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  1. Not a real princess, mind you. A princess of youth, high school royalty. Not a "mean girl", not a Regina George. A pretty girl of gentle birth on that side of the main road, which in our town was the divide between the wealthy and the merely mortal.

    There were two lines, really; there was the aforementioned main road and then there was living beachside, which was a different kind of wealthy. When I first moved to that town, we had a small house in with the mortals, and then, after a few years and some smart moves on my mother's part, we went to live by the water where old money leaned into the sand, though we were anything but old money. We weren't money at all. My mom was just frugal and canny and could squeeze a dollar out of a nickel. She didn't want to move to the other side of the road, where the neighbors would all be coworkers and the people cared very much about their gauche displays of buying power. She wanted the high whine of cicadas in Australian pines and sprawling, rambling mid-century modern homes of the beach that were the remains of the early days of the space race in our slice of Florida. Everyone there was old. I got a district exemption and continued on at the same high school as before.

    And today the princess of that high school, class of '88, 47 years of age, tall and graceful as a deer, with whom I worked for a few years when we were well into adulthood, though our social circles in high school could not have been more remote from one another, and who I came to learn had had as mortal a life as mine, filled with angst and divorce (her parents' and then her own), passed away.

    Her obituary was sent to me by a friend we had in common, and it's strange to think of her as gone. Every advantage in life was hers. She was certainly pretty, came from the kind of money that leads a person to believe that nothing is out of reach, so they reach, without the fear inherent to the poor, and she was a genuinely nice woman, without the callousness or crassness that the above description would demand of such a person in any Hollywood script.

    Life is so random.
  2. It’s hard to describe how I feel right now. I’m not in a position to wish the jailer dead, and yet the sound of an obvious scuffle upstairs - maybe that was even a gunshot, don’t know, his car is always backfiring - fills me with a thrill that maybe that part of the nightmare is over. I’ll starve, sure... or no... I’ll die of thirst before I starve. Yeah, that’s how it works, thirst then hunger. But at least I won’t have to deal with him.

    There’s a moment of catharsis in that. A spurt of endorphin. No one ever admits to that when they’re asked if they’ve ever had suicidal ideation, right? That doesn’t count, right? I mean, it’s not like a plan or anything. It’s barely even a thought, really. Just feeling the release of letting everything go, the worry, the worrying about worrying. We say “fuck it” or “no fucks were given” all the time, but we never really mean it. We’re so full of shit, aren’t we? We usually mean the opposite, because we’re angry or frustrated when we say it. We certainly haven’t “fucked it” and we’re walking around all day “giving fucks” after we’ve said none were given.

    Most of life is lying.

    No, a true moment of “no fucks were given” is a beautiful thing. It’s that moment on a swings-set when you get high enough to experience that split second of weightlessness.

    The scuffle is loud. And it’s ugly. No one sounds like Clint Eastwood or Chuck Norris or Tom Wu in a genuine fight. That’s Hollywood injecting roids into the ass of the script. When it’s really ugly, men don’t sound like that. They sound like nothing at all or like kids, if they’re losing, ready to give up the ghost of feigned masculinity in a whimper and a mewl. They sound like little bitches.

    I told you I don’t have keys, right? Okay, just making sure you knew that part. We like keys, don’t we? Keys and locks. Locked doors, locked cars, locked buildings, locked minds, locked borders. When did that start happening? How did people deal with their stuff when it was just 20 to 30 of us, butt-naked, no locks to lock, easily noticed from a mile if you were downwind? We had stuff didn’t we?

    A massive thunk above me loosens some of the popcorn in the ceiling and it drops to the dirty floor. Ever live in a house with a popcorn ceiling? It’s not light and fluffy the way you would think it is. It’s been painted or glued in place, so even though it’s pliant to the touch, it’s heavier than it looks. It drops quick. Don't imagine snow drifting down. It’s the worst. If you have central air that comes through ceiling vents, eventually a dark fan of dusk spreads out along the ceiling from every vent. You’ll never get it off, and if you try, it just looks worse. Yeah, popcorn ceilings are the worst. Drop ceilings with those weird pockmarked gypsum panels come a close second. There's always that one with a corner that's got a water stain that looks like a coffee stain. What's up with that?

    I wonder if he’s dead. It’s kinda’ quiet now. I hear something. Dragging? Maybe I’m just imagining that. Is there a difference between imagining and fantasizing? Is one just speculative observation and the other is possibly malicious premeditation? Like, if by some miracle I get out of here and I see that his bloody body was indeed dragged off somewhere, does my present adrenaline spike make me somehow complicit? Probably not to a cop or a D.A., but what about God? Is that something I would have to confess? Not that I wouldn’t because, wow, the day I meet my maker and have to account for myself, it’s going to be an all-nighter.

    It’s still quiet upstairs, but not completely quiet. Something is happening. Something. What if whoever came in also decides to keep me here? I know, what are the chances of that, right? Which is pretty easy for you to think as you’re reading this with keys in your pocket, but remember, I don’t have keys, so I’ve already learned that the chances are not zero.

    Or what if he just never comes down here and I die anyway? I mean, who goes in the basement? Basements are creepy. You only go down there when the water heater doesn’t work or to get or put away the fake Christmas tree. Other than that…

    But if what I hear isn’t whoever came in, if it’s the guy who was already here, and I yell, I’m absolutely fucked. That’s a fact. It’s pretty obvious I’m not the first person to sit here without keys, so.

    Yeah, I’ll just sit here and watch that little piece of ceiling popcorn holding on by a cobweb and wonder what it will taste like to drink my own piss.
  3. I've been playing in FanFic land. So many words. Lord. An entire language of words and terms and abbreviations and acronyms. And a history! Oooo! Don't you dare make the mistake of not knowing your history.

    And also the possible source - possible, not definite - source of why the term Mary Sue means anything and everything and nothing all at once.

    In FanFic land, Mary Sue is synonymous and 100% interchangeable with the concept of an Original Character (OC for short), and both seem interchangeable with the idea of a Self Insert. In FanFic land there is no pulling the meaning of these things apart. There's begrudged admission that a canon character can also be Mary Sue, but an OC is invariably a Mary Sue, Self Insert, Wish Fulfillment, so these terms may as well all mean the same thing.

    "Would you read a ship with an OC?"

    "No, no. I hate Mary Sues."

    "...and if it's not a Mary Sue?"

    "How? You said OC, right? OC, Mary Sue, schlemiel schlimazel. Same thing."

    "No... An OC is just a character not in the canon. A Mary Sue is something else entirely."

    *smug eyeroll at the insufferable newbie, walks away to talk to the people who actually know what's going on.*

    I'm totally picking wildebeest or dugong for my next incarnation....
  4. ... and why you should laugh right in their faces.
    • Let's get the biggest one out of the way first, shall we? Those fucking smiles! Who the fuck do they think they are, the Thai? You can't go anywhere in America without their 50,000 watt smiles, recently whitened to a near blue-white, blinding you like a bloody searchlight. FUCKING ANNOYING! Why can't they do it right and just be grumpy and grim on a constant basis? This is how it's done, America:
    Ted - "Morning, Bill."

    Bill - "Piss off, Ted. What right do you have to be such a cheery cunt. We're British."

    Ted - "Right you are, Bill. Sod you, and your wife, and your manky house."

    Bill - "Much better. Sounded like a fucking Yank there for a minute."​

    • The way they say "great", "brilliant", and "awesome" and actually mean great, brilliant, and awesome. When the fuck are they going to learn proper sarcasm and irony? If you want to intone those sentiments, America, the proper way is to say "naff", "bellend", and "cunt". That's how it's done. Someone please explain it to them because I just can't be arsed anymore.
    • Their spelling. Where to begin? It's honour, valour, and splendour. When you drop the U like a bunch of idiots trying to spell things the way they sound, you're disrespecting the longstanding, totally toxic, completely co-dependent relationship we've had with France since the beginning of buggery. Didn't they bail you lot out during your little tea party? Right, learn proper respect and spell things the way our French invaders taught us.
    • Their food. Actually, their food is a bit of all right and they certainly know how to fill a plate, but I'm still going to slag them for it. They've got the words for jelly and jam completely cocked up, and where are all the different kinds of sweet creams? Huh? Where are they? Oh, wait... I just remembered, their chocolate! Yeah! I swear it's like they repackaged actual feces and stamped HERSHEY on it. Give me a second while I spread some Marmite on my toast before putting beans on it. Mmmm. Tastes like actual ass. The way mum used to make. Now where was I? Oh, yeah! Shit chocolate, innit!
    • Their complete lack of knowledge concerning the Royal Family. Actually, I'm an antiroyalist, so that lot can piss right off, but that's no excuse for not understanding why they should piss right off. One little revolution and la-di-da, they're too good to know Who's Who in Royal Society. (Seriously, though, that Harry is a ginger wanker. What were you thinking, Meghan?)
    • Fuck you, America, for undoing our proper, left-side-of-the-road driving. That's all I've got to say there. Fuck you.
    • School is 1 through 13. What the fuck are Freshmen? Why are the Men Fresh? Are there Stalemen? And why do you want More Sopho? Is that another cocked up name for jam? And shouldn't Junior be the first year of high school? At least Senior makes some sense, but fuck the rest of this shit.
    • They don't have electric kettles! *falls to the floor in hysterical laughter* This alone should mean they have to give the entire country back to us! WHAT ARE YOU THINKING??? HOW DO MAKE YOUR 75 CUPS OF TEA A DAY?? If you say microwave or stove, I'm killing you. All right? You've been warned. Don't even.
    • How do Americans not have Bubble & Squeak? What do they do with their leftovers!?!? Fucking barmy!
    • I've saved this one for last because it's a bit subtle and you know yanks. Thick as two short planks. Here's how it works. Get this part into your heads and maybe some of the above will rectify itself. The entire world is 100% at its leisure to criticize you and offer you totally unsolicited lists of how/why you do pretty much everything wrong, from waking up in the morning, to the last flush of your strange toilettes before bed. But that's a one-way contract. You Yanks are not allowed to even mention or comment things you notice about other countries or cultures. We can do it to you; that's fine. You can't do it to us; that is not on at all, and we will keep shoving these kinds of lists into your face until you understand that fact.
    .... sigh. Sorry. One of those stupid lists came up in a different slice of the digital piece, and frankly, that's pretty much how it always reads to me. I don't mean to offend, honestly. I hold our British members dear in my heart, and I'm sure they all know I'm a painfully pining, totally obvious, not-so-secret Anglophile.

    Also, we actually do have electric kettles. We just don't treat them as though they were religious artifacts.

    Variety of Electric Kettles Available at Walmart, the most "America, FUCK YEAH!" of mega-stores.

    (click the above link)
  5. Stop serving us garbage and maybe good shows would actually last to their finish. Maybe audiences would actually watch the shows, on the platforms you provide, which would let you know what's actually being watched, and we would remain faithful, not look for other venues, like PirateBay.

    Just found out you canceled The Expanse. No surprise there! You aired the show on SyFy in the U.S. as its first run. You gave us all the build-up and teasers and all that good jazz that left us drooling. You gave us decent actors (Some better than decent. Shohreh Aghdashloo, you are a goddess!) You gave us great production values. You actually stuck to the story from the books pretty well, all things considered.

    And after spending all that money and hype, you fucking boned it by giving us a painfully obvious "Edited for Content" version of the show.

    What the entire fuck?

    From the first example of a voiceover to turn a fuck into a frig, I knew we were being served the sanitized version, and if you had to sanitize it, that meant there was an unsanitized version to be had. So yes, of course I went looking for the Canadian version that airs on Space instead of your SyFy kindergarten version. Of course I did. And apparently, so did every other person who liked the show. Bad enough you stuck a fucking bar of soap into Chrisjen Avasarala's mouth, but the few times you actually let her speak the way her character actually speaks in the books, which is a HUGE part of her character, you bleach even that to the fucking bone.

    Wake the fuck up and smell the mother-fucking coffee already. Who the fuck are you even pandering too? The troggs watching Rosanne, masturbating themselves bloody to the meaningless, pointless fake nostalgia?

    This is why I'm this close to simply canceling regular cable altogether and just going with online providers like Netflix, who don't treat me like a 9 year-old boy growing up in some ridiculous household where a simple Fuck! because of a coffee-table-banged-toe is a fucking felony.