[Clipart 008] Cat in Flood

1 Oct

My newest Clipart Story. This site gets very few views but I will link it here anyway.

Home Clipart Animal Deer

cat_in_flood

“Okay, imagine this,” Greg started. Liu promptly stood up from her chair, put her newspaper underneath her armpit, and walked away from him. “No wait, don’t go,” he said, following her out of the food court and into the crowded hallway.

“I do not really want to do another one of your games,” Liu said, brushing her way past people in order to get away from Greg. “Please try again some other time.”

“It’s not a game, it’s a mind exercise. It’s fun,” Greg said. He pushed past the same people and tried to keep up with her down the hallway. “What’s so bad about fun?”

“I have things I need to do. I am sorry,” Liu said. Greg caught her shoulder and she turned around. She squeezed her eyes tight, then opened them slowly. “Walk with me to the conference room and I will do your mind exercise.”

Greg…

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One year later — What’s Thedude3445 been up to?

7 Sep

I am also posting this here, since this post has a lot to do with my writing.

Backblog

I ended my tenure on this site about a year ago, so I thought it’d be nice for anyone who happens to stumble onto the site (since it still gets about 3-8 views a day even now) about my current projects. Some of these came around when this blog was still active, and others have just begun:

The Madoka Series, by Thedude3445 – My fan fiction series lampooning the anime Madoka Magica that has gone on much, much longer than I originally anticipated. As of this writing, there are two main stories, a one-shot, and two spinoffs, and they’re all hopefully very funny.

Barty Anderson 4: Tale of the Legend of the Crystal Chubacabra – I directed the Official Fan Sequel to the Barty Anderson Trilogy by Byron Hussie. I put my heart and soul into making it as dumb and unprofessional as possible.

Sandswept: The Squiddle Session – The…

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Closing Up Shop

26 Aug

As you have been able to tell, the 365-Story Challenge very quickly died off. Out of the four competitors, two of them only published stories sporadically, and one of them quit even before I ended up posting a story a month or less. With no competition to face, there really was no point in continuing.

A very big reason for abandoning this for me is that most any short story I write that I really like couldn’t make it on here anyway, because I want to try and get it published. The stories on here are either fan fiction, or too silly or too low-quality to continue working with it, meaning that by story #365, this blog would only become a series of mediocre scraps at best, or a site to tarnish my (currently non-existent) image at worst.

So I will leave it as it is; a collection of sixty stories I wrote as I began to write as more than an occasional hobby, and as a full-on aspiring writer. Every single one of the stories on here was written either my 12th grade year or Freshman year of college, so in the future, this site will be something of a time capsule, to show how my writing was when I was first starting out.

It’s been really fun, guys. I ended my other blog recently as well, but you can catch me on several different sites if you know where to look. And hopefully you will be able to catch me much more easily in the near future…

060 – Wherein Lies Utter Foolishness

26 Aug

Wherein Lies Utter Foolishness

by WhiteKnight, Thedude3445, and Steelix100000000000000000000

 

“Alright, what now?”

Stan lowered his gun and turned to his partner with a look of bafflement. “What do you mean, ‘what now’? We’ve gone over this plan for a damn near month by now.”

Ryan shook his head, mumbling nothings so that he at least looked like he was thinking. “birthday tango lepton dance…,” He had no clue how they were going to get out of this jam alive. He grit his teeth until they scraped against each other and grabbed the nearest thing he could find. Without thinking, he tossed it at Stan. It was a plushie. Stan screamed in terror as the soft fabric bounced off his head, for this marked his demise. One moment was all it took for the perp to pump him full of hot lead.

This is not Stan’s story. This is not Ryan’s story either. Rather, this is the story of one mad woman’s quest to get just the right designer bag, at any cost. It all started on one hot winter day. Hot because it was in East Africa. Too hot for Petra Smalls, at any rate. But she knew, deep down in her heart, that once she got her hands on just the right designer bag, everything would change. Men would fawn over her, money would find its way into her wallet, and thousands of other custom clothes and accessories would be hers. All that stood in her way were the law and thousands of other women seeking the same power. However, that day, she struck from the list of blockades the law. No longer would she let mere words stop her ultimate quest. That is when she decided to enlist them.

Three small plushies, none more than a half-meter tall, sat in chairs around a roundtable outside the bar inside the mall in the suburbs of the city in East Africa. One of them was smoking a large cigar, while the others were playing some sort of game with their cards.

“Five of diamonds,” said Captain Troublesprout. “Your move, Bub.”

“Captain, what game are we even playing?” Bub asked, scratching his plush rump. But Captain Troublesprout merely tapped his cigar in response.

“Doesn’t matter,” he said. “Looks like we have a customer.” He flicked his cigar out into the floor, right next to where Petra stood. “You rang, missy?” She returned his polite greeting with a devilish grin and a swift snatching of his fluffy head.

“Indeed, I did.” She fixed her curly hair, twirling it around a little before she made her request. “I want it.” The three plushies gasped in unison.

“Wait,” Bub interrupted. “Which it? There’s like, forty of the dang things.”

“Oh,” Petra mumbled weakly, carrying none of the sureness she met the plushes with. “I meant, ah… the bag.”.

Which bag?” The three rasped in unison.

“The, ah… the popularity one… It’s d-designer…”

“That one,” Trogdilpie wheezed, “is quite special. Our services will be… costly, to say the least, Miss. You did come here knowing that, right?”

“Of course!” She squealed, her previously lost conviction gushing back. “I robbed 3 banks for this occasion!”

“Meh. I’ve seen a lot more drive than that, and we cost much more than you have, I can already say that.” Captain Troublesprout shrugged and turned towards the other plushies and their game of cards. Out of nowhere he pulled out another cigar and lit it. A moment or two later he noticed Petra still had not left, and turned back around, puffing a ring of smoke that hit her face. “Did you hear me? Are ya deaf?”

“Let me tell you the names of the banks I robbed,” Petra proclaimed, almost commanding. “First National. J.P. Morgan Chase One. Knox Minor. And I hit up Great Zimbabwe National just for kicks.”

Captain Troublesprout nearly dropped his cigar. “Lady, that is some kind of messed up. You might just be the kind of monster that can contend for the bag.”

“I most certainly am.” She crossed her arms and raised her left eyebrow. “

lol guys I’m not dead yet

Who said that?

Suddenly the authors began battling furiously for control over the tale with their wordfists!

“I want to make this a romantic comedy!” Said Thedude3445, who put several fingers on the keyboard and began punching away.

Captain Troublesnout- sprout you fool! Forget not the name of the cast!- and Petra looked at each other with a passion they had only just realized for each other. Petra really liked that cigar, man was it sexy. Probably as big as–

“What are you doing tonight, lady?” the plushie asked.

“Just looking for someone to help me get this purse I want.”

“Then I’m just the guy you’re looking for.” Troublesprout put down his cigar and stepped towards Petra. She began towards him as well.

A cry of “Mom!” split the air in two, and Petra turned horrified to see her darling little Sherman staring at her, eyes pulsing with disappointment and fury. “Why are you talking to these crooks? I want my birthday cake already!”

“Sweetie, Mommy’s in the middle of something very important right now,” said Petra, head trapped between her shoulders upraised. “Go wait outside with the shopping cart.” Sherman sucked on his teeth and did as he was told.

Troublesprout stared his ‘customer” down, giving her a deep, piercing look-down. “What the heck is this, lady? You wanna risk more life and limb than your own for this bag and you got a kid on your shoulders? You’re sick, lady. Sick.

Perfectly sick,” he snarled.

White Knight twiddled his thumbs, waiting for his compatriot-rival in word-arms to meet his challenge.He took far too long, having been playing Paper Mario 2 on his Nintendo® Gamecube©. WK foolishly scoffed at his affection for such a wonderful game, and was promptly crushed by a mountain of Cross-Yuxes.

How come you don’t want to write this story the way I want to write it, then, huh?

Because I want to write it the way I want to write it. It’s like some kind of karezi screwaround bullshit. The perfect troll romcom duo. This is just like that probably fake college assignment of the story done by a boy and a girl stuck flipping between a guy writing about an alien war and a girl writing about a date. Are you a girl, TD?

I am a girl, WK. That doesn’t matter though. Do you want to write this thing or not? But it has to be done the way I want it. No other way.

But utter foolishness : (

I don’t care about your utter foolishness. You know what? We’re the fools here. And this is wherein we lay. It is us.

I can agree to that. Unfortunately, I doubt the reader can. Sorry, chap.

Petra swooned at Troublesnout’s sheer charm. The way he rolled his r’s made her legs quiver with longing, and she stepped to the plushie once more. “No, you are the perfect one. I would be glad to discuss more of your plan over dinner.”

“Aight.” And so it was.

That night, Petra got to the agreed-upon place early. It was a ritzy restaurant in a bad part of town, but it sure was flashy. She swallowed at the sight of the singing, dancing showgirls inside. Once she had the bag they would be absolutely nothing compared to her. All the guys’ eyes would be on her, showering her in glorious praise, gifts, attention, maybe even their love.  The thought coaxed a sigh out of her. How wonderful things would be then!

Plushies really are the best, she thought as she walked through the restaurant, not realizing that only feet behind her, there was a teddy bear just waiting to snipe her head off. But we knew, because we were the audience. Well not me. I’m the writer. Seriously, have you even been paying attention?

Move, Petra, Move! We can’t go on without you!

“What?” Petra shouted out to no one in particular. That was strange. But it was enough to get her to turn around, flustering the teddy bear who quickly hid his gun in his  trenchcoat. Wait, why is a teddy bear wearing a trenchcoat in the middle of the summer? Doesn’t he already have a ton of plush fur?

Steelix, do you suggest any plot developments that would be interesting here? I mean we have this here teddy bear, but why is he attacking? We should have figured this out before adding it…

Steelix isn’t here you doof! Unless you want to pretend she is…

That’s exactly what we have to do.

Hi I’m Steelix! And I approve this message!

Hey buddy do you want to RP right now? I have a new touhou OC I wanna give a spin.

You know it!

Oh but we should really bring this into AIM before it looks like a pre-y2k script fanfic.

Y2K? I wasn’t even born yet!

You’re 17 years old! This isn’t the year 2030! I’m not an old coot!

Isn’t it weird? People born in the year 2000 are going to be in HIGH SCHOOL next year…

I bet some already are.

A sudden soft tapping on her legs alerted Petra to the Captain’s presence. She turned and looked down at her date, who said, “Evenin’, toots. You got your end?”

He shook his booty. “Yep!”

Petra was unsure if she should open the door for her tiny date or pick him up to let him open it for her, but another couple did so for them as they left in a hurry. She quickly found seats and set Troublesprout on his. A waitress was quick to greet them, and asked for their order.

“Cotton fluff, on the heavy side,” said the Captain, patting his round belly.

“I’ll have the chili,” Petra noted, “and water.” She noticed the trenchcoat teddy bear make his own quiet entrance to the joint, but lost him amid the tables three times his height.

“And I’ll have the cigar soup,” said Troublesprout. Whatever that is. Thedude, why do you come up with the strangest stuff?

I don’t even know.

Hi I’m Steelix!

Petra felt a cold hand. Wait, no she didn’t. –Stupid WhiteKnight– She felt a WARM hand. Vaguely warm, anyway. She turned her body around and saw the trenchcoat teddy bear once again.

“Pssssst.” The teddy bear motioned at her to come closer. “I have a secret that I’m willing to tell only you. I’m a male teddy bear but I actually have female reproductive parts. They only added me to the cast so they could say they were being Trans Positive. Don’t trust them.”

“Them?”

“Them.”

And we never saw him again…

“Who the heck was that?” Troublesprout demanded. “Your hired muscle?””

“Oh no, I don’t use such things,” said Petra. Some weirdo talking about a ‘Them,’  that I can’t trust, whatever that could mean.” (Don’t say weirdo in relation to a character that is transgender! That could mean trouble if this ever leaks out to the radical LGBT community!)

(the radical tumblr community mirite)

(No don’t say that!!!)

“It means bad,” Troublesprout growled. “They’re already watching you,” and me by extension, he thought. “Watch what you say and do.” Petra nodded, only peeking around and centering on her date every couple of minutes before the food arrived, Troublesprout checking her out top to bottom all the while. He tried to ease her fears with a grin and a soft growl. It must have worked if it brought a giggle and a smile out of her every time.

WK realized his romance writing muscles were woefully inadequate but there was no time better than the present to exercise them. He wondered if TD could do any better and realized that they were already halfway done with this page. He prayed that he didn’t miss the next page break.

He then realized that TD was a crafty fiend who added content to the middle of the page to confound him. Well done good person, well done. And lo and behold, in defending the ravenous hounds of Tumblr, Once more it was done.

We’re going to get massacred.

And so they did. The authors were mercilessly killed by rabid dogs, the likes of which man has never seen and may never see again, because they are way too vicious and kill anyone who sees them so nobody who sees them can tell anyone anything about them because they are dead. Not us though. Dear reader you are safe from the troubles of these rabid dogs.

Meanwhile, Petra and Troublesprout enjoyed their dinner, both finding it difficult to start their business. By the time the plush had finished his soup, not a single word about the Bag or the Procedure had been exchanged. “We should probably take this somewhere more… private,” he suggested.

“I would love to,” said Petra.  She hurriedly finished her chili, paying for the dinner, and follow the Captain’s directions to his car, a surprisingly large mini-cooper decked out with a chrome sheen and bull horns on the hood. Petra “Ooh!”-ed, covering her mouth and smile.  Something about Troublesprout’s sense of style tickled her, brought out more of her desire, but she kept her mind on business.

Business is exactly what Troublesprout was keeping his mind on, as well. Before he entered his vehicle, he pulled out a tommy gun and shot down an unsuspecting sniper. His name was Jared. And now he was gone.

“Petra, let’s go make a pit stop, alright?” Troublesprout now asked.

“Fine with me,” she said. As long as it got her the purse she didn’t care.

A few minutes and more than a few shady neighborhoods later, the mini-cooper stopped in front of an inconspicuous house. “Wait here,” the plushie said. “This is the house of that sniper I blasted. I used to know’em. Too bad he picked the wrong target… I’ll be back in just a minute.” Petra checked her cell phone. Reception wasn’t terrible here; Africa is fairly good about having coverage, but it was as slow as molasses on a snail on a sloth on a glacier. That is to say, it’s kind of slow, but for some reason it’s on top of a bunch of things. Amazon finally loaded and she took a peek at the prices for her purse once again… Wow, only 82 million dollars. Price’s going down, and fast.

There was a tap on Petra’s door. She opened it and lifted Troublesprout up and placed him in the driver’s seat. “Thank ya.”

“Welcome.”

“I was right about it, though. Seems someone placed a hit on you, girl.”

“Oh really?” Petra realized all that bank robbing had finally caught up to her. She should have been more careful in killing every single witness.

“Yep. Seems there’s a massive price on your head. 82 million dollars.”

A metaphorical lightbulb appeared over her head. “Troublesprout. Can you kill me?” she asked.

Troublesprout spit out his newly-lit cigar. “Wh–what?”

“See, the purse I want is just as much as the bounty on my head. So I need people to at least think I’m dead so you can get the money and then give it to me so I can buy the purse!”

“Ah, that’s a nah to that, miss!” Troublesprout wasn’t having none of this.

“You’re saying you wouldn’t hit that?” Petra asked. “That being me?”

“Ah, the good old euphemism,” he said. “I’ll tell ya what. If you give me 25%, I’ll make an assassination so convincing your own mother’ll think you’re dead.”

“I killed my mother and stole all her jewelry.”

“It was a figure of speech, Petra.” Petra nodded, and they shook hands on the deal. She was going to get that purse, no matter what.

However, little did they know, but one man was sitting in a car across the street, just like they were, watching them discretely…

“Stan,” Ryan said into his radio. “I have a confirmation.”

“What is it?” Stan’s groggy voice signaled back. “It’s like 3 in the morning.”

“He went to Jared’s, Stan. He went to Jared’s.” Ryan turned off the radio, as Stan knew exactly what that meant. It was time to put this plan into action.

“So long, old buddy,” whispered Ryan, clutching a couple of small stones – Ice and the Rock – in his vest. He emerged from a van on the others side of the block, rocking his best black suit, tie, shades, and automatic weapon. He got some strange looks from the neighborhood kids and parents, but they didn’t dare keep staring once they saw the star-shaped insignia on his vest.

Back in the car, Petra and Troublesprout were busy making the kissy kissy. Petra had to hold him in her arms while they made out, though, so it was very strange. It only lasted for a couple minutes before they resumed their previous actions.

“Okay, now that that’s over,” Troublesprout said. “We need to get down to business. We’ve gotta assassinate you for money. Now how will we be doin’ that is still what I’m thinkin’.”

“You could just drive this car off a bridge and put a dummy in there that looks like me, and film the whole thing.”

“Naw, once they recovered the car they’d find it’s not you.”

“I really just want to see this story finished,” TD, now a ghost after being killed by rabid dogs, said. WK didn’t respond for a really, really long time. So long that the narrator grew old and died and they had to get a new one. Would we ever be able to find out how Troublesprout and Petra pulled off their heinous plot? Or were they unsuccessful in their endeavor to get that bag?

It was a mystery that we all yearned to know, though less so now that the story had become so convoluted and confusing due to author interruptions such as this one. And I guess I can’t say “we” in this case, I guess you, the readers. Or reader. I’ve got no clue how many people will read this.

WK took one look at TD’s delusions and let loose an adoring sigh. “How precious. Well, time to clean this up. An ending is an ending, after all.” After being distracted by a Cosmo speedrun, advice on what kind of gift to get for the girl he liked and browsing other shops, WK set out upon this gargantuan task.

Petra found herself struck by magnificence. “Why don’t we just lure some competitors into a shootout, dress up one of the bodies like me, and claim the bag money that way?”

“That’s a stupid idea,” Troublesprout  immediately replied. Shaking his head he continued, “The coroner would have to be a complete doof to fall for that.”

“Or be in on it,” said Petra with a wink.

“What if he tries to backstab us?”

“We kill him. That hasn’t stopped us before, right?”

“That depends, sugar-buff. Has anything else stopped us before? Nah.”

Petra found herself giggling. “Well then, let’s get to it.” She stepped out of the car and made for the house, carrying Troublesprout

The never successfully executed their plan, because their love transcended the love of purses.

059 – Free Write Collection

26 Aug

Free Write Collection

by Ben Baker

 

Various strange stories that I wrote throughout Fall 2013 in the GSU Writer’s Guild.

Get a Clue

 

(Basically playing the game Clue and having to write based on the stuff we got)

 

I’m Ms. White. Definitely not the killer. Sure, I have this wrench here and I’m in the lounge and everything, but in no way did I kill nobody. I ain’t no murderer. I is a good ole southr’n belle gentlewoman. Or… something like that. Okay not really. Mr. Body was a nice young man; why would I want to take the life of someone whose body I wanted so badly? no pun intended. Also, I meant sexually, not murderally. That’s why I was in the lounge; I had to fill up on a couple gallons of vodka so I could be a little more courageous in my “courtship methods”. And… uh no, I don’t want to tell you about the wrench in my hand. It’s… personal. Just remember kids, be safe, sane, and consensual. If all three of these criteria are not fulfulled, well… let’s just say sometimes hunky men end up dead on the floor, and nobody wants that. Not even me. Ehhh. That’s not really that true. Sometimes they’re hotter when they’re not hot, if you know what I mean… Okay yeah I totally killed him and had sex with his dead body. Don’t judge me.

The next 3 were just writing whatever, based on what kind of music was playing.

 

Silence

 

It was a downtrodden day. A man walked down the narrow street, heavy rain pouring down on his beige fedora. He stepped into a puddle, splashing even more water all over his body. Everything sucked.

This man walked back onto the sidewalk and opened the door to his office. The air conditioner was broken again, wasn’t it? Ugh. As he stepped into the sauna of a room, he wondered why he became a Private Eye for Hipsters. They only ever hired him ironically, usually to have him track them themselves. Sometimes they did it just to reenact all those scenes from “We ❤ Huckabees.”

 

Music (no lyrics)

 

Boris stepped out into the crowd of screaming fans. “Who’s ready to JAAAAAAAAM?” she screamed at the top of her lungs. They…. What? They were silent. What, was her fly down or something?

“Guys? I said… Who’s ready….. TO JAAAAAAAM?” This time she strummed a little on her guitar to get them excited. Still… Nothin’. She heard a few murmurs this time at least, but other than that, it was as if they were at a funeral.

Finally, someone near the stage raised his hand. Boris pointed at him. “Um, Boris?” he said. “Why did you say… Jam?” Boris looked at him confusedly. “Did you mean to say… Rock?” Boris’s eyes popped open at the realization that she had said something terribly, terribly wrong.

 

Music + lyrics

 

This was it. Phinease was finally going to ask Melissa to the dance. She sat alone at the lunch table, unlike usual, and that gave him a confidence boost enough to finally go into action. Without her judgemental friends surrounding her, he was certain he could accomplish this task.

Pretending to act casually, he glossed over the lunch room for a few seconds before “just happening” to spot her table. He took his time getting over there, and Melissa only noticed him as he sat down.

“Oh hey, didn’t know you were in here,” Phineas lied.

“Hey, Phineas.” She looked crestfallen for some reason.

“Sup.”

“Nothing much.” She didn’t even attempt to hide her sadness. He assumed it was just PMS or something.

“So… Wanna go to the dance with me?”

She began to cry and ran away. Phineas only could wonder what it was he said.

This one was made as a picture of a piano with burnt-up sheet music was displayed.

 

“Shit!” Jeremy shouted. “My fucking music caught on fire again! See, THIS is why I don’t fucking play on the damn piano anymore. Ever sicne I found that genie, chicks just fig me and I’m great at pretty much anything, but really, fuck. I wished to be hot, not to be HOT.” he kicked the piano down. It caught on fire. “Fuck everything.”

 

058 – A Collection of Poems

26 Aug

A Collection of Poems

by Thedude3445

Giants garnered

Last dance before the storm

Onerous. Opaque.

Rare rather rancid

Indigenous indeterminate

Oceans of on.

Ubiquitous under: Unlimited

Smiling Serenity

Daring

 

Away

Far Away

 

Underneath the pain

lying in the heap

 

Distant

 

Radiance goes forth

Meadows of meter

 

Cerca de todo.

大胆

Fire and Ice

 

Having the same title as,

Something really famous,

Just for notoriety,

Is a lame-ass ploy,

Don’t do it.

It Awareness

 

Gaining ground the

Finality’s around.

Relation,

Abaration,

Proclamation of devestatioN.

Vague

General

Deeper meaning can I find?

Can it reveal into my mind?

Binge,

Fringe,

Orange light dims.

vague

general

057 – Wizard School

26 Aug

Wizard School

by Thedude3445

 

Being in a Wizard school was tough, especially when you’re a teacher. Nobody knew this better than Carlos Giordano. You have to deal with the idiots who run around waving their wands at everything, the incessant teenage romance, and most of all the annoying bratty magicians who think they’re going to be the next Overlord of the Dark Magyicks or something and try everything they can to make the undead rise again or kill the entire staff of the school or whatever. Carlos really hated teenagers, especially after working here at the Diana School For Manaether Development for seventeen years. Still, there was free food and free housing since it was a boarding school, and the pay was great, so he had a ton of money to spend on whatever he wanted. Was it worth the constant irritating atmosphere of a middle-high school? That was what he was unsure about. With his job experience as well as his M.M. In Magical Disruptions he could easily land a job teaching at the Othalis College of Art and Magic up in Cleveland, but the increase in overall living expenses would actually cause his income to drop somewhat, despite the raise in pay. It was a hard choice, but Carlos stayed put. It’s much easier staying where you are, unhappy, than breaking out of your comfort zone, to be happier, anyway. Carlos pondered this once every few months, but this idea never truly went past the vague concept stage. It wasn’t all that bad, he usually rationalized; some of the other teachers had become his closest friends over the nearly two decades. Most were just as big of annoyances as the students themselves, seemingly still going through puberty at middle-age with all their gossip and toxicity, but those few mostly made up for the rest. There was Tiffany Kraion, the Xeno-Pop Music Teacher who introduced to the world their current favorite genre just six years ago, who Carlos met when she joined the faculty eight years ago as a janitor, before working her way up to the music department (which is headed by Roger M Dunphan, the most outrageously mean and cruel man in existence with a handlebar mustache, and probably the only person), and developed a close relationship with. There was also Drop Bosh. He was an exciting young man, only twenty-two or so; graduated college at seventeen and began working at Diana before some of his former classmates even graduated. Now he was the Dean of Cowgirl Affairs (the school was located in Wyoming is why this was even a thing), a comfortable position for a man who will have very little work for the rest of his life. Carlos heard about his steamy scandals with many of the female students, but because the girls were already in love with him, they would never have confessed to what really went on, so only rumors persisted. Those two were Carlos’s main friends, but there were others, like Joe Young, the Mightiest in the land, Florina of Caelin, one of the former queens of a nation that you probably never heard of, George Fallon, who was not female, Hausen Digger, Director of the Temporal Project out in the satellite campus in Iowa (though he checked back at the main school at least once a week, so Carlos saw him regularly), and Jimmy Clooney, the school’s Headmaster. Headmaster Clooney was not exactly the nicest man, but not putting him on this list would have put Carlos in danger of being fired in and of itself. And then he wouldn’t be able to even get a job at the Othalis College, since being fired from your only ever job teaching for ‘severe misconduct’ is a sure way to get blacklisted from the schooling business for life. Wait… ugh. Carlos thought he wasn’t even going to think about that anymore… Why did he, then? It was never even an actual consideration… And yet, it felt oddly appealing for some reason. The grass is always greener on the other side, as the old saying always went. Carlos loved the school itself, though; the layout was interesting and ever-shifting, just like any proper magic school, the history behind it was captivating (there was an eight-volume series on the history of the Diana school; something involving moving trains, and Mao Yue, whoever that was. Carlos attempted to read through it many times, but the writing was so thick that he could never quite make it past the first few volumes. It seemed like the topics were so densely covered that the paragraphs stretched dozens of pages. Not that they did, but that’s what it seemed like, at least. What he did read was vastly interesting, however), and there were many secrets hidden within the walls of the school, as if a programmer designed little easter eggs just for Carlos to find. But despite all this love, the students just really were that bad. Just like any school filled with teenagers, it was loud at all times, smelly, and simply way too much PDA going on. It was like Carlos had a Pocket PC or something, there was so much kissing. At least it wasn’t college so nobody really was having full-on sex in the hallways (another minus against teaching at Othalis, he noted), but man it was not a good thing to see. Carlos was not a fan of the whole “love” thing, so he couldn’t understand it even if he tried. The worst part about the students was when Diana merged with the Tsukino School back in 2008. Since then they had a billion magical girls, all acting like teenage girls do, which was be a pest at any and all times possible. It was strange that, though this new influx of magical girl trainees increased the school population by a thousand, the gender ratio was still nearly 1:1. He assumed this was because there was a subsequent flood of teenage boy applicants, excited about the prospect of so many opportunities to “date” these new girls (the whole dating process… it was silly. Seriously. Teenagers). It was pretty terrible, but… Carlos was still going to stay put for now. The pay was great, and the least he could do was save up for an early retirement, he guessed. Maybe one day he would find out what “love” actually meant, too.