Coffee shop near park meadows mall

Milwaukee's Bicycle Community

2016.05.12 17:27 chillaxin4life Milwaukee's Bicycle Community

Welcome to Milwaukee's bike subreddit! From the urban commuters to the beach cruisers, everyone and their bike is welcome here for newbie advice, pro events, and everything in between! Bike maps and bike shops are listed in the wiki.

2023.03.30 00:35 Rick-van-pickle 6 day trip to Japan(Tokyo) in June. Itinerary draft.

Hello. I will be going to Japan near the end of June and will be staying in Tokyo for 6 days this year. This is my first time traveling out of country solo. I need opinions and advice on my current itinerary. I already paid for the flight and hotel. Just need help figuring out my days there. Honestly I'm going for the food and stores (increase plush collection) for this trip.
$1500 spending budget. (Converting $1200 into 148,835.36Y. After food, entry tickets, and travel costs 121,765.65 spending budget)
Day 1: Arriving at airport in Tokyo at night and heading to the hotel that is 50 min train ride. Go to sleep.
Day 2: Minato city: Joypolis amusement park. McDonalds for lunch. Odiaba beach. Divercity Tokyo Plaza. Getting food from 7-eleven for Dinner.
Day 3: Sanrio Puroland and Shibuya: Puroland. Kiddy Land toy store. McDonalds for lunch. Madarake Shibuya. Magnet shopping center. Parco shopping center. Dinner at Ichiran Ramen shop in Shibuya. Desert at Marion crepes or any crepes store near Shibuya.
Day 4: Akihabara and Yokohama: Animate Akihabara shop. Super Potato. Hobby off Akihabara. Steak house restaurant for lunch. Mandarake Akihabara store. Nakano Broadway. Eating at a ramen shop near hotel for dinner.
Day 5: Akihabara and Ikebukuro: Taito station. Radio Kaikan. Kanda Myojin Shrine. Starbucks for lunch. Otome road in Ikebukuro. Sunshine city mall. Eating at a tonkatsu restaurant near hotel for dinner.
Day 6: Packing up: Explore parks near hotel. Eat at a restaurant near hotel that specializes in Unagi. Leave hotel and catch flight at midnight.
Is this too much for each day? Is the spending amount to small? I'm sticking to two meals a day with some street foods in between to save on costs. I'm waking up early each day 7:00am because its my style to get up early even on vacation.
submitted by Rick-van-pickle to JapanTravel [link] [comments]

2023.03.30 00:33 Anm5k3 All Season 3 Yeti/Bigfoot sightings so far

Episode 1: A knife to remember adventure 15:30 next to to Dankys grill and bar drinking 3 beers
Episode 2: Cillian Me Softly Adventure 9:02 right side of screen peeking out from tree after londra chases them
Episode 3: Autum if you got ‘em adventure 12:40 left of Tobins family van peeking out for a tree while Tobins shuffle Judy in
Episode 4: Code Enough Said Adventure 12:14 hiding under porch
Episode 5: Woodfellas Adventure 20:41 top left of screen leaning against purple building
Episode 6: Blood Actually Adventure 20:37 Peaking out from behind tree wearing a witches hat while guests arrive
Episode 7: Mall-mento Adventure 10:28 Laying against a tree near the cats holding/reading a book
Episode 8: Dick, Rick, Groom Adventure 12:54 Sitting with feet in water at the dock bottom left
Episode 9: Bees All That Adventure 14:28 carrying s something on his shoulder in the dump
Episode 10: Xmas with the Skanks Adventure 4:20 wearing Christmas hat on the left side of the screen
Episode 11: Arrangerous Minds Adventure 4:15 Sitting on cliff on right side of screen
Episode 12: Enough Bed Adventure 4:33 Balls himself up and rolls down the right side of the hill
Episode 13: Sister Pact Too Adventure 19:49 Walking in front of parking sign
Episode 14: Boy Meats World Adventure 9:21 Picking up a tennis racket in the junkyard on the right side of the screen
Episode 15: Can’t hardly date Adventure 11:00 Peaking from behind a tree while beef is driving
Episode 16: Great Bus of Choir 18:52 walking into the woods on the left side of the screen
submitted by Anm5k3 to TheGreatNorth [link] [comments]

2023.03.30 00:27 Sapphyre_Skies Living with WeskerBeard pt5

Hello again everyone, I bring you another installment of my Living with WeskerBeard tales. There's a few new pop up characters, they aren't a major part of the story, I'll mention them as and when they turn up.
Last time I had managed to get WeskerBeard to tidy most of his room and the cupboard under the stairs. It was nice to sit, on the uncomfortable bed, and look across the room at the work we had done.
I turned and watched WB as he rapidly jabbed buttons on his PS controller. I again aimed to spark up a conversation with him as he stared at the screen.
Me: This looks kind of interesting, what is it?
WeskerBeard stared at the screen not answering me. I waited a little before asking again.
Me a little louder: WeskerBeard... WB: Oh, yeah, what is it babe?
Me: I was wondering what you was playing? It looks kind of interesting with the Greek Mythology stuff going on in it.
WB: It's God of War 3... he said trailing off as a QTE took his attention.
I watched as he fought with Gorgons and Minotaurs, the game did catch my interest, I love Mythological stories and the beasties.
WB excitedly: The Medusa don't wear any tops and they come at you with their boobs out and freeze you. Come to think of it you might not like the game, there's a lot of boobs in it babe.
Me: Well they are in ancient Greece where its warm, and in Mythology they're usually depicted without, so the lack of tops isnt that much of a bother to me.
WB: I thought you didn't like that sort of thing.
Me: I said I didn't like unnecessary nudity and/ or sex in things.
Before WeskerBeard could continue the door to his room opened. Without a knock, in walked JudgyBeard holding his own PS3 game.
JB: This isn't a bad time is it?
WB: No I was just telling Sapph about God of War 3 wasn't I babe.
Now readers you might be thinking that I am exaggerating with the amount of times he says 'babe' to me in these stories, but I really aren't. WB was like a discount Duke Nukem from Wish. He called me it to the point I was concerned I would one day turn into a pig. Any way I digress,
JB: I was wondering if you wanted to play Dark Souls now, but if you're playing that I can leave it for now.
WB: No, I'll play it now, I just saved my game.
I scooted further towards the foot end of the bed as JB sat down and made himself comfortable between us. I grabbed my laptop and started browsing and talking on Facebook.
Again the bedroom door opened and in crawled ManiaBeard. He looked over at the three of us, scowling as he pulled himself onto his bed. He turned on his TV and almost as if he was competing, turned up his volume.
WB: Turn that down, I can't hear my game.
MB: I can't hear my show.
WB: Turn. It. Down ManiaBeard.
MB: I'll turn mine down When you turn yours down.
JB: You two don't need to argue, WB yours is a little loud, maybe turn it down a little bit? I'm sure when you do ManiaBeard will turn his down... (getting cut off).
Again the door opened, this time it slammed against the wall near the foot of ManiaBeard's bed. Ragebaby stood seething in the doorway.
RB: ManiaBeard turn that TV down, I can hear it in my room.
MB whining: I can't hear it over WB's TVeeee.
WB to MB: I can't hear my game over your stupid TV. You're the one who came up here and started being lou...
RB: Both of you turn the f*cking things down, or I'll smash them myself.
WeskerBeard, while glaring at RageBaby, reluctantly turned down his TV. I looked over the top of my laptop screen, catching ManiaBeard smirking like he had won something. The smirk soon disappeared as RB took a step closer to the foot of his bed.
RB: Well are you going to turn it down?
Hog shouting from downstairs: What's all the banging and shouting about?
RB shouting: These two won't turn their TVs down.
WB whining while shouting: I have turned mine down, it's ManiaBeard who won't turn his down.
MB: I can't hear my shoooooow, WB's game is too loud.
WB: I already turned it down.
Hog shouting again still downstairs: ManiaBeard, WeskerBeard turn your TVs down. RageBaby get out of their room and stop banging and shouting.
Ragebaby stood in the doorway as Maniabeard finally jabbed the volume down button on his controller. Once he was satisfied he turned, walked out of the room and slammed the door shut behind him.
ManiaBeard sat sulking on his bed, glaring at WB and JB when ever they talked about the game. As JudgyBeard would tell WeskerBeard what was coming up next in the game.
WeskerBeard's idea of playing Dark Souls was to unalive the minor enemies, reach a challenging part, get his behind handed to him and then...
WB handing over the controller: You're better at this sort of thing then I am.
JudgyBeard looked at the controller and interlocking his fingers, cracked his knuckles before giving them all a wiggle, like a crappy imitation of Jack Sparrow. He seemed to do this when he played his games, it was like a strange little pre-game ritual he had. Once this 'ritual' was complete, he took control of the character that he had made for WeskerBeard. After the hard part or boss had been dealt with, the controller was handed back and WeskerBeard continued playing until the next difficult part, rinse and repeat.
Dark Souls wasn't my cup of tea at the time, so I carried on chatting on Facebook. At the time I had a lot of Furry friends, I was introduced to furries when I was at school. I found them unsual but interesting and some were really nice to chat with, and online chatting helped build some confidence. It was just nice to talk to someone in general about things other than gaming and movies. (These will be referred to at a later date).
After a while JudgyBeard left the room and WeskerBeard went back on GoW3. Bored I decided I was going to go to bed.
The next morning I woke up and avoiding Satan's bathroom, went to use the toilet downstairs. The door was open so I carried on down towards it, but I stopped dead on the fourth step.
Not to digress, but to give you an idea of how small this room was. The room was approximately 2 maybe 3 ft wide, and about 6 ft long. Only the toilet and a small basin sat in there.
So back to where I was, frozen on the fourth step. I tried backing away slowly, but just like the Trex on Jurassic Park, my movements caught her attention.
Hog walked out of the small room completely naked. Her large drooping stomach hanging low... not low enough though as a whispy nest of grey, matted hair poked out from under it. I was at a complete loss for words. She made NO attempt to cover anything, she just stood in the doorway looking at me on the stairs, her nose scrunched up, which pulled up her top lip.
Hog: I thought I heard someone out there.
Me scramblingfor words: I... Sorry... I thought the toilet was empty... The... I saw the door was open.
I kept trying to look in any and all directions as she held her weight against the doorframe.
Hog coming out into the hallway more: I'll be done soon, I'm just having a strip wash. Is someone in the bathroom?
Me: No, I'll just... I said backing up a few more steps.
As I walked off upstairs I turned around hearing a noise. I wish I hadn't turned, as what I saw was Hog's behind, her almost grey coloured skin wiggling with every shuffling step she took into the kitchen.
Hog: Trotter, come scrub my back, I can't reach.
Trotter from somewhere in the other room: Give me a minute.
I mortified and defeated, retreated to the bathroom upstairs, avoiding sitting on the seat as best I could.
Later that day, around afternoon time the house emptied of most of its residents, it was payslip day for half of the residents. WeskerBeard was feeling amorous and used the fact the others had gone out to his advantage. I said if he cleaned his equipment before use I would be willing, so at the idea of getting something out of cleaning, he did.
As he was doing his thing the door to his room, without a knock, opened. I was quick enough to not be seen, but WeskerBeard was caught member in hand. Lodger's friend, Weedy, backed out apologising as he closed the door. Mood completely dead and red in the face I told WB to leave it.
WB: Buuut baaabe no one's in...
Me: I'm not continuing when people just barge in.
WB in a huff got his stuff together before going out and seeing what Weedy had wanted. He had wanted to borrow a PS3 game, and had gotten more than he'd bargained for.
WeskerBeard skulked off out the room again, his footsteps disappearing downstairs. After a few minutes he came back up and handed me a letter.
The letter was from the Job centre, they had found me a place of work at a charity shop, not far from where I lived.
WB: What's that?
Me happily: The Job Center found me a placement.
WB: You got a job?
Me: Yeah it's at X shop in NP shopping centre.
WB: I had a job in NP shopping center.
I was a little surprised by this statement, he had never mentioned it before. I looked at him and asked,
Me: You did? Which shop?
WB: Home Bargins, I only worked there for a day.
Me: A day?
WB: Yeah I quit because they wanted me to turn cans so the brand name was facing outwards.
He said this imitating himself quarter turning an imaginary can, as if to give me a visual demonstration as to what he was asked to do.
Me: But that's easy...
WB: It was boring, I could be home playing games but they wanted me to do that?.... No thanks.
Me: Well I start next week for a couple of weeks. Hopefully I might get something out of the end of it.
WB: I wouldn't bother but if you want to I can't stop you babe.
The week rolled on fairly uneventfully as was the norm. Hog tried to tell me I was allowed to help myself to food from the cupboard or drinks from the fridge, but if I attempted to, RageBaby would accuse me of stealing, so I never did and would often ask WeskerBeard to fetch me something if possible. If he was caught he was 'stealing' too.
I eventually started my placement at the charity shop, doing some work experience. On WeskerBeard's paydays he would come to NP shopping centre and visit the Grainger Games that was in there before haunting near the shop I worked in.
One day he came in, I wanted the floor to swallow me whole there and then. As WeskerBeard walked I noticed his toes, they were poking out of the bottom of his shoes. I looked at him as he wandered around the shop.
Me: WeskerBeard... what are you doing?
WB: Just looking at these old PS1 and 2 games you have out on the shelf.
Me quietly: Why don't you go and look at the shoe section, there's some nice cheap ones over there.
WB: I don't need shoes, you probably don't have my size in either babe.
Me: Yours are literally falling to bits, I saw your feet as you walked in. I'm sure there's some in your size.
WeskerBeard grumbled putting down the PS1 Who Wants to be Millionaire game down. He mooched over to the shoes. Lo-and-behold like I had said, he found a nice neat set of shoes in his size. He bought them and put them on.
Me: Do they fit OK?
WB: Yeah, they fit great thanks babe.
Me: Great now you can bin your old ones.
WB: What?
Me putting out other items: Theres a bin out there, you can put them in.
WB: Oh okay if I have too...
Me: They're knackered, just get rid of them.
WeskerBeard reluctantly did so, he lurked a little while longer before heading off home for the day.
I preferred to work upstairs in the storage room away from the people on the shop floor. It was nice and quiet, and another benefit was because I was sorting out the bags, I was allowed to set items of interest aside to buy for myself before it got to the floor.
Eventually after a few weeks, my time there was drawing to and end and WeskerBeard reminded me of the fact. I told him I was planning on staying on, if they'd let me. They did. WeskerBeard seemed shocked that I would ask to stay on. It didn't seem to compute with him that I was happy to work there.
WB: You don't need to go in now though.
Me: I know, but I want to. I like working in the storeroom...
I was cut off as the door opened and in walked Animeboy. He came in and sat himself on WB's bed.
WB: Hey AB I didn't know you was coming today.
AB: We talked about it the other day.
WB: I remember now, yeah I said you could stay over if you wanted to do some videos, the computer rooms been tidied up.
It came upto teatime, and although AB had been a regular at the house and they knew he was there, they left him without a meal. I know they weren't obligated to feed a guest to the house but this is a semi important note for later.
They watched some Let's Play videos, some more Bleach and other random stuff until later into the night, when AB mentioned he was feeling hungry.
WB: The take out is still open if you want to go there.
AB: Yeah, I might do I haven't eaten since dinner.
WB with a stupid laugh: I'll walk up there with you, never know when we get back Sapph might have a 3 way with us.
I glared at him snapping: I don't think so.
WB: OK babe, calm down I was just joking.
Me: You better be...
WB: I was. I'm going to Milo's pizza shop with AB, I won't be too long.
Me still annoyed by what he'd said: Fine, I'm going on my laptop, do you mind if I use that memory stick I found while we were tidying the other day?
Joking or not, WeskerBeard wasn't getting the 3 way he mentioned. I had no interest in that, especially with AB. He, 1) at the time had a girlfriend and, 2) bragged about going out with'multiple' girls he'd been with before, he was a real catch that one.
WB heading out: No you can use it if there's nothing on it.
I loaded up the laptop and stuck in the stick to check it out. There was things on it. Adult things. As Mick mentioned in his 2nd story one of the pictures was Gwen from Ben 10 looking barely legal if at all. I removed the stick and waited.
WB eventually coming back in: Hey baaaabe... what's up?
Me holding up the stick: What the Hell is this crap?
WB: A memory stick?
Me: Why the hell do you have Gwen on it?
WB: Oh that? It's an old picture and it's not like she's a kid in the picture.
Me: Delete it.
WB: But...
Me: Now, all of the pictures.
WB: But babe, some pictures I won't be able to find again.
Me: It goes or I go, I don't know where to but I will.
Weskerbeard took the stick and put it into the already loaded PS3. I watched as he removed everything from it.
AB: He must really like you, some of them pictures were rare.
Me: I don't care.
WB removing the stick: There, they're gone.
I took the stick from him and formatted it on my laptop for good measure. I put the stick to better use, I kept my stories I wrote on it until I got one with more room. I'm no top selling author but, I like to write its an nice little escape for me.
Now remember when I mentioned AB didn't get offered anything at teatime? Not long after he sat down to eat his pizza WB helped himself to a slice. The smell also drew in Ragebaby. He walked in to the room;
RB: If you don't eat all that, let me know.
AB: I probably will eat it, I was telling WB that I haven't eaten all day.
Ragebaby skulked off like the overweight vulture he was, disappointed that AB wasn't going to be giving him his food.
WB and AB eventually disappeared to do their videos. I stayed upstairs typing away until I ran out of ideas. I decided as it was getting late, I would go to bed.
I woke up later on as WB and AB came back into the room. WB lay down in front of me and I looked over as AB lay at the foot of the bed, his feet near WB's head.
Me: What are you doing?
WB: Going to bed, Animeboy usually sleeps up here.
Me: There's no room, why didn't you sort him somewhere to sleep?
AB pulling the blanket over himself: I'm OK like this.
This was a single bed. Cramped was an understatement. I was too tired to argue with them over sleeping arrangements. I rolled onto my side pushed against a wall and went to sleep again, uncomfortably. By the time I woke up in the morning AB had already left the house.
Well, I think I'll leave it here for now. Got to save some of that cringe for another day, and after living in the nest for around 2 years I still have some stored away for another day. Bye for now, and I hope to see you in Part 6 when I get around to it 😊
submitted by Sapphyre_Skies to ReddXReads [link] [comments]

2023.03.30 00:18 sousatubaphone I don't even know what to say about this

I don't even know what to say about this submitted by sousatubaphone to NoahGetTheBoat [link] [comments]

2023.03.30 00:15 bigjoerona Simple rules for a better life [Method]

Below are a few simple rules (1 or 2 lines) that help guide my day-to-day life.
They're not deep philosophical rules, they're little rules that get me through life.
Having a simple phrase in my head for certain situations takes away any decision-making and means I'm not influenced by my feelings.
These are all personal to me, but hopefully, you guys might get some value and adopt at least one of these rules:
Empty hands rule - Don't leave a room in your home with empty hands, there's always something that needs to be taken to another room.
2am rule - Nothing good happens after 2am, go home
Tea tidy /coffee clean - Do the dishes while making hot drinks and waiting for the kettle to boil
If you can smell yourself, others can smell you without getting close - same goes for your breath
No phones in bed - unless you're about to make a video...
Water when you wake - hydration stations homie
Lunchtime stretch - 5 minute of stretching (posture specific) every lunch break
Feel everything you say but don't say everything you feel - Some people need to learn to shut the fuck up, this is my way of making sure I'm honest to myself but don't become that guy.
Never fight unless you have to - One punch can end a life, it's 99.9% of the time it's not worth the role of the dice. That being said, sometimes you might need to defend yourself.
Don't park near the store entrance - Save those spaces for people with mobility issues.
Duolingo with your morning coffee - 110 day streak bro
Wake up 2 hours early - Wake up at least 2 hours before you need to leave for work. Use that time as you see fit.
Fortune favours the brave - grab life by the nuts
Read in bed - Something to do now there are no phones.
If you're unhappy, change something - ok so this one does guide my life a bit
Treat everyone with respect until they give you a reason not to - Pretty self-explanatory
Live a value based life - Base your decisions on what you value, not what you feel
There is no excuse not to do some form of exercise everyday - unless you don't feel like it (that was a joke)
You are becoming what you are saying to yourself - lighten the fuck up
What does a horny frog say? - Rubbit
Okay that was just to see if you are still reading, I'll get back to the rules now - thanks
Never attach your ego to the outcome - An outcome shouldn't change your perception of yourself
Decide how you want to live - no one will decide for you
Always be sober for the first fuck in a relationship - note the word relationship
A job isn't done until you've cleaned up - especially true for cooking and masturbation
Take it easy - It's better than taking it hard
Salt, fat and acid are the secret to great tasting food - trust me
You cannot make people like, validate, love, respect or be nice to you. But it doesn't matter - Be your own, live your own
Live as though you're expecting to fuck a 10/10 that night - good hygiene and a clean home. Always.
You will either win or you will learn - Both are positive outcomes
Listen to yourself - Someone has to
Keep your words clean but your asshole cleaner - please
submitted by bigjoerona to getdisciplined [link] [comments]

2023.03.30 00:09 _conscience_ Low Impact Activities + Local-Owned Business Recommendations

My family and I will be making our second pilgrimage to Maui in May. We will be basing out of north Kihei.
I'm looking for some recommendations on lower-impact activities as we will be with some less able-bodied family members. My wife is arranging a tour of a local plantation where we can ride a golf cart around and sample some locally grown deliciousness. I found a link to the Snorkel Report and some very accommodating snorkeling enterprises on a recent post, and will definitely reach out to those groups. I also plan to sneak off at some point to get a proper surfing lesson, if anyone knows someone who knows someone who does great lessons, I'd love to get their contact information.
We spent most of our last experience exploring the western half of the island. We didn't do any exploring of the greater Kahului or Haiku-Makawao-Kula-Keokea-Makena areas so those areas are definitely getting prioritized this time around. The Road to Hana could potentially be a thing, though it's a lot of sitting after a very long plane flight so any decisions to take that journey will have to be in the moment.
Cultural enrichment resources would be great. Anywhere we can chill and learn about Hawaiian history and culture would be ideal. We did a luau last time, which was breath-taking, but there were aspects of it that made me so profoundly sad that I don't think I would want to repeat the experience. It would be cool to learn about the individual disciplines presented in a luau (music, poi, firedancing, survivalism, etc) without the luxury hotel vibe (we did the Moana Au luau at the Marriott).
On that note, we did a fair bit of window shopping during our last experience and after a bit we noticed that like 90% of the souvenir shops all sell pretty much the same stuff, the same carved Maui faces, the same coconut jewelry, the same printed tee shirts, like some kinda Pepe Silva souvenir cartel. We would just park near commercial areas and walk up and down the roads and check out shops, perhaps we ended up in the wrong places? The craft fair in Lahaina, plus the skate shop and the weekend craft fair in Kihei next to the McDonald's, and that farmer's market + juice booth on the road to Lahaina from Kihei were the sorts of environments that really resonated with us. If there are more of those sorts of things which potentially funnel more money into the pockets of smaller scale locals, I'd love to gain more awareness of them. Shops, restaurants, services, anything.
A grand mahalo if you've made it this far, many grand mahalos if you are willing + able to contribute your time and energy to our humble journey. We are never more excited to eat pizza than we are when we think about sitting at a table at Pizza Madness again.
submitted by _conscience_ to MauiVisitors [link] [comments]

2023.03.29 23:57 NorthwestPurple Dallas city code requires 18 parking spots for coffee shop

Dallas city code mandates at least one parking space for every 100 square feet when it comes to restaurants, regardless of location, clientele, or local support for a parking exemption.
Elmwood is one of the largest residential neighborhoods in Oak Cliff. Graph is perched at the northern tip of the neighborhood’s downtown district, which is dotted with restaurants, auto shops, hair salons, and other businesses within walking distance of some 1,500 homes.
submitted by NorthwestPurple to fuckcars [link] [comments]

2023.03.29 23:49 Sambo1987 Car rental recommendations on Toronto?

Hey :)
I'm visiting Toronto (I'm a former resident) in a couple of weeks and want to rent a car for a couple of days to visit a friend up north; I'm interested to see which car rental companies are good. Normally I'd go with Enterprise but I thought I'd shop around. I'll be staying near High Park so reasonable proximity to there would be a bonus :)
submitted by Sambo1987 to askTO [link] [comments]

2023.03.29 23:48 Keraiza Guide to driving the Master’s Tournament event in Augusta, GA (April 6-9, 2023)

Pretty soon drivers throughout Georgia and South Carolina should be getting quests for the Master’s Tournament. Some of y’all will be asking about whether it is worth it, and some of y’all will be asking about strategies for working the tournament, so I’ll try to cover both in this post. For reference, I have been an Uber driver in Augusta since 2017. I did two Master’s Tournaments as an X driver pre-pandemic and one Master’s Tournament as an XL driver last year (the two tournaments during the pandemic were closed to the public and were for members only). Sorry to the Uber Black drivers who are looking at this post, I don’t really have much experience to share with you about your platform, but hopefully some of this guide will still be helpful. I don’t do Eats, but they should do well here, too.
Market basics:
Augusta is a rate-card market. It pays UberX $0.60/min and $0.09/mile and pays UberXL $1.45/min and $0.22/mile. Those who are coming from an upfront market (and new drivers who decide to start during The Master’s) will be accepting trips blind (unless Uber goes upfront within the next week). You have to have a SC vehicle inspection to pick up rides in North Augusta, SC, so unless you are a SC driver, or you come from a border town and did the SC vehicle inspection, you might want to avoid that side of town (near downtown, Augusta). Alternatively, if you do have a SC vehicle inspection done, this is a great location to get trips that other drivers (including most taxi drivers) cannot get. Outside of the tournament, the Augusta market only has UberX and UberXL. The platforms that I remember from last year during tournament week included UberX, UberX Diamond, Uber Comfort, UberXL, Uber Black, and Uber SUV. I know Lyft (which normally only does Lyft and LyftXL) also has Lyft Lux, but I’m not sure of their other platforms.
Tournament basics:
The rideshare waiting lot for the Augusta Nationals (the name of the golf course which hosts the Master’s Tournament) is on Washington Rd about a mile East from Exit 199 of I-20. Most tickets can only be used twice for entry into the tournament. The entrance to the rideshare lot is just after the taxi lot entrance which is just after the Olive Garden restaurant if you are coming from I-20. The tournament starts at 8 am and ends when all the players are done on the course, typically around 5pm-ish. Those who attend to watch the tournament but are not members are called patrons. A lot of patrons will only come to see a particular golfer (Tiger Woods draws a lot of attention) and will leave when their golfer leaves (especially during practice rounds). Some patrons will sit at a single hole and will leave when all the players that they want to see for the day have come across that hole.
The women’s amateur tournament already began on Wed March 29, 2023, at Champion’s Retreat. The women’s tournament players get a practice day on Fri March 31 and will compete on Sat April 1 at the Augusta Nationals. Mon, Tues, and Wed April 3-5 will be the practice rounds. A lot of your middle-class fans will be here on one of these days as they will have a hard time getting tickets to the actual tournament; most of these patrons will only be here for a single day. Thu-Sun April 6-9 is the actual tournament. Most of your better-off patrons (and very lucky patrons) will be here during the actual tournament. They will often be here all four days. April 6-9 will be, by far, the busiest times of the tournament.
A lot of businesses arrange for tickets. Outside of C-suite employees, most of these tickets will be given out to customers and awarded to employees for a half-day visit (as they can be used twice) to get the most bang for the buck. This is good for UberX & UberXL drivers as a lot of these patrons who are there for half-day help fill up some of the time between the start time rush and the end of the day rush and are more likely to use Uber (or taxis) to get around.
Try to get along with the law enforcement and the workers at and around the Augusta Nationals. The Augusta Nationals has a reputation for banning and trespassing those who don’t follow their fairly stringent rules, although most of the workers there just work for the week. The Augusta Nationals have stripped members of their membership for things we might feel are small infractions; they certainly don’t care about trespassing a random Uber driver.
Augusta has two airports:
Last year, the quests were for $15/trip originating from the rideshare parking lot at the Augusta Nationals between 3pm and 7pm. This sounds great, but I only got a total of 7 trips during that quest time for the entire four days of the quest (and one of those trips was a “high priority” return after a very short trip). The big issues are that the tournament might end before 3pm for bad weather or might go beyond 7pm (usually because of weather delays). Also, every driver is trying to cram into the rideshare lot to get in the queue for that quest. Even if the tournament gets out during the quest hours, you will be fighting traffic out of and back into the rideshare lot. The lot seems to be designed for about 20 vehicles, but there were at least 60 vehicles crammed in most of the time last year. Drivers can also park at the Publix parking lot near the Augusta Nationals to get in the queue, but then you must crawl through traffic to get to the pickup. As a strategy, it might be worth it to jump into the Publix lot, though, to get your position in the queue to get one more quest for the night. The quest is what brings drivers to Augusta, but it isn’t really where drivers make their money….
Stories abound in and around Augusta about $100 tips that patrons give out during their visit to the Master’s Tournament. In the three years that I drove for the tournament, I only got some of these tips one year (last year) and none the other two years, but I received four of them last year for the following reasons: (1) being a military veteran, (2) returning binoculars that were left in my vehicle, (3) going through a Chick-Fil-A drive thru, and (4) making a half-dozen stops for one rider for cigars and alcohol and ice and other items. The first two tips were easy money; the second two tips cost a lot of time during high surges (although I would have still had a hard time doing better than the $100 during that time). If you are a young lady that is easy on the eyes (not sure of a better way to put it), you will have a much easier time getting the $100 tips, but you’ll likely also face some very stereotypical frat-guy behavior from the mostly older male crowd. Most people giving out these types of tips are not taking UberX or UberXL, though.
As an upfront market, real surges are hidden, but you’ll still be able to see sticky surges. The best time for surges (aka, the times when riders exceed drivers) are in the early hours of the morning, the closing hours of the tournament, and during late night. The event starts at 8am (watch out for weather delays), but the rides easily start before 5am. There are a lot of moving parts to get the tournament started, and a lot of the rides that you’ll give as an UberX or UberXL are to those who support the tournament rather than the patrons. Parking lot attendants, traffic control, hospitality, camera crews, etc., are all heading to work. Uber shines at this time as the other modes of transportation have a hard time capturing this traffic unless prescheduled. A lot of patrons will start coming in soon after the workers to try to get the “ultimate” spot, and patrons will keep coming in for several hours. At the end of the tournament, there is no magical place to be except as close to the Augusta Nationals as possible. Patrons, workers, etc. are all streaming out of the same location.
Hot Spots:
  1. Don’t bother around Washington Rd as patrons will be primarily walking (not worth fighting the traffic for such low fares to the tournament either, imho, unless you are very, very close already).
  2. West Lake is a huge location for pickups. It is a gated community, but if you tell the guards you are picking up at 3556 W Lake Dr (the Club House), they should let you right through the gate. You can even type this address in your app to get directions to it (without using your precious destination filters) and have your app look like you are actually going to there for a pickup.
  3. There are several subdivisions near Washington Rd and William Few Pkwy in Evans, GA, that are commonly underserved.
  4. Whole blocks within River Island Pkwy are rented out by Mercedes Benz and other corporations and is a good source of rides.
  5. River North Dr in North Augusta, SC, is a great source of rides for patrons for those drivers who have submitted a completed a SC vehicle inspection to Uber.
  6. Otherwise, workers and patrons will be staying in housing all over the city.
Roads to Avoid:
Law Enforcement:
The LE that you come across in Augusta are overworked outside of the tournament and will have had some really long hours by the time the tournament even starts. If you do something stupid enough to warrant the LE to actually bother going after you, expect at least a ticket. Be polite to LE because their fuses are already short. If you screw up, the best thing to do is to just apologize and accept the chew out if they are yelling at you from the road. Arguing will likely get you swarmed by police in Augusta.
Some notable things to point out:
Traveling from Other Markets:
One of the mistakes many drivers make is not recouping the costs of traveling from/to their market and missing the surges that result from other drivers leaving their market. I assume that a driver is not going to stay overnight in Augusta as the hotel costs are prohibitive. I also don’t recommend sleeping in your car because the local LE already have short fuses with the extra hours and the extra work brought on from patrons during the tournament (patrons routinely include heads of states and billionaires). If you are over 2 ½ hours away and don’t have a place to crash in Augusta, I wouldn’t bother.
Here is what I would do if I were in these other markets (but your reasoning or circumstances might be different):
submitted by Keraiza to uberdrivers [link] [comments]

2023.03.29 23:41 whyohwhy115 New York or New Jersey experts of r/bangtan! What advice and recommendations do you have for ARMY visiting NY/Newark for the SUGA Agust D Concert!

In a few weeks a lot of fans from all over the country/world will be in New York/New Jersey to see SUGA! Help an ARMY out and let them know about safety, how to get around, where to eat, BTS related things to do or places that BTS has been to before in NY and NJ or anything else that you think someone should know when they come visit!
I heard the concert capacity of these arenas is about 18000! Hmm x 3 dates…I am excited to see at least 54,000 recommendations from all of you 😅
Are you ARMY visiting NY or NJ and have questions about the city? Feel free to ask in the comments below!
I will be compiling suggestions in this post! Let's create our own bangtan guide to New York and New Jersey!

Places BTS has visited/food they ate


Must see/do in NY/NJ

  • MET Museum (Buy your ticket on-line to avoid long lines)
  • Watch a Broadway or off Broadway musical
  • Grab a NY slice of pizza or a hotdog from a cart
  • Jog, run or walk around Central Park
  • Go to Brooklyn Bridge
  • Walk the Highline
  • See the Statue of liberty

Where to eat

Please also see comments below for more recommendations!
By the slice:
Sit down
Asian Food
Mexican Food/Tacos
  • Los Tacos No.1 - Get the al pastor tacos! Right around the corner from the Line Friends Store. Tacos then shop!
  • Levain - Chewy, giant cookies
  • Bibble & Sip - coffee and cute desserts
  • Daily Provisions - Breakfast sandwiches and grab a maple cruller. There are a few locations in NYC
  • Dominique Ansel - The April Cronut is Blackberry Jam & Coconut Ganache. DKAs and madelines are also yummy!
  • Venieros - Italian pastries, cheesecake
  • Breads Bakery - Buy a babka or 2, pack in your bag, keeps for a week unrefrigerated!
  • Magnolia Bakery for banana pudding. Across the one at rockefeller center is where Adels Famous Halal food cart parks. If you get the timing right you can have both lol
Boba/Bubble Milk Tea
  • Xin Fu Tang - Brown sugar milk tead or some boba soft serve!
  • Gong Cha - various locations
  • Boba Guys - try the Hojicha with almond jelly!

WeatheWhat to wear

  • Weather in April - Highs of 66F/18C - Lows of 42F/5C for that time of year but please check closer to the dates
  • Be prepared for light showers/can get chilly

Safety Tips

  • Don't walk around alone at night especially in unfamiliar areas
  • Please be vigilant of your surroundings whether alone or in a group

Driving Tips

  • Mostly paid parking unless you get lucky with free street parking. Parking structures are really expensive in NY
  • Check the signs on the curb to make sure you're allowed to park
  • Take public transport when possible. Taxis and ubeLyft might be difficult to get after the concert



  • Plan your itinerary, use Google maps/Apple Maps/Waze to calculate how long it will take you to get to your destination and check traffic conditions
  • Make restaurant reservations ahead of time if possible to avoid long wait times
  • If you're planning to visit a museum, make sure to check if they're open on the day you want to visit and book your tickets ahead!
I will be adding your suggestions to the list!
submitted by whyohwhy115 to bangtan [link] [comments]

2023.03.29 23:24 Anti_Zeitgeist_ If I'm wearing pants, yeah

If I'm wearing pants, yeah submitted by Anti_Zeitgeist_ to knives [link] [comments]

2023.03.29 23:23 eagee Visiting NYC and looking for cozy, comfortable places to rest between activities for disabled and in-pain partner

Hi there!
My wife and I are traveling to NYC this week for an opening at a gallery where she's showing her work. We want to take the chance to explore NYC for a couple of days as well, and really want to hit the MET and the Guggenheim. She's disabled and often in pain after not too much walking, and we're looking for cozy, comfortable places near the Met/Guggenheim and in the LES where she can rest between activities (like a comfortable coffee shop).
Also, if you have any suggestions for great off-Broadway theater, or the best Indian food in the LES, we'd love to hear your thoughts!
submitted by eagee to AskNYC [link] [comments]

2023.03.29 22:51 RingoCross99 The Adventure Games (Section 3 of 4)

The Adventure Games (Section 3 of 4)
The Adventure Games
By Ringo Cross
(Chapter 2: continued...)
Luckily, I remembered where the room was. I led the way alright. Not because I was told to by some annoying bully, but because I wanted to. We all made our way towards the coffin room. It was in a corridor, at the end of the bunker, with only one other room.
The room was labeled “Mausoleum.” I opened the large steel door and turned on the lights. There were four unmarked coffins on the floor. I didn’t really think much into it at the time, but I did wonder why there were only four coffins and seven people. Not only that but didn’t vampires sleep in coffins? And if they were to have an accident, where would their bodies go? This was all a lot to take in. A thought came to me, I, I—
“Hey, jerkoff! Get out of the way,” Brock growled.
His insult snapped me back into reality. I quickly stepped aside so that he could get by with Aaron’s body. Roger and Markus rushed over and slipped the lid off the first tomb. Brock dumped the body inside. After doing so, he hunched over, placed his hands on his knees, and began to pant. “Damn. I’m out of shape.”
“Dude. You’re ripped,” I told him.
“How much do you think he weighs?”
“167 pounds,” Markus coldly replied.
Brock and I gave each other “that look” before we both shrugged his chilling comment off as a vampire just being his normal creepy self. He looked over at Markus, wiped the sweat from his brow, and told him, “I should be able to carry 167lbs no problem.”
Lisa took one step inside and was like, “Nope. Won’t be doing the coffin challenge.”
“Why not?” Brock asked.
“Too cold!” she shouted back.
“It is freezing in here,” I said.
“Whatever,” she said while leaving.
“Hey? Where’s the girl?” Brock asked.
“I’m right here! I-I don’t wanna look!” she said from the other side of the doorway.
Just then, right when everyone was properly freaked out. Right before any of us could really let the truth of what had happened sink in, the automated voice delivered another eerie message over the loudspeaker:
“Oh, no! Looks like you’ve suffered your first of several inevitable deaths! My condolences to the family. Ha! Just kidding. In all seriousness, please make your way over to the voting room in order to conclude today’s games!
For your convivence, the booth automatically unlocks after a fresh kill! Also, for your convenience, it is located right next to the mausoleum! You can’t miss it! There’s even a sign that says “Democracy” right above the door. Remember, only one person is allowed in at a time. Inside is a booth. There you will vote to see if you can guess who the killer is! If a majority of the votes are right, then the games are over, and you win your prize! If not, then the games will continue! Good luck!”
Chapter 3: Outsight
I woke up around ten in the morning. It was a tough go, trying to sleep after what had happened. Me and my bunkmate, Markus, had a long talk that night. Well, first, I made him swear that he wouldn’t try anything funny, like, you know, brutally murder me in my sleep.
The guy had a rough exterior, but he wasn’t so bad. It took a bit of convincing, but he eventually came to his senses and stopped assuming the worst of me.
I would be lying if I said last night was the worst sleep I ever had. I wouldn’t be lying if I said that it wasn’t too bad. It took a while to drift off. My mind just wouldn’t let things go. I was convinced this was a prank. There was no way Aaron was gone. And even if he was, it was a terrible accident. I was there. I saw the whole thing go down. Trust me... It was a fluke.
A killer amongst us? Nah, that was absurd. I told everyone as much and announced that I had abstained from voting. Coincidentally, I was the first to enter the small room and go into the booth. There was an option to abstain and that’s what I chose. I told everyone else they should do the same when it was their turn to vote.
We were all sensible people. Mostly everyone agreed with me that there was no way any of this was real. I made the sandwich he supposedly choked to death on but come on... sheer coincidence I tell you.
When Markus and I exited from our room the following morning, the first thing we did was hit the showers. The bathrooms were pristine. There was one for males and females, of course. The inside had a private section for showering and changing. I took a long shower and tried to clear my head. Hopefully today would be much smoother, I thought to myself, as I let the water hit my face.
Everyone was lingering around Roger’s room. When I got there, I asked what they were waiting for. Sarah told me they were waiting for him to wake up so they could see what the task was for the day. Brock’s patience wasn’t exactly the most stoic. He asked what time it was. I told him it was almost eleven. That was all he needed to know. He spazzed out and began banging on the door.
Roger opened it. He was wearing a wool robe that had his initial printed on the front. He smiled when he saw us, as if he liked the unwanted attention. Already knowing what all the fuss was over, he reached into his pocket, pulled out a sealed envelope, and without further ado, read aloud what we all were waiting for:
“Oh my, it looks like we have a riddle on our hands. Ahem. Here goes nothing: ‘Task 2: Even though I have fallen from grace, I have aged gracefully. For now, I leave flight to the imagination. And for now, all I can do is envy my feathered brethren who soar amongst stars and skies. I am free at the cost of freedom. We were judged by what was in the hand and not by what was in the heart. It would be a dream come true for us to all fly again together someday. For us to all shine with pride and purpose once more. We did not heed the hand of the Artisan, and like Icarus, we flew too close to the sun.’”
Roger placed a hand to his chin and thought it over. After spending a few seconds racking his brain, he shrugged and simply said, “I’m stumped.”
“Maybe it’s a mythical bird?” Sarah said.
“You mean like a phoenix?” Markus asked.
“Yeah. Or a griffon or something?”
“Nah. Too obvious,” he replied.
She shrugged, “Well, your guess is as good as mine.”
“My guess is Leonard Davinci,” I spoke.
“Hmm. Interesting,” Markus said.
“How is that interesting? And what does any of this have to do with figuring out who the Big Bad Wolf is?” Brock asked with a hint of mockery.
“Well, I think the riddle has something to do with Davinci’s flying machine. Maybe. No, not maybe. I’m sure someone has tried to build one in real life. If we can find out who, then maybe it’s a clue we can use to figure out who this imaginary killer is,” I explained.
“That’s stupid,” Brock said.
“I have to agree with Brock on this one,” Markus said.
“Whatever. Tch, you guys can crack jokes all you like, but I know I’m right about this.”
“Even if you were right. How do we find out without our phones?” Lisa inquired.
“You know there was a world that existed before smart phones?” I replied.
“There was? Yuk,” she spewed.
“Yeah, and we’d have to use this nifty thing called a book if we wanted information.”
“Like, whatever, I’m famished. Any of you see egg whites in the fridge?” she asked.
“You eat egg whites?” Brock inquired.
“Um. Yeah, who doesn’t?” she scoffed.
“I know right,” he chuckled.
“What’re egg whites?” Sarah asked.
“Sweetie, I feel so sorry for you. It must’ve been hard growing up poor,” Lisa crooned. She placed an arm around the girl in a rare display of affection for someone other than herself. “Let’s check the fridge. If they have any, I’ll show you. Oh, and they’re the best at filling you up without filling you out if you know what I mean.”
“Thanks,” Sarah said while blushing.
I blurted out, “Great! While you guys are off stuffing your faces, I’ll try to figure a way out of here. This is a shelter. Only makes sense for them to have a collection of encyclopedias lying around somewhere.”
“You do that, hero-boy. I’m late for my morning workout. Don’t bother me unless you kill someone else.”
“Whatever, dude,” I grumbled back. Then I looked over at Markus and asked him, “You in?”
“You go on ahead, man. I’ll catch up with you in the next life,” he uttered with drifting eyes. I could see that he was focused on Lisa. So much so, he butted into her conversation with Sarah, offering to help cook, which was received surprisingly well by them.
“I’ll go with you,” Roger said.
“What? Really?” I asked.
“Don’t look so surprised.”
“I’m sorry. I-I just wasn’t—”
“I’ve been to a place like this before. I know exactly where they’d keep an old pile of books.”
“Really? You have?”
“Yeah. Once.”
“That’s odd.”
“You really don’t trust me?”
“I’m leaning towards a no.”
The two of us made our way down the hall, past the sleeping quarters, showers, mini gym, and storage facility. During our leisurely stroll, I thought to ask him about his comment about being at a place like this before.
He looked over at me with a charming smile and said, “I’m glad you asked. So, not long ago, oddly enough right, I threw this wicked masquerade party in a bunker for this stupidly rich family of bluebloods.”
“Bluebloods? What’s that.”
“Humph. I forget you’re human. Look, kid, it’s a terribly long story, and I don’t know you all that well. Let’s just say they’re like royalty. They kind of run everything behind the scenes for... never mind.”
“For who?” I asked.
“Oh, look, the study!”
I found it odd and a little suspect that he was avoiding my question. It also wasn’t smart to be stuck in a room with yet another vampire. I hesitated, taking a step back. When he saw my hesitation, he smiled and gestured for me to enter before him. Reading my mind, he laughed and said that he might be a lot of things, but a brute-force killer wasn’t one of them.
I ignored my instincts and followed him into the room. If there was a killer, he was definitely checking off quite a few boxes, I thought to myself. Right before my imagination could really run wild, we heard a loud scream and a hard thud. We looked at each other in disbelief before rushing back down the hall.
When we reached the kitchen, we both stopped dead in our tracks. There stood the two girls screaming and hollering like there was no tomorrow. Sarah was pointing at the ground, but when I looked, there was nothing. Well, other than a knife on the floor.
“What happened?!” Roger exclaimed.
“Markus! He’s, he’s gone,” Lisa stammered.
“What? Where did he go?” I asked.
“He’s dead!” Sarah shouted.
“What? What do you mean he’s dead?”
“He, he got stabbed and, and, oh God!” Lisa cried.
“If he’s dead, where’s the body?” I asked.
Right before they could answer, Brock came crashing into the room. He was sweating and panting from exercise. The look on his face wasn’t pretty. He charged straight over to them and hollered, “This better not be a joke! I was in the middle of my work out!”
“What? No! No!” Sarah sobbed.
“Where’s Markus?!” he shouted.
“He’s gone!” she shouted back.
“This isn’t funny!” Brock yelled. “Nobody interrupts me when I’m working out, and I mean no one! The last person who did paid me back with a swollen lip!”
I stepped in front of him and said, “Hey, come on man. Chill out.”
“Why if it ain’t hero-boy to the rescue.”
“Pretty big of you to threaten a teenager.”
“What are you her knight in shining armor?”
“No. I’m just allergic to assholes like you.”
He shoved me out of his face with one arm, causing me to stumble back quite a bit. His strength caught me off guard. So much so, I quickly realized there was no way I was going to be able to take him down without a weapon of some sort. So, I quickly scooped the blade off the floor and pointed it directly at him. When I did this, he sneered and snorted, calling me craven. Screw it. I was whatever he said I was. I was tired of his stupid-bully-mouth and ready to jab the blade into his thick neck.
I raised the blade, but before I could strike, Roger dashed before me, and grabbed my wrist. I thought Brock’s speed and strength caught me off guard. Ha. Roger was on a whole nother level. I turned my head in his direction and noticed his fangs. He had this look... this twisted hunger about him. It was hard to describe let alone perceive. It was like staring into the eyes of your own custom-made predator. I wasn’t a person anymore. I was food.
“Knock it off, both of you.”
“He started it,” I muttered.
“And you tried to finish it!” Brock shouted.
“Give me the knife.”
“Fine, it’s all yours.”
When I dropped the knife into his hand, he let go of my wrist. While examining the blade, he spoke, “Now. As to your question. Yes, it’s true, his body disappeared. To be precise, it turned to ashes.”
“Woah. How is that even possible?” I asked.
“I don’t know. That’s just what happens when we die,” Roger calmly explained to us.
Brock stared at Sarah and Lisa, while asking, “And how did he die again, ladies?”
Sarah looked away and said, “Me and Lisa were cooking, and he was helping. And, and—"
“If anything, he was doing more flirting than helping. As if I’d date a vampire,” Lisa scoffed while looking down on the spot where he had perished.
Sarah ran her fingers through her blonde hair in frustration and angst. She pointed at the ham on the counter and said, “He was showing off his carving skills. I turned away for no more than a few seconds, and when I looked back the knife was in his chest. I-I don’t know; He was... he was just standing there, looking at me. He needed help—I-I... I tried to help! It was too late!”
“It’s ok,” I said before going over and comforting her. “It not your fault.”
“Wait. Wasn’t he a vampire?” Brock asked.
“That is correct,” Roger nodded.
“And vampires can only die if they get stabbed in the heart or brain, right?”
“Well, not exactly, that’s more movie logic than reality. But yes, something like that. We don’t die as easily as our human counterparts.”
“Whatever, so if that’s the case, you mean to tell me, he accidently stabbed himself in the heart?” Brock asked.
“It’s plausible,” I murmured.
“Plausible my ass,” he pointed over at Lisa and said, “And where were you standing?”
She folded her arms and rolled her eyes, mightily offended by his line of questioning. “What are you like, a detective or something? I think not.”
“Yeah, well, your good looks don’t fool me.”
“You’re such an ogre,” she groaned.
“You’re avoiding the question,” I told her.
“Tch, hello, if I would have stabbed him, Sarah would have saw me! And if she would have stabbed him, I would have saw her—we were standing right next to each other! Like, duh! What the heck?”
Brock backed down. He looked over at Roger and snarled. “Where were you again?”
“He was with me,” I told him.
“And what were you guys doing?”
“We were looking for the archives so we could solve the riddle. Before we could do anything, we heard screaming and rushed back here, same as you, buddy.”
“Don’t call me buddy. I’m not your buddy.”
“It won’t happen again,” I assured him.
“Hey! What’s your problem?” Roger asked.
Brock stepped right into his face. The two were eye to eye, staring each other down like boxers in the middle of the ring. “You didn’t like Markus, did you?”
“Sure didn’t. So what?”
“Why not?”
“Because he’s a bottom feeder.”
“Is that why you killed him?”
Roger took a step back and unturned. He shook his head in disappointment. I think he was more pissed with himself than with Brock. He let this stupid bully get him riled up with his stupid bully antics. I’m sure he could have easily slain him. Hell, if I was him, I don’t know if I would have shown the same level of restraint.
A-holes like Brock contributed nothing and deserved to be murdered in cold blood. I found myself daydreaming about wrapping my arms around his big, bully neck until the color had drained from his face and his miserable excuse for a life had flashed before my eagerly awaiting eyes. I fantasized about hearing and feeling him struggle to break free. Gasping, hissing—his feet kicking wildly, and his body bucking and thrashing; all in a hopeless plight to break free from my ironclad clutch.
I placed my arm around Sarah and told her, “You know how to play checkers?”
“Who doesn’t?” she asked with an odd look.
“Come on. Let’s go to the dayroom. It’s starting to get a little too crazy in here.”
“Strange...” she muttered.
“It’s not. I saw a checkerboard on the shelf. Let’s play. Tell you what. If you win, I’ll show you how to make the perfect smoothie.”
“Pfft, I’m not a kid.”
“Never said you were.”
“Ugh. Do we even have ingredients?”
“I think we do.”
“Ok. Whatever. Lead the way,” she said the last part sarcastically, as if I was being overbearing.
With a slight chuckle, I told her, “I used to work at a smoothie shop. My sister used to always stop by, and I’d make her these crazy monstrosities. Man... She loved that place, you know. She hated me for quitting. I had to move on. I was getting too old to be making smoothies for a living. So, for Christmas, right, I bought her one of those bullet blenders. She loved that thing. To this very day, whenever I visit mom and dad, she always asks me to make smoothies.”
Sarah wiped the tears from her eyes, looked up at me with a sad smile, and said, “That’s sweet.”
“Hey, Joshua!” Brock shouted.
“We’re voting for the Narc tonight!”
“My name is Lisa, thank you very much! And I’m not a freaking narcissist, for your information!”
“Whatever, lady. There’s definitely more to you besides vanity and good looks, nobody’s that dense to join for a blue check mark,” Brock told her before turning his attention back to the rest of us. I did find his reasoning ironic. I was thinking the same thing about his wish, and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one.
Anyways, back to Brock’s stupid announcement. He raised his hands, as if to gain everyone’s attention, and then shouted out, “This time we ain’t getting it wrong! We all vote for the Narc so I can go to Malibu!”
“Screw you!” Lisa snapped before marching from the kitchen and joining us in the dayroom. She snatched the remote and turned on the television. I was sitting on the couch, right next to her. Sarah was sitting on the floor, right across from me. I placed the checkerboard on the coffee table and began setting up the pieces.
“Ewww. They don’t even have Netflix,” Lisa moaned.
I looked over at her with a raised eyebrow and asked, “Huh? Why would a doomsday bunker have cable?”
“Ewww. What? No! I said Netflix not cable. Who even has cable? No one’s that stupid.”
“I do. Can’t live without my ESPN.”
“Ugh. That’s because you’re gross.”
“What? How is that gross?”
She looked over at Sarah and said, “Geezer.”
Sarah covered her mouth and giggled. Then when I wasn’t looking, she sneakily made the first move. I didn’t care. I was confident in my abilities. I pushed my checker piece forward, and I told her, “Hah. This should be a walk in the park.”
She quickly countered my move and said, “Ha! Don’t bet on it.”
“Oh, wow, nice one,” I told her.
Seeing the two of us carve out a sliver of joy in a place as joyless as this caused Lisa to cry out in envy, “Ugh. This is stupid. I totally hate this place. I swear. You guys are so lame.”
“Oh, it’s not so bad, minus the two accidents,” I said in an obvious attempt to be optimistic. I didn’t want Sarah’s mind to start wondering. She was only a kid. Man... Her father was a real piece of work. If it were up to me, he’d be the one who was trapped down here, not her. I made a mental note to ask that shady agent, what’s his name? Ah, Agent Adams, why the hell they thought it was a good idea to use kids in their ludicrous experiments.
“So, Sarah. Where’re you from?”
“Maryland,” she sang.
“Nice. What part.”
“The boring part.”
“You feeling alright?”
“Sure. Fine and dandy.”
“You said it like you wasn’t.”
“What would you like me to say?”
“I know. Things have been a little crazy. Don’t worry though. We’ll get through this.”
Lisa cried out, “God! I wish I had my phone!”
She had the nerve to throw a mini tantrum, like a brat whose parents had taken away her privileges for the night. I couldn’t help but look over at Sarah with a loving smile. She smiled back at me, trying her best not to giggle at her bunkmate’s display of selfness. The more I thought about it the more she reminded me of my sister. I... I didn’t want to think about it, but I... I was just happy to see her light up once more. I could only hope my sister was feeling the same. Hopefully it wouldn’t be too long before I saw her again. I imagine she was worried sick about her big brother. Knowing her, the first thing she was going to do was run her fingers through my hair and call me dogface, like the mean but sweet little brat she was.
I tore my eyes away from her, long enough to tell Lisa that, “There’s more to life than social media.”
She glared daggers at me. “If I were the killer, I’d do you next for being so obtrusive.”
“Maybe Brock was right. Maybe we should vote for you?” I told her with a hint of laughter.
“Whatever. Waste your vote. What do I care?”
“You should take a more positive attitude.”
“I’ll start when you stop.”
I looked over at Sarah and smiled. “You’re the only person who still has a roommate you know.”
“I guess I’m lucky.”
“Eh. I don’t know if having a bunkmate like Lisa makes you lucky. I mean, you never know. You could be sleeping in the same room with the killer.”
Sarah and I both waited to see how she’d react. She didn’t even bother lifting her eyes from the television. Instead, she hissed like an angry feline.
Sarah couldn’t help but giggle. “I like you your funny,” she told me.
“He’s completely unbearable,” Lisa countered.
“To be honest, I probably won’t vote for you. I think you’re right. This whole thing’s stupid.”
“Are you going to abstain again?” Lisa asked.
“Yeah. Probably.”
“Yeah, me too,” Sarah seconded.
Chapter 4: Blindsight
The night went well, relatively speaking. It was odd returning to my room without Markus. I kept having these strange nightmares about his death. Every time I’d wake up and check the top bunk, hoping against hope, and confusion, that I’d see him lying there.
I probably got no more than three or four hours of sleep. The other four were spent laying around restlessly, racking my mind over how I couldn’t wrap my mind around any of this madness. If there was a God, now was his chance to show me a little light, I thought to myself as I drifted off into yet another one of those semi-conscious/semi-unconscious states.
Just thinking about Sarah put a smile on my face. I wasn’t going to let anything happen to her. While we were playing checkers, I learned a lot. I found out that she never knew her mother. She said that there was a woman, who was like a mother figure to her. She said that her father considered this woman to be the most beautiful person in the world. I found the way she phrased it odd, but figured she was just messing with me. Hell, a lot of things about this place were odd, or so I thought.
The rest of the night went surprisingly well. It was like Markus never existed. The only time it hit me was when I was alone in my room. After checkers, Sarah and I went to the kitchen, where surprisingly, we were joined by Brock and Lisa. We had a merry old time. I made smoothies for everyone, except for Roger. He had locked himself in his room with another pricy bottle of whiskey.
The good vibes came crashing down at the end of the night when it was time to vote. Brock had practically demanded we vote for Lisa. He harangued us with a barrage of threats and empty promises.
Whenever I pushed back and asked how he could be so sure, he wouldn’t do anything but brush me off. Even when I pressed the issue all he could say was, “It’s obvious she’s the killer.” And if I didn’t vote for her, “We’d be stuck down here even longer.”
Hmm... ok. That wasn’t really an answer I thought to myself. When he saw that I wasn’t fully on board with his harebrained scheme, he did what bullies do best. Pushed my buttons with reckless fighting words.
He had the nerve to ask if I wanted to go home and see my precious sister again. He told me it would never happen if I didn’t vote for Lisa. Then he asked Sarah if she was ready to show her father how wrong he was. He even asked Roger if he was ready to take his rightful place amongst the elites. He pushed everybody’s buttons that night, with less than eloquent speech about doing our part by voting for Lisa. We all tacitly agreed, less because we wanted to, and more because it was the only way to get him to shut up.
The voting room was very small. Only one person could enter at a time, or the actual door to the voting booth itself wouldn’t budge. The whole thing was a bit overboard to be frank. It had all the bells and whistles typical of any state-of-the-art security system.
There were eight buttons in total. Seven out of the eight corresponded with our images on screen. The last corresponded with the option to abstain. This had been my go-to button thus far. Only after pressing one of the eight buttons would the door automatically unlock.
This was why we had all tacitly agreed to vote for Lisa when Brock had schemed up the dimwitted idea. It really didn’t matter how much he huffed and puffed. He had no way to blow our house down. We could vote for whoever we wanted, and he would be none the wiser.
The vote failed that night. When this happened, Brock and I had a bit of a verbal spat. He called me out for abstaining. Things almost got ugly. He went so far as to call me idiotic and undemocratic. He really pushed my buttons when he claimed that I was setting a bad example for Sarah.
I tried to explain it to him, why I had been abstaining this whole time. Holding out on the possibility that this was all a sick prank to see how far we’d go. Call me naïve all you want. But I believed in the good of man... and vampires, I guess. I refused to believe that any of this nonsense was real.
What if two government agents, who claimed to work for a department you never heard of, and couldn’t Google because they toyed with the paranormal, arrived at your doorstep with an incredible promise to save someone you loved. What price would you be willing to pay?
All you had to do was enter into what seemed like, at the time, a very innocent event they aptly named the Adventure Games. Would you say no?
Oh. And trust me, I know what you’re thinking. “There had to be another way.” And you’re right. Maybe there was, but time was of the essence. My sister was dying and tomorrow couldn’t wait.
Sorry about that. It was just something I needed to get off my chest. Ok, so like I was saying, before I went on a tangent. My decision to undermine the process, by not voting for Lisa, like Brock demanded, really got under his skin. He ended up not talking to me for the remainder of the night. I was fine with that. It’s not like he was the most personable guy on the planet.
He decided to get blasted out of his mind on boozes. I guess he had had enough because he really let go. Everyone called it a night after that, everyone except for Brock. It didn’t matter, he could do what he wanted. We all locked our doors and hunkered down for the night. I did check on him from time to time, only to see him slouched in front of his door. He was singing and swearing like a lonesome sailor stranded somewhere on Drunk Island.
He blathered about having a ton of Navy buddies, and how he never worked up the courage to enlist. I would say we talked off and on, but that would be a lie. He drunkenly and wantonly confessed and professed to things I would consider nonsensical and other things I would consider mildly and surprisingly sensible.
The calm and quietness of the night was broken by an eerie scream early in the morning. It was so ear piercing and undeniable. I knew without having to think; something dire had happened. Someone else had died. I jumped from my bed and rushed out the room. The screams came from Lisa and Sarah’s room! Oh God, I thought to myself, as I began banging on the door like a maniac. “Hey! What’s going on?! Everything okay?! Hello?! H—"
The door opened and what I saw made me place a hand to my mouth in horror. Lisa was hanging from the top bunk by the neck. The sight was rather unsightly. Her tongue hung from her mouth and her eyes were wide open. Her frail, pale frame made to look like a Jack-o’-lantern swinging from the porch of a cloistered cul-de-sac.
I stepped from the room and gaged. Brock and Roger came crashing through only to be met by the same wretched sight. “Oh, dear God!” Roger cried out before swiftly exiting from the room. He placed his back to the wall and exhaled as if he had been underwater.
“What happened?!” Brock shouted.
“I-I-I don’t know!” Sarah screamed.
“What’d you mean you don’t know?” he yelled.
“I don’t know! I-I woke up and saw her like this!”
Brock backed off. His eyes bounced up and down as he studied Lisa’s corpse. After a while, he shook his head and said, “The guilt must’ve gotten to her.”
“That doesn’t seem right,” I said.
“Isn’t it obvious. She hung herself. The guilt from being the killer must’ve been too great.”
“Eh. I don’t know, Brock,” I said.
He came over to me and gave me a light shove in the chest. “Yeah, and if you would’ve voted for her like I said, we wouldn’t be stuck in this stupid predicament.”
“The killer could be you,” I said.
“Ha! Is that so, tough guy?”
“You’re the only tough guy.”
“What are you getting at?”
“Who knows, maybe the whole drunk thing was a routine.”
“Yeah. It was and I snuck into their room and strung her up while Sarah was sound asleep. You need to work on your detective skills, hero-boy.”
I stepped into his face. “What’s your problem?”
He stepped into mine. “You’re my problem.”
That’s when I told him, “I’m sick of your mouth.”
“Oh, yeah? Take your best shot, hero-boy.”
“Call me that one more time and I won’t hesitate.”
“Hey! Hey! Back off!” Roger cried out.
He swiped Roger’s hand off his chest and snapped, turning his fury and ire on the vampire. “Don’t think I didn’t see you! You sneaky bloodsucker!”
“What are you going on about now?” Roger asked.
“I woke up in the middle of the night! That’s right. I snapped out of my ‘drunken routine.’” Then he pointed at Roger and claimed, “Right before I went to my room, I saw this creep, creeping down the hall.”
Roger rolled his eyes before dismissing his accusations out of hand, “Please. I was getting ice.”
“Ha! That’s the best you can come up with?! You were getting ice? Hah! That grand suite of yours doesn’t come with an ice machine?” Brock asked.
“Oh, darling, if I wanted to kill Lisa, you would be the last to know. I may not look the part, but I do know a thing or two about hunting your kind.”
Bully laughed as if somehow Roger’s statement was a gotcha moment. Then the oaf treated our ears to, “So, you just admitted to killing people! Ah-ha!”
“I am a vampire, if you haven’t noticed.”
“Ugh. Whatever. So, you don’t have an ice maker in that killer suite of yours?” he asked.
“Apparently not, or I would not have been caught dead fetching ice from the kitchen.”
“Yeah, well, if for some reason when we all vote for Lisa tonight, like we should have done last night, and the game doesn’t end, we know who to vote for next.”
“Spare me,” Roger said with a contemptuous hiss before adding, “And the girl? What about her?”
“What are you going on about?”
“My money’s on her.”
“Hey! I didn’t do anything!” she cried out.
“I don’t know, sweetheart,” Roger told her.
“Screw this,” she said before storming off.
I gently grabbed her by the arm before she could scamper too far and said, “Hold on.”
“Are you going to accuse me now?”
“No. Of course not.”
“Then let me go.”
“Let’s hear him out.”
“So, you are siding with him?”
“I’m not siding with anyone.”
“Then let go of my arm!”
“Roger, you dirty rascal,” Brock laughed.
“What’s so funny?” he asked.
Brock placed a hand to his chin and took on the role of amateur detective. After ruminating, he said, “Ok. So, let me get this straight. You think a scrawny teenager somehow strung up a grown woman—with not so much as a peep coming from the room, huh? I examined the body. No scratches, bruises, or other marks that would indicate struggle. The only bruising is around her neck from the makeshift noose.”
Roger glared at Brock. He didn’t even bother to respond, instead he looked over at her and said, “Sarah, my darling, may we see your hands?”
“For what?” she asked.
“To see if there are any marks.”
She raised her arms without flinching. That age-old teenage defiance oozed from her voice when she asked, “And why would there be any scratches?”
Roger frowned. He looked at her with a suspicious eye and said, “Thank you.”
“Whatever,” she muttered before storming off. I could hear her mumbling invectives to herself as she made her way down the hall.
“Ok! Great! So, we’re all voting for Lisa this time?” Brock announced.
“Wait. Can we vote for a dead person? And if we do, does that even count?” I asked.
“Uh, why wouldn’t it? I’m sure we can vote for Aaron, or Markus too if we wanted—their names still appear on the screen when you vote, right?”
“Yeah, but they could be trying to throw us off.”
“Can you just vote for Lisa this time, pal? I’m trying to get the hell out of here.”
“Sure. What’s the task for today?” I asked.
“The what?” he asked with a flustered expression.
“You know? The daily task or whatever. Last time it was a riddle that we never solved.”
Brock threw up his hands and then began making his way down the hall. “I’m done with this.”
“Let’s at least put Lisa’s body in the tomb. Then we can all head to the kitchen.”
“Sure. Why not,” he grumbled back.
“Hey, Roger, can you read the task for today—we did get another card, right?”
He snagged the red envelope that was sticking out of the front pocket of his fluffy wool robe and waved it back and forth, saying, “Already one step ahead of you.”
Brock glared at him. I could tell that his suspicion had firmly settled on Roger. I knew what he was thinking because I was thinking the exact same thing. Why was he given the grand room while the rest of us were forced to sleep on bunkbeds? What was he hiding? Why was he assigned the job of reading the task cards? If there was a killer, did they want to make it so obvious as to lull us into a false sense of absurdity?
“You two go on ahead. I’ll take her body to the burial room,” Roger spoke. His voice was a bit raspier than usual. I noticed because the timbre stabbed into my thoughts, helping the conspiracy locomotive in my head gather a good head of steam. And with that, all I could do was utter, “Uh, ok?” in response.
He winked, and said, “I’ll be quick.”
Brock wasn’t having it. He stopped dead in his tracks, turned around, and said, “Anything, you’d like to confess while you’re at it?”
“I’m not going to drink from her corpse if that’s what you’re thinking. I’m a vampire not a ghoul. And besides, feeding on stale blood won’t help any. If anything, it’ll only make my carvings that much worse.”
“Uh... Ok...” I muttered.
He walked over and gave me a pat on the back. “You’re overthinking it. It’ll be faster this way. I can use my unholy talents to dispose of her body much faster than the two of you combined.”
“Thanks,” I murmured before looking over at Brock to make sure he was hearing what I was hearing.
“Freak,” he uttered aloud before walking away.
This was one of those moments where I shrugged and followed Brock. He looked back when he saw me and just shook his head in disappointment. As if I was the reason we were stuck down here. God. If there was a killer and it wasn’t Lisa, I hope they got rid of this jerk next. It was a crude thought for a crude man, I thought to myself as I watched him run over and tap Sarah on the shoulder. When she looked back, he pretended like it wasn’t him. I guess teasing her was his way of trying to cheer her up. He also reminded her to vote for Lisa, so we could all go home for the umpteenth time.
She wiped the tears from her eyes and nodded innocently. I walked over to make sure everything was okay. When Brock saw this, he threw his hands up and told me, “Chill bro, I wasn’t doing anything.”
“Yeah. Sure you weren’t,” I scoffed.
“I know she’s like a sister to you. But you’re not the only one who can talk to her, you know.”
“I never said I was.”
He tapped her on the shoulder again and said, “Hey, sorry about Roger back there. Accusing you of murder. To be honest, I’m starting to think he’s the killer.”
“Thanks,” she muttered.
“Tell you what, I’ll make you guys breakfast.”
“Wow? Where’s the real Brock?” I asked.
“Whatever. You’re not the only one who used to work in the food industry. My first job, well, more like my first and a half job was at IHOP.”
“What’s a first and a half job?” Sarah asked.
“It’s a long story,” he said while making his way over to the fridge. “Any requests?”
“Nope,” we both said.
“Great, I’ll see if we have the ingredients for a few omelets.”
“What about Roger?” I asked.
My question almost ruined his jovial mood. He turned around and gave me an ugly scowl. “Roger can F off.”
“That’s mean,” Sarah said.
“He’s a vampire. He doesn’t need to eat.”
“I think he does actually,” I said.
“No, he doesn’t. That’s stupid.”
“Dude,” I uttered in frustration.
“What? That doesn’t make any sense.”
“They’ve both been eating this whole time. Markus was in the kitchen, helping Lisa and Sarah when he died.”
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2023.03.29 22:46 RingoCross99 The Adventure Games (Section 1 of 4)

The Adventure Games (Section 1 of 4)
Have a blast!
The Adventure Games
By Ringo Cross
Chapter 1: Insight
I stepped into my apartment, placed my back to the door and sighed in relief. Thank God I was home. I hadn’t been for the past few days. I was at the hospital watching over my sister with our parents. Just when we were starting to get our hopes up. Just when we thought she was going to make a full recovery, she took a turn for the worse.
It all felt more like a curse than an affliction. My sister went from a healthy, happy-go-lucky teenager, to a fever-stricken soul, stranded somewhere between the land of the living and nonliving. She had a sudden case of sleeping beauty syndrome. The doctors didn’t know for sure, but they suspected the strange bite on her neck was the culprit. Two neat puncture wounds rationalized away as an animal bite. We all knew what it really was, it’s just that no one wanted to be the one who was crazy enough to say it.
It was like her body was slowly wasting away. Was she becoming undone, or perhaps something else altogether? Eh... Who knows. I did know one thing for sure, it was all too grim and preposterous a reality for my parents to accept. No matter what the doctors tried or how hard mom and dad prayed for her deliverance, she just kept getting worse while acting stranger.
It was like she had been pulled from the world, and we had all been pulled right along with her, into a strange new world that made no sense. Her doctors told us that at the rate she was deteriorating, she didn’t have much time left. God. I wish this was the part where I told you, “I became a superhero and saved her life.” Maybe in my own roundabout way, I did become something of her savior.
The truth is, what happened to her, I... I never saw it coming. Did vampires really exist? I couldn’t tell you how much or how long this question had tortured my mind. I was going to do some serious digging and get to the bottom of this. Because if there was any way to save her; to stop her from fading, I swore to find it.
My phone began to ring. It was my parents. They were at the hospital, keeping vigil at her bedside. I shook my head while thinking about how much of a toll her sudden illness had taken upon them. They were both so virtues and upright. Their faith in God had really been shaken. I turned my phone on silent mode. I-I didn’t want to talk to them. I needed time to grieve on my own.
I wanted a beer. No, I needed a beer. Something cold and inebriating to free my mind from the pain of watching my little sister slip away. I’m surprised I made it this long without dipping into my reserves, I thought to myself as I reached into the fridge and grabbed a cold one.
I just sat there at my kitchen table. Reliving as many memories of us together as I could. There were so many. I... I adored her more than life itself. She could do no wrong. Her smile... it... it haunts me. My God, I never knew pain like this. I had never followed my parents down the “righteous path.” I always considered myself a person of logic and reason. Simply believing in a higher power wasn’t enough for me, neither had it ever been enough to ease the void of loneliness within me.
But after this, how could I not believe in God? How could I explain away my grief? All I wanted was for this to all make sense. Maybe it was her time? Even if it was, why like this? Why so tragic and bitter? There were just too many reasons why I stopped believing. Crazy thing was, right now, I desperately wanted to believe. I wanted to close my eyes, clasp my hands together, and pray for a miracle. I tried but couldn’t bring myself to do so, no matter how strong the desire. There was no God, and a crisis wasn’t my chance to retreat.
I had seen the dark side of faith. The way my parents justified what happen to my baby sister by saying, “God has a plan” made me sick to my core. Just thinking about it made me nauseous. My faith had been stretched to the breaking point a long time ago. This was just the sad culmination of a collision between faith and obstinacy. The explosion went off like a bomb in my head. The pain was truly limitless... I just hoped her death didn’t turn me into a serial killer. I smirked at my own inane, insane thought before downing my beer.
I grabbed another beer to drown my sorrows in. Just then, there was a sudden knock at the door. The slight but unmistakable tapping surprised the crap out of me. So much so, I almost spilled my beer. I figured it was my ex. She had planned on stopping by a bit later to return my key and to pick up the last of her things.
When I looked through the peephole, I saw two people standing there in black suits. The sight threw me off and made me briefly sick to my stomach. Little did I know, I should have followed my gut instinct, but instead, I foolishly opened the door.
“Hello, Mr. Graham. My name’s Agent Adams. This is my partner, Agent Harris.”
Before I could process what was happening, Agent Harris extended her hand and said, “Pleasure.”
“Um... You too, I think? I guess? Hope I’m not in any trouble?” I told her.
“You’re not,” she smirked.
“Who are you guys again?”
“We work for the government,” she said.
“The FBI?” I asked.
“Ugh. Everyone says that. I guess it is the suits,” Agent Adams grumbled. He shook his head in annoyance before adding, “We work for the Department of Homeland Security. DPI for short. It’s the paranormal division.”
“Who again?” I asked him.
“Eh. The Department of Paranormal Investigations,” he clarified with something of an attitude.
“Huh. Never heard of it,” I spoke.
“Can we come in, Mr. Graham?” he asked.
I thought about it for a moment. I didn’t like this Agent Adams guy. He gave off a bad vibe. My first mind was to tell them to kick rocks, but I decided against being so brash and rash just in case they had a warrant. I wasn’t thinking straight. My sister’s woes weighed too mightily on my spirit. Before letting them pass, I did ask to see some identification. I’m not that stupid. Had to be sure they weren’t pulling my leg.
Agent Adams flashed his badge with a slight grumble. Agent Harris had no problem letting me see hers. She was at least pleasant, I thought while examining her government ID. I also wondered why someone so young and attractive had been stuck with someone so old and unattractive. I bet she hated her partner, I thought to myself with a smirk, as I let them pass through the door.
Agent Adams took a seat at my kitchen table without me offering. His partner looked at him a bit perplexed before waiting until I said, “It’s ok. You can have a seat.”
“Thank you,” she replied.
“So, what brings two DPI agents to my home? You sure I haven’t done anything illegal?”
“Hmm... Maybe there is something you’d like to confess, Mr. Graham,” Agent Adams spoke.
“I don’t know. Maybe I have an old parking ticket or something minor like that.”
“We don’t handle citations,” he replied.
“Sorry. Dumb question.”
“Apology rejected,” he uttered.
“Uh-hm. Forgive my partner he can be a bit—"
Agent Adams brought his hand to his chin. His abrupt gesture caused his partner to pause mid-sentence and look over at him. The two exchanged glances. He paused for a moment more before saying, “That’s a nice brand of beer. I haven’t had a cold one in a while.”
“Would you like one? I have plenty.”
“Really?” I asked.
“You offered. I accepted.”
“Uh, what about you, Miss Harris?”
“It’s Agent Harris. And no.” She looked over at her partner with a raised eyebrow, “Can you not drink on the job? It’s unprofessional.”
“Fine,” he grumbled before reaching into the inner pocket of his suit coat to retrieve his vape pen.
“Are you sure? Like I said I have plenty.”
“I’m sure. I am the senior agent after all. Probably should set a better example and all,” with a wink he added, “If you survive, I’ll come back and take you up on that offer, Mr. Graham.”
“How do you know he’ll even want to participate?” his partner asked. I could hear the annoyance in her tone. She groaned before telling me, “Sorry about that.”
Agent Adams let out a heavy cloud of steam. He studied me a fair bit longer than I was comfort with. Especially someone like him, whose eyes were grey enough to sting. He took another hit from his vape pen. This time blowing the steam in my direction. His wrinkled face blocked out by the heavy cloud as he said, “Oh, he’ll join, alright. He’s not in any position to refuse.”
“That’s pretentious,” she grumbled.
“Hah. It’s the truth.”
“What the hell is this about?”
“Your sister, Mr. Graham,” he said.
“What about her?” I asked.
“We know what happened.”
“Um. Okay? Creepy.”
“Uh, what my partner is trying to say is that we might be able to help. I reviewed her chart. I think I know what the problem is,” Agent Harris explained.
“What can a couple of government agents do that a team of doctors haven’t already tried?” I asked.
“Your sister. She was bitten by a vampire, Mr. Graham,” Agent Adams stated. He paused for a moment to study my reaction before adding, “You seem like a clever guy. I’m sure you already suspected as much.”
“So, they do exist,” I mumbled to myself.
“Yes. The vampire who attacked your sister was probably desperate. He broke what are a set of well-established rules called Blood Codes.”
“Really? Vampires have rules?”
“There’s always rules, Mr. Graham.”
“Whatever. And where is this freak? I wouldn’t mind getting my hands on him.”
“He’s already been dealt with.”
“By you guys?”
“By his overseer.”
“Good. I hope his death was slow and painful.”
“It was. Their methods are very draconian.”
“Then what do you need from me?” I asked.
“What about you? Would you kill to save your sister?”
“I would if I had to,” I affirmed without hesitation or reservation. I suppose I only spoke so confidently and assuredly because I thought it was a hypothetical. I mean this was the government after all. They would never ask me to do anything crazy, right? But then again, I would’ve told you you were crazy if you would have told me vampires were a real thing before my sister was attacked by one. Still, his question was odd. And the more I thought about it, the more it disturbed me.
Agent Harris chimed in, “Um, Mr. Graham, I’m sorry. I don’t know why my partner said that. You shouldn’t have to kill anyone. For you, it’s probably more a matter of participation than annihilation. If we did require you to do such a thing, rest assure, we’d provide you with all the materials necessary to succeed. Before you ask, we’re on your side, Mr. Graham. We want you to see your sister once the games have concluded.”
“The games?” I asked.
“Yes. If you enter our game, we’ll save your sister’s life. No questions asked,” she replied.
“What kind of game?”
“The Adventure Games.”
“The what games?”
“Adventure Games,” she smirked.
“What’s the catch?”
“Well, the games could be dang—”
Agent Adams quickly butted in before Agent Harris could reveal the truth. “There’s no catch, Mr. Graham. None whatsoever. Don’t listen to my partner. She can be a bit too detail orientated.”
“The devil is always in the details,” I muttered.
“But not a cure for your sister,” he coldly replied.
“Hey. What is that supposed to mean?”
“What do you think? Do you want to waste time going over the fine print, or do you want to step up to the plate and save your sister?”
I thought about it for a moment. “Eh. How do I know I can trust you to keep your word? I mean the government isn’t exactly super trustworthy.”
“Know what, I like you, Mr. Graham. Tell you what I’ll do. Humph. If you agree, we’ll transfer your sister to our facility, right away. That way she can get a jumpstart on her treatment program before you even set foot in the games,” he checked his wristwatch and added, “We can get her there by midnight. Let’s see... hmm... typical turnaround for blood sickness is what? Maybe a few hours if we play our cards right?”
“Six to eighteen hours is more accurate,” Agent Harris clarified to her partner’s chagrin.
“Close enough,” he grumbled.
Agent Harris ignored him. Turning her attention back to me, she said, “I have some good news and some bad news. Which would you like first?”
“Give me the good news.”
“Ok. Based on her chart, it looks like her affliction has progressed beyond normal blood sickness. Once we administer the antidote, she should be fine, but there’s always a chance she won’t make it. I’m sure our techs back at the lab will make the process as painless as possible for your sister. This is what I can do for you if you decide to join the project. I promise we’ll have her call you before you leave for the games.”
“Great. Where do I sign?” I asked.
Agent Adams put away his vape pen. “You don’t sign. You signing something doesn’t matter. We’re dealing with information above top secret, Mr. Graham.”
“Whatever,” I shrugged.
“There is one other thing,” Agent Harris said.
“The bad news, right?”
“Right,” she nodded.
Agent Harris looked over at her partner. She was careful not to reveal anything more until he nodded his head in approval. Some of the info they had already revealed was pushing the line above top secret into ‘black protocol’ territory, or what agents at DPI called “above top secret classification.”
Agent Adams nodded before quickly returning his attention back to vaping, retrieving the addictive device almost faster than he had put it away.
Agent Harris cleared her throat. “I’m sorry, Mr. Graham. Your sister’s illness has progressed too far. We can save her, but she won’t be human anymore. She’ll be a vampire. The transformation is irreversible I’m afraid.”
“Really? A vampire?”
“That is correct.”
“Jesus. I need a smoke,” I said as I jumped from my chair and grabbed the pack of smokes sitting on my kitchen counter. I lit one up and began pacing back and forth like a madman. With a bit of reluctance, I turned to Agent Harris and grumbled, “How fast can we get this done?”
“Now, if you agree.”
“That fast, huh?”
“Yes. We already have a team standing by. One phone call from us and they’ll began the extraction.”
“I already told you, I’m in.”
When I reaffirmed my commitment, Agent Adams looked over at his partner with a smug “I told you so” expression. He stood and extended his hand for me to shake. “Good choice, Mr. Graham. You’re a real champ.”
I shook his hand while glaring into his eyes. “You guys better not be trying to pull a fast one.”
“We wouldn’t. You’re not that important,” he smirked before blowing a cloud of steam into my face. “Goodbye, Mr. Graham. I’m sure I won’t be seeing you around,” he sarcastically added before heading for the door.
I shook Agent Harris’ hand. She removed her shades and told me, “Good luck, Mr. Graham.”
“What do I do next?”
“Pack light and wait.”
“Really? That’s it?”
“Yeah. We’ll be back in a couple of hours to take you to prescreening.”
“Sounds fair.”
“Good to hear.”
“So, what are these ‘Adventure Games’ anyway?”
She placed her shades back on. Her expression distant and cold. “Sit tight. We have to make a few arrangements and finish up some paperwork on our end before I can reveal any information. I’m sure the paperwork will get approved by the time we come back for you. Once this happens, I’ll explain everything you need to know.”
I just stood there dumbfounded by the moment. I could hear Agent Harris discussing Agent Adams’ conduct as they let themselves out and began making their way down the hall. Apparently, Agent Harris was disappointed that he had asked me for a beer. She pointed out that this was an obvious workplace violation, and how he could be terminated for his conduct. He found her chiding amusing and told her he had no intentions on drinking on the job. When he made this claim, she was incredulous and asked what possessed him to even ask in the first place.
I could barely hear them at this point since they were standing by the elevator. But I believe his response was something on the lines of, “I wanted to read his reaction. If he handled himself wisely, I knew we wouldn’t have a problem recruiting him for the games.”
“And if he reacted poorly?” she asked.
“Well then, your little behavioral profile would have been wrong, and we would’ve had a head start on finding his replacement,” he told her.
I closed the door in disgust. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, or if they could even be trusted. I knew it too. That cliché feeling had reached all the way down to my gut. My conscience... the good angel on my shoulder was telling me to run.
With a heavy heart, I chose to ignore the voice. My sister’s life hung in the balance. Sometimes in life you had to take risks. My choice to go along with these agents and their dubious claims wasn’t a tough or noble act. It was one wrought from desperation. What were my options? Not joining meant my sister would waste away until it was too late. Phew. This was a lot of pressure. My back was against the wall literally and figuratively.
I let out a long sigh and mustered the courage to begin packing. I hadn’t gotten much sleep either. Hopefully the car ride to wherever we were going would be a long one, and I could get some much-needed rest, I thought to myself as I shoved way too many things into my bag.
Tears escaped from my eyes. I had to stay the course. I had to hear her voice. I finally broke down and prayed to God, asking him to look over me. I still didn’t believe. I don’t know why I did it. I guess out of hope or necessity. My sister meant the world to me, and my parents, I don’t know what they would do if she perished.
Chapter 2: Foresight
The following day was a blur. I was taken to a massive facility that stood in the middle of nowhere. It was on the outskirts of the outskirts. The place was so far removed, they didn’t even bother with a blindfold. There was no elaborate story of denial, or even the whole “we cannot confirm or deny” troupe.
Nope. This was a secret facility where the government housed and did God knows who or what to who or what. From what I gathered, they performed strange experiments on poor sods, such as myself, who had foolishly signed their lives away. I gulped and told myself to shut up. If you think negative things, then you get negative results.
A group of oddly dressed soldiers called “acolytes” escorted me from the transport van to the staging area. I was able to check in with my sister, just like the agents promised. She was doing much better. The thought put a smile on my face and was all the motivation I needed. Now all I needed to do was win, so I could see her again.
Knock on wood, but if something were to happen to me, I didn’t really care. All that mattered was that little sis had finally turned the corner. I swear on my soul. This was more than I could have ever hoped for.
After answering an uncomfortable amount of questions and going through a battery of physical and mental tests, I was given the greenlight by the staff to join the event. This all happened at approximately 1400 hours the next day. I was taken away from the annoying, prodding techs in lab coats. I wouldn’t have mind leaving them behind, along with their invasive procedures if it wasn’t for the soldiers who escorted me to the staging area. They were cold and mechanical. They roughly shooed me to a section of the facility called Bunker 17, as if they were putting a dog back inside its kennel. We arrived at this damnable place, via elevator, twenty floors down.
To my surprise, there were already several people waiting when I arrived. They were all kind of just lingering about not doing much of anything. In front of us stood a pair of massive concrete doors that looked like the entrance to a mini fortress. We were all wearing these odd name tags. The moment made me sick to my stomach. The gazes of suspicion, intrigue, and indifference made me briefly curl up like a shrinking violet.
Hmm... No one told me I would be joined by others. I shrugged and figured as much. I was about to introduce myself when one of the soldiers radioed Command and informed them that we were ready to enter. Command radioed back and told them to give the signal. One of the acolyte soldiers gave a thumbs up, which I imagine they saw on the camera, right above the door.
When he did this an alarm sounded, red strobes flashed all arounds us, and the doors began to slowly creep open. The noise only added to the confusion and bewilderment. I took a step back, sure that the roof was going to collapse with every inch the doors gained. The whole thing was about as unnerving and uninviting as it could get. It looked more like a giant mouth slowly feasting upon the light, warning us to turn back, than an entrance.
We stepped inside only to be greeted by another set of massive doors. These were steel instead of concrete and looked like they could have been placed on the entrance to an impenetrable castle way up in the mountains. I looked back when the concrete doors begin to close. Only when they had fully shut, and we were devoured by the darkness, did the steel doors begin to open their mouth. The inner doors creaked and cranked, making the loudest, most-angriest sound imaginable. The process was excruciating and played on my mind almost as much as it played on my ears.
There was a great deal of radio chatter. The soldiers thrust us through the entrance. When we had all crossed the red line, one of them radioed Command, and the doors began to slowly close behind us. Fight or flight kicked in. I thought about making a run for it, but I could tell that that was bad idea by the way the soldiers were positioned behind the door with their weapons drawn.
I swear I could feel their laser sights more than I could see them in the piercing darkness. There was nothing like a big gun to chop through any language or mental barrier. It was louder and harder than any bull in any China shop would ever be.
I sighed when the doors finally closed behind us. My first thought was, what the hell had I gotten myself into? Followed quickly by, I can’t believe I let myself be talked into this. Before any of us could gather our bearings, the lights began to turn on. Once my eyes had adjusted to the blinding whiteness, I stood around like everyone else, amazed and surprised by the sight in front of me. It was funny in a sense. I was relieved by familiarity as it was the last thing on my mind.
It looked like a well-kept emergency shelter. The floors sparkled as if they had been waxed in preparation for our arrival. The kitchen and dayroom took up the bulk of the space. Before I could really sink my teeth into some good ole fashioned exploration, a voice could be heard over the loudspeaker. The prerecording was that of a woman, who sounded a bit robotic and automated, as if it had been altered to sound as friendly as possible. Which made it even more odd and creepy:
“Greetings, contestants! Welcome to the Adventure Games! These are the inaugural games, making this the very first event of its kind! So, consider yourselves lucky! The games have been lowered in difficulty by our wonderful technicians by approximately fifteen percent in honor of you being the very first souls to be taken.
I’m sure you’re all confused and have a lot of questions. Should I explain? Of course, I should explain! Well, here goes nothing! There are seven of you in total. You have all been locked inside of one of our many, many, many underground shelters! Bunker 17 to be precise. Which is part of the Northeastern Hemisphere Underground Network Systems, or N-HUN for short. That’s right! Your bunker is part of a much wider, global network that is maintained and operated by the New World Government Order or NWGO and members of the New Faith Alliance or NFA.
There are six levels of access in total. To gain access to the lower levels you need a “Marc” card. Which is short for Mark of Identifying numbers. Sorry average humans, only vampires and human personnel critical to the mission are given one. Don’t feel too bad, only high-ranking members of the NFA have access to the lower levels. And only super important people have access to the final level. Take my word for it, I’ve been down to level six and it’s definitely not a place you ever want to be.
I would tell you all about the many wonders, crazy contraptions, odd attractions, and foul creatures we keep below, but then I’d have to release the laughing gas... Just kidding... It’s actually sarin gas!
You have all been locked inside of Bunker 17. We stocked the place with plenty of provisions, so you won’t have to worry about starving to death for a very long time if anything terrible was to happen while you were away like, I don’t know, nuclear holocaust.
The recreational room is also state of the art. All the amenities you need are here. We made sure to provide our contestants with everything imaginable so all you’ll have to worry about is staying alive!
If you were to survive the games, which I highly doubt, then we will do as promised and grant you your wish, via taxpayer expense. There’s nothing the Illuminati loves more than wasting hard stolen taxpayer money on frivolous expenditures like elaborate “stress tests” on bunker sociology to see who’ll break.
All of you came here for a reason. One of you however asked to be here so you could murder everyone else who came here for a reason! Hooray for having zero conscience, our super mysterious serial killer contestant! How do you stop this maniac from murdering you? Why the answer is simple. Figure out which one of you is the murdering maniac and you win! That’s right, the game is officially over, and you can go home and enjoy whatever foolish thing you wished for. Hope it was worth it!
How might you rid yourselves of this psychopath, you ask? Please direct your attention to our voting room. Inside is a small stall, no bigger than an outhouse. At the end of each day, you will go inside, one by one, and vote on who you think the killer is. If the majority votes correctly then the game is over. If there is a tie or lower, then the games continue. Oh, and just to make things fair, the killer will always vote for themselves. This will continue until enough of you vote correctly or everyone besides the killer is D.E.A.D.
♫ Do-do-do dodo! ♫
Congratz subject number 4, Roger J. Pierson III. You have been assigned the master bedroom! Which means you are responsible for reading the daily tasks! What daily tasks you might wonder? Why they’re clues to help you solve the killer-mystery, so pay close attention!
How does it work? Each day Roger will receive a card from HQ, using our spiffy pneumatic system, with direct access to the master bedroom. Our technicians, who helped created this wonderful kill box, call these messages ‘Vital Tasks’. Gather in one place and read them carefully, but only if you’re interested in surviving.
Good luck everyone! Oh, and be sure to have fun while playing. There is a small suggestion box located in the recreational room, next to the TV. All suggestions are anonymous and will help us to not only create a better experience, but even more enjoyable deaths! Salutations! Enjoy your stay at our super-secret underground facility! Thank you for your participation in the Adventure Games! And remember, no matter what happens, you are a valued guest at Bunker 17!”
When the strange announcement ended, everyone just kind of looked around in confusion. It was one of those moments when you question reality. There were seven of us in total. Everyone was wearing a name tag. Each name was more of a twisted moniker than our actual name. I looked down at my own and saw the word “Hero.” I found this odd for a few reasons. The first being I wasn’t a hero. I was your average guy at best. The second, more chilling reason was I did not remember putting this stupid thing on. How it got there was a mystery. I suppose in the thick of the chaos, one of the lab technicians must’ve slapped it on before they rushed me out.
The guy next to me, whose name tag read “Follower,” began to spaz. I tried to calm him, but it didn’t work. He made a break for it, running all the way back to the entrance. “Let me out! I didn’t sign up for this!” he cried and screamed while pounding on the steel slab.
There was a tall, bulky guy, wearing a tank top that barely fit. His name tag read “Bully” and was glued to his chest. He flexed his peck muscles and laughed very loudly and rudely at the young guy. He looked over at me and then everyone else while wildly yelling, “Come on guys! They’re obviously trying to scare us. The lady over the intercom wasn’t even trying to hide how obvious it was with all those corny jokes. What is this supposed to be? Fallout: New Vegas?!” He hooted and chuckled.
“This is stupid,” the woman next to me said. I looked over and saw that her name tag read: “Narcissist.”
“Screw it,” the Follower said after seeing that he was making a fool out of himself by crying and wailing not only in vain but to the amusement of others.
“I want to go home,” a girl sniveled. I glanced over and saw that her name tag read, “Teenager.”
Bully’s laughter pulled me away from the shock of seeing a teenager in a place like this. I cringed when he hollered out “Guys! It’s not real!” as if he wasn’t making yet another useless PSA.
There was this guy leaning against the wall. He watched with folded arms as the Follower finally gave up the goose. I could have sworn he was just standing right next to me, but I could be wrong. His name tag read “the Rationalizer.” He looked over at us and asked, in a very matter-of-fact tone, “So. What do we do now?”
“Let’s go get the message like the lady said over the intercom,” I told everyone with a shrug.
“Good idea,” the Rationalizer said. I think he was being sarcastic when he said it, but who knows. A guy like that was difficult to read.
The seven of us traveled through the kitchen and recreational area. Then we made our way down the narrow hall, towards our rooms. There were two names assigned to each one, except for the master bedroom. I nearly jumped out of my skin when I saw that the Rationalizer was assigned to the same room as me. Seeing my discomfort, he gave me a pat on the back before opening the door to our room.
I peeked inside and saw a very clean but very bare bones living space. There were a few accommodations, just nothing like home. Let’s see, there was a bunkbed on one side, two lockers, and a large dresser on the other. The floor was just as cold, polished, and uninviting as the kitchen and hall. Turns out, the only thing they bothered to make warm and cozy was the recreational room. Oh, and the master bedroom, hate to forget that.
I poked my head in Roger’s room. If I hadn’t mentioned it by now, his name tag read: “the Lover.” He damn near kissed the floor when he saw how magnificent his stay would be. His reaction rubbed pretty much all of us the wrong way. The Narcissist’s in particular. When she saw her room, and realized she had to share with the Teenager, she hyperventilated. Unlike the Lover’s eccentrics, her selfishly induced panic attack put a smile on my face.
“Huh. Looks like they got at least one of our name tags spot-on,” the Rationalizer said while observing her antics and thinking the same thing I was thinking.
Bully nearly buckled over he laughed so hard. Seeing this and that he shared a room with this meathead, the Follower began laughing right along with him. I don’t even think he knew why he was laughing. He saw Bully doing it and just followed along. I shook my head. I did chuckle a bit under my breath. The whole thing was ridiculous, I thought to myself as I turned my attention back to the Lover. There was something about him that was different. I just couldn’t put my finger on what it was.
Was there a faster way to draw suspicion than being called out by name and given something. Not only was it something, but it happened to be the one spacious, well decorated, most comfortable room out of the whole lot. Silk pillows, satin sheets, and a handwoven quilt that was draped over the bottom of a lavish, four-post bed. The posts were shaped into gargoyles. Even his dresser was handcrafted, the wallpaper elegant, and the red carpet fit for royalty. I could go on and on, but I didn’t want my intrigue to turn into outrage. Not yet at least. This all could be a prank like Bully suggested.
Eh. I know I keep harping on the subject, but it was hella unfair. What could I do? Even if I wanted to take it there, what were my options? Try to take the room from him by force? Yeah. That’s smart. That way everyone would think I was the killer for sure.
I had never even thought about killing someone in my whole life. Ok... you got me. The vampire who nearly killed my sister was the only creature. Hearing Agent Adams tell me he had been cruelly dispatched by his masters was sweet music to my ears. My only regret was that I wasn’t there to witness him suffer. If I was, I would have begged the monster behind the mask to prolong his pain for as long as vampirically possible.
“Hey, pal! Hurry up! I’m starving,” Bully shouted, snapping my mind out of its downward spiral of dark, borderline psychotic thought.
“I’m grabbing the card now!” the Lover shouted back before seizing the plastic capsule that was ejected from a long, pneumatic tube system. He removed the card from the red envelope and read what it said:
Task 1. Introduce yourself to the others. State all critical information such as name, age, and reason you’re here. This is very important: reveal if you are human or not. Do not lie unless you are the killer. You may remove your name tag afterwards.”
After he read the card, we all glanced around at one another, wondering if this was indeed someone’s idea of a sick joke. Or perhaps this was a dream we would all wake up from very soon? I prayed for the ladder but feared and respected the former. My thoughts loud and sweeping amidst the awkward silence that had overtaken us.
Bully rubbed his stomach. “I’m hungry. You guys can keep standing around looking stupid if you want. I’m off to see what’s in the fridge.”
“Um. Gross,” the Narcissist stated before she checked the pockets of her stylish plaid topcoat. She gasped in exasperation before yelping in dismay, “OMG. But how? How did they even know?”
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“They must’ve taken it!” she cried.
“Taken what?” I asked.
She looked over at me with an expression that told me everything I needed to know. Then she groaned out the most unimaginative words imaginable, “God. I thought I smuggled my backup phone. I put it in my pocket, it should be here. Screw it. Guess I’ll just die of boredom.”
“Or you could reconnect with your other senses,” the Rationalizer said. He folded his arms and stared at the Narcissist hungrily. If she wasn’t so preoccupied with being preoccupied by nothing, she would have noticed his lecherous gawk.
“Whatever. I hate my life,” she sighed.
“What’s a ‘backup’ phone?” I asked.
“Old people, dude,” the Follower blurted before chuckling to himself at my expense.
“I’m not old. I just never heard of a backup phone,” I explained, my tone a bit defensive.
“My bad, bro. Don’t get mad.”
“I’m not getting mad.”
“Hey. Whatever you say, bro.”
“It’s your other phone just in case your non other phone dies. Tch. Duh. I have followers, you know,” she replied all hot and haughtily.
“Come on guys,” I said before making my way towards the kitchen. Bully was already there, rummaging through the cupboards like a man on a mission.
When he saw us, he looked back and said, “I’m starving, haven’t eaten since breakfast!”
“How are we looking? Plenty of good stuff?” I asked as I made my approach.
“Bingo!” he hooted and rooted, ignoring me like a butthole over a loaf of bread. He made some weird comment about how he couldn’t believe they had sprouted grain bread. And how sprouted grain bread was savage. And how sprouted grain bread aided in muscle recovery. And how sprouted grain bread blah blah blah; all bodybuilding nonsense no one else understood. I understood how rude he was, however. He practically commandeered the counter and began making himself half a dozen sandwiches with the ham that he had snagged from the fridge.
“How are we looking?” I asked again.
“Dude, we’re freaking loaded!”
I opened the large pantry and saw four shelves filled with cans. “Wow. Yeah, you’re right.”
The one guy, who had the master bedroom, the Lover, I believe his name tag was; he cleared his throat and said, “Ok. So, who’s going to go first?”
“First in what?” the Follower asked.
“Introducing themselves,” he hissed.
“Tch. I’m not wasting my time,” the Follower laughed. To be honest, he seemed like a nice kid, but his laugh was maddening. This high pitch chortle followed by a guttural snort or two. Ugh. Just thinking about it made my skin crawl.
“I think you should go first,” I told Bully.
“Oh, yeah? Why’s that?” he asked.
“Because you’re a big oaf.”
Everyone at the table laughed, including the Follower. He stood from his seat, still snorting, and said, “Dude! You have a mountain of sandwiches! You could have at least asked if anyone else wanted one.”
Bully laughed before and after taking a chunk out of his first sandwich. “Whatever. I worked hard to get these muscles. Judging by your appearance, I don’t think you’ve ever seen an honest day’s work at the gym.”
“Ouch,” the Follower nervously chuckled. He slinked back down in his seat and tried to hide as we all laughed at the poor guy’s expense.
Bully looked over at me as if he saw something he didn’t like. Before I could ask if he had a staring problem, he said, “What about you? You seem pretty straightlaced. Maybe you should go first.”
I looked around and saw everyone’s eyes fall on me after he had pretty much thrown me under the bus. I threw my hands up in defeat and told them, “Fine. It’s not like I have anything to hide; I’ll go first.”
The Lover gestured for me to take the metaphorical stage and said, “The floor is yours.”
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2023.03.29 22:25 NorthwestPurple Dallas city code requires 18 parking spots for coffee shop

Dallas city code requires 18 parking spots for coffee shop submitted by NorthwestPurple to Dallas [link] [comments]

2023.03.29 22:24 the_dreaming_tree18 Run in with PIMI, faking care/concern

On my lunch break today I went to the local coffee shop. In the parking lot I crossed paths with someone I used to know within the local cong. I don’t believe she’s a pioneer any longer, but we did serve a few years together back in the day. She was happy to see me, gave me a couple of hugs through the conversation. She said she had been sad to hear of me leaving, and wanted to let me know she missed me. She cares about me and wondered if I wanted her to save me a seat at the Memorial. She even offered to have a conversation with me, along with her husband, who has been an elder for years. Of course I politely declined all of this. I stated that life changes, and my perspective has changed as well.
It irritates me to hear when people fake their care for you. Seriously, if she really truly cared, she could have reached out any one of the days that have passed since the three years I’ve been out. She wouldn’t have even thought of me today, had we not happened to run into each other. Just stop, please stop with your pretentious snobbery. Leave me alone.
end rant, thanks for reading 😮‍💨
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2023.03.29 22:04 L3G4L_4SS4SSIN Financial Times Article Thoughts?

Recently the Financial Times wrote an article on Glasgow and the neglect of the buildings, culture and city in general.
Have a read and share your thoughts:
The demolition of Glasgow’s architectural swagger
With buildings either being blown up or neglected, how can the city centre be preserved?
Back in 1998, on what you might call the eve of Scottish devolution, I was working in Glasgow on a year-long festival of architecture and design. From the windows of my 10th-floor office, I could look out over a swaggering 19th-century metropolis of grandiloquent stone architecture, built to a North American grid plan, that was once home to more than 1mn people.
The city felt then like an international model for culture-led renewal. Fact-finding delegations were constantly touring the streets, looking for lessons to apply at home. A garden festival and Glasgow’s status as European Capital of Culture had made a real difference to the way the world saw it, and how it saw itself: confident in its status as Scotland’s world city.
It feels different now: like a city unsure about what to do with its history — and still worryingly addicted to blowing up bits of itself.
Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s former Glasgow Herald building, carefully restored as the Lighthouse, Scotland’s Centre for Architecture and Design, closed at the start of the pandemic and is yet to reopen. Five years after the shocking destruction of the fire that tore through Mackintosh’s masterpiece, the art school that produced eight Turner Prize winners is still a blackened ruin. The facade has been propped up by a giant scaffolding pincushion while the school works out how best to rebuild it for the second time since a first fire in 2014.
Glasgow’s other great architect, Alexander “Greek” Thomson, is in no better shape. His once magnificent Egyptian Halls on Union Street sprouts shrubs from its decayed facade, which festers behind a giant advertising hoarding. The Buchanan Galleries, a hulking stone-faced 10-acre shopping centre, opened only in 1999, is slated for demolition.
Every city has had to deal with the rise of the digital economy and the impact of increased homeworking. But Glasgow has an additional problem: a decisive shift in the balance of power and prestige between itself and Edinburgh — an unintended result of the decision to re-establish Scotland’s parliament 25 years ago.
Since then, the number of people living in the capital has increased 25 per cent; Glasgow’s population is down to around 630,000. There are another million people who live in the hinterland beyond the city’s boundaries, but since the Strathclyde regional administration was abolished in the run-up to devolution, the political muscle and tax income that came from those numbers has gone.
Here’s another measure: for decades, Glasgow had been home to Scotland’s busiest airport. Edinburgh surpassed it in 2007 and today it is the international gateway by some margin: some 15mn passengers passed through its airport in 2019, compared with 9mn in Glasgow.
Glasgow might succeed in holding back the erosion of its centre, but it can’t entirely reverse it. As one vacant building comes back to life, it seems, another is threatened.
The 18th-century Sheriff Court was rescued from decades of neglect when it became the home of the Scottish Youth Theatre in 2006, but last year Marks and Spencer pulled out of its Sauchiehall Street building, which the new owners are planning to demolish. The massive Victorian General Post Office on George Square has found a new life and the old cheese market on Albion Street has been turned into a restaurant.
But Rogano, the historic Art Deco oyster bar — which, according to legend, is equipped with carpets and fittings smuggled out of the Clydebank shipyard that launched the Queen Mary — hasn’t reopened since the pandemic.
In fact, dynamite has become an essential part of Glasgow’s urban agenda. In the past 20 years, the Wheatley Group, part charity, part social enterprise and part commercial entity, has blown up thousands of the 81,000 homes given to it by Glasgow City Council in 2003 — a video montage on its website proudly edits together some of its biggest bangs.
After the revulsion at Wheatley’s plans to televise the explosive demolition of eight Red Road high-rises as part of the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in 2014, it is no longer considered acceptable to celebrate destroying such properties. But Wheatley is pressing on with plans to demolish four more high-rises in Maryhill. Protesters call it a profligate waste of resources that runs counter to the city’s sustainability rhetoric.
Along with the Buchanan Galleries, Glasgow is planning to demolish the St Enoch mall, at the other end of Buchanan Street, the hinge around which Glasgow’s centre works.
Both redevelopments are based on a new orthodoxy: covered malls are a thing of the past; old-style streets are the future. It’s a bold view to take in Glasgow, where it’s dark by 3.30 on a winter afternoon and rain is a fact of life all year. Norman Foster’s ambitious plan for the Buchanan Galleries envisages less shopping, demolishing a 2,000-space car park and creating more office space, some housing and a concrete raft over the tracks into Queen Street station to repair the rupture in Glasgow’s street grid.
If you pick a spot carefully today, say the corner of Ingram Street and Queen Street, where my office used to be, you will see Glasgow swagger. When I was there last Christmas, I saw a terracotta-coloured Ferrari cruise past a group of well-groomed Glaswegians from the affluent west end who were up in town, perhaps, to buy their children a new Burberry for Kids outfit, then drop in for a cocktail at a Korean-themed bar.
Look the other way and you see another Glasgow, the one with street sleepers on Argyle Street and the boarded-up shopfronts stretching down to the Clyde.
Glasgow is governed from the City Chambers, a building grand enough from which to run an empire. The Greens hold the balance of power, supporting a minority SNP administration. They have appointed a city urbanist, which suggests a welcome awareness of the issues the city faces, and are embarking on a public consultation to steer a strategy for its future.
Finding an effective way to reconnect the city politically and economically with its hinterland, where so many former Glaswegians now live, would be the best place to start.
Deyan Sudjic is director emeritus of the Design Museum in London
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2023.03.29 21:53 iliekchiekennugets 12 day itinerary check - Tokyo, Kamakura/Enoshima, Lake Kawaguchiko (May 2023)

Hey! I'll be visiting Japan from May 17 - May 28 with 3 other close friends for a high school grad trip. This is my second time visiting Japan (last time was in 2019) so we will be forgoing the typical Golden Route to see some new sights instead. It is however all my friends' first time, but they had no problems focusing on the Kanto region this trip.
Some of our common interests include anime, shrines/temples, nature, shopping, gaming, and trying new foods. One of my friends isn't super big on museums, but if you have any must-see museum recommendations they'll consider it. Overall, our goal is to immerse ourselves in a foreign environment and try to experience Japan more as a local than a tourist. My previous trip to Japan felt rather rushed trying to get from one tourist attraction to another so I hope to avoid that this time around.
All hotels are booked (except for the last night at the capsule hotel). We'll be staying 6 nights in Tokyo and 2 nights in Kamakura and Lake Kawaguchiko each.

May 17 (Arrival + Shinjuku)

May 18 (Shibuya + Harajuku)

May 19 (Odaiba + Akihabara)

May 20 (Yokohama)

May 21 (Asakusa + Tokyo Skytree Area)

May 22 (Kichijoji)

May 23 (Kamakura)

May 24 (Kamakura + Enoshima)

May 25 (Lake Kawaguchiko)

May 26 (Lake Kawaguchiko)

May 27 (Return to Tokyo)

May 28 (Flight back home)

Some questions I have about our itinerary:
That's all! Any general advice/tips would be greatly appreciated :)
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2023.03.29 21:44 wesleymjames OG UnderTow fun facts

OG UnderTow fun facts
I think the only reason I got the job was because both my company and Barter and Shake (ownership) were cast for a Discovery Channel show which aired shortly after we opened. To that date I had never designed or built a themed or immersive space. My practice was mostly custom modern homes and shipping container multifamily projects. Barter and Shake already had a fantastic name for the bar. It was a play on words as the bar was to be located in the basement of Sip Coffee and Beer which was housed in a former car shop and "tow" company building. The owner wanted a speakeasy style tiki bar with an emphasis on nautical decor because of the name they had chosen. I wanted to blow them away so I suggested that instead of putting decor up on flat walls that we actually recreate the cargo hold of a ship! They were honestly apprehensive to approved it but after creating renderings they approved it! I'm truly lucky that most of my work now is themed/immersive experiences, bars and restaurants. I'm hoping to do projects that we can operate ourselves. We're currently building a small escape room experience in the strip mall next to UnderTow Arcadia. Operating this will be a big first for us and I hope it's just the beginning of something much bigger! Attached are some photos of the OG UnderTow taken during construction and from the friends and family soft opening.
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2023.03.29 21:43 woods_edge_ Info about Ithaca, Cornell and some takes on local hotels for Barton 5.8.23 concert

Although I am renting a room out myself. (It's posted on here if interested) Thousands of people will be coming to town, so I’m happy to answer anyone's questions about places up here, like if they are too funky or too far away. It's always hard to judge places if you don't know a town. Basic info...
Ithaca is small overall, and buses run to most places and lots of them go through the Cornell campus. The campus isn't that big. It’s walk-able for most, but hilly at some spots. (especially getting to the campus from downtown is hilly). If you are bringing a car, there shouldn't be any problem getting to campus, though Cornell might gouge you on parking. They said they will not be providing shuttle buses, so if people have mobility problems, they should contact the promoters.
Also, for anyone who is flying into Ithaca airport, it’s tiny, about a 10 -15 minute drive from town. Buses run from the airport to town and Cornell.
The bus system in Ithaca is called the TCAT, maps of routes are online, you can get almost anywhere by connecting buses.
Cheaper motels/hotels in town that have available spots as of my posting 3/29.
The Meadow Court Inn -$69 a night as of now. It is down by the strip with all the big box stores. You can easily walk to the center of downtown Ithaca where most restaurants are. It’s a good walk to Cornell/Barton, but if you walk a lot, it would be doable. Lots of city buses run down the street it’s on and many if not most will run through Cornell. The motel is old fashioned 70s style funky, but if you're a Deadhead you should be used to that, maybe even into it. I've seen lots of people staying there and partying outside the rooms during reunion week. This would be my first choice of the cheap motels with space on 5/8 and fair rates.
The Motel 8 is basically across the street and up a block or two, closer to downtown. It is too sketchy for me. If you've gotta stay there, okay, but it looks like they are price gouging for the event, so not worth it if high priced.
On the same stretch of road but further out from town and campus, and about a mile past the closest town bus stop are:
The Economy, the Roadway Inn, and the Grayhaven Motel all basically clumped together. Grayhaven is an upscale, redone, 1950s motel, it’s pricey.
The Economy Inn is a bare bones place. It's cheap and good enough for the price. It’s out of the action and not an easy walk to town or Cornell. You will need a car or bike. I stayed there for my first Ithaca visit. I locked all the windows and put a chair in front of the door before going to sleep. But it was fine.
The Roadway Inn is probably a little nicer than the Economy, it’s bigger, but it cost more.
On the other side of town, north of campus. Two hotels are listed.
The Trip Hotel, although having the ideal name for this concert, is completely closed and abandoned.
Cayuga Blu- has okay rates right now. It is a big newish box hotel. This area north of Cornell is about 3 miles from the campus. It’s not an overly hilly walk. Cayuga Blu is in an area with two slightly empty malls with a Target and 2 strip malls with supermarkets, so buses regularly run there from campus and downtown. This is where Cornell housed/quarantined students with Covid during the pandemic. Students complained about the hotel, but I don’t know, it’s an okay area, boring but okay.
Two other places close to campus, though no idea on availability or price. The Dorm is my favorite hotel near Cornell. You can't get any closer to campus (other than the Statler). Cross the street and you're on campus, walk 5 minutes and you're at the doors of Barton Hall. It is family owned by a Cornell hotelie who is a very nice guy. The Best Western on east hill is close to Barton Hall, there are a couple of moderate hills, but it is walk-able and might be almost as close a walk as the parking they will offer. It's about 1.5 miles to Barton. It's next to a few stores, a super market, Collegetown bagels, a Chinese restaurant, a liquor store and a nice restaurant AGAVA.
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2023.03.29 21:41 ThrowRA-916 Hey I (m22)recently had a first date with a coworker of mine (f23) and need advice if I should keep trying with her.

When I messaged her first, I asked if she wanted to kick it/smoke sesh. She agreed and we set it up for that following Sunday. The day comes and I msg her to confirm if we were still good to go out. At first she did try to bail saying that she didn’t have anything to smoke and that she felt “icky” from work, so maybe rain check. However I was able to convince her to go, saying that all she had to worry about was getting ready and that I would take care of taking stuff for our smoke sesh.
When I messaged her that I was on my way. She then asked if I could bring my dog ( I have a cute dog) and I said yeah. When I got to her place, she even decided to bring her dog as well. After that we went to a park near her house, walked the dogs for a bit, talked, and then stopped on this one bridge to smoke a joint. (One thing tho is that while we were talking she did mention her past (2) boyfriends. The first time she was telling me that she made fun of one for not knowing how to park (lmao). The other one I will say is a friend of myn and someone she still friends with. She just told me she hanged out with him the day before and if I had talked to him recently )
After that we decided to go get some food, so we dropped off the dogs at her house. Then we were driving around for a bit trying to find something to eat since a lot of restaurants were already closed and decided to stop at a small mall near her place. We walked around for a bit looking at stores. There was even a small arcade that we went into and were there trying to win a plush from one of the claw machines. After that we went to go get food. After we ordered we had gone into a store to see if she could use the restroom. While we were there, she had seen a poster for the new Mario movie and suggested that if it was out already we would’ve gone to watch it. So I said if she was down to go watch it when it comes out and she said she was down.
After we got our food, we went to this park she knew about that had a nice looking fountain/waterfall. When we got there we smoked for a bit, ate, and talked some more. When we were ready to leave, I asked where to now, and she said home, so I took her home. As we were getting to her house, she actually straight up told me that she tried to bail on me but that shes glad she didn’t and that she had fun. And that if I wanted to sesh again to just hit her up. When I was dropping her off, after she had said bye to my dog and everything she looked at me, and I guess she got nervous and gave me first bump hand shake.
A couple of days later I had msged her again if she was down to get some food. She replied saying that she was too broke to go and that she was sorryyy. I told her since I was the one inviting that I would pay. She has yet to reply to that.
And that’s pretty much how the first date went. I know this might seem childish but I really like this girl and don’t wanna mess it up with her
TL;DR! - i don’t know if the date went good and if I should still try with her because she is sending mixed signals.
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2023.03.29 20:53 redditduk [Mega List] Singapore Gigs & Concerts: Early April (31 Mar - 13 Apr 2023)

[Mega List] Singapore Gigs & Concerts: Early April Good Friday (31 Mar - 13 Apr 2023)

30/3 Thu

31/3 Fri TDOV

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