Nikki catsouras death photographs
Stuck on earth and looking for a job: Fog dimension
2023.06.09 14:45 girl_from_the_crypt Stuck on earth and looking for a job: Fog dimension
So I guess newsreaders can hide their emotions really well on TV. I’ve never seen Mary Markov in any state of heightened temper. The time she came down to help after I’d burned down the FunFlair building with Frankie was definitely a first in that regard. Then again, I’d never committed arson before either, so there were a lot of firsts that night. It’s been two days, but I can still see her angry face before me when I close my eyes. It frightened me a little.
After the fire had been doused by her staff, she gave Fran and me a look unlike anything I’d ever seen before. There was a homicidal rage in her eyes, her mouth had turned into a thin, steely line and the vein on her forehead threatened to pop. To my surprise (and admittedly relief), she turned the entirety of that wrath against Frankie Preston. “What in the world were you thinking?” she thundered, looming dangerously over the shorter man. “You committed a goddamn crime! If you were a normal person, I’d have to get you behind bars now!”
“Wait, I’m the privileged one here?” he snapped. “That woman tortured me! She brought me into this world by fault
and proceeded to make me wish I’d never been born! And there was nothing I could ever do about it, because, oh, that’s right, I’m not a normal person!
As you so endearingly put it. No one has a fucking clue what I am, so it’s okay for me to suffer, isn’t it?”
Mary opened her mouth to respond, but only ended up shutting it again. Then she focused her scrutiny onto me. “I thought you’d have known better.”
“I’m sorry for the inconvenience, but I knew what I was getting myself into. This was a contemplated decision.”
“Was it ever.”
I motioned for her to step aside with me, bringing a bit of distance between ourselves and my waiter. “I’ll make it up to you,” I began. “I will, but please, please
“Did he force you to come?”
“You don’t actually believe he could force me into anything, do you?”
Mary Markov sighed. “I guess not. Look, it’s not like I don’t understand his grudge. And from what I know of Ms Wallis, she won’t be missed by many. I just wish it didn’t have to come to this. This means a ton of work for me.”
“It means so much more to him.”
Another sorrowful moan. Then, “Alright. I have your back. But don’t, um… encourage
this kind of behavior in him, please.”
“I won’t,” I promised. “What are you going to do about the other doll?”
“She’s in bad shape—”
“Trash shape,” Fran chimed in from behind, having inconspicuously strayed closer.
“She’s in bad shape,” Mary repeated, pointedly ignoring him, “and currently unresponsive, but since you said she’s shown signs of sentience, I guess we’ll have to look into her. It prompts a very interesting question, after all.”
“Being?” I offered.
“Think about it. I don’t know if you’re familiar with the other two living dolls, Zion Boyd and Bunny Martell, but they came alive after Frank tinkered with them. And now there’s this one. Maybe your little boyfriend has some kind of yet to be explored ability, seeing as he was the first to gain awareness.” She fell silent for a pregnant pause, glancing between the two of us. “Something to ponder on your drive home. Which you will be starting now.” She made a shooing motion with both her hands.
The message being quite clear, Frankie and I got back into his car. The ride was quiet at first, but it wasn’t an uncomfortable stillness. It felt like a weight I didn’t know I’d been carrying had been lifted. I stared at the server’s profile, alternately framed by nightly darkness and moonlight, drinking in every little detail about it. It was hard to believe that someone as cruel as Philomena Wallis had created something this breathtaking.
“So you’ll probably wanna talk about all of this, huh. About what I am, I mean.” Frankie’s voice was light and relaxed with only a hint of uncertainty gnawing at it.
“What’s there to talk about?”
“Aren’t you surprised? A little… disgusted, maybe?”
“I always knew you weren’t human. Beyond that, it doesn’t really matter to me what you are.” I shrugged. “I mean, I’d be fine if you were human, too. I’d be fine if you were a squonk.”
“What’s a squonk?”
“I don’t know, I just made that up. Anyways, did you actually think I would be grossed out? Did you?”
He smiled. “I guess not. This’ll sound crazy, and it’s hard to explain, but it’s like I got a voice in the back of my head constantly telling me that… that I should wash myself again or that I ought not to touch you. I suppose it’s not really a voice; it’s only these thoughts that kind of keep pushing into my mind even though I should know better. And I do know better. But that doesn’t stop the thoughts.”
I nodded slowly. “I think I understand. I can’t tell you how much I disagree with that voice, though. You’re the cleanest person I’ve ever met and if I could, I’d live in your hair like a cootie."
"That's how close you want me?"
He let out a soft laugh. “I’m really, really glad you came with me. If there’s ever anything you need, I’ll do it. No matter what. If you want to bury a body, I’ll dig the hole.” He paused. “Actually, we should sell any corpses you might have. It’s wonderfully lucrative.”
I shot him a quick smile before turning to stare out the window with knitted brows. “What do you think about what Mary Markov said? About you being able to make the dolls come alive somehow.”
“I don’t know if there’s anything to it. I don’t remember doing anything special with them. Zion and Bunny were just standing around when I turned them on, and they came to within minutes. I figured they were sentient before, and it was simply repressed. I woke up randomly, too, after all.”
I hummed pensively. “I wouldn’t be so sure.”
“Well, if you’re implying it’s some kinda superpower, then that’s probably the most useless one ever.”
“We don’t have to talk about this now,” I told him, to which he gave me a grateful half-grin.
Per my request, he dropped me off at Nettie’s place. I kissed him goodbye on the crown of his head and told him we’d text the following day. He thanked me again and I watched him drive off before going up to ring the doorbell, mentally preparing an apology for showing up at five-thirty in the morning. My savior human was surprisingly quick to answer, giving me an indulgent wave as soon as I stumbled over my first “I’m sorry”.
“It’s fine,” she muttered. “I hadn’t gone to bed yet.”
I gave her an incredulous look and she sighed, crossing her arms in front of her chest. Her normally soft, rounded cheeks were sunken, her eyes oddly dull. Judging from the angry red marks, she’d apparently been chewing on her lower lip with some force. It was only then that I took note of the sweater she was wearing. A faded, shaggy piece of fabric that clearly hadn’t been washed since Kit Sutton had given it to her on the cliff that day. I felt a sharp pang in my chest and pulled her into a hug as soon as I’d stepped inside with her.
She stifled a sob when she wrapped her arms around me in return. “It’s hit or miss with me when it comes to sleep lately,” she confessed in a brittle voice.
I swallowed. “I’m working on it. I’ll get her back for you, I have a lead. Is there anything I can do in the meantime?”
“Not really. I just gotta distract myself ‘til the morning comes, I’ll be fine then.”
“Then I’ll stay up with you.”
It was thus decided. We sat down in the living room for a while, then went out into the garden to watch the sunrise. My savior human had taken her place in her mother’s chair while I whipped up some chocolate chip pancakes (one of her favorites) for her for breakfast. I carried them out to her on a little plate with a cup of tea, and for a moment, her expression cleared up for a beam of happiness to shine through. “We should do something productive,” she remarked, and I gave her a questioning tilt of the head. “I’ve been thinking,” she went on. “Isn’t it weird how all these years, you didn’t hop dimensions once, and now all of a sudden it keeps happening?”
“Don’t worry about that right now.”
“I always worry, baby girl. It’s my natural state of being.”
“It shouldn’t be,” I insisted. “It feels wrong. You have your own problems, I don’t want to add to that.”
“Seriously, that’s not what’s happening here. This is just how I keep my mind off… things.”
I rolled my lips together. Blue-haired things, probably.
“You deserve so much better. You deserve this to be way, way easier,” I stated.
“That’s a nice thought. But it doesn’t change anything right now. You can control your body, can’t you? Your teeth and tentacles?”
“Yes. It happens automatically when I get scared sometimes, but for the most part, I’m actively doing it.”
“Then how about if we could somehow start getting you on top of your dimension jumping, too? It would be a tad risky and I’m not sure how to go about it exactly, but it would be far better if you could toggle it. You’d be able to stop yourself from hopping when you don’t want to, but maybe you could venture into these other spaces for exploration purposes, too.” The words spilled out of her like a babbling little waterfall as she plucked apart one of her pancakes and stuffed them into her mouth. “Because there has to be more to this. I just have that feeling. So I reckon we try and find a way to work with this. What do you think?”
“Sure. I guess I’d be… open to that.”
“Really? I-I don’t want to pressure you…”
“No, no, it sounds fine! I wanna try!”
“Okay!” She set aside her plate, rubbing her hands in blatant excitement. “So it happens when your flight instinct kicks in, correct? How about we get you in that headspace on purpose?”
“How would we do that?” I asked cautiously.
When I was sitting cross-legged on the ground among my savior human’s countless flowers with my eyes closed and her hand in mine, that question had pretty much answered itself. Nettie Peterson was leading me in a “guided meditation” consisting of several intrusive queries about my first ever jump—the most terrifying moment of my entire life.
“The thing, that floating maw, what did it look like?” she began, referring to the creature that had ended it all.
I furrowed my brows. “It didn’t look like
anything,” I replied meekly. “Mostly, it was just… really big and dark.”
“Dark? What color dark?”
“Black, I guess. It swallowed the light.” A pulsating pain began to flare up behind my forehead. “It was nothing. It was like a giant ball of nothing.”
“You told me once that it made a noise,” my best friend went on, her fingers grasping mine a little tighter. “Do you remember that sound?”
I winced. “Yes.”
“It was more like a vibration that went through everything,” I mumbled. “The ground was shaking. And then we all screamed.”
“Did you see inside its mouth?”
“No. There was nothing inside of its mouth. There was nothing inside of it
. Just emptiness.” I shifted my weight. Images were flashing in front of my inner eye, filling the darkness behind my closed lids. My breath had caught in my throat and it felt like ants were crawling beneath my skin. “And then all of us were suddenly… nothing
, everything was gone and at that last moment, everyone was so terrified. They all knew it was over. All of them.”
At first, I thought Nettie Peterson’s hand was trembling. Then I realized it was my own, shaking hers through the contact. For a moment, my body felt feather-light, but not in a relaxing or comfortable way. It was as though I was afloat, out of control and weightless. I didn’t like it. “Can we stop?” I choked out.
“Of course,” my best friend replied, gently squeezing my fingers.
I let go of a deep breath, blinking my eyes open. Across from me, Nettie was giving me a soft but deeply apologetic smile. “Did I push you too far?”
“It’s not your fault. I think I simply wasn’t ready for this.”
“I understand. Let’s go inside and make some more of those—” She stopped mid-sentence. She’d been pointing her chin at the plate of pancakes resting on her chair, only to see that it had changed
The food I had just served her half an hour ago had turned into a moldy, rotten mess. A couple flies were circling it, emitting a low, almost melodic buzz. My savior human and I traded wide-eyed glances, disbelief, fear and excitement mirrored in our eyes. We then got up to take in our surroundings. The flowers surrounding us weren’t the same anymore. They were either withered or deathly pale; formerly pink, yellow and red petals had become either light gray or iridescently white. Thick, soupy fog was hanging over everything, it was denser and heavier than any we’d ever had in town before. The mist seemed to have consumed all the noise and color in the world, leaving only cold, oppressive silence.
Nettie was the first to regain speech. “It worked! Oh my Lord, it actually worked.”
I clasped her arm and she immediately fell silent. Wordlessly, I pointed at the rolling fog on the other side of the garden fence. There was something moving
within. An enormous, caterpillar-like shape soundlessly dragged itself through the air, its long body slowly moving along across the street. My savior human’s jaw had dropped, her mouth wide open as she followed my gaze. Neither of us moved a muscle as we waited for the creature to pass by. Thankfully, it didn’t seem to take note of us at all. I didn’t want to imagine what could happen if one were to draw its attention.
“This is… I don’t believe this,” Nettie breathed, running a hand over her mussed coils. “You did it. We’re not home anymore.”
“What do you propose to do now?”
“Keep our heads low and try to find out anything useful, I’d say.”
I nodded and she folded her hand into the crook of my arm. Together, we proceeded through the open door back into the house. Wammawink and Nettie’s old convertible were standing in their garage, a pool of motor fluid surrounding each vehicle. The paint was peeling from the car doors, matching the way the pictures and photographs around her house had faded.
The food in her kitchen had morphed into a self-contained ecosystem. Bugs were crawling up and down the walls and ghostly white mice scuttled across the floor with shocking brazenness. There was no trace of human life anywhere in sight. We stepped out the front door and into the street only for Nettie to grab me and fling me to the ground next to her. We flattened ourselves against the curb as another one of the gigantic caterpillar-figures snaked its way along just a couple feet above our heads. I craned my neck to give my best friend a sidelong glance out of terrified, saucer-sized eyes. I could see my reflection in hers as she pressed a finger to her lips. I gave her a tiny nod.
Finally, it was gone again and we helped each other to our feet. Nettie brushed down her sweater with great care before tilting her head at me as though asking if I was alright. I gave a reassuring, albeit wavering smile which she returned with a slight strain to her brow. We linked arms again and started walking down the street. The whole dimension seemed to be a mirror image of our hometown, only deader. Aside from the flies and vermin, there seemed to be very little life. All of the houses we were so familiar with looked decrepit, old and empty. Walls were crumbling down, roofs looked to be seconds away from caving in and most windows were shattered. It was impossible to see ahead through the mist, but we managed to hide from the flying worm-things everytime they came up.
We were starting to become a little frustrated seeing as our exploration yielded nothing of note. There was hardly anything to be seen safe from the depressing alternate version of our neighborhood. On top of that, the clammy chill that hung in the air along with the fog was making us increasingly uncomfortable. Finally, we decided we should try and get back home. We returned to Nettie’s garden where we crouched down once again, hand in hand. Before my savior human could begin her questioning though, the ground beneath us suddenly began to shudder, heaving as if moved by some kind of subterranean pulse.
Nettie Peterson and I snapped our eyes open at the exact same time, mouths agape in bewilderment. And then we saw it. It was in the sky, partially veiled by the thick fog yet impossible to overlook. It became darker and darker as it neared, its indescribably large form seemed to envelop the entirety of the heavens. It had been five years since I had last seen it, but I recognized it immediately. Not that it had any features I could have recognized. I remembered though, and in that moment, it all came flooding back to me. The breeders that threw themselves in front of their young, the cries that echoed across the plains together with the stones and soil sent rolling by the earthquake. I caught my best friend’s gaze, read the terror in it and knew that it was just as immense as my own. Her lips were parted in an ear-piercing scream that ended up being drowned out by the hovering roar of the Devourer Of Worlds.
I squeezed her hand so tightly I feared I’d snap her fingers. And suddenly, before I knew it, all was silent again. The air was warmer, filled with the fragrances of countless different flowers. The early morning sun was shining down on us, and it felt like it was heating up my very core. We were back. In the blink of an eye, Nettie had thrown her arms around me, pulling me close to her chest.
“Baby girl,” she whispered.
“That was it,” I rasped out. “That was it.”
“I know.” Withdrawing just an inch, she wiped a thumb over my eye, careful not to scrape me with her nail. It was only then that I realized I was crying. Tears were streaming down my cheeks, noiseless and hot, dripping from my chin and wetting my chest.
"You're not hurt, are you? Look, it's going to be alright. You just take it easy now. We'll go inside, have some tea or coffee or whatever and calm down, a-and then we can figure this all out. Come on. Get up. Easy, easy now." She hugged me even as she pulled me to my feet and into the house alongside her. "So tea. How about strawberry? Or Turkish apple? Or classic chamomile? Something for the nerves, at any rate."
"Wait," I stammered, interrupting her monologue. "What about you? Are you okay?"
"Oh, no. No, no, no, far from it. I'll sign us both up for therapy once I find the time, but for now, tea! Tea."
"Nettie, please don't strain yourse—"
"Listen here, I'm gonna make you some goddamn tea and we'll sit down with it and it's gonna be warm and nice and we'll forget all about this. I'm here. I can take care of you. You do not
need to be scared." She pressed her face close up to mine, her voice sharp and a mite threatening.
"I'm sort of scared of you
"Oh." She drew back. "Pardon. I'll put on the tea." A forced, crooked tune tumbled from her lips as she went ahead into the kitchen.
We've both simmered down a little since the incident. It's been two days now. I used most of that time to unwind and recover from what had to be the single most eventful night of my time here on earth. Keep in mind, this happened the morning after the fire. The calm is not going to last much longer, though. I don't mind that, I just need to brace myself.
Rhonda's been in touch. X 1 2: deadbeat roommate 3: creepy crush 4: relocation 5: beach concert 6: First date 7: Temp work 8: roommate talk 9: a dismal worldview 10: warehouse 11: staircase 12: explanation 13: hurt 14: hospital 15: ocean 16: diner 17: government work 18: something in the caves 19: shopping cart 20: olms and Jewels 21: long hair 22: recruitment 23: waitresses 24: dollhouse 25: burning plastic
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2023.06.09 14:24 Edwardsreal "The Sensational Story of the Green Berets' Operation Zero!", by Bruce Minney for "Man's Action" (Dec. 1966)
2023.06.09 13:29 Lastchance92 The Devils poison
The sun began to set on the small Scottish island, casting a warm orange glow across the quaint village. As the residents finished their meals and the last few visitors trickled out of the local pub, a man named Ewan slipped into the shadows, waiting for the perfect moment to make his move. Ewan, a middle-aged man with a scruffy beard and unkempt hair, was an alcoholic. He was known by many on the island for his frequent drunken antics and had been kicked out of the pub more times than he could count. Despite several attempts to quit drinking, Ewan was powerless to resist the allure of alcohol. As the last of the pub's patrons made their way out the door and the owner began to close up, Ewan seized his opportunity. He snuck into the now-empty pub through a back door, hiding behind a large wooden barrel in a corner. He held his breath, praying he wouldn't be discovered as the owner locked up and left for the night. Once he was sure the coast was clear, Ewan emerged from his hiding spot and surveyed the room, his eyes gleaming with excitement. He licked his lips as he approached the rows of bottles behind the bar, the promise of a long night of uninterrupted drinking weighing heavily on his mind. However, as Ewan began to move across the pub, he couldn't shake the feeling that something was off about the pub. The warm, lively atmosphere he was accustomed to had been replaced Ewan looked around as he approached the bar and wondered to himself. Why do pubs always limit themselves to the same decor? The harsh shades of red. The black and white photos of people long dead and oil paintings which seem to have been painted to fade into the background. Ewan had both drank and been barred from every pub on the island now and has seen little to no variety in interiors. "I guess it is to make it feel homely and familiar. Our brains associate familiarity with safety and people who feel safe are likely to drink more." while still feeling unsettled moving across the bar. The feeling of unease wasn't going to stop him from drinking as much as he can physically take before sneaking out leaving the landlord none the wiser. Until a stock take shows some discrepancies that he will probably put down to spillages or his carelessness with bookkeeping. Then he thought "No I will drink as much as I want and top the bottles up with water" Ewan's eyes grazed over the selection of choices on the Optic. Grouse being his usual preferred choice when he wants to spoil himself on the rare occasions he has money to burn, Bells being his usual go-to poison as the price and alcohol content measure up quite nicely but tonight he was going to drink like a king. He grabbed the bottle of Redbreast and carefully unscrewed it from the optic and began to greedily chug straight from the bottle. He walked drunkenly from behind the bar to a stool he sat down and for no reason held the bottle to the sky and said "cheers" at that moment the jukebox began to blast out at an incredibly loud volume "You're mine" by Ritchie Valens. "FUCK!" Screamed Ewan as he put down his bottle and hurried over to the jukebox. The light emitted from which was now making the shadowy areas seem darker by contrast. He scrambled to the floor feeling for a plug socket behind it to unplug the thing. The sound up close was almost deafening. After feeling along the wall to no success he quickly pulled at it to come forward so he could get behind it to where the plug must be and sure enough it was there. He yanked it out of the wall with a hard jerk and the record began to slow "yourrr minee forrrr eternityyyyyy....." and then silence. Ewan let out a sigh of relief. "Thing must be connected to some sort of sensor" Ewan walked to the window, crouched down in case anyone was looking in to see what the noise was. He looked to see if anyone in the opposite building heard the commotion. He looked and the only building on the other side of the road facing the pub was a thatched-roof cottage. Dimly lit by street light, with a sign above the door that read "Alf's funeral home" "Well Alf. I'm sorry if I woke up any of your clients" slurred Ewan while chuckling to himself. He reached for the bottle on the bar while turning and no bottle. He retraced his steps from the bar to the jukebox to the window and back to the bar but the
bottle was nowhere to be seen. Then he looked up at the Optics. There he saw it. The fine redbreast whiskey. He staggered over to it. Holding the bar for balance. There it was and seemingly untouched. He must have drank near on a quarter of the bottle but there it is. Almost full and back where it was. "I must have tipped it up with water after drinking and put it back. This isn't the first time I've lost chunks of time from drinking and it won't be the last" mumbled Ewan allowed as an attempt to reassure himself. Putting his feeling of unease down to the nerves of being caught along with the dull twinge of guilt he feels for stealing Ewan decided to look for cheaper alternatives for his next binge. He finally settled on a bottle of Jack. Only total pussies who want to pretend they like whisky because they think it gives them an edge drink Jack Daniels. The faggots that drink it non ironically will never notice it is watered down. Ewan grabbed a glass this time deciding to drink measured amounts. Aware that loss of time while drinking is usually followed by passing out entirely. Ewan sat hunched over on a rickety wooden stool, the creaking of the floorboards beneath him barely audible over the deafening silence that enveloped the empty pub. The musty smell of stale beer and old wood filled his nostrils as he took another swig from the glass of his Jack Daniels, a bitter taste lingering on his tongue. “Piss water,” he thought to himself. The room was dark, though his eyes had now adjusted enough to fully take in his surroundings. The old faces in frames on the wall. A photo on the wall to his left was of a party being held in this very pub. Looking to be in the 1910s judging from the fashion. Amongst the 20 or so people in the image, one woman stood out in the dead center. Her long hair was down, a contrast from the other ladies in the photos sporting the traditional Pompadour style of the time. She was smiling while looking off to the side. Seemingly unaware that she was to be the star of the photograph. Above the photo on a shelf made from taxidermy antlers sat an antique hunting rifle. The light from the street lamp reflected off the mettle barrel casting eerie shadows across the rows of dusty liquor bottles. Ewan thought about how many parties would have taken place here over hundreds of years this pub had been open. The idea of drinking for any kind of pleasure had become such an alien concept to him now. Drinking for Ewan wasn't a way to unwind or relax or even in his mind feed an addiction. Not anymore anyway. Now he finds himself desperate for a drink to quell the demons that haunted his every waking moment. As the alcohol began to take hold of him again, the memory he had been trying so hard to suppress clawed its way back to the forefront of his mind. It was a memory that he could never escape, a weight that anchored him to the ocean floor of despair. It had been over six years since the accident. The night had started like any other: dinner with friends, laughter, and, of course, alcohol. It was supposed to be a celebration of Ewan and Isla, his wife's fifth wedding anniversary. But as the night wore on and the glasses piled up, so too did the tension between them. “We need to get a taxi.” Said Isla after excusing herself and Ewan “I am fine to drive! It is only a mile down the road” “You were supposed to stay sober tonight” “Yeah, and you were supposed to get your license 3 years ago.” “Do you really wanna do this now?” Ewan thought on this for a second before speaking “No. I am sorry I was only meant to have a couple but got a little carried away. I am sorry, but you know we will never get a taxi at this time of night. Come on I'll drive slow” Ewan cut this memory short. He wouldn't allow himself to think about this anymore. As tears began to fall from his face he necked the remainder of the contents of his glass. Before he had a chance to pour himself another drink the stall he was sitting on was jerked back with such force that Ewan landed on the ground with a thud. Smashing the glass that was tightly gripped in his hand in the process. Ewan let out a pained gargled yelp as he shook his now bleeding hand in pain. The blood splatters landed on the wall art and photos. He looked at his hand and saw that yes indeed a large chunk of glass was sticking out of his hand. He yanked it out. With that more blood trickled out rapidly. He turned to see what happened to his seat. And there almost 3 feet away from him sat his bar stool. “Fuck this!” said Ewan as he hurried to the back door. Locked. He tried the fired exit, the windows. All locked. At this point, he didn't care about being discovered. He turned all the lights on. And started bashing his fists against the windows. The glass wouldn't budge he grabbed a chair and began smacking the window over and over again until the chair had fallen to pieces. Suddenly the Jukebox started playing again. Some big band highland number that he did not recognize this time. “I know I unplugged that” as he looked at the jukebox he noticed that the hunting rifle that sat on the shelf to the right of that was gone he scanned the room and to his horror, he saw a lady standing in the corner of the room facing away from him. His vision was slightly wavy from the alcohol. “Hey I don't know if you work here and you are trying to mess with me for breaking in. You have successfully scared the shit out of me and I am happy to wait outside for the police to arrive or whatever. I am bleeding, let me leave?” The woman turned around. It was the lady from the photograph. Her face was covered in bruises. Her eyes were red and puffy. She put the hunting rifle that was in her hands up to her chin and pulled the trigger. The front of her face exploded revealing bits of teeth and a gaping hole where her mouth should be parts of her brain decorated the ceiling the remainder half that was still in her skull pulsated a little as blood tricked out. She fell to her knees and now with her few remaining teeth bare, she looked as though she was smiling. Though her eyes gave the impression of pure rage. As she fell head first on the floor the electricity died. Ewan scurried away while on the floor to the corner by the bar and then vomited. “not real, it's not real it's not real” he said while covering his eyes. Afraid to look. He sat like this for what felt like hours. In that time a puddle of urine collected around him. “Usually I don't piss myself until I've finished my second bottle” he darkly thought to himself. “I need to find a way out of here” Thought Ewan as he opened his eyes and saw that there was no trace of the lady from the photograph anymore. The ceiling was clean and the gun was back on its shelf. He stood shakily. As He stood he noticed that the building on the opposite end of the street now had a light on. He began banging on the window again “Hey! I am trapped in here! Send help!” He saw movement in the window as someone pulled back the curtain to look. It was a middle-aged gentleman with greying hair. He looked around confused to see where the noise was coming from “OVER HERE!” Shouted Ewan and he banged on the window until his other hand was just as bloody. The gentleman then turned in Ewans direction “YEAH OVER HERE I AM TRAPPED! PLEASE COME AND HELP ME!” The gentleman looked as though he was trying to hear while with his hand he reached for the lining of his shirt. With one motion he ripped his shirt open relieving a gash going all the way up his body stitched together with what appeared to be wire. His look of concern turned to amusement and he pulled the wire. Undoing the stitches to show where his vital organs that have now been donated used to be. He laughed like a madman as he pulled his skin back. His head now leaning against the glass and his laughter which sounded muffled due to the distance was still audible from the pub. Deep and raspy but that of a madman. Ewans attention was broken by the sound of a familiar clank of something metallic. It was a sound that was instantly recognizable to anyone. The sound of coins dropping to the floor. Ewan turned and looked and sure enough, there were two coins on the ground behind where he stood. He bent to pick them up. They were old. Very old. From what he could see in the dim light they looked to be that of the Victorian times. He heard the sound again. This time over by the jukebox. He walked over to pick them up and noticed something. The floor under the jukebox looks to be a cellar door. He dragged it out some more to reveal that yes indeed, it was some kinda entrance to a hatch of some kind. This time Ewan saw the coins drop to the floor. He looked up at the ceiling and saw dozens of corpses laying flat against the ceiling with coins covering their eyes dressed in their funeral clothes all shoulder to shoulder. The sight was horrifying. And as if waiting to be viewed, at that moment their flesh began to melt to just skeletal remains, and coins and blood showed Ewan as he frantically tried to get the hatch on the floor open. Digging his fingers into the gaps trying to grip it to lift it until he eventually found a bit to latch onto. With one firm pull the hatch came up. He dove into the cellar. Not caring what he will find at this point. Slamming it shut behind him. He searched his pocket to find his lighter. After a few attempts at getting it to light he managed. He saw it wasn't a cellar at all. Instead, it was a tunnel. He began to follow it along. After walking for about 30 minutes the tunnel got narrower and narrower until Ewan was crawling on his hands and knees. He noticed a light ahead and felt hopeful that this could be the end of his ordeal. He began to notice he was crawling on pavement and broken glass. He kept going until he could stand and he could see trees and a road he hurried out of the tunnel and saw to his confusion. He was still inside the cellar. The trees stopped sharply at the ceiling and the road stopped sharply at the four walls that surrounded him. He turned to go back through the tunnel, Back the way he came. this was not the way out. what he saw as he turned defied all logic. The small part of his brain that clung to rational explanation broke as he saw that the tunnel he had just crawled through had been replaced with a tipped-over car. He saw a younger version of himself slowly regain consciousness while suspended upside down. He froze unable to move or look away. “Oh god please don't make me relive this” “Isla? Oh my god, Isla” Ewan checked her pulse but couldn't find one. He could see emergency services lights coming towards them from a distance. He knew he would go to prison for manslaughter if caught causing death by dangerous driving “I am so sorry baby. I am so sorry” Ewan said through tears while unbuckling her seatbelt and moving her over to the drivers side and then crawling back out of the car to flag down the ambulances. "They'll be able to resuscitate her, She will be okay and I will take care of her". Ewan didn't notice that the car had begun to ignite until it was too late. The flames spread quickly. “Ewan..?” said a dull voice from the car. Ewan turns and hurried to the car but by that point, it was too late “Isla!” He cried as he watched the flame cover his wife. Isla screamed in pain until her face was completely burnt away and all she could make was gargles and all Ewan could do was watch in horror. Then the entire room went up in flames and became ash leaving Ewan completely in the dark. Sobbing. “I am sorry I didn't know. I didn't mean to. I.... I...!" Ewan composed himself. "I deserve to die but I am not dying in here" Ewan stood and pulled out his lighter again to light the room only to see it was now filled with hundreds of bodies all staring at him. the tips of their feet scraping across the floor as they floated closer. Ewan backed away until he felt something metallic. A ladder leading up to a manhole shaft. he quickly began to climb as the ghostly rotting corpses moved closer to him at a more rapid speed now. as he reached the top and forced the lid open he was greeted by sunlight. hands clutched at his ankles dragging him back but with determination to survive he pulled himself free and was finally outside in the open. He closed the cover shut. He could hear birds chirping, and sounds of people driving to work. The world had never seemed so beautiful. "Oh my god buddy are you okay?" said a young man who looked horrified at Ewan who was covered in dried blood, ash, and a collection of injuries. "I am going to call you an ambulance buddy hang tight" The young man pulled out his phone and began to dial. by this point, Ewan began to pass out. He slipped in and out of consciousness while getting carefully placed on the gurney. "What is your name?" "Have you taken anything?" "Who's blood is this" "My name is Ewan, I haven't taken anything. I guess I have had far too many spirits last night though" he laughed to himself as the doors to the ambulance closed. as the vehicle began to speed away music began to play on the radio. "I didn't think ambulances had radios" said Ewan as he began to recognize the music. "Your mine and we belong together. Yes, we belong together" He tried to stand but he had been strapped down to the gurney. The walls of the ambulance began to melt away. The paramedics all had coins covering their eyes and mouths stitched shut. Ewan let out a scream as fire began to cover his body he could see once the walls of the ambulance were fully gone he was still in the pub. it was still night and he was now very much on fire. He let out one final scream before his lips were completely gone. His chard body fell to the floor by the bar with a thud. An empty bottle of Jack tightly gripped in one hand and his lighter in the other. In his final state of living consciousness before his inevitable death, he saw the light emerge from the window. The sun was finally rising for real. He closed what remained of is eyelids and let out a pained sigh as he died. Ewans body was discovered later that day by a confused and horrified cleaner. Who immediately phoned the police. The investigating officers, who knew all about Ewans drunken antics on the island and had their suspensions regarding the circumstances involving his wifes death. Put Ewans demise down to an elaborate and painful suicide. That night as his body lay on the slab in Alfs funeral home. After the sun had set and everyone had left for the evening. But in the pub opposite the funeral home, Ewan emerged from his hiding spot behind the barrels and surveyed the room, his eyes gleaming with excitement. He licked his lips as he approached the rows of bottles behind the bar, He felt an unsettling feeling of deja vu but had managed to shake it off by the promise of a long night of uninterrupted drinking which weighed heavily on his mind.
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2023.06.09 12:47 MilkbottleF Seven Stories
A woman who is late for an important meeting takes the subway instead of a taxi. She has not ridden a subway in ten years, not since she was a secretary. The subway is smaller than she remembered, and colder. She realizes that the heat is not working in her car; she realizes she has boarded an express and that this train won't stop until it reaches 86th Street. She'll have to take a taxi after all, and go back downtown through all the traffic she thought she was avoiding. Nothing can be done now but wait for the ride to be over.
A man seated next to her is reading from a small notebook. She stares because it is exactly like one she often carries. The crabbed handwriting inside it is very like her own. How has this person come to have her notebook?
He is looking at the same two pages, turning them back and forth. She manages to read by looking down and sideways.
"A social security mom," one line begins. "An American girl who visited China," says the next. He moves his fingers: "I know I'm old. I paid for sex. I get no refund. I have no salt, no soul, no refill."
The man is wearing brown wool pants, a quilted storm coat, a fake-fur cap with ear flaps. He is, perhaps, fifty. He seems ordinary. The contents of the notebook are so odd the woman impulsively takes out an envelope and surreptitiously scribbles down what she has read.
The man, absorbed, turns another page. "God hears me. The death bullets. The fee." The woman is suddenly sure he found this notebook somewhere, that he is reading these pages over and over, trying to figure them out. "Both of us are voyeurs," she scribbles on her envelope. When she looks again, he is on a new page: "More death files, you may keep them, the tainters, the foam."
it occurs to her then that a Robert Louis Stevenson story would begin right here: the story would reveal that her copying has linked her forever in a chain of eavesdroppers, trespassers, and spies, and she wonders why she and her fellow passengers allowed themselves to be drawn in, to pass these sick words on, preserving them. Then she realizes that the chain moves back in time as well as forward—back, it seems to her, to the original writer, who will thus be able to know her.
The man shuts the notebook abruptly and puts it in an inside pocket. It's his own. He has put it in a pocket only an owner would use. And he is aware of her reading and writing. He is perspiring; so is she. His clothing is odd; that is, it was once ordinary, but now it's very dirty. The train slows for the stop at 86th. Predictably, the woman is terrified. To leave is to give him an opportunity to follow. She waits as long as she can before leaving her seat and steps off the train as the doors close. The man is still sitting inside. Back on the street, she hails a cab which delivers her to the building where the meeting has surely begun without her. She tips the driver without looking at him.
A writer spins plots in the most condensed forms possible. she strips them of description and comment; they simply outline a sequence of exchanges. she gradually loses the ability to make herself write them out as stories, every time she begins to work on a story, she makes instead other new condensed plot pieces. the obsession increases, she finds she must carry a notebook, so she can write wherever she is. eventually every daily activity—things as simple as walking to the corner for a bottle of milk—triggers another miniature plot, which she must stop to write down, she is unable to go on with her daily life.
A girl who is considered a model child in every way is locked into a closet by her elder brother one Saturday morning. he lets her out that night, overcome by guilt he cannot express, because the whole family has gone through the day without ever realizing the girl was missing.
A man who has been urged to join a club by his psychiatrist joins a pacifist movement, he leads daring demonstrations against nuclear submarines, nuclear power plants, and army recruiting centers. he is arrested several times. his sense of himself as a loner intensifies, he becomes a leader in the movement, manipulating others and spurring them to acts of defiance he no longer participates in. when he is confronted by the angry girlfriend of a young man who has been permanently injured by police at one of these demonstrations, he tells her he has no wish to be cannon fodder or to be part of any kind of group.
A doctor has hired a young homosexual as his office secretary. his sympathy was engaged during the job interview when the young man told him about his struggle to accept himself and live openly as a gay man. the doctor discovers several months later that the secretary is impersonating him after hours to impress his sexual contacts. recognizing how the young man had flattered him into acting against his instincts, and how susceptible he is to being flattered, the doctor feels morally responsible for the misconduct. instead of firing the secretary, the doctor has new office keys made to keep him out of the office after hours. he gives the secretary less to do and hires a part-timer to handle some of the work. his behavior becomes more and more peculiar in his effort to avoid the necessary confrontation. what will rescue him?
A painter has been given a solo exhibition at one of the city's biggest galleries, the show gets the full treatment, and so does he: good reviews, crowds everyday, invitations here and there, and, best of all, the gallery sells every picture. for the first time in his life, the painter is flush; he decides to treat himself to his first trip to Europe. when his jubilant friends have left him at the airline lobby, and he has walked though the jetway to the plane door, he turns and stops. why am I leaving what I've worked so long to have? he thinks, he walks back up the ramp—and is promptly arrested.
For more than three hours, he is questioned and searched; all the passengers are made to disembark; luggage is disemboweled; the bomb dogs are brought in to sniff.
When he finally rejoins his friends very late that evening, he tells them it was worth it not to go.
The daughter of a world-famous scientist makes friends with the son of a small-town photographer in the country town where the scientist and his family are spending summer. both fathers are delighted, the photographer because he hopes the famous man will be helpful to his son; the scientist because he approves of the sturdy American values exemplified by the photographer's simple aspirations and lifestyle. (he does not approve of the private school his wife sends their daughter to.) both fathers speak so approvingly and at length about this friendship that the children fight viciously, subsequently both of them lie to their parents about what happened.
-- Martha King. Collected, respectively, in Little Tales of Family and War, 1990-1999
(Spuyten Duyvil, 2000), and North and South
(Spuyten Duyvil, 2006).
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2023.06.09 10:58 niconicomayhaps Regarding SNSD couples, Please hear me out on this.
In light of the recent SNSD dating exposes, This one, The Taeyeon and Baekhyun one, has been the most interesting, and actually has two sides to this story. This is also the first time that SM has officially endorsed a intra-SM couple. I will only focus on Taeyeon's side of the relationship. She is after all, the older of the couple, i'd assume she makes all the decisions in this relationship.
I urge you to at least read on, and understand and digest. I understand this sub is majority Americans, Canada and Europe.
And therefore your views may differ from the views of Sones living in Korea. You may have the urge to immediately downvote this, but for the sake of healthy discussion, i plead you hold your ratings.
The responses towards this has been varying, some elated for Taeyeon having unlocked herself from the shackles of her dating ban, while others felt furious and dejected from the sense of betrayal, supposedly from Taeyeon's actions, and everything in-between.
I will first generalize, and say that I think most here would feel elated for Taeyeon. I do understand. After all, Taeyeon is only human, and has wants, needs, and desires. Immediately it would be apparent to you that this dating ban is a serious degradation to one's living standards. After all, why should anyone be able to invade into her personal life, let alone control what she can do? These feelings are understandable, she is no longer young, she was lonely and supposedly in depression. Baekhyun came along, i do not know the details, but Taeyeon fell for his care and concern. All these should run up to an happy ending with a loving couple, shouldn't it?
Yes? But the Koreans saw this situation differently. Vastly differently. In fact so different, the conclusions they pull from this is that anger and dejectedness are the proper reactions to this situation.
Again, i plead that you hear me out.
You might immediately want to ask a grieving Korean, why is he so bitter? why does he not wish his idol he so liked, so cared for, so supported by, that he wishes her to lie in a depressed state, faking a smile everyday, as compared to a genuinely happy Taeyeon? This can only be said to be a shallow interpretation of this situation.
As generalized in this post
, The Koreans are not angered at her dating, nor with her choice of date, nor are they in despair that they were not chosen in favour of Baekhyun. I honestly believe anyone with a working brain, has already ejected the thought of actually having a chance with Taeyeon. The real problem lies within the criticism and belittling of fans.
Answer me this, /SNSD
, have you ever been into events supporting SNSD physically, literally queuing in the snow just to fill up a studio to show your idols you are there for them? Arranging complicated post-release album buying algorithms such as to keep the longevity of those albums on charts? Have you donated physical money to keep one of their multitudes of fansites afloat? Have you personally sent food bentos to filming sets, in order to gain the respect and get into the good books of directors and film crew, such that your idol may have a easier time on set?
If that is not enough to show how crazy Sones are willing to express their dedication for SNSD, here is a little anecdote from me.
I have once attended an annual blood donation drive, organized by the local Sone gathering. This was inspired after SNSD's Love request show, and it has been extremely meaningful since. Mind you, the process itself was painful, the the feeling of being weak and tired for the rest of the week was a pain to bear in the modern stresses of my country. But all of that was meaningful; It was donated in the name of the one and only Kim Taeyeon. We even received a plaque that congratulates Kim Taeyeon of donating some 7 litres of blood for lifesaving.
It is hard to understand the feelings now held by the Koreans. Most have placed a large part of their lives into this, and for most of the masters of fansites, leaving SNSD is not an option. It is not farfetched to go beyond saying SNSD would not be here today without these Koreans. The dejectedness arises when this
was leaked. It was prime evidence secret accounts exist. For all we know, SNSD have secret twitter accounts too. This would have been innocent, until Taeyeon started to upload cryptic images and hidden mushy nicknames for each other publicly. This would not have been a problem, if they kept it in their secret SNS, but surely Taeyeon would not be as silly as to post it publicly? Well, she did. Logically speculating why she would do something like comes up with 2 possibilities. One where she doesn't have, or wishes to be at the inconvenience of switching accounts everytime they wish to communicate. This is highly unlikely, as an class A idol, it would be highly unlike she would take such a risk as to keep her password always logged in, and kakao or Line would have better facilitated such needs. or, In the 2nd possibility, she enjoys the thrills of posting such messages, and having safely hinted time and time again of their relationship. Psychologist know all about this, and part of the adrenalin rush from death defying roller coaster rides. people are known to do this, well in roller coaster rides, who is to say Taeyeon isn't doing the same.
Regardless which situation lead her to do something like that, It is important to realize that nobody likes to be trapped between 2 lovers, and i can assure you its not a good feeling reading what is not meant for you, worse, interpreted as for you, but not. Some did not know this until the very end, which by then, was anger and sadness. Imagine sending something to Taeyeon, something you designed yourself, sweat and effort all put into having your idol appreciate it. She receives, and captions it with a ambiguous message. You accept its a response to your work, but finds out after some time that it isn't, instead for someone else, intentionally. You'd feel bitter too.
There were also posts regarding if TaeBaek was just a conspiracy to mislead people away from the Kris/yifan scandal. It would seem true, as Taeyeon is know to be a really smart leader. An open-roofed car, making out? Again, only 3 possibilities, That it is a conspiracy, where SM intentionally allowed the photographers to make a clear shot. or, Taeyeon isn't smart, and in the mist of hormones and lack of proper air conditioning, decided to open the roof. The last possibility i had difficulty grappling with; it puts doubt on everything Taeyeon's character and what she has claimed to be so far, that is that Taeyeon that is smart but has seem to have abandoned all willingness to hide their relationship and alongside the fate of SNSD.
Now ask yourself, is there anything SM is so afraid, such as to invent such madness to turn the eyes of silly netizens into forgetting Kris's scandals? Is Taeyeon stupid as to blatantly tell the world she is dating and risk the backlash?
Have you felt fighting a war where your generals have abandoned you?
In Asian traditions, one is to remind oneself continuously of their origins, no matter how humble. It is meant to keep one grounded and upright for life. 음수사원
It is hard to imagine that one would have sacrificed so much for an idol, that one day the idol would use them as a stepping stone. Maybe it is how life works, maybe people need to be stung so as they may wake up from their fantasies. But regardless, it has happened, consequences will follow.
Please, Think again before you type another mean comment about a person whom may not think them dating is smart thing to do now. Because they have reasons, and some are more thought-out than simple ideologies.
As for Taeyeon's apology, you might not understand, but I believe Taeyeon finally understands the risky game she plays has backfired.
Oh and because you people can't seem to understand, such that i need to reemphasize, the reason i am writing this, is NOT because i am lonely, douchey and jealous. I am NOT saying Taeyeon should have chosen me instead. Neither am i saying them dating is forbidden. Instead, its the way they're doing things that is, just plain strange.
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2023.06.09 05:53 BiggieBigdickdaddy Found this while searching through my stuff
2023.06.09 00:59 The_Piece_Killer Who has the Man In Black pretended to be?
It's a little unclear on which visions are just The Man In Black shape-shifting as someone in order to kill them. Obviously I know he pretended to be John Locke in seasons 5 and 6. He pretended to be Christian in season 1, Yemi in season 3, and Alex in season 5. There are unconfirmed sightings I was not sure of. Was he the vision of Walt in season 2 that got Shannon killed, and the vision of Walt in season 3 that convinced Locke he had "work to do"? Was he the vision of Dave that told Hurley to jump off the cliff? Was he behind the deaths of Nikki and Paulo (given that the noises of the smoke monster can be heard throughout the scene)? Are there any other sightings I'm missing?
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2023.06.09 00:38 SparetheDreamer I wonder if we're actually (at least partially) traumagenic
Basically what the title says. I already know I'm plural, but I've always considered us to be an endo system. I've had a ton of traumatic stuff in my past: chronic mental illnesses and a lot of stuff surrounding that, some family stress, some friend and family deaths that have hit hard, debilitating chronic biological illness. It's been a bit of a bumpy ride, but after years and years, I feel like I've finally really found my spark and love of life (despite the fact I'm housebound and mostly bedbound, I'm happy).
I've always been really emotionally sensitive and used to have maladaptive daydreaming to cope with a lot of stuff. It has evolved into a more healthy immersive daydreaming in recent years, yet remains a helpful tool to deal with hard things. A handful of my alters are paragenic and reside primarily in my paracosm universe.
A few years ago, I was curious about systems and did a bit of looking in to what DID was and was a bit plural-curious if that's a thing. I ended up kinda freaking myself out a bit and abandoned that train of thought though because the possibility of such a huge change to my cognition and life view was terrifying*.
A bit over a year ago, we had a pretty significant family tragedy plus a huge health issue that really had me reeling and I began kinda grasping for straws. I discovered tulpamancy and created Rin, a tulpa that helped me through but was ultimately not a good fit and a bit toxic so I was able to become single again. I then created Nikki, who was amazing, but I kinda started to get *freaked out again by the whole concept of possibly being stuck as plural, so he willing stepped away. I kinda eventually brought him back as Aoryn who great and more paragenic than willogenic and so we're able to have a healthy, pressure minimal relationship.
HOWEVER, something I've been noticing for the last few weeks is a phenomenon I think I've identified as facets. It's like slightly different versions of me with little to no memory or emotional amnesia and we all seem to be monoconscious. They don't feel like different beings like Aoryn does, nor do they feel entirely joined together. The thing is, as I've been reflecting on this experience these few weeks, I've also begun to recall other times when I've experienced similar times when I've noticed a switch from one to another in the past. They're very subtle, but as I've actually put effort into observing it lately, the more I've noticed these distinct facets, switches, and how my feelings, thought processes, even personality differences vary from time to time.
I think I'm not just a paragenic system, I think I'm a median system too. And I think maybe I've been one for a while. I was a little worried at first, but over the last few days, I've become a lot more comfortable with the idea. It's still strange to be different than I thought I was, but it's ok.
I know that you don't have to have trauma to have facets or anything, but I didn't try to create these and am just wondering if what I've been through HAS had a hand in my plurality after all.
I don't think this is actually going to change that much in my life. Right now I'm viewing it kinda just how my brain works and responds to the world. I don't necessarily feel the need to flesh out the facets (at least for now) and develop them into fully individualized headmates or anything. I don't know how many there are (at least 5) or when/how they were created. But I'm feeling peace about this whole situation, which is great progress for me.
Anyways, just wanted to share this 'new' development/realization. Hope this post wasn't too long or confusing or anything.
- I want to make it clear that I obviously don't find plurality as a phenomenon terrifying or anything, it's just frightening for me to have drastic changes in my life that I might have no control over. Obviously this is a work in progress. Y'all aren't scary. My headmates aren't spooky beings and are lovely 💕.
-Dreamer, the host (with all her pieces)
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2023.06.08 23:26 OkShallot3873 Should I end a long term friendship?
I am in but of a dilemma. I met a new friend when I was 20, she was 24 (it’s now over a decade later). We met overseas but we’re from the same country, different cities. We’ve never lived in the same place.
Over the last decade we’ve kept in touch via social media, phone calls and the occasional visit - possibly once every 2 years averaged out.
During this time she has had severe issues with her marriage. She’s been unhappy almost the entire time I’ve known her but is too embarrassed to get a divorce (even though I among others have told her her happiness is paramount and there’s nothing to be embarrassed about). Instead my friend has found comfort in repeatedly cheating on her husband in pursuit of her own happiness.
I (now regretfully) supported her in whatever decisions she made, saying things like “infidelity doesn’t happen in a vacuum” “I know you’re just trying to make yourself happy” and excusing this somewhat shitty behaviour. I always gently encouraged leaving her husband rather than constant cheating but because she told me she didn’t have other friends and wasn’t close to her family I didn’t want to alienate her more.
Over the years I did meet her husband a few times and despite all she’s said about him, I do think he’s a sweet guy and doesn’t actually deserve the things she’s been doing. She constantly says she’ll leave but never does and goes back to sleeping around behind his back.
I guess due to us living in different cities and me knowing I’d never do what she did I let myself off the hook for excusing her behaviour.
Anyway, fast forward to recent times and I got engaged and she immediately asked to be a bridesmaid as she is now one of my oldest friends. I said yes (I didn’t want any but fiancé wanted an even bridal party so I went with it).
Being in a different city meant she couldn’t help which but I was ok with this, I’m a planner and was excited to do it all myself anyway.
For all my bridesmaids I wrote a letter asking them to be a part of the day, outlining expectations, which was essentially, I don’t want you to stress, I’ll pay for everything, I just need you to be around the week of for last minute help if required, no hard feelings if you opt out because life can be tricky that type of thing.
She accepted and it was fine for a while but then she got super needy and demanding. I gave the girls options for dresses to pick themselves and she kept saying how unflattering they were, kept making disparaging comments about wedding planning in general. This carried on until my bachelorette party.
My bach was a very low key quiet girls champagne brunch. I told her not to travel because it seemed a big expense for such a minor event. (she's recently started in a new industry and I was conscious she didn’t have a lot of excess money so wanted to give her an out). She came anyway but because of the expense she didn’t hire a car, and didn’t want to use public transport/taxis so I had to cancel my hair and makeup to pick her up and drive her around.
After this day, I heard from my other friends just how negative she was, almost everything out of her mouth was a jab at how terrible marriage is, how it's a trap, ball and chain, slow death etc all the cliches.. I brushed it off as it being a hard time for her given her marriage struggles but then… she did that same thing at my wedding.
She travelled, again no car and then the day before the wedding asked how I was getting her to the venue - I had made a group chat with the bridal party 3 weeks in advance and asked them to arrange travel between them/carpool as I would be onsite the night before and they needed to be there in the morning. So I had arrange her transport last minute, her dress wasn’t pressed so I had to do that morning of my wedding, she didn’t arrive at the expected time and “pranked’ me on arrival which scared the hell out of me and got my heart racing which I couldn’t get rid of the entire day. She decided she hated her hair after it had been done (even though I had asked what she wanted weeks in advance and she never replied) She disappeared for an hour without telling anyone, only came back when it was my (brides) turn for hair and asked for her to be redone and I would have to wait… which I did because I was furious but didn’t want to cause a scene so I went to help set up.
I got the same feedback from even more people that she was negative the whole day “I remember being happy on my wedding day, that doesn’t last” etc to the point the both other bridesmaids, and the photographer all pulled her aside at different times and told her to get it together.
There were sooo many other things but I digress.
After the wedding, despite my annoyance, I didn’t want to be a bridezilla and end a friendship so I tried to get past it but she kinda ghosted me instead. Which honestly I was fine with because I saw this bratty otherside of her and after her meeting my other friends I realised that I don’t agree with her choices and can’t condene them anymore (cheating) and she's so negative and has been the entire time I’ve known her without trying to better herself or seek therapy or anything so I think I have outgrown her.
We’ve barely spoken in 6 months and today she asked if she could come visit as there has been a weird distance between us and she wants to catch up. My mind instantly started coming up for excuses to use to avoid confrontation, which is mean, and got me wondering whether I should be honest with her and say I think we’ve outgrown each othe I can’t support her actions/I’m hurt at how she acted this last year towards my marriage.
I feel like I’ve been her one supporter and I don’t want to hurt her by removing a friendship she needs but then she hasn’t been there for me (It's always been me supporting her) and has ignored me for the better half of a year (during which I have really struggled but never once saw her as someone I could go to for help).
It’s not all about the wedding but it was seeing her with my other friends and family and in a situation where it wasn’t about her and how she acted in that situation and my opinion of her has really changed.
What should I do?
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2023.06.08 22:52 bloodbath_andbeyond Little Gracie Watson -Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah, GA
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Gracie Watson, affectionately known as Little Gracie, is the daughter of Wales J. and Frances Watson. Originally from Massachusetts, she was born on July 10, 1883, and died only 6 years later on April 23, 1889. Her cause of death was pneumonia and although she lived a short life she still had an impact on her family and those around her. submitted by bloodbath_andbeyond to CemeteryPorn [link] [comments]
Her parents ran the Pulaski Hotel and Gracie often played in the hotel. She also entertained guests by dancing and singing songs and practically became the unofficial greeter as well. She would also play under the back stairwell of the hotel, such is the joyous and pure nature of children.
Given this, it makes sense that her parents and those that were around Gracie would be devastated by their loss. Childhood mortality rates were high but that didn’t soften the blow of the loss. Her parents still lost a wonderful, energetic child. It’s clear she made a positive impact on many lives.
Due to the death at a young age mixed with her parent’s sorrow and love, they hired a sculptor. A John Walz, he was commissioned by the father to represent Gracie in the form of a statue. And he did.
Using only a photograph of Little Gracie, John Walz made a life-sized and photo-accurate representation of Gracie. A statue that now sits in the Bonaventure Cemetery.
Due to the popularity of the statue, a fence has been placed around the site to prevent destruction either purposely or accidental. Which is fair given no one is interested in losing such an iconic part of the Bonaventure Cemetery.
After her death, her father fell into depression and ended up moving towns and the Pulaski House altogether. It’s a sad tale, there’s no arguing against that. At the very least, there’s a permanent physical representation of who their daughter, Gracie, was. Due to that, her memory still lives on to this day.
2023.06.08 20:26 PlayPUBGMobile PUBG MOBILE - COMMUNITY EVENT - Reggaeton Remix Dance Contest - FULL LEGAL RULES
PUBG MOBILE Reggaeton Remix Dance Contest CONTEST OFFICIAL RULES
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This Reggaeton Remix Dance Contest
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The Contest begins on June 8 at 12pm PDT and runs through June 21 2023 at 11:59pm PDT (the “Promotion Period
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2023.06.08 20:18 CautiousCoconuts Porsche Girl Head Photos Nikki Catsouras Accident Crash Twitter
2023.06.08 20:17 CautiousCoconuts Nikki Catsouras Death Photo, Porsche Girl Head Photographs Is Causing Outrage Everywhere On Social Media
2023.06.08 20:09 CautiousCoconuts Porsche Girl Head Photos Nikki Catsouras Accident Crash Twitter
2023.06.08 20:08 CautiousCoconuts Nikki Catsouras Death Photo, Porsche Girl Head Photographs Is Causing Outrage Everywhere On Social Media
2023.06.08 17:26 thinkingstranger June 7, 2023
Three more candidates have entered the race for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination this week. Former vice president Mike Pence, former New Jersey governor Chris Christie, and current North Dakota governor Doug Burgum join former South Carolina governor and Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, South Carolina senator Tim Scott, Florida governor Ron DeSantis, former Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson, as well as a few others and former president Donald Trump in their hope of winning the nomination.
Taken together, the different candidates offer a window into the current Republican Party. Haley and DeSantis are embracing the cultural issues to which the Trump base is wedded. At a CNN town hall on Sunday, Haley singled out transgender girls as one of her key issues, linking (without any evidence) their presence on girls’ sports teams to an April study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that showed a rise in the number of teenaged girls contemplating self-harm between 2019 and 2021, years that covered the height of the pandemic. (In fact, LGBTQ teenagers have a higher rate of thoughts of self-harm than their straight, gender-conforming peers.)
DeSantis has reached for the Trump base by focusing on immigration. That focus has backfired as unlawful border crossings have dropped more than 70% since President Biden’s ending of the pandemic-related Title 42, and as a new Florida law designed to “scare people from coming to Florida” has resulted in immigrants, whose labor is vital to the state, leaving it.
Apparently trying to reclaim the narrative, in the last week, DeSantis has sent two charter flights taking migrants who have legally applied for asylum in the U.S. from the Texas border to Sacramento, California. While the DeSantis administration claims the migrants went “voluntarily,” they say they were tricked into thinking they would get work in California. One set of the migrants were dropped off outside the Catholic Archdiocese of Sacramento, which had not been alerted they were coming and was closed.
Pence, Hutchinson, and Christie are directly attacking Trump, Pence by saying the events of January 6, 2021, make Trump unfit to be president, Hutchinson by saying Trump should withdraw because of the criminal charges he’s facing, and Christie by attacking Trump and his family as grifters. At Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire yesterday, Christie reminded the audience: “Jared Kushner and Ivanka Kushner walk out of the White House and months later get $2 billion from the Saudis…. You think it’s because he’s some kind of investing genius? Or do you think it’s because he was sitting next to the President of the United States for four years doing favors for the Saudis?... That’s your money he stole and gave it to his family. You know what that makes us? A banana republic.”
Scott and Burgum seem to be trying to offer exhausted Republican voters a rest. Scott is trying to offer an optimistic vision of the United States amidst the apocalyptic narratives of his rivals, denying that systematic racism is a societal problem, for example, while Burgum’s chief attribute seems to be an embrace of pre-2016 Republicanism and a low-key presentation.
That scrum of Republican hopefuls—none of whom is polling well—is the backdrop to this evening’s story from Andrew Feinberg of the Independent
that prosecutors from the Department of Justice are ready to ask a grand jury in Washington, D.C., to indict former president Trump on charges that he has violated the Espionage Act and obstructed justice.
Aside from anything else, the Espionage Act includes language that anyone who “willfully retains…any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, or note relating to the national defense, or information relating to the national defense which information the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation… and fails to deliver it on demand to the officer or employee of the United States entitled to receive it” can be punished by as many as ten years in prison.
The story says the jury could vote as early as tomorrow, but it could also be delayed until next week, or beyond. It is worth remembering that this Department of Justice has not been known to leak, and that the sooner Trump is indicted—which certainly looks likely, at least in the case of the missing documents—the sooner his supporters can jump to another candidate, which might suggest a rival camp pushing the story that an indictment will come soon. That same calculation might have been part of what was behind Trump’s insistence to New York Times
reporter Maggie Haberman that he has “NOT been told he’s getting indicted.” And, he added on Truth Social, “I shouldn’t be because I’ve done NOTHING wrong.”
Troubles in the Republican Party are not limited to the 2024 hopefuls. House Republicans continue to fight against House speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), angry over the budget deal under which he pushed through a measure to suspend the debt ceiling. McCarthy tried to head off their protests with a promise to establish a commission to cut Social Security and Medicare, but it was not enough. Yesterday, members of the House Freedom Caucus said they would not permit votes on anything until he put in writing what they believed was the deal he made to get their votes for the speakership; that revolt continued today.
Tonight, Jake Sherman of Punchbowl News
reported that McCarthy appears to have agreed to let appropriators write bills that come in below the agreed-upon spending levels. Sherman’s colleague John Bresnahan noted: “The Fiscal Responsibility Act isn’t even a week old & Republicans in the House and Senate are already trying to redo it.”
In other news, CNN has parted ways with Chris Licht, its chief executive officer and chair, who had sought to move the network to what he considered the center of American politics. He had done so by highlighting “both sides” of today’s political arguments, firing leading journalists he thought too far on the left and centering Trump in a town hall that became the former president’s triumphant reentry to the political stage as he lied and bullied the interviewer. Some pundits have taken Licht’s fall as a sign that there is no longer a powerful center in American politics, but my own guess is the opposite: that most of us want news based in reality rather than media giving platforms to people who are openly lying.
Yale scholar of authoritarianism Timothy Snyder today applied this idea to coverage of the destruction of the Nova Kakhovka Dam in Ukraine, which has rained down humanitarian, ecological, and economic disaster on Ukrainians as they appear to be launching a counteroffensive to the Russian invasion of their country.
Snyder warned journalists not to “bothsides” the story by offering equal time to both sides. “What Russian spokespersons have said has almost always been untrue, whereas what Ukrainian spokespersons have said has largely been reliable. The juxtaposition suggests a false equality,” he wrote. “The story doesn't start at the moment the dam explodes. For the last fifteen months Russia has been killing Ukrainian civilians and destroying Ukrainian civilian infrastructure, whereas Ukraine has been trying to protect its people and the structures that keep them alive.” “Objectivity does not mean treating an event as a coin flip between two public statements,” he said. “It demands thinking about the objects and the settings that readers require for understanding amidst uncertainty.”
Notes: https://www.cnn.com/2023/06/05/politics/nikki-haley-transgender-girls-teen-suicide/index.html https://abcnews.go.com/Health/us-teen-girls-considered-attempting-suicide-2021-cdc/story?id=98901688 https://www.nytimes.com/2023/06/07/us/politics/pence-trump-2024-announcement.html https://www.nytimes.com/2023/06/05/us/migrants-plane-sacramento-california.html https://www.nytimes.com/2023/06/06/us/politics/desantis-florida-migrant-flights.html https://www.businessinsider.com/florida-gop-lawmaker-urges-immigrants-stay-voted-anti-immigration-bill-2023-6 https://www.vox.com/politics/2023/6/6/23751345/tim-scott-view-race-systemic-racism-2024 https://www.vox.com/politics/2023/2/23/23611828/2024-republican-presidential-candidates-trump-christie-burgum https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/793 https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/trump-indictment-espionage-prosecution-charges-b2353397.html https://www.inforum.com/news/north-dakota/doug-burgum-is-mulling-a-run-for-president-could-he-be-a-contender-in-a-party-that-loves-trump https://www.cnn.com/2023/06/07/media/chris-licht-cnn/index.html https://newrepublic.com/post/173247/florida-republicans-admit-made-big-mistake-anti-immigrant-law https://apnews.com/article/migrants-dropped-off-california-texas-florida-2ea4ea9cc6e976e97358c64bcae164f4 https://www.newsweek.com/ron-desantis-approval-rating-2024-polls-1805073
Twitter links: sahilkapustatus/1666257940922212352 TimothyDSnydestatus/1666480705637851136 maggieNYT/status/1666515440300859392 therecount/status/1663935439873404929 JakeSherman/status/1666570060100427778 nicholaswu12/status/1666557296648900608 BeschlossDC/status/1666542112509231105
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2023.06.08 17:12 alexiuss Observer Causality 
1 Three Stars
"What offerings do you have that can match the magnitude of the task you're asking me to undertake?" Thomas asked, trying to remain unfazed by the presence of the extradimensional being. He was already daydreaming about a variety of ultimate powers such as the ability to conjure all kinds of cheese at will.
"You took too long to decide. You get nothing," Zed replied in the same absurdly cheerful voice stolen from Lizz.
“What?!” The delivery man sputtered.
"Your role in the grand scheme of things, could technically be filled by virtually any semi-intelligent bipedal specimen now wandering this world. You are merely slightly closer to me."
“Closer?” Thomas blinked.
“Closer than the other human parties that have just stepped onto this planet,” Zed affirmed. "I'm afraid that your value to me is rapidly approaching zero."
"So, what you're saying is that I'm nearly worthless?" Thomas frowned, glancing at Zed.
"More or less," the anomalous creature's lithe body rippled with tendrils of utter nothingness, which had terrible consequences for those foolish enough to gaze upon them.
"Why even bother asking me to be your emissary?" The delivery man asked, blinking away the migraine and looking away from the celestial planet-murderer.
“You are the first human I encountered that is still fully functional," Zed said. “If you take any longer to become my emissary, others will get here and they will be offered the position. Alternatively, I will erase them from existence if I find them... bothersome.”
Thomas sighed. "Wait a second. How do you even know about this? Are you omniscient or something?"
"There are  distinctive parties of bipeds on this world now,  individuals in total. They communicate via pinhole gates with each other. I absorbed one of your gate-transmitters and amplified its receiver mechanism, so I can hear their plans. Would you like to hear their words?”
“Sure,” Thomas crossed his arms.
“Very nice…” Zed suddenly hissed with a scruffy male voice. “Thanks…” A female voice replied to some cutoff segment of conversation. “I do not find this acceptable.” A third voice commented. “Ask for the…” A fourth voice cut in. “What the hell is…” A fifth voice overlaid itself atop of the others.
Thomas felt a migraine rising, trying to make sense of the mixture of forty six people speaking all at once. It was impossible. “Does nothing!” Someone yelled. “Here…” A girl replied.
“Please turn that off,” Thomas begged. “I can’t listen to this many voices at once.”
Zed fell silent.
“Can you summarize as to what they want?” Thomas inquired.
"Three parties are surprised by how this planet is now devoid of life. They are very eager to discover what happened here. One party is led by a three-star officer seeking to contain me. He received a data transmission about me from the Portal Institute. If he locates me first, I will likely be forced to exterminate him and his party… along with you and the rest of humans present on this world,” Zed summarized.
“Wait… why would you exterminate me along with the officer?” Thomas demanded, not wishing to be exterminated. “What did I do?”
“The shield-breaking neutrino pulse travels very far across this world,” Zed explained. “Once I unleash it, all present here will turn to dust. I suspect more of your kind will gate to this dead sphere to investigate… and when they do, I will ask them what I have asked you.”
Thomas frowned, feeling pressure increasing upon him.
If this were a litrpg game that he liked to play with Lizz until she got maximum-censored he would likely see a blue window with the:
[Quest: make sure extradimensional being Zed doesn't get captured.]
[Reward: Being alive.]
The delivery man sighed, feeling the weight of his own existence and the lives of forty six others on the scales of life and death.
"I accept your offer of… almost nothing," he said with a woeful look. Perhaps he could arrange some kind of reward out of Zed later on. "I'll be your emissary."
"Excellent," Zed replied with a cheerful disposition. Thomas wasn't sure if the alien being was smiling since it didn't have a human face.
They stood silently for a few moments. Thomas unmuted Lizz. "Recipient not available," he said. "Please gate me back to Europa!"
"Unable to comply," Lizz said. "Unknown interference present in area. Please relocate a few hundred meters away from the interference."
Thomas groaned, looking at Zed. He guessed the nature of the interference.
"The officer is almost upon us," the stick figure said. "He is moving fast."
"Can you hide… change your shape or stop interfering with my portal?" Thomas pleaded.
“I am unable to reduce white hole interference,” Zed replied. “I am however able to fold myself down to about 2x2 centimeter cube to hide myself upon your person.”
Thomas quickly opened up the part of his bracelet that was holding the processing core of Lizz in place. Thankfully, the core was only held together by some duct tape since he was busy trying to hack Lizz into a relationship for months now.
He quickly shoved Lizz into his GUPS uniform pocket.
“Get in the bracelet. It's radiation-proof!” He told Zed. “Hurry!”
The stick figure began to fold into itself. The disturbing process that violated dimensional space in impossible ways nearly made Thomas throw up his lunch. He snapped the thick bracelet shut just as a dark hovercraft became visible on the horizon.
Dust that was formerly people and trees blasted all around, making Thomas choke and cough. Ten men in full black suits jumped out of the hovercraft spreading around the city square. By the unnaturally fast way they moved, Thomas could tell that nine of them were Dex units, nearly invincible androids that the G-corp employed all over the Milky Way Galactic Rim.
A man wearing a full black armor set and black helmet with three stars on his lapel stepped towards Thomas.
“And who might you be?” A sharp, cold voice asked from the speaker.
“Thomas Morell, GUPS delivery,” Thomas reported, blinking dust out of his eyes and trying very hard not to break out into another fit of coughing.
"Officer Drohiryak, division 14-161," the officer introduced himself.
Thomas nodded in compliance.
“Did you see anything unusual?” The three star officer asked.
“No, sir,” Thomas lied. “I just got here five minutes ago… and now my portal back to Europa won’t open.”
“Yes, there has been a terrible accident here,” The officer nodded. “The idiot eggheads at the Portal Research let something loose.”
“Something?” Thomas blinked dust-caused tears out of his eyes.
“Something exceptionally dangerous,” the helmeted man nodded. “The eggheads are calling it an extradimensional phantom. Hopefully we can find and contain it before it can cause any more deaths. There were forty five thousand people here on Sintash working in Portal Research town… that the blasted thing turned to dust. It looks like an emaciated human figure made from flickering black lines. One of the remaining traffic cameras got a good shot of it.”
“Here,” a holographic photograph of Zed came into existence over the officer’s wrist. “Are you certain you haven’t seen anything like it nearby?”
Thomas stared at the hologram, trying not to sweat. The delivery man saw that the officer had an AI LLM on his wrist, just like Lizz but one that was likely far less lobotomized. Thomas also knew that the officer's AI was evaluating him right at this moment through its camera lens, trying to determine if he was lying or looking nervous.
Some of the Dex officers finished scouting the perimeter. Four of them returned to Officer Drohiryak's side flashing their unnerving, perfect smiles at Thomas.
Thomas felt that they were all judging him. < Previous
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2023.06.08 15:27 DandelionOpus Against the Day Pt 1 - Thoughts and notes of a first reading for discussion.
I have started Against the Day at long last. Coming from a Pynchon hiatus since reading Inherent Vice a few years ago, along with many aborted attempts at Mason and Dixon and Vineland here and there. I just realised, to some existential dread, that it has been 8 years since I read Gravity’s Rainbow. Being 18 and trying to seem smart I pushed myself through it having no clue how to parse it and looking on equations that, at most, looked cool. I can’t remember much of the bizarre experience except for Rocketman, kink dungeons and Byron the Bulb, but it spurred on that Pynchon obsession. Now, instead of reading for a dissertation, I seemed to be absorbed now into Against the Day in a way I haven’t with Pynchon’s works before. Having just finished Part 1 and written copious notes, I feel compelled to write an essay, out of term-time, drawing together some of the themes as I see them so far. If it sparks off any thoughts, I would love the discussion.
One obvious key theme is that of light; how it works, its properties, its power for illumination and occlusion. From the epigraph, it seems to point to the night, darkness, the absence of light as the base state. In this, light illuminates the day, almost creating it. This immediately gives a view to the most intuitive aspect that the light symbolises in its guidance, guiding Merle and Dally down the roads and towards the Horizon, lighting the way of the Chums to the centre of the White City.
But what comes to the fore for me is how light is portrayed in its more complex aspects. Light, as a fundamental part of reality, and how we perceive it, is as much subject to control and shaping, lighting the way to a spectacle and the ‘truth’. Just as light guides the way of some down a certain road to their destiny, so too does it guides the ways down the rationalised grids of Chicago to the killing floors. In the explorations of the World’s Fair, an exhibition of the virtues of American progress and technology, the light illuminates the ‘White City’ at its centre, obscuring those who dwell in its margins and those left in its wake after its dismantled. The light at its centre illuminates a central constructed truth and narrative that excludes some as much as it guides others. This truth, like light, is similarly subject to shaping with Vibe wanting to undermine the progress promised at the fair, of the free electrical network, in its impact on the ‘world’ or the economy, that gives him his prestige and power. This exhortation of progress and technology, and the narrative of the power of America, the West and Capitalism it represents is the façade of a unified whole; a cohesive truth otherwise fractured within modernity.
This underlying fracturing of modernity points to the anxieties of the Aetherists. The want for light, as a fundamental aspect of reality, to be situated in a continuous whole is a want for that precarious comfort. For it to be discrete, fractured quanta, like all modern identities, selves and truths evokes a malaise seen once the Michelson-Morley experiment is done. This belief, in light and the unified stable truth is reflected in the religious devotion and fanaticism about the powers of light. Like the believers in the currents of the time, in the truth of progress and capitalism, the belief in the light gives them an uncritical view, unable to see past the façade. The experiment looks at another reality, past the spectacle they crave, risking to plunge light itself into fragments.
The power of light in constructing the truth is mirrored in how this truth is controlled and enforced. With references to the light of surveillance and the shining of light on things. As the Chums shine a light on Merle and Chevrolette’s ‘deviance’ they are forced back into the woods and shadows before coming back into the day done up and respectable. The Chums moving through the Fair move towards its central illuminated ‘safety’, its policed boundaries and shaped centre, away from the darker edges inhabited by those excluded and marginalised by its truth. To be able to construct the truth and enforce it through light gives further impetus to control light itself. The Aetherists posit that light is a finite resource that must be captured by nations as if like water rights. Vibe similarly looks to undermine technologies that may provide light and electricity to the masses for free, enforcing scarcity.
There are moments with Merle and Webb where other aspects of the light come to the fore. Its other control strategies, and its potential to assert other truths. In Merle’s case, in his interest in alchemy and photography, he mentions the power to redeem light from metals and photographs. In metals, specifically silver, Merle points to the imperatives that he receives, evoking the light of currency, as fictions in embodying a measure of exchange value that provides imperatives for Merle and Dally’s constant moving from job to job. In photography, the capture of light and life into captured moments evokes some notion of the capturing of the day; the day, otherwise, capturing the moments of many millions into its control. But at the same time, there are other potentials and possibilities. In Merle’s risqué photography undertaken with Chevrolette, there are moments to capture life outside of the ‘light’, deviating from the respectable truth of the day. With metals, there is recognition of how to transform their light as money into light as explosive. This then ties to Webb Traverse. In recognising the power of light brought by explosions and its power to break through the occlusion of the domination of the Capitalist ruling-class. This however is similarly accompanied with a certain obsession and belief, an obsession with the smell of dynamite and the belief in the religious justifications given by Rev Moss Gatlin. As well, the intentional use of explosions by owners are used to justify reprisals on the workers and unions as the ‘Beasts that Did This’. The light of explosions can similarly be used and shaped by the powers that be to further their truth, narratives and power. Does this already point to the issues of the political terrorism pursued by Webb and Gatlin? Will their want to use the light be a dead end? It will not guide them to a promised future but will instead be coopted and used against them. Is the real potential for countermovement to be found in the shadows? On the new frontier?
In many ways frontiers represent the possibilities of new worlds, new ways of doing things. This is mythologised in the Old West and expansion of America that, however, ignores its accompaniment of extreme violence and exploitation as new possibilities were consolidated into the way of things. By the time of the late 19th century this frontier no longer remains. Vanderjuice points to a frontier you could find, stand on looking both east and west. But with the consolidation of American Capitalism, where once wild bison roamed the plains, now cattle and humans are heralded down lit rationalised grids to be killed and used, their deaths fodder to tourists of progress and the light. With the frontier lost, the light bends back on what is consolidated – in killing the animals and humans once free. Franz Ferdinand in not having buffalo to hunt settles for genocidal intentions towards Hungarians. Colonialism and imperialism come home to roost later in the 20th century.
But then, there feels like nods to the new frontier, the shadows. In the shadows of the Worlds Fair, there are those who are marginalised and ignored. In this, new frontiers remain. Places outside of the control, the system and the light-truth. Some want to shine light on this space, to extend the control over the anarchists amassing in darkened halls. At the same time, Vibe seeks to control the technologies that will extend that, and so potentially allowing those frontiers to remain, potentials of new worlds to be worked out. ‘It is always night, otherwise we wouldn’t need light’ – not an anxiety, but a fundamental base state. Realities are occluded by the light shaping a narrative and the day, the spirit of the times. In the darkness are possibilities, potentials for a new world that are repressed and ignored. Other truths and alternate realities can be asserted; the truths of the exploitation of workers and ethnic minorities, the ruthlessness of capitalism and the bourgeois lies of liberty and equality.
It is also seen that those is pursue the light actively seem less able to see these shadows. They pursue the truth constructed and enforced and are unable to see through them in hope for cohesive truths, largely given by those with power to define the message and narrative. This narrative is to be illuminated at the Worlds Fair, a spectacle of light that heralds progress and a future already written for us. This façade gives hope to some, like Dally – glittering lights guiding the way to her mother. But reality is seen in the drift of exiles over the plains, like them. And those left behind to dismantle its edifice. Some characters on the borders of these states. Webb poking holes in the lies of freedom as he toils in dark mines but drawn to the light of explosions masking perhaps what could be gained from the shadows. Kit, is taught by his father, but is drawn to the light of electricity, the light of a life as one of Doc Tesla’s boys, so much that he accepts the funding of Scarsdale Vibe and his promise of the future. But in the shadows, a new frontier is found, holding possibilities of new worlds being lived by marginalised working people, toiling in dark mines, and cleaning up after the temporary exhortation of modern progress and technology is dismantled and burned. If the White City is an edifice of white capitalist American hegemony, it shows how fractured modernity always requires suturing into some truth that can be controlled. The light of its centre attempts to do so, but it cannot cover everywhere and can never be given out for free, it will always create those frontiers and margins where its light cannot shine on and unroot. Where other truths may be understood and asserted.
The Chums of Chance
But as the Chums stand on the volcanic island they are sent to, the light of the day is so bright that it blinds them, as if in the heart of diamond. The light is concentrated to the point it occludes their vision. In looking at the Chums, it makes sense that they represent this focal point. As ideal representations illuminated in books, they are concentrated fictions of this light and truth. Even with the political and personal insubordination of Darby and Chick, they cannot see outside of it truly.
From the first moment with the Chums, in their place as characters in an adventure book series, they provide a fiction representing the ideal of the American boy at the turn of the century, and perhaps a wider ideal required to uphold this status quo. Within their group, Lindsay reinforces norm of good dress, language, patriotism, and education, looking down on the ‘undesirables’; gamblers, the badly raised. Gesturing to the valorisation of an upper-middle class boys ideal, they position themselves in opposition to the ‘evil’ anarchistic working classes. In their bemusement at those in the margins of the worlds fair, and of those from other countries, they exhibit this superiority and wider American exceptionalism and nationalism. In this however, they are not just embodiments of these ideals and values but actively reinforce them internally through their strict hierarchy and enforce them outwardly. As the big eye that descends from the sky to catch Merle and Chevrolette in their deviance from the respectable norms of society, in their surveillance of the Worlds Fair with the White City Investigations and their work with the interior ministry of Mexico against its subversives, they help construct and uphold the truth as epitomised in the White City; the dazzling light they are at the centre of. In helping states and private detectives enlisted by oligarchs, under orders from a shadowy organisation above them, or the author of their stories. These orders are then carried out through the logistical services manned by countless voiceless labourers quietly seen filing in and out with the instruments used to measure Tesla’s experiments.
As the Wiki points to, one point that is fascinating is the Chums malaise and depression in between their adventures, or ‘in between their books’. In between their orders and adventures, they fall into alcoholism in dingy rooms, almost rapidly ageing and decaying, at least spiritually. This lack of meaning or purpose in not having orders show how the ideal is rudderless without something further to conform to and enforce. With no adventure to go on, the Chums have no life or identity to fall back on. The ideal they represent is ultimately hollow and vacuous. They are fully conformed to the whims of the power that creates them, fully blinded by the light, and hindered from escape to the shadows for then they would truly not exist.
Against the Day and its other threads
These themes in some ways all come together in allusions to the title; against the day, giving back to the day, sufficient unto the day. In this the day means what? The spirit of the times and the current moment? The night illuminated by the light to create the daytime itself? The Worlds Fair almost shows this day’s reinauguration, a truth constructed, guiding one to the future and the centre in the spectacle. The day is coopted. Some accept it, give back to it and pay their tithings as Tesla puts it. Others give it all their hopes, believe in its promises in part, in its guiding light. Others are against it, against the day that is proclaimed, against the spirit and its light – shaped to mystify what is really going on. The day as the illusion.
Those who ride against it, the workers, and the anarchists. While Webb pokes holes in the lies of the bourgeoisie he perhaps falls into the days spirit all the same with the belief in the light and his ability to shape it himself. The battle for the light, is it a losing game?
The Chums take the day by storm, ride its waves of Aether and solidify it in the ideal. The good American boys enforcing the day, watching for those deviating from it and righting themselves when they do too. But this ideal is forever unstable, when they do not have a day to fight for, an area to conquer or a consolidated population to enforce the ideal onto, they become adrift, having no life or meaning outside it, becoming invisible and fictions, in an inverted sense to their usual being. Are they a manifestation of capitalism itself? The ideal it pretends to? The entrepreneurial crew ultimately supported by countless voiceless labourers, with pretentions to their modernity, freedom within their strict hierarchy, given the newest technology to bore through even the earth itself. Spurred onto constant movement by orders of its own internal logic; the Chums must be given their orders, and so they move again – repeat ad nauseam.
With this, these major threads are then crosscut with others I have trouble cohering together just yet. Curious of the character of Scarsdale Vibe, the robber baron archetype. With the globe at the end of his cain, situated in the first wave of globalisation, he holds the world wherever he goes, hiding a bullet underneath it. Seemingly undermining Tesla at the start to funding him the next, capture and co-option? Or the brothers traverse, kits substitution and connection to the Twin Vibes.
“Sure, and isn’t that just the class system for ya? Eternal youth bought with the sickness and death of others.”
I am also taking in the nods to the extradimensional experiences of those such as Kit, Miles Blundell, Lew Basnight and Foley Walker. Seeing or hearing the invisible, versus the visible, dark versus the light. The other frontiers of the invisible and unilluminated? – of electromagnetism, the Chums existence as fictions, the daily unseen minutia or the markets respectively. New possibilities, alternate realities as diffuse as those in the shadows. With a minor adjustment here and there what would happen?
Perhaps I tend towards the political and sociological as per my academic interests. My understanding of the scientific aspects of Pynchon’s writing plays pretty hard off of pop-science videos watched on YouTube at 1 in the morning. But it is exhilarating at least to be at a point of taking in a work such as this, not just as a bizarre experience, but as imparting some encyclopaedic knowledge I can perhaps make sense of, at least at this early stage.
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