Taking the Long Ways Home

Eight in the morning, and it’s time for the blog post–but only after two hours and just over a thousand words of novel writing.  Yes, I’ve been a busy girl, mostly because I’m off to get my nails done in a couple of hours and I need time to get ready.

But first, I’ve had this on repeat for most of the morning:  Moby’s God Moving Over the Face of the Waters.  Pay no attention to what the video cover page says: this version is the one found on I Like to Score, and is the one used as the outro music running over the credits for the movie Heat.  There are have been a few moments when this has started the tears a-flowing, because I’m imagining scenes where this can be used in my coming stories, and likely will.  Funny how my mind works, isn’t it?

The scene is over, and this is the last you’ll see of the school in this book.  After this everything takes place beyond the grounds, and half of the next chapter has my kids finally back in Europe for the summer.  But this goodbye is different than the one in the last novel.  Because this time they’re not standing around surrounded by silence–this time they’re surrounded by friends:

 

This excerpt from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015, 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

Kerry chuckled as he kept his arm around Annie’s shoulders and pulled her closer. “What are you guys going to do next?”

Penny quickly checked her phone. “We’re all jaunting out at the bottom of the hour to Logan and then on to Heathrow and to the local station at Paddington. We’ll spend about an hour and a half there, then Alex and Kahoku are going their own separate ways.”

“It’s already past twenty hours in Savannakhet.” Kahoku spoke of his home town on the banks of the Mekong River in Laos. “I told my parents I’d be home no later than twenty-two thirty, so that gives Alex and me time to say goodbye.”

“You get home just in time to eat and adjust.” Alex gave him a peck on the cheek. “Lose a day going home, but at least you get it in a few months coming back.”

“What about you, Alex?” Annie figured the Ukrainian girl’s home was much like her own in terms of time changes.

“I’ll get into Kiev about eighteen-thirty, then fly home to Dubno. That should take me about an hour.” She sighed. “Just in time to eat, talk a little, and then adjust.”
Annie turned to Penny and Jario. “What about you?”

“I’ll be home, and Jario is almost on the same time as Salem, so we’ll hang out until about eighteen local before we head for home.” She gripped his hand. “That’ll give us almost four hours together. Then he jaunts back to Caracas, and I’ll fly home from London.”

“Venezuela’s a half-hour behind Salem because we’re right on the middle of one of the time lines, so it’ll be pretty much a normal day for me when I’m home: no adjusting needed.” Jario looked down as he smiled. “My case worker will be waiting for me at the airport to jaunt me home.”

“Mine does the same for me.” Kerry shrugged. “I don’t mind considering I gotta go like a thousand kilometers this time.”

Penny learned against Jario. “If you’d learned to fly, dear . . .”

“I did: I didn’t care for it.” He kissed Penny. “You girls are the fliers: I’m good with riding.”

“Just remember that.”

 

Now you see just how everyone is spread around the world, and even with being able to fly and teleport, getting from one place in the world to another is still gonna mess you up due to time changes.  This is how they play out:

B For Bewitching Time Zones Home

Party of Four going all over the world.

As you can see where their homes are concerned it’s still morning for Jario, late afternoon for Penny and Alex–and Annie and Kerry for that matter, too–and going into the evening for Kahoku.  And think about the A and B Levels that are still flying home:  this is why The Foundation starts shipping kids back to East Asia and Oceania just before midnight on the last Thursday at school.

And this is how the jaunts look.  First Penny and the other to London.

Just a leap over The Pond.

Just a leap over The Pond.

Then Alex heads home:

Homeward towards the Great Gates.

Homeward towards the Great Gates.

Followed by Kahoku, who has to go to the other side of the world:

Where it's a quick meal and off to sleep for that boy.

Where it’s a quick meal and off to sleep for that boy.

And lastly there’s Jario, who’s doubling back on everyone.

Can we say he's going Back to the Future?  Probably.

Can we say he’s going Back to the Future? Probably.

Even though they’re going home, does that mean everyone’s stuck on their little homeland islands.  Maybe not:

 

Annie shifted her gaze among the members of her group. “Are you still going to try and meet this summer?”

“Going to try.” Alex nodded toward the girl to her right. “Penny and I have plans, and Kahoku’s pretty sure he can get into Kiev at least once.”

“I’m probably going to jaunt down to South America to see my honey.” Penny smiled at the blushing boy at her side. “I shouldn’t have any problems flying from the airport to his home town.”

Kahoku appeared sad for a moment. “It’d be nice if we could all meet up this summer.”

Penny grunted. “Yeah. Even though it’s getting easier to use to the jaunt stations now, it’s kinda hard at times to work out everything when we’re spread all through the world.”

“We should do something one summer.” Kerry’s face lit up as his mind worked out possibilities. “I mean, after we finish our C Levels Annie and I will be able to access the jaunt systems without needing permission from our parents, so that would make it easier for us to get around. Maybe not next summer, but the summer after that—”

“I agree.” Annie believe she knew where Kerry was going with his impromptu plan. “And not just a one day get together: maybe something for the a few weeks.”
Alex tilted her head slowly to one side. “Like what? Backpacking?”

Kerry laughed. “Or backbrooming.”

“Like the Polar Express.” Penny laughed. “I could see that.”

Annie nodded. “We should start working on that next year.”

Penny nodded back. “We will.”

 

First we see that once the kids are past their C Levels they’re permitted to use the Jaunt System without parental controls, and you know what that means?  Sounds like a certain couple will be hooking up for lunch and more in another year.  Kerry has a local station that will take him to London, or he could just jet off and be there in under an hour.  Annie as well:  she’s 150 km from Sofia and could fly to the airport in under thirty minutes.  And just imagine what it’ll be like when they start jaunting on their own–won’t be able to keep them apart.

As for Annie and Kerry’s idea of “backbrooming” with the other four–yep, that’ll happen one day.  Probably.  Maybe.  Could be.  Just not any time soon.  But you know I already have something in mind.

With all this out of the way, there remains only one last goodbye–

 

“And with that you should get going so you don’t miss your jaunt.” Annie gave Penny a hug. “Take care.”

“You, too, Annie.” Everyone began hugging and shaking hands, wishing each other a good summer holiday. Annie and Kerry waved their goodbyes to their friends as the four walked off the floor and vanished down the stairs, leaving them alone on the second floor.

Annie gave a near silent mummer. “Well, we’re one of the last in the coven—again.”

“Only this time—” Kerry turned and examined the empty, silent floor. “I don’t feel as sad as I did last year.”

“That’s because we knew we wouldn’t be returning to the first floor. Next year we’re back here, but when it comes time to say our goodbyes to our C Levels—” She rested against Kerry’s shoulder. “I imagine we’ll feel the sadness once more.”

“Probably.” He turned to her. “We have a lot to do next year.”

She nodded. “All new classes and a group of B Levels to help transition out of the fishbowl.”

“Uhh.” Kerry rolled his eyes. “Don’t say ‘transition’.”

“Don’t worry, my love.” Annie chuckled as she kissed her nervous soul mate. “I’ll be here to help you through that as well. After all—” She pulled down the neck of her blouse just enough to allow Kerry a peek at her glowing medical monitor. “We’re connected; I’m not going anywhere.”

He kissed her lips. “I’d never let you leave.”

“I’d never want to leave.” They stared at each other in silence for nearly fifteen seconds before Annie stated the obvious. “Come on: we have more goodbyes to say. I want to catch Professor Semplen before he returns home.”

“Yeah, we should get going.” He slipped his backpack over both shoulders and set it in place. “Let’s do this.”

Annie secured her purse strap around her body. “Lets.”

They walked hand-in-hand to the stair landing, turning just before exiting the floor, and spent a few silent moments regarding the place that was their home for the last nine months. Kerry raised his right hand and gave a small wave. “Take care, and see you next year.”

Annie offered a smile as she looked in the direction of her former room. “Goodbye and farewell. And thank you for the memories.”

Together their turned and slowly descended the stairs, leaving their latest home behind, but not forgotten.

 

No tears this time, no feelings of melancholy, because next year they’ll be back on the same floor, only a little closer to the stairs.  It’ll be interesting to see them “helping” the new kids when they move up into the B Area–not that the can’t handle being leaders, but it’s almost as if they’re getting one more duty stacked on top of all the crap they’ll already have waiting for them.  When you show everyone you’re a cut above the rest, you are expected to prove that point.

And with that we say goodbye to Salem and hello to a little place right on the water–

Amsterdam Farewell: A Final Goodbye

Well, that is that.  I’ve been writing for the last hour and a half, working my way through the end of this scene, and It hasn’t been a happy moment for me.  Mostly because, just like Kerry at the end, I gave in to the inevitable and went with the fact there wouldn’t be any happy moments in this last thousand or so words.  It’s the last time in just over four hundred thousand words that my kids are together, and it’s not a good time.  There were no tears from me, but it’s a sad time when you have to pull apart this couple on Valentine’s Day.

There was the question, “Who called out Kerry’s name?” and that’s where this picks up.  Because of course it does . . .

 

All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)

Kerry.”

There was his name again, being called by a voice he knew so well. He turned to see Annie standing close by with someone else. “Kerry, there’s someone I’d like you to meet: this is my mother.” She stepped slightly to one side with her attention on the older woman. “Mama, this is Kerry Malibey.”

Pavlina Kirilova held out her hand. “I’m pleased to meet you, Kerry.”

He shook and tried to look happy. “Pleased to meet you, Mrs. Kirilova.” He half-turned to the women on his right. “This is Ms. Rutherford, my case worker.”

“Bernice Rutherford, Mrs. Kililova” She shook Annie’s mother’s hand. “Pleased to meet you.”

“Pleased to meet you. You’re to take care of Kerry?”

Ms. Rutherford nodded. “Um, hum. That’s the plan.”

“I hope you do a good job.” Pavlina cast a glance at her daughter standing on her right. “Otherwise you may hear from someone I know well.” Annie’s eyes half-closed as she cast a perturbed glance at her mother.

 

Annie’s mom, Pavlina, really loves to get those digs in on her daughter.  It’s as if she knows exactly how much in love Annie is, and she’s doing her best to say, in a passive-aggressive fashion, that not taking care of Kerry means having to deal with the Wrath of Annie.  Not that Annie would do anything to Ms. Rutherford if something were to happen to Kerry, but . . .

And just to show the Lovey Dovey Couple just how much she does know–

 

Pavlina ignored her daughter’s stare and instead spent a few seconds taking in the person before her. “I finally get to meet the Ginger Hair Boy in person.”

Kerry chuckled. “Yeah, Annie told me you know about that.”

“What else did she tell you?”

He examined Annie’s mother as he tried to come up with the correct answer. Annie’s got her mom’s face and hair, but her cheeks are a little different—as are her eyes. She got those from her dad. “Just—a lot of different things. I know how long you’ve known about me.”

She smirked. “Not quiet as long as you’ve known Annie.”

Annie was on the verge of rolling her eyes. “Mama.”

 

Yes, throw that out that you know of their dream time together, and how Young Annie would talk about her Ginger Hair Boy.  Because it’s not like they need any more reminders that they’re about to split up for the summer . . .

 

“It’s all right, dear—” Her face softened as she smiled. “I’m just having a bit of fun with your young man.” She turned to her daughter. “We have to be going; your father is waiting for us.” Pavlina turned back to Kerry. “You must understand, given the time, we’re expected for dinner.”

Kerry knew that given it was almost twenty hours, a lot of people were expecting to have dinner as soon as they arrived home—himself included. “I understand.”

“I hope that one day you can come visit Annie in Pamporovo.” Pavlina’s eyes cast downward for just a moment, as if she didn’t want to say what was coming next. “Not this year, but maybe one summer.”

“I would like that.” Kerry looked Annie, and watched as she her face hardened into a mask of impassiveness. “I’d like that a lot.”

Annie didn’t take her eyes off Kerry. “I would like that as well, Mama.”

“Maybe next year, then.” She adjusted her purse on her shoulder. “Take care, Kerry. Have a good holiday.”

“Thank you, Mrs. Kirilova.”

“Come along, Annie.” Pavlina turned away and took two steps—

 

And being the dutiful daughter that she is–

 

Annie wasn’t following, however, She took two steps in Kerry’s direction, instead. “I have to go.”

“I know.” Kerry fought to keep from breaking down in front of Annie’s mother, as he’d promised.

Annie held out her right hand. “Have a good holiday, my . . .” She caught herself before she said the next word.

Kerry reached out with his left hand and took Annie’s. He was oblivious to all those standing around him: he didn’t care that Ms. Rutherford and Mrs. Kirilova were watching him with the girl he loved. He only wanted to touch her for one last time . . . “Have a good holiday, Annie. See you in—” His voice hitched as he forced himself to continue. “See you in August.”

“Yes.” Annie’s voice dropped slightly as her face grew less impassive and began to show what she was feeling. “See you in August. Don’t forget to write.”

“I won’t.”

“Come along, Anelie.” Pavlina motioned for her daughter to follow. “We must go.”

Annie gave Kerry’s hand one final squeeze. “Goodbye, Kerry.”

He squeezed back. “Goodbye, Annie.” He released her hand and watched in silence as she turned and took her place at her mother’s right side. They entered the concourse, turned to the left, and walked away.

 

And there she goes, not to be seen until the very last scene of the novel.

Naturally Kerry is taking this well–which is why Ms. Rutherford hustles his away from the waiting area to the special areas The Foundation keeps for their people.

 

They stood in another of the “airlocks” that Kerry has seen as San Francisco International Airport. He figured there was a bank of escalators on the other side of the doors he was facing and having trouble seeing because his vision was blurring due to the film of tears forming over his eyes. He waited for Ms. Rutherford to open the door so they could leave, so he could take the escalators down under the airport and find the station and do . . . whatever they were going to do . . . Go home. Return to the place he’d been nine months before. By himself. Alone . . .

He felt an arm lay across his shoulders and pull him into soft, dark cloth and hold him close as he screamed out his frustration. He wrapped his arms around his support, crying in anguish over what he’d just lost. He finally glanced away from where he’d buried himself and looked up into the face of Ms. Rutherford. “Why does it hurt so much? Why?”

“It hurts because you’ve lost something, Kerry.” She directed them to the row of seats along one wall and sat. “You see, when you’re in love—deeply in love—it’s more than just emotional or physical: it’s always spiritual, and when you reach that level of commitment, you give a part of yourself, your essence, to that person.

“When you’re together you don’t notice this, because you’re still in close proximity to this part of your being. But when you are about to become separated by a significant distance, you feel it leaving you. The pain inside is that part of your essence that Annie has taken with her.” Ms. Rutherford lay her hand across Kerry’s wet cheek. “There’s one thing you need to know, however.”

Kerry sniffed back the discharge from his nose. “What’s that?”

“Annie felt the same thing. Did you see her face as she was preparing to leave? I know she’s good at hiding her feelings, but even I could tell she was hurting there before she left with her mother.” She patted Kerry’s shoulder. “She’s left behind a piece of her essence inside you, and while she may not show her pain in the same fashion as you, she feels it, Kerry. Right now she feels every moment of being away from you.”

 

If there is one thing Kerry has going right, it’s that there are better mother figures for him than his mother.  His mother wouldn’t have held him or spoken to him that way, because–well, trust me,  She wouldn’t.  It’s not that she’s a stone cold bitch, it’s simply that she, like her husband, don’t get their son.  As he pointed out, they don’t understand why he’s so emotional, why he’s such a geek, why he’s not like all the other boys his age.  And if they were to hear about his love affair with The Dark Witch of Pamporovo, it’s likely there’d be a massive amount of eye rolling and statements like, “You’re too young to understand!” thrown in his direction instead of a little tenderness and hugging to help him though the loneliness.

Nothing left to say here, save this:

 

Ms. Rutherford dug into her large purse and pulled out a handkerchief. “Here, dry your eyes and clean up your face. I can’t take you back to your parents looking as if I’ve abused you.”

He chuckled as he wiped himself clean. “How much do you know about Annie and me?”

“Everything. As your case worker I’ve read your counseling reports—” She smiled as a concerned look appeared on Kerry’s face. “Don’t worry: all your secrets are safe with me. Nothing will be discussed unless you want to discuss them.”

“Thanks.” He returned the handkerchief back. “I don’t want them seeing this, either.” He shrugged, getting his backpack comfortable. “Almost done now, aren’t we?”

“Another twenty minutes or so, yes.” Ms. Rutherford straightened a few things in her bag. “Do you want to eat before we leave?”

Kerry shook his head. “No.” He slowly stood and tilted his head slightly to the left. “No point in putting this off—

“Let’s go home.”

 

Yes, Kerry:  it’s time to go.

Don't worry, kids.  It's only a matter of time before I get you back together--so you can be separated at the end of the school year.

Don’t worry, kids. It’s only a matter of time before I get you back together–so you can be separated at the end of the school year.

The Year From the Bench

There was finally writing last night, all of one thousand, one hundred, and seventy-six words writing.  But it was done.  I let the TV run in the background and I kept working away at the story, and after two hours I finally managed to bring the scene to a close.

It’s all about the goodbyes, and some of the things that the kids are admitting to each other.  There is, however, a lot of silence, and when they do speak–well, you know how these two are by now . . .

 

All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)

After a couple of minutes of lingering in the silence, Annie felt the need to express what was on her mind. “I know I said I wouldn’t let our separation bother us, but . . .” She clutched Kerry’s arm. “I will. I know I will.”

“I will, too.” Kerry lay his head against Annie’s. “But you already knew that.”

“I did.” She chuckled softly. “You’ve told me that several times in the last few weeks.”

He breathed deeply a few time, then snickered. “We were here the first night, when we came in.”

“I remember. I told you I loved you.” She looked across Kerry’s shoulder into his eyes. “You kissed me.”

“Yeah. First time that either of those happened to me.” He gently kissed Annie on the lips. “And I love you even more now that we’re leaving nine months later. Right here on our bench.”

“It is our bench.” Annie kissed her soul mate back. “No matter how long we life, it will always be ours.”

“You once told me that you’d remember your twelfth birthday a hundred years from now—”

“I did.” She wrapped her arm around Kerry’s body and snuggled against him. “I stand by that.”

Kerry still found the statement a little hard to believe, even if he was now aware that there was a good possibility that Annie was right, that they’d both live to see that moment . . . “I believe you. I also believe we come back here in a hundred years, this bench will be waiting for us.”

“And we’re do what we’re doing now: kissing—” Annie kissed Kerry once more. “—and reaffirming our love.”

 

A year ago on this spot he struggled to keep his emotions in check–now, it’s all about being with Annie and loving her this 1 June morning.  And, apparently, living another hundred years.  Which is could tell if you if happened, but . . . spoilers.

But they can’t stay on the bench forever–

Mostly because Kerry forgot to conjure a pink balloon.

Mostly because Kerry forgot to conjure a pink balloon.

–Which means it’s time to head off to the Great Hall, where they run into someone else . . .

 

They had just stepped out of the West Transept and were turning towards the Dining Hall when they heard a familiar voice. “Kerry.” They both stopped and turned as Emma approached from the east side of the Rotunda. “You going to eat?”

“Yep.” He squeezed Annie’s hand. “Last breakfast this school year.”

“Yeah, I just finished . . .” She eyed Annie for a few seconds before turning to Kerry. “Just wanted to wish you a good vacation, and check to see if you got my Skype address okay.”

“Yeah, I got that.” Emma had emailed him her Skype address last week; he’d mentioned it to Annie while they were on their flight on Graduation Day. “Don’t know if I’ll get much of a chance to chat, thought—”

“I know: seven hour time difference.” Emma shrugged. “If you can, that’s cool.”

“We’ll see what happened.” He wasn’t just saying that because Annie was standing next to him; he meant it. Seven hours difference would make conversation difficult, he’d either be speaking with her late in the afternoon or early in the morning his time. He simply didn’t think he’d find the right window to link up.

 

This is about as brave as anything Emma’s ever done.  Flying almost two miles above sea level?  That’s nothing compared to asking, “Did you get my Skype address?” with the Dark Witch girlfriend starting at you.  And Annie is being silent, and Emma senses that all is not well with her nervous looks in her direction.

But wait!  There’s more!

 

“Yeah. Um . . .” Her eyes darted towards Annie once more. “I was wondering: Vicky said she’s gonna pair people up in Advanced Flight, and I was wondering . . .”

He’d been expecting this question ever since Vicky confirmed they’d both be in Advanced Flight One. “I’ll be your wingmate.”

Emma’s surprise was mixed with delight. “Really?”

“Sure, why not? We’ve proved that we can work well together, and—” He chuckled as he turned to Annie. “Vicky will probably pair us anyway.”

Annie nodded. “I think you’re right. And you are right: you both work well together—” Emma smiled broadly as Annie turned her gaze in the girl’s direction. “In the air.”

It wasn’t difficult to pick up the slight inflection in Annie’s voice, and though Emma seemed a bit rattled by the statement, she continued smiling. “I guess . . .” Emma shrugged. “This is it for the year.”

Kerry titled his head slightly to the right. “I thought your bus doesn’t leave until ten?”

“It doesn’t, but I have a couple of things left to pack. By the time I do that and clean up, it’ll be time to gather in the Atrium.” She looked as if she were about to lean in and hug Kerry, then caught herself and waved. “Take care, Kerry; have a good vacation.”

“You too, Emma.” Kerry waved back. “Enjoy your holiday.”

“I will.” She looked to Annie before turning away. “Have a good vacation, Annie.”

“You as well, Emma.’ Annie made no effect to wave. “Enjoy your holiday, and we’ll see you next year.”

 

Yes, Emma:  we’ll see you next year.  Oh, and have a good time with Kerry–in the air.  Well, Annie could have said, “Keep your lips to yourself, bitch,” and made blood gush out of Emma’s nose–which, honestly, would have made for a great scene . . .

Even Captain Clueless caught the shade:

 

Once Emma was gone from sight Kerry half-turned towards Annie. “I saw what you did there.”

“You did?” She grinned slyly.

“Yeah: ‘You work well in the air’.”

“And only in the air.” Annie smile was bright, but her eyes were filled with complete seriousness. “She needs to remember that.”

Kerry chuckled and gently tugged Annie in the direction of the Dining Hall. “Why do I have this feeling you’re going to be waiting for me at the end of each of those classes?”

“Because most likely I will.” They entered the Dining Hall and headed for their old A Level table on the other side of the room.

 

And that’s about as much of a warning as Emma will ever get.  Dark Witches from Bulgaria don’t screw around, and next time they’ll be action should Emma try anything.  Which Kerry wouldn’t allow.  Trust me.

But do you think the strangeness is over?  Ha!  You don’t know me very well.

 

They were almost halfway across the room when Professor Salden approached them. “I figured I’d find you here.”

“Hello, Professor.” Kerry was still a little unsure if he should still address her by here title, or call her by her given name.

She sent him straight instantly. “Oh, please: we’re not in school right now.” She took in both children. “You’re in the European group—”

“Yes, we are.” Annie’s right eyebrow lifted slowly. “Why?”

“Supposed to leave at fifteen-thirty?”

Kerry nodded slowly. “Yeah.”

“No.” Erywin minutely shook her head. “Change of plans.”

Annie’s appearance expressed her confusion. “What happened?”

“Problem with the hotel in Boston—they apparently lost your reservation.”

“Lost?” Kerry chuckled. “How’d they lose that?”

“Not certain, but these things happen from time to time.” Erywin lowered the tone of her voice slight. “Anyway, we’re managed to secure you special accommodations, so don’t leave with the rest of the European students; come to the Atrium at seventeen-twenty instead. We’ll leave shortly after.” Erywin turned away and caught herself. “Don’t worry about your luggage; it’s being transferred to come with us.” She nodded once. “Understand?”

Neither child were all that certain if they truly understood, but they both nodded slowly, with Annie answering for them both. “Yes, Erywin.”

“Good. See you this afternoon.” She spun on her heel and left the Dining Hall.

Kerry frowned a few seconds after the professor had left them, then turned to Annie. “What was that about?”

“I don’t know.”

“Do you really think they messed up our reservations?”

Annie smirked as she looked at Kerry through half-closed eyes. “Do you?”

 

I’m with Kerry:  how did the hotel lose their reservation?  This is The Foundation we’re speaking of here:  they lose nothing!  And even the kids are buying this bullshit, so whatever lie Erywin is peddling, it’s not a good one.  And probably not just hers.

So what are these “special accommodations”?  Wouldn’t you know it–that’s the title of the next scene.

Departing on Your Own Fantasies

Chapter Twelve of Suggestive Amusements came to an end sometime last night, at the end of what I can only call a long day.  Writing at the end of the day, as I was, usually leads to a mild case of creative burnout, but I never felt that way.  If anything, by eleven-thirty PM, I was still awake, though I could feel the exhaustion starting to close in on me.

Even then, it seemed to take me forever to fall asleep.

Keith’s days with his company came to an end, and he spent the time telling his manager and the company’s HR flack what he was going to do, and what they needed to do to prevent the loosing of a viral meme that would eventually declare them, “Gigantic Assholes of Sin City”.  The company backs down, Keith removes his things from his Cubical of Hell, he leave down the elevator, and the HR flack is left hearing something coming from said elevator that tells him, in no uncertain terms, that they lost their asses in the latest conflict between company and employee.

I will admit that, at the very end of the story, this was something I wish I’d done when I was leaving my last former position.  I’ve stated that when I was told my position was being eliminated, I felt a wave of relief that I’d no long visit that dump.  At the same time, there was the urge to leave a little of me behind as I was walking out the door–something that someone would probably bring up a few weeks down the line, by mentioning my name and saying, “Can you believe they said that?”

That didn’t happen, probably because deep down, I’m not the sort of person who can do what Keith did.  Which is a shame, because each of us has an inner Lester Burnham who they’d like to turn loose as they’re being let go from a place of employment, so they can dish out something tasty before they’re sent on their way.

The closest I’ve actually come to that point was when I caught up in a massive layoff at a company where I’d worked for over thirteen years.  I was brought into a room filled with seven or eight people, told what was happening, and was then told I’d sign a paper that would prevent me from coming after the company for anything if I wanted to receive $19,000 in severance and a year’s worth of medical insurance; don’t sign, and I’d leave the company with two weeks pay and nothing else.

I signed and was then told goodbye.  I got up, and as I reached the door, I stopped and turned around, then told the assembled, “You guys are lucky I’m on meds,” which I was taking at the time for depression.  It was at that point that someone in the room followed me to my cubical, watched me closely as I cleaned out my possessions, then walked me to my car.  They didn’t leave my sight until I pulled out of my parking spot . . .

Not that I actually would have done anything, but sometimes it’s good to keep the suckers guessing.

With this part of the story out of the way, now comes the strangeness, and I do mean that.  Well, maybe:  your strange is just another day in my imagination.  I mean, I find werewolf gangbangs to be pretty strange, and not at all erotic, but I’m certain there are a few people out there who find those pretty normal–

I think we can all agree on furies, though . . .