Make A New Cult Every Day

MurderWeasel
MW's Private Rank
Joined: February 18th, 2009, 7:01 am

February 1st, 2018, 3:27 am #1

At 6:15 AM, when Alton's phone started playing David Bowie's "Modern Love," he was already awake, sitting on the edge of his bed, massaging his upper arms. He was wearing thin pajama pants and nothing else; sometimes he slept in an undershirt, but it felt restraining so usually he didn't. He let the phone go, volume slowly ramping up as he slowly worked the sleep out of his mind and the blood into his arms, and he thought to himself, this was going to be a big day. Every day was, in its way, especially if you knew how to approach it, but even by those standards he had a lot coming up.

He stood, stretched, made the bed. He wouldn't be back until late tonight, or maybe tomorrow, and not in that pedantic sense where the day ticks over after the witching hour, but actual tomorrow, a nap perhaps in the late morning or early afternoon. He'd figure it out, take it as it came. His sheets were dark blue, no pattern on them, and he made the bed imperfectly, straightening the sheets by tugging the corners to match those of the bed. He could do many things with a flick of the wrist and a flourish, but making the bed was one he'd just never felt the need to learn.

The rest of his room was similarly half-tidy; dirty clothes were put away in a hamper and clean clothes were put away in the closet, but those that fell in between fell in between, mostly in a pile. From this heap he plucked a pair of skinny jeans, worn only once since washing (and yeah, Alton washed his jeans, he could afford to buy new jeans so he wasn't about to stuff them in the freezer in a Ziploc bag to prolong their life by a month) and his watch. From the closet came a black t-shirt and a dark red button-down.

His desk, his shelves, the drawers and walls and lamp and carpet were as they always were: background to his journey into the rest of the house, which included a moment's pause as he turned back and snatched his phone and shut off the alarm. Wouldn't do to wake Mom. Then off down the hallway to his bathroom, where he dumped the collected clothes in a pile on the floor.

His bathroom was just that: his. There was also Mom's bathroom, which smelled faintly of her soaps and which he stayed out of and more or less ignored unless he had a date over who needed something lacking in his supplies, like a pad or some lavender moisturizing lotion or nail polish remover, and their bathroom, which was the bathroom most easily accessible from the common area and never used unless guests were over, which meant it was often low on toilet paper. His bathroom was as neat or as horrid as he let it be; he didn't let it get too bad. The towels were changed roughly weekly meaning at least monthly, and he took time to scrub any dust or stains should he happen to notice them.

He opened the door to the right of the sink and withdrew washcloth and shaving cream and razor. He turned on the water, nice and warm, soaked the washcloth, ran it over his face. Alton was not a morning person. He would, in fact, say he was in his element at night. But not being a morning person was not the same as being nonfunctional before noon, and he had his little routine that he took care of almost every day, no compromises. The warmth from the washcloth spread, he lathered up with the shaving cream, and with even, precise strokes he removed the stubble that had accumulated on his face. His cheeks felt better smooth, pleasant to the touch. He ran his fingers softly over them, like he might a girl's face before leaning in for a kiss.

Perfect. That would hold, that would do even if he didn't make it home tonight and had to let this tide him over until tomorrow. He checked his phone. 6:25. Plenty of time.

Alton slipped out of his pajama pants and stepped into the shower.
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MurderWeasel
MW's Private Rank
Joined: February 18th, 2009, 7:01 am

February 6th, 2018, 11:34 pm #2

Alton slid the shower curtain shut, cranked the tap all the way to the left, then dipped his foot under the stream, feeling the chill work its way through his toes, waiting for it to change. It didn't. He counted fifteen, then shut the water off and immediately turned it back on. The valves stuck sometimes. At least, he assumed the valves were sticking. It wasn't a big enough deal to diagnose or fix. They could surely afford it, but why spend the money on the pettiest of annoyances?

Sure enough, seconds later the water was hot enough to be just on the verge of uncomfortable. Alton flipped the little metal switch that adjusted the stream from tub to shower, and stepped into the rain of water, eyes closed. He loved the feeling of the droplets against his skin, the warmth and the sound, the way it encircled him. It was his own private downpour.

He'd recently read the text on the back of his shampoo bottle for the first time, while restocking his favorite brand. It said: "every woman deserves to look & feel fabulous" which struck Alton as unreasonably funny. He'd considered putting it back on the shelf, considered that he'd already been through three bottles with no complaints, and bought it. The bottle was large and black and unassuming. He picked it up, squirted a circle about as wide as the half-dollar piece he carried in case he needed to flip a coin for any reason into his hand, massaged it into his scalp. He closed his eyes, rubbed and rubbed until his fingers could slide smoothly through his curls.

Alton fished his bar of soap from the side of the tub and scrubbed himself down thoroughly, making sure to get lots of suds, special attention to his armpits and lower back. Cleanliness was important, especially when he was going to have an active and long day. It was a little thing, a basic thing. It was a thing that a lot of his classmates could stand to learn.

He stood in the shower as the soap sluiced off of him, and he stood in the shower for roughly a minute more, pleased simply to enjoy the patter as it struck his shoulders, rolled down his neck and back and legs. This was the moment of every day when he was most clean. He was never all that dirty, even after track, when he'd shower at school or the lockers wherever the meet took place. Still, he enjoyed the particular freshness that only came in the morning, before he dressed.

But all good things end, so Alton shut off the water, stepped out of the shower, and toweled off. Once his chest and arms and legs were dry enough, he wrapped the towel around his head and retrieved his toothbrush. A bead of Arm & Hammer (they'd changed the formula a couple years ago from what he'd used as a kid, and it drove him crazy not because it was different but because it was inferior to what it had been yet still superior to every other choice he'd tried), and then he was brushing away, making sure to get the molars in back, the pointy canines, the little spot at the base of his bottom front teeth where the dentist told him plaque accumulated. Alton was the sort of person to brush his teeth twice a day, once before bed and once when he woke up, either before or after his shower according to whim. He was the sort of person to floss maybe twice a week if he was really feeling it.

When it felt like enough time brushing had passed, he spat in the sink, took a shot of mouthwash to gargle and sent it after the toothpaste, whipped his towel off his head and wiped his lips and chin with a corner, then hung it up and finally got dressed. He'd heard once that most people always put the same leg into their pants first, so he made sure to vary it up. Today, he was feeling the right leg as lead. Boxers, jeans, t-shirt, button-down, watch, and Alton was ready to face the day. He left the bathroom with a smile, and headed for the stairs. Breakfast awaited.
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MurderWeasel
MW's Private Rank
Joined: February 18th, 2009, 7:01 am

March 30th, 2018, 6:02 am #3

Breakfast today was to be a bowl of cereal, specifically vanilla granola clusters, and a glass of grapefruit juice. Alton had come up with the combination a few weeks ago and had yet to get sick of it, sometimes even having it two days in a row. The concept was simple: the cereal was sweet, more sugary than what he'd normally consume, while the grapefruit juice was harsh and bitter. Every bite or sip was thus accentuated by the contrast, pushed to new highs and lows. It tested his tolerance, and it woke him up and made him feel alive.

There was, however, a complication: opening the cupboard, Alton discovered that there were no clean bowls. That sent him to the dishwasher, which did indeed contain all the bowls in the house, but they were all dirty, soiled over the course of the past week (they'd had soup a few times, plus previous days' cereal). Last night, Mom had said she was going to start the dishwasher right before bed, when she added her tea mug to the mix. That was still sitting on the table, and with his height Alton could see it still held a half inch of liquid. He smiled to himself, shook his head, and fished a dishwasher tablet out from the box under the sink, then slotted it into place and started the machine rumbling. He realized he could've added Mom's mug a second too late to do so, or, more accurately, to do so without opening the dishwasher back up, which he just didn't do. He wasn't sure why. Had Mom told him not to as a kid? No, they hadn't had a dishwasher until they moved here. What would happen if he did it anyways? He'd have to find out, but not before school on a big day.

That still left the cereal problem. Alton rummaged around in the cabinets above the sink, searching towards the back. That was where all the dishware they didn't use much was kept. There was a large plastic tub, pressed into periodic service for Halloween candy or popcorn when they were having movie nights, but it was way too big for his needs. A stubby water bottle would be messy. Alton peered further into the cabinet, but then inspiration struck and he turned to the stove. There, in the cabinet alongside it, were the pots and pans. He picked the smallest pot, the sort of thing he'd boil enough water for a package of instant noodles in were he the type to eat instant noodles, and set it on the counter. Into the pot went the cereal, producing a pleasant rattling sound against the metal, and then came the milk. The gallon carton was getting low; there was maybe one bowl's worth left after Alton was done, but he doubted it would be around by the time he got back. He'd have to ask Mom to pick up some more. He didn't think he'd have time today to do so himself.

After that, the cup of grapefruit juice was straightforward. Alton sat down at the table, spoon and napkin next to him, ready to enjoy the morning. The dining set in the kitchen was one of the few things in the house that could've been straight out of their ratty little apartment in Tilles Court, but that left Alton with some real affection for it. They'd gotten the round, battered, and dent-riddled table and four mismatched wooden chairs (one with a tear in the woven backing, another missing a support bar from the bottom) from a Goodwill the day they moved in, as a stopgap measure. They'd upgraded quickly, and the actual dining room had a longer, nicer table with a tablecloth instead of threadbare place mats and eight actual matching chairs, and when guests came over that was where they ate. Only when guests came, though. Alton and his Mom always kept to the kitchen or the couch if left to their own devices.

The cereal was good, a bit crunchy but it would become inundated with the milk soon enough. His spoon scraped merrily against the metal of the pot. The first sip of grapefruit juice was like a kick in the mouth, just what he needed. Normally he'd look over the paper while he ate, but he didn't feel like it today so he didn't bother to go retrieve it from he lawn. The paper was getting worse every day, Canon this and Canon that and all the local reporting shoved further and further to the margins.

Alton was halfway through his meal when he became aware that he was no longer alone. He saw the movement by the staircase resolve into a shape from his peripheral vision, but didn't turn until he heard the sound of a throat being cleared.

"Good morning, Mom," he said with a smile.
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MurderWeasel
MW's Private Rank
Joined: February 18th, 2009, 7:01 am

April 2nd, 2018, 8:48 pm #4

The woman blinked, raised her hand, rubbed at her eyes. She was wearing a fuzzy white robe, loosely tied, and pale pink slippers. Pamela Gerrow was tall and slender, with the same light brown eyes Alton had but Venetian blonde hair, which was currently falling loose and disheveled past her shoulders. She'd never bothered to change her name after the divorce, or at least that's what she claimed. Alton was pretty sure she was lying. He thought she was keeping it for him, because they hadn't had time or focus to change it in the years before the move and by that time Alton had been Alton Lucius Gerrow for a long time. He could've probably gotten used to being somebody else, but the way things were now he had no need to. Kurt Gerrow was nobody, a distant forgotten dream. Alton's Mom would probably someday remarry, and then when she changed her name it would be the natural course of things, and Alton would have no obligation to follow in her footsteps to avoid insinuating allegiance where none existed.

The next sip of grapefruit juice went down extra sour.

"Good morning," the woman said. She closed her eyes, rubbed at them further. When she opened them, it clearly took her a moment to focus. When she did, it was on the tea mug. Alton watched as greater awareness slowly seeped into her, caught the exact moment consciousness of the rumble of the dishwasher clicked, and a millisecond later her eyes traced the path Alton's spoon followed from pot to mouth.

"Ah, shit," she said. "I'm sorry. I forgot."

"Don't worry about it," Alton said with a smile. "You're up early. Can I get you anything?"

She waved her hand. He hadn't expected anything else. Every so often, she'd ask him to put on a kettle, but they were more or less independent in their needs and activities unless they chose to be otherwise. It was part of what kept their relationship so smooth, where otherwise a two-person household might devolve into bickering even when both had compatible styles and values. They'd each offer to take care of little things for one another, errands and chores, and while the offers were genuine there was an unspoken agreement that they'd not be accepted from laziness or without reason.

"I'm fine," she said, dropping into the seat opposite Alton with surprising force for her slight frame. Alton took another bite of his cereal and she watched him eat for a few moments, then got bored or uncomfortable at his lack of discomfort and looked around.

"Where's the paper?"

"Didn't get it yet." Alton took a sip of grapefruit juice. His glass was almost empty. He looked at his mother, nodded at her and raised an eyebrow to draw attention to her state of dress. "Want me to?"

"Nah," she said, standing up with some evident effort and slouching towards the door, "I've got it."

This was why they would never fit in with the upper class. Alton didn't mind.

He raised the pot to his mouth and prepared to take a sip of the milk, but the curve didn't fit like a bowl did. The handle on the pot was loose, making it wobble. He thought he'd spill milk all over himself if he tried to drink it like he usually did, so instead he stood up and poured it down the drain, some remaining clumps of cereal carried along. He'd heard somewhere that it was bad to pour solids into the sink, but he'd done so in limited quantities for years and nothing had ever happened. He started the water going and rinsed the residue and partially filled the pot to soak, then returned to his seat at the same time his mother came back, pulling the paper from its plastic sleeve. She once again collapsed into the chair, turning through the pages of the newspaper. She'd be searching for the comics. Her fingers were long, just like Alton's, but her nails were long too, while his were smooth and short.

"I should get going here," Alton said.

"Going where?" his mother replied. Then she paused, skimmed her eyes to the top of the newspaper, and said, "Oh, shit, I thought it was Saturday."

"Not quite yet," Alton said. He smiled. She'd probably had a glass of wine or two more than usual after he'd gone to bed last night. "I'll be out tonight, too, remember? At least until pretty late. The party?"

"Right," she said. Her tone was unconvincing as recollection, but served passably as acknowledgement. "Have fun."

"I will," Alton said. "Oh, and if you get the chance, can you pick up some more milk? I don't know if I'll have time."

"Yeah," she said. "Yeah. Sure. Just text me and remind me."

"Alright," Alton said.

He raised his glass, tipped it, gulped down the last of the grapefruit juice. Then he stood and set the glass in the sink and returned to the staircase. He made his way back upstairs, grabbed his backpack from where it sat next to his desk and took his keys and wallet from his bedside table. He pulled on a pair of black socks, then double checked that he had everything else. He did. He went downstairs again, making sure the lights were turned off as he passed. His Mom had found the comics by now and was hunched over them. The kettle was on the stove top, her tea mug sitting in the drainer. She looked up as she heard him approach.

"Have a great time at school today," she said.

"Thanks," Alton said. "I hope your day is great too."

She nodded, gave him a smile.

"I'll see you this afternoon."

"No you won't," Alton said. "Math club and then party, remember?"

"Oh," she said. "Right. Well, have fun. I love you."

"Love you too, Mom."

Alton paused briefly in the entryway to get his shoes on. Then he was on his way out the door, into the pre-dawn darkness of Chattanooga.
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MurderWeasel
MW's Private Rank
Joined: February 18th, 2009, 7:01 am

April 12th, 2018, 6:11 am #5

Alton parked in the garage because he liked to keep the roof of his car down. He loved the feeling of wind in his hair, and sought it out on all but chilliest days, precipitation permitting. He kept a brush and a compact mirror in the glove compartment to fix his hair before class, even though it never took all that much fixing; other contents included insurance registration, a pair of aviator sunglasses, and a tin of Altoids. His backpack he shoved in the trunk.

Alton loved his car, though not as an object. Objects came and went and he didn't care. No, his car mattered to him because it performed its function admirably. It was a two-door car, a sports car (a Toyota Celica to be precise, a couple decades old now but still ran great), one that brought a lot of flash relative to its low financial value. It had a backseat, and while it wasn't exactly comfortable it could fit two more passengers without causing problems, and three if Alton felt like flouting safety standards and the law and all involved were pretty friendly with each other. It was fast enough, it was red, and the top came down. It had a CD player. What more could he have asked for?

The garage was dim and chilly just like the outside world. Detached garages felt a little oldschool to Alton, but that was part of the charm of where he lived. It was so different from where he'd grown up, almost like moving into a fairy tale. He flicked the switch to open the door, and the lights came on automatically, brightening things up a bit. The garage was clean, spartan almost. There was a second refrigerator, a half-empty shelf, and his Mom's car, a somewhat more practical black SUV. Alton opened the door to his car, got in, fastened the seat belt nice and snug. A girl had teased him about that once, said he was always trying to act so cool and carefree but he still wore a seat belt. Alton had smiled and said he trusted his driving but he sure didn't trust a bunch of strangers and besides, if you didn't use birth control sooner or later you ended up pregnant. The girl had gone red and buckled her seat belt, and Alton had smiled and laughed. He couldn't remember exactly who it had been.

He turned the key in the ignition, got the headlights on, shifted into reverse, and then he was backing out into the driveway. He paused to fish the garage door opener from the side pocket and get things closed up again. Looking back up after re-stowing the opener, he saw his Mom in the entry, watching him. When she saw that he saw her she nodded and gave a wave, the sort of wave that said she was just saying goodbye, not calling him back for something. Alton returned her nod and offered a two-finger salute. Then he backed the rest of the way out to the street, got in gear, and was off.

He wasn't going straight to school, of course. The days that he did that were the exception. A big part of the fun of having his own car and getting to drive every day was picking up those who lacked either the ability or the inclination to do the same, and Alton tended to figure his route the night before through a network of texts and online messages. Today, the first thing he was doing was picking up one of his many favorite people.

The CD player was going, spinning the first disc of a New Order compilation from the Eighties, quiet because Alton liked his music but he knew other people might not share his affection, especially prior to sunrise. With the top down, the sound of the air whispering past and the normal goings-on of the morning drowned it out, but when he slowed to a California stop at the perpetually dead intersection at the end of his street or when he hit a red light then the hum of synths and drums and echoing vocals would faintly permeate his awareness, providing a soundtrack.

The traffic was light at this time of day, especially in the direction Alton was headed. It was humid, no wind, good visibility. He felt good. Today, he thought, would be good. And so when he pulled up to his first stop, Alton was wearing his usual smile.
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Cicada Days
Winner
Joined: March 27th, 2015, 4:13 am

April 13th, 2018, 2:29 pm #6

Alton's friend stood in front of her home. Joanne Coleman lived in a small lot home which had a historical veneer and heavily curtained windows. It was essentially on the far side of the service area of George Hunter High School, and that necessitated Alton's services with helping out his friend from time to time. There was usually a lone lipstick red SUV sitting on the home's steep sloped driveway and it wasn't there this time. The door slammed a little louder behind Joanne as she began to trudge away, a distinct explosion that seemed some manner of emotion more than plain good-bye.

Joanne Coleman herself had assembled a fashion for her day: a masculine-cut long-sleeve with bulky sleeves and flatness at the waist, and black slacks that were mostly ironed save for single long creases that suggested incomplete folding on the ironing board. She carried herself on loafers. She was already smiling thickly before even catching Alton's eye, and her smile gently curled stronger when her dark eyes were reflected in his own eye's lighter hues.

Her better arm raised up into her favorite style of casual wave that Alton knew well from their existent friendship. Her worse arm was reaching for the shotgun-seat car door ahead of time, two long seconds before she actually found it.

The door opened.

"Uh." Her response was quick, perhaps rehearsed and practiced. "New Order, Temptation." Her smile evolved into one that readily expressed pride, as prone as she was to wearing her emotions on both sleeves and flexed like burly biceps. It had been a while since Alton had started sharing his affections for the playful basslines of the New Wave innovators, and it had taken Joanne so long to integrate a relatively alien sound into her repertoire. She could now even mouth a bit of the melody at Alton as she reached over herself, broadly stretching her shoulders as she pulled the seatbelt over her head.

She continued to smile, easy and dainty. "Gotta wear that protection like you once a long time ago a galaxy far far away said, hun." Her tone quickly segued into that of the gossip that Alton knew she was. "Seriously though. You promise you don't remember who it was you told that first? I am going to get it out of you, one of these days, I swear to god." Her bombast echoed in the car space in the form of a loud and slightly shrill chuckle.
[+] Spoiler
[+] Spoiler
[+] Spoiler
[+] Spoiler
"C'mon! It's just a prank, bro."

- Memories - 1 - Pregame - 1 2 3 4
Unofficial Theme : 'When it's clear to everybody I'm always the last to know.'
Extra art by Mimi! (1)
[+] Spoiler
[+] Spoiler
[+] Spoiler
Sprite credit to Yugikun (Beryl Mahelona, Gyu-ri Christensen, and Demetri Fustcher) and Fenris (Charelle Chernyshyova, Ramsey Cortez, and Joanne Coleman).
[+] Spoiler
Character Relationships (no longer updated)
Hero | Swap
[+] Spoiler

B036 - Dead
(Adopted from Yugikun)
[+] Spoiler
"And you were the one looking to pick a fight. Don't complain when you don't get the one you want."
- Memories - 1 2 3 4 5 - Pregame - 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 - Sadie Hawkins - 1 2
[+] Spoiler
"Hope that's good enough."
- Arsenal - Bag of dried chipotle chilies (LOST)
- Island - 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
- Meanwhile - 1 2
[+] Spoiler

G047 - Dead
[+] Spoiler
"It's Tina."
- Memories - 1 - Pregame - 1 - Sadie Hawkins -
[+] Spoiler
"You're nothing."
- Arsenal - The 'Man Catcher' (LOST)
- Island - 1 2
- Meanwhile - 1
- ??? - 1
Sprite credit to Fenris (Ben Fields) and Yugikun (Tina Luz).
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MurderWeasel
MW's Private Rank
Joined: February 18th, 2009, 7:01 am

April 13th, 2018, 8:49 pm #7

They smiled at each other, Alton and Joanne. This was indeed a good way to start the day, well worth the extra commute. As Joanne opened the door and called out the song, Alton snapped the fingers of his right hand and raised his eyebrows and nodded his approval.

"Very good."

She buckled up, shared one of their jokes, and that was also good. Joanne had her usual fashion thing going on, kind of Grace Jones circa Nightclubbing. It suited her well. It was one of the many things about her that had drawn Alton's interest, that impressed him. Most of their class didn't have their images down so cleanly, and so many of them were boring. You didn't have to go all-out; even a little touch like Alton's watch could suggest sophistication and conscious choice.

"You'll be the first to know," he said, "when I remember."

He meant "if," of course. But this was good, mostly. It was chilly still, and maybe he should've offered to put the top up, but he thought it better to just get rolling. Little things stood out, details in environment and tone and volume. They were whispers, but Alton knew how to listen. He knew that just because he was having a grand time didn't mean everyone else was quite there yet. So he checked the mirrors, saw that nobody was coming just like he'd expected, engaged the clutch and they were off, only pushing the residential speed limit of thirty miles per hour a little, Joanne's house quickly left in their wake, neighborhood soon to follow.

Alton's focus was on the road, of course, but he was good at splitting his attention and he was good at driving and it wasn't a busy time of day anyways. He watched Joanne out of the corner of his eye, assessed. He wondered what sort of approach would be best, and then decided on the indirect.

"Tell me if it's too cold," he said. "How are the twins?"
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Cicada Days
Winner
Joined: March 27th, 2015, 4:13 am

April 14th, 2018, 1:28 pm #8

Joanne snapped back with an angling of her arm almost to the dashboard. Her left arm and his right were in parallel for a moment, and she put her arm down when he did his. Her smile was never particularly interrupted, and briefly intensified when he congratulated her on a job well done. Bernard Summer crooned about eye colors and Joanne let him say his peace for a quiet moment before she started flapping her lips once more.

"Half a mind to start asking around. Bunch of things I know are more reliable than your brain." She'd aligned the timing of the phrase so she'd conveniently glanced out the window. Just in time to watch her neighborhood drift by, and just in time to mischievously glance back. All part of her usual theatrics. It was by the book and bullet point misdirection, looking the wrong way to make the wrong impression, correcting that impression with the look over the shoulder.

"Temp's fine, hun." Joanne's elbow propped on the door, allowing her to fold her elbow and prop her hand perpendicular against her forehead, smack on her brow. Her fingers tightly squeezed together, forming either a makeshift visor or a particularly poorly designed salute. "Wind chill's even giving me a free blow dry to boot." Joanne didn't look like her tight scruff of hair had been in any rush to get out the door, so her comment was likely facetious.

"My little dudes? On their video game lives. They like to shout at each other from opposite rooms about their Minecraft castles that are both pretty badly built, low key?"

Her face remained fairly neutral, slightly set the entire time by a carefully mediated tension that flattened her jaw into a straight line. "S-M-H. I'm going to have to talk to their teacher about teaching them aesthetics sensibility." Then, she went back to regarding Alton, eye-to-eye, with softness in the way she propped her car-door supported knuckles right against the lowest soft fleshy bits of her cheek.

"I'm liking the getup. You look like you're about to burst off the cover of a GQ magazine, just roll up the sleeves a bit harder... I mean that as a compliment," she laughed haughtily.
[+] Spoiler
[+] Spoiler
[+] Spoiler
[+] Spoiler
"C'mon! It's just a prank, bro."

- Memories - 1 - Pregame - 1 2 3 4
Unofficial Theme : 'When it's clear to everybody I'm always the last to know.'
Extra art by Mimi! (1)
[+] Spoiler
[+] Spoiler
[+] Spoiler
Sprite credit to Yugikun (Beryl Mahelona, Gyu-ri Christensen, and Demetri Fustcher) and Fenris (Charelle Chernyshyova, Ramsey Cortez, and Joanne Coleman).
[+] Spoiler
Character Relationships (no longer updated)
Hero | Swap
[+] Spoiler

B036 - Dead
(Adopted from Yugikun)
[+] Spoiler
"And you were the one looking to pick a fight. Don't complain when you don't get the one you want."
- Memories - 1 2 3 4 5 - Pregame - 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 - Sadie Hawkins - 1 2
[+] Spoiler
"Hope that's good enough."
- Arsenal - Bag of dried chipotle chilies (LOST)
- Island - 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
- Meanwhile - 1 2
[+] Spoiler

G047 - Dead
[+] Spoiler
"It's Tina."
- Memories - 1 - Pregame - 1 - Sadie Hawkins -
[+] Spoiler
"You're nothing."
- Arsenal - The 'Man Catcher' (LOST)
- Island - 1 2
- Meanwhile - 1
- ??? - 1
Sprite credit to Fenris (Ben Fields) and Yugikun (Tina Luz).
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MurderWeasel
MW's Private Rank
Joined: February 18th, 2009, 7:01 am

April 15th, 2018, 4:35 am #9

"Thanks," Alton said, laughing right back. He smiled, made eye contact with Joanne on and off, when he was sure there was nothing in their way and no stoplights approaching. "Have to impress the ladies."

He winked.

"Especially Madame Clarke-Moone. Pretty sure it's presentations today."

A big part of pushing the line was knowing where and how firm it was, and when it came to George Hunter's French teacher the boundary was solid indeed, more of a laser tripwire than some scratching in the sand. Alton had learned that if he was going to borrow homework, it was best done away from school grounds. He had a few tricks up his sleeve for navigating French class, however, and charm was indeed one of them. He was in fourth-year French, because his middle school hadn't offered much in the way of high quality language classes and he hadn't cared enough to try to skip to level five. By this stage, everyone was required to speak exclusively in French in the class, but as long as that rule and basic courtesy were adhered to there was wiggle room for, say, having conversations with classmates. Furthermore, worksheets and quizzes formed a chunk of their grades, but an equal or larger a chunk was oral presentations, and Alton had figured out the secret to those ages ago.

Often, a class would start with a prompt, then they'd break into small groups, spend half an hour or so concocting their presentation, and then perform it for the class. Most of Alton's classmates had no idea how to handle that sort of thing, though, and as a result most presentations were uninspired and nigh-identical, and thus excruciatingly boring. Just putting a new spin on the scenario, adding a bit of physicality to the acting and humor to the delivery, did wonders. The rest of the class became more engaged, and even Madame Clarke-Moone seemed to appreciate the reprieve from the banal. The grades he got reflected that.

Alton's eyes snapped back in front of him a black sedan shot out of an alley. It wasn't close enough to cause concern, and Alton didn't slam the brakes, just pressed gently on them a little, but it certainly woke him up. Whoever that driver was, they were in a hurry to get somewhere and lacked the patience for caution or courtesy. The car sped off, turned another corner too quickly.

"Someone forgot to turn the oven off," Alton said.

And as for Joanne? He'd gotten what he needed from her, enough conversation to judge the right path forwards. What he was thinking now was normal until proven otherwise. That was usually the right call.
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Cicada Days
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Joined: March 27th, 2015, 4:13 am

April 18th, 2018, 12:37 am #10

Joanne's eyes were always waiting on Alton's when he flipped them her way. Not shyly either, she'd nod or smile or something every single time he glanced her way, without fail. Her posture was casual, she slouched a little and folded her arms. She was relaxing into the creature comforts of the highbacked seat with emphasis on relaxing her neck, leading to a slight bridging out of her back away from the cushions.

"Oh well I bet she'll think you're just the most handsome thing, then."

It was possible today was also Joanne's language period day, at least last Alton had heard. She was in Spanish, but she could doubtlessly relate to the agony of standing in front of a class fumbling with words that were alien to the brain. A chuckle:

"But between you and me, presentations are the real original sin. Hope you do alright, yeah? We can practice if you need." Joanne gestured strongly, one hand chopping at the air in front of her with a single swoop of her flabby arm. "Like, help you get the body language down. I know you're all on your Hollywood biz."

That particular facet of conversation ended abruptly. Joanne snapped up a little, alert and adrenaline-fueled pose. She tensed for a moment, stayed tense as she found the source of dangerously too-close motion blur and glared at it.

"Jesus. What happened to road courtesy??" Joanne's query was loud enough to be directed to the heavens above even when her head was pointed at Alton and wind shear was blurring her tone. "This is why we as a society can't have nice things and this is why we have Canon," she insisted with clear, exaggerated enunciation.
[+] Spoiler
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"C'mon! It's just a prank, bro."

- Memories - 1 - Pregame - 1 2 3 4
Unofficial Theme : 'When it's clear to everybody I'm always the last to know.'
Extra art by Mimi! (1)
[+] Spoiler
[+] Spoiler
[+] Spoiler
Sprite credit to Yugikun (Beryl Mahelona, Gyu-ri Christensen, and Demetri Fustcher) and Fenris (Charelle Chernyshyova, Ramsey Cortez, and Joanne Coleman).
[+] Spoiler
Character Relationships (no longer updated)
Hero | Swap
[+] Spoiler

B036 - Dead
(Adopted from Yugikun)
[+] Spoiler
"And you were the one looking to pick a fight. Don't complain when you don't get the one you want."
- Memories - 1 2 3 4 5 - Pregame - 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 - Sadie Hawkins - 1 2
[+] Spoiler
"Hope that's good enough."
- Arsenal - Bag of dried chipotle chilies (LOST)
- Island - 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
- Meanwhile - 1 2
[+] Spoiler

G047 - Dead
[+] Spoiler
"It's Tina."
- Memories - 1 - Pregame - 1 - Sadie Hawkins -
[+] Spoiler
"You're nothing."
- Arsenal - The 'Man Catcher' (LOST)
- Island - 1 2
- Meanwhile - 1
- ??? - 1
Sprite credit to Fenris (Ben Fields) and Yugikun (Tina Luz).
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MurderWeasel
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Joined: February 18th, 2009, 7:01 am

April 19th, 2018, 6:30 am #11

"No kidding." Alton eased them down to the actual speed limit as he spoke, not that he expected the third degree from Joanne or would be too uncomfortable even if she did give it to him. Even cops didn't care if you were five above. His grip on the steering wheel was loose, easy, relaxed, but he was scanning more actively now, keeping an eye on the cars parked on the side of the road in case somebody was getting ready to pop open their door and step into traffic, the driveways in case some kid was going to run from out of sight and try to race across the street after a soccer ball, corners in case of bicyclists unaware that the law applied to them. He hated the term "defensive driving;" it conjured an image of road as battlefield and vehicle as weapon or armor, which Alton believed was part and parcel of the twisted mentality that led to road rage in the first place. Still, he could use the tools while rejecting the label.

"Of course," he continued, "the glorification of stupidity doesn't hurt."

That was shifting to Canon, a topic Alton was thoroughly sick of discussing with most of his peers (not to mention strangers, who seemed to think it an excellent shortcut to bonding, whether in support of or opposition to the president. He'd personally been pegged as both). The girl riding shotgun was different, though. Her thoughts were interesting, and if they ever failed him, her phrasing wouldn't.

The air flowed around them, chilling Alton's ears and the tip of his nose, and he didn't speak quite as loudly as Joanne did, just enough to be heard. New Order was buried beneath the whir and rumble, but a stoplight half a block up had just turned orange, so soon they'd be serenaded again.
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April 21st, 2018, 1:11 pm #12

Momentum unleashed Joanne from it's harsh leash, so Joanne could slide back into her seat as she adjusted to the car's jerking around various interpretations of the speed limit.

"Yeah," Joanne began, using a carefully timed gulp of breath to emphasize rant beginning in three, two.. one.

"Actually, no." And Joanne slightly deflated, but her scowl was forced into a smile. "You've already heard this before." As both a primary and secondary source. Joanne's propensity for a bullish offensive against the many folks in GHHS she disagreed with was an identifying trait she proudly wore on her sleeve. Joanne's mouthful was loud and worth a few cups of something that burned on the way down the throat.

"I mean, you know how it is. Because, Exhibit A. Imagine the amount of us poor girls at an utter loss for any man in this school decent to ask out for Sadies. Low supply of guys like you on the market, yeah?" Well, Joanne usually threw comments this casually complimentary Alton's way. They'd already established she didn't mean anything by it, with the usually politically correct caveat of withdrawing the joke if a nerve was ever struck.

She'd just merely seemed to enjoy the unique stab at making her point, much as she enjoyed New Order by cranking the volume dial a few notches when the volume diffused away.

"I'm just saying. Romance isn't be all end all but it'd be nice to have serviceable and non-ew-on-a-snapback-wearing-stick options."
[+] Spoiler
[+] Spoiler
[+] Spoiler
[+] Spoiler
"C'mon! It's just a prank, bro."

- Memories - 1 - Pregame - 1 2 3 4
Unofficial Theme : 'When it's clear to everybody I'm always the last to know.'
Extra art by Mimi! (1)
[+] Spoiler
[+] Spoiler
[+] Spoiler
Sprite credit to Yugikun (Beryl Mahelona, Gyu-ri Christensen, and Demetri Fustcher) and Fenris (Charelle Chernyshyova, Ramsey Cortez, and Joanne Coleman).
[+] Spoiler
Character Relationships (no longer updated)
Hero | Swap
[+] Spoiler

B036 - Dead
(Adopted from Yugikun)
[+] Spoiler
"And you were the one looking to pick a fight. Don't complain when you don't get the one you want."
- Memories - 1 2 3 4 5 - Pregame - 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 - Sadie Hawkins - 1 2
[+] Spoiler
"Hope that's good enough."
- Arsenal - Bag of dried chipotle chilies (LOST)
- Island - 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
- Meanwhile - 1 2
[+] Spoiler

G047 - Dead
[+] Spoiler
"It's Tina."
- Memories - 1 - Pregame - 1 - Sadie Hawkins -
[+] Spoiler
"You're nothing."
- Arsenal - The 'Man Catcher' (LOST)
- Island - 1 2
- Meanwhile - 1
- ??? - 1
Sprite credit to Fenris (Ben Fields) and Yugikun (Tina Luz).
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MurderWeasel
MW's Private Rank
Joined: February 18th, 2009, 7:01 am

April 23rd, 2018, 10:18 pm #13

"I feel that," Alton said. "And the unfortunate facial hair."

Most of Alton's male classmates were just not his type. Well, actually, his type was women, but he had a fake type too, one he wasn't shy about sharing, and the boys of George Hunter by and large did not fake do it for him. What Alton wanted was someone slim but in an athletic way, fashionable without being ostentatious, not a bore but also not a boor. He wanted someone kind and courteous except when the time was right to be otherwise. Alton had never quite understood the fascination with musclebound bricks. It seemed a distinctly male preoccupation, but those who most fervently pursued the aesthetic tended to be those least willing to flirt with homoeroticism. Was it just what they wanted others to want?

"I don't want a beard with bits of cottage cheese in it rubbing against me while I kiss someone," Alton continued.

Of course, the female population of the school brought with it its own pitfalls. Alton's type or women was a good bit less particular and also wasn't phony, but still eliminated a good chunk of his peers. There was the physical aspect, but variety was the spice of life and Alton thought himself pretty open-minded; when other guys asked him "Tits or ass?" he'd say "Face," but mean "Legs." Where he ran into trouble was personality and vibe. Being out there was in, but in very particular and particularly vapid ways. If everyone thought rompers were quirky and unique, then somebody wearing one didn't even stand out, just looked like a toddler for no benefit. And that wasn't even starting on social media. Alton friended girls he liked and then ignored as much of what they posted as he could, to avoid damaging his interest. Perhaps the first girl to paste a cartoon dog nose over her own had made the impression she'd hoped to. Perhaps not.

They pulled up at the stoplight, and now Blue Monday was a good bit louder since Joanne had cranked it to be audible while moving. Alton didn't care. This light wouldn't keep them too long, he knew from having driven this route so often. The cross traffic was also light this time of day. He watched as a pair of SUVs rolled by; another pulled up alongside them. Every one of them was empty save the driver, which Alton thought a shame both for environmental reasons and because company made the commute so much more pleasant.
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Joined: March 27th, 2015, 4:13 am

April 25th, 2018, 10:55 pm #14

She offered a sympathetic scowl. Whatever was going through Joanne's mental space at that very moment after the fact was obviously impossible to know for sure, but it was likely reflexive against a very captivating- in all the wrong ways- vision of bits of chunks curdling through a scraggly patch of beard.

"Got that right," Joanne attentively nodded. "Beard game's nice, but the caveat is keep it clean and be aware of facial shape..." A creatively elongated pause, spirited and contrived weighting of the trough between moments of her speechcraft.

"Y'know. Just the basics that people can't even get right." Joanne stroked the fingers of one hand over the smooth bauble of her chin experimentally, a long and considerate cupping. "I feel like I'd rock one if that were my jam." Looking up at the front view mirror with a craning of her neck, her gaze critical. "Yeah... No neckbeard, just pure sex appeal," and she chortled in two rapid fire bursts of amusement.

She glanced back down as the car drifted to a stop. A bit surprised, as if she hadn't noticed the deceleration. She glanced sideways, contemplating the same SUV Alton had. A brief appraising, then she glanced away.

"What makes a hot guy, for you?" The conversation, thus, swerved. Joanne bustled about like a child happily coloring off the lines as she pulled out a cuboid compact she'd bothered to hide in a deep pocket of her slacks- whereas she hadn't even bothered to pack a proper bag for school. Two hands, one to hold and the other to brush. The mirror edge of the compact trailed, offering Alton a single pixel-resolution reflection of himself while Joanne worked entirely off memory, scouring at a series of nigh imperceptible mistakes down one cheek.

"I feel like we should be comparing notes."
[+] Spoiler
[+] Spoiler
[+] Spoiler
[+] Spoiler
"C'mon! It's just a prank, bro."

- Memories - 1 - Pregame - 1 2 3 4
Unofficial Theme : 'When it's clear to everybody I'm always the last to know.'
Extra art by Mimi! (1)
[+] Spoiler
[+] Spoiler
[+] Spoiler
Sprite credit to Yugikun (Beryl Mahelona, Gyu-ri Christensen, and Demetri Fustcher) and Fenris (Charelle Chernyshyova, Ramsey Cortez, and Joanne Coleman).
[+] Spoiler
Character Relationships (no longer updated)
Hero | Swap
[+] Spoiler

B036 - Dead
(Adopted from Yugikun)
[+] Spoiler
"And you were the one looking to pick a fight. Don't complain when you don't get the one you want."
- Memories - 1 2 3 4 5 - Pregame - 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 - Sadie Hawkins - 1 2
[+] Spoiler
"Hope that's good enough."
- Arsenal - Bag of dried chipotle chilies (LOST)
- Island - 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
- Meanwhile - 1 2
[+] Spoiler

G047 - Dead
[+] Spoiler
"It's Tina."
- Memories - 1 - Pregame - 1 - Sadie Hawkins -
[+] Spoiler
"You're nothing."
- Arsenal - The 'Man Catcher' (LOST)
- Island - 1 2
- Meanwhile - 1
- ??? - 1
Sprite credit to Fenris (Ben Fields) and Yugikun (Tina Luz).
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MurderWeasel
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Joined: February 18th, 2009, 7:01 am

April 29th, 2018, 4:21 am #15

Since the light was still red, Alton gave Joanne's face a nice once-over, watching for flickers of movement or a flash of green from the corner of his eye. She would probably have a black beard could she grow facial hair, maybe a little curly if it got long. Given her cheeks and her nose, she could go a few ways.

"You would rock a beard," he said, emphasizing "would," giving it just the right spin of faux-contemplation. "I think you're one of the few who could get away with a goatee. Or a pencil mustache."

Or, he thought, a great big beard that rolled halfway to her waist. That seemed like it would not mesh with Joanne's self-image, however it might have had potential for her aesthetic, so he didn't volunteer it. The joke was the idea of Joanne with a beard at all. Pushing it further would be all risk, no reward.

Alton's eyes gravitated towards the compact in her hands, even though he couldn't check his hair in it but easily could've in the car mirrors. His lips quirked upwards, and he leaned back a little. The light turned green, and the SUV next to them lurched to a start a split second more quickly than Alton got them rolling, but within moments he had overtaken it. His posture remained loose, relaxed, his left elbow resting on the edge of the door even as his dominant hand controlled the steering wheel.

"A guy needs personality," Alton said, voice raised to be audible but not to a yell. "Dullness is unforgivable. Then, I like him kind of lithe. A runner. Or a nerd who knows how to take care of himself. Good manners. Good teeth."

The SUV was slipping away behind them, and Alton spared the speedometer a quick glance, but they weren't too far over. The other vehicle made a right turn at the next intersection, never flashing its turn signal. That was why they'd slowed down. Alton was used to such things, but they still got on his nerves for an instant. That sort of casual carelessness made driving more difficult and dangerous for everyone who did know what they were doing.

"Funny, but not immature," he continued. "If you take me back to middle school, you're right out."
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