The best gaming story I have ever read.
Gather ‘round chummers, as I tell you the tale of a lone technomancer with a grand vision. A technomancer who dreamed of the day when the sixth world is at long last released from the oppressive grip of the global megacorporations, leaving the cyberpunks to take back the streets. This is the story of how he set a plan in motion to make that dream a reality - a grand scheme involving espionage, deceit, a stolen orbital kill satellite, and a passionate desire to see the world burn.
A bit of background is needed first, to explain how our team found itself in the position to try bringing the megacorporations to their knees. Our intrepid team of shadowrunners consisted of the following:
I played Bloodworx, a Turkish Ork Street Samurai. High on painkillers and low on empathy for his fellow man, Bloodworx was a directionless, nihilistic ex-corporate bodyguard who found himself running because he couldn’t figure out what else to do with his life once budget cuts caused his employers at EVO to give him the boot. Bloodworx tried his best to come off as an emotionally distant killing machine operator, but a few minutes to talking with him would make it evident that he was just incredibly frustrated at his inability to make a difference in the world around him.
Our Face was a man who went by the title “Boston Lau,” a smug, slightly cybered, streetwise Chinese American Human who did his best to hold the rest of the group together and formulate the big plans. Even when the situation around him was clearly fragged six ways to sunday he did his best to convince himself he was still in control, since figured it was the only way he could convince the people around him of the same.
Our Mystic Adept/Infiltrator was an dwarven woman who went by Daze, an outgoing thrillseeker with more piercings in her face than my street sammie had cyber in his body. She was by far the friendliest member of our group, but also in constant need of reassurance and positive feedback from others lest she become obsessed with trying to prove her worth to the group at large.
And lastly, there was our hacker - a human technomancer who went by the handle of “Tass”
“Tass” was the phonetic version of the technomancer’s real handle, “T.A.S.,” which stood for “Terms and Services.” He took the name because he always felt that people were ignoring him.
A little bit of time around the guy was it it would take before it was clear WHY not many people paid attention to what he had to say. While he was a wonderful hacker, he was a hardcore anarchist who refused to ever shut the fuck up about his dream of bringing down the megacorporations. Everything about the guy bled pink mohawk, right down to the fact that he literally had a dyed mohawk. (Albeit one in what he called “matrix blue” instead of pink)
Whenever Tass got the chance, he would ramble on about how the rule of the Megacorporations was temporary, how someday the pigs in their ivory towers would be dragged kicking through the streets by the people they once bled dry, and other entiments that led to Boston Lau establishing an official “Tass never speaks at meets” rule. While Lau thought the technomancer’s mannerisms grating, Daze and Bloodworx both found Tass endearing: Daze because he appealed to her thrill-seeking drive, and Bloodworx because Tass’ anarchist enthusiasm reminded him of his own, less jaded days shortly after being fired from EVO.
Either way, Tass was not the kind of guy you wanted handling sensitive corporate information. And yet, through a series of missteps and coincidences, our crew found itself caught up in one of Aztechnology’s most secret projects.
The overarching plot that our GM had set up for our campaign revolved around the mysterious destruction of several communication satellites, which was causing a major stir among the corporate court. The destruction of comm sats was something that hurt all the AAAs, so the shadows were abuzz with rumors of the corps scrambling their best men to deal with the threat.
Through a series of investigations, our team uncovered the truth behind what was going on: Aztechnology, looking to gain an edge in their war with Amazonia, had infiltrated Renraku and stolen the plans for technology that would let them mask the signal of a Kill Sat they hoped to position over the rival nation. A corrupt executive within Aztechnology looking to move up the corporate ladder infected the navigational software of the satellite with a virus, however, hoping to bring down the satellite, frame the man in charge of the project for incompetency, and take his place as the head of Aztechnology’s space division. However, due to some shenanigans with experimental self-upgrading virus protection, the Kill Sat developed an AI instead, and began shooting down anything that got too close.
Once we had successfully uncovered the corrupt exec’s involvement in the Kill Sat’s grand malfunction, the GM originally planned for Aztechnology to task us with taking down the traitor and then paying us off to keep quiet about the whole thing while an internal team fixed the AI problem.
That would have been the finale of the campaign, had we not done a few things to massively derail the GM’s planned conclusion.
First, during a mission early in the investigation, we had accidentally gotten the Aztechnology research team responsible for fixing the satellite killed by a Tir strike team while trying to help them fix a hidden node used for spying.
Secondly, we had accidentally tipped Renraku off to the fact Aztechnology had stolen their cool cloaking tech, making them a bit suspicious and resulting in them sending agents to infiltrate Aztech’s R&D department. We let Aztechnology know this had occurred (not letting them know we had given Renraku the tip) once it became apparent this had been a bad idea, but the damage was still done and Renraku’s agents were still looking into Aztech’s possible involvement in all the events going on.
Aztechnology was now without a team to fix the satellite, and also on a timer to get things under control before Renraku discovered the role they had in the communications satellites getting blown up. Not wanting to tip off Renraku’s inside men, Aztech was forced to outsource the job to shadowrunners to get the job done. A few days later we got word that a “mysterious contractor” was looking for shadowrunners to pull a mission in deep space, and Boston Lau called in all his favors from all the political contacts he amassed to make sure we got that run. We were in for the biggest paydays of our life, he assured us.
And so, the four of us were off to space, on a top-secret mission to get a rogue AI in a signal-jamming Kill Sat under control.
Tass was brought onboard because we had managed to sell him as one of the best hackers around, and the three of us were brought on as his security to make sure our “mysterious contractors” didn’t try anything funny in the name of maintaining their corporate secrets.
We were flown to Aztechnology’ Spindle, (The command and control center for their military satellite relays) then took a shuttle out to the last known location of their trigger-happy kill sat. We were accompanied by six Aztech representatives - the project lead and his bodyguards - who came along to make sure things went their way.
Once we tracked down the satellite using a backup link established between it and the Spindle (and barely avoided getting shot down ourselves), it was time for us all to suit up. Lau, Bloodworx, and Daze were tasked with physically anchoring the satellite to the craft, and Tass was tasked with jacking directly in to fight the AI and download a list of people who had accessed the satellite since its launch to help flush out anyone involved in the sabotage.
Tass had a tense matrix battle, immediately followed by philosophical debate on the nature of control. It turned out that Tass and the Artificial Intelligence were of like mind when it came to the AAAs being douchebags. Meanwhile, the rest of us did our job in meatspace (and narrowly dodged some stray space debris). By the time the rest of the crew had re-entered the ship Tass had triumphed over the AI and brought it under his control. Once our technomancer confirmed to the men inside that we had finished the job, the Aztech exec who accompanied us gave the order to flush the AI from the system.
Tass had other ideas. He had taken a liking to the AI, a kindred spirit in hatred towards the megacorps. The gears were turning in his head, and while the successful completion of the run could potentially be the biggest payout of his life, his current position offered him an even greater opportunity…
A few seconds after the exec gave the order to reset the satellite’s systems entirely, Tass sent his response.
“You know what? Frag off.”
The party was just about as stunned and confused as our employers, who were additionally really pissed off at the hacker’s sudden bout of stubbornness. The exec repeated the order, and then Boston Lau begged for Tass to listen, but the technomancer threatened to open the channel they were using for communications up for the AI and letting it make its way into the ship if they didn’t back off.
Having none of that, the exec ordered for one of his goons to turn of Tass’ oxygen. Boston Lau tried to negotiate with him to give Tass some time to calm down, but the exec was having none of that. This was an incredibly delicate operation, and they couldn’t afford any unbalanced jackasses jeopardizing it because they didn’t understand the gravity of the situation.
Being an unbalance jackass who didn’t understand the gravity of the situation himself, this was the point where Bloodworx drew his weapon and dropped one of the bodyguards before they had an opportunity to react. At the time he was acting on his impulse to keep his teammate alive and by the time he realized how much the mission was boned now it was too late to take it back. A brief skirmish erupted in the shuttle that Daze jumped to join (it was fortunate she was just as good with close range combat as she was with magic, since magic doesn’t work in space) and soon enough all of our employers were dead.
Lau began screaming at us and telling us that our collective actions had ensured all four of us would die in space. Not even counting how much Aztechnology would want our heads once they found out what just happened, none of knew how to pilot a spaceship.
“I do!” Tass chimed over the commlink.
It was true. He’d had points in Pilot (Aerospace) since the start of the game.
Once we were back inside the spacecraft, there was a good deal of arguing, mostly between Boston Lau and Tass, over what we had just done. Once Tass had finished explaining that the AI was a brother in arms for his struggle to fight the corps and Lau realized that there was absolutely no way to salvage the mission at this point, we started planning our next move. Tass insisted that the AI deserved a say in our next move just as much as anyone else, at which point Lau threw his hands up in the air and said “fine, sure, whatever.”
The AI said that, greatful for what we had done, it would help us with whatever we wanted it to help us with. The AI reccomended helping it take control of one of The Spindle’s communication satellites, so that it could help us return to earth safely and begin work erasing our presence from Aztechnology’s databases. This seemed like a fair tradeoff for the rest of the group - we lost out on a big payday, but we gained a benevolent AI friend hidden away inside a global communications satellite to help us with all sorts of things in the future.
Once again, Tass had other ideas.
Tass gleefully told the AI that he needed its help in a very important task, which would ensure it would never have to worry about the corps trying to kill it again: the destruction of Zurich-Orbital.
Some general knowledge, combined with some knowledge checks in corporate secrets and corporate politics makes it evident to everyone how insane a request that is.
Zurich-Orbital is the home of the Corporate Court, as well as the Zurich-Orbital Gemeinschaft Bank. It’s THE symbol of corporate authority, the place where the AAA’s most sensitive deals go down, and the processing center for global currency. The reason why shooting it down is an insane move should be obvious right off the bat - blowing up the station would crash the nuyen market worldwide. It’s half the reason why the Corporate Court is situated there, since it would be mutually suicidal should anyone try something funny on board.
Additionally Z-O is probably THE most heavily defended and protected facilities on or off the earth. It’s home to the Court’s grid overwatch division, aka the most sophisticated matrix security system ever designed. Physically, the facility is protected by an array of kill sats and defense drones, and the station only issues warnings once to ships too close. Getting onboard without clearance is impossible, period: biometric scans and background checks are required just to get on a shuttle going there, and cargo is weighed to the gram.
On top of that, only the top corporate brass even know where the station is half the time. Almost all communications between the station occur using glaciered, dedicated communication relays that transmit signals to important people on the ground to let them know the big Z-O is overhead. Not even world governments can contact the station - for everyone but the biggest corporate bigwigs, the communications are one way only, automated from the station.
And Tass wanted to take it down.
Boston Lau was having none of that. He quickly tells Tass that his pink mohawk is on way too tight, and asked the rest of the team to slap some sense into the technomancer who was determined to get them all killed.
Bloodworx and Daze aren’t so quick to judge, though… at the end of the day, Daze’s mohawk is almost as pink as Tass’, and Bloodoworx is enough of an asshole to want to see if it could be done. Lau couldn’t believe his ears, but he COULD believe the gun that Tass quickly shoved in his face as he told the frightened face that his skill was required for the plan to work.
Surrounded by a group of insane cyberpunks bent on crashing everything, and being shit at combat himself, Lau quickly fell victim to his own cowardice and agreed to help as long as he was allowed a way to get off this wild ride before shit really hit the fan.
Step one of what Tass called “Operation: Shutdown” was returning to the Aztechnology Spindle and taking it over. This was accomplished by “persuading” Boston Lau to use his voice modulator to convince the men back at base that the exec onboard was still alive , the situation was a-OK, and that they should let us dock with the satellite. As soon as we got within range of the ship, Tass threaded an exploit into the station’s panic situation alarm and blocked outgoing transmissions from the base. By the time we’ve docked, our technomancer had let the AI loose in the station’s security systems, allowing him, Bloodworx, and Daz to slaughter their way through security personnel while the AI took control of all of the station’s security drones and Lau cowered close behind. The four man takeover of an entire security station should have been an impossible task in and of itself, but once we physically eliminated the security spiders nothing was stopping the AI from conquering the entire system and dealing with most of the guys who would give us trouble.
Step two was locating Z-O This actually ended up being a harder task than killing the security team of an orbital military command center. Tass scouted the database in the station for coordinates of the base, but it was soon clear that the information wasn’t there. The best information he could find, in fact, complicated matters: there were a series of dummy stations built to hide of the real Z-O from space scavengers, each almost as well defended as the real base for authenticity.
We were reminded once more that the only confirmation almost anyone gets to the location of the real Z-O are timed, pre-recorded transmissions on secured channels.
What we were able to find, however, was a list of Aztechnology personnel currently situated in space. This didn’t include the location of Z-O, but it DID include the name of Aztechnology’s corporate court rep. At this point, Lau started begging Tass to give up and go home, but the gears were turning in Tass’ head. He pressed his gun against the back of Lau’s skull, brought him over the the station’s command deck, and used the dead exec’s credentials to open up communications with Aztechnology’s chairman.
Tass forced Lau, pretending once again to be the dead exec, to report in with a “disturbing development.” We forwarded the list of suspected conspirators found in the satellite’s access logs, now spoofed to include the name of Aztechnology’s corporate court rep.
Finding this information confusing, the chairman started calling his men to figure out when the last contact between their Court rep and the ground had been. There was no way he could be in on the conspiracy if he had been aboard Z-O the last six months, where nobody could directly contact him.
We monitored his calls via a hacked Spindle comm satellite, and eventually one of his office grunts pinged him with Z-O’s last credential check-in location.
We sent a message that the crew sent into orbit was coming back to earth minus one hacker, who was staying behind in the spindle to help decompile some fragmented data found in the satellite. Tass helped the other members of the crew board an automated shuttle back to earth, and told them to get the hell out of dodge before Aztech figured out what was going on. Everyone was more than willing to comply, and the AI offered its services in wiping their records once all was said and done. Boston Lau said was going as deep underground as he could, hoping to wait the chaos out in case Tass actually succeeds. Bloodworx and Daze are content to take part in the riots to come, and watch the world burn.
Leaving the AI in control of the Spindle, Tass set out again in the ship with the kill satellite anchored to it, destination locked on Z-O’s last known location. Considering Z-O has its own entourage of killsats, and comms relays, it doesn’t take long for somebody who knows what they’re looking for to identify the station. Tass managed to catch up with Z-O right as it was finishing its orbit above the CAS and beginning to pass over the UCAS. It was at this point the GM gave Tass the rundown of the situation. Even with the satellite’s systems masking his ship from radar, the second he fired he would expose himself to Z-O’s close range sensors. And there was no guarantee the one burst he’d fire before Z-O’s killsat array lit him up like a noir street sign would hit its mark.
But Tass had gotten this far, and he wasn’t giving up.
Tass’ player looked to the GM. “If the satellite wasn’t hiding my signal, would Zurich be in range to send a warning?”
The GM confirmed, and the Technomancer declared he was going to try hacking Z-O’s communications relay. The GM reminded Tass that he was trying to hack the most sophisticated security system in the world, but Tass insisted he just needed access to their comms, not the ship’s actual internal security systems.
With some well-edged rolls, Tass managed to thread a sneak and exploit into the communication relay’s host server (technomancer 2 stronk). There wasn’t much he could do with it, since the thing just spat out of unidirectional transmissions on delayed feeds, and getting any further into the system would require more dice than he could throw even if he still had all his edge.
“Has Z-O passed over the UCAS yet?” Tass’ player asked
The GM said not yet, but that it would be over the UCAS in less than a minute.
“Can I crash the next outgoing transmission?” Tass’ player asked.
The GM confirmed that was about all he could do with his current level of access.
Once Tass had confirmed that the impending transmission to the UCAS was blocked, Tass’ player smiled.
“I rev up my killsat and orbitally bombard Kansas City.”
On command, the satellite set its targets and fires bombardment set to wipe Kansas City off the map. As the shots fired, Z-O’s defense relay immediately lit up and sets its sights on Tass’ ship. A barrage of orbital missiles scream into the small spaceship, blowing it apart and sending the satellite spiraling out of orbit. Tass is flung into the vacuum of space. Tass, in a damaged spacesuit quickly losing oxygen, burns an edge to maintain consciousness just long enough to see the immediate result of his actions.
Only after Tass’ ship has been pulped to the security spiders realize the attack wasn’t targeted at them. They scramble shift their defense relay away from Z-O and towards to shoot down the missiles fired towards the earth, but it’s too late. An orbital bombardment fired from a radar-cloaked satellite that the UCAS never had a chance to see coming touches down and obliterates half of Kansas city.
Immediately, the UCAS military focuses its scanners in on the aerospace where the shots originated from. They run a trace for a potential source, but the only thing in the area showing up on radar is Zurich-Orbital.
Zurich-Orbital, which nobody has any way of contacting directly.
Zurich-Orbital - which has just been prevented from transmitting its credentials to the UCAS and proving that it’s Zurich-Orbital.
The UCAS military fires off every earth-to-space missile it has in retaliation, directly at the unidentified hostile space station.
What followed was possibly the most triumphant moment I’ve ever witnessed in a Shadowrun game.
By the time Z-O realize their credential transmission has failed and get it back online, it’s too late. As soon as the UCAS receives the delayed transmission, they scramble in vain to shoot down the missiles they’ve shot off. Corporate communications around the world explode with word that the UCAS just targeted the Corporate Court. Everyone scrambles to figure out what’s going on. A single individual puts the pieces together just as the missiles breach the atmosphere, and realizes its too late.
As he watches the missiles fly, slowly slipping away, Tass receives a buzz on his commlink.
>Connected: Hans Brackhaus
>“What have you DONE?”
Tass replies with a smiley face, and loses consciousness right as the first missiles slip past Zurich-Orbital’s defenses.
The missiles hit, the global economy crashes, the corporate power fractures, and anarchy washes over the streets.
And that, chummers, is how to end a Shadowrun campaign in style.
Now, it’s easy to condemn Israel for killing 274 people, but:
It’s also fun
My best D&D story
I had two of my players get invited to an archery competition; prize was two tickets to the masquerade royal ball the players needed to get into. The entry fee was a substantial amount of gold. The players would compete against the Split Arrow Tavern owner’s son, Rickerd. I asked if anyone wanted to place bets.
The thief bet on the markswoman*. Despite cheating from both sides, the ranger won, and the ranger and archer split the tickets. The rest of the party was kicked out of the bar, for cheating and/or discovering the place had been cheating.
The party later found a bunch of identical flyers for the Split Arrow Tavern.
The artificer, mage and thief went to the docks, following the rumors of a printing press. Inside the hidden printing room, the mage discovered what was being printed: forged invitations to the royal ball, and posters for the Split Arrow. She grabbed three invitations and escaped the boat.
We took a break, and when we came back everyone described how they were outfitting their grubby adventurers for the ball. They took a teleportation circle up to the top of the penthouse, and entered…
When someone mentioned, nobody had looked at their tickets. They just assumed they had them.
Then someone else realized…the ads for the Split Arrow and the forged tickets came from the same place. Everyone realized…
Even the tickets they won were fake.
Customer Support: A playlet
Enter ADAM, cool, as mid 20s as can be.
COOL COMPANY EMAIL
Hey Adam. We’ve tried exporting from Bing Ads, but their .CSV file doesn’t transfer. That’s nerd talk for the problem’s at their end, right?
Yeah, probably. Do I have to call them?
He dials. In the First Folio version of this play, this segment is a full 21 minutes long.
…So, can I send this to you? The .CSV doesn’t send.
I’ll write a ticket…and export it for you.
(First stress twinge)
Can I have the account name?
Do you not have it? Fine, it’s [NPR’S ALL THINGS CONSIDERED].
Ok, thanks. And your email?
Who do you think is calling you?
Because I do online forms, I enter this information, and you don’t have it.
The last four?
(Mentally reprogramming Drone coordinates from Basra to Redmond)
Ok, thanks. I’ll generate the ticket.
By this time fully 6 minutes have elapsed.
Can’t I just email the CSV to you, and you tell me what’s wrong with it?
It’s generating a ticket.
Five minutes more of silence. The drone COMMANDER notices something’s wrong but remembers he spent $499 on a gaming system that can be turned on by the Breaking Bad guy in another room, so he grabs a coffee.
Where did you send it?
Not what I said. You know that you asked for my credit card and account info, right? And you’re sending it to the wrong place?
You definitely said UltraAdamberg.
(“All you can taste is flaming soot where you once put your vending machine lunch”)
I could get you the file.
It’ll take five minutes to generate a new export.
Five minutes elapse. In Redmond, firetrucks arrive and the Fire Captain, who canceled her engagement when her husband-to-be bought her a Zune, “accidentally” diverts her ladder to water hole seven of the Marymore Golf Center.
Why are you doing this. I just want my ad campaign, and from step one my experience with Bing Ads has been nothing better than horrendous. You ship in random keywords and can’t track clicks—
Sent. Anything else, sir?
And I know that you’re in the bureaucracy, that it’s not your fault, but by taking their paychecks every Friday you’re making it your fault. And you don’t even have the balls to be mad at me, do you, because you’re being recorded for quality assurance. If you gave me any human honesty you’d be fucking fired.
Thanks for calling Bing Ads, have a great day!
Burning glass. Applause.
I complimented a friend on her outfit.
She described it as “trending” instead of “trendy”. Am I right in thinking this is figuratively monstrous?
I want to write a
joke truer than the U-
FC Heavyweight belt.
[New sketch soon!]
A letter to Surviving Jack OR: Defending my Hollywood Career
Dear Surviving Jack,
I write to you from a prison.
A prison of microchips.
Somewhere within the dark heart of Fox broadcasting corporation (A subsidiary of 21st Century Fox, All Rights reserved) lies footage of me* getting my books knocked out of my hands repeatedly in a comical manner.
I have told my father** that this episode was cool, and good, and am now ashamed to face him with it not airing.
I appeal to you to free me from this prison*** or I will throw TV’s Frankie into a pool.
Thank you and God Bless America.
*A character I portray
**My real father
***A virtual prison
How to win your Seder
Hey guys! Last night I attended a seder with a whole bunch of friendly strangers, which is probably the best way to do it. (If you’re going to meet your relatives, it means enduring their politics and talk about their thigh ailments. This is an unwinnable situation, so suck it up and be prepared to hear about “Millenials”. You have my sympathy).
Now, what is a Seder? A seder is a hebrew word which means “goat foot man”.
No, that’s just an example of a comedic misunderstanding that will serve you well at your Seder. (A goat footed man is really a Satan.)
But you don’t care about me. You want to win your Seder, which means getting just drunk enough that you have fun, but not so drunk you can’t find the Afikomen.
Because if you don’t find the Afikomen (basically a mystery saltine), you don’t get a $10 iTunes gift card, and then how are you gonna catch Lorde’s greatest hits?
Now, how do you win the Seder? Especially if you’re a Goyim, brought along to meet people in the entertainment industry?
First: Sit next to someone who looks solicitous. If they’re already drinking before the thing starts, they’re going to find your jokes hilarious. The seder takes about 40 minutes, most of which is spent talking about God’s war crimes and singing Dayenu.
Second: Sing along. Hebrew songs are mostly in the key of D minor, the dirge-tune of perpetual expulsion. Maybe if Jews had happier tunes they wouldn’t have been kicked out of Prague so many times, but don’t mention this.
It’s easy to sing along to these songs because they’re really, really redundant. But what did you expect from a festival of something that happened 3000 years ago and didn’t really happen anyway?
Third: Don’t praise the Egyptians as “doing the best they could”. Avoid talk about Slavery as a usual social policy in Civilization 4. Avoid giggling at the term “Bondage”, even though its meaning has gone from “soul destroying toil” to “restraints and possible bum-play.” Instead, drink.
Four: The Afikomen isn’t in grandma’s jewelry drawer. But if the pearls went missing, c’mon, who would believe her? She’s so forgetful!
Five: Of course the kids are lazy! When I was a kid, I’d had five jobs before I graduated high school, and I didn’t get no college!
 A weird attribute to hold on the 100+ update of AdamUltraberg.com, but there’s the potential, however remote, that another website might have linked you here. If so, let me summarize: I really disliked OWS!
 If you don’t know what Goy is, you’re a goy. Sorry!
 Which is only to say there’s no proof it happened. BUT, that would mean that God wasn’t a d-bag who softened and rehardened Pharoah’s heart to show off awesome plagues, so +/- on that.
Hey guys. Did you buy my stuff at the Harmontown auction for 628? Someone did. Someone bought that weird cut up sweater from the Jarrethtown ep, some nametags, and some exclusive (not to be commercially released!) Community swag. Holler at me if you bought something because it edifies me on a social/moral level.
If not, enjoy a free observation:
Proctology is a great job if you like hearing the same 3 jokes over and over and “Big Bang” just staffed.
Welcome Back Dr. Burke
Saw “Welcome Back Dr. Burke” trending on twitter, which made me think. When I was in elementary school, my principal was a woman named Dr. Burke.
Haven’t thought of her in a while…maybe 15 years? I’m not old, but it was way toward the beginning of my sentience.
One of the school’s campaigns was to raise a donation of a million buttons. Clothing buttons were stored in a gigantic tank, maybe 8’ by 9’, maybe larger; the thing was massive and stood horizontally across a wall. This was the deal: everyone badgers their family into donating buttons, she’d dress up like a character from literature. We held up our end of the bargain, logging our button donations at a chart outside the tank.
One day, she called an assembly and told us we’d donated 999,999 buttons.
(My friend Andrew, at that time cute and sandy blonde, now virulently anti-authoritarian, leaned over to tell me that we must be 10 short of the million.)
Dr. Burke revealed from behind her back a yellow button the size of a hubcap, dropping it into the tank. Applause. The votes were in; she would dress as new literary sensation, Harry Potter.
Weeks later, they repositioned the tank from horizontal to vertical. A few buttons slid out on the floor and I took them as I passed by. The tank no longer contained a million, and only I knew. Museum goers who were eager to see what a million looked like would be very, very slightly incorrect.
For this deviance, fate punished me in two ways.
One, the fifth grade field trip was during a day when Dr. Burke dressed up. I have never seen this respected educator dressed as a British boy-wizard.
Second, my mother began to collect buttons, filling rooms of the house with them. Her regional button presidencies and administrative roles are a reminder of the casual disinformation children are of. The way messing with the unobserved is a kind of magic.
Every writer has this happen
ACTOR: Actually…I’ve been doing some writing too.
WRITER: OK, let’s see.
[Actor turns over a script.]
WRITER: This is written in internal prose. This is unfilmable, but…thanks for trying? It is…a start, I guess.
ACTOR: Actually…I did this.
WRITER: That’s a bag of wet leaves.
ACTOR: Well, it’s a rough draft.
WRITER: Of what, dry leaves?
ACTOR: Look, I don’t critique your acting.
WRITER: My acting is fine.
In Silverlake, Echo, Culver or Santa Monica, add:
PRODUCER: Want to get high?
[EVERYONE GOES TO GET HIGH]
A Valentine’s day story.
Just after college, I splurged on $50 worth of Prix-faire dinner in Boston. Dinner goes great, I cover the check, all is well.
Me and my GF get back to her car…$50 parking ticket.
She took care of it. (The $50 had taken out me out). We went back to her place, and I was single by March.
My Parks and Rec Spec, “Park Sand Shrek”
EXT: Pawnee City Hall.
LESLIE and DONKEY sit on a bench.
Donkey, I have definitive proof that 9/11 was an inside job.
Shrek, TOTALLY PISSED, emerges from the front doors. (Pissed as in drunk, but also angry).
Get ogre it.