Ohio ex boyfriend shot reddit
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2009.10.08 03:21 A support community for ex-Christians
A community for former Christians of all denominations. We are here to support all questioning or former Christians and encourage you wherever your path may take you. Visit our Resource Page (https://www.reddit.com/exchristian/wiki/resources) for help. We have a FAQ! https://www.reddit.com/exchristian/wiki/faq
2008.03.08 04:31 Golf
2020.09.06 21:13 Pantherkid1106 Givemeyourlover
Reddit story's about people who want other people's girlfriend/boyfriend or to get back with their ex
2023.05.29 17:43 Ravioli_4381 Does it mean no / what would you do?
Context: I have been seeing a girl as friends for a few month (we didn't see each other a lot since she works a lot, about 5 times only). She knows I am a lesbian and we have had some conversations about it. She told me that she had never really thought about if she would like to be with a woman, that she has only kissed girls when she was younger (she is older than me, and divorced her ex husband 5 years ago). I didn't take it as a romantic interest but she would tell me about how she told friends about how fascinating I was, and she would call me beautiful. I know that it probably also doesn't mean much but the few last times we saw each other, she would drop me home, get out of her car and hug me for like 1 minute. On the other side, I am very attracted to her and not especially looking for a relationship...but still I would have liked things to go further.
So yesterday we hung out together, went for diner and drinks and as always she drops me home and hugs me. Me being a little tipsy (and i had been wanting to do it for a while), I kissed her. I feel sorry because i didn't ask, and i always do. This time I tried to tell her with my eyes what i was going for but i think she was surprised. So anyway i felt that she reciprocated maybe 3 seconds and then broke the kiss. She told me that she was sorry but she didn't think it could go further because she wasn't looking for a relationship. I called her about 30 minutes later just to apologize for not asking and told her that honestly, i just did it because I wanted to, not with anything else in mind. She told me " i never had really an "impulse /a momentum / a drive (trying to translate a french word)" for anybody" -wich i didn't fully understand- "but yours really felt beautiful". She has told me before that she has never been in love even with her husband; and that she hung out with a guy recently who kissed her, and she kissed him back on the cheek only because she wasn't looking for that. I remembered that and told her I was sorry if i made her uncomfortable as this guy did, and she told me no because she didn't sense bad intentions this time and that she was even honoured that i kissed her. Lastly she said " but we can kiss when we see each other, it doesn't bother me" (wich i obviously don't want if it's just because she is "not bothered" by it)
I have a hard time figuring out if she was just surprised, or trying to say nicely that she isn't attracted to me, or that she is somewhat asexual, or that she doesn't want anything outside of a relationship (while at the same time not wanting one) or just really thought that i wanted a relationship... I am planning on asking her about it, also because i want to know her more as a friend, but since we can't see each other often (i don't really like texts or calls), i would like to hear your thoughts on this !
PS: she has been single for a while, her last boyfriend was two years ago, even if she said they would "still sleep together sometimes" until about a year ago. He is her best friend now. She mentioned that she is has a fear of abandonment and that she is kind of affectionally deprived (sorry for my english).
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2023.05.29 17:41 jhpratt2 $nwbo-Pakistan
Currently, NWBO's Sawston plant is the only visible global hub for DC VAX L manufacturing and distribution (MHRA MIA approval 3/20/23) . For $400 , FED EX (https://www.fedex.com/en-us/custom-critical.html
) ships anywhere globally within the required timeframes.A SAGE (https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/20363613231179541
) 5/26/23 scientific publication demonstrates intent by Pakistani neurosurgeons to treat and cure their GBM patients. Looks like the DC VAX L JAMA paper and LIAU- Bosch presentations since 10/26/22 have created global awareness that DCVAX L will be is a major global cell based biotech therapy, addressing GBM , and all solid tumors( https://conferences.asco.org/am/industry-expert-theater
With 50% of LIAU-SPORE-UCLA combo patents living 10 years, DC VAX L has turned SOC's GBM treatment from a terminal (16.5) months disease into a chronic treatable malignancy .
Dr. Greg Zivic:
"This treatment can turn a Glioblastoma into a chronic treatable disease even after recurrence of the tumor . " https://nwbio.com/northwest-biotherapeutics-and-advent-bioservices-announce-receipt-of-license-for-commercial-manufacturing-at-sawston-u-k-facility/ https://twitter.com/AllenTurner206/status/1636426400382205952 https://investorshub.advfn.com/boards/read_msg.aspx?message_id=171479167
Monday, May 29, 2023 9:13:34 AM
Post# 596739 of 596755 4 Pakistani neurosurgeons endorsing the JAMA Liau dc vax l phase 3 study. Will the RA in Pakistan facilitate their patients' resected GBM tumors and lysate being sent to Sawston , with syringes of dc vax l sent back to Pakistan? https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaoncology/fullarticle/2798847 https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/20363613231179541 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36591625/
IMO,BB's consultant is a "legend ", as alleged.Therefore, I recommend reading every on of his posts, word for word.
Bright Boy Brian F Egolf Sr M: Bright Boy
Re: ae kusterer post# 593171
Sunday, May 14, 2023 2:22:21 PM
Post# 593185 of 593185 I am definitely not a biotech expert and what I've learned about Northwest and DCVax-l was shared with me by one of the legends in the biotech world !!! My biggest takeaway is this:
From 2018 forward, it became apparent that DCVax-L was a breakthrough, technological process for the treatment of nGBM and rGBM, but its true potential was only known by a "handful" of experts, and as such, the understanding of the broader market implications was a relative unknown. Early on, several of the comments that I heard from BP were," The GBM market is really not that big!" and " Personalized, Immunotherapy vaccines are not really in our 'Wheelhouse'. We sell compounds/pills!!" On and on! The comments didn't mean that BP wasn't paying attention! Quite the contrary, BP was watching like a hawk as results from Dr. Liau and the UCLA trials began to leak into the medical community suggesting a broader application of DCVax-L on a "stand alone" basis and in combination with CI's for all large tumor cancers ( mentioned in the latest 10Q for future trials), thus dramatically expanding market potentials!!! But the "Big Moment" occurred in late October of last year when the STADIUM LIGHTS turned on, shining bright lights on the latest nGBM/rGBM ,Dr. Liau trial data suggesting 50%to 65% OS for 8 years with emphasis on rGBM !!! That was the point in time when BP and the entire biotech world realized that GBM/rGBM would be treated and managed as a CHRONIC DISEASE!!! with unlimited PROMISE and HOPE for patients and unlimited marketing potential to finance existing vaccine production and the continuing development for improved treatments for all diseases!!!!!
So that's what I learned and that's my story and I'm stickin to it!!!!
Cheers especially to all the Mom's and to everyone !!!
Joseph H.Pratt: https://investorshub.advfn.com/boards/read_msg.aspx?message_id=172010930
Bright Boy Re: None Saturday, March 18, 2023 12:38:55 PM Post# of 596750 Go People, People, People !!!!
The light switch just turned on for me !!! I'm not a doctor or scientist or a STEM concentration "rock star", but if I read something over and over again several times and look carefully at the pictures SOMETIMES, NOT ALL THE TIME, a major mental breakthrough occurs and I believe that I've discovered something very profound!!
In this case, I believe the main message from the slide deck is that DCVax-L, either by itself or in combination with CI's has turned the whole thing around for treating nGBM/rGBM from having to kill the tumor to a "management process" !! It looks like now with this new information, that GBM patients can receive vaccinations as needed with "Zero" side effects and live a long and happy life !!! A comment from a medical expert that DOES KNOW !!!:
Dr. Greg Zivic:
This treatment can turn a Glioblastoma into a chronic treatable disease even after recurrence of the tumor.
So help me out here. Does the above reasoning seem logical based on the slides all of us have just reviewed?? If it does or is, then little Team Northwest has just changed the healthcare landscape forever in the way that we treat disease!!!!!
Am I way off base or are all of onto to something that is fabulous beyond belief???
Bright Boy Re: thermopost# 591947 Tuesday, May 09, 2023 8:41:30 PM Post# of 596749 Go The UK is determined to be the world carrousel for use of immunotherapy vaccines to treat cancers and all forms of disease!!! From my friends in the UK, my use of the word "determined" grossly understates the effort behind the "Grand Plan"!!
So far, the MHRA has not only accepted and approved the MIA application (manufacturing license), but voluntarily offered the expansion to a GLOBAL MANUFACTURING" license allowing for the import of live cells and the export of vaccines to the far corners of the earth!!! People!!! That is huge!!!!! BUT as always 99.99% of the retail investors don't understand the significance of that license or anything else about the process and look to the screen to validate the importance/value of the license, where they are greeted by Citadel and Virtu and the rest of the gang that manipulate the price to new lows, confirming that, in spite of everything they just read from the greatest medical minds in the universe, is a bunch of crap!!!!
Fortunately for the cancer patients and shareholders of Northwest, the MHRA does not include in their decision making process the current SP of NWBO or the opinion of the "gutter filth" that manage those companies or any other companies that participate in the ordered destruction of small biotechs that are engaged in the development of immunotherapy vaccines!! So, it's on to the filing of the MAA (marketing license), the approval and the decisions that will guarantee swift treatment deliveries to patients!!
So Griffin and Cifu and Fuerstein and the rest can lie all they want , but the GREAT UNITED KINGDOM will not be denied the ultimate crown of being the WORLD CENTER for CANCER TREATMENT !!!!!
Bright Boy Re: hoffmann6383post# 578889 Tuesday, March 21, 2023 1:55:12 PM Post# of 596749 Go People, People, People!!! It's your friendly "hillbilly" here with some more great news!! Don't know if I can "one up" my earlier post about the "Dog eating the license", but I'll try. So here we go!!
I don't think everyone realizes how dynamic and important the manufacturing license really is so I'll take a shot at giving you my take on it. First of all, the marketing approval (MAA) and the government subsidy approval(NICE) are pretty much in the bag before the manufacturing team gets the "green light" to proceed. The MAA and NICE teams talk to the MIA team and say," This stuff looks really cool and we wanted to let you know before you run off and do a lot of work on something that we won't approve when you're finished!!" Okay! So that's the first part.
Now for the second part and this is the part that involves a lot of money so read very carefully!!! The MIA license allows for global export of the vaccines and global import of immune cells/tumor resected material. Anyone in the entire world that is diagnosed with GBM can NOW ship their tumor samples to Northwest/Advent/Sawston to have their personal vaccine made and stored, all to be shipped back to the patient/doctor on a prescribed injection schedule. The beauty of this process is that patients everywhere can NOW receive their vaccine on a compassionate care basis. No more waiting!! No more opportunities for the "dark forces" to delay or deny suffering cancer patients their desperately needed treatments !!!
People, as of yesterday, Northwest is now IN BUSINESS !!!! AND that opens the door for institutional investors and an uplist to the New York or Nasdaq exchanges!!!!
All of the above is as good as that first sip of ice cold buttermilk on a hot summer day!!!! AND for those unfortunate shorts and haters it adds a whole new description to the letters FTD and I'll let you guess what that might be!!!
Bright Boy Re: None Tuesday, March 21, 2023 9:05:54 PM Post# of 596749 Go The MIA allows for "International Immune Cell Imports" and "International Vaccine Exports" !!! That is big news and a big, big market and should access every cancer patient in need!!!!
Monday, May 29, 2023 9:13:34 AM
Post# 596739 of 596755 4 Pakistani neurosurgeons endorsing the JAMA Liau dc vax l phase 3 study. Will the RA in Pakistan facilitate their patients' resected GBM tumors and lysate being sent to Sawston , with syringes of dc vax l sent back to Pakistan? https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaoncology/fullarticle/2798847 https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/20363613231179541 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36591625/
Abstract Objective: To define the landscape of treatment patterns and current epidemiological data regarding gliomas in Pakistan.
Methods: As part of the Pakistan Brain Tumour Epidemiology Study (PBTES), data were collected from 32 neurosurgical centres across the country. Our retrospective study looked at patients who underwent surgical procedures for gliomas in 2019 in neurosurgical centres. The data was collated and analysed using STATA version 15.
Results: A total of 781 patients with gliomas were identified 479(61.8%) in public sector hospitals, 302(39.1%) in the private sector). The most common histopathological subtypes were glioblastoma 262 (33.5%), followed by astrocytoma 147(18.8%) and oligodendroglioma 93(11.9%). Gender distribution was skewed towards men 508(65%). Private institution hospitals performed surgical biopsies as the first surgical procedure 75(23%) more often than public hospitals 38(9%). Chemotherapy was given to 115(29.8%) patients, and there was no data regarding 467(53%) of patients. Similarly, only 202(43.9%) patients received radiation therapy, and there was no data for 469(60%) of patients. For high-grade gliomas specifically, only 95(31.8%) patients with HGG have a record of receiving radiation therapy, and only 57(18.9%) had a record of being started on chemotherapy.
DCvax: A promising advancement in oncology for the treatment of glioblastoma Areeba Fareed https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5906-9852 [email protected]
, Samia Rohail https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1488-0080
, […], and Abdul Moiz Khan https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9796-8867+1View
all authors and affiliations All Articles https://doi.org/10.1177/20363613231179541
Contents Declaration of conflicting interests Funding ORCID iDs Footnotes References PDF / ePub More Dear Editor, Glioblastoma is a malignant neoplasm of the central nervous system that arises from glial cells, primarily astrocyctes and is characterized by poorly differentiated, fusiform, round or pleomorphic astrocyctic cells with marked nuclear atypical and brisk mitotic activity.1 Despite advances in early diagnosis and comprehensive treatments, there is nearly 100% recurrence rate and dismal patient survival.2 According to researchers, more than 13,000 Americans are diagnosed with Glioblastoma annually, causing significant morbidity and mortality. There has been no cure for Glioblastoma so far.3 Treatment options often include surgical removal of the tumor followed by concomitant radiation and adjuvant temozolomide TMZ chemotherapy which has been the standard of care for glioblastoma since decades, but exposure to high doses of ionizing radiation is a well-known exogenous risk factor for glioblastoma. The inability to cross the BBB is the major obstacle in achieving remission after surgical resection followed by chemotherapy and radiation.4 As a result, glioblastoma typically recurs within six to 8 months and the survival rate is generally less than 5%.2 Despite the development of novel, complex, multidisciplinary, and targeted therapies the outcome for patients remains almost universally lethal.5 Therefore, the need for effective treatment is undeniable. For this reason, it has been a priority area in cancer research. Recently, US biotech company Northwest Biotherapeutics has developed a brain cancer vaccine, called DCVax, which is designed to help patients' immune system to target their tumors that may prolong their life by months or, in some cases, years.5 Thus, opening a door for the development of innovative therapy for targeting glioblastoma. The vaccine is created for each patient individually by isolating dendritic cells, from their blood which is then primed with biomarkers from a sample of the patient’s tumor.6 Dendritic cells present tumor antigens to the immune system, prime T cells, and mobilize antitumor responses.6 To evaluate the safety of the vaccine and its impact on survival time in patients with Glioblastoma, a phase 3 randomized control trial was conducted.7 In this trial, 348 patients newly diagnosed with Glioblastoma were tested at King’s College Hospital and other centers around the world for 8 years.7 Patients had surgery to remove their tumors as much as possible, followed by radiation and chemotherapy as the standard treatment for Glioblastoma.7 Among these patients, two out of three were treated with the vaccine, DCVax-L, with the remaining one-third receiving a placebo.7 The astonishing result of the trial has shown that newly diagnosed patients who received the vaccine survived for 19.3 months compared to 16.5 months for those who received a placebo.8 Overall 13% of all trial participants treated with DCVax lived more than 5 years after diagnosis compared with 5.7% in the comparison group who did so.8 Moreover, this is the first time in 17 years that such a significant result has been achieved in a Phase 3 trial of a systemic treatment for newly diagnosed Glioblastoma, and it’s the first treatment in 27 years for patients with GBM recurrence.9 Thus, this development represents a major step forward in our efforts to combat this devastating disease. Based on the findings of the trials evaluating the drug’s efficacy, it has the potential to improve the quality of life for patients, especially for the elderly and those unable to have surgery. A global clinical trial has concluded that the DCVax is the world’s first vaccine to treat deadly cancerous brain tumors that could help patients to live for years.9 This breakthrough could benefit 2500 people a year in the UK being diagnosed with Glioblastoma.9 It has also been shown that this therapy can be used to treat cancers other than Glioblastoma.9 However, due to high recurrence rate and lethal outcomes, the treatment of gliblastoma has seen significant transformation, switching from an aggressive surgical strategy to a more cautious one. The endorsement of the vaccine is a commendable achievement, and it demonstrates the unwavering commitment of researchers and healthcare professionals to discovering effective treatments for such lethal disease. Furthermore, vaccine may enhance the quality of life of a patient and provides a new hope for patients and their families Thus, it is crucial that we continue to support research into Glioblastoma and the development of novel treatments so that we can envision a future where this disease is eradicated. Declaration of conflicting interests The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article. Funding The author(s) received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article. ORCID iDs Areeba Fareed https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5906-9852
Samia Rohail https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1488-0080
Alishba Adnan https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1238-6687
Abdul Moiz Khan https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9796-8867
Footnotes Author’s noteNot commissioned, externally peer reviewed. ContributorshipAreeba Fareed and Samia Rohail wrote the draft. Alishba Adnan and Abdul Moiz Khan proofread it. All authors reviewed and edited the manuscript and approved the final version of the manuscript. Data availabilityNo new dataset generated. References 1. Aans.org. Available from: https://www.aans.org/Patients/Neurosurgical-Conditions-and-Treatments/Glioblastoma-Multiforme%5d
(cited 9 April 2023). GO TO REFERENCE Google Scholar 2. Liau LM, Ashkan K, Brem S, et al. Association of autologous tumor lysate-loaded dendritic cell vaccination with extension of survival among patients with newly diagnosed and recurrent glioblastoma: a phase 3 prospective externally controlled cohort trial: a phase 3 prospective externally controlled cohort trial. JAMA Oncol 2023; 9(1): 112–121. Available from: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaoncology/fullarticle/2798847
(cited 9 April 2023).
PubMed Google Scholar 3. Pelc C. Experimental cancer vaccine both treats and prevents brain cancer in mice [Internet]. East Sussex, UK: Medical News Today, 2023. Available from: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/experimental-cancer-vaccine-both-treats-and-prevents-brain-cancer-in-mice
(cited 9 April 2023). GO TO REFERENCE Google Scholar 4. Rong L, Li N, Zhang Z. Emerging therapies for glioblastoma: current state and future directions. J Exp Clin Cancer Res 2022; 41(1): 142. (cited 9 April 2023). GO TO REFERENCE Crossref PubMed Google Scholar 5. Aldape K, Brindle KM, Chesler L, et al. Challenges to curing primary brain tumours. Nat Rev Clin Oncol 2019; 16(8): 509–520. Available from: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41571-019-0177-5
(cited 9 April 2023).
Crossref PubMed Google Scholar 6. Technology Networks. Brain cancer vaccine shown to extend patient survival [Internet]. Sudbury, UK: Technology Networks, 2022. Available from: https://www.technologynetworks.com/vaccines/news/brain-cancer-vaccine-shown-to-extend-patient-survival-367721
(cited 9 April 2023).
Google Scholar 7. Clinicaltrials.gov. Study of a drug [DCVax®-L] to treat newly diagnosed GBM brain cancer - full text view - Clinicaltrials.gov [internet]. Bethesda, MD: Clinicaltrials.gov, 2023. Available from: https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00045968
(cited 9 April 2023).
Google Scholar 8. Campbell D. Vaccine shown to prolong life of patients with aggressive brain cancer. London, UK: The guardian [Internet], 2022. Available from: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2022/nov/17/vaccine-shown-to-prolong-life-patients-aggressive-brain-cancer-trial-glioblastoma
(cited 9 April 2023).
Google Scholar 9. Delgado-Martín B, Medina MÁ. Advances in the knowledge of the molecular biology of glioblastoma and its impact in patient diagnosis, stratification, and treatment. Adv Sci 2020; 7(9): 1902971.
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2023.05.29 17:36 After-Team6747 where can you meet honest and close by older men?
i’m 17, AOC in my country is 16. my boyfriend (30s) kinda vanished and ghosted me one day a few weeks ago and my prior ex boyfriend (30s) also ghosted me but also went around selling child pornography of me and we are no longer in contact. despite some traumatic experiences, i do want to date older men but all of the good older men i’ve been speaking to live so far away; im talking across the planet. the only older man i know who treats me right is my teacher and that’s likely never gonna happen 😭 what are some actually good local places that can be useful in finding older men (35+) to date?
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2023.05.29 17:36 MyNameIsAMeme Jimmy Butler is a bigger foul merchant than Harden, he's actually the best in the league.
I saw the thread yesterday comparing the FTR(free throw rate) of Harden to Butler and I decided to do some more research on the topic. The results were actually pretty interesting. Thread
Butler since joining Miami has been Top 5 in FTR twice, 6th once, and did not qualify once due to missed games(would’ve placed Top 5). For the most part his FTR is only comparable to players you foul on purpose. Embiid was the only other player with similar usage and FTR. https://www.basketball-reference.com/leagues/NBA_2023_advanced.html
I decided to compare Miami Butler to 2016-2020(Prime) Harden because most people tend to complain the most about the flopping during that time period. I picked a 4 year span for Harden because Butler has been in Miami for 4 years(2019-2023). FTA Chart Link
In terms of just attempts at the line Harden clearly has the edge, but that does not really tell the full story. Harden was shooting and handling the ball far more often than Butler. This chart here provides much more context. FTA + FGA Combo
Harden was shooting a few more free throws a game, but was also attempting far more shots per game. Just from looking at this chart you can tell Jimmy Butler has a far higher FTR.
I saw a lot of people saying “Well Jimmy goes to the rim and Harden just shoots threes,” So I looked into the shooting stats. % of FGs at Rim
Jimmy did take a higher percentage of shots near the rim, but that doesn't really matter once you do the actual math. # of FGs at Rim
Harden was actually taking more shots at the rim and it was only really close for one season. So Butler takes fewer shots by a wide margin of 7.5 shots, shoots less at the rim in comparison to Harden, how does he manage to shoot even close to the amount of free throws Harden was getting? USG %
I thought maybe usage could help me understand why Butler was shooting free throws at a higher rate than Harden at his prime but that made me even more confused. Even his USG % isn’t close to Harden. % of FGs from 3-10 ft
Butler did shoot a lot more often from the intermediate range. Maybe he was just getting fouled quite often in this range. # of FGs from 3-10 ft
It is clear Butler did shoot from this range more often than Harden. Maybe that range is where he gets the free throws. Free Throw Rate
Butler manages to destroy Harden when it comes to Free throw rate and Harden has the reputation of being one of the biggest floppers in league history. I don’t think there is a reasonable explanation for Butler having a FTR comparable to guys who get fouled on purpose like Giannis, Gobert, and Plumlee. Unfortunately, I could not find a leaderboard for highest FTR in a season but .693 in the 2019-2020 season is the highest I have seen from a wing player.
- Butler has a free throw rate of .608 in his time in Miami, Shaq’s career average was .578
- Shot profile really does not account for the insane difference in FTR between Harden and Butler
- Butler has been the only wing player to consistently be top 5 in FTR for the past few seasons.
Harden has this reputation of being a flopper and being horrible to watch, yet Butler is literally statistically better than Harden at drawing fouls. For his entire Heat career Butler has made 6.85 field goals per game and made 7.2 free throws per game. LeBron has only broken over .5 once in his entire 20 year career.
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2023.05.29 17:35 hlisahlisahlisa I realized a lot of people are still horribly misinformed about what herpes is
Before I got it, I was horribly misinformed too. The public school system ABSOLUTELY failed us. And as I search on Reddit (reminder: Reddit is a very, very, very small population of the world, and does NOT frequently reflect opinions of the majority), it seems that a lot of the rude or cold comments are under the impression that herpes is when you have bumps that are always there. “Outbreaks” aren’t a thing. And I know that at least in my health classes, we were only taught you get these giant painful sores that you never get rid of.
So, when I disclose, as a woman in her 30s who’s had to do this for about a decade (as you get older, people get more mature, I promise you your life is NOT over), I play it casual and don’t over-educate, but I do include a small snippet in case the other person doesn’t know about specifics. It’s not my job to educate them, and I’m not necessarily interested in someone who made it to their age completely ignorant. With that said, this has really helped me out:
“I’m not sure how you feel about this but I do want to be honest that I’m HSV1/HSV2 positive (ex was very dishonest/other reason/you don’t owe anyone any reason), that’s the of herpes strain that causes typically cold sores (or can say that’s the herpes strain that occurs below the belt) but can also occur below the belt. It’s such a non-issue for me/others that I almost never remember it, my doctor’s unbothered (or: it’s such a non-issue for me/others i almost never think about it, it’s very controlled). It’s like if you had bumps show up and then go away, then the virus just hangs out in you, and for some people the bump might come back from time to time, maybe only once, or never again.
If that’s a deal breaker you’re not okay with… If you are …”
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2023.05.29 17:32 _Norman_Bates What's the point of Irreversible ?
People say this movie is very hard to watch. That turned out to be true, with found footage-level shaky cameras all over the place and an annoying French guy shouting all the time.
The movie is told in Memento style, with scenes going backwards revealing more of the story. While in Memento it serves a plot purpose and helps you connect with the protagonist, what it achieves here is that you’re watching “high-intensity” scenes without feeling involved at all (although as we find out, the more you learn about the characters the less you care). The movie starts with two French guys yelling and fighting and it goes on for a good first half of the movie, you pick up the story along the way cause it’s pretty simple but it really feels like an effort.
I almost stopped watching but decided to endure at least until the infamous Belucci rape scene for culture’s sake. The scene was actually a relief because that annoying French guy wasn’t there and the scene was relatively coherent. But I’ll get to it soon. To sum up, the movie tells a story about a girl who got raped and her boyfriend and simpy ex getting revenge on the rapist, and failing.
Now the rape scene. I know it upset many viewers and is supposed to be really shocking, but think what’s more shocking about it doesn’t come from the fact you’re watching a 10 min rape scene (it’s not that graphic), but that it takes Monica Belucci, who is considered some untouchable beauty, and you see her getting anally raped by a guy who seriously hates her existence. Even though her rape wasn’t planned, she was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, the guy is absolutely disgusted by her. It’s not one of those “she’s so hot I can’t help myself” rapes, the guy sees her as a rich bitch used to getting what she wants cause she’s hot, and he hate-rapes her, calling her a sow and similar names in the process.
This is also the first we see of her character so you can’t really care for her either. But what really comes through is how much the rapist can’t stand her. When he’s done raping her, he bashes her face in.
To me that was the most interesting part about the scene, not the fact that she got raped or how disturbing it is to watch a rape, but the amount of honest hatred and disgust the guy had for her. It’s kind of ironic, he’s the fucked up rapist and she’s Monica Belucci but he is utterly disgusted by her in the process.
Then the movie goes back and we learn more about her and the two main guys… and it doesn’t make anyone any more likeable.
I usually hate it when people criticize movies and shows for not having likeable characters - it’s very childish. But I am not talking about morality here, I am talking about how enjoyable, interesting or immersive someone is to watch, and here some very shitty people can make great characters. Also, not every movie needs likeable characters, sometimes that’s the whole point. But normally, a revenge movie would require the viewer to give at least moderate shit about the characters, feel the importance of their relationship and loss, and want them to get justice (e.g. Mandy). This one doesn’t.
The protagonist is supposed to be some French Chad, the obnoxious guy whom you watch as he does drugs, cheats on his girlfriend, takes her money and just shouts shit out like he has Tourettes all the fucking time. He also stole the girl from his super simpy friend whom he still keeps around to boost his ego, so shit friend too. Normally when someone executes revenge, the viewer should believe how much the victim meant to them but we just saw this guy cheating so the stakes aren’t that high, he isn’t convincing in his need for revenge, it’s not deep. And in general, he’s so fucking annoying.
Then there’s the simpy friend, the most pathetic character, also incredibly annoying in his own way. It’s hard to understand why he’s even involved in the whole plot but he’s just so obsessed with his ex-girlfriend. He idolizes her cause she’s pretty (kind of connects to the point the rapist made about her being over-valued cause of her looks), trying to get her boyfriend to treat her with more respect while she literally tells him that she prefers the other guy cause he doesn’t care about how she feels. He constantly self-deprecates while they laugh at him. Just a totally weird masochistic relationship dynamic.
The girl is a vapid “I love assholes” stereotype, we learn that she left her ex for his best friend because she likes how the other guy only focuses on his own pleasure while having sex, but still keeps the ex around awkwardly, occasionally throwing him a bone. She knows that her boyfriend cheats on her and flirts with others in front of her but is thrilled to find out that he knocked her up. After learning that fact, she goes on to party.
I think it’s interesting how the movie establishes that she likes to be treated like shit and is turned on by the guy who doesn’t care about her pleasure. There was even a scene when they talked about anal and it seems like she was up for it. So in that context, is the rape scene supposed to say this is what she wanted when taken to the extreme?
The viewer also realizes that the two guys ended up getting the wrong guy, the rapist got away with it. I wish it made me go oh fuck, but since the protagonist was so extremely unlikable, I didn’t really give a shit.
I think the rape scene works in a figurative sense, considering the pedestal people like the simp friend put girls like Alex on, this was intended to be some kind of sick enjoyment for the viewer? Not sure.
Overall, I don’t really get the point of the movie or what effect did the director intend for it to have on the viewer.
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2023.05.29 17:27 MommySunHelp My [37f] partner [34m] wants to have sex with other people. How can I understand this lifestyle
The more I read about monogamy and polygamy I'm so confused. It's like self diagnosis on Google. I get anxious and panic and just give up. I want real actual people who practice that can give me some sort of insight. I'm lost and confused.
I'm a 37 female and my partner is 34. We have known each other for 8 years and dated off and on for two and recently two years ago went all in and committed to each other other (with a cheating scandal or two). I have been working towards relocating and changing jobs to move in but recently my partner mentioned a sexual issue (the need to have sex with others), to a commitment issue (he loves multiple people) to now he's using terms like monogamy (being unable to, period).
We have a child together. We are both committed to our child. We believe our child needs both of us, he has many health and mental issues and it will take two full time parents to raise him. I come from a conservative family and he has only been my 2nd long term relationship. I come from a family where loyalty and love are extremely important. When you're committed you work hard to make it work and I will be the first to admit my anxiety and stress and honestly lack of street smarts and life can be frustrating for my partner but at the same time he has told me many times my loyalty and the effort I make to get to know him made us really good friends when we first got to know each other. Baby wasn't planned but co-parenting and realizing what our son needed made us try to really bring that relationship to the next level of living together. When we co-parent it makes us happy. That identity of being a parent, the common goals we have for our child and just the love he has for both of us really deepen our love for each other.
My partner has some past relationship trauma and has express in his life women have used him and he has a tendency to handle stress and depression with sex. He has told me he has had over 40 sexual partners. I accept this about him. Up until he wasn't honest when he slept with others while sleeping with me.
We tried to work through it. Stay focus on our child. Time was good and again he cheated. With therapy and counseling he now uses terminology like not being monogamous and saying he is not able to. He has express to me he will have sex with who he wants when he wants. How can I understand his needs and what can I do to support him?
The more I read about it the more overwhelming I get. The more I ask him the more he tells me very bluntly he is not able to have sex with one person. I'm not giving all the details because he was able to identify a previous post of my asked me to take it down.
But he is basically told me he is not able to have sex with only one person and that's a person he is having sex with is just a fantasy. He has been having sex with this person since 2020. He assured me she was just a fantasy and nothing important. Then as they spend more time together and communicate with each other. He told me she was just someone who he f**** with. Now he has recently told me that he loves two people, me and her but I am the one he is committed to because he has asked me to live with him permanently. Is this polyamory?
I'm incredibly sad. Is this what my life will be. I have met this woman and she is rude to me. He now has her around our child. I'm depressed and trying to understand what is he thinking? I am just old school and not understanding all these new lifestyle and terminology everyone has these days? I feel naive and foolish. I thought I was committed loyal and loving and now he says I'm obsessive with him. I don't demand all his time or anything red flag behavior where woman want access to the phone or the location on. I have never once seen what's on his phone or even held it. But he has held mine and has access to it (when he wants to online shop), I feel I have been very flexible and understanding. I don't think I'm demanding at all..but I'm not perfect. I get angry. I get upset because I am still trying to understand and accept his lifestyle and needs. My confidence is low these days. I know this.
I love this man. I love our child. I love this family. I want to continue working hard and working on my anxiety and depression but I just want to understand my partner and what it is he is thinking. I know reddit you cannot tell me what it is he's thinking, but maybe you those who are in this lifestyle and those who are familiar with been intimate with multiple people and loving multiple people is this how it goes. I feel naive and dumb for my lack of experience.
Every time I ask him to talk to he swears he will set aside time but when we do talk he then changes the subject. He constantly says I need to work on myself. I try to think of things where I lack but I work full time and pay my own bills, any and all free time is spent with our child and I do everything needed in the home (all errands and chores with no complaints). I treat his family with respect, treat his ex wife with respect and accept his crazy work schedule and multiple jobs, sure I'll ask him to set time aside where we can do a family activity or a group outing but that I feel isn't asking too much. Even in the bedroom, I want him all the time. I'll do any sexual activity he askes. Because I'm comfortable with him and trust him and yet he still wants sex with others. My anxiety is when he's always on the phone with the other lady or when she comes to visit (she tells me happily they have sex). I hate that he's now telling me he loves me and her. Shouldn't there be a hierarchy of things?
What questions should I be asking so I can be coherent and clear of my boundaries and intentions. I love our family. I don't want to lose our family. I accept his sexual desire to be with others but can't be with someone I don't know, someone who doesn't come to the house? Help me understand this lifestyle.
Tl;Dr: My partner wants to have sex with other people. What is this lifestyle and how can I learn to accept it?
submitted by MommySunHelp
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2023.05.29 17:27 2BlackChicken What's with the passive-aggressive or hostile behaviors with the Vegan community?
Hey everyone, I wish I could get some answers from ex-vegans only. Especially those who were part on the reddit community and those that were/are activist.
I am not a vegan and never wish to be one especially after what I've witnessed on the reddit group. I was just curious as veganism isn't common where I live.
What's wrong with them anyway? (Reddit community) It's impossible to talk with them without having someone getting passive-aggressive, hostile or even insulting. I know this is the internet and people have less filters but I've been part and still am of online communities and I've never seen people jump at others throat like that. Even the subreddit roastme behave with more civility.
I'd like to know if you have any insight for me as why they are acting this way toward me and other people, none vegans who are just trying to have a conversation or asking questions. I can also mention that I've been on my best behavior with all conversations, staying polite in front of insults and belittlement, using proper language and saying civil. Basically, using the same level of language as I do here. That did not work at all.
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to exvegans [link] [comments]
2023.05.29 17:25 CrazyQueen_11224_ Siblings Date's
Dose anyone else feel like when their with their siblings Girlfriend/Boyfriend or crush they need to be friends with them? My brother has this girlfriend and every time she comes over she will eat all our food and make her self at home the cherry on top is she act's like my mom and makes me get off screens and clean my room! I have to be friends with that. people of Reddit what should I do?
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2023.05.29 17:24 pabyonce My(F22) boyfriend(M22)’s ex girlfriend keeps texting him.
Trying to figure out why my boyfriends ex keeps texting him. Me and him started dating about three or four months after they broke up. I had her on Instagram because we all went to school together and I believe when she figured out that we were dating, she unfollowed me and him. All of her friends still follow me so I’m sure she knows that he is in a relationship. Back in late February she sent him a text, saying hey how are you? He never responded. The message was left unread, I just recently seen that she sent him a message on Saturday saying his name with a question mark. I simply want to text her back from his phone and say hey this is his girlfriend what’s up? Is that being extra?Need on advise on what to do or why she would be texting they haven’t talked in months and I’m sure of it.
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2023.05.29 17:22 rrmdp 📢 CEDA is hiring a Team Lead, Health, Safety & Environment!
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2023.05.29 17:20 TheGreyworks [SLEEPWALK] 1 - Prologue to a Nightmare
The Nature of Predators was created by u/SpacePaladin15. Special thanks to u/Saint-Andros for giving feedback on this first chapter's draft! This is my first time writing a fanfic, or any multi-chapter story for that matter. Updates are likely to be slow and inconsistent. Your feedback is definitely appreciated, so if you have anything to say please leave a comment! I hope you enjoy. === THE FOLLOWING PROGRAM IS RATED [TV-MA-HM] (FOR HUMAN-STANDARD MATURE AUDIENCES) AND CONTAINS: - ADULT OR "PREDATOR-LIKE" THEMES - COARSE LANGUAGE VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED. === SLEEPWALK CREATED BY NEKAN AND SIMON GREY
1 - Prologue to a Nightmare === JULY 8, 2136 Walk in, be polite, do your job, walk out, and no more.
It was the five-step mantra my feathered friend had given me to get me through the working days, and it’s served me quite well for the past couple of years. His voice was always a soothing guide, repeatedly ringing in the back of my head like a well-meaning wake-up call.
I was getting on in my years a little, at least it felt like it, so I still gladly accepted his help even after all this time. He was a polite fellow, almost as old as I was but far more able and proficient. Maybe he cared about me a little too much as he did many things for my convenience—he even got me my janitorial job in the first place—but who was I to turn away such a good friend?
I gave a satisfied tail swish as I said goodbye to Fevri, the receptionist’s lovely tone a soft farewell. The end of every shift always came with a calming walk back to my apartment building, like an extra treat for all the helpful work I’ve done. It was far enough from the office for the time to last but close enough to not be tiring, giving me a moment to appreciate the ambiance of the Capital and ‘mull things over’ as my friend would always encourage.
Well, mulling things over, almost everything was in its place. My job was still good; I was doing good. I was good!
My friend just hasn’t been visiting lately, which is fine. It’s happened a few times before, and he’s told me what to do to get through the day so many times that I know his instructions like the back of my paw.
I just hope he’s doing well too, and that he’ll be back soon to give me some medicine again to stop my recent headaches.
I didn’t know why, but recently I’ve been expecting something to happen to me. Something bad or good, I didn’t know. But this sort of feeling and the headaches always came up when I didn’t take my medicine.
My friend’s voice softly chided me, his advice echoing from the past. “Remember, Havan: you can’t get the medicine from any other doctor. You’ll get hurt and taken away from your home.”
The air was colder today. Strangely, I knew that for whatever reason it wasn’t why I felt a shiver go through me. I had no reason to be afraid, I was good! Always good!
I walked through the apartment building’s front door and swiftly made my way to my own unit. Before, it was much easier to push that feeling of—fear?—aside. Maybe something bad is
coming this way. Right to my doorstep.
I hurriedly locked the door behind me.
I shed my jumpsuit and tool belt, setting them aside on a rack. The jumpsuit wasn’t particularly dirty—for now, at least—so I could just have it washed some other time. My friend would understand. He always did. I just hope he’ll be back soon with more of my medicine. I don’t want to be bad.
After a small meal, it was time for bed. I couldn’t eat more as the headache was getting worse by the minute, ending my appetite.
My paws placed themselves over my forehead like useless cushions. The worst was yet to come; the bad dreams would arrive the moment I fell asleep. Sometimes, even the medicine wasn’t enough to stop them from invading my head like a predator on the hunt.
They were mostly the same. A woman and her child: a dream repeated forever like the infinity of space.\ For some reason, I felt like I should know them.
Whenever I tried to look at their faces, I could feel something rip my gaze away with claw and fanged force—when I could see them at the edges of my eyes, their empty faces were nothing but smudged paint on a watery canvas. Just out of reach, an orange-eyed predator snarled behind them. It always scared me.
I’ve tried talking to my friend about it many times, but he never wanted to hear it. He’d look away and tell me to let it go, just take the medicine and forget the nightmares.
He was like me in the dream. I hope he’ll be back soon.
Sometimes, he’d look ready to tell me something—staring straight at me mid-conversation. Then, he’d just look away all tired and heavy, deflating like someone had given him a weight to carry. He’d usually take his leave whenever those moments happened: “Farewell, Havan. See you next time.”
Now that I think about it, he also looked like that whenever I told him about the dream. Maybe he wished he could know them too.
JULY 11, 2136
I’m losing track, I think. I’m not sure. I’ve got a slow-burning headache that just won’t leave, simmering every part of my mind it could get its claws on. I can barely keep myself upright most of the time; I had to call in sick yesterday. My friend’s still not back with more medicine.
Medicine for what; I didn’t even know anymore. Wake up.
,” I managed to croak out before hurling the rest of my lunch into the toilet. The act of cursing was paradoxically unknown yet familiar to my tongue—like an old routine left untouched for years.
All my dreams were relentless and mocking—I was rendered helpless to their onslaught. I couldn’t tell what was real and what was cruel imagination. In fact, the only things that felt real were the solid and smooth toilet and the force of my vomiting. I held on for dear life to save myself from the vortex churning around me.
A singular thought beckoned me again, a glaring beacon in a foggy sea of pain: ‘Wake up.’
There was nothing else to wake up to. “DAMMIT!”
I repeated before unceremoniously slumping back onto the floor. Something within me was changing—rapidly and viscerally. I was a stranger in my own body, adrift in a world far removed from the one I knew. I couldn’t breathe.
Someone was knocking on my door, calling my name.
I dragged myself out of the bathroom, feverish and frail, ignoring that weak voice in my head that asked: ‘What if it wasn’t your friend?’ I needed anything. Anything at all.
My body moved on its own, paws desperately reaching the doorknob. Somehow, I managed to unlock the door. It wasn’t my friend.
I would’ve screamed if I had the strength left for it. Instead, my legs gave way; my back eagerly greeted its old friend: the floor. Dragging myself backward with my vision blurred and hearing muted, the stranger came inside—crossing the threshold that marked my safety from the things my friend warned me about.
“Please… don’t hurt me…”
But the stranger marched on, grabbing ahold of me.
I curled into a pathetic shield, attempting to cover as much of myself as possible. Somehow, it all still felt like I was falling.
Through the blur, I heard the stranger’s voice. “Havan! It’s just me!” Fevri?
The realization was a bullet through the skull, rattling my brain into something like focus. There it was: the receptionist’s young and frightened face. Lying in the hallway beyond the open door was a basket full of goods that were probably meant for me. Whoops.
“Let’s get you lying down somewhere comfortable, okay? You need to rest. I’ll call a doctor—”
My head snapped back up. “No! Y-you shouldn’t! You can’t!”
“O-okay! Okay. No doctors. I’m sorry,” she reassuringly patted my shoulders after having dragged me to the side of my couch. “Look, forget that I ever mentioned it. Now, I need to pull you up onto the couch; is that fine with you?”
I limply nodded. I probably didn’t have the strength to do something as simple as that by myself.
Fevri pulled me up while that all too familiar voice in the back of my head spoke again: ‘She better keep her word, or I’ll…’
I didn’t finish that thought. What the hell was that all about? I wasn’t a violent man. Was I? I can’t even recall who I am anymore.
The vortex of dreams overtook me again, Fevri’s voice fading away as she momentarily left my side to grab the basket outside.
I was alone once again.
A predator’s face revealed itself in the blood-orange veil of my brain, sneering as it revealed itself to be the beckoning voice echoing through my skull. ‘WAKE UP.’
I don’t know what it would mean if I’ll ‘wake up.’ Powerless, I lost myself to a seemingly infinite and dark slumber.
JULY 12, 2136
I arrived at the light at the end of the tunnel, the bottom of the bottomless pit.
My eyes opened, and a strange sense of peace washed over me. Coming from the television were alarm clock tones, an emergency broadcast stuck on the screen. ‘Predator arrival,’ ‘evacuate,’ and ‘await further instructions’ were the only phrases I took note of before rising from the couch. This wasn’t my home.
The window blinds were closed throughout my apartment. Outside, the city was deathly silent. I didn’t need to look to know that there were likely a few bodies lying face-down on the street, casualties of panicked stampedes to the bunkers. What happened to me?
Decades of half-remembered memories flooded outward, smashing through the dam of my mind. To my horror, I realized this was the first time I’d felt my heartbeat in a long, long while. My Krakotl ‘friend’ was an exterminator; he always wore his uniform whenever he visited me. The medication was for predator disease. I’m not ‘Havan.’ I didn’t use to be, and I couldn’t remember my real name. The woman and child in my dreams were my wife and son—
With no other outlet for my frightened rage, I resorted to slamming my foot into the side of an empty trash can.
I gritted my teeth as pain shot up through my leg. For the first time, I felt the stiffness and aching that came with being middle-aged and taking those damn predator disease pills for years. Twenty years. I’d been out of it for twenty fucking miserable years.
A small part of me wished I stayed ‘asleep.’ I cast the thought aside almost immediately.
The exterminator had never given his name. How convenient. I had nowhere
to go. I should be weeping.
My head turned towards the bedroom door as Fevri walked out, clearly having just woken up. “W-what’s going on? What was that noise? Oh, Havan, you’re awake!”
“Nothing,” I winced, forcing the scowl off my face. “I just… accidentally knocked a trash can over. I should be the one asking you
what’s going on.”
Fevri shook her head, trying to focus through her drowsiness. “Uhm, alarms started ringing out through the city, and that emergency broadcast said it was predators. N-nothing’s happened, though. It’s been about an hour and a half since it started, but it’s been so quiet.”
That seemed to wake her up. “I couldn’t leave you—you could’ve gotten hurt if something did
happen! I… I couldn’t ask for help bringing you to the nearest shelter—everyone else was too busy trying to get themselves
“Thank you.” I didn’t know what else to say to that. I sat back down on the couch, rubbing my paws across my face as I mulled over everything
I bet my past self had never felt as lost as I did at this moment. All I could feel was the weight of my newfound clarity and my current confusion—a balancing act of anguish and pain.
“Is something wrong, Havan? Don’t worry about the predator raid; if nothing’s happened so far then we’re probably safe and sound.”
I paused myself. Did I actually want to tell Fevri everything? She was only an acquaintance from work.
But she did stick around and help me. That said a lot about the kind of person she is.
Call it foolishness, call it loneliness—I told the truth, recounting everything I could to her. Right now, she was the only friend I had. She was horrified, of course, but surprisingly it was directed to my circumstances rather than myself.
Fevri sat down beside me, placing a sympathetic paw on my shoulder. “I know it isn’t much, but… I’m really sorry. I thought—we all thought…”
“Well, we always had a feeling that you had some form of predator disease. You were amicable, sure, but you were always… distant? Plus, you never talked about your family and always dodged questions about them. We all thought you lost them to a raid and it just made sense to us.”
She nervously flicked her tail. “Guess we weren’t entirely wrong, in a messed up way. Sorry, I shouldn’t have said that.”
I sighed, flicking my ears dismissively to show I wasn’t offended. Everything else about me would always be worse by comparison, a pillar of distress as strong as an Arxur’s jaw and equally as biting. What else can I do now? I have no leads. All I had were blurry faces and names I didn’t know. … Why’d he stop?
It made no sense for my ‘friend’ to suddenly stop medicating me for weeks. The fact that he had consistent access to medication to give me made me suspect that he was an exterminator-specialist, which would also make him a doctor specializing in treating predator-diseased individuals like me.
In fact, none of what he did made any sense at all. Why go through the effort of giving me a false name—to give me instructions on how to live by myself and dodge questions?
He had been trying to protect me. Was it a fucked up way of doing it? Absolutely, but it didn’t change the fact that he actually helped.
For all I knew, he was the one thing stopping me from finding a new home in a correctional facility.
My tail twitched with irritation. Fevri looked expectantly at me. “What now?”
“I don’t know. I guess looking for the exterminator to get some answers would be my safest bet, but I’m not walking to the nearest guild office or the damn headquarters to ask for him.”
“Maybe I can? After the lockdown, anyway.”
“I don’t know. Honestly, this sounds like a stupid
idea,” I shook my head, another sigh escaping from my lips. “Hell, I’m lucky you still want to help me for some damn reason I can’t think of.”
To my surprise, she let out an amused snort. “It’s the right thing to do?”
“I’m predator-diseased. Probably dangerous in some way.”
“Well, you won’t hurt me, will you? Besides, you look like you really need the help.”
She didn’t get my point, but fine. I guess that answer was enough for now.
Fevri must’ve noticed my reluctance, making her continue. “Look, you don’t seem to be a bad man. Just… someone caught up in something really horrible. Everyone back in the office—myself included—liked you and felt sorry for you, you know? That hasn’t changed with me, at least.”
“Alright, alright,” I stood up from the couch, giving in to the receptionist’s offer. There was something else that made her want to stick around; I wasn’t an idiot.
For now? I couldn’t doubt her. She’s my only real friend; anything is better than being alone.
“I’m gonna clean up.”
She gave a nod of acknowledgment as I entered the bathroom and locked the door behind me. I stared at the unfamiliar visage in the mirror, examining every little line and nick that marked my face. The graying Venlil in front of me was someone else entirely.
I was old. I was exhausted. I was likely insane—but I was awake.
My true trial is just beyond the walls of my apartment building once the lockdown ends. The past twenty years of being lost and asleep had only served as a prologue to a nightmare.
The worst was yet to come.
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2023.05.29 17:08 Even_Drink_582 My (35f) boyfriend (35m) of a year and a half says he’s still “grieving” his last relationship and I don’t know how to take it.
I have been in a relationship for a year and a half; it’s healthy, great communication, good sex, we make each other laugh, are kind to one another, all the good stuff. When we got together I was fresh out of a relationship with a good guy but it wouldn’t have worked out for many, many reasons & it was an amicable break-up. My boyfriend was five months out of a relationship with someone who had been with for about six months a few years ago, then they had broken up but had gotten back together for a year. He has given me very few details about their relationship but said they fought a lot. He also said that the relationship wasn’t good for about six months, but the break-up itself happened suddenly.
We have both had a hugely stressful few months - I moved house, we have both had seriously ill relatives, both had work stress, both a bit burned out. When he is stressed/overwhelmed he tends to shut down/withdraw a bit emotionally and he has done so the past few months. He’s always consistent in calling and seeing me every week, but he’s been distant and less affectionate, and he hasn’t been putting in any effort in terms of dates or going out - we end up staying in because he says that’s how he rests and he doesn’t have the energy, which I understand on a stress/mental health level but after months it feels very stagnant. He acknowledges all this and reassures me that his withdrawal has nothing to do with his feelings for me, and says that he gets frustrated with himself for shutting down but can’t help it. He has recently started going to therapy which has been helpful.
I can be a bit anxious and need more reassurance so this has been a bit hard but I’ve been trying to be understanding. But recently we were talking about his headspace and I told him that if anything ever came up in therapy that he wanted to talk about with me or that I could help support him with, I was always up for listening - and I was a bit taken aback when he said he was talking about his ex in therapy. I was surprised because he never talks about her, and because we’ve been together so long I didn’t know she was still on his mind. This made me nervous and we had a strained conversation about it. He told me that he doesn’t wish he was still with her and there’s no “what if” but that he still cares about her, that he is still “grieving the end of the relationship” and that we got together so quickly after they broke up that he hadn’t processed it fully, “but we [he and I] just worked immediately” so he wanted to be with me. He said he’s happy he’s with me but working through some emotions around that relationship - though he still didn’t give me any more details about it. I don’t have any clue what types of things they fought about, for example.
All of this, combined with him emotionally withdrawing lately has made me very nervous. I have never been “grieving” an old relationship while in another one, and we’ve been together a year and a half. He does tend to emotionally process things slowly but I feel like I might be an idiot if I hear him say he’s grieving an old relationship and I stay with him. I’m scared of investing more in a relationship with someone who isn’t over their last break up, two years ago.
I feel like I can deal with him not talking about his ex, or him withdrawing, or him processing his previous relationship - but altogether I feel like that’s a lot of uncertainty for me.
How do I proceed here - do I just need to give him space to process, or do I tell him I need more transparency around his previous relationship, or do I ask for a break so he can figure out what he wants? Or is there another option on how to broach this?
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to relationship_advice [link] [comments]
2023.05.29 17:06 RhubarbWestern2129 I don’t know how to navigate sexual relationships and it’s messing with my head.
I (20F) am sexting this guy I know from university. He’s nice and really knows what to say to me, but the whole situation is starting to mess with my head a little. We started talking more after I broke up with my long term boyfriend, we found out that we’re both really attracted to each other in that way so started sexting a lot since I’m in my hometown for the summer and he’s back in our university town.
I haven’t slept with him yet, and I think I really want to, but there’s so much nagging doubt in the back of my mind. I’ve never really done casual sex before, given that I’ve only ever slept with my ex who I lost my virginity to. I think I’m honestly pretty insecure about the whole thing — he knows i’m less experienced but honestly I’m having so much performance anxiety about when I do eventually see him again because I know we’re going to fuck. I think a lot of it stems from my low self-esteem about my body, but I think I’m also playing with my own feelings a little? I sorta have this thing where I can’t be intimate with people unless I know them or trust them, and I’m starting to think about if I really trust myself or this guy in that capacity, but I feel like I can’t vocalise that without being a stupid prick-tease. I don’t think this guy has any romantic investment in me, which is probably for the best because I don’t want a relationship right now either but it sorta feels weird? I also randomly started missing my ex a lot, even though I broke up with him because he treated me like dirt. I cant tell if the idea of sex without love is making me miss him, if I’m just lonely, if I actually do miss him or if mercury is just in gatorade or some shit like that.
I just don’t know what to do about it all, I don’t know whether to just get out of my own head (I wish I could) or ghost him (I don’t really wanna do that shit it’s cruel) or what. Fuck he’s even sending me filthy shit rn and I’m literally sad as fuck posting on reddit. I can’t even take myself seriously. Why am I like this. Why does it seem so easy for other people to know boundaries and just be intimate with others? Or is everybody just really good at pretending to know what they’re doing?
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2023.05.29 17:05 MyNameIsAMeme Jimmy Butler is a bigger foul merchant than Harden, he's actually the best in the league.
| || | submitted by MyNameIsAMeme to u/MyNameIsAMeme [link] [comments]
I saw the thread yesterday comparing the FTR(free throw rate) of Harden to Butler and I decided to do some more research on the topic. The results were actually pretty interesting. https://www.reddit.com/nba/comments/13u7dmg/jimmy_butler_has_a_free_throw_rate_of_608_since/
Butler since joining Miami has been Top 5 in FTR twice, 6th once, and did not qualify once due to missed games(would’ve placed Top 5). For the most part his FTR is only comparable to players you foul on purpose. Embiid was the only other player with similar usage and FTR. https://www.basketball-reference.com/leagues/NBA_2023_advanced.html
I decided to compare Miami Butler to 2016-2020(Prime) Harden because most people tend to complain the most about the flopping during that time period. I picked a 4 year span for Harden because Butler has been in Miami for 4 years(2019-2023). https://preview.redd.it/gn5227d4as2b1.png?width=1659&format=png&auto=webp&s=add1e08d5ce433b31a1b91ad23ff0c27989bc74f
In terms of just attempts at the line Harden clearly has the edge, but that does not really tell the full story. Harden was shooting and handling the ball far more often than Butler. This chart here provides much more context. https://preview.redd.it/edxb9o9aas2b1.png?width=964&format=png&auto=webp&s=463bf10697941b72aa956a728c75b28ad5217af6
Harden was shooting a few more free throws a game, but was also attempting far more shots per game. Just from looking at this chart you can tell Jimmy Butler has a far higher FTR.
I saw a lot of people saying “Well Jimmy goes to the rim and Harden just shoots threes,” So I looked into the shooting stats. https://preview.redd.it/qpwkng4xas2b1.png?width=1669&format=png&auto=webp&s=0bc8fcea0bda5fb2b80a0294f286f8aa129f96b5
Jimmy did take a higher percentage of shots near the rim, but that doesn't really matter once you do the actual math. https://preview.redd.it/l6r1c9w3bs2b1.png?width=1671&format=png&auto=webp&s=8a95a6e7f6d9b52bedef36bbc0406ddd8f62d58f
Harden was actually taking more shots at the rim and it was only really close for one season. So Butler takes fewer shots by a wide margin of 7.5 shots, shoots less at the rim in comparison to Harden, how does he manage to shoot even close to the amount of free throws Harden was getting? https://preview.redd.it/l9iui06jbs2b1.png?width=1675&format=png&auto=webp&s=faa184432a642e4f9ab856a35131eaa23ba45273
I thought maybe usage could help me understand why Butler was shooting free throws at a higher rate than Harden at his prime but that made me even more confused. Even his USG % isn’t close to Harden. https://preview.redd.it/hv5l4jlrbs2b1.png?width=1673&format=png&auto=webp&s=2d89cecb65e60160548d81586e9727a4ea58fc35
Butler did shoot a lot more often from the intermediate range. Maybe he was just getting fouled quite often in this range. https://preview.redd.it/yxf4m8l3cs2b1.png?width=1675&format=png&auto=webp&s=bfbf1569ea25b0831c47a9a6687b8b417f57aedf
It is clear Butler did shoot from this range more often than Harden. Maybe that range is where he gets the free throws.
![img](fw9lllagcs2b1 " ")
Butler manages to destroy Harden when it comes to Free throw rate and Harden has the reputation of being one of the biggest floppers in league history. I don’t think there is a reasonable explanation for Butler having a FTR comparable to guys who get fouled on purpose like Giannis, Gobert, and Plumlee. Unfortunately, I could not find a leaderboard for highest FTR in a season but .693 in the 2019-2020 season is the highest I have seen from a wing player. LeBron has only broken over .5 once in his entire 20 year career.
- Butler has a free throw rate of .608 in his time in Miami, Shaq’s career average was .578
- Shot profile really does not account for the insane difference in FTR between Harden and Butler
- Butler has been the only wing player to consistently be top 5 in FTR for the past few seasons.
Harden has this reputation of being a flopper and being horrible to watch, yet Butler is literally statistically better than Harden at drawing fouls. For his entire Heat career Butler has made 6.85 field goals per game and made 7.2 free throws per game. LeBron has only broken over .5 once in his entire 20 year career. All the stats point towards Butler being a better foul drawer than Harden.
2023.05.29 17:05 thelucas2000 Important Announcement
Good morning good afternoon good evening everyone, we have some updates regarding the state of the subreddit for you all.
If you are not aware, the previous topmod of the subreddit has stepped down and as of right now u/darkcat9000
is the new topmod. One of the reasons as to why it was requested of the previous topmod to step down was to make some big changes around here and to try to freshen up the subreddit.
Here are all the things planned as of right now, some of these might be scrapped/not fully carried out.
New Subreddit Mods (already done)
Starting off with the announcement, u/Aarya_Bakes
and I will be your new subreddit moderators alongside the previous team.
We decided that it was a good idea to start off fresh with some new moderators trustworthy enough.
Do not worry, you can still disagree with me in a discussion without mysteriously being permabanned from the sub
I will be trying to check in and post more often now on this subreddit, and in a nearby future I might try to host yet another mod applications if darkcat allows it to try to freshen up the mod team even more. If any ex-moderators previously (unjustly) demoted during the period of drama are reading this and are interested in coming back, please let me know privately via discord/reddit.
Strictness with Vocabulary & Ranting (work in progress)
One of the most important things in my eyes within this community is the ties we have HAD with people like u/Frank_Supercell
. These ties however have slowly withered and I would consider them completely cut nowadays.
What are the reasons as to why this happened you may ask? Here they are:
- Insulting towards the dev team (and other members) when disagreeing with something/someone.
- Excessive ranting and/or no backup claims as to why you think x is in a bad spot.
One of the philosophies Frank follows both at work and when receiving feedback is a very simple one, being civil and providing constructive criticism with your issues. Sure, you don't have to give fixes for every issue that you point out with the meta or a brawler, but if you are going to make a post ranting about someone like Bea (like I have in the past except I gave reasonings), please try to explain WHY you think said brawler would need a buff/nerf.
Insulting and excessive ranting with no backup will be seeing a zero tolerance from my side and such content will be removed, punishments will only be given out after multiple offenses however.
Hopefully with these changes the dev team will be wanting to interact with us more!
Ties With Actual Competitive (work in progress)
Another issue this community has brought to itself is that essentially the profesional community sees us as a joke/unreliable. I know this specially since I myself am part of many groups and friends that are professionals and I've yet to find a single pro player who does not dislike this community.
Thus, I will be trying to invite some professionals every now and then to engage in the community more (ex: Ash or Spen posting content they post on TwitteYouTube also in here albeit with no spam) to try and give more adequate projections and great opportunities to discuss the state of the meta.
In the long run if this ends up working out, my hopes to achieve are that this would be a great place some pros see to be able to go over and share their opinions with the intent of having a more active community engage with them, thus further growing the subreddit.
Another long run hope from being able to connect more with developers and competitive players would be to have more direct contact with the competitive eSports scene (after all one of our mods is u/ReddySet
), and hopefully to have this subreddit more often promoted now that it is managed by people actively engaged with the strategic aspect of brawl.
Discord Server Changes (unconfirmed yet if it will happen)
This one is yet unconfirmed, but another issue this community has had after the previous drama incident is that a lot of the active and quality writers have left after said incident. These people have formed a part of a different now detached discord server: Beyond the Brawl.
If everyone in there agrees to it, we are planning on making a collab where we will essentially merge both discord servers together to reunite everyone back, and we will be migrating over to that discord server instead.
The discord server link will be shared in another post if the idea is passed through.
Banned Members (form will be posted later)
If you are reading this and in result of the previous drama with the previous topmod you have previously been permanently banned, or given a temporary suspension from the subreddit, you will be interested on this!
I will be posting later today a ban appeal application to try to pardon members previously banned for protesting (peacefully) on this subreddit.
Retaliations Regarding Past Drama
Anyone engaging in hate speech or witch-hunting (or anything of the sort) against people involved in the previous drama within this subreddit will be demoted (if in a position of power), and/or temporarily suspended from the subreddit regardless of which side they are from.
We will be tolerating zero drama from now on and we would like to finally let this wound heal. The wound will likely reopen to some after these changes, but please try to move on as quickly as possible.
Thank You Note
We hope you guys continue to post here and enjoy the newer changes, we have so many visions for this subreddit each mod having their own ideas, and these are just the ideas I have come up with (already discussed with other mods).
Let me know if you have any questions!
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2023.05.29 17:03 AutoModerator WATCH The Magician's Elephant Online Free ReddiT
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Watch ‘The Magician's Elephant has finally ended the box office blues. It will be a close call, but based on the estimates, the year's biggest opener remains Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness with its $187 million start. Nonetheless, Wakanda Forever's $180 million opening is a huge one, being the biggest ever for the month of November (beating the $158 million of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire), the second biggest of the year, and the 13th biggest of all time (though it could go up or down a few slots once the actuals come out). It led an overall weekend box office of $208 million, which is the fourth biggest of the year and the biggest by a long shot of the past four months, with no other weekend since July 8 -10 even going above $133 million.
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Watch ‘The Magician's Elephant came in third place in its fourth weekend, down 29% with $6.1 million, emerging as one of the season's most durable grossers and one of the year's few bright spots when it comes to films for adults. The domestic cume is $56.5 million Fourth place went to Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile, which had a negligible drop of 5% for a $3.2 million sixth weekend and $40.8 million cume., in fact )
, which isn't surprising considering it's the only family film on the market, and it's close to grossing four times its $11.4 million opening. Still, the $72.6 million worldwide cume is soft given the $50 million budget , though a number of international markets have yet to open.
Finishing up the top five is Watch ‘The Magician's Elephant , which had its biggest weekend drop yet, falling 42% for a $2.3 million seventh weekend. Of course, that's no reason to frown for the horror film, which has a domestic cume of $103 million and global cume of $ 210 million from a budget of just $20 million.
The one new specialty title of note comes from a filmmaker we don't typically associate with the specialty box office: Steven Spielberg. The Beard's semi-autobiographical family drama Watch ‘The Magician's Elephant opened in four theaters in New York and Los Angeles to $160k, a $40k average. The film expands to 600 theaters the day before Thanksgiving, and it has the potential to break out in a way that none of the other of the season's awards contenders have. We're also seeing very solid numbers from Watch ‘The Magician's Elephant , which grossed $1.7 million this weekend for a seventh place finish, bringing its cume to $5.8 million.
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2023.05.29 17:02 hinduhammer_ Why would you do this and how would you react to the consequences ?
I had a female narc ex, covert with probably comorbid BPD, we dated for 6 intense months from fall - spring 2022. love bombing and hot sex turned into devaluation, turned into physical, emotional, psychological abuse such as hitting me in private and public, throwing food and drinks in my face, breaking my hand with a lifelong injury now while trying to defend my face, scars, and a serious traumatic brain injury. In addition there were threats to ruin my career if I told anyone, blackmail threats to steal my property. And of course she would routinely come back.
After the head injury and she said she would clean up the mess she made throwing food all over my walls etc and she did not, threatening my career as a licensed professional, tell the police I abused her, I finally began to see the light. I was still hungry for her breadcrumbs of love but stronger than before and eventually went No Contact in summer.
From late summer through mid fall, she attempted to contact me several times through text first from different numbers saying it was her then from fake numbers pretending to be different women. I also learned she was getting evicted from her building next to mine.
I filed a restraining order though I hadn’t seen her in 4 months and made police reports about her abuse. Since she had just been evicted, it took forever to get her served with the summons. Finally we had our first court appearance in Jan 23, she requested continuances and showed up two more times in court. She contacted my lawyer to try and settle but then stopped replying. Finally our trial was in April and she didn’t show. I was granted the full Order of Protection for 2 years.
So that was a month ago. Now a few days ago I’m coming back from work and I see the Nex sitting on my building patio having wine with a dude. This dude looks like humpty dumpty, and the first time she became aware of him - she and I were working out in my building gym together and he was ogling her, and she called him a disgusting creep. Now humpty dumpty heard we’d broken up I guess and shot his shot, and as a narc she was using him for attention and supply.
But why on earth would you be so stupid to sit outside my patio in my condo building knowing that you have a restraining order? Is it to tell me that she doesn’t care about what I think and will not let me “control” her? Is it to subtly try and hoover me? (When I was in the relationship she would break up w me and I would come crawling back, when I left she started to hoover me harder and harder. Even lots of messages and phone calls from unknown numbers right around the court dates). Is it really simply because she had no empathy or decency or consideration to not come by my place after knowing how much she hurt me??
So I start recording on my phone and confront her telling her she is violating the protection order. She starts talking back nonsense about how she’s visiting humpty dumpty and I don’t own the entire building, and I tell her about my broken bones and near fatal brain injury, current fear, her threats and blackmail - and she basically smirks or doesn’t respond.
I walk back to my parking lot while humpty dumpty tries to de escalate, I tell him to screw off and call 911. They come, examine the order, and arrest her. She’s been in jail over the long weekend and will likely face a misdemeanor charge.
So my questions are why would she make this stupid blunder, and what do you think is going through her head now? What would be going through yours? TIA
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2023.05.29 17:02 NightOwl2940 Similar incident to one back in 2019
Hey guys, so recently, was at suntec city with the fam, and we were just waiting outside the one of the restaurants when a guy came up to us holding a writing pad with some paper on it and some keychains. He greeted us and said he was an ex-convict and was selling the keychains, and my dad told him that he had already signed up for “that thing”. Now i’m not sure what “that thing” is, maybe some cause or some donation thing. The ex convict thanked my dad and walked away. Now I felt bad because I thought the ex-convict was probably selling those keychains to earn some money due to some financial difficulties. My dad turned to my younger brother who asked him about the guy and my dad explained saying that he needed some way to support himself financially which is why he is selling those keychains, and as an ex convict it’s harder for him to get a job.
Now why did I say this is a similar incident to one back in 2019? I went home to do my research and saw some reddit posts from 2019 about ex convicts representing yellow ribbon or something, and they were selling these keychains door to door or in public to get use the money as donations. But as there was new recent news about, I decided to make this post to ask y’all if this is the same incident. I usually have a soft spot for these kind of people and feel bad for them as I can’t imagine myself being in the same position and seeing people turn me down when I need some financial help. Especially an ex convict who has seen the inside of a prison and had a tough life with no financial support, I just feel like I should have helped the guy on the spot but yeah, just wanted your opinions on this. Thanks and have a good day ahead!
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2023.05.29 16:59 autotldr Alleged sex abuse of jailed PTI women keeps Pakistan on boil - Times of India
This is the best tl;dr I could make, original
reduced by 38%. (I'm a bot)
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan PM Shehbaz Sharif's government has come under fire from opposition and human rights groups over alleged reports of authorities torturing in the most horrible ways possible arrested Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf workers, including sexually abusing women. Summary Source FAQ Feedback Top keywords: PTI#1 women#2 over#3 police#4 Imran#5
Social media has been buzzing with stories of alleged physical and sexual abuse of women PTI supporters, who were taken into custody and kept in detention centres following protests over ex-PM Imran Khan's arrest on May 9.
PTI claims over 10,000 of its workers, including a large number of women, are currently locked up in overcrowded jails as C-class prisoners in the sizzling summer heat.
The growing public reaction over human rights violations prompted home minister Rana Sanaullah to accuse PTI at a presser Sunday of spreading lies to malign law enforcers.
PTI chief Imran dismissed the home minister's allegations as false and accused the latter of coming up with bizarre tales to cover up the "Horror stories" coming from the detention centres.
Nearly 100 PTI functionaries were freed on two conditions set by the authorities- quit the party or politics, and publicly condemn attacks on military installations during nationwide protests over Imran's arrest.
Post found in /worldnews.
NOTICE: This thread is for discussing the submission topic. Please do not discuss the concept of the autotldr bot here.
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2023.05.29 16:56 bimbo_wannabe_ [I Accidentally Joined The Mafia In South Brooklyn] Chapter 6: On The Organizational Habits of Unrested Spirits and The Taste of Demon's Blood, Part 1.
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Previous Part: https://www.reddit.com/redditserials/comments/13trg6g/i_accidentally_joined_the_mafia_in_south_brooklyn/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=android_app&utm_name=androidcss&utm_term=1&utm_content=share_button
Becca invited me to her apartment when we made it back, sent me through the alley behind the building to keep the prying eyes at the minimum. That was fine with me as I was a lot more noticeable than I liked to be, at the moment. I had already lit a cigarette by the time she opened the back door of the stairwell to let me in. It was the last in the pack, and I'd only opened it this morning. The temperature on my phone screen had finally hit zero.
"You're gonna have to give me a second, B, I don't wanna smoke around you in your condition but I really need one."
She gave me another watery grin.
"Little too much blood in the nicotine system, huh?"
"Exactly, my young friend, exactly that."
She propped the door open and sat herself down on the ground. I could tell the high heels were starting to hurt her because she kicked them off and set them neatly to the side, though I knew the concrete had to be freezing her feet off. She tucked her skirt between her legs and sat with her back against the wall, her elbow propped on her bent knee, the other leg stretched out straight before her. It was exactly how what was left of Antoni had been sitting beside me less than two hours ago.
I was getting a little tired of all the patterns appearing in my life these days.
I flipped to my news app, as was my habit. There was an article at the top of page about the preparations the SDNY were making to get ready for the coming storm, but frankly I didn't really give a fuck so I just kept scrolling.
"Your old neighborhood is in the news, B."
"You ain't had enough bad news?" Beccs asked with a rueful laugh.
"Eh, I like to stay abreast of current events. I mean, you got me pegged, B. I'm a nosy fuck. But, uh, fifteen years on the inside, you learn that it pays to pay attention to the shit other people don't notice, cause you never know when the information you pick up is going to end up being the information you need."
She gave me a look that said she had to yield to my point.
"So what's the news from Koreatown?".
"Somebody shot a wedding up, apparently. Says seven were killed, including the bride and groom and the bride's father, as they was leaving the reception. You know, most of these names are Rhees. Ain't nobody you know, is it? Kinda feel like you've had enough death for the day, kid."
There was another look on her face, one I couldn't quite read even with all my people-watching prowess.
"Lemme take a wild stab at it. Two of those names are Rhee Seong-Min and Rhee Bong-Cha."
"Yeah," I nodded. "You do know 'em. I'm sorry, B."
She gave a low, almost rumbling, chuckle. It gave me a little shiver, not from the cold, and not one of enjoyment, either. She flashed a sign, one I'd seen her flash before, but it wasn't from any gang I knew personally, and lacking any official affiliation of my own, I'd dealt with my fair share of different gang members in the Upstate Correctional Facility. Double E's, one backwards, one forwards, three quick shakes of each hand.
"God bless old K-town. But you ain't got to worry about it. I'll not shed a tear over any of them. They's family, but they ain't exactly family
, you know. I might tell you about it one day."
The last sentence had a note of finality to it, so I didn't ask any further questions in that regard, but I was still as curious as always.
"If all your family has Korean names, how the hell did you end up as Rebecca and your Dad as Sam?"
"My Dad's name is Park Kyung-Sam. Just Sam was easier to tell people and he, uh, he wanted me to have the same benefit of blending in in American society, and he liked the name Rebecca. So, Rhee Rebecca Hyo-Jin. My Mom's name was Rhee Chung-Cha, but everybody just called her ChaCha, like from Grease."
"So your Mom was the Rhee?"
She made an affirmative noise and nodded.
"She didn't exactly wanna give up her family name, and… my Dad didn't exactly give a fuck cause he was in love with her crazy ass. You know, that's where I get this from. Except my Moms, if she was still around she'd make me look like I grew up to be a calm, quiet girl."
I'd hate to see what was worse than Beccs.
"You done?" Becca asked. I nodded, tossed my cigarette into the sand-filled bucket we kept here for just that purpose. I followed B inside and we climbed the stairs to the third floor. I leaned against the wall as she pulled a ring of keys from her coat pocket and waited while she unlocked the knob and the three deadbolts on her door.
"Pretty serious about your home security, B?"
She shot me a look but didn't say anything as she opened the door. A steady beeping greeted us, and Becca stopped just inside and punched in a code on a security panel. As I stepped around her and entered the apartment, I understood why.
Do you know that part in Coming To America
where Akeem comes home to his dilapidated Queens apartment and realizes Semmi has filled it with expensive furniture? Well, it was exactly like that. Becca locked the door back behind her, threw her stilettos onto the shoe rack, and hung her coat on the brass tree beside it. I did the same, removed my boots to place them on the rack as well.
"Jesus Christ, B, this place looks amazing."
There was a gray suede sectional in the center of the living room, a 152 inch Panasonic plasma bolted to the wall. The coffee table, the wool Oriental rug beneath it, and the end tables looked antique, as well as the green velvet chaise set near one window. There were three ornately-carved bookcases set against the far wall between the two windows facing the street, one filled with DVDs, and on the other two almost all the books were old and leather bound. The kitchen was open to the room, separated by a butcher block bar from the living room, all matching stainless steel appliances and black marble countertops. All along the walls were family pictures dotted between massive paintings held in golden Baroque style frames.
They were… stunning was the only word I could think to describe them. Most of them were portraits done in a slightly impressionist style, impasto if my memory served me, seemingly random strokes of thick paint that somehow managed to form the perfect images of faces and a few nudes.
"Jesus Christ, these paintings must have cost a fortune alone."
Becca stepped beside me, her arms crossed over her chest as she surveyed the painting I was looking at. It was done in mostly black and red, the image of a sleeping nude man, one arm tucked behind his head, his other draped across his stomach, his hips and legs covered with a sheet. If I touched it, I could have felt the wrinkles in the bunched fabric. There was something oddly familiar about it.
"They didn't cost shit," she answered.
That made me look away from the painting and back to Beccs.
"What the hell? Did you rob a gallery?"
"No, you mook, I
painted them. They didn't cost anything but the price of the canvas and the paint, which, you know, I stole most of that from school."
"You painted them," I repeated, looking back.
As I looked closer at the canvas, I realized why it was familiar. The sleeping man was our dear friend Antoni Zabrowska. I had mistaken his tattoos for shadows, though I had to admit I had never seen him look quite so relaxed. As I glanced around the room, I realized I recognized many of the paintings. I was able to pick out her father's face, Rossi's, and I realized the model for the two female nudes was none other than Nia Bianchi. There was one of a woman in white with bloody skeletal wings that bore a strong resemblance to Becca and I imagined that was the infamous ChaCha.
"That's what I go to Columbia for. Visual Arts."
"You're a goddamn genius, B."
"No, I'm fucking serious, kid. My sister collects art, and she refuses to go for the big names. Shit like this, she pays 10 to 20 grand for a painting half this size, more if it's one of the artists she likes."
Now she snorted.
"What? Your sister got a money tree?"
"No, my older sister Aurie's a writer. She wrote her first book when she was ten. She's published 20 so far, but she's got 30 or 40 more in backlog that she's still tweaking. She's kind of a perfectionist when it comes to writing, but I guess it pays off. Her books sell like fucking hotcakes everytime she puts one out, two of her series got picked up by Netflix, and Lion's Gate turned her seventh book into a movie. She even got to be involved in the productions.
"She's got a penthouse on the Upper East Side that she bought about six years ago. That's where I lived when I got out of the Upstate. Aurora, she's a fucking Saint, you know. I mean, I had a shitty PO that was up my ass every five minutes but Aurie never said a word about it. She just… always told me she was glad I was home, which, you know, was nice to hear considering that according to my grandparents I died 19 years ago. She was the one that helped me get this place down here, paid in full for a two year lease."
Becca raised an eyebrow at me.
"No offense, Tony, I can tell you're crazy about her, but she couldn't have picked a better place for you than this hell hole?"
I laughed as softly as I could, to save the muscles in my stomach.
"I picked this place myself, B. Cheapest apartment I could find in any of the boroughs, and it even had three bedrooms. I was thinking about having space for a library and a home gym."
"Yeah, it's cheap cause the fucking place is about 90 years old. Nobody's been able to get a hold of the slumlord who owns it for repairs in 8 months, but I bet you the motherfucker still collects the rent checks we deposit in his fucking bank account every month."
"Yeah, I figured that out just about as soon as I moved in, but beggars can't be choosers. Besides, Antoni always used to help me out whenever something broke."
Becca gave a small smile.
"They did that for everybody. I used to call them the apartment elves, cause instead of making shoes they were skittering around fixing fucking toilets and sinks, and rewiring burned up outlets and bringing in new refrigerators and stoves when shit broke in everybody else's places. And they bought it all with their own money. Everybody tried to pay them, but they never took a dime for any of it. Ironically enough, Pops used to talk about Antoni all the time because of all the money he'd spend over there every week. Said he had a good heart, just no good sense when it came to what was his responsibility and wasn't. You know, I had my own opinions about Antoni's heart, but I kept them to myself."
"I really wish I had paid more attention when Antoni was working on the boiler, though. Instead of just passing him tools and running my mouth."
"Yeah, you're good at that," she replied with a smirk.
"And fuck you, too, Miss Rebecca. You might be the strong type, but you're not exactly silent yourself."
"Make yourself comfortable. I'll be right back."
I nodded and obeyed as she exited into what I saw was the bathroom as she opened the door and closed it behind her.
The sectional was goddamned heaven, and she'd said make myself comfortable so I kicked out the recliner and leaned back. I closed my eyes for a moment and sighed, and when I opened them I nearly jumped out of my skin. I barely managed to stop myself from letting out a yell as I jerked back up to sitting.
Antoni's corpse was standing by the picture wall, looking intently at a photo of a child Becca wearing a ruffled, cream colored dress with a ribbon in her long black hair. It was the picture of her first Communion.
"Goddamn, you can't give somebody a warning before you do that?"
He neither answered me nor turned to look at me because he was using the stumps of his wrists to adjust several of the frames back straight again.
"Fucking neat freak," I laughed. "She wasn't lying."
He finally turned toward me.
You ever seen a corpse try to look annoyed when he's missing about a quarter of his face? I mean, what am I saying, you probably haven't, but suffice to say, it's pretty fucking funny. He raised his left wrist, and if he had hands, he'dve been shooting the bird.
Almost hysterical laughter burst out of me as Becca exited the bathroom.
"Least the pipes ain't frozen yet," she muttered.
She gave me a strange look.
"Who are you talking to out here? And what's so funny?"
I glanced back to Antoni, but he was gone again.
"Don't mind me, B, I'm pretty sure I got a concussion. I'm pretty much seeing pink elephants at this point." Or, you know, the mutilated corpse of my best friend, but it's probably best I leave it at elephants.
"Yeah," she answered, and crossed the room to hand me something. "Speaking of."
It was a mouth guard.
"What is this for?"
She didn't answer me, but headed to the kitchen and opened a cabinet, withdrawing a cut crystal scotch glass and then opening the refrigerator and withdrawing… two bags of blood. Nia's blood, to be exact. She unscrewed the cap at the bottom of one, punctured the seal with a fresh insulin needle, and to my supreme discomfort squeezed some into the glass. The mouth guard suddenly made sense. It was so I wouldn't break my teeth or bite my tongue off when the convulsions started and my jaw locked down from consuming demon blood.
"Oh no, B, I don't want that."
"Yeah. That's why I didn't tell you why I wanted you over here, cause I knew you was gonna be a pussy about it."
I tried one more last-ditch effort.
"You need that more than me, B."
"I can just take my next dose early, but you, you can't go down and see Ma looking like that. She's gonna ask too many questions."
That one stopped me.
"I've had enough of interrogations for one day, B."
"There ain't no interrogation when it comes to Ma. She just puts it in your head that you ain't got no choice but to tell her the truth, and you do. She's made state witnesses get up on the stand and confess their own crimes, pleading the fifth be damned."
She screwed the cap back onto the bag and carried them and the glass over to the coffee table and set them down. She walked over and opened a closet door, pulling out an IV pole with a little box attached to it, and grabbed a small cardboard box from off a shelf and what looked like a tackle box. She set it on the coffee table after she pulled the pole over to the sectional and plugged it into the wall, opened the cardboard box and removed a cassette from inside and inserted it into the box on the pole.
"It's a blood warmer for rapid transfusions, so I don't go into hypothermia or hemolysis. Little bastard cost 137 thousand, but at least you can buy them online. You put a fresh cassette in every time, the blood runs through it, by the time it gets to my arm it's body temp."
She opened the tackle box and removed two fresh lines, attaching one to the bottom of the warmer and one to the top, hanging the bags of blood but not connecting the first of them yet. The top had a drip chamber with a filter, and the bottom held the flow regulator and the hypodermic needle with the cannula inside.
"You know, it's not fucking fair, B, you shouldn't have dealt with half the shit in your life that you have."
She snorted and her lips pursed with anger as she sat down beside me.
"You sound like Rossi with that shit. That's why he wouldn't let me die, said it wasn't fair
. I was ready to go into hospice, fuck it, I was ready to see my Mom again. But I'll tell you the same thing I told his stupid old ass. Life ain't fair. Cause if it was I'd have my mother and my baby's father and Jimmy's ass would be the one laying in the morgue. You think it's fair you almost lost a finger because of what he ordered?"
"No, I actually think that's pretty fair. That's karma, B. I was usually the one doing the beating. How do you think I ended up in prison?"
She looked hard at me for a moment.
"I mean, you never told me. You were pretty open about having gone to prison, but you never said why."
"Well, I learned to be open about it. Some people get real upset when they find out they're dealing with someone who's been through the system, so I didn't really wanna go through that again. So now I just tell people up front, let them decide for themselves if they wanna deal with me or not. That way they can't throw it back in my face, say I lied to them."
Becca let out a bitter chuckle.
"So what's your story?"
"Well, we still ain't finished your story, yet, but we'll take a detour. The whole thing started my Senior year of high school. First game of the year, I blew my knee out, big as a bitch, tore everything there was to tear, shit was basically hanging on by the skin alone. Orthopedics said I had two choices, keep playing football or, retain the ability to walk on that leg, so… there went all my big dreams of college ball and making it onto the Giants."
I nodded. "Middle linebacker. I was good at it. 6'7, 265 pounds but light on my feet, all muscle. Back then I was running 7 percent body fat, and wasn't even trying. Shit just… all came natural to me. It all blew up in my face. Shitloads of surgery and physical therapy, and then one day the pain pills stopped but the pain didn't. Everyday, every night, I was still hurting."
"I know about bone pain. I could always tell when I needed to up the dose when my bones started hurting. When I started out all it took was an insulin needle. Now I take so much, I'm not even sure I qualify as human. But I guess I won't be much longer. That's always been the plan. Just keep me alive till 30 and Ma's gonna make me like her. That's the preferred age for the Entrance, something to do with the Trinity."
"I started asking around school if anyone knew where to get some Percs but pain management keeps that shit so tight I could only get a few at a time. Not only was they expensive, it wasn't enough. I got hooked up with this kid named Alessandro, he told me if I really wanted to control the pain, he could get me something better and cheaper. He took me to meet his uncle, Colombian guy named Marco. First shot is free and it was… it was beautiful. Everybody always gets sick the first time, but I didn't. And then after that, all my free money from my after school job started going to horse, and uh, I got my last six months off school. I already had all the credits I needed from AP classes, started working full time. They didn't piss test. But, my tolerance was rising faster than my income was."
I took a deep breath.
"I'd been buying enough that Marco was offering me fronts but I never took it. So next time I went, I asked him for my usual and I asked how much it would be for two O's on the front, cause I knew a lot of other users and I was thinking of starting to sell myself. So, he told me he'd give me a pound, and we could settle up at the end of the month."
"Jesus Christ, if you were selling a pound a month you must have been making bank."
I shook my head.
"I wasn't in it for the money. I was in it to keep myself supplied. If I kept my prices right, I could use for free, and I had enough left over to pay my portion of the rent and help pay for the groceries. I got good at it, I'd take a shot, and nod out for a few minutes, then get up and start walking the streets."
"You wasn't standing on a street corner?"
"Fuck no. Too visible. I did all my business by phone. I had a burner and gave everyone the number, and when they needed some they'd give me a call and I'd meet them or they'd meet me. I had ethics. I used to have people offering me fucking blowjobs for a bag, but I always said no, shit felt wrong. All they had to do was pay me by the end of the month but, sometimes…"
She gave a grin.
"But sometimes, 'Bitch, where's my money?'"
"Yeah, sometimes people would try to skip out, so I had to apply a little pressure to persuade them to pay. I never killed nobody, it's hard as hell to get money out of a dead man. But, black a few eyes and break a few bones and suddenly they had money they didn't before. Being my size, there wasn't many of them that could fight back. But, I fucked up the wrong lowlife.
"There was this prick, he'd been dodging me for weeks. He owed me like two grand, I'd given him that much because I knew he had money, so when I finally caught up to him, I was pretty mad and, the bitch, he told me he wasn't going to pay me. Thought he was better than me, thought he could fuck me and get away with it. So I beat the mortal hell out of him, took his wallet. He had five grand in there but I figured, 3K surcharge for wasting my time."
I shook my head.
"But I should have done some better research on who I was going after. Turned out the little prick had a socialite for a mother and his Daddy was a hedge fund manager and… I'd hurt him pretty bad. First three months, not only was I dealing with DTs, I was waiting to see if they were going to add Murder to my charges. He was in a coma for that long, and when he woke up, he had to learn to walk again, how to feed himself. I beat him so bad I gave him brain damage."
"Apparently his parents knew their son's habits and knew exactly who I was, cause they went straight to the police, and two days later SWAT showed up, turned the house upside down. I smashed my phone into pieces, flushed it so they couldn't get my contacts, but I didn't think about the fact I still had the wallet with his driver's license in it. My grandparents disowned me, right then and there. I had just reupped so they caught me with 14 ounces, all it takes is 8 for Class A felony possession. I spent 13 months in Rikers, but my sister got me a good lawyer, he knew the judge and the prosecutor personally, golfed with them, so he got me a plea deal. I was looking at life in prison, but he argued that I was a good student that had made a bad mistake because of a chronic pain issue, and they were both first offenses, so if I pled guilty, agreed to go through a substance abuse program and anger management, then they'd give me the minimum sentence.
"15 years, Class A Felony Drug Possession, 3 years, Class B felony First Degree Assault, intentionally causing grievous bodily harm while in the commission of another felony. But, at my sentencing, the judge said I was a big guy, with a big anger problem. I hadn't killed anyone, but it wasn't for lack of trying. Said I was a danger to society, so when I got to the UCF, they put me in dark red."
"23 hours a day in a box by myself, no visitors, barely saw the guards. But, I stayed quiet, made no problems. Prison was overcrowded so I ended up with a cellmate, and I was glad to see him. It could have been Hannibal Lecter and I would have gave him a hug. He might have been a murderer but he was actually a decent guy. Him and his crew had knocked over some jewelry stores in Manhattan, last job went bad. He'd killed three cops, so he wasn't never getting out. Neither was his wife. Life in Bedford Hills."
"That's where they was gonna send me if Ma hadn't got the jury to give me a Not Guilty verdict."
I knew Becca had a tendency to get in trouble because beside the cheerleading pictures in the bodega, there was also a mugshot.
"What did you do?"
She gave a bitter chuckle again.
"Unlike you, I killed someone. 2021, this fucking crackhead tried to rob the store. He shot the customer that was in there, old guy named Mickey, killed him. He used to live in your apartment. Tried to shoot me, too, but the gun jammed and I had the aluminum baseball bat under the counter. I just started swinging. He went down, but I jumped the counter, and hit him again. Blood lust is a real thing. Once I saw he was bleeding, I wanted to see more. I beat his brains out, literally, he was dead long before the cops ever got there. Bat looked like a toothpick when I was done.
"They arrested me, and the DA himself showed up at my arraignment. Said self defense didn't apply, sent me straight up to Murder 2, requested I be denied bail because I had a passport and plenty of money so I was a flight risk. But we all knew the truth. He was still pissed that he hadn't been able to send Rossi away for longer, and I was the next best thing. Ma had to pull a lot of strings to make sure I still got my transfusions when I was in lockup. I was in Rikers for four months, had my eighteenth birthday sitting in the Singer Unit."
"Goddamned patterns," I muttered, then raised my voice again. "You, me, and Antoni all got that in common, except he wasn't like us. He was already in prison. That's what the rose meant, turned eighteen in prison. Life sentence, triple murder."
"He told you that?" She looked betrayed, so I was quick to answer.
"No, the tattoos told me that. Google is my best friend, B. That's what the skull and crossbones, and the coffins on his arm meant."
She swallowed, and nodded again.
"But, I moved down," I continued. "Went to orange when they moved me to Gen Pop, and I had friends waiting for me. Marco was very appreciative of me keeping quiet about my source at trial, so outside Abuela Bogota's
was where I hung out the most. But I had friends all over. My sister was smart. She always put way more in my account than I could spend, so whenever I heard that somebody needed something, I'd go to the canteen and buy it myself and pass it to 'em. Nobody had to owe me shit. All I wanted was to be left alone, so I had people watching my back from all sides. I ended up in blue, got moved to the dormitory, started working in the kitchen, ended up running it, cause I was a 'model prisoner.'"
"You ever fool around with any of your cellmates?" Becca asked with a grin. "Cause I did."
I gave an uncomfortable laugh.
"I mean, yeah. 15 years is a long time to be alone. I don't consider myself bisexual even, but if somebody offers, you know…" I shrugged.
"I think the word you're looking for is heteroflexible. That's how Antoni referred to himself. He had a thing for you, you know."
That stopped me dead.
"You're fucking with me, B."
"Nope. He asked me once if I'd mind if he ever got the chance to hook up with you, and I told him no, as long as he didn't mind I still hooked up with my old girlfriends from high school. But he never asked you, said he loved you too much, was afraid of ruining your friendship."
"Jesus Christ," I shook my head, finally decided I needed time to process that, and moved on. "But, my last year there, Covid hit, and, I volunteered to work in the infirmary, but pretty soon the infirmary was filled, they started keeping people in the hallway, and finally they just ended up leaving them in their beds, I was all over the place. People dropping like flies. Everytime someone coughed or sneezed, everbody'd get nervous. I been smoking since I was 16, so I cough my lungs out every morning.
"People was looking at me like I was Death Incarnate. But I never caught it, not even once. And I was all around the sick, I was taking the bodies out to the truck outside the gate. Could've run but I didn't. Only had a few years left. It worked in my favor. They cut the last three years off my sentence, put me on supervised release and now, here I am, 36 years old, and just starting my adult life."
"Rossi got let out of lockup right before lockdown, poor bastard. Me, him, and my Dad all quarantined at Ma's, but of course, you know, me and Dad was essential workers so at least I got to get out of the house everyday. I graduated early, at 16, been working seven days a week since."
I glanced at the glass on the table.
"So let's get back to your story."
She shook her head, lips pursed again.
"Uh-uh, you're not wasting anymore time. Take the blood, but first," she reached out, quicker than I could even register, and used her thumbs to set my broken nose back straight.
I let out a yell, momentarily unable to see as my eyes filled with tears.
"Jesus wept, Becca, fucking hell, goddamn."
"Sorry. It would've hurt more if you'd known it was coming. Besides, you're a good looking guy, Tony, you don't wanna ruin your face."
"Thanks, B," I muttered as I pressed the toilet paper back to my freshly bleeding nose, tears streaming down my cheeks. "Need a haircut though."
"Nah, you oughta keep it. It's very The Dark Knight
Joker, just black, not blonde and green."
I laughed quietly.
"Not sure that's the best association, B. A little too psychotic and violent."
She raised an eyebrow at me.
"Alright, alright. It's probably an accurate association, just a little less arson and murder." I sighed and looked at the scotch glass. "So how do I do this, B?"
"Think about it like a tequila shot. Take the shot and then slip the guard in quick. Then sit back, try to relax."
I nodded and grabbed the glass before I lost my nerve. I raised it in her direction.
." She responded.
2023.05.29 16:56 girl_from_the_crypt Stuck on earth and looking for a job: There's something in the caves
I spent the remainder of the evening after the "hike" sorting out my thoughts. Trying to, at any rate. Writing it all down helped, but I was still exhausted and confused.
I woke up in Frankie Preston's bed the following morning. I instantly knew it wasn't mine due to the lack of Dorito crumbs in the sheets. Even so, it took me a while to come to. Once I'd rubbed my eyes and untangled myself from the blanket, I found the man himself sitting upright beside me, fully dressed with his shoes on, presently reading a book. "Morning, Sunshine," he muttered, not looking up. "There's water on the nightstand for you. A muffin, too. I wasn't sure what to get."
I let out an incoherent murmur to which he huffed a laugh and rested his hand on the side of my face. "You were still as a rock, you know."
"I'm sorry for messing up last night," I said, my voice cracked and dry from sleep. "I shouldn't have gone looking for trouble. I should've stayed low and just watched those two."
"What's with that tone? I'm not about to lecture you. I get wanting to take revenge. You did fine as far as I'm concerned. And I think Markov is okay with everything, too. After all, any proceedings against the Collective are highly legitimate now or whatever. Plus, she got that lady cultist in custody now, and she's looking forward to the interrogation. She called and explained it to me on the phone earlier, but I wasn't paying attention." He shrugged to himself and I reached up to tug aside his book's cover. "It's Wuthering Heights
," he told me, gently removing my hand. I tried to grab it again, but he pulled it out of my reach. "Oh!" He sounded amused as he finally set the book aside to hug me. "You could have just said something."
"Don't you have to work today?"
"I called in sick. Of course, my six moms know I don't actually get sick so they'll suspect something's up. They're probably gonna be all over me."
"You never get sick?" I inquired.
"No. It's one of the nicer aspects of inhuman nature."
"I'm still not getting any answers on that?"
"Don't worry, you will. Sooner or later."
We went out and took a walk in the park, which was equally weird and nice. It seemed such a normal thing to do. It was a bright, nearly windless day, and the sun shining down on us provided a gentle warmth. The previous days' rain had left the trees heavily laden with drops of water. Occasionally, some would dislodge from the leaves and branches they occupied and plop down on our heads.
I asked Frankie whether he would be alright with checking in on Nettie Peterson together. He chuckled, joking that she would probably just love
to see him, but ultimately agreed. Once my best friend was due to be off work, we went around to her house.
Strangely enough, the most drastic changes in other people seem to happen without me really being there to witness them. Kit Sutton had somehow turned into a somewhat responsible roommate without me even noticing. Before I knew it, we had become friends. When my savior human opened the door for us, I felt distinctly reminded of that other development. Nettie, not unlike a butterfly emerging from whatever they call that odd little sleeping bag caterpillars make for themselves, had apparently come out of her dark state of mind all by herself. Her eyes lit up when she saw me and she wheedled us inside with much the same enthusiasm I was used to. She had us sit down in the garden while she tended to her flowers.
I watched her closely. Her skin had regained much of its healthy glow, her hair was washed and shiny, the clothes she wore clean—a flowing blouse, mom jeans and sneakers. She had clearly picked them out with care, like she normally did. It was good to see her restored to her old self, but I couldn't help but feel like something was wrong.
"Are you sure you're okay?" I asked.
"I have to be, don't I?" she replied, her cheerful tone coming out more forced than she'd likely intended. She was cutting away crushed and wilted leaves from one of her small bushes, shaping it in the process. "It's over. Life goes on."
"Does it?" I tilted my head at her.
"Can we talk about anything else? Literally anything?" The snapping movements of her garden shears came faster; more forceful. Frankie Preston and I exchanged uncomfortable looks. Figuring it would make for an interesting topic, I proceeded to tell Nettie about our exploits the night before. Halfway through my story, she had ceased her plant styling activities, blankly staring at me from where she sat on the ground. By the time I was done, she had taken off her rubber gloves and was slowly massaging her temples.
"One of these days, Eva. One of these days, you're gonna give me a heart attack. I don't even want to ask about what you get up to anymore, I think. I'm afraid of the answer." She threw Fran a grateful glance. "Thank you for getting her out of there safely."
The waiter smiled placidly. "Sure." Turning to me, he added in a whisper, "So we're not going to mention that you saved me from the FunFlair guys twice before this?"
I grinned mildly and shook my head before assuming a more serious tone. "Nettie, it's great that you're all better, but you were really down before. If this is just an act, I'd prefer you didn't put it on."
"It's not an act," she said sternly, raising her hands to her hips. "I've resigned myself. That's all. There's nothing to be done, I've accepted it and I've moved on."
"That can't be healthy," Frankie remarked. "You know what would help? Punishing the world in some way. You could take it out on your kindergarteners. Tell them a scary story so their parents have to stay up all night with them. Incite a dirt throwing fight and send them home all muddy. Set up a boxing ring and have them go at each other like in a dog fight. Wouldn't that be far more rewarding than sucking it up?"
Nettie Peterson looked unimpressed. Her dark eyes roamed the young man like she was trying to gauge whether or not he was serious. "You're some kind of sociopath, aren't you?"
That she shouldn't have said. Frankie's serene expression morphed into his customer service smile. I don't know when I started deciphering this being's voice and countenance, but there I was, picking up on the spiteful undertone in what he said next.
"I'm just saying, if the woman I
fancied disappeared in such a way, I'd find outlets for my grief." His eyes darted over to Nettie as if to ensure she'd heard him correctly before settling on me, observing my reaction. All I could do however was stare at my best friend.
Her glossy lips had parted. She met my gaze, her thick, expressive brows rising a good deal. "I…" she began, faltering and starting to fumble for words. "That's to say, Kit was… we, um…"
"Oh, Eva didn't know?" Frankie asked, perfectly flat and monotonous. "I had no idea it was a secret. I'm sorry, it wasn't my place to say. I wouldn't have mentioned it, really."
Something about that sent a chill down my spine. I shot him a glare, to which he drew himself up and turned away. Meanwhile, Nettie finally broke from her stupor and blurted out, "We were together, okay?"
For a moment, I sat quietly. “Frank, please go home,” I said at length, not quite looking at him. “We’ll talk later. We will.
He looked like he wanted to say something, but quickly thought better of it, rising to his feet and storming off. Ignoring the queasy feeling in my stomach, I walked over to Nettie and plopped down on the ground beside her. “So that’s what this was about,” I began.
My savior human nodded meekly. “We… we didn’t want to tell you. Not for the time being, at least. We hadn’t defined the relationship yet, i-it was all so new and weird, I felt weird
, but it was good, you know? I just wasn’t ready to think about it that way yet. And you’ve only ever seen me date guys, I didn’t know what you’d think…”
“I wouldn’t have thought anything,” I replied. “How long has this been going on?”
“Not long. She called me up before she came back to you a couple weeks ago. That’s kind of when we started seeing each other in… in that
I hesitantly extended a hand to caress her upper arm, locking eyes with her. There was a profound sadness in her expression, a watery gleam. She took a deep breath. “Before that, we used to text back and forth occasionally. I always felt kind of weird about her. Somehow, she got under my skin everytime she was goofing off, what with her little jokes and all. We kept talking, though. I was always so irritated when she was around, and that’s so unlike me, I just ended up wondering… And then when she showed up here, it all kind of came together. W-we did. She stuck around and we spoke and everything simply made sense
all of a sudden. I didn't know she liked me, too.” She swallowed audibly, her voice brittle and husky as she went on. “Kit isn't like anyone else I’ve ever had feelings for.”
“Not like anyone else, as in… a woman?” I prompted, raising a brow.
Nettie grunted. “Oh, shush! Don't make me feel guilty for being hesitant at first. I know it’s not a big deal to you
, but try going through life believing you’re straight and suddenly running into some cute ditzy punk girl and realizing you’re not
. It’s all sorts of confusing, believe me. I was scared it was gonna be weird because it was my first time with a woman but Kit somehow made it easy. It was a bit of a whirlwind, sure, but it felt natural and… just good
“Did you tell Eli?”
“No. But I think he suspected. That man knows me like the back of his hand. We’re basically siblings, remember? He was always tactful, never really pressured me into admitting anything, but he made a couple puns here and there, so… I do believe he knew.” She fumbled with her limp gloves, fixing me with a wavering smile. “So?”
“What do you say?”
“Is there something you want me to say?” I shrugged. “I’m only glad I understand now. I wish you’d told me sooner, but that’s your business. Also, I didn’t tell you that I’ve been running around with our waiter, so I guess we’re essentially even. By the way, I’m sorry he put you on the spot like that. You didn’t deserve that. How did he know about you two anyways?”
Nettie pursed her lips. “He might have seen us around the diner or something. I’m not sure. I’m, uh, not gonna comment on whatever you two got going on. You know what you’re doing. Hopefully.”
“Ah, thanks. Then I won’t be giving my opinion on whether or not I consider that deadbeat dork Kit to be worthy of you.”
My savior human snorted. “Much appreciated. Though I guess it’s not really an issue anymore either way.”
I shook my head. “Don’t think like that. We can’t let her go. I certainly won’t, not after this.”
“What do you mean?”
I rose to my feet. “I’m going to drag her blue ass back out of the ocean and have her make an honorable woman of you.”
I don’t believe she thought I was serious. The realization had set in by the time I’d dragged her down to the beach with me, though. We had taken Wammawink for the drive. Wammawink is the name of Nettie’s pastel pink motor scooter. It has a sidecar, which she straps me into with great care whenever we ride. It took her about twenty minutes to get us down to the shore. The more I talked about possibly retrieving my roommate, the brighter and realer the shine in her eyes became. Hope was not yet dead, that much was for certain. I led her down the cliffside and past the rocky expanse to where the concert had been held. It seemed ages ago. Some wistful part of me thought I could hear the faint sound of Kits singing above the gentle murmur of the waves.
The beach was golden in the afternoon sunlight. The sleepy tide sent water steadily dribbling into the sand beneath our feet, the drier patches giving way ever so slightly as we walked along. The faint outline of a plan had taken shape in my mind. We headed for the grotto.
"It makes sense now," I thought aloud. "The creature we fought at the concert was targeting you. The deep ones must have known that you two had a bond."
"I guess so," she replied uncertainly, eyeing the maw that opened up in the natural stone wall before us. "Going spelunking will help us how, exactly…?"
"I figure it tried to take you in there for a reason. This place has to be special. If you want, you can always wait here, but I'd prefer to have you with me. I only want to look around a bit. Maybe there's a clue of sorts on how we can contact Kit."
She sighed. "Now I know why you wanted me to bring my flashlight." She produced the object in question and handed it over before linking arms with me. "Of course I'll stick with you."
The inside of the cave was far too quiet for comfort. The eerie silence was only broken by the occasional plinking of water dripping from the walls and ceiling. We made an effort to step around the puddles glittering on the bumpy ground as we proceeded into the dimness. The sunlight threading through the grotto's mouth didn't reach very far, so we were glad for the bright beam of our torch. I let it travel the hollowed rock, the light crinkling oddly as it reflected off the pools of water that seemed to grow larger the further we got. Nettie Peterson was hanging onto my arm, her grip growing a little tighter with every passing minute. Her face was a set mask of grim determination, belied by the nervous twitch of her eyelid and the occasional quiver of her lower lip.
My own discomfort was undeniable as well. My heart was thundering in my chest and clammy beads of perspiration were running down my face. Every step we took caused a dull thud, the echo of which bounced off the rough stone walls to be funneled by the length of the cave. There were several smaller passages leading off into all directions, but Nettie and I agreed on always picking the largest entrance. This way, the path we took was far easier to memorize and there was little possibility of getting lost. After the third or fourth time we ducked through one of the doorframe-like archs, we were met with an imposing sight. A large room with high ceilings opened up before us. There was natural light seeping through several small cracks overhead. Stringy, pale plant life hung down or clung to the walls. A round lake filled up its entire bottom half.
Both Nettie and I stopped in our tracks. There was no solid ground to walk on anymore. On top of that, the beauty of this subterranean body of water had literally stunned us. Ripples were rolling off the center of its surface, casting a faint shimmer onto the ceiling. The stone-filtered light from outside set the lake aglow, bright speckled dancing across it like sprightly wisps. All I could do was taken in a soft, reverent breath while the very thoughts running through my head escaped Nettie's trembling lips.
"Have you ever seen something so beautiful?"
I would have told her yes, but I truly could not remember when. Unfortunately, the lake also appeared to form something of a dead end. I considered turning and checking out another passage, only for my savior human to point out a ledge running along the side of the room. It was narrow, but no doubt wide enough for the two of us to walk it single-file. We clambered up the shelf-like protrusion and, hand in hand, began to move along. It was bumpy and wet, and I almost regretted continuing this way. I couldn't seem to properly place my feet, my soles slipping a few inches with every step. Glancing over my shoulder, I could tell from Nettie's grim expression that she was experiencing similar difficulties. My pulse was racing, my lower lip caught between my teeth as I attempted to focus on safely making it across.
The cold sweat that leaves my palms was actively working against me at this point, and before I could react, the flashlight had slipped through my shaking fingers. It bounced off a bump in the shelf, then rolled off the edge entirely to disappear in the dark water with a thick, loud plop
. I cursed, turning to Nettie with an apologetic expression.
"It's fine," she assured me, squeezing my hand. "It's bright enough here as it is and we'll still have our phones for light later."
I smiled gratefully, about to take my next step when a deep, guttural gurgle came rumbling up from the depths of the lake. The sound hovered in the damp, salty air for a moment or two. My best friend and I froze in place, her grip on my hand turning into an iron vice. For a split second, I believe even my own heartbeat stilled.
"What was that?" Nettie Peterson whispered, her voice barely audible over the sudden charged hum of the water below. Her question would not remain unanswered for long. The droning noise of vast water masses shifting began to fill the air as from deep, deep beneath, something made its way up. My savior human and I helplessly pressed our backs up against the wall, trying to keep steady against the force of the vibration shuddering through the rock. The ledge we were standing on was quaking as though the cave itself had come alive and was trying to throw us into this growling, cold abyss.
Within seconds, the thing
broke the surface, causing enormous splashes and sending countless drops of water raining down on us. I blinked them out of my eyes just in time to see it unfurl
It was not a living being in its entirety, merely part of one. That however only made the sight before us all the more terrifying. Simply put, it was a human arm. Just not of any human I had ever encountered. It was enormous; every webbed finger of the hand it ended in was about my size. There were six of them, each bending in far too many places—I thought I could count as many as eight joints on the longest one. Its nails were more like claws, long and sharp with what looked like barnacles growing underneath them. The thin, nearly translucent skin between its fingers was stony gray, just like the rest of it. The hand slowly began to grope around, searching the walls of the cave. I knew right then and there that I couldn't possibly fight it. If it came to it, I'd try to hold it off with everything I had, but something this huge couldn't possibly be defeated. We had to flee, as long as we still could.
"Oh God," Nettie breathed. "Oh God, oh God, oh God…" Her hand was trembling in mine.
"Quick," I hissed. "Turn around, we gotta get out of here!"
She nodded helplessly, her eyes blown wide in terror. When she began her retreat from the ledge, she nearly took up running. I pulled her close just in time to prevent her from slipping. "Watch out!" I uttered, unable to suppress the fear in my tone. "Don't slip, we're dead if we fall in."
My savior human let out a whine, then took a deep breath and bit her lip. Slowly but steadily, she placed each foot in front of the other, leading us off the ledge. My ears were ringing. I couldn't tear my gaze away from the gigantic arm as it blindly felt along the walls, its nails coaxing a grating sound as they scratched upon the rocks. It was getting closer and closer, the side of its thumb nearly brushing the top of my head for a split second before I could withdraw. I had to press my eyes shut for a moment as my chest tightened painfully. Finally, we had reached the end of the shelf and wasted no time in jumping off.
We didn't even bother with any cell phone flashlights. As soon as we were on solid ground again, we darted through the entrance of the room, back through all of our carefully chosen passages before finally staggering out the mouth of the cave into the sunlight. We were panting like dogs; Nettie was forced to crouch down and sit still for a while to catch her breath. Meanwhile, I was seeing stars. Colorful dots and sparks of lightning seemed to dance before my inner eye as I blinked furiously into the afternoon sun.
"What the fuck was that?" my best friend, having regained her ability to speak, rasped out.
I turned to face her, my knees wobbling like jello. "I have no idea."
"You think it… you think that fish person from the concert was trying to take me there? Dump me into that lake?" She lowered her voice. "It would have fed me to that giant thing, wouldn't it."
I held her gaze, my mind racing. "I don't know. Maybe the giant's different."
"What do you mean?"
"I think we might have just seen Kit's father." 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
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