Valedictorian’s lab. Brooke enters. Rob is sitting to the side, playing a game on his phone or texting or something. Valedictorian is doing some sort of chemistry thing. She pours a thing into a thing. A change of some sort.
Valedictorian: Aha, yes, but.
She pours a thing into another thing. A different reaction.
Valedictorian: Are you seeing this?
Rob (not even looking): Yes.
Brooke clears her throat.
Valedictorian: Who dares disturb my research?
Brooke: I am known as Prosperina, Queen of the Dead.
Valedictorian: Yes, the Dead Queen.
Valedictorian: What do you want?
Brooke: I have a proposal. A way to eliminate Pizza Girl.
Valedictorian: You have my attention.
Brooke: Think. What is her greatest weakness?
Valedictorian looks at Rob, who is still playing on his phone.
Valedictorian: Well she has a nicer car than Pizza Boy.
Brooke: Technology! She can’t handle technology. It’s how you eliminated Pizza Boy.
Valedictorian: She can’t be found. She can’t be lured. She’s too strong to be taken now. What you’re suggesting is impossible.
Brooke: She can be. With the right bait.
Valedictorian: She cannot be lured. We have tried. We…failed.
Brooke: She cares nothing for the reporter. You have to take Emily instead.
Brooke: Her best friend, Emily. It is an especially good time. They recently had a fight. Their feelings for each other are sore. Mag…Pizza Girl won’t be in her right mind.
Valedictorian: Who is this Emily? What is she like?
Brooke: She reads comic books and hangs out on tumblr all the time. She’s a silly girl.
Valedictorian: Who is her favorite hero?
Brooke: Heat Shield.
Valedictorian: There’s a movie coming out with her soon!
Brooke: Yes, but they’re having trouble finding a director for the film. I don’t think it will be any good.
Valedictorian: But there is a movie! That’s the important thing!
Brooke: So the plan is, I will lure Emily to you, and you will use technology to defeat Pizza Girl, and then there will be only one hero in this town!
Valedictorian: I am not your minion. Dead Queen.
Brooke: I am Prosperina!
Valedictorian: You want to kidnap someone? That sounds like awfully villainous.
Brooke: I’m not a villain. I just can’t get what I want.
Valedictorian: Neither can I. I can’t get any university funding for my experiments. So I have to scrabble and scrap to support my research.
Brooke: I just want everything to be safe. I just don’t want there to be bad guys anymore.
Valedictorian: And you would do anything to do it.
Valedictorian opens a lockbox and pulls some cash out from it. She begins throwing the cash at Brooke.
Valedictorian: Here’s what it is! Here are your morals! Here are your ethics! Here’s what hurt you! Here’s all you really want! Here’s what we took from you! Here’s what the bad guys want! Take it! That’s all you want!
Brooke: No! Stop it! Stop it! I don’t want it! I just want Pizza Girl gone! I want it to be my fault!
Valedictorian: Well it won’t be! I am not here to do your bidding! Get your own minion, you useless Dead Peasant!
Prosperina runs offstage, crying. Valedictorian begins picking up the cash she threw on the ground.
Valedictorian: Who is this Emily, anyway?
Rob (reading from his phone): She’s a student at Greensboro University.
Valedictorian: Of course she is.
Rob: She reblogged a lot of articles by the reporter Kurt Gallagher. And here’s a picture of them.
He shows Valedictorian, who peers at the phone.
Valedictorian: Then I think we have to find this Kurt Gallagher again to learn more.
Last night I came across the North Carolina Herpetological Society. They’re a Raleigh-based organization dedicated to, like, the study of reptiles. They didn’t sound like they rescued beardies per se, but they sounded like a great resource nonetheless. So I emailed them.
Hello! I rescued a sick bearded dragon, and I cannot keep the bearded dragon. I’ve been trying to find a new home for the beardie. Does your society have any recommendations on how to find potential rescues?
They actually replied! The webmaster had contacted a few folks, including their “husbandry chair” (they have a person dedicated to reptile husbandry!) but needed a few more details, so I replied back with a few more details.
I work for a Petsmart, and Sinbad was one of the beardies on the salesfloor. He was bullied by the other beardies in his tank, so that he couldn’t eat; they also sat on him all the time. He developed Metabolic Bone Disorder. He still is not the best eater, I give him 10 crickets 3 times a week, and he sometimes doesn’t finish all 10. He is also undersized; I don’t know exactly how old he is because of that, beyond “juvenile”. He doesn’t really use his legs to support himself, although he does try to sometimes. He doesn’t like being touched on the back. He has improved a lot since he was separated from the other dragons, though. He’s trying to use his legs more often and he’s grown about two inches (he’s about eight inches now). We’re located in Morrisville.
Then I included a picture, because the more that people see how cute Sinbad is the more the world is a better place.
I also contacted a different rescue directly, Midgard Serpents Reptile Rescue and Sanctuary. Their testimonials indicate that they do a good job in spite of how their website looks, so I emailed them about Sinbad as well.
I’m feeling optimistic. Sinbad could have a forever home in time for Christmas!
Maggie: Why are you doing this? WHY ARE YOU FOLLOWING ME?
Kurt: The people want to know.
Maggie: The people want to know — I want to know! Stop following me! I’m not going to answer your questions! Why don’t you go ask Emily, aren’t you dating her?
Kurt: No, we went on one date so she would introduce me to you.
Maggie: You are an awful human being.
Kurt: How does that make you feel?
Maggie: I hate you.
Brooke who has, at some point in this discussion, entered: Ohoho, looks like someone’s found a new love interest!
Brooke: First a superhero, now an ace reporter! I sense a theme. Superb.
Maggie: We are literally arguing. I literally just said “I hate you” because I am genuinely angry at him.
Brooke: You’re just covering up the fact that you would totally bang.
Rob gives Maggie an appraising look and concludes that he would, in fact, totally do her.
Maggie: You’re disgusting.
Brooke: Called it.
Maggie: Brooke sure has changed. She used to be all whiny and now she’s…different.
Kurt: She’s Prosperina. Calling it.
Maggie: What? No she’s not, she’s totally…Prosperina. You’re right. She is totally Prosperina.
Kurt: What does that mean? How does you knowing this affect things?
Maggie: You’re really quick on the ball. A lot faster than Emily is.
Kurt: Yeah, I’m pretty smart.
So the way that I write is, I come up with a good idea for dialogue, get it written down as quickly as possible, then call it a day. This is an idea that I came up with in the shower. By the time I had gotten out of the shower, put clothes on, and opened this and started writing, I had lost the last half of what I wanted to write. Maggie yells and shouts about Emily, about how all she wants is to be a college professor (they were tied up somehow). But I don’t remember how they got from this point to that point.
This obviously takes place after Pizza Boy has electrocuted himself. I don’t remember if Maggie recognized Brooke when she was dressed as Prosperina. I do know that the big climax is going to involve Prosperina and Valedictorian kidnapping Kurt and being disappointed that Maggie doesn’t show up immediately to rescue him. Because in the real world, arguing and saying “I hate you” means that you don’t like that person.
Emily provides the emotional subplot that is normally reserved for love interests.
One of my saved drafts is the scene where Maggie meets Kurt. I really gotta finish that at some point.
Harris Teeter doesn’t have a whole lot of Starbucks hours to give, so I’m working less than I have been recently. Yesterday, for example, I got out of work while the sun was still up. I haven’t seen the sun a whole lot recently. It seemed like such a big thing. Once got home, I changed out of my work clothes, into some casual clothes, then put on some walking shoes and took a walk.
I spent most of the walk thinking just how amazing it was that I was able to take this walk. Then, after a while, I found myself thinking that this would be more fun with a dog. But for now, I should just be happy to walk. The peak of fall had already hit, so I was looking at a lot of bare trees. But the temperature was nice. The sun was making everything gold. Work had been thoroughly dull — they have so few hours available for Starbucks that I had spent the whole day training in Pizza. Once you get over the initial excitement of oh my gosh pizza!, the actual work of pizza is quite dull. As soon as you get one pizza out, you turn around, beat a new piece of dough into shape, spread the sauce, and sprinkle on the sauce and toppings, and then bake it and get it out. Repeat ad finitum. But my whole head felt clearer after just a 30-minute walk.
This morning, I was able to sleep in until 9:00. Actually, I didn’t even sleep that late. I spent the last hour just lying in bed thinking how nice it was that I didn’t have to get up if I didn’t want to. I’m closing the pizza bar tonight, so I don’t have to do anything until 2:00. Technically, James asked me to finish cleaning the kitchen, since he would only have a little time to attend to it before he had to leave for work. I had said I would. But that wasn’t, like, pressing.
I ate breakfast and read Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix for an hour and a half, before admitting to myself that it was now 11:30 and I really should get ready for the day. Once I did all that, I went and got all my schedules figured out and entered into my calendar and synched up to my phone.
I have Friday 5 off. I somehow got a random day off. James and I will be Christmas shopping that day. I was finally able to sign up for the ACT workkeys test that I need to finish applying to Wake County Schools. It’s, uh, tomorrow. My tests are tomorrow. Huh.
If all goes according to plan, I should be leaving for DC on the night of Thursday 11, and then I’ll leave either Sunday night or Monday, depending on how my work schedules line up.
I’m feeling good, guys.
Song Reference if you haven’t seen Chicago
Who’s Mi-chael Brown?
A Black Teenager.
Why’d you shoot him?
We were fightin’.
Was he angry?
Like a monkey
Still I said, “Mike, move along.”
He hasn’t done anything wrong.
Then describe it.
He ran toward me.
With the pistol?
From my holster.
Did you fight him?
Like a hero.
Mike had strength and he had none.
And yet we both reached for the gun
Oh yes, oh yes, oh yes we both
Oh yes we both
Oh yes, we both reached for
The gun, the gun, the gun, the gun
Oh yes, we both reached for the gun
For the gun.
Oh yes, oh yes, oh yes they both
Oh yes, they both
Oh yes, they both reached for
The gun, the gun, the gun, the gun,
Oh yes, they both reached for the gun
for the gun.
Yes it’s perfectly understandable
Not a bit reprehensible
It’s so defensible
How’re you feeling?
Are you sorry?
Are you kidding?
James and I spent Thanksgiving with his aunt Lynette and her family: husband Jeff, kids Paul and Alicia, and granddaughter Aiyana. We showed up only about twenty minutes before dinner was served, so we sort of got right into the whole feasting thing right away. Unfortunately, Alicia wasn’t feeling well and was upstairs for most of the night.
Before we ate, we did the usual what-are-you-thankful-for thing. Jeff went first. I was sitting on Jeff’s right, and therefore assumed that I would go last. In my family, we pass everything to the left: dishes, responsibilities, etc. However, in this family, they pass to the right. So instead of having four people recite their gratitude before me, I was thrown on the spot before I could come up with a list, much less compose it into something nice. I sort of sputtered out something about how I was glad the economy was recovering, realized that sounded cold and political, and decided by saying that I was grateful for how supportive and understand James is while I’ve been getting on my own two feet, financially speaking. James in turn said that he was grateful for the opportunities he’s had at work this year (getting into the management training program), and that he was glad he finally got to have me around all the time. Apparently James’ family had been experiencing a lot of health issues this year; they were grateful to still have each other, and were hopeful for a better next year.
We asked Aiyana what she was grateful for. She stared at us over the apple she had started eating. We laughed.
Conversation flowed pretty well. James was pretty quiet, but he perked up after he drank some water. Obviously we all overate. I had made the decision this year to only have one piece of turkey, since I always regret having a second (I got the drumstick! They gave me the second drumstick to take home!) I had planned to, instead, have two helpings of all the side dishes I liked.
After dinner, James passed out on the couch. I stayed out of the way while Lynette and Jeff cleaned up. I sat with James on the couch and started drawing in my sketchbook. James put his arm around me and straight-up fell asleep, so that I couldn’t move. Eventually James woke up, and we headed out with leftover turkey and the cheesecake James had made, thanking Lynette and Jeff profusely for dinner.
When we got home, it was time for Christmas. James turned on his Pandora Christmas station: the first song of the Christmas season was Bing Crosby’s “Let it Snow”. All was well.
YES WE KNOW TARGET.