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#1 Pretty.Odd.

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Posted 24 June 2014 - 05:27 PM

INFAMY

Preface

 

Most kids don’t grow up thinking to themselves, “I want to be a hitman when I’m older.” It’s not the kind of thing a person dreams of doing with their life.

 

But it happens.

 

We’re not gangsters or thugs or whatever other label you want to put on it—we’re businesspeople, plain and simple. We do what we do for a living. It’s not for fun, and it’s sure not a game. It’s all about money. We’ll rob you six ways from Sunday without blinking a fu/cking eye.

 

We operate under the guise of a high-end catering company called Heldstrom, created by entrepreneurs Edward Ellis and Mark Adrian. Adrian manages the public portion of Heldstrom, while Ellis controls everything that goes on behind the scenes.

 

In the past year alone, Heldstrom has been responsible for fifteen high-profile murders and various heists. None of the news reports regarding those murders mention any link to organized crime. The Chicago Police Department has no answers.

 

We’ve got an entire city fooled.


Edited by Pretty.Odd., 24 June 2014 - 05:27 PM.

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#2 Pretty.Odd.

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Posted 24 June 2014 - 05:36 PM

I'm so pumped for this, guys. I've revamped EVERYTHING.

 

The characters will be the same (generally speaking; hopefully Sophia will be less of a pain in the ass). I'm hoping to increase character continuity throughout this now that I'm able to gauge their personalities and traits much better.

 

The murder plot is 600 billion times better. It's way less lazy (holy crap was it lazy before), and hopefully it should be more engaging.

 

There will be less pointless BS, which is an obvious plus side. :) I'm going to be cutting out the parts that don't matter and replacing them with SUBSTANCE.

 

Also: Heldstrom Catering is a front for murder. There's a long story behind that one. Just think of it as the Los Pollos of the Infamy Universe (if you speak the language of Breaking Bad).

 

I shortened the title because I'd just been referring to it as Infamy in my head for ages. Short and sweet.

 

Let's hope this one works out better. :D I'm determined.

 

-Artemis


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#3 24moon100

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Posted 24 June 2014 - 09:42 PM

The fact that you made Heldstrom a catering company alone makes me want to read it. Lol. 

 

No but seriously this is exciting! And good timing too because in a week I will be done with my Economics and Government courses (as of the moment they are hell) and will have all the time in the world to read your fabulous writing. :)

 

Okay so go update now. Like I said, can't read until summer school is over, but I will as soon as I can! 

 

—MEG


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#4 Pretty.Odd.

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Posted 24 June 2014 - 09:46 PM

The fact that you made Heldstrom a catering company alone makes me want to read it. Lol. 

 

No but seriously this is exciting! And good timing too because in a week I will be done with my Economics and Government courses (as of the moment they are hell) and will have all the time in the world to read your fabulous writing. :)

 

Okay so go update now. Like I said, can't read until summer school is over, but I will as soon as I can! 

 

—MEG

 

Every time I think about the fact that Heldstrom is a catering company I just cackle to myself. For some reason, it's downright hilarious to me. :P

 

Good timing is right! Hope the last bit of your classes go by quickly (eww summer scool :(). I'm in the last week of driver's ed right now and I KNOW THAT FEELING where you just need it all to be done. Haha.

 

I'm about 800 words into the next chapter. Solid start. :) Will hopefully update soon.

 

-Artemis


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#5 Jcrazy

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Posted 24 June 2014 - 10:04 PM

The words "Los Pollos of the Infamy Universe" make me so happy. That is one reference I can definitely understand.

A revamped story, eh?! This is exciting. Like Meg said, the catering company angle definitely makes me curious, lol. I'll be happy to read this, I've definitely been needing to read and write more lately. Hopefully this will inspire.

Post that first chaptaaa soon! :)
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#6 Pretty.Odd.

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Posted 24 June 2014 - 10:08 PM

The words "Los Pollos of the Infamy Universe" make me so happy. That is one reference I can definitely understand.

A revamped story, eh?! This is exciting. Like Meg said, the catering company angle definitely makes me curious, lol. I'll be happy to read this, I've definitely been needing to read and write more lately. Hopefully this will inspire.

Post that first chaptaaa soon! :)

 

Literally, Breaking Bad made me rethink my entire story. Sigh. I imagine myself spending the rest of my life writing endless drafts of nameless stories in attempts to create something as beautiful as Breaking Bad and just spending hours crying because I'll never be that good. Haha.

 

It IS exciting! I've got lots planned. I guess it'll be very similar to the previous draft--it will just hopefully be BETTER lol. Less plot holes, preferably.

 

You need to write something soon! I've been sorely lacking in Jamie stories lately, and that's a rough kind of withdrawal to go through, let me tell you...

 

-Artemis


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#7 Pretty.Odd.

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Posted 12 July 2014 - 12:14 AM

A//N: Because I'm the world's lamest writer, I've decided to split up every individual chapter into multiple parts (hence the Chapter 1: 1). I'm reading It by Stephen King right now and I'm absolutely in love with the format. Since I can't seem to write a chapter that's a decent length to stand on its own, I'm going with that. (There's a super obvious reference to It in here, so I hope someone here can appreciate it with me.)

 

Overall? Super freaking pleased by this. You have no idea.

 

INFAMY

Chapter 1: 1

We made the paper again.

 

As usual, the reporters mentioned no connection between Heldstrom Catering and the events surrounding “puzzling murders,” but the article featured an in-depth look at a crime we had committed. Even if the wrong person was receiving the credit, the article made me beam with pride.

 

Michael, the only one of us who actually kept up with the news and diligently read the Chicago Tribune, brought in a copy of the article for us to read during work. During our lunch break, the five of us gathered a group of chairs together in a circle and took turns reading the article aloud in our best “intellectual detective” voices. This was a regular occurrence in our office—we all found endless entertainment in mocking the misguided reporters and detectives who worked our cases and liked to claim their inferences and wild guesses as facts to ease the public’s mind.

 

“Oh, this part’s really good,” I said, pointing out a sentence Michael had highlighted during one of his earlier readings. “Just listen to this: After extensive investigation into the personal life and recent struggles of renowned chef Leonard Rowland, detectives have ruled his death a suicide.

 

Marcus—the youngest member of the Heldstrom team at just 23—high-fived Michael with a resounding “hell yeah.” He leaned forward, yogurt in hand, and added, “The cops make this job way too easy. It’s like they’re not even trying.”

 

Leonard Rowland ranked among city’s top chefs. He’d perfected the art form of food—particularly clam chowder, which earned his restaurant, the Lakeside Bistro, endless praise. The Bistro topped the list of food-enthusiast tourists in the Chicago area. He had created a legacy, and according to the police, he had committed suicide by running a butcher’s knife straight through his heart.

 

“It’s just aggravating,” Mordechai—who had actually committed the murder—commented as Marcus stole the paper and started to read the article for himself. “I love it when someone else gets recognition for my hard work.”

 

Michael and I exchanged knowing glances. Mordechai Martins, Heldstrom’s resident genius and possible sociopath, possessed the incredible ability to find something “aggravating” about whatever situation he faced. As a general rule, the entire office despised the bastard. Michael and I frequently engaged in conversations specifically designed to highlight our mutual dislike for him.

 

“You should confess, get your recognition, and then spend the rest of your life in jail,” Michael suggested, feigning thoughtfulness. Mordechai was not amused.

 

Rowland had suffered with severe depression, once resorting to an attempt at suicide. He’d stabbed himself in a manner very similar to what had transpired in the freezer of the restaurant, only in the privacy of his home. His girlfriend (now wife) had found him and rushed him to the emergency room where paramedics saved his life. After the incident, he regularly visited a psychiatrist who prescribed medication to help him deal with his depression.

 

Marcus cleared his throat and took on a more feminine voice. “‘It came out of nowhere’,” he mocked, reading the quote the Tribune had taken from Rowland’s wife. “‘He…had been so much better lately. I can’t imagine what had to have been going through his head. I just wish I had known how he’d been feeling.’

 

The incident had not been captured on film due to malfunctions in the Lakeside Bistro’s video surveillance system. During the investigation, various staff members reported multiple shortages over the past two months. Unfortunately, one of these shortages occurred at a particularly untimely occasion—during the suicide of Leonard Rowland. Police investigators decided it was nothing more than another malfunction in a faulty system.

 

Police have struggled with an element of the case that has yet to be fully explained: Before his suicide,” Sophia—Michael’s sister and communications expert of Heldstrom—read aloud, “Rowland poisoned nearly fifteen plates of food. This resulted in the deaths of five patrons and the hospitalization of over a dozen others.

 

Sophia smirked and handed the paper off to Michael, the next to read. He stood up from his chair, taking the floor. “Detective Richard Foley tells reporters, ‘Our best guess is that Rowland wanted others to share in his suffering. It’s not unusual in cases like Rowland’s—it wouldn’t be the first time something like this has happened. Regardless, it’s tragic.’” Michael just shook his head. “Astute observation, Rich.”

 

“What do you think Lydia Barnes thinks about this?” I asked, leaning back in my chair as I finished off the last of my tuna sandwich. “She’s gotta be loving this even more than we are.”

 

Lydia Barnes— wealthy entrepreneur and long-time colleague of our employer, Edward Ellis—sought the help of Heldstrom after a falling out with her most profitable venture, Denbrough Manufacturing. Barnes and the CEO of DM, Rodger Denbrough, had worked together under a ten year contract in which Barnes provided expertise and necessary funding in exchange for a heavy percentage of the manufacturing company’s profit. Six months before Barnes’s original meeting with Heldstrom, the contract with DM had expired. Denbrough refused to negotiate another contract upon Barnes’s request, providing only cryptic excuses as to why the new version would have to wait.

 

He assured Barnes her part in the company was by no means in danger, only to stab her in the back just weeks after making the promise. No longer bound by their previous contract, Denbrough cut Lydia Barnes out of DM entirely. Infuriated, she consulted Heldstrom with a plan to get her revenge and return to her position at Denbrough Manufacturing.

 

“I’m actually kind of scared of Lydia Barnes,” Sophia admitted with a sheepish grin. We’d all been thinking it during our time working with her; of all the clients we’d assisted, Barnes was easily the most intimidating.

 

“She’s completely batshit,” Marcus agreed.

 

Five men controlled DM, led by Rodger Denbrough. Under its current management, the likeliness of a possible partnership between Barnes and the company was close to none. Greed alone was enough to fuel Barnes to pay Heldstrom to dismantle the current management at DM in order for her to rise to power once again. With the five masterminds behind the company gone, Denbrough Manufacturing would have no one better suited than Lydia Barnes to take over as CEO.

 

Leonard Rowland had to die. In many of our jobs, someone other than our specified mark has to go in order to place the blame on an obvious source. When the cops are presented with an obvious solution to a case, they’re less likely to dig into things and get close to unveiling the truth. Given Rowland’s highly publicized history with mental illness, the proposed plot that Rowland was responsible for the murders could become perfectly believable.

 

Denbrough and his business partners frequently dined at the Lakeside Bistro to discuss plans for DM. The acclaimed restaurant would be the perfect scene for the crime. To gradually begin Heldstrom’s infiltration of the restaurant, Mordechai applied to work as a busboy. He had been less than thrilled with the plan. “You want me to spend every weeknight for the next two months wiping dirty tables?” he spat upon first hearing of the plan. “Isn’t that more up Marcus’s alley?”

 

Much to his disdain, Ellis forced him to comply and he assumed work at the Bistro. With Mordechai working as a busboy, Heldstrom gained easy access to the kitchen—and to Leonard Rowland.

 

While Mordechai settled into the background at the Lakeside Bistro, I began my part of the job. In my years before Heldstrom, I’d attended art school in pursuit of a degree in graphic design. I learned quickly enough that there was nothing in the world less appealing than spending my time surrounded by “aspiring artist” types and dropped out in a matter of months. Faced once again by the staggering reality of unemployment, I sought work as a bartender at a dive bar called Clarence’s. I enjoyed the job for all it was worth. Something about the laidback atmosphere, the live rock music, and the comfort of talking to the regular customers every couple nights made me feel at home.

 

It was never a job I could live off; I didn’t make nearly enough money to support myself. Out of desperation, I tried my hand at doing freelance work at something that I had picked up as a hobby with no serious intent of ever using: hacking. I had a natural aptitude for it and enough skill to land myself a job with a company I’d never heard of until they’d requested I work with them. A year after the beginning of my hacking career, a businessman named Edward Ellis approached me about joining his company, Heldstrom, where I could work as a hacker fulltime. As far as anyone else knew, I’d be a lowly graphic designer in charge of the catering company’s advertising campaign. Only a handful of seven people would know otherwise.

 

And so I found myself among a group of three other experienced criminals—Michael Chapman, a conman; his sister Sophia, the self-proclaimed queen of blackmail; and Mordechai Martins, who I imagined had been in the murder business far longer than the rest of us. Four years later, Marcus Powell would join the team and bring to the table endless experience from years of leading a gang and his nearly photographic memory. The five of us didn’t necessarily get along, but we cooperated enough to get the job done. That alone was a miracle.

 

During the Leonard Rowland job, I’d been in charge of screwing with the Lakeside Bistro’s surveillance cameras. If the video only failed on the night of the murder, things would look suspicious rather than unfortunate. Since most of my job as the company’s computer expert consisted of getting viruses off of Ellis’s computer (a frequent occurrence since Marcus liked to sneak into his office and mess with his desktop as often as once a week), I was thrilled to actually do something useful for once. I would cut out footage of different areas of the restaurant and eventually put things back into order. To anyone but me, they would look like ordinary malfunctions. I’d gotten one of the easiest roles for the job: sit in the parking lot of the Bistro in my car, usually accompanied by a very bored Michael, and press a couple buttons. It was great.

 

Everything ended up going just as planned for one of the first times ever. Mordechai successfully forced Rowland into stabbing himself to forge authenticity. Like any other night, I accessed the security system with no trouble and prevented anyone but Mordechai from ever watching the death of Leonard Rowland. Waiters served the food Mordechai had poisoned before the murder, and he watched as the Denbrough executives passed out one by one. To make it look as if the chef had carelessly chosen which plates to spoil rather than specifically singling out DM’s people, Mordechai poisoned multiple other dishes. By the time he “discovered” Rowland’s body in the freezer and called 911, I was halfway to the office where Ellis and my coworkers were waiting. Sophia picked up Mordechai (who’d put on a convincing show as a traumatized, hysterical busboy in an interview for the news) an hour and a half later.

 

In the following weeks, Lydia Barnes resumed her place at Denbrough Manufacturing and paid us the money she’d promised. The cops were—as always—puzzled. Michael hailed the job as our best ever. “It’s not every day you go about making nationwide news,” he explained. “RIP Leonard Rowland, I guess.”

 

Mordechai looked up at him. “You guess?”

 

“To hell with my condolences,” Michael replied lifelessly. “I’m making money. Eyes on the prize—know what I mean? Eyes on the motherfu/cking prize.” 


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#8 24moon100

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Posted 17 July 2014 - 10:17 PM

Achoo. 

 

Excuse me and my delayed comment! I've been in a sleep funk (staying up until sunrise and sleeping until sundown) so my brain has been really mushy. All I've been able to do is watch movies because I'm too tired to do anything else. I can write, strangely, but reading...not so much. :/

 

So anyway, Yay! Chapter one! I like how you are setting it up actually. Hey, if it's easier for you to do it that way, there's no shame. It's perfectly fine. Funny you should mention IT, since I just watched that movie the other day with my friend. I'm in the middle of reading The Shining at the moment, but I haven't gotten that far because of my mushy brain. I plan to finish it by the end of summer hopefully. :D

 

You know what I just realized? Everyone in Heldstrom has deep issues. Like what kind of people think organized murder is fun? Honestly? Pretty messed up people. 

 

And yet why are they so lovable at the same time? I do not understand.

 

Also, since I am dyslexic, I just now noticed that it is spelled Heldstrom and not Heldstorm. Yeah... Oops. 

 

A little bit of CC:

 

-Rowland had suffered with severe depression—I think in this case the "with" is a bit unnecessary. It's fine just to say "suffered severe depression." :)

 

-Only a handful of seven people would know otherwise.—The use of the word "handful" here threw me off a little. I don't know, maybe it's just me, but I think it sounds much better without it in there. But of course, take it with a grain of salt. :P

 

-I know you are still setting things up, and the chapter is being broken into different sections, but I do hope you plan to introduce everyone evenly throughout. I see that you have brief descriptions so far, so just make sure you hit each character with equal focus. It's always easy to favor characters and forget about the others, I'd know because I've done that. But you are good with character development so I'm not worried. ;)

 

My favorites were probably these two lines:

 

-Since most of my job as the company’s computer expert consisted of getting viruses off of Ellis’s computer (a frequent occurrence since Marcus liked to sneak into his office and mess with his desktop as often as once a week)

 

Haha, oh Marcus. Where would we be without his shenanigans? Did I mention that he's still my favorite? 

 

-“She’s completely batshit,” Marcus agreed.

 

I don't think I've ever heard the term "batshit" before so the unexpectedness of that make me crack up good. :D

 

Speaking of batshit, I don't know if you have ever seen Ace Ventura 2 (Jim Carrey), but whenever I think of bat poop I think of that movie because in the movie he loves all animals except for bats. If you haven't seen it yet, I strongly suggest you do because it is beyond hilarious. Lol.

 

Wow. That was really off topic. Sorry about that..

 

Welp. Don't have much else to say. You've done good, sport.

 

Write me some more, please! 
 

—MEG


Edited by 24moon100, 17 July 2014 - 10:19 PM.

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#9 Pretty.Odd.

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Posted 20 July 2014 - 12:18 AM

Chapter 1: 2

 

The “prize” differs from person to person. Everyone has a unique motivation for the things they do, and even in a niche profession like ours, we each still manage to find individual incentive to drive us forward through the daily grind.

 

Growing up in a poor household with a depressive, alcoholic mother and the complete absence of a father figure, my goals have never soared far past “make a enough money to get by; don’t end up a raging alcoholic.” As far as my income goes, Heldstrom has me covered. The criminal nature of the job has never bothered me—I’ve never been one to turn down money for morals. I make far more than I know what to do with.

 

The alcoholism, on the other hand, is another story.


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#10 Pretty.Odd.

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Posted 20 July 2014 - 12:26 AM

Chapter 1: 3

 

“Detective,” I announced, taking a seat opposite Cole at the booth near the back of Clarence’s. “Who’s buying tonight?”

 

He looked up from his drink and laughed. “Always asking the real questions.” I rolled my eyes and waited until he fished out a wad of bills from his pocket, setting them between us on the table. “I’ve got you covered, shithead.”

 

“Oh, Cole.” I grabbed the cash and smiled. “You sure know how to treat a girl.”

 

“Just looking out for you, Holly,” he called as I walked off to get myself a drink.

 

Tonight was a special occasion, and I planned on getting myself wasted beyond repair. For the first time in a good two months, I was able to go out for drinks with one of the only people whose company I genuinely enjoyed: Detective Cole Harris. Cole knew I worked for Heldstrom Catering, but as far as he was concerned, my work with the company extended no further than advertising. I’d been close friends with him for a number of years and sincerely liked him in spite of the fact that I had helped commit a sizeable number of the murders he’d attempted to solve. The irony of a professional criminal and a detective has never been lost on me.

 

Cole and I hardly went out anymore—but when we did, it was sure to be at Clarence’s. He loved the place the same way I did. Before my employment at Heldstrom, he’d been one of the regular customers I got to know from night after night of drunken discussions. We had first bonded over our mutual love of the Smiths (his favorite album of all time, he told me, was Louder Than Bombs; I couldn’t choose if I tried), but we soon discovered we had far more in common than just music. One thing led to another, and our friendship eventually evolved into conversations outside of Clarence’s, including topics outside of work, music, and the weather.

 

Four years later and we’d ended right back up at the bar where things had started. Cole worked late nights every night with few exceptions. When he did get time off, he rarely spent it with me. Nine out of ten times, he would go out for dinner with Doctor Mary Collins, his girlfriend of six years. I’d shifted to a place in the background of Cole’s life, but he still remained foremost in my mind—no matter how little we were able to talk.

 

Cole looked particularly drained that night. He generally played up his exhaustion when it came to his job, but there was no overstatement this time. My first drink in hand, I returned to the table, sat back down across from Cole, and made a comment along with lines of “you look like absolute sh/it.” He agreed, making no effort to protest, and responded exactly how I imagined he would: “The Leonard Rowland case is a bit/ch.”

 

I raised my eyebrows. “Yeah?”

 

“Oh yeah.” He just shook his head, covering a yawn with his free hand. His visible fatigue proved that the papers hadn’t exaggerated in the slightest; the case had taken its toll on the entire Chicago Police Department. I almost felt bad for him. “You know anything about the case?”

 

“Not really,” I told him, adopting the persona of ignorance that haunted every one of our conversations. Cole thought I was oblivious most of the time. “I guess it’s been on the news, but...”

 

“But who watches the news?” he mocked, saying exactly what I’d been thinking but too afraid to say.

 

Exactly.” I couldn’t recall the last time I’d willingly watched more than five minutes of news coverage. Most of the time, Michael kept me up to date on current events. If something was really all that important or relevant, I’d hear about it from him.

 

He set down his half-empty Guinness and leaned back against the red cushion of the booth. “Just wait ‘til you hear this,” he began, hands neatly folded across his stomach. “Sh/it's crazy.”

 

With typical Cole enthusiasm, he rattled off the standard police version of the crimes regarding Rowland. I tried not to cringe at the numerous misnomers throughout the story. When he could, he threw in his personal conjectures—none of which came close to the actual course of events but were entertaining regardless. I humored him and played dumb, widening my eyes and faking shock at the right moments.

 

“Who even does that?” I commented when the topic of the poisoned food came up, just to see what he would say.

 

“Sociopaths,” he concluded with a scowl. “That’s who: sociopaths.”

 

I smiled to myself—apparently Cole shared my theory regarding Mordechai. “You’re right,” I said definitively. “Complete whackjob.” He nodded in wholehearted agreement and we both returned to our drinks.

 

As the night progressed, Cole continued to talk about work and about Mary and all the craziness of his everyday life. I did more listening than speaking—fine by me, since hearing his stories was always far more enjoyable than telling my own. When I did need to talk, I made a bunch of sh/it up about the perils of graphic design. Somehow—even after the hundred different explanations I’d provided him—he still hadn’t managed to grasp the basic functions of Photoshop. In between descriptions of the work I did in the program, I threw in stories about my coworkers, none of which were fake (but weren’t entirely true either).

 

I wanted to feel bad about not returning his honesty—but I just couldn’t bring myself to, as much as I tried. I valued his company too much to beat myself up about not telling him about the other side of my job. Keeping his friendship meant only ever telling half of the story, and my unconditional adoration of Cole outweighed any guilt I might feel about the lies I had to repeat time and time again in order to secure our relationship.

 

But that’s not to say I never struggled with the situation. Maybe I didn’t care about fabricating my entire life every time we spoke, but that wasn’t enough to keep me from feeling like an awful person. As counterintuitive as it was, I felt guilty for not feeling guilty. I only ever felt the sinking feeling in my gut when I realized I didn’t care one bit about stringing him along for years. It ate me up inside every time I thought about it. I am not a good person, and sometimes I worried he thought I might be.


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#11 Pretty.Odd.

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Posted 20 July 2014 - 12:31 AM

Chapter 1: 4

 

Any Chicago native can tell you that stargazing is an impossible feat in the city, but Cole and I were determined to prove them wrong. We’d made it our mission to try to see past the ever-present Chicago smog and watch the stars. Both of us basking in the liberating feeling of being too hammered to form a coherent thought, we laid ourselves down on the grassy fields of Millennium Park and stared up at a sky full of nothingness. “I think that’s it,” I said, pointing up at a blemish of light against the grey. “That’s gotta be it.”

 

“It’s moving,” Cole said. He narrowed his eyes with skepticism and I widened mine to try and observe the star closer. Just as he’d said, it was moving.

 

Oh my god, Cole.” I shook his shoulder and pointed a second time. “Oh my god. It’s a shooting star.”

 

He sat upright, suddenly alert. He followed my gaze at the sky for a final inspection, only to proclaim, “It’s an airplane.”

 

Fu/ck.”

 

He lay back down, sighing the sigh of a drunk man, and continued to scan the sky.

 

My eyes drifted along with the plane until a building obstructed my view and left us with the even grey of city smog again. Nighttime traffic rushed by, but the park felt quiet. We’d shifted into one of our comfortable silences—the kind that made me love being with him even more—and I wondered if he treasured these nights the same way I did.

 

“Holly?”

 

I turned onto my side. “Yeah?” My heart sped up as I waited for what he’d say next. If he was ending our quiet moment, it had to be important.

 

It was. “I’m thinking about asking Mary to marry me.”

 

That was all. Not a question—just a simple statement. And I had no idea how to respond. Of all the ways to break my perfect silence, he had chosen that. I’d been hoping for the opposite.

 

I took a deep breath. “Okay.”

 

Now he felt it was important to face me. He turned away from the sky, his face just inches from mine. “That’s all?”

 

I shrugged, my mind racing for the best way to handle the situation. “Think of it as my blessing,” I replied with cautious deliberation. Not the best response, but better than “okay.”

 

He cracked a smile. “You’re a sarcastic bit/ch, you know that?”

 

I sat up. “I’m not being sarcastic, ass/hole.” He laughed so loudly that I had a hard time believing we’d been completely silent just moments earlier. “I’m being one hundred percent serious.”

 

“Holly Wilshire is the world’s BIGGEST LIAR,” he announced, hands outspread. He got up off the ground and shouted even louder, “She can’t even own up to being a sarcastic bit/ch!”

 

He continued to shout about what a liar I was for the next few minutes, which he would either regret in the morning or never remember at all. I just sat on the ground and laughed because it was true.


Edited by Pretty.Odd., 20 July 2014 - 12:36 AM.

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#12 Pretty.Odd.

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Posted 20 July 2014 - 04:23 PM

Chapter 1: 5

 

What had seemed fun last night was hell in the morning. I woke up on the couch—apparently I couldn’t even make it to my bed last night—and staggered into my apartment’s singular bathroom, where I ended up puking into the toilet like an irresponsible college kid. I’d read about a billion different online articles about What Not To Do When You’re Hungover, but in that moment, every last nugget of wisdom supposed “experts” had shared in their articles eluded me. I made myself some coffee, took some of the hangover pills Walgreens had advertised as the best, and sat down on the couch for reruns of Grey’s Anatomy. I’d never really liked anything about Grey’s, but it was better than Good Morning America, which was downright intolerable.

 

This is the worst hangover I have ever experienced. God help me.

-C.H.

 

My phone buzzed on the table where I’d set my coffee, revealing a text from Cole. He clearly had spent his morning the same way I had—throwing up the remains of last night’s drunken extravaganza and regretting drinking so much. I momentarily averted my attention from a particularly tense surgery on the TV and texted back:

 

Maybe it’s a good thing we never get together anymore, since it always seems to end up like this, right?

 

 

He didn’t respond.


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#13 24moon100

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Posted 21 July 2014 - 08:35 PM

Well awesome. New stuff! Hehe, I can't say 'new chapter' because it is still chapter one. 

 

Just at a curiosity, how many sections do you plan on incorporating per chapter? Is there like a set number or is it just however many you feel is relevant? I haven't read IT yet so I wouldn't know the structure. :P

 

Speaking of the sections: the more I read, the more I really like how the story is set up that way. It's refreshingly different. 

 

Here are my brief assessments of each section:

 

1: 2

 

I don't know if you ever mentioned the part about her mom and dad in the other version, but if you didn't I'm happy you did here. I think that information—information about family—is usually one of the key things that need to be mentioned before anything else in a story as far as the main character goes. There are exceptions based on certain circumstances, of course, but most of the time that is the case. It's just nice to know where a person comes from, and what their family is like. It tells the reader a lot more than people would think it would. 

 

my goals have never soared far past “make a enough money to get by; don’t end up a raging alcoholic.”—I find that both ironic and horrible at the same time. Finding out about her mom, I can't decide whether I want to be sad or laugh, considering Holly's own alcoholic tendencies...

 

1: 3

 

“I’ve got you covered, shithead.”—I am confused, was that meant to be a term of endearment or was he just being rude? lol. 

 

Something that blows my mind: Cole has been seeing Mary Collins for six years? Dang. Maybe it's just me but usually people get married after about four, don't they? Cole must not have proposed yet because secretly he does not wish to be with Mary but rather yearns desperately for Holly. 

 

Either way I do not think Holly and Cole would be good together. He is great and all, but he is a detective and she commits crimes. Not exactly the basis of a healthy relationship if you ask me. 

 

They do however have mutual tastes in music (by the way looked up The Smiths and they are awesome). So there's that. But still. Friends. They should just be friends. It is the only way. That or Heldstrom could recruit him be to like their spy or something. Lol. 

 

adopting the persona of ignorance that haunted every one of our conversations—I just liked the way this was worded. :)

 

 

“Sociopaths,” he concluded with a scowl. “That’s who: sociopaths.”

 

I smiled to myself—apparently Cole shared my theory regarding Mordechai.

 

 

That bit made me chuckle. :P

 

Somehow—even after the hundred different explanations I’d provided him—he still hadn’t managed to grasp the basic functions of Photoshop.—Haha. I'm with Cole. I still have no idea how to work Photoshop. My brother tried to explain it to me once and it went completely over my head.

 

As counterintuitive as it was, I felt guilty for not feeling guilty.—great line. 

 

Realization: this is probably one of the first stories I've ever read that has a main character one might classify as a criminal. Holly is really messed up, and she even admits to it. I think that's pretty cool. 

 

1: 4

 

Oh my godCole.” I shook his shoulder and pointed a second time. “Oh my god. It’s a shooting star.”

 

He sat upright, suddenly alert. He followed my gaze at the sky for a final inspection, only to proclaim, “It’s an airplane.”

 

 

Fu/ck.”

 

Easily my favorite of the chapter thus far. I know I've been quoting a lot of things, but I had to throw that one in. ;) I've only been stargazing a handful of times and I think it's amazing and I wish I could do it more.

 

I also admired this description:

 

Both of us basking in the liberating feeling of being too hammered to form a coherent thought, we laid ourselves down on the grassy fields of Millennium Park and stared up at a sky full of nothingness. “I think that’s it,” I said, pointing up at a blemish of light against the grey. “That’s gotta be it.”

 

...blemish of light against the grey; I really like that line. :)

 

COLE IS GOING TO ASK MARY TO MARRY HIM. Gasps. 

 

Huh. Looks like I was on to something about the whole six-years-being-a-long-time-to-be-dating thing. 

 

Keep in mind I comment as I read so I had no idea that Cole was going to bring that up in part four. Heh. Well, I guess that takes care of that

 

Poor Holly though. That's gotta sting. 

 

I wonder why Cole thought she was lying though. Does he know about her secret crush on him? Hmm. Suspicious. 

 

1: 5

 

where I ended up puking into the toilet like an irresponsible college kid—something about that simile made me smile. Maybe because that's usually what you think of when you think irresponsible college kid—someone hunched over a toilet in some dirty bathroom at a party. :) 

 

Haha. Simile and Smile look so much alike I sometimes think they are the same word. 

 

You know, I've never understood the hype about Grey's Anatomy. Granted, I've never gotten past the first episode, but still I've seen bits and pieces from when my mom would watch it.

 

I must have a aversion to doctor shows with too much drama. I'll probably binge watch it on Netflix sometime down the road and regret ever saying that but whatever. Momentarily, it is the truth, and I feel obliged to share it. 

 

Holly's text to Cole was dead on. She really probably shouldn't get together with him anymore considering he is a detective and she is a criminal and he is getting married and she is in love with him.

 

Just saying. At this rate, sh/ts only gonna end in flames.

 

Okay, well, um, dunno how to end this so...UPDATE.

 

—MEG


Edited by 24moon100, 21 July 2014 - 08:40 PM.

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#14 Pretty.Odd.

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Posted 21 July 2014 - 09:37 PM

Well awesome. New stuff! Hehe, I can't say 'new chapter' because it is still chapter one. 

 

I struggle with telling people that I "just finished my next chapter" because TECHNICALLY it's not an entire chapter, but I don't really want to explain the system I'm using to them because who has time for that? It's easier for me to write, but it's kind of an irritating thing to explain.

 

Just at a curiosity, how many sections do you plan on incorporating per chapter? Is there like a set number or is it just however many you feel is relevant? I haven't read IT yet so I wouldn't know the structure. :P

 

I'm sort of winging it at the moment haha (as if you couldn't notice from the writing; it feels very choppy when I read it). I know what I need to accomplish in the chapter (i.e., Ch. 1 is a backstory chapter), so there is SOME structure...but I'm not too sure about how long it will take to get there. I wrote Sections 2-4 as a unit, originally broken with a *** instead of a different part. It flows better that way but makes more sense with the format if I just put them into individual sections. :)

 

Speaking of the sections: the more I read, the more I really like how the story is set up that way. It's refreshingly different. 

 

That's how I felt about IT (which is totally worth your time by the way; I'm halfway through and it's just great). It's an awesome format. I just wish I could pull it off like Stephen King lol.

 

Here are my brief assessments of each section:

 

1: 2

 

I don't know if you ever mentioned the part about her mom and dad in the other version, but if you didn't I'm happy you did here. I think that information—information about family—is usually one of the key things that need to be mentioned before anything else in a story as far as the main character goes. There are exceptions based on certain circumstances, of course, but most of the time that is the case. It's just nice to know where a person comes from, and what their family is like. It tells the reader a lot more than people would think it would. 

 

Here's the deal: I wrote about a billion different "backstory explanations" for Holly that were meant to be incorporated in certain chapters, but they never made it in for the sake of keeping things moving. Now that I'm using this different format (which is far more organized and structured--based on segues), I have lots more room to SAY THINGS LIKE THAT and improve the depth of my characters. Another issue: I really jumped into the first draft of this with little idea of a plotline or characters (I'd simplified them so much that I needed the novel to deepen them instead of the other way around), so I started with no idea that Holly was going to become an alcoholic. Since it's such a large part of the story, I figured better to thrown it in ASAP than throw it off to the side for later.

 

my goals have never soared far past “make a enough money to get by; don’t end up a raging alcoholic.”—I find that both ironic and horrible at the same time. Finding out about her mom, I can't decide whether I want to be sad or laugh, considering Holly's own alcoholic tendencies...

 

My favorite kind of humor (besides general wittiness) is what I like to think of as "things you shouldn't joke about." For instance, I love sacrilegious more than anything, and my favorite place to use it is in churches. The edgier the joke, the more inclined I am to listen. Which means there will be plenty of alcoholic/drug addict jokes during this novel. (Side note: I think all my character's are alcoholics???)

 

1: 3

 

“I’ve got you covered, shithead.”—I am confused, was that meant to be a term of endearment or was he just being rude? lol. 

 

Term of endearment. It sounds very blunt and rude, but that's how they show affection for each other (not coincidentally, I am the same way. "Shithead" is reserved for only my favorite people).

 

Something that blows my mind: Cole has been seeing Mary Collins for six years? Dang. Maybe it's just me but usually people get married after about four, don't they? Cole must not have proposed yet because secretly he does not wish to be with Mary but rather yearns desperately for Holly. 

 

Cole should be desperately yearning for Holly because she is RAD AS HELL, but no. He loves Mary. The relationship hasn't been explored in either draft, but I imagine them being a lot like Frank & Claire in House of Cards (which makes zero sense if you haven't watched it but WHATEVER). They love each other more deeply than a person can imagine, but they're not very concerned with a physical RELATIONSHIP. Marriage has never been a priority for either of them. I also imagine both of them being obsessed with their jobs--their #1 priorities.

 

Either way I do not think Holly and Cole would be good together. He is great and all, but he is a detective and she commits crimes. Not exactly the basis of a healthy relationship if you ask me. 

 

Holly and Cole should NEVER GET TOGETHER. It's a horrible idea.

 

They do however have mutual tastes in music (by the way looked up The Smiths and they are awesome). So there's that. But still. Friends. They should just be friends. It is the only way. That or Heldstrom could recruit him be to like their spy or something. Lol. 

 

They really shouldn't even be friends. Like oh my god. I don't care if your personalities are great for each other--you ARE NOT MEANT TO BE TOGETHER. Just look at your professions. It's simply not meant to be. (I feel bad for Holly because she really loves Cole, but I don't understand how a person can completely disregard the greatness that is Michael.)

 

adopting the persona of ignorance that haunted every one of our conversations—I just liked the way this was worded. :)

 

THANK YOU. :) I got to use a bunch of my favorite words in the same phrase so I was equally as excited by it.

 

That bit made me chuckle. :P

 

Somehow—even after the hundred different explanations I’d provided him—he still hadn’t managed to grasp the basic functions of Photoshop.—Haha. I'm with Cole. I still have no idea how to work Photoshop. My brother tried to explain it to me once and it went completely over my head.

 

PHOTOSHOP IS LIFE. Haha. I have lots to learn yet, but I'm getting better!

 

As counterintuitive as it was, I felt guilty for not feeling guilty.—great line. 

 

Let us all just appreciate the greatness of the word "counterintuitive" for a moment.

 

Realization: this is probably one of the first stories I've ever read that has a main character one might classify as a criminal. Holly is really messed up, and she even admits to it. I think that's pretty cool. 

 

I hate when people ask me the "what are you writing?" question, so most of the time I just tell them that it's "a story about organized crime" (which is only kind of true because it's mostly just me worshiping my characters most of the time) and that I'm experimenting with perspective (telling it from the "bad guy's" POV instead of the "good guy's"). I think it's one of the interesting parts about this story. A lot of the time I completely forget that these are horrible people because I love them so much. Lol.

 

1: 4

 

 

Easily my favorite of the chapter thus far. I know I've been quoting a lot of things, but I had to throw that one in. ;) I've only been stargazing a handful of times and I think it's amazing and I wish I could do it more.

 

I've never specifically gone stargazing, but it seems like something I should do one of these times. Just drive out to the middle of nowhere and stare at the sky for a while.

 

I also admired this description:

 

Both of us basking in the liberating feeling of being too hammered to form a coherent thought, we laid ourselves down on the grassy fields of Millennium Park and stared up at a sky full of nothingness. “I think that’s it,” I said, pointing up at a blemish of light against the grey. “That’s gotta be it.”

 

...blemish of light against the grey; I really like that line. :)

 

I could actually picture this scene really well in my head, and it looked like an episode of Orphan Black which is what I strive for, you know. :P The OB visuals are literally what I base my descriptions off of most of the time. The show is gorgeous. Not Breaking Bad, but still gorgeous.

 

COLE IS GOING TO ASK MARY TO MARRY HIM. Gasps. 

 

I hated that line because of the exact similarity between "Mary" & "marry" BUT THERE WAS NO OTHER WAY TO SAY IT.

 

Huh. Looks like I was on to something about the whole six-years-being-a-long-time-to-be-dating thing.

 

Truuu.

 

Keep in mind I comment as I read so I had no idea that Cole was going to bring that up in part four. Heh. Well, I guess that takes care of that

 

Poor Holly though. That's gotta sting. 

 

Holly should just go make out with Michael. please.

 

I wonder why Cole thought she was lying though. Does he know about her secret crush on him? Hmm. Suspicious. 

 

Oh, Cole is completely aware. I think Holly's made it obvious for years but he's just not into her the same way she's into him. :/

 

1: 5

 

where I ended up puking into the toilet like an irresponsible college kid—something about that simile made me smile. Maybe because that's usually what you think of when you think irresponsible college kid—someone hunched over a toilet in some dirty bathroom at a party. :) 

 

Right? :) I enjoyed that whole paragraph.

 

Haha. Simile and Smile look so much alike I sometimes think they are the same word. 

 

For real though.

 

You know, I've never understood the hype about Grey's Anatomy. Granted, I've never gotten past the first episode, but still I've seen bits and pieces from when my mom would watch it.

 

My older sister has been working her way through the WHOLE SHOW over the past couple months, and I literally can't take it anymore. It's awful. I have quite a tolerance for bad TV after watching recent seasons of Supernatural, but I swear to God, it just makes me want to punch something. Advice? Don't bother watching more. I mentioned it in here purely to vent my frustrations to the world.

 

I must have a aversion to doctor shows with too much drama. I'll probably binge watch it on Netflix sometime down the road and regret ever saying that but whatever. Momentarily, it is the truth, and I feel obliged to share it. 

 

Let's bond over our mutual irritation over Grey's. :P

 

Holly's text to Cole was dead on. She really probably shouldn't get together with him anymore considering he is a detective and she is a criminal and he is getting married and she is in love with him.

 

Seriously. Holly needs to put some more thought into her social interactions. (Let's be real, though: She doesn't have many friends and I'm sure she's just happy to have SOMEONE who appreciates her.)

 

Just saying. At this rate, sh/ts only gonna end in flames.

 

Okay, well, um, dunno how to end this so...UPDATE.

 

I'm working on the next part now. :D Should be a longer one than the last couple.

 

—MEG


Edited by Pretty.Odd., 21 July 2014 - 09:42 PM.

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#15 Pretty.Odd.

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Posted 21 July 2014 - 10:34 PM

Good evening. Here--have a plot device designed to help me introduce my characters.

 

Chapter 1: 6

 

I’d had enough Grey’s Anatomy after about twenty minutes of Derek Shepherd being annoying. My coffee disappeared even more quickly than my patience, and my headache was no better whatsoever (thanks, McDreamy). I poured myself a second cup and retreated to the bathroom. With one look in the mirror, I knew avoiding a shower was impossible, no matter how much I just wanted to lie back in bed and never get up. I couldn’t go to work looking like a complete mess—even if that was regrettably accurate.

 

The shower started hot and ended the same—perks of the single life, where the only person who can hog all the hot water is you. It had been a week since I’d shaved my legs, and I had no desire to change that. I’d just wear pants instead of one of my usual skirts. Ellis required professional attire even on days when all we did was sit around and wonder when he’d give us our next assignment, and I respected that. The only one of us who didn’t was Marcus, who refused to cooperate about ninety percent of the time. He’d devoted his entire existence to angering those around him, and his favorite person to antagonize happened to be our boss.

 

As a matter of fact, Marcus was up to just that when I arrived at the Heldstrom office that morning. He sat across from Michael at the table in our meeting room, his calm juxtaposing Michael’s increasing irritation. Today Marcus was implementing his much-discussed plan of “destroying Michael’s ego”—which was noble but impossible. Michael’s ego was untouchable.

 

Generally, I liked to play peacemaker. But today? Not so much. The more I listened to them, the less of a purpose I saw in getting involved. I didn’t need any other reason for further disgruntlement. I’d already been forced into uncomfortable small talk with the building’s receptionist, Michelle, who liked me far more than I liked her. While I certainly appreciated her desire to spend time with me outside of work, I didn’t care enough for her to actually agree to it. I’d been “busy” every time she asked in the past month and worried that soon I would have to fulfill her wishes simply for the sake of getting her to leave me alone. That troubling realization and my worsening hangover led me to sit on the sidelines and just take in the daily fight.

 

“You realize that you literally did nothing for us during the last job, don’t you?” Marcus tipped onto the back two legs of his chair and rocked back and forth, restless. “Sitting in the car while Holly does…whatever the hell she does—oh, hey, Holly.”

 

I waved and took a seat next to Michael. He shot me a helpless glare and I wondered just how long Marcus had been going. “Don’t mind me,” I said, pulling out my phone from the pocket of my jacket. “Just listening.”

 

“Yeah, Michael. Ignore Holly,” Marcus demanded. He cracked his knuckles and took a moment to gather his thoughts. “What I’m saying is that—”

 

Michael’s patience faded to its absolute minimum. “Let’s ask Holly’s opinion on this.” He turned to me, running a hand through his dark hair, and cocked his head to the side. “It’s employee review day,” he explained. “We have this argument every year.”

 

My heart sunk. “Oh god.”

 

“What?” Michael asked. I rubbed my tired eyes, my palms beginning to clam up. Employee review day happened once a year—and it always lead to the Annual Heldstrom Pissing Match, as Michael had so bluntly christened it. “What’s wrong?”

 

“I forgot about review day. Sh/it.”

 

“Oooh.” Marcus faked sympathy, patting my hand from across the table. “Gonna have to mark you down for that, Holly. Looks like you’ll be getting a 1 out of 10 instead of a 2 in the ‘reliability’ category.”

 

I flipped him off and he just shook his head, unfazed. “You’re losing points with your every move. That’s earning you a 2 in ‘respect.’ Better watch yourself.”

 

My stomach suddenly felt considerably worse than it had before I’d received the unfortunate news. “If any of us deserves a low score in ‘respect,’” I countered, leaving my seat to head to the bathroom, “it’s you, Mr. ‘God Sent Me to Piss the World Off’.”

 

“It’s true!” he yelled as I disappeared down the hallway. “I’m on a holy crusade from God himself.”


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#16 24moon100

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Posted 22 July 2014 - 02:35 AM

That first paragraph=gold. My feelings on Grey's Anatomy in a nutshell. 

 

The shower started hot and ended the same—perks of the single life, where the only person who can hog all the hot water is you.—Great line. Really captured the bright side of being single. ;)

 

Crappp. I'm going to be quoting things a lot. 

 

What the hell, that's how I do things—

 

It had been a week since I’d shaved my legs, and I had no desire to change that. I’d just wear pants instead of one of my usual skirts.—The mediocrity of this sentence is beautiful. It is something I would literally have thought to myself if I were to go and take a shower right now (which, actually is what I plan to do after I comment on this). Everything from the laziness of not caring to shave to the wearing pants instead of something shorter. It is the recurring thought on every woman's mind.

 

 

his calm juxtaposing Michael’s increasing irritation.—I love that word. It's such a sophisticated word. Sophisticated words make me happy. It takes me back to freshman year when we were reading Romeo and Juliet ​and we had a whole discussion on the function of juxtaposition in the story.

 

Today Marcus was implementing his much-discussed plan of “destroying Michael’s ego”—which was noble but impossible. Michael’s ego was untouchable.—Marcus and his mischief. Gotta love it. Lol. I love how you pointed out the bit with Michael's ego. People with really big ego's have one of two effects on me: I find them entertaining (this is only really the case in fictional characters) or they make me want to punch the sh/t out of them. On Michael it works. :P

 

disgruntlement—I like this word. Use it again sometime. :)

 

I don't see what Holly's deal is with Michelle. She needs friends, she doesn't have the luxury of avoiding people who want to be her friend. She is so misguided it frustrates me. 

 

Also, question, does Michelle actually know about the inner-workings of Heldstrom? 

 

So far this has been flowing wonderfully. Correction: this is more like a glassy lake with no sign of choppiness at all. I envy the flow. It's a nice flow. I wish I could have this kind of flow. 

 

oh, hey, Holly.—haha, the abruptness of this made me laugh. I love it in dialogue whenever someone stops in the middle of their sentence to say something else, like saying hi to someone you've just noticed. It's classic.

 

“Oooh.” Marcus faked sympathy, patting my hand from across the table. “Gonna have to mark you down for that, Holly. Looks like you’ll be getting a 1 out of 10 instead of a 2 in the ‘reliability’ category."

 

I flipped him off and he just shook his head, unfazed. “You’re losing points with your every move. That’s earning you a 2 in ‘respect.’ Better watch yourself.”

 

Oh my God this is perfect. I love Marcus so much. He is my favorite. Michael is a close second, but Marcus is my favorite. I love his sassiness and how he acts immature pretty much ninety-nine precent of the time. It's great. I love characters like that. I wouldn't want to be friends with them in real life probably, but characters like that amuse me to the core. 

 

“It’s true!” he yelled as I disappeared down the hallway. “I’m on a holy crusade from God himself.”—Another testament to how crucial the role of the comic relief Marcus plays is in this story and the overall awesomeness of his character. 

 

There is nothing else needed to be said. 

 

Goodnight. Adieu. Farewell.

 

—MEG


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#17 Pretty.Odd.

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Posted 22 July 2014 - 02:28 PM

That first paragraph=gold. My feelings on Grey's Anatomy in a nutshell. 

 

Update: My older sister is watching Grey's AS I WRITE THIS. I disappeared into my room and am drinking iced tea whilst listening to Nine Inch Nails, so it's quite the improvement. :P

 

The shower started hot and ended the same—perks of the single life, where the only person who can hog all the hot water is you.—Great line. Really captured the bright side of being single. ;)

 

Seriously, I take like five minute showers, and my sisters take FOREVER. It's terrible. Gonna go live alone in a tiny apartment so I don't have to deal with this sh/it anymore...

 

Crappp. I'm going to be quoting things a lot. 

 

It's hugely beneficial when you quote things, so please continue to do so. :D It helps me figure out what's working.

 

What the hell, that's how I do things—

 

It had been a week since I’d shaved my legs, and I had no desire to change that. I’d just wear pants instead of one of my usual skirts.—The mediocrity of this sentence is beautiful. It is something I would literally have thought to myself if I were to go and take a shower right now (which, actually is what I plan to do after I comment on this). Everything from the laziness of not caring to shave to the wearing pants instead of something shorter. It is the recurring thought on every woman's mind.

 

No woman really likes shaving their legs. Sure, it feels nice when you're done--but it's a pain in the ass. I pretty much wear jeans year-round because I'm so lazy. :P

 

his calm juxtaposing Michael’s increasing irritation.—I love that word. It's such a sophisticated word. Sophisticated words make me happy. It takes me back to freshman year when we were reading Romeo and Juliet ​and we had a whole discussion on the function of juxtaposition in the story.

 

Hilariously, "juxtapose" also makes me think of R&J. Haha.

 

Today Marcus was implementing his much-discussed plan of “destroying Michael’s ego”—which was noble but impossible. Michael’s ego was untouchable.—Marcus and his mischief. Gotta love it. Lol. I love how you pointed out the bit with Michael's ego. People with really big ego's have one of two effects on me: I find them entertaining (this is only really the case in fictional characters) or they make me want to punch the sh/t out of them. On Michael it works. :P

 

People in real life with big egos are a problem. I want to punch them. But Michael is a special case because he generally has good intentions. He just thinks he's the best. (Probably because he is the best. Lol. :P)

 

disgruntlement—I like this word. Use it again sometime. :)

 

I hate words with the letter "g" most of the time, but "disgruntle" & variations of it are just fabulous. Thank you for agreeing and appreciating the beauty.

 

I don't see what Holly's deal is with Michelle. She needs friends, she doesn't have the luxury of avoiding people who want to be her friend. She is so misguided it frustrates me. 

 

Michelle WILL be a recurring character. That's all I will say.

 

Also, question, does Michelle actually know about the inner-workings of Heldstrom? 

 

Nooo. She has no idea.

 

So far this has been flowing wonderfully. Correction: this is more like a glassy lake with no sign of choppiness at all. I envy the flow. It's a nice flow. I wish I could have this kind of flow. 

 

AH thank you.  :icon_redface:  I've been extremely concerned about the flow in this whole thing, so that's incredibly refreshing to here. It's been killing me. (By the way, your flow makes me very jealous every time I read your writing, so I guess the flow-envy is mutual. :P)

 

oh, hey, Holly.—haha, the abruptness of this made me laugh. I love it in dialogue whenever someone stops in the middle of their sentence to say something else, like saying hi to someone you've just noticed. It's classic.

 

My dialogue is too straightforward most of the time, so I'm trying to work on more variations. I'm glad you pointed it out. :D

 

“Oooh.” Marcus faked sympathy, patting my hand from across the table. “Gonna have to mark you down for that, Holly. Looks like you’ll be getting a 1 out of 10 instead of a 2 in the ‘reliability’ category."

 

I flipped him off and he just shook his head, unfazed. “You’re losing points with your every move. That’s earning you a 2 in ‘respect.’ Better watch yourself.”

 

Oh my God this is perfect. I love Marcus so much. He is my favorite. Michael is a close second, but Marcus is my favorite. I love his sassiness and how he acts immature pretty much ninety-nine precent of the time. It's great. I love characters like that. I wouldn't want to be friends with them in real life probably, but characters like that amuse me to the core. 

 

MARCUS IS MY ALL-TIME FAVORITE. I started writing ALRtI with little idea of how he would turn out, and he has basically become my favorite character to write ever. Like, enough for me to spend time writing a spin-off with him and Sylvia (I don't remember if you got that far in the last version?? so you may not know who that is). But just like you said, I don't think I'd like to know him in real life. He is supreme lord of all ass/holes. Fun to write/read about though.

 

“It’s true!” he yelled as I disappeared down the hallway. “I’m on a holy crusade from God himself.”—Another testament to how crucial the role of the comic relief Marcus plays is in this story and the overall awesomeness of his character. 

 

Marcus is a hardcore atheist (I've never gotten into religion with my characters in this novel, but most of them are atheist or agnostic), so the statement is even funnier to me. He's just great.

 

There is nothing else needed to be said. 

 

Goodnight. Adieu. Farewell.

 

Thanks so much! Your comments have been making my day. :D

 

—MEG


Edited by Pretty.Odd., 22 July 2014 - 02:29 PM.

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#18 Pretty.Odd.

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Posted 22 July 2014 - 02:37 PM

So the other day I sat down and took Myers-Briggs tests for every single main character in this story, and I thought I'd share because it's actually pretty interesting. :) I thought they were spot on. (Click links for more info if you want. :))

 

MICHAEL: ESFP [http://www.humanmetr...sonality/esfp] 

MARCUS: ESTP [http://www.humanmetr...rsonality/estp]

MORDECHAI: INTJ [http://www.humanmetr...sonality/intj] (wow i just love having the same personality type as my sociopathic character)

HOLLY: INTP [http://www.humanmetr...sonality/intp] (freaked out when they mentioned she'd be good with computers)

ELLIS: ENTJ [http://www.humanmetr...rsonality/entj]

SOPHIA: ESFJ [http://www.humanmetr...rsonality/esfj]


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#19 DayDreamer95

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Posted 22 July 2014 - 05:33 PM

I can honestly that this is one of the most addicting, well-written, poetic book I've read here on MCMB. And I try to keep a good record on all of it. 

 

The characters are written so well.They form a great voice, and you really let us fall deep into the story. Keep up the fantastic, and creepy work. 

 

I think that one day, this will become a New York Times best seller (how could it not?)

 

(not the best comment...sorry!)

 

Keep on writing...Please?

 

Alex~


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#20 24moon100

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Posted 22 July 2014 - 08:59 PM

So the other day I sat down and took Myers-Briggs tests for every single main character in this story, and I thought I'd share because it's actually pretty interesting. :) I thought they were spot on. (Click links for more info if you want. :))

 

MICHAEL: ESFP [http://www.humanmetr...sonality/esfp] 

MARCUS: ESTP [http://www.humanmetr...rsonality/estp]

MORDECHAI: INTJ [http://www.humanmetr...sonality/intj] (wow i just love having the same personality type as my sociopathic character)

HOLLY: INTP [http://www.humanmetr...sonality/intp] (freaked out when they mentioned she'd be good with computers)

ELLIS: ENTJ [http://www.humanmetr...rsonality/entj]

SOPHIA: ESFJ [http://www.humanmetr...rsonality/esfj]

 

That's pretty legit. 


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#21 Pretty.Odd.

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 11:03 PM

I can honestly that this is one of the most addicting, well-written, poetic book I've read here on MCMB. And I try to keep a good record on all of it. 

 

The characters are written so well.They form a great voice, and you really let us fall deep into the story. Keep up the fantastic, and creepy work. 

 

I think that one day, this will become a New York Times best seller (how could it not?)

 

(not the best comment...sorry!)

 

Keep on writing...Please?

 

Alex~

 

At least SOMEONE has faith in this sh/it. ;) Thanks so much for all your compliments. I know this won't get published (not even going to try), but thanks for the encouragement. :P I will make sure to finish it though. It would be pretty hard for me not to at this point. I've put far too much effort into it.

 

That's pretty legit. 

 

Right, though? I thought it was rather legit myself. :)


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#22 Pretty.Odd.

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 11:09 PM

Gradual process. Kill me.

 

Chapter 1: 7

 

While Marcus claimed to have a direct connection to the divine, my deity seemed to be forsaking me like Jesus on the cross. Clutching my stomach, I hobbled past our cubicles to the third floor bathroom and hoped I would be able to make it in before my stomach betrayed me. My hands shook as I opened the door and stumbled into the first stall with little thought. I found myself on my knees, hunched over the toilet until I threw up for the second time that morning. My head spun.

 

From my place on the polished white tiles of the bathroom floor, I heard feet shuffle a couple stalls down. A toilet flushed and the user exited her stall, walking over to the sinks a few feet away. I listened and wiped my mouth on a new piece of toilet paper as she washed her hands. As discreetly as I could, I made my way back onto my feet and prayed she would leave me alone.

 

No such luck. “Holly? Is that you in there?”

 

I swore under my breath—God must have been punishing me for my perpetually growing list of sins. Of all the people to intrude on my most helpless moments, Sophia.

 

“Yes,” I replied halfheartedly. Standing, my dizziness only increased.  I leaned against the side of the stall to steady myself. “It’s me.”

 

She fussed with the paper towel machine while I wiped my clammy palms on my grey pants. I considered facing her outside the stall, slowly realizing that confrontation seemed even less appealing than cowering away from her. My stomach lurched. “Are you all right?”

 

“I am just fine,” I assured her with a tone of purposeful aggression—anything to get her from prying further. If there was one person I didn’t want in my business, it was Sophia. She topped the list of people with whom I had no desire to share my personal tales of woe. It had nothing to do with the fact that I didn’t trust her; we’d just never gotten along in the first place. I’d never seen eye-to-eye with her. Something about her undying concern and motherly gentleness struck me as superficial. “I just need a minute to myself.”

 

“I can get someone to drive you home.” Of course she hadn’t gotten the message. I wanted to thank her for her concern—just to be polite—but I couldn’t bring myself to play games with her. Not when I was on the verge of collapsing. “I can ask Michael. I’m sure he’d be willing—”

 

“Sophia. It’s employee review day,” I explained. “Ellis will have my head on a platter if I leave—you know how he is.”

 

“I can explain to him if you’re afraid to, if you wa—”

 

Enough was enough. “No,” I said, ready to tell her to fu/ck off face-to-face. "Absolutely not."

 

Collecting every last bit of strength I had in me, I stumbled out of the stall. Her eyes widened when she saw me. Even after my attempts to hide it, her surprise told me I still looked like hell. A glance in the mirror confirmed my suspicion.

 

“Holly,” she started, “you—”

 

I couldn’t take it anymore. “I am fine,” I spat for a final time.

 

She pursed her lips, recognizing that I would reject her sympathy no matter how hard she tried to change my mind. Her face grew red, and I hoped she was embarrassed enough to leave me alone the rest of the day. With a careful nod, she opened the door and exited without another word.

 

The bathroom rang with blissful silence in her absence. I washed my hands, scowling but dignified.


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#23 24moon100

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 04:19 PM

Oh, Holly, I don't think it's God that's punishing you, I think you've got that one covered all by yourself. 

 

If she would just realize that getting wasted with Cole before a workday is not smart then maybe she wouldn't have been put in this situation. 

 

While Marcus claimed to have a direct connection to the divine, my deity seemed to be forsaking me like Jesus on the cross.—Nice way to open it up. :) Haha. Looks like Holly should tap in to whatever Marcus seems to be tapped into. I like how you used alternative ways of saying God. It's refreshing. 

 

I've never been drunk in my life, but if a hangover is anything like the way you describe it, I don't think I'll ever want to get drunk. In my mind it's all just so gross. The vomit, the alcohol stench, the clammy palms. Yuck. I just don't see the appeal. 

 

But I do think people are enticed by the idea that they get to loose themselves for a while and be someone less inhibited. Reminds me of this study once where they put certain people in a room and gave them real beer and then people in a room with artificial beer. The people with artificial beer acted more drunk than the people with real beer. So really it's not so much the liquor that makes you crazy, it's your psyche. So you can be completely sober and just think you are drunk because you are drinking something that looks and tastes exactly like beer. I don't know, I've just always found that interesting. Sorry to go off on a tangent...lol. 

 

woe—Huge fan of this word. It's cool. 

 

 

Something about her undying concern and motherly gentleness struck me as superficial.—I like this character analysis of Sophia on Holly's part. If there is one thing I hate above rude people, it's fake people. Holly seems to feel the same way. At least about the fake people part. 

 

 

The bathroom rang with blissful silence in her absence. I washed my hands, scowling but dignified.—Very smooth way of ending this part. Rang with blissful silence. Smooth, really smooth. :)

 

Update! 

 

—MEG


Edited by 24moon100, 30 July 2014 - 04:19 PM.

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#24 Pretty.Odd.

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 11:26 PM

CHARACTER PLAYLISTS. I've been slowly piecing these together. Some of it was taken from my old ALRtI playlists (which weren't character-specific like these). Of course, not every character has a playlist, because some of them are lame don't deserve them. (I'm just kidding. I love all my characters. Just not enough to sit down and search through my entire mental catalog of songs to pick out anthems for them.)

 

So here's a link to my Spotify playlists! If you're not on Spotify--wait, there are people who don't use Spotify? Seriously though. It's a necessity. (I'm putting a track listing off to the side because I'm a nice person.)

 

Notice #1: I have some favorite artists that will appear in, like, every playlist.

 

Notice #2: The rest of my Spotify playlists are extremely lame. Like wow. Enjoy going through my profile of twelve different NIN & Arctic Monkeys albums.

 

Notice #3: These songs are in no particular order because I'm just as lazy a playlist-maker as I am a writer.

 

Notice #4: These playlists will surely be added to over time. Pardon the shortness of their current state (in the case of a few of these bad boys).

 

 

holly (alternate title: really sad songs with some not-as-sad-songs mixed in because that's Holly's life basically)

 

-Where We Belong, Passion Pit

-Flagpole Sitta, Harvey Danger

-Forest Whitaker, Bad Books

-Isle of Flightless Birds, twenty one pilots

-Breaking the Habit, Linkin Park

-Drive, Incubus

-Falling, Florence + the Machine

-Young Legends, Sleigh Bells

-Infinitesimal, Mother Mother

-Dreams So Real, Metric

-Goodbye Lovers and Friends, Franz Ferdinand

-Don't Look Back in Anger, Oasis

-Into the Void, NIN

-Leave My Body, Florence + the Machine

 

m+h (*intense screaming* is it normal to cry over your characters)

 

-Giants, Bear Hands

-Calm Me Down, Mother Mother

-Wonderwall, Oasis

-The Fragile, NIN

-Flawless, the Neighbourhood

-Shimmer, Fuel

-A World Alone, Lorde

-Somewhere Only We Know, Keane

-Arabella, Arctic Monkeys

-Cuddle Fuddle, Passion Pit

-Hurricane, Panic! At The Disco

-Paris, Magic Man

-Everlasting Light, the Black Keys

-Winter Winds, Mumford & Sons

-Problems, Mother Mother

 

c+h (*kills someone over this playlist* But no, musically this one is fantastic, even if the subject matter is frustrating because Holly is a moron. Would recommend.)

 

-The Taste of Ink, the Used

-Afraid, the Neighbourhood

-Hell and Back, the Airborne Toxic Event

-Seaweed Song, Passion Pit

-Leave Out All the Rest, Linkin Park

-Hurricane Drunk, Florence + the Machine

-Marching Bands of Manhattan, Death Cab for Cutie

-Love Love Love, Of Monsters & Men

-Heavy In Your Arms, Florence + the Machine

-I Wanna Be Yours, Arctic Monkeys

-Habits (Stay High), Tove Lo

-Lies, Marina and the Diamonds

 

s+m ("sylvia and marcus" not sadomasochism, you PERVERT--though given the nature of their relationship, it is quite ironic...)

 

-Cry Like a Ghost, Passion Pit (*cough*)

-She's Crafty, Beastie Boys

-Why'd You Only Call Me When You're High?, Arctic Monkeys

-When the Sun Goes Down, Arctic Monkeys

-Miss Jackson, Panic! At The Disco feat. Lolo

-Casual Affair, Panic! At The Disco

-Problem, Natalia Kills

 

marcus (I also really like this playlist. There's a strange variety of genres going on, though. I don't know how it jumps from Jack White to Eminem, but it does.)

 

-Make the Money, Macklemore

-DLZ, TV on the Radio

-The Go Getter, the Black Keys

-Ulysses, Franz Ferdinand

-Love Interruption, Jack White

-MoneyGrabber, Fitz and The Tantrums

-Ashley, Green Day

-Reptile, NIN

-Feel Like Home, Fort Minor

-Twilight Omens, Franz Ferdinand

-Let It Go, the Neighbourhood

-Next Girl, the Black Keys

-Freedom at 21, Jack White

-Berzerk, Eminem

-Business, Eminem

-You're Gonna Go Far, Kid, the Offspring

-Sin, NIN

-Heart of the City (Ain't No Love), JAY Z

-Sing About Me, Angel Haze

-Car Radio, twenty one pilots

 

michael (if you recognize the first song, let's be best friends)

 

-War, Hypnotic Brass Ensemble

-Spiraling, Keane

-Nothing to Worry About, Peter Bjorn And John

-Evil Eye, Franz Ferdinand

-Sunspots, NIN

-Treason! Animals, Franz Ferdinand

-Do You Want To, Franz Ferdinand

-Tell Me How To Live, Capital Cities

-This Head I Hold, Electric Guest

-Doses & Mimosas, Cherub

 

heldstrom (i'm obsessed with this playlist)

 

-Power & Control, Marina and the Diamonds

-Beat the Devil's Tattoo, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

-Infinity Guitars, Sleigh Bells

-No Church in the Wild INSTRUMENTAL, JAY Z

-Blood On My Name, the Brothers Bright

-Manipulated Living, off the Donnie Darko soundtrack because DD is the best

-Vegas Lights, Panic! At The Disco

-Gold Guns Girls, Metric

-Glory and Gore, Lorde


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#25 Pretty.Odd.

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 11:41 PM

Oh, Holly, I don't think it's God that's punishing you, I think you've got that one covered all by yourself. 

 

The whole "God must be punishing me" thing just about killed me. Sigh, Holly.

 

If she would just realize that getting wasted with Cole before a workday is not smart then maybe she wouldn't have been put in this situation. 

 

WHEN WILL SHE START USING HER HEAD

 

While Marcus claimed to have a direct connection to the divine, my deity seemed to be forsaking me like Jesus on the cross.—Nice way to open it up. :) Haha. Looks like Holly should tap in to whatever Marcus seems to be tapped into. I like how you used alternative ways of saying God. It's refreshing. 

 

I love seguing into a new chapter with a direct mention from the previous chapter. It makes me unbelievably happy (which is probably weird but WHATEVER). And I couldn't just say God twelve hundred times, so I changed it up a bit. (Plus "divine" is one of my favorite words--SHOCKER, since I named an unfinished novel that.)

 

I've never been drunk in my life, but if a hangover is anything like the way you describe it, I don't think I'll ever want to get drunk. In my mind it's all just so gross. The vomit, the alcohol stench, the clammy palms. Yuck. I just don't see the appeal. 

 

I don't think I could deal with it. I'd be so grumpy and insufferable.

 

But I do think people are enticed by the idea that they get to loose themselves for a while and be someone less inhibited. Reminds me of this study once where they put certain people in a room and gave them real beer and then people in a room with artificial beer. The people with artificial beer acted more drunk than the people with real beer. So really it's not so much the liquor that makes you crazy, it's your psyche. So you can be completely sober and just think you are drunk because you are drinking something that looks and tastes exactly like beer. I don't know, I've just always found that interesting. Sorry to go off on a tangent...lol. 

 

That was actually super interesting, so I'm HAPPY you went of an a tangent. Haha.

 

woe—Huge fan of this word. It's cool. 

 

Because of my religious upbringing, I have had to sit through and even memorize about a billion hymns out of the Lutheran Hymnal. Terrible times. (Don't even get me started on my opinion on the church and organized religion because I get so angry about it. GUESS BRINGING ME UP ULTRA LUTHERAN BACKFIRED.) Anyway, I have a joke with my family that there should be a Lutheran Hymnal Drinking Game, in which a person must drink every time certain words are used (i.e., almightymajesty, hallelujah, etc.) One of those words is "woe." It cracked me up to get to use it. (Excuse me for MY tangent this time. :P)

 

Something about her undying concern and motherly gentleness struck me as superficial.—I like this character analysis of Sophia on Holly's part. If there is one thing I hate above rude people, it's fake people. Holly seems to feel the same way. At least about the fake people part. 

 

I've come to accept that everyone is always putting on a show of some kind. You can't avoid it. You observe someone talking to one person and they'll act a certain way, but when they're with someone else, they act like a completely different person. And chances are, they really aren't either person they're acting like deep down. 

 

The bathroom rang with blissful silence in her absence. I washed my hands, scowling but dignified.—Very smooth way of ending this part. Rang with blissful silence. Smooth, really smooth. :)

 

THANK YOU. :)

 

Update! 

 

—MEG


Edited by Pretty.Odd., 31 July 2014 - 11:43 PM.

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#26 Pretty.Odd.

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Posted 07 August 2014 - 10:40 PM

The Holly/Marcus dynamic is my favorite to write. Also, this novel is going to end up being massive.

 

Chapter 1: 8

 

 

 

EMPLOYEE NAME: Marcus Powell [as reviewed by Holly Wilshire]

 

POSITION: sales

 

EFFICIENCY [ 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8 – 9 – 10 ]

 

Comments: Has difficulty concentrating and makes a point of not doing his job. When he actually does work, he takes forever to complete it (though the end result is above-average).

 

RELIABILITY [ 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8 – 9 – 10 ]

 

Comments: Skips work frequently and rarely performs assigned tasks. If I was going to ask a favor of someone with hope of quick and quality completion, Marcus would be the last person I would ask.

 

SKILL [ 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8 – 9 – 10 ]

 

Comments: Marcus is an irreplaceable asset when he actually does what he’s supposed to do. He’s street smart, book smart when he wants to be, and always thinks outside the box. His near-photographic memory also places him far ahead of the average worker.

 

CONTRIBUTION TO COMPANY [ 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8 – 9 – 10 ]

 

Comments: Considering his apathetic tendencies, a 7 may seem generous, but I believe that—with work—he could be even more valuable to Heldstrom than he already is.

 

TEAMWORK [ 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8 – 9 – 10 ]

 

Comments: When Marcus is open to working with others, he can be an important part of the team. When he closes himself off from others, it is impossible to get anything done with him.

 

OVERALL [ 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8 – 9 – 10 ]

 

Comments: Even if Marcus is still not up to expected standards, he’s come a long way from the beginning of his time here. Despite his unpredictability in work ethic and responsibility, his skills tend to outweigh the bad.

 

***

 

Marcus wasn’t even part of the picture when I began work at Heldstrom. He joined the team almost exactly four years after Ellis initially contacted me—and my first impression of him was far from positive. It took a good six months for the two of us to warm up to each other and understand where exactly the other was coming from.

 

Barely nineteen at the time, Marcus cut all ties with the gang he’d previously belonged to and devoted his professional life to Heldstrom. His family had disowned him years earlier, and without his gang, we were all he had. This led to a number of situations that were uncomfortable for the both of us—the most memorable of which we still discussed regularly four years later.

 

In short, Marcus tried to cook on his own for once (while Ellis is apparently an excellent chef, Marcus struggles to follow the directions on the back of a macaroni and cheese box) and ended up severely burning himself. Rather than calling for medical help like any normal person would, he called me.

 

I told him to call an ambulance. “No,” he insisted. “Hell no. Ambulances are not part of the picture here.”

 

I gave up trying to convince him. “Look,” he continued as I locked the door to my apartment and headed out. “I’ve been through much worse than this. I just need some help. Bring some of that aloe vera sh/it or whatever.”

 

“Marcus, I don’t even know where you live,” I explained, running a hand through my hair. I wanted to be concerned, but my irritation left me hoping he suffered for his actions. “And if it’s as bad as you say it is, then you need to call an ambulance.”

 

He sighed on the other end. “I can’t, Holly.”

 

“Why the hell not?” I snapped. I started my car—a piece of crap I loved with my whole heart despite the thousands of dollars in repairs I’d poured into it over the years—and pulled out of the lot. I decided I’d just drive around the block until he gave me some real directions.

 

“It’s just… Look, it’s a long story. Just get over here.”

 

He didn’t want to tell me what had really happened, so I took a wild guess: “What is it this time, Marcus? Heroin again? Speed?”

 

When he didn’t argue, I knew I was right. “It’s Melody, Holly—if she finds out about the drugs, she will kill me. Literally kill me, and you know I’m not exaggerating. You know how she is.”

 

“How does your girlfriend have anything to do with your unwillingness to call an ambulance?” I asked, rubbing my eyes with increasing exasperation.

 

“It’ll be a lot more discreet if you pick me up a block from my apartment versus having a fu/cking ambulance show up at my door, okay?” He paused. “It’s because of the kid. She won’t let me near him ever again if she knows about any of this. Please, Holly. Just this once.”

 

I pursed my lips. “Fine. Don’t call an ambulance, be a complete fu/cking idiot—whatever. But I’m going to take you to the emergency room whether you like it or not.”

 

Marcus gave me his address, and in fifteen minutes, I arrived at his apartment to find him hunched outside, strung out and cradling his right arm loosely. He couldn’t fight me because of his injury, so I buckled him up and started our frantic drive to the nearest hospital. He complained the entire way there—about his worsening relationship with Melody, about how little she trusted him with their illegitimate son Matt, about how much pain he was in, and about petty things like the temperature of the car.

 

I breathed a sigh of relief when we reached our destination, happy to step outside the car and escape for a moment, no matter how brief. My frustration from our phone conversation had tripled over the course of the car ride.

 

Gathering the last of my patience, I helped a temporarily incapacitated Marcus out of the car. “Looks bad,” I said, pointing to the burn as I unbuckled his seatbelt like he was a helpless little boy. If I hadn’t been so irritated, I would’ve been laughing my ass off at him.

 

“Feels even worse,” he replied grimly. It might’ve just been the unusual evening lighting playing tricks on me, but I thought I saw tears in his eyes. I doubted it had anything to do with the wound—he seemed far more shaken up about the Melody situation in comparison. Even more likely, it was just a side-effect of the drugs.

 

Marcus stepped up his complaining to a whole new level inside the emergency room. Eyes wide and pupils dilated, he went on a particularly graphic rant about wanting to “beat the living hell out of” Melody. I grabbed the first available magazine and made it a goal to read the thing cover to cover in an attempt to block him out, embarrassed to be in his company. I steadily made my way to the opposite side of the couch, as far away from him as I could.

 

His theatrical verbalization of all the pains God had burdened him with gained quite the audience over the course of the time we waited. At one point, an innocent bystander took notice to the severity of the burn on his arm and blurted out, “That’s looks disgusting.”

 

Marcus shot him a sickened look. “It hurts like hell,” he retorted, waving his arm angrily.

 

“How’d you do it?” the bystander asked casually, like the burn wasn’t a big deal at all. I could tell Marcus didn’t like how asked.

 

“Cooking macaroni and fu/cking cheese,” he replied shamelessly. The patrons in the waiting room didn't approach him after that.


Edited by Pretty.Odd., 07 August 2014 - 10:45 PM.

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#27 24moon100

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Posted 07 August 2014 - 11:38 PM

Yesss. A part all about Marcus. I've been waiting for this. 

The employee review thingy in the beginning cracked me up. I especially found Holly's comments amusing and a dead on portrayal of how I view Marcus's character in my mind.  

 

Comments: Considering his apathetic tendencies, a 7 may seem generous, but I believe that—with work—he could be even more valuable to Heldstrom than he already is.

 

Yes. Just yes. Lol. 

 

Bring some of that aloe vera sh/it or whatever.”—I cried.  :lol:

 

He complained the entire way there—about his worsening relationship with Melody, about how little she trusted him with their illegitimate son Matt, about how much pain he was in, and about petty things like the temperature of the car.—This is good. We are getting some insight into his personal life. I like knowing things like this. Thank you for sharing this bit. Also, the last part (in yellow)=something I would do. Lol. Ps. Melody is like one of my favorite names. 

 

His theatrical verbalization of all the pains God had burdened him with gained quite the audience over the course of the time we waited.—I really admire the way this is worded. It sort of ties itself together, ya feel me? 

 

 

“Cooking macaroni and fu/cking cheese,” he replied shamelessly. The patrons in the waiting room didn't approach him after that.—Hah. Props to Marcus for landing himself in the hospital after preforming a simple mediocre task such as making mac and cheese. That is a difficult feat, let me tell you. You'd think a guy with a photographic memory would be smart enough to know how to do something so easy.   :P

 

 

Anyway, I appreciate the dynamics of Holly and Marcus's relationship. Even though he gets on her nerves, she still cares about him enough to put up with his nonsense and take him to the hospital when he does bonehead things. Plus, he seems to value her as a friend otherwise he wouldn't have trusted her with helping him and stuff. 

 

More parts with Holly+Marcus soon please!

 

Welp. This has been rivetiving. Let's do it again sometime. ;)

 

—MEG

 


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#28 Pretty.Odd.

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Posted 08 August 2014 - 12:00 PM

Yesss. A part all about Marcus. I've been waiting for this. 

 

And I've been waiting to write it!

The employee review thingy in the beginning cracked me up. I especially found Holly's comments amusing and a dead on portrayal of how I view Marcus's character in my mind.  

 

He's the easiest character for me to write, because he's very predictable. I know exactly what Marcus would do in every situation. The others are more debatable.

 

Yes. Just yes. Lol. 

 

Bring some of that aloe vera sh/it or whatever.”—I cried.  :lol:

 

This was my favorite part of the chapter. Haha.

 

He complained the entire way there—about his worsening relationship with Melody, about how little she trusted him with their illegitimate son Matt, about how much pain he was in, and about petty things like the temperature of the car.—This is good. We are getting some insight into his personal life. I like knowing things like this. Thank you for sharing this bit. Also, the last part (in yellow)=something I would do. Lol. Ps. Melody is like one of my favorite names. 

 

I'm trying SO HARD to introduce my characters at the beginning of the novel instead of, like, halfway through like last time. :P I felt this was a much more refined introduction to Marcus's character in comparison. Plus I got to use the "show not tell" rule this time, instead of going on a huge monologue about his backstory. (The temperature of the car part is so based on me. If there's something to complain about, I WILL complain about it. Haha. And Melody is a fantastic name!)

 

His theatrical verbalization of all the pains God had burdened him with gained quite the audience over the course of the time we waited.—I really admire the way this is worded. It sort of ties itself together, ya feel me? 

 

I was very unsure about this line, so I'm glad it worked haha.

 

“Cooking macaroni and fu/cking cheese,” he replied shamelessly. The patrons in the waiting room didn't approach him after that.—Hah. Props to Marcus for landing himself in the hospital after preforming a simple mediocre task such as making mac and cheese. That is a difficult feat, let me tell you. You'd think a guy with a photographic memory would be smart enough to know how to do something so easy.   :P

 

In his defense, he was high out of his mind whilst cooking the mac & cheese. Now, I've never been high, let alone high and cooking mac & cheese, but I'm guessing his judgment would be impaired under the circumstances. But regardless, he's a moron. :P

 

Anyway, I appreciate the dynamics of Holly and Marcus's relationship. Even though he gets on her nerves, she still cares about him enough to put up with his nonsense and take him to the hospital when he does bonehead things. Plus, he seems to value her as a friend otherwise he wouldn't have trusted her with helping him and stuff. 

 

I think one of the interesting parts about Holly's personality is that she DOES care about the people around her, even when she's ready to punch them in the face. She may have, like, zero morals and some serious issues, but I think that is a testament to the fact that there is a good person somewhere inside her.

 

Marcus and Holly have a very weird friendship. I would call them friends, but I don't think either of them would. They're both on the same page as each other, but they don't really have anything in common other than the job and their mutual irritation with each other (and, of course, a similar sense of humor). She has no faith in Marcus as a person, but Marcus really values Holly (I don't want to say "looks up to her," but that's almost how it is in my head). They have a strange appreciation for each other, flaws and all. It's very fun to write.

 

More parts with Holly+Marcus soon please!

 

That might be a while lol. The middle section of the novel will be very Marcus-centered, though--I promise. :D

 

Welp. This has been rivetiving. Let's do it again sometime. ;)

 

I'm hoping to update again soon! I'm inspired at the moment.

 

—MEG


Edited by Pretty.Odd., 08 August 2014 - 12:01 PM.

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#29 Pretty.Odd.

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Posted 11 August 2014 - 05:02 PM

Practicing in Photoshop. :) I tried to find the original photographers for each of these to give proper credit but was met with little success. So, credit to Nick Ray McCann for the original Michael photo. I had a lot of fun with these, but finding visually similar images almost killed me. That was the hard part of the project. :P

 

holly_zps1a932d24.jpg

 

mordechaitruu_zpsb4198e1e.jpg

 

michael_zpsfcfc7908.jpg

 

ellis_zps6e5ef769.jpg

 

marcus_zpsa7b45435.jpg

 

sophia_zps00495ea5.jpg


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#30 24moon100

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Posted 11 August 2014 - 06:25 PM

Wow. Consider me disturbed. lol. That's a really nice job you did, I like how you summarized each character with one word. 


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#31 Pretty.Odd.

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Posted 11 August 2014 - 08:42 PM

Wow. Consider me disturbed. lol. That's a really nice job you did, I like how you summarized each character with one word. 

 

Thank you! :)


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#32 Pretty.Odd.

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Posted 20 August 2014 - 11:55 PM

Chapter 1: 9

 

Some of the office took the self-assessment section of employee review day seriously. Michael and I did not.

 

“How can I possibly top last year’s list?” he asked, twirling a pen in his hand while I gnawed at the salad I’d thrown together before leaving. At the time I’d packed it, it had seemed like a perfectly fine meal. Unfortunately, my appetite had changed considerably over the course of the morning, and salad seemed like the least appealing thing I could imagine. I really just wanted a Big Mac.

 

“It’s simple, Michael,” I replied, setting down my fork with a particular lack of enthusiasm. “You can’t.”

 

He shook his head. “I have to.”

 

“Let me see your list so far,” I said. He slid the sheet of paper across the table, eagerly tapping his foot against the linoleum floor of the break room. Since everyone else had eaten lunch fifteen minutes earlier, we had the room all to ourselves to discuss our plans for this year’s self-assessment profiles.

 

SELF-ASSESSMENT: Michael Chapman

 

SKILL [ 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 -8 – 9 – 10 ]

 

Comments:

 

THINGS MICHAEL IS GOOD AT

-ripping people off

-spending money

-masturbating

-secret texting during meetings

 -kissing ass 

I looked up. “Wasn’t ‘masturbating’ on last year’s list?”

 

He shrugged. “Some things never change.”

 

I would have laughed if my throat hadn’t been so raw. To compromise, I managed a halfhearted smile and another bite of salad. He grabbed the list from my hand and scanned it for what I figured was the hundredth time that morning. After taking a significant amount of time to choose the perfect words, Michael scribbled something down and smiled proudly. He looked over at me to see if I’d noticed the updated list, just in time to watch me gag on my latest mouthful of food.

 

“Jesus, Holly,” he commented as I wrinkled my nose at my unsavory lunch. “You really seem to be enjoying this lunchtime experience.”

 

“Don’t worry. It’s not the experience,” I assured him. “This—”I glanced up at him, grimacing, and pointed down at the half-eaten bowl of salad “—on the other hand? Yeah, no, this is complete sh/it. Go get me a Big Mac.”

 

Michael smirked, and I internally applauded myself for suggesting the idea in the first place. I knew he’d indulge me. “Big Macs are your hangover cure?” he asked, setting aside the last of his lunch.

 

“Well, not exactly.” His smile began to fade, so I added, “But I would really appreciate one right now, Michael,” and his face lit up all over again.


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#33 Pretty.Odd.

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Posted 20 August 2014 - 11:56 PM

Chapter 1: 10

 

The closest McDonald’s was three blocks away. “Think of it as a field trip,” Michael insisted, dragging me out of the building and out into the early afternoon lull of the world outside the office. I hadn’t been anticipating such a hurried departure—or even going along in the first place. In my head, I had pictured Michael running out to get me my burger and returning in fifteen minutes flat. Clearly we didn’t have the same plan in mind. “We need to get you a Big Mac ASAP, Holly Wilshire.”

 

“I don’t think this is your best idea,” I replied as I tried to resist his hold on my wrist. “Not today—please, Michael.”

 

He wouldn’t let it go. After a block of his persistent claims that Ellis would rather deal with us missing half an hour of work than have one of his employees be miserable, I gave up protesting and let him have his way. I wanted to believe that I had done it because I knew it would make him happy to make me happy, but I knew better. My motives had been far more selfish—I just wanted him to shut up and buy me a burger.


Edited by Pretty.Odd., 21 August 2014 - 12:03 AM.

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#34 Pretty.Odd.

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Posted 21 August 2014 - 12:00 AM

Chapter 1: 11

 

Three other customers occupied the McDonald’s, none of whom were dressed in full business attire or holding $6K purses. This did not faze Michael—he walked right up to the counter, ten dollar bill in hand, and instructed them to make me a Big Mac “ASAP.” The cashier took his money, slightly disoriented, and Michael thanked her accordingly. Finally pleased, he leaned against the counter, hands in the pockets of his suit coat, and turned back toward me.

 

I thanked him, grateful for the food but less than pleased about leaving the building without so much as notifying Ellis. He brushed it off and jumped to a new subject almost immediately. “I noticed you weren’t at the meeting today,” he observed, staring off at the cars passing by outside the window. “Just decided it wasn’t worth showing up?”

 

I laughed. “You sound like you’re upset about it.”

 

“Oh, believe me,” he countered, eyes meeting mine. “I’m not one to criticize.”

 

“Well, in that case—” I grabbed myself a handful of napkins off the counter of condiments and eating utensils—“I got sick in the bathroom and hid out in there for a while. Sorry I wasn’t there to appreciate your sarcastic commentary during the meeting. Was too busy puking my guts out in the ladies’ room.”

 

He joined me at the counter and began filling the plastic cup with ice. “Sophia was telling me something about that. You want Diet Coke?”

 

Sophia had mentioned the incident to Michael. My eyes grew wide, embarrassed. “Oh—uh, Diet Coke is fine.”

 

He filled the cup at my request and I cringed to myself, humiliated as I imagined her blowing the whole thing out of proportion to make me look like the bad guy. I’d been proud of myself for my assertiveness at the time of the incident, but hours later, standing in the McDonald’s next to Michael, my pride left me empty-handed.

 

I cleared my throat. “What did she say?” I inquired, trying my best to sound casual about the whole thing. “Was she upset?”

 

He kept his gaze on the machine. “Sophia?” he asked. I nodded. “She didn’t say much. I think she just felt bad for you.”

 

The cashier called our number, and Michael strode up to grab the bag. He handed it over to me on our way out of the restaurant. “How was the meeting?” I asked, eager to change the subject. Not really what I wanted to talk about, but better than the previous topic.

 

“Oh, man.” He handed me the Diet Coke and held the door open for me. “You missed a lot.”

 

I rolled my eyes and glared over at him as I unwrapped my Big Mac. “You’re kidding, right?”

 

Michael shook his head. “For possibly the first time ever,” he explained, his pace much slower now than on the way to the restaurant, “I’m actually being serious with you.”

 

Lovely.” I took an indignant bite and tossed the bag into a garbage can outside a similar fast-food restaurant, scowling as I chewed. “Let me guess—Marcus got fired, Mordechai is the new boss, Armageddon is scheduled for this afternoon, God is real.”

 

“Close,” he replied. “At least about the Armageddon part.”

 

That could only mean one thing. “New client?” I guessed.

 

He only sighed. “You’re not going to like this one,” he warned me. “The Rowland job’s got nothing on this sh/it.”

 

-end of Chapter 1-


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#35 Pretty.Odd.

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Posted 21 August 2014 - 12:51 AM

SO THERE YOU GO. The end of a chapter. Now the plot should actually take off, since I got most the introductory stuff out of the way. At the beginning of the chapter, I made myself a list of things that NEEDED to be in there, and I got all of them in. So I think I'm in pretty good shape. Let's hope Chapter 2 goes as smoothly as this one did. :D

 

To celebrate, I've completed the next edit in my Infamy Photoshop series:

 

infamycover_zps7b1a16ae.jpg


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#36 Pretty.Odd.

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Posted 14 September 2014 - 05:08 PM

INFAMY

Chapter 2: 1

 

“Holly—I did it. I proposed. We’re getting married.”

 

He hadn’t been kidding. Two nights earlier, when we’d been drunk out of our minds and attempting to stargaze at Millennium Park, I’d thought it was the alcohol talking. But Cole was completely sober now—completely, regrettably sober. My mind went blank.

 

Two deep breaths. Relax.

 

Relax? Out of the question. My whole body had gone tense. “Holly?” I’d endured my fair share of awful phone conversations, but none had ever left me speechless. Even with the forewarning on the night of our drunken escapade, the news stung. “Holly, are you there?”

 

Don’t sound upset. Be happy for him. “Yeah—yeah, I’m here.” Relax.

 

“Well…?” I felt my nightly bout of self-loathing coming on with every passing second. I took another sip of wine and grimaced.

 

“It’s great,” I replied. Neither of us was fooled by my stale words. I could get away with a lot when it came to lying or exaggerating the truth—but I couldn’t even bring myself to fake it when we talked about Mary. I knew better.

 

“Don’t lie.”

 

His disappointment made my hands shake all over again, wine spilling onto the carpet. I stared down vacantly. “I’m happy for you, Cole.”

 

It wasn't a lie. I wanted Cole to be happy.

 

“Thanks,” he replied with the about the same amount of sincerity I'd been able to muster.

 

I closed my eyes and sighed. “Sorry for being a terrible person.”

 

He sighed too. “It’s okay. I get it.”

 

I knew that he didn’t really ‘get it’—Cole was the best person I knew—but I decided to ignore it. Arguing under the circumstances would only worsen the situation. I tried to sound positive. “I really am happy for you,” I told him. Relax. “I know you’ve meaning to do this for a while.”

 

“Yeah, like three years,” he muttered.

 

“I better be prominently featured in the ceremony,” I said, finishing off the rest of my glass of wine. I glanced over at the bottle and knew inside that I’d be drinking the rest that night.

 

Cole thought I was joking. “Whatever, Holly Wilshire.” He was laughing. “Have a good night, okay?”

 

“Oh, don’t you worry,” I replied bitterly. “I’ve got a bottle of wine and at least ten episodes of House of Cards to catch up on.”

 

“Maybe we can go out again later this week?”

 

Ordinarily I’d have jumped on the opportunity. “I dunno. I’m really busy with my freelance work right now,” I lied, and it sounded perfectly natural. “We’ll see.”

 

“Well, text me if you’ve got any openings in your schedule.” He paused. “We need to do more together.”

 

I pursed my lips. “Bye, Cole.”

 

“Talk to you soon.”

 

He hung up, and I poured myself another glass of wine.


Edited by Pretty.Odd., 14 September 2014 - 05:11 PM.

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#37 Pretty.Odd.

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Posted 23 November 2014 - 09:44 PM

Chapter 2: 2

 

“Is that your natural hair color?”

 

I look up from the glass I’m cleaning. He’s tall, with dark hair and a composed demeanor that echoes that of many of the other men who filter in on late nights like this one. He’s a cop, no doubt about it. If I found that sort of thing attractive, I might’ve lied to impress him. Instead, I set down the glass and reply, “Hell no.”

 

He smirks. “What a shame.”

 

The more I study his face, the less I’m rejecting the idea of pursuing a conversation. Cop or not, he’s intriguing. “Can I get you anything?”

 

“Wine. Something cheap, I don’t care.” I can’t imagine he’s much of a wine connoisseur; too straightedge. He looks a few years older than me, but I’m sure he’s done a lot less drinking in his life than I have. I’m about to ask for a preference when he leans forward on the counter and sighs. “Fu/ck it. Just get me a Guinness.” I smile.

 

It’s just a bit past eleven. The bar’s less crowded than normal, and on a snowy night like tonight, I’m not surprised. I’m cold even in my sweater. The band is less energetic than normal, which isn’t surprising given the fact that they’ve played nothing but the Smiths all night. It’s hard to get excited over Half A Person twice in half an hour.

 

Much like the band, my current customer is exhausted. I catch him yawn as I pour his drink. “I’m actually blonde,” I tell him over the sound of yet another rendition of Ask.

 

“I can picture it.” He nods as I hand him the glass. “The red suits you,” he adds.

 

“Yeah?”

 

“Yeah,” he says, glancing over at the band again. I’m flattered.

 

“You like the Smiths?” I ask him. My hand unconsciously goes to my newly dyed hair. I hadn’t been sure about the color, but I’m suddenly convinced I made the right decision.

 

“The Smiths? Sure.” Promising taste in music; never trust someone who doesn’t like the Smiths. “This cover band, on the other hand, is fu/cking terrible.” He shakes his head.  “I didn’t think it was possible to make songs this good sound so bad.”

 

I can’t help but laugh. “I promise the music here isn’t always this awful.” He’s skeptical, and for good reason. Tonight’s band has nothing good going for them. “There’s a really good David Bowie cover band that plays a couple times a month,” I say. “They do Ziggy Stardust in full and it’s surprisingly good for scraggly college dropouts.” I realize that’s not a particularly good selling point, so add, “And every once in a while there’s a band that can play original songs.”

 

And soon he’s laughing with me. “Sometimes original songs are even worse than covers.”

 

“I don’t know. At this point, almost anything would be better than this sh/it,” I confess, unable to wipe the smile off my face. It seems about time to introduce myself, so I extend my hand. “I’m Holly.”

 

He shakes it. “Cole Harris.”


Edited by Pretty.Odd., 23 November 2014 - 09:45 PM.

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#38 Pretty.Odd.

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Posted 23 November 2014 - 09:45 PM

Chapter 2: 3

 

Four fu/cking years down the drain.


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#39 Pretty.Odd.

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Posted 23 November 2014 - 09:47 PM

Chapter 2: 4

 

There was no time for me to be sad. Two hours of sleep and a triple espresso later, I was outside the Heldstrom building again, drowning out the sounds of early morning Chicago with music pulsing through my earphones. I kept them in as I walked through the lobby. An always-cheery Michelle motioned to me, but I acted like I didn’t see. I had no use for one-sided conversation about the weather. No point in making my morning any less enjoyable than it had to be.

 

I rode the elevator up to the third floor alone. To preserve my state of undisturbed Zen, I left my earphones in for the entirety of the ride—no irritating elevator music today. I leaned against the wall, taking slow, even breaths. You are going to kick today in the ass, I promised myself, eyes shut. There was no reason to be optimistic, but I figured that since last night had been such a disaster, it would be difficult for today to go badly enough to top the phone call with Cole.

 

8 am exactly. The entire office was already gathered around the meeting room table, with Ellis at its head and Sophia standing next to him. Judging by the looks on their faces, they’d been sitting around waiting for me to show up for longer than they’d wanted to be. I took out my earphones and forced a smile like I wasn’t the last person to show up.

 

As I predicted, my nonchalant entrance did not deter Ellis from making a big deal out of absolutely nothing. “Looks like we can finally get started,” he said, crossing his arms. Sophia assumed the same posture.

 

I pointed to the clock. 8:01. “I’m on time.”

 

“You weren’t yesterday.”

 

I smiled again, this time even more forced than before. “Touché.” Marcus looked horrified.

 

Ellis went off as soon as I sat down, ranting about the importance of punctuality in the professional setting. The look of disdain on Marcus’s face only increased as the lecture went on, and I wondered how Ellis could ever bring himself to refer to us as professionals. Despite the disgusting amount of Banana Republic attire and formal meeting style Ellis insisted on, the workplace environment of Heldstrom fell far short of professional. Marcus came to work high at least twice a week, and Mordechai didn’t even bother showing up half the time. As much as he pretended we met his standards, we didn’t even come close.

 

“You listening to this, Wilshire?” Marcus muttered to me under his breath. “The bossman’s talking to you.”

 

In all honesty, I’d stopped paying attention early on. My mind was drifting back and forth between Cole and my promise to kick today in the ass, a blissful oxymoron of a thought process that I couldn’t help but smile at. Ellis forced us to sit through lectures similar to today’s almost every week—today it just so happened to be directed at me instead of Marcus, which meant I had an even better reason than normal not to listen. Mordechai looked like he was about to doze off, and even Sophia—world’s best employee—had zoned out and started staring off into the distance. The effect of his speeches had worn off long ago.

 

And still, regardless of the lack of enthusiasm we showed, he kept on preaching with his typical conviction. I was just waiting for him to slam his fist on the table and break out into some MLK for us. At some point, Sophia decided it was time to intervene. She leaned over and whispered something to him in midsentence. Slowly, he allowed himself to come to a stop, nodding in agreement. “I digress,” he apologized, folding his hands in front of him. Sophia pursed her lips. “We have important matters to attend to. Not that punctuality isn’t important.” Michael let out an enormous sigh, and Ellis glared back in response. “Chapman—”

 

“Why don’t we discuss Carlsberg,” Sophia interrupted, taking the reins from Ellis in an attempt to get us back on track. She pointed to the board where a series of three pictures was posted, one of which I assumed had to be Sophia’s proposed topic of conversation. “How familiar are each of you with our client?”

 

Marcus leaned back in his chair. “We literally went over this yesterday.”

 

Yesterday, when I strategically missed out on the daily meeting to reap the benefits of my hangover. “Not everyone was…there,” she covered through gritted teeth. I commended her for going out of her way to not mention me by name, but that didn’t stop Mordechai and Ellis from glancing over at me in an attempt to silently reprimand me for my actions. As always, my absence had proved particularly unfortunate; I had no idea if Carlsberg was the client or the mark or what the premise of the job actually was—and worst of all, everyone else did.

 

“I’ll be frank, Holly.” Ellis, naturally, wasn’t planning on putting up with my sh/it. “I, unlike Sophia—” cue Sophia looking embarrassed “—have no patience for this kind of behavior.”

 

“Sir,” I started. “It was one time.”

 

“And it was also during one of the most important meetings of the year.”

 

I bit my tongue. “Touché,” I repeated. Maybe that would be my mantra for the day.


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#40 24moon100

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Posted 23 November 2014 - 11:31 PM

 INFAMY! Hells yeah! Man I miss this. I need to sit down and get caught up because I really want to know what's going on in Holly's dysfunctional life. :P

We seriously need to get caught up soon it's been wayyyyyy too long. Christmas break. Reunion time. Be there. ;)


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#41 Pretty.Odd.

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Posted 29 November 2014 - 10:54 PM

 INFAMY! Hells yeah! Man I miss this. I need to sit down and get caught up because I really want to know what's going on in Holly's dysfunctional life. :P

We seriously need to get caught up soon it's been wayyyyyy too long. Christmas break. Reunion time. Be there. ;)

 

Duuuude hells yeah is right. I can't wait for Christmas break. MCMB Reunion is a go. :) And I'm working on the next couple parts of this right now so hopefully you will have even more material to read since the parts are so short and don't amount to all that much. By the time Christmas break rolls around I might even have one more part done. Lmao.


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#42 24moon100

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Posted 28 December 2014 - 10:01 PM

All right. So after a millennia of being too damn busy to do anything besides sleep, eat, and school, I have finally found the time to really sit down and get caught up on this wonderful piece of writing. :) My comment will be labeled according to each part. I'll do one comment to finish up the fist chapter and then another for chapter two: 

 

 

Part 1:9

 

One of the most amusing parts of this section was Michael's self assessment. Lol. I mean "masturbating?" "kissing ass?" he must've really been taking that seriously. I also loved how he said "spending money". I think I'm with him on that. I'm very good at spending money. Especially with it's not my money. 

 

People who eat salads for meals are so interesting to me. I just don't get full doing that. Salads have always been something you have on the side. Holly must've realized that considering she wanted a Big Mac. Haha. 

 

Again. I just love their dynamic. Very casual and light. Love it. 

 

Quote: tapping his foot against the linoleum floor of the break room— So firstly, I like this description. Secondly, I didn't know there was such thing as linoleum floor. I find that very interesting for some reason. ;)

 

Part 1:10

 

Lemme just say—I know I've probably said this before but it's been a long time so I'm just now realizing it again—you have such polished writing. I hope you know what I mean by polished—not necessarily like perfect grammar/spelling—but more like polished in the sense that it can be read smoothly. Like it's got that flow to it. Yea. A unique flow. :) It's not awkward like my writing gets. Lol. 

 

Anyway quote: out into the early afternoon lull of the world outside the office—I liked how this sounded. I think it's your use of the word "lull" or something. :P

 

I love Michael's persistence. He really knows how to get what he wants. He seems to really want to cheer Holly up and I think that's awesome of him. He's a good friend Holly just doesn't know it yet!

 

Part 1:11

 

God. It's so polished. I said this already but I can't help saying it again. Polished. Ugh. I hate you. ;)

 

Quote: hands in the pockets of his suit coat—Something about guys shoving their hands in their pockets and leaning against something is a certain type of body language I really appreciate. Something about it is very, I don't know, attractive. It says, "hey, I'm cool, I lean on things with my hands in my pockets and I don't care." Haha. I'm weird. I know. 

 

condiments—Whenever I hear that word I think of when we make baked potatoes and my mom always asks me to get the condiments out of the fridge so we can put them on the potatoes. Haha. It's a cool word.

 

So Sophia ratted on Holly about the bathroom incident. Yikes. That's a low blow on Sophia's part. Holly shouldn't worry about it though. She should be proud of her assertiveness. 

 

Haha. I like Holly's scenarios. Marcus got fired, Mordechai is the new boss, Armageddon is scheduled for this afternoon, God is real—Very diverse. I especially like the one about Mordechai. If he become boss they'd all be doomed. 

 

So. New client. Curious now. Who's it gonna be? Knowing you, you've got someone murderous and or psycho in store. ;)

 

End of chapter. Wow. That was a long chapter... At least it seems that way. Probably wasn't as long though it's just how it's split up I guess. Well. On to chapter two!

 

 

—MEG

 

 


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#43 24moon100

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Posted 29 December 2014 - 12:57 AM

Okay. Round two. Here we go—

 

Part 2:1

 

Damn that cole! He freaking proposed? Poor Holly. She's probably in shreds now. Well. This is definitely not going to help her drinking problem. If I were her I'd just give up on him. Cole's a cool guy but he's completely absolutely wrong for her. Let's not forget that he's cop and she's a criminal. 

 

“It’s great,” I replied. Neither of us was fooled by my stale words. I could get away with a lot when it came to lying or exaggerating the truth—but I couldn’t even bring myself to fake it when we talked about Mary.

 

Such a solid response on Holly's part. Made me really feel like it would be something she'd do. I find it ironic that the one thing she can't lie about with him is Mary yet everything else is easy to lie about. It must really bother her for that to be the case. 

 

I also think it's funny that he wants to do more stuff with her now that he's proposed. Like, what about that made you decide that you miss hanging out with her, Cole? I dunno. Found that interesting. And now that he's broken her heart she's not going to want to look at him. Turning of tables I see. 

 

This is going to make for one huge disaster isn't it?

 

Side note: love Holly's last name. Fits her. 

 

Part 2:2

 

Can I just say that I loveeee flashbacks? If they are done right, anyway. You definitely did this one right, sweetie. 

 

Wow. I just called you sweetie. what. That means I must've really liked it. 

 

Makes we depressed though. Flashback of when her and Cole first met will do the trick, I guess. Damn. They really hit it off. Now he's getting married. BUMMER. 

 

I think it's cool how he complimented her hair. She stuck with it because of that it seems. That's actually really sweet, even if I still disapprove of Cole. 

 

The Smiths. Huh. I remember you mentioning them and I really liked them. Didn't get fully sucked into it and I'm wondering if that was because I was either majorly tired or distracted. Haha. I'll have to give them another shot when I'm clear headed. You have credible music taste so I figure it'll happen. :)

 

I look up from the glass I’m cleaning. He’s tall, with dark hair and a composed demeanor that echoes that of many of the other men who filter in on late nights like this one. He’s a cop, no doubt about it. If I found that sort of thing attractive, I might’ve lied to impress him. Instead, I set down the glass and reply, “Hell no.”

 

That entire paragraph was just superly (word I made up, mix of super/really) well done. That's all I have to say. Superly well done.

 

Part 2:3

 

Again. BUMMER. :/ 

 

Part 2:4

 

I smiled again, this time even more forced than before. “Touché.” Marcus looked horrified.—I don't know what it was about that line, but it got to me. Seriously. I laughed for about a solid forty-five seconds. Have I mentioned Marcus is my favorite? Because he is and this line proves it. Also, good for Holly! Standing up to the bossman like that. 

 

You are going to kick today in the ass, I promised myself and To preserve my state of undisturbed Zen, I left my earphones in for the entirety of the ride

 

These lines made me happy simply because of the attitude behind them. I like this new attitude of hers. I know it won't change the situation, but the fact that she's trying to be positive is a step up. And here I thought she'd be dragging herself to work with a hangover and miserable. Yay for Holly! Keep this up! 

 

Although I doubt this is going to last very long. Haha. 

 

THERE ARE LITERALLY SO MANY THINGS TO QUOTE IN THIS ONE I'M JUST GOING TO I DON'T CARE. 

 

Sorry that was in all caps. Hopefully that wasn't too painful to read... I just had to. 

 

Quotes:

 

My mind was drifting back and forth between Cole and my promise to kick today in the ass, a blissful oxymoron of a thought process that I couldn’t help but smile at.

 

I'm in awe. Okay? Awe. Embarrassingly, I had to re-learn what oxymoron meant (I had an inkling okay) but now that I remember the awe is real. A beautiful sentence. Awed. 

 

“You listening to this, Wilshire?” Marcus muttered to me under his breath. “The bossman’s talking to you.”

 

Bossman. *Wipes a tear* Perfect. Awed. 

 

I was just waiting for him to slam his fist on the table and break out into some MLK for us.

 

What in the actual hell, Artemis. This is some seriously polished sh/t. Genuinely, I mean that. 

 

Yesterday, when I strategically missed out on the daily meeting to reap the benefits of my hangover.

 

She reaped the benefits all right. The gross unfriendly kind. ;)

 

 

Anyway, you get my point. Ya did good, my friend. Scary good. Makes me question your age kind of good. Hah. 

 

I do want to mention that bit with Ellis trying to keep up the professionalism. That was especially comical to me. I love how they just ignore him now. Even Sophia is unmoved by his speeches. That should say something. 

 

All right. I guess I'm done here! Hopefully I'll have more to read shortly because I'm finally getting into this again and I want more. Gimme more, more, more. 

 

—MEG


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#44 Pretty.Odd.

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Posted 29 December 2014 - 02:14 AM

Meg: I was pretty much cryin when I read all that. Thank you so much. It really means a lot that you said all those nice things about this. Ordinarily, I'd take time to reply, but I am on a role and I have lots to write tonight. :) Thanks again.

 

Chapter 2: 5

 

Carlsberg was, in fact, the client. A famed art dealer from Germany, she had come to us on behalf of a man who had been prominently featured in the news over the past couple months: Arthur Hendrix Lancaster Jr., who was also an art dealer and—unsurprisingly—also incredibly wealthy.

 

Arthur Hendrix Lancaster Junior. Now that’s just pretentious,” Marcus commented. Not once had he seemed remotely interested in the conversation, and even now the words rolled lazily off his tongue. “Maybe I’ll start making you people refer to me as ‘Marcus James Powell V.’”

 

“There are four other Marcus James Powells in your family?” Mordechai replied, not genuinely interested but always dedicated to making his point. He kept his eyes on the papers in front of him while Michael and I exchanged irritated glances. “Not that great a name..."

 

“One, it’s a great name. And two,” Marcus continued, “no, there aren’t that many Marcus James Powells. I’m just saying. I don’t care who you are—four titles is excessive.”

 

Michael folded his hands and leaned forward. “Let’s call him Art,” he said. Marcus let out a “hell yeah” and high-fived him from across the table. The more Marcus spoke, the less of a grip I had on my quickly fading Zen.

 

Ellis was also struggling to maintain his calm. “Anyway,” he interjected with a stern, disapproving stare.  “Back to the matter at hand.”

 

Sarah Carlsberg came to us because she had no other choice, he explained. She and Arthur Hendrix Lancaster Jr. (“Art,” Michael reminded us each time one of us used his full name) were the Bonnie and Clyde of the art dealing world. For years, the two had been making a massive joke out of the entire community: Few—if any—of the paintings in their extensive collection were legitimate. “A near perfect replica of a piece of art is just as stunning as the original in its own right,” Carlsberg had commented in her session with Ellis and Adrian. “Imitation provides a separate and perhaps even more complex form of art all on its own.”

 

She spoke our language. Glorifying our work as conmen earned her a few points in Ellis’s book; he readily informed of us of how competent our client was and how we should be honored to take the job. None of us cared all that much about the “art” of the job, but the money offered certainly held our interest.

 

“A solid $500K each? We should work with art dealers more often,” Marcus said as he scanned the screen again and again, eyes wide with childlike excitement. Even with my stomach turning over the engagement, the promise of $500,000 for a single hit brought a hollow grin to my face. “We killed like twenty-five people last time—”

 

“Six,” Mordechai reminded him.

 

“—and we didn’t even get $300K for that."

 

“Different circumstances,” Ellis replied dismissively, advancing the screen to a picture of a balding man with oversized glasses and a navy blue bowtie. “This time, we only have one mark. His name is Claude Benedict.”

 

The art world somehow manages to feel both immense and delicately interconnected at the same time. In my pre-Heldstrom experience at the Art Institute, professors and students alike had connections with fellow artists, gallery owners, and art dealers across the country and—in many cases—around the globe. It came as no surprise to me that Sarah Carlsberg and our Claude Benedict had known each other for years and had, more recently, been engaging in a private, almost exclusively sexual affair.

 

Our mark, a small-time gallery owner in our lovely Chicago, knew far more than Carlsberg ever intended. “I don’t remember how it happened,” she told Ellis. He recognized the obvious lie but let the matter slide; her personal affairs did not affect the gracious some of money she was willing to throw at us to right her wrongs. “But he caught on about the paintings—he knew.”

 

Benedict, a self-described “good Christian man”—and a hypocrite, given the sacrilegious sex affair—wouldn’t stand for a business built on lies. With their travelling exhibition of fakes and a lucrative foothold on the replication industry, Lancaster and Carlsberg had made millions of dollars that Benedict believed had no place in the pockets of thieves. He threatened to expose the entire operation.

 

“I’ve worked for close to thirty years of my life building what Arthur and I have today,” Carlsberg whined. “And to let someone as petty as Claude Benedict ruin that—we’d be devastated.”

 

Devastated, I realized, was a considerable understatement. The two depended on the steady flow of commerce brought in through the never-ending process of buying, showing, and selling; and in an even larger sense, the replicators themselves depended on people like Carlsberg and Lancaster. We were doing a favor for many more people than just two art dealers by adhering to Carlsberg’s proposition.

 

Mordechai raised a decent point: “What’s stopping Benedict from coming forward with the news right now? If he’s got such a moral issue with it, then—”

 

Hush money, dumbass” Marcus replied, shaking his head. “You don’t ‘accidentally’ let out a huge secret and then let someone stew with the info. You pay ‘em to keep their fu/cking mouth shut.”

 

Sophia sighed. “Thanks for the insight, Marcus.”

 

He winked. “I got you.”

 

She exhaled in unintentional mimicry of Ellis, who habitually did the same each time Marcus spoke. “Marcus is right,” she continued, begrudgingly acknowledging Marcus’s answer. “For the time being, Carlsberg is paying Claude Benedict to remain quiet. From what she’s told us, he seems content with the arrangement. As always, we’re better off acting sooner rather than later, since our marks tend to be unpredictable.”

 

“If we’re sniping, I’ve got dibs,” Michael called out, and any hope of retaining my Zen disappeared without a trace.


Edited by Pretty.Odd., 29 December 2014 - 02:18 AM.

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#45 24moon100

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Posted 29 December 2014 - 02:44 AM

BRILLIANT. Fu/cking BRILLIANT. I'm like speechless right now I have so much I could say about this one part. It's freaking backstory and you still make it sound BRILLIANT. Seriously, I'm not bull *&%$&&& you. This stuff is AWESOME. You KNOW what you're doing. I'm amazed. Awed. Capital letters all the way. Superly well done. 

 

*Clears throat* Ahem. Excuse me. Be right back gotta go make a legitimate comment now. 

 

 

 


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