OTB Locations | Off Track Betting Near Me 2020

A Night to Re-remember (dyslexic writer's first draft)

June 5th 2033 Sioux Nation, NAN
It was a Tuesday night. The fireflies started their stuttered courting ritual sending dusk away in its pink warm glow and lighting the blueing sky with soft neon greens that are envied by the bright lights ov the city. The bravest stars lead the way poking white dots in an ever growing black canopy. Chad Holsting drove east on Old Interstate90 Road the blacktop one ov the last bastions ov civilization in an ever increasing rural area, a reminder that over time nature always wins its war ov attrition. The convertible’s canopy top is down letting the advancing woodline hear the love songs that prepare him for this roadtrip. The man’s days were long in which he was forced to wear a smile that wasn't his, his father was a natural salesman, the old man’s people skills yet another thing Chad deeply envied. Chad had witnessed him squeeze unneeded service packages into a deal that the old man would hand feed to customers. It truly was impressive watching the customer spend hundreds ov thousands ov script on a used drone that blue book value was placed just beyond the thousand NuYen mark.
Processing fees, convenience fees, delivery charge, advertising fee, vehicle identification number etching, SIN matching, fabric protection, paint protection, undercarriage spray, and the ever lucrative dealer preparation were just a few ov his fathers tools. Now due to Chad’s investment in a personality chip and artisan designed knowsoft the old man’s tools found a new younger much more deserving home. Gone where the awkward days ov remembering loadouts, selling points, customer assurances and the ever elusive people skills, it was the perfect time to be alive. A week earlier Chad had heated arguments with his father. Sales are down by 45% since the old man retired. The business fell from the green to the black and swiftly to the red, nosediving in a quarter that felt both long and short at the same time. His father gave him the work hard and learn the trade stop spending the family investment up his nose and in his veins speech, but the wiley Chad smiled to himself and made the investment. Pops always called technology a shortcut favoring hard work and dirty hands stubbornly refusing to update the lot beyond the standard test that kept the business open and legal. Still it took some old school quick talking with a band known for ties with a biker gang to get him a very nice deal on his wetwear. Chad snorts a fine powder off his knuckles smiling to himself remembering how he traded a rundown predragon van for a math processor, the skillsoft hardware needed to teach him his father’s lifelong lessons without the experience or guilt, and even worked a Simrig for use during off hours, the youths even knew a field surgeon that could install it and all it took was limited warranty on the van and the destruction ov the paper trail to convince them this was a worthy trade. A slightly illegal service the dronecar dealer was happy to do, for his clients ovcorse, the fact it benefited Chad was all the better. Horizon's DawnLiveJournal was the newest line ov semi-legal Simrig available on the market. The band had told him they had a few extras they were supposed to give to fans to record shows from, the Simsense feeds being sold along with the album for a multimedia promotion. Armstrong, the band’s front man, bragged how they installed just one on a groupie then gave her a cocktail ov different drugs mixed with personality chips and had her record several shows in different locations across the Native American Nations, thus giving the record company their twelve feeds to splice together and giving the band eleven very expensive hardware to trade for favores as they saw fit. The band gave interviews to four different ‘reporters’, another feed followed the day ov a rabid fan who ended the night hooking up with the lead singer, and various other aspects tailor made and sold to corporate types to experience the rock and roll lifestyle from the safety ov their armchairs.
Turning his cherry red remake ov a 1964 Cadillac Coop Deville from the old highway down into a service town offramp Chad deletes old files off the Simrig to clear up space for the evenings recordings. Dozens ov files clog up the first day’s entry where he accidentally turned on the rig while getting used to the hardware. Noone wants to remember burning their tongue on stale soykoff or smell the unwashed mouth ov the ork construction owner buying a new F150.
Simsense goes both ways Chad found out. It records the good and the bad unfiltered save only by the emotional responce ov the recorder. With one mental turn ov the switch all the recorder’s senses are held. The Simrig collects neurological impulses converting them to sight, sound, taste, smell, and feeling but goes beyond the commonly available senses ov a trideo recording. No these go much further, it turns boring melodramas to fascinating as the dialog and angst is not just heard and felt but the one reliving the Simrecording knows why they feel upset, remembers arguments from the past that the recorder had that now are a distant but real memory to the viewer, from the safety ov their home one feels the recorder’s discomfort in their silk shirt, hears and feels their own heartbeat race knows that the curry they ate is about to come back up due to years ov stress pushed down and bottled up in a vain attempt to climb the ladder. Then pop out the chip rub their hands till the feeling comes back into them and escape back into their own preordained reality, that is until they wish to become someone else for the night.
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Chad turns on the now empty Horizon’s DawnLiveJournal as the paved road turns to a gravel packed dirt service road. He slows to a crawl, knows the Simrig will record his freftting about the dust covering his freshly waxed droid and with a snuff refill flips the switch to raise the top back on, blocking out the natural and unfamiliar smells ov the Dakota hills while protecting the sythleather upholstery from Spring’s pollan. He checks the clock noting he made amazing time once past the border checkpoints, while cursing when a tire skips the gravel sending tiny rocks spinning to dent the underside or a unpatched rut that bottoms out his suspension. “Calm Chad” he tells himself snorting novacoke off his knuckles feeling his heart race and mind clear. He wonders if he will be stuck in a loop when he reviews this, as he remembers he will be watching this night on repeat. What is the memory one has while thinking about the future? There are urban legends about metas going insane stuck in a biofeedback loop where they remember they are remembering a recorded memory, a second bigger hit ov the fine sparkling powder brings him back to the task at hand.
The gravel gives up its attempt at civilization until the trail is little more than two bald lines ov packed earth with a green strip that reminds him ov the mohawk worn by most ov the people he will be visiting. Chad’s regular clothes, slacks, vest, buttoned up shirt rolled and top buttons undone with the attempt to make himself look like he is an every man who barely wears the regulation uniform, while making himself approachable in the city would make him unaccepted at the country bonfire party he was attending so he downgraded to jeans and a hoodie. Simple, timeless and forgettable. A tunnel ov trees gave way to a clearing, drones both self-driving and predragon in various states ov drivable sat in a field that served as the parking lot for larger gatherings. The main structure which sat beside a huge barn was a two story farmhouse with a wrap around porch containing dilapidated couches and chairs most held back together with duct tape and quick patch worked sew jobs to prolong life until they where simply too broken to be used. Chad remembers the instructions and flashes his lights thrice before turning them off and stepping out with his arms raised in a surrender greeting. As he does his heart recedes to normal, the group ov early arrivals all taking their hands off ov their sidearms and returning to chit chat and drinking content that a friend was entering, while a troll carries out a couch long past its usefulness towards a towering pile ov trash and timber that would soon be lit when the concert propper started. The Sioux nation’s citizens grew more heavily armed the closer they were to the borders with the towns around the Confederation of American States looking more like occupied war zones than residential areas, here less than a hundred miles from the free city ov Denver was no exception. A minimum ov two years military service was mandatory and such a part ov Sioux culture that even hardened outlaws took national pride to heart with leaders being former or sometimes active Wildcats. As such heavy weapons never designed to be in holsters sat on the hip ov male female younge and oulde alike, with sawn off shotguns ov various makes and models being heavily favored over a traditional magazine pistol. Chad was glad to be part ov the United American and Canadian States who has a standing army that swelled naturally with volunteers thus freeing him from arduous tasks like bootcamp or active service. A skinny elf rises from a chair letting his female troll complain as she falls from his lap into the couch at his side, he deftly dodges her demand to continue the cuddle sticking his studded tongue out to diffuse the drunk companion while handing her his side arm from a western styled gunbelt. He shoulders a heavy squatpack at his side and adjusts his sleeveless sideless shirt before hopping the railing making a Beeline across the lot towards Chad with that slick smile on his painted face. The troll’s long arms steal one last ass swat on the lithe elf which erupts the nearby partiers to a round ov laughter and cheers. “Oki! ...” the Elf starts raising his hand when he remembers that Chad doesn't speak the old tounge and correcting himself to CitySpeak. “Hoi! Chummer Chad. How is the rig working out for you?” the elf taps the side ov his own head where Chad had the hardware installed, the thick singsong accent coming from a tribe Chad could not place even if he cared enough to try. Chad recognizes him as the youngest and most vocal in the band, “Jerry… no last name! Hoi chum. Got ‘er turned on now. I want to remember this night forever!” Chad starts trying to extend a pale white hand that looks out ov place all ov a sudden, a reminder that he was as much an outsider here as the motley crew was in the city. Chad snorts a line to pull himself from the memory loop he feels growing. The younge man ignores the handshake and places an ice cold beer in Chad’s hand instead, the bottle the same dark amber as the elf’s hand. Before Chad can pop the top the elf has a rolled joint in Chad’s mouth and a blinding light hits the tip, with a puff and inhale the cherry turns red and the cannabis takes effect. The band must really enjoy the van if Chad was welcomed so warmly on his first visit.
The elf ignores Chad’s offer to share. “Yes Jerry only… no last name. Working security, so i have to stay sober, but we can discuss business till the fire is lit. Come friend if we are lucky some ov the girls will be skinny dipping in the river. If not maybe we can see some deer before they go to sleep.” The thin elf grips Chad’s elbow leading him past the garage where Chad notices the van has been painted a hasty black and given a new suspension system, tires, roll bars and a paramilitary cowcatcher styled grill. “She is going to be pretty when we are done with her. Thats why we invited you wanted to thank you and let you get a taste ov the Sim at a safe party before you went wild on your own.” Chad starts to ask about his arrangement but the elf is ahead ov him explaining that George has partied hard since the record deal, as such business was to be conducted through a sober party, one with a clean head, since every one else had joined Armstrong on a bender Chad had to talk to Jerry. The elf laughed that he didn't want to end up 40 working in dive bars and house shows, because their singer mismanaged things at the start ov their careers. For a goganger with a green mohawk and his face painted like an ork’s skull this Jerry seemed to have his head on straight. At the tree line Chad’s joint and beer where half finished when the elf began to roll another one, his metatype’s night vision being much more acute than Chad’s normal human eyes that the elf didn't slow his step, Chad could barely see the long pointed ears julting out like deer antlers aside the clean shaved sides ov the elf’s head and stark white face that seemed to float and glow in the moonlight. The elf’s ears twitched and he turned his head sharply to the side while lighting Chad’s new party favor, the action causing him to flick dry several blinding failed attempts with his lighter before finally catching a flame. “Hear that chummer?” hearing nothing Chad shook his head blowing a plume out to the side. “Down human, and quiet. We can get a sneak peek at the ladies. Don't think you came here to see deer anyway.” Jerry dropped into a crouch that seemed more natural than his walking stride, pulling Chad along by his elbow and adjusting him with soft words and strong controlled tugs. They came to the top ov a ravine. The ground a soft layer ov brown and black leaves that caused the human to sink at times up to his ankles, the elf seemed to walk on soft carpet. “Hush chummer.” the elf points toward a fixed point and straining Chad hears the squeals and splashes that Jerry hinted would be their prize for their trek in the woods. “Stay here chummer ill turn on the headlights let you peek at the catalog before you buy?” Before Chad can agree Jerry has another joint lit in his mouth, the bright light ov the small lighter blazing a dizzying orange in the ever victorious blackness ov the night. Setting his pack down with a glassy rattle the elf states that Chad should help himself to the contents before disappearing into the night silent once the blackness has wrapped around him. Unable to see and barely able to hear the women the elf states are there, the salesman busies himself with his intake finding the pack has been converted into a mobile cooler and holding a seemingly endless supply ov cans and bottled alcohol, both ov which are illegal substances in the Sioux Nation. Skipping the beer and moving to a bottle ov Wild Turkey Chad leans against a tree just in time to see the white lights ov a truck light up several naked women waist deep in a creek taking advantage ov the suddenly warm temperatures ov the season, their shock washed away with playful taunts in a language that Chad’s linguisticsoft refused to translate for him even if he was within earshot. Jerry stands on the banks gathering piles ov clothes and towels while the women in the creek splash at him while playfully trying to cover up their nude bodies. The screen is giddy with Jerry teasing he will toss the bundle into the creek or trample it under foot in the mud, the girls retaliate by shaking their bodies and tackling each other in mirthful squeals while one takes to pleading pitifully before she too is tugged into the deeper water. Their youthful forms glisten in the headlights, bronze and proud untaken by gravity or age. Chad noted a troll, her scales trimmed, her horns symmetrical and her face almost human made her a rare exception to her metatype. Her body was heavily tattooed with lines made to accentuate the subtle curves ov her muscular body.
The minutes swell on before Chad watches Jerry place a bottle on the hood ov the rundown truck, the girls cheer shaking their shoulders seductively, arms raised in victory in the waist high water as Jerry makes his way up the hill to join Chad. The elf tosses the undergarments he traded for the bottle at the backpack taking a tree as a backrest beside Chad who studies the panties with devotion, a large pair ov purple silk being his favorite while the elf finally spoke business.
“So ka… we all know why you are here so lets discuss the agreement. What you asked Armstrong for is expensive, some ov the crew didn't like what you suggested but,” he produces another rolled joint which Chad smirked as Jerry lit it for him, “don't worry i talked them into it. We are wanting to break into the beetle business. Here is the best part for you! Its free. All we want is the chip when you are done with the night. Got a buddy named Shade who does Sim editing. You are going to get to live every fantasy you suburban kids dream about with us wild Native types across the border.” The elf lets the proposal hang in the air, Chad, now fully stoned and edging towards drunk, watches the clouds part, moving like paper cutouts across the sky basking the heavily wooded area with streaks ov silver light offset by the electronic yellow lights ov the truck below. “Well… since i have the Simrig its the least i could do for you, but why make it a one time thing?” Better Than Life chips, BTLs, beetles on the street, the newest in a long line ov electronic drugs to become highly regulated and thus highly lucrative to those able to avoid a run in with a police force. The documentaries about how Scouts, the ROTC equivalent ov the Sioux military, often where ordered to undertake surreptitious activity and where allowed to keep the profits from such activities up till the point they where caught. Those who ran their side business long enough to ride out military service often becoming decorated and lifelong members ov the service. The whole thing reminded Chad ov the Spartains killing a Helots as part ov their right to manhood. Chad chased the thought away with a heavy swig ov whiskey, he came to party not think. The elf smiled wide. The painted tusk reaching up to his ears and his sunken golden-green eyes growing wide in excitement. “Thats a good white man! See, thats why i voted for you. I told everyone we could use your business savvy for our benefit.” he pauses shouldering the pack and helping a wobbly legged Chad to his feet. “Don't turn it off. I don't know drek about this sort ov thing but Shade says he needs hours ov data to compile an emotional network. Something about forplay making sex better.” the elf waves his arms in admittance to his own shortcomings, quickly catching Chad who stumbles in the soft leaves and supporting him again. The loud noise making the swimmers aware, the jiggle the dance and the make out session in the water definitely making one ov the emotional network connections that the elf spoke ov, the lovely troll whos breast while small on her would be more than a handful for Chad, danced by herself while the two others made their way to the bank. Perhaps noticing how Chad was lost in his fantasy Jerry breaks the daydreamer from his thoughts, “Hey i know you are ready,” the elf states at the bottom ov the hill as he leads Chad away up the creek before shooting off down a side trail. “But we are both business men so… we need to discuss it further out. What are your plans, what do you want the boys and girls to get for you? With your chip thingy, you can get proper wasted, record it, work through it and then slot yourself in to be drunk, high, or anything any time you want. If it gets too much for you just quick pop it back out. BAM no hangover.” the elf ducked and squeezed past tree branches just starting to bud fresh leaves, pulling Chad along on increasingly wobbly legs, Chad wished his guide was larger, the big man felt as if he would crush the shorter elf as they walked shoulder to shoulder, his supporter looked painfully thin, the elf’s ribs countable under the moonlight in his flap ov a shirt, yet the the grip was sure and the arm around Chad was like a bar ov bronze, never letting the man slip the ork skull only smiling at the cityboys stumbles in the unfamiliar terrain. “Hoi that sounds great. What type ov trids can we make? Ive heard ov murder Sims…” Chad tested, wondering if he should switch on dad’s negotiation skillsoft and deciding against it, his fathers’ voice winning over the quick fix this time. “Could… could. lets set that idea aside for now. Nobody here i'd let you kill and… even if we went out and grabbed someone for a To Kill A Hobo BTL.” he pauses lighting a new roll that hit Chad like a trainwreck on the first toke, the bright white taking longer to dissipate as the man had become accustomed to the darkness. “Any bum we take is going to have a minimum ov two years combat experience, no offence but i'm guessing it would be your first kill?” The elf pauses steps away from Chad’s embrace making him grab a tree to keep from stumbling. “Frag it. Im 17 in a few months and even i have been to bugtown.” Bugtown, the street name for a section ov the walled off section ov Chicago, infested with bug spirits and other abnormalities, both majik and technology seemed to refuse to work as predicted. Drones fell out ov the sky as their riggers lost physical control and the dogbrain ov the unopperated drone simply refused to kick over. It was possibly the one place so bad that trideos were never made about it, the reality ov such a bizarre zone being too much for veterans to talk about, leaving it a mystery and a warzone, the truth there being too strange for fiction. Whether this elf was lying or not it was a boast that carried the swagger ov certainty that Chad could not refute. “Short ov it is, you wont be able to kill anyone from the NAN,” the elf lifts his loincloth and unzips pissing with a contented sigh that invades the nostrils with a smell that Chad can't place, the steam rising from the nights growing chill, Chad hopes this section is cut from the finished product. The elf shakes himself turning around and helping Chad along the path. “Long ov it is… to get a bum for you ti kill would be alot more work than i am willing to put in right now. Not saying “No” just saying i became a drummer so i didn't have to work. Ya feel me?” Chad shrugged unable to argue with the logic but content that the question wasn't off the table in the future. “The troll at the creek…” Chad starts. “The one with the big tits?” Jerry mimes the size bouncing his pretend breast while continuing deeper into the woods. “She is younger than me but,” He ribs Chad before continuing “Well trolls age differently so she has to be like legal in human years right?” Jerry ribs Chad with his elbow again, “Not like it matters anyway? Trolls don't have the same rights as us better metatype’s right? Best thing about a troll is they aint human… so anything you do to em you don't feel bad right? I can arrange that for you. Nul sheen, chumz.”
Chad lets a chuckle escape as he drunkenly agrees. He feels how drunk and high he is becoming managing to lay a line on his knuckle and snorting it, the clarity ov the drug hopefully breaking the logic loop he potentially created on when he slots the chip again and often. The elf steps back a new beer placed in Chad’s hand and a new joint failing to light, its spark sending orange flakes across the silver tip and into the air. Chad is lost for a moment recalling the fireflies as Jerry mumbles something about how Chad is going to ruin his buzz mixing so many drug effects. The orange sparks continue as Jerry endlessly attempts to light the new joint, Chad grabs the lighter flicking it sending the tunnel ov white that comes when so close to a light source after adjusting to night vision. Triumphantly the man holds his arms out in a V cheering and celebrating blindly.
When the white tunnel leaves his vision Chad looks around, his companion is gone. The first minutes he nurses his beer relieving himself on a tree that seems to move, convincing himself the elf has taken another call ov nature as he has. This logic is quickly replaced as Chad stumbles much more than the three joints and shots should be making him. His heart races as confusion turns to fear, calling out has produced no effect. Only his voice echoing in the temperate woods. The man stumbles back down the path he thinks he came. Mentally keeping track ov every step and turn he thinks he made, if only he could make it to the creek and follow it south then he could find his car or the house. The first hour proved no further success. The commlink told his time but remained offline since he turned off Old I-90, so he knew it would provide him no aid. “Global coverage, my ass” he thinks. Chad remembers why he hated visiting the country. Not only was one without the comforts ov instant satisfaction, knowledge, music and other comforts, the natives often had a peculiar sense ov humor. “How we doing Chad?” Jerry’s voice calls out from nowhere. Chad calls out, explains it isn't funny, explains later that he gets the joke, pleads as he slides face first when he stumbles, all but sobs. Yet there is not a reply after the single inquiry. Or perhaps there never was a question, the mind does play tricks in the woods. Chad stumbles on drunk legs through the decaying leaves, kicking clumps into the air so as to create a trail for himself to double back on if he needs to for the next hour. He is sore, tired and almost sober when he finds the creek. His ecstasy is not hidden as he praises gods he never believed in while trying to discern north now that he has a location to work from. remembering that moss grows prominently on the northern side ov trees he swears to take a survival course, or at least buy a skillsoft when he gets home and makes his way south along the bank. Another hour bip chimes on his comlink and he falls to the ground finally admitting he is lost. In the darkness nothing looks familiar. He followed what he swore was the smell ov a bonfire for the next few bips. This final fifth bip was his defeat. He fell to the ground cold and alone. A heavy wave ov sleep falls over him as he realizes he was drugged and why the biker elf refused to take his own party favors. “Security my ass” Chad cursed before the deep darkness ov dream fell upon him.
His body goes limp as he dreams ov wistfully flying. The trees in his dreams brushing his face, decayed leaves are spat out as he burrows himself deep into the earth. Now he is a worm sliding through mud and muck, breathless he moves wiggling side to side as angry bird beaks peck around him, yet never find his soft pink skin. Now he is flying again. A lightning bug with a large red ass that burns as he signals his readiness to mate, the red glow bleeps sending embers out in a painful fire from his glowing end. Blips come and go as the other green lightning bugs ignore the alien red ones pleas for acceptance. Finally defeated Chad flies away only to be caught immediately by a spider’s web. His wings caught in a sticky silk become his own worst enemy quickly spinning him into other invisible threads till Chad is bound tightly. His desperate attempt to escape only ensuring his victimhood continues.
The spider never comes, yet exhausted the bug gives up, a moment ov lucidity reminds him he is caught… caught in a simsense loop and with a bright light ov revelation he awakes. It is morning or well past it. Chad tries to move only to find his dream held more truth than imagination. He is bound. Laying upon the carpet ov dead leaves, their tanic acidic scent invades his nostrils. His blurry vision comes to him first upon the purple straightlaced steeltoed boots then slowly upon the familiar loincloth, sleeveless and sideless black shirt, then up to the wide wicked grin ov an elf wearing an ork’s skull.
“Hoi! Chumz! Sleepwell?” Chad tries to speak but realizes he is gagged. The elf’s Native accent is gone, his singsong tone replaced with deep, calm, soft monotone. The gravity ov the situation slowly sets upon Chad, his stomach gurgles from fear and the worst hangover Chad has ever experienced blinds him and wracks his head. It is all Chad can do to remain continuous, the fear ov what could happen if he doesn't winning out to the body's reaction to escape into unconsciousness. A steel toe finds a spot that makes Chad regurgitate, the gag making the only exit point through his nostrils, the stomach acid burns as it is expelled in chunky streams, the pain sobering him up before numbing him to everything, forcing himself to swallow his contents back to his stomach in waves that threaten to make his efforts for naught. The elf smiles down knowingly while Chad shakes uncontrollably.
“Let me tell you something and you can let me know how mad i am at you.” the elf crouches resting his wrist on his knees letting his long brown fingers dangle before he points behind Chad. “There used to be three feet ov garden hose up your ass.” the Native pauses letting the sentence sink in. Chad’s eyes widen as nausea starts to take hold again, the tears from sorrow and fear stream down a puke covered face. “Don't worry,” the elf continues in a soft gentle tone, the smile plastered on his facepaint like a second mask. “Its not there now.” the elf scruffs Chad’s hair petting him like one does a lap dog.
“Again Chad, don't worry.” his tone changes to condescending before falling to nurturing “i used lube so it would go in easier. This sort ov,” he pauses patting Chad’s head before continuing and falling back to the pets. “Operation requires all the delicacy someone like me can muster. See, i used the hose so i could thread the barb wire up there then i removed the hose. I am a giver after all. So i gave you something to remember this by.” the elf locks eyes with Chad using the palm ov his thin hand to hold Chad’s forehead taunt to keep him from shutting his eyes, forcing him to face his demon. “Focus Chad. if i have repeat myself i'll hold your eyes open and pour petrol over them until you are willing to talk to me. You have to be calm. You have to understand.” Chad settles into a quiver shaking like a man freezing but stares death into the younge thin elf allowing his captur to continue. “Good boy.” the elf pets Chad behind the ear like a dog who returned the ball. “Now. there is much more than 3 feet ov barb wire. The rest is what's holding you to this tree here. Think ov it as a leash for a bad dog.”
The elf swats Chad on the nose with Chad’s shoe, Chad now recognizes the blurry bundle that the elf is sitting on as his clothes and everything from the car that could identify him. Comlink. Credsticks. All ov his life piled up and under a savage elf. “George doesn't represent the band anymore. Any deals you may have made with him are over. You deal with me now.” The elf goes back to petting him. “See good boy? I never lie. I find it much better to tell the truth no matter how hard it is. What you proposed was playing house with two trolls and a dwarf. All younger than me, that's not ok. Something likes you wants to hit the troll and call it BDSM… and well an underage dwarf looks alot like a very underage human am i right?” The elf stares daggers ov calmness into Chad who nods closing his eyes. “That's what i thought. I am glad you are honest. I didn't want to cover you in honey and leave you to the insects, but i would have if you lied. See how honesty works both ways? I will continue to be honest. Your creadsticks will be used to purchase very bad things. A gun here… sex toys there. Lots ov matrix stops at sites you probably know by name and hide your browser history for. Kiddy meals at restaurants, to go ovcorse. Shakes. Candies. Treats. The gun will be used to kill a few people known for trading in flesh, you will be a very good shot before you lose the gun and the trail goes cold again. I think you get the picture here. You made me very rich white man. Everyone said i couldn't do all this without unarmed. I always bet on myself especially when others bet against me. Its funner that way” The elf laughs before continuing. “We will be back for the BTL, that is if the coyote don't eat it. Give you a few days to reflect. Thanks for the van. It's perfect too bad we can't continue business but,” he sighs getting one last hearty scruffle in before walking away the smile somehow widening upon his face, it somehow reminds Chad ov the coyotes Jerry must mentioned “, i don't do house shows.”
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[Game Preview] Week 2 Philadelphia Eagles(1-0) at Atlanta Falcons (0-1)

Philadelphia Eagles (1-0) at Atlanta Falcons (0-1)
The Eagles take on the Falcons in week 2, which seems to be a yearly match up as this point as the Eagles have faced the Falcons in each of the last 3 seasons including the playoffs. The Eagles have gotten the better of the exchange in those games going 3-0. The Eagle will look to build off their strong second half from last week where they scored 25 points on their way to victory. The Falcons on the other hand will look to rebound from an embarrassing loss to the Vikings where they gave up 172 yards on the ground and failed to get anything going on offense until garbage time was upon them. The loss shouldn’t be indicative of the Falcons, they are a talented team on both sides of the ball and the Eagles secondary has struggled heavily against Julio Jones who has eclipsed 100 yards receiving in each of the last 3 matchups. The secondary struggled last week and it is only going to get harder for the Eagles as they each Jones, Sanu and Ridley. The Falcons young secondary isn’t going to have it much easier and will definitely get tested more this week than they were against the Vikings, but if Falcon D struggles against the run like last week it could be a long night for Falcon fans. The matchups to watch will be in the trenches where the Vikings gave Matt Ryan fits sacking him 4 times and pressured him all day. The Eagles defensive line is arguably better and the strength of the defense. They will need to be on their game to help the secondary out or it could be a long On the flip side Carson Wentz was gifted tons of time by his OL which allowed him to connect on multiple deep passes. The Falcons will need to find a way to get pressure or Jackson and Jeffrey could be in line for big games in back to back weeks. At the end of the day these two teams have played each other tough over the 3 seasons in some close low scoring games, so let's hope for a good injury free game on Sunday Night football’s rendition of the Bird Bowl. Go Eagles.
General Information
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Remember to Join us on Discord during the game!
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Date
Sunday, September 15th, 2019
Game Time Game Location
8:20 PM - Eastern Mercedes-Benz Stadium
7:20 PM - Central 1 AMB Drive NW
6:20 PM - Mountain Atlanta, GA, 30313
5:20 PM - Pacific Wikipedia - Map
Weather Forecast
Stadium Type: Dome
Surface: FieldTurf Revolution 360
Temperature: 76°F
Feels Like: 76°F
Forecast: Overcast. Partly cloudy throughout the day.
Chance of Precipitation: NA
Cloud Coverage: NA
Wind: NA
Betting Odds
Oddsshark Information
Favorite/Opening Line: Philadelphia by -2
OveUnder: 52.5
Record VS. Spread: Philadelphia 0-1, Falcons 0-1
Where to Watch on TV
NBC will broadcast Sunday’s game to a national audience. Al Michaels will handle the play-by-play duties and Cris Collinsworth will try to provide analysis. Michele Tafoya will report from the sideline.
TV Map - Week 2 TV Coverage Map
Internet Streams
NFL Streams - Look here 30 minutes before the game for Streams
Radio Streams
Disclaimer: Subscription Based Official NFL Radio Streams available via TuneIn
List of Eagles Radio network member stations with internet broadcast availability
Radio.com 94.1 Desktop Streaming
Listen to Merrill Reese and Mike Quick
Calling the game on 94WIP and the Eagles Radio Network will be Merrill Reese, the NFL’s longest-tenured play-by-play announcer (42nd season). Joining Reese in the radio booth will be former Eagles All-Pro wide receiver Mike Quick, while Howard Eskin will report from the sidelines.
Location Station Frequency
Philadelphia, PA WIP-FM 94.1 FM and 610 AM
Allentown, PA WCTO-FM 96.1 FM
Atlantic City/South Jersey WENJ-FM 97.3 FM
Levittown, PA WBCB-AM 1490 AM
Northumberland, PA WEGH-FM 107.3 FM
Pottsville, PA WPPA-AM 1360 AM
Reading, PA WEEU-AM 830 AM
Salisbury/Ocean City, MD WAFL-FM 97.7 FM
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, PA WEJL-FM 96.1 FM
Salisbury/Ocean City, MD WAFL-FM 97.7 FM
Salisbury/Ocean City, MD WEJL-AM 630 AM
Salisbury/Ocean City, MD WBAX-AM 1240 AM
Williamsport, PA WBZD-FM 93.3 FM
Wilmington, DE WDEL-FM/AM 101.7 FM
York/LancasteHarrisburg, PA WSOX-FM 96.1 FM
Philadelphia Spanish Radio
Rickie Ricardo, Macu Berral and Gus Salazar will handle the broadcast in Spanish on Mega 105.7 FM in Philadelphia and the Eagles Spanish Radio Network.
Location Station Frequency
Philadelphia, PA LA MEGA 105.7 FM
Allentown, PA WSAN 1470 AM
Atlantic City, NJ WIBG 1020 AM; 101.3 FM
Falcons Radio
Falcons Radio Network Wes Durham will handle the play-by-play duties and Dave Archer will provide analysis.
National Radio
Westwood One will carry the game nationally with Kevin Kugler (play-by-play) and Jason Taylor(analyst).
Satellite Radio
Station Eagles Channel Falcons Channel National Channel
Sirius Radio SIRI 83(Internet 825) SIRI 81(Internet 801) SIRI 88 (Internet 88)
XM Radio XM 225 (Internet 825) XM 226 (Internet 801) XM 88 (Internet 88)
Sirius XM Radio SXM 225 (Internet 825) SXM 226 (Internet 801) SXM 88 (Internet 88)
Eagles Social Media Falcons Social Media
Website Website
Facebook Facebook
Twitter Twitter
Instagram Instagram
Snapchat: Eagles Snapchat: falcons
NFC East Standings
NFC EAST Record PCT Home Road Div Conf PF PA Net Pts Streak
Eagles 1-0 1.000 1-0 0-0 1-0 1-0 35 27 +5 1W
Cowboys 1-0 1.000 1-0 0-0 1-0 1-0 35 17 +18 1W
Redskins 0-1 .000 0-0 0-1 0-1 0-0 27 32 -5 1L
Giants 0-01 .000 0-0 0-1 0-1 0-1 17 35 -18 1L
Series Information
The Philadelphia Eagles lead the Atlanta Falcons (20-14-1). (17-13-1) regular season, (3-1) postseason
Series History
Head to Head Box Scores
First Game Played
September 18th, 1966 at Franklin Field in Philadelphia, PA. Philadelphia Eagles 23 – Atlanta Falcons 10
Points Leader
The Philadelphia Eagles lead the Atlanta Falcons (745-614)
Coaches Record
Doug Pederson: 3-0 against the Falcons
Dan Quinn: 1-3 against Eagles
Coaches Head to Head
Doug Pederson vs Dan Quinn: Pederson leads 3-0
Quarterback Record
Carson Wentz: Against Falcons: 1-0
Matt Ryan: Against Eagles: 3-6
Quarterbacks Head to Head
Carson Wentz vs Matt Ryan: Wentz leads 1-0
Records per Stadium
Record @ Lincoln Financial Field: Eagles lead Falcons 7-1
Record @ Mercedes Benz: N/A
Rankings and Last Meeting Information
AP Pro 32 Ranking
Eagles No. 5 - Falcons No. 21
2019 Record
Eagles: 1-0
Falcons: 0-1
Last Meeting
Thursday, September 6th, 2018
Eagles 18 - Falcons 12
A rematch from the 2017 divisional round with backup Nick Foles again for the Eagles. The Falcons moved the ball against the Eagles defense most of the night, but was suffocated each time they enter the redzone, scoring just one touchdown in five trips inside the Philadelphia 20-yard line. They came away with no points three times and settled for a short field goal on another. Nick Foles again played the role of receiver, catching a 15 yard pass from Nelson Agholor and Jay Ajayi added rushed for 2 TDs. Like the divisional round, the game came down to a goal line stand where again the Eagles defense shutdown Julio Jones and Matt Ryan in the endzone to preserve the win for the Eagles..
Click here to view the Video Recap
Click here for box score
Last 10 Meetings
Date Winner Loser Score
09/06/18 Eagles Falcons 18-12
01/13/18 Eagles Falcons 15-10
11/13/16 Eagles Falcons 24-15
09/14/15 Falcons Eagles 26-24
10/28/12 Falcons Eagles 30-17
09/18/11 Falcons Eagles 35-31
10/17/10 Eagles Falcons 31-17
12/06/09 Eagles Falcons 34-7
10/26/08 Eagles Falcons 27-14
12/31/06 Eagles Falcons 24-17
Injury Reports Depth Charts
Eagles Eagles
Falcons Falcons
2019 “Expert” Picks
Week 2 - "Expert" Picks
2019 Team Stats
Eagles Season Stats
Falcons Season Stats
2019 Stats (Starters/Leaders)
Passing
Name CMP ATT PCT YDS TD INT RAT
Wentz 28 39 71.8% 313 3 0 121.0
Ryan 33 46 71.7% 307 2 2 85.8
Rushing
Name ATT YDS YDS/G AVG TD
Sproles 9.0 47 47.0 5.3 0
Freeman 8 19 19 2.4 0
Receiving
Name REC YDS YDS/G AVG TD
Jackson 8 154 58.9 19.3 2
Hooper 9 77 77 8.6 0
Sacks
Name Sacks Team Total
Jernigan 1.0 1
Garrett 1.0 1
Tackles
Name Total Solo Assist Sacks
Bradham 7 5 2 0
Campbell 8 6 2 0
Interceptions
Name Ints Team Total
NA 0 0
NA 0 0
Punting
Name ATT YDS LONG AVG NET IN 20 TB BP
Johnston 3 154 54 51.3 47.7 1 0 0
Bosher 3 130 52 43.3 32.5 2 0 1
Kicking
Name ATT MADE % LONG PAT
Elliot 1 1 100.0% 22 3/3
Bryant 0 0 0 0 0/0
Kick Returns
Name ATT YDS AVG LONG TD
NA 0 0 0 0 0
Barner 2 44 22.0 26 0
Punt Returns
Name RET YDS AVG LONG TD FC
Sproles 4 46 11.5 17 0 0
Barner 4 46 11.5 18 0 0
League Rankings 2019
Offense Rankings
Category Eagles Stat Eagles Rank Falcons Stat Falcons Rank
Total Offense 436.0 8th 345 20th
Rush Offense 123 11th(t) 73.0 24th
Pass Offense 313.0 11th 272.0 15th
Points Per Game 32.0 6th 12.0 28th
3rd-Down Offense 64.7% 2nd 25% 26th(t)
4th-Down Offense 50% 6th(t) 100% 1st(t)
Red Zone Offense (TD%) 66.7% 14th(t) 50% 18th(t)
Defense Rankings
Category Eagles Stat Eagles Rank Falcons Stat Falcons Rank
Total Defense 398.0 20th 269.0 7th
Rush Defense 28.0 2nd 172.0 29th
Pass Defense 370.0 28th 97.0 1st
Points Per Game 27 17th(t) 28.0 21st(t)
3rd-Down Defense 38.5% 11th(t) 50.0% 19th(t)
4th-Down Defense 100% 28th(t) 0.0% 1st(t)
Red Zone Defense (TD%) 50% 11th(t) 100% 24th(t)
Team
Category Eagles Stat Eagles Rank Falcons Stat Falcons Rank
Turnover Diff. 0 14th(t) -3 29th(t)
Penalty Per Game 6.0 6th(t) 9.0 22nd(t)
Penalty Yards Per Game 55.0 12th(t) 78.0 26th
Connections
Falcons QBs Matt Ryan (William Penn Charter) and Matt Schaub (West Chester East) attended high school in the Philadelphia area.
Falcons RB Dave Brock was born in Moorestown, NJ
Falcons Senior Assistant Bob Sutton coached with Eagles HC in Kansas City when Pederson was OC and Sutton was DC from 2013-2015.
Falcons Defensive passing game coordinator Jerome Henderson played for the Eagles in 1995.
Eagles DL coach Chris Wilson held the same title with the University of Georgia in 2013.
The two TEs in Sunday’s game played collegiately at Stanford: Eagles TE Zach Ertz (2010-12) and Falcons TEs Austin Hooper (2014-15)
Falcons RB Kenjon Barner played 4 seasons with the Eagles from 2014-2017 and won a SB with the Eagles in 2017.
Recap from Last Week’s Games.
Eagles
Video The Eagles started slow against their division rival the Washington Redskins falling down 17-0. But the Eagles high powered offense finally got into gear and Desean Jackson’s homecoming turned into a highlight reel as the speedy veteren receiver caught a pair of 50 yard TD passes and Alshon Jeffrey added a pair of his own to take the lead. And kept it away from the Redskins who failed to get anything going against the Eagles defense in the second half until the game was already out of reach after struggling to stop the Redskins passing attack in the first half.
Falcons
Video The Falcons came into the season as a potential playoff team, but looked nothing of the sort against the Minnesota Vikings to open the season. Matt Ryan played like a shell of the 2016 league MVP beginning his 12th season, unable to find his footing all afternoon in the face of a fierce pass rush that racked up four sacks. He threw 2 picks and struggled to get anything going until the game was already out of reach when he threw for 2 TDs in garbage time. The Falcons defense didn’t look much better as the Vikings ran all over them to the tune of 172 yards and 3 rushing TDs. Cousins only dropped back to throw a mere 10 times completing 8 of them in a dominant Vikings win.
2019 Pro Bowlers
Eagles Falcons
DT Fletcher Cox (Starter) WR Julio Jones (Starter)
OG Brandon Brooks (Starter) C Alex Mack (Starter)
TE Zach Ertz (Starter) OT Jake Matthews
SS Malcom Jenkings (1st Alt) TE Austin Hooper (1st Alt)
OT Lane Johnson (1st Alt
General
Referee: Brad Allen
Philadelphia has posted a 20-14-1 (.586) all-time record vs. Atlanta (including playoffs), winning 11 of the last 15 (.733) series games dating back to 2000.
The Eagles are undefeated (3-0 overall) against the Falcons during the Doug Pederson era (since 2016), including a 15-10 home victory in the 2017 NFC Divisional Round
Doug Pederson has led the Eagles to a 34-20 record since 2016 (including playoffs), which marks the highest winning percentage (.630) by a head coach in franchise history.
Since 2016, Philadelphia ranks 3rd in the NFL in primetime winning percentage (.750, 12-4) (including playoffs)
ncluding playoffs, the Eagles have produced the 3rd-best red zone TD percentage (61.7%) in the NFL since 2017, trailing only New Orleans (64.8%) and Seattle (61.9%).
Philadelphia ranks 3rd in the NFL in 3rd-down conversion rate (43.7%) since 2017 (including playoffs), behind Tampa Bay (44.7%) and Atlanta (43.8%).
The Eagles own the 6th-highest scoring offense (25.8, 3rd in the NFC) in the NFL since 2017 (including playoffs), trailing only Kansas City (30.6), L.A. Rams (29.9), New Orleans (29.2), New England (28.5) and Pittsburgh (25.9).
Philadelphia leads the NFL in red zone defense (46.3%) since 2016 (including playoffs).
The Eagles have recorded the 5th-best (2nd in the NFC) 3rd-down defense (36.7%) in the NFL since 2016 (including playoffs), behind Minnesota (32.0%), Baltimore (35.1%), Denver (36.1%) and Jacksonville (36.6%).
Since 2016, Philadelphia ranks 5th in the NFL (2nd in the NFC) in points allowed per game (20.1) (including playoffs), behind NE (18.5), Bal. (18.9), Min. (19.1) and LAC (19.5).
Draft Picks
Eagles Falcons
OT Andre Dillard G Chris Lindstrom
RB Miles Sanders OT Kaleb McGray
WR JJ Arcega-Whiteside CB Kendall Sheffield
WR Shareff Miller DE John Cominsky
QB Clayton Thorson(I suck and am a Cowboy Now) RB Qadree Ollison
CB Jordan Miller
LB Cole Holcomb
WR Marcus Green
Notable Off-season Additions
Eagles Falcons
WR Desean Jackson DT Tyler Davison
DT Malik Jackson G Jame Carpenter
DE Vinny Curry G Jamon Brown
S Andrew Sendejo RB Kenjon Barner
LB Zach Brown TE Luke Stocker
DT Hassan Ridgeway S JJ Wilcox
QB Josh McCown
Notable Off-season Departures
Eagles Falcons
QB “Big Dick” Nick Foles CB Robert Alford
DE Michael Bennett RB Tevin Coleman
DE Chris Long CB Justin Bethel
S Chris Maragos DE Bruce Irvin
RB Jay Ajayi WR Marvin Hall
RB Josh Adams CB Brian Poole
RB Wendell Smallwood
WR Jordan Matthews
DT Haloti Ngata
Milestones
Eagles QB Carson Wentz (73) needs 4 passing TDs to move up to 6th on the Eagles all-time passing TDs list moving ahead of Sonny Jurgenson.
Eagles TE Zach Ertz (29) needs 2 TDs to move up to 11th on the Eagles all-time receiving TD list all-time tying WR Jack Ferrante and Brent Celek
Eagles TE Zach Ertz (4881) needs 118 yards to move up to 8th on the Eagles all-time receiving yards list all-time passing his mentor TE *Brent Celek
Eagles TE Zach Ertz (4881) needs 119 yards for 5000 career receiving yards.
Eagles WR Desean Jackson (34) needs 2 TDs to move into a tie for 7th on the Eagles all-time receiving TD list tying Jeremy Maclin.
Eagles WR Desean Jackson (6271) needs 194 yards to move up to 3rd on the Eagles all-time receiving yard list to moving ahead of Mike Quick.
Eagles RB Darren Sproles needs 54 yards to move up to 5th on the NFL’s all-time all-purpose yards list passing WR Tim Brown.
Eagles S Malcolm Jenkins's (4) needs 1 more Interception for a TD to tie CB Eric Allen (5) for most Interceptions for a TD by an Eagles player.
Falcons DE Vic Beasley (29.5) needs 1 sack to move up to 7th on the Falcons all-time sack list passing Roderick Coleman and 2 sacks to move u p to 6th on the list passing Lester Archambeau.
Falcons DE Vic Beasley (29.5) needs 1 sack to move up to 7th on the Falcons all-time sack list passing Roderick Coleman and 2 sacks to move u p to 6th on the list passing Lester Archambeau.
Falcons DE Adrian Clayburn (17.0) needs 2 sacks to move up to 17th on the Falcons all-time sack list passing Jumpy Geathers.
Falcons QB Matt Ryan (297) needs 3 TDs for 300 career passing touchdowns.
Falcons WR Julio Jones (10762) needs 102 yards to becomes the Falcons all-time leading receiver passing WR Roddy White.
Falcons RB Devonta Freeman (3335) needs 148 rushings yards to move up to 7th on the Falcons all-time rushing list passing FB Dave Hampton.
Pro Football Focus Matchup Charts courtesy of PFF Edge (join.profootballfocus.com/edge/)
WDB Matchups (CAPS = expected shadow coverage)
Matchups to Watch
Falcons Offensive Line vs Eagles Pass Rush
This is easily the most important matchup for the Eagles in this contest and one they have a favorable matchup in for the second consecutive week. PFF charted the Eagles as having a pressure rate of 42.2% against Keenum. This is a really good number but one that puzzles me a little bit. Coaches, players, and film experts all agree that the Redskins did a lot of max protect against our pass rush and for good reason. I think it worked well for the Redskins and I find the pressure percentage Philly was credited for to be quite generous. Individual players had their moments against the Skins but I felt the pass rush was ineffective; it’s still early but worth noting since that is how this defense is built to win. The Falcons Offensive line is one the Eagles have had a lot of success against recently and is still struggling to improve. They are looking to start rookie Kaleb McGary at right tackle and rotated him in for some snaps in week 1 with Ty Sambrailo. McGary was a bit of a project and working his way back from offseason injury. A tackle rotation is far from ideal under any circumstances, especially one with Sambrailo. Brandon Graham has a golden opportunity to flex in this contest with a matchup he should dominate. Fletcher Cox has been working in a bit as he works his way back into shape after offseason surgery. He has numerous wins against center Alex Mack throughout this matchup history and will see a journeyman backup guard Jamon Brown as he replaced rookie Chris Lindstrom at right guard. Mack is a good center but Brown is a terrible guard. Timmy Jernigan will also see extended snaps on the inside with the injury to Malik Jackson; the injury is a big loss for the Eagles but one they can overcome with Jernigan’s return and the steady play from Hassan Ridgeway. Left Guard James Carpenter isn’t anything to write home about either which bodes well for Philly. The Falcons have a solid-to-good left tackle in Jake Matthews who is fresh off a butt-kicking at the hands of Everson Griffen. I would expect Jake Matthews to bounce back and play better but there is blood in the water for Philadelphia here to get their pass rush back on track. Derek Barnett is showing a lot of improvement early on. Matthews continuing to struggle would create yet another opportunity for the Eagles pass rush. All of this, combined with the average coaching and play-calling from Dirk Koetter, creates an opportunity to attack the Falcons similar to how the Vikings did. Koetter calls for a lot of long developing pass plays which opens the door for a good pass rush to get home. The pass rush cannot afford to struggle for a second week in a row considering the next key matchup.
Falcons Receivers vs Eagles Secondary
The Eagles have a considerable advantage the trenches in this game but the Falcons have a juicy matchup (again) with the Eagles secondary. Schwartz has done well against the Falcons since he’s been DC with the Eagles, including shutting down their famed 2016 offense. Despite the successes the Eagles had of late, they’ve been carved to shreds by Julio. At least until he gets in the red zone, then he becomes Wholio. I won’t rehash the statline, but it ain’t great! The coaches, as well as the fans, will live with the Julio thrashing if we keep him out of the end zone and win the game. I just wonder how long the Eagles can get by playing with fire against this receiving group. Julio, Ridley, and Sanu are one of the best receiving rooms the Eagles will face this year. The Eagles secondary is fresh off poor matchup against the vaunted Case Keenum and his sad-sacks; they cannot afford the untimely coaching decisions and miscues from the players. We all know the scheme Schwartz will run. The Eagles defense is easy to figure out and remains unchanged. Players like Ronald Darby need to execute their coverage assignments better when they are asked to cover deep when the safety drops down. Coaches like Jim Schwartz should not have the slow Rasul Douglas play off-man coverage against a guy that runs 4.35 without safety help. Last week wasn’t an encouraging performance for the secondary. Fortunately, they know how to game plan against this Falcons squad and have had a lot of success in doing so. Any improvements from the secondary will go a long way to helping the Eagles win but it is not a unit that will carry them to victory. It can help them lose, which it almost did. This isn’t an offense you want to spot a lead.
Falcons Defensive Line vs Eagles Offensive Line
The Eagles have very favorable matchups in the trenches in this game as the Falcons don’t have a good defensive line outside of the great Grady Jarrett. He’s a treat to watch and one of the best interior defensive lineman in football. Jarrett is where the talent starts and unfortunately ends for Atlanta. Vic Beasley isn’t much of defender. Takk McKinley flashes some pass rush upside but is weak against the run. This is a unit that was mauled by the Vikings in the ground game. I don’t think the Vikings offensive line is suddenly good, but the favorable game script allowed them to run all over Atlanta. The Eagles have a much better Offensive Line with Kelce, Brooks, and Lane as All-Pro talents on the right side. Isaac Seumalo had a good and promising start at Left Guard with Jason Peters returning to form protecting the blindside. When healthy, this is a group with four All-Pro caliber players. This unit kept Wentz very clean and opened up holes in the ground game Hellen Keller could find. The Eagles haven’t had a lot of success offensively with the Falcons speed on defense but this defensive line is weaker for them than it has been. On the road, controlling the line of scrimmage will help keep the offense on schedule. The Falcons have struggled against running backs in the Dan Quinn era so dominating up front will go a long way in winning this contest.
Coaching Battle
There is a chance the Falcons Head Coach could be on the hot seat with another down season despite the talent on the roster. This is compounded by the major coaching changes they made heading into 2019. Dirk Koetter is a decent offensive coordinator and hasn’t proven to be much more than that in recent years. Still, this is a team, despite its flaws up front, that has a lot of talent. You have to love the Eagles coaches’ ability to consistently adapt in game circumstances to help the team win; they need to be better in this regard early in games this year. We all know the stat: the Eagles offense was among the league worst in 1st quarter scoring in 2018. Last Sunday saw a return of that. The 2019 is still very young to have definitive takes, but the coaching needs to be better early in games. You can’t consistently chase teams and expect to have success. The coaches do need time to figure out what works with the depth of weapons on the team so early bumps aren’t shocking. But this is a Falcons coaching staff that has held the Eagles offense in check since Quinn has been head coach and has weapons to make Philly pay a more punishing price than the Skins delivered. I mention this for all of the above reasons – not to try and panic. Doug is a great coach and has proven to rally the team. They just need to be more consistent. The same goes for Jim Schwartz. The defense is unchanged but some of the same problems remain; it’s up to the coaches to put the players in more advantageous situations to succeed.
Special thanks to MikeTysonChicken and abenyishay for their help in creating this Game Preview
submitted by Rsubs33 to eagles [link] [comments]

Demolition Days, Part 29

That reminds me of a story.
Continuing…
“Ah, I was wondering when he might show up. That’s Sani, my friend.” I say.
Sani Yáʼátʼééh shi akʼis”, I greet him.
Yáʼátʼééh Kǫʼdził-hastiin”, Sani replies.
A manly handshake ensues.
“Sani, this is Esme, my girlfriend. Esme, this is Sani, an elder of the nation whose real estate we’re currently digging into.”
They exchange greetings.
“Esme.” Sani continues,” You are one with Kǫʼdził-hastiin?”
Esme looks confusedly at me. I explain the whole naming convention and how I move mountains.
“Um, yes. He is my boyfriend. We met at the museum.”
“Hmm. Good. You talk to rocks like Kǫʼdził-hastiin?” Sani asks.
“Are you a geologist?” I translate for Esme.
“Oh, yeah. I’m not going for any further degrees like Rock here. I’m just into the science in the lab. He loves the field. But, I just completed my field camp over in Texas.” She tells Sani.
Sani closes his eyes and remains silent for what seems like a day or two. In reality, it was a couple of minutes.
“You are one with Kǫʼdził-hastiin, you are for Kǫʼdził-hastiin. I have been told. So it will be.” Sani says.
Esme is confused and I’m about to wet myself.
“That’s great. Sani, we…we’re going to have some lunch. Care to join us?” I say hoping to derail this train of thought.
“Yes, I will. It’s very dry out today.” Code talker, my ass. That’s code for ‘I want a cold beer’.
After a very nice lunch, a few cigars, and beers later, Sani says it is time for him to go.
“There is a Squaw Dance Friday night near the Scavada Wash. You and Esme will be there.” Sani says.
“Where exactly. When?” I ask.
“Fred will know,” Sani says and rides off.
Esme says “Whose Fred?”
I explain my doppelganger.
“I have to meet this guy. When can we go?” Esme asks.
“No time like the present.” I say “Let’s load up and head over. It’s on the other side of my field area, it’d be a good time for the grand tour.”
“Are you sure he’ll be there? “ Esme asks.
“Oh, I’m sure,” I reply.
It took about an hour with all the traffic, a gridlocked herd of mule deer, to get to the Scavada Wash. I show Esme how to navigate the wash and soon we’re at the trading post.
Fred’s out tending to one of the gas pumps when he sees me and Esme pull up in the truck.
He launches himself onto the hood of my truck so as he slides to a stop, he’s gazing goofily in through the windshield at Esme.
“HI!” he says, “You must be Esme.”
Esme looks at me like I’ve just taken her to another planet. “You must be Fred.”
We go inside the Scavada Trading Post and have a sit-down. Beers all around as we do our introductions, Fred makes several off-color remarks, and Esme looks over the dead pawn items.
“Yeah, Fred. Squaw Dance? What’s that all about?” I ask.
“Local couple going to be married. It’s like a bachelor party and hen night rolled into one. Men pay nickels to dance with the local unmarried squaws, women do the same with unmarried braves. All funds go to the lucky couple. There’s food and drink and readings.” Fred tells me.
“Readings? “ I ask.
“Peyote ceremony. Elders get loaded and go sit in a Hogan with a smoky fire going. They take peyote, it gives them visions. Some call it vision quest. They tell the couple about to be married if it will work out…” Fred explains.
“Hmm. I see.” I reply.
“And Sani wants to be sure you and Esme are there Saturday…” Fred continues.
I’m glad Esme was out of earshot at that point.
“So where is this shindig going to be?”
“As you come to the Scavada Wash, turn left before you hit the wash, on the pump station side. Go two or so miles, and there’ll be a bunch of Hogans. Park and you’re there. Bring loads of nickels. Kicks off at dusk. ” Fred explains.
“Tuxedo optional?” I ask.
“Loin cloths mandatory.” Fred shoots back, serious as the day is long.
“Anything else?” I ask.
“Firewater, but be prepared to share. No gifts for the couple. It might be foretold that it won’t work. Awkward.” Fred says.
“Gotcha. Esme, time to get back”, I say. “Getting’ dark, and I don’t want to run into any Skinny Walkers tonight.”
“You’ve been talking to Sani.” Fred smiles.
I buy Esme a necklace she had really admired. $5 towards a good cause.
I see a Mexican Beaded Lizard on the road. I slew to a stop, grab a bucket, and plant it over the critter before he realizes what’s going on.
Esme asks what that was all about after I deposit in the back.
“Just making a deposit in the bank”, I say.
We get back to the plant and we go into Jerry & Betsy’s place. Winding down ensues.
“Rock, what’s going on? You’ve been acting strange all day.” Esme says.
“Nothing. Just a lot on my mind, that’s all. Wanna watch a movie?” I say.
“Um, yeah, sure,” Esme says, giving me a puzzled look.
I make some coffee and bring back some along with some of the local cactus sweeties. I don’t remember what the movie was; it was black and white if I recall.
I’m drinking my coffee in silence, ignoring the movie, and a thousand miles away.
“Rock, you OK?” Esme asks. “You’re being weird. Stop being weird.”
Yeah. OK. I’ll stop.
I get up, switch off the TV, pull the box out of my pocket, drop to one knee, show her the sparkler in the box, and say:
“Esme, will you spend the rest of your life with me?”
How’s that for ‘weird’?
Seconds stretched out to an eternity.
“Of course I’ll marry you, you goof. I was wondering when you were going to ask.” She says.
We embrace and she tries on her engagement ring for the first time. It was from the Scavada Trading Post, Indian crafted in origin, but not dead pawn. This was a custom order.
Wow. We’re engaged. Just like that. We agree to wait until after I get my Master’s, or about the better part of a year, to get hitched.
Now what?
Esme says: “I have got to call my mother!”
And I need a really stiff drink and a smoke. “I’ll be outside, Es. Need a cigar.”
“OK, Hon. My mother’s going to flip!” Esme gushes as she picks up the phone.
I stumble outside to my truck, drop the tailgate, fish a bottle of my best drinking stuff of the cooler, and find a cigar.
“Holy fuck. I’m engaged. I’m gonna get married.” I think.
Long John walks over and extends his hand. “Congratulations, you old sod. ‘Bout time you did something right.”
“What? How the fuck did you know?” I ask.
“Aww, we all know.” He grins. “Ain’t no secrets on the res, mate.”
Christ, did he hear us the other night? I think.
“How?” I ask.
“Sani told us.” He smiles.
“But…but I just…How could he?” I stutter.
“Shove over. Don’t try to figure it out, just get me a beer, sit back, and enjoy the ride.” John says.
Word traveled fast. All the plant folk came over and congratulated us; even Danny and Beth, which was a shocker.
I got a call from Javen, congratulating us both and inviting us to supper in a couple of days.
Once the brouhaha died down a bit, one bright morning, after breakfast, I told Esme I have a little something for her.
“C’mon. It’s this way.” And I lead her to the spare bedroom.
I opened the unlocked door and told her to come in.
There was the saddle on the spare bed, covered with a sheet.
“Go ahead. That’s for you. Happy engagement.” I said.
She cautiously lifts the sheet until she can see what under it. The sheet goes flying and she stands there, eyes as wide as the poles asunder, just staring at the masterwork of Javen’s Saddlery.
“That’s mine?” she asks.
“Unless you know another Esme,” I say and point out the personalization.
“Oh, Rock. It’s wonderful. How could you afford this? It must be worth fortune.”
“Never you mind. I work in mysterious ways. May as well get used to that.” I say.
No field work got done that day.
Later on, I tell Esme about Javen Spanner, his empire and his plans for me.
No, scratch that; now it’s ‘us’.
“I’d like to meet him,” Esme says.
“Good, we’re invited over for supper tomorrow,” I tell her. “Wear your best field clothes.”
“I’ll have to do laundry, then. I’ll do it all today, you said you need to wrap up some stuff in the field. I’ll stay home, drink beer, eat bonbons, and do laundry.” She smiles.
“Getting ready for married life?” I chuckle.
“Except I’m not keen terribly on beer, I like margaritas. Plus I don’t have any bonbons.” She laughs.
“OK, hon, that works. I’ll be back in a few hours. You stay here and get all domestic.” I say.
We kiss and I’m off to my ‘office’.
I decide to roll into Cuba first and pick up some Tequila, Triple sec, and bonbons. Besides, I need gas.
I go to Devlin’s Shrill station and fill up. Devlin congratulates me on my engagement.
There really are no secrets on the res.
I get the same treatment from the guy at the liquor store and the local sweet shop and bakery. It’s all very surreal.
I drive back toward the plant but swing past the fossil logjam first I need a few more photos
I park, grab a cigar, and am tapped on the shoulder.
Sani Yáʼátʼééh shi akʼis”, I greet him, without looking.
Yáʼátʼééh Kǫʼdził-hastiin”, Sani replies.
Just another day at the office.
“Sani. What’s up? Hot enough for you?” I ask.
“Oh, yes. Very hot today.” He replies.
While sitting on the tailgate drinking our beers, I ask Sani what brings him out here today.
“I was told it was time. You will follow me, Kǫʼdził-hastiin.” He states and hands me the empty.
“OK.” He mounts up and takes off slowly due east.
I follow him, slowly as it was some killer topography. I had to stop and lock the front hubs. There was fine sand, blowouts, ditches, a real trek in 4WD country. Simple for a horse.
He stops at an old wash and dismounts.
Kǫʼdził-hastiin, you will come here,” Sani instructs me.
I wander over and look around curiously.
“What are we looking at here?” I ask.
Sani walks over to a small clearing in the wash and points down. “Here Kǫʼdził-hastiin”.
I walk over and see a clear patch on the wadi floor.
As I bend over to dust it off, I see bone.
A lot of bone.
And more bones, I see a skeleton.
Then I see skeletons.
Several skeletons.
Several articulated skeletons.
Several articulated dinosaur skeletons.
HOLY FUCKING DOUBLE DAMN HOT SHIT HOLY WOW!
It was a bone bed. I flop down and examine it more closely.
It was a thanatocoenosis. A death assemblage. A collection of critters that all met their maker at near the same time. Not washed in and all jumbled. I look more closely. They are entombed in fine-grained sand with no visible clay. I crack off a hunk without any bone and take a look with my hand lens. I look closely, no clay, angular, frosted sand grains. Dune sand. These animals were trapped in a sandstorm or under a collapsed sand dune. Latest Cretaceous Kirtland Formation. Near the K/T boundary? It’s an amazing find.
I stood up, literally shaking. This was the find of the century.
There’s no way in hell I’d have ever found this, hell no one would. It was too well hidden.
Given few more seasons, and the rains and floods would have eroded this down to fine dust. It’d be gone. Erased. It’s the exact right time to be found.
“Sani.” I tremble, “What can I say? This is incredible. Thank you so much. I can’t even think about how to repay you.”
Kǫʼdził-hastiin” Sani says, “I was told to tell you about this. I was told you would know what to do. You will do what is needed. Let the world know what is here on our lands.”
“I will”, I assure him, “It’s too late in the season for me to do anything but trench, jacket and preserve them in place. That will protect them until they can be extracted. I will tell the appropriate authorities. They will be preserved and I’m going to make sure they are named for the Nation.” I say
“I know you will Kǫʼdził-hastiin, it has been foretold,” Sani says and walks off to his horse and canters away.
I just stand there gawping. This is a world-class find. The find of a career. The find of a lifetime.
I trench, clean and photograph the hell out of the location. I take numerous readings and make sure I can find the place again. I’ll cover it with the tarp and hold it down with rocks. That’ll protect it until I can get back and jacket it properly. I shovel some sand on the tarp to make sure it’ll hold, and camouflage it from errant nose-poker-inners. I’m still shaking several hours later on the way back to the gas plant.
“Es! You’ll never believe what I found!” I shout as I hand her the chocolates.
“What now?” she asks.
“A bone bed. A dinosaur death assemblage. Perfect condition. At least five or six wholly articulated animals. It’s beautiful.” I gush. I’m still shaking.
“Rock. That’s big. Real big. Now what?” Esme asks. She understands the gravity of this find.
“First, A kiss. Second, a beer for me, and a margarita for you. Third, I get on the phone and run up the long-distance bill. Like you said, this is big. Real big.” I say.
So we kiss, I grab a beer and make Es her favorite flavor margarita.
I call Dr. Jak in Wyoming. He’s not in. I ask the front desk if he’s still registered there. He is. I ask her to have him call me as it’s very crucial. Not an emergency, just something extremely important.
OK, that’s Dr. Jak. Now, Dr. Don.
I call the Bureau and Dr. Don is out. I leave instructions for him to call me as soon as he returns. He’s in the field but will return tomorrow. That will have to do.
Calmed a bit, we dress and head over to the Spanner Ranch for dinner.
“Wait until you see this place. It’s amazing. They’re real nice folks. A bit weird, but who am I to say?” I tell Es, who looks especially lovely in her western garb, and I say so.
We are shown the drawing-room. Esme gazes at the opulence. She’s speechless in the face of this lavishness.
Javen and Eunice enter the room, introductions are shared, and drinks are had by all.
After half an hour of small talk, we’re all escorted to the dining room. Another amazing Western repast; beef, quail, soup, salad, cheese course, the whole enchilada. Afterward we gather back in the drawing-room for an aperitif or seven.
Drinks Javen and Eunice present us with a sterling silver tea set.
“On the celebration of your nuptials,” Javen explains.
We are both overwhelmed.
Eunice takes half an hour explaining how to make the perfect cup of tea. It’s all very serious business.
“I don’t know if I’ll be able to attend your wedding, what with the years and business and all, so Eu and I want you to have this now,” Javen explains. Eunice beams beatifically.
We thank them both profusely. Jeeves arrives and removes it quietly to my truck.
“Don’t worry, you’ll be on our guest list”, Esme says.
Javen continues, to Esme: “I suppose you know I’d like for Rock to come work for me”.
Esme replies: “Whatever Rock decides will be fine with me. I really like the West. I’m a big city girl at heart, but I do love the outdoors.”
“So, Albuquerque it is!” Javen laughs.
“Perhaps”, I reply, “It’s going to take some serious thinking between both of us. You’ll be the first to know, though.”
Later, on the way back to the gas plant, Esme says “Albuquerque?”
“I don’t know. But that’s a long way off. First things first”, as I skootch over and plant a big wet one on her cheek.
The dinosaur discovery causes a bit of a media circus, as the local papers, a cadre from the Bureau shows up and Dr. Jak threatens to fly in from Wyoming. Esme and I spent three solid days out at Dinosaur Gulch clearing, cleaning, wrapping and protecting the specimens as there’s no way for them to be excavated before next season, next summer.
Esme takes the truck and runs into Cuba several more times for plaster and toilet paper, while I remain behind and jacket the whole 15 meter by 12-meter block, in place. It’s a huge, nasty job, and we both get filthy. But we’re smiling like loons as we’re together and working on that for which we’ve studied so hard.
Before any of the news weevils can get here, I do a little finesse blasting work and divert the wadi around our discovery. Go ahead, let it rain. I cut a broad channel to divert any water around and away from the find. I build levees around the block and carve more channels to divert water and debris around it. I cut a deep channel to isolate the block and give me an opportunity to jacket the block on all four sides. By the time we’re finished, it’s a huge white bandage of plastered rock in the middle of a mostly disused wadi channel.
We finish up on Saturday, the day of the Squaw Dance. We decide to go there around 6:00 pm, hang out for a while, and then make it an early night. We’re trashed, but we had promised.
After cleaning up and dressing, we proceed to the Squaw Dance as per Fred’s directions.
There was a collection of seven hogans in a circular pattern. There was a huge council fire going in the center and many, many people, mostly locals, but along with a bunch of Anglos, in attendance.
Fred sees us and zeros in, “Rock, tell me you’ve got a couple of boxes of cigars out in your truck.”
“Of course,” I reply.
“Let me buy them from you. They’re better than nickels out here.” He pants.
Fred’s a little bit hepped up.
“Tell you what, I’ll give you a box. If you need more, you’re a total loser and I’ll sell you the rest.” I laugh.
“You’re a lifesaver”, he says. “Go get them now. Make tracks. Get Fred laid.”
I ask Esme to circulate while I get Fred some cigars.
Fred’s happy with his licentious box of bribes, I find Esme and wander around. I drop off a bottle of firewater at the table reserved for such items and procure drinks for us.
“Man, they’re really whooping it up. It’s only just dark and things are already going nuts.” I say. “Thanks for putting up with this, I know Fred’s a doof, but he’s a good friend and I really like these people, especially Sani.”
“Rock, don’t worry. I wouldn’t miss this for the world. When will I ever have a chance to go to a Squaw Dance back in Baja Canada?” She smiled.
I melted a bit more on the inside.
One brave local brave comes up and hands Es a nickel, and suddenly I’m holding two drinks and my cigar. Es’s whipping around the council fire like she was a natural.
I, on the other hand, dance like a hog on ice.
I just give some ladies a fistful of nickels and ask them to tell anyone who asks that I’m a heavy tipper.
Everyone’s getting into the spirit of the evening and most are getting lit up as well. No one cares if you dance or not, just as long as you participate in some way.
Food is brought out around 10:00 and it’s quite unfamiliar. Native American chow all the way. Frybread, pemmican, probably filet of prairie dog, a number of salads of some sort, and odd-smelling and tasting drinks; all made from the munificence of the high desert.
I really didn’t have that much to drink, but I was feeling slightly off afterward. I even let myself be persuaded to take a couple of turns around the council fire. I was missing my fuzzy-bunny slippers. And the moon was so bright. And everything’s so green…Wow, stars…are just so cool…campfire.
I was standing over by the drinks table when Sani greeted me.
Kǫʼdził-hastiin, I am pleased you are here. Is Hweʼesdzáán dził Kǫʼhastiin here?” he asks.
“That depends, who is Hweʼesdzáán dził Kǫʼhastiin?” I ask, still somewhere out around the orbit of Neptune.
“Esme, of course. “Betrothed of fire mountain man””, Sani translates.
“Oh, yes. She was last seen running some local character around the campfire.” I reply.
“Good. Stay with her close. You will be called.” And with that Sani disappears.
“Damn, he’s stealthy,” I think.
I find Esme and decide it’s time for a little break. I get her a cold drink and I pour myself another four fingers of rye whiskey. We sit on a hay bale and watch the crowd. It’s now near midnight.
After a few minutes, there a huge “WHOOSH” and the fire changes color. Red, blue, green, yellow, back to red…it’s kaleidoscopic.
Far out.
Fred wobbles over, “Yep, reading time.”
“How’s that?” I ask
Fred explains that in the central hogan there’s been a fire going for days. It’s hot and sooty in there, a sweat lodge. Several tribal elders have been in there on vision quest. Now, the couple goes in and has their fortunes foretold. Good marriage. Bad marriage. Kids? No kids?
“Interesting. I’ve never seen the like” I reply.
“Well, get ready because you and Esme are next.” He grins.
“Get the fuck out of here” I laugh. “Who says?”
“Sani. You and Esme are next. No shit.” He suddenly seems serious, or as serious as Fred can be.
And true to his word, around 0230, Esme and I are shuffled over to the Hogan and bid to enter.
It’s hot, dark, smoky, weird.
Esme is really into it, I was afraid she might balk, but she’s really enjoying the experience.
I’m three or four sheets to the wind, but equally fascinated; remember I am an ethanol-fueled lifeform. I’m sweating like we’re on the far side of the sun. It’s hot, humid and smells really bizarre.
Kǫʼdził-hastiin, Hweʼesdzáán dził Kǫʼhastiin. You are welcome.” Came the greeting from someone who we couldn’t see.
Esme and I in chorus, “And we thank you.”
“You are for each other?” we are asked.
“Yes”, we both respond.
“By your own desire?”
“Yes.” We reply.
“It is so. It was foretold. Do you wish to continue?”
“Yes. We do.” We reply.
Someone tosses a handful of something on the fire. It sparks, spits, and emits multicolored smoke.
“Good. As it was foretold. Now, breathe deep and give me your deepest thoughts.” He asked.
Kǫʼdził-hastiin, first.”
I took several deep breathes, a sip of my drink as it was very hot in there and decided to really let it all go. Let’s let the mind go out wandering and see where we end up.
I try to relax, take a pull on my cigar and say: “I am with the love of my life. I want to spend the rest of time with her. I will give up anything for her happiness and wellbeing.”
At least, that’s what Sani told me I said. I was off in another dimension at that point. Not drunk, not stoned, not high, but not of this plane. Or so I thought.
“Now Hweʼesdzáán dził Kǫʼhastiin, your deepest thoughts. Your wishes. Your needs. Your desires. Give them to me.”
Esme looks to be puttering along on autopilot. She sips her drink, takes a few deep breaths, and finally says: “This is the man I love, and of that I’m sure. I will follow him to the ends of the earth. All I want is his happiness and success. I want to be part of his life.”
Again, as related by Sani. Esme and I were both out cruising around Ganymede.
Again, someone tosses a handful of something on the fire. It sparks, spits, and emits multicolored smoke.
The fire grew intense. It changed color, it danced, it weaved, it floated, it sang, it spoke.
Kǫʼdził-hastiin, Hweʼesdzáán dził Kǫʼhastiin. It is clear. You are for each other. You two are one and so as it is, so it shall be. It has been foretold. You will have two offspring. They will be daughters. Cherish them. You will not stay in one place. You will go far from here, far from your home. You will go to many, many places. Some very cold, some very hot. You will be distant from each other at times, but never apart. There will be bad times. But more good times. Cherish each other. It is said as it is foretold. You have our peace and our blessing. Take this, it is our gift to you.”
And with that, Esme and I woke up in the cab of our pickup. It was morning, and hellishly bright.
We both look at each other and say “You OK?”
We were fine, not even a little hungover. But we felt different. We felt surer, more confident and more devoted to each other. As I said, I’m not even a little bit religious; Esme’s a bit more traditional, but equally as skeptical and critical as I am. But there was something we took from that night, something that stayed with us, and is still with us, 39 years later.
Time is drawing near for us to leave. Jerry and Bets have returned, Dr. Don has guaranteed me authorship on the papers we’ll write up on the discoveries at Dinosaur Gulch. Dr. Jak is going to wait until I see him up in Montana as he can’t get away just now.
I have procured a tow-hitch so Esme and I can ride together at least until we get to Denver. Then I go north and Esme goes east.
I pack her Nova’s trunk with 9 of the 11 pickle buckets of pickled critters, the other two went in the back seat, and give her a copy of the manifest. She will drop those off with Dr. Nax at the museum when she gets home.
It’s not easy saying goodbye to the cast of characters that we found in the last few months.
We visit Javen Spanner to deliver a personal goodbye to him and Eunice. We thank them again for all the hospitality and friendship they’ve shown both of us over the months. I make certain they have my school and museum contact information. We all shake hands, Javen smooches Esme on the cheek and Eunice plants a wet one on me.
We take our leave, but it’s damned dusty and all misty on the drive back to the station.
There’s a little soiree before we leave. Everyone at the plant shows up at Jerry and Bets’ house the night before we go. They throw us a going-away party. A subdued affair, but heartfelt and misty. Even Fred shows up. He ‘borrowed’ someone’s motorcycle and had to be sure to see us before we left.
We all exchange contact information and pledge to keep in contact.
Esme gives every wife a necklace we obtained at the Scavada Trading post. When in Albuquerque last time with John, I bought enough Swiss Army Knives, with the word “FROM ROCK” engraved on the hilt for all my coworkers.
Hell, they were more than coworkers, they were family. Even Fred got one and he nearly flattened me with his hearty backslap thanks and bear hug.
We invited everyone to our wedding and said they would get proper invitations closer to the actual date it was to happen. Many said they’d try to get there as long as it “wasn’t during the winter”.
Once all the hugs and handshakes were done, drinks were drained and people filtered away. We had to be on the road early the next day. Life was intruding again.
The next day, we stopped at the Cuba Café and Sindy was there. I asked for her contact details so we could send her a wedding invitation.
She scribbled down a Cuba address, handed it to me, shook Es’s hand, and said that she’d try, but probably couldn’t make it. And just walked off.
That was the last we ever heard of Sindy. Ever.
We took three days driving to Denver and spent our last night together until I returned from Montana and the museum dinosaur dig. It was a solemn affair. Neither one of us realized how much we were going to miss the other until that day.
I removed the tow hitch and tossed it in the back of the truck. My truck was packed to the rafters with geological gear, explosives, coolers, tents, and rocks. Es’s car was now a low rider as she was taking all my pickled critters, many of my more important rock samples, some of my very important, irreplaceable field notebooks and film canisters.
I placed a gift on her front seat when she wasn’t looking. She had snuck one behind the front seat of my pickup.
We kissed, cried a little, embraced, and finally realized it was time.
I followed her as far as I could. The freeway split and she tacked off east, I continued north.
The next dozen or so miles were very misty, umm, dusty, as I recall.
I arrived three days before the museum people. Dr. Jak got caught up in office politics and had to wait until they were sorted before he and the rest of the museum crowd could leave.
I selected my campsite right in Fort Peck National Park, right on the reservoir. I had a couple of days off, so I went swimming, hiking and just lounged around some.
I noticed an out of place looking outcrop on the banks of Fort Peck Reservoir. This was serious Dinosaur Country so, naturally, I had to investigate.
I kitted out and hiked over. Several lenses of loose, flaggy sands and shales. I was walking along the outcrop when I felt it slip. I went to jump off, to safety but was too late. I surfed those shales and sands down the face of a 45-degree rock face and impacted solidly on the bottom. A large slab of sandstone landed directly on top of me, as I was face down on the shale.
I felt something crack and knew that this was not a good thing.
Slowly, I picked myself up and my legs were having none of this. I figured I was bruised all to hell and back so if I just took it slowly and got back to my tent, I could rest up and throw this off.
It took me over 4 hours to get back to my tent. The pain was excruciating. Even a full bottle of potato juice didn’t even make a dent.
After a terrible night, I decided I might want to seek medical help.
Three hours later, I’m pinning a note to the campsite marker. Addressed to Dr. Jak. He’ll get it. We always stay at the same spots in the park.
I drive to the nearest hospital in Glasgow, Montana. I literally drag myself into the Emergency Room, give my details to the nurse, and promptly proceed to pass out.
I awaken in a hospital bed with Dr. Jak, Diane, Kent and a couple of the other museum gang there.
“If you didn’t want to come here, you could have just said so” Dr. Jak jokes.
Narcotic painkillers are wonderful things, but they tend to cut into your conversation abilities.
I had broken my back. I had torn the lumbar musculature clean off the distal zygapophyses of my lower 4 lumbar vertebrae, shattering them. I could have easily torn my spinal column in half.
I was very lucky, the medico attending told me.
“I don‘t feel too lucky” I recall saying.
Dr. Jak tells me he’s arranged a sleeper car for me on Amtrak that will take me back to Brew-city in three days. Until then, here’s some cash and we’ll take those keys. I kept the explosives box keys.
“What about all my other junk?” I ask.
“Don’t worry. We’ll use what we can. We’ll bring the rest back.” Dr. Jak says.
They all turn to leave and Diane places a box on the hospital tray.
“We found that in the back of the truck. It’s from Esme.” She says.
It’s a box of whiskey miniatures. Just what I’ll need for the ride home.
The 24 hour Amtrak trip took 49. Couldn’t gauge it by me. Between the Percodan, Thorazine, and whiskey miniatures, time flew by. Or dragged. I don’t remember which.
I was wheeled off the train in my wheelchair. Esme gave me a crushing hug and it almost killed me not to say anything like “Ow”.
On the ride back to her folk’s place, where I’d be convalescing for a month or so, Esme tells me: “Thanks for the pickled critters.”
“What do you mean? Doesn’t Dr. Nax has them?”
“Oh, yes. I delivered them immediately. But I got pulled over for speeding in Iowa; which I wasn’t doing, just keeping up with traffic. The cop saw those buckets in the back seat and asked what they were.”
“Pickled critters” I replied.
“Oh, very funny. What’s really in there?”
“Officer, like I said. Preserved snakes, toads, and lizards.” Esme explains.
“Yeah. Open one up and let me see.” He demands.
“OK, if that’s what you want.” So I pull out a bucket and you really hammered those lids on good. He says that he’ll do it and gets overly aggressive. The lid gives way and he’s splashed from the waist down with all that New Mexico critter-infused formaldehyde.
“Told you,” I said.
He’s trying not to barf as he sees the glassy-eyed snakes, toads, and Gila Monsters staring at him.
“Put that back and get out of here. I need to go.” He sputters, and he races off into the sunset.
“You knew that would happen and left that bucket there for them to find, right?”
“But of course.” I say, “If I couldn’t protect you, my minions could…”
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Studied take on bigfoot / cryptic hominids (seriously over 90% certain about this)

Guys, I am really confident about this explanation of these disappearances. The general one-word answer I have is also one which David Paulides seems to think is the most likely. However, I only speak for myself about all of these finer details that seem now to fit perfectly into the model.
Since writing this a few days ago, every disappearance Dave describes seems to fit.

Part 1: General Intro
Part 2: How a textbook Missing 4-1-1 abduction occurs
Part 3: Supporting evidence (explaining the rest of the evidence)
Part 4: Differential explanations
a. Teleportation / transmutation/ interdimensional manipulation
b. Aerial craft/aliens
Part 5: “THE ____ CONNECTION” … explanations
a. Physician connection
b. Academic connection
c. Miltary/law enforcement connection
d. German connection
Part 6: What Should Be Done
Appendix: Characteristics and common profiles of the Missing 4-1-1 cases

This essay assumes you have a basic to slightly-more-than-basic understanding of the main attributes of these cases. If you haven’t listened to a lot of David Paulides talking about cases, or read at least one of the Missing 411 books, I recommend reading the appendix first. Almost every sentence of parts 2-3 alludes to a common attribute of these cases which David has clearly outlined.

PART 1: GENERAL INTRO ABOUT THESE CREATURES

After 2 years of steady research, I think the evidence is clearly weighted to large hominid creatures that share common ancestry with homo sapiens.
They are sophisticated in their own way, a way that is separate from humans, and hard to imagine. They don’t have written language, but they have an immaculate focus on the present. They are more intuitive than humans, and more sensitive to emotions and basic animal behaviors and intentions. They can “read” people, like very observant people can, but from far distances with their good eyesight. They have learned to look for people carrying firearms, or perhaps can either smell gunpowder or the remnant particles (of previous discharge) on the weapons.
The way they have learned to watch is the same way our ancestors were said to have learned when they migrated from living in forests down to living on the plains. They stood in the tree line for many hours waiting for their prey. They have all the time in the world to lay low, creep around, and think for a good time to strike. Why didn’t they turn into homo sapiens? Because they dwelled in those recluse mountain settings. Back then, the granite itself was more radioactive, affecting only the dwellers of those areas. This radiation was ionizing to their cell division and they became a very separate being. I bet the creatures themselves get to be old and grey because they don’t consume needless calories, and get plenty of fresh air and exercise. They have learned to eat almost anything.

PART 2: HOW A TEXTBOOK MISSING 4-1-1 ABDUCTION OCCURS: VERY LIKELY EXPLANATION FOR DISAPPEARANCES
The people come into the deep sections of the park relatively infrequently, and even less often when there is weather, and even less so when a potential target is walking in an area suitable for extraction, and even less when the target wanders away from the others in their party, and even less when the target seem like they aren’t paying attention to their hike at the moment. A lot of factors have to hit for the creature to get the right setup. Many go missing in boulder fields because they are perfect to conceal their visibility and audibility. Steams and rivers are loud and conceal their footsteps, and often have a concealing treeline. The animals have evolved to be more sensitive to what the weather is going to do. They know when a storm is about to come in and wash things away. David alludes to this all the time.
The creature ducks and pretends to be another boulder in the cliff face, and they wait for the perfect time, and they dash. They stalk the family until one of them lags behind, and the rest of them look the other way for a second. They grab them quickly, clean off their feet, covering their mouths. They hop onto the boulders like stepping stones, then head uphill where urban humans are less likely to pursue them. Many who disappear but do later survive cannot remember much of what happened because they have minor brain damage. The creature covers their respiration, and they become unconscious from lack of oxygen, and often not remembering what initially happen.
Several survivors once they were found said they do remember suddenly being whisked upward, elevated 10+ feet so that they were smashing into branches scratching their face.
Then the weather sets in, washing away footprints and scent so they are not tracked
I actually fainted myself 2 days ago in cryotherapy from ducking far lower than I was supposed to in the cold tube, and I didn’t breathe enough oxygen versus. nitrogen. I went from awake and talking and listening to music to passed out in a second. I didn’t even realize it. When I came-to, the tech had to convince me that I went out at all. I didn’t believe her until I thought about it for about an hour.
When your brain goes to sleep from lack of oxygen, it’s brain damage that can affect creating new memories, especially when other body functions take priority. It’s also possible that the acute shock of seeing the creature stimulates so many stress chemicals that memory creation also falls out of priority for the body. The body and brain is focused on struggling and running to get away. If you are trying to physically get away, are extremely terrified, and you can’t breathe or see, it’s quite possible that your memory goes out temporarily.
Once the creature has the person captive, they goof around with them like a pet, sometimes taking off their clothes, or redressing them. If they "play too rough," it's like Lenny from Mice and Men. “OoPs, I aCiDentaLLy Killed my hOoMan!”, they tried to get away and I dropped them. Then, the creature feels bad that it just fucked this poor thing up, or it just wants it out of its premises, so it drops it right back where they found it just after all the searchers go home. I don’t know if eating them out of hunger is a motivation, and I want to look into that more.
If the captured person wakes up and wriggles away, they suddenly have to make a panic escape. This explains why their feet are often mutilated, worn down to the bone in cases. If your shoe falls off, or is ripped off of you, at what point do you stop running from the 13 foot monster? You don’t. The adrenaline hormones are being mainlined into their hearts, and they keep running.
Until they become so dehydrated that they have no fluid left in their body, and they just cease to be alive. It’s a rare scenario where someone could literally die of fear and exhaustion, and that’s why coroners have such a difficult time with explaining a cause of death.

PART 3: STRONG SUPPORTING EVIDENCE (EXPLAINING THE REST OF THE EVIDENCE)
One of the greatest things David Paulides has done is create an excel sheet of the case identifying statistics. This model could not be constructed without all these finer details. We find out that many of those who go missing are of very high intellect, or of very low intellect. I think we get the low intellect: people of lower functioning may be more easily persuaded to comply or less likely to fight back.
Dave has also shown how so many people of high intellect, like physicians and research scientists, are very frequent for those who go missing. It’s very unusual. I propose to not overthink things.
Overthinking things may actually be exactly their problem. Let’s say they are standing by a river. Rivers tend to be very loud, and they disguise surrounding noise. If an intellectual is looking around in an unfamiliar place while also spacing out, they are prime targets to be taken. Everyone turns into this person when they are on their smartphone.
In the very beginning of Missing 411, David Paulides was asked by park service insiders to investigate these disappearances. They approached Dave to take this on BECAUSE of two things: 1) he is/was full retired police 2) he was an author. But at that time, he was only an author of the Hoopa Project, a book about witness statements of bigfoot. They knew he believed in bigfoot, and they picked him. Because he already wrote the prequel.
Hoopa Project took ~33 sworn notarized affidavits who are credible people in their community—teachers, public administrators, police officers, etc. These people said they saw bigfoot. They had very little to gain and everything to lose, as affidavits are sworn under penalty of perjury. The witnesses were able to confidently provide details if it was a male/female, young/old, fat/thin, healthy/sickle.
In the Hoopa Project, the similarities that each witness independently disclosed are similar and do not contradict. Their descriptions of the beings were similar which parts were bare vs. which had hair, and how big their features were in relation to other features, all fell into a consistent pattern.
The beings always seemed to have had mixed intentions. I remember there was one account of a hungry, emaciated one that looked crazy eyed, weak, and scary. In another case, one walked by, looked for a while at the observer, and kept walking. One woman wrote that it reached into an open window, and reached for her!—but its expression looked mildly curious, but kind of bored. There are also about 8 other affiants who sworn they found tracks, or heard noises, or had boulders thrown at them from over 100 feet away.
Dave also proved that their migration patterns were directly correlated with supplies of berry bushes by comparing patterns by overlaying the two pinmaps. Redditor u/Vortunk pointed out that the cluster map of disappearances directly overlays the map of black bear habitats, and u/bdh108 pointed out that these habitats more generally indicate that all these areas can support a very large omnivore, and has the preferred means to stay covered from observers.
People who go missing in the 4-1-1 books often were around berry bushes, or even stated before leaving that the intention for the hike was to go berry picking. They are the number one group taken.
One of the cases David talks the most about, both because he brings it up and people ask him, is the case of Dennis Martin. Shortly after Dennis Martin was abducted, investigators received an independent report from a retired couple hiking on the mountain. They saw movement even farther up the mountain, and saw a large, hairy man carrying something large on its back, and walking hastily up the mountain. The time of this sighting was approximately one hour after Dennis’s disappearance.
In the new Missing 411: Hunted, Dave has recorded video of a person from his camp communicating with a loud, deep, whooping voice calling them. These whoops are described numerous times in Hoopa Project. So many reports of something banging rocks together to be scary, both in Hoopa Project and the Missing 411 books.
Many studied persons have lectured on why they believe Patterson–Gimlin film is real, included Dave.
People have learned to stay away from certain area/ The areas where people go missing often have sinister names, such as Devil’s Back Canyon, and the Devil’s Punchbowl, and it’s usually for a reason that doesn’t involve anything pleasant. There was tragedy or a history of recurrent tragedy there. I could see people from prior eras very easily thinking these creatures were demons.
Lastly, Dave speaks openly of his encounters when former or current park officials. Dave says that some insiders have admitted openly that park officials “have no integrity” and cover it up AS MUCH AS THEY CAN. They don’t have to do much manipulation or concealment. If they can’t find it, they stop looking as soon as they can. They don’t keep records so they can’t be asked to retrieve them for investigation. When they are asked to generate records for investigative review, they disincentivize him and others by asserting statutory fees for obtaining and/or copying records.
There’s no way around it—they really don’t attempt to get control of the problem. They are lazy and incompetent, and as soon as expand their operation to take on the issue, they start falling within the jurisdiction of the Federal Dept of H.S. They don’t want to know because they don’t want to know too much. The FBI is often at these scenes to generate a report for forward to the National Crime Information Center. One of the agents who was frequently dispatched to write these reports later committed suicide.
I’m kind of just depressed and angry. I thought maybe we were brushing against the paranormal or extra terrestrial, and instead it’s some asshole apes and an incompetent government structure that just enables it. This has been going on forever, and it’s just been buried as the culture and operation of their institution.

PART 4: DIFFERENTIAL EXPLANATIONS

A. Teleportation / transmutation/ Interdimensional Manipulation
I’ve read Parallel Worlds and Physics of the Impossible by pop physicist Michio Kaku, Ph.D. Science does not indicate that it is possible that an animal living on this planet has the mass/energy potential to open a dimensional gateway, let alone the physiological mechanisms in their body to initiate that reaction. From the book Physics of the Impossible, Kaku says that it would take the entire energy of the magnetic field of the earth, concentrated in a very focused point, “just to levitate a small frog.”
The model doesn't require this to be true, so I don't try to complicate it.
It’s possible that the creatures have extra-sensory ability, or special sensitivity to electronic signals, such as locator beacons, and that is why people are less likely to go missing when carrying them. These national parks have large stores of potential energy, and that telluric currents are enhanced during storms, and that people emit vibrational waves. People who are alone or give off a certain signal may "stick out," even from long distances. Science has supported that several animals can sense magnetic fields. Many bird species have a protein which allows their eyes to see magnetic fields—resembling a haze, like atmosphere looks to us from an airplane window.

B. AERIAL CRAFT / ALIENS
The only beings I believe could be interdimensional are extra-terrestrials or humans from the future, because I also like science fiction stories, and I’d like to think that, considering how big our universe is, that other beings exist like so many investigators believe. I think there is a lot of evidence to support the existence of aerial crafts/alien UFOs in general, but I don’t see evidence to support that is the reason for these disappearances.
If aliens are smart enough to fly across space in a ship and find someone from the air to abduct, they would probably know how to put their clothes back on the right way if they were going to do it at all.

PART 5: “THE ____ CONNECTION” … explanations
These explanations for why certain people are often targeted by what seems to be particular attributes.
The whole basis of my model is that these peculiarities exist and they must be explained one of two ways (or both): 1) the bigfoot has a preference, and is perceptive enough to pick these out, or 2) the attribute has a strong grouping/correlation with another attribute which makes them susceptible.

a. Physician connection
Lots of ER docs and hospital physicians are taken, and these docs have a high-stress, long hours, and highly consequential responsibility. They have also spent many years thinking during their studies. I could see many of them finally getting the chance to relax and breath in nature. They don’t pay attention to the noises or obstructions around them, and the thing pops out and grabs them. Doctors also, unless they go to the gym, often don’t have time to be in good badass shape.

b. Academic connection
I think academics are even more likely to space out and not be aware of their surroundings. The fact that they are often German puts a coefficient on the likelihood (explained below).

c. Miltary/law enforcement connection
The creature can tell by the way they walk that they have a fighter mindset. Even homo sapiens are perceptive enough to detail enough to tell who’s down to fight. Perhaps, like in the movie Predator, they want a challenge.

d. German connection
Perhaps they can distinguish the pheromones of certain national backgrounds. Another thing, and I hope I don’t offend too many people—modern Germany has a very secure infrastructure. I think perhaps people visiting from Germany, or is an academic from Germany, might also have a false sense of security. I hope that doesn’t offend too many people. This German connection is basically either, “Bigfoot is into Germans,” possibly for the features commonly associated… or the way they smell.

Part 6: What Should Be Done
If everyone pressures the the government to acknowledgement, they can bring this species out in the open, and they can be studied. I just think the parks don’t want the liability. Just yesterday, it was covered in the news that the government diverted $2mm in funds from the Parks Service to be used for a 4th of July celebration in D.C.. The parks are underfunded as it is. The sooner they fund the study of these creatures, the easier we can find ways to minimize the people who are victimized.

P.S., maybe when park rangers shut down the remote part of the trail because rare birds are about to mate, it’s actually because they saw a bigfoot in the area.

APPENDIX: CHARACTERISTICS AND COMMON PROFILES OF THE MISSING 4-1-1 CASES
People go missing in nationally parks every year. All of this information was obtained historically through reviewing investigation reports, police reports, police interviews, and sometimes interviews with the actual searchers and family members. These cases are covered by author David Paulides, who was formerly a cop for 20 years and then held several executive HR positions at Silicon Valley tech companies. He resides in Denver, CO
The missing persons disappear at random—one minute they are there, sometimes with groups, and then the next minute they are gone. A toddler runs just around the corner—and is never seen again. An adult stays behind the hiking group to have a sit and rest a short while. They don’t return.
During that time, their tracks disappear. In a large number of cases, bad weather sets in at a very unnatural pace and erases possible signs and/or prevents searches from searching.
Helicopters with infrared do not find anything.
Canines cannot find a scent, or they sniff around, and then lay down in fear. The canines who are trained to search and love to search are literally too afraid or mystified to head up the trail.
Search parties search everywhere, over and over, sometimes each group covering very close distances, sometimes arm-in-arm.
When the missing are found—if they are found—they are often found in a place that was already searched, sometimes multiples and even dozens of times.
Sometimes they are never seen again—sometimes they are found 1, 2-3, 5, or 10-30 days later.
Sometimes, only an article of clothing are found.
Where and how they are found is very bizarre. Toddlers, some 2-3 years old, are found tens of miles away—and thousands of feet higher in elevation. There is a book referenced often where it is estimated the maximum radius a missing person may travel, by age. Such as, a toddler of 2 years old will usually be found within .9 miles. They are often orders of magnitude father, to the point where they would be having to run at full speed without sleep to cover such a distance. There are lists pages long—a 5 year old was found 20 miles away in 24 hours, 2500 feet higher than the location where he or she went missing. A six-year-old travelled 12 miles in 17 hours and was found with her shoes off, covered head-to-toe with scratches and a slight fever. A four-year-old ran 19 miles in 14 hours and was found, shoeless, and covered in scratches.
Some are found dead with their clothes taken off or even on backward. Many people of all ages, whether found alive or death, are disrobed or nude.
Most of the time, a cause of death can’t be determined. Coroners diagnose exhaustion, fatigue, heat stroke, dehydration—but their bodies are often much better preserved than would be expected from the time they were gone. It’s as if the life was sucked out of them. In some cases, but not usually, there is not enough blood in their bodies to draw a sample.
When they are found alive—they are often found near water or in a boulder field. If dead, they are often floating face down in the water. There are lots of mention of boulder fields, usually granite.
They often go missing in areas with sinister sounding names—Devi’s Nest, Devil’s Peak, Devil’s Spoke, etc.
There is also an odd pattern to when—sometimes multiple ones in the same area within a manner of weeks or months. Sometimes it’s on the same day in the same area, 30 years apart.
Searchers often do a very intense search for 72 hours and then cease all government-commissioned search efforts.
It’s been going on for 200-300 years.
There are 52 different clusters nationally, and usually each cluster has disappearances within a radisu of 5070 miles—Yosemite is by far the largest, and they disappear at many different elevations.
1,200 cases meet the criteria, which are defined by the fact patterns above. Cases where runaways, abductions, falls, and predator attacks are immediately discarded and not part of the analysis. Another 300-500 are still questionable on whether they apply.
People of all ages and backgrounds are taken, but often it’s toddlers or people with a disability—such as an adult autistic.
However, males of tall height and heavy weight, women of all ages. Sometimes several children at a time, or even couples in their 20s, 30s, etc.
Whether they are cognizant and spry, or disabled in some way, adult or child—they often cannot recollect what happened to them.
Sometimes, they have vague memories of being pursued.
They usually have memories of suddenly experiencing an immobilizing sense of dread or feaanxiety. Some say that they suddenly got warm or cold. Some reported that their bodies felt like they were vibrating, or that the forest suddenly got so quiet that they could hear the crunch of their footsteps echo.
People that said they were going out to pick berries are disproportionately missing.
A very disproportionate number of physicists and German people go missing.
About 40-55 percent are found dead, and 45-60% are found alive/
When filing open records request with the parks service, Paulides found that the frequency of disappearances are not recorded on a local or national basis.
Sometimes, in certain cases, open records requests are completely denied.
Often, FBI agents show up to supervise search efforts despite there being no suspicion of criminal activity.
One of these agents who was present for many of these disappearances, and who helped minimize many of these events, committed suicide.
Ways to prevent going missing (the people that went missing didn’t do one or more of these things):
Keep a handheld transponder beacon, carry a firearm, don’t wear bright clothing, don’t pick the berries, never go alone, keep a cellphone, tell people where you’re going, eliminate distractions, and be aware of your surroundings at all times.
Thanks for reading. Happy Fourth of July.
submitted by RyanChallenor to Missing411 [link] [comments]

Trials of Adam ch7, 8

Trials of Adam ch7, 8

Welcome to my novel, inspired by Barry Pepper's role in Crawl (2019)
previously: https://www.reddit.com/BarryPeppecomments/ev0y49/trials_of_adam_ch5_6/
Chapter 7: Health
I awoke to the smell of coffee and the sparkle of the sunlight. It was another beautiful day to be alive. In the distance I could hear the song, 'Maybe, I'm amazed,' playing on the living room speaker. The melody was one I knew by heart. I had hummed it in the field, on deployment, while dreaming of home. And when I was home, I sang it to my baby daughter.
“Baby I’m amazed at the way you love me all the time,” I sang only in my head. Baby always seemed like a better word than ‘maybe.’ The use of ‘maybe’ made an otherwise pretty, inspiring sung come off as somewhat sarcastic. “Baby I’m amazed by the way need you.”
I was strong enough to get in my wheelchair on my own, so I made my way to the living room fully expecting to see my wife. Instead, I saw Cece dancing in a loose flowing nightgown. She twirled around, with the baby in her arms, looking like the main character of The Nutcracker ballet. "Will you dance with me?" she asked, mid pirouette.
“Who are you talking to?” Clearly, I was in no condition to dance.
"You, of course, Daddy." Cece put the baby in a nearby carrier to free her hands. "Mom already left for the day."
"She left?"
"Mom does volunteer work with the USO, on my days off. It’s her break from the baby." Clearly this was a fact that royally pissed her off. "But now that you’re finally awake, it’s also my day to spend with you. Dance with me?"
That was when I noticed that the piece was playing on a loop. It was a cover of the Beatles song, performed by a female vocalist. It also seemed to only be two minutes long. Was this a performance piece? Had I interrupted a rehearsal of some kind?
"I don't know if I can,” I said, with a shrug. In truth, I just wanted to watch her.
Cece came closer, the silk of her nightgown touched my arm. "Anyone can dance."
“I’m a little out of practice.” In my chair, I was wearing the clothes I'd slept in; a white t-shirt and boxers. I had my prosthetic leg attached in case I wanted to attempt to piss while standing.
"Stand up, put your arms around me." Cece stroked my neck, down my shoulder.
"Give me a second." I knew I could. I had done it before but I needed a moment to gather my courage.
"Come on,” Cece said as she playfully kissed my cheek. “Stand tall, Master sergeant." My daughter helped me up, placing my hands on her shoulders. She was a good six inches shorter than me. But looking into her eyes, you'd never know.
"Do I still even have my rank?" I asked with a laugh. After all the shit I'd done I was lucky to not be in prison.
"Of course," Cece said, swaying her body softly. We slow danced like a teenage couple at prom. "General Blake made sure you were given full medical retirement."
If that was true, it was an impressive feat. "I guess I owe her one." I place my hands on Cece's waist, pulling her close.
"You owe her about a million. We all do." Cece put her head on my shoulder as we continued to sway. "I want to help you write your memoir,” she said in a whisper. “The world needs to know your story.”
"Before the chemo eats my brain?" I asked with a chuckle.
Cece didn't laugh. “Not funny, Dad.” She took a step away, letting me sit back in my chair. My daughter released a disappointed sigh, as she picked up a nearby remote and turned off the music.
Baby Gregory started to cry.
Cece turned her attention to her brother, rocking him in her arms. "Hush little one." She handed me a cup of coffee that had been sitting out long enough to be comfortably warm. "It breaks my heart to know that, maybe, there will come a day when daddy won't remember me." Cece took a sip from her own coffee. "Because I sure as hell will never forget the remarkable man he was."
I gave Cece a reassuring nod, assuming she was just being her usual sweet self. But as I matched her gaze, I could feel something much deeper. "Cece, are you alright?"
She shook her head, blinking away tears. "I know I was supposed to be the one to die. You made a deal with the angels to take my place." She sat down with a plate of scrambled eggs, bacon and toast, casually offering me a fork.
"You knew?" How was that possible?
“I knew I was going to die if you never found your way back to Mississippi. But he moment you were in the room, by my side I could feel,” she paused, placing her hands over her heart, “this is going to sound weird. I could feel your energy, your spirit, maybe even your soul.”
"Really?" The idea filled me with a sense of comfort.
"When you're in pain, I feel pain." Her free hand touched mine, lending an air of truth. "When you cry, I cry. But when you're happy, confident, strong, I can truly feel your heart." Cece blushed as she looked away. "So, where do you want to start? I have my laptop right there. If you like I can tell you what I remember from your stories."
"I really don't feel like chronicling my shitty life, now or ever." Even if the illness did take my mind, I would hope it could take the bad memories first.
“Oh? Ok.” Cece adorably pouted her bottom lip. "So, what do you feel like doing?"
I was midbite, giving me a chance to come up with a genuine answer. "For starters, maybe leaving the house?" Since I had no memory of even arriving in Colorado.
"Ok, but let’s finish breakfast first. I promised Mom I'd take care of you and the baby." She took another sip of her coffee while balancing her baby brother with one arm. "And unlike Mom, I can't feed either if you with my tits."
“Aw, fuck, Cece!” I bit my lip, trying to avoid spitting coffee as I laughed. I certainly had some topic of conversation for the next time I spoke with my guardian angel.
“I have your sense of humor,” she said with a shrug. “And so, will Greg.”
After breakfast I was introduced to the extent of our on-base lodging. The entire apartment was one bedroom, one bathroom, with a kitchen that opened up to a living room. Cece slept on the sofa next to the baby's crib. All while everything our four-person family owned was stored in a single walk-in closet.
Cece dug through a trunk, pulling out a pair of jeans and a button-up shirt. “Here we go.” She proceeded to help me get dressed. I could actually dress myself easily enough, maneuvering my fake and real legs into the stiff denim. I put on my belt and the shirt on. I could have probably worked the buttons and zippers myself. But there was something addictive about human touch. Or maybe it was just Cece’s touch.
Still holding the baby, she had only one arm to work with, forcing her to come even closer. She balanced Greg on her hip while she buckled my belt. I watched as her fingers paused on my stomach before moving up my chest to button my shirt. Each movement was slow, deliberate. The sound of her wispy breath sent a shiver down my spine. "Lilith was the true bride of Adam."
"What?" I was unsure of what I just heard.
Cece only blinked like an innocent little doll. "Did you say something?"
“No, sweetie, it must have been the AC.” I knew I had an erection. I wanted her to touch me so bad. Her lips were inches from mine. I could practically taste the vanilla coffee creamer on her breath.
My hard-on was quickly deflated when Jamie appeared behind Cece, staring daggers at me. "If you even think about it, I will personally send you to hell."
Cece raised an eyebrow. “I don’t think the air conditioning is on. You sure you’re ok?”
"It’s nothing sweetheart," I said to Cece as I reached for the baby. "I can hold Gregory while you get dressed."
"That would be great.” Cece left the baby in my arms as she went to the bathroom. “Thanks, Dad.”
Balancing Gregory with one arm, I stood up. Walking was not the easiest thing in the world, so my intention was to hold the baby close to my chest.
His soft little face felt warm. "Da?" He squirmed, looking from side to side.
"Are you looking for Mama?"
Gregory shook his head. "Ga!"
"You looking for Cece?" I asked. That made much more sense.
But the baby seemed to be motioning towards the closet. “Ga!”
"What's back there?"
There were quite a few unpacked suitcases in various states of disarray. Looking closer, I could see a trail of sequins, made of holographic material. The pieces of plastic seemed to shimmer in shades of red, purple and blue. I stroked my hand along the zipper, opening the case just enough to take a peek. There were costumes, papers, an entire packed suitcase. At the bottom were her shoes; her worn in pointe shoes. I couldn't help but smile; she was still dancing.
"Oh that," Cece's said from behind me. "Just another one of a million that we owe General Blake." She casually pulled off the top sheet of paper. "I'm going to compete in Miss Colorado Springs."
According to the papers Cece was being sponsored by the Air Force base. "Wow, that's incredible."
"It's a preliminary to Miss America, so talent competition...yeah," Cece's voice trailed off. "I would've liked to only compete in talent but that's not how pageants for full-grown adults work."
Turning towards her, I caught sight of my daughter stepping into a pair of jeans. Her hips and legs were covered in scars; deep wounds that would never heal. I tried to tell myself they were from the surgeries that saved her, or maybe from her heroic escape, but I knew the truth. Those boys had butchered her; they hurt her in ways that she could never recover from.
The baby in my arms apparently felt my energy and started to cry, reaching for his sister.
Cece quickly finished getting dressed. "I'll take him." With one arm she put on a jacket. "Let's take a walk to the park by the elementary school."
"Does he have a stroller?" I asked.
"No, just the carrier car seat," Cece replied. "But I'm ok, just holding him." Greg seemed to melt into her arms, like a store-bought doll. "I imagine it won't always be this easy, once he learns how to walk." She turned to my wheelchair, which sat alone in the living room. "Should we bring your chair, in case you get tired?"
"Sure. But I'm not tired, right now." I pushed Cece in the chair, on the journey to the playground. It was warm for December in Colorado; jacket weather but nothing more severe. There was snow on the ground, just enough to make the world sparkle. "It's sure beautiful here."
Cece nodded, looking up at the afternoon sky. "Yeah, it is."
The past was the past. But as I swallowed a mouthful of spit, I felt the muscles in my neck grow tense. A cold breeze caressed my chemo port as if to remind me; this isn't heaven, you still have work to do. "So, when were you going to tell me about the Miss Colorado pageant?"
Cece shrugged. She motioned towards a bench for us to rest at.
"You don't seem very excited."
"I am," Cece said as she bit her upper lip. "I'm grateful for the opportunity to dance."
"But modeling, not so much?" I asked, in a vain attempt to get her to shed some of the emotional weight.
"No, I like to model.” Cece fidgeted with her hands, mentally composing an answer that would make sense. "It’s, well, you said it yourself; reciting the story of your shitty life is not the most pleasant thing in the world."
"Oh," I said with a sigh. Why would I expect her to be brave about her past, when I myself refused to acknowledge my trauma? I knew enough about the Miss America pageant; instead of a normal interview portion, contestants were required to have a platform, a topic they wanted to represent. "Couldn't you talk about something else?"
"I will. My platform is going to be about community support for military families. I want to encourage people to donate and/or volunteer for charities that support the families of deployed personnel. There are quite a few good ones, organizations that I’m truly proud to represent.” Cece sighed. “But that doesn't stop people from asking about my past." She bounced her baby brother on her lap.
"Why would people ask? Wasn't that the point of moving to Colorado?"
"Haters gonna hate,” she replied in a baby voice, “especially in the age of the internet."
I sat beside her and held her hand, desperate to change the subject. “You have always been so strong. I have complete faith in you.”
“Thanks, Dad.” She gave my hand a comforting squeeze. “General Blake told me I needed to be brave, like you.”
What? The idea made me slightly nauseous. “What has General Blake told you?”
Cece casually shrugged. “Just that you did some shit.”
"Oh, God," I muttered, mentally preparing myself. Damn Alyssa, are you freaking serious!
"I will never be ashamed of you. Not after what I lived through," Cece said, rocking the baby close to her chest. "But I know about the drugs and the sex. You let people hurt you because it felt good; it made you feel like you were worth something."
I nodded. Her level of empathy and understanding nearly drive me to tears.
Cece squeezed my hand again, confirming our connection. "If I win Miss Colorado, I want to speak out about mental health in the military. I mean, the way things are; it's such a stigma to ask for help, but if soldiers can't ask for help without risking a medical discharge the only thing left is to get fucked up."
"Wow, just wow." I cupped my hand over my mouth as my soul tried to determine whether to laugh or cry.
"Dad, you're my best friend.” Cece looked at me with sadness in her eyes. “You have the right to know, the cancer is in your brain. From what I overheard, you were having seizures and something about a blood infection. The medical team back in Mississippi didn't think you were going to wake up much less survive the flight to Colorado. But mom and I agreed, we weren't going to leave you behind."
The statement was a little odd. "You and Mom?" Even after I whored myself across the country?
"Neither of us could ever leave you."
“Does that include this little guy?”
"Of course, it does, right Greg?" Cece asked, tickling the baby's cheeks. "We love Daddy so much! We could never leave him to die in America's taint. And why is Mississippi America’s taint?"
Greg giggled happily.
"Because Florida looks like America's cock?" I asked.
"Among many reasons," Cece said with a smirk. “I told you Greg would inherit your twisted humor. Anyway, let's grab some food. A local place opened a few days ago, at the BX- they have the best nacho chili fries."
"God, I missed the base-exchange."
"Why? It's just a mall."
"Have you been to the outside world? Malls are vanishing faster than biscuits at a hometown buffet."
"Now I want fried chicken."
"There's a chicken place? How do people here pass their fitness tests?"
Cece laughed. “The malls are for dependents. Actual military personnel have to eat the ‘nutritionally diverse’ crap at the mess halls.”
“As usual, you are wise beyond your years.”
Cece offered to push me in the wheelchair so I could have some time to hold the baby, but he seemed happier in his sister's arms. We ate a quick lunch of nuggets and fries, before returning home to give Greg a bottle.
The last thing I remembered was drifting off to sleep, with the baby on my chest. I awoke to a dark, empty living room. the air was cold, dry. All around I could hear static. But the noise was not from the tv or even the landline phones. “Hello?”
I got up, making my way towards the bedroom, fully prepared to track down the sound. that was when I heard Leo.
He was sitting on the sofa where I had just been, with his rainbow wings wrapped around his shoulders. "You need to check your daughter’s laptop," he said while picking at a single shimmery feather. His fidgeting appeared to be the source of the static-like noise.
"Ok, sure." I walked to the closed laptop. "I don't see why you can't just talk to me."
"Oh, we'll have plenty to talk about."
I opened the laptop and clicked on the main internet browser. There was an urgent news article out of Mississippi. A man by the name Jason Valdez, age nineteen was missing. The teen was serving a six-year sentence for sexual assault, as part of a deal made with the prosecutor. But apparently even that was too much for him because he was snuck out of jail. This was accomplished by switching places with a volunteer from his grandfather's congregation. The imposter was found hours later, when SHE refused to take a shower. "Well, that’s some really twisted shit."
"Yeah, tell me about it," Leo said with a groan. “I guess that’s Mississippi for you; all Hispanic teenagers look the same.”
I scrolled down to look at the mug shot, curious to see if the article would include an image of the person that he managed to trade places with. It did not. But I could see how my daughter fell in love with this Jason guy. The boy was an athlete, valedictorian, and model. He had feminine features, the way a male model would; with high cheekbones and deep-set eyes. He was also the only child of the late Carlos Ramone Valdez, a locally famous agent of the cartel. “So, Jason’s mafia connected preacher grandfather broke him out of prison?"
"That's what it says, anyway." Leo crossed his arms, as he looked out into the distance. "Marcellei 'Marksman' Valdez is apparently someone with friends in low places."
"This Jason guy is on his way here?" I asked. I could feel my blood pressure rising.
"Maybe." Leo shrugged.
"Really, Leo? This isn't a fucking game! This is my family!" I was full on screaming like a deranged drill sergeant.
Leo looked at me, but only briefly. "Well, I guess it's a good thing he can't get on base and even if he could there's no way to find Cece's exact location."
"But he knows she's in Colorado?"
"Only because Cece happens to be listed on a very public website about an upcoming event that will be taking place in a very public auditorium."
I gripped my head. This was bad. "That piece of info took things from shitty to nightmarish really quick."
"Yup." Leo leaned back, crowing his arms over his chest. "Choices will have to be made."
Choices? I felt angry, but more than that I felt afraid. What the fuck was I supposed to do? I hobbled to a nearby wall and did the only thing I could; I slammed my fist into the hard surface over and over. "Wake up! Wake up! Wake up!"
I awoke with a jolt, sitting up like I had just been electrocuted. "Oh, dear God!"
Marni had been in the kitchen and rushed to my side. "Adam, what’s wrong?” She pressed her hand to my forehead. “Are you in pain?"
Looking outside the window, it was now dark. Apparently, I had been asleep for hours. "I'm fine." I went straight to Cece's laptop to find the date and location of the pageant. According to the website, the event was in January, at a mall in Denver. That was how long I had to make a plan, to protect the people I love, all while surviving chemo. I needed to draw from my strength; past present and future, to be the father they deserved.
This was going to require some divine intervention.
Chapter 8: Death
I was awoken by the sensation of coughing up blood. It was my third week of chemo in Colorado and the pain was once again becoming unbearable. I used to wonder why people, when diagnosed with a terminal illness, would often skip treatment and simply try to make the most of what time they had left. That felt like such a cowardly way to die. But now, in that moment, I could see the appeal. Chemo was not medicine. it was killing my cancer at the same rate that my cancer was killing me.
I pressed the nurse call button. "Hello, is anyone there?"
I could hear a static reply on the other end. The high-pitched sound sent a wave of pain down my body. Oh, fuck me.
I knew the room was constantly monitored, even when I was the only patient scheduled that hour. "Can I please have some water," I asked with desperation. I needed something more than water. Please I need someone, anyone.
“Hey, Adam,” whispered the small, red-haired nurse. She was on the younger side, not much older than Cece.
“Um, I don’t think we’ve met.” I attempted to extend my hand to her but I could barely lift its weight.
“Oh, sorry! It’s my first week. I’m Lia.” She looked and acted like a stereotypical preschool teacher, like the type of person who grew up with horses and always wanted to be a veterinarian. She placed her soft hand to my face, tracing a finger down my jaw. "Poor, baby you’re running a very high fever,” she said in a manner of utmost sincerity. “I'm going to pause the chemo to start you on some fluids and then ask the floor doctor what she wants to do."
“Thank you.” The very idea caused a wave of peace.
“Thank me when I make you all better,” she said before kissing my forehead.
There was something about her, and I could only smile.
In a matter of minutes, the nurse returned to start a course of saline into my PICC line. As Lia finished, she pressed her lips to my ear. “All done. You’ve been such a good boy.”
As I felt the cool liquid, a beautiful, sensual calmness washed over my very soul. Or maybe it was the fact that I was sporting a noticeable erection. "Is my wife here?"
“Yes, your wife and daughter are in the waiting room with your son. Your little boy is so precious.”
I felt her hold my hand, lacing her fingers through mine. Her hands were so small, soft, and gentle. Oh God. Her hands felt like Cece’s.
I closed my eyes, hoping to will the situation away. It worked.
When I awoke, the light in the room was different. I could see a female doctor speaking to Marni. They’re standing at the foot of my bed, speaking as if I wasn’t even present. "Mrs. Severgine, your husband is displaying symptoms of infection, it may be best for him to take a break from chemo for a while."
"How long is a while?" Marni asked. She briefly glanced in my direction, without turning her head.
The doctor cleared her throat, as if trying to assert dominance. “Long enough for his body to recover, and regain some strength."
I knew she was full of shit. My throat and lungs were on fire, my mind was slowing going to shit, and whenever I tried to sit up, I felt like my stomach was going to rupture in all possible directions. There would be no regaining strength. I already knew the game plan; there would be no more government-sponsored chemo, and I would be moved to a hospice ward to die. “Marni, please.”
My wife nodded. But there was a lump in her throat. “The chemo has been helping with the discomfort. He’s been able to sleep through the night.” She covered his mouth, as the fear in her eyes shone through. No matter how much she believed in me, I was going sleep for a long, long time. "Can you at least give him something for the pain."
"I'm going to prescribe some Fentanyl."
"No!" I shouted with what little strength I had. I knew what Fentanyl meant; I would lose consciousness; I would lose time.
The doctor sighed. “Another option would be cannabis to treat your nausea and muscle pain, but we'd first have to get your fever under control while monitoring your heart. unfortunately, your liver and kidney function will continue to deteriorate."
I knew what she meant. I couldn't hold down solid food; all my internal shit was shutting down. But there was one thought that forced its way to the front of my brain. "W-What about…”
“About what? Mr. Severgine?” she asked in an almost mocking tone.
“My eyes,” I regretted the question the moment the words exited my mouth.
The doctor looked at her chart. "Um, there is nothing in your chart that would indicate that as a concern."
If she was going to treat me like a mentally handicapped freak, I had to go all in. “AM- I- going- to- go- blind?"
“At this moment in time, I have no reason to believe the cancer will effect your vision.”
You believe that the cancer which started in my brain will not affect my eyes? "Can I still attend physical therapy for my leg?" You fucking sorry excuse for a human being.
"I would recommend a home care nurse."
"That won’t be necessary. Our daughter is well versed in pain therapy," Marni said as calmly as she could muster.
"I'll send the nurse in with something to help calm the fever.”
Checkmate; I was fucked. No sooner had she spoke, when a sharp pain struck my chest causing my lungs to slam shut.
"He's Code blue!" shouted everyone and no one.
Alarms blared as the world went dark.
I awoke in the intensive care unit. Every muscle in my chest was burning, until my body remembered that was on a steady flow of oxygen. Breathe, just breathe. My efforts were made easier when I saw my daughter by my side.
"Hi, Dad,” Cece said in an emotional whisper. “Mom's outside with the baby."
I tried to speak but no words came out. Upon swallowing I could feel the reason why; there was a breathing tube down my throat. It was all I could do not to cry.
"You coded three times,” she said, blinking tears from her eyes. “I was so afraid. I just can't imagine a world with you.”
Well, you're going to have to kiddo.
“But I know I’m going to have to.”
I could feel my daughter massaging my leg with gentle pressure.
“Mom says you ask about blindness?"
I reached for my daughter's hand. "I-" I started to draw the letter on her palm. "I w-a-s a-f-r-a-i-d."
"You were afraid?”
I spelled out 'D-A-N-C-E', while twirling my fingers. I was afraid I wouldn't get to see you dance one last time.
Cece cupped her hand over her mouth. She took a few breaths, to calm her mind and heart, before returning her hand to mine. “In heaven, we'll all have perfect wings and I'll dance with you every day.”
Over the next few days, I became strong enough to go home. By that I mean I could make it twenty-four hours without going into cardiac arrest. I was assigned a hospice care nurse who would check in once a day, while I spent my waking hours in a wheelchair. I would never walk again. Not that I could even if wanted to.
The pain in my back was intense. It came in two forms; the agonizing spasms in my remaining leg and violent, stabbing migraines. On one of my worse days, Cece stayed by my side.
Her massages were the only thing keeping me sane.
"I'm skipping the pageant," Cece said as she adjusted my leg.
"You can't,” I said with a comical groan.
"And why is that?” she asked with a sweet smile.
"Because I really want to go to Denver. and you can't deny a dying man's last wish."
“Ok.” Cece kissed my cheek. “For you.”
It wasn’t a hard decision; everything was all paid for, from travel costs to gowns and costumes. But, unfortunately, the pageant directors saw an opportunity and Cece became known as the military princess with the dying father. She was one of the few contestants interviewed on the local news.
The media was sent to our hotel room. For a painfully-awkward two hours I sat in bed, as Cece administered pain therapy to my leg. Off-camera, I consumed excessive amounts of cannabis in the form of surgery fruit-flavored candies. I’m sure I looked half dead in most of the footage.
"How's the cyst on your leg?” Cece asked, sitting by my side in her pageant dress. It was a short, but conservative tank-dress intended for the preliminary competition.
"Please let your mother take care of it." We were staying at a hotel room paid for by Cece's sponsors. Ideally, she was supposed to stay in a different hotel, rooming with a fellow contestant, but that wasn’t part of the deal. She refused to leave my side, much to the cringe of the pageant directors.
"Yeah, well Mom's taking forever. The store is just down the street. In the time it's taken her to find a first aid kit, I could have made a knife out of a shaving razor."
"You are not cutting my leg with a prison shank." I knew she crafty, so I wouldn't have put it past her to simply wait until I fell unconscious to do the deed.
The open sore was in a most awkward place. On my upper thigh, there was a brand. A scar from a lifetime ago, or at least that’s what I like to I tell myself. It was the mark of my sexual submission, my loyalty to the people who filled my mind body and soul with free drugs. The symbol had been lost to time. I think it was a shield or some twisted reimagining of military stripes. It was not for my benefit; it was to prove my worth. All I knew was I now had a festering sore cutting through the damaged flesh and scar tissue.
The door opened and Marni returned. "I bought a craft knife and bandages." She dumped out a plastic bag containing an Exacto knife, rubbing alcohol and at least five rolls of bandages.
I politely asked Cece to leave the room. She knew I was bleeding, and from where I was bleeding, but thankfully she had the kind heart and social intelligence to spare me a moment of humiliation. But I still didn’t want to be fully conscious when she saw my naked cock and slave-brand. Reclined on the bed, with my dick out, I made myself as mentally ready as I could. best case scenario; it would bleed out enough to relive the pain. I leaned my head back, not wanting to look at what she was about to do. I felt a cut. There was a great deal of moisture. I could feel my muscle throbbing, burning. I didn’t think the situation could get any worse, and then I heard a knock at the door.
"Hi, Cece!” shouted a male voice.
My daughter looked through the door. "Get the fuck away from me!"
“Cece, please just open the door!” the voice asked frantically.
Cece looked at me with a questioning glance. “What do I do?”
“Is that Jason?”
Cece nodded.
“Open the door.”
She nodded with a sense of confidence. My daughter knew why I said what I did— we could trap him.
"Cece, please hear me out," said the male voice, he seemed on the verge of tears.
"Fine Jason, I'll hear you out.” Cece opened the door to the sight of a tall, muscular teen. “Why are you not in prison?"
"I left. I found God and I left."
What the fuck kind of answer was that? I couldn’t see his face, but judging by his build, I figured I could take him.
Cece seemed more annoyed than frightened. "And you came here?"
"Yes, I came to you. I was meant to come back for you. I never meant to hurt you. we’re the same, you and me."
Cece scoffed and turned away, "How?"
I knew what he meant; Jason was Hispanic, and that couldn't have been easy to live with, in Mississippi. Still, I gripped the knife by the blade. The craft-knife was in my wife's hand, still cutting into my bleeding thigh. "What do I do?" I asked out loud.
“What?” Marni gave me a look. I knew, if it was up to her we would have called the police before doing anything stupid.
The world froze, as the color from the scene slipped away like a photo. "Jamie stood over Cece, placing his hand upon her shoulder.
All while Leo stood at my side. "I can't tell you what to do. I can only tell you what I would do."
"Dear Lord, guide my hand, guide my soul." I would like to say I didn't remember what happened next but Jamie would not let me forget.
“I can’t believe you did that! You stabbed that kid with the same knife your wife used to cut open your balls!"
I apparently used my tiny weapon to cut open Jason’s neck, a fact that Jamie found hysterical. I awoke in a hospital bed, my body secured in what could only be described as a straightjacket. “All this for stabbing a kid with an exacto blade?”
"And your dick was just hanging out when the cops got there, omg! It was hilarious!"
In the bed next to mine was Jason. The kid had a trac in his neck, and his eye was swollen shut. Seeing the damage to his prefect face, I kind of hoped the mutilation was my doing. But knowing Marni I wouldn't put it past her to get a swing in. He started to cough, and wheeze, struggling for breath as he spoke, "A-Are you awake, sir?"
What the fuck? "What's it to you?"
"I know your heart is too weak for chemo."
I couldn't tell if that was a question or a statement. "What?"
"My dad," Jason said in a breath, it was clearly painful, forcing the words to form. Although I could not fully see his neck injury, I could hear the blood bubbling in his wound. "It was the same for him before he passed."
"Really?"
"I was nine when he passed of bone cancer. It was one of the reasons why Cece and I became best friends." His voice was cracking at the word, 'friends', making him sound younger than his nineteen years.
I wasn’t buying it. "What kind of person gang rapes his best friend?"
"Can I tell you the truth? Not even my lawyer wanted to know the truth."
"I'll take a summery." I wasn't about to let him plead for forgiveness if he was not even willing to take blame. I held my dying daughter in my arms; I had no pity to give or tears to cry. But even I had to admit, his answer was surprising.
"I sold my girlfriend's virginity for a couple grams of meth." He was not proud not was he ashamed.
"Ok," I said with a sigh. "You have my attention."
"I'm a piece of shit with a reserved seat next to Satan." In a raspy whisper, Jason told the story of how he had gotten drunk, high and attempted to barter with the only thing of value he had in his possession; his girlfriend. "My hot, Asian, cheerleader girlfriend…”
“That’s my daughter!”
“My beautiful angel of a girlfriend, who I knew would do anything to save my worthless ass."
That sounded like Cece. but the fact remained; all three attackers left behind DNA. "She told me what you and your friends did to her."
"Not my friends..."
"Fine, the people who apparently had your balls in a vice; would have let them kill my daughter?"
"No, sir, I swear.” Jason started to sob. “I have told you nothing but the truth so I’ll tell you the truth of why my DNA was found in the rape kit.” He paused to gather breath. “They had me go last; to tie her hands and feet while I hurt her. I raped her while one of the other guys was choking her. I made sure to leave her hands free. I knew she had the ability to break out of a car trunk. I figured if she could escape on the way to the dumpsite, she could make a run for it."
"Dumpsite? You were going to leave her for dead?”
"If she was dead when we arrived, I would have killed myself, to be with her.” Jason sounded sincere. “I love her, this was all an epic fuck up.”
"What happened when you made it to the dumpsite with an empty trunk?"
Jason held up his left hand, something I had not noticed before; he was missing three fingers. "One for each payment owed, plus a few more things I gave up voluntarily."
"Wow." I had to admit that gained him a few points in my book.
"Yeah, I wanted her to get as far away as possible." Jason went quiet. "A lot of what happened, what I did, my grandparents and my lawyers told me to just stay silent, so it wouldn't have to go on record."
That made sense; all the pieces were coming together. He came from an honorable family.
"I fucked up really bad. But I’m clean now. I got the help I needed, made my peace with God. I just wanted to see her. I never got to say I was sorry.”
Leo stood at my side. He was stroking my arm. He placed his lips to my ear, "Ask the kid how he knew Cece could break out of a trunk?" With each touch, I felt the restraints loosen.
I needed to have faith in Leo's plan. "How did you know she could free herself?"
"She told me you taught her," Jason said with a nod. "You took her camping, hunting, fishing- when you were in-state, and when you were on deployment you would give her projects."
I hadn't gone on vacation with Cece for years. The thought of it warmed my heart. She loved to talk, learn, just discover the world around her.
"I bet someone like you never fucked up."
I looked to Leo who had now freed my right arm. If I could get out of this bed, I could kill Jason. I still wanted to kill him for what he did. But the fact remained, he was someone’s child. "Your father had a port in his chest?"
"During his last few months of treatment, the doctors said the chemo would kill him but he wanted to keep fighting."
I sat up in bed, enough to turn my body to the side. I needed to get a good look at him, face to face, man to man. At that moment Jason looked genuinely pathetic. He was in fact, just a kid. I wished I could remember what Cece would have wanted. Would she want me to forgive him? Did she forgive him? "So, what now, Son? You're going to get sent back to Mississippi where you're going to do some hard time."
Jason nodded. "I know. I could have gone to Mexico. I was actually supposed to meet up with some guy that my grandparents hired to sneak me out of the country by way of Cuba or Canada. I don't even know. I never planned on going through with it. This was my plan all along. I wanted to see her one last time."
I didn’t know if that was romantic or creepy. I felt my other arm release. I could now get off the bed. I had a choice to make so I was going to make it.
“Can you please take me to see her dance? After that you can do whatever you want to me. I know you’re sick, you have nothing to lose. You can send me straight to hell.”
“How polite of you to assume I’m going to kill you,” I said with my southern charm. “Now I don’t have to feel bad about it.”
The boy gave a sad chuckle. “You never did. I don’t deserve to be alive.”
“Yeah, you don’t. But you are.”
Jason was sobbing.
Oh, my fucking God. "Let's get the fuck out of here."
“Really?”
I had no idea how I would even accomplish such a task. “I want you to apologize. That’s what your best friend, my daughter, deserves.” In truth, what Cece deserved was the chance to be the hero of her own life.
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