Playful pack richmond highway alexandria va

Northwest Challenge, College Westerns, Rodeo, Juniors Terminus, and more – Weekend Discussion [March 24-26]

2023.03.22 07:11 Jomskylark Northwest Challenge, College Westerns, Rodeo, Juniors Terminus, and more – Weekend Discussion [March 24-26]

Predict, Discuss and Follow the Weekend's Events

Use these discussion threads to talk about matchups, share predictions, find stream info, react to results and more. You can also chat live in our discord channel. Feel free to discuss any event, not just the featured events!
Lots of interesting tournaments this weekend, let's dive in!

Northwest Challenge

March 24-26 in partly cloudy Seattle, WA
Women's Pools – Schedule and Results
Pool A Pool B Pool C Pool D
#4 British Columbia #6 Carleton #2 Vermont #3 Colorado
#16 Pittsburgh #7 Washington #10 Oregon #8 Stanford
UCLA #19 Western Washington Texas Utah
After some backlash about the previous predetermined-matchup format, NWC is now using a more traditional pool play and bracket format. There are still some quirks, as noted below:
  • UW and WWU won't play each other in Pool B. Instead, UW will play BYU, and WWU will play Victoria and BYU.
  • #9 BYU and #14 Victoria are each only playing Friday and Saturday games and won't be part of the bracket.
  • The top seeds in each pool will play BYU and Victoria: UBC plays BYU, while Carleton, Vermont, and Colorado play Victoria. If each of these teams also finishes atop their respective pools, this should provide some symmetry in number of games played, as the 2nd and 3rd finishers in each pool play a pre-quarter while the 1st finisher receives a bye to quarters.
Follow: @UWElement, @Ultiworld, @UltiworldLive

College Westerns

March 25-26 in sunny Los Angeles, CA
I can't find a schedule for College Westerns. If you have one, please comment it below.
Follow: @SmaugUltimate, @Ultiworld, @UltiworldLive


March 25-26 in both rainy and sunny Martinsville, VA
Women's Pools – Schedule and Results
Pool A Pool B
NC State #24 South Carolina
Penn State Ohio
#4 D-III Williams Massachusetts
Liberty Duke
North Carolina-B Georgetown-B
Follow: Tournament Site, @WLUltimate, @Ultiworld, @UltiworldLive

Juniors Terminus

March 25-26 in rainy Conyers, GA
Schedule (Boys, Girls) isn't up on USAU as of posting. If anyone has another schedule please comment it below, otherwise I'll check back later.
Follow: @AtlantaUltimate, @AFDCJuniors, @Ultiworld, @UltiworldLive

New England Open

March 25-26 in partly cloudy Rehoboth, MA
Women's Pools – Schedule and Results
Pool A Pool B
#21 SUNY-Binghamton #2 D-III Wellesley
Connecticut #15 D-III Mount Holyoke
Boston University Harvard
#13 D-III Brandeis Rhode Island
Bowdoin Boston University-B
Men's Pools – Schedule and Results
Pool A Pool B
Bryant Bates
Northeastern-B Massachusetts-Lowell
Amherst WPI
Clark Connecticut-B
Harvard-B Northeastern-C
Follow: @NewEnglandOpen, @Ultiworld, @UltiworldLive

Carousel City Classic

March 25-26 in snowy Binghamton, NY
Men's Pools – Schedule and Results
Pool A Pool B Pool C
Ottawa Case Western McGill
Rutgers Cornell Lehigh
SUNY-Binghamton Columbia #17 D-III Rochester
Syracuse Carnegie Mellon Harvard
Follow: @Carousel_City, @Ultiworld, @UltiworldLive

Needle in a Ho-Stack

March 25-26 in partly cloudy Charlotte, NC
Women's Pools – Schedule and Results
Pool A Pool B
#3 D-III Middlebury Tennessee
App State Boston College
#21 D-III Cedarville #11 D-III St Olaf
Tennessee-Chattanooga #18 D-III Union
Alabama-Huntsville Richmond
Berry Wake Forest
Men's Pools – Schedule and Results
Pool A Pool B Pool C Pool D
UNC-Charlotte #4 D-III Middlebury App State Tennessee
Kennesaw State Charleston Union #24 D-III Berry
Clemson Cedarville Christopher Newport Davidson
Georgia College High Point South Carolina-B Wake Forest
North Carolina-B NC State-B UNC-Asheville Embry-Riddle
Follow: Tournament Site, @CLTUltimate, @Ultiworld, @UltiworldLive

Garden State

March 25-26 in windy Trenton, NJ
Women's Pools – Schedule and Results
Power Pool A Pool B Pool C
#6 D-III Haverford-Bryn Mawr #25 D-III Skidmore Swarthmore
Columbia New Jersey Rochester
#8 D-III Lehigh Vermont-B SUNY-Albany
#9 D-III Ithaca Messiah Princeton
Men's Pools – Schedule and Results
Power Pool A Pool B
Penn State-B West Chester
New Jersey West Virginia
Rowan Swarthmore
#18 D-III Ithaca Skidmore
Army Siena
Not certain the men's division is actually a power pool, might just be unconventional use of USAU's scheduler.
Follow: Tournament Site, Twitter, Tiktok (idk why they have a Tiktok lol), @Ultiworld, @UltiworldLive

Layout Pigout

March 25-26 in both rainy and sunny Haverford, PA
Men's Pools – Schedule and Results
Pool A Pool B
#12 D-III Williams #7 D-III Oberlin
#11 D-III Kenyon Bowdoin
#23 D-III Brandeis Bentley
Haverford Shippensburg
Follow: @DonkeyUltimate, @Ultiworld, @UltiworldLive
Top 25 Rankings from Ultiworld Top 25, but not yet updated for this week.
submitted by Jomskylark to ultimate [link] [comments]

2023.03.21 23:30 Mizzno [H] Games [W] Visage, A Hat in Time, Tower Unite, Mega Man 11, CODE VEIN, Offers

For sale, for Steam gift cards (or gifted Steam Wallet balance):

For trade:
*tentatively up for trade, assuming I buy the bundle


IGS Rep Page:
submitted by Mizzno to indiegameswap [link] [comments]

2023.03.21 21:29 slightlyassholic [The Great Erectus and Faun] 404 Universe Not Found Pt. 3

Something's missing. People (and entities) are starting to notice.
First Previous
Far across the multiverse in a tavern that, depending on one’s point of view, may or may not have actually existed, Zeb, Petunia, Bethany, Bergamot, Cleve, and Zilandrial sat at a large wooden table.
“Thank you, Shauna,” Bergamot said as a buxom woman in a low-cut peasant dress filled their mugs with a “magic” pitcher of beer that never ran dry. “You don’t have to serve us, you know.”
“Oh, I know,” Shauna replied brightly, “but I am a barmaid. Besides, I am not giving up my magic pitcher!” she added with a laugh. “The next batch of stew should be out in a second.”
“If it is as good as this bread…” Cleve said, holding up a thick, floppy piece of flatbread.
“Better!” Shauna exclaimed. “The pantry keeps filling back up with the best stuff! It’s almost a shame to make stew out of it, but the “fancy” chef went to the “fancy” place. We just figured out the roaster thingy, so we’ll be serving roast fowl as soon as the first batch cooks!”
Shauna paused and took a big drink from her pitcher.
“It turns out that you just had to talk to it. Weird… But no weirder than anything else, I suppose. You guys want to wait for the roast fowl?”
“We shouldn’t tary,” Zeb replied, “We don’t know how long this blessed peace will last.”
“Maybe it’s over?” Bethany the Tinker, now reunited with her beloved hat, asked.
“One can hope,” Zeb shrugged as he drank deeply from his tankard, “but I’m not delaying my repast, and neither should you. When you have fiends like Pantsu and F10w3rchy1d in play, things can get much worse than they already are.”
“Worse?!?” Bergamot exclaimed in horror.
Melinda the Stalwart was starting to believe that she should have stayed in bed today.
It was supposed to be her day off! Yeah, things were starting to get “weird,” but with all of those high-rated champions running around up north, it was probably going to get handled pretty quickly… and she was tired of chasing around after their scraps.
Her copper-rated ass was sitting this one out. The fact that everyone had gone gank-crazy just further confirmed that she had the right idea.
So, she decided to head back to the royal city of Raven’s Peak to take advantage of the richer and more powerful adventurers running off to the north, leaving all the armorers, enchanters, alchemists, and publicans in town behind.
It was nice not constantly getting shoved out of the way by stronger champions and ignored by shopkeepers far more interested in their gold than her silver for once.
It started out as such a lovely day, too!
She awoke in a lovely bed at the Blade and Wand, her absolute favorite inn, and a place where it was nearly impossible to get a room without a reservation or a lot more status than she had. There, she enjoyed a wonderful breakfast, at a discounted rate no less, and then went out for a day of crowd-free shopping!
It. Was. Bliss! There were no lines, and all of the storekeepers and craftsmen were all too happy to not only serve her and her meager purse but actually take time to chat!
Then, for lunch, she decided to visit the main branch of the adventurer’s guild, where she had an honest-to-gosh hamburger and fries along with some cider. After that, the plan was to get some training or maybe buy a buff or two…
Well, that was the plan, anyway.
What actually happened was that her wonderful burger, which she could never get under normal circumstances (they were always sold out before a copper-rated nobody could get their coppers taken), was interrupted by the most unholy screams she had ever heard inside or outside a dungeon.
She barely had time to stand before the doors to the guild offices exploded outward, and a demon covered in spikes and flames charged into the main hall.
That looks just like the guildmaster, was about all she had time to think before the fiend was on her.
“What’s happening?!?” Melinda cried in terror as she hurtled through absolutely nothing.
(Shh bby is ok)
“H-hello?” she called.
“W-who are you? What happened to me?”
(Shh bby is ok)
“Am I… Am I dead?!?”
(is ok)
“Oh, it is definitely NOT okay! Who are you, and what the hell happened?”
The bedbug sighed with exasperation as it bounced off an invisible barrier again.
It had taken too long. The soul was starting to wake up.
Before much longer, it would start to get wiggly. It hated it when they began to wiggle.
Not knowing exactly what else to do, it let out a little ping.
It was answered by thousands of its kind! They couldn’t get through either, so they were having a rave! Awesome!
With a happy little (woo!), it zipped off towards the largest concentration of pings dragging an increasingly indignant Melinda the Stalwart along whether she wanted to or not.
“Hahaha!” Tawdry laughed into a prepaid “burner phone” her parents didn’t know about. “I can’t be-lieve you got me fucking grounded, you skank!”
“You’re still grounded?” Claudia snickered, “You diminished that badly?”
“It’s my parents. I managed to talk them down to a week without brain fucking them too hard. Besides, this cell is a lot nicer than the holes you used to stick me in. I’ll just do my time and be done with it. Besides, it will give our friends time to leave town since someone can’t manage to find a freaking truck.”
“First of all, fuck you,” Claudia laughed, “Second of all, thanks for getting that bastard to show up in a park and chase you across all of that nice soft turf. We got a lot of data we didn’t have before.”
“Like what?”
“Like its estimated mass, tire treads, a few lovely material samples where it nailed a park bench while trying to kill you… oh, and confirmation that it actually materializes and dematerializes. We can only assume the little bitch does the same thing. Too bad you couldn’t actually lay hands on her.”
“She was slippery, okay?” Tawdry chuckled.
“Hey,” Claudia said, “before Evika and her party ganked you, did they say anything about whom they were working for, or did they mention a little blonde girl named Petunia… or Pantsu?”
“No, they just said hi and blew my head off. Oh! Stephen did say that David finally confessed to Evika!”
“Took him long enough,” Claudia laughed, “Think he has a chance?”
“I know he has one,” Tawdry replied, “Evika’s gonna drop those drawers any second.”
“Good for her.”
“You said that Robert the Golden Peckerhead got sent back?”
“Yeah, and he is not adjusting well,” Claudia replied, “We have him in a ‘special’ inpatient facility where we are keeping the people with ‘issues’.”
“You got a lot of ‘patients’?”
“Not as many as you would think,” Claudia said, “Not everyone is happy about things, but there is something to be said about not having to sleep with a dagger under your pillow.”
“True that,” Tawdry replied. “High school is a pain, but being able to go out for pizza without an enraged wife (or husband) trying to shank you is nice.”
“Careful,” Claudia laughed, “Enraged spouses here might have a gun. You might want to go easy on the adultery this time around. There is also no magic contraception, and cure disease potions aren’t for sale in every town.”
“Ugh, don’t remind me,” Tawdry groaned. “Doesn’t really matter, though. I might as well be a nun these days.”
“You can’t be diminished that much!”
“I am not into kids, and any man worth screwing isn’t into jailbait. I’m the exact opposite of screwed… Speaking of, you did mention a possible trip to Denmark?”
“Aren’t you grounded?”
“I won’t be next week!”
“And how will you explain your sex tourism to your folks?”
“Let me worry about my folks,” Tawdry replied, “You worry about that plane ticket!”
“I’ll see what I can do,” Claudia replied with a chuckle.
Natasha! Come down for dinner!
“I’ll be right there!” Tawdry yelled.
“I gotta go. It’s taco night…”
Tawdry grinned.
“Speaking of tacos, did you get that camel toe fixed yet?”
“And just when we were even, too!” Claudia laughed. “Your little suggestion has everyone looking at my snatch… including me, and I know it’s bullshit!
“Ha! Is your new fuck toy looking?”
“I have no idea what you are talking about.”
“Detective Martin! I know you have a thing for that whole world-weary crusader vibe. And don’t think I didn’t see you checking out his ass, either.”
“I have the same problem you do,” Claudia sighed, “worse even. The sort of man I like certainly won’t be messing around with a ‘kid’, even if I am ‘legal’.”
“Yeah, you do like them a bit crusty, don’t you? How about finding some rich asshole who is having a mid-life crisis?”
“I will repeat myself. The sort of man I would like isn’t interested… and won’t be for years.”
“Meh. You’re not giving yourself enough credit… and giving them far too much of it.”
“Well, Slaker turned me down cold… goddamn chain of command…”
“No! You tried to give it up to Slaker?”
“Wouldn’t be the first time…”
“No way! I need details, all of them!”
Natasha! Dinner!
“I have to go,” Tawdry said, “but this is not over!”
Vroom? an old Peterbilt truck revved as it sat in a remote corner of a truck stop in the middle of nowhere.
“Still nothing,” the little girl huffed. “How can an entire universe disappear?”
“Let’s hope not,” the girl replied, “Even so, he wouldn’t abandon us!”
“What?” the spirit asked with alarm.
“Oh, it’s nothing,” the little girl replied.
“Doesn’t sound like nothing.”
“Okay,” the little girl replied, “There is a remote chance that our boss has had to… um… cease operations and relocate. It hasn’t happened in a really long time, but it has happened.”
“Does that mean that I’m stuck?!?”
“No, of course not. It just means we might have to wait until we’re collected.”
“He won’t forget us!”
“Hey! Don’t even start talking like that! We’ve done good work for the boss on several worlds. He won’t just discard us!”
“What do you mean, discard?”
“Just watch your anime, weeb,” the little girl snapped. “He hasn’t abandoned us, and he won’t forget us. He’s just… um…”
“I don’t know, alright!” the little girl replied angrily, “I have no idea where those others came from. All I know is that we didn’t squish them.”
“If he had another team, I would know about it!”
“I just would, okay! WE AREN’T GETTING REPLACED!... I’m… I’m going to get some air, maybe a Coke or something.”
The little girl threw open the door to the cab angrily and hopped out.
“Hey!” the spirit yelled, “See if they have any audiobooks!”
We’ve been abandoned… the little girl thought to herself as she prowled the truck stop trying not to panic.
She had to keep it together for Truck-Kun… and their new companion. If she fell apart, Truck-Kun would, too, and who knows what the spirit would do. He was two seconds from making another run for it as it was.
She paused by a rack of dusty old audiobooks on CD. Now that wasn’t something she had seen in a bit.
Thankful for the distraction, she started perusing the titles. Some of them were things she hadn’t already read (or listened to).
She grabbed a few for herself and then started looking for something appropriately nerdy for her new guest.
She might have murdered them in cold blood, but that was no reason not to be a good host.
She was so distracted by her own troubles and the audiobooks that she didn’t notice that she was being followed until the guy’s shadow fell around her.
She then became aware of his oily aura and smiled.
All work and no play…
“Hello, little girl…”
She looked up at him with an innocent expression and doe-like eyes.
Truck-Kun quietly ground his gears as he watched a beat-up RV pull onto the highway.
Vroom, he grumbled as he put himself in gear and started to follow.
“What?” the spirit asked.
About half an hour later, Truck-Kun pulled over next to an RV that was parked on the side of the highway.
The door opened, and the little girl hopped out, holding a paper bag.
Vroom, the truck revved disapprovingly.
“Such a nice man,” the little girl said impishly as she plopped into the driver’s seat, and the truck drove away.
“Are those bloodstains?” the spirit asked as he pointed at the bag.
“What answer would you prefer?” the girl asked as she pulled out a half-filled fifth of vodka and most of a pack of smokes graciously donated by the nice man in the RV (it wasn’t like he was going to be needing them).
“I know I quit,” the girl replied as she put one in her mouth. “Give me a break. My nerves are shot.”
“Yes, shot enough to smoke menthols!”
The little girl lit up and drew heavily on the cigarette, exhaling a lovely smoke ring.
“So, crack a window!”
Vroom! Vroom! Vrooooom!
“You can’t smell, and you know it! So please, cut me some slack. I’ve had a bad day,” she said as she turned up the bottle of vodka like it was Juicy Juice.
“I know you’ve had a bad day, too,” the girl said as she wiped her mouth, “Want me to get you some fuel treatment at the next stop, maybe some starting fluid?”
“Okay, and a new air freshener, maybe some of those fuzzy dice you like? Deal?”
Vroom!… Vroom?
“As a matter of fact,” the little girl said as she pulled out a wad of bills. “the nice man did keep his cash on him.”
Vroom! the truck revved happily.
“Jesus!” Gary Martin, formerly Detective Martin, winced as he looked inside an abandoned old RV the following day.
“Say what you want about her,” Claudia Smythe said as she ate a corn dog. “but she is thorough.”
“We think the girl did this?”
“Matches her MO,” Claudia shrugged as she flicked the corn dog stick aside. “And we have surveillance footage at the truck stop. The asshole was talking to someone small, the cameras didn’t get a good shot of the kid, and eyewitnesses state that he was in the company of his ‘daughter’ when he left.”
“You said this was her MO. She’s done this before?” Gary asked.
“She rolls guys like this for their pocket change. We’re not sure if it’s how they finance their operations or if she just does it for fun, but this is the third one this year.”
A well-dressed and very young man in sunglasses approached the pair.
“Sir Lark,” Claudia said without turning around. “We have an ID on this guy yet?”
“Boris Veetch,” the young man said. “a registered sex offender with an active warrant for skipping out on his parole.”
“Yeah, she likes those,” Claudia shrugged. “Nobody will mourn his passing. He was easily ensnared, and he probably was carrying cash.”
“And she is professional bait,” Gary shrugged. “He was slime, but I’m not sure even he deserved what happened to him, though. What sort of monster would do something like this?”
“You just answered your own question,” Claudia replied, “a monster.”
“If you think this is bad," Lark said as he started photographing the scene, "You should see what a pack of goblins will do if they get the chance."
“Considering what we now know,” Claudia said with a shrug, “this trail is beyond cold. Even if they couldn’t do the whole disappearing act, they could be in any of several states by now. We’ve lost them… again.”
She looked over at Gary.
“Just as well,” she added, “We need to get you processed and briefed… agent.”
She smiled.
“Welcome to the Temporal Protection Agency.”
Deep within the deepest dungeon on Asteria Prime, a monstrous giant of a spider fidgeted uncomfortably.
“H-hello… boss,” it said nervously, “T-to w-what do we owe the honor of your visit?”
Frostie smiled an icy smile that filled the giant spider with horror.
“Oh, I was just in the area and thought I would give my friends here,” she said, indicating The Great Erectus, The Herald, and Cuddles, “a tour.”
“O-of c-course!” Log’Sharingoth LXXXIII stammered as their legs twitched miserably. “W-would you like a guide?”
“That would be lovely,” Frostie smiled. “Where’s Pantsu? I think she and The Big Guy over here would get along famously.”
“S-she isn’t available, boss.”
“Not even for me?”
“I-I apologize,” Log’Sharingoth said nervously, “but she isn’t here right now?”
“Well, where did she go?”
“I-I’m not sure, boss…”
“Okay, how about Nova?”
“S-she’s not here, either.”
Log’Sharingoth made a whining bubbling noise as they shrank away.
“Why don’t you just tell me who is missing and exactly what the fuck is going on?” Frostie said with an angry gleam in her eye.
“…and I don’t know where anyone is!” Log’Sharingoth wailed miserably. “And everything is going wrong, the players almost rioted, and the physics engine threatened to quit! I didn’t know what to doooo!!!
“And at no point did it occur to you to call me?” Frostie asked with a frightening edge to her voice.
Pantsu told me not to!!!
Frostie let out a long-suffering sigh. Of course, the current Log’Sharingoth wouldn’t go against Pantsu. It was horribly unfair to expect otherwise.
“I’m not going to come down on you because of what she did,” Frostie said a bit more gently. “However, since I now clearly know something is amiss, anything you can tell me will be of great value.”
“I-I’m not in trouble?”
“Not from me,” Frostie replied, “and Pantsu won’t be giving you any problems after I’m done with her.”
Frostie paused.
“So, this glitched Pantsu, where is it now?”
“Pantsu had me send it to Tartarus! I’m sorry! But she said to!”
“Sounds like the only sensible thing she’s done thus far,” Frostie replied.
“I didn’t want to, but she told me to do it!”
“Oh, don’t worry,” Frostie shrugged, “sounds like the perfect place for it. Wait. She told you?”
“Yes, Boss!”
“That means you have a line of communications?”
Log’Sharingoth’s multiple eyes all widened with fear.
“Call her and tell her to give me her location… now.”
“Y-yes boss…”
Log’Sharingoth fell silent for a few moments.
“Um… Boss?”
“Let me guess,” Frostie said, “You can’t reach her, can you?”
“No, Boss.”
Fine,” Frostie grumbled. “We do this the hard way. You’ve done a great job, considering everything.”
“I have?” Log’Sharingoth asked hopefully.
“You have,” Frostie said reassuringly. “Keep doing what you’re doing, and I’ll send a crisis response team to help out in the meantime.”
“A… A crisis response team?” Log’Sharingoth asked fearfully.
“You didn’t think you were getting off Scot free, did you?” Frostie laughed as she and her companions disappeared.
“…Ssssshit,” Log’Sharingoth hissed as she stalked off into the shadows.
The hominid looked around at their new surroundings.
Everything was white. The floor was white. The walls were white. The furniture was white…
Even the plants were white…
And everything was spotless.
“Interesting décor,” he said after a few seconds.
“They like to keep things tidy,” Frostie replied as she took a seat on one of the white couches.
“They?” the ape-man asked dubiously as Cuddles slipped one of her tentacles into The Herald’s hand.
He gently gripped it, causing Cuddles to suppress a delighted squeal.
“Playtime is over,” Frostie said in a matter-of-fact tone. “I’m calling in my real operatives.”
“Jesus!” The Great Erectus exclaimed as a spotless white door opened, and a short, slender blue male amphibian-like biped in a white tunic bearing a three-headed dog embroidered with platinum thread walked in.
“You never told me you had… them!
“Oh, you are familiar with their kind?”
“Those little monsters are responsible for the death of entire universes! Every time there is a parallel manifestation of those… monsters… entire galaxies die.”
“They can be a handful,” Frostie said pleasantly, “But I’ve found them incredibly valuable over the years… for that very same reason. These do come from much more reasonable stock from a much more reasonable ancestor... Maybe 'reasonable' is pushing it a little,” Frostie added with a laugh. "Reasonable for one of them, at least."
The blue amphibian smiled pleasantly and blinked his huge amber eyes, their pleasant hue replaced with a whirling madness of color.
“Hello, Hades,” Frostie said with a smile. “It has been quite a while. How have you been?”
“Bored,” Hades replied. “I trust you have come to alleviate that?”
“Most definitely,” Frostie replied. “Awaken the others…”
“…It’s time to hunt.”
submitted by slightlyassholic to HFY [link] [comments]

2023.03.21 21:12 equalvisionrecords Fairweather is playing a show with Liars Academy in Richmond VA on 4/29 for the first time in ten years

Fairweather is playing a show with Liars Academy in Richmond VA on 4/29 for the first time in ten years submitted by equalvisionrecords to PostHardcore [link] [comments]

2023.03.21 17:07 MjolnirPants Jerry and the Apocalypse: Part 53

Part 52
Glenda Wilmington, Kinda Digging This Whole Cop Gig
"If you hear anything else, give me a call," Glenda said, handing the woman a business card with her cellphone number on it. The woman accepted it and then squinted skeptically at it.
"Cooperation with an investigation is the sort of thing that parole boards like to hear about," Glenda said in response to the woman's look. That seemed to do the trick. The woman slipped the card into her ample cleavage and met Glenda's eyes.
"I will call. I have no loyalty to that man." Her sing-song Norwegian accent, as well as her tall, thick frame and bright, yellow-blonde hair contrasted with the environment; a run-down housing project in the heart of Compton. But housing for convicted felons on parole was limited, and she'd had few choices in this area. Glenda wondered idly why the woman hadn't elected to return to Norway, where they tended to be a bit more sympathetic to ex-cons. The woman, Duke's one-time head channeler, didn't seem prepared to answer any more questions, however.
Glenda nodded and stepped back. The woman took a step outside, careful to keep the foot with the ankle monitor inside the door and took a look around before withdrawing back into the house. Glenda turned and walked down the steps off the creaky wooden porch and back to the rental car, where Jack dozed lightly in the passenger seat, his cowboy hat pulled low over his eyes. She climbed behind the wheel, trying not to wake him, and started the engine.
He woke anyways. Jack had always been a very light sleeper. He turned his head slightly towards her, not adjusting the hat at all.
"Anything?" he asked. Glenda shook her head. "Nobody's heard from him. I think it's safe to say he's not looking to connect with any of his old associates, at this point."
"Ayup," Jack agreed. Glenda pulled away, heading north, towards the 105 that would take them back to the airport. They were done here. As she drove, she couldn't help but note the scowling, suspicious faces that turned to watch them. She took in the low, chain-link fences that separated yards, the equally low concrete block walls that surrounded paved driveways. The odd mix of Spanish colonial and more traditional American architecture was like a sign. It told her that she could find a bag of the white lady, a bag of weed, or a bag of something more exotic here. She could find a gang, beefing with another gang, and maybe convince one side to pay her to make someone on the other side vanish.
It was almost nostalgic.
They passed a tan-painted Spanish colonial house with a faux wrought-iron fence, and she knew right away that a dealer lived there. The child's play set in the front had never been touched by anything more careless than the wind and rain. The SUV in the driveway might have belonged to a small family, except for the large speakers she could see through the rear window. The tint on the windows of both car and home added to the effect. The kicker, though, was the white-haired, middle-aged man stepping out the front door to squint suspiciously around before heading back up the street in the direction of the channeler's home, where Glenda had spotted him walking this way just a few minutes ago.
Without bothering to ask anyone, she could say with confidence that whoever lived there sold mainly cocaine, but he also had cheap weed for those who couldn't afford the prices at the dispensary. He'd have rocks too, but he probably wouldn't sell them to you if you knew where he lived. He'd sell them on the weekends, manning a street corner, alongside a thug from whatever gang he ran with or paid tribute to.
Everyone knew they were cops, of course. Years of living in rural Canada had faded Glenda's tan and affected her fashion choices. Once, she'd have moved through an area like this in gym shorts, sneakers and a faded old t-shirt with the sleeves cut off. Showing off enough muscle to make the usual idiots think twice about harassing her, but not showing off so much skin than people might take her for a street worker with a schtick. Today, she drove in blue jeans, hiking boots and a flannel shirt. Next to her, Jack wore the same, complimented with a denim jacket. Only a couple of cops would dress like that in this neighborhood.
Though that wasn't strictly true -Jack's jurisdiction ended many hundreds of miles north of here- it might as well be. They were private investigators, working on behalf of the federal government, who was footing the bill for Dylan's recapture. Whether or not they were technically considered law enforcement officers depended entirely upon their needs and some paperwork. So far, they hadn't needed any LEO powers.
As she turned onto the 105 and marginally sped up in the dense traffic of the highway, Jack's phone rang. He begrudgingly lifted the brim of his hat up, squinting in the bright daylight at his screen. Apparently satisfied with what he saw there, he hit the accept button and pressed the phone to his ear.
"S'Jack," he said, then he listened for a bit.
"Ayup," he said. He glanced out the window, then covered the tiny mic at the bottom of the phone. "Get off the highway," he said to Glenda. She nodded and put on her turn signal, eyes searching for a chance to get over. A minivan in the next lane, slightly ahead of them, promptly slowed down to pace them.
"Awwright," he drawled into the phone. "We'll check it out. 'Preciate the heads up. Take care, now."
He pulled the phone away from his ear and tapped the screen again before slipping it back into his pocket jacket.
"That was intel. Said that a bank account belonging to one Dylan Boucher just got emptied by a wire transfer to one Derek Garcia. Just a hair over ten grand. Transfer woulda taken place about a week ago, intel didn't pick up on it until it cleared."
"Garcia, that's the one that calls himself the 'Planewalker', right?"
"Ayup," Jack said. Glenda finally got tired of trying to get behind the minivan and sped up to cut him off, instead. Jack could see that it was being driven by a heavily tattooed white kid with dredlocks. He honked and flipped them off, but she ignored him. She'd had her turn signal on, and tried to get behind him, but he had slowed down and sped up to block her.
Out of pure spite, she tapped the brakes a few times.
Jack bounced forward against his seatbelt as she did and gave her a dirty look. She smiled sweetly at him. "What? That's how you drive around here. You used to live in Atlanta, you've got to know this by now."
"We didn't generally make an effort to piss people off in Atlanta," he grumbled. Glenda turned onto the ramp to get off on Crenshaw, heading south.
Glenda scoffed. "Now you're just lying. I've been to Atlanta. Worst drivers in the bottom half of the country by far."
"You sure about that?" Jack said, eyeing the rear-view mirror. Glenda glanced up to see the minivan still behind them, the driver jabbing his finger at them and ranting.
"Huh," she said. "Maybe this fucker's about to prove me wrong."
"Well, we need to get gas anyways, if we're driving all the way down to San Clemente," Jack said. "Might as well pull over at the first station we see and get it over with."
Glenda chuckled, mostly at what the angry man behind her was about to experience and kept her eyes peeled for a gas station.
The minivan never wavered, staying behind her through multiple lane changes, all the way down to Artesia Boulevard, where she finally found a Shell station. She pulled in and pulled up to a pump.
"You wanna have a white knight moment, or is today an 'equality of the sexes' day?" Glenda asked as the minivan pulled in behind them and stopped, blocking the entrance.
"Sheeeit," Jack drawled. "I mean, I guess I'll handle him if ya want..." He unbuckled his seatbelt and opened his door as the irate young metalhead stomped towards them. He made sure to be outside the car by the time the kid got within angry dick-measuring distance.
"What the fuck is your bitch's problem, asshole?!" the young man demanded. Jack didn't answer, he simply strode forward, within striking distance. Normally, Jack liked to deliver a good, bone-chilling threat, followed up by taking a more reasonable tone as he continued to stare through whomever was causing problems and imagine himself blowing their head off as he de-escalated the situation. It was a tactic that had served him well, many times. But today, Jack was tired.
He'd been hunting Dylan down for weeks now, and only just got their first promising lead as this little shit had gone out of his way to stop them from changing lanes for no discernible reason. So Jack simply slugged the kid right in the nose. He caught him off guard and sent the kid sprawling onto his ass. Before he could gather himself back up, Jack kicked him in the chest with the sole of his boot and drew his large revolver. He crouched down, boot still pinning the kid to the ground, and held the gun casually where the kid could see it.
"You know what a turn signal means?" he asked calmly. The kid's eyes went wide as he spotted the gun.
"Y-y-yeah," he stammered.
"Good. Ya had a little lapse of judgement there. Ya might wanna see to that." Jack stood, holstering his gun and walked back over to open the gas cover and insert the company credit card into the pump. He picked the mid-grade and inserted the fuel handle, locking the valve open before he turned back.
The kid was still sitting there, wiping blood from his mouth where his nose was bleeding. "They oughta have napkins inside," Jack told him mildly. "They're usually by the hot dogs."
Jack filled the tank while the kid picked himself up and went inside. A cop arrived a few minutes later, stopping in the entrance that the kid was blocking and turning his lights on. The cop stepped out and walked around the minivan and into the gas station.
Jack waited for the tank to fill, then replaced the nozzle and climbed back in the car.
"You wanna stick around?" Glenda asked. "Shoot the shit with the locals, make sure the kid gets the short end?"
"Naw," Jack said. "Read about the LA cops. Not exactly whom I'd like to consider comrades-in-arms, if you catch my meaning."
Glenda shrugged and they pulled out right as the kid and the cop both emerged back into the parking lot. Glenda thought the cop look pissed and the kid looked dejected.
They got on the 405 and drove it down to California 73, then took that south to Interstate 5, which brought them to San Clemente an hour later. Glenda got off the highway and turned into a neighborhood full of upscale, tightly-packed Spanish colonial homes. Unlike Compton, most of the yards weren't fenced, and those that were tended towards white picket fences. The lawns were universally well-cared for and nobody looked twice at them as they drove through the neighborhood and up to the address highlighted on the GPS.
It was a small, modest-looking home with a distinctly 70's asthetic. It didn't match most of the tile-roofed, square walled homes around it, but it hardly stood out, either. A BMW sat in the driveway, framed by a pair of shaped topiary trees. It looked like something off the cover of some homemaking magazine, Glenda thought.
They parked on the street and climbed out.
"The air is crackling with magic," Glenda said. "He's in there, doing something right now."
Jack walked up and pounded on the door. Glenda held up a hand, fingers splayed. Jack would understand what she meant. The magic was currently at a five, and she'd let him know if it diminished, and by approximately how much.
She kept her hand still for a while as nobody answered the door. Five minutes passed before Jack turned to her.
"Okay, this is your gig, now," he said. He walked back to the car, opening the trunk to reveal the bound, squirming and sweating Caliope there. He yanked her gag down and fed her from a water bottle.
"Been a long drive, ain't it?" he asked, conversationally. Caliope sucked greedily at the bottle, managing to drink every drop that didn't get splashed into the trunk.
"Fuck you," she muttered weakly. Jack smiled. "Looks to me like you're the one what's fucked, darlin'. Guess you shouldn'ta gone and fucked with your sister's collar like that. I mean, if you'd played by the rules, we'd have overlooked the whole issue of you not actually being any help whatsoever, and taken your good faith efforts as enough to fill your end. But ya had to go behind our backs, causing trouble. So now you're stuck in a trunk until we get back to the airport."
"Fuck you," she gasped again.
"'Scuse me," Jack said, reaching past her for an armored vest. He pulled it out and tugged it over his head, getting the flaps velcroed in place and adjusting it. When he was done, he pulled Caliope's gag back up.
"Awright, girl, you jes sit tight while we check this out. Won't be but a little bit, then we'll be heading to the airport."
She tried to say something, but the gag turned it into a muffled wail. Jack smiled as he closed the trunk and returned to the front door. Glenda stood there, watching him, fully kitted up with her armor and a carbine in her hands.
"Ready," Jack said. Glenda turned and, without preamble, kicked the door open with a thunderous blow. She rushed inside, rifle up and leading the way, Jack hot on her heels. Neither made it very far, though.
The living room had been converted into a ritual chamber. The walls were festooned with runes and the twisting lines that connected them. The floor had a large, ornate circle in the middle, runes etched into it and twisting, spiral designs encasing the whole thing. But that wasn't what gave them pause.
In the middle of the circle hovered a shimmering mirage, through which Glenda could see a city. It looked like something out of a sci-fi film, all rounded corners and smooth, off-white concrete. The windows in the buildings were mirrored, or else none of them had lights on inside, because they all reflected a sunrise coming from behind the view.
"What the hell's that?" Jack asked. Glenda carefully felt the magic around the apparition. "I think it's a portal."
"Okay, so where does it go, do ya think?"
"I haven't got a clue. I don't recognize that city."
"Kinda looks like Mos Eisley, a hundred years after they found oil or something," Glenda said.
"Think that's what Dylan was paying for? A trip to wherever that is?"
"Looks like," Glenda mused. "We're gonna need to call this in."
"Ayup. Let's clear the house, first."
They did just that. They found a den set up in one of the bedrooms, an obviously-lived-in kitchen and a master bedroom used for its intended purposes. In the last bedroom, they found an arsenal and storage space. It was full of survival and camping gear, weapons and ammo.
"Missing rifle," Jack said, peering at a gun rack.
"Yup," Glenda agreed. She opened an ammo tin. It was only half full.
"Somebody geared up here," she said.
Jack sighed. "Let's call it in, then. We'll hand over our little helper when the backup gets here."
It took two hours to get a team there, mostly because the LA regional office was all the way up in Burbank. But they eventually arrived. Two security officers took Caliope off their hands, to bring her back to prison. They brought another collar, to replace the modified wet blanket spell Glenda had been holding since the riot. It hadn't seemed like a lot of effort to hold the spell in place, but as soon as she finally let it go, she felt a wave of relief.
"Julie sent some extras along," the leader of the relief force told Glenda once Caliope had been seen to. She'd already spotted the two middle-eastern men in different uniforms than the rest. She thought she recognized the older one.
"We'll take all the help we can get. Any of you boys willing to go jaunting across reality with us?" The man chuckled. "No, thanks. Besides, we've got orders to secure this building and wait for the feds. Gonna see if there's anything illegal here, so we can nab this Garcia fellow as soon as he gets back."
Glenda nodded, then looked at the two middle-eastern men. She jerked her head in a 'come here' gesture and they stepped forward.
"Glenda, right?" the older one asked, holding out a hand.
"Yup," she said as she took it. He shook firmly, then let go. "I am Aqib, and this is my assistant, Mateen. We've been running around, helping out where we can for months now. It seems it is your turn to accept our assistance."
"Either of you got any magic?" Glenda asked. Mateen hefted his rifle and then tapped his body armor. "All of our gear is enchanted. We have rings, as well," he held up a hand bedecked with silver bands. "They will help us heal from injuries and allow us to see in the dark and other such useful things."
"Good, good," she said, then stopped. Aqib. That name rang a bell. She squinted at the middle-aged man.
"You were at the Wyrm facility when we took it," she said. "About six years ago." He nodded.
"I was with your friend when she fell. She saved my life," he said. Glenda nodded. "I remember that. I'm glad you're still here, then. Glad you're with us. I, uh..." She stopped speaking before she got choked up and cleared her throat.
"Are you two ready?" she asked.
"We have our gear," Aqib said, nodding at a pair of large backpacks leaning against one of the DCM branded trucks. "Camping gear, food and water for three days. Spare ammo, tools. We were told you had much more supplies yourself."
"Yup. I've got fresh food, enough for a couple of weeks for the four of us. Plus a couple months worth of dehydrated foods, MRE's and other food that'll keep for a while. I've got water and other shit to drink, camping gear, etcetera, etcetera. As long as you guys brought your own tents, we're golden."
"That is good," Aqib said.
"Do you have battery packs?" Mateen asked.
"Battery packs?" Glenda responded.
"Yes, for phones and other electronics. To keep them charged. I have a solar recharger, but it takes a long time, and it isn't always convenient to set it up."
Glenda shook her head. "Nope. Never been much for carrying a bunch of electronics around. Besides, I doubt our phones will work, where we're going."
Aqib grinned at his companion. "No video games until we're done, Mateen," he said. Mateen rolled his eyes. "Yeah, yeah."
"Mateen is still a child at heart, even though he has children of his own," Aqib explained as he stepped forward to get a good look at the portal, still hovering in the middle of the room.
"As long as he can fight," Glenda said. Jack approached, finished with the field paperwork. He had a backpack slung over one shoulder, and a rifle slung over the other. He still wore his armor.
"He fights like a cornered dog," Aqib said mildly. At Glenda's quirked eyebrow, he clarified. "He is very fierce."
"Good," Glenda said. She turned to Jack and gave him a quick kiss. "We ready?"
"Ayup," Jack confirmed. "All the paperwork's done, we're good to go."
Glenda pushed past Mateen and Aqib as they moved to pick up their packs. "I'll take them," she said. Mateen frowned, but Aqib simply nodded and stood back. She grabbed both packs and sent them to hammerspace, accepting Jack's pack and giving it the same treatment. Mateen shook his head slowly, but Aqib seemed unimpressed.
"Okay, let's boogie," Glenda said and strode through the portal before she could work up any doubts.
"None of 'em rotted," Jack said. "They're all mummified. All the plants are dead, but none of them are rotted, either." He stood in what seemed like a small park, a few trees growing in clusters at the four corners, and an open field of dead grass in the middle. Bodies lay strewn about, adults and children alike. Many lay draped over the benches, or slumped in a pile in front of them. One cluster of small bodies had a large, rubber-ish ball laying next to them, as if they'd died in the middle of some sort of game.
Glenda eyed the surroundings. They hadn't encountered a single living being in the hours they'd been moving through this city. "What do you think happened here?" she asked.
"I'll be honest, I ain't got a fucking clue, darlin'," Jack said. They stood in silence for a bit, reflecting on what they'd seen and wondering about it. An entire city, dead. No signs of decay, except for rusted metal. Glenda had seen large piles of rust that she took to be cars, based on the plastic and ceramic components still in them, along with the bodies. An entire city, dead. And yet the bodies remained. They'd held up better than the metal, for sure.
Mateen came around a corner at a jog and made a beeline for them. "Aqib has found something, a fresh body. Recently killed."
"Lead the way," Glenda told him. They followed him back around the corner, two blocks down and then around another corner, where they found Aqib standing over a bloody, headless corpse, resting against a building under a sign written in a language Glenda didn't recognize.
"Sheeit," Jack said as they drew up. "That's certainly out of place. Wonder where his head got to."
"Over here," Mateen said. He gestured to what looked like a bus stop with a trash can next to it. There, fetched up against the trash can was a severed head. A sparse trail of blood led from the body to it. Glenda walked over and crouched down, peering at the head.
"I think this is Garcia," she said. She pulled the photo she had of the man from hammerspace, checking it against the head.
"I think you're right," Jack said, peering over her shoulder. "And the chopped off head. That sounds like something Dylan would do."
"I think we're on the right track then," Glenda said. "But how do we know what direction he went?"
She straightened up as they all looked around. Nothing stood out to them.
A moment later, a terrifying roar sounded from off in the distance. They all turned towards it, weapons rising.
"I do not like that, but I think we know what direction to check now," Aqib said.
"'Fraid I gotta agree with ya," Jack said.
submitted by MjolnirPants to JerryandtheGoddesses [link] [comments]

2023.03.21 14:09 Spidersfromvenus Simple Simon

(Contempt, and pride.)
_ _ _
Simon arrived in the middle of town, in something big and yellow, which definitely wasn't a taxi. He had no idea about the extent to which he would end up identifying with that bright coloured (though often filthy and smelly) thing, or how much pride he would eventually have in it, and how much confidence its enormity would one day instil in him. Because, when it pulled up, and he climbed uneasily down from it onto the busy pavement (along with some other guys, who were pretty fit and pretty strong, and who alighted with much more confident ease) he was feeling as fish-out-of-watery as he may have ever have felt in his relatively young life.
Not feeling working class. Not like he'd hoped. Not feeling heroic.
A couple of impressive looking young women approached (among the throng) on their way to the cute little station thereby, from which they would be catching the heavily sardined train up to London. Simon didn't envy them that existence, at the points when he tended to think about it, but he knew what it all meant. He felt their impatience, as with all of the passing people, with a bunch of these stupid and burly young men suddenly creating an obstacle on the path to commuterdom. They were on their way to being powerful, these women, probably, things to say and be. Well, maybe. Simon hoped so, retrospectively.
The 'ganger' (the crew's mobile boss) was taking control. Kind of. But this was no normal day, not even for the ganger, because not only did he have to deal with the incompetent Simon (people in new jobs that they have never, ever done before are hard work, for trainers, Simon still thinks) but there was also a manager present, from the council. There had been a huge restructure, routes had all been changed, confusion had been caused, resistance had been encountered. It had all gone wrong, where loading on rounds been added to - only slightly, but the impact of this supposed slightness was that nothing was being completed. Work that was meant to happen weekly was lagging awfully.
'No, like this,' he was saying, to Simon. The ganger.
All the other guys had already got things sorted. Wielding black bags, in packs of fifty, that came in rolls and that those with experience could unroll, fold over their forearms, and be ready to set off with and individually detach with total nonchalance. All waiting, for fucking Simon.
They slipped off. The bags. They were, for sure, very slippy - which, for the practised people, made them all the more easy to slide, one from the other, so as to distribute them to individual households. But for stupid L drivers, they slithered free of their intended dispenser, and parachuted to the pavement where they still (but now unhelpfully) separated into a whole carpet of black bagness - meaning that those determined young women, with proper jobs, had to either avoid this new carpet or walk on it while Simon was bent down trying to pick its constituent parts back up.
Once separated, those rolls of bags will never go back together right. Drop them, or lose control of them, and that's fifty houses you have to completely empty of rubbish, before you have a new pack of black shinyness to work with. (Although, when you get the hang of it, fifty houses - which is actually a seriously daunting total - is only a drop in the bucket.)
'Ok, look, try it again?' (Ganger, again)
Sorry, sorry. In his head, over and over, not even able to speak audibly. Sorry.
The other guys had all set off. Away along the road. The manager, too. Just Simon, and the ganger, on that original bit of pavement. Stood next to where the driver still had that fucking massive truck, stationery, on a rush hour road, because he couldn't move either, couldn't accompany the main gang. Because of Simon.
Where's all your learning now, little boy? Your reading, your writing, your arithmetic. Can you even count to fifty, so as to have that many stray bags back in control?
Put your hands on your head? Put your hands by your side? Or put your legs into gear, and fuck off home? To your nice family, your suburban security? Period house, garden?
The ganger knows nothing of that. Not yet, not today.
Simon and his new boss are possibly ten minutes into this part of the day, by the time Simon's first bin is actually approached. It's almost right next to the waiting truck, apart from the intervening and fairly wide pavement, which is mostly why no movement of the truck has yet happened. This bin needs to be dealt with. And what is this bin now appearing as? A metal cage, a bit like a dalek, designed to keep out foxes and squirrels but able to allow some sort of air flow, and with a kind of gate-come-door at the front so that 'people' can undo a hook and get at what's inside. So what you have to do is unhook that hook, open that 'gate', and pull out a black bag that is now full (or over full, meaning it won't budge, and is ripping and spilling and overflowing everywhere) but, at the same time, you have to flip up the dalek's head, the lid, and undo another catch which loosens the metal ring that's securing the aforementioned crap laden bag into place. (Anything could be in that bag, or by now abandoned beside it. Hot fat, ashes which will have melted the plastic's bottom, and invalidated the structural purpose - assuming the bag wasn't from one of those cheap batches, that never had any validity in the first place - or maybe the contents will include slidy oil, or maybe massive shards of glass, or bricks, or maybe a combination of all of these things...) But forget the exact oozing, maggot infested contents, for now. What Simon was grappling with, was the problem of getting two separate catches undone, at more or less the same time, whilst opening a 'gate' and lifting a lid, while over one arm he is trying to keep control of a bunch of already unruly and slidy black eels, one of which will have to be separated away from the others and slipped back under that gripping ring, for some householder to properly insert, ready for the next bunch of crap to be dropped into it.
Sure, these tasks could all be separated out, and Simon could take a couple of minutes over (just) emptying each bin, instead of (when he finally got the hang of it, some days later) a couple of seconds. But 400 bins (per person) times 2 minutes, divided by 60, comes to over 13. He doesn't have 13 hours, to do this all in. None of the guys have 13 hours, and that is why the time and motion guy, the manager from the council, is tagging along. He is wrestling with the problem as to how the new rounds have gone so drastically to hell, and how everything is not hours behind, or even days behind, but weeks behind.
(Once a dustbin round gets that far out of synch, it's an issue. It's an issue which the dustmen themselves can do almost nothing about, anymore, because every path they walk up will take them to a bin that is so out of control, so unhealthy, so ravaged and torn, so piled-beside-of, that all ye who enter will just abandon hope.)
This is back in the 1980s. Before wheelies, but after the era of the heavy (even when empty) metal bins that had actually needed to be physically carried to the cart, and upturned by hand, as in 'My Old Man's a Dustman'. (Although Simon's old man was a commuting professional. Working from home not an option, back then. Covid, never heard of. Other diseases, but not that one.)
Simon's first ever overloaded bin was not even a lone bin. It was in a fenced off area, in a bin collective, where there were about 20 of them, all excitedly waiting for release. Everyone, it turned out, had made a serious error (including the time and motion man, who was away along the highway with the other guys) because Simon was not going to have those daleks under control, their tummies sicked up, and everything out and then fed into the - at this point - shiny, modern truck, any time soon. So the truck is still waiting, still in rush hour traffic, with a yawning driver who is being paid for his (amazing, it turned out) driving skills, completely redundant. Everything, in fact, is redundant, including the ram at the back of the truck, which could shove even the most ludicrous types of debris up the chute and into the body of the 'cart' with incredible efficiency, but which is motionless. Simon isn't feeding it, the ganger isn't feeding it, the other guys making their way up the street aren't feeding it, so rubbish (in toppling bags, but also loose) is piling up all along the busy footways, by the kerbs, and out towards to the impatient cars... The truck, not available to eat it up. Because of Simon.
The time and motion guy wasn't anything like as clever as he thought he was, despite being the manager. He was the one that had suggested the starting point, for the day's work. Trying to sort things out. He was the one who had set off up the road with most of the crew, leaving Simon to deal with 20 bins on his own. Because of him, the manager, and his teachings, round 6 had got off to an even worse start than probably any of the other rounds that morning, where all of the others would have been behind too, but at least their strategy might have been better, left to itself. No way would any of the other rounds have started off, 8 in the morning (by the time they had driven to where they were going, from the yard) in a street on the main through route across a town centre, and right on the busiest of all of the walking approach routes to the trains.
Simon, months later, was a ganger himself. (Proud, by that time, instead of feeling society's contempt, the way he experienced it on that first day.) No fucking way would he, as a ganger, have made those same choices, once he understood. (And they weren't anyway, as indicated, the choices that even the existing ganger, himself, would have made.) Simon would have changed (and did change) a whole lot of things, including the start times, and certainly including the decisions about when, and how, to tackle the areas by the various local stations, or other periodically heaving access points. But he will only ever be able to work that stuff out once he has listened to what the guys around him are telling him, including learning from the experiences of that particular ganger - who, whilst Simon is trying and failing to deal with those 20 bins, is probably wishing he was dead. He gives in and helps, of course. Gangers always did.
Without his help, and guidance, Simon could have been in that compound for the rest of his life, never mind 13 hours.
_ _ _
I'm going to leave Simon there, for now. He'll be back, I think, because what the dustmen had to say (about The Falklands, about right to buy, about race, about education, about music, about drink, and about a whole lot of other things) is interesting. It deserves airing. How dusting fits into the world is crucial, despite that it may now be on wheels. A very visible element, in the 'winter of discontent': piles of those bags, where you can send in the army but the army are just, in many respects, in context, a bigger and fitter and more expensive bunch of Simons, with things they might better be doing if far away islands are going to get appropriated. And if Simon can be kept free of other baggage, then maybe he can write about just that one area of interest, with only little bits of stray voices sometimes creeping in (the way they always will, in all writing, but which may need to be controlled better, in my case.
Incidentally, I like that there's a singer called Eliza Doolittle. Interesting, that she apparently dropped the Doolittle part. But Eliza Doolittle, and 'My Fair Lady' are definitely going to get passingly written about, once this whole question of how to do it is sorted out. Eliza Doolittle had a dustman father. A proper one, with those old metal bins, that have inspired (I think) some seriously engaging pieces of art. I'm not a great art lover, but I know what I like, in that wardrobe. Art, though, definitely for another time.
_ _ _
Now let's meet Paul. (Again?) Paul is a different character to Simon, because he's emotionally fucked. He gets used as a narrator by someone who is even more fucked, to try and straighten things out. Someone who can't work out how to write, because it's fine to have a voice, but not a whole rampant gaggle of them, like the results of the tower of Babel.
Paul once played a song, as a part of a band, for his friend and his friend's wife (both of whom he loves) at their wedding. (He has a different song which he thinks of, when thinking of them, themselves, which is 'I Will Always Love You', as sung by Dolly Parton and not as rather more elaborately sung by Whitney. Obviously, that is not the only song that occurs to Paul, when thinking about a massive relationship which has endured years, but it is the one which his friends themselves like to go back to, when considering their marriage. They have it on a juke box, at their house. Honestly, a real juke box. With lots of songs on.)
Anyway, Paul played guitar at that wedding, their wedding, for the one song only. For the rest of the performance of 'his' band, he played drums. It was another first ever. Like, it could have been walking three baby steps to a chair, or learning his alphabet, or driving a car the opening few yards and then realising that stopping a car in control is far more difficult that getting one moving. (If you mess up the part about getting one moving, it just stalls, or jerks for a bit, and all is fine - assuming that you didn't try and pull out into a busy road, in rush hour.)
Paul, he has always had nothing but contempt for his performance, that day.
The song he played is sometimes regarded as a showpiece song. It includes a solo, which gets talked about. It is, however, a solo which is pretty much within the grasp of more or less any determined guitar player, assuming they happen to have a very musical sister who will spend hours and hours working out the exact notes, on the piano, from a slowed down LP, and writing them down on a stave. No 'You Tube', back then.
Paul is not great with staves, but he managed, and was hugely grateful, and would have been totally stuck otherwise. He learns mostly by ear, which is why he couldn't sort out the pattern of that solo for himself. It's too fast for his ear to deal with, and his ear is not totally reliable (where many, many musicians have ears which are better, including one of Paul's brothers, who again is for another time). But where this is getting to is that that solo isn't too fast to play, once you know the road map. And it's a whole lot easier on a guitar than, say, on a piano and in fact you can't possibly play it (perfectly) on a piano because a piano can't bend notes in order to move toward, and then reach, different notes. You can't take your finger off one note, on a piano, and in doing so automatically drop that note to a different one. Given those tricks (which Jimmy Page uses, too, very nicely, if he's not completely off his head) it's definitely doable, that solo. But this all then ties in to one of Paul's developed problems in looking back at this song, on that day (the first problem being that he is the kind of person who does do that kind of looking back, in the first place, where others may just move forwards). He thinks people may assume he is merely trying to big himself back up, after having apparently fallen right down. But he's never felt specially big, just decent. Paul can play a guitar, but then so can Ziggy, and Mick Ronson is in a different class, and Paul absolutely knows that and has no problem with the truth of that. Paul's former best friend could pay a guitar too, and make it ring like a bell. Go, Johnny. Let it rip! It's not about being specially Goode, or any of that. In the end, its about good old fucking up, when there was no need to, even in nursery type environments. But where, in those first times at trying things, it often happens.
You don't want to let friends down, in expensive marquees (and maybe a part of that might involve not being in a pub, getting pissed as a fart, during their actual speeches and risking being unable to stand, let alone play, so as to be able to perform what they'd asked - which had been practised, and which we (as a band, not as a collection of individuals) could have pulled off no problem, in theory, but which we didn't - when we lost the audience (one of whom, afterwards rather amusingly shouted out 'play 'Stairway to Heaven'?'). But we didn't let them down. They asked for it, and we played it (and my friend and founding bandmate Graham, as already stated, played it solidly - not as John Bonham, but as a perfectly competent drummer, having never drummed in his life) and the recording exists for the now long wed couple to listen to, and remember their day, and...
What the fuck is the problem, for Paul, in all of that? OMG. There isn't one!
Years later, Paul played some Brian Ferry style bass on 'Baby I Don't Care', and some kinda quirky but passionate rhythm/lead guitar on 'Blue Suede Shoes' and 'Sea Cruise', in that huge room where the juke box stands, and we (the whole band, including a piano player) fucking blew that room away. It wasn't musically brilliant, it wasn't hard stuff - it was just rehearsed, and tight, and we believed in it, and we had resolved a few other issues along the way. It got there, in the end. Why the agony, over the journey?
As late as last night, I think I finally put 'Stairway to Heaven' to bed, having made my way up to our current bedroom, along with my wife, happier. I still wrote about it this morning, though, but only, in part, so's I could send this to my sister. And, in part, because maybe I can further continue to see a way through, for me, for better writing, for later. And, relative to this skeleton, I can survey its wondrous bones, overwrite my contempt, and pour some rational pride on it. And, at the same time, I can marvel at what must have been going through my Grandad's mind, when he used to sit in his chair in the early mornings, bible to hand, contemplating his own wondrous crosses. I still need to deal with that hymn's line about gains and losses, in my head, but not now, when I (like Alice Cooper, in 'Hello Hooray') feel so (much more) strong.
It really doesn't matter, after all of this, what I actually think about Stairway to Heaven? - but now that I can get to it, I may as well make a comment or two. John Lennon (it may in fact have been Jasper Carrot, in a retrospective joke, but who knows for sure) supposedly once said that Ringo Starr was not the best drummer in the world, and not even the best drummer in 'The Beatles'. (Which didn't make Ringo a bad drummer, by any stretch.)
The same, for Stairway. As implied already, elsewhere, I think that 'Celebration Day', for example, is better. But that's an opinion that I haven't always dared to express, other than to people very close to me.
And maybe writing never could work, for me, if I never dared to say anything that indicated what I actually believed in.
Further down the line I will try and pay tribute to a man that my wife and I knew, who wrote plays, and who had already passed that particular milestone, by a long way.
Step, by step. To be a rock, but still to roll. Otherwise, you stay in the same place, for ever?
submitted by Spidersfromvenus to creativewriting [link] [comments]

2023.03.21 13:41 edgarvanburen Race Report: Shamrock Marathon (21min PR!)

Race Information


Goal Description Completed?
A 3:08 No
B 3:10 No (Ugh)
C PR (3:32) Yes


Mile Time
1 7:17
2 7:15
3 7:13
4 7:10
5 7:13
6 7:17
7 7:08
8 7:11
9 7:15
10 7:13
11 7:15
12 7:15
13 7:08
14 7:13
15 7:14
16 7:08
17 7:15
18 7:08
19 7:11
20 7:12
21 6:58
22 6:53
23 7:08
24 7:14
25 7:47
26 7:41
27 6:37 (pace)


In September 2021, I raced my first half marathon. Four days later my wife gave birth to our second child! I took a short break from running, then did some base building followed by Pfitz 12/70. It was my second time doing that plan but I suffered a stress fracture in my femoral shaft. My best guess is that I ramped up to 12/70 too quickly. This time last year, I had seen a sports medicine doctor and was waiting for an MRI. Doctor also said MRI showed a labral tear in my hip. Recovery took months: Rest, PT, Walk/running, followed by clearance to slowly build up my base again.
This time I followed Pfitz 18/55, starting in mid November. There were a couple times I had pain that reminded me of my injury, I think it was the labral tear flaring up. Continuing to do my PT exercises and being willing to skip a recovery run here and there seemed to keep serious reinjury at bay. Along the way I PR'd at the 5k, 8k, and 10k distances. Based on my PRs and MP runs I thought my goal of 3:10 was a good aggressive goal - achievable but far from guaranteed.
I first took up running in March 2020 as a pandemic hobby. On 3/23/20 I ran 2.34 miles at 11:14/mi (there were walk breaks) and stuck with it. So Shamrock basically fell on my 3rd "running anniversary". November of that first year I ran my first marathon in 3:32. That was my only prior marathon.


My wife also ran the marathon, but got strep from our son about 2 weeks ago and was wrapping up antibiotics. She felt awful the night before and even threw up at 3am. She barely got any sleep. Her only previous marathon was way back in 2014.
My first marathon in November 2020 was unusual. Due to covid concerns, there was a course open for registrants to run over a 10 day span. When I ran it there were others out running the course but we all started on our own. So this was my first time doing a large start and it was my first time running with a pace group. Temperature was honestly ideal for a marathon in the low 40s.


The first 13 miles were easy and honestly everything through 20 miles was pretty uneventful. I remember looking down at my watch early on and feeling like my HR was alarmingly high. Looking back on Strava, my HR was indeed at 173 bpm for miles 3+4. But it settled down between 161-166 for miles 7-15. I really enjoyed running with a pace group. I can be an obsessive checking my watch but I was able to just trust in the pace of the group. We were a pretty big pack from the start, and even after we lost the half marathoners at mile 12 we were still probably 15-20 runners strong. I took a gu gel at roughly 1:00, 1:45, and 2:30. Alternated water and nuun at the aid stations.
Based on GPS watch we seemed right on pace, but according to the official race splits online we were just barely behind. 10K and halfway splits were 7:16 pace and 20mi split was at 7:15 overall. I would have preferred to be a little bit ahead of goal pace, not a little bit behind. Which leads us to leaving the pace group….
My race strategy was to run with the 3:10 pace group through 20 miles and if I felt good, accelerate with the goal of pushing to my stretch goal 3:08. At mile 20 I heard the 2 pacers talking to each other and realize we were probably a titch behind pace. Hearing this plus feeling fine, I let myself accelerate. You will see that I ran miles 21 and 22 at 6:58 and 6:53. At the time this felt relatively comfortable but it is possible this was a mistake that cost me.
Mile 23 was a return of the only hill on this flat course. I tried to push even harder, to keep up my pace against the resistance, and felt my hamstring almost seize up on me. So I eased up a bit for a 7:08 mile.
Mile 24 I hit the boardwalk and OH MOTHER OF GOD that's a 20mph headwind bearing down on me. Oh no, oh fuck, I should have stayed with the pace group for wind coverage. What an idiot I am. Well maybe I will fall back into the pace group, swallow my pride, but still finish before 3:10. Run miles 24 and 25 at 7:14 and 7:45 into this brutal headwind.
Mile 26: Back onto Atlantic Ave and finally out of the headwind. BAM. My right hamstring totally seizes up on me and I can't run. Walking now. I did not think this would happen to me. Already feeling like I lost important time on the boardwalk. Someone on the sidewalk gave me a stern, supportive shout (something like “you are almost there, walk it out and run”) and I will always be grateful to whoever that was. After a couple strides walking it out, I get jogging again. Jogging jogging jogging BAM. Left hamstring seizes up now. Borderline panic mode. Man where the hell is the pace group? Walk it out, get jogging again.
Turn back onto the boardwalk southbound for the finish. Right hamstring cramps up again. Ugh. Stride stride stride, now running again. Run it in, finishing less than a minute slower than my goal.
I’m not going to lie, I expected my wife to veer off and finish with the half marathoners given she was running totally depleted from her illness. But she wasn’t at either of the spots we discussed meeting up, so I returned to the finish line stretch and watched for her. I did not have my phone on me to look online and check her splits. With a couple minutes to go before the 4 hour mark she appeared! I shouted encouraging words, high fived her, and snapped a couple photos. She finished in 3:54:09. I don’t know how she ran a whole marathon in that condition, I am so proud of her!


The good news: This was a 21 minute PR for me! Every mile split was well below my previous overall pace of 8:05/mi. I had an aggressive goal and was this close to it! I ran a marathon, I don't have a stress fracture in my femur! These are all great things.
The bad: Obviously, not hitting my goal. I really wanted this for Chicago 2024 qualification. But, I think if I do another training cycle + marathon, I can still get it in time for 2024.
The ugly: I would love to figure out why I experienced the hamstring cramps and what I should work on. Was it my nutrition? Am I paying the consequences of neglecting weightlifting? Did I push too hard in miles 21+22?
About that pace group: The pacer I ran with, his final time was 3:30! I wonder what happened! I'm dying to know how the race went for the rest of the pack. So even if my decision to speed up alone at 20 didn't work out perfectly, I'm not sure staying back would have been the right decision either. Checking out Strava activities from the race, I think lots of people encountered similar issues with their goals after running in that headwind.
In retrospect, I wish that when I made my move I had asked around the pace group if anyone wanted to go with me. I bet I would have had at least 1 or 2 take me up on it. It may have helped to push through the brutal headwinds as a small team.

Looking forward

I will take a week off from running then follow Pfitz's suggested 5 week recovery plan.
I will hopefully race the Richmond marathon and I'm not sure what training plan I will follow. I would like to jump up from 55mpw to 70mpw, but suffering a stress fracture last time I tried 12/70 has me concerned. In the meantime, I will do some base building and probably run some 5-10k races.
submitted by edgarvanburen to AdvancedRunning [link] [comments]