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2023.06.03 23:44 Aum888 This tip-free restaurant in Ohio

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2023.06.03 23:43 Aum888 This tip-free restaurant in Ohio

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2023.06.03 23:14 blkinvegasss 28 [M4F] Let's be friends (with benefits)!

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Ideally looking for singles, but also open to solo play with hotwives. I have a high sex drive, and want someone who can keep up! Love to explore new fantasies/kinks, and find fun ways to give each other pleasure. Would love to find someone for fun inside and outside of the bedroom. In my free time, I love to read, learn new things, hit the gym, and spend hours in the sun or by the pool. No preference on age/body type, but do have a weakness for cougar types and curvy women. If you're interested, let's connect!
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2023.06.03 23:11 TheCurserHasntMoved (Sneakyverse) The Drums of War Chapter 5: The Line

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In a bustling mining town:

Jax had been enjoying himself. The war stories and barely believable tales of antics of the Humans he'd served with he told in the coffee parlors were popular among the intoxicated of both sexes, though the admiration and further libations from the men were far less captivating than the rapt attention a very pretty woman with a lithe figure and strong tail gave him. Comely indeed, and she would come to listen to him. Though it seemed to onlookers that he had captivated her, it was her dark pools of eyes that he had dove into, and found them deep and inescapable. She kept those eyes trained on him so long as he spoke, and so he spoke, seeing in those depths possibilities.
Indeed, Jax had begun to expect that if he were to ask Rae to accompany him to the upcoming autumn festival, she might not reject the notion. Even with troubling rumors about somebody attacking a neighboring nation, and the sudden vanishing of the Star Sailors from Star Council space were far from his mind, and the minds of the other coffee parlor patrons. It was in this ease and comfort that he and many other Numiindan residents found their lives shattered by horror.
It began with the burning streaks of the wrecked Space Defense Force, more law enforcement than military, fell from the sky. He was just in the middle of a story about the time his buddy Erin had gotten stuck in his own armor when he stopped and said, "Does anybody else smell smoke?"
There was a general testing of the air by the group of variably intoxicated patrons, followed by a fruitless checking of datapads for the news. "Network's down," somebody in the small crowd said.
"Well, we'll just go outside and take a look," Jax said, and Rae subtly clasped his hand. Outside, the pair squeezed each other's hands so hard they hurt. The sky was streaked with gashes of billowing black smoke of destroyed ships and fighters, and what destroyed them was descending while raining hot plasma down on anything that looked vaguely like it might be fortified.
"The Ancestors preserve us," Rae whispered.
"I'm not going to wait on them," Jax said, "we need to get under cover now, and not just the lounge!"
Someone in the crowd said, "The mines! There are some pretty big chambers down there, and it's like, miles of rock to burn through."
"Good plan," Vex said, "If they're doing areal lances like that they don't care about collateral damage, everyone, split up in groups of three or four, and get as many people as you can to get to the mines."
"What if they follow us down?" Rae asked.
"We'll flood the mines. Hopefully they can't swim."
An hour later, a press of over a hundred panicked elderly and children were running along behind Jax. The majority of the parents and other adults had elected to buy time. Jax had to focus on his mission, save the civvies, get them under cover, to keep from bolting off to join them. "As long as the pups are alive," he muttered.
The sounds of shouting and plasma lance discharges spurred him and Rae on, and though he was obliged to lead the way, she insisted on bringing up the rear. She insisted that none of the injured were left behind. Then, they saw it, salvation. The gates to the mines, and behind them, the shaft plunging down beneath the rock. There were miners with plasma cutters and force axes at the gates, and Jax knew better than to relax. Even as the miners swung the gates open and escorted their panicked charges to the shaft elevator.
"We're getting ready to flood the main shaft, and everything but the vents to the largest chamber," one of the miners said, "get everyone up against the back wall, and pray the Ancestors remember us."
Jax just nodded and gripped his crowbar as he scanned the road they had run down saying, "I'm going to need fighters. We have to hold out until the Republic gets here."
"The Republic? You think they'll come?"
"Of course," Jax said with steel in his voice, "of course."
The next day, Jax held a meeting with the others he was thinking of as the leaders, or maybe other fighters, to tell them what he thought and hear what they thought in return. They had swam to an air pocket in one of the flooded tunnels and held their conversation in the dim light of a portable glow lantern to keep the civvies from panicking at what might be said. There Jax and Rae floated with Kai, a miner and the one who had suggested sheltering in the tunnels, Mei, an engineer in from the big city to help design an upgraded refining facility, and Ash, a man reluctant to divulge his past.
"So, we have about eight hundred civvies, none of whom are in fighting shape, no weapons, no food, and a highly defensible position," Jax opened, "I believe our first priority should be arming ourselves so we can raid the surface for food."
"The first aid kits are barely adequate. They're made to deal with maybe a localized plasma burn from a cutter malfunction, or to put temporary splints on a broken limb. Not lance wounds and to stabilize breaks for healing," Rae murmured softly.
"I did a little scouting," Kai said, "Just popping up in the vent covers, they didn't see me. I saw my house. What's left of it. Anyway, I know how to get to where there are some weapons we could get if we're quick. If we're quiet."
"The flooding did significant damage to the mines," Mei muttered. "I haven't seen any signs that it's getting worse, but the quakes will probably keep on. We will have to reassure the civilians. If they bombard the town from orbit though…"
"There's not much we can do about that," Jax said firmly, "so let's focus on what we can manage. Weapons, food, medicine."
"Blankets," Ash said, "The people are cold, scared. Blankets will help with morale. Survivors. There might be survivors."
"Weapons, food, weapons, blankets, and survivors. Okay, that's a start. Who wants to tell them?"
"Will the Republic really come?" Ash asked.
"They will come," Rex said firmly.
"I can tell them," Rae said as she reached out to clasp hands with Rex. He let her squeeze his hand once, and they dove down into the water to swim back to the main chamber.
The people were understandably stressed at the news that their only protectors would soon leave them alone, but they were reassured when Rae explained that they planned on raiding the surface for supplies and planned to be gone for a few hours at most.
Later, Ash was skulking around a police station, or at least the charred remnants of one, while Jax tried to see him doing so from inside the vent cover. He had been a little aprehensive of the man's claims that he could scout the building unnoticed, but the proof of the meat was inside the shell, so he took a chance. It paid off.
"All clear," Ash whispered from outside Jax's field of view.
"You made your point," Jax said, "good work."
"It's… it's not good in there."
Jax opened up the vent cover, and dropped to all fours to creep his way to the shattered building, and his companions did so behind him.
They squeezed through a gap in the rubble and slowly shifted the rubble until they had tunneled their way to the basement stairs, which they descended immediately. They tried to ignore the singed and shattered corpses of the police officers as they crawled past or over them. They failed at this. They had marginally more success in ignoring Rae's vomit at the grizzly task.
In the basement they found chemprop weapons, magacs, plasma casters, and long distance tasers in rifle and pistol configurations, as well as some light flak armor and personal shields. "Don't bother with the casters or tasers," Jax ordered as he wrapped his hands around the familiar shape of a rifle stock, "Terrans use these for a reason." The others deferrred to his experience, and Rae went to check the other basement rooms for medical supplies.
When she cried out, Rex and the others rushed into the adjoining room, but found no danger there. Only the chief of police, a magac pistol lay at his feet, and the wall to his left was painted in a sanguine splatter. "Nim," she almost moaned in grief.
"You knew him?" Ash asked.
"My uncle."
The others murmured their apologies, none of them strangers to such loss in the past day, and Ash pulled a discarded coat over the man taken by despair. "We have to make sure the people don't decide that this is a good idea," he softly murmured.
"Okay, see what else we can find for supplies here. Kai, can we get to a clinic from the tunnels?"
"Three of them."
"We'll hit the nearest one first, then we swim out to the bay and see if we can get anything from the fishery."
Then, they once again committed to the grizzly task of crawling through the rubble.
The clinic was miraculously intact, only a little exterior fire damage from the fighting, but it was also guarded. The invaders hadn't expected anyone to actually attack with weapons, as thus far most resistance had been fierce but only armed with improvised weapons. The two guards were relieved of their duties by magnetically accelerated iron chunks that left golf ball sized exit wounds in their backs before they even knew they were under attack. Inside, there was not only a treasure trove of medical supplies, which Rae directed them to take only the most versatile or in most dire need, but there were also prisoners in one of the exam rooms. They had injuries that indicated that they were painful but not lethal. Jax was furious.
The fishery offered enough food for the next few days, and their triumphant return kindled hope in the sheltering civilians that they might just hold out.

In low orbit over Numinda:

Acolyte-Lord Gukea-Sarvon surveyed his glorious conquest. Glad he was to have received orders to seek out resource rich planets, for instead of wasting his talents spilling unworthy blood to sate the thirst of Axzuur, he had instead found a race worthy of toiling for his glory. They could never be true warriors, Five days, and he had obtained control over the system and planet. Truly, the pathetic resisance offered by their so-called fleet had dismayed him, but the reports of the ferocity with which the males and some of the females on the orb below fight against his warriors armed only with what is to hand, and sometimes merely tooth and claw, excited him greatly.
It would be pleasing to elevate the lion's share of Axxaakk serfs to more worthy work, to more… worthy services. This new acquisition would even free up many serfs to become warriors, even, which would mean more sacrifices to Axzuur, which would mean greater favor. Although, there were still pockets of resistance across the planet. Even though his forces controlled the communication infrastructure for the planetary and superluminal networks, these pockets seemed to somehow act in concert to keep vital positions outside the Axxaakk's rightful reach.
It would seem that a mere scout group was insufficient, so he was being reinforced by, Acolyte-Lord Narrex-Quinn, who had been reassigned to a subjugation group including a battleship, three frigates, and their escorts. This should provide sufficient warriors and equipment to properly subjigate the planet, freeing Acolyte-Lord Gukea-Sarvon up for the much more pleasant task of crushing the next planet's defenses. Just two days of further drudgery until Acolyte-Lord Narrex-Quinn arrived to take on the unenviable task of crushing the indipendent spirits of the new serfs. At least he had a few specimens for his own research in the best methods to do so to occupy his time.
Two days later, Acolyte-Lord Narrex-Quinn had sent his counterpart sprawling off of his own dais with a metalic backhand slap, "WHY ARE YOUR ESCORTS NOT INTERDICTING HYPERSPACE EXITS AROUND THIS POSITION?"
Acolyte-Lord Gukea-Sarvon staggered to his feet in a fury, "BECAUSE MY SCOUT FLOTILLA WIPED AWAY ALL RESISTANCE IN LESS THAN A DAY!"
"Observe," Acolyte-Lord Narrex-Quinn said coldly as he slammed a data crystal into an input, and the display screen lit up with the scene of a Terran fleet engaging an extraction fleet, and far from being swept away, they were fighting the extraction fleet to a slow defeat.
"Is that a stone temple?" Acolyte-Lord Gukea-Sarvon blurted out.
"It is."
"To show they can," Acolyte-Lord Narrex-Quinn said with disgust.
Acolyte-Lord Gukea-Sarvon's eyes went wide as he asked, "How did that curiser take hits from behind."
"The Terrans apparently use kinetic weaponry, they fired the munitions in a slingshot trajectory while another ship forced it to maneuver into the line of travel."
"The calculations involved…"
"It is my belief that this is not even the main fighting force of the Terran military, for observe further," Acolyte-Lord Narrex-Quinn twisted the crystal to display a split video of several systems on the screen. "These look like merchant vessels with guns strapped to them, and Priest-Lord Tiglach-Pilexer agrees that is likely the case. These fleets are likely auxiliaries sent out to probe our strength while the Terrans gather their true forces."
"Thank you for relaying this, I shall indeed run hyperspace interdiction at the next world."
"Your orders have changed. We are to extract what we can, and carry it off to the Dominion. The expeditionary fleet is insufficient."
Acolyte-Lord Gukea-Sarvon resisted the urge to spit upon the floor. "I too have information. These… these mammal-worms are worthy of at the very least toiling underneath the Axxaakk. Though their forces are defeated, the people fight on, just as the serfs did before they were broken and rebuilt to Axzuur's glory, may the stars tremble at his step."
"They are mammals, hold hostage their young, as we do for an unruly serf."
"This is a good plan, brother."
"We must not allow the Terrans to surprise us as they did Acolyte-Lord Xamxi-Avav."
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2023.06.03 23:07 HashtagBeHappy Doodles new Pool

Doodles new Pool
Love the pool! Hours of fun.
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2023.06.03 22:56 andrew88888q Finally!

A restaurant that pays a living wage so we don’t have to rely on tips!
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2023.06.03 22:20 InkDiamond (cont.) It’s the end of the universe. To celebrate, you just want to chill with your best friend. After all, he’s the only other remaining person in the whole world. But to your surprise, he reveals that you’re not the only one invited to his party…

Here's the first half of the story
The two teens both looked toward the front of the room. There was a gray sphere. Hovering in the doorway.
But if you asked Marc, it was an annoying gray sphere. And it hovered in the doorway like an absolute rustnut.
Marc wasn’t sure where on the sphere to level his disdain. The whole dumb surface was the same all over. It was a series of interconnected, translucent hexagons. Stupid yellow lights blinked sporadically across its many faces—for no apparent rhyme or reason—perhaps just to further annoy Marc.
An electronic voice called out from the sphere. “Did I hear muuuuuusic?” he asked. “Before that last plasma burst?”
Marc shot Sid a glare that could kill. But the big blue alien didn’t back down.
Last impression. Remember?” he told Marc before going toward Tōn-E with a brimming, sharp-toothed smile and arms extended. “Tōn-E! Glad you could make it! Come on in.”
On the inside, Marc cringed. He mostly tried to forget that Tōn-E walked (hovered?) the same Levels as them. Tōn-E represented the most self-destructive habits of the Outpost. The only features of the city indifferent to survival.
But Tōn-E was all too real. He entered the room like a ghost in a nightmare.
“I am also happy to be here,” he said. The faces of his sphere randomly lit up as he spoke. “I otherwise had no plans for tonight. Because the planet is set to explode.”
“Yes, I’ve heard,” Sid joked.
“I approximate it will only take a few more—hold on. What is this??”
Tōn-E spun slowly in the air. The side previously facing Sid rotated toward the ceiling. When it reached the top, a spotlight shot toward the ceiling—right where Sid’s door had slotted in.
The spotlight stretched horizontally across the door until it resembled a straight line. This line swept back and forth across the raised door. It moved as if he was cleaning it.
“I don’t believe it!” Tōn-E said. “What an exquisite painting. A remarkable addition to your growing and ever-expanding portfolio, Sid.”
Tōn-E finished his scan of the painting. His expanding spotlight shut off. And he re-centered himself to face Sid.
“Aww, shanks,” Sid said. Each of his right arms latched onto the bends of the left ones. “You really think so?”
“Of course! There are colors here I’ve only seen named in the logs. You have tastefully incorporated /#FF00FF: a color our ancestors previously referred to as ‘magenta.’”
“Yes! That’s right! I was going for ‘magenta!’ You really think I did it?”
Marc looked down to hide his face. He rolled his eyes. Magenta. He would have loved to tell Sid how much he liked it too. But Marc had spent his years surviving, not studying colors in old, useless historical archives.
Sid and Tōn-E continued their snooty, pretentious discussion.
“I made it mixing legblee blood and just a liiiiiiittle bit of groundwater,” Sid said.
“That was a very clever! Allow me to save your painting to my internal memory.”
“Really??” Sid’s cheeks greened a little.
“Yes, I will review at a later time when I am both unable to view the original but would still like to once again be inspired by your clever and skillful hands.”
“Tōn-E, I—I don’t know what to say. Thank you.”
Marc simmered in his anger. Stupid Tōn-E. Always ruining things. Making them about him and his dumb, endless archives.
“I am perhaps only more impressed by your chosen ensemble! Do my eyes perceive veritable Lenorkian armor?”
The talkative orb whooshed toward Sid. It began revolving around him like an annoyingly-attached moon. As his exo-orb hummed excitedly, Tōn-E rattled off his useless knowledge of antiquated armor.
“Snorp-resistant spiked shoulder caps?!” He spun around Sid’s midsection. “Triple-layered chest plates?!” He dropped closer to the floor. “Anti-gravity shin guards made from the rare lenorkium alloy?!”
Tōn-E giggled as he orbited Sid. His laugh disturbed Marc. It sounded like a space rat being strangled in the bowels of an undersea air vent.
Sid could hardly keep up with Tōn-E’s flying. But he looked happy with the attention. “Yeah! I’m told this suit was built for the Frost Ring wars,” he said. “It never got used.”
Marc continued to not engage. He slunk deeper into his shawl, folded his arms, and sighed.
I don’t believe it!” Tōn-E said.
He backed off from Sid, flying back toward the doorway. He turned on his spotlight once again. It now stretched over Sid’s body. “Saving! Saving!”
Sid wasted no time posing for the occasion. He flexed all four arms and gritted his snaggling teeth. His irises turned a deep red and his two small horns protruded from his forehead. Tōn-E was overjoyed. “I did not think I would ever have the chance to record your agitated state,” he said.
I’ll show you an agitated state, Marc thought to himself.
“I’ve got a relic you’re going to love,” Tōn-E said. His tiny sphere filled the cave with noise. But it wasn’t Tōn-E’s usual metallic voice. The sound came from another species entirely.
His orb played an intense, ear-shuddering roar. The recording may have been slightly fuzzy, but Marc knew the source. It was unmistakably Lenorkian.
And like the gears in a drill, something appeared to “click” inside Sid. His eyes widened. His armored chest expanded. And he joined in. But Sid’s roar was… authentic.
“HRRRRRRRRRGAAAAAAAAHHHHH” he blasted out of mouth. Marc’s entire rib cage vibrated uncomfortably.
It spooked Marc. Igniting some primal desire to escape a dangerous predator. That was a feeling he never felt around Sid. He didn’t like it.
Sid himself even looked embarrassed for a second. Something he’d kept suppressed had slipped out. But Tōn-E turned up the volume on his recording. And with a cautious smile of someone nervously breaking a rule, Sid matched it. And then some. The two bellowed together. It was enough to make Marc queasy, although it was unclear whether it was due to the vibrations or Sid bonding so much with Tōn-E.
The roaring continued. Their talking continued. Tōn-E went on about Sid’s armor some more and his people’s valor and the hardship his ancestors must have faced.
“Usually I keep this stuff stashed away,” Sid said to Tōn-E in his soft normal voice. His horns had retracted, and his eyes had returned to normal. “These are shameful pieces of our history. Truly. And with a people I never really fit in with. But tonight, it just felt right to wear it, you know?”
“I understand completely,” Tōn-E said. “It is in these end times that we gravitate toward those traditions that were so much of what made us feel alive in the first place.”
The statement made Marc want to hurl. He didn’t want to entertain such stupid notions. But the gremlin rotated to him next.
“Hello Marc! Did you find any good junk today? Any new additions to your scrap pile?”
Marc seethed. “I didn't scavenge today, Tōn-E. There wouldn't be any use. It's the end of the universe.”
“That surprises me. Humans love their junk and doodads.”
“Yeah well, we don’t have to cling to the past, do we? Not like that ever saved anyone.” He hugged his wrapped arms even tighter, tilting his body away from Sid and Tōn-E. His cold shoulder ended the conversation.
Sid picked it back up. “So Tōn-E, do you, uh… drink?”
As it turned out, he did. Tōn-E accepted a cup of fludge. He held it with a robotic arm—one that had suddenly extended from his exo-orb. Tōn-E’s orb whirred as the center of his “face” sprouted a grotesque, needle-like proboscis. It poked outward like a long nose.
This straw extended into the cup he held. Tōn-E sipped the fludge like an insect sipping nectar (whatever those two things were; the Archives were spotty).
Sid waited with anticipation. Then Tōn-E’s sphere shuddered. The fludge must have reached the insufferable little creature on the inside. “Scrumptious!” he said.
Marc sighed quietly to himself. For some reason, he thought the night would have made a turn for the better if Tōn-E had hated it.
“Two for two!” Sid pumped three victorious fists into the air. He grinned as Tōn-E’s straw dipped into the cup once more. The straw made a little slurping sound.
“My taste buds are tingling!” Tōn-E said.
But the big cup was too much for him to finish. He returned the mostly-full drink to Sid. And his robotic straw receded to his exo-orb. Sid of course finished the cup, slurping up the remaining pool of fludge.
“So…” Sid said. He wiped his mouth. “Should I put some tunes back on?” He pointed over his shoulder to the idle vent. Then he looked across his two guests for an answer.
Marc shrugged. He didn’t care about anything anymore. Next to Marc, Tōn-E bobbed excitedly.
“Oh, yes!” he said. “One reads about concepts such as scales and measures, but it is entirely different to actually experience them with one’s own body!”
What body? Marc thought to himself. And what were the other things Tōn-E had mentioned? Something about… measuring… dragons?
He studied the cave floor while Sid skipped to the vent.
“That’s what I’m talking about!” Sid said. “Get those Level 7 legs ready!” He tugged at the creaking cover once more.
It came off easier this time. With a pop! the storm above returned to the cave. Its natural melody filled the room.
“Woooooooo!” Sid raised his hands again and walked back toward the other two.
Tōn-E mimicked him with two twig arms.
But the music didn’t have the same magic as before. The beats were stale. And Marc found himself unable to ignore the sting of the sand pelting his face. He lifted his shawl over his mouth. His voice was barely audible.
“I’m sitting this song out,” he said.
The other two didn't seem to hear him. They were facing each other, waving their arms sporadically against the air current.
Marc didn’t care. He grabbed his unfinished drink from the kitchen. Then he searched for a place to sit.
He found a couch, just in front of the dancing aliens. As he took his seat, his bottom started to sink into the sofa. The tarp covering the couch crinkled.
He tried guessing the material underneath it. Clay, maybe? He pondered the question while watching Sid and Tōn-E figure out dancing without him.
“This is how Marc was doing it before!” Sid said to Tōn-E. His four arms fanned across the breeze.
But he got everything wrong. His arms whipped around the wind, not with it. And he was thinking too much about his next move, as evidenced by his scrunched brows. But the greatest offense of all was his midsection: his hips and legs stayed in place—as if someone had threatened them.
A part of Marc wanted to get up and show him how it was done. But another part wanted to see Sid fail. Realize the effort was futile. Give up on bonding with Tōn-E. And kick the Sphere of Useless Facts out of his house.
“Am I doing it right, Marc?” Sid asked while each of his arms flew in a different direction.
“You look great!” Marc replied. He took a long sip of fludge.
Tōn-E, on the other hand, did his best to replicate Sid. He waved his skinny arms erratically. It almost made Marc laugh; Tōn-E looked like he’d been set on fire.
But in all, the whole thing was awful. A bad impression giving birth to an even worse impression.
And they didn’t seem to be enjoying it much either. Despite Marc’s glowing endorsement, Sid and Tōn-E danced themselves to the brink.
Sid kept losing his balance. He tried to keep up with the music but flung himself too hard in any one direction. And every time he made a misstep, he’d let loose an acidic snarl. Tōn-E grew frustrated as well. Every few seconds, he simply froze. His exterior lights would blink red in error. As Marc had hoped, the two “painting pals” quickly ran out of steam.
The dancing halted altogether. A tired Sid returned to the vent and hoisted the grate back onto the vent’s mouth. The music stopped.
“I’ll just turn it down for a minute,” he said. He adjusted a dial on the grate. The metal slits creaked open. And a muted sandstorm flowed through them.
The music reflected the overall energy in the room: depleted. Sid secured himself two more cups of fludge before joining Marc on the tarp couch.
Tōn-E followed his lead. The little troll took a seat too, which meant hovering over the last open spot on the other side of Marc.
The boys took a minute to relax on the couch. They sat quietly while the plasma storm above the Outpost boomed and cracked.
Well, Sid and Tōn-E relaxed. They chugged down another couple cups of fludge and floated quietly over the couch (respectively). Meanwhile, Marc continued to be annoyed. He considered stepping outside and climbing to Level 1. Offer himself to the plasma storm a few hours early. The non-stop hum of Tōn-E’s exo-orb goaded him further.
Did it really have to make that noise?
Marc didn’t think the afternoon could get any worse. And then it did. Because Tōn-E’s insufferable humming suddenly quieted. And that only could have meant…
“Oh!” Tōn-E exclaimed, “I know what we can talk about!”
Marc braced for impact. His nails dug into his knees.
Don’t you dare, he thought.
“I read the most interesting fact about cats today!” Tōn-E started.
Not again, Marc thought. Absolutely NOT again. His fists trembled with rage.
Did you know cats were the central deity across ten different ancient civilizations? The trend started with humans, of course, but the religion quickly spread across the galaxy as interplanetary travel became more widely available.”
“I actually didn’t know that,” Sid said, entertaining Tōn-E’s ridiculous theory. “Where did you find that?”
“The Archives! They have somewhat documented this phenomenon. You see, it was a common practice to capture footage of cats, even in their sleeping state. They were so important to these cultures that even the most mundane moment yielded significant reason to capture and worship them. If you want to see, I can—”
Marc had had enough. He slammed his cup down on the floor and flew off the couch.
“—SHUT UP. SHUT UP ABOUT CATS!” he shouted. He swung back around to face the other two. “CATS AREN’T REAL TŌN-E! AND THEY WERE NEVER REAL!”
That’s enough, Marc!” Sid clenched his teeth.“Don’t start this.
Marc returned fire, “I didn’t start anything; that was YOU. Going behind my back! Inviting more of these… fairy tales!
His emotions overwhelmed him. He didn’t know whether to yell more or start crying. He did both.
“It’s the end of the universe!” he said as tears streamed down his face. “We can’t keep clinging to the things that brought us to this point in the first place! All these stupid traditions are the reason no one’s even here with us now! IT KILLED THEM ALL! And anyone stupid enough to keep believing in them is—"
—I said THAT’S ENOUGH!” Sid growled. Marc didn't care.
NO!” he said. Then he looked back at Tōn-E. “NONE of what you’re seeing in the Archives is real! The data is corrupt! It’s ALL CORRUPT! And CATS are just another dumb fairy tale to keep people like you going, while…”
He ran out of steam. He realized there was no more “going.” In fact, there was no time remaining in the universe for anything. But that didn’t diminish his animosity and anger toward the world. He glared down at the gray sphere. His chest heaved.
Meanwhile, Sid kept a cooler, bluer head. He too looked to Tōn-E, but with compassion in his eyes.
Tōn-E didn’t immediately respond to either. The only sound in the room came from his exo-orb. Well, the exo-orb plus the ladle on the counter, which suddenly blooped into the big pot.
All eyes were on the atypically quiet alien, whose hexagonal faces began to light up.
“I suppose,” his voice trailed, “that cats may not have been real after all. You said it yourself: records are foggy. They’re all from thousands of years ago...” He sighed. Tōn-E’s lights transitioned to a new blinking pattern. “And I also suppose… that I should have been more mature about interpreting error-prone information in the Archives…”
“It's okay, man,” Sid said. “I like that you dream big.” He reached across the couch to place a comforting hand on Tōn-E. But Tōn-E floated out of reach.
“I understand my presence here is probably upsetting,” he said. “You two have a special bond. I should not have interfered with it in its last moments. I will go.”
“No, Tōn-E,” Sid said. Each pair of his hands met in front of his chest “Please stay. You have every right to be here too.”
“I should go,” Tōn-E said. “I will spend the rest of the evening focused on real things. And because I will no longer be here, I suppose it will be the perfect opportunity to review Sid’s art so I can feel inspired for the end times.”
He slipped between Sid and Marc toward the doorway.
“No, don’t!” Sid called after him. “We should do this together.
But Tōn-E had already vanished outside.
The Lenorkian, hand extended, waited for Tōn-E to come back. But the floating sphere did not reappear in the doorway.
And that was when a low trill emanated from the couch. It was coming from Sid’s his chest. He looked up at Marc, glaring. He bared his pointed teeth. His horns reappeared. And his eyes flushed with scarlet pigment.
Yuh-oh, Marc thought. About half his prior anger evaporated. Fear of a fight took hold.
Marc didn’t exactly dislike his chances. Lenorkians may have been stronger, but Sid wasn't a fighter. Marc was.
But Sid stuck to his morals.
GET OUT!” Sid shouted.
Marc reflexively jumped out of reach. The short hop sort of ruined his show of anger. But he was still boiling mad. After all, fifty percent of him hadn't abandoned the cat grudge.
Fine!” he shouted back. “Have fun exploding alone.” He whipped away to the exit.
The party was finished now. He almost stopped and went back for his fludge. But he didn’t want it anymore either. He just wanted a nice end of the universe with his friend. And now the end of the universe was ruined.
At least the apocalypse outside was behaving predictably. Marc stepped into the adjacent cave corridor. He surveyed the damage outside, looking through the long, horizontal gap in the cave wall. As the experts had predicted, the plasma storm took its toll.
The canyon glowed eerily bright, despite it being evening time. The wind howled as it raced through the canyon. And the cliffs around the gorge flashed white and pink as the storm charged with electricity, preparing to make its final jump.
Lightning cracked toward the ground. Some of the bolts hit the opposing cliff, sending rubble deep into the gorge. A gentle tremor rumbled in the ground beneath him.
The plasma storm overhead only creeped further around the planet. As the canyon brightened, shockwaves coursed through the entire city. They threw Marc off his feet again. He hit the ground.
Behind him, thunderous clacking erupted. The sound of falling rocks filled the corridor. He flipped over to see what explosion had thrown him.
It was bad. He stopped breathing. Because he could no longer see Sid’s home. All he saw was a pile of rubble.
submitted by InkDiamond to u/InkDiamond [link] [comments]

2023.06.03 21:54 icey_tamale Is there a way to mass delete / reset decorations & furniture from a room?

I usually download houses from the gallery and then make the interior more suited to my sims decor / style preferences. Sometimes the preset interior matches the look I’m going for, other times it doesn’t and then I spend 5 hours deleting and re-doing every little detail one by one.
Sooo is there a way to just reset a room instead of deleting everything over and over again??
I’m thinking like when we build a pool, room, or basement we can use the rectangle or square shape to highlight the area to build but instead of it making a new space it deletes decor and/or resets the selected room?
Is there anything like this (even a cheat?) that exists? Not looking to move them in unfurnished and lose all the pretty decorations and stuff in backyards, patios, etc etc.
submitted by icey_tamale to Sims4 [link] [comments]

2023.06.03 21:54 Four_in_binary Is this quote for Schrader valve and TXV valve installation appropriate?

Market: suburban Houston - AC unit gets heavy use.
AC unit: Goodman GSX14 5 ton split system. Installed as replacement for generic builder AC unit in 2016. Existing home copper AC lines reused. Both the upper evaporator and the lower compressor unit replaced.
Refrigerant: R-410A
Problem: AC unit began not cooling to requested temp in May. Aircon techs have come out twice and diagnosed the problem as a slow leak at the Schrader valve and a defective piston valve (either the wrong size or stuck open) at the evaporator. An electronic leak detector was used.
I have been quoted $1500 to replace the Schrader valve and $1400 to replace the piston with a TXV valve which, honestly, seems like a lot.
So...a Schrader replacement valve is $20, a vacuum pump and recovery tank is $120, 20 lbs of R410A is $200, a Goodman TXV valve is $104. I've got a torch, solder, guages, assorted plumbing tools. The parts needed to be replaced cost approximately $120 and it would cost me only about $300 to become my own HVAC guy.
This is the calculus: If I do it myself costs me approximately $420. If the HVAC company does the work it costs me $3G? Assuming an 10 hour job to repair both, $258/hr for labor seems a bit excessive -- how do I become an HVAC repair guy?
Is $2900 an excessively high quote for these repairs or is this about average?
submitted by Four_in_binary to hvacadvice [link] [comments]

2023.06.03 21:50 Nehanehalate What’s your favorite thing to do with your dog?

I’m bringing home my next foster dog next week. I’m so excited! Haven’t had a dog around for over six months. She’s a youngster and full of it, and I’m looking forward to working with her and training. This is my first time having a dog in Vegas/Henderson. That being said, what’s your favorite thing to do with your dog here? Parks, trails, dog-friendly restaurants? Any dog-walking groups or clubs that host dog sport events? Like Barn Hunt and FastCAT? I’ve heard there’s a dock diving training pool about 1 1/2 hours away in Arizona, anyone aware of one more local than that? Eeeh, so excited!
submitted by Nehanehalate to vegaslocals [link] [comments]

2023.06.03 21:44 Furs7y Pool filter help

Pool filter help
I have an above ground pool, 24’ round 14k gal. 1 eye supply, and 1 skimmer. Dreamline sand filter s190tscp - 45gpm. Hayward pump 70gpm. My issue is flow. I can change the diverter to recirc for a short period of time, then go back to filter mode. Flow is at approx 30-35 gpm then drops to 25 shortly after. 2 hours later I’m at 15gpm. Strainer is full, and only a hand full of small bubbles present in the pump basket. Installed all new pvc on the suction side. Diverter valve only approx 2 years old. Sand filter pressure hasn’t increased 10psi over starting. Pool has only been opened a week. This has been driving nuts for the past 2 years. Any insight would be great. Thanks.
submitted by Furs7y to pools [link] [comments]

2023.06.03 21:38 YoghurtZestyclose512 This tip-free restaurant in Ohio

This tip-free restaurant in Ohio submitted by YoghurtZestyclose512 to u/YoghurtZestyclose512 [link] [comments]

2023.06.03 21:35 Budget-Detective9917 Utilities cost

Hi everyone. Looking to rent a 3 bedroom 1 bath home in LA county (around pasadena). (House has a pool and garden.) Owner is saying utilities will cost about $700 a month. I would be the only one in the home, don’t cook, don’t use heater, would use AC few hours a day at night when it gets hot soon, and overall conserve water and electricity (very mindful about conservation). I’m thinking $700 is excessive; plus is it normal to charge tenant for water bill when most is for pool and garden?I’m asking for a break down of utilities from owner before I commit. Just looking to see what others in that area pay for an average sized single family home. Thanks!
submitted by Budget-Detective9917 to LosAngeles [link] [comments]

2023.06.03 21:31 Dazzling-Astronaut88 100% Remote Company w/ Exceptional benefits. Red Flags to be wary of?

A recruiter entered me into candidate pool for 2 companies, both of which seem promising. Company 1 has a 50% remote workforce with a definite office presence. The job is confirmed 100% remote, but I suspect working more on a 2 time zone difference with a fairly conventional environment and benefits starting after 90 days. Job 2 is a 100% remote company and has been since its inception with no HQ. The benefits are day 1 with unlimited PTO, 100% healthcare, a 3 day “mental health” weekend once a month, a stated “we don’t want you to work more than 40 hours a week” policy, “please take time off” and “feel free to work from anywhere you’d like” policies as well as a stipend for “personal development.” Both jobs have comparable pay. Job 2 has some quite attractive benefits. What sort of red flags should I be looking out for in terms of general company culture or relating to the seductive benefits of the 100% remote company?
submitted by Dazzling-Astronaut88 to careerguidance [link] [comments]

2023.06.03 21:16 GJ252739 Sugar Sliders vs Oofos

Sugar Sliders vs Oofos
I’ve been wearing the Sugar Sliders for a week, and so far I’m very impressed with them. Sugar Sliders have 2x the cushion as Oofos, which you can visibly see from the photo.
I’ve been wearing Oofos for 3 years and thought they were the best recovery post-workout/post-running sandal on the market. These Sugar Slides are even more comfortable! I’ve also got hardwood floors throughout my condo, so I’m rarely barefoot. It’s nice to have another option to rotate with my Oofos.
So far I’ve only worn the white Sugar Sliders indoors. I’ve ordered a 2nd black pair to wear outdoors.
Sizing: I’m a 9.5M in Allbirds Dasher 2 and Flyers. I wear a 10M in Tree Runners and Tree Pipers. I ordered the 10M for the Sugar Sliders, as I like to have a little space at the heel and toe in sandals. Other reviews say to size down, so that will be a personal preference. I’m pleased with the 10M sizing. Plus there is a sturdy velcro strap for additional tightening if needed (slowly adjust the straps, as other users have posted pics of snapped straps from ripping way too hard or fast).
Cons: When wearing for an extended period of time, I prefer to have on socks. The “pebbled” texture slightly irritates the bottom of my toes if I’m walking in them for an hour or longer without socks (zero blistering, just sensitive). For a quick walk to the pool or down to the beach, you’ll have no problems without socks. Also, they aren’t that stylish. I wear these for comfort only, but my feet are thanking me!
Overall, I’d highly recommend the Sugar Sliders. At their current sale price of $24, pick up a pair. I hope this review helped for anyone on the fence.
submitted by GJ252739 to Allbirds [link] [comments]

2023.06.03 21:05 CarpetOne1076 i’ve finally found something that’s working for me and it feels great

long story short: i lost 30lbs last year, but was constantly binging and regaining some and then losing it and then gaining some back. in february of this year, i completely fell off and started binging horribly everyday. i’ve gained back almost everything i lost last year.
i’ve spent the last three months feeling terrible about myself. i felt like i was gonna be stuck here forever and like i ruined all of my progress. i haven’t been able to find ANYTHING that’s worked for me consistently. except for now. i finally took a step back and REALLY thought about what i was doing and why it wasn’t working for me. here’s some things i’ve started doing recently that have helped tremendously!
  1. breakfast, lunch, and dinner everyday and at least 15g of protein with each meal.
before, i would see how long in the day i could go without eating. i called it fasting, but it honestly wasn’t. i would wait until 4pm and then eat. and guess what happened every time. i ended up binging at night. three meals a day has been soooo important and helpful. they’re nothing special or anything, but they’re something. i know everyone says to eat like 30g or 40g or something for each meal, but that’s just not realistic for me right now. so i aim for at least 15-20g and it’s been helping a lot. i’m not constantly thinking about what i’m gonna eat next and haven’t binged since i started this. i usually count protein for breakfast and lunch, but i always eat a lot of protein with dinner so i don’t usually count.
  1. limiting carbs at dinner.
listen. i’m not saying i’m on some keto diet or something. that definitely does not work for me personally. i just end up binging on carbs later. but i’ve tried to limit my carbs with dinner. burgers without the bun, 1/4 or 1/2 a cup of rice instead of 1 or 2. just whatever i can do or what i’m feeling like. also, for my fellow type one diabetics out there, this has helped me tremendously with overnight highs. i’m not waking up in the 400s from huge carb filled dinners. it also helps me to stop and think: “if i eat all these carbs right now, how is that gonna make me feel later? what if i just take out whatever carbs i can while making sure i’ll still be satisfied?” works great. and if i’m feeling like eating more carbs some nights, then i’m eating more carbs those nights! idk if any of that makes sense but yeah. i also feel like this has helped with the binging too and wanting something sweet after dinner.
  1. focusing my mind on other things. making goals. finding a hobby.
it’s so easy to get lost in all of this weight loss stuff. it’s hard not to constantly think about it. finding a hobby and focusing on that has really helped. i started reading awhile ago, but it didn’t really help me get my mind off things too much. but lately, i’ve been falling behind on my goal for how many books i wanna read this year so i’ve been really determined to get back on track and read a lot of books this month. so i’m always thinking about it. “oh i need to go read so i can get to my goal this month!” “oh i wonder what book im gonna read next!” “i really wanna finish this book today! i’m gonna try really hard to finish it!” literally just focusing on reaching my reading goal has helped so much. sometimes i just sit in my room and talk to myself about books lol. it really helps to calm the voice in my head that’s panicking about food and how much i’m gonna eat today and when i’m gonna eat and what i’m gonna eat. (forget to mention but eating three meals a day does this too! my thoughts about food have decreased by at least 70-80% everyday.) replacing one obsession with another lol
  1. small amounts of exercise and changing my “why” for exercise.
i’ve never really exercised consistently or anything. i usually would tell myself “i need to start exercising so i can lose weight quicker.” so i’d find some crazy intense workout and do a large amount of it for about….three days or so and then give up. it wasn’t sustainable. i’ve found doing small amount everyday has really helped me. even just a short 12 minute workout video before bed. or half of one of those videos before work. or 20-30 minutes in the pool. and it’s not the end of the world if i miss a day. i also changed my reason. instead of exercising bc i wanna lose weight faster, i started exercising bc how cool would it be to be stronger?? it would feel so amazing! picking up that heavy box? no big deal! going on a long hike? no big deal! working 8 hours on my feet? no big deal! i feel weak and tired all the time so how cool would it be to feel even just the tiniest bit stronger? i think it would be pretty awesome.
and that’s it. nothing crazy, but it makes a huge difference. i’m feeling so much happier and free. it’s really great. i’m already seeing progress so i can’t wait to get to my goals!
submitted by CarpetOne1076 to loseit [link] [comments]

2023.06.03 20:57 Apart_Willow_5472 Drunk Golfers

I work as a starter at my neighborhood golf course, and even though it’s a public course it’s great for the price ($40 a round in the morning, $25 after 3:00). That being said, we host a lot of tournaments/scrambles. Every Thursday and Saturday, we have a league that is filled with wonderful old men who are very nice and understanding. They typically tee off at 8:00. Today, we had a separate scramble that would tee off at 9:00 shotgun start behind this old man league. The catch was that all of the 32 players in this scramble are super hungover and are running on 3 hours of sleep. For context, this scramble is apart of a tradition/game these people play every year where they play pool, darts, golf, bowling, and corn hole in a competition. The problem from this is they jam all of it into 2-3 days. I asked one of the players what the scramble was about, and they explained that they were playing pool and darts until 3 AM this morning. All of this culminated in a terrible experience for anyone playing behind them, as it took them 3 hours to play 7 holes. It got so bad, my boss and I were handing out free round vouchers and drinks to anyone playing behind them. I had to somehow get all the tee times after the scramble on time, which was impossible. To add the cherry on top, they allowed groups to buy unlimited mulligans. I witnessed multiple times groups replaying entire holes 2 or 3 times with their mulligans. Luckily my 8 hours was up before they all returned sparing me from their wrath. Why wouldn’t they just space out their competitions in normal intervals to prevent this? Why would they continue to drink heavily knowing how much they were ruining it for everyone else?
submitted by Apart_Willow_5472 to golf [link] [comments]

2023.06.03 20:56 SteelAtheism Trey Songz under scrutiny: a pool party from the past surfaces with a $10M price tag.

Trey Songz under scrutiny: a pool party from the past surfaces with a $10M price tag. submitted by SteelAtheism to celebrities [link] [comments]

2023.06.03 20:48 NigerianWizard Provissionally passed @ 132 (April - June 2023)

Hey all, I provisionally passed earlier this-morning ~132 after ~1h30mins, figured I'd post my experience here as this subreddit has been a big part of my prep for the exam.
To give some background, I've worked as a SOC Analyst, dealing with Security Operations & Incident Response for 5 years now as of January 2023, which prompted me to attempt the exam given the experience requirement.
The only other form of "Big" certification I have prior to the CISSP was the GIAC Certified Windows Forensic Analyst.
I began studying the first week of April 2023, with the Sybex Official Study Guide & Official Practise Test bundle. I spent the first 2 and a half weeks reading the OSG cover to cover, making sure to take the end of chapter review questions at the end of each chapter. I didn't do to well in the end of chapter exams, usually hovering ~60-70%, but that was to be expected given I hadn't really taken any noted, just highlighted the parts I deemed important.
The first few chapters of the OSG I found to be extremely dry and hard to get through, but as soon as the chapters on Cryptography came about, the read from there was a lot more interesting since I'd consider myself a technical person moreso than a "Managerial" person.
Once I had completed the OSG, I began attempting the Domain Specific question pools from the Official Practice Test Book, but I quickly grew tired of manually tallying up my answers and grading the questions myself and stopped maybe 3 domains in.
From here I found the LearnZapp mobile app, and through this subreddit, discovered they contain the same pool of questions as the Official Practice Tests. Overall, I attempted 2050 questions in the LearnZapp question pool, 1461 Correct, 589 Incorrect, with an overall readiness score of 73%.
From here I moved to the PocketPrep app, which I personally enjoyed a lot more than the LearnZapp questions. I took all 1000 of the PocketPrep questions, with a final score of 810/1000, or 81%.
For both of these mobile apps, I purposefully choose to omit missed/incorrect questions from my question pool as to not create a false sense of security through simply memorizing incorrect questions. I did of course read over why my answer was wrong though.
Next, I purchased the Boson Questions pool. I did not make use of all 700 questions available on Boson, as at this point I had already done ~4000 questions across the OPQ, LearnZapp & PocketPrep. For Boson, I did smaller test of ~30 questions every couple days. Scores here ranged quite a bit, from 96% at the highest, and 63% at the lowest.
The week of my exam, I tried to to one full exam simulation per day (175 Questions), with scores of 66%, 73%, 69%, and the night before the exam, 67%. Although most of these exams were under the 70% pass mark, and therefore considered a fail, I didn't let that get me down as I remember people stating the Boson exam pools were quite a bit more difficult/technical than the actual exam.
About 4 weeks out, I watched PEte Zerger's CISSP Exam Cram series. I took handwritten notes for each domain, which I found really helped solidify the concepts for me.
2 weeks before my scheduled exam date, I also puchased a Cybrary subscription and took Kelly Handerhan's CISSP course which I'd highly recommend. Kelly's humour and ability to really simplify hard to grasp concepts made the course really beneficial to me. I took handwritten notes for each chapter, but chose to skip the lab portions and simply stick to the videos.
During the final week, I also took Mike Chapple's CISSP Exam Practice Test, in which I scored 76%.
The morning or the exam was rough, didn't sleep until ~midnight, then had to wake ~3am to catch the train to the exam centre, which itself was a 3.5 hour train ride (we have 1 PearsonVue centre in my entire country!).
By the time I walked to the exam centre I had roughly an hour to kill, so decided to watch Kelly Handerhan's "Why you will Pass the CISSP" video due to multiple people referencing it in their experience posts on here.
During the actual exam I wasn't really nervous, but didn't feel confident at all. Multiple people have referenced it already, but the questions are phrased quite a bit different to any of the practise questions I had done. Definately less technical than the Boson pool and about on par with the CertMike/PocketPrep questions, just phrased in a unique way.
Throughout my 132 questions I felt confidend in maybe ~20% of my answers, the remaining was made up of wittling the possible answer down to 2, or making an educated best guess from the possible choices.
When the exam ended on question 132, I genuinely wasn't sure if I had passed or not, but was relieved when the attendant's handed me my slip and it said congratulations.
submitted by NigerianWizard to cissp [link] [comments]

2023.06.03 20:44 lutherwriteshorror After a class reunion we knocked over a headstone. It was a terrible mistake.

A heavy mist settled on the cemetery, just as it always had when we were children. Thwack! I ran straight into another headstone and fell into the mud, breathless. Scrambling to my feet, I looked behind me, hoping that whatever was chasing me had gone off somewhere else.
It was a mistake to come back to Endeavor for my 25 year reunion. I swore I’d never step foot in this town again, with its three block main street where everyone was either a drunk, an abuser, or a holier-than-the saints-themselves wannabe street preacher, or some combination of all of the above.
How the hell do I get out of this cemetery?
I’d gotten drunk, but not so drunk that I shouldn’t have been able to find my way out, even in this heavy mist. It descended as soon as we kicked over Mr. Grantz’ headstone, that old, blustering asshole. He deserved some sort of retribution after the shit he put kids through for decades in this town. He was Mister Evangelical himself, somehow granted the right to stuff his convoluted ideologies on us in the place of an actual science education.
After we turned a bit tipsy Derrick, Anne, Roger, and I decided to leave the bar that was hosting the reunion to stagger out to the cemetery one last time — pay homage to our old midnight refuge. What better way to relive our inglorious days?
Damn! I hit my knee on another headstone. I just wanted out, an escape from this hellhole. “I’ll go home and never bother this place again!” I shouted into the mist.
Derrick played football — still as skinny and probably at least half as fast as that knobby-elbowed teenager who was practically chased out of town for not scoring a winning touchdown to get us to state. Anne was the girl we were all in love with. She stayed in town and teaches history, or I'm sure as much actual history as she can get away with uttering aloud. Roger couldn’t do anything right, but could still get away with anything by his smile.
On June nights like this we’d always go hang out late at night drinking non-age-appropriate beverages at the Endeavor cemetery. It was about a half-mile walk on the train tracks from “town.” We’d all sneak out with our flashlights and walk there, sometimes solo, sometimes in pairs, and even then it sort of creeped me out to go it alone, walking on that path of lonesome steel between the walls of tall grass that swayed in the wind.
My alcohol tolerance had gone way down since I grew up and life stopped being about partying. Otherwise I would have been way too inhibited to let those old friends pry me back to the cemetery. Whose idea was this? It was Roger's ideas wasn't it?
The only good idea he had in his entire life is that we needed to get out of Endeavor.
Was I running in circles or something? I limped in a direction I believed had to be the way out. Tipsy, sure, but there’s no way I was drunk enough that I couldn’t find my way out of a small town cemetery.
In high school Roger has been spared, but the rest of us had been Mr. Grantz’ personal classroom punching bags, all because our families didn’t go to church, or didn’t go enough for Mr. Grantz’ liking. My heathen mother even had the gall to speak the word “evolution” in public once, so as far as the church folk were concerned (meaning nearly everyone) my family needed to be chased out of town.
Congratulations. Endeavor wasn't a paradise. It was a graveyard of aspiration.
So yeah, we stomped to the cemetery in the delirium of getting drunk together one last time in Endeavor after spending half our lives away from each other.
Derrick is the one who stumbled onto Mr. Grantz’ headstone. “Whoa!? That psychopath finally died. Hallelujah!” he yelled.
“Derrick!” Anne said, “I know you had your differences but that’s no reason to celebrate his passing. He was a human being.” She must have made her peace with the people of this town years ago. The rest of us did our real growing up once we got outside.
“Differences? Do you remember when I missed that touchdown, how it was because my family was unclean? He was the one who kept telling people we needed to go back to the old ways and they should burn me on a pyre for it. It was one bad play against a team of kids who were twice our size.” Derrick caught the wind in his throat, “It would be hard for me to mourn someone who wanted to kill a kid over a touchdown.”
“I gotta piss,” Roger said, smirking.
“No,” Anne said.
“See, even Roger wants to get this guy, and he wasn’t even one of Mr. Grantz’ targets.”
As they argued I swayed in the wind getting angrier and angrier remembering that old blowhard. Once, when I was having trouble sleeping, I fell to sleep on my desk in the middle of his science class, and he dropped a bowling ball on my desk to wake me up and “teach me a lesson.” It slid off the desk and landed on my foot breaking some small bones that never healed well and still bother me to this day.
“Let’s tip it over,” I said.
They all looked at me wide eyed, then grins spread over Derrick and Roger’s faces, devious in the moonlight.
“Hell yeah!” they agreed.
“You’re all going to hell for this,” Anne said, trying to stop them. But we were all already kicking at the marble headstone, trying to get it to budge from the Earth. My foot throbbed in that old familiar way, but this was worth it.
“Are you being serious, Anne? Are you a believer now? Don’t tell me this town got to you,” Derrick said.
“‘Got to me?’If that’s what you call growing up and getting over my youthful rebellious phase, then yes. Earl Grantz was a town hero. He only wanted the best for the people here and I can’t just let you desecrate his grave.”
Roger blocked Anne from stopping us while Derrick and I kept kicking the headstone. Hard and heavy, the thing didn’t want to budge. I got on its level and tried pushing it with my shoulder while Derrick kept kicking it.
After a minute I fell to the ground to rest.
Anne looked at me, “If you’re having a heart attack you deserve it. You don’t even know what will happen if you manage to knock that thing down. You don’t know what they’ll do.”
“Oh come on, I’m going to be out of this town for the rest of my life in about six hours. There’s nothing the community of Endeavor will be able to do to me ever again.”
“We’ll see about that,” she said.
I got back up and resumed kicking with Derrick who hadn’t stopped for a second. In fact, it was like he was getting stronger and stronger, maybe remembering more of Mr. Granz’ vitriolic outbursts. I could still see the old man with his white beard and loud, sharp face barrelling down at me for any perceived sleight.
“It’s starting to give,” Derrick said.
Then all at once, with one last kick the headstone cracked at its base and thudded over into the damp grass.
“Whoa, we did it.” Derrick took a step back.
We all stood there for a moment, struck by a kind of awe. That old man who had made things so hard for us in high school, he was really dead. He was dead in the ground and could never yell at us or throw bowling balls at us or set the entire town against us ever again. He was being eaten by worms. A sad meal. We’d survived him and this town.
I guess Anne was struck by a different kind of awe. Probably she was surprised at the audacity of her old friends, drunk and stupid in the cemetery. Whatever her feelings were, by the time I turned to look for her she’d already disappeared into the night.
We had a good laugh, the three of us, reunited for this taste of revenge. The headstone lay there in the barely tended grass and I thought of how pointless his attacks on us had been, the harassment, the ostracization, the constant preaching and withholding of an actual education — we were all doing fine to spite him. Derrick worked as head of sales at a sportswear company, I was the top non-profit tax whiz in my city, Roger had one of those vague program manager positions at an even more vague start-up gone big, and we all had families waiting for us at home. "Here lies a failure in life and death" is what the headstone should have read.
That’s when we heard it, a placeless whispering descended onto the cemetery.
It was as if the wind was made of barely audible voices, speaking in rolling anger that went on and on. And with it a dark mist fell on us.
“What the —” Roger said.
“It’s just the mist playing tricks on us, an auditory illusion,” Derrick said.
But up the back of my spine a tingling sensation had already started to warn me that something insidious was happening. Even when we were children, we’d joked about how the mist in the cemetery felt unnatural, but now it came on twice as quickly and it was twice as thick. I could barely see the others. “We should start making it back to our cars," I said.
"I don't remember the fog ever being this bad," Derrick said.
"We had actual flashlights with us. That might have made a difference," I offered. We only had the flashlights on our phones, and as the moments passed the mist deepened until they were nearly useless.
"Climate change," Roger said.
"Don't tell that one to Mr. Grantz," I said.
Laughing, Derrick stumbled on a small divet in the ground, rolling onto his back. I think he saw something then. I can’t say for sure, but as I looked down at him, my mind still blurred by the alcohol, I saw a serious fear drawn over his eyes, stifling his laughter. For a moment his lip quivered before he let out a scream that was swallowed by the thick country air. A column of mist poured into his mouth. It might have been the shock, but I thought in the mist I saw a torrent of pale hands forcing their way down his throat.
Derrick’s body convulsed. He shook harder and harder until the attack ceased and he sank, limp, into the ground.
“Help!” Roger screamed as he was pulled into the mist by something I couldn’t see.
I didn’t wait a moment longer. I didn’t try to stay and help my friends or check to see if Derrick was still alive. I bolted. Whatever that was in the mist, if I could put some distance between myself and it, maybe I could get out of this cemetery, follow the traintracks back to town, get back into my Honda Civic and drive away from this godforsaken town.
The mumbling whispers grew louder behind me, but I didn’t dare look. I’d give anything just to make it out of this cemetery. This was a stupid night. I never should have come back, but I wasn’t going to let this drunken mistake leave my children to grow up without a father.
Sorry Derrick, I thought. Sorry Roger. And, what in the hell happened to Anne? What was it she said, we didn’t know what they’ll do? Is that what’s happening now?
I ran until my lungs burned, bumping into headstones left and right. This place wasn’t a labyrinth. How was it that I hadn’t gotten out of it by now? The cemetery couldn’t be bigger than a couple few city blocks. Hardly anyone lived in Endeavor to begin with. It didn’t take much space to house their dead. How many of these people have been completely forgotten to time by now? How many of them were succeeded only by children like me, children who they chased out of town. How many of them had bigoted, evil hearts like Mr. Grantz?
My knee smacked on something hard, another headstone, and I cried out. I could hardly move anymore from all the bruises I’d just taken. But I limp-ran in desperation, my hurt leg skidding on the ground. The mist was close behind me. I could feel it wet on the back of my neck, but I knew I only needed to make it a little further.
An exposed tree root caught my foot and I tumbled to the ground, my head knocking against something hard. I frantically crawled back toward my feet but I kept falling back down. I wasn’t seeing straight. Why is this happening to me? I swore I’d never come back.
It was Anne that reached out to us all. She’d wanted to bring the old gang back together for the reunion. Over half the class had stayed in town after graduation, but the rest of us had left Endeavor, and from what I gathered none of us spared a look back. Why didn’t we ever think of how that would have felt for Anne? She didn’t have the same agency as the rest of us. Heck, her parents had threatened to pull her from school and homeschool her in their traditional way. Of course she ended up like this. We were her lifeline.
Damn it!
Every time I tried to get up I twisted some other muscle and collapsed back to the ground. I’d never put my body through something like this before, especially after the age of forty. I’d already been dreading the day-long hangover I saw in my future as we left the bar, but at this rate I’d be lucky to be able to walk — that is, if I even got out of this cemetery alive.
Anne had gone to the trouble of mailing us each nice, handwritten letters on stationary inviting us to the reunion. She wanted everyone to get together. It was incredibly thoughtful of her. Apparently she’d worked with all the others to make sure everyone else who’d abandoned Endeavor had an invitation. Of course, not everyone came, but most of the class made it.
We met at Freddy’s, an old country dive we’d never been able to get into before. In Endeavor everybody knows everybody, so there’s no sneaking into bars with a fake id.
I’d been in city dives, but Freddy’s was something else. It reminded me more of a barn where bats would live in the rafters than a bar — a big open space with tables strung about here and there, a pool table near the corner, dust counting the years on the floor. Just my guess, but I don’t think the owner knows what the flooring is made of, that’s how often it looked like it’d been cleaned. Still, it was nice coming back and seeing this part of Endeavor we’d always wondered about.
The folks that stayed in town welcomed us back in, but it was obvious there was a sort of familiarity and camaraderie among them that the rest of us would never have again — the kind of camaraderie that comes from spending forty years with the same small group of people, of having small town secrets and knowing all the things in a human life that can go unsaid.
It was Anne’s idea to go to the cemetery, wasn’t it?
She could tell we were all a bit uncomfortable and wanted to catch up more privately. As always, she was the sensitive person who could tell what we were all feeling and gave us direction. There was a time when I was young when I thought I’d grow up to marry her — funny to think of it now, that I pictured my life in Endeavor, of scraping out an existence in this place that now seemed so desolate, an isolated island away from everything that truly mattered to me. I’m sure Derrick and Roger felt like that too. Did Anne think about us like that? In her imagination, had she pictured the future with each of us, trying us on like coats, only to be abandoned in the end.
The mist had gotten so deep I couldn’t see where I was going, though I’d slowed to a crawl. My hand felt something cold and hard on the ground. I pulled myself close and I saw the inscription, “Here lies Earl Grantz.” After all that running I was back at Mr. Grantz’ headstone where I’d started.
I lifted myself to my feet and noticed two long shapes beside me on the ground. Derrick and Roger. My heart dropped. Something had dragged them back.
A cold hand grabbed onto my hair and pulled my head back. The mist poured into my open mouth like a thousand frozen beads of pain. I tried to scream, but it kept pouring into me as I collapsed to the damp dirt on my already bruised and skinned knees. Stop! Please, I can’t take any more! I wanted to beg. It kept going until I lost consciousness.
I awakened to the sun already high in the sky, my whole body throbbing with pain. Derrick was nudging me with his foot.
“Good,” he gasped, “we’re all alive then.”
“What? What just happened?” I asked.
He stood above me with Roger. Alive. Somehow after the events of last night we’d made it to the morning in the land of the living. I didn’t orphan my kids.
“I saw the mist get you, both of you. I ran, but I couldn’t escape the cemetery,” I said.
“All I know is that I’m getting out of here and I’m not looking back,” Roger said.
“I’m with ya.” Derrick helped me up to my feet.
Neither of them was as outwardly hurt as I knew I was. I could feel every scrape and bruise down to my bones, not to mention the hangover. “What about Anne?” I asked.
“No sign of her.”
Before we limped back to town I pulled out my cellphone to see the worried messages from my wife. She assumed I’d only gotten drunk and let my phone die. I sent her a selfie of my swollen face and said that last night hadn’t gone as planned, but I was on my way home — desperate to get out of godforsaken Endeavor — and would explain everything to her. How could I explain this? I can’t even explain it to myself.
I told the others about the events of last night after I’d lost them, and they nodded, listening. None of us had anything resembling a logical explanation.
My phone dinged with a message. “I’m glad you’re safe! I was so worried. But are you using some sort of filter? Your eyes are green in this picture.”
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2023.06.03 20:38 MrsLadyZedd Hind legs muscle atrophy

OR - my cat’s back legs are not working anymore -
Neutered 7-8 year old cat. 14 lbs. Houston Texas area.
One of our cats, Mr. Hieronymus Bosch, is approximately 7-8 years old (he showed up in my driveway in August of 2017) and has a recurring medical issue that seems to be getting worse.
In 2021 he started not being able to jump up on things. He was eating, drinking, using the catbox. They checked him out, full exam and x-rays, and they said that there was nothing wrong that they could see. They said maybe a strain or sprain. I restricted his movement and it eventually got better.
About two months ago he started having issues with jumping again. I waited it out and restricted movement. It has gotten worse, not better, in the last four weeks. Now he is barely able to walk and is staying in his bed most of the day. He is having difficulty getting in and out of the catbox.
I took him back in Thursday and they checked again. X-rays, full exam, the works. They did a urinalysis and bloodwork. All clear.
The only thing the vet found was some arthritis but nothing significant. No issues in the spine, legs, hips, etc. Just significant muscle atrophy in his back legs for seemingly no reason.
Complicating things is the fact that though I can do anything at all with him, he requires sedation at the vet because he is an absolute demon there.
They gave him an injection of Solensia today and recommend that monthly. But his need for sedation really makes this difficult. (I am also not a millionaire and this will end up being $200 a month with sedation and the injection.)
I just wondered if any of you had thoughts on the situation. I trust my vet and drive an hour each way to see her but I am frustrated and concerned.
submitted by MrsLadyZedd to cats [link] [comments]

2023.06.03 20:25 fatwolverines Dad and I looking for answers

TL;DR — Seeking resources, support groups, and next steps for my mom’s care (early dementia), especially to help my dad who has become her primary caretaker
This will be long and appreciate you bearing with me… I love my mom and am feeling helpless in knowing how to support both her and my dad. My mom has seen early symptoms of dementia for the last 5 or so years, but this is the first year that it seems to be declining fast. She’s seeing a neuropsychologist who said she’s “right at the crux between mild cognitive impairment and dementia,” and tests point to “earliest stages of late onset Alzheimer’s” (which obviously can’t be confirmed).
Her memory loss looks like - Repeating thoughts or sentences or asking questions multiple times (10x an hour or so) about when something is happening, where they’re going, etc - Getting mad at her friend because she believes her friend yelled at her (this didn’t happen) - Forgetting events that happened even as little as 8 hours before (this one is new, as of this month or so) - Hyperfixating on a bladder issue she’s having and being treated for, I.e. believing it’s caused by something else, etc. I know dementia meds don’t work well with bladder medications so that’s a separate frustrating issue :( - Getting lost while driving (this happened a few times a long while back, so now she limits her driving to the pool and library) - Becoming increasingly reclusive and inactive — I’ve seen her go from attending water aerobics 5x a week, doing Spanish classes and Bible study, tutoring, art classes, etc. to rarely leaving the house more than once a week, citing her bladder issue. She’s gained a lot of weight and the only times she sees other people (granted, she’s always been quite shy) are when my dad takes her to see her friends
Her mother had dementia and died at 78. My mom is 75, and my dad is functioning as her primary caretaker (I live out of state).
When I call her, she can either sound chippeperfectly fine or super stressed/depressed — no in between. My dad has definitely carried a huge load for a really long time — fortunately he has a good community of friends he can see and lean on, but it’s definitely taxing on him, and he sends long emails occasionally citing all of her new symptoms and I can sense it’s a cry for help.
What resources are there for us? Groups? Counselors who help talk through next steps? Even books to read? Should we keep getting second medical opinions? Should we try urging my mom to keep up healthy habits and join social activities? When should we have real conversations about professional caretakers?
Sorry for rambling, I’m definitely feeling a bit in over my head and even contemplating how necessary it’d be for me to move back home. Advice would be so appreciated. Been following this community for a long while and have been so appreciative of its presence in helping me feel less alone.
submitted by fatwolverines to dementia [link] [comments]