never was so much owed by so many to so few

aceofalmonds  asked:

Hello! I read (and enjoyed!) the story you posted of your grandpa and his tree disposal methods, and so was looking for the story you mentioned of your other grandpa menacing a peach tree with a baseball bat, but can't seem to find it. Halp?

That would be because I haven’t posted it yet!  Many people have requested the story mentioned in the tags “Grandpa Menaces a Peach Tree With A Baseball Bat”, So here it is, with a side of “Grandpa Menaces The Iowa Relatives With Giant Corn”

**

For the Full Context of this tale, you have to understand how my dad’s side of the family got to America in the first place.  Prior to 1917, they were all farmers of limited success that migrated from county to county, trying not to starve, until a covey of the Fitzpatricks heard that they could be shoveling shit in Grand Americay, far away from the people they owed money to, so they all fucked off to Iowa and somehow made a fortune in the real-estate business in the middle of the depression.  Despite now being comfortably middle-class, they never actually gave up farming, and having a pair of glowing green thumbs was a point of pride in the family.

So, when Grandpa moved out to California, specifically to the Salinas Valley, which is where an absurd percentage of the country’s food is grown because it’s full of probably the world’s most stupidly good soil,  Grandpa had to continue the tradition and set up a garden in the backyard, planted various crops and flowers in January because fuck you this is coastal California, I can start stuff in the middle of winter, and invited his sister Leone and her growing brood of (at the time, 5, later 9 children) out to visit.

They came out in July, to escape the Midwest humidity and Butter fetish for a time, when the corn is typically getting to be around knee-height if things are going well.  Grandpa spent a long time asking how things were back on the farm, plying them with ice tea and grandma’s lethal Angel Food cake, before politely inviting Leone and her Husband Scotty out back to see how his patch was doing, oh its not much really, just a bit of fun for me and the children-

Scotty and Leone stared at the nine-foot-tall goddamn corn which was already setting fruit because it had been going since January.  At the watermelon plant that had taken over the side-yard, and at the other oversize and thriving crops that had taken over grandpa’s yard.  There was a few moments of awed silence.

“Well fuck you Edwin.” Scotty eventually said, before Leone whopped him over the head and the rest of the visit was a pleasant diversion.

the following spring though, Grandpa received a package from Iowa, specifically a small peach tree with a note saying “With Love, Scotty.”

Leone knew better than to engage in such shenanigans, because this is irish-agrarian passive-aggressive Bullshittery at its absolute finest.  “Sure, yeah, you can do corn.  Any asshole can do corn.  TRY THIS FUSSY-ASS PEACH VARIETAL INSTEAD, YOU ASS”  is perhaps a more accurate translation.

Grandpa, not about to be intimidated by a mere tree, planted that sucker in the front yard and proceeded to pamper it- bone meal fertilizer, a brand-new irrigation system, the works.  Hell, he would go out some times and talk to the darn thing.  It flowered, and he borrowed a behive from one of the local farmers to make DARN SURE that it got pollinated, because he was going to mail peaches to Scotty for Christmas, that asshole.

The tree. Did not. fruit.

That fall, grandpa reccived a letter from Scotty, asking after a couple paragraphs of circumlocutions, how that tree he sent was doing?

Grandpa got up, made himself a martini, picked up Dad’s baseball bat, and walked out to the front yard to have a discussion with the Peach tree.  

“I’ve just received a letter.”  he explained, waving the paper at the tree. “Asking when you’re going to fruit.  Now, I think I’ve held up my responsibilities to you as your caretaker, so it’s time for you to start providing.  Do you understand?  This spring, you better start fruiting or I will personally take this bat to you and turn you to into kindling.”

He stepped close to the tree, sticking his face in the branches as though whispering into it’s hypothetical ear. “Do not test me, you little shit.”

The next week, the tree bloomed out of season, and by February, it had set an obscene amount of fruit, which grandpa gleefully turned into preserves and mailed back to Iowa.

Real advice

So a lot of you on here are teens and might be getting ready to be out on your own. Here are some things I learned the hard way or that are just good to know.

  • Never smoke or quit if you are currently. The cost of addictive smoking is more than half your groceries a month AND the bodily cost will surprise you.
  • Drink water. Yeah okay I know this one sucks but water is much much cheaper than soda, trust me. Your skin will thank you.
  • Send thank you cards. Don’t have any? Get the cheap ones and send those. It doesn’t matter how nice they are, the fact that you sent a thank you card matters. Send it for gifts, people calling you to check on you, those adults who helped you move, and even people who interview you.
  • Withhold 1. Okay so speaking of jobs, on your forms (US) where you are trying to figure out your tax withholding, put one. Yourself. It’s an easy way to make sure you don’t owe $2,000 in April and you still get a pretty decent check. 
  • No pets. If you don’t have a pet now, don’t get one. It’s super hard to get an apartment that will let you have a pet when you are first starting out. Wait until you are a bit older and can afford to rent more than a one bedroom apartment. 
  • Insurance. You’re young, so why do you need life insurance? Because that’s the best time to get it. Yeah, it’s a dumb expense to pay right now, but if you get it early, you can afford it. The longer you wait, the more expensive it is. Car insurance is going to be high for a few years, but it will drop around 22 and 25 years old. Health insurance usually comes through your job and please don’t ignore it. Renter’s insurance is usually pretty cheap and it covers you if there is a fire or natural disaster and you have to go back home to mom.
  • Off brand. This goes for food, clothing, makeup, and cleaning supplies and just about anything else you can think of. For food, Aldi’s is your best friend. I can go fill up a cart of just food and it will cost maybe $70. the same amount of food at Walmart is easily over $150. You can of course be picky, but try to get the majority of your food off brand. Hygiene products too. Goodwill is great for clothes, but plan a trip. Save like 60 bucks and drive near a big city where the rich people live. Go to the goodwill there. You can basically get an all new wardrobe for pennies on the dollar. Makeup is tricky. It can be really really expensive but you don’t really have to buy all of it name brand. Pick whats most important to you. I prefer eye shadows and lipsticks name brand and I deal with everything else from the drugstore. With he right techniques, you can make it look expensive. As for cleaning, I always use dollar tree stuff minus my laundry detergent because of allergies. Bleach, stain spray, and vinegar are gonna be your best friends,.
  • Car. Okay so yeah, that brand new car is nice and sure, maybe you can afford it. For now. Disaster will strike. Something will come up and bam, you’re stuck choosing if you want to walk everywhere or eat. Try getting a slightly used car, such as one of the ones they let people test drive a lot or a car that has previously been leased. Just as nice and much MUCH cheaper. And I have gotten THREE cars with no down payment so don’t let them tell you you can’t. But it is nice to put it down,even $100. 
  • Negotiate. Don’t be afraid to haggle with people. Yeah it’s intimidating but it’s 10 minutes of your life versus hundreds of dollars a year. What can you negotiate? Almost anything. Car payment. Rent. Insurance. Hospital bills. Even due dates for the bills you can’t negotiate on. Also, if something comes up where you have to skip a payment on something, call them. Give them like $25 and explain your situation. Ask if your payment date can be moved with the $25 as a goodwill promise to pay the rest later. It works. They would rather move your date than send you to collections. 
  • Collectors. Okay so this one is tricky. If you have fallen behind and owe a collector, don’t fret. I do too, even as I write this. Owing a collector means that the original service has been paid (health bills, credit card ect) and you are now paying the people who paid your bill. (I know it’s confusing) however, they will usually want the entirety of what they paid for you in 6 months. Meaning if they just paid a bill for you that was $3,000, they are gonna ask for $500 a month. That’s rent. That’s crazy. Tell them outright what you can afford and don’t lie about it either. If you can afford $100, tell them that. If you can afford $50, tell them that. If you can’t afford to pay them anything when they call you, let them know when you can. If you can’t afford it when you told them you could, don’t answer your phone to a number you don’t know. I know that sounds horrible but if you are renting an apartment, renting a car, and literally own nothing, they can’t do much to you. Just pay when you can and try to maybe pick up some extra shifts at work to make a payment. I have been dodging collectors for about three years. I owe I think three right now. I pay ONE of them a month, but it’s a large payment to keep them quiet for a while. I do not suggest this for you, I am just letting you know what I do.
  • Credit Cards. Okay, the big one. Many adults will tell you to never ever get a credit card and that’s just not feasible in this world. However, it can be addicting to be able to go to Walmart when you are negative in your bank account and get that $10 movie. I mean, it’s just 10 bucks right? WRONG. It will build up fast and soon the one credit card you have will be maxed. So you have to get another for emergencies. And another. And so on. So here’s my advice; Get a credit card through the same bank as your checking and tell them to put a limit on it and not let it raise. Then lock that sucker away and forget you have it until a real emergency comes up like a flat tire, short on money for groceries, or that collector that hasn’t been paid in 4 months. You can make it on one credit card if you are strict with your money, which I am sure you don’t have a lot of.
  • Budget. Speaking of money, write out a budget for yourself. Don’t know how? Here’s the easiest way. Most people get paid bi-weekly so here’s how to do it. Make two columns, Check 1 and Check 2. If you have a full time job you know about how much your checks are going to be so put the amount at the top of each column. Now that hard part - figure out what is due when. Is something due June 1st? Take it out of check 2 (end of May). Is something due May 14? Take it out of check 1 (beginning of May). That main thought process behind your budget is that you want to have the money for a bill set aside before it’s due. Paying a bill a few days early is a great way to make a good financial reputation for yourself and for some things even build credit. Now if you get paid bi-weekly, you will sometimes have a month where you get 3 checks. DON’T BLOW IT. Put it right back into your budget as Check 1 and keep the flow going. If you prepay bills, like your car or your rent or your credit card, and stay a month a head of those big ones, you may need that wiggle room later. If your car, for instance, is paid ahead 1 month, you can use the car money you would normally pay that month for maybe some extra groceries or some small emergency without using your credit card and you won’t even fall behind! You’ll just be back to owing every month instead of being ahead. It’s like a savings account without the temptation to blow the money. 
  • Simplicity. Enjoy simple things. A gym is expensive, go for a walk instead. Cable is expensive, pay for internet. Phones are expensive, get on a family plan (there is no shame in staying on your parent’s plan, just pay your share). Food is expensive, enjoy leftovers. Movies are expensive, go early and resist any snacks. Shopping is expensive, go to the mall and spend all day trying on cute clothes and taking selfes in the dressing room (makes you feel like a million bucks sometimes!). Time is expensive because you don’t have a lot of it so If you want to stay in bed all day on your day off, do it. If you want to binge on your day off, do it. If you want to just play board games with friends on a Saturday night with a few beers, do it. Simple fun is way better for your pocket and your anxiety.
  • Mental Health  - speaking of anxiety, make sure you take care of your brain. Go outside, even if it means sitting on your steps. Wake up early, even for just an hour. Don’t burn yourself out at work or school because you will suffer the consequences. Make a schedule. If you have trouble with timekeeping, ask for help. If you feel you do have a real mental disorder, see if your employer has what’s called and EAP program (employee assistance program). They usually help you find a mental health provider and give you a few visits for free. This will help you narrow down what exactly you have and after you’re free visits are up you can see who is in your health insurance network that can provide you the mental care you need. if you are prescribed drugs, always get generic. If there is no generic, ask for an alternative. I will not lie to you, mental health is the hardest thing to treat. It took me 8 years and a lot of money to figure out the right medication cocktail for me and my bipolar/ schizophrenia (yes I have both). Turns out I only need two pills, and if I were to refill both of them right now, I wouldn’t even pay $10 thanks to my health insurance (which sucks but at least it’s there) and because I got generics. Also, talk therapy can be pricey but sometimes only a few sessions can change your life. I have literally only been to talk therapy 11 times in my life and that was to deal with PTSD, bipolar, schizophrenia, and suicidal tendencies. 11 sessions. That’s 11 hours. And yeah, I paid over $400 out of pocket for those collectively. But if I hadn’t I would probably be dead right now so it was worth it.
  • Connections. Calling your friends is awesome because sometimes, it’s free therapy. And okay, maybe you’re 19 and you still have a horrible relationship with your parents. It’s okay. I am 25 and I still have problems with my parents. My whole family actually. Social media is a kind of safety net for me because that’s where I can be myself. Find where you can be yourself, it will help you stay sane.
  • Clean. Sometimes when I feel crappy, I take a shower. I clean the living room. I do the dishes. I vacuum. I mop. I open the windows. I get the trash out of the house. Change into some clean clothes. Organize my desk. Clean out your closet and put all your unwanted clothes in bags to donate. Just a small amount of cleaning can make you feel like you accomplished something. 
  • Hobbies. This one is a little hard too. It depends on your personality, your budget, and how much free time you have. Drawing , singing, and writing are free. Exercising can be free if you run or walk in the park. But most hobbies do actually cost money. Video games, playing an instrument, painting, sewing, cooking/baking, making things - those all cost money. Some of them lots of money. But you have to have a hobby outside of social network, sleeping, and working. It’s another thing to keep you sane and it’s just a good idea.
  • Toxic people. Do not be afraid to cut people out of your life that do nothing but make you feel bad about yourself or insult your life. This could mean breaking up with your partner, unfriending a person from your social circle, cutting out a whole circle of people, or even not talking to a relative(s). It’s not easy for some people but if they do not build you up, they will only tear you down. 
  • Drink at home. Okay so this one might sound like a no brainer, but I’ll explain it anyway. Packs of beer and hard liquor bottles are cheaper than a pint and a shots at the bar. Bottles of wine are cheaper than a glass at a restaurant. It’s never okay to drive drunk or even after one bottle of beer. NEVER. Staying at home is cheaper all around and you can drink in your pajamas while watching Finding Nemo on loop. Or invite some friends over and create a drinking game out of a show, a game you already have, or just talk and drink. 
  • Sleep. This one is so important. You need a good bed and a quiet, dark place to sleep. If you are scared of the dark, get a night light. Can’t sleep in silence? Get a fan. I have both of these and they help. You’re brain will feel tired if you ‘slept’ for 12 hours but only got 1 hour of REM. REM can really only happen every night if you are in a calm and dim environment. Quality of sleep will effect your eating habits, your emotional state, your mental stability, and your ability to make rational decisions among other things. 

So these are obviously just a few things, but I feel they are important to share. Please feel free to add any and reblog it for those about to enter adulthood. 

tom.hopperhops: 9yrs since Merlin began on your screens. Wow. So, this photo was taken on the day we shot the scene where Arthur knighted us all. It was also one of the first scenes I shot on the show. This was a momentous occasion in my eyes. This was the first time all the knights had come together on set. An instant brotherhood was formed. We bickered from day one. We took the piss out of each other from day one. @eoincmacken napped from day one. @tomiwa.edun imported wisdom from day one. @santiagoc made us all feel less good looking from day one. @rupertfyoung gave me tips on how to drink coffee and chat from day one. @bradleyjames led us from day one. And of course……. I was was sleeveless from day one. Being a part of Merlin was one of the best experiences of my life. And the people in this picture (plus a few others who weren’t there for it) were a huge contributing factor. They remain, and will always remain a part of my offset, real life brotherhood. As this photo was taken, I realised I had just become a member of this bizarre medieval boyband. “Arthur and his Knights”. And it was the first of many to come just like it. Now to you guys, the fans. I was welcomed in to the Merlin fandom with open arms. I owe so much to the fans of this show. You’ve always been incredibly supportive during the show and of all our on going careers since Merlin finished. I personally can’t thank you enough for the love. So here’s me giving you a huge amount of Hopper love back to say thank you for making this such an awesome chapter in my life ❤️ Never change Merlin fans 👊🏼

Sex Worker's Guide: Red Flags & Translation (especially for Newbies)

This guide is more useful for Sugar babies but other branches of the industry should still be aware of these lines. I’ve compiled a list of common things I’ve heard/read on POT’s profiles or have had clients/SD’s message me, and I’ve taken the liberty of sharing “the translation” and footnotes attached.

•"No hookers, prostitutes, whores, etc"
-You need to run as fast as your pretty heels can you carry you away from this guy. The word “hooker” was intentionally chosen to discourage SB’s to ask for allowance.
-This is the oldest trick in the book by old pervy men. He hopes that he’ll tap into your insecurity of being seen as a whore so you’ll feel ashamed when you bring up HIS side of the MUTUALLY beneficial arrangement.

•"You wouldn’t buy a car without test driving it, would you?“
GURRRRRL, you’re not a car. You’re a human being. He’s gotten his “test drive” to check out his “merchandise” when you granted him the privilege of a meet and greet. Don’t fall for this. He’s gonna ghost on you after sleeping with you as many times as he can. You get to view a house before buying, not live in it.

•"I don’t believe in allowances but I’m generous. I want to show you fine dining, and experiences you wouldn’t be able to experience otherwise.“
-Roughly translates to “I’m gonna spend just a few bucks more than I would on normal courtship habits I would for women twice your age. You should feel so honored to be able to eat a steak meal now that it should be enough to get you on both your knees.”
-Ladies, the money he spends on a 5 star dinner isn’t for YOU. It’s expenses he’s spending on HIMSELF because HE gets to show off a hot woman like yourself at said restaurant. You’re not getting paid. You’re simply giving your service away for free.

•"I’m young, unlike the other guys on here. I don’t need to pay for sex.“
Group A: Young millennial men deluded into thinking they offer something so spectacular that women in need of money will drop their financial needs to cater to the ego of a kid.
Group B: (ages 29+): I’m not that young but I don’t want to admit it. I probably spend way too much money on hair dyes or gym regimens in an attempt to fool myself that I’m just as good looking as the women I’m messaging on here.

•"I will send/bring your allowance next week (some other time), I promise.”
-It really means “I promise you ain’t seeing a penny out of me but I’m gonna say the most genuine sounding lines so I can bring you to my hotel room.”.
-Any wealthy man should be able to access his OWN money before the designated date of intimacy. Always remember, no money, no honey.

•"I’m generous in other ways… ;)“
-"I’ve had the fortune of having exceptionally skilled sex partners in the past who’ve convinced me my dick is God’s gift to women. Unfortunately, I failed to realize women fake it much more often than I’d like to admit.”

•He just requests your photos without even so much as an introduction.
-He’s 9/10 a photo collector. Ignore him.
-If he’s the 1/10 that isn’t a photo collector, he’s gonna be an asshole. Can you imagine if a man in real life just went up to you and pulled down your shirt without saying anything? Ignore him too.

•"I thought part of our arrangement was that you’re at my beck and call. Why do you take so long to respond to my messages?“
-Unless you agreed to have an EXCLUSIVE arrangement, he’s trying to squeeze as much out of you as he can.
-Remember ladies, he’s buying a SERVICE. A service that is limited to the set days you BOTH agreed to. That’s it. He is buying you as a service, not a girlfriend. Gently remind him of that.

•"Cmon, I’ve been paying you/seeing you for awhile now. You can at least trust me with your real name, school, work, etc.”
-Any variation of that is a SERIOUS red flag. I’ve had clients of years try to guilt me. I’ve always either smiled then tell them I don’t feel comfortable or I flat out lie about facts.
-There’s a chance he just wants to connect with you but there’s a much higher chance of him blackmailing you in the future. These are powerful men who got to where they are by being cunning and having upper hands. Don’t think you’ll be spared if you ever accidentally upset him.
-The biggest thing I must say is: YOU DON’T OWE YOUR CLIENTS/SD’S JACKSHIT except the service they paid for. Your own personal life is NOT inclusive in your service. Keep it separate.

•If on a meet and greet he asks or tells you to go to his hotel room or somewhere private.
-Never go until the arrangement has been made. By made, I mean the cash or funds have already been paid to you.
-Semi-common for them to lure young girls and rape them.

I’m sure there are many more that I can’t remember now. I might make a part two depending on if people find this useful. Feel free to comment more red flags you’ve experience. Make that money. 💸💸💸 Stay safe, ladies. 👍🏻
TSDF Explains Mid-Season Finale Decision

We promised we would share our reasons for not posting/confirming any spoilers for the mid-season finale. We’re here to follow through on our word, buttercups. This decision to purposely not spoil anything about episode 8.8 was something we have never done, mostly because the circumstances we faced were something we’ve never experienced before.

Back in October we posted some tracking information about Carl’s possible demise on our forum and private FB group. Since at the time we weren’t 100% sure if this was correct, we heavily labeled it as unconfirmed. Later we would learn that our suspicions were correct and Carl was indeed a goner.

Fast forward to just a few weeks ago. Much to our surprise Chandler Riggs reached out to us with a very heartfelt request. He knew it was only a matter of time before we would be able to publicly confirm what we knew. He respectfully asked us not to spoil the reveal at the end of episode 8.8. His performance throughout the episode heavily weighed on what was revealed in the last three minutes.  We were blown away by his maturity and class. We’re attaching a screenshot of what he said.

While we have always believed in not withholding confirmed spoilers, this situation definitely tested those values. The way we saw it, we had a choice. We could ignore the request and continue to do what we do by confirming Carl’s death (which means we would have had to confirm how), or, we could honor Chandler, the young man who we watched grow up on our television screens for the past eight years. We could give him the biggest send-off we possibly could simply by shutting our mouths. We chose to honor Chandler. While not everyone has respected Chandler recently, we feel it was the right thing to do for someone who has been a prominent part of the show since its pilot. You might disagree with this decision, but as far as what TSDF does, it was our decision to make. Conscience is not governable by committee.

This is certainly not a situation we have faced before. For those of you around during the Lucille Victim chaos, you might remember that we said at the time that if the show would have simply reached out to us rather than attempting legal action, it could have turned out differently. The only time anyone from the show reached out to us was through AMC lawyers or investigators and full of legal threats and hostilities. Chandler’s approach was much different. He treated us like fans, not enemies. So it turned out differently. With this decision we reminded ourselves of what we are: fans first.

While we believe Chandler owes us absolutely nothing, we did make one request. We asked him to write a message to our community members at TSDF. He kindly obliged and this is his message to our members:

dear tsdf:

i don’t really know how to start this other than saying thank you. though we (cast & crew) have kinda always been super frustrated with this community, seeing how dedicated you all are to the show over the last few weeks really gives me a new appreciation for you all. up until 701, i hated seeing our hard work getting leaked-but once 701 aired with a large chunk of the fanbase knowing what would happen, it made me realize that knowing what happens doesn’t always take away the integrity of the show. though many people knew who was going to die, they still cried and shook in terror seeing the characters they loved getting killed.

that being said, i reached out to ninja a few weeks ago asking to not reveal the end of 808, since a lot of my performance relied on how the episode ends. ninja & shiny knew that they would take a lot of heat from this decision, but them caring more about how i felt towards this episode than their reputation gave me a massive new level of respect and appreciation towards them.

and seeing how dedicated and consistently excited you all are about the show despite the drastic decrease in twd’s ratings made me the most excited about this episode than i’ve been in years. though i don’t necessarily approve of the spoiler content being released on this forum, fans like you are the reason that i’ve had a job for the last 8 years. people like you have given me the chance to live my dream, and have given me the opportunity to go on to do bigger and more exciting things than twd. you all have let me make you shake in nervousness in fear of your most beloved character in danger, yell in excitement at a victory for “the group”, scream at your television in frustration of carl “not staying in the house” (also please stop yelling that at me at conventions lmao), and cry out of empathy when your favorite character suffers a grave loss. and now, i invite you to be excited to see how carl’s story ends, and how my story continues to unfold both musically & theatrically.

thank you again for giving me this opportunity of a lifetime. i won’t let you down.
–chandler

————————————-

We would like to take the time to specially thank Chandler. Not only for pouring his heart and almost half his life into the role of Carl, but for being so wonderful to his fans. We are also so grateful that he took the time to take a deeper look at our community to try to understand what we’re all about.

Chandler, we are so proud of you. You are incredibly talented and meant for greatness. We know your final scenes will be one of the most memorable moments in this show’s history. Gimple definitely ripped the heart out of this show with his decision to kill Carl. Nothing will ever be the same. While we will miss you as Carl, we look forward to your future projects. Thank you so much for everything.

-NinjaPancake & ShinyFirefly

Wrapped

Summary: In which being wrapped in your arms is the only place Bucky ever wants to be.

Pairing: Bucky x Reader

Word Count: 1,363

A/N: Title of the fic and the fic itself are inspired by “Wrapped” by Gloria Estefan

Originally posted by rogers

Bucky thought he had seen all of the evil the world had to offer after the time he spent in captivity. Nothing, he thought, could compare to Hydra.

He was wrong.

Evil was everywhere. It was broadcast on the news throughout the course of the day. It was described online in horrific detail. It was talked about at water coolers, interspersed between tidbits of celebrity news and gossip. It was also hidden behind the scenes, in the hands of those who took advantage of their positions of power.

Keep reading

The Kissing Booth

A SnowBaz fanfiction


Simon

Once a year, usually in the spring, Watford stages a carnival for the students.  It’s usually quite humble, mainly consisting of booths selling small magic trinkets, or snacks like cotton candy, sweets and other classic carnival fare.  There’s always the tiny petting zoo over near the Cloisters, and some years Watford even scrapes enough together to bring in a carousel.  Most of the booths are run by student volunteers, and though everything is by donation, all proceeds go to whichever charity the student body has voted on.

           I go every year, mostly for the caramel apples and sweet cider, but this is the first year I’ve been behind the scenes of the carnival and helped at a booth.

           In truth, I didn’t even sign up for it, but Agatha hadn’t had a break all day and needed some cotton candy of her own.

           I should have told her to find Penny, or Trixie or even Minty.  Anyone but me.

           It doesn’t take long for the word to spread that Simon Snow has taken over the Kissing Booth, and mortifyingly the line has doubled in length.  Mostly first or second-year girls, blushing and stammering or swaggering up to the counter with a pronounced sway in their step, with the odd boy interspersed through the line.

           It’s not the worst thing that’s ever happened to me – that honour goes to the time in second year that Baz stumbled upon a spell that made my clothes slowly dissipate, garment by garment, in the middle of the dining hall – and after the first two or three quick, cold kisses I start to calm down, but I’m counting the minutes until Agatha comes back.  How she endured hours of this, I cannot comprehend.  That’s just Agatha, I guess.

           A redhead drops her donation into the tin and her eyes flit around, meeting me for only a split second at a time, her cheeks aflame.  I try to look as non-threatening as I can and lean forward enough that she can close the rest of the space.  She darts in with a kiss that’s no more than a peck before running over to a giggling pair of who must be her friends, a triumphant grin on her face. She must have been dared.  Poor girl.  I hope I wasn’t her first.

           “Well, well, well.”

           My stomach lurches at the cold drawl I know only too well.

           “What are you doing here, Baz?” I say in as civilized a tone as I can manage.

           He stands there with his arms crossed over his chest, his mouth in a twist that’s a bit too amused to be a sneer.  “When I heard that the Chosen One had taken over the Snogging Booth, I simply had to see it for myself.”

           “Well, now you’ve seen it, so now you can go.”

           “Saving the World of Mages one kiss at a time,” Baz murmurs with a chuckle.  “Not exactly what I was envisioning.”

           “I’m only covering for Agatha,” I retort, “she’ll be back in five minutes if you’re wanting her services.”

           He scoffs.  “I’d rather not snog your girlfriend, thank you very much.”

           “She’s not my – forget it,” I shake my head.  I’ve told him at least a dozen times, but it never stops him.

           “She must have been really desperate for a break to put you in charge,” Baz drawls on, his voice smooth like honey but with too much of a bite to be sweet.  “You’d think she’d at least pick someone attractive for the Kissing Booth.”

           It stings, but I don’t flinch.  “What, someone like you?” I spit back too fast.

           His eyebrows shoot up in delighted surprise as I realize my mistake.  “You flatter me, Snow,” he purrs, and I feel my cheeks heat up, but I furrow my brow tighter and hope it passes for anger.

           “Is there a reason you’re still here?” I growl as the burning spreads from my cheeks to my ears.  

           “As a matter of fact, there is,” Baz says, and his gray eyes look cool enough to staunch the flames at the tips of my ears, but the more I glare into them the more the fire rages.  “I’m here to torment you.”

           “Great, well you’ve done that.”

           “I wanted to see what you’d do.”  He leans on the edge of the counter, bringing his face far too close to mine for comfort. “What would the Mage’s Heir do if his nemesis showed up at the Kissing Booth?”

           “You can torment me any time,” I shoot back, “you’re holding up the line.”

           “Oh, yes, well,” he feigns conern, “I wouldn’t want to keep anyone from their kiss.”

           “Then go away.”

           His eyes narrow and he pretends to think.  “Mmm, no.  I don’t think so.”

           “Baz, I’m warning you.”

           “Terrifying,” he drones, “but this is too much fun.  Besides,” his eyebrow flickers up, “don’t you owe me a kiss?”

           I flash him a smirk of my own.  “Aw, Baz. If you were so desperate for a kiss, you could’ve just asked.”

           Baz, to his credit, doesn’t bat an eye.  “You think of that comeback yourself?”

           “There’s a fee, you know,” I ignore him, barely having to raise my voice above a murmur for him to hear me, he’s so close.  “You haven’t paid the fee, so I don’t owe you anything.”

           He doesn’t drop his eyes from mine, and the cool gray takes on the spark of a challenge.  Out of my periphery I see him reach into his pocket, and there’s the clatter of coins dropping into the tin.

           I should punch him.

           I should spit in his face.

           I wanted to see what you’d do.

           I take him by the lapels and crush his mouth under mine.

           He makes a muffled sound of shock.  To be fair, so do I, but mine is more angry than it is surprised.  I kiss him hard and rough, and it’s a bit of a juxtaposition because his mouth is oddly soft.  A face like his, you’d expect his lips to be made of marble, cold and unmoving, but he’s the farthest thing from unmoving.  I can’t tell if he’s struggling or if he’s kissing me back but his lips are so, so soft and I want to bruise them, mark them, bite them…

           I only stop when a series of wolf whistles reminds me that there are at least ten people watching us.

           Trying to salvage the illusion of control, I break away harshly, still gripping him by his collar.  The cocky smirk has dropped from his smooth features and now his face mirrors mine, a matching scowl, like I’ve crossed a dangerous line.  I probably have.

           “Was that what you wanted?” I growl.

           He doesn’t answer, just holds my gaze another few seconds before pushing back from the table, his lapels slipping out of my hands, and stalking away.

*** 

I don’t see Baz at the carnival after that, and I stay as long as the booths are open, perusing the same counters and feigning interest even after having looked through their contents three times.  I keep Penny company where she mans the popcorn booth, drizzling caramel over every few cartons, and I even get bored enough to hang around Agatha back at the Kissing Booth for a little while, until one too many patrons have asked if I’m available for service.  When she and Penny are freed we pet the goats at the petting zoo, the ones that Ebb has graciously volunteered for the event, and take a few spins on the carousel.  Only once the light has begun to fade and the signs are being lowered from their booths do the three of us part ways.  Even then, I offer to help Ebb get her goats back safely.

           Basically, I’m doing anything I can to put off going back to the room, but eventually I can’t avoid it any longer.  I’ve wandered the grounds enough times that the sun has properly disappeared behind the distant hills and I can barely see the ground in front of me. Even then I’m tempted to consider crazy alternatives like spending the night at Ebb’s place, but I’m pretty sure that would be against school rules anyway, and besides, I’ll have to face Baz eventually.  There’s no undoing what’s happened.

           When I finally trudge back into the room, he’s staring out the window at the moat, presumably trying to intimidate the merwolves, but he turns at the sound of the door.  His expression, though I don’t see it for long before I look away, is hard to read. Wide eyes and a furrowed brow, like he’s still mad at me for my stunt earlier, but there’s a bit of a questioning edge there, too.  Almost a where were you edge.

           Normally I have to start any type of conversation, but tonight he wastes no time. “What the hell was that, Snow?”

           There’s no question as to what he’s referring, and I can’t help but get angry again.  “Me? You’re the one who had to start something!”

           “Well, you didn’t have to react so drastically,” he mutters, crossing his arms and leaning against the wall by the window, the moonlight casting its glow on his skin and making him even paler than usual, almost transparent.  I half expect fangs to slide out from his lips for no reason and complete the picture.

           His soft, soft lips.

           “You were egging me on,” I seethe, the memory igniting the rage that I’d felt in the fractured moment before kissing him, “it’s your fault anything happened.”

           “Proud little hero,” Baz says with the slightest smirk, “can’t back down from a challenge.”

           “You know I can’t, not in front of people.”

           “Wouldn’t want them to think the Heir is a coward.”

           I feel like a balloon in me is swelling and deflating at once.  “But that’s just it, Baz,” I insist, anger momentarily aside.  “If they think I’m afraid, what reason do they have to hope?”

           He doesn’t answer right away, and for a second I think maybe he understands. I want so badly for him to understand.

           “No reason,” Baz eventually says, turning to look out the window again, “not with someone like you as the Chosen One.”

           I want to groan, to kick something, to shake him by the shoulders and make him look me in the eye and for once not fight me.  Have we ever in our lives made eye contact without there being some challenge between us?

           “Why did you have to get in that line?” I shake my head.  “There are so many other ways of tormenting me, lower-stakes ways.”

           “To be fair, I’ve already exhausted most of those,” Baz murmurs with a little shrug of his shoulders.

           “When have you ever been fair?”

           “Touché.”

           I’m tired of standing here at the door, so I kick off my shoes and sit down on my bed, trying not to think about how much closer I am to him now, still at the window, looking as vampiric as ever.  His gray eyes are positively silver in the moonlight, and the black of his hair looks silkier than ever, as if it’s soaking the rays directly into him. He almost glows.  I have to laugh a little, because more than once Baz has mockingly compared me, with my bronze curls and sky-blue eyes, to the sun, but he himself wears a halo of night.  If I am the sun, then Baz is most certainly the moon.  Distant, cold, mysterious, almost too pristine to touch.

           His gaze returns to me suddenly.  He raises an eyebrow in a wordless inquiry, and I realize I’ve been staring.

           “What exactly was it you expected me to do?”

           “At what point, Snow?” he gives a humourless laugh.  “You had more than one opportunity to react.”

           “When you paid the fee.”

           His tiny smile disappears.  “It doesn’t matter.”

           “It does.”

           “Drop it, Snow,” he says, the hardness returning to his eyes, and I know I’ve cornered him.  Drop it is Baz’s way of betraying himself, of saying there’s something that he doesn’t want to tell.

           “Was I supposed to kiss you?” I ask.  For some reason I have to know.

           “No.”

           “Then what?”

           “I don’t know, Snow, punch me.  Push me. Beat me to the ground.  Something.”

           My brow furrows in confusion.  “Wait. You wanted me to hit you?”

           He shrugs, more with his head than his shoulder.  “One of us has to get hurt, right?”

           I rise to my feet, and I’m face-to-face with him again, only his eyes are different this time.  Whereas at the booth he had betrayed no hint of doubt at our closeness, now there’s a flicker of something in the silver, something that feels a lot like the way my heart is racing in my chest, and it dawns on me.  He was putting on a show at the carnival, acting like nothing I could do would get to him, just as I had been.

           If they think I’m afraid, what reason do they have to hope?

           One of us has to get hurt, right?

           And suddenly it makes sense.

           There’s only a few inches between us, so it feels almost natural when I lean in and press the gentlest of kisses to his lips.

           He doesn’t kiss me back this time, but he doesn’t move away either.  “What was that for?” he asks when I draw back a second later.

           “You act like we’re so different,” I say wonderingly, “but we’re the same.”

           “How?”

           “What do you think we’d be if we didn’t have to fight each other?”

           I don’t miss the split second of longing in his eyes.  “Keep dreaming, Snow.”

           “Because I bet it would involve a lot more of this.”  I bring a hand up to his neck, my fingers instantly lost in the wavy tips of his hair and it’s exactly as soft as it looks bathed in moonlight.

           Baz closes his eyes like he has to collect himself.  “You’re the hero.  I’m the villain.  What more do I have to say?”

           “Fuck that,” I chuckle, “we both know that’s not true.  You’re a boy, and I’m a boy.  That’s all.”

           “Tell that to the rest of the world.”

           “I don’t care about the rest of the world,” I shake my head adamantly, “I want to know what you think.”    

           “About what?”

           “If there was no act, no reputation, no role to play,” I murmur, “if we were just two boys, what would you do?”

           Baz returns my gaze a moment, searching my eyes.    

           Then his lashes close and he’s kissing me, and my eyes drift shut again like I’m sighing in relief.

           I let my fingers tangle higher up in his hair while my other hand grips the front of his shirt like earlier, only without the anger of the afternoon.  He angles his head further and guides the kiss deeper, his hands gently gripping my waist and pulling me closer.  I melt against him, my mouth moving with his, my head swimming with his citrusy scent, and I can’t hold back the moan that escapes my throat when he takes my bottom lip between his teeth in a gentle tug. Suddenly I’m floating, weightless, and Baz gives a muffled sound of surprise when I press back a little harder.

           When we finally break apart, both of us gasping and dizzy, I immediately want more, want to line his neck with my mouth, want to feel his breath hitch when I reach the base of his throat, want to hear my name in his sigh.  Would he sigh Snow or Simon?  I want to know.

           “Please,” I whisper, dotting a kiss to the corner of his mouth, “can’t we just be two boys?”

           When I meet his eyes, they’re full of more longing than ever.

           In response, he kisses a soft, slow triangle pattern on my cheek, and I recognize the pattern of the three moles by my eye, and I can’t help but smile.

“We can try.”

A voice told him where to go, and he went.

Maybe there was a time when the word of a disembodied voice would not have been enough. He doesn’t remember it. He doesn’t remember a lot of things. He remembers a lot of things. He remembers the wrong things.

He is slow. Maybe he wasn’t always slow, but he is slow now. There is no straight line between points. He considers every tree and every flower. He picks apples and catches lizards. He stares at the sky, and chases the stars.

He doesn’t speak much. He’s told he never did. He wonders if it was then what it is now, the way the words taste wrong and never fit on his tongue. Hylian and Hylian and Hylian but it never sounds right to the points of his ears. His first language is foreign and his accent is nowhere. He doesn’t sound like a hero. He doesn’t know what he sounds like, but he knows he doesn’t like it. It grates the way any wrong thing grates. He says nothing, and no one seems to mind.

He catches beetles, and stops to take pictures of fish.

In the burnt husk of a home, he finds a rusted shield. It didn’t do them much good, whoever they had been. He finds them all over, these floors without ceilings, these roofs without walls. He wonders, always: have I been here before? Did I know them, once? This house on the mountain, this cabin in the woods, would they have recognized me? Was this a name that fit on my tongue?

He learns to bake a cake, breaks rock salt and rubies from veins of ore in the earth.

He moves the sails of a raft with a Korok leaf, and he thinks: this should be easier. He wills the wind to move, but there is nothing. He looks out at the ocean and thinks: what might we find there? His raft is dead wood. He is alone.

He catches fairies in his hands, pink light and warmth and a faint ringing in his skin. They never complain. They never speak. He opens his hands to let them go, and they are the wrong color. The Great Fairy laughs, and it’s so much prettier than it used to be. Than it never was. He rolls glass bottles in his hands, but he doesn’t take them with him.

There is something restful in this. He can’t explain it, even if he had words to try. In his long slumber something inside him came unmoored, and he knows things he must not. He is tired. He knows this most of all. There is work to be done. There has always been work to be done.

He lights a fire, roasts a fish, picks at the flaky meat while it’s still hot enough to burn his fingertips.

He thinks of a sister he never had. He thinks of a grandmother he never had. Did he know his grandmother? In the Lost Woods he stares at the Deku Tree, and knows this is not home. There is a green-haired girl on the backs of his eyelids, and she sounds like three notes repeating.

He finds an ocarina made of wood, and runs his fingers over the holes. Three notes, repeating. He plays them, and nothing happens. He checks the shape of the moon and his reflection in the water. He plays three notes, different this time. There is nothing but an ache.

It sounds more like his voice than his voice ever did, and that hurts worse than silence.

He tries to remember Mipha. He wants to remember her most of all. They were friends, he is told. Close, he is told. He has nothing but fragments and a shirt that fits too well. When he tries to remember, he sees blue scales instead of red.

Zelda is Zelda is Zelda. She is the reference point around which the world turns. She is always Zelda, even when she isn’t. Her face is always her face. He is grateful and resentful in turns. There are so many people he would remember, if he could. Instead there is Zelda.

Ganon is not Ganon is not Ganon. He doesn’t know if Ganon has a face. He’s had so many faces. Was this ever a man, this manifestation of malice? He remembers eyes of gold, he remembers snouts. He recognizes the smell of him in burnt cloves and blood.

Fear is red lights and a blue glow. He knows these things were hope, once. He can’t remember it. He can’t remember seeing six metal legs and believing they would save him. Did he always know that it was helpless? It feels like he should have known.

The words are different, but the meaning is the same. He is procrastinating. If he needed an excuse, he would call it training. He would say they need every advantage. He would say they will only have one chance. No one asks for excuses. He says nothing.

Zelda has waited a hundred years. She waits, still.

She remembers a boy who never rushed her. She remembers, the way he does not, his silent patience while she found herself. While she took too long to find herself. She will wait for him to find himself, even if he takes too long. They may doom the world with their patience, but does the world not owe them this? There are so many worlds, and so few of them are kind. What could this world have been, if it had been kind? What might she have saved if it had not demanded saving?

She did not save the world. She will not save the world. She saved a single point of kindness who did not ask it from her. She will not ask it from him, but he may save her all the same. He is courageous. He is kind. Please, be careful.

He catches Koroks in durian trees, and chases dragons through canyons.

He jumps off a cliff to land in a stable, and no one there sees the hero he should be. He is no one, he is nothing. He is halfway to a beast, but they’re grateful for his help, when he offers it. He always offers it. He doesn’t know how not to.

His hands are calloused. Sometimes they bleed. He ties up his hair every morning, and does not stop. Swords fit so neatly in his hand. Sometimes he uses them to light fires or carve birds. It’s just easier. A sword is all he knows. He’s trying to be more. This might be beyond him.

Sometimes he growls when he’s angry. Sometimes he rips things apart with his teeth. Sometimes dogs follow him, but sometimes they whine. The shadows aren’t always unfriendly, and he feels them like fingers in his hair. There are eyes like fire in the mirrors at night, but he can only see them in the corners of his eyes.

The first time the Gerudo catch him, it was because he tried to scale their walls. Why did he think that would work? Urbosa would laugh if she knew.

He catches horses, but they’re never the right one. The hooves are wrong, the gait is wrong. They are never a part of him, an extension of his own legs. He rides across fields and they hesitate the way she never did. He whistles three notes, sometimes, but it never works.

He finds it, eventually. The place the voice told him about. Walls without a roof. Has he been here before? Surely he has. It’s night when he arrives. His footsteps make no sound. This is how he navigates the world, now, quiet as the sky. It’s easier this way. He kneels down to catch the latch on the chest, and when it opens, he cannot breathe.

He stares at it for a long time.

The moon is only the moon. His skin is still his own. Eventually, he breathes again.

He almost laughs.

He slides the mask onto his face.

Public Shame

As I mentioned, I recently read Jon Ronson’s book “So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed” and thought it made some very compelling points on the renaissance of public shaming in the age of social media.  I was going to post my highlights, but then I realized I’d highlighted about 30% of the book, so instead:

I wrote down what I thought were some of the key, take-home points the book made, and pulled quotes from the book in no particular order for each of them.  It’s  still a wall of text, but feel free to wade in if you’re interested.

Again, I strongly recommend giving this book a read.

  • Public shaming is often motivated by a belief that one is Doing Good
  • Public shaming is about social conformity
  • Public shaming can make us LESS aware of viewpoints different that our own 
  • Shame works because we are all afraid
  • Shaming others can bring out our own brutality
  • Shame leads to dehumanization and “death of the soul”
  • Shame leads to violence
  • Technology has strange warping effects on how public shaming affects us (and social media shaming can have longer impacts than we expect)
  • There is evidence that “De-shaming” may have more positive outcomes than shaming

quotes from the book supporting each point under the cut. (bolding mine, quotes by paragraph and in no particular order)

Public shaming is often motivated by a belief that one is Doing Good

“Social media gives a voice to voiceless people—its egalitarianism is its greatest quality. But I was struck by a report Anna Funder discovered that had been written by a Stasi psychologist tasked with trying to understand why they were attracting so many willing informants. His conclusion: “It was an impulse to make sure your neighbor was doing the right thing.”

“It seemed to me that all the people involved in the Hank and Adria story thought they were doing something good. But they only revealed that our imagination is so limited, our arsenal of potential responses so narrow, that the only thing anyone can think to do with an inappropriate shamer like Adria is to punish her with a shaming. All of the shamers had themselves come from a place of shame, and it really felt parochial and self-defeating to instinctively slap shame onto shame like a clumsy builder covering cracks.”

“She was also someone whose shaming frenzy was motivated by the desire to do good. She told me about the time 4chan tracked down a boy who had been posting videos of himself on YouTube physically abusing his cat “and daring people to stop him.” 4chan users found him “and let the entire town know he was a sociopath. Ha ha! And the cat was taken away from him and adopted.” (Of course, the boy might have been a sociopath. But Mercedes and the other 4chan people had no evidence of that—no idea what may or may not have been happening in his home life to turn him that way.) I asked Mercedes what sorts of people gathered on 4chan. “A lot of them are bored, understimulated, overpersecuted, powerless kids,” she replied. “They know they can’t be anything they want. So they went to the Internet. On the Internet we have power in situations where we would otherwise be powerless.”

[On the fallacy of the Stanford Prison Experiment:] There was a smoking gun, but it was something I hadn’t noticed. “The really interesting line,” Haslam wrote, “is I thought I was doing something good at the time. The phrase doing something good is quite critical.” — Doing something good. This was the opposite of LeBon’s and Zimbardo’s conclusions. An evil environment hadn’t turned Dave evil. Those hundred thousand people who piled on Justine Sacco hadn’t been infected with evil. “The irony of those people who use contagion as an explanation,” Steve Reicher e-mailed, “is that they saw the TV pictures of the London riots but they didn’t go out and riot themselves. It is never true that everyone helplessly joins in with others in a crowd. The riot police don’t join in with a rioting crowd. Contagion, it appears, is a problem for others.”

Public shaming is about social conformity

We are defining the boundaries of normality by tearing apart the people outside it.”

“ The sad thing was that Lindsey had incurred the Internet’s wrath because she was impudent and playful and foolhardy and outspoken. And now here she was, working with Farukh to reduce herself to safe banalities—to cats and ice cream and Top 40 chart music. We were creating a world where the smartest way to survive is to be bland.”

““But there is a chilling of behavior that goes along with a virtual lynching. There is a life modification.” “I know,” I said. “For a year Lindsey Stone had felt too plagued to even go to karaoke.” And karaoke is something you do alone in a room with your friends. “And that’s not an unusual reaction,” Michael said. “People change their phone numbers. They don’t leave the house. They go into therapy. They have signs of PTSD. It’s like the Stasi. We’re creating a culture where people feel constantly surveilled, where people are afraid to be themselves.” […] “This is more frightening than the NSA,” said Michael. “The NSA is looking for terrorists. They’re not getting psychosexual pleasure out of their schadenfreude about you.”

“But the Stasi didn’t only inflict physical horror. Their main endeavor was to create the most elaborate surveillance network in world history. It didn’t seem unreasonable to scrutinize this aspect of them in the hope it might teach us something about our own social media surveillance network.” 

Public shaming can make us LESS aware of viewpoints different that our own

“The tech-utopians like the people in Wired present this as a new kind of democracy,” Adam’s e-mail continued. “It isn’t. It’s the opposite. It locks people off in the world they started with and prevents them from finding out anything different. They got trapped in the system of feedback reinforcement. The idea that there is another world of other people who have other ideas is marginalized in our lives.”

“ We express our opinion that Justine Sacco is a monster. We are instantly congratulated for this—for basically being Rosa Parks. We make the on-the-spot decision to carry on believing it.”

Shame works because we are all afraid

“I’ve worked on dark stories before—stories about innocent people losing their lives to the FBI, about banks hounding debtors until they commit suicide—but although I felt sorry for those people, I hadn’t felt the dread snake its way into me in the way these shaming stories had. I’d leave Jonah and Michael and Justine feeling nervous and depressed.”

“ Psychologists try to remind anxiety sufferers that “what if” worries are irrational ones. If you find yourself thinking, What if I just came across as racist? the “what if” is evidence that nothing bad actually happened. It’s just thoughts swirling frantically around. But Lindsey’s “what if” worry—“What if my new company googles me?”—was extremely plausible.

“ “Growing up I was ashamed of everything… and at a certain point I realized that if I was open with the world about the things that embarrassed me they no longer held any weight! I felt set free!” She added that she always derives her porn scenarios from this formula. She imagines circumstances that would mortify her, “like being bound naked on a street with everybody looking at you,” and enacts them with like-minded porn actors, robbing them of their horror. “

“Years ago I might have thought it crazy that Donna had become so upset over such an innocuous article. But now I understood. I think we all care deeply about things that seem totally inconsequential to other people. We all carry around with us the flotsam and jetsam of perceived humiliations that actually mean nothing. We are a mass of vulnerabilities, and who knows what will trigger them? And so I sympathized with Donna. It seemed sad—given how Max and Andrew owed her so much—that as soon as she saw herself from the outside she felt ashamed, like the shame had snaked its way into her and there was no escaping.”

A lot of people move around in life chronically ashamed of how they look, or how they feel, or what they said, or what they did. It’s like a permanent adolescent concern. Adolescence is when you’re permanently concerned about what other people think of you.” It was a few months earlier, and Brad Blanton and I were talking on Skype. He was telling me about how, as a psychotherapist, he had come to understand how so many of us “live our lives constantly in fear of being exposed or being judged as immoral or not good enough.”

“All of the shamers had themselves come from a place of shame, and it really felt parochial and self-defeating to instinctively slap shame onto shame like a clumsy builder covering cracks.

Shaming others can bring out our own brutality

The common assumption is that public punishments died out in the new great metropolises because they’d been judged useless. Everyone was too busy being industrious to bother to trail some transgressor through the city crowds like some volunteer scarlet letter. But according to the documents I found, that wasn’t it at all. They didn’t fizzle out because they were ineffective. They were stopped because they were far too brutal. “

“I wondered: When shaming takes on a disproportionate significance within an august institution, when it entrenches itself over generations, what are the consequences? What does it do to the participants?”

“ I assumed that by lunchtime John would move away from shaming familiarization to other types of courtroom familiarization. But, really, that never happened. It turned out that shaming was such an integral part of the judicial process that the day was pretty much all about it. “

“Matthew’s role-play lasted fifteen minutes. His face turned as crimson as a rusted cargo container as he mumbled about corroded coils. His mouth was dry, his voice trembling. He was a wreck. He’s weak, I felt myself think. He’s just so weak. Then I caught myself. Judging someone on how flustered he behaves in the face of a shaming is a truly strange and arbitrary way of forming an opinion on him.”

“ it’s odd that so many of us see shaming how free-market libertarians see capitalism, as a beautiful beast that must be allowed to run free. “

“ But The Crowd was more than a polemic. Like Jonah Lehrer, LeBon knew that a popular-science book needed a self-improvement message to become successful. And LeBon had two. His first was that we really didn’t need to worry ourselves about whether mass revolutionary movements like communism and feminism had a moral reason for existing. They didn’t. They were just madness. So it was fine for us to stop worrying about that.”

“ ” Was he right? It felt like a question that really needed answering because it didn’t seem to be crossing any of our minds to wonder whether the person we had just shamed was okay or in ruins. I suppose that when shamings are delivered like remotely administered drone strikes nobody needs to think about how ferocious our collective power might be. The snowflake never needs to feel responsible for the avalanche. “

“Judge Ted Poe’s critics—like the civil rights group the ACLU—argued to him the dangers of these ostentatious punishments, especially those that were carried out in public. They said it was no coincidence that public shaming had enjoyed such a renaissance in Mao’s China and Hitler’s Germany and the Ku Klux Klan’s America—it destroys souls, brutalizing everyone, the onlookers included, dehumanizing them as much as the person being shamed.“

“It feels like they want an apology, but it’s a lie. […] It’s a lie because they don’t want an apology,” he said. “An apology is supposed to be a communion—a coming together. For someone to make an apology, someone has to be listening. They listen and you speak and there’s an exchange. That’s why we have a thing about accepting apologies. There’s a power exchange that happens. But they don’t want an apology. […] What they want is my destruction. What they want is for me to die. They will never say this because it’s too histrionic. But they never want to hear from me again for the rest of my life, and while they’re never hearing from me, they have the right to use me as a cultural reference point whenever it services their ends. That’s how it would work out best for them. They would like me to never speak again. […] I’d never had the opportunity to be the object of hate before. The hard part isn’t the hate. It’s the object.”

“ But I didn’t think any of those things were true. If punching Justine Sacco was ever punching up—and it didn’t seem so to me given that she was an unknown PR woman with 170 Twitter followers—the punching only intensified as she plummeted to the ground. Punching Jonah Lehrer wasn’t punching up either—not when he was begging for forgiveness in front of that giant-screen Twitter feed. “

This was especially true, he told me, because the onlookers had been so nice. He’d feared abuse and ridicule. But no. “Ninety percent of the responses on the street were ‘God bless you’ and ‘Things will be okay,’” he said. Their kindness meant everything, he said. It made it all right. It set him on his path to salvation. “Social media shamings are worse than your shamings,” I suddenly said to Ted Poe. He looked taken aback. “They are worse,” he replied. “They’re anonymous.” “Or even if they’re not anonymous, it’s such a pile-on they may as well be,” I said. “They’re brutal,” he said. I suddenly became aware that throughout our conversation I’d been using the word they. And each time I did, it felt like I was being spineless. The fact was, they weren’t brutal. We were brutal.

“The justice system in the West has a lot of problems,” Poe said, “but at least there are rules. You have basic rights as the accused. You have your day in court. You don’t have any rights when you’re accused on the Internet. And the consequences are worse. It’s worldwide forever.”

“You turn around and you suddenly realize you’re the head of a pitchfork mob,” Michael said. “And it’s ‘What are these people fucking doing here? Why are they acting like heathens? I don’t want to be associated with this at all. I want to get out of here.’” “It was horrible,” I said. “All this time I’d been thinking we were in the middle of some kind of idealistic reimagining of the justice system. But those people were so cold.” The response to Jonah’s apology had been brutal and confusing to me. It felt as if the people on Twitter had been invited to be characters in a courtroom drama, and had been allowed to choose their roles, and had all gone for the part of the hanging judge. Or it was even worse than that. They all had gone for the part of the people in the lithographs being ribald at whippings. “I’m watching people stabbing and stabbing and stabbing Jonah,” Michael said, “and I’m, ‘HE’S DEAD.’”

Shame leads to dehumanization and “death of the soul”

“People really were very keen to imagine Jonah as shameless, as lacking in that quality, like he was something not quite human that had adopted human form. I suppose it’s no surprise that we feel the need to dehumanize the people we hurt—before, during, or after the hurting occurs. But it always comes as a surprise. In psychology it’s known as cognitive dissonance. It’s the idea that it feels stressful and painful for us to hold two contradictory ideas at the same time (like the idea that we’re kind people and the idea that we’ve just destroyed someone). And so to ease the pain we create illusory ways to justify our contradictory behavior.”

“Stop and Frisk: The Human Impact.” Several interviewees said that being stopped and frisked makes you “feel degraded and humiliated.” One went on to say: “When they stop you in the street, and then everybody’s looking … it does degrade you. And then people get the wrong perception of you. That kind of colors people’s thoughts toward you, [people] might start thinking that you’re into some illegal activity, when you’re not. Just because the police [are] just stopping you for—just randomly. That’s humiliating [on] its own.” … [Another said,] “It made me feel violated, humiliated, harassed, shameful, and of course very scared.”

“A shaming can be like a distorting mirror at a funfair, taking human nature and making it look monstrous. “

“ I suddenly remembered how weirdly tarnished I felt when the spambot men created their fake Jon Ronson, getting my character traits all wrong, turning me into some horrific, garrulous foodie, and strangers believed it was me, and there was nothing I could do. “

“I’d been taught that psychopaths had just been born that way,” he said, “and that they’d only want to manipulate you so you’d get them a reduced sentence.” He pictured them like they were another species. […] “The men would all say that they had died,” Gilligan said. “These were the most incorrigibly violent characters. They would all say that they themselves had died before they started killing other people. What they meant was that their personalities had died. They felt dead inside. They had no capacity for feelings. No emotional feelings. Or even physical feelings. So some would cut themselves. Or they would mutilate themselves in the most horrible ways. Not because they felt guilty—this wasn’t a penance for their sins—but because they wanted to see if they had feelings. They found their inner numbness more tormenting than even the physical pain would be.” 

“These men’s souls did not just die. They have dead souls because their souls were murdered. How did it happen? How were they murdered?”

“The way we construct consciousness is to tell the story of ourselves to ourselves, the story of who we believe we are. I feel that a really public shaming or humiliation is a conflict between the person trying to write his own narrative and society trying to write a different narrative for the person. One story tries to overwrite the other. And so to survive you have to own your story. Or”—Mike looked at me—“you write a third story. You react to the narrative that’s been forced upon you.” He paused. “You have to find a way to disrespect the other narrative,” he said. “If you believe it, it will crush you.”

“I’d been thinking about a message that had appeared on the giant Twitter feed behind Jonah’s head: “He is tainted as a writer forever.” And a tweet directed at Justine Sacco: “Your tweet lives on forever.” The word forever had been coming up a lot during my two years among the publicly shamed. Jonah and Justine and people like them were being told, “No. There is no door. There is no way back in. We don’t offer any forgiveness.” But we know that people are complicated and have a mixture of flaws and talents and sins. So why do we pretend that we don’t? Amid all the agony, Jim McGreevey was trying an extraordinary thing.

“We kept walking—past inmates just sitting there, looking at walls. “Normal prison is punishment in the worst sense,” Jim told me. “It’s like a soul-bleeding. Day in, day out, people find themselves doing virtually nothing in a very negative environment.” I thought of Lindsey Stone, just sitting at her kitchen table for almost a year, staring at the online shamings of people just like her. “People move away from themselves,” Jim said. “Inmates tell me time and again that they feel themselves shutting down, building a wall.”

“I remembered a moment from Jonah Lehrer’s annihilation. It was when he was standing in front of that giant-screen Twitter feed trying to apologize. Jonah is the sort of person who finds displays of emotion extremely embarrassing, and he then looked deeply uncomfortable. “I hope that when I tell my young daughter the same story I’ve just told you,” he was saying, “I will be a better person …” “He is tainted as a writer forever,” replied the tweets. “He has not proven that he is capable of feeling shame.” “Jonah Lehrer is a friggin’ sociopath.” — Later, when Jonah and I talked about that moment, he told me he had to “turn off some emotional switch in me. I think I had to shut down.”

“It’s shameful to have to admit you feel ashamed. By the way, we’re saying the word feeling. The feeling of shame. I think feeling is the wrong word.” It may be somewhat paradoxical to refer to shame as a “feeling,” for while shame is initially painful, constant shaming leads to a deadening of feeling. Shame, like cold, is, in essence, the absence of warmth. And when it reaches overwhelming intensity, shame is experienced, like cold, as a feeling of numbness and deadness. [In Dante’s Inferno] the lowest circle of hell was a region not of flames, but of ice—absolute coldness.”

“Given all of this, you’d think LeBon’s work might have at some point stopped being influential. But it never did. I suppose one reason for his enduring success is that we tend to love nothing more than to declare other people insane.”

Shame leads to violence

[on an interview of random americans, finding that the majority of people have at some point entertained vengeance fantasies.] “Almost none of the murderous fantasies were dreamed up in response to actual danger—stalker ex-boyfriends, etc. They were all about the horror of humiliation. Brad Blanton was right. Shame internalized can lead to agony. It can lead to Jonah Lehrer. Whereas shame let out can lead to freedom, or at least to a funny story, which is a sort of freedom too.”

“Universal among the violent criminals was the fact that they were keeping a secret,” Gilligan wrote. “A central secret. And that secret was that they felt ashamed—deeply ashamed, chronically ashamed, acutely ashamed.” It was shame, every time. “I have yet to see a serious act of violence that was not provoked by the experience of feeling shamed or humiliated, disrespected and ridiculed.” […] For each of them the shaming “occurred on a scale so extreme, so bizarre, and so frequent that one cannot fail to see that the men who occupy the extreme end of the continuum of violent behavior in adulthood occupied an equally extreme end of the continuum of violent child abuse earlier in life.” So they grew up and—“all violence being a person’s attempt to replace shame with self-esteem”—they murdered people.

“And after they were jailed, things only got worse. At Walpole—Massachusetts’s most riot-prone prison during the 1970s—officers intentionally flooded the cells and put insects in the prisoners’ food. They forced inmates to lie facedown before they were allowed meals. Sometimes officers would tell prisoners they had a visitor. Prisoners almost never had visitors, so this was exciting to hear. Then the officer would say that the prisoner didn’t really have a visitor and that he was just kidding. And so on. “They thought these things would be how to get them to obey,” Gilligan told me. “But it did the exact opposite. It stimulated violence.”

Technology has strange warping effects on how public shaming affects us (and social media shaming can have larger and longer impacts than we expect)

“According to Google’s own research into our “eye movements,” 53 percent of us don’t go beyond the first two search results, and 89 percent don’t look down past the first page. “What the first page looks like,” Michael’s strategist, Jered Higgins, told me during my tour of their offices, “determines what people think of you.” As a writer and journalist—as well as a father and human being—this struck me as a really horrifying way of knowing the world.”

“ What had begun as a schadenfreude-motivated Phineas Upham Google alert had led Graeme into the mysterious world of “black-ops reputation management.” The purpose of the fake sites was obvious—to push reports about the tax-evasion charges so far down the search results that they’d effectively vanish. Nobody had heard of the European Court of Justice’s “Right to Be Forgotten” ruling at that point—it was still two years from existing—but somebody was evidently fashioning some clumsy homemade U.S.-based version for Phineas Upham. “

“ I told my dining companion, Michael Fertik, that he was the only person from the mysterious reputation-management world who had returned my e-mail. “That’s because this is a really easy sector in which to be an unappealing, scurrilous operation,” he said. “Scurrilous in what way?” “A couple of them are really nasty fucking people,” Michael said. “There’s a guy who has some traction in our space, who runs a company, he’s a convicted rapist. He’s a felony rapist. He went to jail for four years for raping a woman. He started a company to basically obscure that fact about himself, I think.” Michael told me the name of the man’s company. “We’ve built a data file on him,” he said. “

“Man, remember Justine Sacco? #HasJustineLandedYet. God that was awesome. MILLIONS of people waiting for her to land.”

“ And so the worst thing, Justine said, the thing that made her feel most helpless, was her lack of control over the Google search results. They were just there, eternal, crushing. “It’s going to take a very long time for those Google search results to change for me,” she said.

“and, in response to a small number of posters suggesting that maybe a person’s future shouldn’t be ruined because of a jokey photograph, “HER FUTURE ISN’T RUINED! Stop trying to make her into a martyr. In 6 months no one except those that actually know her will remember this.” [did not turn out to be true.]

There is evidence that “De-shaming” may have more positive outcomes than shaming

“Knee-jerk shaming is knee-jerk shaming and I wondered what would happen if we made a point of eschewing the shaming completely—if we refused to shame anyone. Could there be a corner of the justice system trying out an idea like that?”

“If shaming worked, if prison worked, then it would work,” Jim said to me. “But it doesn’t work.” He paused. “Look, some people need to go to prison forever. Some people are incapable … but most people …” “It’s disorienting,” I said, “that the line between hell and redemption in the U.S. justice system is so fine.”

“This has been a book about people who really didn’t do very much wrong. Justine and Lindsey, certainly, were destroyed for nothing more than telling bad jokes. And while we were busy steadfastly refusing them forgiveness, Jim was quietly arranging the salvation of someone who had committed a far more serious offense. It struck me that if deshaming would work for a maelstrom like Raquel, if it would restore someone like her to health, then we need to think twice about raining down vengeance and anger as our default position.”

“Throughout the 1980s, Gilligan ran experimental therapeutic communities inside Massachusetts’s prisons. They weren’t especially radical. They were just about “treating the prisoners with respect,” Gilligan told me, “giving people a chance to express their grievances and hopes and wishes and fears.” The point was to create an ambience that eradicated shame entirely. “We had one psychiatrist who referred to the inmates as scum. I told him I never wanted to see his face again. It was not only antitherapeutic for the patients, it was dangerous for us.” At first, the prison officers had been suspicious, “but eventually some of them began to envy the prisoners,” Gilligan said. “Many of them also needed some psychiatric help. These were poorly paid guys, poorly educated. We arranged to get some of them into psychiatric treatment. So they became less insulting and domineering. And violence dropped astoundingly.”   […] “[The new governor] said, ‘We have to stop this idea of giving free college education to inmates,’” Gilligan told me, “‘otherwise people who are too poor to go to college are going to start committing crimes so they can get sent to prison for a free education.’” And so that was the end of the education program.  [..]  Only a handful of therapeutic communities inspired by his Massachusetts ones exist in American prisons today.

Ripped Jeans

Im Jaebumx Reader

Word Count: 3.5k

Genre: Thigh Riding Smut

Summary: Jaebum had been thinking about a certain kink all day long, even when he shouldn’t have been

Author’s Note: Send all the holy water y’all have, and drink some yourself. We all need jesus.
Inspired by this:

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kill the mood | steve harrington

Originally posted by breannaquannn

pairing: steve harrington x reader

synopsis: the kids walk in on a heated moment between y/n and steve.

warnings: mentions & indications of sex

word count: 867

a/n: thank you to the person that requested this! feedback is always welcome:)


You stared out your bedroom window impatiently, watching your mother get into her car. It took a while but eventually she backed out of the driveway and you watched the vehicle disappear down the street.

“Okay, she’s gone.” You sighed, closing the curtains and turning around to face Steve. He was lying back against the pillows, quite literally twiddling his thumbs in boredom. 

“I thought she’d never leave.” Steve chuckled, motioning for you to come closer. You walked over quickly, getting onto the mattress and straddling Steve’s lap. 

“She won’t be back until Monday, so I’m yours for the weekend.” You whispered sweetly, pressing a short kiss to Steve’s lips. He couldn’t help but smile, locking eyes with you before kissing you again. You had yet to sleep with Steve but both agreed that this would be the weekend to do so. 

It didn’t take long for the chaste kisses to turn into sensual ones, causing you to reach for the hem of Steve’s shirt. As desperate as it sounds, all you could think about was getting him naked and feeling his skin against yours. 

“Someone’s eager.” Steve chuckled, causing you to give him a confused pout. He gestured towards your hips, which were grinding against his jean clad thigh. You immediately stopped; not even realizing you had been doing it in the first place.

“Oh, sorry.” You gushed, heat running to your cheeks as you looked down, avoiding Steve’s gaze.

“Don’t be, it’s hot.” Steve’s index finger titled your chin up so that your eyes could meet his again. He smiled reassuringly, picking you up off his lap and laying you on your back. He found a place between your legs, hovering above you as his lips met yours once more. Steve began to leave kisses along your neck, causing you to grip his arms tightly. 

You were so focused on Steve that you didn’t realize the front door to your house had opened. You also didn’t notice the footsteps coming up the stairs and towards your bedroom.

“SHIT, MY EYES.” You immediately snapped out of the trance Steve had put you in, shoving him off of you at the sound of the voice from the doorway. Your head turned towards your bedroom door, finding both Dustin and Lucas standing there, disgusted expressions on their faces. 

“What are you two doing in my house?” You screamed, fully sitting up and continuing to fix your shirt. 

“What were you two doing just a second ago?” Dustin sassed, giving both you and Steve a knowing look. Steve just sat there on the edge of your bed, cheeks red in embarrassment. 

“Answer my question first.” You huffed, crossing your arms over your chest. 

“Well, we were on our way to Mike’s house when we saw Steve’s car in your driveway.” Lucas explained. “So we decided to come say hi.”

“We didn’t think you’d be doing the dirty when we got here.” Dustin added, giving Steve another disapproving look. 

“We weren’t doing anything.” You groaned, looking at Steve for some help. The four of you remained silent for a few moments, letting the awkwardness of the moment sink in. 

You had imagined how this night would go many times; Dustin and Lucas walking in on you was never a part of the plan. 

“Oh, hey Y/N!” Your ears perked up at the sound of another voice coming from the doorway. Max walked in with a smile on her face until she sensed the tension. 

“What’s going on?” She asked; looking at you and Steve distanced on the bed, and Dustin and Lucas judging you with their eyes. “Oh my god, were you guys-”

“-No, we weren’t.” Steve interjected this time.

“You totally were.” Max shrieked, her jaw dropping in disbelief. 

“Alright, you guys need to leave.” You shook your head, pointing to the door. “You just broke into my house and-”

“We didn’t break in.” Dustin interrupted, shaking his head.

“Yeah, we used the key underneath the welcome mat.” Max nodded, indicating that it was probably her genius idea. 

“You still need to leave.” Steve groaned, getting up from the bed. 

“Why, I mean we’re already here and we probably killed the mood so we should all just hang out.” Dustin beamed, smiling hopefully. 

“No we really shouldn’t.” You mumbled under your breath, still wanting to spend time alone with Steve. 

“Listen, Dustin buddy. I love you, but Y/N’s right. You guys should get going.” Steve said, patting Dustin on the head. You watched as the kids all began to pout and instantly felt bad. 

“Oh, okay.” Dustin shrugged. “Sorry for being a bother.” 

The three kids began walking out of your room and down the hall, guilt immediately setting in. Dustin was right, they had killed the mood and you’d probably just end up watching a movie with Steve for the remainder of the night anyway. You also couldn’t help but notice how sad Steve looked as well, considering how much he actually liked having the kids around. 

“Wait,” You called after the kids, running out into the hall, Steve not too far behind you. They all turned to face you with hopeful eyes. “You guys can stay.”

“Really?” They all piped up, including Steve from beside you. 

“I’ll get popcorn, you guys pick a movie.” You smiled, gesturing for them to run off. 

“That’s really nice of you.” Steve smiled, gently grabbing a hold of your hand and pressing a kiss to your cheek. 

“Oh, you owe me one, Harrington.”

Punk (Chap. 12)

Summary: You’re head over heels for your best friend Bucky and hate the nickname he gave you as it doesn’t exactly scream romance.

Word count: 3923

Warnings: language, talk about injuries, sarcasm (sometimes jokes are okay)

A/N:  Thank you all for the amazing feedback and support on the last chapter.  I’m completely blown away and ecstatic that you like the story.  I hope you like this next part, it’s a little drawn out but I had some angst I needed to get out.  Feedback is always appreciated.  Thank you again for your patience between updates.  



Apparently Natasha didn’t actually want you to answer that question.  She was ranting and raving, throwing her hands in the air, pointing a polished, accusatory finger in your direction.  She switched from English to Russian so quickly that it seemed as is if she were a one-woman show playing all the parts.  You couldn’t get a word in edgewise though.  Every time you opened your mouth to reply she merely answered herself or spoke right over you with a barrage of “what were you thinkings” “you could have dieds” “I’ve never seen anything do stupid in my entire lifes” “what the hell is wrong with yous” and what you suspected were several rude and explicit Russian insults.

Keep reading

They call you Magpie, occasionally— Bloodhound more recently— and you like to collect things.

You’ve always been careful about it, of course— learning where, if they exist at all, the lost and founds are, how to stumble across the people around who have the uncanny ability to know everyone and everything that matters to them, the places locals always check for items gone adrift— and you’ve heard strange things about EU, even before you actually arrived. Nothing concrete, nothing substantial, but enough on the forums and ratemyprofessors and hidden in deep corners of the web that you take extra care this time before continuing your finding (and returning, which is, admittedly, more of an entertaining challenge).

So instead of picking up the curiosities or collecting the feathers and bits and baubles, you watch, as you always do, and you’re thorough, as you always are. It takes some months and some seeing things you perhaps shouldn’t have and some time spent imagining solutions you likely couldn’t spare, but when all is said and done you think you’re ready to begin.

When you take the feathers, you leave behind piles of birdseed (your cockatiel’s favorite, and millet too when the plumage is especially colorful). When you find bottle caps, you bring them to the fountain and throw them in the highest tier; for the koi in the pond and their gasping mouths, you bring stories (words, the important thing is the words) whispered in the dead of night and shut up in the pretty green bottles left for you on the sidewalk. You find marbles in your pockets, bright as bubbles catching the sun, and make earrings out of them using the delicate wire you’re given every time you leave interestingly-shaped driftwood in that hole beside the dumpster (the earrings you keep, and sometimes give away to classmates worried about getting caught (or getting Caught, depending) in the rain). You give poetry and songs (whatever’s in your head, be it Bon Jovi for a week, the lines of that play you’re struggling with, or the rhymes that occasionally overtake your thoughts) to the crows and the trees and they give you nothing, but nor do they take.

The squirrels you know better than to deal with. A senior warned you (indirectly, eyes straight ahead as you both walked along), and when you accidentally leave your doodle notebook under the tree, you are left shaking pine needles out of your hair for weeks (it does smell nice, to be fair).

You never take found things without giving in return, and never give without expecting to leave empty-handed. It is a kindness, all of it, and you treasure the thanks you get (you do not always get thanked, and you do not mind).

With the lost things, you tread more carefully. You peek at them from the corner of your eye and wait a day (sometimes two, sometimes three, depending on how hard it is to only cast a glance) in order to see if the item is claimed; eventually (reluctantly, sometimes, but you do know how to help lost things find their homes, and you don’t want to leave them), you pick them up.

If it’s made of anything shiny, you leave it by the crows, rattling off as many interwoven lines of poetry you can cobble together about guarding and glittering, returning and finding, dropping off folded tinfoil sculptures as well (the crows have never given you anything back, but nor has anything been taken, and so you figure it’s fair they keep whatever they feel they’re owed). Though you only intend for them to keep watch and draw attention (whenever something pretty is misplaced, everyone looks at them), you begin to leave them your little aluminum figures whenever you catch wind of anything (or anyone) disappearing as a good luck charm, fond of how they watch and listen and protect what’s them and theirs. It is meant to be an idiosyncrasy, but you start to notice that they gather around the places those lost things turn up. You don’t give thanks and you pick up no more of their feathers than usual. When something is returned you make sure those involved discover a sudden and temporary interest in reading classic poems aloud.

When it’s anything that seems personal (or urgent), you hunt It down; a sigil that looks like an abstract swirl or perhaps an eye or perhaps a hand. Usually someone’s wearing it, frequently it’s purple, and always it’s on the softest-looking piece of fabric around; you drop the item nearby, wrapped in pairs of the warmest socks you can get on short notice, and grin before moving along. After the third time, when you get pins and needles walking away, you also start folding paper flowers out of the lists you keep of what you pick up where (and, if applicable, what you left in return). You leave those stuffed inside the socks, and notice that in certain places nothing turns up anymore (you do not blame It for being more skilled than you).

When it’s just an ordinary lost thing, you bury it, and leave a circle of pebbles above; later, you place a crow’s feather in the middle as well. You check back in a week and usually it’s gone. If it’s still there in two, you put it in the school’s lost and found, and at that point, more often than not, you later end up discovering it in your room.

You begin to get a reputation.

You hope, perhaps (probably) vainly, that it will do you no harm, and that you will not become one of the lost things you are so fond of.

You do what you can to keep safe; you owe no one a thing, and there are quite a few that owe you (and owe you very much).

You like to collect things, but you don’t collect debts. You do much freely, and you find value in kindnesses, but you value yourself, of course, most of all.

You hope you will not become lost, one way or another. You try to remember that, before, your help was freely given and the debts you were owed forgiven more often than not. You hope your (what-started-out-as-)innocent hobby will do you no harm.

You begin to get a reputation.

x

imoyu-trashblog  asked:

While reading your Gaston headcanons and just imagined where he picks you up to carry you across a large puddle, only for him to trip on a loose stone. Oops, both of you are covered in mud now. Fluff ensures...?

I said no but i couldn’t stop mySELF.

Originally posted by good-gay-sherlock

Title: Muddy.
Pairing: Gaston x Female!Reader.
Words: 3,104.
Rating: T.


It had just rained not ten minutes ago, and vendors were already back on the street. Some didn’t even bother protecting their produce and products and let the rain do what it wanted. It wasn’t the typical gentle sort of rain either, it was a consistent downpour that wasn’t expected by anyone in the village. You had sought shelter under a small patio of a neighbor as it happened on your way to get some eggs. As a result of the heavy rain, the Earth now smelt clean and fresh. It was a soothing scent, one that made you forget your worries, if only for a few minutes. Giving your kind neighbor a smile for letting you stand under their roof, you waved at them, saying, “I’ll see you later,” before stepping out. A few drops of water hit the top of your head as they dripped from the roofs edge.

Drawing a deep breath in, you began walking. Tightening your shawl around your shoulders, you were appreciative of the sun now peeking through the clouds above. It would warm up soon, drying everything in the process. Mindful of your steps now as most of the ground was either emerged with water or was a seeping puddle of mud, you ran into the sights of a friend.

Friend wasn’t the right word, you thought and looked at Gaston with curious eyes. He was currently checking himself out in the window of the bakery, smiling on and off. Probably checking the wrinkles around his mouth, you laughed to yourself, remembering how he told you that women found them to be rather attractive. ‘It gives me a sort of… Older appearance.’ He told you once with a wide smirk. He was right, they did make him look different than other men you knew, but not for the reason he gave you.

The lines around his mouth gave his smirk, his smiles and his grins even more prominence and seemed to captivate those around him. As if his eyes weren’t enough to get the job just right. In fact, most of his attributes were enough to get anyone he set his eyes on, really. He was the definition of tall, dark and handsome. There were the occasional few that saw passed this facade, and you just happened to be one of them. Not that it came in much luck because Gaston had a keen sense on picking out women and men who he didn’t quite captivate. You supposed this came into play with his need for a chase. Whether it be chasing his next prey while hunting or chasing the next woman in his life, he enjoyed it regardless.

You raised your eyebrows in amusement as Gaston shot his reflection a wink and a kiss. You took this as an opportunity to walk past him quickly, in slight hopes that perhaps he wouldn’t notice you so you could get what you wanted and not linger around to talk.

He was more of an acquaintance, you decided tip toeing your way behind him, not a friend. You both knew each other, acknowledged each other’s existence, spoken here and there, flirted a bit but ultimately kept your distance. It wasn’t as if you hated him, in fact, you didn’t. You just found him to a be a bit… overpowering sometimes and it only elevated when you figured out that he was entirely interested in you. Of course, the smiles he sent your way, the tone of voice he used with you, his gestures and body language were all alarms going off telling you that Gaston thought he was a bit more than acquaintances with you, but it only hit you full on when he finally got around to asking you to have dinner with him.

It’s not like you weren’t interested him and hadn’t thought of being together with him. You figured most everyone in the village had, even the men. Gaston was certainly appealing and was very careful on making himself seem as attractive as he possibly could. But, giving a man his way when he thinks he’s entitled to it is something you didn’t want to feed into. An egotistical man is something you didn’t want to feed attention to. You owed him nothing. You were your own person and he’d have to realize that if he was really interested.

“(Name)!” Your face balled up in defeat. Stopping your movements, you turned on your heel and faced Gaston. In the time that it took you to do that, you relaxed your expression into the most neutral face you could muster. You watched rather intently as he pulled on the bottom of his tan overcoat to straighten it, clearing his throat while doing that.

You swallowed softly and smiled politely at him. “Good morning, Gaston.”

He didn’t miss a beat, grasping your hand and kissing your knuckles gently. He smiled against them, looking down at you through slightly half-lidded eyes. Your heart churned at the meager gaze that held a bit more than invested attention. He let go of your hand, almost hesitating doing so. Your hand was left to drift in the air before making its way back to your side.  “Good morning.” He finally said, his tone dipping into his chest voice. “Any plans for this evening?”

“What’s today? Wednesday?” You thought and looked around, eager to avoid his eyes. Crossing your arms in front of your chest, you thought of an excuse. It didn’t need to be a good one, just a logical one. You spilled out the first thing you thought of, “I’ve got to do laundry.” It was unintentional for your statement to come out as a question, but unfortunately, it came out that way. You just hoped that Gaston bought it as an obtainable excuse.

Slipping his hands onto his hips, you found yourself rather fixated on the shape of his torso. His fingers expanded there, cupping and holding himself as if he didn’t get enough from the women who’ve touched that very spot. He didn’t cock his waist to the side perse, and much rather, straightened his back to make himself appear even larger. The light brown pants were tailored to fit his body specifically, and if he moved just right, it left little to the imagination. His feet were a part giving the absolute definition of confidence and self-awareness though Gaston on more than one occasion, was completely clueless. At this moment in time, he wasn’t. He was thinking about your words. There was really no sense in doing laundry in the evening because if you left it out to dry overnight, the frost would most definitely freeze most of your clothes.

“In the… Evening?” Gaston inquired, his right eyebrow arching upwards in curiousity. The white ruffled shirt under the vibrant red vest lined with gold clung to his torso and defined his shape. Under the tan overcoat, you could see that Gaston was just as gentle on the eyes. Many didn’t see this for many only say the broad shouldered war hero. For a brief moment, you wanted nothing than to reach out and graze your hands up and down his sides. They appeared smooth.

“Uhm, yes.” You tore your eyes away, deciding that walking away was probably the best way to avoid any sort of eye contact. If he’s walking beside you, preferably a foot behind you actually,  it’d be hard for you to maintain gazes. Gaston followed you rather diligently, letting his eyes fall to the back of your head as you began speaking again, “It’s a lot easier to get it done in the evening when no one else is there.” That made complete sense, you reassured yourself.

“Then, can I join you?” You knew that was coming. Laughing quietly, you stopped in front of a rather large puddle that almost looked more like a pond because of its size. “I’ve never done it myself, but I’m sure you can help me.” Gaston informed you, studying the small body of water in front of you and your mild hesitation on how you wanted to get around it.

Without any chance to ask what he was doing, Gaston bent down, grasping your hips and picking you up seamlessly. It was sudden action and with your feet leaving the ground so quickly made your head reel. For a second, you were almost sure he was going to hike you over his shoulder and carry you like a sack of potatoes, but his arm remained around your waist and within moments, he was holding you rather securely while your feet dangled helplessly in the air.

Unable to protest now, he started walking forward through the puddle you were debating on how to get around. You sighed in defeat. He was nice enough to help you so there was no point in arguing now that he was halfway across. “Or better yet, you can do it for me. You see, I usually get women to do it for me, it’s amazing how they throw themselves on their knees for the opportunity really.” Gaston smirked at the thought, readjusting his grip on you.

Shutting your eyelids to reserve yourself from snapping at him, you wrapped your arms around his neck to feel a bit more stable. You could feel his muscles shift under his clothing and found it difficult to ignore the musky smell that seemed to linger with him. He smelt like the woods mixed with the smallest amount of gunpowder. You knew this wasn’t a scent you should grow attached to, but you still found yourself taking deep breaths in just to enjoy. Fluttering your eyes back open you looked at him. Your gaze was a threat in itself, telling him that he’d pay for it if he dropped you. Then, you began speaking, “I won’t do it for you, but I can show you how to do it.”

Gaston laughed quietly. He figured you’d say something of that nature and merely nodded in agreement. He shuffled slightly, feeling something under his feet slip and slide, and before he could really process what it was, the two of you were tumbling down. A few seconds later, you were sitting in a rather large puddle, covered with water and mud. Sitting up, you blinked back the mud near your eyes. You swallowed thickly and looked down at Gaston as he actually managed to catch you and soften your landing. You couldn’t say the same for him for you had actually landed on top of him.

Resting on his back, he groaned quietly and opened his eyes. Gaston looked blankly at the sky for a few seconds before rocking back into reality. Realizing you were on top of him, a small smirk crept its way onto his cheeks. You could feel the eyes of a few villagers digging into you as they watched the entire thing play out, and some villagers who just got there and were met with a rather compromising scene as you were straddling him.

Staring down at him, you came to one conclusion rather quickly. “You did that on purpose.”

“What reason would I have for doing it on purpose? I slipped on a loose stone. It does happen, I’ll have you know. I’m sorry.” He groaned while sitting up, reaching back and holding you close to him. It was unintentional and more of a habit, but you could feel the heat dancing from the tips of your ears to your face at the action. Your eyebrows rose in slow amazement.  He wasn’t usually one for apologizing for anything, even it was his fault. Gaston had a knack of making it seem like things weren’t truly his fault, so why did he take responsibility this time? You were still perched in his lap as he slicked back some of his now drenched hair, a bit offended that you assumed that he did it intentionally.

Your laughter started, soft at first before getting louder and louder. Gaston was shocked, his face twisting into an expression of confusion. “What could possibly be so funny?” He moved his head back a bit so he could see you more clearly and something inside of him slammed against his heart like a giant wave.

“You’re a mess.” You tossed your head back in absolute pleasure. You’d never seen Gaston like this before. Physically dirty and unappealing to most because of the mud, but also a bit more human for having apologize for making a mistake, for having a flaw. Grasping your sides from laughing too hard, you heard Gaston’s laugh mix with yours. Unsurely at first, before he started literally cackling. It was something that you never actually heard prior, because he had many sorts of laughs.

The cocky laughs, the fake laughs, and the hateful or scornful laughs. Those were the ones he used more often than not so to hear his actual, human, genuine laugh made yours die down so you could admire it a bit more. There were wrinkles around his eyes, as they were shut, his mouth forming what you would describe as being one of the most beautiful smiles you’d ever seen. The sound itself was a bit different as well and instead of resonating in his chest like you thought, it was a lighter, more flowful sound. Grasping a leaf that had made it’s way into his hair, you tugged it out gently and tossed it to the side. “I’ve known you for years but I’ve never heard you laugh like that.” You stated and wiped some mud off his forehead. In the process though, you had only managed to smear it with the water on your fingers.

“You best bask in it then. Not many people have heard it.” He whispered a bit too quietly and looked away. Surely, it was a subject you could press and see why he implied that it was rare for him to laugh like that, but you were in no true position to do so. You were acquaintances. If more, then perhaps you could seep into his childhood, the days before you even knew Gaston.

Leaning towards him ever so slightly, you stared into his eyes as if you were reading what emotions were swirling in them. Remarkably, as many people have told you, his eyes weren’t a complete and solid brown. You supposed that you had never paid attention to the flickers of green that were washed around the darkness of his pupil. The sunlight seemed to elevate the appearance of his eyes, giving them a much softer glow than darker light would give. Resting your hands on his chest, you swallowed back any intentions of going any further than this mishap and tried to convince yourself that standing up would be your safest way out.

You tried, but your legs weren’t moving. A refusal would be the best way to put it. Your mind was refusing to move your body, to flee from the scene. Why?

Silence ensued between the two of you as he stared back at you. From the vague expression on his face, you thought that he was going to lean forward and plant a smooth kiss onto your lips. You were positive that was what he would do had any other girl fallen with him. Why else would he need the excuse to get so close to you? His movement seemed almost hesitant and as he rested back on one arm, he reached the other up and wiped some mud off your cheek with the wet sleeve of his tan coat. You didn’t want to tilt your head towards his graze, but that’s exactly what you did. Your action led to Gaston cupping the side of your face, his fingertips damp against your soft skin. You were almost positive he could feel your heart beating against his touch.

It would be so easy to kiss you right now, he thought to himself and let his eyes drop to your mouth before seeking your gaze once again. One swift motion towards you and he’d have his lips on yours, something that he had thought about since the first day he met you. That was years ago. To pine after someone for so long was typically not his style but here he found himself wanting nothing more than to embrace you and to let you have him. Gaston swallowed, the muscles in his neck contracting as he did. He wouldn’t say that he was nervous because he wasn’t. He just found himself… Unsure of what to do now. He could kiss you and change things between the two of you forever or he could stand up, help you up and go on with life the way things were.

He had chased you long enough.

Now was the time to take some action.

You laughed quietly, pulling away from his touch, “We should probably start laundry earlier-” The sentence came to an abrupt stop as Gaston craned his head forward and captured your lips. Your eyes were wide with surprise, though deep down, you knew he was going to kiss you. And, despite that deep down feeling, you did nothing to stop him. The second he started kissing you, you had stopped lying to yourself. You wanted to kiss him just as much. You wanted to hold him closer and never let go.

It wasn’t quite a kiss, as half of his mouth actually landed on the space next to your mouth. He didn’t move for what seemed like eternity, constantly reassuring himself that he had done the right thing. And when he did move, it was to readjust his mouth so he could kiss you fully. Lifting both hands, he cupped your face tenderly while the hands that were resting on his chest rose up to hold onto his shoulders. 

You wondered what it must look like, the two of you kissing in the middle of the village, in the middle of a puddle, both soaked to the bone and covered in mud. You didn’t care about that for very long though as your eyes fell shut. Gaston didn’t completely devour and allowed you dominate slightly. Kissing him back, you squeezed his shoulders and laughed slightly when the small amount of facial hair tickled your face. He laughed as well, pulling his mouth from yours. They remained puckered, almost asking for another kiss, his eyes still blissfully shut.

You didn’t allow him the pleasure, at least, not yet as you finished your sentence from before, “because we need to get the mud out of these clothes.”


Holy crap that ended up way longer than I had anticipated. Reblogs and likes are appreciated guys, thanks for reading!

Stuff from the Falsettos: In Conversation event!

William Finn, James Lapine, and Stephanie J. Block blew my mind several times yesterday and I wanted to share some cool things I learned about the show!

tl;dr: Falsettos beat Spiderman, Bill Finn and James Lapine should have their own sitcom, aND THE BANANA BELTING MOMENT WAS INITIALLY AN ACCIDENT

  • Packed house in Westport Country Playhouse. It was quite ironic because the event was free, but everyone there was hella rich. Hella. I know this because they started thanking donors at the beginning and there was one family there who had just donated a million. And literally not a single person was a POC. My middle-class Asian ass felt awkward.
  • It was Bill Finn, James Lapine, and Stephanie J. Block, moderated by Andrew C. Wilk (to whom we all owe our lives because he’s the executive producer of Live From Lincoln Center)
  • He told us cool stuff about filming Falsettos. There were ten cameras. He said that bringing all these huge cameras in was like your drunk uncle coming to a party
  • According to Andrew, when it first opened in cinemas, apparently in some markets FALSETTOS BEAT SPIDERMAN?????
  • YESSSSS FALSETTOS THAT’S MY FANDOM
  • Even Andrew couldn’t believe it
  • He was like it doesn’t sound true but I’m going to say it because it feels good to say it
  • And, as I mentioned in a previous post, he confirmed the PBS airdate as October 27 and he said that Falsettos might even have a second run in cinemas.
  • Andrew brought the three in. Audience went wild.
  • He asked them what the main theme of Falsettos is. Bill Finn says that it’s about what it means to be a man (which it seems that the Tumblr fandom has really hit upon in all the analyses, so good job Tumblr!!!)
  • And they talked about casting Stephanie J. Block. Bill said that she came in and auditioned with Holding to the Ground (“which isn’t a very good song,” says Bill) and he had never heard it sound that good
  • Stephanie has a very subtly poetic way of talking about things and it’s really moving?? She described Trina as a woman who constantly has “a well of tears” (she gestures at her throat) right here.
  • I’ve been there.
  • Andrew mentioned how her life is very different than Trina’s–she’s happily married with a beautiful daughter–and he asked her how she accessed Trina’s character
  • She talked about how she had taken a few years away from theater since her daughter was born. When Finn and Lapine called her about Trina to see if it’d be right for them and for her, she felt very insecure and scared going back to performing. The way she put it, in her state at the time, every emotion was at her fingertips. But she drew on this insecurity to play Trina. She said she listened to Falsettos and felt that she knew Trina.

Originally posted by trinaweisenbachfeld

  • Bill Finn is a CHARACTER. Cracked the entire audience up. He communicated almost exclusively in mumbled one-liners
  • When James Lapine was explaining the whole March of the Falsettos and Falsettoland Act I-Act II thing, Bill Finn was like, the first act’s not as good as the second act
  • Excuse me, Bill, both acts are masterpieces
  • So the format of the evening was that they would show a clip from the film and then talk about it, which was so cool. Watching the three of them watching the film was surreal, but one part was even more surreal
  • I’ve never seen that many elderly people in a room laughing hysterically over dick jokes
  • Partway through the event, Bill Finn started complaining about the fact that there were so many Act I clips, and Lapine was reassuring him that the first act was still good
  • I’m like HELL YEAH IT IS
  • He and James were hilarious together; they just bounced off each other and said such complimentary things about each other’s work and they would have full conversations with just their eyes
  • Okay, so we watched I’m Breaking Down, of course. Then Stephanie and James Lapine talked about the process of staging that scene. That was a gold mine.

Originally posted by trinaweisenbachfeld

  • According to James Lapine, the boobs were all Stephanie’s idea
  • James Lapine REALLY wanted to have a dummy bloody finger. He wanted to have Trina chop off a piece of her finger and there would be blood spurting and the audience would be freaking out over whether the actor actually was injured. He was very attached this idea and stuck to it until the very end. Everyone else was like James pls no. Eventually, it had to go because of the possibility of fake blood staining the costumes or set pieces
  • Stephanie warned us that she was about to make a pun but that she had to because it was so good, and then she said “the finger was cut”
  • And she was super proud of herself and grinning at the audience
  • James Lapine tried to high-five her, but she was too happy to see
  • (She finally noticed and high-fived him back)
  • The iconic banana belting moment was an accident????
  • Okay okay so this is a GREAT STORY
  • So y’all already know all about how it’s the actors themselves moving all the set pieces throughout the show. Stephanie says that it was Anthony Rosenthal who had to do most of the moving
  • So if any of the banana pieces fell, it was “poor Anthony” who had to clean them up
  • One day in rehearsal, sure enough, some banana pieces fell
  • Stephanie felt bad and didn’t want to make Anthony clean it up, so she picked them up and freaking SHOVED THEM INTO HER MOUTH
  • BUT SHE FORGOT THAT SHE STILL HAD TWELVE BARS OF THE SONG LEFT
  • When she finished, James Lapine was like O.O do you think you could do that often
  • The rest is history 

Originally posted by upsettoland

  • I have so many Bill Finn anecdotes that I don’t know which to share
  • Like I said, Bill would mostly communicate in mumbly one-liners
  • Example: we were about to watch This Had Better Come to a Stop, and Andrew asked Bill to set up the scene for the audience (they explained all of the context for everything in case some audience members hadn’t seen Falsettos)
  • Bill: Whizzer is misbehaving and Marvin gets mad.
  • Andrew (laughing): Is that it?!
  • Bill: Yes.
  • (Lapine swooped in to give a more in-depth explanation)
  • But!! Bill would sometimes suddenly speak up and say something so incredibly thought-provoking 
  • They were talking about the unlikability of Marvin, and Bill talked about how a professor he had at Williams said that Jane Austen made Emma so unlikeable so that we could learn to like her
  • And Bill said that he listened
  • We finally got to Act II (Bill was very happy about this) and we watched the baseball scene. 
  • Apparently, James had said to Bill that they needed a group number with everyone in it. At that point, Bill had already written the entire baseball scene in his notebook except for a few final chords, and he was like oh here you go I already wrote one.
  • James: When were you going to give me this?!
  • Bill: When you needed it?
  • And Bill talked about what he referred to as the “handball scene.” James apparently staged the thing before Bill even wrote it.
  • James: Bill, that was racquetball.
  • Bill: Oh, I thought it was squash.

Originally posted by htmlarry

  • BILL GOT JAMES LAPINE SO CONFUSED ABOUT THE LESBIANS FROM NEXT DOOR
  • Andrew was asking about the Lesbians from Next Door and Bill was like, the lesbians are actually from In Trousers
  • And James had this wait hold up facial expression and he said, I didn’t even know this. Who were the lesbians???
  • And Bill was saying Ms. Goldberg and the high school sweetheart and by then, James Lapine looked like the galaxy brain meme
  • James was like, but that’s just the actors, not the same characters, right?!
  • Bill said yeah they’re completely different characters and James looked very relieved
  • James: We’re great together. On our own, we’re a disaster.
  • Stephanie was talking about how she feels like as a young woman, she didn’t have the life experience to appreciate the complexity of Bill Finn’s story and lyrics:
  • Stephanie: “I liked to tap dance and put on red lipstick and make people happy with musical theater.”
  • And suddenly Bill Finn yells, “ME TOO!!!!!!!!!!”
  • Imagine the kind of person who could write both “BITCH BITCH BITCH BITCH FUNNY FUNNY FUNNY FUNNY” and “this here is love when we’re talking face-to-face,” and you’ve got a pretty solid idea of Bill Finn
  • I know I haven’t talked about Andrew Wilk enough, so I’m going to reiterate here that we all owe our lives to this man. And he was so sweet and charismatic. I love this man. 
  • Near the end, they talked about us!!! The Falsettos fandom! Stephanie said she wants to call us kids, but she knows we’re teenagers and people in our twenties. She lovingly called us a cult and talked about all the banana memorabilia she has received and talked about how the cast sees pictures of us going to the cinemas in 80′s clothes/dressed as the characters. Stephanie thinks it’s so great <3 
  • Stephanie says that she’s not sure she’ll ever do a show as important as Falsettos again. She says there are so many wonderful shows, but in terms of “important”? It’s hard to find.

Originally posted by musicalsaregreat

  • The final scene they showed was Jason’s Bar Mitzvah and What Would I Do? and it was too much. You could hear people crying softly.
  • The last half hour was Stephanie doing a mini-concert (accompanied by the Falsettos conductor/pianist Vadim Feichtner!) and when she belted, I thought the back wall was going to blow off
  • She sang a bunch of gorgeous songs, interspersed with her talking about what these songs mean to her, but among them were “Don’t Rain on My Parade” and Holding to the Ground” (FIGHT ME BILL IT’S ONE OF MY FAVORITE SONGS EVER) and “Defying Gravity” (Wicked is the show that got me into musical theater, so this was really special to me) and I cried
  • An absolutely beautiful evening.

Originally posted by nikolaevna-romanova

  • Post-script: without announcing it or anything, they very quietly set up a signing with Stephanie in one corner. I spotted the table coming in, so I went to check it out afterwards, and SURE ENOUGH THERE SHE WAS. 
  • I was literally the second person to get there and there was no line behind me because people hadn’t realized yet. She signed the hand-out I got at the cinema (asking me who she should make it out to and addressing it to me in her beautiful swoopy handwriting!) and I told her I went to see Falsettos six times and she said, “I miss it every day, (my name). Every day.” And I asked her very hesitantly whether it’d be okay to get a picture with her, and she instantly said, “You ready?” Hence the selfie I posted last night. I CAN’T BELIEVE IT.

That was my day in Falsettoland!! I hope this stuff was interesting :) I love this show so much and I just wanted to share the cool stuff I learned!

2

The Baddest Thing

The perfect girl-next-door reputation has preceded Betty Cooper all her life, just as the rough and angry Southside Serpent reputation has preceded Jughead Jones. Could a simple dare in a small town diner challenge everything? 

Pairing: Betty Cooper x Jughead Jones 

A/U:  Jughead Jones has been an established Southside Serpent since his sophomore year of high school. He was never friends with Archie, Betty, Kevin, Veronica or Cheryl. Betty has been an established cheerleader since their sophomore year and her best friend Veronica has been dating Cheryl since then.

“Oh, really? And what’s the baddest thing you’ve ever done, Betty?” 

Betty’s face flushes as she glances warily at her best friend, Veronica, whose arm is slung lazily around the shoulders of her girlfriend, Cheryl. It’s a Saturday night and they had all been craving milkshakes and burgers post their late night movie binge. Betty had just been defending the fact that she was not as perfect as her reputation made her out to be. She, in fact, had a dark side. Cheryl, despite Veronica nodding supportively, obviously didn’t believe her. 

“I’ll tell you what’s the baddest thing I’d like to do,” Kevin giggled from his seat in the booth next to Betty, turning his gaze to the Southside Serpent that had just walked through the door.

A hush had fallen over the restaurant as the door thumped shut, a silent mixture of respect and fear filling the air. Betty fought the urge to whip her head around, instead choosing to casually glance at him over her shoulder.  

 Jughead Jones.

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bad | 03

 He was the cliché bad boy. He was the guy you couldn’t stand. He was the handsome, hot kid who made girls go weak in the knees. He was a brat. You had never liked him one bit, but you had also never gotten involved with anything concerning him. Until one day, when you were in the wrong place, at the wrong time.

Originally posted by sugutie

MEMBER: jeon jungkook x reader

GENRE: romance, smutish, fluff

WORDS: 2 856

WARNINGS: badboy!jungkook, cussing, mature

01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05 | 06 | 07 | 08coming soon ↠ 

A/N: I enjoy writing this, so the fact that you guys like it makes me so happy. thank you to everyone who sent a nice message, it means so much

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It needs to be said...finally...

Every year at CoxCon I, and my incredible staff, strive to create an experience that fans of all walks of life will enjoy and come back to for years to come. It’s not just a convention, it’s a purposefully smaller sized gathering of friends and fans to celebrate the insane community we’ve created over the course of nearly a decade.

At the con this past July an incident occurred that, despite my hope would blow over, has not. I figured if I said nothing, then reason would rule out and people would conclude that the whole thing was stupid and blown WAY out of proportion by people who did not attend. It has put needless strain on my friends and staff who run the con. So, as the owner and founder – as the person whose name is on the convention, I owe it to all of them to finally speak up.

In the opening Q&A of CoxCon, an event we have done every year to welcome everyone back and open the floor to fans to express themselves, a young man asked the question “Are Traps Gay?”.
Firstly, as a full-fledged member of the internet, I’m aware of the meme nature of the question. For those of you who don’t know a “Trap” could be defined as a man who while dressing like a woman appears very attractive OR a pre-op trans woman who is very attractive… (I’m sure there are other, possibly better definitions) and the “trap” part being finding this person attractive, only to find out they have a penis. So, the question is in essence: “Is it gay finding a feminine person with a penis, who hides their penis from you, attractive?” or something along those lines. It is as stupid as it sounds.

With that said then, I’m also very aware that because of the nature of the question, despite what many people have contested– this wasn’t asked out of genuine curiosity. The question asker was a young man, who saw his chance to make a risque joke on a livestream broadcast Q&A to get some kind of reaction – be it from me, or the crowd. It’s as simple as that.

Anyway, back to the event.  

When the question was asked, I genuinely did not hear. Please, look at the video (it’s out there to watch). I did not know what he said at all. In fact, I had problems with many questions from the back due to the mic audio. It happens to more than just him if you watch the entire Q&A. Anyway, despite not hear him, what I DID hear and see were people in the front few rows literally mouthing “DO NOT ANSWER THAT” and cringing. So, I tried to avoid the question with a stupid politician response to move things along.

I know at this point you’re probably wondering, “Jesse, you’re apparently Mr. Internet – why couldn’t you make out what he was saying or figure out what was going on?” Because contextually, the concept of the meme has never been a thing I’ve ever associated with on my channel, in my content, or in anything I’ve ever done. It’s not something I can imagine bringing up in a let’s play. So, him randomly bringing it up at a Q&A is something I wouldn’t have expected. You’ll find after doing as many Q&As as I have done, nearly every question relates to your content or your life. Since this is neither something I consider part of my life or part of my content I couldn’t even have fathomed this was the question he asked.

ANWAY, for real, back to event.

That was, to my knowledge the end of the awkwardness. The panel eventually ended and I was off to a signing I had afterwards. I then went to several other scheduled events planned for that day of the con. It wasn’t until much later that I was told the young man was asked to leave for asking if traps are gay. When I asked what happened, I was told he upset several congoers with the question. So, he was asked to leave. Was it the best option, probably not. I would be lying if I hadn’t thought about it often. As a teacher, especially one who taught what the school considered “troubled youth”, I believe strongly in second chances. I would have liked to at least have talked with him about why he did it, or talked with those who were offended. To come to some conclusion that wasn’t so final.

Because, here’s the real truth of it. A young man made a joke, to get a reaction – and people reacted negatively. He misjudged his audience, and what was funny to him was not funny to others. I understand his anger, and outrage more than most would too. I have been him before. I too, as a comedian, have made jokes I thought were hilarious that then turned out to anger some people. And I didn’t understand why, I was convinced I had done no wrong. But with time, and reflection, I realized I had. I get why I got the reaction I did. There is a time and place for everything. In that moment, at that time, it was the wrong joke. It had no connection to the audience, to my fanbase, or to any video series, podcast, or anything I had done. It was a random internet meme used to comedic effect, that actually turned out to offend. Yes, real people, were really offended. Let’s not forget about them. So, the reaction he got was negative. What is funny on a forum to a select few, may not be the best bit of comedy for a large crowd.  You live, you learn, and you accept the consequences of your actions. Just like I accept that because my name is on the con – some people are just going to keep harassing me about this for years to come, cause they think it’s a good laugh.

Anyway, no matter what happened – I always stick by my team, the con staff, and its workers. They have incredibly hard jobs and run a con that every year is compared with some of the best for its management. They made a very hard judgement call that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. I know they took no pleasure in it. But understand that I support them completely, and will continue to support them in 2018 and for all the CoxCons to come.

sjhphotography  asked:

Hi, I absolutely love your gods and monsters series and I especially love the way you've treated Hera in it (always thought she got a bad rep for no good reason). I know you're super busy, but would you ever consider doing one about when she finally leaves Zeus?

(recommended reading for context: X, X, X)


Olympus has fallen.

It’s marble columns lay cracked and broken. The sun doesn’t pass over it anymore. Hestia’s fire pit has been empty and cold for decades, with nothing left on the mountain to fuel it.

Olympus has fallen, yet Hera and Zeus are still there.

~

Ares has tried talking to his mother. He long ago gave up any hope of trying to save his father, but Hera isn’t touched by madness like Zeus is. All that keeps her there are her oaths of marriage and loyalty, all that chains her to the crumbling remains of what they once were is her marriage to Zeus, who will only be convinced to leave Olympus on a funeral pyre.

Ares begs. He cries. He does anything and everything he can to convince his mother to leave, but she only touches his face with cold hands and presses her cracked lips to his cheek. She won’t leave her husband.

She won’t be moved by him. So he has to find someone she will be moved by.

He’s down in the underworld, where he spends so much of his time now. Persephone is often there as well, but she only smiles at him, is never angered by his presence in her realm or her husband’s bed.

(“You worry too much,” Icarus tells him, early on when they are both young and fumbling and in love with the same man. “She is not a jealous woman. Hades loves us all – he simply loved her first.”)

But it is neither Hades nor Persephone who he seeks today. He goes to the edge of the underworld, ever expanding and changing, because it is where she likes to be best. “Hecate!” he calls out, “I request an audience.”

There’s a shiver in the air, and the goddess of magic stands in front of him. He doesn’t know what to think of her, the woman who’s so close to his lover and who raised his brother. He’s never been able to find a title that fits her quite right.

“Ares,” she greets, “to what do I owe the pleasure?”

“Staying by Zeus’s side is killing my mother,” he says. “I’ve tried to get her to leave, but she won’t listen to me.”

Her lips quirk up at the corners. “Listening has never been her strength. What do you expect me to do about it? I’ve tried to get her to leave Zeus before. I failed before, and I will fail again.”

“I know. I don’t want you to talk to Hera. I want you to talk to Hephaestus,” he says

Hecate’s eyebrows rise. He’s managed to surprise her. “If he won’t listen to you, why would he listen to me?”

“I haven’t tried asking him,” he says. “He doesn’t believe anything I say of our mother. He’ll believe you.”

“And what makes you think I have anything positive to say of her? She’s a petty snake – she’s lied and manipulated and outright killed to get what she has.”

“Yes,” Ares says. “And what does she have?”

Hecate smiles at him.

~

Hephaestus is startled to discover Hecate in his kitchen. She rarely leaves the underworld. “Aunt,” he says. It’s what he’s called her his whole life. She’d always refused the title of mother. “Is something wrong?”

“Yes,” she says, and he snaps to attention. “Hera rots away on Olympus for loyalty to a man who has never showed her the same devotion.”

“How is that my problem?” he snaps, stung. Hecate has never brought Hera up to him before. He can’t think of why she would do so now.

She grabs one of the apples from his fruit bowl and bites into it. She looks at him thoughtfully as she chews. He crosses his arms and glares. She swallows and asks, “Have you really not figured it out yet? I raised you to be smarter than this.”

“Speak plainly.” It’s something he said often in his adolescence. Styx used to just try and drown Hecate when she became cryptic.

“Hera is your mother. She bore you and her blood runs strong in your veins.” He’s about to snap at her again when she says, “But you are not a son of Zeus’s blood, and he has never been able to forgive you for being a child of his wife but not of him.”

His legs are mostly metal, but he still loses feeling in them and has to grab for the edge of the counter. “What?”

Hecate’s eyes go distant. “She was so desperate for a child when she had you. So young, all things considered.”

He sits down across from her, “Tell me everything.”

~

Hephaestus is reeling even as he climbs the crumbling, ashy remains of the once great Mount Olympus.

Hera has always seemed unbreakable to him. As cold and perfect as marble, a mother in name only who tossed him to his death when he was only a few hours old.

It was all a lie.

She went against her very nature as a goddess to conceive him, something she’s never done before or since. She carried him and bore him alone, and fought against Zeus to save him when blood was still slick between her thighs.

She gave him over to Hecate to protect him. He grew up in the underworld not because he was something forgotten and useless, but because he was cherished. He was raised in the underworld to keep him safe, not to keep him away.

She gave him his name, gave him his life, and has loved him silently all these years.

He could have grown up on Olympus, could have grown up with her. She would have cared for him as fiercely as she cared for Ares. He could have grown up with Ares, could have known his brother when he was small and straining towards freedom, wouldn’t have met him for the first time as a brash adolescent sneaking into his volcano.

If it weren’t for Zeus throwing him from this very mountain when he was only a few minutes old, he could have grown up with a real family.

He loves Hecate. He loves Hades. Styx was his best friend growing up.

But it’s not the same. And it’s not fair.

~

Hera is beautiful, even as she’s dying.

Her hair is piled on top of her head in intricate curls, and her dress is silk. But she’s so thin it looks as if even sitting on her throne tires her. She’s too pale and her skin is bruised, her eyes sunken.

Zeus lays slumbering in his throne beside her. He swings from mania to exhaustion with nothing in between.

“Hephaestus,” she says. Even as the rest of her body deteriorates her eyes are as bright and sharp as ever. “To what do I owe the pleasure?”

He falls to his knees in front of her, and her eyes widen. “Staying here and clinging to a power that doesn’t belong to us anymore is killing you. It’s time to leave.”

“I am the goddess of marriage and family. As long as my husband remains here, so shall I,” she informs him, head tilted arrogantly so she can stare down at him.

“We aren’t the gods of anything anymore,” he says, “not really.”

She looks away from him and her lips twitch like she’s not trying not to smile. “No. I suppose not. But I am still a wife, and with my husband I will stay.”

“The goddess of marriage and family,” he repeats, “What of Ares? Of Hebe?”

“Hades looks after Ares. Hebe is fully grown, and has been for many centuries.” Something he can’t explain passes over her face. “Someday, all children must say goodbye to their mother for the last time. None of us are exempt from that, not even gods.”

He places his hands on her lap, palm up. She blinks, looking rapidly between his hands and his face. He can’t remember if he’s ever touched her before. “Hera of the Heights, of Argos, of the Mound. Hera the cow eyed, white armed goddess of marriage and of family. Hera, queen of the gods.” He flexes his hands, and she slowly places her cold hands in his. “Mom. You once saved me from death by Zeus’s hand. Let me do the same for you now.”

She becomes impossibly paler and tries to yank her hands away, but he doesn’t let her. “What are you – I don’t know what you’re talking about. Let go of me!”

“Hecate told me. She told me everything.” He kisses her knuckles. “Leave this mountain. Leave Zeus. Come with me.”

She looks to her slumbering husband, a mere shadow of the man he used to me. “I love him.”

“You hate him too,” he says. “Denounce your status as a goddess and come with me. Mom, please.”

“It was always such a thin line between the two with us, between love and hate,” she says, still looking at him. “He’s mine. I chose him, and I made him choose me. I did this, to the both of us. I should stay.”

Hephaestus presses her hand to his cheek, and her gaze finally skitters back to him. “I’m yours too. Ares is yours. Hebe is yours. Don’t die for you husband. Live for you children.”

“You’ve never cared about me before,” she says. “You shouldn’t bother. Just because I didn’t throw you down this mountain doesn’t mean I’ve ever been a mother to you.”

“Maybe this is our chance then,” he says, “maybe this is our last chance to be something more than strangers. Come with me, and be something other than Zeus’s bride and queen.”

~

She’s too sickly to walk. Hephaestus carries her down what remains of Moiunt Olympus in his arms. When they’re halfway down the skies open and ligntning crashes down around them. The claps of thunder aren’t loud enough to drown out Zeus’s anguished screams.

Hera hides her face in her son’s shoulder and weeps.

Hephaestus’s metal legs don’t hesitate or miss a step the whole way down the mountain.

~

Olympus has fallen.

Only Zeus remains.


gods and monsters series, part xx

read more of the gods and monsters series here

Four Weddings

Part 1 of this really fluffy series that I’ve been trying to write for what feels like ten years. I hope you guys enjoy it! Please send some feedback and fill this out to be added to my tag list! 

Word Count: 6000+

Warnings: Language and cute stuff 

Originally posted by tom-hollcnd

Tom was an idiot, he was sure of it. The only reason he even decided to go to these stupid weddings were because Joanne was going to be there, she was going to be at each of the weddings, and of course, when he found out she was seeing someone else Tom just had to RSVP with, “Yes I will be attending, with one guest.”

Now it was three days before the first wedding, and he was just as single as ever. “How hard can it be to find a girl to go with me to a few weddings?” he remembered telling himself when he sent in his RSVP months ago and had since forgotten about it. That is until his old friend, Jerry, who was getting married, sent him a message. It read, hey man! Can’t wait to see you and your girl at the wedding, been too long. Tom knew he was royally fucked.

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