I was sick last week and called off the game. My players came up with in “in game” reason why the mission was canceled! I wouldn’t read this if you are eating, or recently ate, or have an exceptionally weak stomach…
Skinner’s journal – Entry 1 (After the return):
The recursion rebound effect has been in full force on many of our team in the last few days after our return from that nightmare recursion. Because a person’s psychological connections are so strongly aligned to their ‘home world,’ there is often a very strong rebound after ‘coming down’ from the first trip to a recursion. For some it is fairly mild. For others, a few days inpatient at one of the Estate’s Crossroads Centers is necessary. The Estate team is allowing us to stay at their Seattle office to get through this period and complete our orientation. As for our team’s status, let’s start with the mild cases in our team and work our way to the strong reactions.
She seems to be doing fine so far. She spends much of her time at the gym and reading Estate training manuals. Otherwise, she is on Pinterest a lot. She seems to be starting to trust some of us more. She is getting more talkative, especially about what she is learning about the strange.
He seems to be his old self. He often looks at Kyle and me like he does not have a clue who we are. In his free time he has been catching up on the latest Scientific American issue and the journal, Physics of the Dark Universe. He is currently reading an article about ‘Strange’ stars, which are neutron stars that may have decayed to a state where they are mostly made of strange quarks. It’s probably coincidental that he is reading about strange quarks; but, maybe he is on to something. He seems quite intelligent.
O. G. Wells
He keeps to himself most of the time. At night he has been going out clubbing at some bars close to the Estate office. Last night he came back looking quite beat up. He has been resting much of today. He seems to enjoy going out to start trouble with the locals.
Well, Kyle went a little crazy on our second day back. He said he was going for some fresh air (his room was close to Yander’s room). We didn’t hear from him for the next two days. He eventually called me from a brothel in Reno, Nevada. He was sleeping in his car with a wicked hangover. He did have his car keys and phone. But, apparently he had been robbed or just lost his wallet. The ladies in the brothel did not know anything. The Estate wired him some money so that he could drive back to Seattle. They insisted that he have some STD screenings completed when he returned.
As for my own reaction, I’ve been wondering around the city catching up on some old leads. Also, I’ve also been watching the unique individuals what I’m now linked to for some odd reason. My vice? Well, let’s just say that I’ve been taking advantage of some new laws recently enacted in Washington! That brings me to status of our last team member…
The Purging of R. Keith Yanders
I was checking in with an old contact of mine last week on the day that Kyle returned from his ‘drive about.’ Beezou wanted to meet by the Holiday station on Lanister Street. I happened to spot Yanders coming out of the store with a big bag and a very large fountain drink. I followed him to his next destination, a very familiar park. He sure can knock back the burritos and Keystone Light! I got the munchies myself and went in search of some good fish tacos. I left Yanders to get his binge on. I sure didn’t want to be around for the purge!
Later that night Kyle and I were discussing some Estate manuals when Kyle received a call from Yanders on his cell phone. It turns out that Yanders had pocket dialed Kyle. All we heard on the phone was a bunch of moans, groans, and other assorted primal sounds. At one point he was crying, “momma, momma, help me!” When Kyle and I were able to stop laughing, we tracked Yanders’ location to another Holiday station just a few miles south of the Estate office. We hopped in the freshly cleaned GTO to go find the burrito king. What we found makes me wish the technology for erasing specific memories was available!
When we arrived at the store, one of the store clerks was banging on the women’s bathroom door. He said that there was apparently a man in there screaming in pain. He had been in there for about 20 minutes. We told him we were sure who was in there and that we would handle it if he unlocked the door. When the door was opened we all jumped back with revolt and shock. The smell was abrasive and seemed deadly. We told the clerk to lock the front door. We covered our faces and went back in. We saw Yanders with his head resting against the toilet seat. He was dressed in what appeared to be a cave man costume. On the floor right by the toilet, there was a thick stick with rocks taped all around it with duct tape. WTF! The walls of the restroom were covered with excrement. I ventured in to check Yanders’ vitals and he just seemed to be passed out from his purging event. Kyle refused to enter the room and I can’t blame him; it was a vile scene. There was a full burrito on the floor behind him. Does he even chew those things? Oh my god! Unfortunately for me, as I walked away from Yanders, his leg shot out and I tripped and fell on the floor. I ran out of there in tears with Kyle following. We decided to call our Estate contacts to extract Yanders. There was no way Kyle would put him in the GTO. He wouldn’t even let me get in the car. I had to walk back to the Estate office.
Yanders is resting up now after a cleaning and medical checkup. We plan a team intervention when he wakes up. Hopefully this was just the rebound effect and he will come to his senses. As for me, my OCD is coming back. I have showered five times today. The last time I was in there for two hours. I had to go to the clinic myself because I scrubbed my skin to the point of painful inflammation. The Estate people are very understanding. They have seen these kinds of reactions before and are giving us some time to recover. Even so, they were quite disturbed by the Yanders incident themselves and plan to join the intervention later today.
End of entry 1
>LOG ENTRY #13954A
at first i was totally paranoid that i had become a captive of this huge “corporate” entity. i kept asking the front desk security if i could leave, and they always said “of course you can” (liars!), so then on the third day i actually walked out the front door, off the campus and down the street to an adjacent trendy post-industrial urban loft neighborhood (“so-do”). i got a coffee and a scone and then walked back to the estate campus. i’m fairly certain no one even followed me, as i employed some of my best “shake off the tail” tactics, and i saw no one suspicious. so i went back to my room at the estate and locked the door. we are staying at the estate dorms, which turn out to be the most pleasant digs i have ever stayed in: quiet, secure, small but efficient, dark, with terabit ethernet. and the gym is spectacular. no one even gives me a second look here. i get the feeling the estate had originally intended us to be involved in some kind of project for them right away, but took a closer look at our physical and mental states, and opted to give us some time off beforehand. not that a week off is going to improve the mental state of some of us: we had to do an intervention for yanders—i guess he’s got a thing with gas station burritos that is interfering with his “potential” as an estate subcontractor. he cried a lot and begged to go back to the mall—even got out his old security uniform and tried to storm out the front door with the uniform shirt open and one hand holding up the unbuttoned pants—it took kyle and skinner and 3 estate security to hold him back. they took turns soothing him and handing him kleenex. i think he may be able to go cold-turkey, but in case, we made him write his official resignation letter to the mall security company and made him burn his uniform in a dumpster out back. we then helped him to fax his mugshot to all the convenience stores in the city with his signed instructions to refuse service to him. he cried some more—kind of pathetic, but i don’t judge anymore. i took the opportunity of a week in relative peace and quiet to recuperate and to dig into the estate files. who are these people and why are they interested in me? how did they find me? i spoofed their personnel server and was just about to open a menu of hr files and up pops a chat window, saying “why don’t you just ask to see your file?” so i went to the department head and he handed me my file. they’ve been aware of me since i got here, except for that week in serrekunda where i somehow dropped off their radar. i could have stayed there in anonymity but it was a total s–thole. it’s all very interesting stuff…
From the desk of R. Keith Yanders:
Journal entry 4579
Where to begin? The Intervention, the partying, crying….. I guess I should start from the beginning. After this week, I have a new-found respect for Skinner. It all started when his mom swung by the Estate to drop off some of his personal belongings. I overheard her tell him that his father left to start a new life in Rehoboth DE with a fellow by the name of Travis. She said she knew for some time now, but she is OK knowing that antiquing with Travis is what makes him happy…..even though she is a little lonely.
Man that sucks……but Skinner is putting on a happy face for all at the Estate. That is why I am so freaking grateful about what happened a few nights later. We went to Joey Finkelstein’s theme party that night and ended up in the bathroom at some gas station. Seems I must have pocket dialed Kyle and didn’t realize it until it was almost too late. I still don’t know how Skinner’s mom got out of that bathroom so fast, but man I’m glad I didn’t have to explain that one! Man was she right when she said she was lonely………she got her freak on… just another satisfied customer! Anyway, I think I might have gone a little overboard trying to mask what went on…..on the plus side, Skinner’s still smiling.
Reminder: dry clean and return the costume.
This all led to some “intervention” thing that the Estate put on. OK, I’ll bite…..a few tears, some over the top gestures, and they all started sharing some of their life stories in an attempt to “help” me (all I kept thinking about was when was I going to see Skinner’s mom again). Skinner said he wanted to get something off his chest (I thought he was going to tell us about his dad), but instead he told us about his experiences at camp when he was younger. Blah, blah. blah… “I cried in the shower”..blah, blah. blah… they called me “the wind whistler”…blah, blah,blah…”I scrub, and scrub, and scrub”… OK we get it.
However, I think the shocker of the night was when Noomi just blurted out that she is a post-op transgender. What???? She(he) said she(he) would have to explain her(his) hormone replacement therapy drugs at some point so she(he) wanted to get it out in the open. Man that doctor is amazing, you would never guess. Now that I think about it, the gym, the deep voice, it all adds up………some detectives… Where were Kyle and Skinner on this one?
Reminder: Find out if Noomi knows Skinner’s dad?
>LOG ENTRY #13955N
supplemental log. i just re-read that last entry from yesterday which i wrote stoned out of my skull. what the f— happened last night? i totally blame skinner and his “brown betty” (“a hybrid of afghan kush and u-41”), and the estate with their encounter group session. f— me if i ever participate in that touchy-feely bullsh-t again. i woke up in a panic this morning because i think i might have said too much. but i’m pretty sure no one heard me. did we really torch his uniform? a week off is too long—its time to get back to business.
Personal Journal of K. Awerbuck:
Translating back to earth seems to have been rough on my fellow companions. I fear I have failed in helping ease this trip for them. I will have to teach them the trick Leon taught me when I was in the FFL. We were on the receiving end of a nasty howitzer shelling and my nerves were about to snap. He grabbed my head, looked me in the eyes, and told me to think of my favorite song and keep playing it over and over in my head, concentrate on the song not on the shelling. This little trick has served we well over the years.
“Generals gathered in their masses
Just like witches at black masses
Evil minds that plot destruction
Sorcerers of death’s construction
In the fields the bodies burning
As the war machine keeps turning
Death and hatred to mankind
Poisoning their brainwashed minds
Oh lord yeah! …..”
A day after the arrival at the estate I got up early and decided to get some fresh air and give my companions some breathing room. I hopped into the GTO and cruised down to Oregon to visit a buddy of mine, Walt (Wilkins), who is now teaching classes at Thunder Ranch. The drive down along the coast was wonderfully refreshing and estate did a great job on my GTO, she purred like a kitten. Walt, “The Sergeant Major”, was in good health. I asked what he knew about the estate and he told me that quite a few of their people had been send to down to get training and that they were a quiet bunch. He said the trainees seemed to be decent folk and on occasion taught him a few new combat tricks as well. While Walt and I were relaxing he received a call from Bill, a mutual friend of ours. Bill had gotten into trouble down in Reno and needed our help. Both Walt and I were low on cash but we had to help a brother in need so we coaxed up this plan to call the Estate and see if we could get a “Cash Advance” on my wages. Walt has some friends who are very good with communications and was able to make it look like my phone was calling from Reno. I called Skinner and the Estate and they send cash out just like that. I feel a little bad about it and I plan to pay them back as soon as I can. Had a great day catching up with Walt and the next day I slowly headed back up the coast, taking my time.
When I get back, the receptionist, greeted me with a very friendly smile and asked “How is Mr. Wilkins?”. They knew were I was and yet they still send out the cash. Decent folk, I will have to repay them as soon as I can. Then the receptionist tells me there will be some sort of “group hug” thing with the team tomorrow, “uuhhgg”.
The next day I arrive at the “intervention”. Yanders did a pretty good job acting, sobbing at the right times, tearing his clothes off, trying to run out the door, etc. He gave me a subtle nod once, I took as an indication that he was just taking everyone along for the ride. The professor was not paying any attention as usual. Skinner’s OCD seems to be back and bad, he kept trying to clean under his finger nails the whole time. Noomi mentioned something about being trans-gender but I am pretty sure she is just trying to keep people away from her. I am almost sure she has a distinctive “tell” when she is not telling the truth. The right side of her little smile was off as she told us about her meds. I am pretty sure no one else noticed.
Well, I think we are all itching for the next mission and I could use some money to pay back the estate.
From the desk of R. Keith Yanders: Journal entry 4580
We all got a notification from the Estate yesterday telling us to make sure all of our valuables are locked away. Looks like Kyle is broke from spending everything on his car and just lied to the Estate. They don’t want any further temptations as they supply Kyle with financial counseling. Speaking of Kyle, he stopped by my room the other day. Seems as though he is reading a new book and wanted to come clean about something. Turns out, “Skinner’s mom” was some chick they found at a thrift shop and paid $20 to play a joke on me. Kyle said Skinner’s parents actually died the day he turned 18. He got an anonymous phone call, said they died in some freak snorkeling accident off the coast of Key West. Two days later a moving van showed up to take all of their belongings to Boca Raton with specific instructions that Skinner never go to Florida as it could jeopardize the investigation. Anyway, I guess I should have figured out it was a joke on my own….considering she was 3 years younger than Skinner, black, and went by the name of Lawanda Johnson. Oh well, I guess I’ll never know who that 230 pound Nubian goddess who rocked my world really was?
Started getting some responses back from the faxes sent out to the gas stations:
“Sorry, R. Keith is welcome in my place of business anytime as he is the reason my kids have braces.”
“This dude is 95% of my burrito sales…..the other 5% we end up throwing out.”
“Who the F#$% is this dude? Stop faxing me s@#% or I’ll call the cops.”
It’s probably for the best anyway as they tended to give me a little gas (I hope nobody noticed, that could be embarrassing). Joey Finkelstein turned me on to something new anyway…..flea-market falafels. Reminder: Find out what’s in a falafel.