Ever since playing Royal, I'd been pondering more and more about what characters from other anime or media would be likely to have palaces that the Phantom Thieves would infiltrate to steal their hearts. So now, I'm curious to know what fictional characters you guys would have loved to have seen the Phantom Thieves take down at some point. Can be from Persona itself, another anime, game, movie, or shows.
My first and biggest one: Kirei Kotomine from Fate/Stay Night. Talk about a complete opposite sort of person that man is from Takuto Maruki... Frankly, he might be the only one the thieves willingly kill his shadow self off for to make sure he has a mental shutdown. And I could totally see his palace being akin to a temple, or the Vatican.
Continuing from the Fate series (frankly a lot of these characters would have pretty heavy distorted desires): Sakura Matou. I could certainly see her having a similar palace to Futaba given her... incredibly traumatic past. I also think the likes of Ann and Futaba would certainly empathize for her given her state. Far more of a mercy to change her mental state than anything based on malice. Plus, Dark Sakura could be her shadow version.
Lastly, while little is known about her so far, Satella from Re:Zero. I just think seeing a palace for someone with that sort of obsessive behavior would be interesting.
Anyway, whatcha guys think? Post who you would wanna see a palace for below.
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
I finish my breakfast to the protests of Shadow. “I don’t want to hear it. You don’t need to eat. You’re just being difficult.”
Shadow rubs his face on my leg. “That’s what I thought. You were just bullshitting. I’m surprised you and Pops don’t hang out more.”
I get up and clean the dishes. Then I finish dressing. Today is going to be a scorcher so I’ve opted for linen pants and a linen shirt. Shadow continues his protests at me leaving. I pick him up. “How dare I leave more than six feet from you? The gall I posses.” I say as I rub his head. “The day is young and people may need my help. Besides, don’t you have work to do? I saw a mouse scamper by just last night.”
“A tricky adversary? I can relate. I’ll be back around lunchtime.” I say as I lower the protesting Shadow.
I sigh to prepare myself for the heat that is about to hit me. I open the door and walk out.
It is going to be nasty today. As I walk through the town, I pass Cecil sitting on his porch.
“Morning Papa Bones.”
“Morning Cecil.” I say as I open the gate and walk into his yard.
“Your a better man than me braving this heat. My white ass would burn to a crisp.”
“Not going to lie. It’s not going to be fit for man or beast today.” I say as I sit down on a rocking chair. I see a pitcher sitting on the table in between us. “What’s that?” I ask.
“Mojito. What a glass?”
“It’s a little early but sure.”
Cecil pours a glass and hands it over.
I take a sip and cough. “Merde.”
“Yup. The only thing to do today is get shitfaced.” Cecil says.
“What’s in this? Rocket fuel?”
“Not that far off.” Cecil says.
“Not going to lie. It’s refreshing.”
“Mildred doesn’t have many talents but one of them is making an excellent mojito.”
I take another sip. I suppose one way to get past the heat is to get drunk.
“What’s going on? I head a man as entered the town. Vincent is his name, I believe.” Cecil says.
“Correct. I think he is passing through. Hope so anyway.”
“Our little town is growing. Two new families just moved in.”
“I’ve heard. Haven’t met them yet.” I say.
“I’ve met the white family. They seem nice. They seemed completely charmed by Ayzian.”
“Ayzian does have its charms.” I say before taking another sip of the refreshing, minty, lime green rocket fuel.
“Haven’t met the other family yet. Heard they were nice as well.” Cecil informs me.
“You’ve given me an idea, Cecil. I think I will go meet our new neighbors.”
“Quite neighborly of you Julian. They will like that.”
“Well, we aren’t northerners.”
“God and the Loa has blessed us in that regard.” Cecil says before taking a sip of his drink.
“I’ll drink to that.” I say before we clink glasses.
I finish my drink and put the glass down. “I should go.”
“No need to rush off. Stay awhile.” Cecil tells me.
“I can’t sit around and get shitfaced with you all day.”
“Well, if you change your mind. I’ll be here. Hey, if you see Pops. Tell him if he wants his ass kicked again in dominos. He knows where to find me.”
I chuckle as I get up. “I will absolutely tell him that.”
I walk down the path to the gate. As I continue my walk. I see one of the houses of the new families. From what I see. It’s just mom dad and daughter. I stop at the gate and wave at them. “Hello.”
The father stops his yard work and walks towards me. I hold out my hand. “I’m Julian. Welcome to Ayzian.”
He shakes my hand. “Hey, I’m Bill. That’s my wife Suzan and our daughter Mary.”
“Well, Bill. How are you finding Ayzian so far?” I ask.
Susan over hears this as she walks up. “It’s been wonderful so far. Everyone has been so nice. Sweetheart, come here. This is Julian.”
The little girl walks up and I kiss the back of her hand. “Enchante”
“What did you say?” Mary asks.
“Oh, I’m sorry. I thought you were a princess.” I say.
“No, she absolutely thinks she is one.” Bill teases.
“Daddy!” Mary cries.
“Well, I hope you find Ayzian to your liking.” I tell them.
“So far, so good.” Susan tells me.
“We’ve heard about this man named Papa Bones. We are kinds anxious to meet him.” Bill says.
“Well, you’re in luck. I’m Papa Bones.”
Mary giggles. “That’s a funny name.”
I smile as I lower myself so we could be eye to eye. “It is a title of my region. Voodoo.”
“Voodoo?” Asks Mary.
“Yes. Ayzian was founded on Voodoo. This place was created by free slaves and the white people that helped them. All are welcome here.” I tell her.
“Very cool. You can find out more at our library.”
“Can me go, mom?” Mary asks Susan.
Susan smiles at her. “We sure can.”
I stand. “I should go. If you ever need anything. Don’t hesitate to ask.”
“We won’t.” Bill says as he holds out his hand.
Before I shake it. I notice Bill has biker tattoos on his forearm. We shake and I leave.. I continue my walk. I’m buoyed by meeting the first family. I go directly to the house of the second family. I knock on the door and it is opened by the husband. He is a large black man. Covered in gang tattoos.
“Can I help you?” He asks.
“I’m Papa Bones. Community leader. I just wanted to welcome you to Ayzian.”
“Thanks brother. Not sure we will stay. I didn’t realize so many white people lived here. My family is looking for a place we can feel safe.”
I’ve encountered this attitude from people before. People from the big cites are the worst offenders.
I give the man a smile. “White people also helped found Ayzian. All are welcome here. The white people were also hunted by slave owners and would have been killed along side their black brothers. To paraphrase Dr. Martian Luther King. Only the quality of one’s character matters here.”
“Yeah. I’m sure you believe that.”
“I do. Everyone here does. If it helps, over half of the town is mixed now.”
The husband cuts me off. “Can I help you with something?”
“Just wanted to welcome you to Ayzian. What is your name by the way?” I ask.
“Jerome. Have a nice day.”
Jerome shuts the door in my face.
I walk down the path to the street.
He just needs time. Ayzian gives everyone a clean slate to start over. This is a place of healing. Time is the thing needed for some people. Ayzian works in mysterious ways but it always works. During my walk, I enter the town park. As I do, several kids run up to me. “Papa Bones!”
“How are you kids doing today?” I ask.
“Doing good. Hey, are the stories true?” A girl asks me.
“About how you helped Vincent destroy the sky monster.”
“It didn’t happen like that. Vincent told you a tall tale.”
“He said you would say that.” A boy says.
“Did he now?”
“He said you would be mad at the truth.” Another boy explains.
“I will talk to him. Take any story from him with a grain of lies.”
“Vincent says people that don’t look good in stories, their version is full of lies.” Another girl says.
“Not true. If you will excuse me. I must talk to Vincent.”
I leave the children as they run back into the park to play. This conversation has irritated me. I will have to use sterner language the next time I talk to Vincent. In fact I will do that now. Id bet money he is staying at the bed and breakfast. So I go there and enter. Magdalene the owner greets me. “Julian. Nice to see you.”
“Nice to see you too. Tell me, is there a man named Vincent staying here?” I ask.
“Why yes he is. Paid for a whole month upfront. Such a nice man.”
“I see. Is he here now?”
“No. He left after breakfast.”
“Did he say when he will be back?” I ask.
“No. He didn’t. Want to leave a message for him?”
“No. I’ll find him. Thanks anyway.” I say.
I leave the bed and breakfast. I stand out front with my hands on my hips and think for a second. I have few ideas where he could be and with a lack of options, I head towards the swamp outside of town. It payed off the last time a stranger came to town. As I walk, sweat starts to cover my body. Thankfully I’m still a little buzzed from the mojito earlier. It does help with the heat but man, I could use a glass of cold water now. As I near the outskirts of town, I head in the direction of Amos’s house. When I get there, I see him on the dock. Repairing his airboat. “Hey Amos. How are you?” I call out.
Amos stands and looks at the airboat. “Be better if this piece of shit was fixed.”
“Something happen or is this routine maintenance.” I ask.
“That Goddamn Major Gator attacked my boat.”
“Holy shit. You’re lucky to be alive.”
Amos gives me a dismissive wave. “Oh, some overgrown lizard don’t scare me none. The son of a bitch did a number on my boat. This has become personal. Mercy can’t get down here soon enough.”
“Yeah. I could use her tracking skills myself.” I reply.
“Enough about me. What brings you by?”
“New man is in town. Goes by the name of Vincent. Have you seen him?”
“Nah. Heard of this feller however. Ain’t seen anything strange in the swamp for a couple weeks or so.” Amos explains.
“You heard of him out here?” I ask.
“Went into town a couple days ago. Seems everybody was abuzz about him.”
I wipe the sweat off my face. “Yeah. That’s part of the reason I want to talk to him.”
“Why? He been acting funny around the kids?”
“What? No. Nothing like that. He just been telling them some fibs. That’s all.”
“Oh ok. Sorry. No. I haven’t seen him around here.”
“Thanks, Amos. Oh, by the way. Pops wants to do a catfish fry. He may be hittin you up soon.” I say.
“Yeah. Talked to him yesterday. He’ll have his catfish by the weekend.”
“Ok. I’ll leave it to you then.” I say.
“See you later.” Amos goes back to work on his airboat. As I leave I hear him mumble. “You Motherfucker……”
I walk back into town. I head directly to Pops. I enter the air conditioning and damn near pass out. I sit down and sigh. Marcus walks out of the kitchen in the back. “Hey, Julian. What do you need?”
“Ice water and lots of it.”
Marcus hands over a glass filled to the brim. I take a sip and say. “Perfect.”
“Where’s Pops?” I ask.
“In the back. Want me to go get him?”
“Nah. I’ll go back there.”
I take the glass and drink as i enter the kitchen. “Old man. You in here?” I call out.
“Right here. What the hell do you want?” Pops says as he walks out of the walk in freezer.
“Need to talk. Need so,e words of wisdom. Don’t know anyone wise so you’ll have to do.”
“Well. Talk. Chop up those sausages as you do. You know how I want it done.”
I grab a knife and some sausages. I start cutting eighth inch pieces like I was taught.
“What’s bothering you?” Pops asks.
“This new guy, Vincent.”
Pops hurumphs. “Marcus has told me about him.”
“He is lying to the children and it’s bothering me.”
“I’m sure he casting you in a poor light is not helping.” Pops adds.
“It is not. I’m trying to leave my ego out of it.”
Pops stops cleaning the crawfish. “You need to be kind but firm with him when you talk to him about this.”
“I thought I was.” I say.
“Heard he told falsehoods about the Loa as well. They may deal with him themselves.”
I finish cutting the sausage. “I doubt I’ll be so lucky.”
My best friend has been “seeing” a woman on and off for 2 years. Call him Jeff and her Mary. She attended college with us and they had a little fling in which Jeff cheated WITH Mary on his then gf of over 5 years. Years later, they reconnected. He won’t commit to Mary or even acknowledge that they’re together and has already cheated while they were “on.” All of that but they use pet names and say “I love you.”
At first, Mary would come over to our apartment and was cordial. Then it became less conversational to the point of nothing whatsoever. We are of the same culture, Mary included. In our culture, greeting someone when you enter their home is good manners. Even if it’s a home you frequent. It’s just how we have been raised. I thought.
My other roommate, John, also has a gf who is here often too but she’s friendly. Both being in “relationships” means they hang out often. They never invite me.
That being said, I am not single. My fiancée and I are long distance. Whenever she comes to visit, she stays with me. Friends love her, Mary ignores her too.
When I’ve tried talking about it, Jeff either disregards it or he downplays it and chalks it up to “that’s just how Mary is.” I genuinely don’t know what that means.
I tried extending an olive branch in the past and invited them all out the night I proposed to celebrate. This night was the tipping point. Another friend of mine, call him James, joined us and proposed a toast. This toast was beautiful. My fiancée was tearing up. At about the 2 minute mark, Mary mutters “Oh my god hurry up” just loud enough for us close by to hear. James immediately, “Oh I’m sorry, do you have somewhere else you need to be? Because you can just go if you want.” And continued. Fucking legend. Jeff laughed it off and didn’t acknowledge it. The toast is finished, we celebrate. Mary is sitting there on her cell phone not speaking to anyone and asks Jeff if they can leave early. This was almost a year ago and since, I’ve given her the exact same treatment. I don’t tolerate disrespect of my relationship.
Now, Mary will say a quiet “hi” or “bye.” I theorize that Jeff told her in private that what she did that night wasn’t okay and she needs to make an effort. But it’s too late. She sure as hell won’t be invited to my wedding. John thinks I should let her go to my wedding and should consider that that’s just how she is and that we should “support our friends choices” but I’m not letting that slide. I KNOW he’s going to be upset and shocked when I tell him but he can fuck off too.
I’ve genuinely self-reflected and contemplated multiple times if perhaps I’m the asshole. But, although I am quiet and reserved, I am by no means rude to anyone. I’ve been told before that I am unapproachable but never rude. So if Mary doesn’t like me, idk why. I have also realized that my living situation isn’t ideal due to this tension. I’m planning to leave and pursue my plans with my fiancee and know that a disconnect will likely form. I’ve accepted that.