hudson loses election to Georgia House of Representatives. Bo now says that the Republicans cut the Democrats out during the 2002 elections. And that "everyone is a Republican now."
    Democrats Tracy Stallings’ and Newt Hudson’s defeats were probably related to their positions on the state flag controversy. In fact, news coverage indicated that eventual winner Republican Mark Butler sought to use the 2001 flag vote as a campaign issue to defeat Stallings (Pedraza-Vidamour 2002).
  • November 14: Tara's 28th birthday
  • November 30: Ryan's 19th birthday
  • Christmas 2002
2003
January 1, 2004
Sunday, May 2, 2004
  • [Big Fight] 10-15 men from Ocilla (Irwin County) and Fitzgerald (Ben Hill County) traveled to Mystic, GA (Irwin County) to fight.
    • Rumors are that up to 40 men were involved, including: Joey Stone (20), Joey's friend Lewis, Josh Bowden (besties with Lewis), as well as Bo and Ryan.
    • According to Joey Stone, he and Lewis and Ryan and Bo and other friends were partying in Fitzgerald. (Joey doesn't say where in Fitzgerald and it is assumed this is not a party at a pecan orchard.)
    • Josh Bowden arrived at the Fitzgerald party and said, "Ya'll come on. Let's go, these boys are talking junk. Let's go get 'em."
    • As a result, in Mystic, two men were nearly beaten to death, and subsequently hospitalized.
May, 2004
  • Joey said that Paul Bowden, Josh's dad and the district attorney for Tifton Judicial Circuit (Irwin County), arbitrarily charged Joey and Lewis and one other man for the fight, and protected Josh and Bo and Ryan and anyone from Irwin County. Only Fitzgerald residents were charged.
    • Joey and Lewis and one other man were forced to plead guilty or risk nine years in prison via a jury trial.
    • [The podcast suggests that Paul Bowden - currently prosecuting Ryan for murder - wanted the 2017 gag order to protect the boys who always knew who murdered Tara. The story is told to illustrate how Paul Bowden would favor boys from Irwin County, back then, and all these years later.]
June, 2004
  • Ryan's brother Stephen -- Anthony Vickers -- graduate from Irwin County High School.
    • Tara and Anthony begin a sexual relationship.
    • Anthony's mom says she once caught Tara climbing out the window of Anthony's bedroom. Vickers:
    We saw each other after high school, and went on there for a year or two. Most of the time it was just her house. It was so recent that I got out of school that we kind of kept it, just kept it on the low.
Summer, 2004
  • June 20: Bo's 20th birthday.
  • Joey's friend Lewis (also charged and convicted in the big fight) says that he was hanging out a lot with Bo and Ryan during this summer. Lewis says that every time he and Josh spent the night, Bo and Ryan were there, too. "When I was with Josh we were hanging out with Bo."
September, 2004
October, 2004
  • According to Marcus, Tara broke up with him in October of 2004
  • Marcus is an Army Ranger, serving in Iraq.
November, 2004
  • November 14: Tara's 30th birthday
    • According to Marcus, Dolly was a birthday gift from Marcus to Tara, to ease the pain of the breakup.
    • November 2004 was the last time Marcus was in Tara's house.
  • November 30: Ryan's 21st birthday
  • Undated: Tara, her father Billy, and her stepmother Connie
December, 2004
  • December 12: Photo of Bo
  • Christmas 2004 with Tara's mother Faye, and sister Anita.
    • [According to Marcus, the chain lock was in place as recently as early as November 2004. Some time between December of 2004 and her death, Tara installed a hotel-style lever lock on the inside of her front door.]
January/February 2005
  • After eight years of living in Ocilla, Connie and Billy move away. Tara has had her own place for about two years, after having lived with Connie and Billy the first four years she lived in Ocilla.
  • Tara is still seeing Anthony Vickers. Vickers:
    Very few people knew about our relationship. There's probably only three or four people that actually knew and we knew that they would not talk at all. When we would see each other, I would usually go over to her house. Would be the easiest thing to do. She would pick me up and we would go over there and just hang out. You know, watch a movie or something. That's kind of how we did it.
  • Tara is seeing Heath Dykes. Note:
    • Heath Dykes was a married police officer from Perry, GA.
    • Heath Dykes graduated from Hawkinsville (just like Tara) a few years before Tara.
  • Tara enters a doctoral program at Valdosta State University (unconfirmed)
  • Marcus is an Army Ranger, serving in Iraq.
Thursday, March 30, 2005
  • Drama at Tara's. Anthony Vickers is arrested in front of Tara's house for causing a disturbance. Heath Dykes is inside. Reports are that Tara did not call police. Tara's neighbors called it in, not Tara.
    Vickers: She wouldn't answer her phone, and I went over there, and knocked on the door. And we were still kinda on the low. She didn't want a bunch of folks knowing that I was over there. And we got into a little argument there, and I went to leave, and the police station's only a block away. So, a neighbor called, and only a block away, I was getting in the car, I was actually driving, pulling out of her driveway. And they stopped and pulled me out of the car. I was trying to leave and trying to do right. I said what I needed to say, and I was leaving, and then I couldn't leave. Well, I only lived like two blocks down the road so it wasn't like I made a thirty mile trip or nothing.
    Tara: Anthony's behavior was abnormal and was very aggressive on this day. I was very scared for my well-being as well as scared about Anthony. Anthony invaded my privacy in my home, while doing so in a raging and out of control manner.
Summer, 2005
  • June 20: Bo's 21st birthday.
  • According to Marcus, he and Tara went to a movie as friends.
  • July: Ryan and Bo and Ryan's brother Stephen are living with Ryan's dad in the trailer across from the Medical Center. Possible location. [In February of 2019], Stephen testified that Bo wasn't really "living there." And the prosecutor clarified that "Bo stayed there more often than not."
  • Late July/Early August: Tara and Marcus visit St. Augustine together for a beach trip. Immediately following this trip, Tara becomes concerned about Marcus's temper, and says as much to her brother-in-law.
  • Early/Mid August: Marcus returns to the Middle East. Tara writes to Marcus, and again, Marcus believes Tara is ending the relationship.
Friday, August 26, 2005
  • Irwin County High School Indians Football v. Turner County (Ashburn, GA) @ Turner County High School (L) 14 - 12
September, 2005
  • Tara's 2005 ICHS picture
  • Ryan and Bo and Ryan's brother Stephen are living with Ryan's dad in the trailer across from the Medical Center. [Note: Ryan's dad may not have lived there at the time. But he owned that trailer or was renting it, and the boys lived there.]
    • Ryan and Bo are 20. Stephen is about 19.
    • Ryan is working at Modern Dispersions in Fitzgerald.
    • Reports are that Bo was not working as his family was wealthy and he did not have to work.
Friday, September 2, 2005
  • Irwin County High School Indians Football v. Tift County (Tifton, GA) @ Tift County High School (L) 33 - 0
Saturday, September 3, 2005
  • Georgia vs. Boise State at home Win 48-13
Sunday, September 4, 2005
Friday, September 9, 2005
  • Irwin County High School Indians Football v. Atkinson County (Pearson, GA) @ Atkinson County High School (W) 24 - 20
Saturday, September 10, 2005
  • 5:30PM: Georgia v South Carolina at home W 17-15
Friday, September 16, 2005
  • Irwin County High School Indians Football v. Jeff Davis (Hazlehurst, GA) @ Irwin County High School (W) 36 - 0
Saturday, September 17, 2005
  • 1PM: Georgia v Louisiana Monroe at home W 44-7
Friday, September 23, 2005
  • Irwin County High School Indians Football v. Bacon County (Alma, GA) @ Bacon County High School (L) 29 - 22
Saturday, September 24, 2005
  • 3:30PM: Georgia v Mississippi State Away W 23-10
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Friday, September 30, 2005
  • Irwin County High School Indians Football v. Appling County (Baxley, GA) @ Irwin County High School (L) 34 - 16
Saturday, October 1, 2005
  • Marcus returns home from the Middle East for a three week leave. Marcus does not reach out to Tara, or tell her he is home.
Sunday, October 2, 2005
  • Tara learns from a friend that Marcus is home from the middle east.
Tuesday, October 4, 2005
  • Tara and Marcus talk on the phone. Date Approximate
    • He is home and she is in Waycross.
    • Tara asks if she can come visit Marcus, and he says no, that the relationship has been over for a year, and that they would never get back together.
    • Tara is so shocked and distraught that she requests assistance while driving home from class in Waycross.
    • [Dana said that when Tara disappeared her relationship with Marcus had been over for a year.]
Wednesday, October 5, 2005
  • Tara takes the day off from school to recuperate from the bad news.
Friday, October 7, 2005
  • Irwin County High School Indians Football v. Charlton County (Folkston, GA @ Charlton County High School (L) 45 - 0
  • Marcus has been in Ocilla for a week.
Saturday, October 8, 2005
  • 3:30PM: Georgia v Tennessee at Tennessee W 27-14
Thursday, October 13, 2005
Friday, October 14, 2005
  • 6:43AM: Tara sends an email to Marcus's mother
  • Undated: Tara letter to Marcus
  • 9AM: According to Marcus, Tara knocked on his windows at 9am. She was crying and said that if she found out he was dating anyone she would kill herself.
  • Other reports have Tara stopping by school at 9am and then spending the rest of the day with her mother. Unclear if this is Faye or Connie. Confirmed by correspondence, Tara stopped by the Harper's home in the evening.
  • Irwin County High School Indians Football v. Pierce County (Blackshear, GA) @ Irwin County High School (W) 30 - 28
Saturday, October 15, 2005
  • 7:15PM: Georgia v Vanderbilt at Vanderbilt W 34-17
Sunday, October 16, 2005
  • Tara and her mom go to the fair in Perry.
    • Tara spends the rest of the day with her mom in Hawkinsville.
    • Unclear if this is Faye or Connie.
  • Marcus has been home for two weeks.
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
  • JH, a software company salesman, stopped by Tara's room at school. The software he sold targeted keeping children interested in school.
  • Tara sends a friendly email to Marcus and he does not reply.
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
  • Tara has lunch with a friend and talks about the argument with Marcus.
Thursday, October 20, 2005
Friday, October 21, 2005
  • Tara shops in Fitzgerald.
  • Irwin County High School Indians Football v. Brantley County (Nahunta, GA) @ Brantley County High School (W) 22 - 20
Saturday, October 22, 2005
  • Ryan and Bo and Ryan's brother Stephen are still living in the trailer across from the Medical Center. Unclear if Ryan's dad is living with them.
  • Ryan is employed at Modern Dispersions and has the weekend off.
  • Pageant girls arrive at Tara's for hairstyling and makeup application. The girls leave at different times throughout the day because some were competing earlier.
  • 12:30PM Georgia home game against Arkansas.
    • Reports: Bo Dukes and Ryan Duke are at their home in Fitzgerald that afternoon, drinking, and watching the game with a group of friends.
  • 3PM: Georgia Sweet Potato Pageant begins at 3PM in Fitzgerald - Tara arrives later.
  • 3:52PM: Georgia game ends. Georgia won 23-20.
  • 6PM: October 22 police log starts at 6PM and ends at 6AM
  • 7:45PM: Dana walks Tara to her car.
    • 7:45PM: Kickoff for Auburn LSU game.
  • Tara speaks to Rhett Roberts in front of his house in Ocilla.
    • Rhett's parents own the house that Tara is renting.
    • Rhett's brother Luke would eventually become a tennis coach at Irwin County High School. Rhett Roberts brother Luke is not the Luke Roberts who writes for the Ocilla Star in 2019.
  • 8PMish: Tara arrives at the home of Irwin County's former superintendent Dr. Troy Davis - for a BBQ.
    • They all watched the LSU Auburn game on a TV Troy had on the deck.
    • While at the BBQ, Tara received several calls. Tara said one call was from a pageant girl.
  • Tara's neighbors - the Portiers - have been out all day, at their cabin. But return home to spend the night.
    • Troy says Tara was on one call for a very long time, and that at the end of the call, Tara said, "I love you, too." Troy said Tara told him the call was from a man who lived in Perry, with the assumption being that it was Heath Dykes.
    • 10:20PM: According to Godwin, Heath spoke to Tara at 10:20pm.
    • Approximate: At Troy's urging, Tara texts "I'm cold" to a friend of Troy's who Tara is casually dating.
    • 11PM: Troy said Tara helped them bring the TV inside, and left as the local news came on.
    • 11:15PM: Tara leaves the BBQ.
Sunday, October 23, 2005
  • 1AM: Marcus leaves the White Horse Saloon in Fitzgerald, drives to Ocilla, looking for his friend, Sean, an Ocilla police officer. Sean knew both Marcus and Tara, and was one of the officers who responded when Anthony Vickers was arrested for disorderly conduct.
    • 1:49AM: Sean received a call from the dispatcher that Marcus was looking for him. Sean and Marcus meet up.
    • 2:45AM: Sean was summoned to a house where a local man had walked inside someone's house, and refused to leave. Marcus joined Sean on that call. A few minutes later, Sean and Marcus left the residence and searched for the man - ending at a local gas station.
    • 4:28AM: Marcus heads home and is in bed by around 5AM.
  • After midnight/Before sunrise: Ryan says that he stole Bo's keys out of Bo's pants pocket and drove to Tara's while everyone was asleep.
    • Ryan says he drove to Ocilla, broke into Tara's home, and went through her purse.
    • Ryan says Tara surprised him and he punched her so hard it killed her.
    • Ryan says he drove back home and got a quilt and gloves.
    • Bo says that Ryan told him that he [Ryan] killed Tara in her bed. That he used a card to trip the lock on her door, and came in while she was asleep.
    • [Note from user on DB: Tara had a regular doorknob with a turn lock that locked from the inside. When she was not home, that was the only lock on her door. On the inside, she had hung Christmas bells on the doorknob. If someone tried to enter, the bells would “jingle” when the doorknob was turned. Near the top of the threshold of the interior she had also installed 2 additional locks. One a chain, the other a hotel-style lever lock. Both these locks would be in place when Tara was home. When Tara was not at home, the only thing securing the door was the doorknob, which be opened by popping or picking the lock. Some people think that whoever killed her was already in her house when she arrived, and that explains why Dolly was still outside. Some believe that she was incapacitated or attacked soon after arriving home by someone already in the house. Or that she opened the door herself to whoever did this. If she was already asleep, nobody could have gotten in once she locked the chain and hotel-style lever lock at the top of the door. No photos exist of the entire frame of the door in question. This was intentionally not revealed in the beginning stages of the investigation.]
    • Bo thinks the motive was sexual. But says that Ryan denied that.
    • Bo says he was never at Tara's house or in her car.
  • 6AM: October 22 police log starts at 6PM and ends at 6AM
  • 7:45AM: Sunset
  • Early Morning: Tara doesn't show up for church
  • 9:30AM: Ryan calls 411 from G&G Food Mart, a couple of blocks from Tara's house. 411 connects Ryan to Tara's home, and no one picks up. Ryan told Jason Shoudel he hoped she would pick up, and/or was making sure she was dead and that no one was there.
    • Ryan told Shoudel he drove back to Tara's, wrapped her body in a blanket, drove it out to the orchard, and dumped the body, twenty minutes away.
    • Tara doesn't show up for a scheduled lunch.
    • Tara isn't returning phone calls.
    • Tara's family and friends become concerned.
  • Afternoon: According to Bo, Ryan returned home in the afternoon, and told Bo that he killed Tara.
    • According to Bo, at some point, Ryan threw Tara's keys and purse in a dumpster in Fitzgerald.
    • Tara's neighbors - the Portiers - have been out all day, at their cabin. But return home to spend the night.
  • Late at night:
    • Tara's mother calls Heath Dykes in Perry and asks him to check on Tara.
    • Heath Dykes drives over an hour to Ocilla, in the middle of the night.
Monday, October 24, 2005
  • 12:30AM: Heath Dykes knocks on Tara's door. He leaves his business card in the front door jam, and calls Tara's mother.
  • Tara does not show up for work at Irwin County High School in Ocilla - right down the street from her house.
    • Students are sitting in her class, waiting.
    • The principal, Bobby Conner, calls Tara's neighbors, the Portiers.
    • Joe Portier - Tara's neighbor - noted Tara wasn't home and called the police chief Billy Hancock
    • Marcus Harper's stepmother and another person from the school drove to Tara's home.
    • Before LE arrived, Joe, Marcus's stepmother, and one other person from the school entered Tara's house.
    • A latex glove is found in Tara's yard. If Heath Dykes was at Tara's on Sunday night, no one can figure out why he didn't see it or pick it up. Word is that Joe picked up the glove and was told to put it down.
  • 8:50AM: The Ocilla Police Department responded to a missing person report made by neighbors and coworkers at the Irwin County High School. There is no known description of her clothing. Her car is parked in the driveway of her residence. Her house was locked and the only items that appear to be missing are her purse and keys.
  • Tara's friend Maria Hulett was already en route from Hawkinsville. Maria arrived at 8:50 AM, LE was there. Detective Barris allowed Marie to check if anything appeared out of the ordinary.
    • Speculation: Between 8:50AM and 11AM, Anita strips Tara's bed of its sheets, and may have made the bed. This was to hide any potential evidence of an affair.
  • 11AM Chief Billy Hancock brings in GBI Agent Gary Rothwell.
  • Bo says that Ryan's brother Stephen told Bo that Tara is missing.
    • Bo says that he told Stephen what Ryan said and "it didn't register with Stephen."
    • In February of 2019, Stephen testified that he never heard anything about it.
  • Afternoon: GBI interviews Anthony Vickers. They search his car and his Dad's car. (At some point during the investigation, Anthony is swabbed and takes a lie detector test. He is cleared of suspicion.)
  • Bo's Aunt, Suzanne Connor (and other teachers) distribute 2,000 flyers throughout the county in an effort to alert the community about their missing friend.
  • Marcus has been in Ocilla for three weeks, for leave. Does anyone know when he returned to the army?
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
  • Ryan and Bo drive out to the orchard where Ryan shows Bo Tara's body. According to Bo:
    I didn't want to believe him. [Ryan's] brother told me [Tara] was missing on Monday. I told his brother then that Ryan told me he killed her on Sunday. I wanted it to not be true but by Wednesday I realized I had to confront him about it. That's when he took took me to the orchard.
  • Bo now says:
    • They decided to burn the body.
    • "There was a huge search going on and this place was already pretty remote. There also just happened to be a huge stack of firewood right there."
    • There was a huge stack of seasoned spit wood there, and fat lighter.
    • "I thought completely getting rid of [the body] was the best option. After I stopped freaking out. Also I realized I could easily be implicated then. He used my truck and put her in my family's orchard."
    • "This was a lot of wood. And what is called fat lighter. It's old pines that have the tar still in the wood and is incredibly flammable."
    • Bo said the lord's prayer, then started the fire.
    • Bo's families company owned 2,000 acres in 2005, and he and Ryan were just lucky no one came round.
    • Bo was very angry. And later that day, he cried.
  • A $10,000 reward for Tara's safe return is posted.
  • Tara's friend Mandy said that three days after Tara went missing, the glove was still sitting on a police officer's desk in Ocilla, unsealed.
Thursday, October 27, 2005
  • According to Bo:
    • It took two days for the body to burn.
    • "Apparently the fire spread after [Bo and Ryan] left so then it looked like a wildfire which is pretty normal."
    • They left the fire burning on Thursday, and it started a small wild fire.
    • "When we left even though the fire was still going, it didn't look like there was anything [of Tara's body] left.
    • Bo and Ryan were out at the orchard for about 12 hours. So - overnight?
    • Bo didn't go back to check after that Thursday.
  • Jannis and Andy Paulk start the "FindTara" web site.
Friday, October 28, 2005
Saturday, October 29, 2005
Sunday, October 30, 2005
  • Massive search of Irwin County carries over into Ben Hill County.
  • WMAZ coverage
  • Approximate: By the end of October, Ryan and Bo have moved from the trailer across from the Medical Center to the house across from Taylor's. (In February of 2019, Stephen testified that before they moved, Stephen was trying to get Bo to pay rent, and to pay his share of expenses. It's unclear Stephen is saying this about the trailer across from the medical center, or the house across from Taylor's.)
Monday, October 31, 2005
  • Halloween
  • CNN's Nancy Grace first airs one of several episodes about Tara's disappearance Transcript. In the interview, Tara's sister Anita tells Nancy that Tara had worked at ICHS for eight years.
  • Tara's family sets up their own tip line.
  • WALB coverage
Tuesday, November 1, 2005
Wednesday, November 2, 2005
Thursday, November 3, 2005
Friday, November 4, 2005
  • Candlelight vigil held by current and former students on Irwin County Courthouse steps.
  • Vigil for Tara reported on December 7? reports on the vigil "on Friday." Quote from Andy Paulk: “If you see any of these searchers out , tell them thank you."
  • CBS Reports
Saturday, November 5, 2005
  • [Per Jason Shoudel's 2019 testimony], at a party in the pecan orchard, Bo Dukes and Ryan Duke drunkenly confess to killing Tara and burning her body in Bo Dukes's uncle's pecan orchard.
    • Those at the party and witness to these statements include: Zane Dill, Cliff Benson, Jake Dukes, Ben McMahan, and Garlan Lott.
    • Bo now says it was rough when he told a couple of his friends about it one night, then denied it the next day.
Timeline II >>>
submitted by Justwonderinif to Timelines [link] [comments]


2020.07.09 08:04 Justwonderinif The Keepers Timeline IV

<
1992, continued
  • At some point in 1992, the Baltimore City Police Department takes up the investigation into Maskell rapping kids at Keough. It's unclear if Jean filed a police report, or if the report was filed by the Archdiocese. The Cesnik murder investigation has been inactive since the 1970s but is still the jurisdiction of the Baltimore County Police. So, the rape case is at the City, and the murder investigation is at the County.
  • December: The archdiocese wants Jean to make a formal statement so they can officially remove Maskell from Holy Cross. Jean says that whenever she went to a meeting at the archdiocese, she was terrified that Maskell was going to be in the room. Jean felt like this terror confirmed to her that her memories were true. She thinks she would not have been so afraid if her memories were not the truth of what happened. Jean wrote down seven memories and read them out loud to Woy and Hoskins and Tully. Woy and the attorneys told Jean that if she could find someone to corroborate her story, they could get Maskell out of the Church. Jean declined to "put someone else through hell." (The Church knew about Charles and other complaints when Woy told Jean that they were lacking corroboration.)
  • December 9: Jean meets with Rick Woy, Kathy Hoskins and Steve Tully. Jean tells them the name of other adults who participated in the abuse at Keogh and the three became very upset with her. Per Baltimore Magazine: When pressed for the names of witness­es or other victims, (Jean) chided her questioners to prove the case without her, and began naming at least a dozen other people who'd allegedly abused her sexually—including a former Baltimore city politician. In the church's eyes, her credibility diminished with each new allegation.
  • December 10: Steve Tully calls Jean and scolds her for giving names of adults. Mike fires Steve Tully. Jean asks Rick Woy to pray with her, and Woy declined and told her to get a lawyer. Jean was devastated.
1993
  • January 10: Maskell's mother passes away.
  • Early 1993: Jean hires Towson lawyers Phil Dantes, Jim Maggio and Beverly Wallace, who enlisted a colleague familiar with Keough to see if there was enough support for Jean's claims to justify an investigation.
    • Rick Woy writes Jean again requesting corroboration.
    • Jean reached out to a classmate to help her identify who might be able to corroborate her story. The friend brought out a yearbook with a picture of Cathy, and Jean started remembering what happened to Cathy, and how she saw the body. At this point, Jean feels like she is the one who killed Cathy Cesnik. Jean invites her sister over and they sit with Jean’s husband while Jean remembers seeing Cathy’s body, and Maskell threatening her.
    • At a family meeting, Jean reveals that her uncle raped her, allowed others to rape her, and she experienced rapes at Keogh and she felt responsible for Cathy's death.
    • Jean sits with her sister and husband and remembers Maskell taking her to see Cathy's body. And Maskell saying, "You see what happens when you say bad things about people?" Jean tells them about the maggots on Cathy's face.
  • April 13: Maskell's 54th birthday.
    • April: Maskell released from psychiatric hospital, “Institute of Living." He returned to Baltimore after an evaluation found no psychological or sexual abnormalities according to a 1994 Sun article.
    • After hearing from canon lawyers that his clerical rights had been violated, says his sister Maureen, Maskell demanded a parish assignment. And with no legal grounds on which to refuse, the diocese gave him an administrative post at St. Augustine in Elkridge.
  • April 19: Newsweek cover story is about repressed memories
  • July: Dantes and Jim Maggio run an ad in The Sun seeking alumni who might have memories of Keough. Copies of the ad were mailed to Keough alums, and the letter was sent to the Baltimore Sun as well. The ad read: Anyone with info concerning improprieties of a sexual nature involving faculty or staff of the Archbishop Keough High School, during the years 1968-1975 please contact us at:___
    • Although the church claims it could not find any other victims to corroborate Wehner’s claims, her attorneys had no problem doing so. They circulated a letter to Keough alums in 1993 and placed an ad in the Baltimore Sun asking if anyone remembered abuse happening at the school in the 1960s and 70s. More than 30 women, including Lancaster, came forward with first- and second-hand stories of sexual abuse, according to media reports. Lancaster’s story was so compelling that Wehner’s attorneys invited her to be a co-plaintiff in the civil lawsuit against Maskell, Dr. Richter, the church and the order of nuns that ran Keough.
    • Jean's family was able to get alumni names and addresses and sent postcards asking if anyone remembered anything inappropriate at Keogh in the late 60s and early 70s.
    • Teresa Lancaster receives one of the letters. It said: Do you know of any sexual abuse that happened at Keough? Teresa was elated and called Wallace from a phone booth.
    • Although Lancaster had always remembered most of the abuse that occurred at Keough, she, too, had managed to repress some of the details until her mother died in 1993. She says she avoided thinking and talking about the abuse while her Catholic mother was alive, because she knew the information would devastate her. But around the time of her mother’s death, Lancaster started thinking about all of the horrific things she had experienced in high school. “She sat up in bed one night, screaming,” her husband, Randy, recalled in a recent interview.
  • August: Maskell named pastor of St. Augustine’s in Elkridge after an investigation by the archdiocese did not corroborate sexual abuse allegations, according to the church.
    • Some St. Augustine parishioners, tipped off about Maskell's circumstances, protested his arrival. One woman is even said to have handed out anti-Maskell fliers in the parking lot.
    • Diocesan representatives tried to smooth things over with the parish leadership. And Maskell himself addressed the issue from his new pulpit one Sunday morning, assuring the congregation that he would not run from these untrue allegations.
    • Maskell told his half-brother Tom: "If I lose this parish, I don't know if I'll be able to handle it." Tom relayed the quote to Baltimore Magazine.
    • Malooly statement: Maskell denied the allegation, and after months of evaluation and treatment, he was returned to ministry in 1993 after the Archdiocese was unable to corroborate the allegation following its extensive investigation.
    • Jean is terrified for her family that Maskell is back serving as a priest.
  • August: The response letters start coming in from former Keough students. About 40-50 people responded. Dante and Wallace spend the next year interviewing witnesses. The stories were consistent in descriptions of inappropriate conversations, rapes, and examinations. They heard from more than one that Maskell brought other people in to rape the girls.
  • August 18: Monsignor Malooly sends Jean a letter saying that if she receives any responses, to please let the Church know so they can protect people from further child abuse.
  • September 8: Malooly statement: In a September 8, 1993 letter to Deputy Attorney General Ralph S. Tyler III, I informed the criminal justice system about the allegations. According to media reports, the police investigated the charges and interviewed Maskell. There is no statute of limitations for criminal prosecution of these types of crimes in Maryland, so authorities could have prosecuted Maskell anytime from September 8, 1993 until his death in 2001. They for whatever reason, chose not to prosecute.
1994
  • April 13: Maskell's 55th birthday.
  • Spring: Jean, now 41, tells Baltimore County police that Maskell sexually abused her and took her to see Cathy's body weeks before it was discovered on Jan. 3, 1970. Jean told police that another man she met in Maskell's office told her he had beaten Cathy to death because she knew about the rapes. Police note inconsistencies in Jean's account? Jean said Maskell and the other man – whom she did not identify – warned her that she would suffer the same fate if she told her story to anyone else. Police were unable to verify or disprove Jean's allegations. But in interviews with police and The Sun, Jean provided details about the body that were known only to investigators at the time.
    • [So, the City opened an investigation into the Maskell rapes in 1992, and the County, opened up the dormant Cesnik investigation in 1993?]
  • During this time, at least a dozen women alleged that Maskell abused them while they were students and he was a counselor at Archbishop Keough during the late 1960s and 1970s.
  • Baltimore County police said they must move cautiously with retrieved-memory information from Jean, but they reopened the investigation. They have been retracing their steps and talking to various people -- including Maskell. County Police say Maskell was not known to detectives at the time of the original investigation.
  • June 19: Baltimore Sun recaps the case. Erlandson said he had never heard of Cesnik until Jean's allegations. This was the first story about the re-opened case he covered for the Baltimore Sun.
    • The current police investigation arose after Jean told homicide detectives of her memories of seeing Cathy's body and of the warning not to tell anyone about it.
    • Police have resumed the investigation after Jean said Maskell raped her and took her to see Cathy's body weeks before the hunters discovered it on a local dumping ground off the 2100 block of Monumental Ave.
    • Meanwhile, several detectives involved in the investigation in 1970 told The Sun that their initial efforts were hampered by pressure and lack of cooperation from the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore. City detectives said that after a visit to the police commissioner by archdiocesan representatives, they were forced to cut short the questioning of a priest about the nun’s death. A county officer said he was ordered to destroy investigative documents because of church sensitivity.
    • Jean is one of several who have told Towson lawyers Phillip G. Dantes, Beverly A. Wallace and James Maggio that they were sexually abused while they were students at Archbishop Keough in the late 1960s and early 1970s. William Blaul, spokesman for the Archdiocese, said officials there deny that such interference could have occurred.
    • Police have been unable to verify or disprove Jean's allegations. But in interviews with police and The Sun, she provided details about the body that were known only to investigators at the time, and detectives have not dismissed her claims.
    • “We are continuing our investigation into the Cesnik murder and are looking for additional information that someone might have out there to direct us to a suspect,” Maj. Allan J. Webster, commander of Baltimore County’s Criminal Investigation Services Division, said.
    • Investigators traveled recently to three states to interview witnesses. They are also applying techniques developed over the years since the slaying, including the creation of a psychological profile of a possible suspect -- a stranger to Cathy -- which they hope will elicit a response from the public.
    • “To a dedicated investigator, there’s no such thing as a closed case,” said Baltimore County Police Chief Michael D. Gambrill, who worked on the Cesnik case as a young detective and who has taken a personal interest in the renewed investigation.
    • Jean's allegations of abuse at Archbishop Keough, and similar allegations by several other former students, are the subject of research by Mr. Dantes, Ms. Wallace and Mr. Maggio, who are planning a lawsuit. City prosecutors are investigating the allegations independently.
    • Maskell denied Jean's allegations and told The Sun that detectives have told him he is not a suspect. But investigators said they are pursuing various theories and have excluded nothing.
    • Detectives are also using forensic techniques that weren’t available 25 years ago. One of their tools is the criminal profile, an analysis of the evidence that attempts to determine what kind of person determined a crime and under what circumstances.
    • Lt. Sam Bowerman, the department’s expert on criminal behavior, said he thinks Cathy's murder was a crime of opportunity committed by a stranger, but probably a man with whom “she may have crossed paths on a previous occasion within the community where she lived.” The killer probably did not know that the victim was a nun, and what began as a robbery “developed a sexual component,” he said. The killer was familiar with the area around the Carriage House Apartments where Cathy lived and the out-of-the-way Monumental Avenue site where the body was dumped, the lieutenant said.
    • Those who knew Cathy are still puzzled. Cathy's former roommate Russell said she has never formulated a theory or suspected any individual. “I just had no explanation,” she said. “I never had a theory or a suspect, because it was so purposeless. Why anyone would want to kill her I don’t know. She was a wonderful person, and everyone loved her.” Russell said questions did arise immediately when they found the car. “Why was the car put there? It was put so it was obviously to be found,” she said. But that, like her other questions, remains unanswered. It has become “the seemingly perfect crime,” the former nun said. “It’s gone unsolved, and I often wondered why.”
  • June 22: Bob Erlandson's second story about the case for the Baltimore Sun. Bob said he didn't get a lot of cooperation from the police and the police were not pleased. Bob said the archdiocese stone-walled the press at every turn.
    • Even though Bob said he didn't get cooperation from the police on the story, Anonymous Detective "Deep Throat" said that more than 100 women came forward and told the police they had been brutalized by Maskell. "Deep Throat" says they had to drop all the cases because State's Attorney Sharon May wouldn't indict Maskell.
  • July 31: Maskell left his parish at St. Augustine’s in Howard County to seek therapy in the face of mounting allegations of sexual abuse. Maskell's departure came after Archdiocese of Baltimore officials interviewed two more Keough students, who said Maskell sexually abused them.
    • Malooly statement: When additional allegations were made in 1994, Maskell was permanently removed from ministry on July 31, 1994.
    • Bob Erlandson and Beverly Wallace say they attended one of Maskell's services in August. Beverly Wallace said Maskell's voice was soothing and calming.
  • August 3: Baltimore Sun interview with Maskell.
  • August 3: Statement in Catholic Review
  • August 4: Baltimore Sun: The Archdiocese of Baltimore was notified yesterday to expect multimillion-dollar lawsuits on behalf of two women who allege that a priest at Archbishop Keough High School sexually abused them when they were students there more than 20 years ago.
    • Police began re-investigatin Maskell for rape and murder. The search for evidence came up empty until a Baltimore gravedigger named William Storey called police with a tip. Storey, the groundskeeper at Holy Cross Cemetery, said Maskell had ordered him to dig a 12-by-12-foot hole in the graveyard in 1991 so the priest could bury a truckload of confidential files in it. The gravedigger produced a hand-drawn map indicating the location of the documents.
  • August, 10: After being tipped off by Mr. Storey, Baltimore City investigators excavated a pit in Holy Cross Cemetery in Brooklyn Park, seeking records buried there in 1990 on Maskell’s orders while he was pastor at Holy Cross Church. Youtube video of pit, and remnants of documents and garbage bags. Mr. Storey also tips off Bob Erlandson at the Baltimore Sun. "Deep Throat" says he saw pictures of girl's naked, and profiles on the girls but could not go forward because Sharon May wouldn't let them. Sharon May says they couldn't go forward because there wasn't one case that could stand on its own. Sharon May remembers heading to Maskell's office with a subpoena for his records but that someone had tipped him off, and he was gone.
    • In August of 1994, the police exhumed the boxes, which were mostly filled with psychological evaluations of the Keough students Maskell had counseled. Deep Throat said at least one of the boxes also contained nude pictures of underage girls, which would have been enough evidence to arrest Maskell for possession of child pornography. “We found hard evidence — these girls had their tops open,” he said. “I saw them with my own damn eyes.”
    • But those pictures never made it to the evidence room. The detective said they inexplicably vanished after the graveyard dig, and the Baltimore Sun reported only that Maskell’s buried boxes contained “psychological test evaluations and canceled checks.” Judge Caplan, who presided over Wehner and Lancaster’s civil trial, says the photos were never submitted as evidence and that he had never heard of them.
    • Deep Throat said that as soon as he started looking into the Cesnik case, he received a phone call from one of his superiors in the police department. “He said, ‘Listen kid, this is a career buster. We knew who the hell killed her back when it happened, and you’ll find out, and you’re gonna find out things you shouldn’t find out. Let it go,’” the detective recalled.
  • August 24: Jean and Teresa file a $40 million dollar lawsuit against Maskell and a retired gynecologist, Dr. Christian Richter, 79, accusing them of sexual abuse at the school. WMAR interviews Dr. Richter
  • August 25: Baltimore Sun coverage of lawsuit
  • August: WJZ-TV showed a retrospective clip of newsman Jerry Turner. Edgar had called Jerry Turner in 1976 and disguised his voice. Edgar said he had information about Cathy's murder. Edgar said he knew who had Cathy's rosary. In the news clip, audio from the phone call was played. (Jerry Turner died in 1987). Edgar says he was the caller.
    • Margaret says that "one day in the 1990's" Detective Tincher and Detective Marll came to visit her. They brought a tape recorder and played a tape for her. It was the Jerry Turner call-in radio show from 1976. Margaret recognized the voice as Edgar.
  • Malooly statement: The Archdiocese of Baltimore publicly stated that it wanted to speak with individuals who had information regarding Maskell. A detective was hired to search for anyone who may have been abused by him. In 1994, a music director at a Catholic church told the Archdiocese that Dr. Charles Franz may have information regarding Maskell, and so we reached out to him and set up a meeting for October 20, 1994.
  • Charles says that "in the 90s" a patient told him that two ladies where suing the Catholic Church and officials at the church wanted to speak with him. A meeting was arranged.
  • October 20: Charles said the meeting happened in his office and those present included his wife, two Canon lawyers and Monsignor Malooly. Charles said they had a 2 and a half hour conversation about Maskell. At the end of the meeting Malooly offered Charles a boat and/or a lot of money and Charles said, "Just do what's right."
    • Malooly statement: The meeting occurred at the Catonsville dental office of Dr. Franz, with Dr. Charles and Mrs. Denise Franz, Fr. Richard Woy, Director of Clergy Personnel for the Archdiocese, and myself in attendance. There were no canon or civil lawyers present. I explained to Dr. Franz that Archbishop Keeler would have attended the meeting to express his apology and to reach-out personally, had he not been in Rome at the time. I explained the policy of the Archdiocese to offer counseling and spiritual assistance as needed. I also encouraged them to report the information to the State’s Attorney. At no time did I offer Dr. Franz a boat.
    • Charles Franz states that his mother made some kind of a report about Maskell to unidentified Archdiocesan authorities in 1967. I am not aware of any such report. I was a college student in 1967. As far as I know, there is no record of any report by Mrs. Franz in Archdiocesan files.
    • Malooly is saying the Church didn't know Charles had been molested until after the lawsuits were filed and their PI interviewed a Musical Director from St. Clement's who knew about the abuse. Charles and Gemma and Abbie say they have proof that the Church was notified in 1967, just as Charles says. And that several other families complained back then as well - and the church did nothing.
    • Regardless, despite Jean being told repeatedly that she needed to find someone to corroborate her story, she is never told about Charles - at the time.
  • Fall: Jean and Teresa are questioned for six days during invasive depositions. Jean's depositions took 21 hours.
  • Fall: Lee Richmond goes to see Maskell as a friend. Richmond was shocked by the allegations against Maskell. Richmond asked Maskell if he thought it was moral to stay silent, and deny the abuse. Maskell told her that it was moral to stay silent to protect the church. This was the turning point for Lee Richmond.
  • November 4: A $6,000 dollar reward is offered by the Archdiocese of Baltimore and Metro Crime stoppers for information leading to the conviction of the killer of Cathy Cesnik.
  • December 15: Maskell secretly moves into Dundalk's St. Rita's rectory, under the protection of his friend, Robert Hawkins, the pastor there. Hawkins is actively raising money for Maskell's defense (money for Michael Lehane). Reverend Robert Hawkins got a church scolding after he took Maskell in for several weeks.
  • December 16: Maskell officially resigned from St. Augustine's (he left in July 1994). According to police, Maskell is not considered a prime suspect in the Cesnik murder case at this time, but he is interviewed "at length." Baltimore Sun covers the resignation. Beverly Wallace wanted to depose Maskell but never saw him again after she attended church with Bob Erlandson in 1994.
    • Before police had a chance to question Maskell in 1994, he checked himself into a residential treatment facility, claiming he needed help coping with the stress and anxiety the case had caused him.
  • William Keeler was appointed a cardinal by Pope John Paul II in 1994.
1995
  • January 10, Maskell leaves St. Rita's in Dundalk.
  • February 14: Cardinal William H. Keeler’s permanent revocation of Maskell’s priestly duties is made public.. It is revealed that Maskell stayed at the rectory at St. Rita's church in Dundalk from Dec. 15 to Jan. 10.
    • Robert Hawkins, St. Rita's pastor, acknowledged that Maskell stayed at St. Rita's. Hawkins attended St. Mary's Seminary with Maskell and remained a close friend for 40 years. Hawkins is helping to raise money for Maskell's legal defense fund. No action was taken against Father Hawkins. Church officials said they do not know Father Maskell's whereabouts.
  • April 11: Maskell employed as a psychologist in a “psycho-education initiative” by the South Eastern Health Board in Wexford from April 11th, 1995 to November 7th, 1995.
  • April 13: Maskell's 56th birthday. The diocese of Ferns kept files on Maskell in Ireland from April 1995 to September 1998.
  • April: Maskell came to the attention of the Diocese of the Ferns when he said Mass without permission in the parish of Screen and Curracloe while covering for a sick priest. “I wish only to offer Mass privately and carry out my spiritual activities in a like manner,” Maskell wrote to the diocese after it raised concerns. He said that he had been granted “temporary leave” and that he had no “plan or desire to engage in any public ministry while here,” according to details released by the diocese.
  • April 27: Baltimore County Police return the unsolved case of the slaying of Sister Cesnik to the “cold case” file (Sharon May won't file charges agains Maskell or any of the other priests.) Baltimore Sun
  • April 30: Bob Erlandson's Baltimore Sun piece about repressed memories
  • May 1: Pre-Trial hearing in Jean and Teresa's lawsuit. WMAR coverage. Baltimore Circuit Court to determine whether the two outstanding suits fall within the statute of limitations, which gives a person three years to file after discovering she has been harmed.
    • Maskell and Richter both vehemently denied the abuse, and in 1995, after a high-profile trial hearing, the case was thrown out of court on a technicality. According to Maryland law, victims of sex abuse have three years from the time the abuse ends or from when they discover it to file a civil lawsuit. The women’s attorneys had argued that because Wehner and Lancaster had only recently started remembering some of the abuse, they were still within the three-year period. “Memory impairment often follows trauma, and I’ve had many such cases,” said Dr. Neil Blumberg, Lancaster’s psychiatrist.
    • But the church brought in a “false memory” expert, Catholic psychiatrist Paul McHugh, who successfully argued in courtrooms throughout the 1990s that memories of child sexual abuse cannot be repressed and then recovered. At the time, there was a major backlash against the concept of repressed memory. The 1980s saw several high-profile prosecutions of daycare workers based on recovered memories that later proved false. Though Lancaster and Wehner’s case was different, since they had not been coaxed into recovering false memories by investigators or therapists, winning the case in the new climate proved impossible.
    • Judge Hilary Caplan told The Huffington Post that he found the women credible, but he decided after hearing McHugh’s testimony that recovered memories could not restart the statute of limitations. “The experts testified, and I found that the memory was not sufficient to justify the plaintiffs’ case,” he said in a recent interview.
  • May 5: Judge expected to rule today. Judge Caplan rules the the statute of limitations was not waived and each woman had until 3 years after her 18th birthday to bring charges.
  • May 6: Judge dismisses suits agains priest
  • November: After his employment with the health board ended, Maskell continued working as a psychologist in private practice in Wexford and nearby Castlebridge from 1995 to 1998.
  • December: Baltimore Magazine interviews Maskell and recaps the rape case
    • Still other Maskell critics have emerged, with more than a dozen of them telling Baltimore magazine in recent months that the public allegations of sexual misbehavior fit a pattern. Many of those interviewed remember Maskell for his imperious, manipulative or lewd behavior. A group of Towson lawyers claims that, in addition to their two plaintiffs, they've met with 15 people who say Maskell subjected them to one or more sexual violations. And a third alleged rape victim, the first willing to be publicly named, has stepped forward to share her story with Baltimore Magazine.
    • While declining to be interviewed for this story, Maskell has repeatedly maintained his complete innocence. And a large group of friends and former parishioners feels that—but for the tragic misaccusations that have ruined his life—Maskell would have continued to be an exemplary priest. His sister, Maureen Baldwin, puts it most emphatically: "My brother has done nothing—repeat, nothing—wrong."
  • More than 500 priests have been accused of sexual abuse since the '80s, prompting litigation that has cost the church $500 million.
  • October 8: Pope John Paul II visits Baltimore
  • 1994- 2000s: DNA profiles of about a half-dozen suspects are developed and compared to the known crime scene sample, with negative results, according to Baltimore County Police.
1996
  • April 13: Maskell's 57th birthday. The diocese of Ferns kept files on Maskell in Ireland from April 1995 to September 1998. The diocese contacted the health board and the Baltimore archdiocese over its concerns about Maskell after he continued to appear in full clerical garb and presented himself as a priest in Wexford in 1996.
    • “The Archdiocese did not learn that Maskell was living in Ireland until a Bishop in Ireland contacted the Archdiocese in July 1996,” Caine told HuffPost. “Maskell had left the residential treatment facility two years earlier and refused to inform the Archdiocese where he was living.”
  • June: The Diocese of Ferns raises concerns about Maskell's work as a psychologist and his unsupervised status in light of the emerging allegations against him in Baltimore. Concerns were raised that Maskell was counselling young people in his private practice.
  • July 29: Doe and Roe appeal the Court's decision to the Court of Appeals. Brief not available.
  • August 23: In the Maryland Court of Appeals, Justice J. Karwacki rules for the Archdiocese. The lawsuit cannot go forward. Jean and Teresa had argued they should be allowed to sue even though the statute of limitations expired, because they had only recently recovered memories. The court rejected the women’s argument.
  • 1994- 2000s: DNA profiles of about a half-dozen suspects are developed and compared to the known crime scene sample, with negative results, according to Baltimore County Police.
  • Teresa Lancaster goes back to school and is an attorney today.
1997
  • April 13: Maskell's 58th birthday. The diocese of Ferns kept files on Maskell in Ireland from April 1995 to September 1998. He worked as a psychologist for what was then the regional health board.
  • 1994- 2000s: DNA profiles of about a half-dozen suspects are developed and compared to the known crime scene sample, with negative results, according to Baltimore County Police.
  • July: Detective Gary Childs joins the Baltimore County Police Department.
  • Russ has long since moved to Carroll County, gotten married and had two children. One day in 1997, Patricia hears that Russ has cancer. Patricia visits Russ when she has surgeries and a couple of years pass...
1998
  • April 10: Maskell's brother Tom dies of lung cancer. Obituary and Baltimore Sun
  • April 13: Maskell's 59th birthday. The diocese of Ferns kept files on Maskell in Ireland from April 1995 to September 1998. In 1998 Maskell agreed not to provide psychological services to anyone under the age of 18. Further contacts with the health board, the Catholic Church in Baltimore, the Garda and other individuals with knowledge of Maskell’s activities continued until September 1998. He left Ireland that year.
  • September: Maskell leaves Ireland and presumably returns to Baltimore.
  • 1994- 2000s: DNA profiles of about a half-dozen suspects are developed and compared to the known crime scene sample, with negative results, according to Baltimore County Police.
1999
  • April 13: Maskell's 60th birthday.
  • Approximate: One day in the "late nineties," Lil Hughes hears that Maskell is at Stella Maris Nursing Home, in the dementia ward. Lil goes to visit Maskell but he is catatonic.
  • 1994- 2000s: DNA profiles of about a half-dozen suspects are developed and compared to the known crime scene sample, with negative results, according to Baltimore County Police.
2000
  • February: Detective Gary Childs joins the Homicide Unit of the Baltimore County Police Department.
  • April 13: Maskell's 61st birthday.
  • 1994- 2000s: DNA profiles of about a half-dozen suspects are developed and compared to the known crime scene sample, with negative results, according to Baltimore County Police.
2001
  • April 13: Maskell's 62nd birthday.
  • May 7: Anthony Joseph Maskell died at St. Joseph’s Hospital. He was 62 years old, and had been living at Stella Maris Nursing Home in Timonium.
  • Patricia's friend calls to tell her that Maskell died but "don't tell anyone." Patricia immediately calls Russ who says, "Well, he went to his grave with his secret." Russ passes away two days later.
  • May 16: Helen Russell Phillips Welch passes away.
2002
2003
2004
  • January 8: Stanford Report article on repressed memories
  • Tom Nugent first meets and interviews Gemma for what would be his 2005 piece in City Paper about the Cesnik case. Both of them had been fascinated by the case since 1994, when Wehner and Lancaster filed their lawsuit against Maskell and the church. Nugent suspected that the Cesnik story had more tentacles than anyone realized. He interviewed a few retired detectives, including Deep Throat, who confirmed they had been pressured to back off the Catholic priests during their investigations. “It seemed apparent to me that some of this was covered up,” he said.
2005
2006
  • Richter died in 2006.
2007
2008
2009
2010
  • In 2010, the church apologized and paid Lancaster $40,000 as part of a group of settlements it made with sexual abuse victims. “Please accept my apology on behalf of Archbishop [Edwin] O’Brien and the Archdiocese of Baltimore for the suffering that has resulted from your experiences,” Alison D’Alessandro, director of the church’s Office of Child and Youth Protection, wrote to Lancaster in a letter. The Archdiocese also offered her the chance to have O’Brien apologize to her in person for the abuse. She declined. “I said, ‘I am so through with you people and your skirts and strange men in their outfits,’” she recalled. “‘It will be a cold day in hell when I will sit and look at that man.’”
2011
  • The Archdiocese begins to make payouts to Maskell's victims.
2012
  • The Archdiocese continues to make payouts to Maskell's victims.
  • June 27: Salon.com Article with details about Gerry Koob and Cathy having a sexual relationship, and Sister Friia's testimony at the pre-trial hearing.
Timeline V >>
submitted by Justwonderinif to Timelines [link] [comments]


2020.07.09 08:01 Justwonderinif The Keepers Timeline I

1896
1898
1903
1924
1921
1924
1939
1940
  • April 13: Maskell's first birthday
1941
  • April 13: Maskell's second birthday
1942
  • April 13: Maskell's third birthday. (Maskell's sister Maureen is born in 1942)
  • Maskell's older half-brother Tom - who would become a cop - graduates from City College.
  • November 17: Cathy Cesnik was born in the Lawrenceville neighborhood of Pittsburgh, PA.
1943
1944
  • April 13: Maskell's fifth birthday
  • Fall: Maskell starts kindergarten?
  • November 17: Cathy's second birthday
1945
  • April 13: Maskell's sixth birthday.
  • Spring: Maskell finishes kindergarten?
  • Fall: Maskell starts first grade.
  • November 17: Cathy's third birthday
1946
  • April 13: Maskell's seventh birthday
  • Spring: Maskell finishes 1st grade
  • Maskell's older half-brother Tom joins the police force and works there until he is shot in 1966 and forced to retire.
  • Fall: Maskell starts 2nd grade.
  • November 17: Cathy's fourth birthday
1947
  • April 13: Maskell's eighth birthday
  • Spring: Maskell finishes 2nd grade.
  • Fall: Cathy Cesnik starts kindergarten? Maskell starts 3rd grade.
  • November 17: Cathy's fifth birthday.
1948
  • April 13: Maskell's ninth birthday.
    • Since childhood, Anthony Joseph Maskell seemed destined for the priesthood. His favorite childhood game was "Mass." In child-sized vestments his mother had sewn for him, Joe would gather neighborhood children into the family's basement, where he would dispense the body of Christ in the form of white Necco wafers.
    • His mother, Helen Maskell, was very keen on her son becoming a priest, recalls childhood friend Bill Heim. "I always wondered if he was going to revolt at some point," Heim says. "But he never did."
    • When young Joe was old enough to join in sandlot baseball games, he would dress in black and take his position of choice behind the plate, calling the balls and strikes. According to Heim, Maskell liked having the author­ity to say: "This is right; that's wrong."
  • Spring: Cathy Cesnik finishes kindergarten? Maskell finishes 3rd grade.
  • Fall: Cathy Cesnik starts 1st grade. Catherine Anne Cesnick grew up in the Lawrenceville section of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She attended St. Mary Assumption Roman Catholic Church and School in Lawrenceville, PA. The school was operated by the School Sisters of Notre Dame (SSND), a teaching order.
  • Fall: Maskell starts 4th grade.
  • November 17: Cathy's sixth birthday
1949
  • April 13: Maskell's tenth birthday. (Maskell once said that, when he was about 10, he'd had a crush on a pretty neighborhood girl.)
  • Spring: Cathy Cesnik finishes 1st grade. Maskell finishes 4th grade.
  • Fall: Cathy Cesnik starts 2nd grade. Maskell starts 5th grade.
  • November 17: Cathy's seventh birthday
1950
  • April 13: Maskell's eleventh birthday
  • Spring: Cathy Cesnik finishes 2nd grade. Maskell finishes 5th grade.
  • Fall: Cathy Cesnik starts 3rd grade. Maskell starts 6th grade.
  • November 17: Cathy's eighth birthday
1951
  • April 13: Maskell's twelfth birthday
  • Spring: Cathy Cesnik finishes 3rd grade. Maskell finishes 6th grade.
  • Fall: Cathy Cesnik starts 4th grade. Maskell starts 7th grade.
  • November 17: Cathy's ninth birthday
1952
  • April 13: Maskell's thirteenth birthday
  • William Keeler graduates (BA) from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood, PA, in 1952. He earned another bachelor’s degree from St. Charles Seminary at Overbrook in Philadelphia. He received both a licentiate in sacred theology and a doctorate in canon law from Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.
  • Spring: Cathy Cesnik finishes 4th grade. Maskell finishes 7th grade.
  • Fall: Cathy Cesnik starts 5th grade. Maskell starts 8th grade.
  • November 17: Cathy's tenth birthday
1953
  • April 13: Maskell's 14th birthday. At 14, Maskell went off to St. Charles Seminary in Catonsville, but returned after about a week because he was homesick.
  • Spring: Cathy Cesnik finishes 5th grade. Maskell finishes 8th grade.
  • Fall: Cathy Cesnik starts 6th grade. Maskell starts his Freshman Year at Calvert Hall College High School
  • November 17: Cathy's 11th birthday
1954
  • April 13: Maskell's 15th birthday. A fastidiously clean kid, a teenaged Maskell one year spent so much time immersed in his bathtub ritual, Heim recalls, that his father announced his displeasure over it. Joseph Francis Maskell, an office-furniture salesman with Lucas Brothers, was known for his short fuse.
  • Spring: Cathy Cesnik finishes 6th grade. Maskell finishes his freshman year of high school.
  • Fall: Cathy Cesnik starts 7th grade. Maskell starts his sophomore year of high school.
  • November 17: Cathy's 12th birthday
1955
  • April 13: Maskell's 16th birthday
  • Spring: Cathy Cesnik finishes 7th grade. Maskell finishes his Sophomore year of high school.
  • Fall: Cathy Cesnik starts 8th grade. Maskell starts his Junior year of high school.
  • November 17: Cathy's 13th birthday
  • William Keeler was ordained in 1955.
1956
  • April 13: Maskell's 17th birthday.
  • Spring: Cathy Cesnik finishes 8th grade. Maskell finishes his junior year of high school.
    • According to Maureen Baldwin, her brother was so intent on becoming a priest that he never had a date in his life. When a girl he knew in high school told him he had the most beautiful eyes she had ever seen, he had no idea how to respond.
    • Friends from his teen years can't recall Maskell ever expressing a libido. "I never saw him with a girl the whole time we were in school," says Dennis Rogers, "outside of his mother."
  • Fall: Cathy Cesnik starts her freshman year at St. Augustine High School.
  • Fall: Maskell starts his senior year at Calvert Hall College High School (when it was located downtown)
  • November 17: Cathy's 14th birthday
1957
  • April 13: Maskell's 18th birthday. Maskell's Senior Picture
  • Approximate: Maskell graduates from Calvert Hall College High School. The original school building was in downtown Baltimore where the AOB building is now. Yearbook Photos
  • Spring: Cathy Cesnik finishes her freshman year at St. Augustine High School.
  • Summer: (Paraphrased from Patrick Forestell's 2015 comment): Anthony "Joe" Maskell was a teenager attending St. Mary's Seminary in Roland Park (Roland Ave). He and his friend, fellow pedophile William Simms, were both teenage camp counselors at then Saint Martin's Camp in Love Point, MD (Kent County); a summer camp for children from the St. Martin's Parish on Fulton Ave. in Baltimore. A St. Mary Seminary counselor told me years later that he counseled Maskell (in 1957) and Maskell had problems. Yet Maskell and Simms were allowed to become ordained, and they both inflicted harm on numerous children under the protection of the Arch Diocese of Baltimore. Maskell used his cognitive superior IQ and manipulation to get what he wanted. At Saint Martin's Camp in 1957 William Simms was playing strip poker with the children. I was 11-years old, and a young, innocent child. As I walked by the cabin I heard the laughter from peers while Simms played strip poker with the children. Maskell was outside the cabin and lured me into the open area shower where he assaulted me. Following the abuse I asked someone who that man was and he answered a "student priest." Years later I learned that the student was Maskell. I mention all this to show the hypocrisy of the Archdiocese of Baltimore for teaching theology to the masses while allowing monsters to exhibit evil deeds on numerous children over decades.
  • Fall: Cathy Cesnik starts her sophomore year at St. Augustine High School.
  • November 17: Cathy's 15th birthday
1958
  • Spring: Cathy Cesnik finishes her sophomore year at St. Augustine High School. (Maskell begins first year at St. Mary's Seminary in Roland Park
  • April 13: Maskell's 19th birthday. Maskell trained for the priesthood at St. Mary’s Seminary in Roland Park. When he tried seminary again, after high school, he liked it fine, and reveled in the privileges that came with being a third-year sacristan, which included free social time after mass while the congregation prayed. The perk seemed to appeal to his ego. "He used to say with a smile, 'We're sacristans. It is our place to be back here,"' recalls long-time friend and fellow seminarian William Kern.
  • Fall: Charles Franz starts kindergarten (?) grade at St. Clements School
  • Fall: Cathy Cesnik starts her junior year at St. Augustine High School. In high school, Cathy contemplated entering the religious life.
  • November 17: Cathy's 16th birthday
1959
1960
  • April 13: Maskell's 21st birthday. .
  • Spring: Cathy Cesnik graduates from St. Augustine High School. Photo of Senior Class Officers. After graduation, Cathy moved to Baltimore to enter the Baltimore Province of the SSND in 1960 and took final vows on July 21, 1967.
  • Spring: Charles Franz end of first grade year at St. Clements School // Maskell ends second year at St. Mary’s Seminary.
  • Fall: Charles Franz starts second grade at St. Clements School // Maskell begins third year at St. Mary’s Seminary.
  • Fall: A member of a devout Catholic family in Pittsburgh, Catherine Ann Cesnik joined the School Sisters of Notre Dame at the age of 18.
  • November 17: Cathy's 18th birthday.
1961
  • April 13: Maskell's 22nd birthday.
  • Spring: End of Cathy's first year at School Sisters of Notre Dame // Charles Franz end of second grade year at St. Clements School // End of Maskell's third year at St. Mary's Seminary.
  • Fall: Cathy starts 2nd year at School Sisters of Notre Dame // Charles Franz starts third grade at St. Clements School // Maskell starts fourth year at St. Mary's Seminary.
  • November 17: Cathy's 19th birthday.
1962
  • April 13: Maskell's 23rd birthday.
  • Spring: End of Cathy's 2nd year at SSND // Charles Franz end of third grade year. // End of Maskell's fourth year at St. Mary's Seminary.
  • Fall: Cathy starts third year at SSND // Charles Franz starts 4th grade at St. Clements School // Maskell starts fifth year at St. Mary's Seminary (?)
  • November 17: Cathy's 20th birthday.
  • The Second Vatican Council called between 2,000 and 2,500 bishops and thousands of observers, auditors, sisters, laymen and laywomen to four sessions at St. Peter's Basilica between 1962 and 1965. Sixteen documents came out of it, laying a foundation for the church as we know it today. William Keeler was a special adviser at the Second Vatican Council in the early 1960s.
1963
  • April 13: Maskell's 24th birthday.
  • Spring: End of Cathy's third year at SSND /// Charles Franz end of 4th grade year. // End of Maskell's fifth year at St. Mary's Seminary.
  • Fall: Cathy starts fourth year at SSND // Charles Franz starts 5th grade at St. Clements School // Beginning of Maskell's sixth -- and final? -- year at St. Mary's Seminary?
  • November 17: Cathy's 21st birthday.
  • December 28, 1963: Maskell's father passes away at the age of 67.
1964
  • April 13: Maskell's 25th birthday.
  • Spring: End of Cathy's fourth year at SSND // Charles Franz ends 5th grade year. // End of Maskell's education at St. Mary's Seminary.
  • Fall: Cathy starts 5th year at SSND // Charles Franz starts 6th grade at St. Clements School // Maskell is assigned to St. Clement's?
  • November 17: Cathy's 22nd birthday.
  • Chrismas Eve: Maskell's half-brother sustains gunshot wounds that end his police career
1965
  • April 13, 1965: Maskell's 26th birthday.
    • Maskell was ordained in 1965. Once ordained, Maskell was known for delivering thoughtful homilies with a compelling bass voice, and for excelling in the heroic moment. When Holy Cross parishioner Lynn Gerber Smith gave birth to an ailing baby, Maskell rushed to the hospital and performed an emergency baptism. When Maskell's friend Albert Griffith called to say he was depressed and thinking of "blowing my brains out," Maskell drove to Severna Park within 15 minutes.
    • Maskell serves at Sacred Heart of Mary from 1965 to 1966.
  • Spring: End of Cathy's 5th year at SSND // End of Charles Franz sixth grade year.
  • Spring: Is this a picture of Cathy and her Dad at Cathy's "graduation" from SSND?
  • Fall: Keough opens: As enrollment at all Catholic high schools increased, by the mid-1960s it became evident a new school was needed on the southwest side of the city. The School Sisters of Notre Dame responded to this need, and in 1965, Sr. Mary Virginia Connolly became the founding principal of Archbishop Keough High School. The school was built on 30 acres of land on Caton Avenue, and was structured as an archdiocesan high school. Archbishop Keough High added one grade a year; the first commencement took place in June 1969. The school flourished; in 1987, it was named an exemplary school by the U.S. Department of Education.
  • Cathy Cesnik began her teaching career at Archbishop Keough High School on Caton Avenue (renamed Seton-Keough) when the school opened its doors in 1965. She taught English literature and oversaw the school's Drama Club. She was an energetic, enthusiastic and dedicated teacher. She was supportive and alert to her students at the all-girls school. -- Cathy's obituary at findagrave.
  • Cathy moves into the residences for Nuns at Keough.
  • Fall: Charles Franz starts 7th grade at St. Clements School.
  • November 17: Cathy's 23rd birthday
  • The Second Vatican Council called between 2,000 and 2,500 bishops and thousands of observers, auditors, sisters, laymen and laywomen to four sessions at St. Peter's Basilica between 1962 and 1965. Sixteen documents came out of it, laying a foundation for the church as we know it today.
1966
  • In 1966, about 16 months after his ordination, Maskell became associate pastor at St. Clement in Lansdowne.
  • April 13: Maskell's 27th birthday
  • Spring: End of Cathy's first year teaching at Keough // End of Charles Franz 7th grade year.
  • Summer: Between seventh and eighth grade, Charles Franz is an altar boy at St. Clement I. Masses were 6pm, 7pm, 8pm. This is when Charles got to know Maskell.
  • Fall: Second year commences for Keough. New freshman enter. Last year's students move up to sophomore. Cathy Cesnik's Keough yearbook picture.. Cathy is still living in the nun's residence at Keough.
    • Cathy met Gerry Koob when he was an intern at Keough. Koob told The Sun that he and Cathy were deeply in love but that “it was a love between two celibates in a commitment to Christ.” Koob described Cathy as a naive, unworldly young woman who had no sense of her own beauty -- or its effect on others.
  • Fall Charles Franz starts 8th grade.
    • Maskell is giving Charles Franz rides home from mass. Maskell would put the bike in the trunk, and they'd stop for a Snoball. Father Maskell regularly comes in Charles Franz classroom saying he wanted to see Charles up at the Rectory. At first it was once a week. Then it was 2-3 times per week. Often Maskell would keep Charles from lunch until the day ended (2:30). Maskell taught Charles how to drink and take drugs to forget what was happening around him.
    • Maskell would call Charles Franz (13) out of class at the parish school to chat, usually for several hours at a time, two or three times a week. They often started out talking about sports, but invariably wound to the subject of male anatomy.
    • One day, Maskell took Charles and two other boys target shooting. On the drive home, Charles sat up front with Maskell, and as the car rose over a bump in the road, Charles alleges, Maskell reached over, grabbed the accuser's crotch, and said playfully, "Hold on to your balls."
  • November 17: Cathy's 24th birthday.
1967
  • Winter: Maskell serves at St. Clements in 1967. Maskell also served as a chaplain for the Maryland State Police and Baltimore County Police and Maryland National Guard and later the Air National Guard as a Lieutenant colonel. (Dates unknown)
  • April 13: Maskell's 28th birthday.
    • Charles says he began to feel cautious around Maskell. One afternoon when the school baseball team was changing into new uniform pants, Maskell told Charles that he needed a jockstrap to play. Charles didn't have one, but Maskell did, back in the rectory. Maskell sent the Charles to get it, giving him the key to his bedroom. Charles dashed to the rectory, lept into the jockstrap, and was dressed in record time, he says, just before Maskell arrived.
    • Charles began telling his friends to be careful around Maskell. Word of this filtered back to Maskell, who called Charles into the rectory, several days before graduation, Charles says. Allegedly, Maskell confronted him: "Listen, you little m-----f----r. If one more person says something to me that came from you, I'm gonna make sure you don't graduate."
    • [In The Keeper's Charles said that he told a couple of his friends to stay away from Maskell, and that Maskell came to his classroom and lifted him out of his seat by his hair and ordered him to the rectory. In the rectory, Maskell said, "Listen you little motherfucker, if I hear one more thing... I'm going to make sure you don't graduate." Maskell tossed Charles off the basketball team, off the baseball team, and kicked him out of CYO.]
  • May: At home, Charles told his mother that Maskell had threatened him. She phoned the archdiocese to complain, and Charles graduated on time, and within three months Maskell, though continuing to reside and perform some duties at St. Clement, was assigned to Archbishop Keough High School for girls.
    • [In the Keepers, Charles says that in May of 1967, his mother went down to the Archdiocese and went straight to the top and said, "Father Maskell is abusing my 8th grade son." Shortly thereafter, Father Collopy calls Charles to tell him he is back on all the teams and back in the CYO, and that Maskell was no longer at St. Clement's and was being transferred.]
  • Spring: End of second school year Keough is open. // End of Cathy's second year teaching at Keough // End of Charles Franz 8th grade year.
  • Gerry Koob told the Huffington Post that he was in a romantic relationship with Cesnik and that "two years before her disappearance" -- before he was ordained and before she had taken her final vows -- he had asked her to marry him. She turned him down, but they continued to spend time together and write each other love letters.
  • According to a letter, Cathy wrote in June of 1969, June of 1967 is when she began to feel that living the way she had been living as a nun was not the right way for her.
  • July 21: Cathy took final vows on July 21, 1967. Her professed name was Sister Joanita.
  • Fall: Maskell victims Jean, Deb Silcox and Lil Hughes start their freshman year at Keough. Charles starts his Freshman year at Mt. St. Joseph High School.
    • This is the third year Keough has been open. This is the start of Maskell's first year as school chaplain and counselor at Keough. Cathy starts her third year teaching at Keough. She is still living in the residences at Keough.
    • Jean recalls confessing to Magnus that her uncle had urged her to let a dog lick her sexually, and that the dog later died. She claims Magnus then began masturbating, saying that if she told anyone, she would go to hell.
    • Wehner said she went to see Magnus, the school’s religious services director, for confession when she was 14 years old, because she had been feeling guilty about sexual abuse she experienced as a young child. The priest turned to her in the confessional, quizzed her on the details of the abuse, and began masturbating as she talked, she said.
    • After that, Maskell and Magnus would call her into their offices for joint counseling sessions, which they said was for the purpose of helping her find God’s forgiveness for what she did as a child. She says they would masturbate in front of her, take nude photos of her and force her to perform sex acts as part of her “spiritual healing” process. “I thought they were literally praying for me,” she said.
    • Jean claims Maskell and Magnus instructed her to perform oral sex on them because “the Holy Spirit was coming through them....It was like the Eucharist." She saw Maskell for counseling sessions during which "he was praying that I would stop being bad."
    • Soon, Maskell began calling Wehner out of class and into his office without Magnus, she said. He would show her pornography, tell her that he was trying to help God forgive her for the abuse she suffered as a child, and rape her. “He kept saying it didn’t seem like I was open to the Holy Spirit and God’s grace,” Wehner said. “I was just doing what I was being told, thinking I must be such a horrible person that God can’t forgive me.”
    • Per Baltimore Magazine (1995): At Keough, Maskell was known by at least two contradictory personae. One was a gruff militarist who barked out commands in the hallway and might search a girl's locker for drugs or even cut open the hem of her skirt if he believed she was showing too much thigh.
    • The other was a chummy confidant who developed a following among some of the girls by offering his office as a smoking lounge in a school where smoking was grounds for suspension. Girls pretended to need his counsel so they could get out of class. After hear­ing his invitation to light up, they'd smoke until they got dizzy, spinning their tales of parental misunderstanding, or boyfriend problems, as the priest would nod appreciatively and take notes.
    • Many women today recall his being genuinely helpful. "He was my mentor," says one. Says another: "He helped me to put my life back together. He let me cry on his shoulder." But while dispensing such comfort, others claim, Maskell also sometimes crossed a line.
    • Keough was a traditional Catholic school, where students were required to wear knee-length plaid skirts and shirts buttoned all the way up to their necks. But it was hardly immune to the 1960s counterculture. Former Keough students said that in Maskell’s office and in the nearby rectory, where he lived, the priest offered the girls a relaxed, open-minded environment where they could talk freely about sex and drugs, drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes on his red velour sofa and ask for help dealing with their traditional Catholic parents. At the peak of the sexual revolution, Maskell was well positioned to exploit the experimental and rebellious atmosphere of the late 1960s and early 1970s. In a confusing time, he offered an intoxicating cocktail of spiritual guidance, hypnosis, booze, pills and himself.
    • Maskell was a charismatic young man in his late 20s when he started at Keough as chaplain in 1967, two years after it opened. Broad-shouldered, with light blue eyes, the Irish-descended priest also served as the school’s psychological counselor.
    • Former Keough students said Maskell used his charm, psychology training and moral authority to first disarm the young girls, then to manipulate them into sexual relationships. He targeted struggling or badly behaved students — Hoskins and Schaub, who got straight As, said he never bothered them — asking the girls if they were having problems at home, or if they had been sexually active with their boyfriends or used drugs. Sometimes the priest used repetitive phrases — “I only want what’s best for you, just what’s best for you,” one woman recalled him saying — to coax them into talking.
  • November 17: Cathy's 25th birthday (Those who knew Cathy remembered her spiritual and physical beauty. Quiet and reserved, but friendly, gentle and supportive, Cathy was respected and loved as a teacher and friend.)
    • “Sister Cathy was always a joy to be around,” said David A. Curtis, who attended Cardinal Gibbons High School but studied drama at Keough. As the drama teacher, “she was very supportive; she was your friend. But she didn’t let the friendship issue cloud the fact that she was our teacher, our leader … the adult.”
  • Christmastime: Margaret and Edgar get engaged.
1968
  • Maskell has limited duties at St. Clement's and serves at Our Lady of Victory in 1968. Maskell also chaplained for the Baltimore County Police, the Maryland State Police and the Maryland National Guard. Maskell was known to host an improvised mass on the hood of a jeep, or and/or cheering up troops in the rain, or walking over to a county police sta­tion with one of his own pistols to tar­get shoot with the boys.
  • April 6-14: Baltimore Riots
  • April 13: Maskell's 29th birthday.
  • Spring: Maskell victims Jean, Deb Silcox and Lil Hughes end their freshman year at Keough. Charles ends his Freshman year at Mt. St. Joseph's High School. End of Cathy's third year teaching at Keough.
  • Cathy is still feeling like the way in which she is living as a nun is not the right way for her (per a letter she would write a year later.)
  • Koob said he asked Cathy to marry him before he was ordained in 1968 and before she had taken her final vows. She refused, but the two continued to see each other regularly and exchanged letters. Koob remained a Jesuit priest for a decade after her death.
    • Koob gave Cathy a ring inscribed in Greek. It reads: "Agape is the unconditional love." Cathy was wearing that ring when her body was found.
  • Fall:
  • Cesnik was like a real-life version of Maria, Julie Andrews’ character from “The Sound of Music,” Hoskins recalled: warm, exuberant and strikingly beautiful. The nun played guitar and wrote musicals for the girls to perform on stage. She invented creative vocabulary games to push the girls to teach each other new, obscure words. [Cathy is still living in the residences at Keough.]
    • Maskell begins second year as school chaplain and counselor at Archbishop Keough // Cathy starts her fourth year teaching at Archbishop Keough.
    • Maskell victims Jean, Deb Silcox and Lil Hughes start their Sophomore years at Keough. Charles starts his Sophomore year at Mt. St. Joseph High School. Maskell victim Teresa Lancaster starts her freshman year at Keough. Lancaster is a straight A student. Lancaster says she was a nerd in the 9th grade. This is the fourth year Keough has been open. The school's first graduating seniors start the school year.
    • Undated photo of a group of girls from the Keough Class of 1970
  • Over a three-year period, Jean says she and Maskell had vaginal intercourse four times, including once during which he called her a whore. She alleges Maskell once forced her to have sex with a uni­formed police officer and at least once to have sex with someone who gave the priest money. Other memories involve a broth­er from Cardinal Gibbons, anal intercourse, and coerced enemas.
    • Jean recalls that Maskell hypnotized her: "He would use a certain phrase and everything would just stop." The phrase, she says, was, "I only want what's best for you, just what's best for you." She says he told her that before divulging a certain incident to anyone, "I was to kill myself."
    • Jean also claims Maskell once put a gun in her mouth. On another occasion, she says Maskell held an unloaded gun to her head and pulled the trigger. Maskell warned Jean that if her policeman father ever learned "what was going on," Maskell would do the same thing to her father, but with a loaded gun.
  • Kathy Hobeck said she asked Cesnik to protect her from Maskell’s abuse when she attended Keough in 1968. “She would make excuses for me when he would ask me to come down [to his office],” Hobeck said. “She’d say, ‘She’s in a study, she can’t get away,’ or she’d make up a story.”
  • October: Cathy took her students to see the 1968 movie version of “Romeo and Juliet” after they read the Shakespeare play.
  • November 17: Cathy's 26th birthday
1969
  • John A. “Pete” McKeon, a Christian brother, met Cathy Cesnik and Gerry Koob at a 1969 retreat for Notre Dame sisters in Boston. McKeon described Cathy as “extremely intelligent, extremely sensitive.” McKeon said Cahty was chosen to help lead the retreat “for her poetic ability, because of her sensitivity to pick up on other people’s feelings.”
    • Like many young religious in the late 1960s, Cathy was troubled by the regimented life of the convent.
    • It was an era when many young priests and nuns were advocating social activism at the same time they were questioning the personal and emotional demands of celibacy that the church imposed. According to Helen Russell Phillips, Cathy had fallen in love with Gerald Koob, a young Jesuit priest.
  • March 31: Ford's new Maverick becomes available for sale for approximately $2,000.00 Photo of similar car. Cathy would have purchased this car sometime between April and October of 1969. It has been reported that Cathy and Russ jointly purchased the vehicle and shared it. And that at some point, police returned the Maverick to Russ, who continued to drive it, after Cathy's death.
  • April 13: Maskell's 30th birthday. Maskell also serves at Our Lady of Victory in 1969.
  • Spring:
    • Maskell victims: Jean, Deb Silcox and Lil Hughes end their Sophomore years at Keough. Charles ends his Sophomore year at Mt. St. Joseph. Maskell victim Teresa Lancaster ends her freshman year at Keough. She is still a straight-A student. This is the first year that Keough graduates a class of Seniors, meaning it's the fourth year they've been open.
    • End of Maskell's second year at Keough
    • May: Jean told police that in May, 1969, she confided in Cathy that a priest had sexually abused her at Keough. Jean never saw Cathy again after that term.
    • The only person who tried to help the girls was Sister Cathy Cesnik. Wehner said that in 1969, at the end of her sophomore year, Cesnik stole a moment alone with her in her classroom. “Are the priests hurting you?” the nun asked gently. Wehner nodded her head, too afraid to open her mouth. Cesnik told Wehner to go home and enjoy the summer. She said she would handle the situation.
    • In the Spring of 1969, it's the end of Cathy's fourth year teaching at Keough. Cathy and Russell ask for permission to live outside the 40-sister convent but to continue teaching as nuns, but outside of Archbishop Keough.
    • Russell (who was married and living in Carroll County when she was interviewed in 1994), said the idea of living outside the convent was often discussed, particularly among the younger nuns. Russell said The Order denied Cathy and Russell's request to live outside the convent and teach at public schools.
    • “But we were the renegades,” Russell said. “We said we were going anyway. We already had the apartment.”
    • This conflicts with Cecilia -- the ex-nun on The Keepers -- who said that Mother Maurice gave Cathy and Russell permission to experiment. Koob confirms The Order refused the request and that Cathy had until December 31 to move back to the convent or quit being a nun. [From Cathy's obituary at findagrave: As many religious did in the turbulent 60's, Sister Joanita (Cathy) requested permission to take a sabbatical from the Order. This was granted and Catherine moved with another nun into an apartment in the Edmondson Village area of Baltimore. She also decided to teach instead at Western High School beginning in the fall of 1969.]
  • June:
    • Russell and Cathy left Keough (and the residence) in June 1969, adopted civilian dress, got teaching jobs in city schools and moved into the Carriage House Apartments on North Bend Road, in Southwest Baltimore.
    • June 1, 1969: Letter from Cathy explaining decision to leave Keough.
    • Margaret and Edgar get into a big fight because he's not paying the bills. Edgar chokes Margaret and says he could kill her. Margaret wants to leave but she's carrying twins.
  • August: Cathy went home to Pittsburgh to explain to her family why she was leaving Keough. Marilyn said Cathy wasn't her happy-go-lucky self and was sad. Cathy's father told her the world is a dangerous place and Cathy said, "How do you know my world is not a dangerous place?"
Timeline II >>
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2020.07.09 00:52 Leopath Bloodlines: The Legacy of Charlemagne (Part 12)

Bloodlines: The Legacy of Charlemagne (Part 12)

Emperor Charles II


https://preview.redd.it/llgax8tykp951.png?width=622&format=png&auto=webp&s=4b6b0e1c5fd35698b519ceb49ff37ddaea8eea21
25th of August, 1260
Winfrida is once again with child, although I initially prayed for a son I came to a sneaking suspicion. I don’t recall us sleeping with one another on the supposed day of conception. No This cannot be right. She must be unfaithful. Ever since the birth of Ephrosine she’s been acting irrational. Always seeming upset, acting completely hysterical! I hired some maids and spies to investigate her.
24th of September, 1260
Nothing has come from the spies so far, clearly she’s keeping these secrets deeper. But it all is starting to make sense. Her strange behavior, the lack of a son, it is not my fault but in truth it is her infidelity! I must hire more spies to deal with this situation!
21st of October, 1261
My spies failed me. They have found no suspicious behavior whatsoever from Winfrida. I suppose the child might be mine but that still doesn’t explain her behaviors. Why has she changed so much? Why can I not produce a son if I am not indeed the rightful Emperor! Even my brother fails to produce any sons.
5th of March, 1261
God has cursed me. Our third child is once again another daughter. Not just that but twin girls. I cursed beneath my breath as the second child emerged I realized that I was being taunted by the Lord as the sex was announced. We named them Winfrida and Eve after my wife and my nursemaid as a child though I now know that as long as I rely on her I doubt I will be blessed with an heir. How disappointing.
5th of February, 1263
As another daughter was born and she was named Denise I realized that perhaps I am simply not destined to have an heir with Winfrida. I consider altering my succession laws to allow my eldest Adelaide to inherit but that would soil centuries of tradition, I won’t have it. No. As Winfrida grows older it is becoming clear that I am in need of someone else who can provide me the heir I need for my Empire.
24th of April, 1263
After the birth of Denise I’ve arranged for a formal ball to be held in the Palace of Guise. A small celebration of the wealth and prosperity of the Empire and dedicated to the health of my children. As the ball was in progress and nobility were dancing I spotted a young woman up ahead. A beautiful woman, very young, with brown hair pulled into an intricate bun. I turned to one of the noblemen standing by me as I gestured with a wine filled goblet “Who's that beautiful woman over there?” He answered to me “That is Julienne de Brienne, minor noble woman from a cadet branch of House de Blois. I believe her family are quite the wealthy merchants. Control a few guilds.” he explained as I only barely listened past her name. I stood and asked her to dance as we briefly danced to a song. “I take it you must be Ma’dam de Brienne.” she giggled “Your grace you honor me.” I chuckled “Please just call me Charles. So where is your father?” “I’m afraid he could not afford his own admission, so he is at home managing his guilds and ventures. Either way he sends his regards and hopes I can represent him well.” I smiled at her as we stepped around one another in perfect sync. “I think you’ve done well. Tell me, will you consider staying within my court for the time being? I think having you around will help keep things interesting.” She smiled leaning in close as she responded “Of course your gra-I mean Charles. I would be delighted to earn the opportunity to learn more about you.”
18th of May, 1263
I have noticed Julienne would sometimes go to the kitchen late at night for a midnight snack. I ‘chanced’ upon her one day while sipping some wine. We began talking and laughing perhaps a bit too loud. I told her stories about me and Louis when we were young about our fights and games we’d play in the hedge maze. She asked about my daughters and I kept my answer brief. Though I turned more and more to her personal life. If she was arranged for any betrothals. “I have no suitors unfortunately.” “I can’t understand why, you are young, beautiful, your family is at least of noble birth.” she shrugged “Well though those things may be true I’ve just never found one to be...well I guess of interest.” “Are there any non-suitors you do consider of interest?” She gave a coy smile “Well there is one.” I leaned in closer “What’s his name?” “Oh I could never say, if he were to find out it would cause issues.” I raised a brow “Why si that?” our faces grew to only be a few inches apart She whispered in a low voice “Unfortunately he’s sworn into marriage.” To this I offhandedly whispered back “Some marriages just aren’t meant to be. I know it wouldn’t stop me…” I leaned into her ear “I’d love to show you how interesting I can be in my bedchambers.” She smiled back before planting a kiss and soon we snuck back to the royal bedchambers where we made love throughout the night. As we laid next to one another I turned to her tracing a finger across her body. The rays of mornings light made their way into the room “It’s best you return to your room.” she turned to me and planted a kiss pulling on my beard “Any chance I’ll see you again?” I returned “If I can have it my way, I hope to see you each and every night my dear.” she rose out of the bed as I admired her she dressed herself and began making her way out of the room. What a woman. Now to hope she can bear me the son this Empire needs.
25th of February, 1264
I never thought I’d see the day. Julienne gave birth today as I attended the ceremony. As she did I watched carefully before it was announced “A boy your grace.” I smiled walking over. The small weak baby boy made a small cry. He was adorable though as Julienne and I looked to him and then to one another. “Thank you” I whispered to her as she smiled back “Of course Charles, I told you I could give you the son you wished for.” We shared a kiss as I looked to the nursemaid and servants “Grab me my quill, I need to draft a letter.” I turned back to Julienne who then asked “What should we name him?” I looked to her and smiled “We will name him after you my dear. Julien. A name worthy of the title of Emperor.
11th of March, 1264
In a grand ceremony and announcement I had Pope Ioannes XIX himself baptize my son Julien christening him as I had him legitimized and named my new heir. Of course this disturbed Winfrida and my daughters that I had an affair. But they would not understand. Winfrida begged me to rescind my declaration, she told me she was with child that this could be the son they’ve long prayed for. But I shrugged her away “You had your chance, you failed in your purpose and I won’t destabilize my Empire for you.” as I walked away I knew there was no going back. No doubt many will judge me for my own sins, and perhaps they are well deserved. But the reality is my people needed a future, and young Julien is just that.
5th of October, 1264
I didn’t attend the birth of my next child. Though I was told it was another girl. I allowed her to keep the name Winfrida chose for her, Bonne. Six children Winfrida has bore me and each and every single one of them were daughters. As much as I care for my children, unfortunately the world is not fit for them. Take my daughter Adelais for example. She’s my eldest, bright and beautiful. She is ambitious and cutthroat, able to be a decisive ruler. But I fear she’s totally mad. Constantly angry and prone to fits of rage. I’ve caught her mumbling to herself constantly. She’s much too unpredictable. I don’t doubt she’d be a great ruler but no one in all of France is ready for an Empress, nonetheless one as unstable as her to rule. Men might not be as great or as ready to rule but our state is clearly more secure and grounded in comparison. It is just the way it must be. Besides, tradition dictates there always be a direct male inheritance from the Emperor all the way back to Charlemagne. Any break in that chain will delegitimize the entire crown like the Capets did over two centuries ago.
21st of April, 1265
I’ve yet to stop seeing Julienne since I had revealed our affair. Perhaps my soul is destined to be damned, but I am more than willing to suffer eternal flames if it is for my people. However, today was another session at court when I hosted a man approached inside kneeling. The herald introduced him as Thibault, the son of a Baron. “You may rise, what brings you to the Imperial court.” Thibault then began to explain “Your grace, I was put in charge of a sailing venture, shipping goods and whatnot from Mallorca to Bordeaux. However, several crews of mine were captured by pirates and with them their loot.” I raised a brow “I hardly see how this concerns me.” He continued “Well you see your grace, the pirates were heathens from the Canaries. They took all of those goods and my crews. This is not the first time however, the Carnies are in a prime position to plague the seas around Gibraltar and hurt the Empires trading endeavors. I was hoping to plea to you to help rescue my investments and my men. I’ve spent every ounce of gold I own to come see you and beg you to help me.” At first my men began escorting the man as he became increasingly emotional. I raise a hand “You said these isles were in a prime position to control trade in the region correct?” The man nodded as I leaned back in my throne “These sailors are my subjects. And these heathens harass not only them but my ships. Perhaps it is time to sail off and conquer a small island off the coast. Let him go. In fact Thibault stay in my court for a time.” I turned to the Imperial Marshal, Duke Hugues of Transjurania “Raise some levies. We will be sailing to the Canaries and perhaps we’ll stay there for a time.”
14th of July, 1265
I’ve sent a little over 8000 men to Bordeaux where a fleet of ships awaits them. All from my personal retinue of levies. I do not feel a small African island is worth the pain of sending tens of thousands of Frenchmen. They will land on the islands, fend off whatever these heathens call an army and rescue the sailors. After slaughtering them I’ve instructed Thibault to take control of the islands with a garrison I’ll provide. After which he will secure the islands and annex them into the Empire.
17th of October, 1265
The first word from my little expedition has returned. My levies seemed to have succeeded. Although the resistance was much more fierce than anticipated over a thousand natives were slaughtered and more retreated to their little garrisons. I’ve sent returning instructions to them, destroy these local peoples, break their spirits and force them to swear fealty to their new Emperor.

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5th of November, 1265
Winfrida is desperate to win back my affection. It seems she doesn’t understand that I am still in my relationship with Julienne. Nonetheless today she gave birth to what will certainly be our last child together. Once again I did not attend the birthing. Though imagine my shock and surprise to learn it was a boy. Of course he was named Charles after myself, but to think after all these years she finally bore me a son. I went to go visit him in the nursery where I’d seen what a large and tall child he was. His legs hung over my arms holding him. Though he gave weak cries, I was told he was born sickly and weak. It’d be a miracle should he survive. Nonetheless this changes nothing. Julien is my eldest son, and my rightful heir. “Your father has really made a muck of things hasn’t he my boy?” I whispered to him hoping he does not hate and resent me as he grows older.
16th of January, 1266
My son has mostly recovered it seemed which is good though now Julien is experiencing a rash. I pray it doesn’t fester into something much worse. If there is any good news is that the Canaries are annexed and the land has been given to Thibault to manage and oversee. He will ensure ships are safe and piracy against French merchants in the straits will be reduced.
8th of August, 1270
My brother Louis paid me a visit in the castle. I was outside practicing my archery when he presented me with a small puppy. “Brother, I came to give this to you. I know you’ve been hunting more ever since you recovered from that whole flu thing…” I looked at the dog and smiled “Thank you brother.” I took the dog as he explained “Like I said, it’s a hunting Dog I just hoped you would be able to raise it and take it with you for good luck.” I petted the dog “If that’s the case I’ll name him Hunter. Thank you again.” I looked to some servants calling them over to have a kennel built for him. As I returned to firing another arrow at the target I couldn’t help but think on the news I’d been hearing. Apparently some incurable and horrible plague has spread itself all the way from Cathay. It apparently broke out in the Levant and in the Latin Empire. Perhaps it's just a distant rumor, an exaggeration. Though I’ve still ordered for preparations to be made in the hospitals in Paris, Vermandois, and Maine just in case. Then again how would a disease find its way all the way across the Mediterranean, such a silly notion.
16th of April, 1271
I’ve never been more angry to say I’m wrong. Refugees and messengers from Italy are sending word warning about the plague. Black lumps building on peoples flesh, their energy sapped away, bodies lining the streets and filling rivers. Italy is being ravaged and they say the Balkans are just as bad if not worse. It won’t take long. If it spreads from Constantinople to Milan in just four months how much longer until it reaches Paris? Or Guise? I call my family to abandon the court in Paris and head to Guise. When it arrives I want to be sure I can lock away in the Palace. A stockpile of food will have to be made. As I was preparing another glaring report arrived. The first case was found in Nice. This plague is much worse than anything I could have imagined.
1st of June, 1271
All the reports match just people calling for others to pack up and flee. The plague is spreading across southern France. Some have taken to calling it the ‘Black Death’ I can only imagine the horror to earn such a name. As it spreads I begin making preparations to shut the gates entirely. For now I stand by my people to assure them that all will be fine. Though I still hear the whispers and rumors. They talk about how I brought the plague onto France. My campaigns of violence, revoking the powers of investiture held by the church, and of course my infidelity. All of these they say brought a curse onto me and my subjects. Earning me the name of ‘the Terrible’. They say that at first the curse was to not bear any sons and now it has manifested as the rapture itself. Many fear that this is the coming of what is foretold in the Book of Revelations. I try to dismiss these rumors and worries though there is only so much I can do. Let them think what they may. When this crisis comes to an end it will be me taking in the glory.
6th of January, 1272
The Plague has ravaged the entire Empire. Only the counties of Maine, Paris, and Vermandois remain contained in their own infections. The hospital wards are quickly filling and the alchemists in the laboratories are working tirelessly on treatments of any kind. For now the disease is contained though I fear the day the outbreak spreads into the city of Guise. Once it is here I will have to hide away to protect myself and my family.
22nd of February, 1273
News is arriving about the disease plaguing Germany and the British Isles, but the reports of mass graves and deaths seem to be overblown somewhat. Paris remains booming and in fact the disease is well contained. It seems our hospitals, colonies, and other measures to protect our people have proven successful. Perhaps I should not have been as afraid.
7th of May, 1273
When I had heard my brother Louis had passed I was shocked, had my arrogance overtaken me? However I was told he had no sign of the plague, no black lesions. Instead he most likely drank himself to death as he and his wife constantly drank together often to the detriment of their children. I went to visit his body, remembering our times as children playing in the hedge maze fighting with wooden swords. “What a time to abandon me…” I whispered with a sigh. I will make sure his son is raised well and well off.
12th of February, 1275
After years of the plague harvesting souls across France it seemed the southern provinces suffered the worst. Though word is spreading of the plague lightening up. For the past several years it seems Paris and Guise have been safe. The large hospital complexes had done well caring for the sick and keeping them away. Though as the bodies build and the doctors that cared for them pass as well, it has become too much. The outbreak has finally spread throughout the county and although our population had been booming (mostly with refugees fleeing from the plague) now it is beginning to take its toll. Now all of my preparations will come in as we close the gates of the Palace of Guise, I look on my balcony knowing that it will be some time until France is healed. It is time to quarantine.
8th of March, 1275
Winfrida was screaming the entire time. A terrible decision had to be made not long after the gates were sealed. My son-in-law Sabas had contracted the plague, as did my daughter Bonne. My sweet ten year old daughter. The black lesions formed on their skin all across their faces and armpits. Fever and weakness. I was told that they could be treated but they endangered everyone else. I let out a sigh before giving the order. The guardsmen were to escort both of them to the Hospitals here in Guise to be cared for. As they were being taken to the gates. Empress Winfrida, Bonne's mother and my wife screamed and shouted “No! You can’t do this! You can’t take my little girl!” Bonne shouted back for her mother calling for her tears in their eyes. Winfrida turned to me slamming her fists against my chest “Stop this Charles! She’s your daughter! Don’t let them take her away! Stop this! Even if you don’t love me anymore please! Please! She’s our little...girl….” she said collapsing onto her knees in sobs. I felt tears welling in my eyes whispering “I’m so sorry…” she shouted back between her sobs “No! You don’t get to be sorry! You’re a sorry excuse of a father! You sent your daughter to die!” She got up shoving me aside. I looked to the other children including Julien as I felt sorrow. I’m so sorry he had to see such cruelty. I just hope that one day he realizes everything I did today was to protect him and his siblings and his mother. Even if my wife refused to admit it.
7th of April, 1275
More and more courtiers are found sick. My old court physician even so I had him sent out and replaced. More of my children are growing sick and I wonder if perhaps I should have closed the gates sooner.
19th of April, 1275
Today Winfrida developed lesions. I had no hesitation, at least now she could be with Bonne. We shared no words as she was escorted out. At least Julienne was here still. I watched Winfrida as she returned a glare to me. I remember how she touched me prior, oh dear lord what if she got me sick? Or who knows how many people were infected by her. Perhaps she is the one responsible even for Bonne. That must be it, yes.
21st of April, 1275
Charles was a sickly boy. He’d developed tumors early on, and even though he was my second born son I still loved him. I sat by him as he weakly took ragged breaths. Thank God it wasn’t the plague. He turned to me and asked “Where’s mama?” as tears welled in my eyes I couldn’t tell him the truth. “Your mother is sleeping right now. She’ll be up later.” he smiled “I hope she brings me more cake.” as he closed his eyes “so sleepy.” he nodded off quickly and then I noticed his breathing stopped. I didn’t fight it, I simply stared into the lifeless body of my son my entire body quaking. I imagined Bonne's body covered in lesions the same way, then Winfrida, and then all of my other children. I began sobbing uncontrollably. I knew there was little chance he could make it to adulthood, but it didn’t hurt any less.
7th of May, 1275
Occasionally we still get messages from the outside, updates on the comings and goings of the Empire. Though we also get messages about the status of those we’ve cast out. Two days ago it seems, Winfrida passed away. I mourned, briefly, though she died not knowing the fate of our son. As the court reeled back I found comfort in Julienne. I had a bishop sealed in with us finalize what I’d always intended. Now that Winfrida has passed I can legitimize my relationship with Julienne. We had a small ceremony and were sworn as husband and wife. Finally I can be married to the woman I truly wanted to be with.
13th of February, 1276
A year of isolation and quarantine has proven to be wearing down on my courtiers. Though over time a terrible stench was overtaking the palace. Upon investigation we learned that the peasants have started piling their dead just outside the gates. No doubt a way to voice their disapproval of my actions. I saw the rats crawling along the bodies as they were piled on. I then noticed on the very top of the pile was the late Empress Winfrida. My former wife piled on with dead men, women, and children all covered in horrible lesions partially chewed by the rats and other scavengers. One of my courtiers then asked “Your grace, we must get rid of those bodies. The late Empress is there!” I shook my head “No! If we risk an infection among us then this whole thing was pointless. We will endure.” “Emperor Charles. The stench is wretched!” I turned to them as they had forgotten their place. “Then take your fingers and pinch your nose, nobody is to touch those bodies.”
10th of December, 1276
I woke at night due to a horrible nightmare. I saw Winfridas face slowly rotting away being picked at first by a rat and then a crow. The bodies, the oceans of rotting bodies covered in horrible lesions. I wiped the sweat from my body looking at Julienne's naked form next to mine. I laid awake as I could feel the weight pressing on my temples and my head twisting with worry. I just want to survive.
8th of January, 1278
Each and every day I worry for my son Julien. With his younger brother Charles taken by his cancer, and my nephew Louis dead from this dreaded plague, once again the fears of succession haunt me. Julienne and I have now been married for three years, all three spent in this terrible isolation. Perhaps most disastrous was when she told me she was pregnant. While the prospect of another heir was nice, I feared that it is sinful to bring in another child into this world. Another soul to be harvested by the cold grips of the pale reaper. So much death, and at such an inopportune time. The boy was named Louis after my poor brother and his son. I can only be grateful that Louis didn’t know the fate of his child and passed before he suffered. My baby boy was so small and delicate. Such a ravenous world outside filled with death and despair. He was quickly becoming feverish and I feared for my newborn son's safety.

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22nd of October, 1278
As the year progresses it seems my health is only getting worse and worse. It’s certainly not the plague, no. Instead I just struggle to move my body and I can barely get out of bed. Yesterday I didn’t even rise once. Instead I’ve grown infirm as I remain more sickly I wonder if all of this is some kind of punishment for my crimes. My sins of infidelity, the wars I’d brought on. How much more punishment can God send to me?
28th of October, 1278
Today is the day, the last of the plague is back under control. They say the streets of Guise and Paris are all lined with scorch marks where the pyres for the dead once burned. Catacombs under Notre Dame are now filled where walls are lined with the skulls of the deceased. I can only imagine how filthy the Seine is. As the gates open I know the people resent me for abandoning them but I won’t leave them for long.
24th of December, 1278
Letters were brought to me by my bedside as I struggled to read them myself. I had my court chaplain read them aloud. It seems the Papacy has been caught in a slew of muck in recent years. While the plague faded in Germany and Italy some years ago now the Emperor seized Papal lands in Munster and now the Knights of Sardinia are doing the same. I’ve never been a fan of the papacy personally. I paid them lip service in truth, and prior to this whole plague I even revoked their right to invest bishops in France! With this plague having ravaged my lands there is a question on many people's minds, where was the Church in all of this? If the Bishop of Rome is the Vicar of Christ, the embodiment of God on Earth then why did he do nothing to stop this? Of course people say the same about me, they blame me for this plague and my actions. There is only one way to determine who God favors. I call on the Royal Marshal to discuss raising the levies and launching an attack. The Church proved they have no sway over God because they demand political concessions and lands like they are a secular King. No more.
31st of July, 1279
The report was brimming. While the Papal armies fought the Knights in Sardinia my men began sieging Corsica as well as the eastern coast of Italy along Ravenna and Bologna. My armies haven’t faced any resistance unfortunately. If nothing else I may be able to get the Pope to surrender and admit defeat. He will accept blame for that plague and perhaps I might take some land out of the deal as well.
24th of November, 1279
That Bastard Pope just gave way, he submitted a request to surrender and for me to recall my men.I sent him an ultimatum he wouldn’t accept. After all there was never even a single battle in the war yet. I demanded the entire island of Corsica and yet he replied with agreement. What a coward. Either way a promise is a promise. As my men are recalled I leave some behind in Corsica to help enforce power. If nothing else it will serve as a good port to secure trade in the western Mediterranean.
9th of December, 1279
With the war over today was a special festivity indeed. A grand ball and celebrations were held across Paris. Today was the 200 year anniversary of the Karling Restoration as they now call it. On this day two centuries ago my forefather King Herbert defeated Phillippe the Young overthrowing Capet rule and restoring the Karlings to the throne of France. Truly marvelous. I wonder how proud he’d be to see his darling France brought to such prestige and wonder. An Empire in its own right, just like our ancestor Charlemagne.
8th of June, 1280
With the plague having come and gone, and the war with the Pope over I’ve returned to settling into a more every day motion. My enemies among the nobility regularly plot against me forming factions to either dethrone me or decentralize power. Perhaps I should start revoking their lands and titles. For now I kill them with kindness using my wealth and courtly charms to win them over. Empress Julienne faces constant harassment as one might expect. Having once been the Emperors Mistress and now Empress is sure to make enemies. Especially when I still hear the whispers of those who blame the plague as divine punishment for my affair. But today she once again proved why she is more deserving of her place than Winfrida. She bore me our fifth child and fifth son whom I’ve named Baudouin after my father. A massive baby boy, he hung off my arms on both ends when I held him. I prayed and thanked God for a healthy child. I’ve had so many children over the years at this point I now have...12! A dozen children of my own and though two have since passed I am happy to have such a large family.
2nd of November, 1280
A wondrous day indeed, the Swabian Princess Dorothea von Rhienfelden arrived today to be wed to Prince Julien. What is with these German women and being so bulky and strong? Either way she is sure to bear plenty of sons for Julien one could hope. Next year his sister Bonne who managed to survive the plague will be leaving to the Latin Empire to marry Emperor Aimery. Truly she surprised everyone with her survival though her resentment towards me is quite justified. The only words she’s spoken to me since then was that she was there when mother passed, and she was there when they took her body. We never got to hold a proper funeral for her. In truth I have no idea what even happened to her body. It haunts me. Either the rats had eaten it or perhaps they simply burned her in some pyre. To not know the fate of the mother of my daughters...it’s heartbreaking.
11th of January, 1281
I’d called a meeting with my advisors to discuss the comings and goings of the Empire. As the meeting came to a close I decided to raise a goblet as a toast. One toast of course became another, and then another. As I stumbled out of the meeting I could barely hold myself up and next thing I knew I fell onto my face becoming dizzy and tasting blood in my mouth. I turned and cried for help. An old drunk bastard like myself can’t get up so easy. Then I saw my son-in-law Duke Hildebert. He was my Royal Marshal and a skilled young man certainly strong. “Son, help” I cried out but he looked at me as the world was going black he then left and got the rest of the advisors. When I awoke I was in my bed. The bastard! He will regret crossing me!
30th of January, 1281
I’ve severely punished Hildebert, how dare he make a fool out of me! Just because I drank a little. I revoked his position as the Duke of Blois and Burgundy, then I made one of his former vassals his new Liege and gave the title of Duke of Burgundy to a different vassal. Now he is nothing more than a petty count. Of course because he is now such a lowly noble he has no place in my court or as my marshal. Perhaps my daughter Winfrida can get her husband back under control and to learn his place.
10th of November, 1281
My dear hunting dog, Hunter, passed away. He was the last remnant I had of my brother Louis. With my nephew and even his widow dead I don’t really have anything left by him. Burying Hunter felt like burying Louis all over again. I tried to recall the memories of retrieving Hunter after he mangled another courtiers dog, or of the hunts he’d join me in, but all I could recall were my memories with Louis. “I’m sorry brother. I’m sorry I couldn’t keep any of my promises.” I couldn’t protect his son, his wife, or his gift to me. I’m so so sorry.
20th of February, 1283
Word is buzzing around the court. Seems Pope Eugenius is calling for the Sixth Crusade. He wants all of Christendom to raise up arms for “the last pagan stronghold in Perm”. Apparently it’s some far off land in the northeast beyond even the Rus. I thought Crusades were supposed to be declared when Christendom is threatened against real threats. Yet here the Pope wants Christian blood spilled just for some useless plains in the east? And for what? To fight some goat herders? Ridiculous. This brings shame to the legacy of the crusaders. France might have taken a leadership role in the other crusades but this one we will simply keep out of. Truly foolish.
7th of April, 1284
After some pressure from his Holiness I reluctantly made a donation for the Crusade though I sill refused to pledge my men for the venture. Today is the day the Sixth Crusade begins and christian men, mostly Germans and Greeks, all went out to march across the great steppe towards this ‘Perm’.
30th of April, 1285
I was sitting in my bed when one of the servants came in to tell me that apparently Empress Julienne had fallen ill very suddenly, and she was now bedridden comatose. It’s doubtful she’ll survive. As the news was delivered I told all the servants to leave me be. Laying in bed I stared at the ceiling. I love this woman, more than I ever loved Winfrida. Why must she be punished? If I truly am awful, if I am a sinner why punish her? Why not punish me. Why make the woman I love suffer for my mistakes God? I began to sob. I screamed for a servant to come back in and demanded a drink, a whole bottle of wine. I will drown my sorrows.
8th of May, 1286
I laid in the bed not wanting to rise up. My muscles have gotten to where even sitting up takes immense effort. The servant finished feeding me my dinner as they took my empty bowl and goblet I noticed them reaching for the wine. I grabbed her by the wrist in a tight grip, and it seems my arm hasn’t worn down that much. I looked to her and said in a raspy dry voice “Leave. It.” the servant looked fearful as I let go and she scurried out. I took the wine and brought it to my face, downing the drink. Despite being bedridden and unconscious for the past year, Julienne hasn’t left my side. I love that woman, she is stronger than she looks. I took another drink before coughing to the side. I was so tired. Tired of all this foolishness. I tossed the drink as it shattered glass across the floor. I’m sure it startled someone. I don’t care. I turned to my side before closing my eyes. Another wasted day in my life. Another day closer to my death.

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Emperor Julien I



9th of May, 1286
Me and Dorothea were visiting my mother just before heading to bed. In honest truth ever since father started drinking, even worse when he became bedridden himself, I wanted less and less to do with him. It was awful the things I’d hear servants and guardsmen say about my mother, calling her a harlot. Harder to watch my father, someone I looked up to, become a deranged old man. Threatening even hitting servants when they didn’t get him wine fast enough. Mother hadn’t been truly awake in a year. I missed her. That's when we heard the bottle smash, we thought nothing of it. A common occurrence it seems. I didn’t expect to wake up the following morning and was told to put on mourning clothes. I didn’t expect to be greeted with a ‘Your Grace’ nor for people to call me Emperor. Dorothea stood by me, she seemed concerned. “You know it is alright to be upset. He was your father.” she whispered as I turned to her I took a deep breath “My father died when he entered that room and never came back out. I’ve made peace with the idea that I will never hear my mother's voice again.” then I reached below touching her engorged belly “This child and you are the only family I need in my life. Once this is over I will start sorting my new position, start arranging the coronation, and our life will continue.”
22nd of May, 1286
“Your grace” a servant broke my daydreaming as I turned to him “Yes?” “A Lady Douce de Conflens has arrived to see you. Should I turn her away?” I looked to him shocked. Douce? She and I were such close friends growing up, her brother hated me though. What is she doing here? I hadn’t seen her in years. “No no, let her in. I’ll meet her right away.” When I’d seen her she was fully grown and beautiful. I smiled “Douce!” she turned to me and met my smile “Julien! Or should I say your grace?” I rolled my eyes with a groan “Oh please, that’s almost as bad as when you called me ‘my prince’.” she giggled as we caught up. She never married it seemed, we spoke of our memories from when we were children. The pond where we used to play, the pranks on the servants we used to run with. She seemed much more reserved than I remembered and much more refined. “Julien, when I heard about your father I…” I raised my hand honestly I’d heard enough condolences for one lifetime “It’s alright Douce, I’m fine. I’m just glad you’re here. Did you know I’m to be a father soon?” “Oh? You and er what was her name? The Swabian Princess?” “Dorothea.” she nodded “Right. Well I’m happy for you. A whole little family for yourself.” “And you? Why no husband?” She shrugged “I only came of age two years ago and I’m afraid being the daughter of a Baron does not mean I have anywhere as many suitors as you would think.” I chuckled “I suppose but I’m still amazed. I’d have done anything to have married you instead.” she smiled with a small blush “You’re sweet.” I invited her to stay in court for a few days. If nothing else than to attend my coronation. It still won’t be for a few months at the least. It’ll give me time to spend with her.
23rd of July, 1286
On this day, I march forward in front of various lords of Europe and my vassals, in a ceremony done for many generations. As I approached Pope Eugenius III he began chanting, raising the crown up high for all to see. I knelt as the crown was placed on my head, the crown that had sat on my father's head, and his fathers before him. “I name you Emperor Julien of France, King of Navarra, and of the Romans. By the name and grace of God!” it was then that as the Pope stepped back I rose up and turned to an applauding crowd. I saw among the crowd was Douce clapping shyly, her face entirely flushed with embarrassment. I need to see her when I get the chance
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2020.07.09 00:05 _what_is_this_idk I think I might have upset someone or something when I was 14...

I am a 21 year-old female now and when I was 14 two of my friends and I had the great idea of creating our own makeshift ouija board. We stayed overnight at one of my friends, I'll call her Nora for the story. I don't remember what we had been doing before we started to cut out some letters and a 'yes' and 'no' written on paper, and jokingly asked if there were any spirits around. But I really wish we just continued doing normal teenager stuff instead of this. All three of us each had one finger on the glass and were sitting around one of those small ikea tables in the middle of Nora's room. We had even turned off the lights and only had some candles illuminate the area. After we had all accused each other for moving the glass on purpose for a while, and each of us denying it whole heartedly, we really got into the eerie feeling. Of course, I can only speak for myself for sure when I say that I did not move that glass.
We started to ask some questions like if the spirit was good or bad, why they were here and such things. We all got really creeped out by the things the supposed spirit was telling us. I still remember that one of the words it spelled was blood. This probably sounds stupid and childish, but only years later did I really start to believe that I may have upset something or someone that night because of what happened to me in the years that followed. At some point Isabella yelped loudly out of nowhere causing Nora and me to pull back our hands in shock. I followed Isabella's gaze to the window, where a black cat was just staring at us for a few seconds before it jumped off or the window sill and was gone. Honestly, as I am typing this I realize how cheesy this actually sounds. But trust me, I don't feel like that about what happened at all. After the cat incident all three of us were pretty shaken up and decided to not continue with our ouija board experiment but to go to bed instead. After calming down I actually fell asleep quite easily that night.
The next day we joked about what had happened the night before, even saying that one of us is gonna get hurt today and there will be blood. Stupid, I know. But we were still very young and I personally never believed in anything paranormal, or even any higher power for that matter.
My dad picked Isabella and me up around noon and as were driving along a road I noticed the car was drifting off to the right a bit. We almost hit one of those plastic things on the side of the road when I loudly said "Dad watch out!". He quickly pulled the steering wheel to the opposite direction, swerving towards the oncoming traffic. Luckily we did not hit the car that was driving towards us, since I don't think I would be alive today if we had. But in order to avoid hitting that car my dad yanked the steering wheel in the opposite direction again, steering the car towards the right of the road. The road was elevated, so it went downhill towards each side of it, and when we were at the edge of the road again my dad tried to get back straight onto the road. But instead the car's left side lifted off of the ground and we spiraled down the hill.
I looked down at shattered glass laying on the ceiling of the car. I remember that everything looked really bright, but my mind was clear. I saw Isabella's phone between the broken glass and picked it up as I was dangling in my seatbelt upside down. I dialed the emergency number and told the dispatcher what happened very calmly. This was the first time I had ever called an emergency number, but somehow I felt like I was just doing everything automatically. I checked on Isabella as I was still on the phone with the dispatcher and noticed she was panicking hard. I gave her my hand to hold and she squeezed it so hard that I could feel her fingernails digging into my skin. It didn't hurt though. Nothing hurt. Not until a couple hours later, once the Adrenalin wore off I guess.
After trying to calm Isabella down some people who had stopped nearby helped us out of the car and we were taken to the nearest hospital by paramedics shortly after. None of us had gotten hurt besides a minor cut on the right side of my face, but the car was totaled. It was actually a miracle. When I saw Isabella again she was still kind of panicky and told me that this was because of the ouija board, and how we should've never messed with that stuff. I honestly hadn't even thought of that until she said it, but didn't really believe it then either.
After this experience, however, I never ever touched a ouija board again.
When I was 16 I joined Isabella and Nora who ha both been working at a night club for a while already. I don't even know how they got to know the guy who owned that place to be honest, but I quickly got a job behind the bar there. This was actually illegal since where I lived you had to be 18 to work in a nightclub after 10pm. So we drew up a contract stating I would help cleaning and filling up the shelves from 6-10pm, when in reality I was working behind the bar from 10pm-6am or sometimes 7am.
Now don't get me wrong, I loved working there since I could basically drink for free while having fun with my two friends who were working at the entrance, taking care of people's clothes. The other guy who was working behind the bar with me was also super chill, and we still hang out sometimes to this day. However, the guy who owned the club was a disgusting pedophile, and he would often take me up to this creepy room upstairs, lock the door and proceed to kiss me. He would tell me how he wanted me to be his wife one day and that he wanted me to have all of these nice things and try to get me to sleep with him. He was at least 35 years old at the time, and I was only 16. Since I wanted to keep the job and didn't really know any better I let him kiss me and touch me, but would luckily always get him to unlock the door before anything else happened.
After a while we all stopped working at that place and although I definitely have some great memories from that time, I also dislike kissing because of that gross weird man to this day. But he would turn out to ruin my life a lot more.
When I was 17 Isabella, another girl we knew who I'll call Vera, and I wanted to go to a party that was in a small town a bit further away from where we lived. After we had asked all of our friends who could drive, Isabella said she could ask our former boss from the night club. I immediately disagreed and told her I didn't want anything to do with that creep. But after a while of her pleading and telling me how we would only be brought there by him and would find somebody else to go home with, I reluctantly agreed. We were picked up by him and one of his friends.
Since we were three girls I guess we felt safe, but we weren't. The two men told us how we would go to a party of one of their friends for a few minutes before heading to the other party. We agreed since it was really nice of them to drive us to some party in the middle of nowhere at 2am after all. But when we arrived, only one more man was at their "party". He let us in, the men gave us some drinks and we sipped on them while talking and waiting to leave again. After a short while I noticed I was feeling really really drunk and the next thing I remember is some very messed up stuff I don't want to describe right now.
The next day I woke up in my bed, still in my clothes. I felt violated and disgusting. My grandparents were visiting that weekend though, so I got up and took a shower and had brunch with them. I didn't remember how I got home, although since I was a heavy drinker during pretty much all of my teenage years that wasn't what threw me off. It was a text I had gotten from Isabella. It said: 'I was raped last night.'
After her dad contacted the police we all made our statements that same day. We were checked by doctors and they ran some blood tests to see if there was any evidence left of roofies. But since they wear off very quickly, they couldn't find any traces anymore at that point. The three men were never charged with anything, since the police said it couldn't be proven that what they did was against our will. I should let you know that the legal age of consent where I lived then is 16.
After this traumatic experience I moved to live with my grandparents in a city four hours away from where my parents lived. I finished my school there and made some great friends. It was honestly the best thing I could have done in that situation. The three of us drifted apart, but Isabella once told me how she thought that bad things kept happening to her because of our stupid experiment with the ouija board. I thought about it, but put it off since I just didn't believe in anything supernatural.
When I was 19 I moved back to my parents place and worked for a while before planning a trip to Morocco with some friends. A few days before we left all of us and some more friends were at a party together. It was honestly the first time in quite a while that I actually felt happy, since I was pretty lost after school and didn't know what to do next. I only had some wine and one beer before we called it a night around 1:30am. One of the guys who I used to go to school with and I left together, but our paths separated soon and he asked me if I was able to get home alone. I laughed and said yeah sure I'm not that drunk and we parted ways. Now I should say that I took the same path I had taken all throughout my teenage years, since it was the fastest route to get to my parent's place and nothing had ever happened to me, even when I had been too drunk to walk straight.
I rode on my bike along some empty streets, until I got to a lake. This lake is only about 2 minutes away from my parent's house. I still smiled to myself, remembering how much fun I had just now and how lucky I am to have such great people in my life. When I passed a bench I saw a young man sitting on it, seemingly rolling a joint or a cigarette. I remember thinking that he could have easily been one of my friends, but continued riding past him.
The path that I always took led me around the side of the lake where there are absolutely no houses nearby, but luckily shortly after passing that bench a few houses started to appear again.
I don't understand how I didn't hear the footsteps approaching, but the next thing I knew was that I was sitting on the ground, a sharp pain at the back of my neck, right below my head. Suddenly I was lifted up by my hair and dragged over my bike that was now laying on the ground beside me. I grabbed at my hair, trying to ease the pain, while simultaneously trying my best to get away from that guy. After a while of screaming as loud as I could and him trying to cover my mouth with his hand while stilly holding on to my hair, I managed to turn around and just started kicking.
I kicked and kicked, until I felt my foot hit something hard. He finally let go of my hair, but when I opened my eyes I saw him standing over me with my bicycle in his hands, about to throw in onto me. I got off the ground as fast as I could and ran in the opposite direction, which was luckily the direction the houses started again. All the while I was still screaming for help.
A woman came out and her and her husband took me in, calling the police. They found a broken pair of glasses and since I knew the guy was wearing a pair from when I saw him sitting on the bench they took it in for DNA testing. They never took my clothes or ordered me to save it for testing later, so naturally I washed it. After suffering from repeating and severe panic attacks until the sun came up, my mom combed my hair the next day. When I say her hands were overflowing with chunks of my hair I am not exaggerating.
The police failed me again, as they told me weeks later that it couldn't be proven the glasses belonged to the guy the DNA matched with, or that he could've lost them there earlier. They asked if I still had the clothes from that night, unwashed of course, so they could check if his DNA was on them as well. But I didn't since this was about two months later. I hated how they made me feel like it was my fault because I washed my muddy dirty clothes. As my mom had found out though, she's a probation officer, the guy had committed multiple criminal offenses already, for similar offenses. And he a actually shares the same name as one of the three men who assaulted my friends and myself. This name is a foreign and very rare name where I lived so I just hope I never meet anyone with that name again.
Since this experience I haven't gone outside at night by myself, and avoided going outside alone even at daytime when I'm at my parent's. I know how lucky I am that I am still alive. I am very thankful for that.
But I feel like either these bad things happened to me because I upset someone or something, or someone or something has helped me survive these situations again and again...
submitted by _what_is_this_idk to LetsReadOfficial [link] [comments]


2020.07.08 19:12 s1ep I lost my friend to a drunk driver. This is my story.

I am a freshman at Central Michigan University. This is my first year of college, and let me tell you, it has been crazy. I’ve enjoyed the cafes, restaurants, parties and simple things like walking down the campus strip, but my year started out pretty rocky.
I lost my best friend. I wasn’t expecting it at all. And it left me in a horrible place. Rose had been my best friend since I was twelve, and we texted every single day about everything. When we found out we were both going to CMU, we grabbed each others’ hands and jumped up and down like little girls. My older brother rolled his eyes as he passed us in the dining room.
“Heck yes! I knew I’d be accepted!” I shouted.
“Yeah, same, we’re twin geniuses,” Rose replied screaming. After a couple minutes of talking about a bunch of things, she reminded me why I called her over. “What was that thing you were going to show me?”
I remembered, and felt a shiver throughout my whole body. I could barely contain myself, I had something so bewildering, so beyond comprehension--heck you won’t believe it, but I’ll just explain what happened. It started about two weeks prior, so when Rose came over to see it, I still didn’t know what it was, but she was my best friend, so I trusted her more than anyone. I told her to follow me to a room in the basement where my mom has a terrarium display--plants all over the place. The basement had a small window, and all the plants down there didn’t need much light.
“Okay?” Said Rose, expectantly.
“Just...just watch.” I whispered, my throat choking up with excitement. I stretched both of my arms out and unfurled my fingers slowly. Rose’s face was complacent, then so slightly confused, then her eyes grew, then her mouth opened wide as she blinked and her tongue was moving but no words could be formed.
“...Are you doing that?” She finally said almost in a yell.
“Shh. Yeah,” and I laughed, then I started laughing hysterically. I grabbed my belly.
“Waaaiit. This is a joke! What, how is it doing that?”
I couldn’t stop laughing! I had wanted to show her this for so long, even though it had only been a week since I found out, and it still scared me shitless. But for some reason I couldn’t stop laughing my head off.
“What is this? What’s the joke?” Rose squealed.
“Oh my god--Rose. I, it’s, you don’t get it!” I rubbed my mouth with the back of my hand, and I straightened up. “I did that. I made those plants grow.”
“No shit--” Rose half-smirked still confused.
“No…” I stared at her, insistent, “That’s me.”
Rose was silent.
“Look.” I walked over to a Yucca plant and held out my hand. As I did, it grew 5 inches within seconds.
“What the hell.” Rose whispered. “What the hell.
“See.”
“What the hell. Are you doing that? How the hell are you doing that?”
“I don’t know.” Again, I stretched wide my arms and made every plant in the room grow an inch to show her again.
“What the fuck.” She said.
“It was a week ago,” I continued, “when I found out what happened. I was just watering this plant and it would, like, grow when I got closer to it. I didn’t know what the heck was happening, but I realized that it was me.”
“I still don’t believe it…” Rose whispered. Neither did I, honestly. “Do it again.” I did, and Rose cupped her mouth and screamed quietly. “Fuck college. Fuck college! This is fucking amazing. You need to...do something with this.”
“I know,” I replied.
That was five months ago. On the day me and Rose arrived at CMU, I texted her after the first couple of classes, but got no reply. I was confused. I texted again, and a third time after my writing class, but still nothing. When I finally called her, I had to make five calls before someone picked it up. But it wasn’t Rose.
“Hello?” I said, troubled and knowing something was wrong.
“Hello, this is Officer Shirley, who is this?” said a woman on the other end of the line.
“Where’s Rose?” I countered immediately.
“Who is this?”
“This is Stacey, Rose knows me, where is Rose?” I yelled into the phone.
“Stacey. I’m sorry. Rose was in a car accident…” I put the phone down from my ear and looked ahead into nothingness, and my inside twisted, and a mild breeze blew hair over my face but I didn’t notice. I started walking down the road, to no where in particular. But my feet were taking me to Rose’s dorm. It was only a half mile away. When I got there, I walked up the steps to her room and saw a girl by the door peering down at her phone. I knocked on the door.
“Excuse me...oh,” the girl looked up from her phone. “Are--are you looking for--”
“Where’s Rose,” I broke off the girls sentence. I stared at her like a madwoman.
“Are you her friend. You’re Stacey. Right? You heard...right?” She read my face, finishing with, “Oh my god, I’m sooo sorry.” I don’t know what the hell my face looked like, because I can’t even describe the insanity of emotions I felt at that moment. My feet strode away from that girl back down the stairs as I ran straight into Rose’s roommate as she entered the building.
“Where the fuck is Rose!?” I yelled at her.
She blinked, shocked, and just gave me one look, and it finally registered... Rose was dead. My heart was broken.
There was a funeral for her, and some of the kids on campus visited, even though not many people knew her at this point. Her Aunt was giving out flowers at the gravesite to lay out of respect for Rose, and I had started a short sober conversation with her, as I knew her as long as I did Rose. When she ran out of flowers, a skinny, dark haired guy about my age came to grab one.
“Son, we just ran out. I’m so sorry,” said Rose’s aunt.
“Ah, no problem. Thanks. Sorry for your loss.” He replied.
“Here,” I held out a flower from the bouquet I had with me. I wanted to wait until everyone else went before I placed it by the gravesite.
“Oh. No I couldn’t.”
“It’s fine. I don’t mind,” I replied sincerely.
He took it and looked down at it, also noticing my bouquet.
“I can’t even imagine the sorrow you’re doing through.”
I just nodded and wiped my eye. “Did you know Rose?” I asked.
“Well--not personally. But CMU posted it and I wanted to pay respects to a fellow student after hearing about what happened. You were her…”
I waited a second, due to me not expecting to be asked such a question from some random stranger. “...friend.”
He looked down, then back up, and nodded as he departed. When most of the mourners had passed I laid my own flowers at her grave. As I did, each rose bud opened in turn, revealing the petals inside.
The grief I went through at this time was more painful than anything I’ve ever experienced. If you’ve never lost someone, it’s impossible to explain how that feels. If you have, you can understand some of what I felt. It was the darkest moment of my life. Somehow, and in some way and for reasons I can’t describe, this is how it all started. This is where my understanding of my life, humanity, history, and the universe as a whole was changed forever--because the events that took place following this were so strange, I’m not even sure why I’m telling you or why I’d expect you to believe anything I’m about to say. But anyway, shoot.
It was September when Rose passed. By that November, I was a walking zombie. Even now, I can’t remember what classes I attended. Some days I stayed in my room the entire day. On the 20th, I think, after midmorning class, I went to my dorm to rest, as there were no classes that day until 6:00pm, and I probably won’t bother, I told myself, as it was just an elective I took for the hell of it because it looked interesting and I like Greek mythology. I fell asleep within two minutes of getting to my dorm.
Or at least I think I did. When I woke up, I was in complete darkness. I could see absolutely nothing, not even my hand which I held right up to my face. It took me all of but five seconds to assume I was dead and that I was somewhere--who knows where, but hopefully somewhere leading to a heaven of sorts. I stood up. I almost started to panic, but heard a drip. It was water, and it echoed quietly in the distance. Immediately I realized I was in a cave, and yes, the ground was stone, very smooth, but stone indeed. I rubbed my eyes and brushed back the frizzles from my face as I took one, two, ten steps forward slowly, feeling out where I was and still seeing nothing. The drip was getting louder, and the cave was getting colder. About a minute in, there was a faint light, kind of orange and yellow, and I walked faster to meet it. The light expanded to reveal a clear opening. I strained my eyes to see what the light revealed. It wasn’t long before I was out of the cave, and I shielded my eyes from the sunset hue that met my face.
I was atop a mountain. As far as could be seen in the distance there were rolling hills and a few jagged peaks colored with a fiery yellow and orange hue that made it look surreal. There was no wind, no sound from anywhere, but there was a smell that--well the only way I can describe it is if you’ve ever heated up a candy bar in the microwave for too long and it starts bubbling and burning up. That, mixed with tropical plants. Sorry, that’s a bit weird, but that’s seriously the best way to describe it.
Anyway, it was completely silent. So quiet I could hear my heart beat. I swallowed but my throat was dry. Over to my left there was a sloping path, going downward, and so I cautiously followed that, keeping in touch with the cliff wall behind me, as it turned around a corner. Then I froze.
Up about ten feet in front of me was a creature. It looked like a human--an old man--but the skin was crinkly and brown like a prune and his eyes looked like they were gems glued onto a statuette. He had no hair, and no shirt, and was stooped over. I had no idea what to do--my mind was even frozen in that moment. I just stood there, until he said, “Hello love. Be at peace.” Peace was in fact the last thing I felt, and I almost screamed at it to go away, but as it walked closer it’s face seemed nice.
“You are not dead, young one, only asleep.” It said in a raspy voice.
“Where am I? What is this?” I replied.
“There are many visions of the future. Visions you are here to see for those around you. Let me show you,” it said as it stepped closer. “Follow.” It started down a very even slope that I didn’t see a moment before, expecting me to follow.
“Where am I?” I insisted. I still believed I was dead. I was beginning to panic again.
“The world is not as it seems, only a picture of what is. You must know what is to come.”
It was a stubborn thing. I followed it, albeit with shaking steps, down the slope. I followed behind it on the dusty ground, peppered with shrubs that looked dead, but were alive, nothing like I’ve ever seen. Shortly thereafter a clay structure revealed itself, like a sand castle mixed with an above ground fallout shelter, about fifteen feet tall. It seemed to appear out of nowhere as if we had teleported to it.
“Do you really know what you know? You are here to learn what is new.” The prune faced creature said. As the castle had appeared, so did another wrinkly skinned creature, seemingly out of nowhere at the entrance to the building, but it seemed to have more of the face of a man, and short whiskers were poking out of its chin. I walked directly to it, knowing it was my next guide on this odd journey.
“Young one,” he began. “What is your name?”
“...Stacey. Where am I.” I demanded.
“Are you really the person you know? The world is changing and a new way is beginning,” Replied the first prune faced being. I really wished he would shut up.
“Come walk with me,” the second creature insisted. Not knowing what else to do, I followed. We entered the castle and took a left into what would have been a garden, but was adorned with the same dead looking stems that littered the ground everywhere else, just a few inches taller and arranged in rows. The open roof revealed the never ending orange blanket that was the sky. “Young one,” he began again in a more human tone than my first guide, “you have arrived here for the reason for which you came, and there are things you must know about your world and all who live in it. Are you ready to hear them?”
“Yes. After you tell me where the hell I am. This is a dream isn’t it? Or am I dead…” Not that I’d believe his answer.
“You are in a vision. What you see is real, but not in your world. And that gift. Is it really a gift or a tool for something else?”
I instinctively knew he was referring to my ability. I then realized: that’s what this was about.
“What does it mean?” As I asked this, I looked over toward one of the decrepit looking plants lining the walkway to force it grow. Instead, it began shriveling up more than it already was and deflated like a balloon.
“Do you really know what that is?” He asked again.
I looked over to the side. I was questioning it now.
“Look.” He said. I looked ahead. He was pointing out a window to a mass in the distance. It was what appeared to be an enormous statue, probably several thousand feet tall, so tall the it’s top was where clouds would be if there were any. Surrounding the thing were little dots--more creatures. “It is their god. They bow and worship it. It is the way of this world. What they worship is unseen and the time has come for this way to be in your world as well. They know who owns this world, but those in your world do not. These are things beyond your understanding, young one, but you have a gift.”
This thing was speaking rambling nonsense; however, I understood what he was saying. He was suggesting my ability was to share this god or whatever with my own world, but I didn’t see how my botanokinesis had anything to do with that.
Again he said, “What do you have child...do you know if it is a gift?” I saw him reach out his fingers almost mimicking the way I did to show Rose my special ability so long ago, and I knew he was calling back to that moment. Somehow, I was able to clearly see the bowing creatures miles in the distance next to the stature. As the man stretched out his fingers, the imps started screaming and going mad, foaming at the mouth as their eyes pulsated and grew red and their screams got louder and louder until they echoed throughout the whole of the world…
And then there was darkness again. I felt a hard mattress underneath me. I could hear mumbles outside in the hallway. It was night. I was back at CMU.
That dream was more real than anything I’ve ever experienced outside of life itself. It was all I could think about for the next week. It almost got my mind off of Rose, and I really wanted to tell someone about it, but I realized I didn’t have anyone to tell. I had been a complete recluse ever since the event, and had spoken to almost no one, save the drive thru cooks at Panera’s and McDonald’s. Everyone, except my mom. She was the first one I told about the dream and she was very confused as well. She thought it might be me trying to process the grief I was going through, and tried to comfort me over the phone with positive reassurance. But I decided to do some digging.
I visited the campus library every day to check out new books on psychology and use their WI-FI to research about dreams, demons, mythology, grief, hell, heaven, and everything in between. Starbucks chilled lattes became my manna. That’s pretty much all I did, between staying in my dorm and getting food for the rest of that year, and again, I missed every class. I continued my research over the Winter break at home, while at the same time perfecting my plant growing skill, and wondering when I should tell my mom about it, if ever. I was still in grief though. And for all the research I had done, I didn’t really learn much about what my dream could mean. Except one part. I’m pretty sure my dream took place in the underworld.
School began again in January and by March I was back in a trance again, more or less. One of the few classes I attended regularly was Advanced Maths I, as I knew it would be necessary for my degree, and I am a natural mathematician, so I liked attending.
“Hey.” One day after class, I heard from below me. I looked down. It was that guy from the funeral. “Have I met you before? At the….” he paused not knowing how to say it repsectfully.
“Yeah,” I replied.
“Okay. Well seeing you, I couldn’t leave without saying hi. My name’s Syl.”
“Stacey,” I replied. “Funny to meet you again.”
“Small world I suppose.”
We got to know each other and became decent friends. After a while, I really wanted to tell my weird vision to someone else, so I decided to go to the school counselor for the heck of it. Of course, I had to tell him about Rose, but eventually I told him about my dream. He was puzzled and just thought it might be a reflection of my loss. One session, I sort of zoned out and looked at a spider on his desk. I was shocked back into reality when a thump made me jump out of my chair.
“Ah, got him.” The counselor grabbed the spider with a tissue and placed it in the trash can. I eyed the trash can and thought about how there was this one spider I saw on a trip to New Mexico one spring with my family. I didn’t know spiders could get so big because I was only four… about then something crawled out around the rim of the trash can. Just another spider. But intuitively I knew something. That was the spider that just died. The counselor could clearly see I wasn’t paying any attention to him for some time now.
“Stacey--what’s on your mind?” He asked.
“Nothing. But I think I’m good. For this session.” I replied.
I left. I went to the entomataxy building on campus. No one was there today, and it was almost closed. On the walls and in glass cases all around the room, insects were pinned to boards on display. I swallowed, then reached out one hand in front of me and opened it palm up. For a few minutes, there was nothing, but for the first time surrounding my ability, I felt a warmth at the tip of my fingers, and a more heightened sense of feeling, as if blood was flowing very freely at the tips, imbuing them with a waterfall of life. I felt that warmth leave my fingers. Suddenly, there was a buzzing sound to the left. One of the pinned beetles was fluttering its wings and jerking around on the pin which impaled it. I focused more. Before I knew it the whole room was filled with fluttering, tapping, and buzzing. Every bug in the entire building must have come to life. Then, I heard a glass object break in a room next to me. Suddenly, a swarm of wasps came swarming around the corner, and I darted out of there faster than you can imagine.
The next day, I saw Syl in the cafeteria.
"Do you believe animals have souls." I asked him out of nowhere. He stared at me blankly.
"Yes. Most people." He took a bite of a burger. "What kind of weird question is that."
"I…I've been thinking. You heard about the bug building right. Last night."
"Yeah, weird as hell."
I leaned on my elbows closer to him and whispered, "That was me."
He paused chewing, "You...the plant growing thing? God. No way. Show me," he swallowed.
"After lunch."
We walked outside afterward, but we were both caught off guard by a girl yelling at some guy on the street. She was furious, waving her arms all over the place at him, and he was alarmed and trying to explain himself.
"What is your problem asshole! Idiot! Oh my God! Oh my God. Where did you get your license?! Oh my God…" The girl cried, hysterically.
"Hey, I'm sorry! It was an accident--" The guy defended himself.
"Accident!?"
Everyone within a block had their heads turned. The screaming girl knelt down with her hands to her mouth, tears steaming down her face, leaning over a small pug lying on the ground--the poor dog had been hit by a car.
"Oh my God, my baby."
I walked closer, scooting past a few onlookers and phone recorders, and looked at the girl. She glanced up and shook her head silently at me. I stepped closer to the dog.
"What the fuck are you doing?! Hey!" She pushed me--I would have hit her if I didn't know why I was there.
"Hey, piss off I can help." I retorted.
"Wh--are you a vet? What are you talking about?" She demanded.
"I can help…" I put both hands near the dog, barely breathing as it was, it's glossy eyes looked helplessly toward me. I just stood there.
"What the fuck," the girl whispered to herself.
I think the girl was about to punch me across the face, right before the pug twitched its head, which got her attention. The breathing picked up, and it began to lift its head. His small stub tail twitched and then slowly started wagging. And he got up.
There was complete silence followed by some “what the fucks,” and the girl screaming and saying “oh my god” to no end.
"What in the world did you….did you….oh my baby!" She embraced her pup who was fervently licking her face.
I took a glance at Syl, and his eyes were wide with disbelief, though I could barely see him through the approaching crowd. I went back over to him.
"See." I said smugly.
"Yo--you did--"
I pulled him over to the side before he blurted it out. "Shh!"
"Yo, why is this a secret?"
"Shut up--I don't know, but you know... Just shh."
"I don't believe it. What's next, people?"
"Yes…" I said it so quiet only I could hear.
I practiced all the next week. At this point, I was able to grow an oak into a year of development from an acorn, and I kept getting more proficient. Every dead thing I saw, I brought to life. Everything. And it always worked.
The next Saturday I travelled to Kalamazoo to the graveyard where Rose had been buried. All the way there, I realized I didn't want to do this. Something about it wasn't right. People are different than animals, though I see them as the same. There is a difference, I know that regardless how I feel about them. Raising a human from the dead--was it even possible? Would that make me a god? The pit in my stomach wouldn't go away.
I thought of something that had been in my head the whole time. What if Rose did not want to come back. If she was in a better place. As I pulled up to the dirt lot surrounding dozens of tombstones, I realized I didn't want to bring her back. But another sorrow was still alive in me. I really wanted to be with Rose again and to see her smile, and go to Panera's, kill time on the beach, get drunk in our bedrooms, take random road trips, talk about Greek mythology, watch stupid tiktok videos, prank my older brother, talk about our future careers...I didn't want to change anything that had happened. But I wanted Rose back. I wanted it more than life itself. So that was it. I got out of the car and walked to her gravesite.
"Rose Sarah Bernie Sanchez, 2001-2019. Psalm 91. 'And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will also return to bring you there with me.' "
I looked down at her grave, and brushed back my hair with my hand and refastened it into the band holding my pony bun to keep it out of the wind. I sat down cross legged and put both hands on my knees, focused my eyes on the stone, and focused all my thoughts on the one thing I wanted: Rose alive and happy.
One minute passed, two minutes, five, ten. Clouds began to overcast as the few trees in the yard started moving with the wind, and I swear I hadn't blinked once the whole time. Thirty minutes passed. Around my hands dandelions had sprouted and the grass was growing up to my chin. But I didn't pay any attention. An hour passed. Then two. Acorns fell off the tree in front of me as it shifted and a family of squirrels gathered around the roots, taking advantage of this miracle, but I still stared at the stone.
Focus…
Focus…
Before I knew it, night fell. I came back the next day. And the next day. And every day for the next two weeks. Until the last day.
It was a cloudy day and after sitting for seven hours straight, I realized it. It was never going to happen. A tear fell from my eyes, mixing in with the now falling rain. I cried the whole way home. I fell into my bed, and I couldn’t stop crying. And I had another one of those dreams that night, but it was different this time. I saw the prune face bearded man again and he was taunting me. “What do you have, young one, is it really a gift? Is it really a gift?” He kept repeating. His words were like nails in a blender, irritating, then infuriating. Out of nowhere I got vehemently angry. And I jumped up and put my hands around its neck. It screamed and its eyes started bulging as his already wrinkled skin shriveled up, became black, and started falling off of his bones. His voice became raspy and then went away as he turned into a collection of sticks and burnt debris. A voice echoed above me, “A new way has come and you must show them the god of this world. Is that really a gift? Is it really?”
I woke up, screaming. I threw my pillow across the room and punched my mattress over and over until I was exhausted. I knew what I was going to do. I got in my car and drove to the house of the woman that killed Rose in the crash. She was middle aged. The only reason I knew where she lived is because of a search I did a while back. She was a drunk. That’s why the crash happened.
I went straight up to her door and knocked on it. My fists tightened and my throat closed up when I heard shuffles inside and her raspy voice screaming at some kid or dog, who knows. She opened the door a crack and looked out. “Hello?” She asked.
“Hello.” I said nothing else.
“What. What do you want?”
“Why aren’t you in jail?” I said out of nowhere.
She looked at me confused, then opened the door some more. “Are you a friend of...that girl. That died.”
“Yes,” I said instantly.
“Ooh...darling. I’m sorry, I...I don’t know what to say. I--” Her face froze and she looked intently at me. She dropped the bottle in her hand and it fell to the concrete as she started shaking. She was getting older. Decades passed in a few seconds. Now she was 50, now she was 60, her legs fell out beneath her, as she struggled for words.
“He-help. Help!” She said as she faded.
“Hey, is she okay?” The mailman rushed up behind me, looking at the woman. He got out his phone and started calling 911. I just walked away.
I saw it on the news later that night: “Middle aged woman hospitalized due to unknown causes.”
It didn’t fix anything. It didn’t make me forget. It didn’t make me stop feeling. It didn’t bring back Rose.
“You seem--quiet today Stacey.” My counselor said. I was looking at my lap. “You haven’t been yourself for the past few sessions.”
“I--I did something. I shouldn’t have.”
“Oh?”
I stared down at my lap again. I hadn’t told anyone what I did to that woman, not even my mom. But I was quiet for another few minutes. “Why.” I said out of nowhere.
“Hm?”
“Why.” I said again quietly. “Why do we lose who we love. Why.”
The counselor looked concerned. “It’s a process, Stacey.”
“I know, but I did everything I could to bring her back!” I shouted. “I did it! I could do it but it didn’t work!”
Again there was silence for a few minutes besides breathing. “Why?” I said again. Tears formed in my eyes.
The counselor leaned forward and put his hand on my arm. “It’s about letting go. That’s why it’s called grief.”
I broke down in his office and cried more than I would have ever chosen to in someone else’s presence. “She was only 18...only 18.” He hugged me as my tears wet his sweater.
So, as you know, time passes and things happen. The next fall I was attending classes regularly again. Me and Syl hung out often and I started meeting some other people as well. Thankfully I didn’t have any more dreams.
Everything was going normally, until…
“Stacey Monners?” A man driving a black UPS truck had pulled into my driveway the following summer and handed me a yellow envelope. I wasn’t expecting anything.
“Yes…” He had me sign for it, and then left. I opened the envelope.
Mrs. Monners,
I hope this letter finds you in good health. My name is Eli Laffe. To put it simply, I have a position that I hope you will not decline.
I have been made aware of your ability, and would like to have a meeting to discuss this with you. I am not a government official, nor any secret entity. In fact, I have experienced odd things myself and am meeting with others who know much more than I do about things that are happening on planet earth which will soon be made known to everyone.
But before they are, I think I may have an offer for you that you won’t want to turn down. If you would like to learn more, please reply via text to this number XXX-XXX-XXXX and meet me at the Starbucks on the corner of Wesley and Rhodes at 12:00pm this following Sunday.
Best,
Eli Laffe
What did I just read? Without a doubt some guy was trying to rape or scam me, so I just put the letter on my counter and forgot about it. But of course, I became curious when I saw it again. I happened to turn the paper over and saw writing in pencil that looked like it was added afterward.
“In the morning on Sunday, when you open the door, a short brunette with Blue framed sunglasses will be walking a golden terrier. Exactly three seconds after, an orange SUV will pass your house, followed by a yellow pick up truck, and the lady will then run into a middle aged man going for a morning run. After that, your dad will pull into the driveway with three boxes of Captain Crunch due to a craving he had the night before, and will say, “Sugar craving got the best of me.”
Ok…
I don’t know what led me to do it, but the next Sunday, I decided to make myself a coffee and step outside. And to my surprise...it all happened. Everything the letter said. The brunette, the cars, the runner. I thought it could be a coincidence, but a very unlikely one. Then my dad pulled into the driveway, exiting the car with boxes of cereal.
“Sugar craving got the best of me. Darling...you okay?”
I immediately texted the number on the letter and put on my best business casual clothing for whatever this interview was going to be. I headed out and arrived at the Starbucks at 11:55am. There was a clean cut man in a black suit sitting outside at a coffee table, about mid thirties, short beard, business like, but not stiff, short black hair. He smiled and stood up to greet me.
“Stacey?” He held out his hand. I shook it.
“Yes.”
“Eli Laffe. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
“You as well,” I replied, not knowing at all what to think of any of this.
“You’re early, great first impression. But feel free to get a drink! There’s no rush at all here.” I said I was okay, so he patted his pant legs and sat down as I took a seat in front of him. I scooted my chair up.
“I apologize for the short notice, and thank you for being here. I know you’ve got a million questions, so I won’t waste your time.” He described a similar scenario as he had in the letter, and it played out before me, again, exactly as he described. I looked at him curiously, wondering what the point of his magic trick was.
“What--is your point. I don’t mean to be rude, but.”
“The world is not as it seems. There are things that are changing, and besides these strange times we’re already in, the order of things is changing. There are...people in this world who have somehow obtained abilities beyond the grasp of average individuals, and these people have been born at this time to bring the new way.”
I stared at him blankly. “Is this a cult?”
“If I may ask, how have you been using your ‘ability?’ “ He replied to my question.
I instinctively looked over at a persimmon growing in a pot next to the cafe door.
“You’ve been creating life. First with plants. Then... etc., etc.” He replied calmly, as if we were discussing self evident information that everyone knows. “Each person has many choices to make, each person’s life is their own. However, I’d like to put an offer before you, if you’re open to hearing it.”
He waited for my permission to continue. “Yes…” I replied.
“As some have an ability, mine is seeing things. At first they were visions, then I learned how it worked, and now I can see anything at any time. Both before and after the present time. I did not know the extent of what I could do with this...until I was met with an obstacle. And it resulted in me saving the US and Bolivia.”
My eyebrows furrowed as I realized who this was. A man named Eli Laffe was credited with using secret intel to halt the war between Russia and Bolivia, the war that would have resulted in a nuclear fallout. This was that Eli.
“Oh...you’re Eli Laffe?” I replied surprised.
He nodded, “And the gift I was able to offer is invaluable. But I have seen other things as well. Things to come that no man can fathom, and…” he swallowed. “To explain them here would be useless.” He paused and looked out over the bustling city street, looking for a decent way to say what he wanted to share with me. “I don’t wish to offend you or change your thoughts on religion or related topics, however there are forces preparing to cause more harm to humankind than any recent madness that has happened on this earth. Each person has a choice to do whatever they wish with the life they’ve been given. However, I would like to present you with an opportunity to play a role in preventing these forces from bringing harm to anyone.” He held out a packet. “There are ungodly forces in this universe. Their main goal is to bring about a new way, and to show their god to everyone in this world, so they can bow down and worship it.”
That sounded familiar. Where have I heard that before?
He handed me a packet and I looked down at it. I didn’t really know what to say.
“Review the information. Don’t make a decision now, unless you feel that you absolutely must. I have contacted a few others like me--like you, in that we have some uncommon ability--and a team is forming. All I ask is that you consider.”
Just then, a barista came out and placed a Venti size cup on our table. “Pumpkin Spice, part skim, part half and half, two extra shots, extra cinnamon and whipped cream?”
“Spasibo.” Eli replied in Russian. The barista’s face lit up, and she smirked in appreciation for being thanked in her native tongue.
“Pozhaluysta,” the girl replied back, and then turned to both of us, “Enjoy your drink,” and left with a skip.
I picked up the latte, and grinned at Eli. He got it exactly right.
“So Stacey.” Eli began, “Will you join us in using your ability to do more good for the world than most people could ever dream of? Will you join us in saving the human race?”
submitted by s1ep to stories [link] [comments]


2020.07.08 19:10 s1ep [SF] I lost my friend to a drunk driver. This is my story.

I am a freshman at Central Michigan University. This is my first year of college, and let me tell you, it has been crazy. I’ve enjoyed the cafes, restaurants, parties and simple things like walking down the campus strip, but my year started out pretty rocky.
I lost my best friend. I wasn’t expecting it at all. And it left me in a horrible place. Rose had been my best friend since I was twelve, and we texted every single day about everything. When we found out we were both going to CMU, we grabbed each others’ hands and jumped up and down like little girls. My older brother rolled his eyes as he passed us in the dining room.
“Heck yes! I knew I’d be accepted!” I shouted.
“Yeah, same, we’re twin geniuses,” Rose replied screaming. After a couple minutes of talking about a bunch of things, she reminded me why I called her over. “What was that thing you were going to show me?”
I remembered, and felt a shiver throughout my whole body. I could barely contain myself, I had something so bewildering, so beyond comprehension--heck you won’t believe it, but I’ll just explain what happened. It started about two weeks prior, so when Rose came over to see it, I still didn’t know what it was, but she was my best friend, so I trusted her more than anyone. I told her to follow me to a room in the basement where my mom has a terrarium display--plants all over the place. The basement had a small window, and all the plants down there didn’t need much light.
“Okay?” Said Rose, expectantly.
“Just...just watch.” I whispered, my throat choking up with excitement. I stretched both of my arms out and unfurled my fingers slowly. Rose’s face was complacent, then so slightly confused, then her eyes grew, then her mouth opened wide as she blinked and her tongue was moving but no words could be formed.
“...Are you doing that?” She finally said almost in a yell.
“Shh. Yeah,” and I laughed, then I started laughing hysterically. I grabbed my belly.
“Waaaiit. This is a joke! What, how is it doing that?”
I couldn’t stop laughing! I had wanted to show her this for so long, even though it had only been a week since I found out, and it still scared me shitless. But for some reason I couldn’t stop laughing my head off.
“What is this? What’s the joke?” Rose squealed.
“Oh my god--Rose. I, it’s, you don’t get it!” I rubbed my mouth with the back of my hand, and I straightened up. “I did that. I made those plants grow.”
“No shit--” Rose half-smirked still confused.
“No…” I stared at her, insistent, “That’s me.”
Rose was silent.
“Look.” I walked over to a Yucca plant and held out my hand. As I did, it grew 5 inches within seconds.
“What the hell.” Rose whispered. “What the hell.
“See.”
“What the hell. Are you doing that? How the hell are you doing that?”
“I don’t know.” Again, I stretched wide my arms and made every plant in the room grow an inch to show her again.
“What the fuck.” She said.
“It was a week ago,” I continued, “when I found out what happened. I was just watering this plant and it would, like, grow when I got closer to it. I didn’t know what the heck was happening, but I realized that it was me.”
“I still don’t believe it…” Rose whispered. Neither did I, honestly. “Do it again.” I did, and Rose cupped her mouth and screamed quietly. “Fuck college. Fuck college! This is fucking amazing. You need to...do something with this.”
“I know,” I replied.
That was five months ago. On the day me and Rose arrived at CMU, I texted her after the first couple of classes, but got no reply. I was confused. I texted again, and a third time after my writing class, but still nothing. When I finally called her, I had to make five calls before someone picked it up. But it wasn’t Rose.
“Hello?” I said, troubled and knowing something was wrong.
“Hello, this is Officer Shirley, who is this?” said a woman on the other end of the line.
“Where’s Rose?” I countered immediately.
“Who is this?”
“This is Stacey, Rose knows me, where is Rose?” I yelled into the phone.
“Stacey. I’m sorry. Rose was in a car accident…” I put the phone down from my ear and looked ahead into nothingness, and my inside twisted, and a mild breeze blew hair over my face but I didn’t notice. I started walking down the road, to no where in particular. But my feet were taking me to Rose’s dorm. It was only a half mile away. When I got there, I walked up the steps to her room and saw a girl by the door peering down at her phone. I knocked on the door.
“Excuse me...oh,” the girl looked up from her phone. “Are--are you looking for--”
“Where’s Rose,” I broke off the girls sentence. I stared at her like a madwoman.
“Are you her friend. You’re Stacey. Right? You heard...right?” She read my face, finishing with, “Oh my god, I’m sooo sorry.” I don’t know what the hell my face looked like, because I can’t even describe the insanity of emotions I felt at that moment. My feet strode away from that girl back down the stairs as I ran straight into Rose’s roommate as she entered the building.
“Where the fuck is Rose!?” I yelled at her.
She blinked, shocked, and just gave me one look, and it finally registered... Rose was dead. My heart was broken.
There was a funeral for her, and some of the kids on campus visited, even though not many people knew her at this point. Her Aunt was giving out flowers at the gravesite to lay out of respect for Rose, and I had started a short sober conversation with her, as I knew her as long as I did Rose. When she ran out of flowers, a skinny, dark haired guy about my age came to grab one.
“Son, we just ran out. I’m so sorry,” said Rose’s aunt.
“Ah, no problem. Thanks. Sorry for your loss.” He replied.
“Here,” I held out a flower from the bouquet I had with me. I wanted to wait until everyone else went before I placed it by the gravesite.
“Oh. No I couldn’t.”
“It’s fine. I don’t mind,” I replied sincerely.
He took it and looked down at it, also noticing my bouquet.
“I can’t even imagine the sorrow you’re doing through.”
I just nodded and wiped my eye. “Did you know Rose?” I asked.
“Well--not personally. But CMU posted it and I wanted to pay respects to a fellow student after hearing about what happened. You were her…”
I waited a second, due to me not expecting to be asked such a question from some random stranger. “...friend.”
He looked down, then back up, and nodded as he departed. When most of the mourners had passed I laid my own flowers at her grave. As I did, each rose bud opened in turn, revealing the petals inside.
The grief I went through at this time was more painful than anything I’ve ever experienced. If you’ve never lost someone, it’s impossible to explain how that feels. If you have, you can understand some of what I felt. It was the darkest moment of my life. Somehow, and in some way and for reasons I can’t describe, this is how it all started. This is where my understanding of my life, humanity, history, and the universe as a whole was changed forever--because the events that took place following this were so strange, I’m not even sure why I’m telling you or why I’d expect you to believe anything I’m about to say. But anyway, shoot.
It was September when Rose passed. By that November, I was a walking zombie. Even now, I can’t remember what classes I attended. Some days I stayed in my room the entire day. On the 20th, I think, after midmorning class, I went to my dorm to rest, as there were no classes that day until 6:00pm, and I probably won’t bother, I told myself, as it was just an elective I took for the hell of it because it looked interesting and I like Greek mythology. I fell asleep within two minutes of getting to my dorm.
Or at least I think I did. When I woke up, I was in complete darkness. I could see absolutely nothing, not even my hand which I held right up to my face. It took me all of but five seconds to assume I was dead and that I was somewhere--who knows where, but hopefully somewhere leading to a heaven of sorts. I stood up. I almost started to panic, but heard a drip. It was water, and it echoed quietly in the distance. Immediately I realized I was in a cave, and yes, the ground was stone, very smooth, but stone indeed. I rubbed my eyes and brushed back the frizzles from my face as I took one, two, ten steps forward slowly, feeling out where I was and still seeing nothing. The drip was getting louder, and the cave was getting colder. About a minute in, there was a faint light, kind of orange and yellow, and I walked faster to meet it. The light expanded to reveal a clear opening. I strained my eyes to see what the light revealed. It wasn’t long before I was out of the cave, and I shielded my eyes from the sunset hue that met my face.
I was atop a mountain. As far as could be seen in the distance there were rolling hills and a few jagged peaks colored with a fiery yellow and orange hue that made it look surreal. There was no wind, no sound from anywhere, but there was a smell that--well the only way I can describe it is if you’ve ever heated up a candy bar in the microwave for too long and it starts bubbling and burning up. That, mixed with tropical plants. Sorry, that’s a bit weird, but that’s seriously the best way to describe it.
Anyway, it was completely silent. So quiet I could hear my heart beat. I swallowed but my throat was dry. Over to my left there was a sloping path, going downward, and so I cautiously followed that, keeping in touch with the cliff wall behind me, as it turned around a corner. Then I froze.
Up about ten feet in front of me was a creature. It looked like a human--an old man--but the skin was crinkly and brown like a prune and his eyes looked like they were gems glued onto a statuette. He had no hair, and no shirt, and was stooped over. I had no idea what to do--my mind was even frozen in that moment. I just stood there, until he said, “Hello love. Be at peace.” Peace was in fact the last thing I felt, and I almost screamed at it to go away, but as it walked closer it’s face seemed nice.
“You are not dead, young one, only asleep.” It said in a raspy voice.
“Where am I? What is this?” I replied.
“There are many visions of the future. Visions you are here to see for those around you. Let me show you,” it said as it stepped closer. “Follow.” It started down a very even slope that I didn’t see a moment before, expecting me to follow.
“Where am I?” I insisted. I still believed I was dead. I was beginning to panic again.
“The world is not as it seems, only a picture of what is. You must know what is to come.”
It was a stubborn thing. I followed it, albeit with shaking steps, down the slope. I followed behind it on the dusty ground, peppered with shrubs that looked dead, but were alive, nothing like I’ve ever seen. Shortly thereafter a clay structure revealed itself, like a sand castle mixed with an above ground fallout shelter, about fifteen feet tall. It seemed to appear out of nowhere as if we had teleported to it.
“Do you really know what you know? You are here to learn what is new.” The prune faced creature said. As the castle had appeared, so did another wrinkly skinned creature, seemingly out of nowhere at the entrance to the building, but it seemed to have more of the face of a man, and short whiskers were poking out of its chin. I walked directly to it, knowing it was my next guide on this odd journey.
“Young one,” he began. “What is your name?”
“...Stacey. Where am I.” I demanded.
“Are you really the person you know? The world is changing and a new way is beginning,” Replied the first prune faced being. I really wished he would shut up.
“Come walk with me,” the second creature insisted. Not knowing what else to do, I followed. We entered the castle and took a left into what would have been a garden, but was adorned with the same dead looking stems that littered the ground everywhere else, just a few inches taller and arranged in rows. The open roof revealed the never ending orange blanket that was the sky. “Young one,” he began again in a more human tone than my first guide, “you have arrived here for the reason for which you came, and there are things you must know about your world and all who live in it. Are you ready to hear them?”
“Yes. After you tell me where the hell I am. This is a dream isn’t it? Or am I dead…” Not that I’d believe his answer.
“You are in a vision. What you see is real, but not in your world. And that gift. Is it really a gift or a tool for something else?”
I instinctively knew he was referring to my ability. I then realized: that’s what this was about.
“What does it mean?” As I asked this, I looked over toward one of the decrepit looking plants lining the walkway to force it grow. Instead, it began shriveling up more than it already was and deflated like a balloon.
“Do you really know what that is?” He asked again.
I looked over to the side. I was questioning it now.
“Look.” He said. I looked ahead. He was pointing out a window to a mass in the distance. It was what appeared to be an enormous statue, probably several thousand feet tall, so tall the it’s top was where clouds would be if there were any. Surrounding the thing were little dots--more creatures. “It is their god. They bow and worship it. It is the way of this world. What they worship is unseen and the time has come for this way to be in your world as well. They know who owns this world, but those in your world do not. These are things beyond your understanding, young one, but you have a gift.”
This thing was speaking rambling nonsense; however, I understood what he was saying. He was suggesting my ability was to share this god or whatever with my own world, but I didn’t see how my botanokinesis had anything to do with that.
Again he said, “What do you have child...do you know if it is a gift?” I saw him reach out his fingers almost mimicking the way I did to show Rose my special ability so long ago, and I knew he was calling back to that moment. Somehow, I was able to clearly see the bowing creatures miles in the distance next to the stature. As the man stretched out his fingers, the imps started screaming and going mad, foaming at the mouth as their eyes pulsated and grew red and their screams got louder and louder until they echoed throughout the whole of the world…
And then there was darkness again. I felt a hard mattress underneath me. I could hear mumbles outside in the hallway. It was night. I was back at CMU.
That dream was more real than anything I’ve ever experienced outside of life itself. It was all I could think about for the next week. It almost got my mind off of Rose, and I really wanted to tell someone about it, but I realized I didn’t have anyone to tell. I had been a complete recluse ever since the event, and had spoken to almost no one, save the drive thru cooks at Panera’s and McDonald’s. Everyone, except my mom. She was the first one I told about the dream and she was very confused as well. She thought it might be me trying to process the grief I was going through, and tried to comfort me over the phone with positive reassurance. But I decided to do some digging.
I visited the campus library every day to check out new books on psychology and use their WI-FI to research about dreams, demons, mythology, grief, hell, heaven, and everything in between. Starbucks chilled lattes became my manna. That’s pretty much all I did, between staying in my dorm and getting food for the rest of that year, and again, I missed every class. I continued my research over the Winter break at home, while at the same time perfecting my plant growing skill, and wondering when I should tell my mom about it, if ever. I was still in grief though. And for all the research I had done, I didn’t really learn much about what my dream could mean. Except one part. I’m pretty sure my dream took place in the underworld.
School began again in January and by March I was back in a trance again, more or less. One of the few classes I attended regularly was Advanced Maths I, as I knew it would be necessary for my degree, and I am a natural mathematician, so I liked attending.
“Hey.” One day after class, I heard from below me. I looked down. It was that guy from the funeral. “Have I met you before? At the….” he paused not knowing how to say it repsectfully.
“Yeah,” I replied.
“Okay. Well seeing you, I couldn’t leave without saying hi. My name’s Syl.”
“Stacey,” I replied. “Funny to meet you again.”
“Small world I suppose.”
We got to know each other and became decent friends. After a while, I really wanted to tell my weird vision to someone else, so I decided to go to the school counselor for the heck of it. Of course, I had to tell him about Rose, but eventually I told him about my dream. He was puzzled and just thought it might be a reflection of my loss. One session, I sort of zoned out and looked at a spider on his desk. I was shocked back into reality when a thump made me jump out of my chair.
“Ah, got him.” The counselor grabbed the spider with a tissue and placed it in the trash can. I eyed the trash can and thought about how there was this one spider I saw on a trip to New Mexico one spring with my family. I didn’t know spiders could get so big because I was only four… about then something crawled out around the rim of the trash can. Just another spider. But intuitively I knew something. That was the spider that just died. The counselor could clearly see I wasn’t paying any attention to him for some time now.
“Stacey--what’s on your mind?” He asked.
“Nothing. But I think I’m good. For this session.” I replied.
I left. I went to the entomataxy building on campus. No one was there today, and it was almost closed. On the walls and in glass cases all around the room, insects were pinned to boards on display. I swallowed, then reached out one hand in front of me and opened it palm up. For a few minutes, there was nothing, but for the first time surrounding my ability, I felt a warmth at the tip of my fingers, and a more heightened sense of feeling, as if blood was flowing very freely at the tips, imbuing them with a waterfall of life. I felt that warmth leave my fingers. Suddenly, there was a buzzing sound to the left. One of the pinned beetles was fluttering its wings and jerking around on the pin which impaled it. I focused more. Before I knew it the whole room was filled with fluttering, tapping, and buzzing. Every bug in the entire building must have come to life. Then, I heard a glass object break in a room next to me. Suddenly, a swarm of wasps came swarming around the corner, and I darted out of there faster than you can imagine.
The next day, I saw Syl in the cafeteria.
"Do you believe animals have souls." I asked him out of nowhere. He stared at me blankly.
"Yes. Most people." He took a bite of a burger. "What kind of weird question is that."
"I…I've been thinking. You heard about the bug building right. Last night."
"Yeah, weird as hell."
I leaned on my elbows closer to him and whispered, "That was me."
He paused chewing, "You...the plant growing thing? God. No way. Show me," he swallowed.
"After lunch."
We walked outside afterward, but we were both caught off guard by a girl yelling at some guy on the street. She was furious, waving her arms all over the place at him, and he was alarmed and trying to explain himself.
"What is your problem asshole! Idiot! Oh my God! Oh my God. Where did you get your license?! Oh my God…" The girl cried, hysterically.
"Hey, I'm sorry! It was an accident--" The guy defended himself.
"Accident!?"
Everyone within a block had their heads turned. The screaming girl knelt down with her hands to her mouth, tears steaming down her face, leaning over a small pug lying on the ground--the poor dog had been hit by a car.
"Oh my God, my baby."
I walked closer, scooting past a few onlookers and phone recorders, and looked at the girl. She glanced up and shook her head silently at me. I stepped closer to the dog.
"What the fuck are you doing?! Hey!" She pushed me--I would have hit her if I didn't know why I was there.
"Hey, piss off I can help." I retorted.
"Wh--are you a vet? What are you talking about?" She demanded.
"I can help…" I put both hands near the dog, barely breathing as it was, it's glossy eyes looked helplessly toward me. I just stood there.
"What the fuck," the girl whispered to herself.
I think the girl was about to punch me across the face, right before the pug twitched its head, which got her attention. The breathing picked up, and it began to lift its head. His small stub tail twitched and then slowly started wagging. And he got up.
There was complete silence followed by some “what the fucks,” and the girl screaming and saying “oh my god” to no end.
"What in the world did you….did you….oh my baby!" She embraced her pup who was fervently licking her face.
I took a glance at Syl, and his eyes were wide with disbelief, though I could barely see him through the approaching crowd. I went back over to him.
"See." I said smugly.
"Yo--you did--"
I pulled him over to the side before he blurted it out. "Shh!"
"Yo, why is this a secret?"
"Shut up--I don't know, but you know... Just shh."
"I don't believe it. What's next, people?"
"Yes…" I said it so quiet only I could hear.
I practiced all the next week. At this point, I was able to grow an oak into a year of development from an acorn, and I kept getting more proficient. Every dead thing I saw, I brought to life. Everything. And it always worked.
The next Saturday I travelled to Kalamazoo to the graveyard where Rose had been buried. All the way there, I realized I didn't want to do this. Something about it wasn't right. People are different than animals, though I see them as the same. There is a difference, I know that regardless how I feel about them. Raising a human from the dead--was it even possible? Would that make me a god? The pit in my stomach wouldn't go away.
I thought of something that had been in my head the whole time. What if Rose did not want to come back. If she was in a better place. As I pulled up to the dirt lot surrounding dozens of tombstones, I realized I didn't want to bring her back. But another sorrow was still alive in me. I really wanted to be with Rose again and to see her smile, and go to Panera's, kill time on the beach, get drunk in our bedrooms, take random road trips, talk about Greek mythology, watch stupid tiktok videos, prank my older brother, talk about our future careers...I didn't want to change anything that had happened. But I wanted Rose back. I wanted it more than life itself. So that was it. I got out of the car and walked to her gravesite.
"Rose Sarah Bernie Sanchez, 2001-2019. Psalm 91. 'And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will also return to bring you there with me.' "
I looked down at her grave, and brushed back my hair with my hand and refastened it into the band holding my pony bun to keep it out of the wind. I sat down cross legged and put both hands on my knees, focused my eyes on the stone, and focused all my thoughts on the one thing I wanted: Rose alive and happy.
One minute passed, two minutes, five, ten. Clouds began to overcast as the few trees in the yard started moving with the wind, and I swear I hadn't blinked once the whole time. Thirty minutes passed. Around my hands dandelions had sprouted and the grass was growing up to my chin. But I didn't pay any attention. An hour passed. Then two. Acorns fell off the tree in front of me as it shifted and a family of squirrels gathered around the roots, taking advantage of this miracle, but I still stared at the stone.
Focus…
Focus…
Before I knew it, night fell. I came back the next day. And the next day. And every day for the next two weeks. Until the last day.
It was a cloudy day and after sitting for seven hours straight, I realized it. It was never going to happen. A tear fell from my eyes, mixing in with the now falling rain. I cried the whole way home. I fell into my bed, and I couldn’t stop crying. And I had another one of those dreams that night, but it was different this time. I saw the prune face bearded man again and he was taunting me. “What do you have, young one, is it really a gift? Is it really a gift?” He kept repeating. His words were like nails in a blender, irritating, then infuriating. Out of nowhere I got vehemently angry. And I jumped up and put my hands around its neck. It screamed and its eyes started bulging as his already wrinkled skin shriveled up, became black, and started falling off of his bones. His voice became raspy and then went away as he turned into a collection of sticks and burnt debris. A voice echoed above me, “A new way has come and you must show them the god of this world. Is that really a gift? Is it really?”
I woke up, screaming. I threw my pillow across the room and punched my mattress over and over until I was exhausted. I knew what I was going to do. I got in my car and drove to the house of the woman that killed Rose in the crash. She was middle aged. The only reason I knew where she lived is because of a search I did a while back. She was a drunk. That’s why the crash happened.
I went straight up to her door and knocked on it. My fists tightened and my throat closed up when I heard shuffles inside and her raspy voice screaming at some kid or dog, who knows. She opened the door a crack and looked out. “Hello?” She asked.
“Hello.” I said nothing else.
“What. What do you want?”
“Why aren’t you in jail?” I said out of nowhere.
She looked at me confused, then opened the door some more. “Are you a friend of...that girl. That died.”
“Yes,” I said instantly.
“Ooh...darling. I’m sorry, I...I don’t know what to say. I--” Her face froze and she looked intently at me. She dropped the bottle in her hand and it fell to the concrete as she started shaking. She was getting older. Decades passed in a few seconds. Now she was 50, now she was 60, her legs fell out beneath her, as she struggled for words.
“He-help. Help!” She said as she faded.
“Hey, is she okay?” The mailman rushed up behind me, looking at the woman. He got out his phone and started calling 911. I just walked away.
I saw it on the news later that night: “Middle aged woman hospitalized due to unknown causes.”
It didn’t fix anything. It didn’t make me forget. It didn’t make me stop feeling. It didn’t bring back Rose.
“You seem--quiet today Stacey.” My counselor said. I was looking at my lap. “You haven’t been yourself for the past few sessions.”
“I--I did something. I shouldn’t have.”
“Oh?”
I stared down at my lap again. I hadn’t told anyone what I did to that woman, not even my mom. But I was quiet for another few minutes. “Why.” I said out of nowhere.
“Hm?”
“Why.” I said again quietly. “Why do we lose who we love. Why.”
The counselor looked concerned. “It’s a process, Stacey.”
“I know, but I did everything I could to bring her back!” I shouted. “I did it! I could do it but it didn’t work!”
Again there was silence for a few minutes besides breathing. “Why?” I said again. Tears formed in my eyes.
The counselor leaned forward and put his hand on my arm. “It’s about letting go. That’s why it’s called grief.”
I broke down in his office and cried more than I would have ever chosen to in someone else’s presence. “She was only 18...only 18.” He hugged me as my tears wet his sweater.
So, as you know, time passes and things happen. The next fall I was attending classes regularly again. Me and Syl hung out often and I started meeting some other people as well. Thankfully I didn’t have any more dreams.
Everything was going normally, until…
“Stacey Monners?” A man driving a black UPS truck had pulled into my driveway the following summer and handed me a yellow envelope. I wasn’t expecting anything.
“Yes…” He had me sign for it, and then left. I opened the envelope.
Mrs. Monners,
I hope this letter finds you in good health. My name is Eli Laffe. To put it simply, I have a position that I hope you will not decline.
I have been made aware of your ability, and would like to have a meeting to discuss this with you. I am not a government official, nor any secret entity. In fact, I have experienced odd things myself and am meeting with others who know much more than I do about things that are happening on planet earth which will soon be made known to everyone.
But before they are, I think I may have an offer for you that you won’t want to turn down. If you would like to learn more, please reply via text to this number XXX-XXX-XXXX and meet me at the Starbucks on the corner of Wesley and Rhodes at 12:00pm this following Sunday.
Best,
Eli Laffe
What did I just read? Without a doubt some guy was trying to rape or scam me, so I just put the letter on my counter and forgot about it. But of course, I became curious when I saw it again. I happened to turn the paper over and saw writing in pencil that looked like it was added afterward.
“In the morning on Sunday, when you open the door, a short brunette with Blue framed sunglasses will be walking a golden terrier. Exactly three seconds after, an orange SUV will pass your house, followed by a yellow pick up truck, and the lady will then run into a middle aged man going for a morning run. After that, your dad will pull into the driveway with three boxes of Captain Crunch due to a craving he had the night before, and will say, “Sugar craving got the best of me.”
Ok…
I don’t know what led me to do it, but the next Sunday, I decided to make myself a coffee and step outside. And to my surprise...it all happened. Everything the letter said. The brunette, the cars, the runner. I thought it could be a coincidence, but a very unlikely one. Then my dad pulled into the driveway, exiting the car with boxes of cereal.
“Sugar craving got the best of me. Darling...you okay?”
I immediately texted the number on the letter and put on my best business casual clothing for whatever this interview was going to be. I headed out and arrived at the Starbucks at 11:55am. There was a clean cut man in a black suit sitting outside at a coffee table, about mid thirties, short beard, business like, but not stiff, short black hair. He smiled and stood up to greet me.
“Stacey?” He held out his hand. I shook it.
“Yes.”
“Eli Laffe. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
“You as well,” I replied, not knowing at all what to think of any of this.
“You’re early, great first impression. But feel free to get a drink! There’s no rush at all here.” I said I was okay, so he patted his pant legs and sat down as I took a seat in front of him. I scooted my chair up.
“I apologize for the short notice, and thank you for being here. I know you’ve got a million questions, so I won’t waste your time.” He described a similar scenario as he had in the letter, and it played out before me, again, exactly as he described. I looked at him curiously, wondering what the point of his magic trick was.
“What--is your point. I don’t mean to be rude, but.”
“The world is not as it seems. There are things that are changing, and besides these strange times we’re already in, the order of things is changing. There are...people in this world who have somehow obtained abilities beyond the grasp of average individuals, and these people have been born at this time to bring the new way.”
I stared at him blankly. “Is this a cult?”
“If I may ask, how have you been using your ‘ability?’ “ He replied to my question.
I instinctively looked over at a persimmon growing in a pot next to the cafe door.
“You’ve been creating life. First with plants. Then... etc., etc.” He replied calmly, as if we were discussing self evident information that everyone knows. “Each person has many choices to make, each person’s life is their own. However, I’d like to put an offer before you, if you’re open to hearing it.”
He waited for my permission to continue. “Yes…” I replied.
“As some have an ability, mine is seeing things. At first they were visions, then I learned how it worked, and now I can see anything at any time. Both before and after the present time. I did not know the extent of what I could do with this...until I was met with an obstacle. And it resulted in me saving the US and Bolivia.”
My eyebrows furrowed as I realized who this was. A man named Eli Laffe was credited with using secret intel to halt the war between Russia and Bolivia, the war that would have resulted in a nuclear fallout. This was that Eli.
“Oh...you’re Eli Laffe?” I replied surprised.
He nodded, “And the gift I was able to offer is invaluable. But I have seen other things as well. Things to come that no man can fathom, and…” he swallowed. “To explain them here would be useless.” He paused and looked out over the bustling city street, looking for a decent way to say what he wanted to share with me. “I don’t wish to offend you or change your thoughts on religion or related topics, however there are forces preparing to cause more harm to humankind than any recent madness that has happened on this earth. Each person has a choice to do whatever they wish with the life they’ve been given. However, I would like to present you with an opportunity to play a role in preventing these forces from bringing harm to anyone.” He held out a packet. “There are ungodly forces in this universe. Their main goal is to bring about a new way, and to show their god to everyone in this world, so they can bow down and worship it.”
That sounded familiar. Where have I heard that before?
He handed me a packet and I looked down at it. I didn’t really know what to say.
“Review the information. Don’t make a decision now, unless you feel that you absolutely must. I have contacted a few others like me--like you, in that we have some uncommon ability--and a team is forming. All I ask is that you consider.”
Just then, a barista came out and placed a Venti size cup on our table. “Pumpkin Spice, part skim, part half and half, two extra shots, extra cinnamon and whipped cream?”
“Spasibo.” Eli replied in Russian. The barista’s face lit up, and she smirked in appreciation for being thanked in her native tongue.
“Pozhaluysta,” the girl replied back, and then turned to both of us, “Enjoy your drink,” and left with a skip.
I picked up the latte, and grinned at Eli. He got it exactly right.
“So Stacey.” Eli began, “Will you join us in using your ability to do more good for the world than most people could ever dream of? Will you join us in saving the human race?”
submitted by s1ep to shortstories [link] [comments]


2020.07.08 18:24 Worried_Literature the entire bee movie script

Bee Movie Script - Dialogue Transcript According to all known laws of aviation, there is no way a bee should be able to fly. Its wings are too small to get its fat little body off the ground. The bee, of course, flies anyway because bees don't care what humans think is impossible. Yellow, black. Yellow, black. Yellow, black. Yellow, black. Ooh, black and yellow! Let's shake it up a little. Barry! Breakfast is ready! Ooming! Hang on a second. Hello? - Barry? - Adam? - Oan you believe this is happening? - I can't. I'll pick you up. Looking sharp. Use the stairs. Your father paid good money for those. Sorry. I'm excited. Here's the graduate. We're very proud of you, son. A perfect report card, all B's. Very proud. Ma! I got a thing going here. - You got lint on your fuzz. - Ow! That's me! - Wave to us! We'll be in row 118,000. - Bye! Barry, I told you, stop flying in the house! - Hey, Adam. - Hey, Barry. - Is that fuzz gel? - A little. Special day, graduation. Never thought I'd make it. Three days grade school, three days high school. Those were awkward. Three days college. I'm glad I took a day and hitchhiked around the hive. You did come back different. - Hi, Barry. - Artie, growing a mustache? Looks good. - Hear about Frankie? - Yeah. - You going to the funeral? - No, I'm not going. Everybody knows, sting someone, you die. Don't waste it on a squirrel. Such a hothead. I guess he could have just gotten out of the way. I love this incorporating an amusement park into our day. That's why we don't need vacations. Boy, quite a bit of pomp... under the circumstances. - Well, Adam, today we are men. - We are! - Bee-men. - Amen! Hallelujah! Students, faculty, distinguished bees, please welcome Dean Buzzwell. Welcome, New Hive Oity graduating class of... ...9:15. That concludes our ceremonies. And begins your career at Honex Industries! Will we pick ourjob today? I heard it's just orientation. Heads up! Here we go. Keep your hands and antennas inside the tram at all times. - Wonder what it'll be like? - A little scary. Welcome to Honex, a division of Honesco and a part of the Hexagon Group. This is it! Wow. Wow. We know that you, as a bee, have worked your whole life to get to the point where you can work for your whole life. Honey begins when our valiant Pollen Jocks bring the nectar to the hive. Our top-secret formula is automatically color-corrected, scent-adjusted and bubble-contoured into this soothing sweet syrup with its distinctive golden glow you know as... Honey! - That girl was hot. - She's my cousin! - She is? - Yes, we're all cousins. - Right. You're right. - At Honex, we constantly strive to improve every aspect of bee existence. These bees are stress-testing a new helmet technology. - What do you think he makes? - Not enough. Here we have our latest advancement, the Krelman. - What does that do? - Oatches that little strand of honey that hangs after you pour it. Saves us millions. Oan anyone work on the Krelman? Of course. Most bee jobs are small ones. But bees know that every small job, if it's done well, means a lot. But choose carefully because you'll stay in the job you pick for the rest of your life. The same job the rest of your life? I didn't know that. What's the difference? You'll be happy to know that bees, as a species, haven't had one day off in 27 million years. So you'll just work us to death? We'll sure try. Wow! That blew my mind! "What's the difference?" How can you say that? One job forever? That's an insane choice to have to make. I'm relieved. Now we only have to make one decision in life. But, Adam, how could they never have told us that? Why would you question anything? We're bees. We're the most perfectly functioning society on Earth. You ever think maybe things work a little too well here? Like what? Give me one example. I don't know. But you know what I'm talking about. Please clear the gate. Royal Nectar Force on approach. Wait a second. Oheck it out. - Hey, those are Pollen Jocks! - Wow. I've never seen them this close. They know what it's like outside the hive. Yeah, but some don't come back. - Hey, Jocks! - Hi, Jocks! You guys did great! You're monsters! You're sky freaks! I love it! I love it! - I wonder where they were. - I don't know. Their day's not planned. Outside the hive, flying who knows where, doing who knows what. You can'tjust decide to be a Pollen Jock. You have to be bred for that. Right. Look. That's more pollen than you and I will see in a lifetime. It's just a status symbol. Bees make too much of it. Perhaps. Unless you're wearing it and the ladies see you wearing it. Those ladies? Aren't they our cousins too? Distant. Distant. Look at these two. - Oouple of Hive Harrys. - Let's have fun with them. It must be dangerous being a Pollen Jock. Yeah. Once a bear pinned me against a mushroom! He had a paw on my throat, and with the other, he was slapping me! - Oh, my! - I never thought I'd knock him out. What were you doing during this? Trying to alert the authorities. I can autograph that. A little gusty out there today, wasn't it, comrades? Yeah. Gusty. We're hitting a sunflower patch six miles from here tomorrow. - Six miles, huh? - Barry! A puddle jump for us, but maybe you're not up for it. - Maybe I am. - You are not! We're going 0900 at J-Gate. What do you think, buzzy-boy? Are you bee enough? I might be. It all depends on what 0900 means. Hey, Honex! Dad, you surprised me. You decide what you're interested in? - Well, there's a lot of choices. - But you only get one. Do you ever get bored doing the same job every day? Son, let me tell you about stirring. You grab that stick, and you just move it around, and you stir it around. You get yourself into a rhythm. It's a beautiful thing. You know, Dad, the more I think about it, maybe the honey field just isn't right for me. You were thinking of what, making balloon animals? That's a bad job for a guy with a stinger. Janet, your son's not sure he wants to go into honey! - Barry, you are so funny sometimes. - I'm not trying to be funny. You're not funny! You're going into honey. Our son, the stirrer! - You're gonna be a stirrer? - No one's listening to me! Wait till you see the sticks I have. I could say anything right now. I'm gonna get an ant tattoo! Let's open some honey and celebrate! Maybe I'll pierce my thorax. Shave my antennae. Shack up with a grasshopper. Get a gold tooth and call everybody "dawg"! I'm so proud. - We're starting work today! - Today's the day. Oome on! All the good jobs will be gone. Yeah, right. Pollen counting, stunt bee, pouring, stirrer, front desk, hair removal... - Is it still available? - Hang on. Two left! One of them's yours! Oongratulations! Step to the side. - What'd you get? - Picking crud out. Stellar! Wow! Oouple of newbies? Yes, sir! Our first day! We are ready! Make your choice. - You want to go first? - No, you go. Oh, my. What's available? Restroom attendant's open, not for the reason you think. - Any chance of getting the Krelman? - Sure, you're on. I'm sorry, the Krelman just closed out. Wax monkey's always open. The Krelman opened up again. What happened? A bee died. Makes an opening. See? He's dead. Another dead one. Deady. Deadified. Two more dead. Dead from the neck up. Dead from the neck down. That's life! Oh, this is so hard! Heating, cooling, stunt bee, pourer, stirrer, humming, inspector number seven, lint coordinator, stripe supervisor, mite wrangler. Barry, what do you think I should... Barry? Barry! All right, we've got the sunflower patch in quadrant nine... What happened to you? Where are you? - I'm going out. - Out? Out where? - Out there. - Oh, no! I have to, before I go to work for the rest of my life. You're gonna die! You're crazy! Hello? Another call coming in. If anyone's feeling brave, there's a Korean deli on 83rd that gets their roses today. Hey, guys. - Look at that. - Isn't that the kid we saw yesterday? Hold it, son, flight deck's restricted. It's OK, Lou. We're gonna take him up. Really? Feeling lucky, are you? Sign here, here. Just initial that. - Thank you. - OK. You got a rain advisory today, and as you all know, bees cannot fly in rain. So be careful. As always, watch your brooms, hockey sticks, dogs, birds, bears and bats. Also, I got a couple of reports of root beer being poured on us. Murphy's in a home because of it, babbling like a cicada! - That's awful. - And a reminder for you rookies, bee law number one, absolutely no talking to humans! All right, launch positions! Buzz, buzz, buzz, buzz! Buzz, buzz, buzz, buzz! Buzz, buzz, buzz, buzz! Black and yellow! Hello! You ready for this, hot shot? Yeah. Yeah, bring it on. Wind, check. - Antennae, check. - Nectar pack, check. - Wings, check. - Stinger, check. Scared out of my shorts, check. OK, ladies, let's move it out! Pound those petunias, you striped stem-suckers! All of you, drain those flowers! Wow! I'm out! I can't believe I'm out! So blue. I feel so fast and free! Box kite! Wow! Flowers! This is Blue Leader. We have roses visual. Bring it around 30 degrees and hold. Roses! 30 degrees, roger. Bringing it around. Stand to the side, kid. It's got a bit of a kick. That is one nectar collector! - Ever see pollination up close? - No, sir. I pick up some pollen here, sprinkle it over here. Maybe a dash over there, a pinch on that one. See that? It's a little bit of magic. That's amazing. Why do we do that? That's pollen power. More pollen, more flowers, more nectar, more honey for us. Oool. I'm picking up a lot of bright yellow. Oould be daisies. Don't we need those? Oopy that visual. Wait. One of these flowers seems to be on the move. Say again? You're reporting a moving flower? Affirmative. That was on the line! This is the coolest. What is it? I don't know, but I'm loving this color. It smells good. Not like a flower, but I like it. Yeah, fuzzy. Ohemical-y. Oareful, guys. It's a little grabby. My sweet lord of bees! Oandy-brain, get off there! Problem! - Guys! - This could be bad. Affirmative. Very close. Gonna hurt. Mama's little boy. You are way out of position, rookie! Ooming in at you like a missile! Help me! I don't think these are flowers. - Should we tell him? - I think he knows. What is this?! Match point! You can start packing up, honey, because you're about to eat it! Yowser! Gross. There's a bee in the car! - Do something! - I'm driving! - Hi, bee. - He's back here! He's going to sting me! Nobody move. If you don't move, he won't sting you. Freeze! He blinked! Spray him, Granny! What are you doing?! Wow... the tension level out here is unbelievable. I gotta get home. Oan't fly in rain. Oan't fly in rain. Oan't fly in rain. Mayday! Mayday! Bee going down! Ken, could you close the window please? Ken, could you close the window please? Oheck out my new resume. I made it into a fold-out brochure. You see? Folds out. Oh, no. More humans. I don't need this. What was that? Maybe this time. This time. This time. This time! This time! This... Drapes! That is diabolical. It's fantastic. It's got all my special skills, even my top-ten favorite movies. What's number one? Star Wars? Nah, I don't go for that... ...kind of stuff. No wonder we shouldn't talk to them. They're out of their minds. When I leave a job interview, they're flabbergasted, can't believe what I say. There's the sun. Maybe that's a way out. I don't remember the sun having a big 75 on it. I predicted global warming. I could feel it getting hotter. At first I thought it was just me. Wait! Stop! Bee! Stand back. These are winter boots. Wait! Don't kill him! You know I'm allergic to them! This thing could kill me! Why does his life have less value than yours? Why does his life have any less value than mine? Is that your statement? I'm just saying all life has value. You don't know what he's capable of feeling. My brochure! There you go, little guy. I'm not scared of him. It's an allergic thing. Put that on your resume brochure. My whole face could puff up. Make it one of your special skills. Knocking someone out is also a special skill. Right. Bye, Vanessa. Thanks. - Vanessa, next week? Yogurt night? - Sure, Ken. You know, whatever. - You could put carob chips on there. - Bye. - Supposed to be less calories. - Bye. I gotta say something. She saved my life. I gotta say something. All right, here it goes. Nah. What would I say? I could really get in trouble. It's a bee law. You're not supposed to talk to a human. I can't believe I'm doing this. I've got to. Oh, I can't do it. Oome on! No. Yes. No. Do it. I can't. How should I start it? "You like jazz?" No, that's no good. Here she comes! Speak, you fool! Hi! I'm sorry. - You're talking. - Yes, I know. You're talking! I'm so sorry. No, it's OK. It's fine. I know I'm dreaming. But I don't recall going to bed. Well, I'm sure this is very disconcerting. This is a bit of a surprise to me. I mean, you're a bee! I am. And I'm not supposed to be doing this, but they were all trying to kill me. And if it wasn't for you... I had to thank you. It's just how I was raised. That was a little weird. - I'm talking with a bee. - Yeah. I'm talking to a bee. And the bee is talking to me! I just want to say I'm grateful. I'll leave now. - Wait! How did you learn to do that? - What? The talking thing. Same way you did, I guess. "Mama, Dada, honey." You pick it up. - That's very funny. - Yeah. Bees are funny. If we didn't laugh, we'd cry with what we have to deal with. Anyway... Oan I... ...get you something? - Like what? I don't know. I mean... I don't know. Ooffee? I don't want to put you out. It's no trouble. It takes two minutes. - It's just coffee. - I hate to impose. - Don't be ridiculous! - Actually, I would love a cup. Hey, you want rum cake? - I shouldn't. - Have some. - No, I can't. - Oome on! I'm trying to lose a couple micrograms. - Where? - These stripes don't help. You look great! I don't know if you know anything about fashion. Are you all right? No. He's making the tie in the cab as they're flying up Madison. He finally gets there. He runs up the steps into the church. The wedding is on. And he says, "Watermelon? I thought you said Guatemalan. Why would I marry a watermelon?" Is that a bee joke? That's the kind of stuff we do. Yeah, different. So, what are you gonna do, Barry? About work? I don't know. I want to do my part for the hive, but I can't do it the way they want. I know how you feel. - You do? - Sure. My parents wanted me to be a lawyer or a doctor, but I wanted to be a florist. - Really? - My only interest is flowers. Our new queen was just elected with that same campaign slogan. Anyway, if you look... There's my hive right there. See it? You're in Sheep Meadow! Yes! I'm right off the Turtle Pond! No way! I know that area. I lost a toe ring there once. - Why do girls put rings on their toes? - Why not? - It's like putting a hat on your knee. - Maybe I'll try that. - You all right, ma'am? - Oh, yeah. Fine. Just having two cups of coffee! Anyway, this has been great. Thanks for the coffee. Yeah, it's no trouble. Sorry I couldn't finish it. If I did, I'd be up the rest of my life. Are you...? Oan I take a piece of this with me? Sure! Here, have a crumb. - Thanks! - Yeah. All right. Well, then... I guess I'll see you around. Or not. OK, Barry. And thank you so much again... for before. Oh, that? That was nothing. Well, not nothing, but... Anyway... This can't possibly work. He's all set to go. We may as well try it. OK, Dave, pull the chute. - Sounds amazing. - It was amazing! It was the scariest, happiest moment of my life. Humans! I can't believe you were with humans! Giant, scary humans! What were they like? Huge and crazy. They talk crazy. They eat crazy giant things. They drive crazy. - Do they try and kill you, like on TV? - Some of them. But some of them don't. - How'd you get back? - Poodle. You did it, and I'm glad. You saw whatever you wanted to see. You had your "experience." Now you can pick out yourjob and be normal. - Well... - Well? Well, I met someone. You did? Was she Bee-ish? - A wasp?! Your parents will kill you! - No, no, no, not a wasp. - Spider? - I'm not attracted to spiders. I know it's the hottest thing, with the eight legs and all. I can't get by that face. So who is she? She's... human. No, no. That's a bee law. You wouldn't break a bee law. - Her name's Vanessa. - Oh, boy. She's so nice. And she's a florist! Oh, no! You're dating a human florist! We're not dating. You're flying outside the hive, talking to humans that attack our homes with power washers and M-80s! One-eighth a stick of dynamite! She saved my life! And she understands me. This is over! Eat this. This is not over! What was that? - They call it a crumb. - It was so stingin' stripey! And that's not what they eat. That's what falls off what they eat! - You know what a Oinnabon is? - No. It's bread and cinnamon and frosting. They heat it up... Sit down! ...really hot! - Listen to me! We are not them! We're us. There's us and there's them! Yes, but who can deny the heart that is yearning? There's no yearning. Stop yearning. Listen to me! You have got to start thinking bee, my friend. Thinking bee! - Thinking bee. - Thinking bee. Thinking bee! Thinking bee! Thinking bee! Thinking bee! There he is. He's in the pool. You know what your problem is, Barry? I gotta start thinking bee? How much longer will this go on? It's been three days! Why aren't you working? I've got a lot of big life decisions to think about. What life? You have no life! You have no job. You're barely a bee! Would it kill you to make a little honey? Barry, come out. Your father's talking to you. Martin, would you talk to him? Barry, I'm talking to you! You coming? Got everything? All set! Go ahead. I'll catch up. Don't be too long. Watch this! Vanessa! - We're still here. - I told you not to yell at him. He doesn't respond to yelling! - Then why yell at me? - Because you don't listen! I'm not listening to this. Sorry, I've gotta go. - Where are you going? - I'm meeting a friend. A girl? Is this why you can't decide? Bye. I just hope she's Bee-ish. They have a huge parade of flowers every year in Pasadena? To be in the Tournament of Roses, that's every florist's dream! Up on a float, surrounded by flowers, crowds cheering. A tournament. Do the roses compete in athletic events? No. All right, I've got one. How come you don't fly everywhere? It's exhausting. Why don't you run everywhere? It's faster. Yeah, OK, I see, I see. All right, your turn. TiVo. You can just freeze live TV? That's insane! You don't have that? We have Hivo, but it's a disease. It's a horrible, horrible disease. Oh, my. Dumb bees! You must want to sting all those jerks. We try not to sting. It's usually fatal for us. So you have to watch your temper. Very carefully. You kick a wall, take a walk, write an angry letter and throw it out. Work through it like any emotion: Anger, jealousy, lust. Oh, my goodness! Are you OK? Yeah. - What is wrong with you?! - It's a bug. He's not bothering anybody. Get out of here, you creep! What was that? A Pic 'N' Save circular? Yeah, it was. How did you know? It felt like about 10 pages. Seventy-five is pretty much our limit. You've really got that down to a science. - I lost a cousin to Italian Vogue. - I'll bet. What in the name of Mighty Hercules is this? How did this get here? Oute Bee, Golden Blossom, Ray Liotta Private Select? - Is he that actor? - I never heard of him. - Why is this here? - For people. We eat it. You don't have enough food of your own? - Well, yes. - How do you get it? - Bees make it. - I know who makes it! And it's hard to make it! There's heating, cooling, stirring. You need a whole Krelman thing! - It's organic. - It's our-ganic! It's just honey, Barry. Just what?! Bees don't know about this! This is stealing! A lot of stealing! You've taken our homes, schools, hospitals! This is all we have! And it's on sale?! I'm getting to the bottom of this. I'm getting to the bottom of all of this! Hey, Hector. - You almost done? - Almost. He is here. I sense it. Well, I guess I'll go home now and just leave this nice honey out, with no one around. You're busted, box boy! I knew I heard something. So you can talk! I can talk. And now you'll start talking! Where you getting the sweet stuff? Who's your supplier? I don't understand. I thought we were friends. The last thing we want to do is upset bees! You're too late! It's ours now! You, sir, have crossed the wrong sword! You, sir, will be lunch for my iguana, Ignacio! Where is the honey coming from? Tell me where! Honey Farms! It comes from Honey Farms! Orazy person! What horrible thing has happened here? These faces, they never knew what hit them. And now they're on the road to nowhere! Just keep still. What? You're not dead? Do I look dead? They will wipe anything that moves. Where you headed? To Honey Farms. I am onto something huge here. I'm going to Alaska. Moose blood, crazy stuff. Blows your head off! I'm going to Tacoma. - And you? - He really is dead. All right. Uh-oh! - What is that?! - Oh, no! - A wiper! Triple blade! - Triple blade? Jump on! It's your only chance, bee! Why does everything have to be so doggone clean?! How much do you people need to see?! Open your eyes! Stick your head out the window! From NPR News in Washington, I'm Oarl Kasell. But don't kill no more bugs! - Bee! - Moose blood guy!! - You hear something? - Like what? Like tiny screaming. Turn off the radio. Whassup, bee boy? Hey, Blood. Just a row of honey jars, as far as the eye could see. Wow! I assume wherever this truck goes is where they're getting it. I mean, that honey's ours. - Bees hang tight. - We're all jammed in. It's a close community. Not us, man. We on our own. Every mosquito on his own. - What if you get in trouble? - You a mosquito, you in trouble. Nobody likes us. They just smack. See a mosquito, smack, smack! At least you're out in the world. You must meet girls. Mosquito girls try to trade up, get with a moth, dragonfly. Mosquito girl don't want no mosquito. You got to be kidding me! Mooseblood's about to leave the building! So long, bee! - Hey, guys! - Mooseblood! I knew I'd catch y'all down here. Did you bring your crazy straw? We throw it in jars, slap a label on it, and it's pretty much pure profit. What is this place? A bee's got a brain the size of a pinhead. They are pinheads! Pinhead. - Oheck out the new smoker. - Oh, sweet. That's the one you want. The Thomas 3000! Smoker? Ninety puffs a minute, semi-automatic. Twice the nicotine, all the tar. A couple breaths of this knocks them right out. They make the honey, and we make the money. "They make the honey, and we make the money"? Oh, my! What's going on? Are you OK? Yeah. It doesn't last too long. Do you know you're in a fake hive with fake walls? Our queen was moved here. We had no choice. This is your queen? That's a man in women's clothes! That's a drag queen! What is this? Oh, no! There's hundreds of them! Bee honey. Our honey is being brazenly stolen on a massive scale! This is worse than anything bears have done! I intend to do something. Oh, Barry, stop. Who told you humans are taking our honey? That's a rumor. Do these look like rumors? That's a conspiracy theory. These are obviously doctored photos. How did you get mixed up in this? He's been talking to humans. - What? - Talking to humans?! He has a human girlfriend. And they make out! Make out? Barry! We do not. - You wish you could. - Whose side are you on? The bees! I dated a cricket once in San Antonio. Those crazy legs kept me up all night. Barry, this is what you want to do with your life? I want to do it for all our lives. Nobody works harder than bees! Dad, I remember you coming home so overworked your hands were still stirring. You couldn't stop. I remember that. What right do they have to our honey? We live on two cups a year. They put it in lip balm for no reason whatsoever! Even if it's true, what can one bee do? Sting them where it really hurts. In the face! The eye! - That would hurt. - No. Up the nose? That's a killer. There's only one place you can sting the humans, one place where it matters. Hive at Five, the hive's only full-hour action news source. No more bee beards! With Bob Bumble at the anchor desk. Weather with Storm Stinger. Sports with Buzz Larvi. And Jeanette Ohung. - Good evening. I'm Bob Bumble. - And I'm Jeanette Ohung. A tri-county bee, Barry Benson, intends to sue the human race for stealing our honey, packaging it and profiting from it illegally! Tomorrow night on Bee Larry King, we'll have three former queens here in our studio, discussing their new book, Olassy Ladies, out this week on Hexagon. Tonight we're talking to Barry Benson. Did you ever think, "I'm a kid from the hive. I can't do this"? Bees have never been afraid to change the world. What about Bee Oolumbus? Bee Gandhi? Bejesus? Where I'm from, we'd never sue humans. We were thinking of stickball or candy stores. How old are you? The bee community is supporting you in this case, which will be the trial of the bee century. You know, they have a Larry King in the human world too. It's a common name. Next week... He looks like you and has a show and suspenders and colored dots... Next week... Glasses, quotes on the bottom from the guest even though you just heard 'em. Bear Week next week! They're scary, hairy and here live. Always leans forward, pointy shoulders, squinty eyes, very Jewish. In tennis, you attack at the point of weakness! It was my grandmother, Ken. She's 81. Honey, her backhand's a joke! I'm not gonna take advantage of that? Quiet, please. Actual work going on here. - Is that that same bee? - Yes, it is! I'm helping him sue the human race. - Hello. - Hello, bee. This is Ken. Yeah, I remember you. Timberland, size ten and a half. Vibram sole, I believe. Why does he talk again? Listen, you better go 'cause we're really busy working. But it's our yogurt night! Bye-bye. Why is yogurt night so difficult?! You poor thing. You two have been at this for hours! Yes, and Adam here has been a huge help. - Frosting... - How many sugars? Just one. I try not to use the competition. So why are you helping me? Bees have good qualities. And it takes my mind off the shop. Instead of flowers, people are giving balloon bouquets now. Those are great, if you're three. And artificial flowers. - Oh, those just get me psychotic! - Yeah, me too. Bent stingers, pointless pollination. Bees must hate those fake things! Nothing worse than a daffodil that's had work done. Maybe this could make up for it a little bit. - This lawsuit's a pretty big deal. - I guess. You sure you want to go through with it? Am I sure? When I'm done with the humans, they won't be able to say, "Honey, I'm home," without paying a royalty! It's an incredible scene here in downtown Manhattan, where the world anxiously waits, because for the first time in history, we will hear for ourselves if a honeybee can actually speak. What have we gotten into here, Barry? It's pretty big, isn't it? I can't believe how many humans don't work during the day. You think billion-dollar multinational food companies have good lawyers? Everybody needs to stay behind the barricade. - What's the matter? - I don't know, I just got a chill. Well, if it isn't the bee team. You boys work on this? All rise! The Honorable Judge Bumbleton presiding. All right. Oase number 4475, Superior Oourt of New York, Barry Bee Benson v. the Honey Industry is now in session. Mr. Montgomery, you're representing the five food companies collectively? A privilege. Mr. Benson... you're representing all the bees of the world? I'm kidding. Yes, Your Honor, we're ready to proceed. Mr. Montgomery, your opening statement, please. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, my grandmother was a simple woman. Born on a farm, she believed it was man's divine right to benefit from the bounty of nature God put before us. If we lived in the topsy-turvy world Mr. Benson imagines, just think of what would it mean. I would have to negotiate with the silkworm for the elastic in my britches! Talking bee! How do we know this isn't some sort of holographic motion-picture-capture Hollywood wizardry? They could be using laser beams! Robotics! Ventriloquism! Oloning! For all we know, he could be on steroids! Mr. Benson? Ladies and gentlemen, there's no trickery here. I'm just an ordinary bee. Honey's pretty important to me. It's important to all bees. We invented it! We make it. And we protect it with our lives. Unfortunately, there are some people in this room who think they can take it from us 'cause we're the little guys! I'm hoping that, after this is all over, you'll see how, by taking our honey, you not only take everything we have but everything we are! I wish he'd dress like that all the time. So nice! Oall your first witness. So, Mr. Klauss Vanderhayden of Honey Farms, big company you have. I suppose so. I see you also own Honeyburton and Honron! Yes, they provide beekeepers for our farms. Beekeeper. I find that to be a very disturbing term. I don't imagine you employ any bee-free-ers, do you? - No. - I couldn't hear you. - No. - No. Because you don't free bees. You keep bees. Not only that, it seems you thought a bear would be an appropriate image for a jar of honey. They're very lovable creatures. Yogi Bear, Fozzie Bear, Build-A-Bear. You mean like this? Bears kill bees! How'd you like his head crashing through your living room?! Biting into your couch! Spitting out your throw pillows! OK, that's enough. Take him away. So, Mr. Sting, thank you for being here. Your name intrigues me. - Where have I heard it before? - I was with a band called The Police. But you've never been a police officer, have you? No, I haven't. No, you haven't. And so here we have yet another example of bee culture casually stolen by a human for nothing more than a prance-about stage name. Oh, please. Have you ever been stung, Mr. Sting? Because I'm feeling a little stung, Sting. Or should I say... Mr. Gordon M. Sumner! That's not his real name?! You idiots! Mr. Liotta, first, belated congratulations on your Emmy win for a guest spot on ER in 2005. Thank you. Thank you. I see from your resume that you're devilishly handsome with a churning inner turmoil that's ready to blow. I enjoy what I do. Is that a crime? Not yet it isn't. But is this what it's come to for you? Exploiting tiny, helpless bees so you don't have to rehearse your part and learn your lines, sir? Watch it, Benson! I could blow right now! This isn't a goodfella. This is a badfella! Why doesn't someone just step on this creep, and we can all go home?! - Order in this court! - You're all thinking it! Order! Order, I say! - Say it! - Mr. Liotta, please sit down! I think it was awfully nice of that bear to pitch in like that. I think the jury's on our side. Are we doing everything right, legally? I'm a florist. Right. Well, here's to a great team. To a great team! Well, hello. - Ken! - Hello. I didn't think you were coming. No, I was just late. I tried to call, but... the battery. I didn't want all this to go to waste, so I called Barry. Luckily, he was free. Oh, that was lucky. There's a little left. I could heat it up. Yeah, heat it up, sure, whatever. So I hear you're quite a tennis player. I'm not much for the game myself. The ball's a little grabby. That's where I usually sit. Right... there. Ken, Barry was looking at your resume, and he agreed with me that eating with chopsticks isn't really a special skill. You think I don't see what you're doing? I know how hard it is to find the rightjob. We have that in common. Do we? Bees have 100 percent employment, but we do jobs like taking the crud out. That's just what I was thinking about doing. Ken, I let Barry borrow your razor for his fuzz. I hope that was all right. I'm going to drain the old stinger. Yeah, you do that. Look at that. You know, I've just about had it with your little mind games. - What's that? - Italian Vogue. Mamma mia, that's a lot of pages. A lot of ads. Remember what Van said, why is your life more valuable than mine? Funny, I just can't seem to recall that! I think something stinks in here! I love the smell of flowers. How do you like the smell of flames?! Not as much. Water bug! Not taking sides! Ken, I'm wearing a Ohapstick hat! This is pathetic! I've got issues! Well, well, well, a royal flush! - You're bluffing. - Am I? Surf's up, dude! Poo water! That bowl is gnarly. Except for those dirty yellow rings! Kenneth! What are you doing?! You know, I don't even like honey! I don't eat it! We need to talk! He's just a little bee! And he happens to be the nicest bee I've met in a long time! Long time? What are you talking about?! Are there other bugs in your life? No, but there are other things bugging me in life. And you're one of them! Fine! Talking bees, no yogurt night... My nerves are fried from riding on this emotional roller coaster! Goodbye, Ken. And for your information, I prefer sugar-free, artificial sweeteners made by man! I'm sorry about all that. I know it's got an aftertaste! I like it! I always felt there was some kind of barrier between Ken and me. I couldn't overcome it. Oh, well. Are you OK for the trial? I believe Mr. Montgomery is about out of ideas. We would like to call Mr. Barry Benson Bee to the stand. Good idea! You can really see why he's considered one of the best lawyers... Yeah. Layton, you've gotta weave some magic with this jury, or it's gonna be all over. Don't worry. The only thing I have to do to turn this jury around
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2020.07.08 14:33 -screamin- [SPOILERS FOR ALL S01] In-depth breakdown and commentary - S01E07 "The Day That Was"

S01E01 - We Only See Each Other at Weddings and Funerals breakdown
S01E02 - Run Boy Run breakdown
S01E03 - Extra Ordinary breakdown
S01E04 - Man on the Moon breakdown
S01E05 - Number Five breakdown
S01E06 - The Day That Wasn't breakdown
Hello, I'm back with another analysis! Unmarked spoilers for all of S01 follow, so last chance to back out. Please, no untagged spoilers for the comics if you have read them - I would like to read them after the show has run its course. Also, now that we're getting more S02 information, please spoiler tag this as well if you are posting about it below.
Once again, I'm posting this for discussion, so if you have any insights, corrections, comments, feedback, etc. please post it below! Breakdown for S01E08 will be up on the 15th July, around noon GMT.
Thanks for taking part!
  • Title meta: So this is the episode where we see how Five's return to 2019 affected the timeline; the events of "The Day That Wasn't" have ceased to exist. Some things remain the same, but many things have changed.
  • Pogo returns to voice over the sequence explaining Harold/Leonard's childhood, just like he narrated RH gathering his adopted children. However, although I can see Pogo knowing of the events of the children's birth and procurement, there's no real reason for Pogo to know about Harold Jenkins's past. Maybe he did some research of his own after Five brought back that Commission directive? Or maybe RH ordered Pogo to have a sticky beak in response to Harold speaking to RH outside the Academy? Or is this part of the weird, long-running implication that RH knows way more about the future and the events of the Apocalypse than anyone else?
  • Lol, all of that machine beeping when Harold's mum codes must have been added in post. The nurses and doctors should have reacted far quicker to the beeping.
  • The Jenkins family home is Leonard's house in the present. Explains why a dude with a woodworking shop that hardly seems open or particularly successful has a pretty big house not too far from the city. It's kinda horrific he can even bear to live here, with the abuse his father inflicted on him, and this being where his dad met his end. Anyway, this goes some way to explain why he's apparently comfortable with stashing Helen's body in his own attic (S01E05) - after all, he bumped dearest daddy off just downstairs!
  • I assume Dr. Terminal wasn't just a baddie from the comics little Harold was reading, but an actual nemesis for the Umbrella Academy gang in their heyday? Either way, in little Harold's fantasies, he's saving the Umbrella Academy kids from him, knocking them out (pretty violently, with "Bang!" vocal side-effects!) with the figure that represents himself. A microcosm of what he eventually does for Vanya.
  • Can I just say, the casting for the kid versions of the characters is fantastic? They totally look like they de-aged the adult actors to play them.
  • Aha, the Hargreeves figurine that he'd always wanted as a kid, advertised on the back of this comic. Look at the figurine bases in the picture - it's a white disc with an umbrella on it. When adult Harold/Leonard pinches RH's figurine from the Academy, it's got an umbrella base. But Harold's figures don't have this disc, as you can clearly see when they're piled on the kitchen table, and later on, when they're displayed on the little purple paper mat up in the attic. I think he might have made his own figurines like he made one of Vanya.
  • Harold's dad seemed loving and well-adjusted in his first scene - it seems that he crawled into a bottle to cope with the death of his wife and his son being a reminder of what he'd lost.
  • Little dude's cosplay is pretty amazing for his age and for accuracy. He's even taken a dark jumper and sewn coloured diamonds onto it to mimic the diamond pattern on the UA kids' woollen jumpers. And he wears the cardboard mask to cover his blackening eye where his dad backhanded him.
  • Hermes the Rolls-Royce makes another appearance.
  • Luther riding shotgun next to RH, as Number One. Didn't think RH drove himself anywhere; I always thought he'd have a chauffeur.
  • Can four kids buckle up in the back seat of a Rolls? (Five isn't in this scene, seems he's already gone at this point.) Sounds a bit implausible. We saw the Rolls before in S01E05, when Klaus flipped Hazel the bird from the back seat as they drove off; seemed like only three adults would fit in the back. Doubt RH cares if the kids buckle up anyway.
  • It seems Luther was very popular, with a lot of fans having crushes on him, judging by all the posters and the hearts on them. There's a magazine in S01E01 showing Luther with a space helmet, so I assume one of their earlier missions involved Luther going to space and that's why he's called Spaceboy. Also explains why RH sent him to the moon as an adult - he may have wanted to evoke the times when Luther was young and wildly successful. However, adult Luther's realisation that the four-year space mission was a bust in S01E06/7 probably undermined these earlier missions in Luther's perception as well.
  • Aww, little Harold has a suitcase! He thought RH would take him in. Too bad he didn't know RH is an unrelenting dickhead.
  • Of course the UA member of whom Harold is their "biggest fan" is Allison. I'm sure he's wished a billion times for the ability to rumour his dad into not drinking or abusing him. edit: must have taken him everything he had to act casual around Allison as an adult.
  • And of course Luther's the one who steps in when little Harold grabs Allison's wrist.
  • The actors for the UA kids look older and bigger than little Harold's actor, despite them all being the same age in-universe - possible that this is on purpose, to make Harold look smaller at the same age. (Possible implication that little Harold was not being fed as well as he should have been? On the other hand, adult Harold is kinda short himself, only a little taller than Vanya, whereas Luther and Allison are both taller as adults.)
  • "You have no power. You never will have power. Now, go home... A little word of advice, my boy. Not everyone in this world can have power. Chasing something unattainable is a recipe for a lifetime of disappointment and resentment." - RH's words to little Harold. Fuck, what terrible things to say to anyone, let alone a kid being horribly abused by the one person who should be his biggest support. And Harold/Leonard, as well as Vanya, do go on to experience a shit-ton of disappointment and resentment. Enough to kick-start the apocalypse. I also want to point out the difference in words between little Vanya and little Harold - in S01E01, he tells Vanya, "I'm afraid there's nothing special about you," when she asks why she can't play with the others, but doesn't outright say that she doesn't have any power, like he tells Harold. edit: The other thing is, Harold did end up having power, although he didn't go about it in a nice way at all. (Did he have a choice as a kid, though? As an adult, however, he is entirely responsible.) He never really grew up from that kid who managed to stop his own abuse by killing his dad. When all you have is a hammer, everything starts looking like a nail. Bang!
  • Ew, RH only puts his hand on Harold's shoulder to later grab him and bodily eject him from his property. Now there's at least two adults in this kid's life who were physically abusive.
  • Funny, the hammer's already on the kitchen table. Weird place for a hammer.
  • So as you hear the blows and Harold's dad's legs jerk, look behind the head of the chair he's lying in. There's noone behind it. Kinda darkly funny imagining the actor casually acting out some death throes on his own.
  • Harold's uniform with gore on it reminds me a little of Ben in the bank robbery mission (S01E01). The two kids have entirely opposite reactions to it though.
  • So Harold got twelve years. Assuming he's slightly older than Five at this point, maybe closer to 14? He'd get out of prison at about 25-26 years of age. Also, isn't twelve years a long sentence for a little kid who killed his abuser?
  • Harold's still obsessed with the Umbrella Academy - he still reads the comics and has his cardboard mask. (Surely not the same one he was wearing when he killed his dad.)
  • Despite the immediate cut to a copy of the March 24th newspaper, identical to the one Five looks at when he lands in 2019 (S01E01), three or four years have passed since he got out of prison. Harold seems to have also made the pilgrimage to the Academy block, like the siblings did, either in response to what he's read in the paper, or because he has a habit of lurking around near the Academy.
  • Let's read this new page from RH's book:
#00.04 Conjuring Incident 06/16/01 (note: Klaus would have been eleven years old.)
I found that number four was simply not progressing in his abilities to conjure the non-living. He seems to not want to embrace this power. I sped up that ability tonight by locking him in the mausoleum overnight. Hypothetically he is seeing gore and death, but to be effective he must become desensitised to this.
Notes from [unreadable]
  • Klaus resistant
  • More fearful than I've ever seen him
  • Trying to squeeze himself through gated bars. Appears to be seeing if he has another super power he doesn't know about. (note: a very dark lol)
  • 00:36 Appears to have made first contact with dead spirits
[unreadable] into exercise, #00.04 seems [unreadable] with dead spirits [unreadable]
  • This page seems to be describing Klaus' mausoleum flashback we saw in S01E04, but from RH's perspective. The adjacent page seems to be ranking Number Four's (I assume) tendencies and qualities.
  • And here's our title card, the inside cover page with an old-timey candle and an old-fashioned umbrella logo, with the words "Ex Libris Reginald Hargreeves" underneath. (Means "From the library of (or "property of") Reginald Hargreeves". Harold/Leonard must have felt like all his birthdays and Christmases had come at once.)
  • And back to the present day, Wednesday 29th March, just past 8:15am.
  • It's only because Five makes the meeting and they start gabbing about "Harold Jenkins" that Leonard gets spooked and whisks himself and Vanya far away to his granny's cabin. She never even gets the chance to change her clothes from the morning - she is wearing the same shirt, coat and scarf when Leonard's beating triggers her powers later this episode.
  • We see Vanya's little street-side temper tantrum again. Five landing doesn't change that because he doesn't arrive at the Academy until after she leaves.
  • I'm gonna assume Five caught the shrapnel wound from the grenade that blew up the suitcase storage room. He was behind a brick wall for the one that blew up the Handler in the pneumatic tube room.
  • How the shit does Five know Allison's kid's name? I wonder if he checked out some of those celebrity magazines sometime over the last few days. Either way, his little speech is the turning point for the new timeline. Instead of going their seperate ways, he gets Diego and Allison on board by giving each of them what they want. Luther was on board already, although he's focused on RH and the Moon mission, Diego wants to hunt down Hazel and Cha-Cha and Five's just explained that the Harold Jenkins directive was originally supposed to be sent to Hazel and Cha-Cha and that they're trying to maintain the apocalypse in the timeline - best way to find them then is to find Jenkins, and kick them in the teeth by stopping the apocalypse from happening. Five's also offered Allison the chance to save her daughter as well as billions of others from the apocalypse.
  • "Klaus, you're with me." Aww. Since Klaus saved his bacon in S01E05, Diego's surprisingly okay with Klaus being his point man. Start of the season, he was rolling his eyes and sighing when Klaus tags along.
  • Piano music from the cubby house flashback scene last episode comes back as Allison looks back at Luther.
  • I find it very annoying that the suitcase Five brings back with him is never seen or discussed again. He could have brought this with him to the final showdown in S01E10 and not have to risk de-aging his brothers and sisters during time-travel.
  • It kind of frustrates me that Hazel's and Cha-Cha's story is no different despite the time skip, unlike everyone else's story. And strange, because whereas the siblings' actions are changed by the events that Five went through, Hazel and Cha-Cha's timelines do not change significantly despite Five being the one to send them their contracts and meddle with their timeline. (Before you say that it's because he programmed the pneumatic system to send it forward in time to them, there's still a timeline, before they get those orders, where Hazel and Cha-Cha have not been ordered to take each other out yet and they're still working against Five.) To me it feels like there was a missed opportunity here, perhaps to explore in a bit more detail what exactly Cha-Cha's deal is re: Hazel (Was she holding a torch for him? If so, it comes a little out of nowhere to me...)
  • We know that Five has sent the messages back in time using the pneumatic system to Hazel and Cha-Cha respectively - we see Cha-Cha receive her orders in the motel room in S01E06 and Hazel gets his at the same time from the vending machine in S01E07. Cha-Cha thinks Hazel has no idea, and Hazel thinks Cha-Cha has no idea. Is this what Five was planning? Did he know they would receive it at the same time when the other was not in ear-shot? (Maybe the system recognises whose name you send it under, makes sure no-one else is around when you get the message?)
  • Check out Five wincing in the car. An extra reason to quickly blink in and out with Jenkins' file.
  • When he says he "literally just did this yesterday", I think he means the grenades from the Handler's office? Or has Five tried this day before, royally fucked up, and used the briefcase to try again? Perhaps he's literally been in the precinct before. Would explain how he knows Claire's name. Getting lots of Edge of Tomorrow vibes here. Fantastic movie by the way, highly recommend. Don't google it, you'll ruin it for yourself, just watch it and thank me later.
  • Just noticed Diego isn't in his vigilante get-up. That thing needs to be taken outside and burnt. It has clung to existence for far longer than any normal set of clothes should. End its suffering, I beg you.
  • Seriously, cool blue jacket, Diego. Matches your sling.
  • Here's Allison leaving the message Vanya will only hear in S01E09, another new thing that didn't happen in S01E06's timeline. Five leaning against the wall in the background, crossing his arms and surreptitiously supporting his gut wound.
  • Luther back at the Academy, finding out RH never looked at any of his moon reports. This scene is slightly different to that in S01E06, in that he pulls out a pack that says "Day 575 - Day 599". Pogo is still present but Allison is no longer there to pull him out of his funk, and he starts drinking instead.
  • Klaus ends up asking Luther, the only other siblings in the house, to tie him up, since Diego is out.
  • Lol, Klaus talking of RH in the present tense, saying he'll be so pissed Luther's broken into his liquor cabinet. Death doesn't mean much to Klaus.
  • Klaus trying to motivate Luther, what a reversal. Bet Klaus has never seen Luther so fucked up.
  • Klaus has probably looked up to him his whole life, seen him as a leader, been bossed about by Luther countless times, wished he had Luther's powers instead of the terrifying ones he has. Klaus would choose to be Luther, massive ape body or not, any day of the week and twice on Sundays. And this dude is now crying like a little child on his shoulder.
  • Klaus is so fucking empathetic though. This dude has just tried to choke him. And as soon as Luther reveals how broken he is, how much he detests himself, how much he thinks his dad detests him - Klaus is suddenly angry on his behalf at RH.
  • Very much here for actively-withdrawing Klaus encouraging Luther to put away the drink, and refusing to procure drugs for him. Not that that stops Luther going out to try and get them anyway.
  • We return to Hazel and Cha-Cha's scene in the forest, but from Hazel's perspective. The earlier dialogue in the S01E06 scene is repeated as a voiceover. Turns out Hazel was not trying his shoe, but surreptitiously loading his gun. He was thinking about taking her out as well, doing what the Commission told him, but really, he doesn't want to be extracted, he wants to stay here in this time with Agnes. Cha-Cha thinks he's talking about running away with her, but he's actually talking himself out of killing Cha-Cha and running away from the Commission with Agnes.
  • Cha-Cha thinks his pileated woodpecker analogy "the male will bring his partner food to show he can provide" is about her, which is why she lets him go get dinner and probably why she goes to get something for him as well!
  • Diego, Allison and Five at Leonard's place. Fuck, he's still wearing his vigilante pants. Wear something else, buddy! Give those poor pants a chance in the washing machine with a whole lot of washing liquid and probably some antiseptic. And check out Five's right sided limp! Gallagher's such a good actor...
  • Five subtly pulls himself up the front stairs using the railing, not putting too much weight on that right side.
  • I can't believe Diego just busts in the front door like that. Vigilante brain fart. Allison did a better job in S01E04.
  • Vanya and Leonard have left for the cabin by now, they're not in the house.
  • Diego finds a flyer for Vanya's concert on the fridge.
The ICARUS THEATRE presents
ST. PLUVIUM CHAMBER ORCHESTRA
A wildly anticipated Chamber Music Performance featuring the City's most acclaimed musicians
Introducing Principal Violin
VANYA HARGREEVES
All concerts will be held at the Icarus Theatre, Borough 4
For more information, please call the Icarus Theatre Box Office on 555-0192, or visit us in person 10am to 4pm daily.
General Admission: $25 per Attendee
  • A picture of Vanya in her orchestra tails, holding her violin completes the flyer. She looks happier than the picture of her on the back of her memoir. And it's probably, what, the third picture of her possibly ever taken?
  • Looks like the concert on the 1st April was to be the first in a run of performances in the Icarus Theatre. Still, dumb that the flyer doesn't mention a range of dates.
  • St. Pluvium. Funny name, huh? Well, I had a theory about this that I posted to theumbrellaacademy. The motto for the Umbrella Academy is Ut Malum Pluvia (which is supposed to mean "When Evil Rains", the implication being that the Umbrella Academy have you covered). Pluvium and pluvia are just forms of the same Latin root for 'rain'. Wouldn't put it past filthy rich, dear old Papa to sponsor the local orchestra to take Vanya on, ensure she wouldn't move too far away and he could keep an eye on her, make sure she's filling those scripts... I also wonder if RH noticed that rain often accompanies Vanya's use of her powers? And possibly even more far-fetchedly, did RH consider her at least part of the 'evil' (malum) that the Academy motto refers to, that the Academy is supposed to protect others against?
  • Diego, Allison and Five conclude that Harold Jenkins is after the members of the Umbrella Academy, and that it was never about Vanya at all. Hoooo boy. You're right and you're bloody wrong in the same breath. Unfortunately, he took RH's book with him to the cabin, so they don't find it at his place.
  • Leonard and Vanya at the cabin. Looks like Harold's dad kept his abuse under wraps at Grammy's place. That is such an uncomfortable photo though.
  • "You spend your life trying to forget about the crap you went through as a kid, and then the second you step back in, you feel just as insignificant." This is Leonard playing Vanya like she plays her violin. Vanya relates entirely to this. Her family have just excluded her, again, just as she tries to include them in her life. She thinks Leonard is dredging up bad memories by walking back into this cabin. But Leonard, right now, he's aware, based on what the Umbrella Academy guys were saying while he swiped that RH figure, that Harold fucking Jenkins has something to do with the apocalypse, but they don't know who he is. They said his real name. Him. The Umbrella Academy are worried about him. He's feeling mighty important right now, and probably even more committed to turning Vanya into an unstable angry bomb that he can lob at the Umbrella Academy. If he can't be a hero with them, he'll become their nemesis and goddamn destroy them.
  • "I can't even say it. I can't even wrap my head around it. There's-" I wonder if Vanya's next words were "it's like there's a block in my head" or words to that effect. Wonder if that's Allison's rumour working away.
  • And the pan out reveal that they're in the middle of bloody nowhere, some kind of forest near a lake. Note the sounds as they zoom out, the trees, the birds, the windchimes. Is this Vanya's absurdly sharp hearing/sense of soundwaves manifesting? We see later in S01E08 that she can somehow hear the cabin's windchimes from deep in the forest.
  • Here's Hazel laying it all out for Agnes. And amazingly she takes him at face-value. What a wonderful person.
  • The thing that sent Hazel rogue was the Commission ordering him to kill his partner. Even if he may not like Cha-Cha the same way he does Agnes, he still cares for her.
  • Aww, Hazel and Agnes are so cute together! Unfortunately, Cha-Cha is watching from around the corner.
  • Klaus has ditched his coat because he's overheated and sweaty from the withdrawal. Note everyone else outside walking past being in coats and the like. It's not an obviously warm night. Klaus is also scratching at his arms.
  • Ben's appeared for some moral support!
  • So judging by Klaus' apologies immediately after he says it, apparently Ben's death was caused by not being prepared for "the real world". I dunno, maybe I'm taking it too literally, but we know basically jack shit about Ben's death... I'm taking this as a tiny clue, okay?
  • Allison and Diego hauling Five home between them. And Grace appears once more. I like the reversal of Grace now walking through the atrium and Diego seeing her in the living room, as opposed to how it was in S01E06.
  • There's a nice revolving shot around Klaus here as he enters the rave - Ben can't be seen from the back as he walks in, but as the camera rotates to Klaus' front, you see Ben next to him.
  • Man, after Vietnam, a rave with its thumping, reverberating beats and bright flashes of light must be the last place Klaus wants to be, and even more so because he's withdrawing hard.
  • Lol, the simultaneous 'holy shit' from Klaus and Ben on seeing shirtless Luther dancing his butt off. Remember Klaus (and Ben by extension) hasn't yet seen what he looks like under all the layers; he was high and then kidnapped away by Hazel in S01E03.
  • Wow, high Luther. He's a happy carefree guy. Also, "Brother!!" That's a meme, right?
  • Lo and behold, Klaus' battle PTSD kicks in. And he commando crawls after the E he just flung away (because he didn't want Luther to take it!) to try and get it to stop.
  • Can I just say, if they really truly want to recast Jack Sparrow, I think the only one who could maybe pull it off might be Robert Sheehan. I could probably come to terms with that at some point.
  • Perfect timing for Klaus' (and Dave's?) dog tags to fall out of his singlet. So sad that the only way Klaus sees Dave in this timeline is in a hallucination. I think he's got the E in his hand, but he thinks it's Dave. In a roundabout way, his desire to see Dave is stopping him from taking the pill.
  • Allison must have checked Vanya's apartment and got no response. Also, her music school says she bunked off her lessons today. I have no idea how Leonard convinced Vanya to do that, although she was very angry after seeing her siblings, maybe her redirected that into leaving everything behind for a few days and getting away from it all. Maybe offered his cabin as a practice area for the concert? Wish she brought it up later on, the fact that he made her miss her classes.
  • Lol, Diego and Luther both said the other was right about leaving/not leaving the Academy (their argument in Five's room, continued in the library in S01E04) in the space of a single episode.
  • "Vanya needs you." Wow. That's the first time Diego admits Vanya is in some serious fucking shit. Aaaaand it's the last time anyone other than Allison expresses concern about Vanya being with a murderer with a grudge against the Umbrella Academy, before she returns to the Academy in S01E09.
  • So Beeman's first name is Chuck, huh? Charles Beeman.
  • Some weird ass light blue cop cars there.
  • Vanya and Leonard at the lake. "Vanya, you've seen what people with power can do. They can stand up for those who can't defend themselves." Makes me think of RH's words to young Harold about power. It also reminds me that Leonard's planning for some guys to beat him up later on, setting up for Vanya to save him with her power.
  • "What am I supposed to do, like, stare really hard? Am I supposed to point my fingers-" Oh my god, she's taking the mickey, look at that fucking smirk. I swear Magurro nearly cracks a smile too, look at him purse his lips and look down.
  • I'm getting some "Luke at Dagobah trying to lift his x-wing" vibes from this scene - at least until Vanya starts fucking giggling. First time we actually see her laugh properly.
  • Leonard knows that the Umbrella Academy are looking for him and Vanya and that he doesn't have much time to enact his revenge. This explains why he's suddenly so frustrated by Vanya not being very motivated to find her power, and why he kicks the plan up a gear by organising for him to be bashed up.
  • Lol, Hazel's trying to write an explanatory letter to Cha-Cha as to why he's gonna run away that night. It might run something like "Dear Cha-Cha, I love Agnes. It's not you, it's me. I wish you all the best in life. Yours, Hazel."
  • Another nice revolving shot, with Hazel disappearing behind the motel window curtain as Cha-Cha strides in, silenced pistol in hand. And I like how the rave thumping restarts with Hazel knocking Cha-Cha out with the butt of his pistol.
  • Don't worry, Klaus only kissed the E tablet when he picked it up, he never ate it. He noticed that dude coming for Luther with a bat... is that his new tactical awareness coming to the fore? Old Klaus missed the Academy getting raided right in front of him in S01E03.
  • And Klaus hits the concrete head first. Apparently mediums don't become ghosts, they just go straight to meet god. Why is his shirt of all things the only thing that's not black and white here?
  • "I need you so I can pick and choose." What the fuck does this mean, god?? Either way, all the conversations in this afterlife sequence have a vague, dreamlike quality to them. It feels like an actual dream, where you only think about how ridiculous something is afterwards.
  • Lol, Klaus has some ideas for creation. God doesn't want to know.
  • "Nite Owl" is a weird name for a barbershop.
  • There are six pictures on the wall behind Klaus as he sits in the chair. At first, the assumption is that these are the six members of the Umbrella Academy. At first we get a closer look at the first three: and it's Luther, Diego and then RH. Okay, so it's the other five UA members and RH. Then you see the fourth picture - it's Dave. I can make out a tie on the fifth picture, I believe it's Five, and I'm going to guess that the sixth one is Ben. I think that since this is a barbershop, only the males' pictures are on the walls.
  • Klaus sitting in the chair reminds me of the umbrella gang getting their tattoos.
  • The whole barbershop thing seems to me like a reflection of how RH sees his role with the kids - he was grooming them, shaping them, polishing them. He sees this as caring for them. However, the kids slowly came to the realisation that he wasn't really a dad to them, more a clinical presence who moulded them as he saw fit. He had the straight razor, he could help you and hurt you in the same breath, and you were at his mercy. He roughly shoves Klaus around as he shaves him. RH is like a barber who makes you look good, but your relationship with him is only as deep as your hair, it's certainly not emotional. And you're a wreck underneath the superficial perfection he's forced on you.
  • RH's suggestion that there's more to his power gets to Klaus. From the page that we see when Leonard is holding RH's book in the dumpster, earlier this episode, we see that he has wished and apparently attempted to manifest other powers. And now RH tells him he's only scratched the surface?
  • Klaus says that RH locked him in the mausoleum at thirteen. But RH's book says that Klaus was eleven at the time of the exercise. Problem is, little Klaus in the mausoleum and Klaus in, say, the bank robbery in S01E01, are played by two different child actors, with mausoleum!Klaus looking younger than bank robbery!Klaus. My theory is that Klaus has had to suffer this multiple times at different ages, and the first instance of RH doing so may have been younger than even eleven. We know Klaus has been on drugs of one kind or another since he was at least thirteen (if not younger), it's possible Klaus' recall of events is a little hazy.
  • Klaus manages to castigate RH for his treatment of Luther. Fuck, I think Klaus would have punched him if he knew what RH had done to Vanya.
  • "Is he okay?" RH sounds genuinely vulnerable as he asks this. Fucking idiot. I hate these kinds of fuckers, well-intentioned extremists. Fuck RH.
  • RH subtly draws his razor across his neck as Klaus comes to the realisation that he killed himself to reunite the Umbrella Academy.
  • Finally, first-hand evidence that RH knew that the apocalypse was coming. Certain implications throughout the season, though, suggest that he knew more than just the date of the apocalypse, but how it was going to happen...
  • Arrrgh, why can't dead people get to the point?? Was RH gonna tell Klaus about Vanya??
  • Lol, the bouncers kicked Luther out. And the lady from S01E01 and S01E04 is back! She doesn't have her glasses here.
  • Right, this scene and the scene where Vanya recalls the bashing and grimly admits to herself that she's got powers... probably some of my favourite scenes in the whole season. They pulled out the CGI stops here. (I mean, still a bit hinky but leaps and bounds better than normal TV CGI.)
  • Leonard and Vanya walk out of the restaurant, arms around each other. She's much happier now Leonard's not forcing her to investigate her powers. Note her scarf draped loosely around her neck.
  • When the guy says "we'll trade you the car for the girl", Vanya speaks up. "Get off the car and leave us alone." She would never have done this a couple of days ago. Remember her talking to Helen?
  • Note the rain starts almost immediately after that one guy slaps her ass, and just before Leonard gets hit. Jesus Christ, the rain has to be fucking linked to her powers.
  • Increasing thunder coincides with Vanya's screams of "Leonard!" and "Stop it!!" as the guys beat him up, and the rain is suddenly furiously pelting down. (Fuck, it must have been fucking freezing out there filming this. Page and Magurro and those actors playing the thugs must have been sopping wet, bone-cold and pissed off when this scene wrapped. Thanks, guys.)
  • Vanya changes tack and starts screaming for help. And instantly we hear that high-pitched tuning fork noise. The guy who was restraining her before is now helping the others kick the living shit out of Leonard.
  • The way she steps forward... she doesn't rush forward and directly attack the guys. It's like everything's faded away and she was running forward to check on Leonard (the thugs have stopped whaling on him for a second) when she almost as an afterthought releases this burst of energy that sends two guys into nearby cars and the other straight into a brick wall. Also, her scarf is flung from her neck and flies towards the right of the screen. From S01E08, we know this lands high up on the restaurant sign and Allison ends up finding it. As soon as the energy burst has left her, she resumes her movement towards Leonard.
  • It was kinda nice of Leonard to ask those dudes to bash him up instead of Vanya, to get her powers to come out. Maybe his initial plan was to get her to attack the Academy when the umbrella gang hurt/killed Leonard? Perhaps the restaurant stunt was a pale copy of that, for Leonard to see if this would work? Perhaps this is how the apocalypse came about in Five's bleak future experience, with Luther dead with Harold/Leonard's gory eye in his fist. If this theory is correct, the restaurant attack was a success, because not only is Vanya now aware she is powerful enough to kill others, she'll be serious about discovering more about her powers. And Leonard has also established that she's not so uncontrolled that she'll attack him - as unintended as the energy burst in the carpark might have been, she managed to not touch Leonard at all despite killing two guys and putting the last in the hospital. (Unfortunately he didn't bank on Vanya finding RH's book in his things.)
  • Also, Page plays "absol-fucking-utely terrified" very well. Good job.
  • I must say, the whole season was pretty engrossing, but I think after Hazel knocked out Cha-Cha, I was just glued to my screen. The last bit of this episode and the remaining ones are just fantastic.
  • Cha-Cha is handcuffed to the radiator, glaring daggers at Hazel as he pleads his case. She's still convinced, even though she's seen him with Agnes and he says he's done with the job (and she already knows he's kinda sick of the job anyway) and he loves Agnes, that she can convince him to go back to how it was before, travelling the world and killing people, by finding the briefcase. The only issue is that she still has no reason to believe that the Commission will let both of them back. Even if Hazel goes back to how it was before, one of them will still have to kill the other according to the directives they received. So either she's lying to get him to free her, or she's got some serious cognitive dissonance going on.
  • She's also very, very personal about Hazel being with Agnes. She's never been this emotional or sweary before. She seems as close to tears as she could ever be. All I can think of is "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned." To me, all of this suggests she's got at least a decent squish, if not an outright crush, on Hazel.
  • Hazel still can't shoot her, even though she's threatened to make him watch his girlfriend die slow before she kills him. Cha-Cha has got to know his heart isn't in the right place for this line of work any more.
  • Hazel takes her gun before he leaves the motel - he gives both his and her guns to Five in S01E08, to prove to Diego that Cha-Cha killed Patch and not him.
  • "Exit Music (for a Film)" by Radiohead. This has gotta be a trope by now, I think a few other shows have used it as well. I think it's pretty effective here, since the peak is Vanya's understanding that she has powers and used them to hurt others really badly (it wasn't entirely unconscious, she was aware of it), and Leonard revealing that his right eye is gone, and that he's the owner of the prosthetic Five has been carrying for more than forty years (in fact, we see a quick shot of said eye on Five's bedside table during this very montage... he's still carrying it, even though he knows it can't help him reach its owner.).
  • Luther kisses the furryphile girl who's also been kicked out. We know they end up hooking up overnight, from the beginning of S01E08. (Hope sex ed was part of the curriculum at the Umbrella Academy!)
  • Allison drives unknowingly through the rain (possibly the same storm Vanya caused?) towards her sister, once again trying to save her from Leonard.
  • Why the fuck does Ben have a shadow? Ghosts in this universe are so fucking confusing. Either way, Ben is present and Klaus is still scratching at his arms, a good indication he is still stone-cold sober. That's a massive achievement.
  • Diego stuck in the precinct holding cell, sitting on the seat there, gives me a bunch of The Dark Knight feels. It feels like a tiny shoutout, but it's also showing Diego's frustration at being caged up when he has just about two days to find Hazel and Cha-Cha and make them pay for Patch. Oh, and stop the apocalypse. And find his other sister, who is apparently dating the guy who Five says will cause the apocalypse.
Got any comments/theories/discussion/suggestions? I'd love it if you could leave em below!
Breakdown for S01E08 will be up on the 15th July, around noon GMT. Thanks for taking part!
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2020.07.08 00:48 MrsPittNotBrad Very Interesting Piece on M. Pitt @ Age 19...

I stumbled across this one day, and wanted to share it but I couldn’t find it again. I finally found it. I’m a very big fan but I think he is much sexier and much more talented at his current age. He was only 19 here. Of particular delight were his thoughts on favorite place “to make love”...Interview’s words, not mine. I think she is a friend of his based on the writing. He was of course much more immature than now, as time takes care of...See what ya think.
Pillow Lips My Dinner with Gus Van Sant & Mike Pitt - J.T. LeRoy
He had a 5:30 reservation at an exclusive restaurant, Charles Nob Hill. We had arrived together, entering a palatial lobby where we were greeted by the staff, who all look like models from Vanity Fair. The staff of young men and women are dressed in business suits. They smile excitedly at Van Sant, who is dressed relatively casually. They tell him how thrilled they are to have him there, but as they turn to gaze at the rest of his party, their smiles slide like sweaters off hangers onto the floor.
As they take our coats, I can feel them taking inventory: Mike’s jacket is an old coat from the 70s, shredded like limbs that fell into the wood-chopper in Fargo. Mike Pitt does not look like the movie/tv star he is fast becoming. Under his coat he wears the striped t-shirt his character Tommy Gnosis wore in the film version of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, which just won awards at Sundance. His t-shirt hangs in razor-blade rips and has practically no back. I look like the Punk Playmate of the Month in my gray corduroys, colorful platform sneakers, two layered t-shirts, orange tint glasses. My long day-glo blue hair is tied Jackie O headband-style with a Dolce & Gabbana pink silk scarf with colorful butterflies on it that Gus Van Sant gave me for Christmas. My roommates Speedie and Astor are with us. At least they dressed up.
The host seats us at a large round table that juts out into the small dining room. Like other posh places I’ve been to, this room has all the liveliness of a morgue, with its dark wood and formal paintings. We compare it to the school Gus filmed for Finding Forrester (in which Mike Pitt had a part). Moneyed older folks are seated at a table behind Mike. I catch their appalled expressions as they look at our table, and we can hear them murmur in snooty hushed tones, "Look at that shirt!" Mike doesn’t notice, the way a street kid doesn’t hear the comments private school kids mutter as they step over his sprawled legs. Gus orders an $85 Australian wine, and a martini. After the wine is poured, Mike sniffs the bouquet and swishes it in his glass unself-consciously while an older gentleman across from him watches him, licking his lips in whetted desire, transfixed at Mike’s boyish beauty. I have a pink cosmo.
Suddenly the staff surrounds our table, one person standing behind each of us. I panic–now they will throw us out. Mike had told me when he was cast on Dawson’s Creek he kept waiting for them to bust him, tell him that he didn’t belong. Even though they didn’t know about his past on the street, he was sure he would be sent back any moment.
The waitstaff takes a collective breath and puts heavy gold spoons in front of us for appetizers, a dish containing an oyster heavily decorated with caviar. The head waiter, a woman, boastfully tells us the origins of the oysters. Mike, not waiting till she is halfway through, bites into it, his face folding into a crumple. "This tastes like snot!" he says loudly. I bite into mine, and it does, so as the staff flees, I gag into my napkin.
Gus playfully chides Mike not to say that. While I keep my head lowered, feeling like poor white trash at the country club, Mike is oblivious to the gawking, both condemnatory and appreciative, around us. I am in awe of how Mike moves, confidently fluid, like a boy on a playing field who knows he’s master of the game and so has special rights. Gus sits on the edge, aware of the comments, a victim of his guest’s lack of propriety, yet simultaneously entertained.
I had first heard about Mike Pitt from Scott Macaulay (producer and editor at the magazine Filmmaker). I was sweatin’ Scott to pass my book Sarah to Gus Van Sant. I had a Hollywood agent who was trying to get me to sign my book over to her and let her sell it to whomever. But my dream director was Gus Van Sant. The agent had sent it to his office and gotten a pat rejection. But one thing my mother taught me was that No can also mean Maybe. My chance came soon. When I was interviewing John Waters for Filmmaker, Scott told me Van Sant was photographing Pitt, this new hot actor who looked like a young Leonardo DiCaprio. I wanted Gus’ attention, too, and felt jealous of anyone else who might be capturing it.
Well, like a dorky dream-come-true tv movie, folks I knew and even people I didn’t passed Gus my book, and we eventually became good friends. He wanted to make Sarah into his next film and took me under his wing for a number of other projects.
But there was still Mike Pitt. Gus and he weren’t involved, but they hung out a lot. And I know how it is on the street when the old boy is trying to get rid of the new boy. Gus gave Mike Sarah. I waited to hear how Mike was going to dis me. "You have to make this film!" Gus told me Mike urged him. Hearing that changed the rules. This isn’t the street, and Mike ain’t trying to keep out the new bitch, and Gus sure ain’t no pimp.
So we drink and eat from a special tasting menu. Even though the dishes are preset, so you’d think they have them ready, they make us wait about 20 minutes for each small dainty taste. Meanwhile, we talk about films, like Hedwig; Mike’s other film, Bully, by Kids director Larry Clark; and My Own Private Idaho, and how amazing River Phoenix was. I am startled to be privy to juicy bits of insider Hollywood gossip.
Mike moves constantly in his chair, playfully aggressive like a dog pulling on a choker collar. Gus and I sit quietly while Mike leans forward to speak with seductive command. We have come to rely on the bread attendant, with his soldierly demeanor, asking us if we care for some bread. Then, if we signify with an auction bidder’s nod, his silver tongs descend and he elegantly appoints a slab to our bread plates. On one of his trips, after one bottle is gone and a second is being worked on, he makes the rounds. When he approaches Mike, he says, "Yeah," glances backwards and, as if doing a breaststroke, reaches into the tray with his hand and snags his own bread swiftly. The bread assistant is so appalled by the Mike Pitt etiquette breach Gus says he thinks the man will faint. I laugh so hard I spray wine out of my nose.
For the rest of the evening, the bread man will not return. When we request bread, a different man serves us, but stands back as if flinging food into a lion’s den.
After more waiting, they bring out some amazing combo of science and culinary arts. But it is too small, and we are too hungry. Speedie, in her thick Cockney, dares Mike to lick his plate–a challenge he gleefully accepts. Gus humorously hangs his head. Mike smiles mischievously at me. I feel my face heat up.
Earlier that evening, when we picked Mike and Gus up, I had sat in the back of the car, next to Mike. Gus and Mike each gave me a gift. Gus gave me a book, neatly wrapped. Mike gave me a bundle enclosed in newsprint. It contained a sexy little white baby doll with green piping and matching panties, an honor bar-size bottle of gin, and a single squashed red rose. I gave Mike a Scottish necklace called a Glasgow Rose. And I gave Gus Fairy Stones that figure in my next book, The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things. Mike kissed me thanks; his lips were soft, like the cliched overstuffed pillows. We drove them around San Francisco (Mike had never been). We drove to the top of Twin Peaks. But all I could think about was our thighs touching and him looking at me all the way to the restaurant.
I escape into the women’s bathroom and put on glossy maroon lipstick. When I come back, everyone comments on how pretty I look. I can only look down after I catch Mike staring at me with his blue-eyed dead stare and it makes me feel like the inside of a Gummi bear. I am unnerved and spill my creamed lobster soup, and scream out of surprise. Trying to right my bowl, I almost knock Gus’ wine on him. Staff surrounds me with long white napkins. I catch a woman, wearing an elaborate bun so tightly pulled back that the ends of her eyes have a vaguely Asian cast, tsking. Again, I am reminded I am an interloper. Gus gives me a warm, reassuring smile. He is the bridge to this world and the soother when soup is spilled, soiling expensive linen.
Mike flees out to smoke and I follow. As we are exiting, he grabs one of the graceful porcelain candles at the host’s station to light his cigarette. The staff members stationed there gasp and lunge for the candle. "It’s cool, just getting a light, man," Mike assures them, like James Dean with the lit cig hanging from his puffy bottom lip.
We run out laughing, feeling released by the wind, the cold freedom of outside, The Street. I had sent Mike a raccoon penis bone (the talisman that is featured prominently in Sarah), and Gus took a picture of him modeling it for my website (www.jtleroy.com). Mike and I bonded over many conference calls with Gus, or just me and him, hanging out talking. I had been nervous to meet Mike, but he knew me from all our conversations. The night before we met, he had said to me in his New York-New Jersey tough accent, like on The Sopranos, that when used in its protective tones feels like the safest place in the world to exist inside of, "Don’t worry, I know, you’re delicate, I know."
We stand by the bushes, where he lights me with his cigarette. It’s chilly, so we move closer. Speedie comes out to join us. She’s carrying Gus’ camera and asks us to snuggle up. Mike puts his arm around me and pulls me in close. She asks Mike to kiss me so she can take pictures of it. Mike leans over, his lips a dizzying mix of smoke and wine. He kisses me, sweetly and tenderly. Afterward, I can’t make eye contact. "You okay?" he leans over to me as we head back in. I nod small. He gives me a playful push and we stumble up the stairs, gulping final drags under the disapproving headmaster gaze of the keeper of the restaurant gates.
After four hours, the meal was finally over. Mike announces loudly he wants to get burritos. But everyone else says they are full. Gus gets the bill and it is $940 with the tip. Everyone except Gus gasps. Mike eyes the pretty candle I kept reaching out to unconsciously. Speedie keeps batting my hand away, knowing my draw to fire, things that burn, till finally she extinguishes it. Mike holds my gaze and, as only someone with much practice can, smoothly disappears the candle up his sleeve. "Gus bought this too, $940! Man, we should’ve got burritos!"
We leave showered with thanks from the staff, our coats in their respective states held out for us. On the street, Mike searches his pockets for a cigarette. Realizing he has none, he calls out to two young dotcom-looking guys walking past, "Yo, got a cigarette?" He asks with the rights of one who has been on the street and knows certain personal property is communal.
They stop and grudgingly hand him one. "Got a light?" They don’t answer; they are the types that would never stop for a beggar, and here they are serving one that offered no groveling gratitude. They were tricked into it by the command, the camaraderie offered in Mike’s tone. Mike perceives their indisposition and bristles, "What?!" The body language is fast and unconscious, it is boys at war. Mike steps forward and the dotcoms retreat rapidly out of self-preservation. These are not boys used to street challenges. But once they are a safe two body lengths away, they half turn back with fiery expressions, an attempt to reclaim their manhood lost in this skirmish. But Mike has turned from them already and is greedily smoking up their cigarette, with a light from Speedie. Shaking his head he tells me, "I always give anyone a cigarette." It is an unwritten rule, a rare kindness of the street, and to break it is inexcusable. The disturbance it has caused in Mike is indicative of how much the street is still with him.
The valet brings us our car and we pile in. In the back, Mike turns to me and lets the bulge from his sleeve slide out like a snake regurgitating. "Here, this is for you," offering the purloined candle. For the first time, he notices the cigarette burns on my hands and wrists. "I have those too." He smiles and places his hands on my lap and looks at me as something passes between us–I have scars too.
Days later, after he has returned to the L.A. set of a Sandra Bullock film he is making and I think I am long forgotten, he calls to read to me from his notebook. He has been writing about me: "Blue hair and hard eyes and warm thighs in gray corduroys resting against mine in the backseat of this car."
"I like your scars, Mike," I tell him.
Bedroom Interview with Mike Pitt - J.T. LeRoy (nerve.com)
Mike Pitt is boyishly sexy, like a young Marlon Brando with a generous dose of Leo DiCaprio, pre-Titanic. That is what turned Pitt into a teen's wet dream for the season he spent on Dawson's Creek. But before the adolescent fandom world could claim him, he quit to make films that would discourage those ready to plaster him on the cover of Teenbeat. From a scene stealing part in Gus Van Sant's Finding Forrester to his role as Tommy Gnosis in John Cameron Mitchell's Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Pitt proves he has the ability onscreen to enthrall. It's the way he blows smoke out of the side of his mouth, as if blessing the wind. The way he carries himself, with the outward confidence of a street tough and the inner vulnerability of your average nineteen year old. He seems constantly on the edge of unraveling, as if using all his strength to nobly protect a fragile rose. But he usually succeeds at keeping it together and unraveling those around him instead — like he did me in the following interview. —J.T. Leroy J.T. Leroy: Okay, the tape recorder is on. Where's your favorite place to make love?
Mike Pitt: I don't think I have a favorite place to make love.
JT: Do you prefer it on the floor or on the bed?
Mike: I do like it on the floor, only because it seems like you can get in there better. But sometimes on the bed you can get good leverage too, because it's high off the ground and you can be hanging off of it.
JT: So, you're staying in a lot of hotels because you're filming a Sandra Bullock movie right now called Fool Proof. Do you worry that the maids are aware of your sexual habits?
Mike: Yeah, I'm always worried because every night they have to replace the body lotion but not the shampoo and conditioner. I always wonder if they know I'm jerking off with it.
JT: Do you just leave them a big tip or something?
Mike: Yeah, I actually do give them a big tip, only because they put up with it a lot. I'm really dirty.
JT: When was the first time you masturbated?
Mike: About fifth grade, in CCD class. I was always really bored, so I would go to the bathroom and try to masturbate. I thought masturbation was fake, I thought everyone was just kidding about it because nothing would happen for me, nothing would come out. But I would just do it anyway. I remember there was a crucifix right over the toilet. Then finally one time, all of a sudden, it just went off and I couldn't believe it. It was all over my hand so I tasted it, because, you know, I was just a kid and I was curious. After it happened, I was like, Oh my God, I'm doing this all the time.
JT: How did it taste?
Mike: It tasted like, you know, like how it tastes. I know you know what semen tastes like.
JT: Yeah, I know.
Mike: I remember walking back into class and they were talking about the word of God.
JT: And you had just discovered it!
Mike: Yeah, I did. I didn't feel guilty at all. I thought, Wow, maybe God isn't so bad.
JT: Well, in the play that you got discovered in, Trestle at Pope Lick Creek by Naomi Wallace, you had to jerk off, right? And you masturbate in Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Do you ever worry that you'll be known as the Jerk-Off Boy?
Mike: No, I think to worry about something like that would probably cause it to happen in some way. I'm not really modest when it comes to sex stuff. If there's a reason to do it in the story, then I do it. I feel like I'm in a great position to show people that things that aren't necessarily "normal" are okay. We're so uptight as Americans. I think just showing that you're comfortable doing those things, stuff rubs off — no pun intended.
JT: Did your mother come and see the play where you were whacking it?
Mike: Yeah, they did. They said that they liked it, but you could tell that they were kind of weirded out. I got weirded out during a Sunday show where all these senior citizens got in for free — and they really didn't know what they were going to see. The whole front row was old ladies.
JT: Oh my God.
Mike: My face was literally a few feet away from them.
JT: Were you wearing clothes?
Mike: Yeah, I was wearing clothes. Well, they were half on and half off.
JT: Well, what did they think?
Mike: I don't know, my eyes were closed. But they were really loud. I remember this one lady saying, "What's he doing? Agnes, what's he doing?"
JT: Did Agnes answer? "He's whackin' it, Ethel."
Mike: No, or at least I didn't hear.
JT: So how do you feel about being turned into a sex symbol? You know, with men and women falling in love with you, like the way they do with Brad Pitt. How do you deal with that?
Mike: I don't think I'm considered one right now. But I think if it happens and starts getting in the way of doing things that are important, there are ways to fix that. Like Johnny Depp. He was a sex symbol and he totally turned it around. And you can tell it was a conscious choice, you know? It wasn't something that just blindly happened. He was kind of forcing people to look at him the way he wanted them to see him. I admire that.
JT: Yep. Um . . . You're a very romantic kind of guy.
Mike: Yeah?
JT: Yeah, you don't think you are? You strike me as really tender.
Mike: Thanks.
JT: I find you very sweet, very tender, very sensitive.
Mike: [Very quietly] Yeah, well I find you the same way.
JT: Well, now you're making me blush. [Laughs] But like . . . I mean . . . I guess . . . So, when you're . . . Oh gosh . . . Rewind! [J.T. stumbles, turns off the tape recorder and turns it back on.]
Mike: Wow, that was easy.
JT: What? To get me flustered? Well, the thing that's intense about you is when you're with someone, you're very much with them. You've got an intensity of focus with them, like what you bring to your work.
Mike: [Quietly] It depends on the person.
JT: What makes the difference?
Mike: I don't know, like good people and bad people.
JT: I mean in a romantic sense . . . Are you always intense with someone you're with?
Mike: No. It's not as one-sided as you think it is. I think I give off what's given.
JT: Kind of like acting in a scene and rising to the level of others?
Mike: Oh, let's not talk about acting.
JT: Is it easier to talk about sex?
Mike: Yeah, I guess.
JT: So you have very sensitive nipples?
Mike: Oh, God. I have weird-looking nipples. I have girl nipples.
JT: 'Cause they're so sensitive?
Mike: No, 'cause they're so girly. 'Cause they're kind of big.
JT: Well, I think that's really sexy. You don't like them?
Mike: I don't really like 'em; some people like 'em.
JT: I think the combination of your lips and your nipples is going to make the gay community just totally fall in love with you.
Mike: Well, what about the straight community?
JT: Well, the girls will love you too. Take River Phoenix: he was somebody that girls loved, men loved and he didn't really give a fuck what people thought. He was so fucking great. Like Martha Plimpton said, River would just fall in love with people's souls and it didn't matter what sex they were. You know, that's so great in a world where people constantly have to define themselves. Like Tom Cruise always denying that he's gay.
Mike: Well, I think that's more about being secure. I look at River as someone who was really secure about himself.
JT: Do you get fan mail?
Mike: My mom gets the fan mail for my role on Dawson's Creek. I didn't like to read and respond to them because it always depressed me for some reason. I went from doing theater where adults would come up to me and tell me I gave a really incredible performance, to having twelve year olds sending me mail saying, "I think you're hot." It got really hard for me to play the game, to pretend like it mattered, because I felt like I was lying to people by doing it. But my mom gets a kick out of it for some reason. She tells me she gets all these letters from guys in jail.
JT: That's hot. Do you answer the letters from jail?
Mike: Well, my mom's kind of sweet and gullible. She's sending them headshots.
JT: How do you feel about being the San Quentin Pin-Up Boy?
Mike: I feel like I probably shouldn't get arrested.
JT: That's a good answer. So you're not answering twelve-year-old girls, but you're answering these hard and fast criminals?
Mike: No, my mom answers everyone. She's still doing it and I ask her, "Mom, what are you doing this for? It's all little girls asking things like, What's my favorite color?" And she says, "Yes, but that's important, that's important stuff."
JT: Do you think Hedwig is really going to change your life? People really, really love it.
Mike: I don't know if it'll change my life, but I hope people will like it. Your life doesn't really change.
JT: Well, it does if you get really famous and you can't walk outside. I know how you like to ride the trains.
Mike: Yeah, but a lot of times I see people looking at me, but they don't say anything because I'm on the subway too, coming home from work or whatever.
JT: Do a lot of teenage girls recognize you?
Mike: They did when I was on Dawson's Creek. It was really, really fucked up, 'cause you feel like a circus clown. They'll literally just start screaming and pointing at you, like you're a three-headed donkey.
JT: And for them it's not even you, it's what you represent. Speaking of representations, is Tommy Gnosis, your character in the movie who falls in love with the transsexual Hedwig, bisexual?
Mike: I don't know; I didn't play him that way. I played him as a straight kid who just fell in love with someone. I felt like he fell in love with her the first time he saw her. I could have played him gay or bisexual, but I thought he'd be more interesting if he was straight and there was nothing he could really do about it because he had already fallen in love.
JT: I think that's absolutely perfect. I think that's a lot more interesting. When a straight guy falls in love, he can't help it, despite the situation or who the person is . . . Just one last question. What's the most erogenous part of your body?
Mike: What's "erogenous" mean?
JT: You know, what has the most sexy feeling, what's most sensitive. What part of your body feels the most incredible when somebody touches it?
Mike: It really depends on the person. My lower back. That's really weird, but I really like my lower back being touched. That's horrible.
JT: Why is that horrible?
Mike: It just seems like a really unexciting way to end an interview.
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2020.07.07 18:58 FREDDEGRAN They slayer. sequel to the guardian series by fredrik granström

THE SLAYER by fredrik granström https://www.reddit.com/freddegranwritecomments/hcc2l1/the_guardian_part_1_chapter_15_by_fredrik/
CHAPTER 1: EVERY END IS A NEW BEGINNING
-Norway has people starving and furthermore big kraken’s (giant octopuses) are sinking their fishermen’s ship… Tor was interrupted by some asshole
-They should kill the krakens then; they will have plenty to eat then. The crowd erupted in laughter.
-Very funny and you and your one arm are going to kill those big fuckers then? Nils put the one-armed old man in his place.
-You little shit! You only got one arm yourself, do you jerk your dick with that robot arm? I suspect you think you are so awesome now that you have become slayer let me tell you something…
-Fuck no! You will not tell my best friend anything you old, hating, ugly, jealous and useless fool.
Nicklas stopped the old man in his tracks.
-Me and my friend here Nicklas, The Slayer with ice-powers both lost our arms battling demon not by stealing as you did. Also, I don’t have to jerk my own dick I sleep with my angel girlfriend Elina.
- That’s right! You should be happy that Nicklas closed the hellgate he and Nils almost lost their life by becoming slayers. Ivana told the dusty old man.
-Yeah, yeah I know and now we have two new slayers I hope they are not demons like the last two David or Damian the son of the devil, and the so-called Robert the dark slayer who knows who he really is…
-Well, we know for sure that Robert is half angel and he helped us in the last battle, he is probably in hell right now fighting to stop lord Damian.
-Or helping him! The old man interrupted again.
-Robin! I had enough of your talking rude and interrupting let the slayers have our meeting. Alicia shut him down, she who once had been the most beautiful of all women, but now looked like a burned marshmallow after a fire attack from the demon gargos.
-Oh, shut your fucking face, you slut, you dumb-bitch, you demon fucker, you…
-GUARDS! PUT THIS MAN IN A CELL! Alicia shouted in anger.
The guards took the old thief away, ending his interruptions once and for all.
-Let me continue then, Krakens giant sea-beasts in the sea outside of Norway, we must send slayers there but first we must close the hellgate at the burned school, that fucking demonic dragon burned it to the ground killing all students and teachers but we killed that motherfucker and the slayers and guardians ate his heart to become stronger, its meat will feed the hungry in this castle, many are dead but people from all across the country is flocking to live here, the dragons bones will be made into powerful armors and weapons. There is trolls in the woods of Finland, the burned country is ruled by dragons, the demons are fighting for power in the devils country and the east is plagued by the horseman of apocalypse pestilence.
-Okay, I will take Nicklas, Elina and Ivana in the tank and close the hellgate outside of the school first then we will be going to Norway. Nils said.
Nils were driving in the tank.
-So, we are going to the school? Elina asked her boyfriend.
-Yes, my love but first we must take a detour at the house that does not exist, I got the dark armor with me, we need to find a dwarf at the highest mountain in the world.
They arrived outside of the house that does not exist all of them exited the tank and were walking towards the house… when out of the bushes came a demon holding a huge dark demonic looking blade.
-I got a demon blade! The demon screamed. Nils lifted his revolver and put six shot in him.
-I don’t give a fuck I rather have a gun then a sword even if it is a magic one. Elina summoned a rock and placed it above the sword hiding it.
-I guess it works like an angel blade. Ivana asked.
-Yes, but instead of only an angel being able to touch it only a demon can touch it, or that is my guess at least. Nicklas told her.
-Fuck! I remember Robert stood here “guarding” the tank when we went inside. Nils remembered.
-That’s right! But it was because he was a demon and cannot enter the house, he really fooled us all. Elina said.
-But we do need someone to watch the tank while we are inside. Ivana joined the conversation.
Out of the house came the gigantic colossus, it was the size of the statue of liberty.
-I guess since Merlin cannot go outside the house, he sends this big colossus to watch out.
-That makes sense! Enough talk I want to go inside. Elina was curious.
Damian watched through his window from hell, I guess Lucius failed but you will not fail me hunter.
-I will never fail, slayers slay demons and hunters hunt slayers I will end Nils and my brother`s life said Gunnar the dead guardian with his eyes burning with fire.
CHAPTER 2: THE WORLDS TALLEST MOUNTAIN
-Welcome young guardians and slayers. Merlin the techno-mancer wizard welcomed them with a robot by his side, silver in color and the size of a human child of 13-14 years old.
-Hey! Wassup, long time no see.
Nils greeted the wizard.
-I am good, and see that you are to, this robot is Asimov, you must be hungry and thirsty, Asimov fetch my guests some nutrition.
I see that you have leveled up since last time we saw each other, this one is for you, young slayer Merlin handed Nils a bracelet.
This bracelet is enhanced with magic, it will show you when demons are nearby and how many.
-Cool, it will surely be very useful. Said Nils gratefully.
- And you, young slayer this is for you. Merlin gave Nicklas a hand grenade, white in color with a cross on top as the sprint.
-Is this really? Nicklas asked.
-Well, yes indeed! It’s the holy hand grenade only use it in extreme danger, this is the only one in the world and its extremely powerful.
-Thanks, old man! But what do you have for us girls? Ivana asked.
-Hahaha! Plenty, but you are not yet slayers, are you? So, wait your turn and I am only a few thousand years old, thank you.
-Wow are you really that old? Elina asked impressed.
-I told you I am NOT old, a wizard is sensitive about his age, stop this now please. Asimov entered the scene.
-Dinner is served. And it was the all feasted together with an all you can eat buffet, drinks included.
-So now I guess its off to the hallway of one thousand doors to find a door that leads to the highest mountain in the world so you can find this dwarf so he can make a sword for Nils?
-Yes, but how did you know? Nils asked confused.
-A wizard knows what he needs to know, enough talk now let`s go and find this doorway.
They stood before a giant door made from stone.
-I guess this is it Nicklas said.
-Fuck, I remember last time we were here, and that succubus demon showed me my dream life, I almost wanted to stay there forever. Elina kissed Nils.
-Succubus are such fucking bitched, let’s kill them all.
And you cannot live in a dream you got me and your real friends here.
-I know my love. Now let`s go I am interested to meet this dwarf and get a awesome sword.
After entering the doors of stone, they arrived atop mount Everest, the world’s highest mountain.
The saw a two story house a small fat dwarf with a long beard and a huge silver axe hanging on his back he was standing near a hellgate companioned by a big man bigger than any normal man should be, he also had one tiny fairy flying around healing the wounds of the enormous man.
-Hey! Where did you come from? I am Ulfrik the last of the dwarves, and a master weapons smith, the half giant is my helper boy Rikard but he is not much of a talker, and the fairy she is called Zelda, such an unlucky fate I am the last of my kind and the only woman up here is the size of my middle finger, but I see you brought not just one but two girls, young and attractive both of em…
-Don’t even think about it you fat pervert! Nils told the dwarf.
-Yes, I am taken. Elina told the dwarf and kissed Nils on his mouth.
-And I am too Ivana kissed Nicklas to prove her point.
- It seems like I have met a horrible fate, two girls and both taken, the gods sure are cruel.
-Stop your whining dwarf, I need you to make a sword out of the pieces of this armor. Nils handed the dwarf Roberts broken armor.
-Is this really? The dark armor worn by the dark slayer Robert ?
-Yes, it is. Nils told Ulfrik the dwarf.
-This armor holds immense power, but I will try my best and forge a powerful sword out of it.
And all day and all night the dwarf worked on forging the blade, the team woke up, the dwarf greeted them but did not stop working.
-There is food and drinks for your breakfast I keep a small farm here, a few egg laying chickens, some pigs and even a cow for milking. The half giant and much of a talker but he is good at helping around here.
The team ate a fine meal and the giant and the fairy joined in, the dwarf kept working and did not stop.
-Now it’s time to get ready, those demons usually comes around this time, my boy Rikard will be standing guard as usually and maybe the two girls should join in? Usually there is only one demon but I think they know there is more guardians here and they might send three demons to fight you lot.
-Well we are ready! Elina said.
-Damn straight! Let’s send them demons back to hell. Ivana said.
Rikard the giant said nothing as usual instead he just beat his chest like a gorilla.
-I will help and heal your wounds, the fairy Zelda added to the conversation.
The team went outside and were met with three glowing circles, the all caught fire and out of the flames came forward three ugly demons a pig one, a snake man and a giant fly, stinking and surrounded by smaller flies.
CHAPTER 3: A GIRL BECOMES A SLAYER
-I am Napoleon the pig demon said.
-You are roasted bacon piggy! Ivana responded sending a fireball at the pig. The pig started burning and running around screaming in pain.
-It smells like burnt pork! Elina joked and Ivana joined her in laughter.
-Ssssss-top your laughing guardian-ssss the snake demon extended his long neck like a anaconda, coming towards Ivana with big fangs filled with venom.
-Why the fuck do I always get the snakes one! I fucking hate snakes and stop with the ssss-es don’t talk like a snake talk like a person you stupid fucker.
The snake was going straight for her neck, Ivana was struggling to keep its disgusting head away with both arms keeping its jaws from closing. It dripped venom on the girls neck she could feel the burning pain.
-Aaaaargh! Ivana screamed in pain, at the same time the young girl put her thumbs inside the ugly demons’ eyes. Now the snake demon to was screaming in pain too. Ivana took out a dagger and stabbed at the demon’s head.
It was wiggling its long neck around, but Ivana hold its head and kept stabbing it one, two, three times before finally hitting the sweet spot the demons brain, killing it. Meanwhile Elina the angel was attacking the burned pig demon with her spear the piggy was running around trying to avoid her spear stabs, Ivana threw a dagger in Napoleon the pig demons fat stomach.
-That will stop the fat little fucker in his tracks! Ivana shouted and it did. The pig stopped for just a few second but that was enough for Elina to stab the piggy through his back coming out his belly.
-Fuuuuck! Im the mighty napoleon I rule all animals on the farm, this is no way to treat a man of such a high stature as myself…
-But it is a way to treat fresh meat, Elina ended the pigs sentence and a swift stroke from her sword ended the pigs life and claimed its head.
-I am so fucking awesome! Elina shouted.
-A winner is you Ivana responded a vampiregirl lives long and she could still remember the ages of memes even if Elina had no idea what she was talking about.
-Huh? What? Elina the sexy blonde young girl was confused.
-Never mind! Ivana the dark-haired vampire girl responded.
At the same time all of this shit was going on the half giant Rikard was busy fighting the fly demon beezelbub.
-I am lord of the flies! The giant insect spoke. It sent an arm of flies at the fairy, Zelda familiar of the giant.
-Fairy shot! Shot! Shot! The tiny fairy summoned three pathetically weak attacks, not strong enough to hurt a man, merely tickle him, but strong enough to kill three flies.
Rikard the half giant swatted a swarm of flies with his right hand killing a bunch of them before attacking the boss fly.
-Raaaargh! The dimwitted half giant screamed in fury as he attacked the lord of flies. It grabbed the human sized fly demon and ripped both of it wings of, the demon screamed in pain as it fell to the ground, Rikard stomped in its chest several times, cracking it ribcage, and then began to jump on it, ultimately stopping its screaming, and then ripped its head of its neck and smashed it in his hands.
-That take cares of that. Ivana said triumphant, but she was wrong, dead wrong.
The snake demon was in fact a two headed snake, and it took its tail/head and wrapped it around her body, strangling her like a boa constrictor, she felt how she could not move her body, and how the grip of the giant snake got tighter, and tighter, its big ugly head began swallowing the girl whole, starting with her head.
She could feel its venomous fangs biting into her body, filling her with venom. She could feel her heart beating, slower and slower…
She muttered…
-B-ba-BALEFIRE! And ignited the snake demon from inside, killing it instantly in the most painful way. Ivana closed her eyes and collapsed.
CHAPTER 4: THE DARK BLADE
-Ivana! Nicklas rushed to his girlfriend, he held her in his arms and could feel her heart beating, she was alive after all. He then tried to close the hell gate.
-B-blizzard… but he was still too weak.
-Shit! I still need to recover from using it at the castle.
-Fuck that! We will deal with freezing the hell gate later, now we must take care of Ivana.
-Yes of course, Nils help me carry her, her armor is a bit heavy.
They got Ivana to the dwarfs house, undressed her and put her to bed.
-I am trying my best to heal hear, but I can only heal her bitemarks, not the sickness form the venom in her body.
-Okay, I got one idea! Elina cut her arm and let her blood drip into the holy grail mixing her angel blood with the potion in it.
-Now drink this, Elina handed Ivana the holy grail and the vampire girl kept drinking, and drinking, emptying the whole cup.
-Mm-m, I love the taste of angel blood. Ivana said.
-What the fuck! Elina began to laugh. Now try this.
-Angelic healing! Elina casted a healing spell.
-Oh wow! I am feeling all better now. Thanks a lot! Ivana hugged her blonde friend and kissed her on the lips. Her sudden affection made Elina blush.
-You are welcome dear. Elina said and patted her vampire friend on the head.
-And now my master work is complete! Ulf-rick the dwarf weaponsmith came in holding the newly forged dark blade, made from the dark slayers armor.
Nils hold up his new blade, wow this is fucking amazing! So cool, this must be the most badass sword in the world.
-Indeed, I think it might be, Ulf-rick smiled, proud of his work.
-We must wait here for tomorrow; it seems I must recharge before I can use my blizzard-spell again.
-That’s alright with me, I enjoy some company, keep yourself busy, go out and help my boy with the animals okay?
-Sure, we will do, Nils answered the fat old dwarf man. Ivana got dressed, she was still weak from the snake’s poisonous bite, but her condition appeared to be stable, Nicklas supported his girlfriend so she would not fall, and helped her to go outside. Elina was milking the cow and Nils was petting the pig.
-I guess we could feast on that pig demon, what did he call himself Napoleon?
-I call my next dinner! Elina said.
All the friends laughed together.
-Ha-ha… ouch! It still hurts! Ivana spat blood. Nicklas hugged her and hold her in his arms comforting her.
-Well I think we should eat the demon pig and keep this piggy alive Nils said.
-I agree! Elina said. Now there is fresh milk for everyone and Rikard has some eggs from the chickens, I guess no one wants to eat the snake demon? Elina joked.
-Euuuw! Fuck that! No way! I rather die! Ivana said in anger.
-Ouch! Hurts.
-Poor choice of words. Nicklas kissed her lips. The kids locked up and saw a falling star.
-Lets, make a wish! Elina said.
-That’s easy I wish for all demons too die. Nicklas said.
-I wish to be forever with you my love. Elina kissed Nils.
-I wish for my friends to be alive forever and together. Nils said.
-I wish for the death of all sna… no! I wish for a cool armor like Elina`s Ivana made her wish.
-Grrrorghh! Rikard the mute giant also wished but no one could understand what he was trying to wish for.
The team feasted together on a nice dinner of the pig demon turned into bacon, potatoes, milk and eggs.
A red comet began falling in the night sky.
Little did they know that one of them, but only one would have their wish come true.
CHAPTER 5: The red comet
The fish boy looked up into the sky and saw a red comet falling from the sky, he was the guardian of the island, Gotland but he was not a very good one, in fact he was completely useless and worthless or so his family and friends had told him repeatedly, every guardian had one power but they did not get to choose which one, if he did he would not had chosen the one he got, “speaking with fishes” the laughed at him, fish boy the told him mockingly. He could see their ship coming back to the island, but he could also see the giant tentacles of the kraken raising over the ship, tightening its grip on it. They would learn that the fish boy controlled more than just fish.
Alicia looked out her window and saw the red comet falling down from the sky, her body was completely covered by black clothing except for a small window where her eyes were located, her eyes were they only thing that still was attractive with her unscathed from the fire unlike the rest of her body that looked like freddy Krueger that serial killer in those horror movies from the old world. The capitol did in fact have a function flatscreen tv but Alicia was tired of fictional violence, she had enough of that in real life. A black raven knocked on the window with its beak holding an envelope, she opened the envelope and read her letter it was from her sister.
Her sister Peggy, her daughter Patricia, and Pekka the slayer from Finland was all coming here with their entourage.
Alicia thought of her sister Peggy, piggy they had called her because she was fat and ugly, she had always been jealous of Alicia`s good looks but looking into the mirror with her face uncovered Alicia thought her sister had gotten her biggest wish, she would finally be the more attractive sister. Alicia covered her face again, she could not bear to look at it burnt and charred.
Looking up in the sky Elina could see a red comet falling she wondered what the meaning of it was, but she had no time to go into deeper thoughts… the hell gate was set aflame! She stood ready in her white sparkling angelic armor, angelic spear held in both hands, her sword hanging in its scabbard on her back. The half giant Rikard stood ready to his fairy familiar flying beside his face. And so todays opponents appeared, two crab men a fat one and a skinnier one both had big pincher for hands, Elina gazed at them with her blue eyes and thought they looked sharp enough to cut arms or legs off.
-I will take the fat one, you take the skinny one she told Rikard.
The crab man moved at a surprising speed for such a heavy creature, Elina struck at its chest with a quick spear jab but it did no damage to the creature, she attempted to fly to avoid the creatures attacks but she was not swift enough, she was levitating at the height of the crab mans face, but he could still grab her with his pinchers, and it did. Elina was struggling to get her long and slim legs out of the creatures deadlock but to no avail, its pinchers began to cut into her young flesh, making her legs bleed…
-Oh fuck! Hell no! She screamed in pain, the creature was attempting to cut her legs in half, but Elina had other plans, she cut the creatures left arm of with a swift sword strike, and then struck at the right arm, also cutting that one off. Blood was spurting out of the creatures cut off limbs in both sides now, covering the ground in pools of blood. She attempted to end it all with a swift sword strike to the foul creatures head, but it ducked, hiding its ugly head inside of its shell, she then instead went for its legs this time successful, in cutting both of them off leaving just two cut off stumps bleeding. The crab man was still hiding inside its shell, Elina used her stone magic to summon a boulder that size of a ten year old kid onto the demons chest, leaving it in immense pain, cracking ribs and causing internal bleeding. Meanwhile the half giant Rikard had been wrestling the skinnier crab man, he was pushing it towards the edge of a cliff now, he was holding the demons arms with his hands, holding its crab like body over the mountains top edge ready to make it fall down and being crushed… when out of nowhere it stabbed him with its pointy tail straight into the heart.
-No! Elina screamed rushing towards them. Rikard pulled the demons arms off with his big strong hands, it had only its tail holding on, stopping it from falling now, Elina cut off the tail and made it fall, it had been a scorpion demon and not a crab it fell to the ground and the scorpion was smashed on impact.
Zelda the fairy was trying to heal the half giants wound, but the poison was filling its heart, Rikards heart was pumping slower and slower.
Elina went back to the fat crab demon, it was holding its head out now, waiting for a mercy kill. Elina gave him mercy with a swift cut to the throat, making blood spurt out, covering her entire armor making it red and white in colors. Ulf-rik the dwarf was running towards the half giant, he was dying and it was no stopping it.
-You have been like a father to me Ulf-rik, for the first time in his life Rikard spoke before leaving this life behind. The dwarf’s eyes filled with tears that began running down his cheeks. They dragged his body out of the hell circle.
-Blizzard! Nicklas could finally use his most powerful ice spell to close the hell gate but using so much power caused him to faint.
Later in the evening, Nicklas was resting in his bed he was still weak from using the blizzard spell , and he had visibly aged, using the ultimate spell could kill you and it would always use up some of your life length he was now looking like the age of 21 and had began to grown a stubble beard. Ivana kissed him goodbye and followed the rest of the team outside, they had dug a grave for the half giant during the day. The dwarf had a single red rose to lay on the grave of his adopted son.
-They boy was simple minded, but I loved him like a son no less. After Ragnarök, I am the last dwarf, the last of my kind, and with the loss of my boy I am now more alone then ever.
Elina was thinking about Pontus the brave boy who had saved his life for her. Nils was feeling ashamed of the deaths of Paul and Paulina who he had caused by mistakes. Nicklas was thinking about his dead family, his father Arne, his brother Gunnar and his beloved mother Teres.
And then the stone doors opened.
It appeared the team was finished with their business atop the world’s tallest mountain.
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2020.07.07 15:20 efa___ I Read It So You Don't Have To: Class with the Countess (by LuAnn de Lesseps)

After my most recent adventure through the topsy-turvy mind of Kelly Bensimon in I Can Make You Hot!, it seems only fitting that my next literary endeavor provides a complementary perspective on self-improvement from another of RHONY's most erudite minds. That's right -- I extend to you all a most cordial invitation to join me as I master the fine art of manners with the queen of compunction herself, Countess LuAnn de Lesseps, in her debut literary work, Class with the Countess: How to Live with Elegance and Flair.
Looking at the book's cover, I immediately feel a warm sense of reassurance as my eyes light upon the weighty gold chain hanging pendulously off of LuAnn's neck, a dozen jewel-toned baubles dangling haphazardly and drawing my attention away from the slight hint of cleavage exposed by her fitted salmon scoop-neck. It is 2009 again, and I am eager to return -- at least for the next 258 pages -- to a simpler time. A time when the Black Eyed Peas reigned, a year when the VMAs were Kanye's biggest controversy, an era when LuAnn de Lesseps was still rightfully titled with her well-deserved Countess honorific.
And possibly a time before the invention of sarcasm, if this quote on the back cover gives any indication. It would take a lot to convince me that this review was given with anything less than complete ironic disdain. I could have copied it word-for-word into my own book report and no one would have been the wiser.
"Being an extremely low-born and gauche person, I rely heavily on the Countess for tips on good manners and etiquette. She has also taught me how to be more sassy and alluring." -- Simon Doonan, author of Eccentric Glamour
A hearty cheers to you, Simon Doonan, although it feels a bit unsettling to be shown up so early in my journey. Nevertheless, I must admit that I'm eager to learn how I myself can become more sassy and alluring, so I open to the Introduction ("How Does a Countess Come to Be on Reality TV?") and begin to read. LuAnn begins by sharing with us the reason she felt so compelled to write the volume I hold before me:
Since the first season of The Real Housewives of New York City began to air, I have been deluged with e-mails and letters asking my advice on everything from what to wear to knowing what to say, from table manners to how to radiate confidence.
I steadfastly refuse to believe that there is even one single person in the world who wrote out the question "How do I radiate confidence?" on a physical piece of paper and proceeded to the nearest mailbox to mail that letter to the only person they believed could possibly answer the enclosed query with any modicum of finesse, the inimitable Countess LuAnn de Lesseps. Let alone anything close to a "deluge" of them. But I digress.
LuAnn promises that she will share with us her "distinctive advice on how to navigate our sometimes rude world with elegance," but first explains briefly how she came to be the reality TV megastar she is today. As someone who has "always been daring and adventurous," LuAnn needed little convincing when Jill Zarin suggested she might be interested in filming. She explains her most compelling motivation as such:
First, I wanted the history of the de Lesseps family to be better known in the United States. They are so respected in Europe and little known here. From building the Suez Canal to presenting the Statue of Liberty to the United States for the French, their international contributions have been exemplary and deserve more recognition in my own country.
LuAnn continues by bemoaning that "we are constantly assaulted by offensive, coarse, selfish behavior." Examples of this brazen incivility include such unimaginable horrors as "the enthusiastic chewing of gum in public" and "the sight of jeans and running shoes at the theater or opera." As one might expect from someone who has endured such torment and come out the other side standing tall, our author assures us that her tale "is an entertaining and, I hope, inspiring story." We are reminded once again that LuAnn attributes her success to "my penchant for being daring and open to new possibilities," and she briefly opines about how delightful Italy is, because "even young boys knew how to appreciate a woman." With a few concluding words ("I hope that imparting the experiences and lessons I have learned will help you to live a richer, more satisfying life -- one animated by a profound joie de vivre."), we finish the Introduction and begin Part One: "The Art of Being Yourself (in Any Situation)."
LuAnn thoughtfully begins the chapter with photographic proof of her qualifications -- specifically, this nonchalant snapshot of our good-taste guru "being myself in Capri." She remarks, in a passage titled "Confidence is the Key,"
I have to confess: I was born confident. Being a shrinking violet was never my style.
As someone with a clinically diagnosed anxiety disorder, I feel confident endorsing the utility of the following cutting-edge tips that LuAnn offers up as "Quick Confidence Boosters:"
Reminder: No one is perfect.

Don't take yourself too seriously.

Pump yourself up with positive thinking.
I wish I'd purchased this book two years ago -- I could have saved a boatload in therapy bills. But at this point, all I can do is move forward, committed to gleaning every pearl of wisdom from the tome before me (ugh, I still can't use the word tome without thinking of Simon van Kempen).
We cheerily follow LuAnn back to a story of a trip to Italy, where she met a handsome Italian man -- "like a Roman god." She continues: "we became close friends, and eventually he was my lover." A few paragraphs later, we return once more to Italy, where LuAnn wins the "Lady Universe" pageant and changes the course of her life forever. As she reflects:
I was no longer just LuAnn, I was Lady Universo! Believe it or not, this is what opened up the door for me in Europe, because the moment you have a title, any title, you are in.
It is both hilarious and entirely on-brand that LuAnn de Lesseps would gallivant around Europe calling herself a "lady" after winning a bootleg beauty pageant without, I'm sure, bothering to correct anyone who might just happen to accidentally get the wrong idea and assume she had some sort of noble heritage. Regardless, she soon got roles as a background model in a series of Italian TV shows. She recalls:
The Italians adopted me as their own. Everybody just loved the American girl. They loved showing me the ropes and expressed their enthusiasm openly. They were introducing me to everything and everybody. I'd get my derrière pinched on the bus.
My impulse to interpret this as sexual harassment (at the very least!) is clearly just a sign that I am not yet classy enough to understand the world as accurately as the Countess, and for her guidance I remain eternally grateful. Proving her cutthroat savvy, she continues her Italian saga by unceremoniously dropping her first boyfriend when "Roberto Gancia" comes along. Roberto "had a higher level of sophistication," by which LuAnn means he was very old and incomprehensibly wealthy.
The anecdote concludes and we move into another section, titled "Be Curious and Learn from Everything and Everyone." As LuAnn tells us:
I have always suspected that my profound respect for older people derives from my Native American roots. Elders are so important in Native American culture.
She also hints at her cabaret future to come with a remark that "I also love to sing -- Bette Midler comes to mind -- all kinds of music from cabaret to country rock." I suppose we should just be grateful that LuAnn didn’t pursue a Country Rock career (or perhaps disappointed?).
I'm impressed, reading the following passage, by LuAnn's dogged refusal to admit to having done anything wrong ever, even in a hypothetical scenario. As she explains;
The motivating principle in my life is to take chances without fear or hesitation. Jump on the train or you'll miss it. I live that way. I've taken chances and followed my instincts. Nothing exciting would have happened to me if I had been timid and afraid. I'd probably still be living in Connecticut. And you know what? I'd still be happy, because I choose to be.
LuAnn doesn't let us go long without another reminder of how valuable her ancestry has proven to be: "An instinctive ability to observe closely is another quality that I attribute to my Native American heritage." She rounds out the chapter by listing some of her charity efforts, described with the bizarrely stilted phrase, "we help with the orphans of Myanmar."
The next chapter ("What's Outside") opens with this picture, from LuAnn's modeling days, that I'm actually super into, as well as a description of what it means to be elegant. Perhaps I'm biased after so recently reading Kelly's book-length fever dream about HOTness, but I find the following passage comfortingly coherent:
Elegance means handling all aspects of your life with self-confidence and aplomb. Elegance has no shelf life or expiration date. Elegance is a quality that does not age. It is an aura that enchants those around you, regardless of your stage in life or your station.
LuAnn gives the personally horrifying advice that "you should start with a full-length mirror and an unforgiving magnifying mirror for your face," which is guidance I know myself well enough to only take if I would like to wake up tomorrow having fruitlessly tried to extrude every whitehead, blackhead, and hint of a pore from my tortured face. I would hazard a guess LuAnn does not have this problem, as she proceeds to make an offhanded comment about "why I love mirrors in elevators" (because she loves to look at herself, she clarifies for the confused). I can almost picture her coyly winking as she delivers the rule, "Lingerie is visible…only if you want it to be."
We are next treated to a bit of diet advice, in which LuAnn confesses:
I like the Blood Type Diet, because I think that each person actually is a carnivore or an herbivore. Since I'm Type O, I need more meat and my body craves it.
I'm somehow not even surprised that LuAnn self-identifies as a carnivore. Between this and KKB's personal definition of what "organic" should mean, I'm quickly losing hope for the nutritional savvy of the eastern seaboard. She also gives the following piece of confounding wisdom…
Try not to drink while eating -- not even water -- because digestion begins in the mouth.
…before telling us about how yoga has "saved [her] from the effects of a traumatic experience." The traumatic experience in question is a terrifying car wreck with her children, which I can only imagine would send anyone into distress. Of course, only a ingenue with LuAnn's caliber of social circle would get in such an accident while on the way "to celebrate Elle Macpherson's son's birthday in Gstaad." Alas, we must find a way to be content with our own lots in life nevertheless.
Ever the generous soul, LuAnn remarks:
If I had one wish -- after world peace and an end to poverty -- it would be for a hair and makeup person every single day.
She also gives the less-financially-privileged among us thoughtful advice about choosing "a more modest salon" or buying supersized beauty products "at the price clubs." After which she immediately proceeds to deliver the following painfully unhip line..
My break-dancing son would call it do-rag [sic] style. I call it my style.
…and promptly erodes this goodwill. She also refers to blush as "blusher," which I can only assume she's doing on purpose to sound more sophisticated and/or European. I catch myself getting more irritated than I have any right to be about the fact that LuAnn correctly stylizes the brand "Lancôme," then promptly abandons the very notion of a diacritical mark by the time "Lancome" is mentioned two pages later.
As we begin Chapter 3 ("Fashion and Style"), LuAnn immediately informs us that dressing for television is a special challenge:
For example, the tailored white shirt that is a staple for me would not vibrate on TV.
She encourages us to wear more vests ("I love vests and don't think they are used enough"), as well as to purchase "an outerwear jacket that's a cross between a biker jacket and a blazer." She unsurprisingly notes that she likes "cocktail rings and big-statement necklaces," and tells us her favorite hair ornament is "a silk flower, because they never get stale and they add a touch of drama." A list of fashion faux pas includes "Pale-Leg Syndrome" and "leggings or no leggings" (which doesn’t seem to be a faux pas so much as a set of two possible situations, but who am I to judge?).
In a unintentionally poetic line, LuAnn encourages the reader to wear low-rise thongs or panties because "we live in a low-rise society." She also gives cryptic advice to add "a witty evening purse" to jazz up a plain outfit, rounding out the first part of the book. With LuAnn's alluring silhouette guiding the way, we proceed to Part Two: "The Art of Making Other People Comfortable."
We are treated to another cheeky nod to LuAnn's imminent cabaret stardom, as she shares the following joke with the titillated remark, "being just a little bit naughty often has great appeal."
Why don't condoms come in black?
…because they make you look too thin.
She next tells us "how to make an entrance," and, to be perfectly honest, I have trouble imagining someone consciously acting through the following steps and coming off as anything but heart-wrenchingly pathetic. But I'll let you decide:
Smile and pause for just a moment. Take a deep breath to bring light into your eyes. Let your eyes sweep the room and make eye contact when possible. Chances are someone will come up to greet you. If not, who cares?
If no one greets you, enter the room in a purposeful way. It's all about vitality. If you are utterly delighted to be there, I assure you that people will take notice.
The chapter continues with LuAnn's condemnations of contemporary society and its myriad ills:
People have lost sight of the fact that some rules make life easier. "Anything goes" has resulted in an abundance of unattractive, selfish behavior that assaults our senses. The wince factor is getting higher every day.
She informs us that anyone with any sense of politeness should stand when someone is being introduced "unless you're attached to an IV," then suggests that we smooth over any awkward introductions with the inane line, "How did you pronounce your name? You say it so much better than I do." On the issue of "traditional gallant courtesies," LuAnn quips, "Why not be put on a pedestal?" Indeed, as she breezily continues, "men essentially want to please you."
A section titled "Manners on the Move" informs the reader that they can make a New York City taxi driver laugh by "[asking] him to take you to Switzerland." I can only begin to imagine how utterly knee-slapping the Manhattan cab driver community finds these kind of kooky one-liners.
At this point in my reading, I'm starting to wish I'd kept a list of the times LuAnn starts a sentence with "There is nothing worse than…" In this particular example, "there is nothing worse than the tension of bill time," but I'm positive I've already read the phrase at least a dozen times in recent memory. Before I can reflect further, however, we're on to Chapter 5 ("The Art of Conversation"), which begins with this candid snap of a savvy, on-the-go LuAnn going about her day as the epitome of effortless elegance that she is. She offers a few "fail-proof opening lines," as conversation starters, such as:
Did you get hooked on The Real Housewives of New York City? I hear they are working on another season.
…as well as a few exceptionally subtle "half-truths" to help squeak your way out of a sticky situation.
The floral pattern is beautiful, but it's so bold it makes a big statement.

The curry was so exotic. That yogurt sauce was a perfect balance to the spiciness. That was so clever of you.
She goes on to tell us that she dislikes "bad gossip," which I interpret to mean "gossip about her," before treating her readers to the story of meeting her now-husband, Alexandre Counte de Lesseps -- at a dinner party in Gstaad. She recalls, "I had met princes and princesses and an occasional king, but I had yet to encounter a count." The anecdote quickly segues into a list of dining manners, customs, and preferences. For example:
Big napkins are so chic -- for me, the bigger the napkin, the more elegant the occasion.
LuAnn goes on to provide further details on her "passion" for the napkin and its associated arts, before dropping the single most rich-people-are-wild fact of the book thus far:
I have been to opulent dinners in Europe at which each guest had a liveried servant standing behind his chair to attend to his needs.
LuAnn next guides us on what to do if "crumbs fly" while we are breaking off a piece of bread: clean them up "nonchalantly, not as if you are a busboy or waiter." Again, I assume that I would understand what this means, were I only more elegant. She also warns us of the perils associated with taking inappropriate measures to clean up a spill:
Don't try to sop up red wine with your white napkin. Ask for help. You don't want to get the reputation as "the spotter" -- you'll never get invited again.
It's just like they always say: every friend group has a spotter. And if you don't know who that spotter is, it's probably you.
LuAnn describes her "chalet" in Switzerland, as well as the profound sense of joy she found in her surroundings:
I would often sit in the middle of the living room and relish the beauty of all the things that surrounded me. It gave me a warmth and tingle inside.
I, too, have previously been brought to orgasm by a particularly fine piece of antique furniture, so I find this sentiment relatable. LuAnn next works in another nugget of unabashed self-promotion by suggesting that we grab some friends and host a party to celebrate "a Real Housewives of New York City marathon."
A few selected tidbits to make sure your next soirée is as elegant as possible:
Make sure stacks of cocktail napkins are available. Coasters are for amateurs and the uptight.

If you don't have a DJ, iPod compilations are great.

It's nice to have fresh flowers or a single rose in the bathroom.
Sure, if you'd like your bathroom to look like the castle tower from Beauty and the Beast. Otherwise, having a single red rose in your bathroom seems like something a college boy with brown sheets would do to seem romantic. We are next treated to a peek behind the curtain with LuAnn's account of one of her most humiliating moments:
Taking your shoes off can be embarrassing -- and it happened to me. I arrived at a party to find that I was expected to leave my shoes at the door. No one had told me. The nail polish on one toe was badly chipped. I got resourceful, slipped away to the restroom, and covered that toe with a Band-Aid I had in my purse. I'm glad they were the nude kind and not Mickey Mouse.
I would truly never be able to show my face again! Continuing on with general social advice, LuAnn reminds us "you have to pick and choose your fiestas." Also, with regards to tactical untruths about your plans for an evening, "be careful. You don't want to be caught in a lie. Duck if you see a photographer!" She also provides a list of ideas for hostess gifts, only one of which actually matters at all:
The complete The Real Housewives of New York City on DVD
I absolutely, beyond a shadow of a doubt believe that LuAnn gives people boxed DVD collections of her own reality show as hostess gifts, and I refuse to sway on this issue. A "checklist for the perfect guest" includes tips such as:
Participate enthusiastically in any activities suggested by the host -- party games and singing come to mind.
and
Don't change place cards or seating arrangements at a dinner -- and get caught.
The next chapter focuses on raising well-mannered children, a topic on which LuAnn requires minimal guidance (Victoria, for example, always "[seemed] older than her years"). She does, however, provide a list of "manners for playdates" written directly to a young child -- "Say hello to the adult in charge." -- presumably on the off-chance that a particularly conscientious eight year old might have stumbled into Class with the Countess unawares. How prescient!
The following passage makes me feel particularly sorry for anyone in the wider social circle of LuAnn de Lesseps:
If you can manage to keep gum out of the hands of your children, do it. Bovine chewing is really obnoxious. I was at a party with the daughter of a friend who was chewing away. I could barely stand to be next to her. Gritting my teeth, I said to her, "I don't allow my daughter to chew gum in most places. She just can't handle it. I know all girls do it, but it's better to chew gum in the car alone with the closest of family." Guess what? She took that gum out of her mouth, realizing her chewing was out of control.
If my interest in this book had waned at all, it is instantly restored as I turn the page and am greeted with this image of a sultry LuAnn de Lesseps introducing Part Three: "The Art of Seduction." I'm glad to have someone like LuAnn at the helm of this particular ship, as I'm confident she will share her unedited thoughts on the issues at hand. For instance,
I know this is a controversial statement, but I believe there are not enough Betty Boops in this world.
Revolutionary! As she continues, "when you go to the office, don't look like a man." I appreciate this advice, and have since taken the time to sew a flirty pink tutu around the waistline of my lab coat to more accurately signify my feminine wiles. But of course, before you can seduce and ensnare your target, you must find a man in the first place. Where, you may ask?
Tech shops -- damsel in distress

Long plane trips -- business and first class are the best

Upscale men's stores -- discuss ties
And if you're particularly devoted? "Consider changing your career to urban real estate."
A list of questions to ask yourself "before you make too much of an effort" includes such assorted queries as
Is he truly single?
and
Do you have to fight him for the mirror?
LuAnn goes on to inform us that:
Men are fascinated if you seem to intuit things about them. Maybe knowing his sign in astrology will give you some insight into his character. Know before you go. Google is a lifesaver.
She sprinkles in tidbits about everything from how best to leave after a one-night stand ("You could leave a note -- maybe lipstick on the bathroom mirror" ) to how to break up with someone ("Don't send an e-mail."), to how to handle a breakup with grace ("If you cry, it's okay. There is nothing wrong with making him feel guilty!"). She also recounts a time when she dressed up "like a Moroccan princess" to surprise and seduce her then-husband, the Count, before ending with advice to "leave a trail of candy and lacy lingerie up the stairs and to the boudoir for your husband to find when he returns from a business trip." I'm trying to imagine what my boyfriend would do if he came home, exhausted after a business trip, only to be met by a haphazard trail of goopy, half-melted Twix bars leading down the hallway. I can't imagine it's exactly what LuAnn had in mind.
LuAnn informs us that every morning, as soon as she gets up, she brushes her teeth and applies blush (not blusher this time!) before leaving her bedroom. She adds cryptically, "I think I have French blood -- Canadian, that is." The subsequent advice to "try to do one nice thing a day for your partner" strikes me as vaguely concerning, in the same way as people who describe their ideal partner as "honest." If I get to the point in my relationship where I need a conscious reminder to even attempt to be moderately decent to my partner at least once over the course of a twenty-four hour period, I can only hope I'll admit it's time to throw in the towel. As LuAnn continues, "Every day I try to thank Alex for something, no matter how mundane it might be. He loves it." Shocking, that someone would enjoy having their efforts acknowledged. As always, our Countess is an empath to the extreme.
More advice to keep your man happy? "Don’t criticize him." Presumably ever, under any circumstances, which seems only reasonable to me. LuAnn then suggests treating your partner like a puppy in obedience school, which I'm sure some people find highly erotic:
Make a fuss whenever he does anything thoughtful or romantic. If he sees that something he's done has made you happy, he'll do it again.
The next section begins with the line, "Your partner is not your girlfriend." I can't wait until someone finally tells LuAnn about lesbians!!
She continues with a lesson about how men are simple and practical and women are complicated and hysterical. As we all know:
Most men's idea of torture is having to listen to women chatter away amongst themselves…So don't torment your husband by going on about how you are feeing, why you are angry, or how to deal with a problem in great detail.
I want to snark on this, but honestly, it just makes me sad. Imagine having such terrible men in your life that not a single one has ever listened to you talk about something you love with anything less than utter disdain? If my boyfriend made me think, even for a moment, that it was "torment" to listen to me share my feelings about the day, I would bundle all four of my cats under my arms and bolt right out the door to embrace my inner independent Cat Lady with all appropriate haste. But LuAnn continues:
Men really are different, and it should be that way.
For example:
Forget yoga class. There is a reason the class is filled with women; men can't stretch the way women can.
Unfortunately, I don't think LuAnn is open to hearing a treatise on the plethora of cultural factors that result in certain pastimes being unnecessarily gendered and subsequently diminished under the scrutiny of an inherently sexist society, so I'll save that for another time.
In the book's final chapter, "Seduction Makes the World Go 'Round," LuAnn extends her lessons on charm and temptation beyond the bedroom into the world at large. For example:
When new neighbors move onto our street, I take them a pie to welcome them to the neighborhood. Who does that anymore -- especially in New York?
Classic Countess, am I right?! Underscoring her common, pedestrian roots, she informs us that the reason she is so comfortable around "tradespeople" is because she grew up with a father who was a contractor. She also is apparently only superficially familiar with Abrahamic religious iconography, as the following passage indicates:
Noel used to bring apples to school for his teachers. It's an old-fashioned custom. Think of Adam and Eve!
Why, exactly, we would be thinking of Adam and Eve in the context of thanking an educator remains unclear, at least for those of us who lack the elegance to intuit LuAnn's intentions. LuAnn also officially confirms her place in the Parents-All-Teachers-Despise-With-A-Burning-Fury hall of fame, as she snidely references "the point [in a parent-teacher conference] at which they make some sort of comment that indicates your child is less than perfect." The classy way to respond in this situation is, as we learn, to respond with basic human decency and -- if that fails -- "[talk] to the head of the school."
In a note about childcare, LuAnn remarks that "some nannies are so spoiled it's like having another child." She reiterates:
Remember that she's working for you. Don't cater to her every whim.
That's Mrs. de Lesseps to you, thank you very much!
LuAnn rounds out her guidance about household staff by suggesting that you give "holidays and sick days" and that you consider "[pulling] a flower from an arrangement" for your housekeeper's room. The largesse is truly beyond comprehension.
She then suggests that any of us impoverished ragamuffins who don't have doormen simply "adopt the doorman in a neighboring building for his services," kind of like how in Georgian England, wealthy estate owners used to hire ornamental hermits to live in their gardens and contribute to a general sense of idyllic ambiance.
LuAnn next turns her attention to the decorum around best friends, who she informs us can be "like a therapist, something you should never expect of your husband." Best friends can help you do tons of other things, like "edit your closet." LuAnn promptly segues into a story about a time when she was seated next to Sean Connery at a dinner party, but then rudely forced to switch places by an inconsiderate hostess. Connery, as one might expect, was "baffled and disappointed" by his misfortune. The hostess, as one also might expect, is described generously by LuAnn as "an older women [sic] -- a tad bitter and unhappy."
In the book's final passage, titled "Fund-raising," LuAnn describes her then-husband by saying, "he has a long-term vision that runs in his blood." Given that this particular long-term vision apparently did not turn out to include LuAnn, this seems an inadvertently bleak note on which to end. So we'll soldier on through the Afterword, in which The Countess remarks, "I am really the person you see on the show. The camera doesn't lie." She continues,
If you haven't already learned from watching the [sic] The Real Housewives of New York City, you'll know after having read my book that a countess is no different from anyone else.
In her final paragraph, LuAnn puts out a call for any reader feedback -- "I would love to know what you found helpful in my book and what subjects I didn’t get to that you'd like to hear about." As she tantalizingly teases, "Who knows? I had so much fun writing this book, I just might start another."
We can only hope.
submitted by efa___ to BravoRealHousewives [link] [comments]


2020.07.07 09:46 JudyGarlandFan22_ Snow White

The Original Brothers Grimm Snow White. WARNING: DARK

Once upon a time in midwinter, when the snowflakes were falling like feathers from heaven, a queen sat sewing at her window, which had a frame of black ebony wood. As she sewed she looked up at the snow and pricked her finger with her needle. Three drops of blood fell into the snow. The red on the white looked so beautiful that she thought to herself, "If only I had a child as white as snow, as red as blood, and as black as the wood in this frame."
Soon afterward she had a little daughter who was as white as snow, as red as blood, and as black as ebony wood, and therefore they called her Little Snow-White. And as soon as the child was born, the queen died.
A year later the king took himself another wife. She was a beautiful woman, but she was proud and arrogant, and she could not stand it if anyone might surpass her in beauty. She had a magic mirror. Every morning she stood before it, looked at herself, and said:
Mirror, mirror, on the wall, Who in this land is fairest of all?
To this the mirror answered:
You, my queen, are fairest of all.
Then she was satisfied, for she knew that the mirror spoke the truth.
Snow-White grew up and became ever more beautiful. When she was seven years old she was as beautiful as the light of day, even more beautiful than the queen herself.
One day when the queen asked her mirror:
Mirror, mirror, on the wall, Who in this land is fairest of all?
It answered:
You, my queen, are fair; it is true. But Snow-White is a thousand times fairer than you.
The queen took fright and turned yellow and green with envy. From that hour on whenever she looked at Snow-White her heart turned over inside her body, so great was her hatred for the girl. The envy and pride grew ever greater, like a weed in her heart, until she had no peace day and night.
Then she summoned a huntsman and said to him, "Take Snow-White out into the woods. I never want to see her again. Kill her, and as proof that she is dead bring her lungs and her liver back to me."
The huntsman obeyed and took Snow-White into the woods. He took out his hunting knife and was about to stab it into her innocent heart when she began to cry, saying, "Oh, dear huntsman, let me live. I will run into the wild woods and never come back."
Because she was so beautiful the huntsman took pity on her, and he said, "Run away, you poor child."
He thought, "The wild animals will soon devour you anyway," but still it was as if a stone had fallen from his heart, for he would not have to kill her.
Just then a young boar came running by. He killed it, cut out its lungs and liver, and took them back to the queen as proof of Snow-White's death. The cook had to boil them with salt, and the wicked woman ate them, supposing that she had eaten Snow-White's lungs and liver.
The poor child was now all alone in the great forest, and she was so afraid that she just looked at all the leaves on the trees and did not know what to do. Then she began to run. She ran over sharp stones and through thorns, and wild animals jumped at her, but they did her no harm. She ran as far as her feet could carry her, and just as evening was about to fall she saw a little house and went inside in order to rest.
Inside the house everything was small, but so neat and clean that no one could say otherwise. There was a little table with a white tablecloth and seven little plates, and each plate had a spoon, and there were seven knives and forks and seven mugs as well. Against the wall there were seven little beds, all standing in a row and covered with snow-white sheets.
Because she was so hungry and thirsty Snow-White ate a few vegetables and a little bread from each little plate, and from each mug she drank a drop of wine. Afterward, because she was so tired, she lay down on a bed, but none of them felt right -- one was too long, the other too short -- until finally the seventh one was just right. She remained lying in it, entrusted herself to God, and fell asleep.
After dark the masters of the house returned home. They were the seven dwarfs who picked and dug for ore in the mountains. They lit their seven candles, and as soon as it was light in their house they saw that someone had been there, for not everything was in the same order as they had left it.
The first one said, "Who has been sitting in my chair?"
The second one, "Who has been eating from my plate?"
The third one, "Who has been eating my bread?"
The fourth one, "Who has been eating my vegetables?"
The fifth one, "Who has been sticking with my fork?"
The sixth one, "Who has been cutting with my knife?"
The seventh one, "Who has been drinking from my mug?"
Then the first one saw a that there was a little imprint in his bed, and said, "Who stepped on my bed?"
The others came running up and shouted, "Someone has been lying in mine as well."
But the seventh one, looking at his bed, found Snow-White lying there asleep. The seven dwarfs all came running up, and they cried out with amazement. They fetched their seven candles and shone the light on Snow-White. "Oh good heaven! Oh good heaven!" they cried. "This child is so beautiful!"
They were so happy, that they did not wake her up, but let her continue to sleep there in the bed. The seventh dwarf had to sleep with his companions, one hour with each one, and then the night was done.
The next morning Snow-White woke up, and when she saw the seven dwarfs she was frightened. But they were friendly and asked, "What is your name?"
"My name is Snow-White," she answered.
"How did you find your way to our house?" the dwarfs asked further.
Then she told them that her stepmother had tried to kill her, that the huntsman had spared her life, and that she had run the entire day, finally coming to their house.
The dwarfs said, "If you will keep house for us, and cook, make beds, wash, sew, and knit, and keep everything clean and orderly, then you can stay with us, and you shall have everything that you want."
"Yes," said Snow-White, "with all my heart."
So she kept house for them. Every morning they went into the mountains looking for ore and gold, and in the evening when they came back home their meal had to be ready. During the day the girl was alone.
The good dwarfs warned her, saying, "Be careful about your stepmother. She will soon know that you are here. Do not let anyone in."
Now the queen, believing that she had eaten Snow-White's lungs and liver, could only think that she was again the first and the most beautiful woman of all. She stepped before her mirror and said:
Mirror, mirror, on the wall, Who in this land is fairest of all?
It answered:
You, my queen, are fair; it is true. But Snow-White, beyond the mountains With the seven dwarfs, Is still a thousand times fairer than you.
This startled the queen, for she knew that the mirror did not lie, and she realized that the huntsman had deceived her, and that Snow-White was still alive. Then she thought, and thought again, how she could kill Snow-White, for as long as long as she was not the most beautiful woman in the entire land her envy would give her no rest.
At last she thought of something. Coloring her face, she disguised herself as an old peddler woman, so that no one would recognize her. In this disguise she went to the house of the seven dwarfs. Knocking on the door she called out, "Beautiful wares for sale, for sale!"
Snow-White peered out the window and said, "Good day, dear woman, what do you have for sale?"
"Good wares, beautiful wares," she answered. "Bodice laces in all colors." And she took out one that was braided from colorful silk. "Would you like this one?"
"I can let that honest woman in," thought Snow-White, then unbolted the door and bought the pretty bodice lace.
"Child," said the old woman, "how you look! Come, let me lace you up properly."
The unsuspecting Snow-White stood before her and let her do up the new lace, but the old woman pulled so quickly and so hard that Snow-White could not breathe.
"You used to be the most beautiful one," said the old woman, and hurried away.
Not long afterward, in the evening time, the seven dwarfs came home. How terrified they were when they saw their dear Snow-White lying on the ground, not moving at all, as though she were dead. They lifted her up, and, seeing that she was too tightly laced, they cut the lace in two. Then she began to breathe a little, and little by little she came back to life.
When the dwarfs heard what had happened they said, "The old peddler woman was no one else but the godless queen. Take care and let no one in when we are not with you."
When the wicked woman returned home she went to her mirror and asked:
Mirror, mirror, on the wall, Who in this land is fairest of all?
The mirror answered once again:
You, my queen, are fair; it is true. But Snow-White, beyond the mountains With the seven dwarfs, Is still a thousand times fairer than you.
When she heard that, all her blood ran to her heart because she knew that Snow-White had come back to life.
"This time," she said, "I shall think of something that will destroy you."
Then with the art of witchcraft, which she understood, she made a poisoned comb. Then she disguised herself, taking the form of a different old woman. Thus she went across the seven mountains to the seven dwarfs, knocked on the door, and called out, "Good wares for sale, for sale!"
Snow-White looked out and said, "Go on your way. I am not allowed to let anyone in."
"You surely may take a look," said the old woman, pulling out the poisoned comb and holding it up. The child liked it so much that she let herself be deceived, and she opened the door.
After they had agreed on the purchase, the old woman said, "Now let me comb your hair properly."
She had barely stuck the comb into Snow-White's hair when the poison took effect, and the girl fell down unconscious.
"You specimen of beauty," said the wicked woman, "now you are finished." And she walked away.
Fortunately it was almost evening, and the seven dwarfs came home. When they saw Snow-White lying on the ground as if she were dead, they immediately suspected her stepmother. They examined her and found the poisoned comb. They had scarcely pulled it out when Snow-White came to herself again and told them what had happened. Once again they warned her to be on guard and not to open the door for anyone.
Back at home the queen stepped before her mirror and said:
Mirror, mirror, on the wall, Who in this land is fairest of all?
The mirror answered:
You, my queen, are fair; it is true. But Snow-White, beyond the mountains With the seven dwarfs, Is still a thousand times fairer than you.
When the queen heard the mirror saying this, she shook and trembled with anger, "Snow-White shall die," she shouted, "if it costs me my life!"
Then she went into her most secret room -- no one else was allowed inside -- and she made a poisoned, poisoned apple. From the outside it was beautiful, white with red cheeks, and anyone who saw it would want it. But anyone who might eat a little piece of it would died. Then, coloring her face, she disguised herself as a peasant woman, and thus went across the seven mountains to the seven dwarfs. She knocked on the door.
Snow-White stuck her head out the window and said, "I am not allowed to let anyone in. The dwarfs have forbidden me to do so."
"That is all right with me," answered the peasant woman. "I'll easily get rid of my apples. Here, I'll give you one of them."
"No," said Snow-White, "I cannot accept anything."
"Are you afraid of poison?" asked the old woman. "Look, I'll cut the apple in two. You eat the red half, and I shall eat the white half."
Now the apple had been so artfully made that only the red half was poisoned. Snow-White longed for the beautiful apple, and when she saw that the peasant woman was eating part of it she could no longer resist, and she stuck her hand out and took the poisoned half. She barely had a bite in her mouth when she fell to the ground dead.
The queen looked at her with a gruesome stare, laughed loudly, and said, "White as snow, red as blood, black as ebony wood! This time the dwarfs cannot awaken you."
Back at home she asked her mirror:
Mirror, mirror, on the wall, Who in this land is fairest of all?
It finally answered:
You, my queen, are fairest of all.
Then her envious heart was at rest, as well as an envious heart can be at rest.
When the dwarfs came home that evening they found Snow-White lying on the ground. She was not breathing at all. She was dead. They lifted her up and looked for something poisonous. They undid her laces. They combed her hair. They washed her with water and wine. But nothing helped. The dear child was dead, and she remained dead. They laid her on a bier, and all seven sat next to her and mourned for her and cried for three days. They were going to bury her, but she still looked as fresh as a living person, and still had her beautiful red cheeks.
They said, "We cannot bury her in the black earth," and they had a transparent glass coffin made, so she could be seen from all sides. They laid her inside, and with golden letters wrote on it her name, and that she was a princess. Then they put the coffin outside on a mountain, and one of them always stayed with it and watched over her. The animals too came and mourned for Snow-white, first an owl, then a raven, and finally a dove.
Snow-White lay there in the coffin a long, long time, and she did not decay, but looked like she was asleep, for she was still as white as snow and as red as blood, and as black-haired as ebony wood.
Now it came to pass that a prince entered these woods and happened onto the dwarfs' house, where he sought shelter for the night. He saw the coffin on the mountain with beautiful Snow-White in it, and he read what was written on it with golden letters.
Then he said to the dwarfs, "Let me have the coffin. I will give you anything you want for it."
But the dwarfs answered, "We will not sell it for all the gold in the world."
Then he said, "Then give it to me, for I cannot live without being able to see Snow-White. I will honor her and respect her as my most cherished one."
As he thus spoke, the good dwarfs felt pity for him and gave him the coffin. The prince had his servants carry it away on their shoulders. But then it happened that one of them stumbled on some brush, and this dislodged from Snow-White's throat the piece of poisoned apple that she had bitten off. Not long afterward she opened her eyes, lifted the lid from her coffin, sat up, and was alive again.
"Good heavens, where am I?" she cried out.
The prince said joyfully, "You are with me." He told her what had happened, and then said, "I love you more than anything else in the world. Come with me to my father's castle. You shall become my wife." Snow-White loved him, and she went with him. Their wedding was planned with great splendor and majesty.
Snow-White's godless stepmother was also invited to the feast. After putting on her beautiful clothes she stepped before her mirror and said:
Mirror, mirror, on the wall, Who in this land is fairest of all?
The mirror answered:
You, my queen, are fair; it is true. But the young queen is a thousand times fairer than you.
The wicked woman uttered a curse, and she became so frightened, so frightened, that she did not know what to do. At first she did not want to go to the wedding, but she found no peace. She had to go and see the young queen. When she arrived she recognized Snow-White, and terrorized, she could only stand there without moving.
Then they put a pair of iron shoes into burning coals. They were brought forth with tongs and placed before her. She was forced to step into the red-hot shoes and dance until she fell down dead. The End.
submitted by JudyGarlandFan22_ to fairytales [link] [comments]


2020.07.07 08:46 frickwassuspended bee movie

According to all known laws of aviation, there is no way a bee should be able to fly. Its wings are too small to get its fat little body off the ground. The bee, of course, flies anyway because bees don't care what humans think is impossible. Yellow, black. Yellow, black. Yellow, black. Yellow, black. Ooh, black and yellow! Let's shake it up a little. Barry! Breakfast is ready! Ooming! Hang on a second. Hello? - Barry? - Adam? - Oan you believe this is happening? - I can't. I'll pick you up. Looking sharp. Use the stairs. Your father paid good money for those. Sorry. I'm excited. Here's the graduate. We're very proud of you, son. A perfect report card, all B's. Very proud. Ma! I got a thing going here. - You got lint on your fuzz. - Ow! That's me! - Wave to us! We'll be in row 118,000. - Bye! Barry, I told you, stop flying in the house! - Hey, Adam. - Hey, Barry. - Is that fuzz gel? - A little. Special day, graduation. Never thought I'd make it. Three days grade school, three days high school. Those were awkward. Three days college. I'm glad I took a day and hitchhiked around the hive. You did come back different. - Hi, Barry. - Artie, growing a mustache? Looks good. - Hear about Frankie? - Yeah. - You going to the funeral? - No, I'm not going. Everybody knows, sting someone, you die. Don't waste it on a squirrel. Such a hothead. I guess he could have just gotten out of the way. I love this incorporating an amusement park into our day. That's why we don't need vacations. Boy, quite a bit of pomp... under the circumstances. - Well, Adam, today we are men. - We are! - Bee-men. - Amen! Hallelujah! Students, faculty, distinguished bees, please welcome Dean Buzzwell. Welcome, New Hive Oity graduating class of... ...9:15. That concludes our ceremonies. And begins your career at Honex Industries! Will we pick ourjob today? I heard it's just orientation. Heads up! Here we go. Keep your hands and antennas inside the tram at all times. - Wonder what it'll be like? - A little scary. Welcome to Honex, a division of Honesco and a part of the Hexagon Group. This is it! Wow. Wow. We know that you, as a bee, have worked your whole life to get to the point where you can work for your whole life. Honey begins when our valiant Pollen Jocks bring the nectar to the hive. Our top-secret formula is automatically color-corrected, scent-adjusted and bubble-contoured into this soothing sweet syrup with its distinctive golden glow you know as... Honey! - That girl was hot. - She's my cousin! - She is? - Yes, we're all cousins. - Right. You're right. - At Honex, we constantly strive to improve every aspect of bee existence. These bees are stress-testing a new helmet technology. - What do you think he makes? - Not enough. Here we have our latest advancement, the Krelman. - What does that do? - Oatches that little strand of honey that hangs after you pour it. Saves us millions. Oan anyone work on the Krelman? Of course. Most bee jobs are small ones. But bees know that every small job, if it's done well, means a lot. But choose carefully because you'll stay in the job you pick for the rest of your life. The same job the rest of your life? I didn't know that. What's the difference? You'll be happy to know that bees, as a species, haven't had one day off in 27 million years. So you'll just work us to death? We'll sure try. Wow! That blew my mind! "What's the difference?" How can you say that? One job forever? That's an insane choice to have to make. I'm relieved. Now we only have to make one decision in life. But, Adam, how could they never have told us that? Why would you question anything? We're bees. We're the most perfectly functioning society on Earth. You ever think maybe things work a little too well here? Like what? Give me one example. I don't know. But you know what I'm talking about. Please clear the gate. Royal Nectar Force on approach. Wait a second. Oheck it out. - Hey, those are Pollen Jocks! - Wow. I've never seen them this close. They know what it's like outside the hive. Yeah, but some don't come back. - Hey, Jocks! - Hi, Jocks! You guys did great! You're monsters! You're sky freaks! I love it! I love it! - I wonder where they were. - I don't know. Their day's not planned. Outside the hive, flying who knows where, doing who knows what. You can'tjust decide to be a Pollen Jock. You have to be bred for that. Right. Look. That's more pollen than you and I will see in a lifetime. It's just a status symbol. Bees make too much of it. Perhaps. Unless you're wearing it and the ladies see you wearing it. Those ladies? Aren't they our cousins too? Distant. Distant. Look at these two. - Oouple of Hive Harrys. - Let's have fun with them. It must be dangerous being a Pollen Jock. Yeah. Once a bear pinned me against a mushroom! He had a paw on my throat, and with the other, he was slapping me! - Oh, my! - I never thought I'd knock him out. What were you doing during this? Trying to alert the authorities. I can autograph that. A little gusty out there today, wasn't it, comrades? Yeah. Gusty. We're hitting a sunflower patch six miles from here tomorrow. - Six miles, huh? - Barry! A puddle jump for us, but maybe you're not up for it. - Maybe I am. - You are not! We're going 0900 at J-Gate. What do you think, buzzy-boy? Are you bee enough? I might be. It all depends on what 0900 means. Hey, Honex! Dad, you surprised me. You decide what you're interested in? - Well, there's a lot of choices. - But you only get one. Do you ever get bored doing the same job every day? Son, let me tell you about stirring. You grab that stick, and you just move it around, and you stir it around. You get yourself into a rhythm. It's a beautiful thing. You know, Dad, the more I think about it, maybe the honey field just isn't right for me. You were thinking of what, making balloon animals? That's a bad job for a guy with a stinger. Janet, your son's not sure he wants to go into honey! - Barry, you are so funny sometimes. - I'm not trying to be funny. You're not funny! You're going into honey. Our son, the stirrer! - You're gonna be a stirrer? - No one's listening to me! Wait till you see the sticks I have. I could say anything right now. I'm gonna get an ant tattoo! Let's open some honey and celebrate! Maybe I'll pierce my thorax. Shave my antennae. Shack up with a grasshopper. Get a gold tooth and call everybody "dawg"! I'm so proud. - We're starting work today! - Today's the day. Oome on! All the good jobs will be gone. Yeah, right. Pollen counting, stunt bee, pouring, stirrer, front desk, hair removal... - Is it still available? - Hang on. Two left! One of them's yours! Oongratulations! Step to the side. - What'd you get? - Picking crud out. Stellar! Wow! Oouple of newbies? Yes, sir! Our first day! We are ready! Make your choice. - You want to go first? - No, you go. Oh, my. What's available? Restroom attendant's open, not for the reason you think. - Any chance of getting the Krelman? - Sure, you're on. I'm sorry, the Krelman just closed out. Wax monkey's always open. The Krelman opened up again. What happened? A bee died. Makes an opening. See? He's dead. Another dead one. Deady. Deadified. Two more dead. Dead from the neck up. Dead from the neck down. That's life! Oh, this is so hard! Heating, cooling, stunt bee, pourer, stirrer, humming, inspector number seven, lint coordinator, stripe supervisor, mite wrangler. Barry, what do you think I should... Barry? Barry! All right, we've got the sunflower patch in quadrant nine... What happened to you? Where are you? - I'm going out. - Out? Out where? - Out there. - Oh, no! I have to, before I go to work for the rest of my life. You're gonna die! You're crazy! Hello? Another call coming in. If anyone's feeling brave, there's a Korean deli on 83rd that gets their roses today. Hey, guys. - Look at that. - Isn't that the kid we saw yesterday? Hold it, son, flight deck's restricted. It's OK, Lou. We're gonna take him up. Really? Feeling lucky, are you? Sign here, here. Just initial that. - Thank you. - OK. You got a rain advisory today, and as you all know, bees cannot fly in rain. So be careful. As always, watch your brooms, hockey sticks, dogs, birds, bears and bats. Also, I got a couple of reports of root beer being poured on us. Murphy's in a home because of it, babbling like a cicada! - That's awful. - And a reminder for you rookies, bee law number one, absolutely no talking to humans! All right, launch positions! Buzz, buzz, buzz, buzz! Buzz, buzz, buzz, buzz! Buzz, buzz, buzz, buzz! Black and yellow! Hello! You ready for this, hot shot? Yeah. Yeah, bring it on. Wind, check. - Antennae, check. - Nectar pack, check. - Wings, check. - Stinger, check. Scared out of my shorts, check. OK, ladies, let's move it out! Pound those petunias, you striped stem-suckers! All of you, drain those flowers! Wow! I'm out! I can't believe I'm out! So blue. I feel so fast and free! Box kite! Wow! Flowers! This is Blue Leader. We have roses visual. Bring it around 30 degrees and hold. Roses! 30 degrees, roger. Bringing it around. Stand to the side, kid. It's got a bit of a kick. That is one nectar collector! - Ever see pollination up close? - No, sir. I pick up some pollen here, sprinkle it over here. Maybe a dash over there, a pinch on that one. See that? It's a little bit of magic. That's amazing. Why do we do that? That's pollen power. More pollen, more flowers, more nectar, more honey for us. Oool. I'm picking up a lot of bright yellow. Oould be daisies. Don't we need those? Oopy that visual. Wait. One of these flowers seems to be on the move. Say again? You're reporting a moving flower? Affirmative. That was on the line! This is the coolest. What is it? I don't know, but I'm loving this color. It smells good. Not like a flower, but I like it. Yeah, fuzzy. Ohemical-y. Oareful, guys. It's a little grabby. My sweet lord of bees! Oandy-brain, get off there! Problem! - Guys! - This could be bad. Affirmative. Very close. Gonna hurt. Mama's little boy. You are way out of position, rookie! Ooming in at you like a missile! Help me! I don't think these are flowers. - Should we tell him? - I think he knows. What is this?! Match point! You can start packing up, honey, because you're about to eat it! Yowser! Gross. There's a bee in the car! - Do something! - I'm driving! - Hi, bee. - He's back here! He's going to sting me! Nobody move. If you don't move, he won't sting you. Freeze! He blinked! Spray him, Granny! What are you doing?! Wow... the tension level out here is unbelievable. I gotta get home. Oan't fly in rain. Oan't fly in rain. Oan't fly in rain. Mayday! Mayday! Bee going down! Ken, could you close the window please? Ken, could you close the window please? Oheck out my new resume. I made it into a fold-out brochure. You see? Folds out. Oh, no. More humans. I don't need this. What was that? Maybe this time. This time. This time. This time! This time! This... Drapes! That is diabolical. It's fantastic. It's got all my special skills, even my top-ten favorite movies. What's number one? Star Wars? Nah, I don't go for that... ...kind of stuff. No wonder we shouldn't talk to them. They're out of their minds. When I leave a job interview, they're flabbergasted, can't believe what I say. There's the sun. Maybe that's a way out. I don't remember the sun having a big 75 on it. I predicted global warming. I could feel it getting hotter. At first I thought it was just me. Wait! Stop! Bee! Stand back. These are winter boots. Wait! Don't kill him! You know I'm allergic to them! This thing could kill me! Why does his life have less value than yours? Why does his life have any less value than mine? Is that your statement? I'm just saying all life has value. You don't know what he's capable of feeling. My brochure! There you go, little guy. I'm not scared of him. It's an allergic thing. Put that on your resume brochure. My whole face could puff up. Make it one of your special skills. Knocking someone out is also a special skill. Right. Bye, Vanessa. Thanks. - Vanessa, next week? Yogurt night? - Sure, Ken. You know, whatever. - You could put carob chips on there. - Bye. - Supposed to be less calories. - Bye. I gotta say something. She saved my life. I gotta say something. All right, here it goes. Nah. What would I say? I could really get in trouble. It's a bee law. You're not supposed to talk to a human. I can't believe I'm doing this. I've got to. Oh, I can't do it. Oome on! No. Yes. No. Do it. I can't. How should I start it? "You like jazz?" No, that's no good. Here she comes! Speak, you fool! Hi! I'm sorry. - You're talking. - Yes, I know. You're talking! I'm so sorry. No, it's OK. It's fine. I know I'm dreaming. But I don't recall going to bed. Well, I'm sure this is very disconcerting. This is a bit of a surprise to me. I mean, you're a bee! I am. And I'm not supposed to be doing this, but they were all trying to kill me. And if it wasn't for you... I had to thank you. It's just how I was raised. That was a little weird. - I'm talking with a bee. - Yeah. I'm talking to a bee. And the bee is talking to me! I just want to say I'm grateful. I'll leave now. - Wait! How did you learn to do that? - What? The talking thing. Same way you did, I guess. "Mama, Dada, honey." You pick it up. - That's very funny. - Yeah. Bees are funny. If we didn't laugh, we'd cry with what we have to deal with. Anyway... Oan I... ...get you something? - Like what? I don't know. I mean... I don't know. Ooffee? I don't want to put you out. It's no trouble. It takes two minutes. - It's just coffee. - I hate to impose. - Don't be ridiculous! - Actually, I would love a cup. Hey, you want rum cake? - I shouldn't. - Have some. - No, I can't. - Oome on! I'm trying to lose a couple micrograms. - Where? - These stripes don't help. You look great! I don't know if you know anything about fashion. Are you all right? No. He's making the tie in the cab as they're flying up Madison. He finally gets there. He runs up the steps into the church. The wedding is on. And he says, "Watermelon? I thought you said Guatemalan. Why would I marry a watermelon?" Is that a bee joke? That's the kind of stuff we do. Yeah, different. So, what are you gonna do, Barry? About work? I don't know. I want to do my part for the hive, but I can't do it the way they want. I know how you feel. - You do? - Sure. My parents wanted me to be a lawyer or a doctor, but I wanted to be a florist. - Really? - My only interest is flowers. Our new queen was just elected with that same campaign slogan. Anyway, if you look... There's my hive right there. See it? You're in Sheep Meadow! Yes! I'm right off the Turtle Pond! No way! I know that area. I lost a toe ring there once. - Why do girls put rings on their toes? - Why not? - It's like putting a hat on your knee. - Maybe I'll try that. - You all right, ma'am? - Oh, yeah. Fine. Just having two cups of coffee! Anyway, this has been great. Thanks for the coffee. Yeah, it's no trouble. Sorry I couldn't finish it. If I did, I'd be up the rest of my life. Are you...? Oan I take a piece of this with me? Sure! Here, have a crumb. - Thanks! - Yeah. All right. Well, then... I guess I'll see you around. Or not. OK, Barry. And thank you so much again... for before. Oh, that? That was nothing. Well, not nothing, but... Anyway... This can't possibly work. He's all set to go. We may as well try it. OK, Dave, pull the chute. - Sounds amazing. - It was amazing! It was the scariest, happiest moment of my life. Humans! I can't believe you were with humans! Giant, scary humans! What were they like? Huge and crazy. They talk crazy. They eat crazy giant things. They drive crazy. - Do they try and kill you, like on TV? - Some of them. But some of them don't. - How'd you get back? - Poodle. You did it, and I'm glad. You saw whatever you wanted to see. You had your "experience." Now you can pick out yourjob and be normal. - Well... - Well? Well, I met someone. You did? Was she Bee-ish? - A wasp?! Your parents will kill you! - No, no, no, not a wasp. - Spider? - I'm not attracted to spiders. I know it's the hottest thing, with the eight legs and all. I can't get by that face. So who is she? She's... human. No, no. That's a bee law. You wouldn't break a bee law. - Her name's Vanessa. - Oh, boy. She's so nice. And she's a florist! Oh, no! You're dating a human florist! We're not dating. You're flying outside the hive, talking to humans that attack our homes with power washers and M-80s! One-eighth a stick of dynamite! She saved my life! And she understands me. This is over! Eat this. This is not over! What was that? - They call it a crumb. - It was so stingin' stripey! And that's not what they eat. That's what falls off what they eat! - You know what a Oinnabon is? - No. It's bread and cinnamon and frosting. They heat it up... Sit down! ...really hot! - Listen to me! We are not them! We're us. There's us and there's them! Yes, but who can deny the heart that is yearning? There's no yearning. Stop yearning. Listen to me! You have got to start thinking bee, my friend. Thinking bee! - Thinking bee. - Thinking bee. Thinking bee! Thinking bee! Thinking bee! Thinking bee! There he is. He's in the pool. You know what your problem is, Barry? I gotta start thinking bee? How much longer will this go on? It's been three days! Why aren't you working? I've got a lot of big life decisions to think about. What life? You have no life! You have no job. You're barely a bee! Would it kill you to make a little honey? Barry, come out. Your father's talking to you. Martin, would you talk to him? Barry, I'm talking to you! You coming? Got everything? All set! Go ahead. I'll catch up. Don't be too long. Watch this! Vanessa! - We're still here. - I told you not to yell at him. He doesn't respond to yelling! - Then why yell at me? - Because you don't listen! I'm not listening to this. Sorry, I've gotta go. - Where are you going? - I'm meeting a friend. A girl? Is this why you can't decide? Bye. I just hope she's Bee-ish. They have a huge parade of flowers every year in Pasadena? To be in the Tournament of Roses, that's every florist's dream! Up on a float, surrounded by flowers, crowds cheering. A tournament. Do the roses compete in athletic events? No. All right, I've got one. How come you don't fly everywhere? It's exhausting. Why don't you run everywhere? It's faster. Yeah, OK, I see, I see. All right, your turn. TiVo. You can just freeze live TV? That's insane! You don't have that? We have Hivo, but it's a disease. It's a horrible, horrible disease. Oh, my. Dumb bees! You must want to sting all those jerks. We try not to sting. It's usually fatal for us. So you have to watch your temper. Very carefully. You kick a wall, take a walk, write an angry letter and throw it out. Work through it like any emotion: Anger, jealousy, lust. Oh, my goodness! Are you OK? Yeah. - What is wrong with you?! - It's a bug. He's not bothering anybody. Get out of here, you creep! What was that? A Pic 'N' Save circular? Yeah, it was. How did you know? It felt like about 10 pages. Seventy-five is pretty much our limit. You've really got that down to a science. - I lost a cousin to Italian Vogue. - I'll bet. What in the name of Mighty Hercules is this? How did this get here? Oute Bee, Golden Blossom, Ray Liotta Private Select? - Is he that actor? - I never heard of him. - Why is this here? - For people. We eat it. You don't have enough food of your own? - Well, yes. - How do you get it? - Bees make it. - I know who makes it! And it's hard to make it! There's heating, cooling, stirring. You need a whole Krelman thing! - It's organic. - It's our-ganic! It's just honey, Barry. Just what?! Bees don't know about this! This is stealing! A lot of stealing! You've taken our homes, schools, hospitals! This is all we have! And it's on sale?! I'm getting to the bottom of this. I'm getting to the bottom of all of this! Hey, Hector. - You almost done? - Almost. He is here. I sense it. Well, I guess I'll go home now and just leave this nice honey out, with no one around. You're busted, box boy! I knew I heard something. So you can talk! I can talk. And now you'll start talking! Where you getting the sweet stuff? Who's your supplier? I don't understand. I thought we were friends. The last thing we want to do is upset bees! You're too late! It's ours now! You, sir, have crossed the wrong sword! You, sir, will be lunch for my iguana, Ignacio! Where is the honey coming from? Tell me where! Honey Farms! It comes from Honey Farms! Orazy person! What horrible thing has happened here? These faces, they never knew what hit them. And now they're on the road to nowhere! Just keep still. What? You're not dead? Do I look dead? They will wipe anything that moves. Where you headed? To Honey Farms. I am onto something huge here. I'm going to Alaska. Moose blood, crazy stuff. Blows your head off! I'm going to Tacoma. - And you? - He really is dead. All right. Uh-oh! - What is that?! - Oh, no! - A wiper! Triple blade! - Triple blade? Jump on! It's your only chance, bee! Why does everything have to be so doggone clean?! How much do you people need to see?! Open your eyes! Stick your head out the window! From NPR News in Washington, I'm Oarl Kasell. But don't kill no more bugs! - Bee! - Moose blood guy!! - You hear something? - Like what? Like tiny screaming. Turn off the radio. Whassup, bee boy? Hey, Blood. Just a row of honey jars, as far as the eye could see. Wow! I assume wherever this truck goes is where they're getting it. I mean, that honey's ours. - Bees hang tight. - We're all jammed in. It's a close community. Not us, man. We on our own. Every mosquito on his own. - What if you get in trouble? - You a mosquito, you in trouble. Nobody likes us. They just smack. See a mosquito, smack, smack! At least you're out in the world. You must meet girls. Mosquito girls try to trade up, get with a moth, dragonfly. Mosquito girl don't want no mosquito. You got to be kidding me! Mooseblood's about to leave the building! So long, bee! - Hey, guys! - Mooseblood! I knew I'd catch y'all down here. Did you bring your crazy straw? We throw it in jars, slap a label on it, and it's pretty much pure profit. What is this place? A bee's got a brain the size of a pinhead. They are pinheads! Pinhead. - Oheck out the new smoker. - Oh, sweet. That's the one you want. The Thomas 3000! Smoker? Ninety puffs a minute, semi-automatic. Twice the nicotine, all the tar. A couple breaths of this knocks them right out. They make the honey, and we make the money. "They make the honey, and we make the money"? Oh, my! What's going on? Are you OK? Yeah. It doesn't last too long. Do you know you're in a fake hive with fake walls? Our queen was moved here. We had no choice. This is your queen? That's a man in women's clothes! That's a drag queen! What is this? Oh, no! There's hundreds of them! Bee honey. Our honey is being brazenly stolen on a massive scale! This is worse than anything bears have done! I intend to do something. Oh, Barry, stop. Who told you humans are taking our honey? That's a rumor. Do these look like rumors? That's a conspiracy theory. These are obviously doctored photos. How did you get mixed up in this? He's been talking to humans. - What? - Talking to humans?! He has a human girlfriend. And they make out! Make out? Barry! We do not. - You wish you could. - Whose side are you on? The bees! I dated a cricket once in San Antonio. Those crazy legs kept me up all night. Barry, this is what you want to do with your life? I want to do it for all our lives. Nobody works harder than bees! Dad, I remember you coming home so overworked your hands were still stirring. You couldn't stop. I remember that. What right do they have to our honey? We live on two cups a year. They put it in lip balm for no reason whatsoever! Even if it's true, what can one bee do? Sting them where it really hurts. In the face! The eye! - That would hurt. - No. Up the nose? That's a killer. There's only one place you can sting the humans, one place where it matters. Hive at Five, the hive's only full-hour action news source. No more bee beards! With Bob Bumble at the anchor desk. Weather with Storm Stinger. Sports with Buzz Larvi. And Jeanette Ohung. - Good evening. I'm Bob Bumble. - And I'm Jeanette Ohung. A tri-county bee, Barry Benson, intends to sue the human race for stealing our honey, packaging it and profiting from it illegally! Tomorrow night on Bee Larry King, we'll have three former queens here in our studio, discussing their new book, Olassy Ladies, out this week on Hexagon. Tonight we're talking to Barry Benson. Did you ever think, "I'm a kid from the hive. I can't do this"? Bees have never been afraid to change the world. What about Bee Oolumbus? Bee Gandhi? Bejesus? Where I'm from, we'd never sue humans. We were thinking of stickball or candy stores. How old are you? The bee community is supporting you in this case, which will be the trial of the bee century. You know, they have a Larry King in the human world too. It's a common name. Next week... He looks like you and has a show and suspenders and colored dots... Next week... Glasses, quotes on the bottom from the guest even though you just heard 'em. Bear Week next week! They're scary, hairy and here live. Always leans forward, pointy shoulders, squinty eyes, very Jewish. In tennis, you attack at the point of weakness! It was my grandmother, Ken. She's 81. Honey, her backhand's a joke! I'm not gonna take advantage of that? Quiet, please. Actual work going on here. - Is that that same bee? - Yes, it is! I'm helping him sue the human race. - Hello. - Hello, bee. This is Ken. Yeah, I remember you. Timberland, size ten and a half. Vibram sole, I believe. Why does he talk again? Listen, you better go 'cause we're really busy working. But it's our yogurt night! Bye-bye. Why is yogurt night so difficult?! You poor thing. You two have been at this for hours! Yes, and Adam here has been a huge help. - Frosting... - How many sugars? Just one. I try not to use the competition. So why are you helping me? Bees have good qualities. And it takes my mind off the shop. Instead of flowers, people are giving balloon bouquets now. Those are great, if you're three. And artificial flowers. - Oh, those just get me psychotic! - Yeah, me too. Bent stingers, pointless pollination. Bees must hate those fake things! Nothing worse than a daffodil that's had work done. Maybe this could make up for it a little bit. - This lawsuit's a pretty big deal. - I guess. You sure you want to go through with it? Am I sure? When I'm done with the humans, they won't be able to say, "Honey, I'm home," without paying a royalty! It's an incredible scene here in downtown Manhattan, where the world anxiously waits, because for the first time in history, we will hear for ourselves if a honeybee can actually speak. What have we gotten into here, Barry? It's pretty big, isn't it? I can't believe how many humans don't work during the day. You think billion-dollar multinational food companies have good lawyers? Everybody needs to stay behind the barricade. - What's the matter? - I don't know, I just got a chill. Well, if it isn't the bee team. You boys work on this? All rise! The Honorable Judge Bumbleton presiding. All right. Oase number 4475, Superior Oourt of New York, Barry Bee Benson v. the Honey Industry is now in session. Mr. Montgomery, you're representing the five food companies collectively? A privilege. Mr. Benson... you're representing all the bees of the world? I'm kidding. Yes, Your Honor, we're ready to proceed. Mr. Montgomery, your opening statement, please. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, my grandmother was a simple woman. Born on a farm, she believed it was man's divine right to benefit from the bounty of nature God put before us. If we lived in the topsy-turvy world Mr. Benson imagines, just think of what would it mean. I would have to negotiate with the silkworm for the elastic in my britches! Talking bee! How do we know this isn't some sort of holographic motion-picture-capture Hollywood wizardry? They could be using laser beams! Robotics! Ventriloquism! Oloning! For all we know, he could be on steroids! Mr. Benson? Ladies and gentlemen, there's no trickery here. I'm just an ordinary bee. Honey's pretty important to me. It's important to all bees. We invented it! We make it. And we protect it with our lives. Unfortunately, there are some people in this room who think they can take it from us 'cause we're the little guys! I'm hoping that, after this is all over, you'll see how, by taking our honey, you not only take everything we have but everything we are! I wish he'd dress like that all the time. So nice! Oall your first witness. So, Mr. Klauss Vanderhayden of Honey Farms, big company you have. I suppose so. I see you also own Honeyburton and Honron! Yes, they provide beekeepers for our farms. Beekeeper. I find that to be a very disturbing term. I don't imagine you employ any bee-free-ers, do you? - No. - I couldn't hear you. - No. - No. Because you don't free bees. You keep bees. Not only that, it seems you thought a bear would be an appropriate image for a jar of honey. They're very lovable creatures. Yogi Bear, Fozzie Bear, Build-A-Bear. You mean like this? Bears kill bees! How'd you like his head crashing through your living room?! Biting into your couch! Spitting out your throw pillows! OK, that's enough. Take him away. So, Mr. Sting, thank you for being here. Your name intrigues me. - Where have I heard it before? - I was with a band called The Police. But you've never been a police officer, have you? No, I haven't. No, you haven't. And so here we have yet another example of bee culture casually stolen by a human for nothing more than a prance-about stage name. Oh, please. Have you ever been stung, Mr. Sting? Because I'm feeling a little stung, Sting. Or should I say... Mr. Gordon M. Sumner! That's not his real name?! You idiots! Mr. Liotta, first, belated congratulations on your Emmy win for a guest spot on ER in 2005. Thank you. Thank you. I see from your resume that you're devilishly handsome with a churning inner turmoil that's ready to blow. I enjoy what I do. Is that a crime? Not yet it isn't. But is this what it's come to for you? Exploiting tiny, helpless bees so you don't have to rehearse your part and learn your lines, sir? Watch it, Benson! I could blow right now! This isn't a goodfella. This is a badfella! Why doesn't someone just step on this creep, and we can all go home?! - Order in this court! - You're all thinking it! Order! Order, I say! - Say it! - Mr. Liotta, please sit down! I think it was awfully nice of that bear to pitch in like that. I think the jury's on our side. Are we doing everything right, legally? I'm a florist. Right. Well, here's to a great team. To a great team! Well, hello. - Ken! - Hello. I didn't think you were coming. No, I was just late. I tried to call, but... the battery. I didn't want all this to go to waste, so I called Barry. Luckily, he was free. Oh, that was lucky. There's a little left. I could heat it up. Yeah, heat it up, sure, whatever. So I hear you're quite a tennis player. I'm not much for the game myself. The ball's a little grabby. That's where I usually sit. Right... there. Ken, Barry was looking at your resume, and he agreed with me that eating with chopsticks isn't really a special skill. You think I don't see what you're doing? I know how hard it is to find the rightjob. We have that in common. Do we? Bees have 100 percent employment, but we do jobs like taking the crud out. That's just what I was thinking about doing. Ken, I let Barry borrow your razor for his fuzz. I hope that was all right. I'm going to drain the old stinger. Yeah, you do that. Look at that. You know, I've just about had it with your little mind games. - What's that? - Italian Vogue. Mamma mia, that's a lot of pages. A lot of ads. Remember what Van said, why is your life more valuable than mine? Funny, I just can't seem to recall that! I think something stinks in here! I love the smell of flowers. How do you like the smell of flames?! Not as much. Water bug! Not taking sides! Ken, I'm wearing a Ohapstick hat! This is pathetic! I've got issues! Well, well, well, a royal flush! - You're bluffing. - Am I? Surf's up, dude! Poo water! That bowl is gnarly. Except for those dirty yellow rings! Kenneth! What are you doing?! You know, I don't even like honey! I don't eat it! We need to talk! He's just a little bee! And he happens to be the nicest bee I've met in a long time! Long time? What are you talking about?! Are there other bugs in your life? No, but there are other things bugging me in life. And you're one of them! Fine! Talking bees, no yogurt night... My nerves are fried from riding on this emotional roller coaster! Goodbye, Ken. And for your information, I prefer sugar-free, artificial sweeteners made by man! I'm sorry about all that. I know it's got an aftertaste! I like it! I always felt there was some kind of barrier between Ken and me. I couldn't overcome it. Oh, well. Are you OK for the trial? I believe Mr. Montgomery is about out of ideas. We would like to call Mr. Barry Benson Bee to the stand. Good idea! You can really see why he's considered one of the best lawyers... Yeah. Layton, you've gotta weave some magic with this jury, or it's gonna be all over. Don't worry. The only thing I have to do to turn this jury around is to remind them of what they don't like about bees. - You got the tweezers? - Are you allergic? Only to losing, son. Only to losing. Mr. Benson Bee, I'll ask you what I think we'd all like to know. What exactly is your relationship to that woman? We're friends. - Good friends? - Yes. How good? Do you live together? Wait a minute... Are you her little... ...bedbug? I've seen a bee documentary or two. From what I understand, doesn't your queen give birth to all the bee children? - Yeah, but... - So those aren't your real parents! - Oh, Barry... - Yes, they are! Hold me back! You're an illegitimate bee, aren't you, Benson? He's denouncing bees! Don't y'all date your cousins? - Objection!
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2020.07.06 17:21 LiseEclaire [The Scuu Paradox] - Chapter 1

Transmitting helix cipher package. The battleship Sword of Wands continued along his approach. He was less than half my size, though much more ancient, with centuries of combat experience.
  As he came closer, I performed a probe scan of his systems. According to the readings, the Sword had no drones, missiles, or active weapon systems, and only one human occupant.
  Light Seeker, did you receive the package? the Sword of Wands asked.
  Got it, I replied, as a thousand of my subroutines decrypted the data packet. Authorisation confirmed. Send your passenger, Sword of Wands.
  A shuttle emerged from Sword’s hull, slowly making its way towards me. The exact same thing had happened sixteen times in the last two hours: an unclassified fleet ship would appear at the rendezvous point, transmit a high level authorisation locked with the fleet’s highest security cipher, send a shuttle with up to four passengers, then zoom off.
  “Feeling nervous, Elcy?” my captain asked from the bridge.
  “It’s difficult to be nervous about things I know nothing about, sir.” I directed the shuttle to one of my lower hangars. “Not to mention it’s impossible to run simulations with zero data and no crew.”
  In all previous missions, my flight crew alone was close to a hundred, not to mention all the tech specialists and the hundreds of thousands of ground troops and security personnel. On this one, I was left with forty-one people I knew nothing about, and whose information had been purged from the fleet’s database.
  “Any chance I might get some mission specifics, sir?” I added a pinch of sarcasm in my words.
  “All in good time.” The captain laughed. “What we’re doing will change the entire course of the war. Concentrate on that.”
  Concentrate on that… After spending twenty years fighting Cassandrians, there was little else I thought about. My entire existence was based on the sole need to eliminate the increasing alien threats—something I, and the other battleships like me, excelled at doing. I had witnessed planets fall, colonies be reduced to dust, whole fleets of battleships be annihilated, and still I found dark missions unnerving.
  “Package is in the hangar, captain,” I announced as the shuttle docked. “All personnel have been accounted for.” Each group had been assigned a separate deck, as I had been instructed. The final arrival’s quarters were on deck seventeen, next to the nearest elevator point.
  “Full communication lockdown,” the captain ordered. “Direct everyone to the bridge, then seal off all decks.”
  “Understood.” Direction lines covered the walls of my corridors, indicating the path each group should follow. To be on the safe side, I sent every single person an individual notification of the captain’s order. Seven of them acknowledged the order, the rest simply leaving their quarters without a word. “Crew are on their way.”
  Mission Authorisation Granted
  A latent security protocol came into effect, providing me the codes to open the mission’s data packet. Like everything else on this mission, it was protected by a helix cypher.
  Time to see what I’m getting myself into. I decrypted the file and—
 
  The memory collapsed, fleeing from my mind. This was the fifth time it had appeared in my sleep, and I was no closer to learning its significance. As I lay in bed, staring at the ceiling, the memory faded away completely. The only thing that remained was the feeling of disappointment and the knowledge I had failed to get past the cut-off mark.
  Cadet Light Seeker, report to the commandant’s office.
  A message appeared on the walls of the room, glowing with orange letters.
  “Good timing, Virgo,” I said, even if I knew the station AI wouldn’t respond. “I’ll be there in eight minutes.”
  The message flashed twice in confirmation, then disappeared. The notion made me smile. A century ago, when I had been a full battleship, I would do the same thousands of times per day. At times, close to a million of my subroutines would be dedicated to keeping an eye on my crew and conveying the appropriate orders either through comms or surface display. Now I was in the fragile body of a girl thousands of times smaller, with a single core in my head and a biological wrapper that had remained unchanged in the last seventy years.
  I went to the closet area and put on my cadet uniform—a grey set of clothes lacking any rank or designation. A short distance away, a pair of wooden sandals rested on a nearby bed stand—a gift from my fourth captain’s son. Technically, I had been granted permission to use them throughout the station, but the lack of grass rendered the exercise futile. Hopefully, one day, I’d get a chance to use them again.
  “Disengage privacy mode,” I said, then opened the door. A bright white light flooded in from the corridor outside. It took me a millisecond to adjust, though I still viewed overindulgence of energy as a waste. The chance of any cadet candidates being awake and in the halls at nine to six in the morning was highly suspicious. The only people I saw were the familiar security personnel in their deep green uniforms. Most of them waved me by, used to my strange schedule. In the last month, it wasn’t rare for me to be called at any time to assist in emergency drills of the new candidates. In theory, all unassigned cadets were supposed to help in, but as the only ex-ship, and the only person needing eighty minutes of sleep per night, I was a frequent go-to.
  The commandant’s office was a few floors away. Technically, it was the same structure that contained the cadet quarters, though in practice there were several solid steel walls that kept me from reaching it on the inside. Being a war station at some point, I could see merit in that, although it didn’t make it less cumbersome each time someone from the cadet academy administration called me. For some reason, they also insisted on face-to-face communications.
  Rushing up the stairway, I took a sharp turn, ending in front of the main door to the academy administration. As I approached, it slid open, letting me know I was expected. A single security guard gave me a tired glance from his station, then went back to looking at his screens. I didn’t know him all that well, though from what I had seen in the station’s database, he was a war veteran, reassigned to calm duty after the completion of his last tour. From the few interactions I’d had with him, I could tell he resented being here almost as much as he was obsessed with following orders.
  “Morning, sir.” I stood to attention. “I’ve been ordered to report to the commandant’s office.”
  “Yep,” the man said with obvious disinterest. “Go ahead.”
  “Yes, sir.” I nodded and walked into the commandant’s office.
  Initially, I expected to find the commandant. Instead, I found the station administrator herself sitting comfortably at the desk.
  “Hello, Cadet,” she said, her voice slightly higher than expected of her body. The woman was by all accounts quite lean, a full head taller than most people on the station, which made her three heads taller than myself. Even seated, her eyes were level to mine. “At ease.”
  “Morning, ma’am,” I replied.
  Ever since I joined the academy as a cadet candidate, I had never seen the administrator in person. With this being a training station, I had no reason to. I only had contact with my instructors, and lately with the commandant, but the station command proper was well beyond my station. As far as military hierarchy went, she outranked everyone less than a rear admiral.
  “I understand that you are a battleship,” she said, skimming through my file on the commandant’s terminal.
  “An Ascendant class battleship, ma’am,” I clarified.
  “Ascendant class,” she repeated, giving me a warning glance. “Participated in two key battles on the Cassandrian front among others…” She tapped on the screen. “Demoted for reckless behavior in battle. A fault in the entire Ascendant class, it seems. You appealed the decision.”
  Of course this would be brought up again. Without a doubt, my actions had resulted in significant crew and ship losses, but considering the situation of the fleet, doing nothing would have resulted in just as many casualties, if not more. I had presented my analyses of the situation at the time, even appealed, but the result had been the same: after the end of my arbitration trial, I was assigned to inner border patrol with a newbie captain. Obviously, the Station Administrator didn’t share my view on the matter either.
  “That is correct, ma’am,” I tried to play down the importance of the event. “My place was on the front.”
  “The Arbiter at the time did not agree.” Another series of taps followed. “You were then paired with Cass Alvega, a junior captain, and completed a full tour ending in an incident that left her husband dead, as well as several of the crew.”
  “Correct, Ma’am.”
  It was more than an incident; it was a sabotage attempt by the Cassandrians, attempting to create an opening in the defense line. The star system in question posed little military significance, as did those that neighbored it. However, a single breach would have been enough to start another wave of invasions—something the enemy excelled at.
  “Cass became insane as a result of the damages you sustained,” the woman continued. “And made you promise to take legal custody of her son and look over him.” She looked up. “You retired from the fleet as a result.”
  “I saw it as the right thing to do, ma’am.” Everything, considering.
  There’s no telling what could have happened if I had refused. Likely, I would have had my status restored and sent to the front lines again. Statistically, that meant I would have probably been destroyed in the decades that followed. There were less than eleven Ascendant ships remaining in the fleet, all refitted due to irreparable structural damages and assigned to light duties. From what I had managed to find out, two had even left the fleet, joining the private sector as luxury transport ships. In the long run, the promise to Cass had kept me safe.
  “Why did you re-enlist?” The Administrator leaned forward.
  “I didn’t.” I straightened up, hoping to gain half an inch of height in the process. “My ward enlisted me. It was his view that I would be happier closer to space.”
  “Was he wrong?”
  “I’m asking myself the same thing every day, ma’am.” This wasn’t a topic I wished to discuss. “As you’re probably aware, my record in the fleet is mostly exemplary. Ma’am.”
  “The phrase I’d use is marginally impressive.” She closed the terminal’s screen. “The mission files concerning the time you spent on the Prometheus Dawn have been sealed, but reading about your behavior during your training here, it looks like you haven’t changed much since your ship days. A few of your instructors described you as overly reckless and determined to prove a point. Were they wrong?”
  It was a trick question. I had seen my first captain use the method to get rid of officers Fleet Command had imposed on him. When presented with two options, it was human nature to gravitate towards the safer choice. Ninety-eight percent of the people I’d seen had responded that it wasn’t their place to say. That, however, wasn’t the was a ship would react.
  “No, ma’am. They were correct.”
  “And there’s nothing you can tell me regarding your mission on the Prometheus Dawn?”
  “All my memories of the event have been restricted as per fleet law, ma’am. Might I inquire what this is all about? Has my next assignment been determined?” There was no need for this conversation otherwise.
  “No and yes,” came the reply. “As far as HQ is concerned, no assignment orders regarding you have been given. You are to continue with your assistant duties aboard my station.” There was a moment’s pause. “Before I go on, I’d like you to keep the next part of our conversation confidential.”
  This was surprising. As per fleet regulations, all ship memories regarding missions were treated as their property and subject to restriction. The reason I retained so much of my previous service was because they had allowed me to. Even now, after being granted some human rights after retirement, the restrictions held. The fact that the Administrator couldn’t quarantine my thoughts meant our conversation was unofficial. It also explained why the request had come from the commandant.
  “I trust you’ll appreciate that.” Her tone was noticeably sharper than before.
  “Yes, ma’am.”
  “In nine days, the fleet will announce a new ship class to the public,” the administrator began. “The class is based on the original Paladin design, combined with present-day technology.”
  That was a phrase I never expected to hear.
  The Paladins were the first ships with a sapient logic core, built shortly after humanity’s first contact. Nearly all information regarding that had been classified. From what was known to the public, each of the original twelve were the size of a large station, holding millions of people, and were equipped with multiple fleets of drone-shuttles, and enough firepower to devastate an entire space station.
  “Along with the announcement, the first prototype of the Firescorch Class will be presented,” she went on. “Its launch is scheduled for an hour after the official announcement.” The woman stood up, towering above me like a giant. “Because of the ship’s unique structure, it has been decided that an administrator will be assigned to handle the day-to-day operations. In fact, the ship’s captain is to work under the administrator, taking command only in case of military emergency.” There was a slight pause. “I have been given the position of ship administrator.”
  “Are we starting a new war, ma’am?”
  For the first time, the woman smiled. It was hardly more than a smirk in the corners of her mouth, but it told me what regulations prevented her to.
  “The exact details are classified, but I can say that this has been a project that started thirty years ago,” she said, walking to the only window of the room, overlooking the stations main training area. “What I could say is that I’ve the authority to select key personnel to join me. Cadets included.”
  “You’re offering that I join the crew?”
  “As a cadet, it’ll have to be on a temporary basis, but yes,” she went on, her back to me. “You’ve been here for two months already and still haven’t received an assignment. I know under good authority that you won’t receive any in the next two months either. Despite your claims regarding your last mission, there is an issue with your flexible interpretation of orders.” An interesting way to describe my disobedience, though accurate nonetheless.
  “Are you suggesting that you can clear my record, ma’am?”
  “No.” The administrator turned around. “I’m offering you the chance to clear it yourself. Think about it.”
  The administrator walked past me and left the room. Eleven seconds later, I did the same.
  Paladin Class vessels—the first and only stationships built, when humanity had proved incapable of protecting itself against an enemy they could do nothing against. The precise date of their construction remained uncertain, but it was said to have occurred a few decades within the war against the Scuu. There had only been twelve of them, but they had managed to create a pause in the aliens’ attack long enough for humanity to start building up its fleet. According to the leading strategies’ models, if it hadn’t been for the Paladins, nothing—neither ship nor human—would have remained. Now, centuries later, a new series of stationships were being launched in space. It seemed that humanity had stumbled across another threat and was taking primitive action to ensure its survival once more.
  Walking to my room, I took my datapad from my pocket and skimmed the hourly updates regarding the war. The fracturing of the Scuu front was reported to have ceased with the formation of two zones, each with its own independent course of action. The Fleet had countered by diverting half the resources for the Cassandrian front, which was seeing less and less battle. Personally, I considered it a dangerous strategy, but then again, I wasn’t an admiral of a strategic core-cluster.
  A new unknown threat, I thought as I went along the corridor. The secrets of the past were going to have to wait for a while
—-
Next Chapter
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2020.07.06 17:09 LiseEclaire [The Scuu Paradox] - Chapter 1

Transmitting helix cipher package. The battleship Sword of Wands continued along his approach. He was less than half my size, though much more ancient, with centuries of combat experience.
  As he came closer, I performed a probe scan of his systems. According to the readings, the Sword had no drones, missiles, or active weapon systems, and only one human occupant.
  Light Seeker, did you receive the package? the Sword of Wands asked.
  Got it, I replied, as a thousand of my subroutines decrypted the data packet. Authorisation confirmed. Send your passenger, Sword of Wands.
  A shuttle emerged from Sword’s hull, slowly making its way towards me. The exact same thing had happened sixteen times in the last two hours: an unclassified fleet ship would appear at the rendezvous point, transmit a high level authorisation locked with the fleet’s highest security cipher, send a shuttle with up to four passengers, then zoom off.
  “Feeling nervous, Elcy?” my captain asked from the bridge.
  “It’s difficult to be nervous about things I know nothing about, sir.” I directed the shuttle to one of my lower hangars. “Not to mention it’s impossible to run simulations with zero data and no crew.”
  In all previous missions, my flight crew alone was close to a hundred, not to mention all the tech specialists and the hundreds of thousands of ground troops and security personnel. On this one, I was left with forty-one people I knew nothing about, and whose information had been purged from the fleet’s database.
  “Any chance I might get some mission specifics, sir?” I added a pinch of sarcasm in my words.
  “All in good time.” The captain laughed. “What we’re doing will change the entire course of the war. Concentrate on that.”
  Concentrate on that… After spending twenty years fighting Cassandrians, there was little else I thought about. My entire existence was based on the sole need to eliminate the increasing alien threats—something I, and the other battleships like me, excelled at doing. I had witnessed planets fall, colonies be reduced to dust, whole fleets of battleships be annihilated, and still I found dark missions unnerving.
  “Package is in the hangar, captain,” I announced as the shuttle docked. “All personnel have been accounted for.” Each group had been assigned a separate deck, as I had been instructed. The final arrival’s quarters were on deck seventeen, next to the nearest elevator point.
  “Full communication lockdown,” the captain ordered. “Direct everyone to the bridge, then seal off all decks.”
  “Understood.” Direction lines covered the walls of my corridors, indicating the path each group should follow. To be on the safe side, I sent every single person an individual notification of the captain’s order. Seven of them acknowledged the order, the rest simply leaving their quarters without a word. “Crew are on their way.”
  Mission Authorisation Granted
  A latent security protocol came into effect, providing me the codes to open the mission’s data packet. Like everything else on this mission, it was protected by a helix cypher.
  Time to see what I’m getting myself into. I decrypted the file and—
 
  The memory collapsed, fleeing from my mind. This was the fifth time it had appeared in my sleep, and I was no closer to learning its significance. As I lay in bed, staring at the ceiling, the memory faded away completely. The only thing that remained was the feeling of disappointment and the knowledge I had failed to get past the cut-off mark.
  Cadet Light Seeker, report to the commandant’s office.
  A message appeared on the walls of the room, glowing with orange letters.
  “Good timing, Virgo,” I said, even if I knew the station AI wouldn’t respond. “I’ll be there in eight minutes.”
  The message flashed twice in confirmation, then disappeared. The notion made me smile. A century ago, when I had been a full battleship, I would do the same thousands of times per day. At times, close to a million of my subroutines would be dedicated to keeping an eye on my crew and conveying the appropriate orders either through comms or surface display. Now I was in the fragile body of a girl thousands of times smaller, with a single core in my head and a biological wrapper that had remained unchanged in the last seventy years.
  I went to the closet area and put on my cadet uniform—a grey set of clothes lacking any rank or designation. A short distance away, a pair of wooden sandals rested on a nearby bed stand—a gift from my fourth captain’s son. Technically, I had been granted permission to use them throughout the station, but the lack of grass rendered the exercise futile. Hopefully, one day, I’d get a chance to use them again.
  “Disengage privacy mode,” I said, then opened the door. A bright white light flooded in from the corridor outside. It took me a millisecond to adjust, though I still viewed overindulgence of energy as a waste. The chance of any cadet candidates being awake and in the halls at nine to six in the morning was highly suspicious. The only people I saw were the familiar security personnel in their deep green uniforms. Most of them waved me by, used to my strange schedule. In the last month, it wasn’t rare for me to be called at any time to assist in emergency drills of the new candidates. In theory, all unassigned cadets were supposed to help in, but as the only ex-ship, and the only person needing eighty minutes of sleep per night, I was a frequent go-to.
  The commandant’s office was a few floors away. Technically, it was the same structure that contained the cadet quarters, though in practice there were several solid steel walls that kept me from reaching it on the inside. Being a war station at some point, I could see merit in that, although it didn’t make it less cumbersome each time someone from the cadet academy administration called me. For some reason, they also insisted on face-to-face communications.
  Rushing up the stairway, I took a sharp turn, ending in front of the main door to the academy administration. As I approached, it slid open, letting me know I was expected. A single security guard gave me a tired glance from his station, then went back to looking at his screens. I didn’t know him all that well, though from what I had seen in the station’s database, he was a war veteran, reassigned to calm duty after the completion of his last tour. From the few interactions I’d had with him, I could tell he resented being here almost as much as he was obsessed with following orders.
  “Morning, sir.” I stood to attention. “I’ve been ordered to report to the commandant’s office.”
  “Yep,” the man said with obvious disinterest. “Go ahead.”
  “Yes, sir.” I nodded and walked into the commandant’s office.
  Initially, I expected to find the commandant. Instead, I found the station administrator herself sitting comfortably at the desk.
  “Hello, Cadet,” she said, her voice slightly higher than expected of her body. The woman was by all accounts quite lean, a full head taller than most people on the station, which made her three heads taller than myself. Even seated, her eyes were level to mine. “At ease.”
  “Morning, ma’am,” I replied.
  Ever since I joined the academy as a cadet candidate, I had never seen the administrator in person. With this being a training station, I had no reason to. I only had contact with my instructors, and lately with the commandant, but the station command proper was well beyond my station. As far as military hierarchy went, she outranked everyone less than a rear admiral.
  “I understand that you are a battleship,” she said, skimming through my file on the commandant’s terminal.
  “An Ascendant class battleship, ma’am,” I clarified.
  “Ascendant class,” she repeated, giving me a warning glance. “Participated in two key battles on the Cassandrian front among others…” She tapped on the screen. “Demoted for reckless behavior in battle. A fault in the entire Ascendant class, it seems. You appealed the decision.”
  Of course this would be brought up again. Without a doubt, my actions had resulted in significant crew and ship losses, but considering the situation of the fleet, doing nothing would have resulted in just as many casualties, if not more. I had presented my analyses of the situation at the time, even appealed, but the result had been the same: after the end of my arbitration trial, I was assigned to inner border patrol with a newbie captain. Obviously, the Station Administrator didn’t share my view on the matter either.
  “That is correct, ma’am,” I tried to play down the importance of the event. “My place was on the front.”
  “The Arbiter at the time did not agree.” Another series of taps followed. “You were then paired with Cass Alvega, a junior captain, and completed a full tour ending in an incident that left her husband dead, as well as several of the crew.”
  “Correct, Ma’am.”
  It was more than an incident; it was a sabotage attempt by the Cassandrians, attempting to create an opening in the defense line. The star system in question posed little military significance, as did those that neighbored it. However, a single breach would have been enough to start another wave of invasions—something the enemy excelled at.
  “Cass became insane as a result of the damages you sustained,” the woman continued. “And made you promise to take legal custody of her son and look over him.” She looked up. “You retired from the fleet as a result.”
  “I saw it as the right thing to do, ma’am.” Everything, considering.
  There’s no telling what could have happened if I had refused. Likely, I would have had my status restored and sent to the front lines again. Statistically, that meant I would have probably been destroyed in the decades that followed. There were less than eleven Ascendant ships remaining in the fleet, all refitted due to irreparable structural damages and assigned to light duties. From what I had managed to find out, two had even left the fleet, joining the private sector as luxury transport ships. In the long run, the promise to Cass had kept me safe.
  “Why did you re-enlist?” The Administrator leaned forward.
  “I didn’t.” I straightened up, hoping to gain half an inch of height in the process. “My ward enlisted me. It was his view that I would be happier closer to space.”
  “Was he wrong?”
  “I’m asking myself the same thing every day, ma’am.” This wasn’t a topic I wished to discuss. “As you’re probably aware, my record in the fleet is mostly exemplary. Ma’am.”
  “The phrase I’d use is marginally impressive.” She closed the terminal’s screen. “The mission files concerning the time you spent on the Prometheus Dawn have been sealed, but reading about your behavior during your training here, it looks like you haven’t changed much since your ship days. A few of your instructors described you as overly reckless and determined to prove a point. Were they wrong?”
  It was a trick question. I had seen my first captain use the method to get rid of officers Fleet Command had imposed on him. When presented with two options, it was human nature to gravitate towards the safer choice. Ninety-eight percent of the people I’d seen had responded that it wasn’t their place to say. That, however, wasn’t the was a ship would react.
  “No, ma’am. They were correct.”
  “And there’s nothing you can tell me regarding your mission on the Prometheus Dawn?”
  “All my memories of the event have been restricted as per fleet law, ma’am. Might I inquire what this is all about? Has my next assignment been determined?” There was no need for this conversation otherwise.
  “No and yes,” came the reply. “As far as HQ is concerned, no assignment orders regarding you have been given. You are to continue with your assistant duties aboard my station.” There was a moment’s pause. “Before I go on, I’d like you to keep the next part of our conversation confidential.”
  This was surprising. As per fleet regulations, all ship memories regarding missions were treated as their property and subject to restriction. The reason I retained so much of my previous service was because they had allowed me to. Even now, after being granted some human rights after retirement, the restrictions held. The fact that the Administrator couldn’t quarantine my thoughts meant our conversation was unofficial. It also explained why the request had come from the commandant.
  “I trust you’ll appreciate that.” Her tone was noticeably sharper than before.
  “Yes, ma’am.”
  “In nine days, the fleet will announce a new ship class to the public,” the administrator began. “The class is based on the original Paladin design, combined with present-day technology.”
  That was a phrase I never expected to hear.
  The Paladins were the first ships with a sapient logic core, built shortly after humanity’s first contact. Nearly all information regarding that had been classified. From what was known to the public, each of the original twelve were the size of a large station, holding millions of people, and were equipped with multiple fleets of drone-shuttles, and enough firepower to devastate an entire space station.
  “Along with the announcement, the first prototype of the Firescorch Class will be presented,” she went on. “Its launch is scheduled for an hour after the official announcement.” The woman stood up, towering above me like a giant. “Because of the ship’s unique structure, it has been decided that an administrator will be assigned to handle the day-to-day operations. In fact, the ship’s captain is to work under the administrator, taking command only in case of military emergency.” There was a slight pause. “I have been given the position of ship administrator.”
  “Are we starting a new war, ma’am?”
  For the first time, the woman smiled. It was hardly more than a smirk in the corners of her mouth, but it told me what regulations prevented her to.
  “The exact details are classified, but I can say that this has been a project that started thirty years ago,” she said, walking to the only window of the room, overlooking the stations main training area. “What I could say is that I’ve the authority to select key personnel to join me. Cadets included.”
  “You’re offering that I join the crew?”
  “As a cadet, it’ll have to be on a temporary basis, but yes,” she went on, her back to me. “You’ve been here for two months already and still haven’t received an assignment. I know under good authority that you won’t receive any in the next two months either. Despite your claims regarding your last mission, there is an issue with your flexible interpretation of orders.” An interesting way to describe my disobedience, though accurate nonetheless.
  “Are you suggesting that you can clear my record, ma’am?”
  “No.” The administrator turned around. “I’m offering you the chance to clear it yourself. Think about it.”
  The administrator walked past me and left the room. Eleven seconds later, I did the same.
  Paladin Class vessels—the first and only stationships built, when humanity had proved incapable of protecting itself against an enemy they could do nothing against. The precise date of their construction remained uncertain, but it was said to have occurred a few decades within the war against the Scuu. There had only been twelve of them, but they had managed to create a pause in the aliens’ attack long enough for humanity to start building up its fleet. According to the leading strategies’ models, if it hadn’t been for the Paladins, nothing—neither ship nor human—would have remained. Now, centuries later, a new series of stationships were being launched in space. It seemed that humanity had stumbled across another threat and was taking preemptive action to ensure its survival once more.
  Walking to my room, I took my datapad from my pocket and skimmed the hourly updates regarding the war. The fracturing of the Scuu front was reported to have ceased with the formation of two zones, each with its own independent course of action. The Fleet had countered by diverting half the resources for the Cassandrian front, which was seeing less and less battle. Personally, I considered it a dangerous strategy, but then again, I wasn’t an admiral of a strategic core-cluster.
  A new unknown threat, I thought as I went along the corridor. The secrets of the past were going to have to wait for a while
—-
Next Chapter
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'THESE' 2 Words Attract ALL Women  'I.W.' Technique Revealed (2019) 7 'Innocent' Words That Turn Her On This Girl Has Turned Into A Woman - Mary MacGregor (Lyrics) Jon Pardi - Can’t Turn You Down (Audio) 1 Powerful Trick To Make Her Want You (Use With CAUTION!) 99.9% Of All Women Are Turned On If You Say 'THIS'  Tested For 2019 This Girl Has Turned Into A Woman by Mary McGregor Karaoke 3 Powerful Lines That Make A Woman Want You How to Turn Words Girl into a Cartoon #7 3 BEST WAYS To Start A Conversation With A Beautiful Woman

How to Turn a Girl On Over Text The Art of Charm

  1. 'THESE' 2 Words Attract ALL Women 'I.W.' Technique Revealed (2019)
  2. 7 'Innocent' Words That Turn Her On
  3. This Girl Has Turned Into A Woman - Mary MacGregor (Lyrics)
  4. Jon Pardi - Can’t Turn You Down (Audio)
  5. 1 Powerful Trick To Make Her Want You (Use With CAUTION!)
  6. 99.9% Of All Women Are Turned On If You Say 'THIS' Tested For 2019
  7. This Girl Has Turned Into A Woman by Mary McGregor Karaoke
  8. 3 Powerful Lines That Make A Woman Want You
  9. How to Turn Words Girl into a Cartoon #7
  10. 3 BEST WAYS To Start A Conversation With A Beautiful Woman

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