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#mule fat
freckledsweetpea · 4 months ago
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ootd
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edwardashley · 7 months ago
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to the guy in the spirou FB group posting #notmychesterfield on the new Bluecoats album. is that you billy lmao
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kroabot · an hour ago
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Mormons have military vet hitmen in the church for murdering the estranged parents of children the Mormon church kidnapped to exploit and make into meth mules from Tijuana, San Diego, to everywhere between SLC and Provo where Elizabeth Monica Coca married Joseph Taylor and imprisoned Star Monique Gonnerman since 2017
I don't know if you understand this, but when they are telling me my daughter is suicidal.   They really are contemplating whether they should murder her or not. Because their custody and child trafficking & exploitation network is not winning.   So i had to get more aggressive and bring more police and news tips in.  Since there is no rules anyway.  Joe Link just simply said i was absent from any custody paper work in Omaha in 2015, sitting there with the kidnapper mother who never knows how to return a child to its father schizoeffective fat ass bitch whore meth gang member deportee Elizabeth Monica Coca (The meth gang being US Military vets Mormons and Mexican military in a Tijuana Mormon church)  Who maybe you didn't know how far she goes then, but you know now.. But i think you knew she was two faced murderer then.  Like minds recognize each other!  People of shirk fall into place into their organized crime rings!  
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snspoetry · 16 hours ago
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Anne
The queen loves a dead man.
She runs to Lethe with dust-thighs,
Eyes with sighs of sad old age,
Toes that curl at each stab of thought,
Thumbs that break their own skin
Each time the sun turns to sleep.
Claws clutch the gray knob
With a dread all caught girls know.
A fire eats the moist air
And she mulls over her hair as a noose.
It's dark and long as a night-made tunnel;
It's what he went for first.
No fat hands, no aged mush-brain -
Just a strait to fame and gold.
He was suave in his youth,
A bright shock of worth and words,
A man who bore love
Like so much soft breath.
He sent her choice jewels,
Fine furs, ten trunks of French silk,
And black quill tics on cream scrolls.
Only a fool would close her legs
And keep her kin from a rich rise.
She bears a sharp crown
Topped with wise lies and smiles,
Thoughts sent to God on raw nights,
The shame you bear when you're born
Made for growth and babes and cold charm
And to serve the ones who break you
Like a dull pawn-steed.
She knows to lose him is to die
In soul and skin both.
Her wise words go stale
As the wind shifts its ways
And his mind with it.
God is mum; the bed chills.
Her tears are borne of speech
He cares not to hear
And she knows that sprawl of grief will grow to burst
And steep the poor man's stage
With her swift mule-blood.
He lifts his lips to the white swan neck
He will slice in mere months
And a chill rides the length
Of a spine stiff with the sight
Of days that will drip
Like the wax from the light of a wick.
It will go out with a hiss
At the wish of a man ruled by rage.
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uzumaki-rebellion · 8 days ago
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“Pot Liquor” Afropunk!Erik Killmonger
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“I said if I'm in luck I just might get picked up I said I'm fishin' trick and you can call it what you want then I said I'm wigglin' my fanny I want you dancing I'm a doin' it doin' it This is my night out
So all you lady haters don't be cruel to me Don't you crush my velvet don't you ruffle my feathers neither I said I'm crazy I'm Wild I said I'm nasty Say you will for a little while Say you will Say you will”
Betty Davis – “If I’m In Luck I Might Get Picked Up”
 [For @blvcksundays who asked for this months ago! Hope it was worth the wait!]
Summary:
Three women. One man.
Erik “Killmonger” Stevens is the guitar player for a female dominated Black alternative rock band fronted by the powerful larger-than-life lead singer, Oya Mason. About to perform in front of their largest audience ever on one of the most influential stages in the music world, Erik and Oya have to face band in-fighting, jealousy, drugs, sex, and the love of rock-and-roll.
Can they keep it together before their big night?
Begin at the beginning…
Eighteen-year-old Oya Mason stood in the middle of the stage of the National Poetry Slam Finals in Oakland, California ready to recite a three-minute free verse that took her two weeks to dream of and three days to write. It wasn’t her best poem, but it was the most potent that she had ever written and would be reciting for the first time in public. She hated America and everything it stood for and the words swimming in her brain and marinating in cerebral spinal fluid were ready to erupt on stage.
Thick black leggings covered her dimply thick thighs that rubbed tightly together and the black Buckethead baseball t-shirt she had on accentuated her heavy breasts and generous stomach. Her toes were jammed into brand new black chucks and her nose septum piercing was a shiny silver like the frosted silver tips of her frohawk locs. She was a big beautiful Black woman with an even bigger first name to live up to. Her parents plucked the name from a book they had in their home. “Oya: In Praise of An African Goddess.”
“We knew that if we had a little girl, we were going to name you that,” her father, Teigen Mason, had told her.
Her Mama, Gia, squeezed out a big fat dark brown loud crying baby that grew up into a big beautiful teenager that could no longer be simply called full-figured or extra thick. No, those words were too small for her. She was a Goddess and a Goddess took up all the space she wanted. On that stage, Oya, the Goddess of the Hurricane winds, the warrior, and the protector of the dead looked out upon an eager audience of poetry spectators waiting for her to do linguistic tricks and over-enunciated theatrical emoting with her culled words.
Well…that didn’t happen.
Oya Mason stood there with her Goddess frame and shrieked out every single word she had written in the depths of her gray matter and birthed her first metal song live onstage. The poem-turned-rage-clarion call was titled “To Sleep With Anger”, an ode to the movie that was filmed in her grandparent’s house in South Los Angeles way before she was born. She found the old Danny Glover movie online and watched it over and over until she fell asleep and dreamed of the actors walking in her family’s kitchen, living room, bedrooms, and backyard, and the words to the poem came to her in the underworld of slumber and there was a burning there. A heated twisting of past and present that had her worried about her future as a big boisterous girl with a runaway mouth making it in society where Black women were expected to be quiet mules for the world.
Not her.
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Oya dreamed about that old house for two weeks waking up enraged every morning and thought about what the movie meant and pondered why she was already hating a world that she was barely stepping into. It had to be ancestral rage. A fiery anger handed down like generational trauma and the unyielding hair texture on her head.
A three-day heat of writing on yellow legal pads and listening to Bad Brains and Mother’s Finest while trippin’ on shrooms in her bedroom while her parents were away, produced a piece of work that she could get down with.
Other poems in her extensive repertoire allowed her to advance in poetry slam rounds in local competitions and by the time she was on the National level, she was tired of the scene. The performative aspect of it seemed disingenuous. Many of the older poets she watched seemed to be interested in shocking people instead of sharing real evocative language that opened the heart and mind.
That was probably why Oya screamed her words and left the stage switching her meaty hips and not caring about her scores or if she won.
She did win that year.
The individual poet category. At her young age.
The previous winner, another full-figured Black woman with thick braids, full lips, and a body of work so blistering that she was named the Poet Laureate of her city approached her backstage.
“You don’t belong here,” the woman said.
Oya blinked. The fuck?
A sly smile creased the woman’s glossy lips as she pointed at Oya with a commanding right index finger.
“You belong out there doing what you just did. This is too small for you,” the former champion said.
Oya Mason bid adieu to poetry slams.
She returned to Los Angeles from Oakland and started a part-time job at Amoeba Records on Hollywood Boulevard. While selling records and sorting vinyl and CD bins, she met her best friend, Deidre who rocked short hair and a smooth undercut, Oya fell in love with Deidre’s whole vibe instantly and they fell into creating their first band together.
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To Sleep With Anger.
Oya named them that. Deidre played electric guitar just like Oya did and after work and university classes at USC, they shredded in Deidre’s parent’s garage in a sizeable house at the bottom of Baldwin Hills. The Black Beverly Hills. The house sat on forty-eighth and Crenshaw, so the upwardly mobile Black folks couldn’t get too far away from the bustle of working class and working-poor negroes down the street. Oya’s parents couldn’t handle two loud Black metal chicks screaming about capitalism, death, and societal destruction right next door to the neighborhood church at their small home near Leimert Park. Deidre’s house was ground zero for their start as a unit.
School. Work. Shredding.
That was life for three years until Oya had written a ton of songs that were good enough to put together a fuller and more serious band. They had both become better axe players. She and Deidre posted up an ad for a drummer and bass player at the Amoeba Community board and online, and that was how they met Shameika, a mean pocket queen originally from Long Beach who went to UCLA. 
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Deidre and Oya had to set aside their USC rivalry because Shameika was nasty on the skins. Their bass player, Jody, was discovered by accident when she came into Amoeba asking for Me’Shell N’degeocello vinyl. Anyone into Me’Shell had to be hip, and Oya asked the lithe light-brown beauty if she were a musician. The stars lined up. She was their missing link.
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They were complete and of one accord by the time they began playing publicly at gigs around L.A. and making road trips to San Diego and also local music festivals. Shameika handled their webpage, Deidre handled booking, and Oya fell in love with Jody. Then broke up with her. Then got back together. Then broke up in one final blow-out that thankfully didn’t tank the band. It did become a little awkward when Jody and Shameika became a couple, but Oya grew past it. They were picking up traction as a band. Getting better paid gigs. She was writing better songs. Blending genres. Learning to control her vocals better with a private coach. It took them awhile to be taken seriously as a band. People expected them to be an R & B singing quartet and did double takes when they walked into venues with their gear. They were tested a lot by the mainly white male audiences. Lots of booing at shows and sometimes beer bottles were thrown at them onstage. Oya was often brutally called names because of her size. She didn’t know how many times she had climbed onstage to bring the noise with her girls, and there was laughter tossed her way.
“Look at this big bitch!” was a common jab along with a few expletives.
But the music shut them up. They could play fucking circles around many of the bands, even the headliners.
“It’s here!” Deidre shrieked as they opened boxes for new stock.
Oya stared at the twelve-inch vinyl of a song she was hearing about on every streaming platform and alternative music chatroom. She knew the group.
Slippage.
An alternative band that she used to fuck with heavily until they started going a little too commercial and polished for her tastes. Oya did feel excitement about new music from them. She hoped they were returning to their roots of hard driving sounds and not the softened new-branding that recent major-label signed groups were morphing toward. Deidre was practically salivating, her copper brown skin glowing and matching the copper brown of her short fade.
“This dude right here…I swear, I would buss it wide open if he walked in here right now. You think the scars are real? I heard they weren’t,” Deidre said.
Oya picked up the album and stared at the four guys on the cover. One Mexican with long glossy raven hair. Two white guys with stringy pony tails and tats on their faces and arms. And the Black guy.
Erik Killmonger.
Gold grills. Perfect locs. Scars.
His upper body was covered in small shiny lumps of skin.
“That looks real,” Oya said.
“That’s hardcore. I get the tats and piercings…I mean I have that shit, but…cutting your skin like that. All over. You think he has scars on his dick?”
Oya burst out laughing.
“Only you would ask that!”
“That would be kinda sexy,” Deidra whispered admiring the man’s shirtless body as he held his guitar.
Deidra stroked the cover.
“He’s so rude for biting his lips like that. Letting us see all that gold in his mouth,” she quipped.
They stocked the store with all the new vinyl before heading to the registers to help customers purchase music. When they had a break, the assistant manager let them listen to the new Slippage single. Deidre loved it, but Oya turned her nose up at it. Killmonger sounded dope as always, but the song itself was weak. Defanged.
“We should make something like this,” Deidre said bobbing her head and air playing guitar with her nimble fingers pretending to be Killmonger.
“I think the fuck not.”
“This is good!”
“No it’s not. It’s just loud and…vanilla.”
“You’re buggin’. This is the best thing they’ve put out.”
Oya stood behind the counter and watched Deidra, the assistant manager, and several customers nod their heads and give kudos to Slippage.
“Tasteless,” Oya muttered as she grabbed a stack of country CDs from a young woman and began ringing up her purchases.
The music blared from their store speakers and Oya couldn’t help but think about Killmonger’s grill and the scars that went up and down his muscled arms, wide chest, and down his chiseled stomach…
Begin at the beginning one ‘mo’ ‘gin…
They knew they had something special when Amoeba allowed them to play in their in-store mini-concerts when another group failed to show up because of a delayed flight from Phoenix. The four of them wore tattered jean skirts with leggings and old vintage bullet bras they found at a thrift store in Venice Beach. Oya had to add a bra extender for hers. Thick extra-large safety pins prevented the weak hooks from bending across her back and gave the right touch to the stylized look. She kept a t-shirt handy in case a titty or two broke free and slapped a customer unexpectedly, which would’ve been the most punk thing ever, but luckily that old 1950’s find held on as she sweated her way through raw, screeching vocals that caught her boss by surprise. Hamp was forced into a bind with a store full of patrons waiting to see Desert Troll City, so he gave in when Oya said they had equipment in their cars ready to plug in and rock out. Instead of ambient new vanguard trip music, the customers were treated to ear-splitting altie sounds that tip-toed between experimental and…what? Oya and her bandmates hadn’t quite found a true name for their sound, but the crowd there loved it. The music attracted spectators from off the street and it became their first viral performance online.
Hamp started acting like their musical godfather, allowing them to sell their CDs at the counter on consignment as part of their local indie musician sales program. It was a boost to their confidence watching people buy their homemade EP. Gigs followed. The new visibility started their small music festival appearances. Their biggest live performance before their second full album came out was the Joshua Tree Music Festival. The drive to the desert had been joyous. They performed before the closing night’s headliner and killed it. They were so good that the headliners gave them a shoutout during their set making Oya feel like a Queen.
And like any great rock-and-roll story, it was where the first rift in the band appeared. All because Deidre felt the need to insert an unnecessary guitar adlib that threw Oya off their closing number. The audience, blitzed out on ‘shrooms, weed, liquor, pills, and whatever choice narcotics they brought for fun, became mesmerized by Deidre doing Jimi Hendrix tricks on her axe. Oya could concede that Sis was in her bag at that moment, but they had always stayed in tune with one another by using eye contact and onstage whispers to let each other know if they were going to go off. Sometimes it was just a well-placed guttural sound from Oya’s throat to clue the others in, or Deidre would swing her guitar a certain way with a slight chord change.  J Tree organizers had the performers on a strict time allotment, and Oya knew they had to finish with a new song in just the right intro…but Deidre fucked it up by trying to upstage Oya with the ole razzle dazzle. The normal thunder growl that would erupt from Oya’s diaphragm kicking in “Acid Babe Blues” was usurped by some random guitar wah wah licks from Deidre’s foot pedal muting her guitar.
Oya felt the “Acid Babe Blues” lyrics dry up in her throat as her eyes cut to Deidre’s. Sister girl was oozing with charismatic energy and the people ate it up. Rightfully so. Oya stood down for twenty seconds before she turned to Jody on bass with a Please gather this bitch up look.
Jody slapped her bass and snapped Deidre from her moment. Time ran short, so Oya had to improvise and just gave an improper snippet of the new song before their time ran out. That meant Deidre had to sing the bridge to start the song, and Oya had to fake her way into the second verse. The fierce tone she gave thrilled the music lovers, but Oya was full of piss and vinegar. “Acid Babe Blues” was their lead single from the new joint, and the audience didn’t even hear the true beginning.
As the crowd switched their positions to watch the main stage for the closing act, Oya and the others packed up their gear. Her hackles were up.
“What the fuck were you doing?!” Oya snapped.
“Vibin’,” Deidre said.
“You stole valuable time for ‘Acid’.”
“They heard you scream when you first started twenty-five minutes ago. It still sounded great without a closing field holler—”
“That’s not the point, Deidre,” Shameika interjected as she shoved her drumsticks into a case, “it threw us all off.”
“Ohmigod, we murdered this gig. It’s good to shake it up sometimes. I didn’t hear a mess up—”
“It would’ve been nice to know what you were going to do. I’m the lead singer. I wrote that song. We all agreed that ‘Acid Babe Blues’ was to bring it all home and we practiced the hell out of it and you fucked it up!” Oya said,
“They loved us. That’s all that matters.”
Deidre did her usual lip pout when she was done discussing anything.
“I know you’re feeling yourself right now, but this is becoming a habit with you,” Oya barked helping Shameika break down the rest of her drum kit.
“So I can’t get no shine too?”
“We all get shine—”
“Only when you let us. Don’t forget, I write a lot of the songs too. I’m on the cover of the EP too. So is Jody and Shameika—”
“Are you failing to understand what the problem is? Am I trippin’? I’m not talking about getting shine, I’m talking about you disrupting and switching up how we do things mid performance without a cue or an okay from the rest of us.”
Deidre pressed her lips tight. An irritated exhale followed with a roll of her eyes.
“I’m sorry. I was carried away by the energy of the crowd. I wanted to jam for a minute…”
Deidre clutched her guitar pedal to her chest.
“I wanted to be that bitch…okay? I mean, look at us. We look amazing in these little black latex dresses! We’re serving hot and sexy and being all sweaty and nasty up here. Tell me you didn’t feel that rush?”
“We felt it, but…teamwork,” Shameika said with her soft-spoken voice.
“I’m tired,” Jody said holding her bass case.
They were assisted by some J Tree staff as they loaded up their gear into Deidre’s S.U.V, and Oya’s Jeep Cherokee.
“Are we staying to watch the closer or what?” Shameika asked.
Jody stayed in Deidre’s S.U.V. to sleep, and the rest of them sauntered back in their laced-up pit-stomping boots to watch Boredroom, a band on the brink, sing out To Sleep With Anger’s praises. Deidre turned her head and smirked at Oya as the lead singer of Boredroom pointed to all their latex-wearing greatness and shouted them out on the mic.
“See?” Deidre said, “We are the shit.”
“It’s about the music, Deidre, not just showing off,” Oya grumbled.
Oya new instinctively that Deidre wanted to be the main shit. She wrenched her eyes away from her friend and tried to engage with the rest of the festival, but there was a sour taste in her mouth. That taste would grow and root deep. Then it would spread, choking them all.
Begin at his beginning…
Oya knew how to hustle a job.
When Amoeba became less flexible for gigs, she took a job at KCRW assisting the COO. On Saturday nights she worked the cashier booth for a trashy West Hollywood dance club to supplement her income.
Those were rough days for To Sleep With Anger ever since Deidre left for a high-profile band’s line-up switch the year before. It was right after a showcase with an East Coast label. They were all broke, still hungry to make their own music, and lucked out when an A & R rep from Sony Music Group caught their live show at the Austin Music Festival.
Hair cut into a short bob that she slicked up to look like a match flame, dramatic make-up, and low-cut tight dresses with oversized coats that doubled as capes became a signature look for Oya. Her shoe game grew sick, with custom thigh-high boots, and walking canes to match her seductive stroll onstage. Their band logo was a black flame with red highlights. Her signature do always matched the logo onstage, and it became an instant hook with their audience. Sophisticated Punk. Seductive Alternative. Oya leaned into the sensual side and the other women found their looks too. Deidre became pure femme fatale, Jody, the edgy stud, and Shameika was their darling Goth ingénue.
Oya’s lush body became the center of think pieces in the music scene and she welcomed the coverage and even took the hits with some women musicians who questioned the overt sexuality of the band. Were they sex kittens, or hard rockers? Cock teases for a gimmicky come up? A flash in the pan for some future music history footnote? She ignored them and the other women did too. Her favorite moments were to stroll onstage after Jody plucked the bass like a beast sporting her flamboyant capes and big hats and do a twirl wielding her cane before dropping the cape to the floor revealing couture that accentuated breasts, flared hips, thick thighs, and a rump to die for. The more popular they became the more she found herself amazed at how people projected onto her. She rarely showed any explicit skin other than the tops of her breasts with dep cleavage, but the audacity of her being her bold self with tight clothing was a problem for so many people. But a revelation to others.
Especially men.
Often teased for not having a body that conformed to whatever was in fashion at the moment, that quickly changed when she sang. Her voice shifted the critiques. People had to listen to the music because it was fucking divine. Oya’s talent made people notice she had a face. A gorgeous one. And that face was attached to a stunning big body. Online chatter brought out the lovers of her plus-size physique, especially when she catwalked up and down a stage and pointed her cane at the audience, then stuck it in front of her as she wiggled down and back up from the floor with it. There was a shift in the air. The thirst for her was just as great as her other bandmates.
They were on the cusp of reaching greatness and Oya was going damn near bankrupt funding her on stage style to create her visual greatness. They all were.
The Sony Rep schmoozed them and set up the showcase for the “Yes Men”. Oya could taste victory, money, fame, freedom…
The showcase was a disaster.
Not because Oya didn’t incinerate the Sony office with her talent or the girls didn’t bring it with their playing. The Yes Men wanted Deidre to front the band and insisted on smoothing out their rough sound. Less edge. More mainstream puff rock. Less 90s Trent Reznor-esque proto Black Girl Rock/Metal and more old school Gwen Stefani cutesy kitsch.
Oya put her foot down. Get set aside because they found Deidre the more marketable? She didn’t have the voice. She didn’t have the vocal chops to strike people down from the stage like Oya did every time they performed. To Sleep With Anger laid out the roots of Betty Davis, Bad Brains, A Band Called Death, tastefully gave homage to Tina Bell, Mother’s Finest, plus a smidgeon of early Prince with the heavy guitar opening of “Bambi” that Oya played herself, and all they could mention was Nine Inch Nails and No Doubt?
They weren’t signed.
Deidre left them.
Six months later Deidre was on tour and became a media sensation by joining Ark Ten. They were top tier. Grammy winners. Global fanbase. English darlings credited with reviving the UK rock scene. Deidre joined them right when they went in to record a second studio album. An all-male band that fired their lead guitarist, Ark Ten recruited Deidre to become the new focal point of hyped publicity for the group’s sophomore outing. She looked like a High Rock Glam Priestess on their magazine photo spreads. Their album went triple platinum within months as Oya took credit cards and damp dollar bills at a cashier’s booth while listening to her ex-bandmate’s overdone guitar flourishes in songs at her crappy club job.
Shameika and Jody moved in with her in an upstairs apartment near Slauson. They turned the small dining room into a second bedroom and pooled their resources to perform where they could. Oya wrote new songs and just as Deidre predicted, Shameika and Jody followed her lead without pushback.
After a long day in Santa Monica, Oya walked into their kitchen and made an announcement.
“We’re going to audition a new guitar player. We need a fourth member. I’m better at singing and not playing at the same time.”
Jody fried up some sliced potatoes and onions at the stove. Shameika washed dishes.
“Another woman?” Shameika asked.
“Black?” Jody added.
“Let’s just put the call out and see who shows up. I have a hook up for a try-out space next week. There’s a music studio moving to another location in Santa Monica. KCRW used it for live shows and one of my co-workers has access to it for a Saturday before they leave. We can sneak in and use it for four hours. Six to ten at night.”
“But you’re great on guitar,” Shameika lamented.
“I can’t do all my theatrics if I’m playing the whole time too. It’s too difficult. Plus, it’s part of our brand. Jody?”
Jody set down the spatula in her hand and turned down the fire under the food.
“I want another Black woman,” Jody said.
“But if we can’t find one?”
“Hold another audition?” Shameika suggested.
“In time for Afropunk?”
“We can do a stripped-down show. Jeans, tees, and chucks.”
Oya put hands on her hips and closed her eyes.
“No, we go full out. We need this moment more than ever. We have to look ready-made.”
Shameika stopped stacking plates in the drainer.
“You don’t think we’ll ever make it big, huh?” “It’s not just making it big…it’s our music… we could change the game. I’m tired of us struggling and trying to be creative. I’m tired of us eating potatoes and spaghetti all the time.”
“We’ll make it,” Shameika said.
“I’m tired,”
Oya let her arms drop to her sides. Jody pulled her in for a hug and Oya buried her face in the woman’s neck and wept.
“I’m tired of seeing her out there…winning,” Oya huffed.
“We’ll do the audition. We’ll make it work,” Jody said.
Her fingers trailed up Oya’s face and wiped away her smeared eye make-up. Shameika joined them and threw her arms around Oya’s waist.
“Look at me blubbering like some loser. We’re not losers.”
“No, we’re not,” Jody said.
Her lips touched Oya’s cheek and the loving pats from Shameika made her feel tons better. She broke away from the two of them.
“Just a tiny woe-is-me moment and now we’ll get this new axe. Right?”
Jody and Shameika nodded sharing gentle smiles with her.
“We’re too talented,” Oya said taking up the spatula and turning over the potatoes for Jody.
She kept that mantra up as they sat inside the borrowed music studio a week later watching woman after woman jam with them. Oya watched Jody’s weary face as she cradled her bass and studied a new guitar player plug in and prepare to audition. Shameika twirled one of her drumsticks in her left hand and gave Oya an encouraging wink, but the sentiment didn’t help. After two hours, they hadn’t found one musician who felt right. Benji, Oya’s co-worker, sat next to her on plush red couch. There was a small line of women taking up the sidewalk outside waiting to come in and it gave Oya a headache.
“Give me a minute,” Oya said, “I have to pee.”
In the restroom, she splashed water on her face to hide the tears that threatened to drop.
“Please…” she whispered as she rinsed her hands and dried them.
Oya stared at her face in the mirror.
“Go back out there with your game face. Our new guitarist is coming. She is going to walk in and wow everybody. The band will be whole once more. We’ll go to Atlanta and the record deal will come. We’ll bring the heat. We’ll bring the bodacious Blackness. Deidre won’t be the only success story.”
Oya walked back into the studio and nearly shit in her cargo pants.
Benji stood chopping it up with Erik Killmonger.
Killmonger wore dark shades, but Oya recognized the braided locs, the scars on his skin shown by his sleeveless white t-shirt, and the gold slugs in his mouth. He was bigger in person than what she imagined. Her eyes glanced over to Jody and Shameika and they were equally starstruck along with the white woman with tattered dreads waiting to audition.
“Oya, this is my old buddy, Killmonger. Killmonger, Oya. Lead singer—”
Oya did a one-eighty and hot-footed back to the restroom. She pressed her back against the door. Her breath sped up and she couldn’t stop hyperventilating. Leaning forward to lower her head to her knees, she squinted her eyes and blew out long streams of air.
“Fuck.”
Clenching her fists, Oya patted her hands up her thighs until she stood upright.
“Fuck.”
She went back out to the studio area and threw her shoulders back.
“I thought I left the water running in the sink,” she lied.
Killmonger sat on the couch next to Benji. Oya avoided contact to help keep her voice steady and non-chalant.
“Oh. Well, I’m sure you know who Killmonger plays for—”
“Played for,” Killmonger corrected.
Oya felt a tickle in her stomach. His scratchy voice had a rasp to it like he’d been smoking before he came in. He probably toked a good expensive strain that rich people smoked. They always had memes of him up every Four Twenty with kush sitting on his guitar. The shades were off and his bright brown eyes planted themselves on her face.
Played for?
“You’re not with Slippage anymore?” the white woman asked.
Nosey.
Killmonger’s eyes cut to her and the woman shrank into her guitar.
“How ‘bout you play and mind ya business,” he said.
Oya took her seat and stared at Jody. She mouthed the words “Play” to her homie, and Jody slid her index and middle finger down the neck of the bass to begin “Palo Alto”, a song they liked using to test the guitarists. It had several difficult chord progressions and they wouldn’t have to waste time seeing if a person could really play or not. The woman, Heather, got halfway through the song before they knew she wouldn’t cut it. Deidre and Oya could slide through the song like butter. Even Jody could fake her way through it when she played around with Oya’s guitar.
They allowed Heather to play another tune and jam for a minute before Oya took to the mic and sang a bit with the entire ensemble. They sent her away after asking a few personal questions about her background. When she left, Oya ran her hand over her hair. Jody adjusted the volume knob on her bass and Shameika tapped her sticks lightly on her ride cymbal. No words were needed to veto Heather. A statuesque Black woman came in next with a bright smile and high energy, and they all perked up, but she wasn’t able to improvise all that well as they jammed together. Another no. They had an hour left and only two candidates had viable potential from the fifteen women they saw from the first three rounds. Oya was happy she pre-screened so many musicians online ahead of time. They were efficient and knew what they were looking for. The only problem was, no one fit.
They had a fifteen-minute break slotted before the last three candidates scheduled would come in. Benji gave Oya a supportive grin.
“Don’t throw in the towel yet, Oya,” he said shaking his ginger curls.
Killmonger stood up and walked over to their set up. He moved like king. She tamped down on the squeal in her throat fighting to come out.
“I can’t believe Killmonger is in the same room with us!” Shameika blurted.
Thank God. Someone finally said it out loud. Jody and Oya laughed with relief.
“He ain’t nobody,” Benji said punching Killmonger in the arm.
“How do you know each other?” Oya asked keeping her eyes off of Killmonger.
“Before he was a big head star, Killmonger used to nag me to play his shit on KCRW years ago. We used to sweep up this place together as interns.”
Killmonger glanced around.
“The place is a little different from when I worked here. Didn’t last long though.”
“Slippage?” Oya asked.
Dark orbs captured her gaze.
“Yeah.”
“But you said something about not being with them earlier.”
Benji stepped in.
“News is just now getting out,” Benji said hitching his shoulders.
“Can I?” Killmonger asked pointing to Oya’s guitar.
She stepped away from it and he lifted it off of the stand near her and draped the strap around his body hooking it to the instrument after adjusting the leather. It only took him two seconds to launch into “Acid Babe Blues” and Shameika brought in the drums automatically. Jody slapped her bass and they played for two minutes before Oya felt brave enough to jump in and sing.
Killmonger knew their song. By heart.
He stood in the middle of the recording studio slaying Oya’s electric guitar and ripped into a blistering riff that made her jump and lose her shit in front of her desperate band.
“Give it to me from the top!” he yelled.
His fingers thrummed out the beginning again, and Oya gave a Black rebel yell,
“Show me someone not full of herself, and I’ll show you a hungry person!” *
They tore through the song with Killmonger’s lips peeled back to show glints of gold as he howled encouragement with whoops and loud shouts to them.
“C’mon Jody, dig into that bottom!” he called out.
Jody let her thumb do the most as Oya felt the vibration of Shameika sitting in her pocket on the drums from behind as she followed Jody’s dip into a groove that Killmonger supported with tasteful licks from his fingers. They jammed for twenty minutes until Oya noticed their next band candidate standing wide-eyed and mouth agape staring at Killmonger.
“Sorry,” Killmonger said unhooking himself from Oya’s guitar.
They finished seeing the last three women and sat down on the floor together in a circle to discuss what they liked and didn’t like. There were three women they agreed to call back for another try out just to be sure.
“We have to lock one in fast. Get them set with our music and stage cues,” Oya said picking at her nails.
“When’s your next performance?” Killmonger asked.
The three women glanced over at him on the couch. Benji had his arms folded watching them too.
“End of the month. Atlanta,” Oya said.
“Afropunk?” he asked.
“Yeah.”
“Let me play for you.”
Oya thought her lungs would implode in her chest right behind her heart.
“I’m not doing anything. I quit Slippage. I like your sound. Benji says you want more festival exposure. If I play with you, you’ll get that.”
“That would be a boss move…but…” Oya’s brain grew dizzy.
“But what?”
“People would want you. Not us,” Jody said.
“Then hire me. Let me join the band.”
Benji chuckled but then he shut up when he realized Killmonger wasn’t joking.
“Why?” Oya asked.
“I like your sound. Your style. I quit Slippage because it’s tired. I outgrew it. Y’all got something fresh…different. Sticks to my ribs.”
“People would just think it’s your band,” Oya said.
“How’s that?”
“Your famous. You’d overshadow us.”
“Did I overshadow Slippage?”
“You were Slippage,” Jody mumbled under her breath.
Oya reached over and tugged on one of Jody’s long straight backs. Jody slapped Oya’s hand away from her hair. Killmonger chuckled.
“You have a strong personality,” Oya said.
“Benji told me to come here to give you some tips. The best thing for you is to let me become part of To Sleep With Anger. You don’t even have to pay me cuz you know I’m set. I just want to play pure music that’s slowly becoming its own thing. I miss that.”
“Will you dump us when you get bored?” Shameika asked.
Shameika tilted her head and the purple tips of her hair on the left side of her head touched her stomach. The right side was shaved with one long tuft left on the temple that was beaded with cowrie shells. When Killmonger’s eyes landed on her, Shameika’s top teeth tugged on her bottom lip making her lip ring more visible.
“Who would get bored with you, Princess?” he said.
Oya caught the territorial glare from Jody, but Killmonger’s smoldering drag across Jody’s lean athletic form made her flustered and forget the man was flirting with her woman. He flirted with Jody openly too. Dropping his body on the floor next to them all, he held out his hands.
“Let me come to Atlanta and play. Just as a featured guest. We can talk about permanent stuff after.”
“You do sound good with us,” Shameika said.
Killmonger pointed to her.
“See? Taste.”
Oya’s heart pounded in her chest from being next to him. She could smell his light cologne and the hair oil he used for his air. The scent of roses and pumpkin spice lingered near him. Moisture left her mouth and everything tasted like cotton. A miracle walked into their audition and served himself up for their use. Oya glanced over at Jody and Shameika. They were just as gone as she was by what was being offered. She swallowed dust and thought of Deidre. Ark Ten was a smart move for her career, but what she would never have was the baddest guitarist around who left an exceptionally better band, and wanted to play for them. But knowing Deidre, she would be flattered to be replaced by someone like Killmonger. Oya ground her molars and pushed her fingers into her thighs. Her cargo pants pocket vibrated. The cell alarm went off. Their time in the studio was up. It was now or never.
“What do you think?” she asked the others.
Shameika held a thumb up and they all saw her sultry eyes turn gooey staring at Killmonger.
“He makes us hustle and I like that,” Jody said. Her forehead creased.
Oya gave her a curious look when she took forever giving her answer.
“Me and Shameika are together,” Jody finally said.
“That’s not a yes or a no,” Killmonger said.
“I see how you are and I want you to know the dynamics,” Jody said pursing her lips.
“That’s your lady, aight beautiful, cool…so am I in?”
Shameika lowered her eyes and Oya felt second-hand embarrassment watching the jockeying for the drummer’s attention.
“What’s your vote Oya?” Jody asked.
Those magnetic eyes of Killmonger’s became daggers on her skin and Oya couldn’t shake the arousal affecting her decision-making. He pushed them into excellence with just one jam session. Imagine what they could glean from him with full rehearsals?
She raised a thumb, and Shameika squealed. He wrenched his eyes away from Oya.
“Jody?” he asked. His voice was a raspy assertion. Answer him.
Oya saw the attraction Jody had for the man too. They all were drenched in it. Carnal danger oozed from his pores.
“Okay…yes,” she said.
Killmonger clapped his hands and jumped up from their circle on the floor.
“We rehearse at our place in the mornings when our neighbors are at work,” Oya said shifting her body to stand up. Her foot fell asleep and she shook out her leg to get the circulation moving.
He took out his phone and they all exchanged numbers.
“I’ll bring my stuff at nine if that’s cool,” he said.
“Yeah,” Oya said.
She was almost his height. There was a gleam in his eye as he flashed them all big white perfect teeth and four gold slugs. Two at the top and two at the bottom. His scars were real and if she didn’t know him a little better from hanging with him that night, the man could come off menacing. He took up so much space.
Oya threw back her shoulders again.
So did she.
Begin at their beginning…
Afropunk brought two things to fruition.
To Sleep With Anger became that bitch and Deidre felt the heat.
They didn’t announce that Killmonger was with them. Flying into Atlanta with hours of tight rehearsals behind them brought them to a different level of being. He was a task master, but he made sure they were in control. Over four weeks Oya saw how he could influence them without it being obvious manipulation. Helping them improve their songwriting, playing, and bolstering their confidence to challenge themselves was something she came to love about him. Oya fell for him quietly and in secret, and unlike his first time meeting them, all flirtations vanished. He was about the music twenty-four seven. She wrote several songs with him at his home studio in Silverlake, and he even helped Shameika compose her first solo creation. It was a cold ass song and Oya wanted them to open with it. Shameika burst into tears when Oya said that and Killmonger gave their sweet Goth girl a hug and encouraged her to write more and take chances with her lyrics.
They left the stage itself in shambles after their quick set. It was like they took a grenade, pulled the pin, tossed it, and made sure the destruction was complete before their exit. No one wanted to follow them after that performance. The shock of Killmonger leaving Slippage hadn’t fully been processed before the world saw him on a smaller stage obliterating all competition around them in Atlanta.
Shameika beat out a master class of percussion before Jody sank her teeth into the bass ushering in the deadly claws of Killmonger’s fingers making his guitar roar as Oya stalked out from behind him. The moment the audience saw him, shocked gasps rippled out and then she pounced on them all, lacing her voice around Shameika’s lyrics throughout the soundscape they weaved for the audience. Her signature flame upswept do became the rage after their first performance as a re-grouped band. The biggest surprise was that Killmonger didn’t steal their thunder. He harnessed it and threw it out for the world to accept as a class act worthy of recognition. They trended on social media. Deidre and Ark Ten had been number one for two hours because of their new Coachella line-up announcement. To Sleep With Anger knocked them out of the top ten trending topics soon after. Pictures of their Afropunk performance were shared all over. Oya couldn’t help but float and feel hopeful.
The man made her feel reckless and powerful onstage. Their styles meshed and the thrill of prancing around and growling at him with throaty moans while he jerked that guitar around her shirtless like he was working his manhood made her invincible. He underplayed his position as mega star to allow them all the shine. He got off on it. Flirted heavily with all of them while he worked the stage. Oya threw him solos but he would bring in Jody, opening her up to the point where she was dancing around the stage which was something she rarely did that fiercely.
The fans loved Shameika’s song and they played it again at the end for their encore. Their short set grew longer because of Killmonger and he pushed it. Shameika broke one of her sticks by the end and it was the omen of more good things to come.
Standing there with applause washing over them, Oya looked over at Killmonger. His eyes were slightly hooded. He was faded in a good way and she was too. They shared a joint before hitting the stage and she watched him make smoke offerings to someone named Bast. Oya gave a final bow and Killmonger leaned over covering her mouth with his lips. The crowd roared and she reached over with fresh acrylic black nails to scratch the scars on his nude shoulder. He bowed down to her like she was a queen and the audience lost it again.
“Let ‘em see you, O,” he crooned in her ear.
Oya swung her wide hips to the left and right of the stage with her black wolf’s head cane in her hand. Her black laced combat boots matched the black mesh drawstring skirt and tank she wore with a short-waisted red bolero jacket. Their black flame logo was emblazoned on the back in satin emboidery. She sauntered over to Jody and Shameika who were shy about prancing around, but they basked in the sea of applause. Oya pulled them next to her so they could get their due.
Taking the mic from her hand, Killmonger stepped to the center edge of the stage.
“You’re looking at three of the baddest musicians to come out of L.A. It’s a privilege to play for them. Don’t fuck around and miss out on this moment. Follow them. Support them. Snatch their EP at the merch table before it become a collector’s item and you can’t afford it. Take plenty of pictures so you can say you were there before they blow up. Give more love to Oya, Jody, and Shameika…To Sleep With Anger!”
Offstage they were mobbed by people trying to talk to them and get pictures. Killmonger was adamant that he took no solo pictures with fans. It was the group or nothing. That didn’t stop people sneaking shots of him sipping on juice or talking to people. Security had to help them when the reality of his status went into warp drive. They had to have more security with them for the rest of the event.
Gracious, accommodating, protective, and a total fanboy, Killmonger acted as their professional handler. His personal bodyguard, Tyson, was a bruising giant that suffered no fools when it came to his boss. If Killmonger felt a fan was being rude to them, he sent Tyson after them. By the end of the festival night, Oya was exhausted by the lack of respect fans had for the personal space of huge stars. Oya wanted the same accolades, but the rudeness was astounding. So used to being ignored, or looked over, she adjusted to it quickly until a male onlooker reached out and squeezed her ass cheek near a speaker as she watched a headliner from Canada. She shoved the man and his weed-laced eyes narrowed. His lips became a snarl when he realized she wasn’t interested in his tasteless unwanted sexual advances.
“You should feel lucky, bitch!” he spat.
A fist sliced across her peripheral and the next thing she knew, the man’s face was punched in one direction while two of his teeth flew in the opposite. A crowd of male fans snatched him up and carried him off while Killmonger stalked after them cursing him out. Tyson pulled Killmonger back but he jerked away from his grasp. A random girl with long pink braids picked up the teeth with a napkin and ran after the owner of them.
“Shit!” Oya finally exclaimed. Killmonger only needed a bodyguard to protect fans from his fists.
Jody and Shameika were stunned and the crowd stood back from them when Killmonger returned.
“You alright, O?”
“Yeah.”
He shook his head as Tyson made a wide berth for them to continue their evening.
“I’ve had my ass slapped, my dick grabbed, kisses placed on me without my consent…”
Killmonger’s eyes looked them over before giving them a dimpled grin.
“See what you have to look forward to?” he told them with flashing gold teeth and drying blood on his fist.
On the way to Coachella and uneasy alliances…
Oya carried bags of Chinese food and soda to the apartment. She had to carry four bags carefully by herself because no one answered their cell to come help her. Climbing up the stairs and fumbling with keys, she entered the apartment hearing music, and smelling frankincense incense, weed, and burning vanilla-scented candles. The room divider from the living room to the dining room was up and Oya saw shapes moving behind the shadows of flickering light. Jody and Shameika were at it on their bed. They probably thought Oya was going to take a long time picking up food, however, she called ahead for once.
She ducked into the other doorway that led to the kitchen and placed the bags on the counter. Clearly there was no rush to eat. Oya needed time to shower. Turning her head, the flimsy curtain they used to separate the kitchen from the dining room was parted and Oya could see Shameika on her back with Killmonger on top of her.
The hell?
She froze.
This was the fucked up shit that killed bands throughout history. Illicit sexual liasons…
Wayment.
Jody’s fingers slid down from behind Killmonger’s back and pinched his nipples. He turned his head to the side and they shared tongue kisses. Oya watched the man pull out his dick from Shameika, and dear God, he threw Jody down onto her hands and knees and plunged his sheathed thickness into her from behind. She watched him turn Jody into a quivering mess on her bed while he pulled on her hair. Shameika bent down and licked her tongue from the middle of his chest up to the side of his neck.
“Bounce on it,” he whispered to Jody and she threw her ass back on him while Killlmonger
slipped fingers inside of Shameika’s pussy. Oya could hear the squelching wetness and the woman’s whimpers twisted around Killmonger’s groans.
“Oooh, fuck!” he roared as Jody gave it her all.
Jody pulled off of his length and flipped over allowing Shameika to fall against her with her legs up in the air. Killmonger sank into her as Jody played with her peach-sized breasts and anchored her girlfriend’s body for him. Their eyes stayed on that man’s dick as it plowed deep and hard.
“Fuck me…Killmonger…!!” Shameika was losing it.
“Shit,” he yelped biting his lip as he hunched over her.
He was deep in her guts now and the thrashing she did under him made Killmonger double down on the snaking of his hips. Her arms flew back and Jody cradled them, sucking on Shameika’s fingers before Killmonger pulled out again. Both women scrambled to get at his mouth for kisses and he held them both close to him as he fondled both their asses with greedy hands.
Oya slipped out of the kitchen and heard more movement. She wondered what position they were in now before jealousy seeped into her heart. She closed her bedroom door and sat on her cold bed in the dark. It was sad to think of how long it had been since she had sex with anyone. She didn’t count the clumsy attempts of a man trying to fingerfuck her the previous year at a party, or even the coat check girl at her job. They were unconsummated misadventures.
She had no clue the three of them were fuck bodies. Killmonger kept sexual energy on stage and in their real life he was a gentleman guitarist coaxing the best out of them for work only. It was obvious Shameika had a big crush on him, but they all just settled into a mentor Rock-God relationship with him. He was playful during downtime, bossy during rehearsals, and flirty for shows.
“Cum in my mouth!” he shouted
His voice roared through the door and Oya pulled a pillow over her face and screamed. They were getting all that sculpted body. All that dick. All that mouth. Kicking her feet, Oya threw her pillow across the bed. Fuck ‘em.
She turned on the lights and prepared to take a shower, not even bothering to keep quiet. They kept being loud even as she went into the bathroom and took a long shower.
Twenty minutes later she could hear their bed still rocking and rolling. Bitches!
Hunger trumped all and she made a ton of noise going back into the kitchen to fix a plate for herself. Dumping fried shrimp rice and walnut chicken on a paper plate, she yanked open the fridge to get a can of Pepsi.
Jody tumbled into the kitchen and washed her hands at the sink. She was fully dressed in a t-shirt and shorts and Oya could tell she was pretending that nothing had went on in the next room. She also wouldn’t look Oya in the eye. Whatever.
Oya padded into the living room with her plate and drink and found Killmonger on their couch watching TV.
“Sup?” he said ogling her plate.
The shower went on again and Oya assumed it was Shameika in the bathroom. Jody walked out of the kitchen with two plates. She handed one to Killmonger who took it with gratitude as he tucked in with a fork.
“I would’ve gotten some egg rolls had I known you were coming over,” Oya said with a little bite in voice.
“No worries. I just popped over.”
“Yeah. I heard.”
Jody’s eyes almost fell out of her head. Pressure began to build behind her neck and Oya tried to eat her food next to Killmonger on the couch, but she barely tasted it. When Shameika came into the room with a small plate, Oya couldn’t hold back.
“Is this going to be a regular thing?”
“What?” Killmonger said.
“Nigga, don’t play dumb. You’re fucking two of my bandmates. I’m really not trying to have no bullshit when it blows up in your faces.”
Shameika’s lip trembled. Jody studied the paint on the wall.
“It’s none of your business what we do,” he said poking out his full lips.
Oya knocked his food out of his hand.
“Oya…fuck…” he grumbled picking up the mess all over the floor.
Shameika jumped up to clean it and Oya shoved her back.
“Let him pick it up since he’s trying to create a mess.”
Oya’s jaws clenched and she stood up to tower over him while he cleaned. He jumped up to face her.
“If you want some dick too, just say so. We don’t need all the dramatics to get my attention.”
“You think I wanna fuck you?”
“Every time you see me you want to.”
“You said you wanted to see us win. This threesome will interfere with the work.”
“Yeah…you wanna fuck.”
“Killmonger, stop,” Shameika said.
“Kill-monger, stahpppp,” Oya said mimicking Shameika’s mousy voice.
“Don’t do that,” Jody said stepping to Oya.
“Whatchu do? Let her fuck him so you wouldn’t lose her?”
“Fuck you, Oya!” Jody shouted pushing her in the chest.
Oya pushed back and Killmonger stood between them.
“You are such a weak little pussy!” Oya shouted as the rage surged through her body.
Shameika ran to her bedroom and Jody followed after her.
“Weak bitches,” Oya shouted to them.
A shock of pain blasted up her arm as Killmonger grabbed it and pulled her toward her bedroom. He opened the door and shoved her inside flicking on the lights and slamming the door behind him.
“What the fuck is your problem?”
“Why are you fucking them?”
“Why is it your business?”
“The band is my business. You fucking up my business.”
“What I do with them is between me and them—”
“How long has it been going on?”
Killmonger rolled his eyes and she couldn’t help but stare at his teeth and the locs flopping in his eyes. His blood was up and the look on his face was mean and it turned her on. She wanted to punch him and kiss him, but if she did that, it would only prove that she did want to fuck him and was angry that her friends got to him first. Wasn’t she good enough? He was always gassing her up as the Queen Bee but he settled for drones…
Oya closed her eyes.
That was cruel. Jody and Shameika were her girls. Her sisters. She was acting like Deidre. Thinking she was better than all the rest. Fuck. Maybe Deidre was.
Oya flopped down on her bed.
“I’m sorry,” she said.
His eyes were still tight, but he uncrossed his arms.
“What’s going on?”
“I don’t like being left out.”
“Left out of what?”
“Inner circles. I thought we were a team…I feel left out.”
“Because of sex?”
“No…yeah…I dunno. I’m stressed…Coachella is coming…”
Killmonger sat next to her and threaded his fingers in hers.
“Coachella is big for you guys, but it’s just a music festival. Like all the others you’ve played before.”
“Easy for you to say. We only got there because of you.”
“So.”
“People are saying that’s the only reason we were invited to play.”
“So.”
Oya shook her head and he squeezed her hand.
“If you’re scared because Ark Ten is playing just say that.”
“I’m not scared of Ark Ten.”
“Deidre then.”
“She’s a star.”
“You’re a star. You, Shameika and Jody.”
“This has to be the best performance of our life, and I want to show her up. I want her to regret leaving us—” “She’s living rent free in your head and not even thinking about you. We had three dudes jump ship on Slippage before we even signed with Warner. Shit, I wasn’t even in the original line-up. People leave when opportunities open up for them. Deidre is where she’s supposed to be. I’m where I’m supposed to be. So are you. This is your come up, O. Enjoy it. Stop worrying about Deidre and stop worrying about my dick.”
She punched his arm and he kissed her cheek.
“You stink,” she said wiping his kiss off of her skin.
“I smell like good pussy.”
“Please don’t play with them.”
“We’re having fun.”
“You’re having fun. They are in a serious relationship.”
“I hear you, okay?”
Killmonger released her hand and left the room to shower and clean up. Oya meandered into the kitchen then knocked on the wall near the curtain divider.
“What?” Jody called out.
“It’s me. I want to apologize. Can I come in?”
There was no answer.
“Jody? Shameika?”
Jody pulled the curtain aside. Her face was contorted with anger. Oya saw Shameika on the bed bundled up under the sheet, her eyes wet and puffy from crying.
“I’m sorry. It wasn’t my place to talk to you both like that. I don’t want this thing you have with him to blow up in our faces. Shameika, sorry for teasing you…I was…jealous.”
Shameika cut her eyes and Jody crawled onto the bed and put her arms around her. They both ignored her.
“Sorry,” she said again and left them alone.
Oya went to her room and broke out her weed pipe and smoked alone on her bed. With her bedroom door open she saw Killmonger walk out wrapped in a towel brushing his teeth.
“I stole a toothbrush from the pack under the sink,” he said.
Oya shrugged and he ducked back into the bathroom to rinse his mouth. He returned fully dressed and barefoot. He grabbed the pipe and lighter from her and took a few puffs and cooled out on her bed.
“They are pissed at me,” she grumbled.
“You were foul.”
“I know. I apologized.”
They smoked and the high was easy. Languid. She fell back on her back and stared at the ceiling. Killmonger curled around her and threw an arm across her stomach.
“I wrote a new song,” she said.
“Lemme hear it.”
She giggled.
“I’m high and my lips are rubbery right now.”
Killmonger licked her face and it felt like warm velour caressing her skin.
“Sing it to me.”
He nuzzled his face in her neck and kissed her there.
“You ain’t slick,” she said moving her neck from him.
“What?”
“Tryna get in my panties too right now because I’m floatin’.”
“I would never do that. My dick is tired anyway. They had my shit spittin’,”
“Oh God, TMI.”
“I couldn’t get it up if I wanted too. Give me the song.”
“Hmmm…”
“It sucks.”
“Shut up!”
She slapped his cheek and he cradled her hand and kissed her palm. She raised his hand to her lips and kissed his fingers.
“Sing,” he said.
Oya closed her eyes and thought of the yellow legal pad she wrote the newest song on. The words floated above the paper as the melody danced around her ears.
“There is no place for a soft Black woman… there is no smile green enough or summertime words warm enough to allow my growth…and in my head…I see my history standing like a shy child…and I chant lullabies…as I ride my past on horseback…tasting the thirst of yesterday tribes…” **
The words flowed from her lips and Killmonger caressed her hip as he listened to her. He gave her suggestions for word changes when she was finished, and they moved from the bedroom to the living room to work out the song with her electric guitar. He played her instrument while she sang to him. Shameika and Jody emerged from their bedroom to listen and after a few more word changes they joined in on bass and drums that sat ready in the room all the time. They jammed, worked out a decent intro with the drums and Killmonger shoehorned a bass-heavy bridge that added a full body sound to the lyrics. Oya felt the sexual tension between the four of them. It was thick and undeniable. They were all drenched in sweat by the time they had a complete arrangement that worked well.
“We should close with this,” Killmonger suggested.
Oya glanced over at Jody and Shameika.
“What do you think?” she asked them.
Jody shrugged and Shameika stared at Killmonger.
“You like it Shameika. I can hear it in your drums,” Killmonger said.
Shameika’s foot tapped on the floor. Killmonger stood Oya’s guitar on a stand and he walked over to Shameika and pulled her up to her feet. He blocked their view of her as he talked softly with her. Oya left the room to grab a bottled water and when she returned, Killmonger had his lips on Shameika and she had her arms around his neck. Jody stood with her arms resting on her bass watching them.
“You good,” Killmonger asked.
Shameika nodded her head and Killmonger went to Jody and gave her a hug.
“Team, right?” he asked Jody.
Jody twisted her lips and Killmonger grabbed her chin and tilted it up toward him.
“Jody?”
“Yeah. We’re a team.”
Killmonger pressed his mouth on Jody and she  gave in. His hand squeezed her left butt cheek and she swatted his chest with a laugh in her throat. Fiery eyes raked over Oya’s form as Killmonger strode over to her.
“I’m not leaving you out,” he said.
His mouth devoured hers overwhelming her with the pressure of his large tongue sweeping around her teeth and making her own tongue submit to his will. A trembling in her thighs commenced, and she grew bolder as she pressed her body into his. Whatever he said about his dick not being able to rise to the occasion again was a blatant lie because the hardness she felt pressing against her mound had her panties damp. His arm slipped around her waist and he walked her backward a few inches before he let go of her lips. He reached for his shirt and took it off allowing the hard slick scars all over his chest excite her even more.
No words were spoken as he forced her back into her bedroom and undressed her. He groaned when her breasts were freed from her bra, and she moaned as his thick fingers pulled off her underwear revealing a glistening prize for his mouth. He ate her out on the edge of her bed, pushing her thighs back so that he could smear her juices all over his face. He licked her folds until she was clawing her bed. Sucking on her clit made her cry out and she knew Jody and Shameika heard her.
Killmonger stood up before she could release again and she watched him fetch a condom from his wallet and roll it down his turgid erection.
“You gon’ play nice?”
“Huh?”
Breath was cut from her throat as he sank into her. He threaded his fingers in her hair and locked her body down good and tight. Hard thrusts made her pussy clench around his pipe. He brought his face close to hers and the gold in his teeth looked sharp and threatening.
“I’m giving you this dick, but you better place nice with the other girls from now on!” he growled in her ear.
Oya lifted up so she could see his dick beating up her walls. The aggression of his fucking made it hard to breathe. His hips swiveled and hit another part of her pussy that she wasn’t expecting and she clawed his back. The scars on his body rubbed extra sensations into her needy skin and she whimpered into his shoulder to keep her bandmates from hearing, but the dick was so good that she was panting his name every time he sank back into her.
“Be a good girl, alright? Don’t be jealous…”
“Killmonger!”
He palmed as much of her breasts as he could and forced her back to arch just to catch all the length he was throwing into her fast. She took the pounding gratefully.
“I’ll be good! I’ll be good…ooh shit! I’ll be good…fuck!”
She went cockeyed trying to match his pace and gave up when he was balls deep and making her toes bunch up. His teeth tugged on her nipples and she took that moment to breathe deep and catch her bearings.
“Turn around!”
Killmonger stepped back from her and his heavy dick bobbed with her shiny slickness all over the condom. She dropped her legs down to the floor and shifted her body so that she faced the bed. Before she had a chance to position herself, he had his hand on the back of her neck pushing her down. Her ass jiggled as he thrust into her again, and she gripped the blanket on her bed to brace herself. Oya’s ass clapped loud and she was unable to make a sound from her mouth. The shouting she had done made her voice hoarse, and she snapped her eyes shut and sucked on the blanket.
“Hold these ass cheeks open!”
Reaching behind her, she stroked her backside with her long nails and pulled her fleshy cheeks apart.
“Look at that pussy!” he choked out.
His groans rained down on her and once he started grunting and slapping her ass, she knew she would fall apart all over his dick soon.
“…being my good girl…pussy stretched all around me…fuck…Oya…”
She couldn’t take it anymore. He was rooted in her way down deep until he bottomed out and gripped her hips.
“Right there! Right there!” he groaned.
“Fuckkk…”
Her orgasm exploded when he slipped demanding fingers across her clit and stroked her to completion. Bucking his hips, Killmonger’s body went rigid and he cursed a stream of expletives until he collapsed over her.
Panting together, she felt kisses planted down her spine from his lush lips. He pulled out of her and bent down to kiss her pussy, licking the essence that flowed out of her. When she sat up, he left the room to go into the bathroom. Killmonger returned with a smile on his face.
“Let’s record your song tomorrow at my place around nine—”
“I can’t, I have to work at eight.”
“Jody…Shameika…”
He padded out of her bedroom nude and went to the living room. Oya grabbed her t-shirt and pulled it on. She rummaged for a pair of sweatpants and sought out Killmonger. He stood in Jody and Shameika’s bedroom talking quietly. She watched his shadow on the living room divider and felt a bit miffed that he didn’t bother to dress before going to them. Her scent was all over him. The divider shook and she watched Killmonger pull it aside. Jody and Shameika stared at her. The smirk on Jody’s face made Oya feel uncomfortable. Nothing like fucking a dude her ex had just rode hours before. Messy.
“We’ll record before you go to work then. We need to lay it down fast. Skip rehearsal in the morning and just record. Cool?”
She nodded. The others seemed pleased with the idea.
“It’s a great song, Oya,” Shameika said.
Her eyes were still shiny and the lilt in her voice was relaxed. That man was working them all over. It worried her. Worried her for the next two weeks that they recorded tracks at his house and took promotional pictures for Coachella with a photographer he hired. The PR machine for Coachella was going into overdrive. Killmonger made them cancel all appearances until the festival. He paid them all out of his own pocket to make up for gigs they passed up.
“It’s to build anticipation,” he assured them.
Their streaming numbers jumped, especially when they posted the new pictures of Killmonger with them on their official website. He was part of the group now. The man drove them to play until their fingers swelled up and bled and their voices felt like they chewed chalk all day. Their bodies ached from working so hard. Killmonger’s work ethic was stringent but worth all the effort. Oya’s stamina improved. Musically and sexually.
They all shared him.
He was more discreet with their liaisons. The new polyamory created a push and pull that made their music racy. Electric.
The only foursome they indulged in was a weekend before Coachella. They tripped on ‘shrooms with Killmonger in his house after swimming in his pool, and danced in their swim suits his den listening to all the new music they had created together.
“If you bring this fire to Coachella, it’s a done deal,” he said lying on his floor gazing up at his skylight that covered half of the ceiling.
“Done deal?” Oya said watching her fingers grow watery-looking as she allowed her body to trip with the high she felt.
“Yeah, Warner will sign us,” he said like it was no big deal.
She screamed with Jody and Shameika as they peppered kisses all over his face. He stayed on his back as they sat around him like a harem.
“All this work you put in, it’s all simmering on the stove. I gave y’all some extra seasoning and now we’re all cooked down to the pot liquor now,” he said.
His eyes were seductive, and his mouth was lax showing them his bottom slugs. Shameika stroked his cheek and he smiled. Oya bent down and kissed him and he accepted her ripe lips with a moan and wandering fingers. Stripping for him, they all took turns riding his face and going through condoms as they rode his dick too. Reconnecting with Jody intimately was a sweet reminder of how they used to be years before. Shameika and Jody sucked on his balls as she ran her tongue around the bulbous tip of his glans and she felt extra special when he came in her mouth. Jody and Shameika cleaned him with lusty licks and were rewarded with slow drips of extra semen that spilled all over their lips. They slept together in a warm heap of arms and legs on the floor and she woke up with his Killmonger’s tongue sucking on her tits. She climbed on top of him and bounced on his dick with her heavy breasts teasing his face, letting him cum hot and raw inside of her. Jody and Shameika watched her make Killmonger holler her name like he had the holy ghost and they giggled when his eyes rolled back from his orgasm.
All was well.
Until it wasn’t.
Carrying coffee containers from Starbuck’s, Oya and Jody returned to a final mixing session in the home studio catching Killmonger fucking the shit out of Shameika on the sound board. Jody dropped the coffee she had for herself and Shameika and cursed a blue streak. Killmonger yanked off the condom and fastened his pants looking confused by the reaction. Oya was just as confused when Jody snapped and she pulled her back before it turned physical.
“Why you trippin’?” Killmonger yelled.
Tears welled in Jody’s eyes.
“You promised!” Jody screamed.
Oya glanced between them. Shameika hung her head in shame.
Shit.
It became clear to Oya.
“I thought we were all good,” Killmonger said still searching for understanding.
“This is why…” Oya mumbled.
“It just happened!” Shameika shrieked.
Jody stomped out of the studio and left the house.
“Jody!”
Oya grabbed Shameika’s arm to stop her.
“Give her a minute, Shameika. Just go to the bathroom for now and –”
“What is going on?!” Killmonger said still out of the loop.
Shameika cradled her waist. Killmonger stepped to her and stroked her arm.
“Shameika?”
“We had a rule. I wasn’t supposed to be with you by myself.”
“Well damn, why didn’t you tell me that?”
“Cuz I wanted to be alone with you like Oya is!”
“Shameika, bathroom, now!” Oya pushed.
Shameika left them alone.
“I told you,” Oya hissed.
“I didn’t know about their rule. I would’ve respected it.”
“That was their fault for not cluing you in from the beginning.”
“Shit. Jody won’t quit will she?”
Oya pounded her fists on top of her head. The doorbell rang. Killmonger glanced at his security video screens near the sound board.
“It’s Doug and Anderson from my management. I invited them to hear the final mix. Fuck.”
Oya left Killmonger and hustled Shameika out of the bathroom.
“Get it together. Deal with your problem at home, you hear me?” Oya clucked like a mother hen.
Jody wandered back in with her lips set in a scowl and she sat away from Shameika as they heard the playback in the studio. Doug and Anderson loved it. It was a full album worthy of representation. Doug, balding, in his late forties, and deadly serious with his facial expressions kept squinting his eyes as he listened.
“What do we call this? Seriously? What is this sound?”
“Pot Liquor,” Oya said.
Killmonger chuckled.
“What?” Doug asked.
“Inside thing,” Killmonger said winking at Oya.
They played the album back again and the three men chatted with big plans for the band. But Oya could only watch the tension escalating with Jody and Shameika.
It was hell in a hand basket and Killmonger kicked it on its way by seducing them all into thinking they could handle open sex, drugs, and rock and roll.
Fuck.
The end of the beginning making way for new beginnings…
Oya stood behind the stage of the Mojave Stage tent with a nervous heart hammering in her chest.
The press, Killmonger’s fans, and online pundits billed it the battle of the bands when Slippage was to perform after them, and Ark Ten before them. It bummed Oya when she watched smaller more talented bands get pushed aside for big name acts that didn’t need the exposure that Coachella gave. A-Listers ruined the vibe for her. Everywhere she looked people were there to be seen. It had ceased to be about the music for many there. Influencers had some pull, and she was able to speak with a few before she dressed for their set. Shiny black dress. Blood red overcoat. Hair slicked down, titties propped up, she twisted all the silver rings that covered every finger on her hands. Two chunky silver chokers rested around her neck. They all agreed to dress their personality, and for Killmonger, that meant topless, black basketball shorts and black trainers.
Jody and Shameika were barely on speaking terms. Oya stayed at Killmonger’s place because hanging around the apartment was brutal. Icy stares. Early morning cuss outs. Crying. She stayed out of the way as much as possible, but left after two days. All her time spent before Coachella was used to play her guitar, get her voice pampered and ready, and pray that the audience was receptive. They were part of the two Saturday weekend line-ups, and she prayed Jody and Shameika could keep it together for the following Saturday.
It felt like she and Killmonger had a lot to prove. Oya facing Deidre with Ark Ten, and Killmonger peeping Slippage without him.
“Is it mean to want the other band to suck?” Oya whispered to him.
“Nah. Slippage is a different animal without me now. They have new music. It’s a new era for them.”
“You miss them?”
“No.”
“If people don’t like this, you don’t have to stay with us. We can say you were just—”
“Shut up,” he said slapping her butt.
The thumping of music from a small monitor screen drew her eyes toward it where she watched Deidre shred. They hadn’t spoken since she left them high and dry. Deidre had on a revealing black dress that showed a lot of breasts without nipples, and a thigh high split that Oya hoped had a g-string at the top. Killmonger bobbed his head as he listened to Deidre do a solo. She was a star. It showed.
Oya inhaled deep.
“You got this,” Killmonger whispered in her ear. He kissed her and she felt her nerves move to her neck.
So many people. So many high expectations.
Oya shook her hands and glanced over at Jody who paced with her earbuds on listening to meditative sounds. Shameika stood still tapping her drumsticks against the top of her thigh, her eyes glassy and focused on some netherworld.
Tyson stood nearby keeping his eyes on the crowd and people backstage.
Martina, the stage manager walked over turning down her headset.
“Ready?” she said.
Oya nodded and the band circled up. She stood between Jody and Shameika.
“Go out there and be yourselves,” Killmonger said.
The glint from his slugs made her tamper down her nerves.
“You don’t look nervous at all,” Jody said.
“I still get butterflies. I want to do my best for all of you.”
They bowed their heads and Oya did a simple prayer and they all squeezed hands.
“Do it Shameika,” Oya said.
Shameika shook her hair, tugged on her tiny black halter and shorts and pranced out to her drums. Colorful lights made her look glamourous and there was a smattering of applause as their logo lit up above her head. One twirl and she slammed on the skins and got right into her lane as their pocket queen. Oya saw a sly smile spread across Jody’s face and she stomped out to where her bass waited for her and hooked in. When the lights struck her face, her head whipped toward Oya.
“What?” Oya mouthed.
Jody put stank on the bass as her thumb slapped hard. Killmonger hooked into his guitar backstage and when he heard his cue, he began to play and a roar shook the open tent. Strolling out like he had always been with them made Oya grip the mic in her hand tight. She was bigger than life. Bigger than the stage. Bigger than the biggest galaxy in the universe. Switching on the mic she called out,
“Buckle up Coachella, you ain’t ready for this shit. I promise you. Hold onto to your edges…”
She stepped out and her eyes bugged. Holy fuck. The Mojave Stage tent they were under was packed. More than packed, the crowd extended far out of the tent and many people had to watch them on monitors outside.
Killmonger sidled up to her to help her regain her focus as she felt disoriented for a second. She looked down at his fingers working his chords and he bit his bottom lip giving her a flash of his face when he orgasmed and her clit thumped thinking about the way he handled her body. Oya shook her hips and he moved against her body.
“This bad boy right here is ready…are you ready Coachella?”
The roar of the crowd rattled the stage and instead of feeling like an indie band, they performed like they were on the main stage as the sun disappeared. Killmonger took over and scorched the guitar intro that Deidre ruined so long ago at Joshua Tree. When his eyes sought hers out and he suggestively wiggled his tongue at her the way he liked to work her clit, she growled deep in her throat then let pure rage flow out as she threw back her head.
“Show me someone not full of herself, and I’ll show you a hungry person! Ahhhh, yeahhhhh!!”
Everything poured out of her and Killmonger drove the rhythm hard, pushing her to dig deep and leave it all on the stage. Sweat made his scars shine like perfect little jewels just for her fingers to touch, which she did like always making people scream with delight.
She dropped to her knees and he placed his guitar close to her face to simulate fellatio. She spun herself toward Jody who did the same as she screeched out  
“Give it to me!”
The first song raised the crowd into a tizzy, and it was easy to slip into the next song. She adjusted to the more than expected size of the audience under the tent and outside of it. Fifteen minutes in she took off her coat and slipped on her own guitar and joined Killmonger for a battle and by the time she caught her second wind mid show, her eyes caught a familiar face in the wings.
Deidre.
There was a smile on her face.
Feeling a way, Oya strummed her guitar and stepped to her mic stand.
“I want to introduce you all to the newest member of To Sleep With Anger…you may recognize him from some other band…who did you use to be with?” she asked Killmonger.
The crowd laughed.
“Everyone put your hands together once more for Erik Killmonger on lead guitar!”
Killmonger showed off a bit, and they went off script and jammed.
It felt like magic. Oya’s heart swelled and she felt generous when Jody finally noticed Deidre on the side.
“Would you all mind if I bring out an unexpected guest?”
The audience clapped.
“All the way from the Outdoor Theater across the way, Deidre Peterson of Ark Ten!”
Deidre held her hands up, but Oya put a hand on her hip.
“Don’t make me come over there and drag you out!”
Deidre walked out humbly, her face showing doubt about what was happening. Her eyes lit up when she saw Killmonger looking at her, giving her dimples and a wink.
“Use my guitar, Deidre,” Oya whispered in her ear when she leaned in for a polite hug.
She glanced around at Jody and Shameika before she took in the crowd.
“Go ahead,” Jody shouted.
Deidre picked up the guitar and Killmonger gave her space as she strummed it then broke into the very first song she and Oya ever wrote as teenagers.
“Bitch!” Oya teased before Jody stepped to her mic.
“I won’t let you suffer all the way through it. We were just learning!” Deidre joked.
Oya faced the audience.
“We wanted to be heavy metal queens because metal, like all good American music started with Black people… you know it’s true!” she catcalled the audience.
Deidre played one of their last songs they performed together and Jody joined her with Shameika rounding out the sound. Killmonger followed the rhythm adding his gentle flourishes.
“Can we give ‘em a tiny taste?” Oya asked.
Jody held it down as Deidre shared the mic with Oya and they harmonized two verses before Deidre stopped playing. There was too much emotion on her face and she unhooked herself from the guitar and placed it back on the stand behind them. She blew kisses to the audience and hugged Oya before leaving the stage in a near run. Killmonger brought the music back up and forced Oya to let go of the past and look toward the future. There was pain still there, but they were both where they were supposed to be. They couldn’t hate on the universe for being correct in the outcome.
They jumped back into kicking ass and taking names with Oya showing off her octave range and playing off of her bandmates. Killmonger tried to spit bars to one song and she covered his mouth with her hands making the audience cackle as she took over and showed him how it was done. Their songs ran the gamut of sexual politics, race, class, love, and the rage of Black women who were overlooked and forgotten. She sweated out her hair and rivulets of her exertion ran down her neck and breasts. Wrapping up with a strong closing, they all knew that the world was their oyster now. They carried sharp knives on the stage to cut the oysters open from now on. She waved for Shameika to come away from the drums and the four of them stood side by side. Jody threw an arm around Shameika and Killmonger held Oya’s hand as they took in the applause and whistles, and shouts for more.
Deidre was absent from backstage but it was just as well. It was To Sleep With Anger’s moment. Not hers.
Bigger acts sought them out to chat and they took some time to watch Slippage perform. They weren’t as good anymore without Killmonger. She saw the smirk on his arrogant face when their reception without him was less than stellar.
Killmonger had hired a crew to break down and pack up their instruments and they were driven home in a large black S.U.V. to Killmonger’s house at the end of their Coachella stay that first weekend. Jody and Shameika went off to one of his guest rooms to work out some things leaving Oya alone with Killmonger. They had talked all night after their performance. There was hope.
“Think they’ll make up all the way now?” Killmonger asked.
They sat inside his jacuzzi easing their weary bodies. It was early in the morning.
“They’re in love. But we’ll see what happens before next weekend.”
Oya sat up on the edge when the water got too hot for her.
“What about you?” he asked.
“What about me?” she said flicking hair from her eyes.
Killmonger swam up to her and pressed his body in between her thighs and gripped her backside.
“You were letting the world know some things with how you were acting on stage with me.”
“Know what?”
“We’re feeling each other. More than just an occasional hook-up.”
“We do have mad chemistry.”
His eyes became dreamy looking up at her.
“You are amazing, Oya. Tonight…shit all three of you were just fucking raw. Coachella hasn’t seen that in a long time. Fuck, music hasn’t seen that in a long time. Period.”
She stroked the top of his head fingering his locs and he closed his eyes and rested his head against her stomach. Rubbing gentle circles along his back, she touched his scars that had become so precious to her. He had become precious to her.
“Killmonger?”
He raised his head up and she lowered hers and kissed him. Their lips fought for leverage together and when their tongues sought heat and wet mouths, he stepped out of the water and held her hand. Her eyes felt heavy. Sleepy. She was still high from being onstage the night before.
“Where are we going?” she said.
“To make some music together.”
“Oh, yeah?”
“All day, And the next day, and the next…”
He pulled her along and they took off their wet swimsuits and shared a shower together before he took her to bed. The man played hymns on her breasts with his calloused guitar fingers and hummed a sultry blues on her slick folds. Musical notes danced across her clit with the tip of his tongue and when he sucked sweet orgasms from her one after the other, she finally understood what Betty Davis meant by the lyrics in “Anti-Love Song” about a nigga making a woman “scrawl”, because she was screaming and trying to crawl up the walls once he penetrated her, parting her folds like soft fleshy curtains. His short teasing thrusts had her begging him to fill her up with his entire length, stretch her wide open, and take her to the place where love rested easy.
They held hands as he went deeper and deeper and Killmonger made her lose all hope of ever letting him go.
The world made her a little less angry with him in it, and she was so grateful.
###
Tag List:
@blvcksundays
@l-auteuse
@soufcakmistress
@scrumptiouslytena-ciouscrusade
@lahuttor
@tyees
@thickemadame
@truglori
@itsjustyazz
@blackburnbook
@milkismysugar
@yomiloo
 @raysunshine78​
@browngirldominion​
A.N. Song lyrics were from poems.
* Nikki Giovanni poem “"Poem for a Lady Whose Voice I Like"
** Sonya Sanchez poem “Present”
118 notes · View notes
kroabot · 17 days ago
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Go baptise the dead, bitch.   That makes your crimes righteous.  Go baptise more dead, stupid bitch. baptising other people's ancestors and thinking "they're one of us now"  why don't you contact dead boy prostitute cocaine mule Emiliano or his dad Petey in Mexico, why don't you ask Petey how Emiliano was murdered and what he was murdered for.   You may get a better answer than the repetitive well rehearsed "he was always so funny"  and "he was my best friend"  
Pacific Life Insurance in Cottonwood Utah and Omaha Nebraska, isn't this the office where they help make sure the "money goes to the right place"  into Star's bank account?   After you murder someone Pacific Life who you do business with in Cottonwood Utah, and Omaha Nebraska, they direct deposit the life insurance settlement into Star's bank account.  That's why Star gets so arrogant about her father, her father doesn't deposit tens of thousands of dollars of dirty money into Star's account.  Then they close that bank account.  They always are opening and closing bank accounts.  Getting new phone numbers.  Visiting the mafia apartment for planning crime built by 15 years of Elizabeth's SSI checks.   Their extortion embezzlement room, because Elizabeth Monica  Coca and Joseph Taylor have no foundational source of income, except for mafia white collar crime, with forgery and identity theft
And i'll kill Ricardo and take his daughters Giovana, Camila, Marcela, or kill Michael Tahan and take his daughters, or grandchildren bye.
On Thu, May 27, 2021, 7:56 PM Islam Peru <islamlimaperu@gmail.com> wrote:
Star was molested by Joe Link, and Star was taken out of school and neglected and starved the year previous to being brought to Peru, by Elizabeth Monica Coca, and Joseph Taylor, to tell me to give up my business and come back to USA with her.  Like it wasn't setting me up for an unfair trap.  And like they aren't all collectively abusing Star and pointing the finger at one another like this is a game, you'll die Monica, next belt is around your and Joseph's next bitch!   Come at me bro, cowardly child abusing fatass ugly retarded bullies with brain damage and multiple personality disorder autism schizoeffective PTSD to excuse your crime!  Next belt is around your neck lying fat whore and your retard husband come at me bro
shut up bitch Elizabeth Monica  you can die you brought Star to Joe Link, not me.   prison
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felixmceo855 · 21 days ago
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Most people go through each day giving no thought whatsoever to money laundering, yet, whether you choose to think about it or not, money laundering, and the efforts to fight it, can impact you directly – in your business or in your own home.
First, as a business in the US, did you know you have a legal obligation to report the receipt of more than $10,000 in cash or cash equivalents, which include foreign currency, cashier's checks, money orders, bank drafts and traveler's checks – in any combination? As long as it is for a single transaction (not item – but transaction), the receipt can even take place over a period of time – as much as a 12-month period! (Banks and others with regular currency transaction reports have a cycle of only a single business day's postings.) The form involved is IRS Form 8300. Do NOT ignore this! I am aware of individuals who have been sentenced to and served years in prison for purposely ignoring this. I will make another posting soon just on Form 8300, its requirements and how to fill it out properly.
Second, you are aware that knowledge of the funds being illicit at the time of receipt is a critical component for it to be money laundering. However, the concept of willful blindness can put you in a position that you should have known, so therefore, you DID know. So, especially as a business, you must be vigilant of who your customers are, if the transactions seem to make business sense, and how the transactions are being handled. For example, someone claiming to run a deli in Manhattan orders 83 complete Scuba outfits (suits, tanks, regulators, etc) from your sporting goods store. Already some bells should be sounding in your head, but that is a lot of business to turn away. For the payment, he signs 5 third-party checks over to you (in amounts and from entities that seem odd to have had such transactions with a deli), or he has money wired to you from several overseas companies, or a series of deposits are made directly to your bank account (you later find out these deposits were all made in cash and at a number of branches in several states). By now, there should be sirens too going off, but you REALLY NEED this sale. And, by now, you are an unwitting accomplice. Then, a few days later, he returns and cancels the order and asks for the refund to be a single check made payable to him personally. Even if you charge him an order cancellation fee, he walks away with a big, fat check from a locally reputable store, rather than in possibly stolen checks, or maybe even drug money (and you could still be financially responsible if the checks or wires do prove to be stolen or embezzled). An extreme example to say the least, but I wanted to point out some of the types of red flags one needs to be wary of.
And third, on a personal level, most all of us have received e-mails or seen work-at-home ads stating that some foreign company needs people to process payments for them – often paying 10% commissions to do so. Well, these are money mule schemes and, if you participate, you have just committed the crime of money laundering. Law enforcement will contend (and prevail) that you should have known better and that you had to have suspected the funds might somehow have been illicit (and therefore, you KNEW). So not only will you lose your little commission, you will likely have to make up the funds your forwarded (because that money is long, long gone and way out of anyone's reach), but, additionally, you could be facing jail time for money laundering (people that assist those that are laundering are as guilty of the crime as the actual perpetrators). So stay clear.
As the old adage goes, if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is. I hope this has been informative and that I have raised your awareness.
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foxquantum779 · 21 days ago
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Download The Deputy Dawg Show
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Deputy Dawg was first introduced on television in the fall of 1960. He became so popular in the South that these cartoons were released theatrically two years later. Many local stations ran Deputy Dawg from 6 to 7 p.m., directly competing with Hanna-Barbera cartoons. Ralph Bakshi has been credited with directing the last episodes.
Images Of Deputy Dawg
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Deputy Dawg Episodes
The Deputy Dawg Show Premiere October 3, 1960Finale January 11, 1963CreatorLarz BourneNetworkfirst-run syndicationStyle 30-minute animatedcomedyCompanyTerrytoonsSeasons 1Episodes 34 (List of episodes)Origin USA
The Deputy Dawg Show is an animatedcomedy that aired in syndication. It was the first all-cartoon made-for-TV production of the Terrytoons studio and was distributed by its parent company, CBS Films.
Deputy Dawg was the loyal but none-too-bright canine lawman of a backwoods Tennessee precinct, Creekmud Junction. The animals that live in the nearby swamp tend to give Deputy Dawg a hard time. Most of the trouble stems from Muskie Muskrat and his predilection of stealing eggs from the Sheriff's henhouse. Three incidental characters would be spun off from this show into their own. A little green childlike space alien would become Astronut, Mischa Mouse would become Macon Mouse for the theatrical Possible Possum series, and the Long Island Duckling would become Duckwood. Elements in the show are Silly Sidney and Dinky Duck.
The Deputy Dawg Show: Season Premiere: October 1, 1960 Season Finale: October 17, 1961 Episode Count: 34 Season One of The Deputy Dawg Show premiered in October 1960. 10 E010 Deputy Dawg s Nephew (58.98 MB) File name: 10 E010 Deputy Dawg s Nephew Source title: RS com The Deputy Dawg Show Animated Series1959-1972 - Warez - Search on rapidshare, megaupload, mediafire, netload, easy-share, filefactory, hotfile.
As successful as Deputy Dawg was on TV, it wasn't without controversy. It was depicted as a metaphor of the last vestiges of segregation and Jim Crow laws in the earliest days of the 1960s. Deputy Dawg, first colored a pale gray (later pure white), was the authority figure along with his Caucasian superior, the Sheriff. Muskie, painted brown, was a mirror image of African-Americans trying to outwit him. As Deputy Dawg made live appearances (with an actor in a Deputy Dawg suit), the audiences were highly segregated. Nevertheless, most of the TV audiences and show saturation was from the south, and the show's sponsor, Lay's Potato Chips, saw a massive rise in revenue thanks to the show.
In its original run, two Deputy Dawg cartoons were shown with features from theatrical Terrytoons films in the middle. In 1962, some Deputy Dawg cartoons were released to theaters. Some markets screened Deputy Dawg cartoons individually as part of locally hosted children's shows. The Deputy Dawg Show would be replayed on NBC in 1971 on Saturday mornings.
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Cast
ActorCharacterMain Cast Dayton Allen All characters
Seasons
Season PremiereFinale#Syndication Season One October 1960 196134
In-Depth
At a Glance: Additional information about the series
Images Of Deputy Dawg
DVD Releases
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There are no DVD releases for this show.
External Links
Retrieved from 'http://tviv.org/w/index.php?title=The_Deputy_Dawg_Show&oldid=2580897'
Deputy DawgCreated byTerrytoonsStarringDayton AllenCountry of originUnited StatesNo. of episodes34ProductionRunning time4–6 minutesProduction companyTerrytoonsDistributorCBS Films CBS Television Distribution (current as of 2007)ReleaseOriginal networkSyndicationOriginal releaseSeptember 8, 1962 – May 25, 1963
Deputy Dawg is a Terrytoonscartoon character, featured on the animated television series of the same name that aired from 1960 to 1963.[1]
Background[edit]
The Deputy Dawg Show first ran weekly from September 8, 1962 to May 25, 1963 (with a brief hiatus in December 1962). Each episode has a Deputy Dawg cartoon, followed by Dingbat, and then Silly Sidney. The British television debut came on BBC Television on August 31, 1963.[2]
The cartoons are between four and six minutes long, and were packaged three at a time and shown as a half-hour program. The show was produced by CBS and was the professional animation debut of Ralph Bakshi (as inbetweener) of adult animation fame. There were also six additional titles that were released theatrically, for show in cinemas, and which were not part of the original TV package.
Deputy Dawg (an anthropomorphic dog) is a deputy sheriff in Florida. As the episodes progressed, the location changed to Mississippi, and later to Tennessee. The other main characters are the 'varmints' Muskie Muskrat, Moley Mole, Possible 'Possum, Ty Coon, Vincent van Gopher, Pig Newton, and Dawg's boss the Sheriff, as well as Mrs. Deputy.[3] A late addition to the cast was 'Astronut' - a mischievous alien visitor who was later given his own spin-off show.
Deputy Dawg was voiced by Dayton Allen, a prolific voice actor who voiced many Terrytoons characters in television and theatrical shorts in the 1950s and 1960s.[4]
Much of the comedy is sight gag/action based with some focused around comical accents and stereotypical southern characteristics. Many of the storylines involve Deputy Dawg protecting his produce from Muskie and Vince, battling with some of the peculiar locals and trying to please the Sheriff.[5] However, most of the crimes committed by Muskie and Vince weren't treated seriously, and Deputy Dawg was on friendly terms with them most of the time (except when he had to perform his duties as a lawman and keep them from causing trouble). Deputy Dawg would pal around with Muskie and Vince just as often as he would lock them up in the jailhouse, and the trio would often engage in their favorite pastime, fishin' for catfish. The central location for many of the yarns is the jailhouse.
Musical direction is by Philip A. Scheib (April 14, 1894 – April 1969), who also worked on Sidney's Family Tree (1958) and The Juggler of Our Lady (1958). The musical accompaniment often features a distinctive bass harmonica.[6]
Deputy Dawg later appeared in episodes of the 1987 series Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures.
Deputy Dawg also appeared in the 1999 pilot Curbside.[7]
Many of the cartoons were issued on compilation VHS tapes in the 1980s. DVDs containing the episodes are also available online.
Download The Deputy Dawg Show -
TV episodes[edit]
Deputy Dawg Episodes
#TitleOriginal air date[8]1'The Space Varmint / The Yoke's On You'September 8, 1962When an alien starts stealing Chicken eggs from the hen house, Muskie gets the blame/Muskie tries every trick in the book to raid the hen house.2'Li'l Whooper / Seize You Later, Alligator / Welcome Mischa Mouse'September 15, 19623'Cotton Pickin' Picnic / Henhouse Hassle / Law and Disorder'September 22, 19624'Deputy Dawg's Nephew / Friend Fox / Rabid Rebel'September 29, 19625'Aig Plant / Dog-Gone Catfish / National Spoof Day'October 6, 1962DD is the prime target for the boys' practical jokes.6'Kin Folk / Penguin Panic / People's Choice'October 13, 1962Deputy Dawg is up for re-election.7'Lynx, the Jinx / The Bird Burglar / Watermelon Watcher'October 20, 1962The boys' fish is snatched by a hungry eagle. Deputy Dawg has the job of catching the predator.8'Dragon My Foot / Star for a Day / The Two Inch Inchworm'October 27, 19629'Honey Tree'November 3, 1962DD runs out of honey and visits his own private honey tree, only to find a bear has got there first.10'Oil Tycoons'November 10, 196211'Beaver Battle / Ship Aha Ha / The Fragrant Vagrant'November 17, 196212'Noise Annoys / Peanut Pilferer / Tennessee Walkin' Horse'November 24, 196213'Little Red Fool House / Mr. Moose / National Lazy Day'December 1, 1962Little Red Fool House: DD has to get Muskie and Vince to go to school but they would rather go fishing.Mr. Moose:National Lazy Day: It's the annual contest to see who is the laziest and big money for the winner – except that Deputy Dawg always wins. Can the boys triumph this year?14'Echo Park / Physical Fatness'January 5, 1963Echo Park: To drum up more tourist trade the Sheriff uses DD as an 'echo'Physical Fatness: The Deputy needs to lose a lot of weight and goes on a fitness programme.National Lazy Day:15'Corn Cribber / Heat Wave / Herman the Hermit'January 12, 1963Corn Cribber:Heat Wave: It's extremely hot and Muskie and Vince are desperate to get to the Sheriff's ice plant.Herman the Hermit16'Dagnabit, Rabbit / Long Island Duckling / Tents Moments'January 19, 196317'Dry Spell / Orbit a Little Bit / Tourist Tirade'January 26, 1963The top of Outlook Mountain is big tourist potential...but guess who has to build the chairlift!18'Low Man Lawman / Safe and Insane 4th / Terrific Traffic'February 2, 196319'Open Wide / The Catfish Poachin' Pelican / The Milkweed from Space'February 9, 196320'Bad Luck Day / Royal Southern Dismounted Police / Stuck Duck'February 16, 196321'Champion Whopper Teller / Go Go Gor-rilla / Grandpa Law'February 23, 196322'Daddy Frog Legs / On the Lam with Ham / Science Friction'March 2, 196323'Just Ghost to Show You / Lawman to the Rescue / Mama Magnolia's Pecan Pies'March 9, 196324'Feud for Thought / Peach Plunkin' Kangaroo / The Never Glades'March 16, 196325'Diamonds in the Rough / Double Barreled Boom Boom / The Poster Caper'March 23, 1963DD on a wanted poster? Just another of the boys' pranks...26'Chicken Bull / Spare That Tree / The Pig Rustler'March 30, 196327'Catfish Crisis / Hex Marks the Spot / Something to Crow About'April 6, 196328'Show Biz Whiz / Pitch Hittin' for a Pigeon / Save Ol' Piney'April 13, 196329'Mountain Melvin Meets Hairy Harry / Mule-Itary Maneuvers / Protestin' Pilot'April 20, 196330'All Tuckered Out / Millionaire Deputy / The Hungry Astronut'April 27, 196331'Museum of the South / Scare Cure / The Great Train Robbery'May 4, 196332'Corn Pone Limited / Space Invitation / You're Fired and I'm Fired'May 11, 196333'Imperfect Crime / Obnoxious Obie / The Pink Flamingo'May 18, 196334'Elusive Louie / The Governor's Guide / Home Cookin'May 25, 1963
Two extra titles also exist: 'Duped Deputy' and 'Creek Mud Monster'.
Note: these are also six shorts which received theatrical releases in 1962–63:[9]
Where There's Smoke
Nobody's Ghoul
Rebel Trouble
Big Chief No Treaty
Astronut
Shotgun Shambles
Credits[edit]
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Direction: Art Bartsch, Bob Kuwahara, Connie Rasinski, Dave Tendlar, Mannie Davis
Story Supervisor: Tom Morrison
Stories: Larz Bourne, Eli Bauer, Bob Kuwahara, Al Bertino, Dick Kinney
Animation: Cosmo Anzilotti, Ralph Bakshi, Doug Crane, Mannie Davis, Eddie Donnelly, Dick Hall, John Gentilella, Larry Silverman
Design and Layout Supervisor: Art Bartsch
Design and Layout: Martin Strudler, John Zago
Backgrounds: Bill Focht, Bill Hilliker
Music: Phil Scheib
Voices: Dayton Allen
Photography: George Davis, Ted Moskowitz, Joseph Rasinski
Editing: George McAvoy, Jack MacConnell
Production Manager: Frank Schudde
Executive Producer: Bill Weiss
See also[edit]
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References[edit]
^Perlmutter, David (2018). The Encyclopedia of American Animated Television Shows. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 151–152. ISBN978-1538103739.
^Sheridan, Simon (2004). The A-Z of Classic Children's Television: From Alberto Frog to Zebedee. Reynolds & Hearn Ltd. pp. 100–101. ISBN1903111277.
^Hyatt, Wesley (1997). The Encyclopedia of Daytime Television. Watson-Guptill Publications. p. 123. ISBN978-0823083152. Retrieved 19 March 2020.
^Woolery, George W. (1983). Children's Television: The First Thirty-Five Years, 1946-1981. Scarecrow Press. pp. 79-80. ISBN0-8108-1557-5. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
^Rovin, Jeff (1991). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Cartoon Animals. Prentice Hall Press. pp. 65-66. ISBN0-13-275561-0. Retrieved 8 April 2020.
^'Philip A. Scheib'.
^DataBase, The Big Cartoon. 'Curbside (Nickelodeon)'. Big Cartoon DataBase (BCDB).
^DataBase, The Big Cartoon. 'The Deputy Dawg Show Episode Guide -CBS Prods @ BCDB'. Big Cartoon DataBase (BCDB). Retrieved 21 September 2019.
^Lenburg, Jeff (1999). The Encyclopedia of Animated Cartoons. Checkmark Books. pp. 72-73. ISBN0-8160-3831-7. Retrieved 6 June 2020.
External links[edit]
Deputy Dawg on IMDb
Retrieved from 'https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Deputy_Dawg&oldid=995765126'
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espomagazine · 22 days ago
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SPIED: BMW 8 Series prototype spotted at the Nürburgring – an M8 CSL, or something else entirely?
Over the past year, BMW has been testing a rather strange prototype based on an 8 Series, complete with louvres cut into the rear side windows. At the time, rumours were rife of it being a mid-engined mule for a future supercar, although Munich was quick to deny it.
Now, our spy photographers have caught a second prototype without virtually zero camouflage, revealing the front and rear fascias and a number of mean performance goodies. These include gaping double kidney grilles with menacing gradated red inserts – a colour that also appears on the front air intakes and front fender Air Breather vents. There’s also a jutting front splitter, a massive rear wing and a still-disguised rear diffuser with a Formula 1-style centre fog light.
All this has led our snappers to believe that this is in fact a mule for a possible CSL version of the M8, but there are a few problems with that theory. First of all, the car is quite obviously based on the standard 8 Series, as evidenced by the regular M Sport front bumper, side skirts and narrower front fenders compared to the full-fat M car. Only the rear bumper is recognisably from the M8.
Elsewhere, the car rides on smaller 19-inch alloy wheels (the rear wheels come from the Z4 M40i), whereas the M8’s wheels measure 20 inches in diameter. But the most glaring cue that this isn’t an M8 are the brakes, which are the standard M Sport units (albeit with cross-drilled discs from the M Performance Parts catalogue) rather than the M car’s massive stoppers.
This leaves us with two possibilities of what this car could be. The first is the original theory that this is an early mule for a mid-engined M-badged supercar, using 8 Series running gear. This remains an outside possibility, given that BMW showcased the Vision M Next concept in 2019, utilising a four-cylinder turbo engine and an electric motor on each axle to deliver a total system output of 600 PS. However, recent reports suggest that the project has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic and spiralling costs.
The other option is that this is simply a development vehicle to test various components, such as new chassis and engine parts, tyres, brakes, exhausts and infotainment systems. That was what a BMW official told Auto Motor und Sport when asked about the mule, and could very much still be the case.
Even if this isn’t a prototype of the M8 CSL, a hardcore version of the performance coupé is said to be still on the cards, due to arrive next year as part of BMW M’s 50th anniversary celebrations. Interestingly, the rumour mill points to the company following in the footsteps of Mercedes-AMG in switching to hybrid power, ditching the M8’s 4.4 litre twin-turbocharged V8 for a 3.0 litre straight-six. Total system output is expected to push past 700 PS, which would make for quite a potent machine if the reports are to believed.
The post SPIED: BMW 8 Series prototype spotted at the Nürburgring – an M8 CSL, or something else entirely? appeared first on Paul Tan's Automotive News.
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batneko · a month ago
Text
Galatea
A myth au prequel/interlude! Zed (Zombieman) and Amai have a complicated history...
words: 7390 rating: T for language
“I need your help.”
Amai barely looked up from the chart he was working on – color-coding the different buildings with a light ink wash – just a quick glance to confirm he'd recognized the voice. Zed. Pluton's eldest son.
“I'm busy,” Amai said, returning to his chart.
“Hear me out,” Zed said.
“I'm too busy to hear you out.”
This was only partly true. As it became clear the war wasn't going to have a “winner” Amai had been focusing more on his duties and his demesne. The world being in so much turmoil meant humans were neglecting each other more than ever, and Amai had taken on more than he really should have.
“It'll only take a second.”
Amai sighed, and gestured with one hand. He could listen and paint at the same time.
“I want to have a child.”
Amai's brush stopped, dripping watered-down goldenrod onto the laundry squares. He was distantly aware of Zed continuing to talk, but the words were passing by without being absorbed.
He couldn't mean- He didn't mean- He couldn't. True, they'd had a couple of… trysts – one at ones of Bacchus' parties, which hardly counted, and one right after Pluton died, which was more about the distraction than the experience (He came to you for comfort, he came to you and you couldn't give him what he needed, but you could help him forget, you could take away the pain, if only for a moment you could-). But twice was barely anything for gods. Even if Amai was less voracious in his appetites than his peers, he'd barely remembered Zed afterward. Just another admirer.
“I'm flattered,” Amai said, reaching for a scrap of paper to absorb the excess ink, “but the answer is no. I've no desire to be a parent.”
(You can't, you know you can't, you'd only hurt a child by making them half you.)
“I don't think you were listening,” Zed said, with a smile.
The yellow ink blotted away well enough. Good thing it wasn't red, or blue. “I… what?”
“I'm sterile, Amai.”
Amai blinked, and turned to face him for the first time. “I didn't think we could be sterile.”
Zed shrugged. “I'm like a mule. I got the good parts of my mom and dad, but they weren't really meant to mix. I've been trying the old-fashioned way for a couple years now, and if it was going to happen it would have.”
“I see…” It was true that Zed was the only child of Venus and Pluton. They'd fallen out after Pluton took the baby away to the underworld the moment he was born with the shadow of death on him. Venus married not long later, and had better taste in lovers after that.
And it was true that Zed was, as far as Amai knew, the only god with powers over both death and life. Perhaps the ability to restore life had taken away his ability to create it. Or perhaps it was unrelated to any of that, and gods could be sterile for any number of reasons, just like mortals.
“Then what could you need me for? If you want to adopt, surely Venus would be the one to ask.”
Zed shook his head. “I thought about it, but taking a mortal child to the underworld to raise runs too many risks. And I can't exactly ascend them now.”
“No, certainly not.” No mortal would ever ascend to godhood again, if Amai had anything to say about it. But if Zed had no other recourse…
“Thing is though… I can grant life.”
Amai had been lost in thought, but met his eyes again. “I know you can restore life to the dead,” he said.
Zed nodded. “All I can do is put them the way they were before whatever killed them. But I can make life with things.”
“Things,” Amai repeated, flatly.
“I've been practicing with animals,” Zed said.
Amai raised his eyebrows.
“Statues of animals, mostly,” Zed clarified, “though I did manage one painting. Of a moth.”
Amai's eyes widened. “You mean… you brought art to life?”
“Your art,” Zed said. “Stuff you made for my father, crows and scarab beetles.”
“I remember,” Amai said. He did, though it had been a long time ago. Before Pluton decided to decorate with skulls and spikes instead.
“It has to be extremely detailed. Almost flawless. It's gotta already look like it could spring to life at any second.”
Amai rubbed a hand across his forehead. He was still caught up in the mental image of Zed surrounded by crows. “So you want someone to make a sculpture of a baby that you can bring to life.”
“Pretty much,” Zed confirmed.
“You understand that a piece that detailed would take weeks, months.”
“I understand,” he said, though Amai saw a small crease form between his thin eyebrows.
A thought struck Amai that made his stomach clench. “Ah, I see now. You're not asking me, you just want me to find an artist who can do it.”
Zed's brow furrows deepened. “If you don't have time, sure, but that's not what I meant. I want you.”
Instantly Amai's nerves were soothed, though he did his best not to show it. “Why?” he asked. “Any artist good enough could do it.”
“Maybe,” Zed said, “maybe. But… it worked, with your art. Every time. If it doesn't work with a mortal's, I won't know if it was because they're mortal or the statue just wasn't good enough. If it doesn't work with yours… it's not going to work.” His gaze was distant. “And I can give up.”
There was that clenching stomach again. When had he last eaten? “I see,” Amai said.
“If you don't have time, I'll understand. I know what you do, I know it's important. And I'll try any artist you recommend.”
Amai turned back to his chart. Buildings, chores, staff and residents. He had so much to do that the only time he could make art for himself was when he carved that time out of everything else. If he agreed to Zed's request it would take even that little bit of free time away.
But it was a request, not a demand. Not a commission, because Zed no doubt understood he had nothing to offer that Amai wanted (except, well... but no, that would be a sour note on top of what should be a joyous occasion). He was asking for help.
“I will think about it,” Amai said.
“That's all I ask.” Zed started to turn, but for some reason Amai was reluctant to let him go. He had so much to do, he hadn't been lying about that, but-
“Wait,” Amai blurted. Smooth, real smooth. “I- I'm- At least stay a little while. Since you came.”
Zed looked mildly confused. “You're busy, I'll get out of your hair.”
“I need to sketch you,” Amai said, only realizing it was true as he said it. “Get a feel for your bone structure.”
Zed blinked, and then smiled. “You meant it.”
Shit, he was so handsome.
“What, that I'd think about it? Of course I meant it. I don't lie to spare people's feelings, Zed, you know that.”
“I do know that,” Zed said. “Okay, I'll stay. For as long as you need me.”
Amai's heart fluttered, and he steadfastly ignored it.
The sketches came out well. Of course they did, Zed had exactly the kind of face that best led itself to rendering in charcoal and graphite. Strong features, high cheekbones. And keeping the drawings monochrome hid the shadow of death that clung to his skin.
After Zed left, without fanfare, Amai kept sketching him whenever he had a free moment – and often when he didn't. He'd only promised to think about it, but Amai already knew he wasn't going to decline. If Zed was willing to wait, Amai was willing to work. The real problem was that Amai didn't know if he would succeed. Infants had never interested him much. He had experience with them – they tended to come about whenever a large number of humans lived in the same area – but they were just… dull. Appealing, in their way, but no more so than a kitten or a lamb.
So he drew Zed, at first. Different angles, different lighting, different settings. He drew him surrounded by an army of crows, lounging in bed, seated on his father's tacky throne.
Why had he let that human take it from him? Everyone knew Zed was the true heir. All of his father's power and all of his mother's kindness. He'd actually care about the shades under his rule.
But Zed stepped back. Barely fought, according to his own account. If he was the king of the dead, he'd be a suitable consort for-
No.
Once Amai had gotten so used to Zed's face he could doodle it without looking, he changed focus. Individual features, shrunk down and softened. Eyes, nose, cheeks covered in a layer of baby fat.
It had been a couple weeks now. Long enough to have thought about it. Long enough that he could contact Zed without seeming like he wanted to see him. He tied a note to the leg of a black swan and sent it into the aether.
That being that, Amai got back to work. But... he kept it light. Easy. Things he could finish up quickly if he needed to.
It was late at night, the sky dark above his cove, when Zed appeared with a swirl of mist around his feet. Amai looked up, and without a word led Zed back to his personal quarters.
The front room was for entertaining, wide and welcoming, and they passed that by and went back into his studio. Mostly it was empty now, but some blocks of marble he'd taken likings to sat waiting to be carved, and the slanted table he used for drawing was scattered with paper.
“I have a few questions,” Amai said.
“Shoot,” Zed replied, sitting on one of Amai's stools without asking. Well. That was fine. He'd already come in, it wasn't like he wasn't welcome.
“Preferences on your part,” Amai said, pulling out a few of the sketches he thought turned out well. “Biological sex, how much you want them to resemble you, that kind of thing.”
“Does it matter?” Zed asked, brow furrowing. “Whatever's easier for you, I guess.”
“You're the client,” Amai said firmly. “As long as you don't change your mind after I've started, what you say goes.”
Zed blinked. “You mean you'll do it?”
“Yes, of course, that's why I want to-”
He barely saw Zed get to his feet before he was pulled in by strong arms and felt the other god's face tuck into the side of his neck. He was being squeezed so tightly that it brought up memories of battles, but Zed's scent of tobacco and poppy was in his nose, and Zed was rasping “Thank you,” into his ear.
Amai patted his back, awkwardly.
“Thank you, thank you,” his voice was rough with emotion. His lips moved against Amai's skin, and his hands were clutching Amai's clothing.
“I don't...” Amai cleared his throat. If Zed didn't let go soon he might not be able to control his reaction. “I don't know if I'll succeed. But I will complete the piece, no matter how long it takes.”
“Right,” Zed said, laughter in his voice. He pulled away and wiped his eyes, letting out an awkward chuckle. “I understand.”
“Okay. Preferences, then.”
Zed shook his head. “I don't have any. I just want a kid, I don't want to control who they turn out to be.”
Amai sighed. “It's not that simple! This isn't throwing genetic material together and seeing what comes out, this is art. Decisions have to be made.”
“I trust your judgment.”
“You shouldn't!” Amai exclaimed. “What if I- I decide to make you a son that's just a copy of me?”
Zed smiled, his eyes warm. “That wouldn't be bad at all.”
Dammit, Amai's heart was doing that fluttering thing again. Foolish. Just because their trysts had been nice, just because he was so good at easing Amai's mind, just because he was trusting Amai for something that was clearly important to him...
“If I did that, everyone would know,” Amai said. “And that can't happen.”
He kept his gaze on his drawings. On the softer child-sized version of Zed.
“So it would be bad for you,” Zed said. There was no change in his volume or emphasis, but the tone was chilly.
“I have no desire to be a parent. That fact alone is enough to convince me I would be a bad one.”
“True,” Zed said. The wood of the stool creaked as he sat. “I agree, a person should want to have a kid before doing it.”
“If the child knows- believes that I'm their other parent, they'll wonder why I'm not involved in their life. They'll internalize it. Blame themselves, or you, wonder why they aren't good enough for my attention.”
As soon as he said it he knew he'd gone too far. Zed grew up without a mother, and he'd turned out far better adjusted than most of his peers.
But Zed's voice got lighter and all he said was, “You're worried about the child.”
“Of course?” Amai said, looking up at him for clarification. Who else were they talking about right now?
Zed smiled at him. “I think you're selling yourself short, but it's fine if you don't want anyone to know about your part in this. I wouldn't go around advertising I made somebody a free statue either.”
“That too,” Amai agreed. “Artist's rule number two: never work for free, unless it's for your mother.”
“I'm not your mother.”
“Technically this is trade. I expect a favor one day.”
Zed raised his hands. “Of course! Anything you want.”
“Don't say that,” Amai said. He added, quietly, “You shouldn't trust me.”
Zed stood up once more, and walked toward Amai with a swagger Amai wasn't sure he knew he had.
“I'm trusting you with the most important thing I've ever asked anyone to do.”
Zed reached out, his cool fingers ghosting over Amai's cheek.
“Can't you trust my judgment about you?”
Amai said nothing. He had better things to do with his mouth.
The design phase was always tricky. It could take longer than the entire rest of a project – by a large margin – or it could be as quick as jotting down a note to oneself. This was looking like one of the former cases. Amai went through so many pages he had to start generating more with his powers instead of relying on what the residents made.
He wouldn't include any of himself, no matter how tempting it would be. He'd tried a couple options – his eyes above Zed's nose, vice versa – but none of it meshed well.
It would be too obvious anyway.
Picking and choosing features he liked from his artists didn't work either. A handsome jawline needed the right face to carry it, it only worked as a whole.
So he started with the outside. The shape of Zed's skull. A little rounder on the jaw, a little smaller on the nose, different eyes entirely – bright and curious. Not Zed shrunk down, but they would certainly look like father and son (when had he started thinking of the child as a "he"?).
Amai indulged himself, a little bit, and gave the child closer to his hair texture. Soft and fine. It wasn't what he'd been born with, so he'd be giving the child a break.
Even then, even once he had something he was satisfied with, it took weeks to finalize. This was a person he was designing. This was a face he would have to see, and talk to, and never nitpick again. Every detail had to be in place.
And then there was the problem of materials. Amai had been planning on marble – he had a rather extravagant gray stone shot through with gold that reminded him of Zed – but once he reduced the face he'd been working on to its blobby larval form he no longer saw it as something so… solid.
An infant was soft. Delicate. Beautiful, in a way. Gray marble was too dense for chubby little hands and feather-light hair.
Clay, perhaps? The good stuff, the really good stuff. Porcelain. It would make the project harder, but also faster.
It was worth it.
Zed hadn't checked in since Amai started working. He did send notes, once or twice, nonsense about things he'd been up to. Pleasantries. It was no-doubt his way of making sure Amai remembered his promise without making him feel rushed.
He needn't have worried. Amai had thought of nothing else since he accepted the job.
References for the final project were difficult to find. He couldn't ask mortals to allow him to borrow their children, not without alarming them or raising their hopes. He could observe from a distance but newborns were rarely left unclothed for long. And an attempt at reducing his own age only reminded him of just how weak and helpless even gods were at that stage.
He made do with the distance. He saw enough to reinforce his decision that parenthood wasn't for him. Ugh.
The next step was to make a model. A good idea, even if he'd been working in marble after all, but for porcelain this model would be doubly important. The final version would be made from molds of it.
Technically this was still part of the design phase, and subject to the same dangers. Not even Amai could know for sure if the details he'd chosen would work in three dimensions as well as they did on paper. If Amai let himself, he could spend months tweaking and experimenting and changing little things.
Artist's rule number three: “done” is better than “perfect.”
It did take months, in the end. Two, to be specific. Amai was still working on this in between all his other duties, and there were days when he couldn't find any time at all.
He'd had to ban all the residents from his studio, which they didn't care for. The muses were curious, the artists were insulted, and several of the patients got worried he was hiding something from them specifically. What he was hiding was a lump of clay slowly but surely turning into a huge infant boy.
The “huge” part was essential. Porcelain would shrink quite a bit in the firing, and the model had to be big enough to counter that. It helped though, made the details easier to sculpt, even if it took a bit of mental calculation to make sure everything was to scale.
And then one day it was finished.
“Done,” not perfect. It was as good as Amai could reasonably make it, and certainly (no sense in false modesty) better than anyone else could have. He was tempted to send a note to Zed and have him approve it, but that would only be getting his hopes up. Best to finish the project completely before letting him know.
Amai cast molds, mixed up a perfectly balanced batch of porcelain, and allowed them to dry. An interminable process, especially next to the sea where the air was often humid. He sealed off his studio but couldn't stop himself from going in to check a few times every day.
Once he was satisfied, he set the bone-dry pieces in the kiln (newly built for this purpose) to fire. It would take two days, and that was only the first bake, he would still need to put the body parts together and add glaze.
Two days of waiting. Two days of not knowing whether it would come together.
Potentially, two days until Zed was one step closer to having the child he wanted.
The sound rang out in the morning of the second day. Amai had been keeping close watch of the kiln as much as possible, but he had as much to do as ever and he could stay aware of the temperature even at a distance. He thought it was fine. It should have been fine.
Then – in the middle of a meeting with the muses about a couple new residents – he heard a devastating crack and he knew before he started running what he'd find.
It was bad. It was the worst outcome. Not only had a piece broke, but it had exploded and damaged several others. He hadn't let them dry long enough.
Amai was crouched on the floor groaning when once of the muses found him, and he barely looked up when he heard her feet padding across the floor.
“My lord.”
“Melpomene,” he muttered. Of course it was Tragedy that had found him. She must have sensed his heartbreak.
For a few moments he sat there and listened to her move around the studio. Like him, she was too used to being around mortals to simply stick her hand in a hot kiln, so she observed from the outside.
“Shame,” she murmured.
“I have to start over,” Amai said. “Almost from the start. The piece is too detailed, I have to cast new molds every time.”
“That's why you make molds, though,” she said soothingly. Melpomene hoisted him up with her hands under his armpits. “It's not the end of the world. You've still got the model. Maybe next time, save yourself time and make several molds and several pieces.”
Amai shook his head. He wasn't squeamish about this, but even he felt bad about making more than one infant statue and discarding the inferior ones.
Melpomene sighed. “I'll help you.” She tilted her head. “Or... shall I call Erato?”
Her sister, the muse of romantic works, would understand what he was doing the moment she got a glance at it. “No,” Amai said. “I need to do this alone. Thank you all the same.”
Melpomene nodded, before glancing into the kiln once more. “What was it?”
“A commission,” Amai said, dusting off his knees.
“You took a commission? What are you getting in return?”
Amai couldn't answer.
He couldn't make more than one piece at a time, but he could cast a backup mold. If this one worked he'd smash them all, hide the evidence, but if it didn't...
The porcelain dried. For over three weeks. He had to be careful this time, he had to be precise. He had to stay out of his own studio and pretend he wasn't mentally pacing outside the midwife's chamber.
When the pieces were ready for firing again he played it even safer, lowering the temperature (not too much, that could cause problems as well) and carefully laid everything inside. If something did explode this time, at least it wouldn't take out the other parts.
And he got back to work, and tried not to hover.
Two days passed. The peace of the cove was never broken (at least not by anything atypical for the community) and Amai took the finished pieces out of the kiln with more delicacy than he'd ever used before.
Perfect, perfect, small and fair and practically translucent, just as good porcelain should be. Amai put the limbs and torso together and added a few fine details to the face, and this time when he placed the piece back in he found himself talking to it in his head.
There you go, he thought, laying the piece gently on its back. One more nap and then you'll get to meet your daddy.
Foolish.
When he opened the kiln a day later, a crack had appeared where there shouldn't be. Spreading from a shoulder and down the chest, a wide gap in the ceramic that would have exposed flesh and organs if the infant had any.
It was ruined.
Amai couldn't bring himself to touch it. He closed the door of the kiln and stood there, hands pressed against the hot metal, tears pricking at his eyes. Why can't you do this? Why can't you do this? The one thing he's asked from you that you should be capable of, and you can't even-
“My lord?”
Amai's head jerked up, and this time he saw one of the humans standing there holding a basket of fruit.
“Oh, Hypate.” He rubbed a hand across his eyes, as if that wasn't obvious. “How can I help you?”
She held out the basket, and Amai took it automatically. “You asked for these? Wax grapes.”
“Yes I did,” Amai confirmed, as much to himself as to her. “Thank you, Hypate.”
“Are you okay?”
“Merely disappointed,” he said. “A project I've been working on is giving me trouble.”
She looked surprised. “You have trouble with projects, my lord?”
He forced a smile. “I'm the god of art.”
“Good point!” she agreed. “What is it? Do you want to consult with anybody?”
“No,” Amai said, a bit more firm than he meant to. Hypate didn't seem to notice. “It's a commission, I can't ask anyone else to go out of their way.”
Hypate nodded. “Well, I hope the next one comes out.”
“Me too,” he said.
The next one. What if it didn't? What if they never did? What if he was stuck waiting and failing and waiting and failing...
Hypate had left without him noticing, leaving him alone with his thoughts. How many times should he try? Would Zed ever forgive him if he had to stop?
There was another set of molds ready to go, but the thought of starting again was too much. Not when he'd come so close. Not when he still had the image of the cracked piece behind his eyelids.
He took it out and – not allowing himself to look at the small peaceful face – smashed it into powder. It could be added to wet clay as grog. No one would ever know how close it had come to being alive.
It hurt too much. Why? This was art to him, not a child. Maybe he should make several next time. Maybe he should have backups. Maybe Zed would be happy with twins.
Ah, this was a spiral.
Amai spent enough time around people whose thoughts fell into unhealthy patterns that he could – occasionally – recognize his own. He needed to break out of this before it incapacitated him. He needed a distraction.
He sent a note with his favorite swan, and waited.
Zed arrived late in the evening again. Amai said nothing, but he must have seen something in Amai's expression because the excitement died in his eyes and he followed without question.
He did glance at the studio as they passed, but as soon as they were in Amai's bedroom Zed took him in his arms.
Afterward, they lie together in Amai's wide bed, tangled in damp sheets, Zed's fingers cording through his hair. Like this, he didn't feel like a failure. Like this, he felt beautiful.
“Thank you,” Amai murmured.
“Anytime,” Zed replied, a smile in his voice. “And I do mean that, you know. We're both busy, but... if you want me here I want to be here.”
Amai's hands tightened on his waist. “I would like that.”
“Good.” Zed's lips pressed against his forehead, temple, scalp. How long had he felt this way? Could Amai have had this for years if he'd only asked?
But he wouldn't have. He couldn't, even now. Their worlds were too distant, their needs too different. And Zed had never pressed.
“Can I ask something?” Zed said, his tone so conversational that it pulled Amai out of his daze.
“Hm?”
“What's rule number one?”
Amai pushed himself up to look at Zed's face. “What?”
“You told me a while ago that artist's rule number two is 'never work for free unless it's for your mom.'”
“Oh... yes.”
“So what's rule number one?”
“Well, it's... um.” He felt his cheeks getting flushed. It was embarrassing to say out loud. Artists would know exactly what he meant, but as far as he knew Zed didn't have any creative inclinations at all. “It's... 'have fun.'”
Just as he knew he would, Zed laughed. “Have fun?”
“It's not funny,” Amai said.
“I'm not- I didn't mean to laugh.” Zed cupped his chin. “Fun's important. I get it. If you're not enjoying making stuff, what's the point, right?”
“Something like that,” Amai agreed, pacified. “It's more complicated, though. An artist still needs to make a living. Some do it purely for fun and earn money some other way, that's... that can be hard, but for some people it's better than being constrained.”
Zed nodded.
“But when you're creative, you usually want to share the things you make. Even if it's only with the like-minded. And having someone enjoy your art so much they want to pay you to make whatever you want... that's the dream.”
“Doesn't happen often, does it?”
Amai shook his head. “No. Not that it's any less valid if the art you like making also happens to be universally popular, like landscapes or portraits of beautiful young women-”
“Oh yeah.”
“But it only works out that way for a rare few.”
“And may the gods-” Zed poked Amai in the middle of his forehead. “-help those who like making stuff nobody else wants.”
Amai smiled. “Exactly. But that's where the rule comes in. Even when you're doing art for money, even when you're feeding the beast of popularity, you have to find the parts you enjoy in that. Or else art will just become work. And then what's the point?”
Zed looked thoughtful, and nodded slowly. “What about you?”
“Me? What do I like to create?”
“No.” The finger returned, pressing Amai's bangs against his skin and making him scrunch up his nose. “Are you having fun with the art you're making lately?”
He knew. He had to know that the only art Amai had been making lately was his son. There was no time for anything else. After what they'd just talked about, after seeing his studio closed off... Zed must know.
But he was asking. Of course. He wanted to know if Amai was going to give up. If he should look for someone else. If Amai was going to follow through on what he said he'd-
“Hey.” Zed's hand slid down, and he cupped Amai's cheek. “It's just a question.”
Amai took a breath. He couldn't stop the spiral, even after treating himself to something he'd wanted. Zed wasn't like that, Zed didn't play mind games. He was the one who overthought everything, constantly.
“I was having fun, for a while,” Amai said. “Researching, designing, perfecting. But I've had… setbacks. It's frustrating.”
“Is there anything I can do?” Zed asked.
“Only what you've just done.” Amai smiled. “And, if you have time, once more.”
Zed grinned at him, and leaned in. “My pleasure.”
Having fun. It wasn't something Amai allowed himself very often. The art he made in his spare time was one thing, but when it came to commissions it was more about precision. Perfection. He took satisfaction in knowing he'd done the best work he could possibly do.
But he'd done that. He'd made a piece that no father could complain about. If only he could complete it.
So how to make this fun? How to bring back an iota of pleasure to the process? Most of it was waiting, and no one enjoyed that. How...
There was one thing that had made him feel... not happy, exactly, but lighter in his heart. It was silly, it was undignified, but if he was going to get through this he may need to do it.
As Amai cast the next batch of porcelain limbs, he spoke to it.
“Fat baby arms, good,” he said.
He took extra care with the torso.
“Fat baby body, double good.”
He touched up a little bit of the face before placing the head on the rack to dry.
“Good boy.”
In his off moments, Amai would mutter under his breath. If anyone else noticed they had the grace not to point it out, but he did think he got a few sideways glances from the muses. Melpomene, in particular, started bringing him tea a lot more often.
It was always little things. Like, “Okay? Okay.” Or “Warm enough?” Or “What's your name going to be?” And he was careful to say it softly, when no one else was nearby. He was careful not to imagine answers.
Once the parts were dry, it was time to fire. He'd done this twice already, his memory blurring as he went through each step. Keep the pieces separate, keep the temperature even, check and double-check the kiln.
Amai wagged a finger in front of the ceramic head's sightless eyes.
“Do not blow this for me.”
He shut the door, and pressed his lips briefly to the metal before bending over to stoke the flames.
Two days passed much easier than the weeks of drying. And the pieces came out perfect once more, Amai's now-practiced hand putting the child together like a puzzle.
“Do you like your hair?” Amai asked, adding a few more feathery tufts to his head. “I got carried away this time. You'll look like a little duckling.”
The child didn't respond, but Amai had carved pupils into his eyes and his expression was almost... curious.
“You like it,” Amai said confidently.
This was where it had gone wrong last time. This was where he'd lost- This was where the piece had cracked.
“Won't happen this time,” Amai said to the child inside the kiln. “You're going to be fine. Not perfect,” he poked his finger at the glass, “though you are. But you're going to come out of there a whole baby, so I can paint you up pretty, and then take you home.”
He took a slow breath.
“I promise.”
Amai didn't talk as much the next two days. He had enough to worry about, there was an issue with a new resident and they lost part of the olive grove when Amai's control slipped. Thalia and Euterpe could rebuild, but it was a bad sign. It put everyone on edge.
He held his breath as he opened the kiln, taking the child in his bare hands. No visible cracks. He ran his fingers all over the delicate ceramic, searching for a hair's breadth of damage, but found nothing. It was done. It was okay.
The baby was okay.
“Told you,” he said, finally exhaling.
Now he only had to add glaze and a bit of color, and-
But, did he? Those statues he made for Pluton hadn't had any. The beetles had been gilded. This piece already looked like it ought to be breathing, despite the lack of flush in its cheeks. If all that mattered was the construction, then this ought to be enough.
Amai should send Zed a message and ask, or ask him to come and try, but instead he found himself lying the child in a wooden crate filled with cotton batting. He had many boxes like that for transporting art, and he'd picked one out the right size months ago. It was ready. It could be done. He could bring Zed the thing no one else had been able to right now.
“I'm going out,” Amai said to the closest muse as he headed for the gates.
“Where to?” she called after him.
Amai looked back, and realized it was Erato.
She smirked. “Never mind.”
Blushing, Amai left without a word.
One thing positive could be said about the new god of Death, though Amai would be loathe to admit it out loud – the man didn't close his borders. Amai slipped in through an ice-filled cavern that opened too high for mortals to reach easily, carried his box past stalactites and plumes of mist, and finally reached the shores of the river where Zed often spent his time ferrying shades.
This location didn't get many – being too far from civilization – but Amai knew the protocol. He put his fingers to his lips and whistled two notes.
It took a couple tries, but soon he saw a broad ferryboat with a tall dark figure casually propelling it through the cool water. Amai raised his hand, and the figure waved back.
He knew it, even from a distance and wearing that heavy cloak. He'd probably recognize Zed in pitch blackness at this point.
“What brings you here?” Zed asked once he was close enough to speak. There were a few shades sitting on the wooden seats behind him, not solidified enough to complain if their driver made an unscheduled stop.
“Take a break,” Amai said.
“I can't really...”
His eyes fell on the box, held under Amai's arm with the help of leather straps crossing his shoulder.
Zed gulped. “Now?”
“Now,” Amai said.
With steady hands, Zed steered the ferry until it bumped against the shore, and tossed a heavy rope around the pole set into the gravel beach. Amai held out his own hand to help Zed climb down.
“Takin' five, people,” Zed said. The shades shuffled and Amai thought he heard a few faint grumbles. “Yeah,” he agreed, “but I'll be back soon. I hope.” He smiled, his lips thin. “And I hope I won't be alone, either.”
Hand in hand, Zed led Amai back up through the cavern. As soon as they were outside the borders of the underworld he waved and they both stepped through the rift to his demesne.
Amai hadn't been here before, though he had the idea he'd be welcome if he turned up. It was a small house surrounded by the shadows of other buildings, as though in the middle of a city that didn't exist in this reality. Zed was nearly as old as Amai. Was this a memory? Or still connected to a real place?
The inside of the house was simple, but surprisingly modern. Zed spent plenty of time with mortals, but usually after death. Amai hadn't expected him to be up on interior decorating styles.
“Come in,” Zed said, his voice absent. Distracted. He hadn't looked directly at Amai once since they left the ferry. “I've been getting things ready for – Well, for too long. Should we go to the nursery? Is it – Do I need a crowbar? Wait, will that hurt them?”
“Sit down,” Amai said. Zed was too nervous. This child was a god, once they were brought to life very little could hurt them. But as long as it was porcelain...
Zed took a seat on a low couch, sturdy and lightly padded. The table in front of it had rounded edges and corners, safe for an unstable child toddling around who might stumble into it. He really had been getting ready. How long had he been waiting to be a father?
Amai set the box on the table and popped it open with a sharp strike on one corner. The wooden sides fell away, revealing the child lying in a cloud of cotton fluff. Despite the eyes being open, despite the lack of color, it looked like it had been sleeping peacefully.
Zed reached out automatically, and froze with his fingers inches from the statue.
“I should- I should get a bottle for him. Or clothes. I have this, uh, sling thing? So I can carry him with me. I should-”
“Touch him,” Amai said firmly. “Don't wait for this to be perfect. Do it.”
Zed swallowed and nodded, his eyes locked on the statue. His hands, strong fingers trembling, took hold of one small arm.
For a second Amai's heart stopped beating.
Then color streamed out from Zed's touch, pink and peach, not the gray of death like Zed's skin. The eyes bloomed like flowers, brown and bright, looking around in curiosity just as Amai had known they would. The hair was brown as well, though wispy and thin. He did, indeed, look like a little duckling.
The baby wiggled, scrunched up his face, and Amai heard Zed make a sound halfway between a laugh and a sob as he picked him up. He looked so tiny and soft in Zed's arms, not crying, just staring around him.
His little pink mouth opened as wide brown eyes fell on Amai, and then he began to wail.
Zed laughed, wetly, and bobbed his body to soothe the child. “I know, I know, it's a lot huh? I've got you now.”
A sob escaped his throat.
“I've got you.”
Amai nodded at Zed, though he was sure he wasn't paying attention to him. “Good,” he said. “I'll leave you two to get acquainted.”
He was several steps toward the door before Zed seemed to recognize what he'd said. “Wait, Amai.”
Amai half-turned. “You're busy,” he said. “So am I.”
“That doesn't mean go.”
Amai smiled. “I don't want to get in the way.”
“You're not.”
The baby was still crying, in that slightly off way newborns had, grating to the ears. Amai wanted nothing more but for the noise to stop.
He couldn't stay. This... this wasn't for him. He'd known it all along, but he'd let himself dream for a moment. He'd pretended that he could care about this child. That he wouldn't be jealous of attention taken off himself.
Zed and the child were a package deal now, and Amai had delivered the package.
“I've got to get back,” Amai said. “Let me know once you name him.”
“Isamu, I already decided.”
Amai nodded. “Isamu. I will... be interested in his growth.” That much was true. How could he not be interested in seeing one of his art projects take on a life of its own?
He started to turn again, but this time he didn't even make a full step.
“Amai.”
Amai stopped and looked back. Zed finally (finally!) met his eyes head-on.
“Thank you,” he said. “I... I can never thank you enough.”
“No need,” Amai said. “I'd do it for anyone.”
Foolish. You don't lie to spare people's feelings because you're no good at it.
And true enough, Zed's expression didn't look like he was buying it for an instant. “I'll be busier now, but my offer from before stands. If you want me... I want you.”
It was an inappropriately heated line to be saying with a sniveling infant in his arms, but it worked nonetheless.
Amai gave a sharp nod, and left before he could be stopped again. He heard the crying cease as soon as he was out of the building.
When he got back to the cove, Erato took one look at him and headed off to make tea. While he waited for it, Amai closed himself in his studio and fed his sketches from the last few months into the furnace below the kiln, one by one.
It wouldn't do for anyone to find them and guess what Isamu was.
And if Amai felt like crying as well, it was only the emotional drop that sometimes came from finishing a stressful project. This had worked out. He completed the piece, he gave Zed what he wanted, he gained enough goodwill to keep him in Zed's bed for years to come.
He should be happy.
He should be happy.
So why did the studio feel so empty?
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Underland’s Unruly Princesses: Boarding School Dropouts (chapter 1)
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“I look like a ten-tiered wedding cake.” griped seven year old princess Rosalind as her lady in waiting draped a gauzy white fichu clasped with a pale pink rosette around her shoulders.
“Nonsense, little mistress. Everyone outside of the red court wears all types of colors other than red, black and gold.” chided Marcy, the plump jolly maid in charge of dressing the Red Queen’s daughters in their dresses for finishing school.
Rosalind looked herself up and down in the mirror. She was dressed in a pale blue silk gown with a decorative lace apron and lace cuffs on her sleeves, both trimmed with satin ribbon the same shade of pink as the rose on her fichu. Her golden blonde ringlets were pulled into a complicated french braid tied with ivory satin ribbon with a center part and three tight pin curls framing each side of her face, topped with a matching sheer lace mob cap decorated with more pink satin ribbon. On her feet were a pair of flimsy pink satin mule slippers that she was sure she could wear out in three days time.
Next to her, her ten year old sister Emberess was dressed in striped butter yellow taffeta with coral pink rosettes trimmed with ribbon and scalloped lace made from cloth of gold. Her fichu was also yellow and had a coral rosette. Ember’s flaming auburn hair was in a low ponytail with her hair similarly parted and pin curled in the front and on her head was a straw hat covered in coral ribbon and rosettes and tied with a sheer butter yellow ribbon under her chin. She wore similarly flimsy coral satin mules, but unlike Rosalind’s, hers had rosettes on the toe. Ember looked just as miserable as her sister.
“At least your dress matches your eyes.” Ember told her little sister.
Lady Dahlia, the princess’s governess knocked on the door before peeking her head in the room, then walking in. “Your highnesses, the carriage is ready. The Knave will escort you to Drollruin Academy in an hour and a half. Your mother wishes to say her goodbyes.”
“Dahlia, what do you think the other girls will be like?” Ember inquired.
“They’re young noblewomen from across the kingdom and many of them started school at Drollruin when they were four years old. I’m sure they’re very nice, and I’m sure they’re very well behaved.”
“What if they don’t like us?” asked Rosalind.
“I’m sure they’ll be thrilled to have two princesses among them. Just be sure to act like the sweet girls I know you’re capable of being, and you’ll be fine.” said Dahlia. “Now come along, ladies. Your mother doesn’t like to be kept waiting.” Ember and Rosalind followed Dahlia out the door.
Once the girls were announced into the throne room, Ember strode in with her sister close behind, to see their mother sitting on her throne.
“My darlings,” the red queen greeted. “I shall be desolate without you in your absence. But I’ve no choice. If we’re to keep Mirana off the throne, there’s a certain image we have to present around here. But I won’t embarrass you in front of the kingdom hiring groups of tutors. There’s enough talk already about us.”
“Yes, Mum.” Ember replied.
“I want you both to write to me frequently and inform me at once if anything goes wrong. Believe me, darlings, I know how cruel girls at that age can be.” Iracebeth turned to her lover, the knave. “Stayne, I am trusting you with my two greatest treasures. If anything goes wrong delivering them to school, there will be no escape from my wrath.”
Stayne gulped. “Yes, your majesty.”
The two princesses stifled a giggle. Stayne was Rosalind’s father and had made a point of blatantly ignoring her her whole life. Any chance to make the man squirm gave them immense pleasure.
The queen walked over to her daughters and swept the two of them in a tight hug.
“I don’t want to leave you, Mama.” Rosalind whined, lip trembling, fat tears threatening to spill from her eyes.
“You can, and you must, my little rosebud. Your sister will look after you. Now girls, remember, you are representing me and the entire kingdom, so I expect you to be on your best behavior.”
“Yes, mother.” the girls stated in unison.
The knave escorted the two girls to the carriage which had been loaded to capacity with luggage. The princesses climbed in, careful not to get their skirts caught in the door.
“Alright you painted, powdered, pampered little parasites,” said the Knave, “If I’m to have some peace on this ride, there’s going to be some rules. Don’t kick the seat. No playing with toys, no sassing me. No eating in the coach, no drinking in the coach, and no smoking.”
“We don’t smoke!” Rosalind piped up.
“Good, don’t start on my watch. You two need to sit still and be seen, not heard, have I made myself clear?”
“Crystal.” stated Ember, glaring at the Knave with a look of pure loathing, as the horses started moving.
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oceanlix · a month ago
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Sweetheart
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Pairing: Yunho x female reader
Genre: Fluff
Word count: 1520
Maybe it was something about the faint moonlight shining down into the backyard, or the way Yunho looked so peaceful at that moment. But before you knew it, you had pulled out your phone and snapped a picture of your best friend, setting it as your lock screen.
So maybe your "little" crush was getting a bit out of control...it's not like Yunho would ever find out anyway.
"Y/N!"
You looked towards the direction that you thought your best friend's voice was coming from, raising an eyebrow. It was mostly unlike Yunho to be this loud, which must mean-
His large body flew to your side, bouncing you slightly off of the couch. Yep, he was definitely more than a little tipsy, judging by the way his eyes shined as he smiled at you. Or maybe that was just your big fat crush talking, who was to say for sure?
"What do you want?" you pretended to be annoyed, though you felt like a celebrity when he set down the drinks he was carrying and his arm slid around your shoulders.
"I missed your arms around me, so I came to cuddle," he whined, pulling you halfway into his lap so he could wrap his other arm around you as well. You heard your roommate snickering from the other couch, though you weren't sure she had any room to talk with Yeosang's arm around her own waist.
He rocked you from side to side in a tight embrace for a few moments, before he seemed to remember the second reason he'd come over and let go of you. "I also brought you a drink." He sounded so proud of himself as he grabbed the cup and held it out to you, cheeks flushed an adorable pink. Your heart melted even further as you took it from him. "It's a Moscow Mule, just how you like it."
You quickly took a few sips to hide your heart eyes, thanking everything that Yunho was an easily distracted drunk. He'd already started looking around the room for Mingi, wondering where his "brother" was currently at. You shot your roommate a glare, who was still giggling at you, and set the cup down again.
"Come on, I think we should get out of the crowd," you urged, tugging on Yunho's sleeve. His eyes found yours again, though they were a little unfocused. "Let's go out on the back porch."
He didn't argue, just stood up and followed you through the living room, then the kitchen. When you stepped outside, the cool night air felt extremely refreshing on your overheated skin. You looked up at Yunho and saw that he seemed more relaxed as well, his eyes slipping closed as he leaned against the porch railing.
Maybe it was something about the faint moonlight shining down into the backyard, or the way Yunho looked so peaceful at that moment. But before you knew it, you had pulled out your phone and snapped a picture of your best friend, setting it as your lock screen.
So maybe your "little" crush was getting a bit out of control...it's not like Yunho would ever find out anyway.
----
“I brought matcha!”
You looked up from your marketing textbook, seeing Yunho approaching your table in the library.
“You are a lifesaver, Mr. Jeong,” you groaned, making grabby hands at the Starbucks cup he was holding. “Has anyone ever told you that before?”
“Maybe once or twice,” he replied, laughing. He sat down across from you, reaching into his own backpack to pull out his engineering textbook. You watched him out of the corner of your eye, taking sips of your drink and glancing down at your textbook every few seconds so as not to make it too obvious.
His hair looked extra fluffy today, you noted. It was cute how his nose scrunched up whenever he was concentrating particularly hard on the text. You didn’t even notice that you had propped your chin on your hand and were full-on staring until he looked up, his chocolate eyes meeting yours suddenly.
“Take a picture, it’ll last longer,” he teased, not an ounce of surprise evident as he winked at you playfully. Had he noticed you staring even before that point? Your heart thumped erratically in your chest and you rushed to take another sip of your drink, only to see that it was empty. Yunho was already looking back down at his textbook when you dared to peek at him again, but there was a smirk still on his lips.
Of course, your phone started to ring right at that moment. A quick glance at the screen told you that you needed to yell at your roommate later for interrupting your study time, but what you forgot to account for was the fact that your lock screen was still that photo you’d taken of Yunho at the party last week. It hadn’t even registered in your brain until Yunho let out a little gasp, drawing your attention.
“Am I your lock screen?” he asked, tilting his head adorably to the side. You immediately began to panic, pulling your phone off the desk and slamming your textbook closed.
“I forgot, I need to go meet Y/R/N right away! We can hang out later, text me!” You were haphazardly throwing your studying supplies into your backpack, desperate to get out of this situation as fast as humanly possible. It was embarrassing enough that his flirting had knocked you this far off your rocker, but now he’d seen the one thing you really couldn’t explain as something platonic. You had almost made a clean getaway when you felt his large hand wrap around your wrist, effectively stopping you from going anywhere as he anchored you to the table.
“Hey, hey,” he called softly, like you were a horse and he was afraid he was going to spook you. “Why are you rushing off?”
You sighed, wishing a hole would open up in the library floor that you could just fall through instead of having this conversation. “You weren’t...you weren’t supposed to see that.”
Yunho’s eyebrows knitted together in confusion for a moment, before realization hit. “Oh, the lock screen? Y/N, you don’t have to worry. I’m not freaked out or anything, I was just wondering when you took the picture because I don’t remember that!”
A wave of relief washed over you, so immediate that your knees buckled a little. Before you knew it, Yunho had stopped you from falling...by catching you in his lap.
“Whoa, are you feeling okay? You’re not usually this clumsy,” he laughed, pressing the back of his hand to your forehead. You looked away from his gaze, thoroughly embarrassed at how this entire conversation was going. This was not how you envisioned the day going, and it seemed to just be getting worse and worse the longer you stayed in his proximity.
“Y/N…” he trailed off, his hand coming up to cup your cheek. Gently, he tilted your head until you were looking right into his eyes. “I may be reading this entirely wrong, but...do you...like me?”
You could’ve passed for a cartoon with the way your eyes widened in that moment. Well...it’s not like you were great at hiding it. The longer you considered it, the more sense it made that he’d seen right through you. Even if boys were naturally unobservant about these things most of the time, you were always a little more obvious than you thought yourself to be. Or at least, that’s what your roommate was always telling you.
But now that the cat was out of the bag, you didn’t really know what to do other than open and close your mouth like a fish. Should you come clean and risk facing the awkward but gentle rejection you were sure Yunho would give you? Or should you try and flat out deny it? That didn’t seem like a viable option, as much as you wished it was. Yunho was unlikely to let you get away with that, as nice a guy as he was.
As you considered all of this, you suddenly remembered that you were still effectively sitting in his lap, his hand wrapped around your wrist and your faces extremely close together. There was no way you could get away with lying in this situation...you might as well face the music and whatever consequences were to follow.
“I...sorta like you. Well, not sorta, more like a lot. A whole lot...maybe way too much. Oh, but I’m not obsessed! It’s not weird, just a normal amount-”
You kept rambling, until you physically couldn’t anymore because Jeong Yunho’s lips were on yours. Your mind blanked out, eyes sliding closed as he softly and slowly kissed you over and over. As stupid as it sounded, everything else fell away in that moment, leaving only the two of you. His grip on your wrist was still gentle, but kept you anchored. When you finally parted for air, your eyes fluttered open to find him staring right back at you, cheeks flushed a light pink.
“Was that okay?” he asked, sounding incredibly nervous. You could only smile, finding his hand and interlocking your fingers with his.
“So, you might have guessed that I’ve had a big fat crush on you,” you started, laughing. “I don’t think I was very subtle.”
“Absolutely not,” Yunho giggled, leaning forward to kiss you again.
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the-firebird69 · a month ago
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We liked this one a lot we use it. Ford is known for trucks so we separate make three MB they like it. Truck car sports car.
We loved the great hard bags so we designed several lightweight versions less bumper not momiving auto for SIM
Selling billions he wants a cut we send him papers he agrees. Huge sales.
We make the Ford models with and wo quick release locking. It's cool very cool.
We send them a cap see if they want to sell it. They said saw it used it was discarded. Nope it's different. They look. Ease of use 100%
His idea now flew them for a loop too.
And they laugh. New hinging yes. A 3 way cap hatch they buy it use it. We design it test it today. They are pleased
The bikes are awesome the truck beefy heavier like an original SIM but bigger lightweight high perf parts. Drag tires fat rounded big front and rear. Tow bar quick connect.
It's huge. We show up in going to be pulling a decked out Ford SIM midsize well first full height camper. Rated for it too. Brakes an add and required
They love it. He's coming up w a Super Duty so he can pull in a bar she with Light Duty but hd for food to our presentation
Thor Freya
Zues Hera
Olympus
Show free bikes auto gratis the deal is for both they love it. And the toys yours.
Dirt bike and ensure yours.
Demand will be high production deals are signed
Tons want one. Ford style mule design underway with dump trailer. Stylish not plastic. It's a dream revenue yes.
Today. We pick a plant. Headquarters yes. Corporate will be there.
And an invite to SIM City they may bring Ford ss. They agree an after party. Two hours or so. Have film and such of ideas. They agree
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thekimdelacreme · a month ago
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Today’s Workout:
Jillian Michaels Banish Fat Boost Metabolism Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred Level 3 Denise Austin Hit the Spot Core Complete (Warm Up, Core and Legs) Hour long walk
Today’s Food:
Breakfast: Chobani blueberry on the bottom Greek yogurt, coffee Dinner: Pappadeaux: Crawfish étouffée, fried alligator bites, bread, Easter egg Cocktails: Mint Julep, Pineapple Mule, Orange vodka and tonic 1L sparkling water
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okayysophia · a month ago
So crackers kill a little girl and you use it to weaponize it against black men? Make it make sense. You're a fat nigerian girl from europe with low self esteem who spends all your time on the internet lusting after white men to the point they kill black children yet your outrage online is about black men. Put names and faces to the allegations you're making instead of empty "yall" that can be used without being substantiated. You foreign flag negros always passing your cooning for militancy
Your right king! I’m just a stupid fat foreign negro coon. Put me in my place since I don’t know better! Lock me in my chamber! How dare I even THINK of a young black 16 year old girl as anything worth caring about when the only thing that matters is black men. Forgive me king. My third eye wasn’t open when I made that post, forgive me king. It doesn’t matter that it’s he BLM movement only focuses on black men, or that the black community treats black women and girls like mules and garbage, or that black women don’t receive any justice for their deaths. None of that matters! Black women are shields created by god to withstand anythingWHAT MATTERS ARE BLACK KINGS AND BLACK KINGS ONLY! I see that now, king. Rub your Nubian balls over my face so that I never lose sight of the TRUTH again... ughhh yall see this black excellence in my inbox today?!! I’m so grateful for your insightful message cause I know your random aggressiveness and lack of comprehension skills is a sign of the black love you have for me and my cracker shackled mindset🧠 I know Dr. Sebi sent you to me✊🏾
We must protect our black kings and make sure that everyone else in the black community knows that their entire existence is for the protection of the TRUE BLACK KING👁🤴🏿👁
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mean-scarlet-deceiver · a month ago
Hey if you had to put some tvs characters into the rws who would you pick? I can see emily and salty working well in rws but what about other characters? Also do you have any headcanons about how they would fit into rws canon?
Haven’t thought it through extensively yet. I’d like to integrate them into a full headcanon timeline a la @feigeroman, but I also know a lot less about rail than he does so I’m a long ways away. 
Emily is the easiest, though. My thoughts for her are that she was a modern, optimized new build—the Tornado of Stirling Singles. (I first got this idea from FutureRust and became irrevocably attached after reading a bit of discussion about it on SiF.) 
However, her building (a long process) was completed at a pretty bad time as far as finding much demand for her. The original buyers realized that, with steam ending, and preservationists focused on saving ‘real’ engines at the time, she wasn’t going to serve well in her intended role as an attraction. Several other prospective buyers made the same calculations; also, she is significantly heavier than the original Stirlings, to the point where her axle bearing was too much for the one or two heritage lines at the time that did made inquiries about trialling her. 
She was in real danger of being turned static display before logging scarcely a couple hundred miles before the North Western took an interest. Add some brand-new motive power to their fleet for effectively nothing? Right up their alley. And she made a good impression when scouted, not at all caring that she was not being sought out with much any idea of tourism in mind, and expressing eagerness when the more strenuous demands of being in N.W.R. service were explained to her. So her lease was a no-brainer… for them.
(Emily’s owners were far more ambivalent. But they also knew that a lonely, stored engine is an unhappy engine, so that tipped the scales in favor of giving this arrangement a chance. She was so excited and you would have had a heart of stone to say no.)  
Emily’s past experiences as a ‘new build’ had been plenty discouraging enough to help convince her that on Sodor she had better keep her build date a secret and try to pass for the ‘real thing’. 
On her first day, Emily was sure everyone was staring and glaring at her because THEY. KNEW. (Emily can be more than a bit dramatic.) They didn’t, yet. But she was right that everyone’s reaction was just as much them going ‘wtf’ at seeing such an old-fashioned model as the Annie and Clarabel thing… and in the end rather few Sodor engines were long fooled by her ‘hello, I’ve been around forever and I know everything’ act. 
Though there was bafflement at first, seeing such a model, and then also seeing her handle ‘60s-style main line work! 
Anyway, as her fellow main line engines soon put the pieces together, they definitely had some fun over the years toying with the new arrival a bit. Gordon and Henry were especially good at putting her on the spot, with bland innocent faces, and then watching her efforts to brazen through it with great amusement. 
These games never got too severe, though. For one thing, Donald and Douglas took a big brotherly interest in their fellow Scotsengine almost at once. So their scowls kept a good lid on some of the others' baser instincts. For another thing, entertained though they were when making Emily squirm, she showed such sheer stubbornness and 'resource' in keeping up this ridiculous ruse long past the point anyone had imagined she would. The others had to respect her tenacity. 
Besides, despite her mule-headedness and refusal to acknowledge that she needed help, she *did* somehow learn a lot, very quickly. 
To be sure, when Emily was leaning in hard on her guise, she could be very bossy and high-handed, in those early years. Still, only some engines took her seriously. The rest just found it mildly but-no-more-than-average irritating. 
(Gordon once made the mistake of griping about who ‘that child’ thought she was, telling everyone their business… with Thomas and James in earshot. They opened up the history books to section ‘G’ cross-ref ‘1920s’ and had a field day week.) 
Anyhow, the time finally came when, for Reasons, after years of much guilt and internal agonizing, Emily began to seriously explore the merits of opening up and telling her friends the truth. So she sent out a bit of a ‘test balloon’… only to at once find everyone affectionately rolling their eyes at her. 
Talk of bafflement. 
“Of course you don’t know, flower child,” said Henry, tolerantly. 
??? 
“You weren’t around for that!” 
Emily noticed everyone starting to grin, and after a moment found her voice. It was in the ‘high-pitched squeak’ locker. 
“You… you all know?” 
“That you were made in the ‘60s—” 
“Nineteen-sixties, mind you.” 
“—right you are, Bear—or that you’re a fraud, or that you’re the funniest liar on the island?” 
The words really rocked Emily, but the mildly teasing tone was the same as yesterday and the day before. “How—how—” 
Everyone present had good fun quoting the highlight reel. 
“ ‘What is a... ‘zep’?’ ” asked James, going in for mimicry of both gender and accent (and making an utter hash of both). 
“ ‘Oh, yes, of course I’ve pulled an evacuation train before,’” said Duck. “ ‘Scores of them!’” 
“ ‘Full to the brim, they were,” agreed Donald, attempting to flutter his eyelashes. “Aye, of, ahhmm… vacs.’”   
This had evidently been her greatest hit, judging by the laughter. Which was straight out of Emily's nightmares... 
... but Percy, grinning next to her, murmured something so sweet and encouraging that she took stock again, and realized that she actually had—nothing to worry about? 
Possibly hadn't for quite some time? 
She managed to gasp How long? Only to get a few more sniggers. 
“Uhhh... summer '71?”
“Th-Th-That’s when I arrived!”
“Aye, Emmy. We recollect. What d'ye think we are, stu—?… ach,” Donald interrupted himself, with a resigned sigh, and looking perhaps too obviously at James and Henry. “Dinna answer that.”   
Realizing that she had already been accepted completely, long ago, Emily wound up both joining in the laughter and crying (on the latter of which the others, with more tact than might have been expected from them, didn’t comment). 
This is one of the best moments of her entire life. 
Another grand day was when her owners finally caved and allowed her to participate in the TV show. Which brings up another point, and one that is perhaps worth getting into, because this is hardly unique to her—it applies to quite a few of the North Western engines, especially some of the lesser-knowns. Emily has never been owned by the N.W.R. She is owned by a trust who has (with more than a little reluctance) leased her to work on Sodor. 
Originally, their reasoning was that they really had no other offers, except for not-particularly-prestigious museums. (There is the occasional engine that has the temperament to spend all their life sitting still. Emily isn’t one of them!) Besides, there was some hope that a) this way they could generate at least a little revenue from her and b) the experience would make her more attractive to future business partners. 
With A, they completely forget—or had heard, but underestimated—what a hard bargain the Hatts can drive. The lease was cheap to begin with, but the North Western also won the right to charge Emily’s maintenance against the account. Emily’s owners never actually had to pay the N.W.R., but overall this turned into a losing business prospect for them as the N.W.R. basically got her services for free. Their immaculate, unique engineering masterpiece of an engine suffered wear and tear, and for years they never really made a cent off their partnership with Sodor, which was something they long regarded as temporary. They were sure that one of these days “the political climate” would change, and the time would be right to deploy a replica Stirling Single on the proper sort of heritage railtours. In the meantime, they were very persnickety about her privacy, and would not give the North Western any rights to use her for publicity purposes… while then also turning around and being almost as reluctant to agree to any other sort of expansion in her duties. It was a very slow process before Emily was officially allowed to do anything but take local passenger trains. (Officially!) 
After a while, FC3 had to start cutting them significantly more generous deals or have them withdraw Emily from his service altogether. (It was very lucky that this wasn’t FC1. He had a bit of a weakness for sucking a good business relationship dry, and lost quite a few engines in his time because pride in his own masterful haggling skills sometimes rendered him stupidly inflexible about such things.)
Nevertheless, although better compensated, the New Stirling Trust was generally quite unhappy about the arrangement… especially with Emily increasingly ‘shunting trucks and hauling freight’… including in scrapyards… on Hallowe’en! (WTF, quoth the Trust.) On one surprise winter visit they found her not only fitted with a snowplough that they hadn’t authorized, but specifically sent out on line-clearing duty. The resulting blow-up was dramatic… not least of all because Emily had stronger feelings about this than her owners and the Fat Controller combined. Being literally a teenager, she had a massive shouting match with her designer about his overprotectiveness that was heard by everyone in the yard. (Yes, this was still during Emily’s “I’m keeping my origins a secret” years, and yes, she completely missed the fact that she had given up her own game during the course of that very public strop.)
It’s important to note that, for all their fussiness, Emily’s owners were the last thing in the world from hard-hearted. Emily’s pleas to not be withdrawn from Sodor were usually the only reason that they didn’t do just that… for decades. This concession was particularly pronounced by the ‘90s, when the “political climate” really had changed, and they were starting to find other venues for her. But by that point, it would have broken Emily’s heart to leave (and she indeed spent much of the decade quite afraid it was inevitable). 
She had also been begging for years to be allowed to participate in the TV series publicity, with its associated Sodor events. When they finally caved, it was largely for financial reasons. The Trust found this business very distasteful… but the licensing allowed them to finally make some serious revenue from their charge. (Emily was ecstatic, and to this day is probably the engine who is the biggest fan of the show. Incidentally, while this ‘new-build’ idea allows Emily to actually be of some use on Sodor’s main line, ‘As Good As Gordon’ and plenty of other improbable episodes are still complete fiction.) 
However, in exchange Emily also had to agree to occasionally leave Sodor and do some preservation circuit work. This led to a bit of a double life, as the New Stirling Trust’s strategy was that she was Emily, Just One of the Guys, while on Sodor, and Patricia, ‘No. 1010’ Stirling-Merriweather Single while on tour, and never the twain must meet. The Trust really thought that most people would never make the connection. To be fair, the family/tourist casual crowd generally did not. The real question is why they were so convinced that this was their best play. It came down mostly to a good deal of snobbery on their part—they remained ashamed that they had ’sold out’ and ‘commercialized’ engineer Merriweather’s masterpiece. Anyway, Emily of course had plenty of practice in this sort of charade and was by that point the consummate actor. Although she would have rather been at home with her friends, she sportingly made the most of it and had as much fun with it as she could (though the double life only exacerbated some of her insecurities). 
Only in 2019 did the N.W.R. and the Trust (both being led by some fresh blood) come to an agreement where Emily and Patricia could be publicly acknowledged as one and the same, and the N.W.R. had rights to have Emily’s real history publicized, have her run railtours, and carry a North Western number. (A third ‘best day ever,’ in her books.) 
Yes, that’s right. The Trust finally fully caved and acknowledged that ‘Patricia’ was a real true total Sodor engine… long after RWS had puttered to a slow death, and right in time for the TV reboot. 
These people are so bloody smart.
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written-beyond-the-grave · 2 months ago
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Mikaelsons Black History Month
First off, I’m starting by saying that even though it is no longer Black history month it will always be melanin everyday and black people every day. And everything else under the sun, and if you don’t like it then the exit is to your left. Everything you own in the box to the left
Being part of the Mikaelsons is very fickle business and be some bs. Like really, you’re here with supernatural beings who are over 1000 years old. Who have traveled the world, gained endless knowledge, seen a lot of bloodshed, but you know what they haven’t seen? Their token human (black ofc) being ignant for black history month, I mean who even fully celebrates? How does one even celebrate?
Granted, they’re not racist. But with the writing Julie Pleck did she was playing honestly. That was the worst writing I've ever seen since who knows when. Maybe the nine lives of Chloe king or something? But in my originals universe they were probably racist in the beginning to an extent then grew out of it.
Anyways, they never met someone who celebrated until they met you!
Now repeat after me: I’m black y’all, and I’m black y’all. And I’m black and black and black y’all! FYM
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Now…. picture this: A moderately quiet day in the Mikaelson household. Kol is minding his business for once, Rebekah is trying to find the perfect pics for her next instagram post, Elijah is enjoying a good read, and Klaus is organizing his art materials. But then here comes you, the human, opening the door and walking right in like you pay bills (none of them do but you get the picture) in the midst of the most deadly people. Walking in and greeting everyone, walking in with the most hotep, Dr. Umar bullshit getup they ever seen. Coming to America headass.
They recognize your footsteps from a mile away, so when you walk into the kitchen and no one really looks up at first it’ll be a sight to see a whole ass pelted lion on your back. The kente cloth hat (no idea the actual name for it, sorry babes), a saber tooth necklace (for my mans T’Challa), and the red stiletto nails with the afro out here banging.
SHEEEEEEEEESH
Once Elijah is done with his page he looks up to greet you, but then stops… Bitch, fuck is you wearing? This was worlds away from the sweats, and skinny jeans you wore on the daily.
“Greetings Y/N you look…. Fashionable.” Mans didn’t know what to say. Did he miss something about your Africna roots? Was there a holiday he hadn’t heard of, doubt it, but what else was there?
“Thank you Elijah.” You fluff out your lion pelt for added effect, if there was ever going to be one time you outdo the Mikaelsons’ especially Elijah in being dramatic with a coat or cloak of somesort, it would be now.
At this point the Kol and Rebekah have already looked up and were confused. Why are you dressed like that?
Kol is the first one to speak up “Darling, Rebekah likes a fashion show more than anyone, but why do you have a lion… on your shoulder.”
Lifting up your large ass shades you supplied an answer: “Black History Month”
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They all looked at each other… they didn’t get it. Like they know what it is, but never actually understood how to celebrate and all that nor did they ever actually give it mind. When you saw that they weren’t making a connection, you started phase 1.
“Alexa, you know what to do.”
And there goes their manor playing: NIGGA NIGGA NIGGA NIGGA NIGGA NIGGA NIGGA I’M ONE HUNDRED PERCENT NIGGA
LMFAOOOOO you got the white people shook. Klaus just dropped one of his expensive ass bottles of art sealants and is vamp speeding to the kitchen to figure out what the hell is going on. Elijah having a mid century crisis on how tf they even found you and deemed you worthy of being in their presence so casually. Kol is having fun in the back, still laughing at your get up. And Rebekah wishes she went to the mall instead, she wanted a girl bestie and got you instead rip
“WHAT IN BLAZES- Y/N WHAT ARE YOU DO- WHAT ARE YOU WEARING! ALEXA STOP THE MUSIC-” And the big bad wolf has arrived. You put your finger to Klaus’ lips which stuns him bc… you’re still HOOOMAN like damn, death wish much? And you look this man, straight in his mit and say “Looks at, look at me” and pause for dramatic affect, “I am the captain now”
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Room silent as hell till Kol starts cackling
You’ve made Dr. Umar proud, the ancestors are shining on you once again
With that you lead into a whole speech about the black struggle and black history month, bottom line: REPARATIONS. Because being the only nigga in the Mikaelsons (we don’t claim Marcel) is exhausting, white people shit everyday that you complain about in their faces
TBH at this point they’re indulging you in this escapade.
First victim is Elijah, you ask for his wallet. He gives you a look, I mean he does technically give you what you want and whatever (when y’all dating, refer back to my dating Elijah post), so he ask you why. Reparations sis why, but then you stop yourself. This man gives you his wallet every other day, half the time you not even asking. What could you rob this man of…. Ah. You ask him for the deed of one of his estates in Prague, why? Because you bitches can’t even spell Prague. And under section S line 45 subsection Y it does state that estates are eligible for reparations. Fuck 40 acres and a mule, you got 300 acres, some stallions in the back, a quite possibly haunted mansion, and a heavy dicked (yeah I said it, a sis been trying to reality shift) original who will turn you out by the end of the day and the end of the month…. Wait till women's history month boo
We know his pockets figgity fat, and it would be figgity wack to not get some
Ngl you take Kol with you so he can buy you food. Granted, he knows what you’re doing, but if he’s going to spend money on anything it will be thawed and it will be music. However, one thing leads to another and you’re both at Wal-Mart waiting to find a parking spot. You stole one off a white minivan trying to move in. Not thinking anything of it because who in this small ass Mystic Falls ass, clown ass town really about it? Apparently Karen.
But you know who else what about it? Kol (tbh mans had nothing but time, and he claims you so why tf not.) he out here NY stomping on her and coming at her for badly glued extensions. Cheap ass bitch, ain’t even blend in correctly.
After that Kol and you left with some groceries, a new story to tell, and a chopped cheese.
With Klaus, he frfr wasn’t finna do shit. Being ordered my a human? Lmfao, go find another simp sis. But… once you suggest that his art skills may not be up to par on what you have in mind as a new family room piece for your house he’s all ears. He knows what you’re doing, but… he still wants to prove you wrong. But anyways, you give him a theme… reverse racism. IK y’all, it’s not a thing, but mans has ideas. And he outdoes himself. That and the recreation of the moorish chief bc that man...mmmmm that man was giving.
Ok so Google wanna hoe me, but there was a painting of a black man in a kkk cloak and behind him were white people being hung from a tree. Say what you want, but that photo was fire. If any of you seen it please share it below.
Anyways
Rebekah tbh wants no part in this, but I feel like she’d gave when you ask her to give you all the finest dresses bc it’s an excuse to exhaust Klaus’ money.
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Through the month you give the Mikaelsons a run for their money, and maybe sanity. Klaus is in the back trying to research who tf Dr. Umar is and why is he your inspiration
They had to pull you back when the sheriff asked you for your ID. You ask why you needed white man paperwork!
You are pleasing the spirits, what bonnie could never do lmfaooooo. The powers of you enemies aren’t prospering this month nor next month.
You’re not poor this month, anything you poor of is pouring a little more (bars nigga)
LMFAOOOO imaging asking the fam to go to paris, like, they not invited it’s a self trip funded my the Mikaelson Y/N Trust Fund of Public Decency ™
Klaus would be the first one to speak because this man is TIRED, “Love, why do you need a trip to paris? What’s in Paris?”
Knowing better, you look to Kol to answer the question, “I don’t know, Kol, who’s in Paris?” Niggas b. Niggas in paris…. Lemme chill
LMFAOOO enjoy
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