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 Spontaneous Spruce!, Tagged: Katerina Dimov
Darrell McGuiness
 Posted: Feb 5 2018, 06:38 AM
Quote
Newcomer
Asa


December 24, 2017
5pm

The only Christmas song he could truly say he enjoyed was that instrumental by that Siberian band, he had no idea what it was called, sounded like the badass rock version of “Carol of the Bells” but he could crank it and headbang to it, so why not? Other than that, Darrell bypassed a radio station at even the slightest hint of bells or sappy, slow vocals. It kind of sucked because there were hardly ever any other opportunities to hear Frank Sinatra or Dean Martin otherwise. But good God, it was the same fifteen songs sung by ten different artists, the most boring, unimaginative, tired shit he had ever heard in his life.

Darrell was not a celebratory man, hell most holidays passed him by without notice when he had to ask why the young’uns weren’t in school and he would get flabbergasted looks from people who were quick to remind him it was Labor Day or Easter or something. He would usually play it off with, “oh yeah, forgot” but he had no damn idea. So it surprised even him when he was perusing the local stores for a last minute scraggly pine tree to put up in the house. Maybe Kat would like it, more than likely wouldn’t though, but that was alright. Just another spur of the moment, random Darrell thing he couldn’t even explain. Though the stores were out of trees he did manage to pick up the very last tree stand from Lowes and headed to an old haunt, his hunting property. Utilizing a tape measure he had found in the truck he picked a six footer, it was fat and well filled out with long needles, and its trunk was no match for a hacksaw blade. With little effort he tossed it into the bed of the Chevy and headed home, whistling along to a tune by The Stooges as it came over the radio. He still wasn't fully recovered, had some pangs every now and again and hadn't the energy of before quite yet, but he felt better than he had so far and even the smallest bit of progress was much appreciated.

His master often liked to play with him with sticks but this was kind of ridiculous, Snake’s tail wagged furiously and he mouthed the bristly branches as it was dragged across the porch but seemed more confused than anything. Trees did not belong indoors … had his owner lost his mind? He was still whistling, wondering if Kat would be right there on the other side of the door to witness this madness, or was she out attending some sort of venue and would later come home to the madness? Didn’t matter he supposed, she would see it either way. The tree stand clattered to the floor as the snow melted off his boots and puddled on the hardwood, leaving dark spots on the rug. Where a family would normally have a television, he righted the tree in full view of the front windows, tightened the wingnuts and inspected his work as he tugged his gloves and wool hat off. There were pine needles everywhere … even in said hat and he stood there a moment, picking them out of the knitted wool.


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Katerina Dimov
 Posted: Feb 6 2018, 02:26 AM
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Newcomer
Kat


She had seen enough of Christmas to be sick of it. Lochland was in a panic, looking for someone else to clean their house before company arrived. To say she’d been working her ass off was accurate. It made her plenty of money, but had slowly drained her patience.. Now contentedly alone in the house, she finished folding laundry then took a relaxing shower; This was nice.

The radio played nothing but static. Something about it was gentle and soothing to her ears. No music, no loud noises, no people talking, no last minute extensions to what she’d already been paid to do. She simply let herself be. It was an all too familiar feeling that had not been missed until that moment. Katerina could remember laying around in the RV on forth of July staring at the ceiling with no work. As much as she hated not being active she liked that solace. That peace. She glared at her jeans as she entered the bedroom, vying instead for one of Darrell’s T-shirts followed by a towel around her head. Kat settled into bed and relaxed, but the sound of her boyfriend’s return caught her attention before she could get comfortable.

”Mmmm” It was a soft noise, one made out of curiosity and the stiffness of her back. It had been a while since she’d worked this hard. Every inch of her was sore and over-worked. She almost wished she had not laid down. She struggled to sit up, wandering over to her discarded clothes. Only when she had her socks on did she pad quietly to the door and peer wearily around the living room.

A.... tree?

”Darrell!?” The mess on the floor made her groan. ”Darrell, what is a tree doing INSIDE the house?” No, she knew it was a christmas tree, but she hoped he had a different reason. Maybe he had found baby birds in it or needed fresh living lumber for a project. They were both completely unrealistic ideas, but the idea of there being a holiday decoration in their house made her cringe. Her soft shoulder slumped slightly, arms folding. ”I really hope you haven’t been bitten by the holiday bug. “ She HAD gotten him a gift, but.. a tree? ”We don’t even have decorations for it.” Not that would stop them if he really wanted it there. The mess was grating her nerves, taunting her to sweep it up.

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Darrell McGuiness
 Posted: Feb 6 2018, 06:00 PM
Quote
Newcomer
Asa


Ah, she was here, but he didn’t look up from his wool cap, hair still standing out all over atop his head,
“Katerina.” it was a flat response in comparison to the surprise in her own voice, “It’s a Christmas tree.” well, duh. This was quite spontaneous, but would have seemed far more so if it had been a simple impulse buy, but he had gone through a lot of trouble to get this damn thing, driving all the way into the wilderness to cut it down himself. He felt kind of bad he had killed it, though.

Falling silent and finally letting his arms hang limply at his sides, he looked over the odd sight before him, a fucking tree in his living room. Was he feeling weirdly in the spirit?
“Oh, God.” he turned to her looking almost disgusted with himself, “I think I have,” what was she wearing? … what was she not wearing, “should’a got that vaccine, now it’s too late, there’s no savin’ me.” tossing the hat on the couch across the room, he started to pull off his coat, ready to leave it by the door. He was feeling much better, going out in the cold wasn’t as torturous and he was tired less often and had resumed light workouts at the gym and was monitoring his weight again. He wondered if Kat was using the scales, she looked great but was definitely putting on a few holiday pounds it seemed. He hadn’t mentioned it to her in an effort not to make her self conscious. Boots squeaked across the wet floor, leaving shining puddles of dirty water, “Hmm … we could make ornaments, outta somethin’ … stuff.” a few needles floated through the deeper water as he stopped in front of her, eyes taking her in the same way they had on another holiday back in warmer times, “I like your shirt,” it wasn’t hers of course, it was practically a dress on her, “what’s under it?” if he could distract her from the mess on the floor it would be quite a feat and he fully expected her to just roll her eyes and brush him off.



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Katerina Dimov
 Posted: Feb 7 2018, 02:50 AM
Quote
Newcomer
Kat


The mess. Katerina couldn’t believe the water, dirt, and needles. She could only stair at it and back to Darrell as if to help him connect the issue. He seemed completely obvlivious. “It’s a Christmas tree.” The woman stared, watching him slowly put together the issue at hand then look... like a guilty puppy. “Oh, God. I think I have, The realization seemed to be quickly catching up to him. “Should’a got that vaccine, now it’s too late, there’s no savin’ me.” Alright, that was.. slightly amusing. Her lips twitched in the slightest of smiles. It was hard to be at all entertained when the mess was haunting her.

Oh god... she knew that look

Darrell’s features changed as he wandered over to her leaving more of a mess on the floor. She unfolded her arms to settle her hands on her hips,displeased. “Hmm … we could make ornaments, outta somethin’ … stuff.” This was the worst possible time. “I like your shirt. what’s under it?” Ohhhh no. ”Absolutely nothing for you.” She gestured to the floor. ” I’ll let you keep the tree, and maybe we can find something to put on it.. maybe.. however..” Her head tilted towards the ground. ”Do you see that mess? It’s the most unsexy thing I’ve ever seen.” She wasn’t certain he was even healthy enough for sex. It wasn’t exactly something she’d thought to ask about. Unsure if she was pleased to see him eyeing her or too irritable to care, she refolded her arms. ”And take your shoes off. You are tracking it all over the house.”

Sighing, she glanced at him momentarily over a shoulder as she escaped to the kitchen. Her socked feet were careful to stay away from the mess. ”I don’t mind having a tree. Maybe it will add a little energy to the house.” Among other things. She figured that a change might do them both good. ”I could go to the store and find some things. String of lights maybe? I’m not sure I want glass orniments.” She didn’t rust them not to get broken either being put on, being taken off, or flying off in the middle of the night because the dog got curious. ”Where did you even get it?” She was honestly curious. ”Did you make sure nothing is living in it?” The thought sent a wave of anxiety through her gut, an unusual thing for a woman who had a hard time feeling emotion at all.

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Darrell McGuiness
 Posted: Feb 7 2018, 05:33 PM
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Newcomer
Asa


The heels of his boots came down heavily on the wet floor as she informed him he wouldn’t be getting to indulge in any presents this evening, he seemed to shrink a few inches in that very moment of disappointment. The tree was staying, but the mess he had made was not and he turned to look over his shoulder to the chunks of dirty, melting snow sitting in their puddles of cold water,
“Oh c’mon, chicks dig lumberjacks, I cut that tree down myself, and I got a pretty good beard goin’ on.” he rubbed at the thickening stubble along his jaw, combing his fingers back through his hair to straighten it a bit.

He was then informed to remove his boots, with that she escaped him and his libido by retreating to the kitchen. Since when had this house become her’s? Oh, well. With a mocking,
“Yes’im” he stood on his heels and pulled his feet out of his boots, leaving them by the door next to the vent to dry. He wasn’t sure what kind of “energy” a tree could add to the house, it was dead, after all. Thick, wool socks cooled in the air of the house as hot feet were relieved from the confines of the insulated snow boots, “I’m like a bull in a China shop,” he admitted when Kat said she didn’t want glass ornaments. Not to mention Snake’s tail quite regularly cleared the coffee table so there was no telling what it could do to the ornaments on the tree, “The woods.” he answered her next, drawing out the second word in an innocent sort of way, much like a child would if he wasn’t quite sure if he was in trouble or not. But to appease her he walked past the kitchen and into the laundry room, unbuttoning his flannel in the warmth of the old house so the thin tank top underneath could relish in a little fresh air. He had really worked himself up cutting down, dragging and loading up that damn pine tree.

Reemerging from the mud room with an old towel he thought about her next question. Though he hadn’t checked for anything in the tree, one would hope that the act of sawing through the bough would indicate to anything living among its branches, that it would be unwise to remain in the tree. Surely he would have noticed something when he was dragging it to and from the truck as well, and he hadn’t. So yes, this counted as checking the branches for living things, right?
“Yep, no birds, no critters, no nothin.’” the plates in the kitchen cabinets rattled just slightly as he strode past once more with heavy strides, dropping the towel into the puddles by the front door, “Do I get t’ open my present t’night?” he asked, once more trying his hand at taking advantage of the situation as his feet stamped out the mess and mopped up water and specks of dirt and pine needles. Did he bother watering the tree? Not like they needed it for that long seeing as how it was Christmas Eve.



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Katerina Dimov
 Posted: Feb 9 2018, 02:54 PM
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Newcomer
Kat


Her family had actually loved Christmas. They’d cut down trees, decorated, and gone to church to sing carols with other farm folk. On christmas day her mother would make a large ham. She’d be eating ham for weeks after, but on that day she didn’t care. These little joys were good memories. A time long past with so much emotion attached to them that she could still feel it to some extent. If Katerina could forgive the years of abuse she’d suffered, the lonliness, the fear, the repetition of christmas songs over too many months, the disconnect she felt with other people... well.. maybe she could enjoy it again.

A tree....

All she could think about was the mess it had made getting put up and the mess it would make being taken down.

... but.....

If it made Darrell happy then she allow it.

Searching the kitchen, wary house cleaner looked for something they could eat for dinner. Her whole body had suffered from work. Too much work. Now her boyfriend was up and able again she was making up for lost time. It was Christmas Eve, and she didn’t think he’d been grocery shopping. This.. could be a problem. “Do I get t’ open my present t’night?” She knew he wasn’t referring to the wrapped gifts in the guest room, she’d seen the look in his eyes before she’d told him to clean up his mess. ”After dinner you can choose one. I suppose I can put them under the tree.” She called, reaching for the door to another cupboard.

Nothing..

There was some canned soup she knew she didn’t like. At this rate they’d have to order something. Would there be anything open on Christmas Eve? She supposed They certainly weren’t eating the frozen chili. As soon as she’d frozen it she lost interest.... hmmmm-what!?- out of bread too!? ”Darrell, have you gone grocery shopping at all in the past week?” The minute she was too busy to do things.. He had probably eaten enough cereal and sandwiches to make her cringe. She’d done the sandwich diet herself. They weren’t doing pizza. No pizza.

Tired of lifting her arms, she looked around the kitchen with a dull feeling of annoyance. ”What do you think is open on Christmas eve?” Hmm.. ” food wise.” As a last resort she checked the refrigerator. It wasn’t much to think of, and nothing to make a dinner out of. Perhaps she should have planned ahead. Everything they had was for Darrell being sick and recovering, and most of that was gone.

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Darrell McGuiness
 Posted: Feb 11 2018, 11:45 PM
Quote
Newcomer
Asa


Normally he would have sagged his shoulders but at her repeated rejection his whole body slouched a moment in clear disappointment. She knew what he meant, they hadn’t lived together for the past several months for her to be able to pretend as though she didn’t understand what he truly had in mind by that statement. His only response was a dead stare at the barren tree and a weirdly high pitched whining noise he only did when he wasn’t getting what he wanted. She couldn’t blame it on the dog, he was out on the porch enjoying the last of the fading warmth before he got to come indoors.

“Yes,” he had gone to the store and bought a ton of crap but most of it was either for the dog or all that protein crap he needed to start back to the gym. He didn’t typically buy things to actually eat, thinking it best if he left that up to Kat as she was the one cooking, and cleaning, he hadn’t bought cleaning products in forever, “but just gross stuff for the dog and all those jugs on the counter.” all the supplements in the world seemed to be occupying a very small space. It was always obvious when he had spent the hour or so it took to prepare a week’s worth of dog food, the house smelled like raw things and the recycling was full of smelly containers for chicken innards, various body parts, pork organs and random vegetable cans that seemed very much out of place, “No actual food except bread … an’ cornflakes.” it was clear there was little to choose from at the moment. What the hell would even be open to buy food from this late on Christmas Eve?

The thought of being holed up for the next two days with nothing around them open and serving food was mildly troublesome. It was almost like being snowed in. Kat had food on the brain, it was pretty obvious what Darrell had in mind, leaning in against the counter and raising a brow at her question. She had made it pretty clear that “not your legs” wouldn’t have been a satisfactory answer. Thinking a moment he bit contemplatively at his inner cheek,
“Ever seen that movie, A Christmas Story?” everyone had seen it, right? “They had Christmas dinner at a Chinese restaurant.” he shrugged, “Does China King deliver?” he asked, squinting at the floor and trying to remember. He was pretty sure they would have to go and pick it up.


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Katerina Dimov
 Posted: Feb 12 2018, 02:02 AM
Quote
Newcomer
Kat


No food, none. One week where she didn’t work on means and he only went shopping for thingst hat weren’t edible. . Katerina wondered briefly if her boyfriend sustained himself on cereal as a bachelor. Well, cereal and whey. She felt as if she’d been given a puzzle to solve without any notice. What could she make with what little they had in the house? Was it possible? Maybe it would be better to just order out, but what was even open? “Ever seen that movie, A Christmas Story?” The woman shut the refrigerator for the third time and turned curiously to see what he was talking about.

.. not that she found anything to SEE exactly.

”Yes, I know of it. Shoot your eye out? Red Rider bebe gun?” She honestly remembered little more than that. Parts of it appeared on television sets in some of the houses she cleaned, but there was little for her to really connect to ‘food’. “They had Christmas dinner at a Chinese restaurant.” Her brows lifted with interest. ”Oh.. yeah.” It hadn’t occurred to her at all. “Does China King deliver?” She wasn’t sure, actually. ”Probably. There were a few fliers in the mail last week from a few places in town, and the Lochland Times had an AD section we could check” She didn’t have a fancy phone to check, and they didn’t have Internet.. or a computer. ”Did you already tear it up for Kujo?” The fact the dog was named ‘Snake’ had always been an odd quirk she’d had to get used to. Every once in a while she wanted to call Snake Kujo, but so far she’d avoided it.

”Do you want to order? I’ll go see if I have money in my purse.” They weren’t paying with a credit card. ”When you are done we can sit down and try to figure out how to decorate the tree. "Popcorn sounded ideal, but then there was actual food hanging on a tree that was poisonous for animals. It sounded like the perfect way to have yet another veterinary visit. No thank you. ”Did you need anything from the bedroom?” She still needed to dry her hair a little and maybe brush some conditioner through it. Long hair could be a bitch. If she was frustrated enough she’d braid it wet just to get it out of her way.

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Darrell McGuiness
 Posted: Feb 12 2018, 02:50 AM
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Newcomer
Asa


As she turned to look at him a restrained grin curled the corner of his mustache. Had she thought something would materialize after she checked the fridge and first and second time? Hell, they were all guilty of shit like that, why did they do that? No matter, she was familiar with a film for once,
“Uh huh, oh fudge, except I didn’ say fudge.” that was his favorite part of the movie! Anyways, he figured the chinks didn’t celebrate Christmas, as it was a Christian holiday and all that, so why wouldn’t they be open? Slowly turning toward the illuminated terrarium against the wall of the living room, Darrell wondered if the classifieds had indeed somehow made it into the tank. He had just cleaned the cage a few days ago, so it may very well have been there.

Footsteps didn’t seem as heavy when he was wearing thick socks, moving over to where the python lay coiled up under his heat lamp, soaking in the rays and digesting his last meal that was still distended in his belly. Between the muscular S-shaped sides of the gold speckled snake, he saw the ad she had been referring to,
“Fa rarah rah rah, rarah rah rah, found it.” he went quiet a moment, “Goddammit … ” the snake got nervous and moved, “they do deliver, I can tell ya that much,” hated to disturb the animal but they needed food too. Carefully opening the lid, Darrell gently nudged the python off the ink and read the number aloud, hoping Katerina had a phone handy, “I would love some egg chowmein, an’ like … a dozen egg rolls but that would be irresponsible.” he closed the disturbed snake back up, “Better make ‘em spring rolls, healthier that way.”


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Katerina Dimov
 Posted: Feb 12 2018, 03:19 AM
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Newcomer
Kat


She took a moment to run a second towel over her wet hair then returned with her purse. Darrell was playing with his snake. “Fa rarah rah rah, rarah rah rah, found it.” So she figured, though the ‘rah rah’ was unneeded. She was sick of Christmas music, racist or otherwise. “Goddammit … ” She watched his large back without a clue what he was talking about now. “they do deliver, I can tell ya that much,” Good. ”Alright. I have plenty of cash in my purse. We should be set.” Several of her clients paid under the table. It made life easy.

Why was he telling her the number?

Trying not to seem irritable, she dug for her phone then hastily typed in the number. When this was over she was going to bed. He could take care of the food. “I would love some egg chowmein, an’ like … a dozen egg rolls but that would be irresponsible. Better make ‘em spring rolls, healthier that way.” For a man who lifted weights and ate powder, he seemed to miss what healthy food was. ”They are both fried. I don’t think it will make a difference.” Obviously she couldn’t look at a menu herself. She held the phone to her ear and listened to a garbled hello, quickly ordering Darrell his chowmein and spring rolls before getting herself some egg drop soup and .. what else did she want? ”Sweet and Sour pork.” It was the only thing that actually came to mind. She barely had any time to say anything else before the voice on the other end wanted an address then stated they’d be there in thirty minutes before hanging up on her.

She really needed to throw this phone out.

”Well, that is done. Did you have any ideas for the tree?” She stared at her phone a moment, contemplating where she’d get a new one and if it was worth it before putting it back in her purse.”We could use left over ribbon from the presents I wrapped.” It was litterally the only thing she could think of. ”I didn’t want to put anything Snake might try to eat on the tree.” He was an electrician. Maybe he had something better.

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Darrell McGuiness
 Posted: Feb 12 2018, 03:56 AM
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Newcomer
Asa


Of course they had plenty of cash, that black bag he’d had her fetch from the Jeep that night turned out to have seven grand in it. Gunning down five drug dealers was worth seven thousand dollars to him, getting shot and having to deal with the aftermath, not so much. He wasn’t sure anyone could put a price on that he would willingly accept.

As she still stood there in his shirt with a towel around her head she looked a sight, pressing the phone to her ear and informing him that egg rolls were no healthier than spring rolls,
“It’s my cheat day.” he had the self control to get up early in the mornings, mix a gross protein shake and head to the gym, then for the rest of the week abstain from anything too unhealthy, but he couldn’t handle alcohol? Sometimes he baffled even himself and recalled getting a few confused looks after leaving the gym and immediately lighting up a cigarette in the parking lot. He listened with hunger gnawing in his belly as she ordered his preferred meal, then egg drop soup, which he had forgotten existed, his mother’s favorite so of course anything liked by Christy was also loved by her son, “Oooo get their biggest size for the soup, I think it’s a quart.” might as well, seeing as how they would need to eat tomorrow too.

The order was placed, good, he suddenly realized he was starving. They returned to the subject of the tree,
“Ah, uh no.” well here ya are, genius, ya got the tree, now what? Didn’t think of that now did ya? “Is it kinda thick ribbon?” he asked, turning from the weirdly naked spruce to the woman in the kitchen, “I think the six hund’urd fifty dollar vet bill proved that Snake’ll eat anything.” that had been a goddamn nightmare. Disposing of the body of that dog poisoning asshole had felt so cathartic, coming home later revealed an old car that turned out to be stolen after all, full of bleach, a shovel, garbage bags, more guns and ammo and of course the rat bait pellets and greasy cellophane from the burger meat. He and his buddy had deposited it in the rear of the lot at Bob’s and left it there after wiping it down for prints. It was gone four days later, Darrell having no idea what happened to it.

“What’s your New Year’s resolution?” he suddenly asked, walking to the front door to let the dog in so it wouldn’t frighten whoever was delivering their food, “I’m gonna try harder not t’ get shot.” figuring if he shared first, even if it wasn’t that serious, she would be more open to sharing with him. Using the designated rag by the door, he wiped off the mastiff’s large paws and allowed him full run of the house.



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Katerina Dimov
 Posted: Feb 12 2018, 04:28 AM
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Newcomer
Kat


Now dinner was out of the way there was time to deal with the next project on her list. The tree wasn’t exactly her idea, but Katerina was willing to try to work with it. She stared at the slowly dying plant with no clue how to dress it up. All she could think of was what ribbon she had left for wrapping christmas presents. “Is it kinda thick ribbon?” She shook her head no. “I think the six hund’urd fifty dollar vet bill proved that Snake’ll eat anything.” True. ”Maybe we should avoid the ribbon then.” Which meant they still had a bare tree. She cuppted her cheek in her hand with no idea waht to do.

“What’s your New Year’s resolution?”

”What?”

Katerina’s brow wrinkled as she glanced at Darrel, unsure she heard him right. “I’m gonna try harder not t’ get shot.” Good. ”Oh.. hmmm...” The woman went quiet as Darrell took the time to let Snake in. ”To get Sheena into college. We’ve been working on it for months.” Hopefully the other woman didn’t flake on her. Sheena was Sheena. ”If I can do that then.. I’d like to see her get a real job and an apartment of her own.” Shrugging, she took down her hair and went to drop her towel in the laundry bin. ”I don’t usually make resolutions. They are useless. If you want to change yourself then why use New Years as the reason? Start right away.” The wet hair began soaking her shirt immediately. ”At least birthday wishes have some meaning. It isn’t practical either, but things are usually more.. whimsical. “ The laundry room was a little cold. Nothing could keep out the winter chill just the sn-”Hmm...” Might work....”Darrell? “ She returned to the livingroom. ”What.. if we dusted the tree in flour? Like snow? We could spray glue over it then dust it with regular old baking powder.. whatever we have in the cupboard? ” It would still be messy, but could work. ”You have spray glue, right?”

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Darrell McGuiness
 Posted: Feb 12 2018, 05:14 AM
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Newcomer
Asa


He vividly remembered pulling dental floss out of the dog’s nether regions, it would be no more pleasant with ribbon Darrell imagined. So that idea was promptly abandoned unless they put it up higher on the tree where Snake couldn’t reach it.

“Pfft, months is an understatement.” Kat was of course free to save her money and then spend it however she saw fit. Darrell wasn’t sure how he felt about Sheena nor her relationship with his girlfriend but something told him he wouldn’t be surprised if Kat busted her ass this entire time just for the younger woman to run off with the money and spend it on something else, “Hmm, is she helpin’ with the financial aspect of that at all?” he couldn’t help but be a little judgmental and the last thing he wanted was to have some sort of silly disagreement with Katerina on Christmas Eve, “I see how damn hard you work an’ then don’t spend hardly none of it on yourself, not even for food.” he knew college was expensive but good lord, “Both my brothers went t' college but they paid for half, they got jobs an’ paid their part of the tuition, an’ college ain’t even for everybody, ‘specially now, people don’t really value a college education the way they used to. Use t’ be only a few lucky kids got t’ go, now everybody goes so it don’t really give that much of an advantage.” he tried to explain, “When’s the last time ya even asked ‘er if she still wanted t’ go? Seems t’ me she’s perfectly content just ridin’ a motorcycle around without a care in the world.” which was fine, there were plenty of ways to make money without a degree, “Employers nowadays value experience over education, so it’s kinda … a waste’a money.” he wasn’t sure what kind of job Sheena had now, but even if she set aside half her wages she could put a pretty good dent into her half of the tuition, “I feel like you’ve put so much effort inta her, ya practically raised her, right? Clothed her, fed her, put a roof over her head,” he trailed off, not sure of what else to say without coming off as ignorant or offensive, “I dunno, if it was me I’d feel like I’d done enough, payin’ for four years in a university is askin’ too much. I’m payin’ for half of Paige’s right now so I know it costs a fuck ton.” more than Kat could make by herself working all these odd jobs and trying to support herself. But maybe Kat just needed to feel needed by someone, maybe it was more than just putting Sheena through school. Darrell couldn’t be sure and frankly he didn’t care that much, he just didn’t want to see her taken advantage of. Seemed like a pretty shitty deal, though.

“Makes sense,” he shrugged. But it was amazing how New Year’s resolutions changed the economy for like … a month. The demand for fruits and vegetables went up, the demand for alcohol and cigarettes declined then around mid February everything stabilized again as people realized they didn’t want to change badly enough and returned to old habits.

She continued speaking from the laundry room as he prepared the house for evening, turning on some lights and turning off the tank light on the python terrarium, Snake following him around some. The poisoning and subsequent confrontation with Macleod had brought them all a little closer together it seemed. Darrell had Katerina to thank for his very existence and there was something very powerful there, something unbreakable and incorruptible.

She reemerged with an interesting idea for a project. Darrell eyeballed the tree skeptically,
“I got some in the shed … would that work,” he thought a moment, “or just make a huge ass mess?” laughing he figured the tree would be carried right back outside soon, “We’ll do it on the porch, if it’s too messy it can just stay out there.” but yes he did have some spray on adhesive from tinting the storm door so the morning sun streaming in didn’t fade the new hardwood.



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Katerina Dimov
 Posted: Feb 14 2018, 03:50 AM
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Newcomer
Kat


It was obvious Darrell didn’t like the idea of College or Sheena going to colleg.. or Sheena. Bringing up the other woman’s name had him questioning motives, money, and her intentions. “I feel like you’ve put so much effort inta her, ya practically raised her, right? Clothed her, fed her, put a roof over her head. I dunno, if it was me I’d feel like I’d done enough, payin’ for four years in a university is askin’ too much. I’m payin’ for half of Paige’s right now so I know it costs a fuck ton.” She breathed a soft sigh, shaking her head. ”Community college and it isn’t up for discussion. You wanted to know what I’d say and I said it. If you want to critique my answer then we can discuss your hope to not get shot again.” Her brow arched, a rare show of irritated emotion. She was clear, honest. Considering she didn’t even believe in resolutions to begin with he should be pleased she even bothered to play along.

“Makes sense,” Good. Could they get back to the issue? There was still a dying undecorated tree in their living room.

A thought struck her. It was rather creative for her, and it almost impressed her she thought of it at all. What if they powdered the christmas tree in flour? A little glue could make it stick better, and they wouldn’t have to do anything particularly difficult... but did they HAVE spray glue? Surely he did. “I got some in the shed … would that work,” Katerina nodded, running her wet hair through her slender fingers. or just make a huge ass mess?” Darrell’ laughter was.. nice. She couldn’t say she was in the most festive of spirits, but it did make her heard feel a little lighter. “We’ll do it on the porch, if it’s too messy it can just stay out there.” A plan. An actual plan. ”Perfect. You get the tree outside and get the adhesive while I go put on some work clothes.” There went her perfectly clean skin, clothes, and hair. She’d be right back where she started again.

Heading for the bedroom, Kat felt strangely giddy. It was a sudden sensation that caught her off gaurd like a moving shadow or a frightened bird. She was almost in wonder of it as she got dressed. Was she catching the holiday spirit herself? ”Baby, don’t let the dog follow us out!” She called, wiggling with annoyance into a pair of jeans and looping a hair tie around the button to keep a little room. The soft gut she’d developed was starting to become noticeable. It bothered her in a way, but she put it aside to hurry out to the kitchen.

Flour.. flour flour flour.. maybe cornstarch? Baking powder? Baking soda? What would be best? She hadn’t the slightest idea. Considering she wasn’t a baker, she grabbed the flour first and headed out figuring she’d simply start with it and go from there. Darrell didn’t seem to have hurt himself taking the stupid tree back outside. There were more needles on the floor, but she’d forgive him. ”I’ve got the flower.” She called, turning to shut the door. ”Are we ready to get started?” She wasn’t sure how this would work, but it was the best idea they had. A plain tree felt like a joke. ”Maybe we can put a lamp behind it to make it glow a little.” No tree lights. If she’d had time to prepare she could have purchased something. It was too late to lament it. She knew she was in it for the long haul now. This was commitment to a brand new type of mess; something her boyfriend was apparently good at making.

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Darrell McGuiness
 Posted: Feb 18 2018, 10:02 PM
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Newcomer
Asa


Did she just threaten to shoot him?
“Wow, okay Momma Bear.” he figured dropping the subject would be in their best interests. Thought they could have a civil conversation about it, maybe at least convince her to make Sheena pay for half of her tuition and not be a freeloader. Darrell didn’t know enough to really make a judgement call on it, but it seemed to him that Kat’s “daughter” was out fucking around just expecting her to come up with the shit ton of money to pay for her to fuck off more in school. Poor Kat was like a single mother trying to put someone through the increasingly expensive and worthless American educational system, “All I’m sayin’ is … Randy’s a college professor an’ he’s told me I dunno how many times that degrees don’t mean shit no more.” he had his own opinion of the matter and maybe when they were all younger that piece of paper actually meant something, but in today’s society it had simply lost its value to good old fashioned experience. Employers wanted competent workers who had already proven themselves, not some freckle faced teenager with an associates degree from a community college, “But if it ain’t up for discussion, it ain’t up for discussion.” the last thing he wanted was an argument, especially on an occasion such as this. So he dropped it.

The pine was squeezed through the front door, again, the floor he had just cleaned covered in needles once more as Snake stood there at the top of the porch steps looking confused and curious but seemed happy to be let inside. Darrell grabbed his boots once the conifer was situated and slogged through snow and mud to the shed, fumbling with his keys in the low humming light of the security lamp, cold steam drifting through the beam of piercing blue that illuminated the cloudy Christmas Eve night. The door opened easily enough as Darrell was pretty meticulous about keeping all paths and doorways cleared of snow, he pulled the delicate chain of the single bulb hanging from the low ceiling and watched as light spilled into the cramped and cluttered tool shed. Along the top of a dirty, faded red Milwaukee tool chest was aerosol can upon aerosol can, mostly spray paint and primer but sorting through them soon revealed about half a can of spray on adhesive he had used back in the summer.

He shook it all the way back up to the front porch, listening until the stuck ball finally loosed itself from its sticky confines and rattled freely around the metal can, breaking up six months of stagnant glue,
“I think so,” he looked at the can as if visually inspecting it would answer her question. Using the tail of his shirt he wiped at the opening to the spray nozzle just in case, “Not a bad idea.” he shrugged, looking toward the window they planned on setting the tree up in. He roughly brushed at a few of the branches, hopefully the damn thing was dry enough for this little experiment, "Alright, do your thing." he invited her and eyed the bag of flour in her arms.



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