I have internet again! Whee!
My router was being unruly. It is now all better.
Anyway, I was thinking just now of an older man I worked with. He was an actor, shoulda been more than he was but there were personal problems tangling up his sense of independence, and his brain was messed up from old drug use.
He didn’t use the substances anymore, but his emotional pathways were highly reliant on consistent hits. He was a, um, clean addict? The behaviors had never been rooted out. He was kind of like a dog with old, deeply infected porcupine needles shoved into his muscles in several places in his body, and he was rabid and pathetically fierce about no one ever touching them or noticing they were there.
He had a decent amount of personal clout where he was, and had established himself as an actor a bit, so people mostly left him alone and pretended not to see any of his problems.
And his wife kept him on a very tight leash, metaphorically speaking. I think he was broken as a very young man, as a teenager, and then found consistently through his life that were were plenty of people around who were willing to take advantage of his body and mind as an already-beaten-down actor.
He was a good actor, though, aside from the infected emotional injuries. I mean, he used the damage to create visceral empathy for characters he portrayed, and could always get a good effect out of the audience.
I didn’t have any money when I was working in a vicinity near to him, or the social groundwork established that I would need before I’d be able to scoop him up, as it were, and start digging out the porcupine needles. And he would have had to leave his wife, as their relationship was based around him being a helpless, angry mongrel type of person. Not a lot of tenderness at all between them. They were dysfunctional.
Anyway, but what I would have done, if I’d been a super-duper rich person at the time, and had the sorts of social clout that make eccentricity seem reasonable, is lured him into some sort of film production and then systematically started the extraction of the spines, and then the deep release of the infected emotional sores.
Once he was clean, I would have started working on the addictive behaviors, and he would have become a famous actor. All the skill sets were there, and he can do the social management and fame-building shtick in his sleep.
I offered to do a little preliminary work on him once, and he wanted to say yes. He knew his wife would have flipped her shit at him if he’d taken any moves to get better, and he really wanted to say yes, so he just didn’t say anything and we never spoke to each other again.
If he’s still alive in forty years when I have the eccentric mansion and all the shit, I’ll swoop around and glare at him from a distance to see if his energy has any functionality under the addiction and the energy infection.
Because picking up old prospects in a kind of eventual fulfillment of imagined work is a fun hobby, I think. And he’d be able to breathe normally for a bit before he actually died, which would probably be nice for him. He doesn’t breathe properly at all. His, um, his spine, up between his shoulders and against his bull vertebrae is clenched in a muscular net of resistance to the lure of drugs.
He never learned how to actually change his dependence, so he just resists with muscular tension, deep against his bones. I’m sure it’s deeply uncomfortable.
Miranda has been Abducted without Fanfare:
The ship was blue and gold, and had little swoops on the forward bow that made the vessel look like a hunting creature of the deep sea.
The aliens inside the ship were not at all like hunting creatures, and their bodies were a strange contrast to the vessel they’d created. They were tall, but not tall enough to look willowy, and they were muscular, but in a way that almost made them look insubstantial. Their chests were flat and broad, but there was a kind of frailty to their structure, a manner of floating motion between the jointure of their ribs and waists that gave anyone watching a sense of impending collapse, as if the aliens would, at any moment, cease to be able to balance the several parts of their forms and crumple into helpless balls of arms and thick faces.
Miranda stood in her cage at the farther edge of the bridge and studied their faces, which were all completely the same to her. Their eyes were slightly different, in the spreading of their pupils or the tinge of color that hugged the wide black circle there, but their actual features–all the same. She found some variation in their bodies, and had started to label them by the shifting motion of their muscles beneath their clasping robes.
She’d given three of them names. Thin Wrists was the one with flicking, twisting hands who kept rotating his left elbow and wrist and gesturing as he talked. She thought they were all male. If there were females among them, they were indistinguishable from what Miranda saw as maleness. Fake Back was the slightly taller one who kept walking around with a stiff, swiveling action, as if he wore a brace or had a replacement part built into his body.
The last alien Miranda had actually named, the third in her short list of interest, for the others were too similar, too exactly like one another for her to feel it was productive to thread them apart in her mind, was the one she thought of as Brainy Pants, because his ass was perfect, what little she could see of him under his clothes, and his shoulders were exquisite as he moved around between his fellows, and his legs, though he technically walked and stood with the same precision and strange care as all the others, held the very slightest whisper of a swagger, as if his muscles knew things theirs didn’t, or as if he took more pride in his essential sense of self.
Miranda liked Brainy Pants the most, and felt a slight sympathy for him. Not wishing to reflect upon her current captivity, she had made up, as the hours had passed since they’d picked her up and put her, with businesslike lack of emotion, into her cage, a story about Brainy Pants, making him the real captive and victim.
He’s a secret genius, and no one understands his feelings, Miranda told herself, and she spun a pretty elaborate and admittedly unlikely web of fancy about his past as a spy (she had no grounds at all to suspect that he was a spy), and about his secret love affair with a beautiful alien from back home (though Miranda had no idea where he’d come from or if these aliens had what she would recognize as females), and about how he was just about to murder the captain, if there was a captain, and become a sort of war hero.
She had no idea if the aliens were at war at all, and she was pretty sure, in the back of her mind, that Brainy Pants was just another average grunt doing whatever it was they all did on the bridge, passing with apparent unanimity among the strange controls, but the process of telling stories about him made her feel a lot less alone, and the more fantastic her imaginings, the less power her own fear and wonderings about her actual situation held over her.
You’re reading Victor Poole, and in my current novel, Vince is breaking in and developing the initial bonding groundwork for his private hunting pack. And in my other novel-in-progress, Claire is about to get very firm with Caleb the dragon. He has it coming, though, and he deserves anything she dishes out, as he’s being shallow and rude.