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 Calm Before the Storm, Jaqueline Zimman
Ace Yamada
 Posted: May 20 2018, 04:59 PM
Quote
Newcomer
Freyja


Ever since Zoey had moved away, Ace was bummed. He missed his best Gaysian, one of the few people he cared about so much that it hurt and made his heart sing simultaneously, but she had to do what was right for her. Besides, they could still Skype and text, and maybe visit sometimes. Sometimes he thought that if he'd just step into the Old Rose, their normal tavern haunt, he'd see her sitting at the bar with a whiskey sour. But, no, she was far enough away now that it'd involve money and plane tickets for that to be remotely plausible.

Best friend there or not, he needed some breakfast. He'd taken the day off to prep for his party at the Odyssey, which would be that Saturday evening. Celebrating the incarceration of the Robert Lewis copycat. Ace though that since Ye Olde Originale Lewis was from the 1890s if he recalled correctly, this had to be a '90s party. He sat at the diner, at the little counter that reminded him of that of an old soda fountain shop. It might used to have been for all he knew! Pancakes at his left, covered in butter and maple syrup, the real stuff, not that fake Log Cabin shit. He had his old netbook with him as it didn't take up as much space as the Asus. Spotify, searching, one earbud in his right ear -- you could hear music and voice better on the right side, which was actually why a lot of people favor the right ear for phone calls -- and a mini composition notebook, not much bigger than three inches by three inches, and a few colored, felt-tipped fineliner pens.

Spotify was a lifesaver for the part-time DJ. Sure his music collection was pretty massive -- it took up a two terabyte external drive just about -- but everyone was coming out with new music all the time and Spotify was the best way to discover and track it, sample it, see what was what. For instance, in a search for 90s, he'd totally forgotten Alice DeeJay even existed. But then remembered having a DDR-type thing on his computer, the pad hooked up with it, and dancing to "Better Off Alone" with all its million and a half freeze-arrows. His foster mom thought the dance games were kind of silly, until Jocelyn, then hovering close to that red "obese" territory on doctors' office walls, had lost thirty pounds playing it with Ace. Sure diet helped, but DDR was more fun as an exercise than the dreadmill.

He clicked through his sampled playlist and then found Culture Beat's "Mr. Vain" as a suggested add-on. See? Stuff he'd forgotten even existed, despite having been a 90s kid. (Well, born in the mid-80s but did most of his growing up in the 90s.)

"More coffee?" the waitress asked him, and he popped his head up to look in his cup. Before he could answer, she was pouring him another cup from the carafe. He smiled, said a thank you, and reached for a little packet of Splenda. Hmm, the playlist needed a certain trance-like song. Darude came to mind, but not "Sandstorm." That song was shit compared to most of the other stuff on their album. "Calm Before the Storm" was their best, in Ace's opinion.

He looked up as someone took a seat near him. The diner was pretty packed...

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Jaqueline Zimman
 Posted: May 27 2018, 09:24 AM
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Stranger
Jen


Jackie was in a similar position. In all her time in Lochland, she hadn’t managed to make many friends other than Tessa and Brooklyn, who both seemed to vanish out of the air. She did click well with Cora, but she hadn’t grown particularly close to her yet. As usual, she was starting to bring herself down. Moving to Lochland felt like a mistake now. She enjoyed the quiet and everyone seemed nice enough, but she didn’t quite feel like she fit into the tightly knit community.

The last time she got a tarot reading, she was advised to simply go out more and try to expand her comfort zone instead of drawing in her apartment all day in the company of no one but Po. While some people might see that as the sort of shitty advice one might get from a psychic, it was just the push Jackie needed. It made her feel like the universe was on her side and it wanted her to thrive but she just hadn’t been doing her part.

She was doing her part now, walking aimlessly around town hoping for chance meetings to moderately successful results. Even if she hadn’t met anyone, it did boost her mood to simply be out and about. It didn’t feel like there was much to explore in Lochland due its size, but people-watching was always fun…even if they all seemed remarkably similar to each other. There just weren’t any obvious groups of hippies vs. business people vs. hipsters, which was always fun to watch.

Maybe moving to Lochland really was a mistake, but Jackie was determined to make it work. There was no way she could go back to Pennsylvania to be received with a chorus of “I-told-you-so’s.” Besides, her lease wasn’t up yet. There were other states she could go to though, maybe even another country would be good. Her french was getting better and she wouldn’t mind exploring France alone. Some soul-searching in Japan would do her some good too.

Those were the benefits of not being tied down to a conventional lifestyle of having a spouse and kids. Her first move wasn’t working out, so she had the freedom of going literally anywhere in the world, hopping from here to there until she found somewhere to belong at no expense to anyone.

As she mulled over her options for when her lease would be up, she stopped in front of Gertie’s, a spot she often visited to practice drawing people. It wasn’t a vegan spot, but she’d gone so many times it felt kind of homey, and that’s just what she needed at the moment.

The large crowd was almost overwhelming, making her want to turn around immediately, but she spotted an empty chair and felt like the universe was pushing her to sit there. Who was she to ignore the universe? She sat down and was given a menu to look at though she already knew she wanted a salad, the only vegan thing she could see on there, and even then she had to exclude some items off her order.

It appears that her sitting down had gotten someone’s attention, probably because the person hadn’t been expecting someone to sit next to them. She glanced back on instinct and vaguely identified his face. “Oh, hi,” she said as if she knew him and was surprised by running into him, but that wasn’t the case, she’d simply seen him around. “You’re a DJ at The Odyssey, aren’t you?” One of the spots she’d been visiting to try to meet people. All she’d gotten from it was a few make-out sessions, but that was better than nothing. “I was just there last night.” She couldn’t recall whether he’d been there that night, but she’d definitely seen him on other occasions.
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Ace Yamada
 Posted: Jun 4 2018, 01:57 PM
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Newcomer
Freyja


To say the crowd was overwhelming was an understatement. The wait staff were all running around with fire under their asses, trying to keep people happy, keep the coffee mugs filled up and the soda flowing. And crowds did kind of give Ace anxiety. Not horrible, not like he was going to hyperventilate, but on edge for sure. It wasn't really claustrophobia either, with only having a small space to himself; he worked in tiny spaces. He was used to them. Hell, he'd taken naps in overhead bins before.

He poked at his stack of pancakes with his fork, kind of tapping them to the rhythm of the song that was playing through his earbud from his mini-laptop. He could almost hear his mom's voice telling him to stop poking the food. Poking his food was some habit he'd kind of always had. His mother never brought him to the supermarket when he was younger because he'd poke the meat in those little cling-wrapped, styrofoam-bottomed packages. He'd never poke through the plastic, but he'd leave an imprint. He had recalled seeing a cooking show that followed the chef through the supermarket and she'd poked the meat, so Ace had figured that was just what you did. And tenderizing meat was fun because it gave him the excuse to announce to whoever was around that he was beating his meat. That always got a groan from his sister. Zoey had found it hilarious.

The person sat next to him as he was taking a bite of pancakes, and she greeted him. Awkwaaaaard, here he was with a face full of pancakes while being talked to. It was like the phenomenon in which the server only asked how you were doing when you had food in your mouth. He chewed them up and swallowed, and said "Hey there, how's it going?" So as not to be rude, he paused the playlist on his computer and popped the earbud out of his ear, sticking the pair on the keyboard. Not the eating surface. That would be gross.

She asked him about the Odyssey. "Oh, yeah," he said, "I DJ there now and then. When I can get time off my day job." She mentioned having been there. "I popped in for a bit last night but I didn't DJ. I just needed a drink and some music after an annoying day and home felt too lonely," he said. He couldn't recall if he'd seen her there or not, but faces blurred together for him when there were a lot of people around.

The Odyssey though, was like a second home to Ace now that he couldn't stand going to the Old Rose and not seeing Zoey there with her whiskey sour. He suspected he was in the "bargaining" stage of grief. Like please let Zoey be there, I'll do anything! I'll eat a bug, I'll run naked through the town square, anything! Maybe she'd move back after she got her stuff sorted out. Ace missed her terribly but understood that Lochland wasn't cutting it for her. What fun was being part of a pair of jokingly self-proclaimed "Gaysians" when there was only one? When there were two, it was like an exclusive club, but now that there was only one, it almost sounded rude? Oh well.

Ace turned back to the woman and said, "You probably just know me as Electro Cupcake." He laughed a bit. "Name's Ace. It's nice to meet you." He figured since they'd be dining together, they might as well know first names at least!

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Jaqueline Zimman
 Posted: Jun 17 2018, 11:00 PM
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Stranger
Jen


"I popped in for a bit last night but I didn't DJ. I just needed a drink and some music after an annoying day and home felt too lonely," “Ah, I feel that. I’ve been living alone for a while now and my cat is usually good at keeping me company, but we’ve run out of things to talk about,” she joked. “I’ve been going to The Odyssey a lot more than I expected to, just to socialize. Drunk people can either be really shitty company or the best, there’s no in between. Thankfully I’ve only encountered the latter so far,” she chuckled. “It’s always nice to find a drunk girl willing to braid my hair and happy drunk cry with me over same-sex marriage between penguins, but those connections don’t usually last beyond the night.” Shit…what was that weird tangent she just went on? Did those two penguins even get married or were they just happy crying at the idea of them getting married?

"You probably just know me as Electro Cupcake." Truth was Jackie didn’t know him by any name at all. She was usually the last to arrive, first to leave to most occasions, and that included club outings. She supposed she’d never been around when his name was announced, or she was busy trying to hook up with someone as a way to push down her dark thoughts and boost her self-esteem as it had been fluctuating for quite a while especially now that the anniversary of her girlfriend’s death neared… Yup. It was one of the two for sure!

"Name's Ace. It's nice to meet you." Ace was definitely something she would prefer to call him because Electric Cupcake seemed like an ‘October’ thing to say, meaning that month was when she was at her perkiest as that’s when summoning demons was suddenly socially acceptable. Any other month of the year all she’d hear from her neighbors was ‘please go to church’ or ‘the hallway reeks of incense every time you open the door’ or ‘for the love of god please stop trying to summon demons in this building at first i thought i was just hearing you chant in tongues from your apartment but now i realize im still hearing it when you’re not home and it’s freaking me the fuck out.’

…psh…pussies!

“I’m Jackie, it’s nice to meet you too,” she smiled, putting aside all thoughts of demons aside. She was trying to make friends, not drive people away with her vast knowledge of evocation. It’s not like that’s all she did. The fact that she’d even done it recently was because she had nothing better to do. When her ex was still happy and alive and they were together in their cozy little apartment, witchcraft hadn’t been something she did as often. It was an interest, but other things had filled her time, from art to meal planning with her girlfriend to her full time job.

Now that her social life was nearly at 0, she found herself with nothing to do other than work, and as an artist, she couldn’t work without any inspiration. Let’s just say it was hard to get inspired when your afternoons consisted of cuddling your cat on the kitchen floor because it was the only spot you hadn’t done so on and you needed a fresh new spot.

“I take it DJ-ing isn’t a full time job for you?” She asked, thinking back to how he mentioned he only did it at The Odyssey once in a while.
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Ace Yamada
 Posted: Jul 2 2018, 07:01 PM
Quote
Newcomer
Freyja


Oh, all the feeling that. "Mm-hm, that with my dogs. I let them out to do their bizz, and stuck them back inside and hit up Odyssey." The dogs also had this... mat. It was a mat within a container, and had "grass" on top, and they'd use that if they had to pee when Ace wasn't home. Then all he had to do was pick up any solids and empty the lower tray into the toilet. Except Izzy liked to put Bobra in it. Bobra was this clown toy that had no gender as far as Ace could tell so it was a cross between Bob and Barbara, and it could decide who it was when it left for college he guessed, but Izzy would probably tear it apart before that happened. He'd have to throw Bobra out soon though; it was getting pretty gnarly. Thank Dog for BarkBox.

He nodded his head to one side, shrugging. "Drunk people can be amazing." She started on the penguins. "Oh, those guys! Yeah, they kept trying to make them mate with girl penguins or something until they realized the two males were bonded so I think they gave them an egg to raise and just kinda let them be a gay penguin couple? Did you know swans can be gay too? And mammals of many species." He paused. "Yeah, that doesn't seem like something that'd last beyond the buzz. But hey, you never know!" As far as gay animals... Ace actually wouldn't be surprised if octopuses could be gay too. There was this one fucker in an aquarium who'd get out of his tank, run across the hall to the angelfish or whatever tank, grab one, eat it, get back out, and go back across the hall to his own tank. They only knew this because fish kept disappearing so they set up cameras there to see what was going on. It was the octopus. Octopuses could get through three-inch-diameter holes. They could open jars from the inside. That made Ace think there was a possibility, no, maybe even a probability, of them being sentient. They were no doubt at least extremely intelligent.

"Nice to meet you, Jackie," Ace said. Oops, he'd already said that? Well, the nice to meet you part. Well, awkward! There were things Ace did that would make people question his sanity... like drugs? Yeah, there was that. Taking 150 micrograms of acid and playing Civilization VI on the computer. Acid was kind of a new thing for him. Before it'd just been the ecstasy. But oh god, that time the other day he'd been re-installing a newly-cleaned airplane seat, his spine popped, and he saw sparkles and colors changed a bit. Flashbacks weren't what most people said they were. You didn't pop your neck and get chased by dragons. In fact, dragons only happened at a few more hundred than he'd taken, for the most part. It was like how his friend Sophie said she had visual snow disorder and had never seen anything in her life without a small film of static in front of it. It was the closest Ace could think to that, but only lasted a few minutes tops.

He cut into his pancakes and Jackie asked him about DJ-ing. Ace smiled, and said, "Nah, not full time. My day gig is managing the maintenance department at the Hartford airport. We're the people that keep planes from going 'boom!'" Ace was kind of a Bill Nye. Engineer, once worked at Boeing, invented two safety features, all things they had in common. Ace tended not to brag about the inventions or the sheer stack of cash he'd gotten from them. He was putting that money back for Bobra's college. Okay, no, he wasn't sending a dog toy to college! That would be hysterical though. Maybe. Mostly he just let it collect interest but he'd offered to fund his sister's fashion business, but she kept saying no, she wouldn't let Ace do that! Even if he said she could pay him back, but he was whittling her down; she couldn't keep making coffee for the office. She needed to be in there, well, designing!

But the octopus thing was still burning in Ace's mind. He turned to Jackie and said, "Weird question, but do you think with how smart they are and how long they've been on the planet, octopuses, you think they can be gay?"

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[[Sorry for the long wait aaahhhhh I was trying to get my finals done x.x]]

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