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Creepy crap from 1969-70

2023.05.30 17:16 whorton59 Creepy crap from 1969-70

Well, after reading a few of these accounts, I can relay one from my childhood. At the time, 1969-1970, I was either 9 or 10, and hung around with a kid that was a few years older. Mike was always a bit of a "hood" and a troublemaker, and later it would turn out that he had schizophrenia. (and a string of drug convictions as long as the list of subreddits.
I grew up in a fairly large but safe midwestern city(#). . .and although the neighborhood was older (the houses were built in the 1930's) at that time they were well taken care of and the neighborhood was safe. I lived on a street that was 3 blocks South of a rail siding for a steel plant. There was a large gap where two houses had been burned years ago and were at that time a large vacant lot that was open to the tracks for as long as I could remember. There were usually empty boxcars sitting on the rail road siding and the empty lots were a convenient path to the tracks and an aquaduct. . A lot of people used it to get from point A to point B. (there was no drug use in the area at that time).
One weekend afternoon Mike and I were down goofing around the boxcars, and some older (about 16 or 17 years old) kid that neither of us knew, popped out between a couple of the boxcars. We started walking away towards my house and he runs over and stands in front of us. He says he wants to show us something, and pulls out a good sized pocket knife. . My first thought was this was no big deal as Mike was a knife freak, and as far as I knew, Mike knew the guy.
So the guy is standing about 3 feet in between us and the train cars, and about 30 feet or so to the street. When the guy says, "How much dick you got?" I turned to Mike as if to say WTF? and he says to the guy "Enough. . . why?" and pushes the guy back, and yells "RUN!" I did and we did. . we ran for 2 blocks before realizing the guy was not chasing us and was not even in sight.
Apparently the guy was not interested in chasing us, and at the time, I just figured the guy was some sort of a freak. I have no idea what became of the guy, but there were no arrests or knife attacks in the area, and I never said a word to my parents about it. Strangely, we never even spoke about it.
My family moved to another nearby city about a year later, and I made an effort to keep up with Mike until he tried to steal some of my fathers tools. I've not spoken with him in many years, but all I need do is look him up on the local internet court site, to see that he has been in and out of jail endlessly over the years. I feel for the guy but was glad he was around that day.
(#) I say safe city, but there was a case of two young girls that were kidnapped in 1967, one was found months later buried east of town and the other was never found. The case remains unsolved to this day. However, there was not very much crime in that neighborhood in '69 and 70. By the 80's you did not want to live in that neighborhood.
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2023.05.30 16:54 NickelTheWise WILDLIFE CH. 1-2

"Dick." "Huh? What, are we there?" "We've been here for six hours, man, we just haven't seen the car yet, and you haven't seen shit because you keep falling asleep." "Gimme a break, man, I was driving all night to get here." The two criminals were seated in a non-descript car, parked nearby the entrance to the main parking lot at Mt. Loyal University, charged with the details of a specific vehicle set to arrive at some point. The two were only armed with camera equipment, but it was enough to ID at a distance and that's what they were being paid to do. "Look, if this chick's as dangerous as they say, it'll help to be ready when she shows up. Try some of the coffee, they shouldn't be too cold." Dick looked at the two big cups from the morning hours before they showed up. "Dale, that stuff's probably frozen by now, let's just go get some fresh stuff." "We can't leave, idiot!" barked Dale, fitting of his canine species. They both were dogs, Dale a chihuahua and Dick a St. Bernard, with personalities to match. "Look, I'll go get some at that place down the block, come back here, and we can throw that stuff out." "Well then, go, come on, hurry up and get back, I don't want you sitting on a bench and falling asleep again." "I'm going, don't yell at me, man." Dick replied softly. "I'm NOT YELLING!" Dale yelled as the larger of the two got out of the car with another huge yawn to head off on his mission. The actual task they were seeing to was admittedly a dull one, but Dale liked to be alert at all times, especially when dealing with contract killers. About five minutes later, Dick had returned with two coffees, Dale opening the door for him. "Thanks. They had that hazelnut stuff you like, so I-" "Wait wait wait, hold that thought, I think that's our ticket." said the chihuahua, pointing a finger at the gate. Indeed, a white Oz Harper was pulling in and turning their way to find a spot. Dale squawked 'Hide!' and pulled the seat lock, falling backwards with it quickly. Dick just watched the car go by and head up towards the front of the building. "GOL-332, I think that's our guy, Dale." the larger dog said, slurping at his coffee loudly. The smaller one's head popped up to check before easing his seat back up. "Of course it is, I knew this was the gate to trust." he declared, pulling out a cellphone to speed-dial a number. "What are we gonna do now, D?" "Shh, lemme make this call in peace for a second... hey, it's us, the ones you called for recon? ...yeah, no, we stuck to the timeframe you gave us, the target's been confirmed at that college we parked at." Dick was starting to fall asleep in his seat again, so Dale smacked at him while completing the phonecall. "Gotcha.. yes, gotcha, you won't be needing anything else? Alright then, it was a pleasure doing business with you, and we'll just be on our way once our payment is secu- what??" The voice over the tiny microphone spoke in stern volumes, Dale glaring wide-eyed at the device like he wanted to bite a chunk out of it. He managed to inhale and hold it before responding tightly. "I understand, we will get a room and meet with you after the hit. Thank you very much for this opportunity." He beeped off the phone, calmly unclipped his seat belt, vacated the car, and then began to attack the right side of it in a psychotic frenzy, all manner of expletive spraying as hornets do from a disturbed nest. Dick watched him for a bit as he gradually slowed his raging melee with their car and got back inside of it. "We gotta go shack up in a hotel for the night, we're not getting paid until they kill this chick." "Hey, oh boy, a hotel, that'll have a bed for sure." He began to hand the chihuahua his coffee before giving a bit too much gas and causing a second furious explosion, this time in the car. The badly-secured lid had sluiced open and had went mostly all over Dale, staining his undershirt dark brown. Dick looked at him and raised his eyebrows high enough to expose his eyes at last. "Oh no, I'm real sorry about that, we can get the duffel bag out and take it-" Dale held up his paw. "Dick, shut up and let's just... take it to get washed somewhere, real quick. I like this shirt, this is my lucky shirt." "Okay, Dale." and he started up the car and turned off down the main street, looking like he'd be smacked around and scolded by the smaller man. Dale looked sidelong at him for a bit before looking forward quietly. "You're mad." "Dick, I ain't mad, I'm just cranky." "No, you're mad, you say that when you're mad." "What're you, my freakin' therapist? Get over into that one there and let's get this thing washed and dried, I'm gonna need it to keep from KILLING you, right in the face. "Dale, I'm really sorry." They parked and they got out. "Just finish your coffee, man, I gotta go use the bathroom and change out."
Tom was in a late afternoon haze of beer buzz, boredom, and bitterness. Something about the verbal skirmish with the snow leopard had really got on his nerves, and he still wanted to give her a piece of his mind. There was a bit of time left, and he felt like he could be risking at least one more smoke, so he went out the back door into the loading alley and lit up there, largely free of company for the moment, but it was then that one of the black cars from before slowly pulled into sight ahead, blocking off the alley's exit. "Shit.." he whispered, knowing better than to turn around as the sound of crunching rock on tires signalled he was being boxed in. He circled on the spot casually, eyes swallowing his surroundings to make sure there was no one else around in case he had to attack and escape. The two guys that got out had matching casual wear and a bully's confidence as they came his way. Two more door-shutting sounds behind him now, sending that tingle of adrenaline pre-game thru his body. Taking a deep inhale to martial his guts and nicotine, Tom came to a stop and looked to the guys in front of him as he exhaled, flicking the cigarette away. They were certainly taller up close. "Larry, Curly, good to see you, something I can help you two with?" he asked brazenly, getting two accosted looks in response. "How's he supposed to know that? He knows my name, man, how does he know that?" said the wiry one of the pair. Tom's throat tightened; one of their names actually WAS Larry, apparently. "He's calling us stooges, man, you know?" said the other, more standard-shaped one. "We got a smartass here, don't we?" came a voice from behind, followed by a hard shove that almost sent him onto the ground. "Hey!" Tom barked, stepping back to take all four of them in. They all had a kind of standard goon panache, and one of them had a shoulder holster slightly visible. The only animal folk in their number was a fox, shock-white and wearing the worst air of superiority among them, along with the tattoos and pink-red eyes. Tom made a mental note to attack this one first if he had to, but wisely switched gears. "Look guys, I think we got off on the wrong foot here, see... I'm a traveling salesman, and I got these dynamite blindfolds I'm peddling. You four want to line for a demonstration, I could oblige you a discount too!" he said, winking an eye. One of them chuckled off to the right, but Larry had apparently had enough, pulling an H17 into view, and putting the barrel inbetween Tom's eyes. He swallowed hard, carefully putting his hands up and standing his mental ground. "Yeah, talk that shit now, huh? Think you're all funny, man, I'll put you in the fucking GROUND, I don't give a fuck!" snarled this Larry.The fox put a clawed hand firmly on the guys' arm and caught his eye coldly. "Stow that piece, and calm down before you get us all popped, dig?" he said in a sibilant tone. Larry was still looking at Tom, glaring back at him, but obeyed and hung up the gun. The leader took point now, nodding for the raccoon to lower his arms. "I'll just... keep them up, if it's all the same, mutual trust eh?" said Tom, giving a weak smile. "Fair enough." answered the vulpine boss, "Now, my friend here seems to think you were scoping us earlier." "At the traffic light back there? No no, I just saw these nice Golgo Tundras going thru town, all sleek and white-- thought someone was putting on a concert or something. Honest curiosity, that was it." It wasn't necessarily a lie either. The tall fox looked him over a bit, his sharp eyes looking lower. "Got anything in your pockets?" "...I do." Tom carefully produced his wad of bills from one pocket and a pack of Mazzerucci Royals in the other. He really hoped they wouldn't stick their hand in the jacket pocket, for a few reasons at that. "See, I was just out doing laundry, there's no-- hey, dammit!" Larry had snatched the items up, and Tom moved his hands in protest, only to be frozen solid by the clawed fingers of the one in charge. "Mutual trust, right?" he said, smiling with sharp teeth. The bothered canine grimaced and tried to look helpless while they counted up his stolen cash, wishing he'd had enough magic stored up for a bolt of half-power lightning; they would probably survive, but with scars to remember. A sizable chunk of money was missing when it was handed back, and that was it. Tom looked up at the leader briefly, who was already biting onto one of the cigarettes. "I like Royals, consider it part of the toll here for wastin' our precious time with your peeking." and he felt his own pockets briefly before looking up again, "No lighter?" Tom lit his smokes on his own, so he just shrugged and produced his unfolded pockets. The four of them seemed to have had their fun and left, but the fox stayed a second to lean in close as his men returned to the cars. One particularly sharp claw came to rest gently just above Tom's left eyebrow. "Now, make a healthy choice, and stay the fuck out of sight for a couple days, okay? You and I see each other again, well--" He slowly dragged the sharp point across Tom's forehead, blood dripping down freely, making him wince a bit. "--You're gonna need one of those fancy blindfolds for when we execute you, since you uh... seem to be out of smokes too. Arrivederci, bambino~" he said, parting ways. "Yeah yeah, au revoir, Simone." Tom grunted, waiting until they'd disembarked before he snarled and kicked a nearby paint bucket across the alley like a soccer ball. "What the fuck is your DEAL, Canada?! I thought this was supposed to be a nice place!" he yelled. From somewhere in the barkyards of a nearby neighborhood, someone shouted in response. "I AM TRYING TO WORK OVER HERE!", it said. "SHUT UP!!" growled Tom, wiping at the blood on his face.
The raccoon was sitting in a miserable distemper while the dryer was finishing his clothes. 'I ought to just spin the wheel again and find someplace else, this town is becoming dangerous.' he thought, halfway thru another drink. He stopped suddenly at the sound of the door jingling, hurrying to move one of his towels over the opened can. A pair of dogs came in, talking in low voices, and Tom minded his own business, having had enough of strangers for one week. They seemed to mind their own business, so it was business as usual. One of them disappeared into the bathroom for a bit, coming out wearing a different shirt, and they proceeded to wash a single shirt. Tom had been on the streets for as long as he could remember, and had seen a furtive load of laundry or two, so lacking any other concrete plans, he got up and pretended to go check his clothes while pointing an ear their way. "...told you to keep it down, ya idiot." the smaller one hissed. "You worry too much, Dale, we're just there to drive anyone who needs it to safety after they corner that lady and tie her up." Already, this was sounding bad, but the raccoon kept incognito for the moment. "Yeah, well that's why they're calling in this extra muscle, this snow leopard's supposed to be a real killer born, y'know? Kinda like you and being so slow and clueless." Dick shrugged and lapped at his coffee again. "I'm just as my momma made me, Dale." "Yeah, well thank goodness she died before seeing this life of crime you've somehow clung to, she'd have died of shame otherwise." snapped the chihuahua, loading quarters into the machine. "Oh Dale, don't say that, she's already mad at me up in Heaven as it is." His partner scoffed and closed the hatch. "Look, I only yell because you never had no friends or family to steer you straight growing up, and I've told you, I'm your big brother! I gotta make sure you're learning and growing up better, yeah?" Dick nodded happily. "I love my big brother." Dale's face was a bit pinker at the cheeks, but he avoided eye contact for now. "Yeah, hey, y'know, it's... nice to be appreciated. Now, take a seat, will ya? Bad enough we're missing out on the fun work over at that construction site up the way, now I gotta hope this stain comes out." he muttered as they headed to one of the plastic benches. Tom was left with a great deal of trepidation: had he just made brief enemies with a trained killer somehow, or was any of this even true? He hurried to pound the rest of his beer, almost getting foam out of his nose in the bargain, bagged up his completed laundry, and left the place without a trace. He was halfway to the Door when he saw some day laborers around a truck by the gas station of his plaza. Once the clothing was carefull scooted into a distant, safe dimensional hideaway around the corner, he sauntered over to them, pretending to throw some trash away. "I don't mean to bother you guys, but do you know which way the big construction site is, just down this road here?"
Kari had been sitting in the parking lot of the campus for about ten minutes, watching the fracas of newspeople and police nearby and really feeling cheated of a decent day of schoolwork. The day was shot for sure, with the media frenzy still stirred up by people posting misinformation online, and news crew remaining on the scene for interviews with the friends or close ones of those involved. Kari looked over at her bag, containing the completed assignment, and felt supremely cheated as she started the car and looked over her shoulder. A bedraggled human face looked back immediately and she shouted in surprise. It was only then she realized it was from outside the car. Some drifter, bedraggled and carrying a backpack that was as weatherworn as it could be, was standing in the middle of the parking lot, looking past her car, then back at her. Something about it felt like the right thing to do, so she got out of the car and approached him. The man began to back away, muttering something. "No no, easy, I'm not gonna hurt you or waste your time, I wanted to ask if you'd seen anything weird recently." At first, the guy said nothing and continued mumbling something, but he paused on a dime and turned to her slowly before taking a huge inhale of her presence. The snow leopard stepped back, looking affronted. "Hey, what the hell?!" she snapped, "I just wanted a damn answer." The homeless man locked eyes with her, speaking very plainly. "He will lead you thru the door, and to places beyond here or there, and I will show you the other side! The OTHER SIDE OF THE DOOR!" he said in a rising tone before wandering off incoherently, pulling the backpack into his arms and talking placatingly to it in tender whispers. Kari just got back in her car and looked confusingly at her steering wheel, like it would turn into a giant pretzel or something next. 'There's a lot of weirdos in town today, and that can usually mean something's up.' she thought, going from experience, 'The only problem is for who.. and why?" She rolled the window down and closed her eyes, feeling kind of cooped up for some reason "Excuse me?" "AAA!!" Kari's body moved defensively towards the sound, only to find some kid about 6 sandwiched up on himself to avoid the attack. "Hi? sorry there, kiddo, what did you need, are you lost?" she managed, still oddly on edge. "I'm um, here... this, uh, I got my... there's a letter for, here, there's a letter I got to give you. I have to go." he managed, handing a folded paper to her before hurrying back to a small bike and riding away. Kari almost threw it away, eager to put today behind her, but she groaned and unfolded it for reading. "We know who you are, come alone to the location marked at this address at this time only, make this easier on yourself." An address followed and the feline predator smiled with murderous glee, slowly tearing the letter in half. "Know who I am, do they?" she growled, her grin almost too high, "I sure hope they know what I can do." Before she turned the car around to head home, she carefully pocketed the two pieces of paper. "...dammit, why'd I do that."
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2023.05.30 16:49 stickybearmusic [SP]

This is the first and second of a four-part story.
He no longer knew his own name.
The Wanderer had travelled for several years, shuffling through sand and bone for months, stumbling over the remains of human civilization. Cars, metal signs, frayed electrical wires, various trinkets and gadgets buried under nature’s wrath. The world had slowly disappeared under his feet, along with the bodies of those that did not survive.
He was weary, and voices echoed in his head relentlessly. He could never figure out the source of those voices.
Are these voices coming from long-forgotten frequencies?
Did malfunctioning devices remain near the surface? Were they just that prolific?
How many children’s toys respond to tiny voices and now respond to the high pitches of harsh winds and birds of prey?
Are the voices just in my head after so many months of solitude?
He was so lonely.
The memory of his name was the last to leave him. Before that, he was a “project management specialist”, whatever that meant. The truth was that he was a generic paper pusher, badgering recent college graduates to deliver spreadsheets and pretty charts from one overpaid middle manager to another slightly-less overpaid middle manager, making sure that the right colors and shapes were telling other overpaid people with fancier job titles how to make decisions so that a little line could go up every three months. That little line was important to the investors, and only the investors. It did not matter what they created, or what harm they caused. It only mattered that the line went up every three months so that no one lost their jobs. And even then, people still lost their jobs to make sure the line went up. Those people would go to other places where they did the same thing, until they could make sure that they became the new overpaid middle managers, convincing a new group of twenty-somethings to do the same thing.
Before he became a Wanderer, he convinced himself that this was the right way, enough to make a nice living for himself and his family. He could take his family out for a nice dinner each Friday night, a movie or play each Saturday, enough money to tithe on Sunday, and a comfortable two-week vacation each year. Occasionally, he could take a day of golfing or a night out for beers with his friends, maybe some flirtation with a waitress or two. Nothing serious, just something to make him feel special, like he still had some youth and vigor. This went on for eight years, and despite his otherwise bland personality, the people in his life seemed to enjoy his company.
None of that mattered anymore. It does not matter when there are no longer places to vacation, or golf courses or bars. It does not matter if there are no churches or places to work. It does not matter when there is no longer a family for which to care.
The Wanderer stubbed his toe and tripped face-first into the sand. After quickly getting up while wiping away the sand from his face and out of his mouth and nose, he looked down to see what he tripped on – a metal sign. He hurriedly dug through the sand to unearth the sign, trying to make sense of where he was. He had walked for what felt like hours, but his sense of time was off. He pulled back the shirt that he wrapped around his head and tucked back the tie that he used as a belt. The reflective green sign came into focus, and a white “S” appeared. It was perfect – a metal exit sign for a major road. He dug faster, pulling on the sign as he scooped handfuls of sand away from it. Soon, the sign was revealed.
Springfield. He was not too far from where he grew up. But where exactly?
He knew that the Sun had been setting for some time, which gave him an idea of which direction he could go, but he could not remember where his childhood home was. Was it south of that sign? North? East or west? Springfield was a larger city, so he could be five minutes away or fifty minutes away. He needed more information.
As he dug further down, he realized that he was not going to get the answer that he was looking for. He unearthed only the most generic relics of suburban living – a few broken mobile phones, a running shoe, a baby stroller with a convertible car seat, some cheap clothing that he remembered seeing in shop windows when there used to be malls. Nothing of importance, and certainly nothing that would tell him where exactly he was.
He knew that he had a good shot of walking north to find someone. There had been reports from days prior of people still living in, or roaming near, the major city centers. He did not know what he would come across, but he knew that any situation was better than trying to survive alone. The end of the world was too sudden, and all of his friends that had scattered too far were now gone to him. The voices would call out to him.
Why didn’t you know anyone around you?
You couldn’t try to make just one new friend?
Who will you turn to now?
He started to think about all of the missed opportunities. The birthday parties that he missed because he was working. The family vacation that was postponed because he was driven mad thinking about Peter running his project. A project that clearly does not even have any value anymore. Minutes of ruminating over every decision, which turned to hours of inaction because he just needed to control such minor things. The time he spent schmoozing and kissing up to those overpaid managers just for the chance to get more work and spend less time living his life. And when he found time to see his wife and child, he frantically checked his phone every minute, waiting for the next big update where he could act. He would always snap when they asked him to join the party. Always another email. Always another crisis averted. Or at least, what he considered to be a crisis at the time.
The contempt he had each day for everyone and everything. The resentment that he had for his career because it took him away from his family. The resentment that he had for his family because it took him away from his career. The stress put upon him, the stress he put upon himself, and how meaningless it all became in the end.
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2023.05.30 16:42 Senior_Anteater4688 Please Rate My Offer For The Region

Title: Data Engineer
Location: UK-North East Scotland (hybrid)
Base Salary: £50k
Bonus: 20%
Pension: 20% employer contribution
Industry: Energy
Years of Experience: 3.5 (2 as an analyst, 1.5 as a data engineer)
Education: non-CS Bachelors (engineering), Masters in Data science
Benefits: private health/dental, free gym, child care vouchers, cycle to work, electric car scheme, 42 paid holidays in a year, group income protection and all other fluffy stuff.
What concerns me is that this is not a tech company but an IT dept. of a very big energy company and I'll be the only data engineer working with contractors there.
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2023.05.30 16:34 goldenmom4gr Transcription of the C McDonald interviews obtained Jan 31, 2023 (Marrottes, house behind the red barn, Atwoods, Westmans)

This is a transcription of one of the documents obtained by JA on January 31, 2023 described in this post. This PDF has notes from interviews by C McDonald with the Marrottes, the house behind the red barn, the Atwoods, and the Westmans. We previously had the Atwood interview - however, this is a different document. The Atwood interview we have on file has different formatting, slightly different wording (insignificant such as adding/omitting "Mr."), and footnotes. So this seems to be transcribed notes which were then transformed into a report.
Notes from conversations on the morning of Monday, 16 February
(Conversation at approximately 10-10:30 am)
J and V Marrotte - tel xxx
  • Between 7-8 p.m. Mr. Marrotte went to the kitchen window to peel an orange and saw a car with the flashers going
  • The car backed up parallel to the road
  • Within 4 to 5 min a bus came down route 112 from Woodsville
  • The bus stopped at car for 4 to 5 min
  • Bus continued down the road and backed into driveway located directly across the street from the Marrotte residence. Driver stayed in bus for quite a while; Mr. Marrotte thought that this was odd. Mr. Marrotte presumed that bus driver was making a 911 call from the bus.
  • Mr. Marrotte could not see Maura at the car thereafter.
  • Police arrived, loked around the car with a flashlight, walked up to the red barn, walked up the private road, came back down, passed the car, and approached Mr. Attwood, who was still in bus. 15 minutes had elapsed from thetime the police arrived to the time they reached the bus.
  • When asked if there were any persons they would possibly be concerned about, John M replied: No, not really but then he looked outt he window down at the Attwood [in my notes I have it as Dewalt, because I thought his name was Dewalt] resigence and (without any prompting from myself) said he and his wife had never really gotten along with those guys (plural) across the street.
  • I asked: Guys? Plural?
  • John said: The family across the street, he is an "odd cat"
  • John then said there were a few people he would be concerned about in the area, but no one specifically.
Conversaton at approximately 10:30-10:35 a.m.
Ellis/Gudek House behind the red barn
I spoke with the man; he told me that he did not see anything --that he had heard about the accident from John on Tuesday (10 February) and that although he was home he didnot hear of see anything the evening of 9 February
(Conversation at approximately 10:40-11:00 a.m.)
Attwood Residence
  • I walked up to the house -- Mr. Attwood answered the door and I asked if I could speak with him regarding the Maura Murray case.
  • Mr. Attwood responded, "She got in a car and disappeared end of story."
  • I pleaded with him to please help us learn more about the evening, we don't have any clues and are looking for anything to lead us to Maura.
  • Mr. Attwood again responded, "She got in a car and disappeared end of story -- that is it."
  • Mrs. Attwood (a lady younger than the elder woman (mother) who is hard of hearing) said "Yes, please John help her." She invited me into the front porch area of the home.
  • Mr. Attwood said he arrived at 7:35 p.m.
  • Maura was in the car, sitting there with no lights on.
  • I asked: Was there anyone else in the car?
  • Mr. Attwood responded, No one else was in the car.
  • [There was a little confusion with the next set of questions, when he first commented he said that Maura was in the car and could not get out, because the car was facing the barn and door was blocked. But then said she got out of the car and stood outside the car.]
  • Mr. Attwood said that he asked Maura: "Are you okay?" Maura: "Yes, fine"
  • Mr. Attwood told me, "I looked over the scene and saw no blood." At this point I asked for confirmation regarding the location of Maura. He described Maura as looking over the car. Mr. Attwood described Maura, "She didn't look like the pictures, her hair was down, it must have come undone during the accident."
  • Mr. Attwood said to Maura: "I am going to call the police." Maura. "I have called AAA"
  • Mr. Attwood to me: I am thinking you can't call from here. Mr. Attwood to Maura: "I am going to call the police."
  • Maura responded: No.
  • Mr. Attwood to Maura: "No, I am going to call the police."
  • Attwood then left Maura and returned home, entering the house to call.
  • Attwood noted during this time 3-4 cars went by.
  • I then asked him if he saw Maura walk towards his house since he was on the front porch. He said: No, that Maura was picked up and that during this time they could not see the crash site. He then noted that he did not think that the dog had a scent. The dog just walked, around looking up -- "that wasn't a dog that smelled anything but squirrels."
  • How much time elapsed while you were inside calling? Attwood: 7-9 min.
  • Mr. Attwood then described how he had to make 5 or so calls because the dispatcher could not connect him.
  • Mr. Attwood then said that he went out, looked up the road, saw the police and then, presuming that all was taken care of, got back into his bus to do his mileage.
  • Mrs. Attwood then said that she heard the dispatcher call, noting they were looking for a girl (they have a scanner on the front porch).
  • Mr. Attwood then said, "It is just beam me up Scotty time."
  • Then Mrs. Attwood said it came across the scanner that the windshield had broke.
  • Mr. Attwood then said that while he was in the bus he heard a knock on the bus door and found out that Maura wasn't at the scene.
  • Mr. Attwood then said he got in his car at 8:10 with his spotlight and searched the area without finding her.
  • I then started to say goodbye and thank them when he asked "What about that call?"
  • I responded, "What call?"
  • Mr. Attwood said: The call that was made after the incident -- the last call the boyfriend received.
  • I told him the last call Bill received was before the accident.
  • Mr. Attwood then said, "I just should have insisted that she get in the bus -- I tried to get her into the bus."
  • Mrs. Attwood then said that she was "probably more scared of you."
  • Mr. Attwood then told me that he was very good friends with Officer Smith and to tell him that Butch sent me and that the police will let the family see all the records.
End of conversation.
I then tried to speak with Tim Westman -- white house across the street from red barn -- there was no one home.
Earlier notes:
On Saturday afternoon I went to several of the homes in the area.
At the blue house on the left hand side as you go up Bradley Hill Road: I spoke with a woman who was not home at the time of the accident; she was heading back home from a school board meeting between 8 and 8:30 -- coming from Woodsville area towards Lincoln. Said she did not see anyone on the road walking.
the Westman residence
  • Heard accident
  • Called 911 (Husband thought it was earlier than wife.) thought it ws sometime between 7:55 and 8:05.
  • Saw a flashlight and red glow from the passenger seat.
  • Possibly two people.
  • Maura sat for a long time in the car.
  • Saw school bus at site.
  • Maura was at her car up to 1 min before the police arrived.
submitted by goldenmom4gr to MauraMurrayEvidence3 [link] [comments]

2023.05.30 15:19 Guilty_Chemistry9337 Hide Behind the Cypress Tree (Part 2)

They didn’t tell us the name of the next kid that disappeared. They didn’t tell us another kid had disappeared at all. We could all tell by the silence what had happened. It spoke volumes. I’m sure they talked about it in great detail amongst themselves. In PTA meetings and City Councils. My parents made sure to turn off the TV at 5 o’clock before the news came on, at least in my home. They’d turn it back on for the 11 o’clock news, when were were in bed and couldn’t hear the details.
The strange thing is, they never told us to just stop going outside. They told us to go in groups, sure, but they never decided, or as far as I could tell even though, to keep us all indoors. I guess that sort of freedom wasn’t something they were willing to give up. Instead, they did the neighborhood watch thing. For those few months, I remember my folks meeting more of our neighbors than in all the time previously, or since. Retirees would spend their days out in their front lawns, watching kids and everybody else coming and going. They’d even set up lawn furniture, with umbrellas, even all through the rains of spring. Cops stopped sitting in ambushes on the highways waiting for speeders and instead started patrolling the streets, chatting with us as we’d pass by. Weekends would see all the adults out in their yards, working on cars in the driveways, fixing the gutters, and so on. They had this weird way of looking at you as you’d ride by. Not hostile stares, but it was like they were cataloging your presence. Boy, eight years old, red raincoat silver bike, about 11:30 in the morning, heading south on Sorensen. Seemed fine.
The next time we saw it, it wasn’t in our neighborhood, and I was the one who saw it first. We were visiting Russ, a sort of 5th semi-friend from school. We rarely hung out, mostly owing to geography. His house wasn’t far as the crow flies, but it was up a steep hill. We spent a Saturday afternoon returning a cache of comic books we’d borrowed. The distance we covered was substantial, as we had decided to take lots of extra streets as switchbacks, rather than slowly push our bikes up the too-steep hills.
The descent was going to be the highlight of the trip, up until I saw the Hidebehind. We were on a curving road, a steep forested bluff on one side. The uphill slope was mostly ivy-covered raised foundations for the neighborhood’s houses. That side of the road was lined with parked cars, and the residents of the homes had to ascend steep staircases to get to their front doors.
I was ayt the back of the pack when I caught movement out of the corner of my eye. Movement, something brown squatting between two closely parked cars. My head snapped as I zoomed past, and despite not getting a good look, I knew it was that terrible thing. “It’s behind us!” I shouted and started pedaling hard. The others looked for themselves as I quickly rushed past them, but they soon joined my pace.
Ralph’s earlier idea of directly confronting the thing was set aside. We were moving too fast, and down too narrow a street to turn around. Then we saw it again it was to our left, off-road, between the trees. Suddenly it leaped from behind one tree trunk to the next and disappeared again. That hardly made sense, the base of the trees must have been thirty feet below the deck of the street we rode down. One of us, I think it was India, let out one of those strangled screams.
There it was again, back on the right, disappearing behind a mailbox as we approached. That couldn’t have been, it must have outpaced us and crossed in front of us. Logic would suggest there was more than one, but somehow the four of us knew it was the same thing. More impossible still, the pole holding up the mailbox was too thin, maybe two inches in diameter, yet that thing had disappeared behind it, like a Warner Bros. cartoon character. It was just enough to catch a better glimpse of it though. All brown. A head seemingly too bulbous and large for its body. Its limbs were thin but far longer, like a gibbon’s. Only a gibbon had normal elbows and knees. This thing bent its joints all wrong like it wasn’t part of the natural order. We were all terrified to wit’s end.
“The trail!” Ralph shouted, and the other three of us knew exactly what he meant. The top of it was only just around the curve. It was a dirt footpath for pedestrians ascending and descending South Hill, cutting through the woods on our left. It was too steep for cars, and to be honest, too steep for bikes. We’d played on it before, challenging each other to see how high up they could go, then descend back down without using our brakes. A short paved cul-de-sac at the bottom was enough space to stop before running into a cross street.
Ralph had held the previous group record, having climbed three-quarters of the way before starting his mad drop. India’s best was just short of that, I had only dared about halfway up, Ben only a third. This time, with certain death on our heels, the trail seemed the only way out. Nothing could have outrun a kid on a bike flying down that hill.
We followed Ralph’s lead, swinging to the right gutter of the street, then hanging a fast wide left up onto the curb, over a patch of gravel, between two boulders set up as bollards, lest a car driver mistake the entrance for a driveway, and then, like a roller coaster cresting the first hill, the bottom fell out.
It was the most overwhelming sensation of motion I’ve ever had, before or since. I suppose the danger behind us was the big reason, and being absolutely certain that only our speed was keeping us alive. I remember thinking it was like the speeder bike scene from Return of the Jedi, also a recent movie from the time. Only this was real. I didn’t just see the trees flashing past it, I could hear the motion as well. Cold air attacked my eyes and long streamers of tears rushed over my cheeks and the drops flew past my ears, I didn’t dare blink. Each little stone my tires struck threatened to up-end me and end it all. Yet, and perhaps worse, half the time it felt like I wasn’t in contact with the ground at all. I was going so fast that those same small stones were sending me an inch or two into the air, and the arc of the flights so closely matched the slope that by the time I contacted the trail again, I was significantly further down the hill.
At the same time, I had never felt more relief, as the thing behind us had no way of catching us now. Somehow, maybe the seriousness of the escape gave us both the motive and the seriousness to keep ourselves under control. Looking back, I marvel that at least one of us didn’t lose control and end up splitting our skulls open.
We hit the pavement of the cul-de-sac below, and didn’t bother to slow down. We raced through the cross-street, one angry driver screeching to a halt and laying on his horn. This brought out the neighborhood watch. Just a few of them at first. Still, we didn’t slow down, our momentum carried us back up the much shallower slope of our neighborhood. Witnesses saw us depart at high speed, and this only brought out more of the watch. We heard whistles behind us, just like our P.E. teacher’s whistle. We figured that was the watch’s alarm siren. Regardless of what happened to that thing, it was behind us. We returned to our homes, shaken, but safe and sound, our inertia taking us almost all of the way there.
Another kid disappeared that Sunday, up on South Hill. We’d suspected it because we could see the lights of the police cars on a high road, surrounding the spot where it would turn out later, one of the kid’s shoes had been found. Russ confirmed it at school on Monday. It was a kid he’d known, lived down the road from his place, went to private school which is why we didn’t recognize his name.
I remember seeing Ralph’s face the next day when he arrived at school. He looked angry. Strong. Like he’d been crying really hard, and now it was over and he was resolved. He said he’d felt guilty because the thing we’d escaped from had gotten the other kid instead. He tried to tell his old man about it, then his mom, then any adult he could. He’d tell them about the monster who hides behind things. They needed to focus on finding and stopping that instead of looking for some sort of creeper or serial killer. Of course, nobody had listened to him. They hadn’t listened to the rest of us either when we’d tried to tell.
So he’d devised a plan. He was calling it the “Fight Patrol,” which we didn’t argue with. If the adults wouldn’t do something, we would. We’d patrol our neighborhood on our bikes, the four of us, maybe a couple more if we could talk others into it. We’d chase it off like that first time, maybe for good, or maybe corner it. Clearly, it could not handle being caught.
Naturally, we brought up the scare on South Hill. He argued that was a bad place. Too isolated, couldn’t turn around easily. We needed to stay on our home turf, lots of visibility, and plenty of the Neighborhood Watch within earshot. Maybe we and the adults working together was the key, even if the adults didn’t understand the problem.
Well, that convinced us. Our first patrol was that afternoon, after school. We watched everybody’s back like hawks. Nothing had a chance to sneak up on us. Nothing could step out from behind a bush without getting spotted. By Friday afternoon there were eight of us. The next week we split up to extend our territory to the next neighborhoods over.
Nothing happened. We never saw anything. Ben thought it was because we were scaring it away. Ralph just thought we were failing, and took it personally. I myself thought the thing had just moved to different parts of town, where the new disappearances were taking place. I told him we should keep it up until the thing was caught.
It was all for naught.
One day, India didn’t show up for school. I asked everybody, the teachers, the office staff, the custodian, my parents. All of them said they didn’t know, and it was so easy to tell that they were lying. That would mark the end of the Fight Patrol.
Ben didn’t show up a couple of days after that. When I got home and collapsed into bed, my mother came in to tell me that Ben’s mother had called. She’d taken him out of school and they were moving elsewhere. I called up Ralph to let him know the news, and he was relieved too.
My last day was Friday, and then I was taken out. Again, I called Ralph so he wouldn’t worry. I guess when there were only two weeks left of school, and it was just grade school, a couple missed weeks don’t amount to much. So I ended up spending the bulk of the summer out in the country, with my grandparents, which was why I brought up my grandpa in the first place.
I suppose I did fine out on their farmhouse. I was safe. There was certainly no shortage of things for a kid to do. I think my mom felt a strong sense of relief too. Things slipped through the cracks.
My grandparents didn’t have cable, too far out of town. They just had an old-school antenna and got a couple of TV stations transmitting out of Canada, Vancouver specifically. I remember one July day, sitting in their living room. My grandmother had just fixed lunch for me and my grandfather and had gone out to do some gardening as we watched the news at noon.
My grandfather was already being ravaged by his illnesses. He was able to get around, but couldn’t do any real labor anymore. He’d lounge in front of the TV in a special lounge chair. He hardly talked, and when he did he’d just mumble some discomfort or complaint to my grandma.
The lead story on the news was the current situation in Farmingham, despite being in the neighboring country, it was still big news in Vancouver, and the whole rest of the region. It seemed the disappearances were declining, but the police were still frantically searching for a supposed serial killer. I didn’t pick up much about what they were talking about, I was a kid after all, but my grandfather was watching intently, despite his infirmity.
He mumbled something, I didn’t catch. I asked him was he said, and as I approached I heard him say “fearsome critters.”
He turned his eyes to me and said again, distinct and in a normal tone of voice, “fearsome critters,” then returned his attention to the screen. “I don’t know why they call them that. Fearsome, sure. But ‘critters?” Makes it sound silly. Like it's some sort of fairy tale that it ain’t. Guess it’s like whistling past the graveyard. Well, they don’t have to worry about them no more, guess they can call them what they like.”
Then he turned to me. “Do you know what it is?” he asked. “Squonk? Hodag? Gouger? Hidebehind?”
“Hidebehind,” I whispered, and he turned back to the TV with a sneer. I had no idea what on earth he was talking about. Remember, this would be years before I learned he spent his youth as a lumberjack. And yet, somehow, I knew exactly what we were talking about.
“Hidebehind,” he repeated. “That will do it. They give them such stupid names. The folk back East, that is. Wisconsin. Minnesota. Ohio. Way back in the old days, before my grandfather would have been your age. Back when those places were covered by forests. They didn’t give them silly names back then, no. Back then they were something to worry about. Then they moved on, though. They all went out West, to here, followed the loggers. So as once they didn’t have to worry about them anymore, they started making up silly stories, silly names. “Fearsome critters,” they’d call them. Just tall tales to tell the greenhorns and scare them out of their britches. Then they’d make them even sillier, and tell the stories to little kids to spook them.”
“Not out here they didn’t tell no stories nor make up any names. It was bad enough they followed us out. I had no clue they even existed until I saw one for myself. Bout your age, I suppose. Maybe a little older. Nobody ever talks about them. Not even when they take apart a work crew, one by one. They just pull the crews back. Wait till mid-summer when the land is dry but not too dry. Then they move the crews in, a lot of them. Do some burning, make a lot of smoke. Drives them deeper into the woods, you know. Then you can cut the whole damn place down. But nobody asks why, nobody tells why. The people who know just take care of it.”
“I guess that’s why they’re coming to us now. All the old woods are almost gone. So they’ve got to. Like mountain lions. I supposed it’s going to happen sooner or later.”
We heard my grandma come into the back door to the utility room, and stomp the dirt off her boots. My grandfather turned to me one last time and said, “Whichever way you look at it, somebody’s just got to take care of it.” Then my grandmother came in from the utility room and asked us how our lunch had been.
Now that I look back at it, that might have been the last time my grandfather and I really had a meaningful talk.
We moved back home in late August. I had been having a fantastic summer. Though looking back, I suppose it could be rough for a still-young woman to be living in her aging parents' house when she’s got a perfectly good husband and house of her own in town.
First thing I did was visit Ralph. He’d been busy. He’d fortified his treehouse into a proper, well, tree fort. He’d nailed a lot of reinforcing plywood over everything. He hadn’t gone out on patrols by himself, of course, but the height of the tree fort afforded him a view of the nearest streets. He’d also made some makeshift weapons out of old baseball bats, a hockey stick, and a garden rake. The sharp rocks he’d attached to them with masking tape didn’t look very secure, but it’d only take one or two good blows with that kind of firepower. He also explained he’d been teaching himself kung fu, by copying all the movies he saw on kung fu movies late at night on the unpopular cable channels. That was classic Ralph.
As for the monster, it seemed to be going away. Its last victim had disappeared weeks previously, part of the reason my mom felt it was time to go back. This had been at night too. What’s more, the victim had been a college student, a very petite lady, barely five feet tall, under a hundred pounds. The news had speculated that their presumptive serial killer had assumed she was a child. I remember thinking the Hidebehind didn’t care. Maybe it just thought she couldn’t run fast enough to get away or put up a fight when he caught her. Like a predator.
At any rate, the college students were incensed. Of course, they’d been hyper-alert and concerned when it was just local kids going missing. Now that it was one of their own the camel’s back had broken. They really went hard on the protests, blaming the local police for not doing enough.
They started setting up their own patrols, and at night too. Marches with sometimes dozens of students at a time. They called it “Take Back the Night.” They’d walk the streets, making sure they’d be heard. Some cared drums or tambourines. They’d help escort people home, and sometimes they’d unintentionally stop random crimes they’d happen across. I felt like this was what the Fight Patrol could have been, if we’d just been old enough, or had been listened to. This would be the endgame for the Hidebehind, one way or another.
I stayed indoors the rest of the summer, and really there wasn’t much left. It doesn’t get too hot in the Pacific Northwest, nobody has air conditioners, or at least we didn’t back then. It will get stuffy though, in August, and I liked to sleep with my window open. I could hear the chants and challenges from the student patrols on their various routes. Sometimes I could hear them coming from far away, and every now and then they’d pass down my street. It felt like a wonderful security blanket.
I also liked the honeysuckle my mother had planted around the perimeter of the house. Late at night, if I was struggling to fall asleep, the air in my bedroom would start to circulate. Cold air would start pouring in over my windowsill, bringing the sweet scent of that creepervine with it, and I’d the sensation before finally passing out.
This one night, and I have no knowledge if I was awake, asleep, or drifting off, but the air in the room changed, and cooler air poured over the windowsill and swept over my bed, but it didn’t carry the sweet smell of honeysuckle. Regardless of my initial state, I was alert pretty quickly. It was a singularly unpleasant smell. A bit like death, which at that age I was mostly unfamiliar with, except a time some animal had died underneath the crawlspace of our house. There was more to it, though. The forest, the deep forest. I don’t know and still don’t know, what that meant. Most smells I associate with the forest are pleasant. Cedar, pine needles, thick loam of the forest floor, campfires, even the creosote and turpentine of those old timey-logging camps. This was none of those smells. Maybe… rotting granite, and the spores of slime molds. Mummified hemlocks and beds of needles compressed into something different than soil. It disturbed me.
So I sat up in bed. I hadn’t noticed before, but I’d been sweating, just lightly in the stuffy summer night heat. Now it was turning cold. Before me was my bedroom window. A lit rectangle in a pitch-dark room. To either side were my white, opened curtains, the one on the right, by the open half of the window, stirred just slightly in the barely perceptible breeze.
Most of the rectangle was the black form of the protective cypress tree. Only the slight conical nature of the tree distinguished it from a perfectly vertical column. To either side was a dim soft orange glow coming from the sodium lamps of the street passing by our house. It was perhaps a bit diffuse from the screen set in my window to keep out mosquitos. In the distance was the sound of an approaching troupe of the Take Back the Night patrol. They were neither drumming nor chanting, but still making plenty of noise. They were, perhaps, three or four blocks away, and heading my way.
For some reason that I didn’t understand, I got up, off of the foot of the bed. The window, being closer, appeared bigger. I took a silent step further. The patrol approached closer. Another step. I leaned to my right, just a bit, getting a slightly wider view to the left of the cypress tree. That was the direction the patrol was coming from.
That was when it resolved. The deeper black silhouette within the black silhouette of the cypress tree. A small lithe frame with a too-bulbous head. It too leaned, in its case, to the left, to see around the cypress tree as the patrol approached. They reached our block,on the other side of the street. A dozen rowdy college students, not trying to be quiet. None of them fearing the night. Each feeling safe and determined, and absorbed in their own night out rather than being overtly sensitive to their surroundings. They were distracted, unfocused If they had been peering into the shadows, if just one of them had looked towards my house, behind the cypress tree, they might have seen the Hidebehind, poking its face out and watching them transit past. But they didn’t notice.
It hid behind the cypress tree, and I hid behind it, hoping that the blackness of my bedroom would protect me. I stood absolutely still, as I had done once when a hornet had once landed on the back of my neck. Totally assure that if I made the slightest movement or made the slightest sound that I’d be stung. I hardly even breathed.
The patrol passed, from my perspective, behind the cypress tree and temporarily out of view. The Hidebehind straightened, ready to lean to the right and watch the patrol pass, only it didn’t lean. Even as I watched the patrol pass on to the right, it stood there, stock still, just as I was doing.
It was then I became aware that my room had become stuffy again. The scent was gone. The air had shifted and was now flowing out through the screen again, carrying my own scent with it. I knew what this meant, and yet I was too paralyzed to react. The thing started to turn, very slowly. It was a predator understanding that it might have become victim to its own game. It turned as if it was thinking the same thing I had been thinking, that the slightest movement might give it away.
It turned, and I saw its face. Like some kind of rotting desiccated, shriveling fruit, it was covered in wrinkles. Circles within concentric circles surrounded its two great eyes, eyes which took up so much of its face. I couldn’t, and still struggle, to think of words to describe it. Instead, I still think in terms of analogies. At the time I thought of the creature from the film E.T., only twisted and distorted into a thing of nightmares. Almost all eyelids, and a little drooping sucker mouth. Now that I’m more worldly, it reminds of creatures of ancient artworks. The key defining feature were the long horizontal slits it had for eyes. You see that in old masks carved in West Africa, or by the Inuit long ago. You see it in what’s called the “slit-eyed dogu” of ancient Japan.
As I watched the wrinkles on the face seemed to multiply. Then I realized this was the result of its eyes slowly widening. It’s mouth, too, slowly dilated, revealing innumerable small razor-sharp teeth. A person, standing in its location, shouldn’t have been able to see in. Light from the sodium streetlamps lit the window’s screen, obscuring the interior. It was no person. It could see me, and it was reacting to my presence. Its eyes grew huge, black.
My own eyes would have been just as wide if not for my own anatomical limitations. I was still watching when it disappeared. It didn’t see it move to the right. I didn’t see it move to the left, nor did I see it drop down out of view. It simply disappeared. One fraction of a second it was there, and then it decided to leave, and so it did. It was not a thing of this world.
There were no more disappearances after that poor woman from the university. I don’t think it had anything to do with me. The media and police all speculated their “serial killer” had gone into a “dormant phase”. There was no shortage of people who tried to take credit. Maybe they deserve it. The thing’s hunting had been on the decline. All the neighborhood watches and student patrols, I think that maybe all that commotion was making it too hard for the Hidebehind to go about its business. Maybe it had gone back to the woods.
Then again, maybe Ralph had been right the whole time. Maybe it really, really, really didn’t like to be seen.
Now I’ve got some decisions to make. I think the first thing I should do is look at social media and dig up Ralph. It’s been a good thirty years since I last talked to him. He ought to know the Hidebehind is back. He’s probably made plans.
Then, there’s the issue of my son. He’s up in his bedroom now, probably still mad at me. Probably confused about why I’d be so strict. Maybe he’s inventing explanations as to why.
I’m not sure, but I’m leaning toward telling him everything. He deserves to know. It’d probably be safer if he knows. I think people have this instinct where, when they see or know something that they’re not supposed to know, they just bottle it up. I think that was the problem with grown-ups when I was a kid. It was the issue with my grandfather, telling me so little when it was almost too late. I think people do it because we’re social animals, and we’re afraid of being ostracized. Go along to get along.
Hell, my son is probably going to think I’m crazy. It might even make him more mad at me. And even more confused. He knows about the disappearances. “The Farmingham Fiend” the media would end up dubbing the serial killer that didn’t really exist. It’s become local “true crime” history. Kids tell rumors about it. It was almost forty years ago, so it probably feels safe to wonder about.
So yeah, I suppose when I say I know who the real killer was, a magical monster from the woods that stalks its prey by hiding behind objects, then impossibly disappears- that I’m going to look like a total nut. I’d think that if I were in his shoes.
Except… people are going to start disappearing again, it’s only a matter of time. The media will say that the Farmingham Fiend is back in the game. Will my son buy that? He’ll start thinking about what I told him, and how I predicted it. Then he’ll remember that he saw the thing himself, he and his friends, even if it was just out of the corner of his eye.
I hope, sooner or later, he’ll believe me. I could use his help. Maybe Ralph is way ahead of me, but I’m thinking we should get the Fight Patrol back together. Father and son, this time. Multigenerational, get the retirees involved too.
Old farts of my generation, for reasons I don’t understand, like to wax nostalgic over their own false sense of superiority. We rode our bikes without helmets and had distant if not irresponsible parents. Yeah, yeah, what a load. I think every new generation is better than the last, because every generation is a progression from the last, Kids these days? They’ve got cell phones, with cameras. And helmet cams. GoPros you can attach to bikes. Doorbell cameras.
It seems the Hidebehind loathes being seen. This time around, with my grandfather’s spirit, my own memories, and my boy’s energy? I think this time we’re finally going to beat it.
submitted by Guilty_Chemistry9337 to Odd_directions [link] [comments]

2023.05.30 15:14 coxyepuss Voi ce faceti cand caluzele contractuale sunt incalcate sau abuzate cu firme precum EMAG, Quickmobile, etc? ANPC merita contactat?

Am avut anul acesta 2 situatii mai urate cu care m-am confruntat:
  1. In ianuarie Quickmobile a refuzat un retur pentru un produs Apple ascunzand alti termeni si conditii de retur (absurzi si ilegali). Vroiau sa ma taxeze ~50% din valoarea produsului dar intr-un schimb de emailuri le-am prezentat Legile legate de inducerea in eroare a consumatorului si manipulare. S-au retras si au facut full refund.
  2. In Mai anul acesta, prin serviciul EMAG cu Garantie EXTRA 1 an si Service Express platit pentru Macbook, laptopul meu a stat mai mult la Depanero decat la mine. In tura 2 de service acestia au depasit termenul contractual de solutionare in 5 zile lucratoare. Cei de la EMAG au un Customer Service prost si e doar prin live chat. In discutiile cu ei au incercat sa ma minta ca sunt 5 zile lucratoare trecute si am ajuns sa numaram pe zile impreuna. Apoi, prin decizie unilaterala, imi returneaza produsul asa cum l-au primit si nu imi mai raspund la emailuri. In aplicatie prin propria lor decizie pot inchide chatul oricand, nu poti salva discutia, iar daca se muta totul pe mail, primesti un mesaj si apoi nu ti se mai raspunde decat daca este in interesul lor, discutia fiind una unilaterala.
In cazul EMAG nu conteaza ca am mai multe produse cu extra garantie si am platit 10% in plus pe fiecare produs Apple luat de la ei. Este important ca banii au ajuns cu bine din contul meu in contul lor.
In cazul Quickmobile este abuz pur ce se intampla pe partea de retur si au niste reguli ilegale prin care cu siguranta fura orice ban pot de la oameni ce nu se lupta pentru drepturile lor de cumparatori / consumatori.
Astfel de abuzuri contractuale si situatii unde le putem pune? Pe Reddit? ANPC face ceva?
Ce se intampla de fapt pe piata? Este un Wild Wild East? Platesti pentru ceva si apoi "vezi cum iti e norocul"?
Sunt curios ce fac alti redditori in astfel de situatii si va invit sa va spuneti experientele intr-un mod serios cu companii romanesti, daca vreti.
submitted by coxyepuss to Romania [link] [comments]

2023.05.30 15:11 Pretty-Broken93 How do I process this? First time being around people in nearly 5 years (festival/vacation meetup gone incredibly wrong)

Let me start off by saying I have always been extremely reclusive and the past nearly five years have been nothing short of me going to great lengths to avoid people at all costs outside of work (which had been mostly remotely since the pandemic) and going to the grocery store. I only recently managed to start to be able to go to the gym again to try to gain some strength back to help with my uneasiness after I was r**** around 4 years ago. It was so bad that I would pull up to the gym and see one guy there and then just leave, or try to wait in my car for them to leave first. When I lived in an apartment I even waited to take out my trash til the middle of the night so I didn’t have to see or interact with anyone. If I opened my door and someone was in the hallway, I’d go back inside until they were gone then leave. I generally will not exit my car if there are people around either. Finally at the gym, I slowly but surely got myself to start going in and have been fairly consistent. I used to never be scared of people I just never liked being around them. Adding that aspect really changed a lot of things for me. Recently I let some online friends all convince me to go to a massive music festival (500,000 attendees?) that I was in no way mentally (or otherwise) prepared for and I’m just at a loss on how to move forward from here. Leading up to the vacation I was in all sorts of bad shape medically going through various things with trying new medications for migraines and dealing with stomach ulcer issues, etc... high stress with my job and a particular friendship with one of the other people in the group who would be attending with us, things like that. I kept mentioning to everyone including that friend I was struggling with that I don’t think I should come. I tried to stress how hard this was going to be for me and I didn’t want to be a bother to anyone else but I don’t think they understood or tried to understand. To be honest, as bad as it feels, and I’m not sure, this could just be in my head, I feel like they didn’t care because we both had wanted to meet each other for a long time and had been past just being simply friends but weren’t dating so they may have just wanted to sleep with me. I don’t want to think that but I can’t be sure and although I brought it up later on in the trip they never clarified - more on that later. Anyway, any time I mentioned I shouldn’t come, I would either be treated like I was using this as a threat/to take something away from/be mean to my friend who I was having high tensions with OR met with reassurance that I’d be in a safe place with people who cared about me. Which made it very confusing and in the end I did go. A couple things to mention I have a lot of other trauma from my childhood and I do not function normally at all, I have C-PTSD, severe anxiety, and a lot of of other things that I think I will have to see a specialist for because really simple things tend to be hard for me. I ended up meeting with my long time friend I’d been having a rocky time with a day later than planned and after having missed a flight and being up 36+ hours the day before and working a 10-hour shift the day prior too. Everything was chaotic and I felt like the worlds biggest mess. I’ve never looked worse or felt more scatterbrained in my life. For the sake of the rest of this story I’ll call my friend: S. I’d known this person online since covid, so for about 3 years and we had been extremely close off and on. I have so much love for this person which is crazy because I usually do not care for people much or find it very hard. In the beginning of our friendship they were very caring and attentive but there were also drugs and alcohol involved and at the time I don’t think I realized a lot of the things they told me that meant a lot to me were probably when they were on drugs like molly. At the time I was pretty unfamiliar with that. I barely drank. Also probably worth mentioning S may have some issues of their own, behavioral or developmental and so they’re not “normal” like everyone else which is why I think we got along so well. We both could talk about the strangest things all day and have very particular interests and just really enjoyed spending time together prior to getting more heavily involved when arguments became more frequent. Back to the vacation: I was so nervous to be flying but finally got off my last plane and S was there to meet me near my baggage claim. I couldn’t believe I was finally meeting him. There were some definite differences I noticed in what I imagined or thought he would be like in person compared to what I’d seen from him online. He definitely had a cool, calm demeanor online but felt a bit more dorky in person which I actually loved. He was sweet and helped me with my bags and I nervously rambled about what I mess I was and how I’d already been having a difficult time. We talked about not doing anything sexual but sure enough at the hotel he was already making advances to get on my bed (we had two beds). I think my conversation and my obvious attentiveness to what he was doing kept him from actually moving to my bed without asking. Eventually he did ask to cuddle and we did have sex. Not really shocking considering I’ve always been extremely into him and vice versa. Between that day and the next we just got to enjoy each other’s company, sight-see, and got great food then eventually checked out of the hotel to meet up with everyone else in our group, get situated in our camping spot/the rv and get ready for the music festival. This is when it started going sour. I don’t think S was in any way prepared for how much comfort I needed around this amount of people. I come from a very rural area with towns that have around 1,200 occupants. The closest city has 70,000 and again I am not comfortable being around people regardless. Not sure if this trauma related or if I am on the spectrum with aspergers or autism but being around people gives me this extreme discomfort that I would liken to ripping my skin off. I don’t really know how to explain it. I’ve found that drugs and or alcohol can help or being around someone who makes me feel safe can help but it’s just so unsettling. So I try my best the first day, I’m quite stiff the whole time. We all had done some acid but I only did a half tab because I knew it could make things much worse, at best it might allow me to loosen up a bit. It didn’t. It made me nauseous. Uneasy. More needy. I convince S to go back with me to a place I know I can get some molly (not from strangers) so I am less tense and don’t have a meltdown. I know using drugs especially like molly is not a good answer for what I was going through but I felt like I was about to have some psychotic episode to be honest. I was so out of my element and S was having the time of his life - he absolutely LOVES music and I don’t think I could have a proper conversation with him to explain how I was feeling or get him to understand/care so I felt like it was my only option unfortunately. Anyway, it did help the night go a bit more smoothly. I let myself relax... a little. I had some fun. Not much which is sad because this was an extremely expensive festival to attend but I was having so much trouble getting out of my head. So many negative thoughts and weird emotions were rushing over me the entire time and I couldn’t get them to stop. The second night I was more prepared. Again, I did molly but nothing else. My friends had brought other things but I knew I had to be careful not to put myself in a position to have a bad trip or to make things worse. Molly is pretty straight forward and can more or less force a good time and me to relax to I kept with that instead. This was a common theme the duration of the 3-day festival. So the second day was the only day I could actually say I truly had fun. I enjoyed the music so much. Watching S have fun made my heart feel so full. He loves to dance and I took tons of videos of him enjoying himself. Other than me having to constantly get water and go to the restrooms it was pretty great. We were the last ones back to the rv and we messed around a bit since everyone was asleep and in a different part of the rv where they couldn’t heasee us. He fell asleep with me for a bit then went to get up and go to his bed but for some reason opened the rv door and left it wide open? It was so effing hot out and my bed was in the dining area where all the heat was coming in so I get upset... mostly because I can’t get the door to close. Idk why but we all had issues with this rv door the whole time we had it. Not sure if it was broken or what, half the stuff listed on the rv was broken so wouldn’t surprise me. So I just try to hold the door closed, super exhausted but perched near the stairs inside of the rv and after 5-9 minutes of S being gone he comes back and I kind of go off on him. I don’t know how bad, I don’t think I said anything hurtful just like, “Why would you leave it open? I’m tired but I had to sit here and hold the door closed because it’s so hot...” but my tone was rough and I could see a sad, disappointed look in his face. Like we just had so much fun and that’s the last thing he experienced before going to bed. The next day I was hoping would be the best day because I was hoping I’d get more relaxed around people but about 2 hours into the night we get stuck at these really great sets and S is up front literally fist bumping one of the DJs that he adores and completely euphoric. I stay back and take videos of him because I know people will be taking videos and I don’t want to be up there and have attention on me or be touching bodies with so many people. Just a really uncomfortable situation for me. Over an hour passes and I really have to pee, I don’t want to bother S and he hasn’t come over to check on me once so I test the waters by walking away to throw something in the trash. I think to myself that maybe I can find a bathroom. I go back to my original spot, see S and then think again that I really don’t want to bother him and it will make me uncomfortable to go up there and also to try to shout in his ear that I need to use the restroom. We had to wear earplugs this whole time and he really wasn’t listening to me or paying much attention to me at this point because he was so lost in the music. To be honest there’d been a few times he completely dismissed me trying to talk to him already during the festival so I weighed the options and felt like it wasn’t worth me being so uncomfortable just for him to most likely wave me off and not listen to me anyway. So I go to try to find the bathrooms on my own. 45 minutes later and I still haven’t found them. I don’t know how. There’s just so many people, I’m kind of short and my eyesight is shit and I just have no idea what I’m doing. I keep ending back by where S was so I go back to where I was standing originally and still see him. Finally I go up to him and just shout, “I’m leaving,” thinking he would follow far enough out of that tightly packed crown in front of the DJ that I could say more. He shouted back he wasn’t leaving. I think I went back and said it a second time then started walking away and waited 30-45 seconds to see if he followed. He didn’t. Probably didn’t help there was a mostly naked chick dancing right next to him up there either. At this point I can tell I’m the last thing on his mind. I think he actually scowled at me when I was trying to talk to him like I was definitely bothering him at this point. In the past he told me he likes to do things alone and he’s even told me I get in the way (you choose the context, you’re right either way) so I know he’d reached his limit with me. It sucks because he promised he’d be with me the whole time and convinced me to come when I didn’t want to based on telling me I’d be safe and yadda yadda but he literally wouldn’t even give me the time of day if I asked. Doesn’t hurt to mention throughout this whole festival ($700+ tickets btw) that I never got to see anyone I wanted to see. It was just him dragging me to every set he wanted except for ONE which was a set he wanted to see anyway. Regardless, I had to leave again and try to find the restroom. I eventually did then found my way back. He’s gone even after saying he wasn’t leaving. I can’t get in touch with him he has no reception or data at this place. He’d been asking me to hotspot so he could’ve asked somebody else but he didn’t. I tried to contact the rest of the group in our rv but no one gets back to me for several hours. I couldn’t enjoy the music at this point because I’m having a panic attack in a sea of people I don’t want to be around, completely sober at this point, lost the one person I care about in a way where I know he will blame me, and can’t get ahold of anybody. I basically power walked around by myself for 3-4ish hours just to keep myself occupied and then eventually was able to meet up with some other people from our group. S is with them. I was so hurt. I know none of them understood what I was going though but they convinced me to come and left me alone and didn’t even care. I felt used by S too. I felt like his whole goal was just to get me here to sleep with me and he didn’t care about the rest or treating me decent, especially because our friendship leading up to this point had been so rocky and he completely just started tuning me out. Lots of mixed signals and lies to be honest, while also accusing me of lying when I wouldn’t be and saying he doesn’t trust me. I have so many things running through my head. Unfortunately two of our group separate to go meet up with some other people they met earlier that night and leave S and I alone again. I don’t know where I’m going or what to do again. S asks me if I’m going back to the rv and I stupidly just don’t respond. I found that he stonewalls me so much, sometimes for hours or days that I started doing it back here and there and it never goes well. If I don’t respond to him he obviously just gets pissed and walks off. I realize I don’t want to be left alone again and try to follow after him but he’s super tall and I have a really hard time keeping up plus I think he’s intentionally trying to lose me because he starts weaving in between rvs and I think hid behind one for a moment. I saw him come back out and look around but must not have seen me. So I got lost once when he did that but then found him again but then got lost a second time because I just couldn’t keep up. Anyway I make it back to the rv and he’s not there, no one is and it’s locked but I have one of the two keys. I probably should have unlocked it? But being in high anxiety mode I think I was more worried about leaving all our valuables unattended especially when one of the previous nights somebody was trying to get into our rv multiple times even with it locked. So I left it locked and walked towards the camp bathrooms to see if S was there. Not sure why I was looking for S, I guess I just didn’t want to be alone. Didn’t find him there so walk back to the rv again and find 3 of our group had just walked up so I unlock it and we go in. 2 others go shower and S gathers his things to shower and walks out. While he’s gone I go to grab his dab vape from his bag because I knew exactly where it was and I thought it would calm me down because I don’t need much. I grab the whole vape because I wanted to sit on my own bed and hit it. Anyway apparently he wasn’t going to shower and he returned while I had it and was looking for it and asked me where it was. Again, stupidly I don’t answer or at least not how he wanted. I answer his question with another question, “why?” Just being difficult. Honestly I recognize how toxic this is on its own in hindsight but at the time I think in my head I was just thinking about all the times he would ignore me for hours or days and I wasn’t able to ask a simple question or get a simple answer so I thought this was somehow justified based on those previous interactions which is ridiculous. In any case this goes over VERY badly. When some of our other group comes back he goes to one of them and tells them I went through his bags, implying all of them, and stole (yes, called me a thief) his entire vape. Not just a hit. Which by the way I was never even able to get hit off the vape because for some reason either I was doing something wrong or it wasn’t working/was dead/empty. I saw S hitting it later so no idea what I was doing wrong but I’d used it earlier and it wasn’t like it was complicated. Anyway not only that S who also always had a way of making an argument out of nothing also started accusing me of lying about walking back to the rv and seeing him there the first time I got back and just not unlocking the rv for him. Maybe he was hiding around the side of it? But I truly didn’t see him. He just starts calling me a thief and a liar on these grounds in front of or to, since he’s not really talking to me, our mutual friends. Somewhere in all of this I think I had said some pretty terrible things to him like having wished I never met him, nobody would ever want to be with him (he is not affectionate or caring but it’s not my place to say something like that so while I may feel like there’s some valid reasoning for it it’s obviously not okay), and some other things I regret. We also had another part of vacation planned just the two of us after the festival where we were to split off from the rest of the group and at some point I told him I felt like he completely tricked me into coming without caring about me at all and that I no longer wanted to go the rest of the trip with him or would pay him for our room we stayed together in previously because I may need that money to book something else. Which that part was just stingy. My portion of the room was $110. I think I was just thinking of how I spent $2500 (minimum, closer to $3,500 at this point) to go on a vacation where I had a massive extended panic attack the whole time, got abandoned, and didn’t get to enjoy much of what I wanted while he got everything he wanted. We barely talked the next day. We were supposed to leave the following morning (2 days after the horrible last day of the festival) to continue our vacation. Our more financially blessed friend got a hotel for everyone that hadn’t left yet so we could relax before the rest of us head home or elsewhere. While everyone else goes to the pool and to check out the casino I tried to talk to S about what was going on. Said I would pay but I need to know he isn’t lying about plans. He’d gone back and forth on a couple things and I felt like I might not have a place to stay at one of our next locations since it was with one of his friends, not a hotel. He refused to answer any questions, per usual. Even just me asking, “will I have a place to stay?” At this point he wanted me to pay him for the hotel we stayed at previously and for all of our other accommodations upfront but would not tell me if I was actually going to have somewhere to stay the entire time or would need to get another hotel on my own. I’m in panic mode, with everything going on and even simple things being hard for me I needed to know this but he wouldn’t tell me. The only thing he would say about every five minutes was, “pay me or leave me alone,” and he’d slip in, “thief,” here and there. This goes on for two hours. At one point I notice he’s recording me as I’m telling him I can’t pay him for everything if I don’t know that I’m going to have somewhere to stay. He could cancel plans and completely screw me over. This is important because he does in fact, cancel plans. But at the time he won’t say anything but to pay him. Eventually one of our group members come back and reluctantly gets involved and obviously tells me that I should pay for the room we stayed in which I do agree (even though I should’ve mentioned I paid for all our expensive meals while we were there) and that S should apologize which is what I was asking of him so that I could take it as the smallest sign he could be trusted not to screw me over, I’d pay him, and we could get on with everything. I ask for S’ PayPal and even though he recorded himself telling me to pay him and what seemed like me saying I wouldn’t (without knowing I’d have somewhere to say) it was odd because he was trying to refuse to give it to me, asking, “why?” I said, “why do you think I’m asking for your PayPal? You wanted me to pay you.” And then then he’d say he didn’t trust me with it. We still weren’t sure if we were going to continue with the trip and he asked me to leave the room so he could talk to our other friend. I knew he was going to show him the video/recording. I went to the other hotel room and unfortunately fell asleep. Our plane was supposed to be leaving in <6 hours so this was all incredibly rushed timing. I wake up and he had sent me a text message asking what room I’m in so we can talk. I reply I’m tired and just go to their room instead. By then everyone is back so we talk in the hallway. He says meet him at 6:30 am in the hall and be ready to go. He finally sends me the email associated with his PayPal and I send a test amount to make sure it goes to the right place. It shows his full name and doesn’t say anything about the email being unconfirmed. Back in my room I fall asleep on accident again and wake up to a message from him saying he didn’t receive anything and not to send anything else, and another message saying he doesn’t trust me and he’s sorry but he’s cancelling his flights and the accommodations. I catch him leaving at 6:30 on his own. I was crying and tried to talk to him but he just looked at me with a blank face and told me it’s my fault. We haven’t spoken since and it’s been about a week. It’s worth mentioning in our friendship leading up to this that he would often start problems when there were none just to say he had a reason to not want to talk to me and would ignore me for days at a time which is part of why I didn’t want to go on the vacation to begin with on top of me severe issues with everything else. I know that my anxieties and the hurtful things I said were or should have been in my control and I feel terrible about that but I can’t help but think he had this planned. Especially with recording him telling me to pay him then refusing to give me his PayPal. In fact for days after I messaged him to get his PayPal with no response, tried contacting his friend he was with to ask for it as well or to see if I could send the money to them and they could send it to S but they just said they’d pass the message on and never got back to me. I know he showed that video to people and tried to say I wouldn’t pay him and then refused to allow me to pay him to make me look bad and I don’t understand that. In the end he had to pay our friend (who initially covered the rv) his portion for the rv, so I had that friend forward my money to S on PayPal since he had him in his contacts after that. I even overpaid S, almost double to help with the ubers and for a vape since he may or may not think I tried to steal his. I guess now I’m just left with trying to process everything. Are we at equal fault? Is it more one person than the other? Is it forgivable? I have a hard time with boundaries and I don’t make lots of friends so this person means a lot to me. I’m worried about potentially getting sucked back into something that’s bad for me but also not caring about myself enough to stop it, I guess. For added context S and I quit talking once before and he even told me that we, “were never even really friends,” even though we’d spend 13 hours together a day just talking or playing games. It makes it hard to rationalize what’s real or what’s not. I think I need therapy. Does anyone have anything to offer here?
submitted by Pretty-Broken93 to offmychest [link] [comments]

2023.05.30 14:25 AlienNationSSB Alien-Nation Chapter 169: Jailbreak

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Chapter summary: Vaughn liberates a bunch of people. Elias can't sleep and makes some decisions and receives a weird offer.
Chapter Art- Vaughn's Mask, a World War One Tanker Splatter Mask

Alien-Nation Chapter 169: Jailbreak

A Leslie's Pool Supplies retail outlet made for a strange rally point for any group of people, even moreso now that the whole strip mall along what had been Concord Pike had long since closed. The stainless letters spelled the forgotten name of the shopping center, still proudly adorned the top of the diagram of blank signs ensured at least the brick obelisk was a conveniently obvious marker for the men to find and make preparations for assaulting the jail.
'Morningstar' squadron had swelled their cell's numbers to well over twenty by absorbing the miscellaneous fragments of other cells, whose skills were more generalized. The name carried over to the newly formed Strike Force by virtue of being both the largest and the lynchpin of the operation's success.
This was the largest force of the three organized groups they'd split into, each aiming to try and hit the larger jails along Route 202, the other two branches making a target list of their own. Vendetta had given them an extra half hour to at least get themselves close to in-position, but with only one shortwave had no way of knowing if they would coordinate their strike. He was a known element to everyone even if only by name. At least Elias's words stayed true; All seemed very familiar and well-practiced with their carried weaponry. More importantly, none contested his assigned leadership or questioned his orders.
Vaughn cradled the RPG he'd been given, eyeing the well-lit building just over the carefully landscaped hill. The last had been over a half hour ago. The box-mart across the old highway was the temporary headquarters of the repositioned Troop One, after the suburbs near Camp Death had been cleared, likely soon to be repositioned again. But the size of the old box-mart seemed to indicate several things, that it was largely indefensible, could contain a fair few prisoners, and by its proximity to Camp Death, could be useful to strike regardless.
The flow of traffic was unusually heavy for being well before the crack of dawn. Perhaps people were trying their luck getting up old 202 to try and reach the border that way, after having no luck along other closed border checkpoints. There was a feeling of self-consciousness in carrying heavy weapons out in the open along a suburban highway most had driven along during peacetime, the juxtaposition of old familiar environment and newly familiar activity showing just how much their lives had changed. Moreso as cars rolled along it like it was a Friday night of olde, the two lives- old and new, bumping shoulders for a moment.
"You ready?" He asked, snapping them back to the present.
Mutters of assent was good enough. Haltingly, everyone in the mishmashed strike team moved toward the precinct's bright lights, taking advantage of the long shadows and occasional noise of the passing cars.
It was an unassuming building, the repurposed garrison made out of some retail outlet built back in the turbulent seventies, all brick and little else but tiny glass doors, with not even windows for the occupants to know the impending violence had been approaching. What era will this be known as? Early Imperial? Resistance? Revolutionary? Wondered the teen, as he leveled it at the lobby. Good? Bad? Hell, I'm just the man with the gun.
Everyone levelled their weapons as once, and Vaughn held a hand high. "We're here to liberate the prison, not blow it sky high," he chuckled. It was hardly armored or reinforced- or at least, so it seemed to him. And if it was, then the Data Center had shown the virtue of striking the same spot with concentrated fire beat showering it with dispersed impacts.
At least the glass door looked normal enough. "Bump and grind, forward. Forward!" He hissed. "Aim at that- there- the front door." Easy enough for the homemade launcher to hit, and these were arguably of the lowest utility if things went sideways. Elias had taught him asset management well- it was a waste to throw your best equipment at a stationary target. While the design was tried-and-tested, Vaughn still took a few steps away.
The improvised launcher let out a metallic clunk, and with a surprisingly subdued noise and recoil the projectile was sent tumbling freely, end over end, the cap blown clean off the improvised launcher. A second later, the giant projectile more than made up for it as the round smashed through the glass door, taking the automatic door slightly off the rails and bowing slightly inward- before then blowing both them and a hail of glass fragments outward as the detonation went off inside the main lobby.
Someone in a security forces uniform staggered out.
"Infantrymen, Fire!" Vaughn roared to the infantrymen, most of Morningstar dutifully restraining themselves as a hail of bullets sprayed into the storefront and even stitched up the exterior brickwork. Clearly, some insurgents were better trained than others judging by the tracer rounds and slowly tapering off rounds.
"Advance and reload! Morningstar, spread out and cover!"
The smoke and dust was subdued, at least for now, and left them with a surprisingly clear view into the front entrance. Red streaks were painted up on the wall, black and grey of smoke-dusted debris mixed in like a spin-art collage.
The lobby's contents were an absolute shambles- everything set on a ledge had been knocked about, including the ledges and desks themselves. The security forces inside responded by charging out the main doors to follow just a second later.
A hail of gunfire met them, most of the armored troopers flinching reflexively, their armor plates overlapping and protecting their wearer. A few reflexively tried returning fire despite the harsh stings of rounds tugging on the mix of fabric, bulletproof weave, and shattering off the neosteel plate they wore. The gunfire never let up on those unfortunate few who had charged out from their cover, the complete lack of coordination, dissimilar reloading times from infantry with unequal amounts of time spent with their weapons. Effective equipment and enthusiasm was undercut by poor training, surprise, and total lack of a plan to counter being outnumbered. Morningstar, on the other hand, had the numbers, the angle, and the element of surprise.
One by one the Security Forces lay flat. Either they were dead, had the fight knocked out of them, or were trying to present as minimal target as they could while they lined up their own rifles to return fire. It was hard to say for certain what the intent was, but the outcome was little different. Round after round continued pouring into them from dozens of unevenly sized magazines, an RPG or two sending the bodies of any who tried opening fire tumbling, their limbs likely held on by the durable material underneath. When they landed, their bodies folded like misshapen laundry, pressed into unnatural shapes with the wearer still inside.
The whole front engagement was over in less than a minute. A pale, non-gauntleted hand waved frantically from behind a shattered brick front, red streaking down the fingers.
"Hold!" Vaughn shouted. "Identify!" The hand continued waving, and Vaughn shoved an unwitting volunteer forward to pull the man out from behind, to reveal a man in a stained tee shirt with a dazed expression and blood dripping from a series of scratches on his cheeks, cut in like a cat's claws had raked over them.
"Civilian!" Vaughn bellowed over his ringing ears. "Any others inside?"
The man shook his head and mouthed 'no,' his voice seemingly too hoarse- perhaps from having spent an untold amount of time screaming.
The man was wrong- there were, or at least 'had been' more security forces inside. A sudden blast and the tinkering of shrapnel caused Vaughn to duck, then charge forward, his improvised explosive launcher discarded, swinging his shotgun around from his back to rest in his hands. A Technical had tried to leave via a service bay exit, apparently not even managing to round the corner before an RPG wielded by a Morningstar veteran had upended the uparmored pickup as it pulled out.
A survivor crawled from the wreckage, and Vaughn sprinted forward, pressing the barrel against the shivering man's temple as he raised his empty hands. The wet splatter kicked high, and Vendetta checked for any other survivors, the smoking tip of his shotgun wafting grey in the fluorescent tubes of the old retail outlet.
The technicals were indeed tough, he noted, but the round seemed to have flown into a wheel well, bypassing the plating. No one else inside seemed to be moving- yet still, he made certain. There'd be no theatrics of announcing himself to an enemy who played dead by standing in the open and giving orders, letting them try and exact some measure of revenge, or gasping out some warning to the shil'vati. No, a strike was to be calculated, and that calculation was to be total.
Two minutes later and a clear picture of the aftermath had emerged. Over five hundred prisoners rescued from the cells, cramped together like sardines, hastily erected concrete laid in a grid backstopping a prefab prison. PVC pipes ran from room to room for toilets no less roughshod in their construction, set straight into the dirty linoleum. Quite a few of the prisoners were deafened somewhat. The skeleton crew of Security Forces personnel hadn't stood a chance- supposedly, most were out, working from some kind of list, or perhaps had finished their shift after a long day of throwing people into prison.
Vaughn gestured with the shotgun. "There's your exit, people. If you're still undecided about the Shil'vati, then this was your wake-up call. If you're still undecided about us, then I'm not sure what to tell you. We just risked our lives to save yours. You want to pay it back? You can either pay it forward by helping us with the next prison, or you can help the Emperor of Mankind. Blankets, food, water, soldiers, guns, ammo, whatever you've got that you think might help. He hasn't said it, but I reckon you all owe him, if you've got a decent bone in your body, you'll at least bring him something, offer to try and help. If you want, you can listen in on the radio for instructions, and if you haven't got a shortwave, I'll separate off a few from our strike squad who can fill you in and get you there, if you feel like chipping in on the war effort."
Vaughn lowered the shotgun, taking a shell off his bandoleer and loading it in to replace the one he'd fired.
"That went well," Parker remarked. "And not a bad speech. Short, to the point, and all that. Honestly, I wish I'd brought a whole crew. One for the close-up on that impact. But, uh, that execution..."
"Completely necessary," Vaughn snapped, irritatedly. "That guy was fatally wounded. Putting him out of his misery was an act of mercy. And you'll remember to narrate that, if you got that on film."
"Of course." Parker didn't deny where he'd been aiming the camera- saving Vaughn at least the headache of reviewing the footage, and then having to kill Parker, if it turned out he'd been lying.
"I'm starting to think of these jail cells as something more like a pinata full of prizes. Namely, insurgents and good PR," he muttered. Truth be told, he'd wanted more of a fight. Vaughn pulled the radio from his pocket, and sent out the broadcast. "Done here. 202 North has been cleared. About four fifty good to go in some sense of the word, though where's anyone's guess. Tried sending them your way, don't know if they'll take it. Another fifty will need medical treatment. No casualties on our end. Surprise was total. We've got pictures. No enemies taken prisoner."
Vendetta stared around the lobby, an idea slowly dawning on him.
"Hey! Hey hey hey! Snag armor off any of the ones that you can. Grab any goods that are stocked up, and arm up anyone who says they're headed to Camp Death with the weapons the guys had here. Come on, we can't stay too long here. You-" he pointed at a man who had held down the trigger on his rifle, spraying the building at full auto. "-You're fucking useless at fighting. Gather up the ones who are able and willing to fight, get them packed into a civilian-style police cruiser, and drive them on over to Camp Death. Everyone, help him load up. Get everything you can out of the Evidence lockers into the trunks- they can fit a lot, trust me, I'd know. Camp Death's going to need goodies. Come on, move, people, move!"
Morningstar Squadron had re-mustered on Vendetta.
"Alright, now what?" They almost seemed eager for more.
A smile crept across Vendetta's face, invisible to all as he pointed at the row of vehicle keys.
"I think it's time we hit 141 and a couple more," he muttered, pulling it off the hook. "Now...wheelman, shotgun, or turret?"

"Accidentally Cut Content"

[Author's Note: Hey Everyone. I made a really dumb mistake and included part of the next chapter in the previous one's end in my rush to get it out the door. So the first couple paragraphs will be a repeat, but this IS a new chapter. I even updated those first four or five paragraphs slightly.]
I couldn't sleep well on the cot that night. Though I noticed hours ticked by, every moment seemed to be spent tossing and turning. I even tried resting with the mask off, held in my hands, but the risk to my identity being discovered if anyone barged in caused me enough stress to worsen the situation. Eventually, I gave up, kicked the covers off and donned the mask again, making my rounds around the camp, trying to calm myself down by taking a midnight stroll. Instead, I felt eyes countless following me, and I had to force myself to stand tall for them. For the thousandth time, I thought of this as my Valley Forge.
As I patrolled, I could hear whispered prayers, muttered plans of action, and mercifully, snores. At least some were getting some sleep. I could see orange lights reflecting off the clouds from where I knew Wilmington lay. It seemed Vaughn was keeping busy, if indeed it was his handiwork.
A few shipment inspections and a routine update from a sentry later, and I felt caught up to speed. I noticed Radio from the corner of my eye, seemingly also unable to sleep.
I almost jumped a foot in the air when I felt the tap on my shoulder, only to find G-Man's mask staring into mine. How strange that such a haunting visage was a comfort to me.
"Hey. Can't sleep?" He sounded surprisingly serene. Or maybe it was just tired resignation. His hands seemed stuck in a familiar claw-like shape after holding the soldering iron for so long, and my fingers ached in sympathy. My mask's filters took much of the scent of smoke I could smell from the distant fires, but I was sure that if I wasn't wearing my mask that G-Man would smell faintly of molten silver solder. I'd wondered how we'd repaired and updated so many railguns so quickly. Now I knew what he'd put himself through.
"I can't," I confessed. "G-Man, I'm sorry what happened with your father. Hell of a birthday." I hadn't even had a chance to give him the present I'd bought him- a couple new filters, and vintage craftsman toolkit, 'from before they sold out,' as Verns had phrased it. The memory of his voice already felt distant, somehow.
"Wasn't your fault. Even if Town Hall wasn't your big idea to get them to retaliate, you know? Then they'd still have done something. But, uh, thanks for saying that. And thanks for trying to get dad out. I'll remember that." George said quietly, then the conversation ended when he turned away and went to the edge of the embankment. Just like that.
I could never quite get a read on him, but I wanted to respect his distance. Whatever he was feeling, he seemed to want to feel it alone, and to keep his own counsel on the matter.
I continued course toward Radio.
"Any word from Miskatonic?" I asked hopefully.
Radio offered a noncommittal shrug, then dropped it in a hurry, raising one hand to massage his chest. "They say 'this is your war,' but did ship us a small container."
"I saw."
I hadn't exactly expected them to line up alongside us in the trenches in their white coats, but I'd hoped they'd have had some kind of wonder drug or noxious gas we might deploy. Something toxic to the Shil'vati but not us. The best they'd given us so far were experimental bullets and toxic-tipped arrows and knives, the former of which supposedly could potentially the armor, if fired with enough force and impacted with a good angle. If true, then I supposed they might be moderately useful in an ambush, and they had helpfully included a pair of compound bows. I had conducted a pretty decent survey of the defense, but I hadn't thought to ask if any were experienced archers. I also couldn't imagine taking someone off a railgun, large caliber rifle, or even an old cannon to hand them a bow and arrow without feeling like I was somehow offering them an insult without equipping it myself, and there was better I could think to do with the remaining minutes before the Shil'vati would inevitably come looking than to practice.
They'd fallen out of favor for a reason, and it wasn't that the earliest guns outperformed bows.
They had also supplied a small cache of rifles that were more likely to pulverize than penetrate unless the armor had been compromised already. These were still appreciated, but hardly the game changer I wanted in return for all we'd sent them.
Then Radio leaned in, voice kept conspiratorially low. "They did, however, mention an exfiltration for you."
Sam had been right, I wouldn't get back anything close to the value of what I'd sent out. At least, not unless I was willing to abandon everything and everyone, to cut and run for my life. Such a decision would be the inglorious end of the revolution, spelling doom for everyone in it, and all of humanity's culture. I'd forever be remembered as a coward, if I was so lucky to be remembered at all.
"Well, I'm not going."
"Okay, but here's a real head-scratcher. Did you show them where Camp Death is? I've been careful not to broadcast our coordinates, and my little helpers haven't been talking with Miskatonic. And the person on the shortwave mentioned that the border would free up tomorrow morning, then mentioned the interstate right up against the back of our base as a meeting point. They said Last Exit Before Pennsylvania. That's right there." He jerked a thumb over his shoulder. "And I didn't mention broadcasting without a cat's paw or relay. I mean there's a chance they triangulated, but throwing together a plan that fast? Nah, man, they knew."
I searched my memory. "I'm certain that I didn't mention it to them...did Hex? She did that internship. No, wait, she got picked up and dropped off at Warehouse Base. Unless she mentioned something on the drive past? She said they were somewhere North." Now that Radio had mentioned it, I was left with a bit of a puzzle. How did they know? How much did they know about us?
"They had to have known somehow. And if they didn't know before and just figured our location out, then I bet you it's not long before the Shil'vati figure it out themselves and come sniffing," Radio resignedly threw a hand up. "Should we update the signal? Start directing people straight here?"
We had numbers, yes, but we could still do to take more in, especially if the fighting dragged on or casualties mounted higher than I projected. "How long until they're sure we're here?"
Radio yawned under his mask, the animated glass-plated mask he wore misinterpreting it with an ASCII shocked ":O" face. "We've been broadcasting all night, so, who knows?"
"Well, if it was just a signal they picked up on any random given day, how long would it typically take for the Shil'vati to muster a response?"
"Depends on the day." At my silent stare, he objected further. "They sometimes respond pretty fast to that sort of thing, but these aren't normal times, E. They used to come to check out wherever I broadcast from within an hour or two or two, but remember, they've kind of got their hands full right now thanks to Vendetta's jailbreaks. Plus, there's so many more signals." He checked the screen of his shortwave and chuckled, then lightly massaged his chest again. "I'm sure we've already gone way past."
"Alright. If we see anyone snooping around us, add our location to the broadcast. That way, anyone in the resistance or is sympathetic but isn't sure where Camp Death is can find their way here. In the meantime, though, I still think we're best not leaking it. At least with the sentries having set in the final claymores and outer defenses, we should be well-situated to ward off anything they throw at us."
"Maybe. Maybe not," George said from behind me, and I froze.
"Why not?"
He'd helped build this place. He'd know any weaknesses as well as his father.
"They might have cloaking tech, or some other means of infiltration," his voice was a dry rasp.
I shuddered thinking about it. "That's a good point," I muttered. "Assassination and recovery might be up their alley...except, I think they're terrified of what losing me might mean for their hostages."
"I'll be honest. I don't think she cares at this point," G-Man countered. I couldn't fault his gloomy disposition. I could just hope that he didn't want something bad to happen to us, to balance out that something bad had happened to him, from some weird sense of fairness.
"Think about it for a second. What happens if you die? Then what does that let her do if that happens?"
It was with a startle I realized he had a good point. Azraea had committed to a shocking all-in, something that would shake the political landscape and memories of countless denizens of the state. Months of carefully planned schemes involving carefully planned defensive patrols meant to reinforce one another, frustrate, and hinder our operations had culminated in us adapting, learning. We thought we had her beaten, especially when we destroyed her monitoring, data collection, and reporting asset in Something Else Square. Then she'd pulled something like this out of a hat, catching us totally flat-footed, rounding up who-knew how many of us before we could muster. What other assumptions had I made that were incorrect? Would she hold fire, if she knew where I was if it meant sparing the hostages? Or were they now just an 'acceptable, if regrettable' loss? When your opponent becomes unpredictable, issues arise, especially when you're counting on them to do certain things.
If it was, then I'd just done her work for her, and all of us would be dead the moment she figured out where we were, and at least the end would come faster than I knew it had arrived.
I realized I was staring up into the orange-lit cloudy night sky. I could voice none of this, not without undermining morale and potentially sparking a panic.
"If she was going to start bombarding the state, she'd have started already by now," I chuckled. "The borders are sealed, right? Why wait? Why bother trying to build some sense of dread? She's not a vampire who feeds on fear. I choose to not be afraid of what she may do. I instead intend to plan around it, to the extent that we can. Besides, if I die, what would the twins do to the hostages?"
George made a disappointed growl, his sore hands turning from awkward claws into shaking fists. "That may be the point. If the Twins do anything to the hostages in retaliation for your death, then maybe as long as she didn't pull the trigger, she thinks she'll be absolved of whatever damage their deaths mean to them."
I wasn't sure she thought that way. Heck, after months, the woman was still an absolute enigma to me. Governess Bal'shir, I understood- the flurry of speeches and photo-ops and handshakes at civic meetings with 'literally-who's-that' of 'what-community' had been carte blanche for us to grow. Ministriva was a lying snake, and once we pieced that together, I ripped her apart. But Azraea? What drove the Fleet Admiral to come down here? Duty. There wasn't any sort of hard policy she followed that I could tell, not that I knew Shil'vati military doctrine well, being an outsider such as I was. Perhaps it was the greater liberty afforded her of being both Governess and General that made it seem like her plans shifted and changed in ways that made it hard for me to keep up. Or maybe she was just at such a rank and in such a position of power to where she could make her judgment calls. If so, that begged the question: What was 'the line' for her? I had a feeling I'd somehow crossed it already. Probably Radio's tape of me fucking the Empress, if I was to be honest. Most unfair to be judged for something that hadn't been my decision, though I doubted an apology from either of us would amount to much.
I looked over to my Lieutenants. They'd helped carry me this far. I'd be foolish to ignore them now. What could I do to at least mitigate the risk that he was right, and there was someone looking to kill me, right here and now?
"Alright, fine, you've convinced me. Instruct the sentries to get the next dozen people who we intake to help patrol the inner perimeter, and to keep a watch for...well, I mean, a stealthy seven foot tall purple alien with giant tits?"
"Something invisible," George supplied.
"Alright, for anything shifting in the tall grasses that they can't immediately see- I can't really ask them to keep an eye out for something they can't see, can I?" I was suddenly too tired to think properly.
"I'll explain it," G-Man offered.
"And I'll get the sentries ready to take over the radio, explaining how it works, then I'll try heading to bed, too," Radio offered, and I realized that a yawn sounded very strange through a voice modulator- his ASCII helmet seemed to fritz out again for a second.
"I should change my sleeping quarters, too," I muttered. "They'll almost certainly check the command cabin for me, if they manage to enter. I'll pick a tunnel- uh...somewhere."
"Might be smart. Could be they'll try and take out the explosives shed, too. Make it look like an accident on our part, get rid of any hostages, and then get a free pass to exact vengeance on the state. Got anywhere in mind?"
I thought to myself. Where might be a good resting area? There were many tunnels that led to bunkers, firing outposts, and even to stowage areas. Any one of them might do in theory, but I knew of one that overlooked one of the two streams that ran along the side of Camp Death. I didn't want to situate myself either too low to where I was on the very front of the lines- why make an assassin's job even easier by putting myself on the perimeter, after all? But the creek should make a pleasant bit of white noise- and also get me away from the center shed. "Probably facing North, along Perkins run. G-Man, you look absolutely dead on your feet. Get some rest if you can, you've certainly done enough and gone through enough for today."
"There's...still things to do."
"There always will be. If the others are finished doing their repairs, lock the shed," I muttered. "I know the hostages are in there, so post a sentry or two there, too, to watch over the entrance. You're right that she may try some kind of underhanded tactic." It wouldn't do much if they decided to set charges against the side or something, and the subsequent explosion would be, in a word, 'cataclysmic'. "This was supposed to be a relaxing walk to help me rest..." I scratched at my chin under the mask, feeling the beginnings of the few scratchy hairs that had grown since I'd last shaved, and feeling the cool fresh air without the filter as the wind kicked up.
"Sorry," G-Man offered sheepishly. "I'll go tell 'em."
While he ambled off, I followed Radio back to his pile of equipment.
"Before we split then, one last thing."
"Yeah?" Radio asked.
"Have we recovered Verns?" I asked Radio. "Any word?"
"No, not that I've heard," Radio confessed. "Vendetta's been mostly quiet, I think to hide his heading from anyone who might be listening, but I know that he's struck at least three jails and counting. Some of the ones he's freed are trickling up to us here on foot, and it seems he and Morningstar are acting like a human wrecking ball. The troops are calling it Operation Smash-and-Grab."
"Smash-and-grab," I laughed, thinking of the pun. "I like it. Do we have a more recent headcount?"
"Sam said we've got enough to last about three days of continuous, round-the-clock fighting with the hundreds of people we have here. If we get a resupply run- well, I suppose it would depend upon how big a hole gets blasted in the encirclement. Or, well, something to that effect. Look, man, I'm 'Radio', not 'Telephone,' and I don't have the head for this logistics shit that you two do. You want to talk to Sam, you get the man on the radio yourself, or ask one of the Sentries I'm sticking here to manage the comms. Point being, you try and get hold of him. I'm done for the night."
I could have said something witty back, but it felt counterproductive, and would only delay the sleep I was now well overdue for.
"I've got an idea for an update. The ones Vendetta's letting loose? They can gather supplies and wait for the signal to reinforce, or to agitate, or can organize people into a more focused group, one that can punch through whatever blockade they try and form up. It'll also force the Shil'vati to not concentrate forces on our back door-" I pointed back at the interstate. "Even if they clear them out, the opportunity for us to encircle and destroy and then break out is too high for them to really try to do a mass deployment along our back." Sam was, I knew, something of a career criminal. Able to rub elbows with the worst elements of humanity. He was a facilitator, I knew, not really a leader. "Can you tell him-"
Radio was already fiddling with the dial. "Already on it," he muttered. "Lotta profit in looting, should be easy for him to steer people with that, or something. Get some sleep, E."
I went up to a sentry, requisitioned a sleeping bag someone had helpfully brought, went into a trench and told him where I'd be if I was needed. I waved to Radio, and crawled into the gunnery tunnel, almost stepping on another four people already laying in it. I loosened my laces, clutched my sheathed knife, and fell into a fitful sleep.
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2023.05.30 13:39 AUHM850i Want to replace our Sorento later this year but can’t find a suitable replacement

Our family car is a full option Sorento with the 3.5L engine. This car really changed how we feel about Kia.
I don’t like to keep cars for too long and want to replace the car later this year…but with what?
Honestly, I can’t find a car that matches what the Kia offers.
Plus, a lot of manufacturers are removing many options from cars whereas the Kia has everything.
EV is not an option due to lack of convenient charging facilities.
I don’t think it makes sense to upgrade to another Sorento. Telluride is our closest bet, I guess, but I wonder if anyone has any other suggestions that I haven’t considered.
Volvo XC60 or XC90 is close but not quite.
Mercedes lacks remote start in my region (Middle East).
BMW X5 is stupid expensive here.
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2023.05.30 09:19 Pleasant_Rich_8986 I (F) feel like my relationship with my boyfriend is one-sided

For background context, I have been in this relationship for almost 6 months. Which looking at it from an outwards standpoint, really isn't that long (though it feels like it, have been close for 8 months). I want to start out by saying, that my boyfriend is extremely sweet and I am incredibly grateful to have him. I think we are leaving the honeymoon phase, and with new emotions rising, I have been pretty self aware that changing in feelings would happen. Yet, I feel different. My boyfriend has done some behaviors that isn't in the relationship "norm" I'd say. Firstly, he has never picked me up from my house to take me on dates except for one fancy occasion. Every other time, it has been us meeting up. He never calls me unless I call him, at first in the "talking" stage and in our first month of dating we would call quite frequently and would be on the phone for hours. Things started to shift, I figured it was just due to us both feeling more comfortable. Until he only would text me a couple times a day, and we wouldn't see each other for weeks. That's another thing, we do hang out... but one every week or two weeks. We aren't long distance. we are in different colleges but that's a different story and we are not long distance. Another thing is that I see him active on social media a lot, but takes hours to get back to me. It came to the point that I got upset by this, how he wouldn't initiate plans to hang out or even simply call me. He always explains how busy he is, and how he has so much going on. I talked to him by text, explaining how I felt, and his response was that he'd try harder. I appreciated that. Then, I notice a slight change, but some of the behavior continued so I talked to him in person about it. He said how he could try harder and it was an overall good talk. For a good month, we began meeting up more often, texting a whole lot more, and it felt more like an actual relationship. I felt happy. That was about three-four weeks ago. Now, fast forward to now, I'm writing this... yes I am aware I need to communicate this with him, It's just tough to gather my words to tell him, plus I don't feel comfortable telling him all of this to be frank. He's fallen back into the habit of never calling me unless I do. I am on vacation and he hardly texts me anything. He asks about my day but on rare occasion, and he still has yet to meet my dad. (parents are divorced so It's tough, I'll give him credit). I haven't met his parents, and he hasn't even brought the act of meeting them yet. I just feel hurt by this, sometimes I even question if he still cares about me. I called him and straight up asked him if he was losing interest, but he explained he wasn't and then texted me that he loved me. I know he means well, and I want to continue this relationship. However, I am feeling so hurt, to the point in which the last time we hung out I drove back home twenty minutes sobbing to music. (He didn't show a single bit of affection and played chess on his phone for a good portion and we played game pigeon in the car). He never suggests dates or things to do, It's always meeting up and sitting in our cars listening to music and getting food. I think It's cute, but it does get old, I feel like he could be putting much more effort. If you have read this far, thank you so much. It truly means a lot, I just want to hear from somebody else's side, am I in the wrong? Am I asking too much? Maybe I'm too insecure and I am missing the good things he does. He does sweet things a lot, but it's just tough to truly feel that he loves me as he says he does in this relationship when his actions don't align with his words.
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2023.05.30 08:25 throwaway4c0nfess Starting to feel miserable

For background, my husband have been together 11 years now, we have one car, I have a boyfriend as well who is a 15 minute drive away, and my husband has a gf who lives an hour away with 6 kids/husband/one car. I think, hopefully, that will cover most info questions about the general situation about our situation. Also, this will probably be a very long post.
Basically the event that has sent me into a spiral of emotions was on Monday. Several days before me husband and I were sitting om the couch and randomly he brought up the event. He said how his gf, 2 kids, and one of their friends were riding the train down to go and that he would have to pick them up there and drive them. In that same sentence he asked if it was okay if he could just drop me off at my bus house since I had been thinking about not going. I reminded him that the whole reason I had said I was thinking of not going was because her whole family was sick just 2 days before and I didn't want to risk getting sick since we have a vacation planned out of country next week (imI had never told him one way or the other but I understand he latched on to the idea of me not going as the solution). But then I also told him when I was working through my thoughts on it how it didn't matter because regardless I would be exposed to it if he was exposed so that I would still go. I told him how I was a bit hurt that his first reaction was to uninvite me just because she decided to bring 2 of her kids along and that he instead should have asked me what solutions would remedy the situation. I told him how it made me feel he didn't care if I went one way or the other.
Anyways, the night before when I came to bed I asked him if he wanted to have sex. He said he wasn't in the mood because he was pretty stressed about how Monday was going to go. So we cuddled instead and I reassured him everything was going to be okay. The next day (day of the event) was an accumulation of small things that blew up by the evening. My boyfriend and I get to the event before they do because their train had been delayed so he ended up driving to the station they were held up to pick them up. As my husband had invited us and I didn't know much about the event, my boyfriend and I had no idea where to go when we got there. So we stood on the outskirts of the event with our dog. I should I also mentioned that I told my husband I would bring her. Anyways, so I texted my husband asking him what we needed to do and didn't hear back from him. About 10 minutes or so later they pulled up.
When they got there they all walked up to us and my husband went and asked the coordinators where to go and such. When he came back he still didn't hug or kiss me or anything. Then his gf mentioned how she had read dogs weren't allowed (only service dogs). Which upset me because I had told my husband how I was going to being her (she's been allowed at all of my husband's work events so it's never been an issue before. The difference was this one was at a different place and he said he just forgot to tell me). So then they all go into the ceremony leaving my bf and I on the outskirts watching. We ended up just leaving because it seemed my husband didn't care about us being there and hadn't even asked what I thought we should do now that we were in that situation. I told him I probably would have came to the same conclusion of us just standing there but to me it seemed he was so focused on spending the event with them that I was just an inconvenience. Granted I had gone into the day knowing how he had already suggested I not go since he didn't have the room for me in the car.
Anyways, I texted him to let him know we were heading home. Turns out he had forgotten his phone in the car and didn't even realize we had left until another 30-40 minutes. I guess it just rubbed me wrong because I already felt like I was uninvited and I was only there to support him.
When I got home I took some medicine because ironically I woke up feeling sick. I thought it was just from sleeping on my back the night before but the feeling never went away. The medicine knocked me out and next thing I knew I was waking up to everyone walking into our house. Turns out their train was delayed again so they all came back to eat. I was upset that he hadn't asked if we wanted anything. I know it shouldn't have been something that upset me but I was already upset, not feeling good, and I always make an effort to buy him some kind of snack when I'm out running errands. I know it probably sounds dumb but it still upset me. So my boyfriend and I decided to rely on the left over pizza we had for dinner. A few hours later when we went to go eat it turns out they had eaten most of that as well. I told my husband this was disrespectful to not at least ask since it was my boyfriend who had bought it in the first place (I told him this on the phone later).
I qent back and laid down for a little bit longer since I had a few work appts that evening. My husband came down shortly after and said that instead of taking his gf back to the train station before I left for work he wanted to know if it was okay if she stayed until I got back (at this point he had already taken everyone else back to the train but she stayed to have alone time with him). I said sure but asked if she'd be okay if I got back at the latest by like 8:30/9.he said it was okay but asked me not to stay super late with my clients like I usually do (I like to stay as long as possible usually exceeding the minimum time needed to make sure my clients are taken care of. For some more background I run 5 businesses. The appts that evening were specifically for animal care).
So anyways I go to work and up finishing at 7:50. I made it home by 8. I texted and called me husband to let him know I made it back and received no answer. I also didn't know when her later train was supposed to leave since this was thrown on me right before leaving for work. So I went and knocked only for them to be I'm the middle of messing around. So after the whole day of feeling slighted and like an afterthough, after the lack of communication from his end, after rushing through work to make sure she was able to get to the train on time, all of it just overwhelmed me and made me get in my feelings and topped that with now thinking about how he had just turned me down less than 24 hours before just all overwhelmed me. I ended up just walking away and going back downstairs and he followed me to talk but I was extremely upset now. Even more so because the whole day I was talking to my boyfriend about how I wasn't going to say anything and just brush it all off so that way he had a good time.
He ends up taking her to the train station 10 minutes later and turns out her train wasn't even for another hour so they just sat in the car. Then when the train got there they called and and said how they missed it by "3 seconds" and I was so upset because I said how could you miss it when you've been sitting there an hour. He said they only stopped for 20 seconds to let people off and shut the doors in their face. So I asked if other people had got on the train and he said yes so I said then it doesn't make sense that you all missed it.he said how they were saying their goodbyes and when they got done the train "just took off" . So they had to wait another hour for the next train. Then literally 50 minutes later he calls me to say she's asked him to just take her home which will now add another 2 hours of time round trip plus gas. Which she said she would help pay for but they still haven't paid us back for him driving over 400 MI to pick her up for an event because she didn't want to ride the train to I told my husband I wasn't okay with it since we already haven't been paid back for the last time, we are pretty low in the bank as is until payday which isn't for several more days, and how thar adds another 2 hours (now 4 hours total) of time away when I was already upset.
Anyways so I guess she heard me on the phone saying I was going to call her husband to come get her (apparently he couldn't because he had been drinking which I didn't know at the time because he's having a hard time dealing with her being poly). So she tried jumping out of the car while my husband was driving to essentially rage off (as my husband put it). He then told me she was pissed at me for "changing my mind." I told him how I never changed my mind and had told him from the start I wasn't okay with it. He said since I added at the end of the phone call "do whatever you want" that that was permission and that he knew I'd be upset with him but he still made the decision to drive her home even though I wasn't okay with it. After she tried jumping out of the car he took her back to the train station where she had someone come pick her up. Yes, I know I'll get a lot of hate for saying "do whatever" but at that point I felt voiceless and like no matter how many times I said I wasn't okay with it, it didn't matter. And I know some will say I shouldn't make it about gas money but my husband drives this 2 hour round trip almost weekly to see her and says how he doesn't care about the money it takes or the time but yet I'm sitting here working and running 5 businesses and am exhausted while I simultaneously take care of our dog alone (only one who feeds her, walks her, etc) and do everything around the house (he very rarely helps with chores or cleaning up after himself). That's a whole other issue though that's not necessarily relevant. But it does showcase why just wasting money on gas when she's only made the effort to come out her twice in their 8ish long relationship at this point (I'm not entirely sure how long they've technically been dating because her husband wasn't okay with it for a long time).
When he got home we had a long discussion about everything mentioned above. But the thing that stuck with me was him saying in summary, "from our perspective it's annoying and inconvenient to always have to check in with you for use to see eachother whether it be because you need the car for work or we have something planned" and it just hurt to know he thinks it's annoying and inconvenient when he could see her but we have something planned or I need the car for work to make the money for us to even go on the trips we do. He said he badly misspoke and that's not what he meant but it definitely stuck and hurt.
In summary, I'm upset by being uninvited, left on the outskirts, not being communicated with about our dog being allowed there, not thinking to bring home any food for me then eating the food I did have while I was asleep, having turned me down but fine to mess around around her (in my own bed might I add which I don't usually have a problem with but after everything it still got to me because I'm human), the whole missing the train situation, attempting to drive her home against my wishes, and the comment he made at the end.
I will go back through and check for typos and such in a bit but I am currently at work but I needed to get this off my chest. There's probably more I can add that happened but that's the overall picture.
submitted by throwaway4c0nfess to polyamory [link] [comments]

2023.05.30 08:19 iamthecrayonlover i don't care about ukraine, i don't care about politics, i only care about myself

i genuinely don't give a flying fuck about what's going on in the world. my life is shit, there is no human nor is there a jinn in universe or another that will ever convince me to care about war, politics, demographic crisis, immigration, human rights, famine, global warming, pollution, species going extinct, deforestation, lgbt and etc... all of this is a complete waste of time until i secure my maslow foundation.
i don't care that the birth rate is falling in the west, east, south, up, left. i don't care that ukraine, the most sacred country in the world, got invaded by yet another lunatic. i don't care that there is injustice in my country. i don't care that the globe will heat up and boil / bake half of the biosphere.
anyone who tells me that i should care, that if i'm alive then politics is relevant is a complete lunatic and a pawn. they just want me to be cannon fodder in this irrational game of the elites and help them push their mass ideology (left / right / center / 4th dimension). all of those pawns have this arrival fallacy where they think that after they pass this one bill or elect this one politician everything will change and they will finally live in a utopian world of an immortal summer, an eternal summer, where everyone is at last happy and hugging each other, the flowers are always blooming and most fragrant, the birds never shit on their car, blah blah blah, and they will finally sit down to rest and enjoy the moment.
i refuse to care about every single subgroup's rights and struggles, there is only one me. and i only have so much time to learn facts and form opinions about every fucking problem in existence.
i don't trust the talking heads behind the screen that i've never met and i've only seen snippets of to tell me what is a fact, what i should care about, what is the solution, and why i should entrust them to execute decisions on my behalf. i don't believe in utopia. life will continue to struggle so long as humans don't change genetically. our brains have evolved to live in AND cause endless struggle.
humans are monkeys, baboons, animals. we are hardwired to be angry, competitive and tribal. i have no faith in any system that doesn't address at its foundation our limbic system.
no, my voice. there is no politician i support. while i have opinions on certain things, i have no power to take actions. and while i agree on certain things with some politicians who have power to change things none of them represent the core of my views. i don't want to ask for a banana and get a gorilla holding the banana and the entire jungle alongside it.
like George Carlin once said, i root for the big asteroid to come and make things right. i root for the right and the left. i root for ukraine and russia. i root for black people and white people. i root for israel and palestine. i root for the taliban and i root for women. i root for global warming and i root for tesla. i root for turtles and i root for the rights of plastic bags in the ocean. i root for everyone and no one. i hope everyone wins in whatever battle they're having.
submitted by iamthecrayonlover to venting [link] [comments]

2023.05.30 06:56 hadynelizabeth Car accident advice

I’ve never been in a car accident before today, the other driver was at fault. I was in the right lane, other driver was in the left lane and he decided he needed to turn into the business on the right without looking and side swiped almost the entire left side of my car. The guy said he was driving a company vehicle and they have insurance, but he would rather pay for the damage to my vehicle so the insurance wouldn’t go up. He gave me his number and told me to take it in to get fixed tomorrow and he’ll pay for it, so I agreed. I don’t really care how it gets fixed, I just want it done. The number works and I have a text from him apologizing and admitting blame. I also have a picture of his license plate and him in the background. I didn’t get a picture of his drivers license, I didn’t know if that was a normal thing to ask for and didn’t want to be weird, plus I was shaken up. It’s Memorial Day so all the mechanics are closed and I couldn’t take it in today, so I was intending on going in the morning. After talking with my parents, they made it sound like I should have taken it further. I figured that this was something people normally do if the damage isn’t too bad; I understand not wanting to pay more for insurance. Its mostly just gross looking cosmetic damage since my car is white and both doors still close and work. There’s one dent between the rear door and gas lid. I guess I just kind of wanna know if anyone experienced anything similar from either side and how that went? Looking for some peace of mind that I’m not stupid :’(
Edit: I’m a 24 year old female. I’ve been driving for 6 years, no accidents (until today), traffic stops, tickets or parking violations. I’ve never been in a situation like this and am not really sure if I handled this okay.
submitted by hadynelizabeth to Advice [link] [comments]

2023.05.30 06:01 Ok_Plate7761 i put out my boyfriend after finding out he gave me chlamydia

i 19 (f) put my boyfriend 19 (m) out for giving me chlamydia for this post i will call him D me and D were tg for about 7 months things were rocky but overall great we moved in tg after my mom put me out in december mind you i paid all the bills plus food and for us to move in but i did put him as head of household just so he can feel like it was his home too
in the beginning of our relationship we didnt talk to 2 weeks due to me lying about who i was otp with but to be fair we never defined anything so i didn't know what we were but that's no excuse for lying so we stopped talking and he texted me to rekindle things apparently in those 2 weeks he had sex with someone else she had chlamydia called and told him he didn't tell me until after he got tested it came back negative but i got tested anyways to be sure and it came back negative
now to the present we moved in to i mean it was weird at first then things got back normal and within a month of us moving in my car ended up in the shop and i ended up sick smells and food made me throw up we all know what that means but i was in denial since i never wanted kids and i was on birth control he knew that we had this conversation multiple times
he knew i was throwing up and wasn't feeling well but he was gone from 12pm to 4am for weeks while i was home sick didn't even care asking me for gas money and to send him money for 🍃 we both smoke bye i just couldn't stand the smell due to me being sick so i barely did
then one day i finally ask him to take me to the er he drops me off and i call my aunt to be there with me that's when i find out i'm pregnant i was gonna have an abortion but my family pressured me into keeping the baby i texted him n told him but i genuinely did not want this baby so my sister said she would take care of it i told him that and he texted me GOING OFF calling me a push over for keeping the child without wanting a it and giving away "his creation" to my sister he was ok with me having an abortion but not ok with he giving it to my sister i didn't see or hear from him for three days he was posting at parties and clubs n shi but people deal with things differently so i didn't say anything i let him do him until he was ready to talk
i went to my first dr appt and found out i'm 3months pregnant i sent him the ultra sound pics and all he said was wow but he loved rubbing my stomach and talking about baby stuff then the second dr appt came and i got blood tests then a week later my dr called me with the news i had chlamydia i asked him about it and swear he didn't give it to me but i didn't have sex with anyone else i barely wanted to have sex with him and he didn't wanna get tested so i put him out and haven't heard from him since and this was in april
submitted by Ok_Plate7761 to TrueOffMyChest [link] [comments]

2023.05.30 05:53 NaimaChan Trip Report: Tokyo, Kawaguchiko, Kanazawa, Kyoto, Yokohama, Kamakura

Just got back from 10 days in Japan and wanted to type up a trip report to hopefully help others that are trying to plan a trip!
Our trip was 5/16 - 5/28 including travel days. This was my 2nd time in Japan (first time was study abroad for 5 weeks in May/June 2016), but it was my mom & sister's first time, so the goal was to include as many must-see activities as we possibly could in the short time we were there. Our days were packed to the brim however all 3 of us are fairly active and healthy so despite being absolutely exhausted by the end of each day, in retrospect we wouldn't have changed a thing in our itinerary.
That being said, our itinerary would be much too busy for the average person's first trip to Japan so keep that in mind if you use this information to plan your own trip. For example, we usually only had time to sit down and eat for one meal per day and had to eat on the go for the other meals in order to have enough time to go to all the places we wanted to go to. There was very little downtime in our trip.

Tourist Tips


Daily Itinerary

Day 1 & 2: Travel

Day 3: Imperial Palace/Ueno

Day 4: Shibuya/Akihabara

Day 5: Asakusa/Ginza/Omoide Yokocho

Day 6: Harajuku

Day 7: Kawaguchiko

Day 8: Kanazawa

Day 9: Kyoto Day 1

Day 10: Kyoto/Nara Day 2

Day 11: Tattoo

Day 12: Yokohama/Kamakura

Day 13: Travel

Trip Cost

Cost Breakdown

submitted by NaimaChan to JapanTravel [link] [comments]

2023.05.30 05:50 Drakolf Dragon Rising- 4. Counsel:

It was called disassociation, the change in my life had been so traumatic that I just... kind of existed, largely doing things on autopilot, only engaging in things when necessary.
I hadn't wanted to be a Kobold, part of me kept thinking, 'this isn't real, I'm going to wake up any moment now'. But I never woke up to anything but this reality. Rather than tackle this like a normal, sane person, I just withdrew and didn't engage.
"Hello, I'm Ruuk." I said. "I haven't exactly been here the past year and some."
The way everyone welcomed me to the warren, not like a stranger finally being accepted, but as a family member who was gone for far too long- It felt good to just... connect.
While I sequestered myself to my shack on the edge of town, the warren had been organizing, fixing things up, just generally working their asses off to make things as comfortable as possible for people. The result was kind of an anachronistic mess, but it worked. Roads had been turn up and repaved, taking a mess of a car-reliant town and streamlining it so people could actually walk from place to place.
The Artificers had taken cars apart and reused the tools to make a tramway that was convenient for everyone. Why bother with cars when half of us can't even reach the pedals? With the restructuring of the town building by building, done simply because it needed to be done, the surrounding houses could be utilized more efficiently.
The reason why my house was largely untouched was because it was still my house, there was no committee ruling that demanded I give it up. It was understood that I'd know what I wanted to do with it when I was finished being a hermit.
Well, more than a handful of people suggested I just have a full-on mage tower, I realistically didn't need that much space, and even then, the things I wanted to keep were so few that having an entire four-story house to myself with more rooms than I realistically needed.
"Besides, when you get to Level 15, you can create your own demiplane." Tudru, the Fighter, remarked.
The plans for such a hypothetical mage tower put it toward the center of the town, just north of the central tramway. It would be convenient to get to me, and it would be convenient for me to go anywhere.
"Plus, well, we've been wanting you to be the Sorcerer on the Council." Goss, the Sorcerer, remarked.
"The what on the what?" I asked.
The Council, as I understood, was comprised equally of Humans and Kobolds. Kobolds with a set Class were put into a position to discuss the needs of the town. No matter who it was, no matter the Class, there was a representative, even if they were the only one present.
There was no Sorcerer Councilor yet, in spite of us being fairly common.
"Why me?" I asked after being given a significantly less truncated explanation.
"Because you're the most competent one out of all of us, are unbound by preconceived notions of how things work." Goss replied. "I mean, I would have never thought of using Magic Missile on that boulder, or staggering the hits like that so nobody got hurt."
I rubbed the back of my neck. "I mean, anyone could have done it." I said.
"The fact of the matter, Ruuk, is that most of us have assumptions based on a bunch of books in a situation that we still don't really understand. I choose to believe that another world has made contact with ours, and we're the ones burdened with responsibility. That doesn't mean I am correct."
They further broke down expectations.
"I am in charge of infrastructure." Rekka, the Artificer, spoke. The goal was to transform the town into an entirely self-sufficient place. Since we were still technically under quarantine, we couldn't get supplies in or out, not without the government allowing it through. The dissemination of magic items and technology that was essential to our continued existence hinged on understanding where to put it and how to ensure it was used correctly.
Barbarians and Fighters- in spite of Kuvli and Tudru being the only ones- were in charge of town defense.
"We work in tandem to find the best solution to a threat." Tudru said. "While thus far purely theoretical, we have options for if and when monsters show up. Let's not forget the Dire Rat that came out of the mine."
"Dire Rat?" I asked.
"Big fuckers." Kuvli said. "Ever seen a nutria? That fucker you killed was even bigger."
It was understood that if monsters came about, we would need weapons. Artificers took care of that, we had a small cache of magically enhanced swords ready and available, as well as every gun in town somewhere where people could grab and react.
Bards, when we would eventually get one, would be in charge of communications and entertainment. With the quarantine in place and us having no actual income at the moment, short of going out and stealing shit, we were largely on our own with what we already had.
"I am in charge of ensuring the town's spiritual needs are taken care of, and the adjudication of our laws." Galax stated. "Given the high probability of Gods existing, and the likelihood of demons, ghosts, and other beings eventually showing up, This includes discerning which deities are existent, and which ones are not. So far, we've only had minor to moderate luck with divine magic. Prayer is necessary for it to work, as we have to explicitly petition our Gods for it every long rest."
"Aren't you biased toward Bahamut?" I asked.
"Of course." He said. "Any anyone who comes to the Temple is welcome to hear anything I have to say on the matter. The biggest problem is figuring out how it all relates."
Next was Merti. "We Druids are in charge of ensuring this town's sustainability and harmony with nature." She said. "That includes recycling materials, ethical and sustainable logging, hunting, farming... Essentially, as long as it pertains to nature, it's our duty to ensure we don't shoot ourselves in the foot."
"Well, while you're busy speaking for the trees, we're responsible for going out there and making sure nothing is coming to kill us. That and getting meat." Tatla spoke. "We're also in reserve in case of a combat situation, we defer to our Fighter and Barbarian for that."
"When we get a Rogue, they will focus on security. As the closest thing we've got to that, I've got plans set up for establishing a wall around the town, just outside the Anomaly, so that people can't just waltz right in, and to prevent any wild animals or hypothetical monsters from getting in." Nakk the Locksmith who might actually be a Rogue said. "And for the record, I've tried everything I can think of to awaken to a Class, and I'm reasonably certain Rogue isn't one." He paused. "That being said, I am offering lockpicking lessons to anyone who thinks it might help."
"Considering we just share and share alike, I don't think we need to worry about our Rogues." Someone I wasn't familiar with yet said.
The way Nakk reacted to his statement, avoiding his gaze, made me wonder why he reacted that way.
"Nakk, why do you look guilty?" I asked.
He looked at me with wide eyes, and for a tense moment, it seemed like he was about to run. I walked up to him and gently put my hand on his shoulder. "It's better to get it out now, rather than later."
He looked away. "I... I've been overcharging everyone since I moved in." He said. "On top of that, I've used my skills as a locksmith to steal from people."
He expected us to get angry, and a fair number of us did.
"Honor and Correction to the enemies of Justice and Good." Galax spoke, "Nakk, is the confession you have spoken true?"
"Y-yes." Nakk said softly.
"When you moved here, was it your intention to steal from us?"
"No." Nakk said. "I just- I had some bad debts, I was trying to escape, start a new life. But then they found me, told me if I didn't pay off the debt, they'd make me regret it. So I stole, but no matter how much I took, the debt never seemed to shrink. When we were all transformed, I was so happy because I could finally escape. They couldn't possibly hurt all of us, and with the quarantine..."
"Nakk." Galax spoke. "Is it your intention to atone for your crimes?"
Nakk nodded. "Yes."
"Then I shall ease your burden, that you no longer are swayed into such temptation." Galax took a pouch out of another pouch on his belt. "This is powdered silver." He said, several eyes widened, clearly understanding the significance of this. "Bahamut, Grandfather of Dragons, Grand Master of Flowers, Justicemaker. Before me stands a penitent soul seeking to atone for his sins against his fellow people. If he hides from you, you are the one who shall bring him into the light. If he hides his face, you are the one who shall reveal it. If his tongue betrays him against his people, you shall be the one who frees it from evil machinations."
He threw the powdered silver upon Nakk, and as he did so, he roared.
The silver flashed with brilliant light that, somehow, didn't hurt to look upon, and then Nakk was engulfed in flames. Before anyone could panic, the flames swirled as if caught in a whirlwind and flew into Nakk's open mouth.
For a moment, Nakk was suspended in the air, and then he fell onto his feet, then onto his hands and knees. He gasped for breath, faint wisps of silvery fire escaping his open maw.
"What the fuck just happened?" Kuvli asked.
"That was the Atonement spell." A Player remarked. "You touch a willing creature whose alignment has changed, and if you're powerful enough, you bring them back to their original alignment. In this case, maybe neutral leaning toward evil back to good."
Galax nodded. "You have caused suffering to your people, Nakk. I have firmly put you back on the path to righteousness. You will no longer fear the reprisal of your warren, but will openly accept it. You will no longer hesitate, you will do what is necessary to make amends. Though I can do this as many times as I deem necessary, for you, this is but one chance. In the guidance of Bahmut, go forth and sin no more."
"I will. Thank you." Nakk said.
"I do not need thanks, I am simply the one who interceded on your behalf. Zhin mrith filkiati."
With that out of the way, the meeting resumed.
"Ruuk, as the Sorcerer Councilor, you would be responsible for the responsible use of magic. As every Sorcerer has unique spells, there is a level of versatility that the Warren can use. It would be your duty to advocate for your fellow Sorcerers, to ensure we do not end up taking advantage of them for our own selfish desires." Rekka said. "What do you say?"
I gave it some thought, then nodded. "I'll do it." I said.
What the Council does, as I learned, is convene every week to go over current events and how to deal with them, and occasionally plan ahead on hypothetical situations. We were each paired with a Human who was chosen by other Humans to serve as their representative on specific matters.
My partner is Dave. Dave is a Pagan, he practices magic as a form of spirituality. He is also, currently, the only Human with any level of magical skill, being able to use magic items fairly easily without it blowing up in his face.
"The only reason why I'm not a Kobold is because I want to be an Elf." He said. "I'm hoping that learning more about the Anomaly on the magical end of the spectrum of scholarly pursuit will allow us to do that." He paused. "I will also settle for Dragonborn. You and Galax are currently the best chance of either."
"Why would we want to do that?" I asked.
"Well, presently, only Kobolds are capable of magic, meaning that Humans in the Forgotten Realms are different from us."
"The what?"
"Common setting for D&D." He said. "Now, back when this was all make-believe, Earth was mentioned as being existent in the D&D multiverse, meaning that something decided to mess with us." He paused. "Look, from what I've been able to gather, Earth is in a part of the Prime Material plane that has very weak connections to other planes, we lack magic because of this. However, we are currently in a dome of sustained magic-"
"It's actually a relatively short column." I corrected.
"-which means something has connected us, and specifically us." He finished.
"Alright, so this raises several presumptions, like the notion that someone did this to us for a reason. Do you have any ideas as to what that reason would be?"
"Interplanar invasion, the astral plane bleeding into ours, maybe we're crashing into another plane, maybe a wizard got lucky. We don't have enough information."
I sighed. "Look, let's just get some work done."
We got started on requests, most of them were just questions on if a certain spell was viable for use, some were requests to run experiments with certain spells. With Dave and I debating back and forth, we got them done by the end of the day.

[Navigation for 'Dragon Rising'- [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]]
submitted by Drakolf to DrakolfsWritings [link] [comments]

2023.05.30 05:33 KoTheCowboy My (20F) Mom (65F) keeps arguing with me about my girlfriend (20f) and the stickers on her truck.

I love my girlfriend very very much. She is the most wonderful and kind person ever. Dating her is the greatest thing I have ever done with my life, and she is the best part of me.However. From first looks she is a bit of a stereotype of “girl your parents don’t want you to bring home”
She has dyed hair, tons of piercings, and tattoos. Things my parents are all very against. Not to mention she’s a bit of a stereotypical lesbian. While she is not what I imagined dating when I was younger, I have learned I love everything about her and who she is. I would never try and change her.
My mother however, definitely would. She constantly makes comments about how much she doesn’t like her tattoos and piercings. It’s gotten very old very fast.
The biggest issue is my girlfriends truck. She drives a red ford truck that she absolutely adores. Before we started dating, she decorated her truck with a ton of stickers. It’s a bit of a play on trucks with political stickers all over them. Some of these stickers either have “swear words” or overall nsfw phrasing. The worst are just one that says “bitch”, a joke about riding her ass, and one that says “if you can take a dick you can take a joke”. There are one or two more stickers that have more “bad” words on the inside of the truck.
My mother HATES this. She says it goes against her morals to have such things in public because she doesn’t want children to be able to read it.
Whenever my girlfriend comes to visit she makes her park backwards up our driveway so the neighbors can’t see. Plus when she comes to visit our town my mother insists we take my car instead, because she doesn’t want me seen in my girlfriend’s truck. She always talks about how “imagine if people saw you driving in such a vulgar truck” and most repeatedly “we didn’t raise you to be seen in a truck like that”
While I partially agree. They aren’t exactly my favorite thing (a small part of me isn’t a fan of any stickers on cars) and I do agree that children shouldn’t be exposed to a lot of swearing… I find I really don’t care, not to mention I know that once I was old enough to read I certainly knew swear words existed, and was actively hearing them in school… considering social media now I’m sure kids are introduced even younger.
My mother insists I get her to take the stickers off. However, I don’t want to make my girlfriend take them down since she likes them so much. I mentioned it to her before and she expressed it hurt her feelings that people wanted to change her. My mom has even cornered her and told her that her truck “isn’t her”
Now that I am living at home for the summer, my mother brings up how much she disagrees with the truck constantly. She also keeps mentioning that she thinks that my girlfriend is going to drive us apart. I don’t think she realizes that she’s the only one speaking negatively about anyone.
I’m to the point where I almost want to beg my girlfriend to take the stickers off even if she doesn’t want to. I am so sick of arguing with my mom. I don’t know what to do! Should I continue telling my mom off, or make my girlfriend remove the stickers? How do I talk to either of them in a way that shows I am DONE talking about this?
submitted by KoTheCowboy to relationship_advice [link] [comments]

2023.05.30 05:16 CorruptedStudiosEnt I just had to help my partner get committed to a facility.

Just context, you can skip this long ass read. Tl;dr, everything was okay, for several years of varying stress levels, until it VERY suddenly wasn't. If you can, at least just skim the important bits and advise me on how the fuck to cope with this.
Everything was okay around a month ago. Our situation hasn't been good, but we were handling it and excited for a growth opportunity like we've never had.
She has PTSD, but she's always managed herself well, aside from a brief period years back where some impending doom set in while confronting some of her trauma. She sought out therapy, and even just by the end of her first session she was improving a ton. It wasn't long before she was back to her normal self, but even better for it.
Problem is, we've been under tremendous stress for around two years.
Our rescue macaw passed away from a viral wasting disease, and he was the closest thing we'd had to a child. We had him for most of our ten years together.
We had our (rental) home sold out from under us in the middle of a rental crisis. Basically the only option we had left was to move in with her family 2,400 miles away, onto their ranch. She couldn't continue therapy when we moved.
They were contributors to her childhood traumas, but she was so sure they'd changed and were ready to be the people she needed them to be many years ago.
I was extremely skeptical that the people who hadn't extended a finger to us, let alone a hand, through several years of struggling through a lot of hard shit, suddenly wanted to give us a near-free ride. But I think her sheer optimism for it just made me feel like I was being an awful cynic, so I just shoved it down and bought into her fantasy. For her sake, as I thought at the time. Maybe she was right, after all.
She was wrong, and it went about as well as you'd expect. Honestly probably a lot worse. Her grandmother and father are manipulative, narcissistic assholes, whether or not they realize that's what they are. They bait and switched on us hard, whether they meant to or not.
The picture that was painted was that we'd live in the spare trailer on their property and pay our portion of the taxes and the insurance, and obviously just do our share of stuff like yard work. Maybe occasionally helping out with some cows and fences.
We spent most of our savings to get there, and after a four and a half day U-Haul trip, they started moving us in.. to her grandmother's house. In a tiny spare room. For two (at the time) 26 year old adults, a dog, a cat, and a snake. We had to get a storage unit for the vast majority of our stuff, since we'd had nearly ten years of building a life together in the back of that truck.
That spare trailer stayed empty for the whole year and a half of us being there, by the way.
All the responsibilities were then handed off to us. We were expected to cook the meals for everyone, clean the house, do all the ranch work, fix anything that broke, etc.. Her father and grandmother just sat in bed, collected their retirement/inheritance/disability, and popped their pills.
Then on top of it, we were also expected to pay "half" of the bills, so we had to find employment on top of all the other full-time responsibilities.
We weren't allowed to see the bills, they would just tell us what we owed, but I'll tell you right now that I'd never in twelve years of being out on my own now, in comparably sized homes, paid $800 for a month of electricity. But allegedly the "half" we were expected to pay was $400.
My grandfather passed away, and I soft inherited my grandparents' property. My grandfather and I never had a good relationship, so it was a huge surprise. But with what little we'd managed to save up in that time, it got us off her family's ranch, and it also got us out of the vicious poverty inducing rent cycle, so it seemed like we'd finally gotten a massive break.
Then the housing problems set in.
I've replaced about half of the plumbing myself, because new stuff just kept breaking down all the time.
I wasn't confident doing a new gas water heater myself, so we had to get work to save up for a new one. Until that indeterminate future date, we had to boil water on the stove and shower with a pitcher out of a cooler. We took it in humor as best as we could.
Then our vehicles started breaking down, and became unreliable enough we couldn't leave the small town we're living in. Our savings at that point weren't nearly enough to get new vehicles, or even to get the level of work required done in a shop, and I didn't have the means to do that level of work.
She's been in healthcare (a very desperate field) for her whole working life, and is a fantastic worker, so she found work right away, four minutes from our house.
I sat on Google refreshing the job listing probably forty times per day, looking for anything even marginally close enough that the car could make it to, and I could plausibly continue to find a way to work even if it suddenly couldn't. I've done remote work before and would've been happy to go that route again.. except the best we get here is 7mbps internet, and I couldn't find a single fucking place that would accept that.
We're an equal home. Bills, large purchases that benefit both of us, food, housework, everything except stuff like the vehicle/house maintenance which she wasn't comfortable doing (though even that she was interested in learning). This was killing me to feel like I was leaching off of her, and I know it was really stressing her out being the only source of income.
Then set in the job problems. Put simply, she'd wound up in a very toxic work environment. To make matters worse, one of the people there is almost like a 40 year younger version of her grandmother, whom we'd just escaped.
My S.O. started to lose her identity there, just trying to mask and mirror her way through the social dynamics, which were more like a cliquey high school than a workplace. She felt her job depended on it. Gossip, cruelty, passive aggression, all completely out of character for her, but she felt like she didn't have a choice but to participate in it.
The manager also didn't want to do her own job, and given my S.O.'s glowing experience, resume, and letter of recommendation from her previous job, started putting the job of managing people on her..
But without the title, authority, or pay of a manager. So naturally, nobody gave a shit what she had to say. It still all fell down onto her anyway, and she was treated like shit every time her attempts to lead didn't go as they should've.
But she felt she couldn't leave, because the way she (understandably) saw it, our survival depended on it.
I did finally find work as lower management in a small casino in town, but she never lost that survival mode mindset, and had no interest in quitting despite all the stress it was putting on her.
How we landed here, per the title. This is where my heart breaks down completely. Mostly for her, but quite honestly, also for myself
About three weeks ago, she came home from work one day. She started her normal "today's bullshit at work" vent session, like we've always done for each other every day.. but this was different. First she seemed a bit disconnected, but it quickly devolved into extreme emotional reactions.
All of a sudden she starts talking about how everyone's behavior is changing around her. Suddenly the girls at work were chipper and kind. Everyone was doing their job correctly. She became convinced there was some kind of investigation for a hostile work environment or something happening, and that was causing the change.
It didn't seem totally out of the realm of possibility, especially because they'd just finished berating a transgender coworker out of there. And my S.O. has always been pretty sound of mind (albeit occasionally a little prone to unlikely fantasies of optimism, but I personally love that about her despite what it had just resulted in with her family). I agreed that it did sound like a possibility.
Pretty quick, she started getting squinty-eyed, told me my behavior has been changing too, and started asking me what I knew about the investigation. Caught me completely off guard, and I guess she saw that in my body language, but misread it as me trying to hide something.
She asked me what I was hiding, and at this point I was just massively confused how this went from a normal vent session about work, like we've had for ten years, to an interrogation.
Before I could answer, suddenly she jumps to angrily asking if I'm cheating on her, a look of almost intense hatred in her widened eyes.
Every question just confusing me more in terms of where she's getting any of this from. We have great communication, loyalty, honesty, trust, the whole package. I had no idea what was happening.
She ran to the bedroom and started packing to leave, and I was begging her to slow down and stop so I could catch up on what the fuck was happening. She told me I was in on the investigation but wouldn't tell her anything, and I was cheating on her with one of her coworkers (who has a loose link to my boss at the casino.. small town shit), and that's all she needed to know.
It finally clicked for me that this was some kind of stress breakdown, and I suggested as much. She finally slowed down and thought about it. Suddenly she's calling her sister, who lives in a completely different state a thousand plus miles away, surrounded by ocean. "Do you know anything about an investigation? Have any of the girls from my work contacted you?"
Her sister was also caught off guard, but honestly responded much better than I did, and I'll always feel like my uncoordinated response did damage here. Maybe because they share a lot of the same traumatic experiences, and the diagnosis, so she understood what was happening much more quickly? I'm not sure.
My S.O. backed down, had a good long cry while we cuddled, and it seemed like that was it. She understood that it was some kind of mental snap, and her grip on reality had basically fully returned. She said she didn't think she could go back to work there, and I WHOLEHEARTEDLY agreed after what I'd just witnessed. WHOLE. FUCKING. HEARTEDLY. Scared the shit out of me, but after hours of it, I was just glad it was over.
The next day, "I just wish someone would be honest with me. There is FACTUALLY an investigation happening, you all know something about it, and I know you're cheating on me. I need to just get away from everyone." Cue an hours long conversation trying to talk her down again, but this time on my own, because she'd decided her sister "wasn't in the loop enough to see what was going on anyway."
It went on like this for about three weeks. Off and on. All day. All night. Moment of clarity, back down the rabbit hole 30 minutes later. Moment of clarity, back down the rabbit hole.
She started making all these "seeing god in the stars" types of connections. Suddenly everyone on Facebook knew something she didn't now too, evidenced by how these posts they're sharing relate back to it. My family was also allegedly talking about her mental breakdown on Facebook, which meant that I'd told them everything about it and taken away her choice to control that information.
Neither of us were sleeping, eating, drinking, basically neglecting all forms of self care to sit there and hash, rehash, and rehash this out again. I'd guess I was averaging 5 hours of sleep per week, right alongside her, while still having to go to work and pretend everything was fine.
I tried to suggest returning to therapy god knows how many times, or even something in-patient since this was SO much worse than her last episode years back, but initially she was convinced this was me trying to manipulate her. Gaslight her. Convince her she's crazy.
I tried to get her to just think it through, like what evidence does she actually have for any of it beyond her gut feeling? The evidence doesn't exist because we're all smart enough to get rid of it and keep it from her. She just kept repeating that she trusts her body, and that's all she needed.
During one of her moments of clarity, she finally booked a therapy appointment.. but unfortunately not through her old therapist, who had been fantastic with her. She no longer lives here. Instead, she went through that BetterHelp app.
Her first appointment, she starts going into the stuff she needs to get working through, and in response she gets, "Holy smokes!" Yeah. That's it. Holy smokes. To be clear here, this is evidently not a platform for people in crisis, this is a platform for people whose dad yelled at them that one time and it makes them sad to think about, because these people are clearly not equipped for anything more serious than that. What kind of fucking psychology professional responds like that?
Anyway, the therapist also went on to say about the job situation, "I would've quit too." Now, this seems innocent enough when you're dealing with someone who's with it, but my S.O.'s currently fractured mind took that as validation for everything, not just the general toxicity of the work environment like the therapist was speaking to. Again, a psychology professional should've known better. And it was back on full force for a while.
A massive divergence happened a few days after this. I'm not even sure how or why. We had our usual rehashing session, and suddenly.. she just accepted it. She accepted that she's in perpetual fight or flight mode right now, and her mind is looking for any explanation to grasp at, any possible danger imaginable. She just had to trust us, the people who've loved and supported her all along and have no reason to betray her, and keep with the therapy.
For three or four days, she was totally with it. I mean, almost fully back to normal. All apologies for what she put us through, all forgiveness and "just happy to have you back" from us. Then on the final night, she sees that my step mother is Facebook friends with one of her coworkers. And we're back on.
Fast forward to the past few days, and she's become very despondent about the way she's feeling. She's fairly consistently aware that something is happening to her internally, rather than externally with everyone else, basically just seeking regular reassurances that we're being as honest as possible about everything. But her fight or flight just.. Will. Not. Disengage.
We had a conversation about trying another therapist, and she agreed, but she still didn't feel she needed in-patient care. She booked an in person session with one who specializes in behavioral health and trauma.
Then she starts experiencing distortions in her perception. Shadows when she closes her eyes. Rooms appearing smaller than they should. The voice track on TV shows not appearing to line up with actors' lip movements. Just little distortions, but they scared the absolute living shit out of her.
That fear led to some horrific dissociation, where it's like she's losing context on everything. She doesn't know what's happening and feels like nothing is real anymore. Nothing makes sense.
She was still stuck on there being an investigation, but it was evolving. It wasn't her old job being investigated anymore, it was her father for child abuse from when she was young. Then it was us for neglecting our pets (because we don't take our snake out very often and occasionally forget a regular nail trimming for the dog, but they're otherwise very well cared for). Then it was her father again, but for elder abuse, because her grandmother (who insists on managing her own medications) accidentally overdosed one day.
She became even more despondent, frequently breaking out into panic attacks and crying fits, which I just continued to try and help her through. Ice packs, reassurances that she was safe, there was no threat, etc. Truth be told, I was terrified too.
Finally, two days before her appointment, she had a massive panic attack about it being Memorial Day weekend. She couldn't explain why, just that it didn't make sense. She finally says she thinks she needs a hospital, which she's been completely opposed to until this point.
I rushed her to the emergency room, and that was a mess because it was the middle of the night so they couldn't find a bed anywhere in a more appropriate facility that late. They didn't really have any mental health resources themselves, so all they could do was give her some medications to calm her nerves and help her sleep through the night until they could find a bed.
The hospital.. was not good for her either. After a while, she just kept begging me to take her home. She just wanted to sleep together in our own bed, but they'd decided that between the bouts of confusion, paranoia, and admitting that she has had thoughts of suicide in the past, she was a danger to herself and couldn't leave.
They took her phone, leaving her in a blank room, and thanks to her work and the fact the most recent retraumatizing came from a healthcare environment, constantly triggered by the sounds of call lights and such in the emergency room outside.
All I could do was hold her, and keep reminding her that she's safe, and that everyone there just wants to help, but they're just limited in the ways they can until they find a bed somewhere. She just kept repeating that she wasn't actually getting any treatment, and to be fair she basically wasn't, but I just had to keep asking her to hold out a little longer, because they were trying to find her a facility that had the ability to.
They did finally, this morning, but it was about 130 miles away. They let me take her there myself though, which was a huge plus to know we'd get that last bit of time together.
On the way, however, she starts telling me how horrible of a person she is. At one point, she asks if I'm taking her to prison. I asked her what she could possibly go to prison for, and she just says incredibly minor things from the past like downloading a movie, (very rarely) doing this or that drug, etc.
I just kept reassuring her that I'm taking her to a crisis center where they'll be able to help her figure out where this is coming from, and that in no way is she in trouble legally. Everyone involved in this just wants to help her.
It's at this point I realize.. they took her phone. All these little connections she was making via Facebook and such, suddenly unavailable. She'd also decided once and for all that I wasn't the problem. So now all she had left was herself. She was being held at the hospital against her will. The "investigation" was no longer into her work, it was into her, because that's all that was left.
She tells me she's going to go away (to prison) for a long time, but to just know how much she loves me. She wishes we could've just had a simple life together, but she ruined that for us. She was just so sorry. I just kept reassuring her that nothing was ruined, and we can and will still work towards that life together, she just needs help that's beyond what I can provide so we can get back to that.
Then finally, after a long goodbye.. I dropped her off.
The facility is very small (literally a regular house in a regular neighborhood, so only a few patients getting a lot of 1x1 care), and very soft spoken and compassionate staff. Practically everything is optional right down to the daily therapy, which made me really happy to hear given it seems like that should ease her mind on the prison train of thought. She's even allowed to leave for good whenever she wants, with the one caveat being that I or a family member would need to pick her up.
It doesn't have visiting hours though, and I couldn't even go in with her.. that kills me. They don't have HIPAA forms, so just walking through the door is a violation. But she gets to keep her phone at all times with the exception of bedtime, just to make sure she gets some sleep. She told me a bit ago that she's nervous coming into this new environment, but everyone there has been nothing but incredibly welcoming and empathetic towards her.
Not to make this situation about me, because it's so far from it, but my heart is just so broken.
I've never felt anything so horrible. Not even remotely close. I feel like I, myself, need therapy after this.
I'm still so confused. Did I just miss the cracks of this coming on? Or was it really that sudden? I swear I would've noticed her behavior change.
I'm so angry with her toxic fucking coworkers, who it seems like ultimately sent her into this downward spiral. I'm so angry with her family for being.. well, who they are.
I'm so angry with myself for not trying harder to get her to leave that job sooner, just because I didn't want to press the issue since she's her own person and capable of making her own decisions. But I saw the stress it was putting on her. I should've done more.
I'm so scared of what comes next. Will she ever normalize out and heal? If so, when? Days? Weeks? Months? How is this experience going to change her? Admittedly, given we live in the US, how in the fuck are we going to afford this (though as long as she's getting the help she needs, that's far from my primary concern, but still something I have to figure out)?
It feels like my whole world came crashing down around me. She is my person. She's one of the biggest reasons I get out of bed in the morning. My favorite parts of the day are crawling into bed together and waking up to each other, like we've been doing for ten fucking years.
Her absence in our home is utterly suffocating, knowing the hell she's going through while there's practically nothing I can do for her except be there for her when she wants to text or talk on the phone.
I doubt anyone is going to read this whole book I've written here, but just being able to type it all out sequentially like this has been a bit cathartic. But I still just have no idea how to feel. What to do. I'm so lost.
submitted by CorruptedStudiosEnt to mentalhealth [link] [comments]

2023.05.30 04:52 mislabeledgadget A 2000s Revival Guide

Since the 2000s are in, with some people attempting to revive the 2000s, as a geriatric Millennial, here is my early-mid 2000s Revival guide for younger readers out there. Feel free to add to it.
  1. Living without smartphones wasn’t just about jumping on the computer instead, it was a completely different lifestyle. We weren’t yet consumed by the internet and being digital connected.
a. We had to be okay with getting lost. Most people didn’t have constant access to a map while driving. Google Maps for the computer wasn’t even released until 2005. I personally didn’t have a GPS until 2007. You had to learn the streets through repetition, reading the signs, recognizing landmarks and knowing which way the sun sets. Sometimes you had to stop and ask for directions.
b. We had to be okay with being lost. Even though there was Google and other search engines, not everything was a Google search away. It wasn’t just that you didn’t have constant access to all knowledge and information, it was that we weren’t yet conditioned to expect that. You learned through teachers, you read books, magazines and newspapers, you joined clubs and heard alternative viewpoints, and you established a worldview that you could defend.
c. We lived in the moment. If you were watching TV, you watched it. If it was time to sleep you would go to sleep. If you were playing video games, you’d get into it. Where ever you were, that was your entertainment. The phone wasn’t there to save you from boredom, it simply was a communication tool to either call or text basic sentences.
d. Unless you were carrying reading material, your eyes were open to your surroundings. It meant taking in the view, whether the city, nature, people watching, etc.
  1. We didn’t consume on hyper drive. Consumerism was as much about the experience as it was the product.
a. If at the mall, you were as much there to socialize and people watch as you were to buy something. It was expected and it wasn’t startling to talk to people or be talked to.
b. We consumed at a more moderate pace. The 27in TV I bought in 2002 was $800. Laptops couldn’t really be purchased for $200 yet. Extremely cheap clothing was more of a fad and not the norm yet. Plus we didn’t get paid as much. Anyone remember $1 flip flops from Old Navy though lol?
  1. Speaking of consuming, there was five ways I consumed music. CDs, mp3s, XM Radio, and broadcast radio, and then music video channels. But it meant enjoying the same music for longer periods of time.
a. That mix CD might be enjoyed for whole year and rotated with other CDs. But it was a process to download a burn CDs, and it was trial and error getting good quality MP3s off the internet. We didn’t consume music at the pace we do now with streaming.
b. Buying CDs meant enjoying and appreciating the whole album, appreciating the cover and the album art. You truly were able to appreciate the artist more. This is a habit I carry to today. If I like a song, I’ll go listen to the whole album and listen to more albums by that artist. But I still miss the physical product and the album art. Also you had to take care of your music. CDs would get scratched if you didn’t.
c. Radio whether XM or broadcast was still a thing, and sometimes you just relinquished control to the DJ. You learned to enjoy new music as it was presented to you, and weren’t just able to skip past it. Same goes for MTV and music videos as well.
  1. TV was more about channel surfing and giving something a chance. There was only so many things you could watch and for the most part you couldn’t skip past it. But we weren’t conditioned to judge everything so quickly. We accepted that what we were watching was curated by someone else. We also couldn’t really skip commercials, so a lot of people who be exposed to the same commercials.
a. Renting movies was also a whole experience, usually done with friends, planned ahead. It was a actual movie night, probably with food. Television was an experience, not just deposable entertainment. I watched 5 seasons of Lost with my college buddies.
b. News was also consumed a lot on TV, before News tv became extremely toxic. I learned a lot watching CNN headline news. I also watched the towers fall live on TV. I was glued to the TV for the invasion of Iraq.
c. Many shows became cultural phenomena simply because a lot of us watched the same thing out of lack of choice. TV was curated to your age group not necessary you. Most of us millennials grew up watching the same MTV, Nickelodeon, and TGIF.
  1. A lot of life felt more analog. Cell phones weren’t digital signals yet. Even cars gripped the road a bit differently than they do today. But you appreciated the nuanced feel of much of life. Not everything was so perfected and it was okay, it built patience and confidence and awareness. To get on the internet meant actually sitting down at a computer, and right around the turn of the 2000s, many times it was still dial up. Also early broadband was still slow. Wi-Fi wasn’t widely available yet and when it was available, it was unreliable.
  2. Not everything was personal curated and fine tuned to your preferences. Netflix and Spotify wasn’t there to spit out music according to the algorithm. The internet wasn’t watching your every move to suggest the next product. Customizing your MySpace page, decorating your room, your car and your laptop was about the extend of personalization.
  3. Not everything was grey and boring as it’s become today. Consumer tech and clothing was widely available in the whole spectrum of the rainbow. Home decor bordered on gaudy. Cars could just as easily be orange as the could be purple. Not everything was updated from their 80s and 90s decor yet.
  4. You lived and learned, made stupid mistakes and made a fool of yourself without the fear of exposure you have today. A lot of life wasn’t recorded or under surveillance. They just became gossip and funny stories among friends.
Feel free to add more.
submitted by mislabeledgadget to 2000sNostalgia [link] [comments]

2023.05.30 04:14 Sparky_McDibben First Time CyberPunk Red Adventure

Hey folks,
I'm going to be running a 1:1 CPR game for my wife soon. This will be a one-shot that will hopefully lead into a full campaign. As such, I want it to be the coolest version of Cyberpunk that I can, so I can hopefully stop running D&D 5E. Ergo, I figured this community would be a good one to proofread my intended design and offer suggestions. I've got thick skin; all advice in good faith is good advice to me.
Context: We've never played RED before, though my wife is a fan of the Cyberpunk 2077 game. She is interested in taking the Nomad role out for a spin, so I grabbed the Nomad pregen off the R. Tal website. I've spent the last few days reading the book cover to cover and running some mock combats with myself (you are allowed to make one (1) joke about me playing with myself before I inundate you with compliments - you have been warned!).
However, she's going to want to create her own character if we decide the system's worth playing, so the pregen character won't be played after this session.
Adventure Summary: Arasaka's back in town, baby! A small team of Arasaka employees have infiltrated back into Night City and set up a small covert base in the Unreclaimed Perimeter. Their goal is to locate and kidnap small children who exhibit certain neural mutations that allow them to be used as "Suns" - so-called because they resist Black ICE programs like R.A.B.I.D.s. By kidnapping and training them, the Corporation can start re-building the Internet with a complete monopoly. To this end, Arasaka mercenaries took out the local gangers, buying off some and murdering the rest. The bought-out gangers are now working local security for the Arasaka base.
Arasaka's forces consist of the bought-out gangers (stats as boosterganger, CPR, p 412), Arasaka mercenaries (stats as security operative, CPR, p 413, fanatically loyal and will fight to the death), and a single Arasaka cyber-ninja (stats as security officer, CPR, p 415, fanatically loyal and will fight to the death).
Setup: Player's caravan has just arrived on the outskirts of Night City. The leadership has asked her to grab a couple of local edgerunners and secure the perimeter, just to make sure nothing unpleasant has set up shop in the area while the caravan was peregrinating.
She'll have two NPCs with her, a Solo (Rebekah, mid-30's, gymnast, favors melee weapons and krav maga, which I'm using as reskinned karate) and a Netrunner (Whestley, 13 year old Black kid with a mullet and a gap in his teeth). These two are bullet sponges so I can use more mooks and also a way to show off how important hacking is to the setting. I run these guys like Dragon Age's companions, so they're not taking spotlight from the PC, but rather enabling them to get through obstacles they wouldn't otherwise be able to.
Scene 1: Briefing from caravan leadership, introduction to her companions. Head out into the perimeter in her car. Build paranoia by:
Revelations: Someone is out there, with suspected ties to Arasaka, and looking to secure the location for some purpose that may be inimical to the Nomads. If they report in, the leadership tells them to follow up and find out what exactly is going on, but that they'll have a few outriders mounted up and ready to go if the team runs into trouble.
Scene 2: The team goes on the hunt. There are a few ways to try tracking these guys down. The player might ask Whestley to trace those data streams, or they might start asking any of the remaining residents if they know anything about these newcomers. Alternatively, they might hide out and simply observe.
Whestley can't locate the base without unmasking those data streams, which requires a network key from a merc commo device. Never let an NPC solve a major problem for the player.
The locals know where the base is, but they also know that the mercs send out patrols. Lately, those patrols have consisted of a few local gangers who spend more time at Pat's (nearby saloon) than on actual reconaissance. Those patrols pass by about once every four to six hours.
Hiding and observing, the PCs watch the patrol stop to hassle the nearby residents; apparently these guys want the remaining residents to vacate the neighborhood. When the residents refuse, one of the patrol starts beating a little old lady, which should be a fairly good indicator that this dude is Not A Good Guy.
(To be clear, this patrol is three of the bought-out gangers in a dune buggy; with surprise and luck, they won't even get a shot off at the team).
Revelations: Regardless of how they handle things, the crew at least knows where the base is, even if they try to just tail the patrol back to the base.
If they jump the patrol, they grab a commo device, a base pass, a dune buggy, and a crude map showing the base's location, in addition to two shotguns and half a dozen grenades. In addition, all three of the patrolling gangers are sporting brand-new Arasaka WSA autopistols.
Whestley can use the commo device to accomplish 1d3 exploits getting them inside (since I'm not learning the actual Netrunning rules until I have a PC who wants to use them, I'm basically going to give Whestley a limited-use "hack" that can remove a single tech-based problem), as well as pinpointing the base entrance.
If they save the old lady, the locals will be happy to tell the team about a few kids who've gone missing in the area; one turned up a few weeks back dead in a ditch with needle marks and surgery scars.
Scene 3: Assaulting the base! The team can do some light recon on the base perimeter. They find overhead drones (spotting for the automated grenade launcher), an automated grenade launcher (more than enough to total any vehicle that comes within 400m), and a gateway to the subterranean base (which can only be opened by a base pass).
In addition, there's three gangers sitting near a campfire, playing Go Fish. They won't be fooled by disguises; they know each member of their gang by face (PCs know this).
A ventilation shaft cut into the side of the base gate lets the PCs avoid engaging the defenses, though the drones will still spot them unless they take some effort to counter thermal imaging.
Skills and relevant information:
Inside, most of the Arasaka mercs are away on a snatch and grab, so once the PCs are past the gateway, resistance is sparse. There are secondary cameras inside the gateway, so the Arasaka cyber-ninja knows they're coming 5 minutes after the team enters the complex. If the gangers are still alive on the surface, they will head down the base gateway and try to pin the team down in the hangar.
Once inside, there are four main areas: the hangar, the labs, the barracks, and the command center.
The Hangar is the first one up, and is mostly empty. There's three slots for AVs, two of which are empty, and a launch area in the middle. Two small offices adjoin the launch area, and a door leads onward. There's a lot of gas the Nomads could use, along with an AV that's been left with its engine in mid-rebuild. A small map of the base is located in one of the offices, drawn on Arasaka-branded notebook paper. The computers are for maintenance and solitaire, and have limited hookups to the rest of the network (if they take 10 minutes, Whestley can gain 1 exploit).
From here, there are two paths forward. One leads to the labs, one leads to the barracks. In the barracks, two Arasaka mercs are dressing rapidly (half armor). The team can refill on ammo, and there's one dose of speedheal available. Two flashbangs are next to a poster of a J-Pop idol singer. The team can proceed to the command center, the labs, or go back to the hangar.
In the labs, there are four children being run against a single R.A.B.I.D program. Whestley is appalled, and one of the kids dies in front of the PCs, thrashing in the grip of malicious code. Whestley can spend 3 exploits to lock the RABID away from the kids, long enough for the team to unhook these kids and get them out.
Also in here is a cyberdeck chip that gives Whestley 1 exploit, a dose of speedheal (in case they missed the one in the barracks), and a laser katana (as Heavy Melee Weapon, allows the wielder to add their DEX stat to damage dealt for 1 minute per day).
As soon as the PCs either save the kids, or decide not to, the cyber-ninja strikes. Accompanied by two mercs, the cyberninja goes for Rebekah first. The ninja tries to break the legs of any kid they manage to unhook, the better to slow the party down. The mercs are very careful not to fire if the kids are anywhere near their targets, so they may close to melee range.
The ninja and the mercs fight to the death.
Once the ninja and mercs are dead, an alert is triggered - the other mercs are only 15 minutes out and returning fast!
In the command center, the PCs can find all the relevant documentation for the project...locked behind an Arasaka-created infinity code that requires a code-key to decrypt (only found in the Arasaka HQ in Tokyo). If the ninja has not previously struck, they will attack the PCs as the PCs enter this area (see the labs for details on the cyber-ninja battle).
Aftermath: Once the Nomads are apprised of the threat, they "Nope!" right the f*** out of there. It's not their problem and they want nothing to do with Arasaka, dead kids, and Black ICE experiments. Anything the crew discovered gets turned over to NCPD.
submitted by Sparky_McDibben to cyberpunkred [link] [comments]

2023.05.30 04:08 ShihTzusrule-12 SOMEONE FROM MY PAST COULD RUIN MY LIFE

I’m new to reddit. So, I guess a little about me: F/34/LA.
I’m not really sure how to start this. Or what I hope to get out of it. Help, I guess. And I know it’s a shot in the dark but I’m just hoping that maybe there’s someone out there who’s dealt with something similar? It sounds insane to talk about out loud to anyone other than close friends or family and as for my close friends and family… well, for reasons that will become apparent let’s just say I can’t really talk to my friends and family about this. So if you have any advice I’d really appreciate it because I’m getting pretty fucking desperate at this point. And I don’t have a lot of time left before she comes to visit.
She. Sorry. I mean Melissa. At least, I thought that was her name. Now I’m not so sure.
Two weeks ago, I was literally living my best life. Not how people say it as a joke. Like, actually. I’d had some tumultuous years in my late teens/early 20’s but those ups and downs were all behind me. I’d accepted some hard truths and settled into a life that I’d worked hard for. My on-off boyfriend of 13 years finally popped the question (if I’d had it my way we would’ve been married a decade ago). So I was just enjoying being newly engaged. My best friend flew us out to Paris to celebrate and start looking at dresses in some boutiques there. Life was really, really good.
So yeah, about my friend. My best friend is a pretty huge actress. She’s like super well known. In fact, whoever’s reading this, I’m actually positive you’ve either seen her work or at the very least know her name/face. She and I, like my now-fiancé and I, met in college. We were both majoring in journalism but actually never met in the journalism school. We met in acting class. See my dream was always to be a super-famous actress. It sounds insane now but at the time that was genuinely all I cared about. That dream was legitimately what got me out of bed in the morning. I always saw journalism as my back-up, but even then, I thought my back-up was like being a news anchor or hosting (like Andy Cohen or Maria Menounos vibes). I never thought I’d work behind the camera (which I do now, and I love!). Actually if you went back in time and told 18-year-old me that 34-year-old me would be a line producer on a local news show, 18-year-old me would have probably been suicidal. But anyways. My best friend and I hit it off in acting class freshman year and pretty quickly became inseparable. In a lot of ways, her friendship has saved my life over the years. She means a lot to me.
But that said, it wasn’t always easy being her friend, when we had the same goals and she had such a leg up. She comes from a family that let’s just say has a lot of resources (without going into detail, to protect hemy identity) and her family had no problem throwing those resources behind her to make it all happen for her in Hollywood. In fact, she ended up dropping out Sophomore year. Staying at school didn’t make sense. She was just getting too many role offers.
So, yeah. That was hard. I’d taken out massive loans and my parents didn’t have any resources to throw behind me. I was on my own. And by best friend was smooth sailing from role to role, signing with major talent agencies and being spotted with major Hollywood heartthrobs. She didn’t know it, and I’m not proud of it, in fact I’m super embarrassed about it now, but for a while there, I was pretty much extremely, seriously jealous to a dark/unhealthy extent.
So anyways.
My best friend and I were walking in to a Parisian boutique to try on a few dresses when I got a text from a number I didn’t recognize.
“Hey girl! I just heard the news, so excited for you and (my fiancé). Lots of love xxx”
I’d gotten so many congratulations texts in the week since I’d gotten engaged, I didn’t think anything of it. I was just a bit embarrassed to not have the number saved – I have a bad habit of not saving numbers – but nevertheless just responded: “hey! Thank you so much! I actually just got a new phone and not all of my contacts synced 🙈whose number is this?” The typing bubble popped up… then vanished. Then popped up…
“It’s Melissa! From (university’s name).” I instantly got a pit in my stomach.
Melissa was someone who I’d very intentionally left in the past.
Melissa and I were also friends from school. But she’d entered my life during a really dark chapter and to be honest, when I think of her, it’s hard not to picture her as the other shoe dropping.
When my best friend first left university for Hollywood, I’d gone through a period of intense loneliness. At the same time, my boyfriend (now fiancé) and I had hit a rough patch – stupid shit, just juvenile 19-year-old stuff. I was wondering if our relationship had any future at all, really, or if I wanted more out of a partnerelationship. I’d never felt so alone.
And then I met Melissa.
She was extremely charismatic, that’s what first struck me about her. And she listened. As we got to know each other, that’s what a big takeaway was for me. She was the first person in my life who really, truly listened and not only that, wanted to know the answers to the questions she was asking me. And more than that, she never forgot anything. We’d lay out on the quad for hours, her just letting me vent about my best friend, my boyfriend, my parents, my insanely high-achieving brother. She was fascinated. And the way she looked at me, it was like I was all that mattered to her. Like I was her world.
I know that sounds weird. But for someone like me, who’d never been that important to anyone, it was actually really nice.
The thing is, I think I told her a little too much.
See, my boyfriend had really been getting on my nerves (for the reasons above) at that point in my life. Plus, I don’t know, I was young and stupid. Let’s chalk it up to that. But anyways. I’m not proud of what I did. But I did it. I cheated on him with… let’s call him BRAD* (*obviously changed the name, not taking the chance that someone who knows us will find this and connect the dots). Brad was just some frat guy I met at a party and honestly, I don’t really know what I was thinking, but we ended up having sex. At first it was just like, a one-time-thing at a party, we were both kind of drunk, whatever. But then it became a way I could somehow sabotage my relationship and fuck up my own life, so of course I kept doing it. I probably cheated on my (now fiancé) upwards of 30 times over the course of six months with Brad. And the worse part is, a few years later, Brad and I did it again (during my quarter-life crisis). Of course, my fiance to this day has no idea. Yes, we’d dated other people during the times we were “off” again, but we were very much “on” during the times I’d slept with Brad and honestly, on some level I was fucking Brad because I was just so angry with my fiancé (at that time) and wanted to hurt him.
Melissa always lent an ear to my relationship problems and relished in the stories about Brad. She thought the whole thing was just so scandalous and delicious and asked for every last detail. Of course, I gave them. I was very much with my boyfriend (now fiancé) and my best friend was off on location too busy to respond to my texts let alone talk for hours, so at this point in my life Melissa was the one person in the whole world I could be honest with.
I also told her a lot, I mean a fucking lot of personal details about my best friend, that she’d shared in confidence. I figured Melissa was like a vault. I’d never tried therapy at that time, but now I know that I was basically treating Melissa like a therapist, as if she’d signed an NDA. I told her about my best friend’s traumas, her ED, her parent’s divorce, private details of her dad’s quirky habits and insane romantic life, her innermost secrets, everything. My dumb 19-year-old ass told myself I was only telling Melissa this as a way to process it all and help me be there for my best friend. And honestly, it did feel good talking it out with someone because my best friend’s lavish upbringing was just sooo foreign to me at the time so Melissa and my gossip-sessions were a way of processing it. But the truth is that I was doing this out of like, some deep dark void inside me. Jealousy. Anger. Disdain. You name it. And whenever I was with Melissa, I felt this darkness growing, like every negative emotion I’d ever had was festering inside and all my insides were turning black like coal.
Whew. Okay. So that’s just the tip of the ice berg, but it’s enough.
So, you can see why, while sitting in that boutique with my best friend, who’d literally flown me out first class to fucking PARIS, FRANCE and was going to be the maid of honor in my wedding to MY FIANCE, I was extremely disturbed to get a text from Melissa.
I was so freaked out I actually dropped my phone. My best friend rushed to pick it up so I wouldn’t spill my complimentary champagne flute, but I beat her to it. She eyed me, I was definitely acting weird, but after a moment we just went back to looking at dresses. I spent about 20 minutes absentmindedly raving about dresses (while secretly trying to not have a heart attack) before my phone dinged again.
“(My name)? Are you there?”
I was actually starting to feel ill at this point. Because there was a lot more I’d told Melissa during our friendship, things that could hurt me, my family, my friends, my relationships. Basically, Melissa was like the one person on earth who had all the ammo she needed to ruin my life. And normally, I’d be like – who cares? So what? But the thing is, I know she’d do it. I can’t tell you how I know. It’s just a feeling I got from her towards the end of our friendship, before I’d started to distance myself. It was something in her eyes that wasn’t quite right. It was the frothy vigor with which she’d try to get me to open up to her, digging deeper and deeper into the weird web of traumas, lies, and secrets. Mine and everyone else’s.
She’d really revealed herself towards the end with all the times she’d pushed just a little too hard for info. I wasn’t sure what she’d do with it – or why – but I got that feeling in my gut that something wasn’t right. Plus, by the end of our friendship, my best friend’s schedule had calmed down and she was back in my life full-time. And my boyfriend and I had worked through our issues and were actually really happy. So in the end, Melissa became… baggage. Scary baggage. A liability, actually. Something I had to cut loose. So I did.
My phone dinged. Melissa, again. “Hello?”
My best friend looked over, laughing about how popular I was. “getting engaged’ll do that to you, I guess.” I tried to laugh, to look calm, but I was not calm.
I figured I’d bite the bullet. “Hey, (best friend), do you remember Melissa? From school?” My best friend raised an eyebrow quizzically. “Melissa? Was she a pi phi?” No. Melissa hated sororities. After a few more half-hearted guesses, my best friend shrugged. She didn’t know any Melissa from school.
That was weird. But I figured, she dropped out sophomore year, before I really started hanging out with Melissa. It made enough sense.
But later, I asked my fiancé if he remembered Melissa from school. Sure, it’s been a decade or so, but he has a pretty stellar memory. But even he was drawing a blank. Nope. No Melissa.
This is where it started to get weird.
I texted a few friends asking if they knew Melissa from school’s address for a save-the-date (it occurred to me I couldn’t recall Melissa’s last name, which for some reason gave me chills). Literally every single one was like “who?” Nobody could seem to remember her.
The weird thing was, I could recall her like I’d just seen her yesterday. I could close my eyes now and see her like she was standing a foot away from me. Tall, skinny, blonde with dark eyes and a button nose. She walked a little funny, with a limp that she said came from a childhood accident, she’d been hit by a car but didn’t like to talk about it. And this intensity behind her eyes. When I first met her it wasn’t there, she was actually pretty childlike with big smile and this goofy-silly-fun energy about her, like a twelve-year-old in a twenty-year-old’s body. But as we got deeper into our weird-intense-co-dependent and semi-fucked up friendship she’d gotten… darker. By the end, I felt unnerved just being in her presence. Like I had to take a shower after seeing her, almost, it’s hard to put into words, she was just bad vibes. But what was weird about it was when I tried to shake her off and cut her loose, it was easy. Like one day she was just poof, gone out of my life. I can’t say I was very sad about it, either.
I was trying to enjoy dinner in Paris with my fiancé but my phone kept blowing up. It was Melissa again. And again. And again. Her most recent text read: “I know you’re busy but I need a favor.”
I turned my phone’s ringer off. But I couldn’t shake the paranoia and anxiety. How did she know I was busy? Did she mean in life, or literally right now, because I was at dinner with my fiancé? Did she know I was at dinner with him? How could she?
Later that night I figured I had to respond to her, or I’d run the risk of pissing her off. And IDK if you’ve ever been in a situation with someone who could seriously fuck up your life and relationships but you don’t want to piss them off.
I typed: “Hey, Melissa! So good to hear from you! Sorry for the delayed response, I’m out of the country celebrating my engagement. I’ll be back on my phone soon.”
Melissa responded immediately, despite the insane time difference. I wasn’t sure where she was living these days, but it must be somewhere in a vastly different time zone, and wherever she was, it had to be an odd hour at that time.
“We need to speak in person.”
For some reason, a chill ran down my spine. The thought of seeing her face-to-face after all these years… well, weirdly, I felt like I’d seen her face to face recently. Like, in my dreams. When I closed my eyes. She felt near, in a weird way that I couldn’t quite explain.
I was losing patience but still wanted… or needed, to tread lightly. I typed: “what’s this about?”
“Remember how I was hit by a car?”
This whole thing just kept getting weirder and creepier.
“It has to do with that.”
What did she want from me? And why was she being so roundabout? She wasn’t threatening me – again, she didn’t have to, the threat was implied – but still. I couldn’t quite figure it out.
I told her I’d see her first thing when I got back from Paris. I get back from Paris tomorrow. And I’m feeling… not great about it, to be honest.
So yeah. I don’t know what to do. And I’m freaking out.
ISO: advice for how to handle this? How to just somehow avoid her and/or not panic about my entire life being ruined?
Thanks in advance.
submitted by ShihTzusrule-12 to nosleep [link] [comments]