downhill running

shiv

///


November 14th.
In the coffee shop,
the man in the
Make America Great Again hat
smiles at me, so I take this
as an invitation.


“Pardon me, but I have to ask—
do you think Trump’s
ideologies keep every person
in this country safe?“


He doesn’t hesitate.


“Ma’am, I can’t get wrapped up
in identity politics, all I can
worry about is how
I’m going to feed my girls.”


///


At my 40th birthday party,
an acquaintance asks
why we have “so much
Mexican art in the house.”

“It might be because I’m Mexican,” I say.

“No,” he laughs, “you’re not Mexican.”

“Yes. I am.”

“No,” he continues, reassuringly,
“and if you are, you’re only, maybe, 17%.“

The winter air stiffens between us.
An old, familiar pain.


///


There was a time when I
would have thanked him.


The early years,
when I wanted only to pass,
to rid myself of my last name—
the dead giveaway,
its muddy lineage


crawl out from the burying shame
that held me down every time
my father picked me up
from school in our shitty car,
his bushy mustache
& brown face
magnified by the sun.


///


A local white woman
posts a photo of her new tattoo:
a Mayan god etched eternal
on her flesh. When I point out
the disrespect, she assures me
she speaks Spanish fluently,
spent three years
in South America.


For the next six hours,
I argue with her friends.
They demand I quit being so
divisive. Judgemental. Close-minded.


“We have a racist running for President,
and you’re complaining about a tattoo?”
asks the white boy, who spray paints
murals all over this city
with impunity.


O, to be permitted the luxury
of only worrying about one thing at a time.


O, to be white in America,
to wake up knowing every god is your god.


///


When you never see yourself,
you search for yourself all the time.


You know the white girl
in the sombrero isn’t you.
The bro dude in Calavera makeup
isn’t either, not the ponchos
and glued on mustaches,
not the lowrider Chevy
in the Disney movie
or the hoochie-coochie
sex pot on the Emmy
award-winning television show.


Maybe you are only this:


the scorched bird pulled
from the chimney,
covered in soot.
Not the actual bird,
its velvet sack
of jigsaw’d bones,
but the feeling
of recognition.


The ash of knowing.


///


A white comedian tells this joke:
“I used to date Hispanics,
but now I prefer consensual.”


The audience laughs.
And you do, too.
Until the punchline hardens,
translates into a stone
in your throat.


You swallow it, like you always do.


You don’t change the channel,
but you also can’t remember
a single joke she tells after that.


A few months later, the comedian’s career
blows up. She’s so real. So edgy.
Such a hardcore feminist.
When someone writes an essay on
her old stand-up routines—
noting her blindspot when it comes to race,


her response is:


“It is a joke and it is funny.
I know that because people laugh at it.”


///


If two Mexicans are in a car, who is driving?
A police officer.


How do you starve a Mexican?
Put their food stamps in their work boots.


What’s the difference between a Mexican and an elevator?
One can raise a child.


What do you call a Mexican baptism?
Bean dip


How do you stop a Mexican from robbing your house?
Put a help wanted sign in the window.


What do you call a Mexican driving a BMW?
Grand theft auto


What do you call a Mexican without a lawnmower?
Unemployed


What do you call a building full of Mexicans?
Jail


How do you keep Mexicans from stealing?
Put everything of value on the top shelf.


What do you call a bunch of Mexicans running downhill?
A mudslide.


Why don’t Mexicans play Hide ’n Seek?
No one will look for them.


What does a Mexican get for Christmas?
Your TV.


What do you call the Arizona man shot to death
by his white neighbor, screaming, “Go back to Mexico!”
Juan Varela


///


November 29th.
For weeks, I’ve avoided
eye contact with strangers.
My face is a closed curtain.
My mouth, the most
decorated knife.
I pay for groceries,
grab the receipt &
let my half-hearted
thank yous trail like smoke.
I no longer want to see
who refuses to see me.


Anyone is everyone.


///


December 1st.
I keep waking up.
There isn’t anyone
white enough to stop me.


Pantomime the living until
the body remembers:
wicked bitch. Bloodwhirl.
Patron Saint of the Grab Back.


Still. Still. Still. Still. Still. Still here.


///


I etch my own face upon my wicked flesh.
I am my own devastating god.

 


Rachel McKibbens, Dec. 2016

orangeisorange replied to your post “Well… hello there. Very interesting. Lyla is back for 5x19.”

I love your reviews, thanks for writing them. The problem I have with Olicity is that a reunion would be contingent upon things we haven’t seen on-screen. Oliver and Felicity hardly feel like friends anymore, so it’s all based on the fact that the writers are delaying the confrontation to end all confrontation. My fear is that it might not happen.

I thought your comment was really interesting @orangeisorange, so I wanted to kick it up to a separate post to respond to it. Hope that’s okay. I would say that if we are feeling a distance between Olicity this year then that’s appropriate. There is a distance between them. Yes, they’ve figured out how to work together. They are fighting crime together, but they haven’t worked out their personal issues.  They aren’t addressing them, because (like I said) if they do then they’ll get back together and Arrow is trying to milk this. Not unusual for a television show. We want the conversations to happen in 5x05 or heck even in Season 4. Arrow decides to push it to the back half of Season 5. The push/pull dynamic on pacing between writers/network and audience is always a frustrating one, but it’s the reality of a television show.

Are Oliver and Felicity as close as they were in Season 4 or maybe even Season 3? NO. That is intentional. They are intentionally leaving this wall between them because A) they are trying to move on and B) they don’t know how to fix what went wrong between them, despite the intense love they feel for one another. Is that frustrating as a viewer? Yes. We can scream, “TALK!” at the top of our lungs, but it’s not going to happen until it happens. Does Olicity work better together than apart? Yes. Does the show work better when they are together? Yes. I’m not saying there isn’t room for complaint, but I don’t necessarily find Oliver and Felicity’s behavior towards one another out of character for the situation they are in. 

That’s not to say there isn’t a rebuild. That’s not to say Arrow hasn’t put in the narrative beats so that when these conversations finally come it makes sense. Closing this distance, finding their way back to one another, is a huge piece of their individual arcs. Simply because it hasn’t happened yet doesn’t mean it won’t happen. Nor should we really expect it to happen in episode 5 or episode 14 of a season. That’s just not how episodic television works. Frustrating? Yes, but watching a 23 episode season live is a long and arduous process. 

I don’t really agree this confrontation is contingent on things we haven’t seen on screen. We’ve seen the progression of this rebuild on screen all season long. For those who don’t see the rebuild, there’s something I do sometimes. It’s a little trick I play in my mind. Arrow is very much like Buffy where the romantic relationship is a core tennant of the show, but it’s not a main focus of the show. There’s episodes that focus on Olicity and then there’s many episodes that don’t. We get smaller moments, snip its, or none at all. This is true of  every single season of Arrow. So, sometimes what I do to see the narrative beats, is remove those in between episodes and focus on the big Olicity ones.

5x01 - Diggle kicks off the season long question that Oliver has to answer.

Keep reading

1. “You could rattle the stars. You could do anything if only you dared. And deep down, you know it too, and that’s what scares you the most.” —Sarah J. Maas, Throne of Glass

2. “When people fall in love, they burst into flames.” Jandy Nelson, I’ll Give You the Sun

3. “The words were on their way, and when they arrived, she would hold them in her hands like clouds, and she would ring them out like the rain.” —Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

4. “Things were rough all over but it was better that way. That way, you could tell the other guy was human too.” —S.E. Hinton, The Outsiders

5. “I try to think about how it all works. At school dances, I sit in the background, and I tap my toe, and I wonder how many couples will dance to ‘their song.’ In the hallways, I see the girls wearing the guys’ jackets, and I think about the idea of property. And I wonder if anyone is really happy. I hope they are. I really hope they are.” —Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

6. “To be careful with people and with words was a rare and beautiful thing.” Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

7. “He didn’t give me flowers or candy. He gave me the moon and the stars. Infinity.” —Jenny Han, We’ll Always Have Summer

8. “He was contemplation and enthusiasm. Ambition and strong coffee. I could have looked at him forever.” ―E. Lockhart, We Were Liars

9. “She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn’t supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something.” Rainbow Rowell, Eleanor & Park

10. “Slowly, very slowly, he sat up and as he did so he felt more alive and more aware of his own living body than ever before. Why had he never appreciated what a miracle he was, brain and nerve and bounding heart?” ―J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

11. “Real life was something happening in her peripheral vision.” ―Rainbow Rowell, Fangirl

12. “Without a filter, a man is just chaos walking.” ―Patrick Ness, The Knife of Never Letting Go

13. “Don’t be afraid of death; be afraid of an unlived life. You don’t have to live forever, you just have to live.” Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting

14. “Live! Live the wonderful life that is in you! Let nothing be lost upon you. Be always searching for new sensations. Be afraid of nothing.”—Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

15. “It’s like the people who believe they’ll be happy if they go and live somewhere else, but who learn it doesn’t work that way. Wherever you go, you take yourself with you. If you see what I mean.” —Neil Gaiman, The Graveyard Book

16. “We feel cold, but we don’t mind it, because we will not come to harm. And if we wrapped up against the cold, we wouldn’t feel other things, like the bright tingle of the stars, or the music of the aurora, or best of all the silky feeling of moonlight on our skin. It’s worth being cold for that.” —Philip Pullman, The Golden Compass

19. “The right belief is like a good cloak, I think. If it fits you well, it keeps you warm and safe. The wrong fit however, can suffocate.” ―Brandon Sanderson, The Final Empire

20. “October extinguished itself in a rush of howling winds and driving rain and November arrived, cold as frozen iron, with hard frosts every morning and icy drafts that bit at exposed hands and faces.” ―J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

21. Sometimes writing is running downhill, your fingers jerking behind you on the keyboard the way your legs do when they can’t quite keep up with gravity.” ―Rainbow Rowell, Fangirl

22.  “His soul might be a sun. I’ve never met anyone who had the sun for a soul.” ―Jandy Nelson, I’ll Give You the Sun

23. “I bet you could sometimes find all the mysteries of the universe in someone’s hand.” ―Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

24. “Libraries were full of ideas–perhaps the most dangerous and powerful of all weapons.”Sarah J. Maas, Throne of Glass

25. “To draw you must close your eyes and sing.” ―Jandy Nelson, I’ll Give You the Sun

Let’s get in the mood.

Initial D is a manga started in 1995 that ran until 2013, as well as an anime that began in 1998 and ended in 2014. It stars Takumi Fujiwara as a driving prodigy specializing in downhill runs and details his journey into the world of touge street racing. The series is a giant love letter to the AE86 as well as many late 80s/early and mid-90s Japanese sports cars. 

And like any successful manga/anime series, there have been plenty of games. It’s a formula that lends itself well in the right developers’ hands, and the quality of these games range from abysmal to terrific.

Keep reading

Mermaid Street, Rye, East Sussex, England.

Mermaid Street lies in the heart of a Conservation Area with delightful Georgian and half-timbered houses, cobbled streets, pretty harbour and quirky shops. It is storybook lovely, with cobbles running steeply downhill and historic houses either side.

It is home to the famous Mermaid Inn, which is one of England’s oldest and is stuffed with four posters and secret passageways.Turn the corner and there is Lamb House, home of E F Benson when he was writing his novels, and earlier by Henry James, who wrote three masterpieces there, The Wings of a Dove, The Ambassadors and The Golden Bowl. It is now in the hands of the National Trust.

Photo by Sam Moore.

Source: Telegraph.

Daddy's Little Genius

Title: Daddy’s Little Genius
Pairing: Tony Stark/Teen!You (parental)
Character(s): Tony Stark/Iron Man, Bruce Banner/The Hulk, Peter Parker/Spider-Man, Steve Rogers/Captain America, and you.
Plot: well, Mom’s dead and now it’s time to find dad.
Warnings: cursing? Alcohol mentioned a few- sadness a bit
Words: 2242

Keep reading

justice-or-revenge  asked:

Welcome to Be More Chill hell, my dude

Listen,, It just had really nice music and I got curious. It’s really good.

3

TOURISM TIPS: Acqua, water, wasser, eau, H20 - Big Noses in Rome

A bit off topic, but since it’s a tourist season I decided to compile a list of Big Noses ( “water posts”) of Rome. Of course this list is just off the top of my head, so there are surely plenty more of them. Add yours…:-)

1. Trajans market
Climb the stairway that leads to the musei fori imperiali (Trajan’s forum), walk past the museum entrance  & street that runs downhill (right).After 10-20  meters walk or so take a next corner to the right and you’ll find a Big Nose there (next to a roundabout). Centrally located and one of my favourite “refueling points”. Other people seem to like it too, since there is frequently a queue.

2. Forum Romanum, Colosseum, Capitolium and Palatinum.

There is a sort of a fountain next to the entrance of metro station. Water comes straight from a wall, but in this case it’s “acqua potable”. Also ca. 10 years ago there was a “water post” on the opposite side of metro entrance and also at the foot of the stairs that lead to Palatine Hill. Don’t know though if they are still in use. On Capitoline Hill, behind Palazzo Senatorio there is also a “water post”

3. Campus Martius

A Big Nose can be found on the western side of Piazza Campo dei Fiori (next to the statue of Giordano Bruno). There is also a Big Nose at Largo di Torre di Argentina. It’s located on the Nort-Eastern side of the archaeological area. The third waterpost that I can recall is on Via dei Banchi Vecchi that runs parallel to Corso Vittorio Emmanuele. For me this was a real gem, since I had run out of water and was jumping of joy when i heard a familiar sound of Big Nose  :). Oddly enough I can’t recall any water posts on the northern side of the area, but surely there must be them (not along the main streets of Corso or Via dei Ripetta  though - IIRC)

4. Aventinus

There is a Big Nose and also a water fountain at Parco degli  Aranci (one of my favurite places in Rome btw). Two of the photos are actually taken there

5. Trastevere, Janiculum and Vatican area

My remembrances are a bit vague on this part, but in any case it’s a pretty sweaty climb from Trastevere to Gianigolo. I somehow recall that that there is a “fueling point” near Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere. I’m not sure about this but at least there is  a one water post at the halfway of the ascent (intersection of V. Garibaldi and   V . Gottfriedo Mamelli). I somehow recall that there is also a Big Nose near the top of Gianicolo Hill though I’m not sure of this either. As for northern part of Gianicolo and Vatican area water posts are few and far between. The only one that I can remember is located on Via delle Consiliazione pretty close to river Tiber (on the right side of the street seen from St Peter’s basilica).

6. Railway station area

There is a water post at the Northernmost point of Piazza dei Cincuecento (close to the intersection of Viale  Enrico de Nicola and Via Marsala.) This is a good place to fill up your water bottle(s) since IIRC there are zero Big noses on the three main streets (Cavour, Nazionale and XX Settembre) that lead from Termini area towards Forum Romanum. And btw, if you need other refreshments there is a pretty good grocery store just one block away (between V. Gaeta, Solferino and Volturno).

7. Parco degli Aqcuedotti

IIRC on Via Lemonia, just before the entrance to the park there is a playground where you’ll find a water post. Also on Viale Giulio Agricola - a street that leads from metro station to the park - there is a grocery store where you can buy all sort of refreshments. And I certainly recommend  that you fill your water bottle(s) before you enter the park, since I couldn’t see any Big Noses there.

Trust You

My submission this time fought me tooth and frigging nail and went places didn’t expect it to go, entirely without my permission… I brought back my OC from Ash’s last challenge, since I’m already so attached to her. Aaaand I’m still struggling with mobile (if anyone can give me any posting tips, I’ll love you forever!) No smut this time. Sorry!

Prompt: Rainy Afternoon

Word Count: 4,074

Summary: “As far as Negan was concerned, either Mother Nature was PMSing bigger than shit or was off her meds…”

###

The ungodly heat had finally abated, the temperature dropping from the devil’s ass crack to something resembling summer on Earth, but it had been replaced with rain. A fuck ton of rain. If not a downpour that just about flooded the Sanctuary, then at least a constant drizzle that kept everything soggy. Where the sun had been relentless a few days before, now it had been hidden behind clouds so long even the memory of it seemed like a tall tale.

As far as Negan was concerned, either Mother Nature was PMSing bigger than shit or was off her fucking meds.

He sat in his office with his feet propped up on the desk, leaning back in the padded chair and staring out the window. He was ordinarily proud of the office, with a bad ass desk made of solid oak, a bad ass rolling chair upholstered in leather with adjustable lumbar support, a really bad ass aquarium that would have held a few tropical fish in another lifetime, some important-looking filing cabinets and an even more important-looking liquor cabinet, some nice paintings on the walls, a dart board, a novelty singing fish for the hell of it, and a couple straight-backed wooden chairs in decent enough shape not to be an eyesore but plain and uncomfortable enough to remind visitors where they ranked on the totem pole. Put together with luxury and prestige in mind, he always felt like a king in his office. Always.

And today he was sick of it. He could blame the weather, the myriad difficulties of running a substantial community, further reports of groups causing trouble in said substantial community, anything he damn well fucking felt like. The simple truth was that he was plain ass bored.

He swiveled slightly in the chair and folded his hands thoughtfully. Maybe he could call one of his wives in and bend her over the desk—Amber was delightfully fuckable the last time she was in his office—or maybe one of his men would be up for a game of darts—Fat Joey had joked about a rematch awhile ago—or hell, he’d even listen to the stupid fucking fish on the wall if it helped pass the time.

Rolling his eyes at himself, he got to his feet and crossed the room to the fish he found at turns annoying and amusing, pressing the button to get the thing flopping and dancing as “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” broke the silence.

It was no fucking surprise to discover he was in a mood to consider it annoying.

He turned to the window and stared out through the rain. He had some of the best views in the Sanctuary; walking into the office, visitors could see the fence with its undead guardians and the pariahs tending them, but from his desk in the opposite direction he could see lawn and garden, the life among the dead. Not that there was much to see right now. If anything survived this rain, it would be soggy or rotten or whatever the fuck happened to plants when they got too much water.

He paused as movement outside caught his eye. A cluster of people were out in the garden, ignoring the rain as they went about their work, though whatever that was was beyond him. What kind of yard work could you possibly fucking do when it was raining cats and fucking dogs? He watched them for a few minutes, then lost interest and left the window.

It wasn’t until later when he was making a surprise inspection of the Sanctuary—bored the fuck out of his motherfucking mind—that he found the mud and water tracked inside, an ever-widening path stretching from door to—

He froze, dumbstruck. Plants. Plants everywhere. Vines, bushes, even a few of the smaller fruit trees, dug up into pots and buckets and spread out across the factory floor, draining and dripping all over the fucking place. It was a clusterfuck if he ever saw one, and if there was one thing he prided himself on, it was neatness.

“What the fuck is all this shit?” he demanded loudly. “Someone better tell me who the holy fuck is responsible for this, and they better have a fucking phenomenal excuse!”

Four people walked through the doors from the rain outside, two of them carrying a huge bucket with a peach sapling between them and the others hauling smaller pots holding other plants, all of them soaking wet and mud-smeared as they carefully made their way across the filthy floor.

Negan advanced, slipping in the mud. He recovered his balance, but a near miss wasn’t going to do shit to improve his mood. Seething with irritation, he approached the little group and said, “Any of you care to explain to me what the fuck you think you’re doing, dragging this goddamned mess all the fuck over knowing good and fucking well how I like to keep a clean house and that your housemates bust their fucking asses keeping this place presentable? Anyone?”

All four of them set down their containers and three of them bowed their heads respectfully, looking slightly nervous. The fourth, however, kept her head up and her gaze locked on his face as if not to miss a word of his tirade, and as he got closer he recognized her. Wendy, the deaf gardener.

Well, whatever the fuck was going on, now it made a little more sense.

He stopped in front of all of them, assessing each of them and saving Wendy for last. She was as thin as ever, her rain-soaked clothes clinging to every bone, mud up to her knees and elbows. “How about it, friends?” he asked, watching her for signs of explanation. “It’s the wrong fucking weather for gardening, and even I know that goddamn much.”

Wendy raised her hands and started signing rapidly, then paused at the blank look on his face and motioned for one of her companions to explain. A middle-aged woman with streaks of silver in her hair spoke. “The rain is flooding the garden. We had to relocate what we could or lose the entire crop.”

Well, he supposed he knew that too, though the status was a little more dire than he expected. Some of his irritation ebbed away and he looked around at the plants they had rescued, still dripping water and turning from a healthy green to a strange shade of yellow. The Sanctuary didn’t survive on tribute alone, and there were a lot of people to be fed. If they lost what they could grow themselves they wouldn’t exactly starve, but there would be a lot more people as scrawny as Wendy. “Have we lost anything so far?”

“There’s been water standing in the cabbages since the rain started,” the older of the two men replied, “and the seeds we started after the drought will have washed away by now. We won’t know about anything we dug up until they’ve had a chance to dry out a little.”

“How bad would you say it is, as it is? Your best guesstimate?”

Wendy immediately gave a thumbs-down.

The seriousness of her expression took him by surprise. “That bad?”

“Possibly,” said the young man, barely more than a kid. Holy shit, he could almost have been one of Negan’s students, he was that young, yet he looked at least as serious as Wendy. “The entire plot is on a grade. You barely notice it just walking around, but the water all runs downhill to pool at the bottom.”

“Into the cabbages,” Negan ventured, cocking a finger gun at the older man.

He nodded. “It’s not been a problem before, but we’ve never had it flood like this, either.”

Negan looked past them to the rain outside. “Anything left out there you might be able to haul in here?”

Wendy shrugged and the woman agreed, “It’s just the cabbages now and the fruit trees big enough to outlast the weather. We’ll have to start the seeds over, and there won’t be any green beans this season at this rate.”

“Well now, honey, that is a damn tragedy,” he replied. “Based on what we have, minus cabbages and green beans, are we in danger of imminent starvation?”

Wendy looked poised to communicate something but the older man said, “Based on what I see right here, there’s not much chance for half of what we saved. At least half. They’ve been out there drowning too long, they’ll never dry out before they start rotting.”

Negan watched Wendy for any sign of agreement; she was watching the other man closely, following every word as it shaped his lips. She turned back to Negan at a gesture from him, and he asked her, “How ‘bout it, sweetheart? Is it as bad as all that, or can we do better?”

She looked at all the containers, seeing the drooping vines and puddles of water still draining out of the pots and buckets, and he waited patiently for her to answer, finally raising her hand and holding it flat while rocking it slightly back and forth.

“Maybe?”

She nodded.

“All right, then. What do we do?”

“There’s not much we can do,” the man replied. “They’re all sitting in mud, they’re not much better off in here than—”

“Pardon the fucking shit out of me, my friend,” Negan cut him off. “I do so hate to interrupt, but what is your name?”

The man paused momentarily before responding, “Travis.”

“Well then, Travis, as I said, I hate to interrupt you, but you’ve already weighed in on this shit show and pronounced it fucked up beyond all recognition, and while I respect your opinion, I still reserve the fucking right to seek another. Wendy here says more can be done, so I’m talking to her right now, and I say one more fucking time, I hate interruptions.”

Travis fell silent, bowing his head and looking away.

“Now then, Wendy darling,” Negan said, turning back to her, “what’s your game plan?”

She carefully spelled it out, keeping to the alphabet and signing slowly as he followed along. They need dry soil. They’ll drown soon as they are.

Negan paused, skeptical. “I’d say that’s a plan, darling, but it’s raining the standard forty days and forty nights and I’m thinking of building a fucking ark as it is, so where on God’s soggy ass earth do we find dry soil?”

“Any old hardware or feed store carries potting soil,” the kid suggested. “Dirt isn’t exactly in high demand, so we should be able to scavenge some.”

Negan raised an eyebrow. “I don’t know where you came from, son, but you’re with the Saviors now,” he said, “and the Saviors don’t scavenge for shit.”

Even in emergencies? Wendy signed.

All right, she got him there. Back when they were first trying to make this pile of bricks work and everything was a lights-and-sirens emergency, they had scavenged their asses off with the best of the vultures and carrion-eaters. They had toyed jokingly with the idea of referring to themselves as the Crows before they rose up in the world—not that that was saying much. So yeah, they used to scavenge like bottom feeders, but there was no need for Wendy to know that.

He assessed the kid and the other woman one more time, taking their stock and thinking seriously. “So I’m to understand it will be a disaster if we sit back and wait for this ass-backward little conundrum to get itself turned the fuck around?” he asked Wendy.

She nodded.

He turned several ideas over in his head before saying, “Tell you what, Wendy darling. Why don’t you and—” he glanced at the kid, who answered, “John,” then at the woman, who said, “Susan,” he nodded once and went on, “why don’t you, John boy and Susan get yourselves cleaned up and ready to go, and I’ll put a bug in a few people’s ears, and they can run you out to any old hardware or feed store and make sure your asses are covered while you get whatever the fuck you need to come back and bail our asses out of this shitpile Mother Nature has seen fit to bury us under. How does that work for you?”

Wendy traded a look with her companions and nodded.

Negan smiled. “Get a move on, sweetheart.”

She and the other two hurried away, leaving the older man standing. Negan turned to leave, then called back over his shoulder, “Be a pal, Trav, and clean that shit up. You know how I love a tidy house.”

###

The sun had set without showing its face from behind the clouds again by the time the gardeners returned, going straight to work as soon as they arrived with the precious soil. Negan took no interest in this, though he was fairly impressed to hear Wendy had taken down a dead one that had otherwise surprised the group at the hardware store and nearly taken a chunk out of one of his own men.

The rain persisted and Negan put the problem of growing things out of his mind for the next few days, finding more to occupy his time. There were more stories coming in of trouble in his territory and he had his hands full enough without even thinking about the deaf chick. It wasn’t until the rain had stopped at long fucking last that anything to do with the agriculture even came to his attention. And when it did, it came directly to his doorstep.

He had retreated to his office for peace and quiet and was thinking of pouring himself a drink when there was a knock on the door. “It’s open,” he called, walking to the liquor cabinet.

No one came inside, but a few moments later there was another knock.

“Open the fucking thing!”

No response, but yet another knock.

He slammed the cabinet closed again and went to the door, storming, “The fuck’s the deal here, are you fucking deaf or—” He yanked the office door open and laid eyes on Wendy standing in the hallway.

Goddamnit.

He heaved a sigh and held the door open for her. “Wendy darling, I have got to stop making such a fucking jackass of myself around you,” he remarked.

She shrugged then mimed writing, and he handed her a pen and a sheet of paper from his desk. Bad timing? she asked.

“On the contrary,” he replied. “You can join me for a drink.” He went back to the liquor cabinet and poured two glasses of Scotch, handing one to her and motioning to a chair. “Ladies first, doll.”

She sat in one of the wooden chairs and he sank into the office chair, lifting his glass to her before taking a long swallow. “What brings you all the way up here, sweetheart?” he asked.

She took a delicate sip of whiskey, then took up the pen again and wrote, We’re going to start moving things back into the garden soon, but we should do something about flood prevention while we can.

“That’s an excellent idea, my dear,” he said, “and while I know as much about gardens as a Catholic school girl knows about blowing dick, I can’t stress enough the totality of my faith in your skills.”

She smiled and signed a thank you, but kept writing. Runoff ditches would be good, but raised beds would be even better. As it stands, though, we don’t have the supplies or the manpower.

“What?” he burst out. “Manpower? Wendy darling, look around you! We’ve got all the fucking manpower you’ll ever fucking need!”

They’re not interested in suggestions from the new kid.

“Bull-fucking-shit. The new kid is busy saving their ungrateful collective asses, and they’ll learn to be interested if I have to teach it to the whole motherfucking crowd of them.”

Something passed across her face too fast for him to read before it was gone and she wrote, We still need supplies. If necessary, we can make do with whatever we happen to find around here, but we can’t half-ass it and expect it to work. We need to go on a run, if we go by the design I worked out.

Negan sat staring at her for a moment, unsure what to say. Saviors didn’t scavenge? She couldn’t send them out with her grocery list and expect anything to come of it? She was the new kid, after all, and while she had more than earned her place among the others, he could expect shit to blow back if it looked like he gave her preferential treatment over his own men. Power was a delicate balance, and he thought she understood that.

He swilled the Scotch around in his glass, thinking quickly. “How much of what you brought out of the rain survived?” he asked.

All of it, she wrote. She seemed to be thinking as quickly as him, adding, The dry soil saved us.

The dry soil from the last time she suggested a run and he decided to trust her. She knew what she was talking about back then and she’d bailed them out of one motherfucker of a jam, and he could only make a bigger ass of himself by not listening to her now. Greater fucking good, and all that shit.

He drained the glass in one swallow and folded his hands on the desk. “All right, Wendy darling, let’s see these designs of yours.”

###

It sure as fuck wasn’t easy. It took two trips to get everything Wendy needed, one of which almost went bad when a dead one grabbed onto one of Negan’s people and a trigger-happy Savior shot the thing even deader; he missed with the first shot and the poor bastard was still in the infirmary with a bullet graze at his temple. As for the gunman, Negan assigned him to teach target practice—as the target. Where not to aim, as it were.

The actual construction was a long and back-breaking process, and Negan was dead certain that Wendy would have lost half her workers halfway through the project if they weren’t all scared shitless of him. Not that she was a bad boss, in fact she did more than a fair share of shit herself, but she was stubborn and exacting in her execution and she wanted the same from everyone else. Good wasn’t good enough. She wanted results, and Negan, feeling more and more inclined to respect that desire, made sure she got them.

More clouds gathered as they hurried to replace the plants taken during the rain back in the garden, typical gardeners and recruited help alike. Negan’s curiosity brought him out to watch as Wendy led the group in replanting the newly-finished beds, and he had to admit it was pretty fucking impressive.

Where there had been flat, albeit sloping, ground were now gently terraced sections of earth, separate beds utilizing scavenged railroad ties as retaining walls, each with a shallow trench leading out and away and connecting into what Wendy referred to as a French drain, a separate ditch below the last bed containing a pipe made of coiled chicken wire wrapped in plastic sheeting and filled with gravel. In theory, Wendy told him, water would run through the trenches in the beds and into the drain, collecting in the giant steel drum dug into the ground at the end serving as water collection against dry spells.

No, it wasn’t easy, but it looked like sheer fucking genius.

Wendy brushed most of the dirt off her hands and approached him and he nodded his approval. “Looks like some hot shot fucking landscaper dude did it,” he said, speaking as always where she could see his words. “Professional, and damn brilliant.”

She smiled, then glanced at the sky where the thunderheads were building up.

“Yeah, looks like we’re in the nick of time, Wendy darling. You think it’ll work?”

She nodded firmly, then lifted her crossed fingers and he laughed. “It’s all right, doll. I trust you.”

That John kid staked tomatoes while Susan, the older woman, packed earth around a young peach tree. He didn’t know many other names but he recognized a few faces from other bits of work around the Sanctuary, mechanics stabilizing the retaining walls while cooks carried planters back and forth, carpenters working with the mechanics and gardeners with the cooks. It was the most bizarre team effort he had ever seen since their group first came together, all of them united in their anxious glances toward the coming storm.

He looked at Wendy again as lightning flashed in the distance and asked, “Won’t the rain do a number on them, right after they go in the ground?”

She shook her head, pointing to the ground and making curling, crumbling gestures with her fingers, then pointing to the clouds and pressing her palms together, and after awhile he understood. The soil was loose now, but the rain would pack it firm.

The first peals of thunder sounded as the last vine went into the dirt and the workers began to collect their tools. Negan strained his eyes to see the rain already falling several miles away, and with the wind picking up the way it was starting to, it wouldn’t be long until it hit the Sanctuary.

The crowd started moving inside but Wendy walked back out into the garden, looking everything over and inspecting with care and focus, tiny frown lines appearing between her eyebrows. Negan stood watching her, and fuck if she didn’t look like an artist surveying a new painting, deciding if a final brushstroke was needed. She had planned, analyzed and observed everything about this down to the last damn detail, and he wondered what she had done in the old world to keep such fastidious habits in the new.

He approached her and set a hand on her shoulder, nodding towards the Sanctuary when she looked up at him. “Come on, doll, I’ve got a good view in my office.”

She followed him inside as the first drops fell, and by the time they reached his office it was coming down in earnest. She went straight to the window on entry and he followed, listening once again to the steady pattering rhythm of the rain, and it had been long enough since the last storm that he once more found the noise soothing rather than irritating. And it was with pity that he looked at Wendy, unable to hear it at all. It was fucking tragic, is what it was, to live without something as mundanely extraordinary as the sound of a rainfall…but as it beat against the window she pressed her palm to the glass, fingers tapping softly along with the water.

Something about the innocence of the gesture had him smiling before he knew it.

He moved to stand next to her and she smiled briefly up at him before looking outside again, and he followed her gaze to the garden below. Puddles were starting to form, the newly-turned edges of the trenches already looking washed smooth at a distance. Wendy’s suspense was contagious, and Negan found himself holding his breath as the runoff slowly followed the channels through the beds to where the plastic-and-gravel contraption lay in the earth. They waited a few more tense moments, staring at the steel drum reservoir, then finally saw it. A modest but steady trickle from the drain, straight where it was meant to go.

Negan turned grinning to Wendy and she looked back with an identical expression. “Wendy darling, you are some kind of goddamn brilliant.”

She beamed even wider and gave him a thumbs-up, a silent celebration against the sound of the rain.

@flames-bring-a-ton-of-ash @negan’s-network

don’t look at me with such distant eyes.

Of course, as soon as I start exploring trail running again, I hurt my knee.

Although I can’t blame the trails. It’s been aching for about a month and a half, most likely from overuse. It’s that soreness right under the kneecap. The ache became significantly more painful while running downhill today.

So I’m going to do what every runner hates: Take a week off. Or mostly off, as I have two exercise commitments over the weekend.

But I have no summer races, aside from pacing one 10K in early July. Better to rest now, while I’m not training for anything, than in the fall! I know how to listen to my body.

Any other advice (for what I believe is jumper’s knee) is welcome. Aside from resting, icing it, stretching and strengthening and avoiding downhills.

Here’s to a healthy, quick and successful recovery! 💪🏼

New Chapter: Window Practice - The Elements of Surprise

Astrid had been working on a jump and roll maneuver with Stormfly, mostly for the purpose of getting into and out of windows. A specific window, and not her own, but as she was on the run with a rather heavy and awkwardly shaped book trying to evade angry well-fed possibly tipsy Vikings, any window would do.

She just needed a dragon - her dragon.

And a window.

But first her dragon.

She stopped to catch her breath behind one of the houses, her back to the wall and her body curved over the book, her arms shaking.

She thought for sure she’d be caught. Tuffnut was very fast when his pride and potential profits were on the line. When she was sure there were no hunting Vikings nearby, she doubled back toward the bonfire tower. Her brief rest and the relative ease of running downhill allowed her racing heart to slow enough to draw the deep breath necessary to signal her dragon.

In seconds, Stormfly swooped silently out of the sky, grabbed her carefully by one arm, and pulled her off the ground.

It was while she was dangling over the sea off the edge of Berk that she realized the limitations of her plan.

AO3 | FF.net

Greasy Landlord gets his.

I needed a place to stay and did not have much of a choice in the matter. The price and location were right so I had to rent from this slumlord.

The Landlord

He is a self proclaimed “Handy Man”. He drove a gutted out shitball of a van filled with cheeseburger wrappers and junk. Acted less than interested in any of my problems as a tenant (I went through 3 fridges (used ones, not new of course), Hundreds in groceries, Lost a bunch of clothing and furniture when the house flooded twice in one week, there was a faint but constant smell of natural gas, the furnace only worked when you lit the pilot light (which you had to do every time you wanted heat in the winter), and half a fucking tree that landed on the roof during a storm, but was never removed).

Me

Minnesotan (tend to be too God Damn nice at times), ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS pay my rent on time, Took care of all of the utilities and general upkeep (mowed, shoveled snow, cleaned the lawn, etc etc) of the property during my tenancy. Good Tenant

I have too many stories about this cat, but I’ll get to the revenge part of this. I had finally had enough and I had decided to move out of this slum. I had lost thousands in my own money to use on the upkeep of the property (since the Landlord had no intention on helping me ever). I had found a new place and had told my Landlord the news when I handed him a check for a month and a half and told him that I would be moving out in a set number of days. We agreed and it seemed to go quite well.

This is when all of the shit really started running downhill. He showed up in my apartment one day, unannounced, and was looking for something. To this day, I don’t know what, but I confronted him and he ran out of my apartment like he had been just caught snooping in a woman’s panty drawer. Then when I am at work he starts leaving me this really creepy messages, saying I didn’t pay him rent and that I have been destroying the property. I brush it off, take a few days off of work, and move out of my place after I call my new Landlord explaining my dilemma. My new Landlord agrees to let me move in early free of charge, AWESOME. I move out and get a couple of friends to help me DEEP clean the place (its amazing what you can buy with a case of beer and some pizza). We clean the place and its spotless. After we finish, I get this weird feeling and I take pictures. Tons and tons of pictures of every room. Feeling content, we pack up the rest, lock the doors and leave. We had a good night and I bought pizza and beer for my friends that came out to help.

A couple days go by and Slumlord Larry calls and asks where I went. I explained that I really wanted to move and I worked out a situation with my new Landlord that would allow me to move in early. He started shouting at me on the phone, going off about how I still owe him money and I couldn’t terminate my lease (which there was no such thing by the way, just a verbal agreement and the exchange of money.). I had enough of his business and I hung up.

A month goes by, I hear nothing from the Slumlord. Then, all of a sudden, I get a certified letter from him in the mail along with some pictures (how in the FUCK did he get my new address, I think to myself). I open the letter and dude is going to try and fucking sue me. Stating that I damaged his property (with supposed pictorial evidence) and for the neat sum of $5,000 dollars it would all go away and we would not need to take it to court. I say fuck this and I call up my parents to get the number for their lawyer. I explain everything to him and tell him about the pictures I saved. i ask my Lawyer if there is anything that I could do about this. I’m steaming and I want blood. My Lawyer laughed it off and told me to go check and see if the property was listed under a rental property in the city that I lived in. The next day I go down to the government center and I find out that the Slumlord does not have it listed as anything other than residential. I turn him in and I also find out that the property cannot be rented and a permit for someone to even come look at the property to make sure it was up to code (in the county I lived in) was $5,000. Jubilant would not even begin to describe my mood at this time. I was “White Guy” celebrating the bitch out of the lobby. I call my lawyer as I am leaving the government center and tell him the good news. As I am leaving town I decide to drive past my place and see if anyone is living there. As I pass, I can’t believe my fucking eyeballs. I see the Slumlord and a buddy of his “Toothless Dave” outside the house DESTROYING the siding. I also see that they had fucked up every exterior part of the house to try and pin their misdeeds on me.

MONTHS go by, I hear nothing, my Lawyer hears nothing (despite multiple tries to contact Slumlord. At this point, I am filled with an overwhelming sense of joy as I stuck it to that loser.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!!! I was telling this story to a buddy of mine at work one day and he knew exactly what house I was talking about. His dad is the county building inspector and he was telling me about how is dad had stated that the property was so damaged that the house was to be condemned. All I’m left thinking about is what did he do to that f*cking place to condemn it after I moved out.