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Ask A Therapist

2015.12.24 14:13 Quindi Ask A Therapist

A supportive community to ask questions and engage in discussion about mental health-related matters with therapists on Reddit. This sub does not replace seeing a therapist and the information provided is for resource and entertainment purposes only.

2012.09.15 11:29 anti-realist Relic Knights

A community for fans of Relic Knights

2015.09.01 07:11 Toothless_Night_Fury Top-Quality 5E Homebrew

BoH5e is dead, the UnearthedArcana Curated List is its effective, and vastly more up-to-date, replacement:

2023.03.20 23:35 NevilleHarris “Playoff strips” for season ticket holders who added seats for 23-24?

Know this only applies to a specific segment of us but wondering if anyone knows a timeline on this? My ticket rep told me if I added tickets to my season ticket account for 23-24, I’d have the opportunity to get that many seats as a “playoff strip” for the upcoming playoffs as well.
Does everyone else have that same understanding, and does anyone know the timeline on when that will all happen?
submitted by NevilleHarris to denvernuggets [link] [comments]

2023.03.20 23:35 Queer_and_Confused1 My partner’s boss makes my skin crawl.

My (f19) partner (m20, call him Tyler) works at a well known Mexican fast food franchise. Has been working there since april last year and got promoted to a manager in January. I give him rides to work every day and he tells me a lot that goes on at his job. Since being promoted he has been forced to work the worst and longest shifts (closing) with very little staffing. I sometimes visit my partner to bring him food. This is where the problem started 6 or so months ago when I stopped by and brought Tyler Starbucks and was talking to him for a few minutes in the hallway. Tyler’s boss (f30s, call her Casey) comes over and gives me the most ominous dagger eyes I have seen in my life. Tells him there’s no time for chit chat to get back to work. Nearly grabs his arm and pulls him back into the kitchen.
Tyler tells me that everyone at work knows about me and how pretty, cool, and amazing I am. I am acquainted with some in the restaurant including a manager. The occasional “hey, what’s up OP!” when I pick him up. And Casey (the GM) is very well liked and considered to be a cool boss that treats everyone like family. The relationship she has with these young adult employees is almost like she thinks she is in her 20s. However, Casey has made it very clear through nasty looks and refusing to speak to me ever (literally, I speak directly to her and she walks away) that she dislikes me. Tyler is aware that she dislikes me.
Fast forward, Tyler is getting promoted to a manager, and I notice Casey is constantly texting him which I expected since he has to learn A LOT and do certification and training. (Ex. I believe in you!! :) 🫶🏼” it struck me a little odd that she acts so affectionate toward him and other employees. I then found out that she frequently hugs employees. Then found out she has hugged Tyler without his consent. Casey also started constantly just gifting her vapes to Tyler like once a week he would bring one home from her. At that point I was kinda freaked out and afraid Casey is a creep. I just get this sick to my stomach feeling. I was groomed, manipulated, and assaulted by a boss before and I started becoming suspicious of Casey’s intentions. She very possibly could mean well and I’m overthinking. But it’s this gut feeling.
A few weeks ago I confronted Tyler’s best friend (m20, call him Mason) after him blatantly flirting with me for a long time and then sending me a music album about being in love with someone who loves someone else. I kept this from Tyler in an attempt to protect him and I know that is very wrong and I should have came to him first. But I was starting to question if I had a crush on Mason, but ruled that possibility out after talking to him and realizing I just enjoy having things in common with him that I don’t have in common with Tyler. He denied having feelings for me, so I considered it settled. Win for everyone. 2 days later after dropping Tyler off at work Mason shows up to his job and audibly tells Tyler that I told him I’ve had feelings for him the whole time. Mason told rest of the friend group and one friend piped up that i have a crush on him as well (I spoke to this man once asking about his tattoo) Mason drives Tyler to our house where I am and Tyler confronts me. I explain what actually happened, apologizing, Tyler goes back and gets time to think. Comes home later, we talk more, he forgives me. Then tells me his entire friend group does not want to be near me again. That Casey heard everything, texted him that she was going to “fuck me up” and offered to leave the workplace to come with him and confront me at our house.
Frequently since then Casey has been urging Tyler that he can do better than me. Today they had a manager meeting and I noticed Casey sitting in her car staring directly at me as I am pulling my car out of the parking lot with Tyler to go home. She is freaky and I actually get the feeling she wants me out of the picture. Why? I don’t know but it seems as though she wants to get closer to my partner, her employee, and I am in the way
TL;DR: my partners boss threatened to hurt me and I am afraid she is trying to groom him
submitted by Queer_and_Confused1 to TrueOffMyChest [link] [comments]

2023.03.20 23:35 Curious_Case_9669 NSCAD ID found.

I was out walking on near the spring gardens and I found a NSCAD ID with a Halifax Upass sticker on it. First Name Harper.
Let me know if your named Harper and if your missing it, I'll need your day of birth and your student identification number before I meet with you.
I'm only in town for a day, so I'll drop it off at the NSCAD office tomorrow afternoon.
submitted by Curious_Case_9669 to halifax [link] [comments]

2023.03.20 23:35 Breakyourniconiconii He took my phone and took pictures of himself

Literally the title. I haven’t spoken to him since January and I was mostly over him after finding out he has (had? Idk if they’re still together) a gf. But we talked today.
We used to have Spanish class together where we had this caddy thing to put our phones in. I’m too short to reach where mine was supposed to go so I asked him to grab it as he’s tall. He was gonna take pictures on my phone but I snatched it first without thinking because I didn’t want him going through my stuff, forgetting I had a password. I really regretted not letting him do it afterward.
So fast forward to now, he was talking to his friend who sits near me. His friend and I get along and we used to be pretty close friends so we still talk sometimes. I ended up talking with my crush and his friend. Idk where his friend went but he ended up disappearing leaving my crush to talk with me and my friend.
I say my phone on my desk and I was talking to my friend and went to grab my phone and he went to grab it too. Later I sat my phone down again and I let him take it (again, password, so I wasn’t worried) and he said we had the same kinda phone so it ain’t like he thought it was his (also my phone case says my first and last name on it)
My friend gave me a look (she doesn’t know I like him) and I just shrugged and said “it’s not like he knows my password” so me, her, her friends, and my crush continued the convo as my crush took pictures of himself on my phone.
I thought he was just taking a bunch of pictures of the desk to annoy me but I checked my phone at lunch after that class and saw a bunch of pictures of him.
I just had to say sum to someone because I’ve had a crush on him for months and recently got over him. I actually started liking a different guy. But this interaction with him today made me like him again.
I wanna get over him for good as I’m not sure wether or not he’s still with his gf and I’d never wanna interfere with that. His gf is super nice and I’d never do that to anyone no matter if I hated them or not.
But, if he’s single, what should I do? Any tips on that or how to get over him ?
submitted by Breakyourniconiconii to Crushes [link] [comments]

2023.03.20 23:34 sk-Robogiraffe [OC] [Art] Saviors of the Wine - CoS party

*We are mid-campaign in Curse of Strahd. Please refrain from possible spoilers*
Our group was overdue for a new party portrait, given some changes, a death, our added helper, and a new addition to the party. This is one of my more ambitious pieces, and I feel I learned a thing or two making it. Drawn entirely in Clip Studio Paint.
Nikolai, our dear NPC friend and helper.
Realm (me) and her ghosts. Tabaxi phantom rogue on a mission to find and bring home her missing son.
Daeril and his robot, Toothless. A moon elf artificer on the run from his fiery past.
Candy, the sweet undead child. An elf druid who seemingly came back to life to enact revenge for a long-ago tragedy.
and Limerick, wings out. Our lycanthropic tabaxi bard who recently lost the love of his life to the terrors of Barovia.
And of course, there's man who brought us all together:
Strahd von Zarovich
submitted by sk-Robogiraffe to DnD [link] [comments]

2023.03.20 23:34 Mental_Mausoleum I can't stop feeling used by her

I've had no-one for so long. I've lived without even the most basic emotional intimacy for practically all of my life. She was the first person who nearly made me feel accepted.
Yet the more I think about it, and maybe I've been thinking about it too much, I can't escape the notion that I was always a little disposable to her. Now maybe she didn't even realise that herself, but I cannot get past the sense that she was always just trying to distract herself from an already broken heart, instinctively knowing on some level that this thing with me wasn't necessarily going anywhere. And then once she had healed, she dropped me like it was nothing because she was never in as deep as I was.
No-one else has ever made me cry. No-one else has made me taste what being human feels like as she did. It hurts so much. To live in total silence, then briefly hear the faint song, imagining that it's coming closer and closer, only for it to be totally snuffed out without warning. As if there was never anything there in the first place.
submitted by Mental_Mausoleum to SuicideWatch [link] [comments]

2023.03.20 23:34 Hot-Investigator-409 Hello world. M20, lost in space, likes to talk to someone

Feel free sending DMs, tell me about you. Tell me your story. Feel happy and sad at the same time right now. May you ask me anything. Im open for nearly everyrhing i guess. Otherwise just have a good time :) Excited to hear from you. Regards your space explorer
submitted by Hot-Investigator-409 to textfriends [link] [comments]

2023.03.20 23:34 Beginning-Many-292 Groomer Recommendations in Rochester

Hey all! I've got 2 cats and a Bull mix dog. I'd like to take them to a locally owned business, preferably located somewhat near me (Greece).
Does anyone have any experience with a local, reasonably priced groomer? I'd love to gather this community's recommendations. Thank you!
submitted by Beginning-Many-292 to Rochester [link] [comments]

2023.03.20 23:34 WrittenOutput 35 [M4F] EST/absolutely anywhere - Let's do shadow work together.

The nine of cups shot out of my hand. That happened to you too, didn't it? It probably didn't play out exactly like what I'm imagining. I feel like I'm right, though. I want to be right. More than usual. Usually I just need to be right because I'm doomed if I'm wrong. I know you may not be the one. But I know you might be. I'm pretty sure you feel the same way. Why aren't you smiling? Why haven't you put your hand out for me to kiss? Let's do this. My thumb goes on the outside. This is how I prefer to hold hands. Not that it matters.
Was I humble enough? You said money doesn't matter. Tiger agrees. He has no use for money. He doesn't waste his time thinking about it. I count it for him. Shred it up and line his cage with it. It's what he wants me to do. I'm not allowed to keep any of the money. Neither are you. It's just what he wants me to do, Darling. Maybe I can take a few for myself tomorrow. I shouldn't, though. He'll be so angry. It will disappoint Tiger. You don't seem to mind. I probably shouldn't either. You know best, right? Lucky me. The luckiest clown in the world.
My name is Lucas Outman and I'm a bit of a pothead. That's how he introduced himself to me. He was fired out of a cannon at the age of seventeen. His big sister, Bisque Bitterling, was The Ringmaster's wife-to-be. Darling, you already know this story. You were there. You watched the whole thing happen right before your eyes. I don't mind talking about it. Tiger let me keep my tongue and most of my mouth. I can talk just fine. Can't write so well as I used to what with all the missing fingers. You trained the seals, Darling. That was your job title, anyway. I never got you anywhere near the ocean. I let you down.
Remember, you told me I could trust you. But it has to go the way I want it to. It can't be anything else. I won't apologize for it. The Family View ran things. Don, Emma Lee, sweet Olive. It was kind of all a big joke to them. It would be rude to ask me what my name is now. Were any of The Beatles gay? I had an inkling. Doesn't matter. They were woke as fuck, though. Who's going to drive me to the hospital when it happens? This is the kind of thing I'm worried about lately. It's perfectly normal. Just not very pleasant. It's not much fun at all to worry. What is life without it, though? Who am I?
Luke loved his flapjacks. Any kind of breakfast was the trick for him. He gave himself permission to eat anything he wanted. He led the group. It didn't matter where you were from, really. It was like having a father for a bunch of kids who grew up on their own. I like how it tastes, talking about this with you again. Gone are the days.
submitted by WrittenOutput to R4R40Plus [link] [comments]

2023.03.20 23:33 hamiltoniarz Help me choose the best deal

After your earlier recommendations I read additional reviews and guides / user reviews and I decided that I want Sebo vacuum.
I would like to hear your opinion about deals offered to me by my local dealer in my country in Europe (EU): 1) Sebo E1 Boost - 327 USD ( kombi nozzle, 900watt with option for short 1200w boost) 2) Sebo K-1 Activ ( with Kombi nozzle and turbo brush) - 320 USD, 3) SEBO E3 Komfort - 463 USD (only Kombi nozzle, no powerhead in this version, but it can be added later).
I have small apartment with most hardfoors and one shaggy area carpet 2m X 1,5m (5cm tile). No pets.
What would you choose? I don't have any experience with SEBO vacuums. Budget for 1) and 2) is acceptable. 3) is above the preferred budget however I can decide to go for it if it will be much better or if powerhead will be necessary for carpet
submitted by hamiltoniarz to VacuumCleaners [link] [comments]

2023.03.20 23:33 knottyquilter Bing is family.

Bing is family. submitted by knottyquilter to h3h3productions [link] [comments]

2023.03.20 23:33 Hakmanrock Estou cansado de Jente burra.

Oque não quero diser com gente burra!
Não estou falando sobre quem escreve errado em comentários de Internet, ou até mesmo por alguma razão outra não saiba escrever direito. Também nem todo mundo precisar ser um gênio da matemática, nem saber nome de todos ossos do corpo (eu não sei) . Não estou falando de pessoas que não sabem de algo por falta de informação.
Oque quero dizer com Jente burra.
Pessoas que por algumas razão acha que seus achismos valem de alguma coisa. Todos temos achismos mas oque vc realmente não sabe apenas pensa algo sobre a pessoa tem estar disposta a aceitar que o achismo dela é só isso msm, não vale nada.
Eu sei.
Eu sei que é querer demais que pessoas usem logica básica antes de sair falando as coisas. Poucas coisas nesse mundo me irrita, mas falta de lógica me irrita profundamente.
Eu sou uma pessoa que desde de pequeno gosto de aprender um pouco sobre diversos assuntos. Então sei falar um pouco sobre várias coisas o sufiente pra saber oque eu não sei e sufiente pra saber quando a pessoa estar falando nada com nada .. então quando apresento um argumento que quebra oque a pessoa acabou de falar e a pessoa vem com falta de lógica básica ou puro ad hominem sinceramente não fico irritado com nenhum insulto direcionado a mim ainda mais de pessoas que nem me conhecem, mas o fato dela preferir me insultar envez de aceitar a ignorância dela isso sim me irrita ...
Isso é tudo que consigo falar agr..
submitted by Hakmanrock to desabafos [link] [comments]

2023.03.20 23:33 Rohanahan What career can I change to with 1.5 years recruitment experience?

I feel like I'm completely stuck and need help and guidance and had no idea where else to turn.
I've been doing recruitment for 1.5 years as the title says, near straight after university. Unfortunately I had to drop out of university due to mental health problems and I managed to over the course of a year or so coax my brain back to health and get employed doing recruitment in an industry I like.
I now want to change jobs as I've done quite well but it's really not for me and the new boss is terrible and making my life an absolute misery which is really mentally challenging me.
Unfortunately I clearly don't have a full degree (digital media related) and only the limited recruitment experience.
What can I look into doing??
I don't mind customer facing jobs as long as it's not constantly being fake friendly to try to get something out of someone. I hate the lack of authenticity in sales. It's completely against who I am as a person.
What potential career paths can I take?? I don't mind a lower starting salary if there are career prospects.
submitted by Rohanahan to recruiting [link] [comments]

2023.03.20 23:32 americanguy95 Depression

Hi all,
Currently using whatever mental and physical strength I have to write this post.
Really need to talk to people who get it right now, at least to feel less alone/understood/less ashamed.
I had a pretty bad weekend as far as anxiety and compulsions go (almost 48 hours of near constant compulsions), and despite some brief relief from a night's sleep which included a surprisingly good dream, I woke up and almost immediately fell back into the OCD trap... it didn't take too long before I was back in depression-mode. This happened yesterday morning and ever since it's been pretty much sleeping for me as an escape from the anxiety and depression. I'd been doing so well, too. Anyone else going through this right now?
Depression from OCD/anxiety?
On top of it, I am struggling with shame and guilt.
submitted by americanguy95 to OCD [link] [comments]

2023.03.20 23:32 relickus Are people abusing Python?

I learned Python after coming from the C/C++ and Java world. With the massive increase in popularity of Python in the last 10 years, seeing the way it developed, it seems to me like it gained a lot of functionality, which comes natural in other languages, but feels a bit odd in Python.
To be more specific - albeit Python being dynamically typed, people developed countless tools to check or validate or even enforce types in compile or run time (mypy, pyre, pydantic, pyduck etc.). It feels like it goes against the nature of its loose typing.
Another example are decorators. This pattern is noticably overused by many tools adding functionality, but even the language itself - defining a `class`,`static` and `abstract` methods with decorators seems just weird and unnatural. Same thing with function overloading. Anecdotally, it feels like comparing German to English. German has a special word for every peculiar thing and native support for word generation by concatenation of multiple words whilst in English you have to add some common words together and hope this combination doesnt already exist. And if it does, so what, people will get it from the context.
Lastly, slightly off-topic but relevant point is that it is not even a simple language in my opinion. It has a very flat learning curve initially but the complexity is just further down the road. Im talking about metaclasses,data descriptors, coroutines, magic methods etc. Some languages are difficult right away (C++, Rust etc.), but Python is a intricate misfit dressed as a simpleton.
Am I misunderstanding a philosophical path of the language or is it simply just a scripting langugage that got massively popular through chance and is now used for stuff it was not intended for?
Edit: grammar
submitted by relickus to Python [link] [comments]

2023.03.20 23:31 cal1cm Nothing, no matter what, is EVER good enough.

Hey everyone,
I'm not new to reddit per say, I have definitely looked up answers for just about everything. Over the past few days, however, it's been the first time where I have done so and when I have actually thought about therapy because under the surface I truly am struggling. Ultimately I would love some advice or just really any sort of comment.
On the surface, I appear to be really doing well. I'm a 26 year old male, I am very successful at my job, although stressful with longer than most hours. I have a few different groups of friends, & to top things off I have completed a life goal of mine since being 13, which was to move to CA.
Throughout my life, I have struggled with anxiety and depression. My dad has been on some type of depression pills in the past as well. He admitted to that after I gave him a call completely black-out drunk telling him how much I hate myself and how nothing I do makes me happy. While I am embarrassed by this, when he told me what I said It really made sense. I am truly never happy with myself no matter what I do.
Growing up my brother was severely disabled and he was my twin. I love my parents and since passed brother but their attention was always focused on him. Simply because it had to be. Although they always did their best to make sure I was included, I mean seriously - they are amazing people. But I am wondering if that is where it stems from because when I would do something good, it was expected and needed and I never told them about that stuff because I felt that I would bother them. Since he has died, I will now, and they are proud and let me know but I have just gone dull.
Relationships seem to be self-serving for me. Rarely do I hang out with someone because I enjoy their company unless I am drunk. I want a girlfriend and then when they or I have some interest I am turned off and want to be alone. Nothing is satisfying, I used to think it was a good thing and to be picky to find the perfect one but now I think I'm just a huge piece of shit in reality. Plus I just suck at dating anyway. For me now, the best part of my day is shutting my bedroom door and listening to TV while falling asleep. I've realized that this has been the best part of the day for quite some years now. I've always been an introvert but never a completely sad one and never did I keep myself inside like this for long.
I can't do anything social now without alcohol - alcohol is a huge problem and I have decided will quit. The stories related to this are a whole other issue that has very much contributed to this dull self and sadness I imagine. Probably that and the amount of weed I smoked as a teen up until a few years ago. Everything was to create happiness. It worked for a while but then I got in trouble with the law and nearly ruined my life. This wasn't once or twice where I'd have a bad night, I'd say about 85% of the nights are bad and maybe 1% have been great. But for every drunk binge, there's always that split second of happiness and carefree emotion. Emotions that I don't ever feel anymore, sadness, happiness, grief, joy - I mean I don't care what it is, it feels good to feel.
Overall, I truly can't even think of what would make me happy anymore. I thought risking everything moving to CA and completing something that as a 13 year old was just an unrealistic idea and fantasy. The glow of that lasted 2 months and then it was back to square one. I understand that you can't chase happiness, you have to find it, but honestly, I don't even know what that means anymore. I suppose I need to go inward but I feel soulless now. Like I want there to be something so bad in there but it's just dark, not even sad, just without emotion - it's hard to even explain.

It's all just been building for years and I am not sure where to go now. I know I need to stop alcohol but as for everything else, no clue anymore.
***That was a lot and even if this gets no response it was somewhat nice to type out and get off my chest. If anyone reads this, maybe try that out, even if you wouldn't want to post it.
submitted by cal1cm to depression [link] [comments]

2023.03.20 23:31 ShrekOnMyDeck The Glacial Depths - A Minecraft cave biome concept

The Glacial Depths - A Minecraft cave biome concept

The Glacial Depths biome

Sprites relating to the biome.
This is a concept for an ice themed cave biome to oppose the fiery Volcanic Basin. I originally created it as a suggestion for the Caves and Cliffs update, then I tried to make a mod about it, but I don't know how to code Minecraft mods...
So I'm posting it here for you all to see. An explanation of the biome is provided below, in an excerpt from a spelunker's journal:
"The Glacial Depths. Quite the hard freeze, y'know? This biome is a network of frozen ice caves found in the Deepslate layers of the overworld, below y=0. The biome is composed of permafrost, a very tightly packed combination of ice and rock. Dustings of snow cover the ground in some places, and icicles line the ceiling. Parts of the biome are covered in a forest of winterwood trees, somehow able to grow despite no natural light in the caves. These trees have azure hues and seem to have leaves made of ice crystals. Hanging from the leaves are these "Aurora Crystals", which are very prismatic. When exposed to light, they will emit rays of dazzling light. It really is quite beautiful to watch.
Other parts of these caves have vast lakes and rivers of water, frozen over in some places by ice. Some of the ice is fragile, and it breaks if I tread on it. Occasionally I will find a deposit of Coldblood embedded in the permafrost. This thick, cold liquid seems to drain the heat out of anything it touches. I can use it to create Coldblood blocks, which may freeze nearby water, create snow on nearby blocks, and freeze anything that walks over it. The substance can also make a Coldblood amulet, protecting one from the infernal heat of the Volcanic Basin.
Just entering this biome is dangerous, as spending more than three minutes here without a Flarium necklace from the volcanic caves will result in freezing. My movement speed slows drastically and I begin to take damage as if I were submerged in powder snow. The only way to stop this is to leave the biome. I can't warm up using lava, either, because any lava in this biome will be instantly turned to obsidian. Yikes!
Besides the winterwood trees, another type of flora has adapted to the harsh temperatures. Chilly plants grow chilly peppers, which seem rather similar to Jalapeños, except they're cold. In fact, biting into one makes your mouth feel like its freezing! Luckily, these peppers grant immunity to slowness, and also cause any monster that touches me to slow down. I can also make the peppers into salsa using a bowl, and eating it grants the same effects, while also making any food I eat within the next minute grant two more hunger points! Everything really is better with salsa.
If you do decide to collect the icicles, don't bother: they won't drop anything. If exposed to light, the icicles will melt, detaching from the ceiling and falling to the ground. Similar to dripstone, this harms mobs that it falls on. The only way I have found to harvest the icicles is to use the Silk Touch enchantment. The Glacial Depths naturally spawns Strays in place of skeletons, meaning it is more dangerous here.
If you want to harvest coldblood or chilly peppers for use, then this is the place to visit. Same if you would like to decorate your builds with winterwood or permafrost blocks. But be warned, you need to either leave the area before freezing, or bring a flarium necklace if you wish to visit. Being frozen alive is NOT a very enjoyable fate." -Unknown
I wouldn't call this a suggestion to be added to the game, more like a cool concept I felt like sharing. This isn't the only concept I have, I have a ton more I'd love to share!
Volcanic Basin ????
???? ????
submitted by ShrekOnMyDeck to Minecraft [link] [comments]

2023.03.20 23:30 bearmurder Mariana

Chapter 1:
Jerry Brenson was having a hard time not getting pissed off at the way the car kept jerking around, making it damn near impossible to roll his tightly held cigarette. What a piece of shit it was anyways, it looked like the cross between an impregnated white pill and a scarecrow with all its frayed edges of tobacco poking out like straw.
"Would you stop driving like a goddamn animal!" he bellowed at the driver. Then he resumed his work on unraveling the piece of shit and evening everything out. The tip of Brenson's tongue stuck out of his mouth as he worked at it. Within a few seconds the passenger side front tire plunged into a half-foot pothole and Brenson's jaw clenched shut on that tender red meat sticking out of his face. In an instant it resembled a tiny pink balloon swelling up and getting ready to pop.
"FUCK!" Brenson screamed after a long second of seething white pain, which was now commencing to roll like waves through the bottom of his jaw, and somehow up into his fucking forehead! Before he had time to return from the moments that threw his whole being into a chaos of agony, he knew with dreadful certainty that he had bit off a chunk of his tongue. He would see it there if he opened his eyes and looked down. And with that, an image of a huge bulging red thing on the floor that was flopping around like a decapitated fish came to him. With wide eyes that seemed to burst open like fireworks, both hands flew to his mouth so that Brenson suddenly looked like a little girl getting the best birthday present of her life.
And then, hallelujah, he thinks, praise Jesus, God, the Buddha, anyone and anything that saved his precious tongue. It was still there. Hurt like hell but it was still there. He looked around on the floor in a sudden surge of paranoia (maybe a part of it really was down there) and to his blessed relief the only thing he saw were a pair of work boots stuffed onto his oafishly large feet.
All of this occurred in about 3 seconds, after which Brenson's brow contorted into a fierce angle of rage, and a powerful sense of the injustice and incompetence and of all the damned stupid negligent habits of this buffoon of a partner settled on him. He turned to the driver and smacked Dale Enrsten upside the head.
"Ouch!" Dale wailed in his deep Mississippi drawl. The car swerved to the left when Dale's arm instinctively went up to protect his face. "What the hell was that for?" He asked stupidly.
"For nearly getting my tongue bit off asshole. Now drive."
Dale returned a frown towards Brenson, and tried as he may to appear the least bit intimidating, Dale looked more comical than anything. There was something about his fat head and thin brown hair on a receded hairline that gave the air of an overly large boy preparing for boarding school.
Dale turned back to the road and decided that what would cheer him up would be a couple of chili dogs, add the cheese please, with a bud light and a pack of skittles. There ought to be a gas station in the next mile or so, god knows when the last time they saw one passing through this shit hole was. He reached into his shirt pocket and pulled out a smoke, no two smokes, then handed one over to Brenson.
"My apologies captain. This road's covered in more potholes than your mom's vagina."
Dale cackled out a wheezing laugh and then lit up his smoke. He puffed out a large plume of white smoke that was torn away by the passing air out Dale's open window. He looked out that window, and glanced nervously at all the red stone. Their surfaces were inundated with marbled cracks. Every so often he'd see a pale bush growing between a couple of rocks. They looked more like skeletons than plants. Yes it was true, Dale Ernsted hated the desert. He hated all deserts. They made him feel like a clock was always ticking, and when it went to zero baby, oh my oh my, Dale baby if you’re out here, you gonna be fish food. Well not out here I wont, he retorts back to his own morbid fantasy, more liable to be lizard food, or coyote. Yeah, that's right, Dale thinks there probably are coyotes out here, and if the car broke down, well not a lot to eat out here but a couple of dehydrated dying men. What would be a better treat for a pack of hungry canines?
And following this train of thought Dale wonders what it would be like if Brenson and he really were surrounded by a pack of coyotes, how many would it take, maybe five? Six? Would Dale watch Brenson go first, or would it be Dale who Brenson catches a glimpse of getting his arm torn off from the shoulders down when the wolves begin demanding his own full attention. Look at that, now they turned into wolves. He didn’t think there were wolves out here. His expression changes into a frown of contemplation.
"Are you listening to me?" Dale hears Brenson angrily ask. The wolves go away. He realizes Brenson had asked him something.
"What's that?"
"Find a place to pull over I need to take a leak"
Dale's small eyes dart around at the escarpment and mesas and the fine layer of brown dirt swirling over the two-lane highway.
"No, I think there's a gas station up a bit. Not too much farther now."
Dale doesn't say anything else. He turns the knob on the radio until Bon Jovi is playing We’re Not Gonna Take It, and guns the Camry down the long stretch of desolate waste before them.
The desert sun was lowering in the west, making the car’s long shadow race ahead of them. By the time they see the dusty gas station with a white roof and big red letters painted on a discolored sign reading QuikStop, the sun was almost touching the horizon and Brenson had to pee like a mad horse. One or two stars could be seen faintly wavering in the turbulent purple sky fading into black.
Dale pulled up to a gas pump and he and Brenson got out of the car.
“Well” Brenson stretched out the word just as he was stretching out his back, leaning heavily into it with his arms on his hips, “Give me the money and I’ll get some food and beer. You get the gas”.
Dale reached into his pocket and pulled out a twenty.
“Two cheese chili dogs and skittles” he said miserably. Brenson did a quick nod and walked off.
Dale found that he wasn’t doing anything but standing there watching Brenson walk closer to the gas station when the thought popped into his head: you know I think might kill that fuck, yeah I might. And then he turned around as if it was just a cloud passing by.
He was listening to the gulping sounds of gasoline filling up his tank when he saw a white toyota pull up and park on the side of the gas station near the ice chest and propane tanks. There were two people in the car. They looked like Mexicans to Dale. A man and woman. They got out of the car, shut the doors, walked around the corner, and entered the gas station. Dale wasn’t particularly interested in them but then something caught his eye. He thought he saw movement in the backseat of the toyota.
There it was again.
He realized it was a child.
It was a girl with long brown hair tied up in a ponytail. A little Mexican girl. Kids shouldn't be left in a hot car all alone he thinks righteously. But what should he expect from these people? Look at that piece of shit rig. He realized again that he was in a trance, staring angrily at the back of the Toyota.
Dale's eyes surveyed from the Toyota to the gas station entrance. The glare of the sun reflected everything outside so it was impossible to see in through the windows. Then something inside him went on autopilot. He had something to do he realized, and he had to do it fast.
He fastened the nozzle back onto the pump and briskly walked over to the white Toyota. His heart began racing. He peered in at the girl in the backseat. No one else was in there. She was wearing a blue tank top and black shorts. There was a doll, something from a disney cartoon in her hands, Dale insanely thinks, but is barely aware of any of these thoughts as the door of the Toyota slowly opens up and the girl turns her head away from her doll, up towards her mama with a smile, and sees Dale’s huge head lurching in like a troll plucking a princess from a tower.
Her face shrivels into a scream but before she can let out the breath, Dale’s meaty hands are over her mouth, and without any effort he pulls her out of the car and clutches her entire body in a bear hug. There's a heart pounding moment when she sounds like a grunting dog struggling in a trap and he knows her scream will escape from his sweaty armpit. Then there's an instant of pure lucid absurdity where he seemed to see himself from the outside. What would the girl's parents do if they walked around the corner right now? He couldn’t just put her back in there and go about pumping gas again could he? Oh I'm just ole friendly Dale giving your girl here a nice good hug cuz I could hear her cryin' for mommy.
Then he kicks the Toyotas door shut for god knows why and scrambles to his car. He hustles to the trunk, realizes the switch is up front, and skids to his knees at the driver's side door. He’s pressing the girl so hard against his chest he can almost feel her head bouncing off his beating heart.
Then he hears the satisfying click of the trunk unlocking, and with surprising speed he places the girl in the bed of the trunk, takes a bandana out from his back pocket and ties it like a rope around her mouth. The girl’s eyes, shaking with terror, watch grimly as the troll closes out the darkening sky with a metallic clink.
Then Dale jumps into the driver's seat, turns on the engine, and cranks up the radio. Another song by dear old Bon Jovi by god! Dale feel’s exhilarated. He doesn't even know it yet. All he knows is this music sounds better than anything he’s ever heard before, and why wouldn’t you look at that, he’s not even sore with Brenson anymore for slapping him in the face earlier. He can’t wait to have a beer! And there's ole Bren heading back towards the Camry now.
But then Dale realizes with a jolt of panic, the parents! The girl’s parents are going to be out any minute! With the mother of all anxiety attacks Dale’s car speeds towards Brenson as he walks out of the gas station at a magnitude that probably made Brenson think oh fuck I’m going to die by the look on his face, but Dale’s car screeched to a halt just a few feet away.
“What the fuck’s that about” Brenson sneered. The sneer was more one of habit than anything else as Brenson was so surprised that there wasn’t really room for anything else. His arms were full of supplies and he almost dropped them all over the ground.
“Get in now!” Dale yelled. He reached his arm over and threw open the passenger door. Brenson sat down and before he could shut the door, Dale shut it himself by accelerating in a curve out the gas station parking lot, and wouldn’t you know it, he didn’t even use his turning signals when he brought the Camry onto the highway and raced into the black eastern sky.
Chapter 2:
“Jesus man, you think I robbed the place?”. Brenson was unsure what had gotten into him. “Shut up for a minute. Give me a beer”.
Brenson had never seen Dale so serious. The man’s face looked like a machine. His thin lips were pressed so tightly you could barely see them. And he was scowling at the road. His eyes kept bouncing to the rearview mirror. Brenson could see beads of sweat rolling over Dale's pockmarked forehead. And the odometer was reading 95 mph. He sure as hell hoped he wouldn’t suddenly get another dose of Dale’s special potholes. He made sure his tongue was planted firmly on the roof of his mouth and his seat was buckled.
“Uh Dale..are you alright there partner?” Brenson asked.
“You seem like somethin just bit you in the ass.”
Dale guzzled down his bud light, burped and wiped his mouth, then reached for another one. After he cracked it open and took a good long gulp, he bellowed “Wooo! Lordy..oh yeah” He was heaving deep breaths between each word. Then his gaze turned away from the road and locked with Brenson's eyes.
“Pal, when you were over in that gas station there..” he paused and glanced towards the backseat of the car as if someone were sitting back there. He couldn’t keep it hidden from Brenson now could he? They had 100 miles left to drive.
Brenson looked back and then over at Dale again.
“ain't quite sure how to say this", the look on Dale's screwed up face as he thought about what to say next made Brenson think of a large boy again, one that was trying to work out a hard math problem like how much his groceries would cost.
"I may have picked up a passenger,” Dale finally said.
“What?” That came out of left field and Brenson didn't know what it meant.
“I just kind of..took her” he said this last as if Dale himself was surprised at what he was saying.
“What the hell are you talking about?” Brenson was getting a sick feeling. What fuckup did Dale just get him into now? He knew Dale liked cats and sometimes he would take them off the streets or out of people's yards if he liked how they looked. And he knew Dale had about 9 cats stuffed away in his trailer, but Brenson wasn't hearing any meows coming out of the back seat now was he? And Dale's eyes were looking at something far away, unfocused on something so far away like Venus.
And then Brenson noticed a muffled sound like there was a load of groceries rolling to the side in the trunk as Dale took them around a tight bend. For just a moment he was worried that maybe he had put the beer back there and it was gonna get all fizzy, but then he remembered the beer in his hand and the rest on the floor by his feet near that imaginary chunk of meat flapping around down there. He felt the tip of his tongue and took a swig.
"What the fuck did you do" Brenson remembered the two Mexicans that walked into that gas station. He had eyes on them the whole time.
“Dale?” Brenson asked with a looming understanding that sped towards him like a Mack truck. Dale had done something magnanimously fucked up.
“What the fuck did you do!”
“She was boiling back there!” Dale pleaded. He was an eight year old child again, explaining to an angry stepmom why she had found a drowned cat in the bathtub. He didn’t have any choice, it had bit him and that was not okay, that was not okay by any standards of civilized man. What else could he do?
“I saved her Bren!”
They were both yelling now.
“She was gonna be dead back there! You saw those mexis didn’t you?”
“Pull over!” Brenson demanded.
“Pull over now!”
Dale kept on speeding. The odometer read 105. To Brenson it felt like the flimsy car could at any moment flip over a hundred times if the slightest gust of wind brushed against them.
“Pull over right fucking now or I’ll beat the shit out you right here!”
Brenson’s fists were clenched into a barb of hairy knuckles. He was really going to do it Dale observed, and then they’d both be piles of scrap strewn all over the road.
Dale gave a defeated sigh and took his foot off the accelerator. He was going to have to show Bren one way or another. They were already miles past that shit hole station anyways. What the hell. The Camry disengaged from warp speed and soon Brenson could hear the crinkle of gravel under the tires as the Camry pulled off onto the shoulder.
Outside the night was as silent as the land was empty. A brilliant splash of stars painted the canopy of the sky in a way that gave Dale a cosmic sense of his own importance. He shuffled over to the back with Bren, a disappointed look of guilt was likewise splashed across his face, why no mah, I’m not the one that drowned Muffin, but ya know, she wouldn’t stop biting. But Dale remembered the feeling of her slick fur bunched up between his fingers and the way her intricately delicate neck felt like so many scrawny bones. A jolt of disgust seemed to roll through him like a shockwave and he tried to shake off the memory of that limp cat as fast as possible.
Then that cave of darkness opened up and it was nighttime outside, and the girl saw with a cold panic that made her cry that there were two trolls looming over her now. They were both huge and disgusting. The one on the left looked like a giant baby with patches of wiry fur in tufts up and down its neck and chin. Its teeth were yellowed and it was smoking a cigarette. She didn't like how it was eyeing her, like she was some kind of precious crystal that it wanted badly.
The other was just as big, not as fat though, more muscular. He had a mop of scraggly black hair and a full beard covering the mouth. He looked like a biker. And he looked like he was really mad at her. She heard herself crying.
"Mamá" She tried squeaking through the rope. "Donde mi mamá"
And then, no, no please, everything was getting dark again. She howled and squirmed but the lid of the trunk did not care.
Brenson was biting his bottom lip. He was supremely pissed off now. What the fuck was this lunatic thinking! He looked at Dale and was about to begin a royal case of pummeling his fat ass into the ground for getting Bren caught up in this bullshit, lord knows he's had a clean record apart from a mild six months in Kentucky State Penitentiary when he was twenty two years old. And this asshole, this stupid fat asshole made him an accomplice to whatever crazy bullshit was flying around in that fat fucking head of his!
But Bren noticed that far away in the direction they had come were a pair of tiny headlights. They were heading this way.
Instead of beating Dale into a mess worthy of the crime of getting Bren caught up in kidnapping charges, he said "Lets get the fuck out of here". And then jumped back into his seat, slamming the door.
"Come on!" He yelled out when he saw that Dale was still standing on the side of the road like an idiot. Dale hurried up, revved on the engine, and the Camry was back on the highway doing 92 mph. Bren cracked open another beer and drank the whole thing in one go. He didn’t complain about the speed.
Chapter 3:
It was about two in the morning when they pulled up to Bren’s trailer. Bren got out and walked around to Dale’s side. He was mildly drunk. Bren put his hands on his knees and bent down as if he was going to say something to Dale, but in the end he turned around and left without saying anything. He was too pissed off.
“See you in the morning.” Dale called out after him in an annoyingly loud voice, but Bren didn’t turn around. His thin white door shut loudly and Dale pulled away and drove off to his own trailer at the end of the gravel road.
At this point he had a conundrum on his hands. He had to get the girl inside without her making a lot of noise. And then once inside..what? Tie her up? Keep her in his bathroom? It’s not like he had a basement to put her in. And what the fuck was he doing anyways? His hand reached for his forehead. He was thinking. Then he unlocked the trunk and when the dim light in the trunk came on he saw with stabbing horror that the girl was dead.
“NO!” He shouted at her as if it were her fault.
"Oh dear Jesus no!”
He felt like he was about to cry. It was the cat all over again. He really didn’t want to kill it. But then he saw the rhythm of her small diaphragm. She was sleeping. Dale oh dale oh dale, what are you doing?
He wiped the sweat off his brow, then reached in and picked her up. She weighed about as much as a pillow, and when Dale opened the door of his trailer, a cat seemed to catapult itself outside making him trip over his own feet. "Shit! Henry!" He gave an involuntary yell over his shoulder when he saw which one did it. Then, understanding that he totally did not have anything under control, he stopped in his doorway and simply stood there with the little girl cradled in his arms. She felt warm. His girl. Yeah, that sounded right. It was his girl now. His little Mexican girl.
A few more hungry cats came out of the shadows begging for food. He shushed them and kicked his leg around without putting any real effort into it just to make them go away.
He had to secure his girl.
But how was he going to get any sleep tonight? He had to be absolutely sure that she could not get away. Then as he was walking in, thinking about how he would tie her up (he did have some duct tape, rope, maybe some wire ties..oh but he didn't want to hurt her wrists), he felt a sudden uneasiness about Brenson. Did Dale think he'd go to the cops? Maybe he should have kept his mouth shut and the music loud. He should have slowed down when Bren asked and he should have… Wait, just wait one cotton pickin minute Dale, he says to himself. The girl. The girl first, then Bren. Maybe Bren was still awake and he'd pay him a little visit, have a little chat just to make sure they were square, just to see if everything was cool, but only after he was sure the girl could not escape.
But should he actually leave her alone?
"Get moving!" he said to himself. And then walked into the back of the trailer where he kept a tool shed. The girl was still sleeping in his arms. Whatever nightmares she could possibly be having, would she really want to wake up?
He chose duct tape, the principle reason being it was easiest to reach while clutching a small human being. And although she felt like a feather before, the longer Dale held her in that death grip, the heavier she seemed to get.
He laid her gently down on a Layzee Boy and found himself holding his breath and needing air when he was certain she was still sleeping. Dale unfolded the leg rest, and then very delicately began unwinding the duct tape around her legs. This turned out to be a bitch because the duct tape was prone to making offensive scratching sounds as it was unpeeled from its spool.
About an hour later the girl was strapped in the chair in an extended position. Mounds of duct tape secured her arms, legs, torso, hands and feet. He took special care to untie the bandana from her face, knowing that she could suffocate in her sleep if it stayed on there. That special feat gave him a sense of pride for remembering. He already got one point in the game of taking care of her by damn. Though he'd have to figure out how to keep her quiet. Lastly, he strapped down her head using a generous supply of tape.
Now he surveyed his work like a skilled practitioner, his mouth closed, eyes narrowed, and giving short nods of satisfaction. Yes he did do a good job. Both on the tape job, and on the girl. She was adorable. He was imagining what it would be like three years from now, when she had forgotten all about that old shit hole family she had, a fact that Dale would NEVER bring up, and how happy they would look playing in a park, eating hotdogs. He's pushing her on a swing and look at that! At the very end of the pendulum's arc she leaps through the air, legs pointing like arrows in perfect form! She glides through the air and lands on her feet. Both arms reach up into the sky, she beams at Dale saying look what I just did daddy! Then she's running, his little girl is running right at him! She leaps into his arms and oh god how he hugs her, squeezes her, suddenly he notices that her skin is so soft, there's a gleam in her eye, he looks at her mouth
Somebody knocked twice on his front door.
The force of that sound coming from that door made Dale almost scream. The cloudy glaze over his eyes burned away as fast as if Jesus Christ had just now ripped open a hole in the sky and let all of heaven's mighty armies come march on through.
His head jerked up and banged against the corner of a kitchen cabinet that he had been standing near but he barely felt it because panic and paranoia were through the fucking roof ladies and gentlemen. That's right, Dale Ernsted was about to melt into a puddle and seep into the floor.
But he had to do something about the door. He crept slowly, as if the slower he moved the more invisible he would become. At this point he was trying to make himself as flat against the wall as possible so he could peek out the curtains without the intruder noticing. He quickly poked his face into the curtains and looked out the window. There was a man still standing at Dale's door. And the man instantly turned towards Dale and looked him in the eyes.
Dale screamed and put a hand over his mouth.
It was Bren. It was just fucking Bren. He pulled away from the window and noticed he was breathing like he had run a half marathon.
Dale opened the door and there was Bren pissed off as ever before. He didn't ask to come inside but came inside he did, brushing past Dale without saying a word. He stood in Dale's living room, hands on hips, something like concern on his face, and was just standing there gaping at that girl stuck in all that mound of duct tape. He was shaking his head in disbelief. Then Bren turned around and said in whispered tones, "What in fucking Christ is going on here Dale?"
They both walked outside and Dale shut the door.
Inside the trailer the girl remained taped to the Lazee Boy, breathing those deep occasional breaths that are only ever seen in people deep in REM sleep. Then she opened her eyes. If Dale could see those eyes now he would say they looked evil. To Bren, who had a larger vocabulary than Dale, he would say cunning.
In truth she had never been asleep. And although she heard only a little of the conversation between the two ogres that captured her, she knew that Baby Face, as she thought of Dale, believed she was asleep. And for this she thought he must be the dumbest person imaginable. What moron would think anything but a tranquilized rhinoceros was asleep after all that had happened to her.
She played through the sequence of events that led her to this terrible situation. It was an unreal situation. How could this happen to her? But that's not useful, she thinks, it isn't useful to wonder about why, only how and what to do about it.
She took the opportunity while the two trolls were outside to scan as much of the room as possible. Looking for doors, windows, anything that could be used as a weapon. Although she knew she had little chance of using anything but a gun against either of those two guys. They were big and mean looking. But she thought Baby Face probably had a gun, either on him or by his bed, maybe in a closet.
She would have to escape. She knew there was a door in the back, though she couldn't see it, because Baby Face had brought her back there and she could feel the outside air coming in. It seemed to be some kind of extension to the trailer. And when Baby Face had stood on his toes reaching high up to get something off a shelf, she stole a glance and saw that it was some kind of shed that led outside. There were at least two doors. It was going to hurt so bad to take this tape off. She didn't know what to do about that yet. She could barely move any part of her body.
Then she heard one of the men approach the door and the hinge began to squeak open.
Dale poked his head in and stared at her for a good ten seconds. She was still sleeping. Good. Then the door closed.
Her name was Mariana and her eyes were now looking up at the ceiling, lips quivering, trying to hold back the tears from escaping. One did though and it traced a small trail down her cheekbone before it finally fell to the floor. She hoped her cheek would dry before the trolls came back inside.
Chapter 4:
That same morning Bren woke up to a pounding headache that felt like a vein was about to burst from the left side of his head. His bones creaked as he got out of bed and he walked to his refrigerator and pulled out a beer.
He wasn't trying to get drunk, those days were long past him. It was just to get rid of the headache. He had work today. And it was Bren's turn to drive so he was gonna have to waltz over to dumb fuck Dale's house and drag his ass out of bed. Although he wasn't so sure how much stock he put in folk traditions and rules of the game, so to speak, now that his relationship with Dale has been, shall we say, tested.
Although he wasn't as angry as he was just a few hours before while he chewed out Dale for being the stupidest motherfucker he ever laid eyes on, he still felt he should give him an ass pounding after he, Bren, resolved this entire state of affairs. Because it would be Bren, not Dale, who would have to do that. As much as he wished he could abandon Dale and just say fuck it, he was deeply concerned about his own involvement in what transpired the night before, and he was gravely imagining getting fifty years behind bars because of some lunatic he decided to take up a business deal with. Who was the real retard here, Bren thinks in a self deprecating way, who would get into business with someone like Dale?
Never mind all that, he would have to do something about this. He could not allow Dale to go off on his wild fantasies. Bren's chief concern was that Dale would fuck up somehow and land Bren in prison. He was slowly shaking his head back and forth as he sipped his beer, realizing just how deep the sinking sand really went in this case, all the anger he felt the night before came rushing back tenfold as he realized what he would have to do. What he would make Dale do. As punishment.
Meanwhile Baby Face was still sleeping. Mariana heard him snoring. She decided to let herself sleep after he had passed out on the floor near this duct tape prison. She would need her strength and people need to sleep as much as they need to eat was what she convinced herself with to even allow her to try to sleep. It wasn't even a guaranteed deal. Who could sleep during something like this?
But she found that when she closed her eyes and knew that Baby Face was drunk out of his mind, and that meant he would probably be asleep for awhile, then she could sleep. And oh how she drifted down, pulled down just as she was pulled out of that car, with a monster waiting for her at the bottom. A monster that looked like some huge grotesque baby thing that had snot pouring out of its nose like a fire hose held her, its decaying fingernails scraped at her, and it cackled at how amazing she was, licking her back and purring like a cat.
She screamed and then she was back in her car with all her things! Not in a dream, she was actually back in the car and her parents had told her they would pick her up a snickers.
She knew Baby Face was out there. Scrambling up on her elbows she looked for him out the window. He was pumping gas and smoking a cigarette at the same time. What a stupid freak! Yuck! But he was going to come over here. She watched him looking at something over at the entrance, and then his head was turning towards her. She ducked. And then slowly peeked her head up and saw that he was walking over here. He looked like some kind of rodent, like a rat that was sniffing out cheese.
She needed to leave. Mariana grabbed the door handle and shaked at it but it wouldn't open. None of them worked. She was trying to remain calm, kept finding her right hand reaching up and twirling her hair and then stopping herself. She licked her chapped lips. She had an idea.
The door opened and before Baby Face stuffed his stinking head in through the open door, Mariana turned around and asserted herself. She loudly and very clearly said "Dale! Where is your gun?"
The monster stumbled backwards as if shot, and fell slightly to its knee. The way its knees popped back and forth and the way its elbows gesticulated in erratic ways made Mariana think it wasn't even alive. It was some kind of zombie. And when its head rolled back up, and it looked at her, its teeth clacking together like a puppet being pulled up by the strings too quickly, she saw that Baby Face, Rat Baby Face, had long white whiskers and huge front teeth. They were stained with cigarette smoke but they still looked sharp.
It said in a gravelly voice choked with beer and chili, "under my bathroom sink, where I always keep it.", driblets of chili dripped down its white gums, which also held a healthy portion of gooey chewing tobacco. Beer froth dripped out its eyes as it jumped into the car with Mariana and began stroking its long bony fingers through her hair saying all the while in the voice of a corpse "How pretty". She wanted to puke and get away from it but - then Rat Baby Face opened its mouth and bit into her neck.
Mariana woke up blinking away tears. She swallowed and took in a deep breath through her nose, somewhat rocking back and forth, but otherwise totally immobilized.
That's when she heard Baby Face snoring. That's also when she noticed the bathroom out of the very furthest edge of her peripheral vision.
Mariana knew what she had to do.
submitted by bearmurder to creativewriting [link] [comments]

2023.03.20 23:29 Otherwise_Airline_86 Parents won’t add me to car insurance

So I am in a sticky situation. I want to be added to my parents car insurance so I can do doordash, UberEats, and Instacart while looking for more work. I live in Florida with my parents in an above Florida average zip code in terms of cost, I am 22 years old. Problem is because my mother is afraid if we even do much as ask for a quote she will be forced to add me to the insurance even if the car insurance rate is downright extortion. I have no idea how to convince her to add me. As not having car insurance does kind of limit my earning more than it would cost. She seems to think stuff like doordash won’t pay enough to cover insurance and gas. Which I don’t buy that “no pun intended”, as that seems like an exaggeration in the worst case. What do I do?
Edit: forgot to mention, no I can’t go to my dad as my dad is not even alive.
submitted by Otherwise_Airline_86 to Car_Insurance_Help [link] [comments]

2023.03.20 23:29 Rich_Arrival2571 Do all SB charge for cream now?

The Starbucks near me now charges 70 cents for cream?? And now you can’t add it yourself?? Why haven’t I heard anyone else complaining about this?
submitted by Rich_Arrival2571 to starbucks [link] [comments]

2023.03.20 23:29 Exotic-Start-5039 I’m slowly talking myself in to looking for a new job.

My work environment is toxic. I thought I could put up with it but I can’t.
I realized my work wasn’t being appreciated. I was blindly sent 4 quotes, I was only sent them because I noticed one of our systems was running out of drive space and brought it up to management. I throughly compared the two options and discount for a multi year purchase - I put together a well crafted email, explaining the differences I found, a pros/cons list, a cost comparison, a little data from our current system that showed usage growth over time with a projection of growth, a somewhat detailed total cost of ownership comparing each. Along with my recommendations in descending order using a bullet point list.
The response I got back; “on-premises or cloud?”
From my experience in the workforce I’ve learned you can’t change a company, even as part of a group it’s difficult too. Learned that last year when they came down with a retaliation hammer. Our team was forced to work weekends, all of us, and there wasn’t a need for it. They didn’t even take into account our preferences that would have filled the same requirements. We filed a formal complaint against our boss about this and other reasons, the whole department hand signed the document. 2 employees left because they had to choose between work or their family.
I saw the signs pretty earlier on that the place was toxic and thought i could just blow it off.
at a previous job my last boss basically told me to submit, “you get paid well what does it matter?”
My first job was mindless work. I miss it sometimes. I worked at a newspaper company (remember those?) In the mailroom. The majority was putting stacks of advertisements into a machine that put them in newspapers, bundling them and either giving them to drivers or stacking and wrapping to store. It was minimum wage and my only non-IT job. It was a job you clocked in and clocked out. No on call. Occasionally you had to stay late but you got paid more. No pointless meetings longer than 5 minutes or bi weekly progress reports, no emails, no phone calls.. I had energy, mental and physical, to do things after work.
Almost every IT environment I’ve seen has had some level of toxicity. Every job I’ve had has had some toxicity really.
Are there jobs that let you work less than full time but still pay decent? Right now, I’d take a pay cut for more more of a life-work balance. It’d really be nice if the US passed the 32 hour workweek act. Every IT job near me is full time.
submitted by Exotic-Start-5039 to sysadmin [link] [comments]

2023.03.20 23:29 mississippotamia Dreaming about a dead dog that wants to reunite with his owner.

I had a dream that my phone has a strange camera app and when I tried it, I can see a strange dog that is near with my pets. There is also something like a guardian that tells me to find the dogs owner, so then I'm on a mission to find its owner.
When I found his owner, his owner was my first grade teacher (but when I woke up I don't know her) and was drinking and crying. I told her about her dog and was thankful for it because she misses her dog. Then i found a book on her bed and the she told me that I should read it. It's like a book with the guardians of the animals and I saw the one that told me to find the dogs owner.
I also don't remember some of the details...
Do you think this has meaning?
submitted by mississippotamia to Dreams [link] [comments]