This Scene Is About a Hat

MurderWeasel
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Joined: February 18th, 2009, 7:01 am

October 6th, 2010, 10:22 pm #1

((Kimberly Nguyen continued from D-Day))

Kimberly's time since the beach had been trying at best, infuriating at worst. She was finding, more and more, that she was not a team player. It had quickly become clear that her arm was going to remain fucked up, so she'd been forced to do most everything one-handed, but she'd been coping. It wasn't so bad. She certainly preferred spending a little extra time and effort to relying on Bridget and the others, regardless of the good intentions of her companions.

Then, there had been the announcements. Kris had, indeed, killed Reika. Also some other girl Kimberly didn't know. Reiko, too, was a double murderer. Did that change things? Perhaps. Perhaps not. It certainly meant Kimberly would have to be a little more careful when she caught up with the girl. It always paid to be on guard, now. There could be no more trust in her classmates, not after everything that had happened on the beach, not after the long list of names read in the announcements. That had been nearly a day ago. Soon, there would be more listed. Kimberly was willing to bet more people had died than yesterday. After all, the paranoia would be kicking in well by this point.

And, once again, Kimberly's name would not be on that list. She hoped Kris had noticed. Yes. Best that way. Keep Kris on edge. Keep her scared. Because, no matter how many people she killed, there would be that one little loose end. The one that got away.

I'm coming to get you, Kris. I hope you know that.

In preparation for the eventual encounter, or any other hostilities, Kimberly had taken a little time to rework her wardrobe. The black towel had been converted into a sort of half cape, covering her left shoulder and arm, held together at her neck by two safety pins she'd found in her pocket (she'd tried to tie it, but found herself completely unable to do so with only her right hand, and there was no way in hell she was going to ask for help tying a knot). The towel did a good job of hiding her injury, and, on top of that, looked fairly menacing.

She had also worked with her grappling hook to improve its utility. The rope was wrapped across her chest and back, crossing in a shape something like an x. It then passed through her belt, with about five feet of slack. The hook was also tucked into her belt by one prong, leaving a loop of rope hanging. It was just enough for her to wrap once around her wrist and still allow her full movement while holding the hook in her right hand. She would be nearly impossible to disarm unless someone cut the rope, which was good. Kimberly didn't take kindly to the idea of someone taking the only implement of protection left to her.

And now, she was sneaking through the forest, in the middle of the night, separated from the others. She would be going back to them. Certainly. Just not for a little while. No, she needed time to herself, space to prove she was still capable, independent, not a helpless invalid. So she'd left. Quietly, slowly, when she was supposed to be sleeping, she'd crept away from the others and started moving, not quite sure where she was going, except that it would be away. She'd be back by morning announcements, no sweat. The others would never know.

The woods were silent, for the most part. Kimberly had a strong suspicion that most of her classmates were still at least somewhat tied to the routines of their prior lives, unwilling to risk moving around much in the dark. That was foolish, unless they were armed with guns. Darkness was an equalizer, a measure of protection. Under cover of darkness, it would be easy to get the jump on someone with a ranged weapon, easy to lose pursuit.

Of course, what she was about to do would neutralize any potential she had to remain hidden. Finding a decently-sized tree to lean against, Kimberly dug into the too-small right hip pocket of her jeans, found one of the three cigarettes contained within. Raised it to her lips, held it there while she fumbled around for her matches. Fuck having a bad arm. At least she had a box of those good, strike-anywhere matches. Working a matchbook in her condition would have been an exercise in frustration.

She extracted a match, scratched it against the tree. With a hiss, it ignited, casting a shaky glow over the surroundings. Kimberly lit her cigarette, then waved the match in the air until it went out, dimming the world once more, the only illumination coming from the glowing ash at the end of her cigarette.

She dropped the match on the ground. She'd littered all her life, and saw no reason to stop now.

Inhaling the smoke, Kimberly enjoyed the burning as it filtered into her lungs. She was at most a casual smoker, and often went weeks without touching a cigarette, but sometimes it just felt good do have something addictive to occupy her attention. This was good for her. This space, this risk, would let her tolerate the others' presence, let her remember that they weren't the stewards of her life.

She could still do fine without them.
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Jonny
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Joined: December 31st, 2008, 7:54 am

October 7th, 2010, 5:06 pm #2

(Jeremy Franco continued from The Only Way is Up)

Okay, let's get to work listing some ideas for rackets:

- A food-and-water racket. Jeremy had in fact already mentioned this one to Flowerhead, and it seemed like a pretty damn good idea. Longer the game goes on, the hungrier people are gonna get, especially if they're staying put and not scavenging for food. So Jeremy finds some dead dudes, takes their no-longer-being-used food, and sells it to somebody. Jeremy turns a profit.
- A reunion racket. What? You have a friend, a girlfriend, a boyfriend, someone you wanna meet up with? Yeah, Jeremy knows where they are, of course knows where they are. And he'd be glad to lead you to them, but there's a service fee attached. Guide work is potentially dangerous, since it involves leaving safe territory. What's that? You're willing to pay? Awesome. Jeremy turns a profit.
- A violence racket. Sorta like the last one, but if you wanna kick someone's ass, Jeremy knows where that someone is too! And if you pay an additional fee, he'll even back you up with his fucking sword cane, so you're almost definitely going to win. And then you and he take the shit that used to belong to the person whose ass you just kicked, and you split it 50/50. Jeremy turns a profit.
- An escape plan racket. You wanna get off this island? Fuck yeah, everyone wants to get off this island! And Jeremy has a plan, and it's a totally sick fuckin' bitchin' plan, and he'd be glad to have you on board. But he can't tell you yet because he doesn't want to make Danya send a squad or terrorists down to kill you (which is what he'd totally do). Now, if you just make a small payment, you can get in on the ground floor with this escape plan and you'll be the first to get guaranteed access off this island once other investors start showing up. Jeremy turns a profit.

Noticeably missing from the list was a weapons racket, and for good reason. On the plus side, weapons were a commodity everyone wanted, so generating demand in the product wouldn't exactly be the most difficult task. And fuck, it'd mean he'd be an arms dealer, and like seriously, how fucking cool would that be? He'd be like Nic fucking Cage in that one movie of his where Nic Cage had been an arms dealer, which is pretty much the best place you can be in life.

Note to self: If I get a slow-acting but deadly wound, try to spend my last few hours doing arms dealing, so I can guarantee that I've lived an awesome and completely fulfilling life.

But not until then. Because there was a very big con. Generating demand was all sorts of easy, but generating supply was a whole lot harder. A weapon was typically something that Jeremy wanted to hold onto quite a bit (was there anything that you could like, attach to sword cane to make it even cooler? Something to ponder!), so he'd have to somehow acquire a whole lot of the things before he was willing to part with any of them. And the only real way to get his hands on that many weapons would involve stealing them and probably killing their former owners, which- which, well... which would be un- it'd be... uh. Difficult. Yeah, too difficult. Let's go with that.

It was pretty late by now, Jeremy having spent most of the day working on his various potential rackets. Sales pitches, business models, expected going rates for certain services, prioritizing which commodities he'd most like to receive as payment. Kid's shit, mostly, but the island's nascent pseudo-economy was likely never going to get complex enough to incorporate most of the advanced stuff. Yawn fucking yawn. Just fast forward to the part where Jeremy runs this motherfucking island already.

1) Obtain a fedora
2) Ally with hot chicks
3) Run this motherfucking island


It was pretty late by now. Sooo... so try and go to sleep in this foresty-looking place. Last night hadn't been too bad, so this night promised the same. Uneventful sleep, then wake up rested and refreshed and be ready to meet potential customers. Remember. Just figure out what they want, then offer it to them. You can give it to them, or at least convince them you can give it to them. And then they give you whatever you want in return. That simple.

Some kinda light a little ways off in the distance, a little bit of a glow. Like a lighter or something? Well, it was best for Jeremy to check it out before he went to sleep. Make sure it isn't anything dangerous, anybody dangerous. No successful businessman has ever written a chapter in his memoirs on how getting robbed and murdered in his sleep was an important part of his rise to success.

Some kinda girl, looked like she had a cigarette, looked like she had... like she was wearing a... oh holy fucking shit.

1) Obtain a fedora
1) Obtain a fedora
1) Obtain a fedora


Jesus fuck holy God. This was the goldmine. This was the most valuable commodity in the world and this deal needed to happen right now. Not tomorrow, not when he woke up, right now. You go up to this girl, you figure out what she wants, and you offer it to her. You give it to her. And then the fedora is yours. Fucking go for it, Jeremy Franco. Make this fucking happen. You are a lion. Take what's yours.

"Hey, whoa, hey!" Big cheerful waves, those are disarming and build rapport. "Startled me there with the light for a second! Hi! I'm Jeremy Franco, of J. Franco and Associates. Any way I can help you tonight?"

This was gonna be awesome!
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MurderWeasel
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Joined: February 18th, 2009, 7:01 am

October 8th, 2010, 3:02 am #3

For a brief time, the night was calm. Kimberly smoked in silence. Inhaled. Exhaled. Enjoyed the feeling of the breeze playing across her face. It was almost enough to make her forget that, even now, nearly two days after the incident, her arm still hurt like fuck if she moved wrong, still stung and ached on a dull level even if she didn't. Did Kris know that? Did she have any idea that her little decision had produced lasting effects, real consequences? Or had she forgotten all about it by now, reduced Kimberly to the level of some extra in a bad action movie, existing only to take bullets, unable to feel real pain?

It didn't really matter. Kris would learn what lasting pain was like.

Then the silence was broken. There was a boy. A boy Kimberly did not know at a glance, had not seen coming. It took actual effort to retain her composure. She wasn't used to working to stay calm. Didn't appreciate having to do so now. The boy, who introduced himself as Jeremy, was waving like a complete moron, probably drawing the attention of everyone in the area with his voice. Probably attracting killers and muggers, students awakened from their sleep by his racket.

Whatever. She could run while they were busy killing him. No sweat.

And, hey, maybe he could be useful in the meantime. She just had to make sure to keep things under control. Make sure he didn't decide to shoot her for fun. The first step to keeping a handle on things was to stay outwardly cool and collected. So, with that in mind, Kimberly turned toward him, took a long, lazy drag from her cigarette, burning it down to the filter. Let it drop from her mouth, crushed it out with her boot, then raised her right index finger to her lips, telling him to keep it down.

Then she gestured him towards her. At the same time, she risked a quick glance at her left arm. Good. Everything was still hidden by the towel. Better still, the darkness made it even harder to tell that she was, in fact, wearing a towel and not a real cape. All that time spent planning each outfit before school had paid off. She was pretty sure that, somehow, she was looking badass in a towel and a bloodstained fedora. The whole ensemble also had one final bonus, Kimberly realized, bringing a smile to her face. With her left arm hidden, Jeremy had no way to know if she was holding a gun on him, ready to blow him away at any time. Her physical weakness could be a psychological strength. She was ready to deal with this sitaution. Perfectly on top of things.

"Maybe you can help me," she said, making sure her voice was low. "I'm looking for someone. Someone who killed a friend of mine. If you could point me in the right direction, it'd be a great help.

"Unless, of course, you're gonna try to kill me or some shit like that. In that case, we'll have some issues. Besides, I'm probably not worth your time. I left my supplies back with my allies, and they'd hunt you down and kill you if they heard you offed me on the announcements. Those should be on pretty soon, too, so you wouldn't get much of a head start."

Good. She had the situation on her terms now. She had preempted any attack on Jeremy's part, and reacted calmly enough that, if he was hostile, he'd hopefully be rattled. Now she just had to find out if he was worth her time.

"So, you seen Kris Hartmann?"
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Jonny
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October 8th, 2010, 6:31 am #4

So this chick, it turned out, was actually kind of a badass. If you're smoking a cigarette, wearing a fedora and a cape (holy shit!), and talking about cold revenge in a calm tone of voice, then you're almost definitely a badass. Plus her left arm was hidden away, all veiled in shadow like... like wait, what if her weapon was that her entire left arm had been replaced with a robotic sword-arm? Holy shit! That would make sense! That would make total fucking sense and would totally fucking fit with how badass she was! Somebody give this chick a medal, somebody give her her own TV show where she fights evil mutants in the aftermath of a nuclear apocalypse with her fucking sword-arm, holy shit.

She probably didn't actually have a sword-arm. But that was okay. Jeremy liked her anyway.

So Jeremy was gonna help her out. Jeremy had no intention of hurting her (besides, she'd just made that totally bitchin' speech about what a bad idea killing her would be, pretty much one step away from walking into a room full of bad guys with a grenade in your hand, all if anyone shoots, we all go up in flames, what a fucking badass). No, Jeremy was gonna cut her an awesome deal under his newly-founded violence racket. Giving Badass Chick everything she wanted on this island. Asking for very, very little in exchange. Like maybe an article of clothing, nothing big. A hat, perhaps, or a scarf, or maybe a hat. One of those.

"Kris? Lemme think, I..." Try to remember as many authentic-sounding details from the announcement as you can! You were paying real good attention to it, and her name came up twice, so... Two kills! Reika! Amber! Startled! With a gun! Didn't like making friends! Fuck yes, these details are authentic. "Yeah, I seen her. Just didn't recognize her at first without her skateboard." Kris was a skateboarder. So authentic. "This woulda been earlier today. I saw her a little ways away from me, she looked pretty confused about something, and I thought I'd come up and say hi, see if I could help, cause that's how I roll, that's what I do, that's what I'm doing right now.

"Anyway, long story short, I must've stepped on something, made a loud noise of some sort, cause next thing I know she's whirling around and freaking out and she shoots at me with her fucking gun! And it misses and all- I'm fine, I'm not hurt, you don't need to worry." She was probably gonna worry anyway, since getting shot at was scary. Maybe a mistake to have included that detail? "but my heart's racing, my mind's racing, and she's all 'What the fuck are you doing, stay back!' And I'm all 'Whoa, hey, slow down, maybe we can help each other out, maybe we can be friends!' And she gives me this death glare, and she's like 'Get the fuck away from me or I'll shoot again!' and she says 'And I won't miss this time!' and she says 'And I'll shoot you again if you follow me, so don't even think about it!'"

So authentic.

"Right, so then I... I basically ask her where she's headed, because I mean, look at it from my perspective, right? She's just told me she's gonna kill me if I see her again, so what if I just bump into her all unintentional? Then I'm fucked, then I'm dead, so I can't be having that happen. So I gotta know where she's going, so I can know where I gotta avoid going myself, so I ask her. And get this- this is the best part- she fucking tells me, so now I know where we can find her when we're gonna go pay her a visit and kick her fucking ass for killing your friend!"

Was Badass Chick's dead friend Reika or Amber? Jeremy went ahead and guessed Amber, since Badass Chick looked Asian, so it'd be racist to assume that she was only friends with other Asians.

"And uh... I mean, I'd be glad to tell you, and like I said, I'll even come along and help if you want, since this chick went and pissed me off-" He had been about to say 'scared the fuck out of me' instead, but saying you were afraid or not 100% confident was probably the stupidest thing you could do in a sales pitch- "when she shot at me, so I'm in on the whole revenge idea, I'm on board with that.

"But first, I mean... this is gonna sound really weird but bear with me here okay? There's something I'd like in exchange- and yeah, like I said, I know this sounds weird, but- do you think you could gimme that sweet hat you got on right now? I mean, I already lost my own hat, and you already look plenty badass-" Was this flirting? It was possibly flirting- "without it."

Jeremy planted the tip of his sword-cane in the ground and leaned on it authoritatively. Finish this sales pitch off, Jeremy! You did an awesome fucking job.

"So whaddaya say? You in? We gonna sign an official J. Franco and Associates contract here, or what?"
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MurderWeasel
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October 8th, 2010, 10:33 pm #5

To Kimberly's great surprise, it sounded like Jeremy actually had seen Kris. His description meshed very well with Kris' actions, down to her violent reactions and desire to be alone. Only, Jeremy had taken the smart choice, hadn't been blinded by foolish optimism, so he was uninjured. For just a moment, Kimberly felt intensely jealous of the boy before her. What had made Kris miss when confronted with him? Some action he'd taken? Dumb luck? Then again, she should probably consider herself lucky. Amber and Reika were dead.

Kris definitely deserved a bit of payback. No, maybe not, maybe she didn't deserve anything. After all, she'd just accepted the situation and made the most of it. It was Kimberly who deserved revenge, as her reward for surviving. She was doing this for herself. Anyone who joined her had to hold the same motivations, because, when Kris was crying at her feet, she didn't want someone to start going on about redemption and shit like that. She wanted to enjoy the moment, enjoy the reversal, having Kris at her mercy.

And Jeremy was mad at Kris too. It seemed like this could be the beginning of a beautiful partnership.

Only then he went and completely fucked it up. Not only did he ask her for something in return, he also... was he flirting with her? Was he really telling her she looked good? And, more than that, how the fuck did he get off asking for her hat? This was not just some random fashion accessory she'd happened to throw on for the class trip. It was her lucky hat, her favorite fedora, the item she always wore if she was going away for a while, or wanted to do well on a test, or have a good time at a party. Sure, it had some blood on it, but it'd had beer, ketchup, and worse on it before, and everything had always come out with a little soap. And now, Jeremy wanted it?

Fat chance.

Still, maybe she was overreacting. He'd paid her a compliment. That was all. Best to just move on, let it go, work together to deal with Kris. They'd have to go get Kimberly's allies, of course, so they'd have some firepower behind them, but they could finish this little hunt right now.

Then what?

Time for that later. Right now, Kimberly had an alliance to seal.

"Sorry, Jeremy, but this is my lucky fedora, and if Kris is still twitchy, I think I'll be needing it. Anyways, getting her's the more important thing right now. We can find your hat later or something. I'd be glad to help."

That problem was solved. If Jeremy insisted on fucking around looking for a hat, Kimberly could oblige. It seemed absurd, but people had different coping mechanisms, and if that was how he blew off steam after being shot at by Kris, who was she to judge?

"So, where'd she go?"
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Jonny
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October 9th, 2010, 6:20 am #6

Oh fuuuuuuuuck yoooooooou, Badass Chick. She was turning down the terms of the deal- which was fine, which was something Jeremy could deal with, he'd be a shitty businessman if he couldn't deal with a setback or two down the road- and she was doing it because this was her lucky hat. How fucking stupid could you get! That wasn't an actual thing! Hats could be snazzy, or bitchin', or stylish, but not lucky! There was no such fucking thing as a lucky hat! Listen, Badass Chick, I like you and all, but it is in no way, shape, or form badass to go around pretending a hat is lucky.

Unless! Unless maybe it was a clever ruse? And she had a better reason for turning the deal down but she was using this one instead? Like she had a hidden reason for hiding her real reason?

Okay, that would be kinda cool. Jeremy reminded himself that, if this deal went through, he should try to figure out if this was the case. But uh... right. He wouldn't actually have an opportunity to do that, since if the deal worked out, that meant he'd be high-tailing it with his new fedora on his head and with no intention to hold up his end of the bargain. Err, no. Let Jeremy rephrase that. He'd totally hold up his end of the bargain, he'd totally tell Badass Chick where Kris was, except that he... hadn't guaranteed her that the information would actually be correct? So it was her fault for not negotiating the terms of the deal carefully enough?

Huh. That actually ended up sounding a lot sketchier than not holding up his end of the bargain.

But okay. That was all thinking way too far ahead, there wouldn't even be a bargain to uphold if he didn't close this deal. So he nodded a few times as he dug his sword-cane a little deeper into the ground and as she voiced her stupid objections. Did his best to look like a sympathetic and understanding sort of rat. "Okay, I hear you. I hear what you're saying, that's a fair point. You make a fair point. But!" Held up one finger on his right hand. "Hear me out here. I got a few points of my own to get through, just hear me out."

"First off, I get that it's your lucky hat, but like, wouldn't you say then that it's already been lucky for you? Like, boom, you just met Jeremy Franco, and, and he knows where Kris is, and he can help you take her down, so what do you call that? I call that luck, I call that great luck, so now your lucky hat's gone and used up its good luck. Right? So now it's just a normal hat, just the same as any other, except the main difference here is that Jeremy Franco really wants this one." As much as it pained him to make a serious argument that presumed the existence of hats that were lucky, this is what he had to do. This is what it meant to be a kickass businessman.

"So, number two, I appreciate the promise and the help and all, but I don't think we're gonna be finding my old hat anytime soon. See, the place I lost it was in the swamp," there was a fucking swamp on this island, it said so on his map, this was so fucking authentic, "so it's probably drifted off and sunk down into some sticky muddy water, right? And who wants to look through that for hours just to find a hat that's pretty much ruined anyway? Nobody is who. So yeah, thanks for the offer, but that's just sorta a lost cause is all."

"Now, thirdly, I get what this hat means to you. And if you still think it's still lucky, well, how's this: when we find Kris, I give it back to you until we're finished taking her down. So when you need the good luck for the fight? It's all yours, you can have it right back. But until such time, I think it's probably better that the hat goes to me, like I said, cause this is sorta my payment- my real little payment- for helping you out with Kris."

"So yeah! I mean, tell me what you think, I mean, personally I think I covered all the objections you raised so I think we're good! What do you say we handshake on this?" Jeremy put his right hand out, left hand still digging the cane just a bit deeper into the ground.

"Boom! I love it. Let's do it."
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MurderWeasel
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October 10th, 2010, 1:53 am #7

Jeremy seemed to be completely and totally devoted to destroying Kimberly's hopes of forming a functional alliance. Not only was he obsessively fixated on her hat, he couldn't even come up with a coherent argument in favor of her handing it over. If anything, his determination was unnerving. It made Kimberly wonder about his mental stability. After all, they were talking about stopping a highly dangerous killer, and he wanted to waste time on some sort of primitive barter system? It was idiotic. They were both getting something out of cooperating: a neutralized Kris Hartmann.

So he'd lost his old hat in the swamp? So-fucking-what? Kimberly hadn't sunk it. She hadn't forced him to pick some weird-ass fetish to prioritize over, you know, survival. It was grating on her. She was really, really sick of finding herself on the weak end of interactions with morons. Jeremy wasn't gonna shoot her, sure, but he was making her life a lot more difficult than it had to be. He was either going to tell her where Kris was, or he wasn't. If he was, it wasn't going to be for some reward. It was going to be because he wanted Kris taken care of. If he wasn't, then why the fuck was Kimberly listening to his ramblings?

Worse still, memories of Jeremy were starting to surface. He was that kid who dealt soda out of his locker or some shit like that, right? Acting all high and mighty, like some sort of mob boss, in his tacky suits? In fact, squinting against the darkness, she was pretty sure he was wearing one of them now. Just brilliant. They would be like the cast of a really, really bad horror movie, the eclectic group of bozos picked off one by one by a competent foe, until, if they were really, really lucky, one of them managed to do some damage before expiring.

Jeremy finished talking, put his arm out, offered to shake on the deal. As he spoke words to that effect, Kimberly came to a sudden, shocking realization: She didn't have any reason whatsoever to put up with this bullshit. If Jeremy wanted to go around creating his own little barter economy, he could do it somewhere else. Kimberly decided that, if it came down to it, she would far rather waste a few days tracking Kris herself than give Jeremy any control over her at all. If he wanted to spill Kris' location and trust Kimberly to go deal with her, fine, but it would not be a collaborative effort between the two of them.

Then, a second revelation: Kimberly grinned as she realized that, here, now, on this island so far away from civilization and its structures, there was nothing whatsoever to prevent her from telling Jeremy exactly what she thought of him.

Ignoring his proffered hand, Kimberly dug another cigarette from her pocket. It was for dramatic effect, she knew that, but dammit, she was going to do this right. After that kind of buildup, one couldn't simply decline and walk away.

"Let me think about that," she said, then put the cigarette in her mouth. Retrieved a new match. Snapped it against the tree, and had to find another, to her great annoyance. After a few seconds, she succeeded in lighting the cigarette. Took a few long, slow drags. If Jeremy wanted to play the time-wasting game, that was cool. Kimberly was good at wasting time too, and, since she was pretty sure he wouldn't be giving her Kris' location after what she had to say, there was no reason to rush.

After a brief space of silence, Kimberly removed the cigarette from her mouth, smiled, and said, voice completely steady and calm, "That sounds like a great idea.

"Except for the part where the whole thing's fucking retarded."

She stubbed the cigarette out on the tree, dropped it to the ground.

"Listen, Jeremy. Listen to me well, okay, because if you do, maybe you'll actually live a little longer. I mean, shit, how'd you make it this far? Dumb luck? Anyways, we're talking about a killer. A murderer. People are dying here, and you want a hat? Maybe you haven't noticed, but nobody else gives a damn about that stuff anymore.

"I mean, heck, I don't expect all my classmates to be the brightest bulbs in the box. One look at our school could show you that. People do what they're told; they buy what the television says to. But the time for accessorizing your wardrobe is gone. You are, believe it or not, in the real world now. So, you wanna tell me where Kris went? Fine. I'll take care of her so she doesn't shoot you, we call it fair. You don't think that's a good deal? That's your problem. I'll find her, and if you're very, very lucky it'll be before she finds you again. But I really don't have the patience to sit around and play some kiddy game of Wall Street Commodity Exchange. So tell me or don't, but then get lost. I've got important stuff to do."

As she had spoken, Kimberly's hand had been at work in her pocket, finding the final cigarette and a match. She slotted the cigarette between her lips, smiled at Jeremy, and struck the match on the tree, again casting a dull light over the area.
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Jonny
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October 10th, 2010, 4:24 am #8

Okay.

"Get on the ground, get on the FUCKING ground, put your hands where I can see them. If you try anything, if you fucking move an inch without me clearing it, I will stab you right through your fucking throat. You understand? I will put you in the ground. In front of all these people." A little gesture to the cameras with his free hand. "I don't even give a fuck."

This was the sort of threat Jeremy could afford to make, since he'd just done a ridiculous quick draw with his fucking sword-cane and pointed the thing less then a foot away from the girl's neck. This was the benefit of diligently practicing. This was the moment where it would pay off. And pay off it did, since Dumbass Chick immediately did her best to oblige. See, that wasn't so hard, was it? Jeremy took a few steps forward, keeping the tip of sword-cane on the back of her neck as he reached for her hat. Took it right off her head, put it on his own. God, that wasn't hard at all.

"Now that wasn't so hard, was it? To give up your precious hat? Your LUCKY hat? Christ! How fucking stupid can you get! That's not an actual thing! Hats can be snazzy, or bitchin', or stylish, but not LUCKY! There's no such fucking thing as a lucky hat!" A little pause, a little look of disgust. "So get that through your stupid fucking skull. Cause guess what? Your luck's been pretty fucking shitty so far!" She raised her head a little, tried to make eye contact. "And don't you fucking LOOK at me when I'm talking to you!" She lowered her head again. Awesome.

Jeremy started lazily walking around Dumbass Chick's prone form, stopping at her left side. This wasn't a robotic sword-arm at all, was it? Maybe give it a gentle little kick to be sure. Yup, seemed like a pretty normal arm. And she was even screaming out in pain, and he hadn't even kicked her hard at all! Christ, what a whiner. Jeremy felt a little bit of embarrassment swell up. Exactly how had it been that he'd managed to mistake this chick for a badass?

He continued ambling around her, this time stopping at her right side and crouching down. "Heeey! You're armed! Well why didn't you fuckin' SAY so?" Looked like some kind of grappling hook? Hooked into her belt, so just pulling it away wouldn't be too possible. But Jeremy had a fucking sword-cane, so what the fuck did he care? "Hey, remember. Move one inch and I will fuck you up." Jeremy started sawing away the rope, and... there! That wasn't so hard. One grappling hook, plus several feet of rope, came free from Dumbass Chick's belt. Time to stand up again, take a few steps back.

"This," he said, shaking around the grappling hook in a gesture he knew she couldn't actually see (since she was still looking downwards, such a fucking obedient girl, "is gonna get confiscated for the time being. I'm gonna start walkin' away pretty soon, and I'll be dropping this thing off on my path. You can come fucking CRAWL for it- emphasis on the CRAWL- if you want. You hear that? I'm not taking away everything you have, I'm being NICE to you. But no need to thank me."

Started walking away. Immediately thought the better of it. Turned around and grinned. "And guess what! I never even SAW Kris in the first place! You stupid fucking bitch, I can't believe you even fell for that. I picked all that up from the announcements. You know how? Cause I was fucking PAYING ATTENTION. Maybe if you were PAYING ATTENTION you wouldn't be where you are right now, yeah? Think about that one. But try not to hurt your brain, you dumb fucking whore."

Jeremy adjusted his snazzy new fedora and took a good look into a nearby camera. Tried to see if he could catch a reflection of his new dashing self.

No? Too dark to see anything? Oh well. You can't win 'em all.

(Godmodding approved :3)
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MurderWeasel
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Joined: February 18th, 2009, 7:01 am

October 10th, 2010, 6:33 am #9

And it all went straight to hell more quickly than Kimberly could have imagined.

In the blink of an eye, Jeremy was no longer leaning comically on a cane, blathering on about deals and shit. He was standing right in front of her, and his cane was now a sword, and its tip was in front of Kimberly's throat. She wanted to laugh. It was just so humorous. This idiot was shouting at her, telling her to get down on the ground. Telling her she was an idiot for believing in luck while he was still putting his faith in the inherent decency of capitalism, or some shit like that.

Thing is, she couldn't laugh. Because, in the end, she'd pushed it too far. Ran her mouth at the wrong time. And now, her life was in the hands of someone who couldn't even prioritize. She couldn't see where she had gone wrong. Clearly, Jeremy was a vengeful individual. So why the fuck had he brought it to this? Why weren't they dealing with the person who had shot at him?

The cigarette, still unlit, dropped from her mouth. The match fell from her hand, fizzled out on the dirt below. And Kimberly got down on the ground, and when he took her hat, she almost started to cry. Almost.

And, if he'd left it there, that would have been the end of things. She'd have been crushed, defeated, slunk back to the others, and then maybe pulled herself together.

But it wasn't the end, because then he kicked her in the arm. He couldn't have known. Couldn't have. Well, until she started screaming, screaming as her shoulder rubbed against the ground, as her wound was pressed into the hard earth, with only the thin towel and bandages to pad it, as the minor ache she had felt nonstop since the beach swelled once again into the full-on pain of a bullet in the arm.

Fuck you, Jeremy Franco.

And so, it wasn't the end at all. It wasn't the end as he ranted at her. It wasn't the end as he bent over her, sawed free her weapon, stood back up. It wasn't the end as he patronized her. It wasn't the end as he explained that he was a worthless, fucking liar, that he'd made up shit about Kris to manipulate her. Oh no, it definitely wasn't the end.

The only problem was, there wasn't really a whole lot she could do. She was unarmed, wounded, in pain, crying now, at that, and he was standing over her, was armed with a sword. And now, he was calling her a whore, that end-all be-all of high school slander.

And that was when her quiet sobs turned to louder laughter.

Really? She was really being held up by Jeremy Franco? Her schoolmates, normal kids, had really fallen this far already?

This was the way of the world, then. It all made sense. And she felt like she had to share this little revelation with the one who had helped her to it.

"Jeremy," she said, pushing herself up a little, looking towards his feet, off in the dim distance. "I guess I should tell you th—"
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Jonny
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Joined: December 31st, 2008, 7:54 am

October 10th, 2010, 10:53 pm #10

"No, shut up. Shut the fuck up." He was shouting over her. And she did as she was told. Awesome. "You had your fucking chance to talk, you stupid bitch. You had you fucking chance to make this work, to work a civilized deal out. How'd that turn out, huh? How the fuck did that go for you? I'll tell you how, you fucking pissed it away." She was staring at his feet. Why was she doing that? "And fucking LOOK at me when I'm talking to you!" There, now she was looking at him. And she'd get to see how snazzy he looked in her fedora. In HIS fedora. Awesome.

Jeremy pressed the tip of his fucking sword-cane up against Dumbass Chick's forehead. Gently, though. Not hard enough to draw blood or anything, that would be crass. "Guess what, fucknuts? You don't GET to talk. You don't GET to run your fucking mouth, and hey! You oughta be thanking me right about now. Since when you start running your mouth, bad things start to happen to you. So yeah, 'thank you Jeremy!' is something you're allowed to say. If you got anything else you wanna get off your chest? You fucking RAISE YOUR HAND and you wait for me to CALL ON YOU."

Now that was just pressing his luck. Yeah, sure, Jeremy was totally in control right now, he fucking owned her and she was his property. But was he really about to get away with taking away her talking privileges? Her right hand tentatively shot up. Oh holy God. He was actually getting away with this. It wasn't even funny how much he was getting away with this. Well- actually, shit. Come to think of it... maybe he ought to run with this a little? If she'd agreed so easily to everything he told her, then maybe he ought to... maybe she ought to...

Eh. Naaaaaaah. Bitch wasn't even that hot. Maybe hot enough for a drunken pity-fuck, but that didn't look like it was about to happen any time soon. So keep this professional, Jeremy Franco. You're a goddamn professional and you know it. "Yes, you. Down in the dirt. How can J. Franco and Associates help you?"

So professional.
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MurderWeasel
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Joined: February 18th, 2009, 7:01 am

October 11th, 2010, 12:37 am #11

Jeremy ranted at Kimberly, called her names, railed against her for her actions and statements, ranted self-righteously like he had some sort of fucking moral high ground. And then, to top it all off, he told her to raise her hand, like she was a middle schooler.

And just like that, it all fell into place, and she knew what she had to do. The situation was insane, totally out of control. But she knew how to deal with it now, how to deal with everything on this island. It was all about power. All about who held more weapons and options. Right now, Jeremy had every advantage, every piece of leverage.

At least, all the physical ones.

But he had no clue what he was doing, it seemed. Despite helping Kimberly figure out the order of the world, he had no idea what it was himself. And so, she chose a new tactic. She raised her hand. And he called on her. Of course he did. Because Jeremy was enjoying his moment of control, his moment of being the boss, and he couldn't resist the chance to flaunt a little. And besides, it was just like they always said in grade school. Words couldn't hurt you.

Only that was a total fucking lie.

So she started laughing again. She laughed for a moment, and then she forced herself to stop, choked it down, and started to speak.

"You know, Jeremy, this may shock you to your core, but you stole the words right out of my mouth. Because, see, I was, in fact, going to say 'Thank you, Jeremy'. So, yeah, here it is: Thanks. You probably don't have a fucking clue what I'm talking about, but maybe that's better for you. Maybe it means you can enjoy the time you've got left here.

"See, you've taught me how the world works. There are no laws here. No fair trades. No in-school suspension. There's strength, and there's weakness, and whoever's stronger calls the shots. And hey, look, for once in your life it's you. So I don't blame you for this. You saw a girl who had what you wanted, one who couldn't stop you, and you took it. Fucking smart play."

As she spoke, Jeremy had lowered the sword a little. Its point no longer pressed into Kimberly's forehead. So she took a risk, and, with her right hand, pushed herself up, to a squat, and then stood. She looked Jeremy square in the eyes, smiled, and, again with her right hand, tossed the towel back, revealing her shoulder. The white bandage stood out nicely in the darkness. And, against the bandage, small dark spots had formed, were growing slightly. Fuck, that scrape hadn't been a good thing. She hoped the stitches hadn't torn. No time to worry now, though. Too much at stake.

"You know why I'm looking for Kris, Jeremy? You know what she did to me? She shot me. I walked up to her, tried to calm her down, and she put a bullet through my arm, and I only made it out of there because she was too afraid to finish the job. So guess what, Jeremy? You aren't the only one who can lie, and you just threatened to cut up a girl who got shot because you wanted her favorite hat. I bet that makes you feel like a total badass, huh?

"But hey, you're right. There's no such thing as a lucky hat, I guess. Not here at least. Luck isn't worth shit. You want something, you take it. So hang on to that hat. You earned it. Think of me from time to time. Maybe you'll hear about me on the announcements sometime. Maybe you'll find out if I caught up with Kris. Maybe you won't, and I'll hear about you. I hope not. Honestly."

Kimberly turned, prepared to start walking away. This was the key moment. Either he was going to put a sword through her back, or he wasn't. She didn't think he would. Didn't think he had the guts. She picked her cigarette from the dirt by the tree, stood up again, and started walking. Stuck it in her mouth, struck a match on the next tree she came to, and lit it. She had maybe fifteen feet between her and Jeremy now. She knew he wouldn't just let her walk off. Knew he'd have to say something. So, for just a second, she paused.
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Jonny
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Joined: December 31st, 2008, 7:54 am

October 11th, 2010, 5:02 pm #12

Oh you have got to be

Oh you have got to be fucking kidding! That was Dumbass Chick's big fucking play here? That was all she had? That- hahahahahaha! Fucking ha! That was, what, it was supposed to get Jeremy feeling all sorry? That was supposed to be her big fucking sob story that'd make Jeremy fall to his knees and beg for forgiveness? That was supposed to be the thing that broke Jeremy down and seek repentance for his totally badass actions? Boo fucking hoo. Nice fucking try, Dumbass Chick, nice fucking try at manipulating me. Not gonna work. Not gonna make him sorry. Not gonna make him anything at all except... except fucking mad because, because if she'd been the one shot, if she'd been walking around with this fucking hole in her shoulder, then why didn't she

Then why the fuck didn't

"Why didn't you fucking SAY so? Jesus FUCKING Christ! Why the fuck didn't you TELL me you'd been shot? You think I'm gonna knowingly steal from a chick that got shot? You think I'm that fucking low, you bitch? You think I'm gonna- No! NO! Fuck you! I would've fucking helped you out! I would've fucking helped you out, for REAL, you retarded slut!"

Shaking with rage. Shaking just a little bit with rage.

"Where the FUCK do you get off with this pretend badass act? It DOESN'T. FUCKING. WORK. And I hope to fucking GOD that you realize that by now. You don't GET to walk around in your cape and your fedora and smoke your fucking cigarettes when you got SHOT."

Jeremy threw the grappling hook onto the ground in front of him. Hard, hard enough that it got a decent bounce. Landed a few feet away from Dumbass Chick, probably within arm's reach. "And you fucking take that. You take that back right now, you gay retarded freak, because you don't get to walk away without it. You don't get to walk around pretending like you don't need that thing. You don't GET to say no to my kindness. So you pick that thing up right now or I swear to God I will cut your fucking head off."

But this hat? I'm keeping this. He was going to keep it. It was for her own good. It was for her own good because it was going to make her realize she couldn't afford to pretend to be a badass, because she couldn't think that she was getting rewarded for what she'd just done to Jeremy. Couldn't think that what she'd just done to Jeremy was in any way fucking acceptable.

Pick the grappling hook up. Pick it up. Fucking pick it up. If you don't pick it up, Jeremy Franco is going to see an unarmed defenseless target and he will run forward and he will fucking stab you in the heart. Pick it up.
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MurderWeasel
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Joined: February 18th, 2009, 7:01 am

October 12th, 2010, 5:50 am #13

At her revelation, Jeremy flipped his shit, and, back turned on him, Kimberly smiled wider than she had since arriving on the island. Game, fucker. She'd turned it around. Wounded, unarmed, beaten and robbed, and she'd still managed to piss this guy off, make him lose his shaky semblance of control. He was telling her what she couldn't do now. Couldn't be cool because she was wounded. Couldn't reject his last act of mercy. Whatever. He was gonna kill her if she didn't pick up the grappling hook? She could work that. Ingratitude was practically second nature for her. The weapon landed near her, and she stooped, twined the severed length of rope around her fingers, stood up spinning it.

"Thanks. I guess your sympathy just makes you a half-assed jackass."

Enjoy that one, Jeremy. Maybe store it away, use it yourself next time you have to insult someone, instead of just calling them every synonym for "slut".

She started walking again. She was going to leave. To just walk away. She was so done with Jeremy, with this forest, with everything. Fuck this noise. She'd regroup, and...

And get Sarah to fix her shoulder up again.

And fumble some explanation for the disappearance of her hat.

And—and this is what really made her burn—beg one of the others to splice her grappling hook back together because she couldn't even tie a fucking knot anymore. If the laces on her boots had been functional rather than ornamental, if her boots hadn't had zippers on the sides, she wouldn't have been able to get them on without help. Thanks for reminding me of that, Jeremy. Thank you so fucking much.

So she couldn't just let him go like that. Couldn't walk off quietly into the dark on an insult, cool as it would have looked. Because he had to suffer. Maybe she'd been content to piss him off instead of hurting him before, but not now. No, it was time to share the pain a little. Emotional damage wouldn't work; the bastard was seemingly immune to human feelings like guilt. It would have to be a baser attack, then. A kick to something he clearly had. A shot to the paranoia centers.

She spun. Smile gone. Cigarette out of her mouth, in her right hand with her grappling hook. Voice monotone. Dead.

"Do take care of that hat, Jeremy.

"It meant a lot to me once.

"And, you never know. You've taught me a lot. You've taught me that strength is what it takes to get what you want here. You're right. I don't actually need that hat. But maybe sometime I'll want it back.

"Catch you later."

And then she turned, waved a casual goodbye, and sauntered off in the direction of the camp. She worried, for a second, that he'd charge her. That he'd flip, try to finish her off. But she walked off unmolested, smiling to herself, taking occasional drags of her cigarette, and ignoring everything behind her.

((Kimberly Nguyen continued in Dimer))
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Jonny
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Joined: December 31st, 2008, 7:54 am

October 13th, 2010, 3:38 am #14

Something told Jeremy he should maybe do something.

Something told him he ought to get back at her. What a fucking bitch, right? Mouthing off to him like that when he was the one in control, he was calling the shots- that was insubordination, that was revolution, that was fucking treason. He'd done everything he could to make a fair deal happen, he'd taken nothing but her hat, he'd tried to teach her a valuable life lesson, he'd even given her back her grappling hook. Was any of that wrong? Go ahead, try to tell me I'm wrong. You won't. Because you can't. Because Jeremy was trying to be nice here, he was the nice guy, and she was still going around calling him a jackass.

Fucking treason. He should fucking court-martial her. He should just court-martial her right through her fucking throat. What the fuck was she gonna do about it? Bullet in her arm, faggy little grappling hook, stupid cocky bullshit attitude. It wouldn't even be a fight. Or, fuck, even if he wasn't actually pissed off enough to end her, show her that he was the fucking boss. Slap the taste out of her mouth, maybe? Fuck yeah, that'd make a whole lotta sense right about now. After all, he looked like a goddamn pimp, so...

Something told Jeremy he should maybe do something.

And it doesn't even have to be something badass like that. Because, like... Dumbass Chick had somehow managed to get the fucked up impression that Jeremy was the bad guy here, that he was the one you made these trying-too-hard passive-aggressive bullshit threats to like he owed you some kind of revenge or something. Like it was this big heinous fucking crime that he'd taken her hat (he looked better in it anyway, asshole!), and suddenly he was this big fucking villain. That group you said you were with? Go ahead and tell them your fucking sob story, go ahead and cry about how the big bad wolf took your hat after you were a complete and utter bitch to him, and how he let you keep your weapon even after all that. Yeah, there won't be a dry eye in the house. That is, if she'd even been telling the truth about having a group in the first place. What a lying bitch.

But even if she was dead wrong, even if Jeremy didn't give a fuck about what she thought about him, it was still fucked up for her to go around thinking that about him and telling her friends that about him. Unacceptable. So maybe he ought to say something, like maybe offer to help her out with something else, or just say he was sorry. He wasn't! But he'd say it anyway. Because God knows she wasn't gonna say sorry. God knows the girl who'd spat in the face of all his well-intentioned offers and said all that bitchy shit to him and committed fucking treason wasn't gonna say she was sorry- and how fucked up was that? So he'd do it instead. Show that he was the bigger person. Show that to the millions watching at home, so they could turn to their friends or their girlfriends and be all See? He's not the real asshole here. I told you. And show her. So that every time she started to bitch and whine about how awful Jeremy was, she'd know deep down that she was wrong. Dead fucking wrong.

Something told Jeremy he should maybe apologize.

Right, right, sure. That was it. That was what he'd been meaning to do this whole goddamn time, so he might as well just do it. Just get it out of the fucking way, just shout for her to wait, stop, Jeremy's still got something to say. Was he really gonna do that? Was Jeremy really just gonna say he was sorry for something that wasn't even his fucking fault? Yeah, might as well. Might as well make her feel a little bit about herself, since her self-esteem had to be pretty awful for her to have treated Jeremy so shitty. So he was gonna shout real loud and just make the stupid fucking apology that he didn't even wanna give, that she didn't even deserve. He was gonna do it. He was about to do it.

But you already know how this story ends.

Jeremy Franco did not apologize. He stood. He did nothing. She walked away. A minute passed. Two minutes. He turned around. He walked away too.

(Jeremy Franco continued in How to Win Friends and Influence People)
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