(18:44:03) Bee Trix: Hi, I'm from the sales comm. \n(18:45:01) Bee Trix: I super forever love the weed bloomers but money is kind of tight, so I want to ask if I could haggle the price down? I'm just starting kind of a second job so I'll have the cash then. You can see my Literau.di Marketplace feedback in my profile, right?\n\n(18:52:02) teppelin: hi\n(18:52:25) teppelin: uhhhhh i can't really, they take so much time/cloth to make etc and i can't really move the price down\n\n(18:53:25) Bee Trix: PLEASE OKAY PLEASE I really have to have them right now. Are you sure I can't get them any cheaper? I can send you some secondhand CDs if you like, are you into !Forward, Russia!?\n\n(18:53:39) teppelin: ???????\n(18:54:02) teppelin: ive got some second hand ones i can sell cheap i guess\n(18:54:38) teppelin: no luck with the stains yet though lemon juice is a thing?\n\n(18:54:51) Bee Trix: Stains?\n\n(18:55:01) teppelin: yeah its what you think\n(18:55:21) teppelin: we are women and i guess this shit happens, at least it didnt get on the AP i was wearing uAu\n\n(18:55:22) Bee Trix: £25\n\n(18:55:23) teppelin: done\n\n\n[[Back.|bloomers]]
At first, Clive doesn't respond - he just continues lying there, chanting semirandom strings of obscenities. Then he pulls himself to his feet and dusts himself off.\n\n<<if $nineteen eq 0>>Elsewhere, you hear the next song in Beatrix's playlist begin:\n\n♫//In 1965... Vietnam seemed like just another foreign war. But it wasn't. It was different in many ways. And so were those that did the fighting.//♫\n\n♫//In World War II, the average age of a combat soldier was 26. In Vietnam, he was nineteen. I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-In Vietnam, he was nineteen.//♫\n\n"What the fuck is this shit?!" Clive groans, hunching his jacket around himself.\n\n"That's Bea," you say. "She still works here."\n\n"Well. That explains it."\n\nHe pauses to massage his forearm with his fingers.\n\n<<set $nineteen = 1>>\n<<endif>>"Hey, Al," he then says, as if nothing had happened. "You still working here? No luck with the book, then?"\n\nYou grimace. You know where this conversation is going to go.\n\n"I'll tell you, my life got so much better after I abandoned this place," he begins, cocking an eyebrow. The corner of his mouth creeps up his cheek in a motion so subtle you notice your reaction of rage before you even realise his expression has changed. "You know, it's like - I don't really understand how uncreative you'd have to be to live like this. 'S poison, [[blud]]."\n\n"Clive - "\n\n"What was your book about again? Something about [[pirates]]?"
"Oh, that," you say, huskily. "Er. That was what I used to be working on when you left here, but, [[like you said]], it was pretty awful. So I stopped working on it."\n\n"I never said that! You know that's not what I said. You know I said I was super fucking excited to read it. I never said it was bad. Allow it." He wipes his face with his hands, preparing for a blast of utter condescension. "All I told you was that you'd have a hard time getting a book about pirates published with the current prevailing tendencies of obsessive trend gatekeeping in the post-ebook YA publishing sphere, fam."\n\n"Clive - "\n\n"You know what I'm saying, if you need any help at all, you just have to come and ask. Being that I'm a published author and everything."\n\n"You aren't a real author," you tell him. "You never got published for real. You self-published."\n\n"Basically it's about being an artist, you know what I'm saying? Remix culture. Endless cycles. Web 2.0... no, no, Web 3.0...1415-something. Yeah. 'Cause it's a circle of LIFE."\n\nHe leans in closer, eyes crackling with the intensity of his carefully retroactively-inserted, mathmatically-questionable witticism. \n\n"The mainstream wouldn't touch that shit, it's too underground."\n\n"It was the exact opposite of underground," you retort, your face heating up. "It was broadcast to the literal whole entire world. It was a book of Tweets, from your weird Twitter account."\n\n"I'm published."\n\n"[[You did a Kickstarter]]."\n\nHe smirks. "That's the way it works now in the real world."\n\n"It doesn't count. You can't just - fall through the window to give me advice about something you've never had to go through."\n\n"Al - "\n\n"I don't need your help," you tell him. He tries to protest, but you just say it again. Then, the two of you stare blankly at each other for about thirty seconds.\n\n<<if $alancrying eq 1>>Suddenly, he eyeballs you with bewildered concern.\n\n"Hey, were you crying about something? Wanna tell me about it, bruv?"\n\nYou groan.\n\n"Does it look like I want to talk about it?"<<endif>>\n\n"Man," he eventually says, "all I was trying to do was extend a hand of friendship to you. I shouldn't even be here. I've got a [[novel]] on the go myself, you know."
Maybe it's for the best you forgot to take them. They don't really do anything, statistically, for most people. And even if they did, they're just blinding you from the truth. I mean, it's always possible that the reason you hate yourself is because you genuinely are a piece of shit, and there isn't a pill that fixes that.\n\nBesides, there are all those weird side effects that you read about late at night during a Wikipedia bender. "Brain tremours". Suicidal ideation. Barrels of fun for something arguably created by a corrupt industry trying to profit off the problems of rich people in a world that makes people sad. Even though you know you're just thinking this because you haven't taken the pill, you don't actually believe it. A case study in hypocrisy there!\n\nThis is the only benefit you have empyrically recieved from your pills - when a teeth-grinding student slammed a Nicolas Cage Blu-ray box set down on the counter and tried to pay for it with a bag of molly, you explained to him that taking it with your medication meant you could experience something called serotonin syndrome, which is serious and often fatal. He went "oh, alright, yeah," and shuffled off.\n\nYou called him back, but he remained impervious both to your cries and the security gate alarm that started the second it noticed the box set still in his hand. You thought about running after him, but as soon as you conceptualised the effort required you decided to let him keep it. \n\nAfter all, in two days, you thought, all the Nic Cage Blu-ray box sets and all the Dragon Age New In Box sets, all the sex-scenes added //Pride and Prejudice// and the fresh-remastered Vanilla Ice, all the silicone iPhone covers and all the albums from the Everly Brothers, all the 3DS styluses and the plush Miley Cyruses, all the air-freshener Q*Berts and the rare Ke$ha t-shirts, the Dan Brown copies and the Insane Clown Posses, all the Arcade Fire, all the Stephanie Meyer, would all be crunched up together at the bottom of a landfill in a useless, indecipherable knowledge slurry. You might as well consider it your gift to the guy to let him get cataclysmically stoned and watch the bit in //The Wicker Man// which had the bear suit in it.\n\nThat was two days ago.\n\n[[Focus on the here and now, please.|take your pills today]]
"Excuse me," you say, taking the CD. "I've just got to - mark the money off."\n\nShe accepts. You duck under the counter and root around for your white label stickers. Then you take your phone out of your [[bloomers]]. You're Googling. You're Googling 'domestic violence helpline'.
In case you wanted a reminder of how very much you remain, despite your best efforts, the hateful being that is you, ALAN is written on your official Literaudi badge. Underneath it, thanks to the company's latest and last marketing theme, is made official your favourite album: //The Wall//.\n\nAs if you actually have enough taste in music to have an actual favourite. Either way, it's official now, so you have to live with it. Well done on choosing a favourite album that boring people choose as their favourite album to disguise the fact that they [[hate music]], by the way.\n\n[[Back.|self-indulgent prick]]
So you were singing along\n\n//Dee-dee-dee-dee-dee-dee-dee-deeSTRUCTION//\n\nto your fabulous playlist, custom-blended to ensure you have to do the minimum amount of customer service today, when you found yourself facing one of the usual sad cases - the kind that comes up every so often, because the world is a horrible place full of horrible people.\n\nYou were singing along\n\n//dee-dee-dee-dee-dee-dee-dee-deeSTRUCTIONNNnn//\n\n//war, WAR//\n\nbecause the queue was empty for a minute, and then SHE showed up. Shorter than you, older-looking than she probably is. Dark hair, darting eyes, dark circles. White lips, pale face, breathing in the - no, okay, but she looks really out of it, and just kind of //sore// in that way that's hard to describe. Quavering hands place a CD on the table before you can even finish giving her the boilerplate greetyelp. You pick it up and look at it and oh no oh NO.\n\nStill, in Literauschwitz you're encouraged to discuss the music with the customers, and you've talked a couple of skinny teens into buying Usher or The Wanted albums instead (and many more into flipping out at you for just not //forgiving him// you //hater// why don't you believe people //change//) and so, you say,\n\n"//Fortune//, huh? If you don't mind me saying, you don't look much like a Team Breezy."\n\nAnd she says,\n\n"What's a Team Breezy?"\n\n"It's the name for Chris Brown's fans."\n\n"Well, like, I don't really listen to him a lot? I have, wosscalled, //Yeah Yeah Yeah//, on my iPhone, and, I thought, since it was... cheap, I might..."\n\nYou don't correct her and say it's called //Yeah x 3//, and you just say, "Mm-hmm."\n\n"Can I pay by card?"\n\n"Yeah. Uh - "\n\nAre you sure you want to [[ask her ''T''hat ''Q''uestion|ask her That Question]]? You're not sure. Maybe you'll ask her [[something else]] instead.
Shafts of sunlight probe down through the front window and transform the mostly empty shelves into twisted modernist sculptures, plucked barren by the hands of blah blah blah blah blah this is why you aren't published, wank hole. Who the hell would read prose like that? Nobody, that's who. You've never come up with an original idea in your entire life. Normally I'd say 'carry on what you're doing, continue in close proximity to the books hoping you'll osmose some ideas through your terribly thin skin', but you can't even do that any more.\n\nThat was never the plan, was it? Live your life dependent on big corporations engaging in huge financial mismanagement. Too bad it's all you'll ever be good for.\n\nAnd stop moaning at yourself in your head. You know it isn't all this bad. You've got a home to go back to. You have at least one friend. The thought of killing yourself is still nauseating to you, so that's one problem you're going to maintain forever. There are billions of people in the world with no sanitation who have to walk for miles and miles just to get water and send their children off to work sewing designer trainers for pennies in squalid, reeking huts, and there you are, hating yourself for basically no reason. //Ohhhh, I'm going to lose my job. Ohhhhhh, no-one understands me.// You are so lucky no-one can hear this crap going on in your head. Stop moaning, you [[self-indulgent prick]].
<<silently>>\n<<set $nineteen = 0>>\n<<set $alancrying = 0>>\n<<endsilently>>\nYou are [[ALAN]], which is basically the root of everything wrong with you. Today is the last, final, forever-final day of your fabulous minimum-wage shitjob at ubiquitous high street chain [[Literaudi]], a job which is much better than you deserve. You're basically unable to do anything except write, and abort writing, stupid novels no-one will ever pay for, which isn't a skill you see people begging hands-and-knees for in job interviews.\n\n[[Beatrix]] has [[sent you]] into the small kitchen behind the counter ostensibly to get her some food, but you've just spent the last ten minutes staring into space trying to get on top of your stupid, pointless emotions. You have a lot of those, which you dream one day of channeling into literature, because you have no perspective and believe for some reason that your perception of the world is unique enough people will pay to read it. Print media is dead, you delusional waste of space. It's dead like zines and town criers and MySpace. Why do you think Literaudi is folding?\n\nToday, you will be working for eight hours. After that, you have absolutely no idea what you're going to do with your life. There is no reason you can't be like the normal people who understand intuitively what to do at times like this, who make arrangements based on their months of prior warning, who aren't horrid little smears on the fly paper of life. And yet, you continue shining on, being nothing except yourself.\n\nTry to get your head together. Think about something!
ALAN\nbg: 32404F\nlinks: 79A1CE\n\nBEATRIX\nbg: 6F444D\nlinks: E37D93\n\nCLIVE\nbg: 787649\nlinks: E9E281\n
"Okay," you start muttering to yourself, since there is no way of writing any of this down and no-one is going to hear you, "I started out intending to write a picaresque but I think Neil - Neil, who isn't roguish or sympathetic enough to be a picaro - is too interesting for that to remain the case if he becomes the main character."\n\nWay more interesting than your life! You have got to wonder if escapism will be so appealing when you're living in your parents's house again. They're going to view this as a personal failure on your part, and even though you know it isn't, it probably is, and you deserve it.\n\n"So Neil's - the character arc of Neil is going to have to get really, you know, dark."\n\n'//You know//, dark.' //You knooooow//. Of course you know. You're just telling yourself something out loud that you already know. If anyone heard you they'd lock you up, you mad freak.\n\n"Kelly is a more fun character, because she doesn't have any real problems."\n\nLike yourself!\n\n"She doesn't have any real problems because she's a lot more of an archetype than Neil is. Of course, in real life, an American sleeper agent in Russia would have a job and a family, but it doesn't seem to suit her. She's kind of a perpetual outsider archetype and her profession represents that, and - and it's not really a story about the Cold War anyway. It's all just a metaphor for how life is just a long series of, of pointless conflicts and divisions, and the spies are like the division between real selves and the fronts we project to keep our friends and jobs and - //yaah//!"\n\nYou stop talking to yourself because your mouth has dropped open in horror. [[Someone is pounding on the window]].
"What do you like about the song?"\n\n"Uh?"\n\nYou watch as her face screws up into a singer-face. You know, the face people make when they audition for //The X-Factor//.\n\n"//Now everybody put your hands in the air, say - yeaah, yeaah, yeaaaah!//" she warbles, hiccuping melismas all over the place. She's got a voice that sounds like a pop singer's, though not the musicality. Still, you can't help yourself laughing in delight when she does it. "I just - I don't know. I like how it goes all exciting, with the drumming, and then when the //yeah, yeah, yeah// - " she sings again - "comes in it all gets small again somehow."\n\nYou're relieved. And you're mentally kicking yourself - not in an Alan way (god!!) but in a way that you're amazed you let yourself invent a story for her based on the way she looked and your own feelings about convicted felon Chris Brown. Stupid!\n\n"Chris Brown reminds me of my boyfriend," she says.\n\nYou feel the air shift inwards.\n\n"Why," you ask, dreading the answer.\n\nShe giggles. "Because they both do the same thing with their eyebrows in photos."\n\nOh, thank god.\n\nYou still think the song sucks and that Chris Brown SUPERsucks but that's not really any of your business. So you're about to hand the CD back over when you remember - oh, yeah! You very nearly failed to give her [[special treatment]].
You sneak a glance behind yourself, through the ajar door. Your coworker and only friend is leaning over the counter, talking enthusiastically to a customer about something. The hem of her [[standard-issue Literaudi jersey]] intersects unflatteringly with the cartoonish bell shape of her [[sweet lolita skirt]].\n\n[[Back.|self-indulgent prick]]
<html><div align="center"><img src="http://i.imgur.com/iJR1JnE.png"></img></div></html>\n\n''DATE:'' 08/04/12\n\n''Literaudi Group and Partners PLC - declaration of administration''\n\nDear loyal and valued CUSTOMER TRANSACTION LIASON OFFICER,\n\nWe are regretfully sorry to have to inform you that the Literaudi Group and its Partners (hereafter referred to together as "Literaudi") has experienced a protracted situation of trader insolvency preventing further extension of activity with regards to our 151 high street retail engagement sites across the United Kingdom, and a cessitation of all e-commerce from our internet portal literau.di.\n\nAt this most difficult of junctures we have appointed Administrators from Pfund&Fleish Group to leverage and distribute Literaudi's material and financial resources for the overall assetification of our respected shareholders as detailed in the attached and signed Administration Appointment Notice (2.27) (see .pdf), activity made in accordance with our long-term goal of maintaining the continued survival of Literaudi as a capitalising entity.\n\nNaturally, this consequentially requires the elimination of overhead by means of reducing our valued associates, beginning with customer-retailing communication operatives including your position, CUSTOMER TRANSACTION LIASON OFFICER, on our Date of high street sale site closure (herafter referred to as "Closing date"), 15th August 2013. We have calculated, from your years of service and your overall asset value in terms of your ergoist level with relation to our current financial resources, how much redundancy pay you are entitled to, printed below:\n\n--------\n\n''POSITION:'' CUSTOMER TRANSACTION LIASON OFFICER\n''RETAIL SITE OF WORK:'' 18 MARKET ST, WARRINGHILL CITY CENTRE, WEST YORKSHIRE, UK MAINLAND\n''PAYMENT BRACKET:'' MINIMUM WAGE (HOURLY RATE: £6.19)\n''SERVICE YEARS:'' 2 YEARS 5 MONTHS\n\nREDUNDANCY PAY TO BE RECIEVED: £0.00\n\n--------\n\nPlease note that due to the strained resources in this unique situation we are not able to offer overly generous redundancy pay packages at this juncture. However, we have strived to provide each and every one of our high street retail sector employees with an amount that directly corresponds with our value of him or her to our company.\n\n\nSince 1988, Literaudi has been a highly brand-iconic and much loved fixture of the UK high street, its single core competence being both its ubiquity and its wide range of saleable goods in the literature, music and home entertainment sectors. However, the arrival of online businesses with lower overheads and higher reach as well as the rising role digital piracy began to take in the social lives of the British worked only to decrease our revenue. It is testament to the great talent and aptitude of our Board of Directors that we were able to stand on our own two feet kicking back at such a hostile market for so lengthly an final hour, and a greater still exaltation of our popularity as a brand that consumers still exchanged liquid capital for our variety of goods right up until the toll of the final curtain.\n\nThank you very much, CUSTOMER TRANSACTION LIASON OFFICER, for sharing in this final part of the Literaudi journey. We apologise for any inconvenience that may have been caused or may be caused by any of the events detailed in this email.\n\nRegards,\n\nMaxwell Clung\nCEO of Literaudi Group and Partners PLC\n\n\n\n-----\n''The previous email was sent from a Literaudi Group and Partners PLC address. All information contained within is both confidential and not a reflection of the opinions of the Company, the Board of Directors, the CEO or any part of the Literaudi Group and Partners PLC, unless contraindicated in the body of the email itself. If you did not consent to recieving this email, you must delete this message.''\n\n[[Back.|self-indulgent prick]]
There's no sugar, and these biscuits are borderline chemically identical to the stuff, anyway.\n\n[[Back.|party rings]]
What is wrong with you? Besides everything? You're preparing a cup of tea and biscuits, not manning a space expedition to Iapetus like in the superior version of //2001: A Space Odyssey//. Get a grip on reality, you nugget of shit.\n\nYou open the sticky cupboard. Inside is a cracked, stained mug, a lone teabag, a [[suspicious dark deposit in the cupboard corner]], and a half-finished packet of Beatrix's favourite biscuits - [[party rings]].
and you're feeling pretty smug about the fact that you managed to get through this whole interaction without once trying to get her to listen to Frank Ocean instead. You did the right thing. You think.\n\nUnless her boyfriend actually does beat the shit out of her and it's not related to the kind of music she likes an''//[[WHAM]]//''
<html><div align="center"><img src="http://i.imgur.com/kxdR1YH.png"></img></div></html>\n\n[[Back.|pirates]]
//All those who remember the war...//\n\n//They won't forget what they've seeeeeeeeen...//\n\n//Destruction of men, in their prime, whose average age was just [[nineteeeeeeeeen]]//
"Excuse me," you say, "I forgot to take down the number."\n\nThe customer nods. You duck under the desk. The rough carpet pricks your knees through your skeleton-print tights, ow.\n\nIt's all taken care of in less than a second. Obviously, you've done this many times before, and with Chris Brown albums pretty frequently. You suppose it doesn't matter any more, though.
You can't. You can't just outright ask her ''T''hat ''Q''uestion. You're dealing with sensitive triggers here. Better start slow.\n\n"Did you see his performance at the Grammys last year?" you ask her.\n\n"What?"\n\n"You know." You snap your fingers. "//Cake cake cake cake cake...//"\n\n"//...cake cake cake cake...//" she joins in, suddenly recognising. "Yeah, it was on YouTube. He's such an AMAZING dancer."\n\n"Yeah," you nod. "Rihanna's dancing looked kind of off to me in the performance, though. Like she might be... remembering something?"\n\n"Like... her dance moves?"\n\n"Do you think the industry put her up to perform with Chris as a totally cynical ploy?"\n\nThe woman looks back at you, utterly uncomprehending. Or maybe she's just comprehending something totally true, something she never would have thought of on her own. You are such a sweetheart when it comes to guidance.\n\n"Rihanna originally implied Christina Aguilera was to perform with her on the song, and - well - you can't ignore that Chris is - "\n\n"I don't think that," the woman gasps, "I think Rihanna meant to do it. I think if she says she wants to sing with Chris Brown then it's her own business. I mean, she's powerful enough that she can. People listen to her. She could sell her songs with anyone on them."\n\n"You really think?"\n\n"If she didn't want to sing with Chris Brown she wouldn't have done!"\n\n"You into Rihanna then?"\n\n"Yeah, definitely. I think she's so strong with all she's been through. I love that song -" and she begins to croon, unconsciously imitating Rihanna's accent - "//you're beautiful, like diamonds in the sky... shine bright like a diamond!// It's like she really understands me and my boyfriend."\n\n//OH.//\n\nThat was all you needed to hear to really just sew up the whole narrative like corset lacing on an AP Salopette. You find yourself gazing across at the woman and trying to imagine what kind of stuff she's had to go through at the hands of what kind of horrible monster.\n\nYou [[can't accept this]].
One of the bottles is half-empty. You unscrew the top and pour several glugs into the greasy, kettle. You push down the switch and the air soon becomes thick with the smell of burned starch, a testament to the instant noodle-cooking experiments of that former coworker you don't talk about any more.\n\nTime to find a mug. You're [[not sure if you can do this]].
Written by:\n\n[[@fireh9lly|http://twitter.com/fireh9lly]]\n\nInspired by the Fiasco playset "Liquidation" by [[Yaruki Zero Games|http://yarukizerogames.com/]]\n\nFont changing script by L (http://www.glorioustrainwrecks.com/node/5013)\n\nThanks to:\n\nThene A for editing
It's filled with a simple stained glass pattern - mostly rectangles, upside-down hearts, etcetera. The whole thing is frosted to impermeability. On the bottom is lettered '1902'.\n\nYou know this building used to be a bank. You suspect the staff kitchen was the bank's toilets.\n\nThe window opens up at the top with one of those brass hooks on sticks, which is rested up against the side of the lockers. The paint on the lead fixtures is white and shiny, but black, dusty cobweb-fur hangs from the opening mechanism. You don't know if the window even opens.\n\n[[Back.|finding food]]
If you know your Japanese alternative fashion, which you don't, but have had to endure Beatrix's enthusiasm for it as a small price to pay for the totally inexplicable feelings of friendship she holds towards you, it's Angelic Pretty's Milky-Chan Of The Faun in brown.\n\nApparently it's really expensive. You don't understand how she can afford it on shopgirl salary, though you suspect she buys most of it second-hand. You don't understand why she doesn't just raid the toddler section.\n\nShe calls it 'getting her kawaii swag on'.\n\n[[Back.|Beatrix]]
You did forget to take [[your pills]] today. This is why you're never going to get another job after this one. You can't even take the most basic possible step of care towards your own mental health.\n\nYou might as well sink the barest minimum effort into [[the most basic possible step of care towards someone else|finding food]].
You spin but it's not
You regret it, but despite how much you deny it you know that Clive's opinion of your stories is far more influential on your actual writing style than it should be.\n\nIs it because you trust him as a creative? Hardly. He's made a small Twitter empire based only on upgrading his standard teenage boy affection for stupid nob jokes into a superficially classy twentywhatever affection for ironic stupid nob jokes, which, textually, are identical to the former variety. His drawings were never good when he used to do them on customer's reciepts as a kind of signature move. And you've sunk much time and energy into avoiding the entirety of his songwriting career.
They didn't used to have that umlaut, but then solicitors representing //The// The Cavern forced them to change it under some obscure misapplication of the Trade Descriptions Act.\n\nThey are notable for 1) insisting against all evidence that a 'Warringhill Scene' is a thing 2) serving drinks in the kind of plastic cups that you normally find in water coolers.\n\n[[Back.|Beatrix]]
From what you've gleaned about Clive from one-sidedly following his social network presence, he was born and raised in Oldham, and certainly doesn't bother to hide his insultingly hilarious //Little Britain// turbo-Manc accent. There is literally no reason for him to use South London slang - you'd be genuinely surprised if he's ever been south of Birmingham, let alone south of the river - but he does it anyway.\n\nYou have several theories as to why he chose this habit - \n\n1) He thinks he's showing his love and appreciation for UK hip-hop music.\n2) He genuinely thinks it's cool.\n3) It's an arbitary affectation he uses as a PUA opener.\n4) He watched //Attack The Block// too many times.\n5) He's doing it ironically to call attention to how non-London he is, in the manner of a man constantly telling racist jokes to prove openmindedness, unaware everyone around him thinks he's just a racist.\n6) He has something against South London kids and thinks mocking them is cutting edge, in the manner of a man constantly telling racist jokes to prove he is just a racist.\n\nWhatever it is, you resent him for it.\n\n[[Back.|What are you doing?]]
When Clive worked at Literaudi, it was before they brought in the 'badges with your favourite album on' thing. However, you know just by looking at him that his favourite album is //My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy//.\n\nYou know this because it's tattooed in swirling dark purple letters on the back of his neck.\n\n<<if $nineteen eq 0>>\nElsewhere, you hear the next song in Beatrix's playlist begin:\n\n♫//In 1965... Vietnam seemed like just another foreign war. But it wasn't. It was different in many ways. And so were those that did the fighting.//♫\n\n♫//In World War II, the average age of a combat soldier was 26. In Vietnam, he was nineteen. I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-In Vietnam, he was nineteen.//♫\n\nYou faintly hear Clive groan into the carpet.\n<<set $nineteen = 1>>\n<<endif>>\n\n[[Back.|Someone is pounding on the window]]
You wrench the door off the fridge, revealing several packed lunches - Beatrix's, a ceramic plate of the school dinner fare you all eat wrapped up with clingfilm in a flying saucer-like shape immediately sticks out to you, but you take out your own lunch from the back. It's in the kind of small plastic container with the clip hinges on.\n\nYou unbuckle it, hoping desperately that you put your pills for today inside by mistake - something that has happened before, and not infrequently. There's nothing under the sandwiches, nothing hidden under the satsuma, and none of your roommates have taped anything to the Innocent fruit smoothie. You comb through the salad with your fingers just to make sure nothing is there. Nothing is there. And now your fingers are wet with salad condensation and everything is hopeless.\n\nYou pathetically wail a swear word to nobody and shove the lunchbox back into the fridge, but it's too late. You are so miserable and incompetent on literally every level that you are disgusted with yourself for thinking you have the right to your own stupid feelings. Spare some pity for all the people worse off than you, shithead, like all the people who have to know you. You're ruining everything for everyone around you by acting like your emotions matter.\n\nYou realise you are now crying. Great move, asshole, that's really going to impress those customers.\n\nYou're not even crying over a real problem. Stop being such a puss mound. You disgust yourself.\n<<silently>>\n<<set $alancrying = 1>>\n<<endsilently>>\n\n[[Back.|finding food]]
For the first time, a part of you is beginning to look forward to not having to come back here, ever.\n\n[[Back.|not sure if you can do this]]
You know that asking him about his stupid novel is only going to make you feel like a complete piece of shit. Of course his ideas are going to be better than yours. He's not like you; he has friends outside of work, he knows how to play the guitar, he's got more Twitter followers than the Prime Minister. He's a legitimate creative soul, not a fake with no other prospects grasping desperately at straws. Not like you.\n\nBut you feel like a complete piece of shit already. Might as well make it worse.\n\n[["What's it about?"]]
You fish them out and set them on the side, placing the teabag in the bottom of the mug. The kettle shudders and clicks off. Why is everything so complicated? You're just completely unable to cope with the universe, which is a shame, since the universe is going to do a very good job coping with you when you can't afford your portion of the rent.\n\nA smart person would have planned a job in advance. But you aren't a smart person.\n\nYou prod at the teabag steeping into the mug, then pick up one of the party rings and [[crumble it into the drink]], where it coalesces into a soggy mess. It looks like the teaspoons have already been removed, so you start swirling the mug around in little circles.\n\nThe motion is quite meditative and you start thinking about [[your book]].
Remembering what Beatrix wanted you to get for her gives you a vague sense of relief.\n\n//Okay,// you tell yourself, squeezing your eyes shut, //I can manage this.// You have no idea what you're going to do once you're out there and have to face customers again, but having something to distract yourself from your useless, mood-stableiser-free existence with is welcome.\n\nThe kitchen is not in its state of usual mess, and exists in a completely different kind of mess. [[Empty corrugated cardboard boxes]] are stacked in a leaning tower above the sink. The fake-wood vinyl cover on the cupboards is smeared with something sticky. The [[fridge]] is still humming, but there's several 2L bottles of Sainsbury's Basics Table [[Water]] crammed into the sink, since the water shut off yesterday.\n\nAbove the sink is a 45-degree sloped [[window]].
//All those who remember the war...//\n\n//They won't forget what they've seeeeeeeeen...//\n\n//Destruction of men, in their prime, whose average age was just [[nineteeeeeeeeen]]//
You had a co-worker once who wore his jersey wide open to display his chest piece. Even though tattoos are grounds for instant dismissal, and no matter how many times you reported him in a desperate attempt to never have to work with that worthless hipster fuck again, no-one ever bothered coming around to enforce it, and he walked out under wildly different circumstances much later. Another time, you came into work with your entry stamp for [[The Cävern]] still on the back of your hand and had to sit for half an hour after work while your manager filled in long complaint forms.\n\nOf course, none of that matters any more. Over the last couple of weeks you had considered spending this morning getting a giant, dripping cock stick-and-poked over your entire face to represent your winning personality, but eventually decided that you didn't want to get up at 3AM for it.\n\n[[Back.|Beatrix]]
Each box used to store a hundred of those little stick-shaped café packets of instant coffee. Beatrix and yourself never drank the stuff, because it was foul, but you did both develop a habit of going into the kitchen together to snort a packet of the stuff through a discarded reciept, usually several times a day. You stopped participating in this addiction about three months ago, around the time you sneezed a large, tar-coloured plegm blot onto the cover of a Reduced To £24.99 photo tome featuring photographs of the gestation of animal foetuses in the womb.\n\n[[Back.|finding food]]
You're pretty sure Beatrix hates music, although in her case it's more as a terrorist than anything. Her music choices back in the glory days of Literaudi were once conventional, but now it's in administration she is allowed to do whatever she wants:\n\n♫ Some mashup curio you don't recognise, with a Scottish white rapper yelling about AIDS over an 80s drum machine and pitch-shifted singing-dog-type samples.\n♫ //Knowing Me, Knowing You//.\n♫ The theme to //Cannibal Holocaust//.\n♫ //Call Me Maybe//.\n♫ //Call Me Maybe// again.\n♫ //How You Remind Me//, by Nickelback.\n♫ A sixteen-minute noise that sounded like tinnitus. She explained to you that it was "ambient black metal" and yes, you were stupid for not getting it.\n♫ An embarrassing, grunty novelty dubstep remix of //Call Me Maybe//.\n♫ //911 Is A Joke//, the Duran Duran version.\n♫ The //Seinfeld// theme.\n♫ //Halloween Fart Sounds//, Track 4.\n\nShe is currently playing some kind of radical feminist Miami bass rap with a hook that starts, "//When I say 'Miss', you say '-andry!//"\n\nYou know that this is either a noble act of public protest against Literaudi's lack of redundancy pay, or her normal sense of humour running rampant with no repercussions. You honestly can't tell what she wants ([[what she really, really wants]]).\n\n[[Back.|self-indulgent prick]]
This is a tale about the pointlessness of life. The story is about a mobster, a narrow-minded bartender, a watchful jailer, and a stressed fighter pilot who is best friends with a crazy spy. It takes place in a manufacturing city. The critical element of the story is travel. The fall of the Soviet Union plays a major part in the story.\n\n
You look up. They somehow managed to climb onto the thing. You can't really make out more through the frosted glass than a person-shaped mass of dark colours.\n\nThey knock on the window again.\n\nYou don't understand why, but you go to the corner and get the window-opener stick. You hook the catch, after a little flailing, and attempt to gently lower it, but instead the window immediately swings in under the intruder's weight. They roll, and drop the three metres down onto the carpet.\n\nThey are flat on their face now. You look over, concerned. Their vintage leather jacket has opened out, the front lying open on the floor like the wings of the sea angel from that Tiny Wonders of the Seas photobook you flipped through once and then forgot about.\n\n"Fuck, fuck, fucking - aah, //fuck//! Ow! Fucking - bollock - fuckshit. Jesus //Christ//. My arms. I took that all with my arms. I think I've broken my arms."\n\nHe looks up from the floor and your heart sinks like a cluster bomb.\n\n"[[Clive]]?" you manage. "[[What are you doing?]]"
You remember clearly since you had to count it through about four times - a Fifty Shades-a-like porn doorstop, white ear buds made of some 90s-dildo-like transparent gunk, and a second-hand copy of FIFA 2013 and a tube of Smarties.\n\n"I can't give you a discount on the Smarties," you'd told her.\n\n"Even though you're shutting down?"\n\n"Yeah. You see, when we trade sweets and soft drinks we're acting on behalf of a catering company that owns that part of the business as well as the big cooler things, so we don't have the liberty of setting the prices."\n\n"But what about the stuff in the coffee shop upstairs?"\n\n"No, the stuff in the coffee shop is ours. It's only the stuff from the big pick-and-mix area downstairs that we can't offer discounts on."\n\n"So if I go upstairs and get a tube of Smarties from the sweets they sell at the counter on the coffee shop, that'd be 80% off?"\n\n"Yes. Would you like me to hold your things while you go and do that?"\n\n"...No."\n\n[[Back.|sent you]]
She's probably angry with you for ruining everything. You know you are.\n\n...Yeah, of course, because everything centres around what you feel. She probably hasn't even noticed your behaviour enough to be angry with you, sadboy. Clinical depression? More like terminal selfishness, medicalised. A depressed person believes they are the nexus at the centre of the universe and that everyone else can feel their inexplicable, stupid pain.\n\nAnd now your internal monologue is doing this rubbish again. You really, really wish you had taken [[your pills]] this morning.
A homemade polycotton pair you brought from the EGL sales comm two years ago, with the most perfect musical-note-print lace around the hems. The seller said they were a pattern she started drafting for her friend, who wanted 'huge sealed pockets so she could take a ten bag to her comm's tea parties without skunking up her AP bags'. \n\nYou love lolitas.\n\nAnyway, they are the bestest pink cannibis leaf print bloomers ever not to have been released by a major burando, especially for [[what you paid]], and you absolutely love them. Positive feedback, seller highly recommended, A+++++++++++++++.\n\n[[Back.|can't accept this]]
The favourite album immortalised on Beatrix's employee badge is //Spice//, the seminal 1996 Spice Girls künstlerroman.\n\nYou know for a fact that it isn't her favourite album, but also know for a fact that she isn't lying when she says she likes it a lot more than anyone else you have ever heard of does.\n\n[[Back.|self-indulgent prick]]
Literaudi dress codes are notoriously strict for a brand striving so hard to be popular with der yoot, with the focus of its particular brand of stupid being [[visible tattoos]]. Staff are also not permitted to wear stretched ear piercings with a diameter greater than 0.6mm, shoes with hard soles or 'an unnatural hair colour that covers over 60% of the head by volume', however the hell that is enforceable.\n\nThe jersey is made of that shiny, pimpled kind of fabric that football shirts are made out of. Beatrix was complaining to you that the women's shirts are just the men's shirts in a slightly smaller size. What's more, the buttons tend not to stay done up, leaving most people with a gaping //Saturday Night Fever// neckline, hence the tendency for all the Literaudi drones you know of to wear more high-necked garments under their jerseys (permitted if they are 'a colour that is not more saturated than that colour of the Literaudi jersey and not overly sexual in nature, or likely to be mistaken for the wearer's skin'). You are wearing what you always wear - a handknitted dark brown turtleneck obtained Christmas 2007. You get cold easily.\n\nBeatrix is wearing an extremely frilly black blouse with ribbon lacing down the arms. It's pretty ugly, and she'd never get away with it on a normal work day.\n\n[[Back.|Beatrix]]
You're so obviously defective that even Beatrix can tell, now, and it's not like Beatrix is as perceptive an individual as she claims to be. You were on counter duty, scanning through some [[merch]] at an apocalyptic 80% discount, and when you went to write out the reciept your mind went blanker than the last page of any of your novels. You filled in three, wrong, customers human-centipeding up behind the poor woman you were serving, and you found yourself holding you face in your hands and muttering, "I'm sorry. I'm just so sorry."\n\nThe second Beatrix saw you she [[shoved you out of the way]] and said it'd be best if you got her something from the kitchen. After standing in there for a minute gulping air like a sick goldfish and fighting back meaningless tears caused by emotions you don't even have, your phone pinged:\n\n//Oh god, please tell me you remembered to [[take your pills today]]?//\n\n[[Back.|self-indulgent prick]]