Racetrack Betting - Wizard of Odds

Hamilton's problem with vehicle noise (modified muffler/exhaust)

**EDITED*\*
(edit notes at the top, for visibility)
EDIT 1: It's been brought to my attention that this post reflects a relatively privileged perspective (given the more serious problems so many people are facing), and that some of the language used is immature and unhelpful. I'd like to acknowledge that both of these are true. In the case of the language, I believe (hope) that it reflects temporary frustration more than actual immaturity. So while I stand behind the tone and general content of the post, I am somewhat ashamed of some of the wording choices.
EDIT 2: Regarding "car culture" — I have no problem with it, and in certain ways it's quite interesting. I will admit to not properly understanding it. But my view is that we shouldn't need to. Most of us don't understand knitting culture or beekeeping culture or skydiving culture either, but this lack of understanding isn't problematic, as none of these cultures are nonconsensually injected into our daily lives. Car culture is a bit different in that sense. So the argument is not against car culture, or even against the simple existence of modified vehicles; it's against selfish behaviour, and it's about the impact of this behaviour. (For this reason as well, whether an exhaust system is 'legal' or not has no bearing on the discussion.) And the post speculates (perhaps misguidedly; Hanlon's Razor likely applies here), about the reasons for the behaviour.

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Oh, this may go a bit long. (TL;DR at the end.) Apologies for length, but I have so many thoughts & questions about the vehicle noise problem in this city. (And an unreasonable amount of free time today.)
The proposed initiative by city council to target drivers with modified mufflers/exhaust systems is long overdue. It's a step in the right direction. But the actual problem starts long before a vehicle's exhaust is actually modified, and this is what I hope to end up discussing here, along with whether or not it's a real problem for Hamilton. (Although the adult discussion follows a bit of a rant, if you'll entertain it...)

Example: HDB
In our neighbourhood, there is one guy a few of us have come to refer to as the Head Dbag (HDB), if you'll forgive the salty (while perfectly fitting) nomenclature. In my mind, at least, when all the DBs gather, HDB brings the meeting to order, collects DB dues, proposes key motions, reprimands lower-tier DBs for being too quiet or too thoughtful, and so on. Frankly, I don't envy the responsibility. Anyway, he is dubbed the HDB because his car is the loudest car. Excluding official vehicles with sirens and various commercial aircraft and those rock crushers used in diamond mining pits (though, to be fair, at this point we're toe-ing the 'vehicle' line pretty liberally), it is easily the loudest vehicle I have ever heard. The volume is almost magnificent in its ridiculousness. He wins. HDB completely wins.
If you live around here, you know him. You've heard him. He drives a Mustang (because of course), which he paints seasonally, likely whenever he feels his personality has gone stale. Currently bright orange, though in the past it's been bright blue, black/white, camouflage (because of course; war is cool), other colours. Not only will you know when he's in your neighbourhood, you'll know when he's on the nearest highway. And he gets that sweet puppy from 0 to ~90 (my guess) on the residential streets around here within about 4-5 seconds. Every single time. Really, every single time. Because true morons have this wonderful superpower — they're capable of being entertained endlessly by the exact same thing. I can only imagine he plays a solitary Michael Bay movie on infinite repeat at home. Anyway, I have no idea where he goes, but I know he is needed there fast. I imagine either Taco Bell coupons are expiring faster and faster these days, or the courthouse closes early a lot.
Hamilton cops of reddit: If you want to bag (or re-bag) a prime DB trophy for your mantle, sit near the intersection of Mt. Albion Rd & Greenhill Ave on any weekday between 7:30 & 8am. I can guarantee a speeding violation, and likely a number of other violations as well. Listen for the sound of an angry, coked-up lawnmower. When you hear it, you'll have at least 3 minutes to compose yourself, prep the radar gun, stretch your ticket-writing hand, and so forth. Then be on the lookout for a bright orange prosthetic ween in the shape of a Mustang. You're welcome. (And then return the next morning to repeat, please.) This guy doesn't strike me as the fast-learnin' sort, but once we get up into double-digit demerit point level, the light may start to dawn.
Anyway, I digress. This isn't really about HDB. He's one of hundreds of such dimwits in the city. So it's about the problem in general. And in fairness, I suppose we should assign these people a better acronym. Perhaps not all of them are true, card-carrying DBs? We'll use the less judgmental GwMM ("Guys with Modified Mufflers").

Are you a GwMM? So many questions...
(if you're not a GwMM, scroll way down below for the adult discussion)
Let's turn the tables for a moment. A genuine curiosity: GwMM, if you lived next door, and I consistently practised my yodeller's rendition of Mongolian throat-singing at 180dB, outside every morning at 3am, what would you do? What would you want me to do?
Really, try to imagine it: You've just polished off the last Coors. You've flipped off the TV after watching the evening's top-rated MMA fight. You're all caught up on your Fox News feed. Your tracksuit and gold chains have been removed and set aside for the night. You're exhausted. You finally drift off to sleep, and are mid-dream (you know, the one where you're being interviewed on E! for your world-renowned pickup artistry skills), and then BAM! — I interrupt you at 180dBs. Every f-ing night. Sincerely — what's your move? What would you do? Who would you talk to about it the next day? Which authorities would you involve? Something must be done, right? It can't go on!
If you're one of these people, a GwMM, do you... almost get it? Kinda-sorta?

(Yes, I know most of the actual GwMMs won't read any of this, or will read it but won't be able to absorb it. But maybe it reaches just one GwMM, a guy who's modified his exhaust but is otherwise on the fence between being a normal adult and a flagrant purveyor of doucheism. Maybe just one person.)

GwMMs, you should understand something — the impression you think you're creating, and the one you're actually delivering, are vastly different. As you drive by, here is what most of us think about you (a non-exhaustive list):

And again: These impressions created with your loud 'performance' exhaust would otherwise be fine, not so bad at all, in fact, if you weren't trying so goddamned hard to create impressions painfully opposite to most of these. So you're wasting your time, energy, and money. Sad.

GwMMs — more to consider:


You see the difference, right?
You're a moron.
But that's not even the core problem. The core problem is one of focus: Most of the thoughts above are about solving a problem, making a contribution, being an adult member of society. Your tiny-brained thoughts are mainly about yourself, about getting yourself noticed. They're low-level thoughts.
You probably drove past people today in your screaming micropenis-mobile who were thinking thoughts just like those above. You didn't notice them, though — in part because your brain was occupied with whether they were noticing you — but more to the point, because many of them were driving practical, nondescript, quiet cars. But why? Why would they do this? How could they make this mistake? Don't they know they should drive the best, fastest, loudest phuckin' ride they can get their hands on?? They must not be able to afford one, right?! Er, no. It's because they don't source their self-esteem from their vehicle. You didn't notice them because they don't need you to notice them. They're not as weak as you are. And they have adult brains, which allow them to focus on others at least as much as on themselves. Hopefully you'll get there someday.

(Alright. At this point if you're a GwMM and you're still pretty sure of yourself, and aren't convinced that you are indeed a low-functioning twat, I beg you, look up the Dunning-Kruger Effect.)

Non-GwMMs:
Why should the rest of us care, beyond the temporary bouts of noise? Is this a real problem for Hamilton?
I think it is. The Y-Combinator venture capitalist and essayist Paul Graham has an interesting piece about the "message" a city sends. For example, New York, by its collective actions and values and signals, 'tells' you that you should be richer; Los Angeles tells you that you should be in better shape; San Francisco tells you that you should be healthier and/or in tech; Cambridge (MA) tells you that you should be smarter. And so on. Part of the impact of these messages is that citizens will naturally tend toward the mean of that message over time — and so a city as a whole continually becomes "more like itself".
I've lived in a fair number of cities, in Canada and abroad; some sophisticated, some less so. I had so hoped Hamilton would be "the one". But it can't be, at least not for me. Hamilton's ADBpM (Audible Dbag per Minute rate) is comparably quite high — I'd peg it at somewhere between 1.5 and 2.5, in most areas of the city. In other words, the sound of an obnoxious, low-grade human, usually a GwMM, enters my auditory field roughly twice per minute. At this rate, it becomes a 'constant', something reliable; a perpetual reminder of the type of people I'm surrounded by. And so at least for those attuned to it, Hamilton's tone is largely 'off', at least for the city it claims to want to become. The message it sends, as Paul Graham might put it, through its ADBpM and a few other factors, is to be tougher, louder, more aggressive. The GwMMs embody and reinforce that message.
Now, some of you may be proud of that. (Though I'm guessing anyone who's read this far is likely not.) I've noticed a trend here, a collective defense mechanism really, of referring to the city as "gritty", or "down-to-earth", or (my favourite so far) as "keeping it real". None of these are proper synonyms for the aggressive dudebro culture incubated and enabled here. The proper term would be 'dumb', or better, 'underdeveloped'. The feel is of being in a cognitively adolescent place. It's obviously nothing to be proud of. The cities that prize blatant aggression are those in which no developed person wants to live. Fort McMurray and Gary (IN) come to mind — teeming jockstraps of aggression, with predictable results — higher rates of alcohol & drug abuse, domestic violence, and violent crime in general. Any thinking person wants their city to have the opposite of these phenomena.
The GwMMs don't, of course, have these effects directly. But they do reinforce the vibe. And if aggression and/or general doucheyness is the (or a) pervasive vibe in Hamilton, this is a giant turn-off for all sorts of people who might otherwise move here and make a contribution. So, intelligent, progressive contributors will leave, or will avoid the city. Not all, but certainly some. Possibly many. And the Troglodytes will stay, because they feel at home, especially as their behaviour goes unchecked. The city may thereby, over time, become more like itself.
Of course, Hamilton is in many other ways a wonderful place. But in any "on the cusp" or "on the way up" or "improving" city (do we agree that's what it is?), there is always a sort of invisible balance between civility and rampant douchebaggery that could tip in either direction. And the tipping factors aren't always perfectly obvious. Large, dramatic factors like affordable housing and business grants and infrastructure get most of the attention, as rightly they should. But resolving a mishmash of seemingly small other factors, of which I think the GwMM issue is one, can have a large impact as well.
All of this to pose a serious question: As mature, intelligent Hamiltonians (non-GwMMs/DBs), what should we actually do about the problem? Do you think Council's initiative will make a difference? If not, what would you propose? A coordinated social-shaming effort? Vigilante action? Nothing?Something else?

** GwMM HELP SECTION *\*
Are you a GwMM enraged or offended by this post? Allow me to assist. To save you time, I've taken the liberty of crafting several predictable answers, and translating them into the dudebro vernacular. Modify or copy & paste directly, as you prefer:

Okay, this did go a tad long.
TL:DR - When you modify your muffleexhaust to be louder than the original, you reveal to most of us that you're weak, sad, likely mini-penis'd, un- or under-educated, emotionally underdeveloped, lack a personality, and are generally a selfish asshole. Of course, if this is the impression you're going for, by all means, continue.
TL;DR, polite version - We really do have a problem with vehicle noise pollution in this city. What should we do about it?
TL;DR, honest version - I have a recurring dream wherein I learn that all of the clinically retarded philistines in this city have somehow passed away, all at the same time, each by crashing their [Mustang/Ram1500/InfinitiG35*/CivicTypeetc.] into a separate lamp post. If your catruck/SUV/etc is purposely extra loud, you are a certifiable Grade-A douche, and you should be aware that you are among the lowest-functioning members of society.

- - - - -
Footnotes I'll later regret:

  1. Motorcycles — In my head somehow, the motorcycles are a separate issue, despite often being even louder than the modified cars & trucks. It's an old, embedded culture, with the choppeHarley-type bikes typically being ridden by diabetic old men. That fight is lost. That group is largely beyond change, so it's a waiting game (for a traffic accident or lung cancer or cirrhosis or the elegant cascade of symptoms that comprise metabolic syndrome, or a nursing home; whichever). This, and I suspect many cops are (reasonably?) fearful of pulling these guys over.
  2. The "police crackdown on yahoos" — Another reason I'm less than optimistic about this working is because I suspect a Venn diagram of cops and GwMMs may be narrower than we'd like. Dudebro culture in both camps.
  3. The gender thing... <giant sigh> It appears that a few people in earlier discussions have managed to contort their thinking enough to view this issue through a 'gender-equality' lens, as they no doubt view virtually every issue these days. It's not that this isn't adorable; it most certainly is. But it distracts, and threatens to prevent us from getting to the root of the problem. The 'data' aren't hidden, in this case — just look in the cars, and use your counting skills. This is overwhelmingly a guy thing. These are mostly males (or if you prefer, individuals who would appear to be of the sort that traditionally possess a penis) and are usually on the younger side. As humans we are pattern-spotters; we are hard-wired to spot patterns in our environment, in order to make sense of it, and to reduce cognitive load. We can't help it. So yes, most of us will notice that the loudest, fastest cars are driven by traditional males. If you claim not to have noticed this, I have a polygraph machine here and $10,000 with your name on it, should you hardly move the needle when I ask whether you've noticed it. You've noticed it. And (traditionally-)male insecurity leading to aggression is a well-known, well-studied problem. But, reasonably enough, you may point out that male vs. female isn't really the issue. And I would agree. Masculinity, specifically toxic masculinity, as one of our councillors pointed out, is more to the point. I would agree with that as well. But it so happens that most toxic masculine behaviour is exhibited by those who are traditionally male. Is this really a controversial statement?? Will knowing it (under the decidedly safe assumption that it is true) help with vehicle volume enforcement? No, and nor should it. Let's target the behaviour, not the driver, when the behaviour happens. But might knowing (acknowledging) the heavy male-masculine correlation help in getting to the root causes of the aggressive, asocial behaviour, possibly before that behaviour occurs? I think it might, as it hints at who may require help/treatment/intervention/education/etc. We have neither the time nor the resources to address the problem entirely at random, in the name of political correctness.
submitted by DarbTev to Hamilton [link] [comments]

WORK In prog

On our MTV Challenge Accepted podcast (link in bold) we have a segment where we discuss this question. Whose stock went up? Whose stock went down? Here were our winners and losers this week.
STOCK UP
The GOAT
A no brainer and "too obvious" pick, but Johnny Bananas deserves some love anyway. Did he actually need the 7th win to secure his place as the Greatest of All Time? Not really, no. There's no rival that's even close in terms of that overall resume. Still, that's what the great ones do -- they invent reasons to have a chip on their shoulder and to stay locked in and motivated. Michael Jordan did that, Tom Brady does that, and Bananas followed suit. His emotional investment in this season felt genuine. Losing the last few seasons has taken a toil on him, but he found redemption here. Kudos to him.
Jenny
Again, we won't dwell on the winner, but Jenny needs some praise. She doesn't have the resume to be in the GOAT discussions herself yet, but we couldn't help but wonder: where does this particular season stack up on the greatest of all time? Jenny dominated two eliminations, and handedly won the finals as well. She kicked ass from top to bottom this year. It reminded us of Emily (Schromm), who looked a notch above the female competitors on some of her seasons.
Of course, Emily hasn't made The Challenge a career, which opens the door for a female GOAT to break through. Rachel (Robinson) and Cara Maria have an argument based on longevity and resume. Emily and Evelyn have an argument based on peak performance. Now, Jenny can start to make her case. She legitimately has GOAT potential if she comes back again and again and again and rattles off 3-4 title wins. In a sense, she's The Challenge's version of Patrick Mahomes. She got her first ring, and the sky is the limit from here.
Cory
Cory didn't win -- and he didn't even finish 2nd either. That said, no one surprised us more than Cory in this Final.
Coming into the Final, we pegged Cory as the biggest underdog among the men. We'd simply seen him fade too many times before -- presumably as a result of lower-leg injuries in the past. Yet, here he was, performing well throughout. He claimed he was born and raised in the snow a la Bane in the Darkness, and he delivered on that. He won the first leg, and came on strong in the season leg as well. The math checkpoint threw him off a little, but in terms of the pure speed challenges, he ranked right up there at the top. Overall, Cory won $0, but he fared well and gave us hope that he's going to be a legitimate contender in the future.
STOCK DOWN
Fessy
Fessy had been an absolute beast all season long, but we all knew this Final would be the wild card. The great unknown. After all, we've seen these big dogs go in different directions come Final time. Which version would Fessy be? Could he finish the job and dominate throughout -- a la Landon? Or would he gas out a la Zach or early season Laurel?
Turns out: he gassed out. Badly. Out of the 4 men who ended the Final, he finished dead last.
To be fair to Fessy, it's not easy to be a bigger guy in these endurance challenges. Muscles actually utilize a lot of oxygen, so big dudes tend to wear down (especially at high altitudes.) There's a reason that marathon runners don't look like Hulk Hogan, after all.
I'd also wonder whether Fessy's football background came back to bite him here. Football players are great athletes, but they train for quick BURSTS of speed -- going 10 yards, 20 yards a time -- with breaks and huddles in between. They don't have to train in long-distance endurance the same way a marathon runner, or cyclist, or even a boxer would. The Challenge Final always puts such an emphasis on endurance (too much so, in my mind) that it makes it very difficult for a bulky football player to win.
Still, that's going to be a hard hurdle for Fessy to overcome. He can try to slim down like Zach has, but it's always going to be an uphill battle for a naturally big dude to compete with the types of Jordan Wisely and other slimmer and smaller runners.
Dr. Bayleigh
Unlike Fessy, Melissa and Bayleigh came into the Final as severe underdog. They were a few notches below Kaycee, and about a thousand notches below Jenny. With no prize for 2nd or 3rd, they really had no motivation to try hard and finish (aside from, ya know, pride.)
Melissa broke, and quit. And given what we know about her circumstances, it's hard to blame her. There was probably a reason that she didn't feel at her best and didn't think she could tough it out through the Final. But in a way, we give her credit for that. She knew her limits, and didn't apologize for them. As she said, she simply didn't have it in her to win.
Meanwhile, Bayleigh did the same, without the same culpability and self-awareness. Certainly, there's a chance that she legitimately sprained her MCL, but it's hard to imagine that she could diagnose that herself. Time and time again, we saw the medics give her the go-ahead to continue, unless she wanted to quit. It felt like her choice. And sure enough, she did. As Cory mentioned, she quit only after learning that she couldn't sleep inside the compound, which made her decision (and sudden MCL flareup) feel less genuine.
[OC] Which awards are locked in? Which are still up for debate? a glance through the odds and campaigns in each category
It feels like it's been 5 years since we've seen actual NBA basketball, which may make awards debates and campaigns more difficult. Wait, who was playing well again...? Dennis Schroder? Seriously? Huh. Okay then.
As we soldier back into the bubble, there's a risk that awards voters will forget about that early part of the season (aka the vast majority) and fall victim to recency bias. Given that, we wanted to glance through the major races and determine which -- if any -- awards may still be in debate.
For this exercise, I'm using the current odds as listed by an online betting site (bovada). Note: the percentages do NOT add up to 100% because online betting sites like your money.
MVP
Giannis Antetokounmpo: - 3500 (97%)
LeBron James: +600 (14%)
is the race over?
This betting site heavily favors Giannis Antetokounmpo, although some other metrics have it closer than that. Basketball-reference's MVP tracker lists Giannis at 50.7% and LeBron at 17.3%.
I'm more inclined to believe the latter and that LeBron James would be closer to 15-20% odds. No doubt, Giannis is a worthy MVP. He's been a dominant force (again) for the top statistical team in the league (again.) He's racking up 30-14-6 in only 30.9 minutes per game. In most circumstances, he'd win this award in a walk.
That said, you can never discount "narrative," and LeBron James has a few of those going for him. The Lakers have vaulted up to the # 1 seed in the West, outperforming preseason expectations. James has played exceptionally well, and even led the league in assists. Partly because of that, James' camp has successfully gotten the media to buy into the storyline that he made a sudden transition to point guard (ya know, because he had always deferred to his point guards like Mo Williams and Mario Chalmers in the past...)
More than that, James may benefit from this strange corona-bubble. He's been a leading advocate for continuing on, and as always, players tend to follow his lead. I can see more than a few media members giving James an MVP vote for "saving the season." All in all, I expect this vote to be closer than it should be (and I expect poor James Harden to finish well behind where he should as well.)
So James will get some votes, but can he actually win the award? I wouldn't rule it out. The Lakers are currently 3 games behind the Bucks for the # 1 overall seed. It's hard to imagine Milwaukee losing enough to slip, but it's not Wallace Shawn inconceivable either. If the Lakers somehow manage to catch them, then I actually think LeBron will win MVP. Of course, it's more likely the Bucks will hang onto the # 1 seed, and Giannis will hang onto MVP. But again, I don't think it's a stone cold lock -- yet.
Rookie of the Year
Ja Morant: - 3500 (97%)
Zion Williamson: +850 (11%)
is the race over?
It should be. Zion Williamson is freakin' amazing, but he's played 19 games so far. That's 40 less than Ja Morant, who has played stellar ball for a rookie from a small school, and somehow led the Memphis Grizzlies to the 8th seed.
Still, we can't rule out the risk of recency bias and a wild overreaction from the media. Williamson has a chance to lead the Pelicans up to the 9th spot, at which point they'd play Morant's Grizzlies. If Williamson can lead New Orleans to two victories over Memphis in a row -- and thus leapfrog them in the standings -- then it's very feasible the media would throw their vote his way. The media (and the league as a whole) tends to like this Zion fella, if you haven't noticed.
Sixth Man
Dennis Schroder: - 220 (69%)
Montrezl Harrell: +190 (34%)
Lou Williams: +450 (18%)
Derrick Rose: +3000 (3%)
is the race over?
Simply put: no. It's still a three-man race in my book. The Clippers' Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell finished 1-2 last season, and are right back in the thick of things this year. Among the two, it's harder to justify Williams' winning for the third season in a row. He hasn't played as well as last year, and hasn't been as big of a focal point for the Clippers' game plan. He hasn't looked as engaged this season, and even debated missing the bubble.
With Sweet Lou taking a slight step back, it's opened the door for Dennis Schroder. He's having a career season in terms of efficiency. In fact, it's hard to understate his jump this year. In his six previous season, his career high TS% was only 53.3%. This season? He's vaulted up to 57.3%. The question is: have enough voters noticed? OKC has been a feel-good story this year, but Chris Paul and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander tend to get the most credit for that.
Overall, I wouldn't be surprised if voters get lazy and just fall back on the highest scorer among the three. And even by those standards, the race is wide open. Schroder is at 19.0 PPG, Williams is at 18.7 PPG, and Harrell is at 18.6 PPG. A strong (or bad) week or two in the bubble may tilt this race in any direction.
Defensive Player of the Year
Giannis Antetokounmpo: -500 (83%)
Anthony Davis: +200 (33%)
Rudy Gobert: +2800 (3%)
is the race over?
Even among savvy and analytically-inclined media members, "defense" is still something of a mystery to quantify. We see a lot of herd mentality emerge for DPOY voting, with candidates needing to stake their claim early on and campaign all season long.
In terms of storylines and narratives, it felt like Anthony Davis had the early momentum. He's a wrecking ball (1.5 steals, 2.4 blocks) who helped improve the Lakers' defense from # 12 to # 3 this season. Still, Giannis Antetokounmpo has steadily built his case for a double MVP + DPOY, and currently ranks as the betting favorite on this site.
Personally, I believe it's a closer race than these numbers suggest. At the same time, I'm not sure what their play in the bubble is going to do about it. More likely, it'll be an influential media piece (like Zach Lowe pushing for Marc Gasol) that may get voters ushering on one side or another.
Most Improved
Bam Adebayo: -150 (60%)
Brandon Ingram: +250 (29%)
Luke Doncic: +500 (17%)
Jayson Tatum: +900 (10%)
Devonte Graham: +1000 (9%)
is the race over?
Again, this race feels "too close to call" to me. John King and David Chalian may be tallying up the counties all night long.
Earlier this season, I looked back at previous Most Improved winners and tried to find some common threads. On average, the winner improved from 11.7 PPG to 19.6 PPG (roughly +8 points.)
Historically speaking, Brandon Ingram and Jayson Tatum fit close to those templates. Ingram has swelled from 18.3 PPG to 24.3 PPG in his first season in New Orleans (+6). Tatum has made an even bigger leap, going from 15.7 PPG to 23.6 PPG (essentially our exact +8). Of the two, I may lean more to Ingram myself. Tatum's taking more shots and more threes, but he was already considered a proven star prior to this. Ingram had been more of a question mark before, but has now established himself as a potential max player. The key for him has been an improved FT%. In his first three seasons, he shot 62%, 68%, and 68% from the line. This year, he's up to 86%. That's major progress, and represents a massive difference in his efficiency "floor." Still, you wonder if Ingram's momentum peaked too early. Ever since Zion Williamson came back, it feels like Ingram has been an afterthought in the media.
Conversely, Bam Adebayo's reputation within the media is still surging. He's been a major reason for the Miami Heat's success this year, nearly doubling from 8.9 PPG to 16.2 PPG (+7.3 overall.) He's also doubled his assists (from 2.2 to 5.1). If you wanted to nitpick Adebayo's candidacy, you may suggest he was pretty darn good already. A lot of the statistical upswing comes from an increase in minutes, from 23.3 to 34.4 this year.
Overall, I'd say Abebayo is the favorite, but I wouldn't lock it in yet. A player like Brandon Ingram could get hot and have a few 40 point games, at which point the momentum may swing back in his favor.
When anthropology professors
99 cent store free agents: Point Guards
The NBA offseason is always filled with exciting storylines like star free agents and blockbuster trades.
But rather than dwell on the obvious, this series intends to do the opposite: focus on the lower-profile free agents who may have some value to teams. No NBA player is actually "99 Cents," of course, but these are all players who may be bargains based on their perceived market.
This "99 Cent Store" series has been open for business for the last two offseasons. In the past, we've highlighted names like Fred VanVleet (pre breakout), Christian Wood, and Davis Bertans. Not all of the items turn out to be gems (is Nerlens Noel still not a DPOY candidate yet?), but the returns have been largely positive so far. Let's see if we can keep that momentum going this season.
99 cent store
Langston Galloway, Detroit Pistons, UFA, 28 years old
In last year's 99 Cent Store, we hyped up Seth Curry (Steph's brother) as a possible value free agent. Seth didn't have the size and skill set of a traditional point guard, but the NBA isn't always craving traditional point guards these days. A lot of star SGs, SFs, PFs, and even Cs have the ball in their hands, so teams need to fill the court with a supporting cast that can complement them and provide spacing. Effectively an undersized SG, Seth's excellent shooting appeared to be a perfect complement to a ball-dominant superstar. Seth ended up going to Dallas on a moderate contract, and had a strong season for them in that role.
For those same reasons, we'd recommend Langston Galloway as a potential bargain add. We're not going to suggest that Galloway is as good as Seth Curry as a player or as a shooter, but his skill set is related. He's not Steph Curry -- he's not Seth Curry -- he's on the opposite side of the family tree. He's like the random third cousin who shows up at the barbecue and hogs all the mac n' cheese. Still, if he got the address, then he must have some relation to the family we know and love.
Galloway would share some DNA in the sense that he's also a "point guard" who's more of an undersized shooting guard by nature. He doesn't have the ball skills or playmaking to run an offense. At all. However, he can be effective if operating as a 3+D guard. Players like Patrick Beverly and George Hill are the premium prototypes of that skill set, and Galloway is the 99 Cent store generic brand. He's an above-average as a shooter (36.7% from three for his career), and above-average as a defender, where his 6'8" wingspan helps his cause. And while it feels like Galloway has been around forever, he's still only 28 years old. He probably has 2-3 years left of usefulness in his role. There may be 1 or 2 teams that would start Langston Galloway (in a limited role), but almost every team could use him as part of the rotation.
possible fits
HOU. Russell Westbrook and James Harden are ball dominant and salary-cap dominant players, making depth a constant struggle for the team. Backup PG Austin Rivers can probably get more money than he's due on his player option ($2.4M) even in a COVID-market, possibly creating another hole. Galloway would make sense as a replacement here, seeing as how he'd be able to play in a lineup with either Westbrook or Harden.
LAL. Avery Bradley may be skipping the playoffs, but there's still a chance the Lakers can win the title with some combination of Alex Caruso and Rajon Rondo at PG anyway. But what happens if it doesn't work out? What happens if Bradley and Rondo (both of whom have player options) get shuffled out? In that case, Galloway and Caruso could tag-team and provide a decent and low-cost 3+D guard spot for next year.
MIN. The Timberwolves tried the "no PG offense" for a majority of the season, and it didn't work out so hot. Now, they'll be handing the reins over to D'Angelo Russell full time. Galloway could be a nice backup for Russell; the two would have enough size to play some minutes alongside each other as well. You have to figure Gersson Rosas will prioritize shooters like Galloway as well. The team wants to play MoreyBall (top 3 in 3PA), but doesn't have the personnel yet to pull it off (bottom 3 in 3P%).
Yogi Ferrell, Sacramento Kings, UFA, 27 years old
He may be fairly anonymous now, but there was a time when the name "Yogi Ferrell" was a big deal in college basketball. The bluechip recruit immediately stepped into the starting lineup for Tom Crean's Indiana Hoosiers, helping to lead the team to a # 1 seed that first year on campus. But then a funny thing happened: the college star actually stayed in college. Ferrell would go on to play all 4 years (starting 137 of 137 games) for Indiana.
Through it, Ferrell developed the negative narrative that he was a "college player." Only 6'0" with average length and athleticism, he didn't have the look of a future pro. The NBA dismissed him, leading him to get undrafted. He's hung around since then, but his buzz has dwindled and dwindled. He played this past season as Sacramento's 3rd PG, only logging 11 minutes per game. Maybe they were right -- maybe he was never cut out for the NBA.
Then again... are we sure about that? Ferrell may not be the prototype, but he still has some virtues. Among those strengths: "basketball." He's a savvy, steady field general who has an above-average shot. He's hit 36.5% from three and 83.8% from the line over the course of his NBA career. He's not going to carry the load (14-4-4 per 36 minutes), but he's not going to rock the boat either. In fact, he only averages 1.5 turnovers per 36.
The concern with a player like Ferrell would be his limited size and athleticism, a combo that tends to translate into awful defense. But again, we haven't seen much evidence of that. Effort and basketball IQ can help overcome athletic weaknesses, and that appears to be the case with Ferrell. Limitations and all, Ferrell has registered only a -0.2 defensive box plus/minus.
Overall, this profile doesn't suggest any huge upside or any hidden "star" potential. But at the end of the day, this store isn't about star potential -- it's about value. Ferrell is a high-end third PG who can potentially be a true # 2. He'd make sense on a team like Orlando as a potential replacement for their own steady eddie backup D.J. Augustin (also a free agent.)
clearance rack
Gary Payton II, Washington Wizards, UFA, 27 years old
On paper, you may wonder why Gary Payton II wasn't a bigger deal entering the NBA Draft. After all, we're talking about the son of an NBA superstar who had been productive in college. In his last season at Oregon State, he averaged 16.0 points, 5.4 rebounds, 7.8 assists, and 2.5 steals (!) How the heck did someone with that pedigree go undrafted?
Unfortunately for Payton, two factors worked against him. For one, he was a poor shooter. Second, he was "over-aged." After spending some time in community college with Jeff Winger and Dean Pelton, Payton would be a 24-year-old rookie, a major knock against him and his perceived upside. That criticism may have proven apt; Payton has not improved as much as a young pup may have. His three-point shooting has sagged around 25-30%, a major problem in today's NBA. In general, he's a below-average offensive player, averaging just 10-6-4 per 36 minutes.
That said, Payton does have some virtues on the other end. He's not quite "The Glove" (basketball-reference even dubs his official nickname "The Mitten"), but he's definitely a good defender. He's 6'3" with a 6'8" wingspan, and has proven to have sticky hands himself. After averaging 2.8 steals over two years at OSU, he's at 2.2 per 36 in the NBA. He makes some sense when paired together with a ball-dominant SG like a James Harden or Devin Booker or Bradley Beal. No, we're not talking about as a starter, or even as a lead backup, but as a 3rd PG who can add a different skill set to a bench. In that context, he's worth a roster spot. Is a 13th man not worth reading about to you? Well then, get the F out of our store, ya snob! This is what the 99 Cent Store is all about.
featured item
E'Twaun Moore, New Orleans Pelicans, UFA, 31 years old
Collectively, NBA fans scratched their heads in confusion when the New Orleans Pelicans doled out $8.5M a year for anonymous E'Twaun Moore. After all, this was an unheralded a player, a R2 draft pick, a player who hadn't cracked 10 PPG in any of his first six seasons in the league. For all we knew, he was an NBA2k generated player.
Three years later, the contract doesn't look much better. Moore got buried this past season in a crowded Pelicans lineup, averaging only 18.8 minutes per game. He doesn't appear to be a part of the franchise's future plans at all. Moore will be tossed out into the darkness, left with no home, and perhaps no chance of matching that $8M salary ever again.
However, we have to be mindful as NBA fans not to lump in an "overpaid" player as a synonym for a "bad" player. Someone like Tobias Harris may not be worth his salary, but he's still a good starter. On a lower level, E'Twaun Moore may be the same way. Perhaps he's not worth $8-10M a year, but he's actually a solid addition to a rotation (even if the Pelicans squeezed him out.)
Moore's primary virtue is as a 3+D wing. At first glance he's not big enough for that role at 6'4", but he's aided by a pelican-like wingspan that stretches to near 6'10". He's not a great defender (now at age 31), but he's passable at both the SG and SF spots. Offensively, he'll help you as a spacer. He's hit on 39.0% of his threes for his career, and had actually gotten up to 42% and 43% the prior two seasons before he lost some rhythm this season.
That combination of skills makes Moore a good rotation player, and perhaps even a low-end starter on the right team. I wouldn't expect him to get "overpaid" again, but that's precisely what earns him a place in our store. He's a potential bargain buy right now.
possible fits
BKN. SG Joe Harris is an excellent shooter, but he's also a free agent. Will the Nets pony up to keep him around? Or will he be jettisoned like others from the pre KD-Kyrie era? If he is, then E'Twaun Moore makes sense as a cheap replacement.
MIL. The shooting guard spot is the biggest question mark for the Bucks, and this offseason may add to the murkiness if Wes Matthews (player option) or Pat Connaughton (UFA) leave town. E'Twaun Moore would be a sensible filler, and platoon with Donte DiVincenzo.
SA. Do Gregg Popovich and the Spurs want to contend for the playoffs in 2020-21? Do they want to blow it up? TBD. But if their intention is to go for that 8th seed again, Moore may be an upgrade on smaller Bryn Forbes, who struggles on the defensive end.
99 cent store
Shaquille Harrison, Chicago Bulls, UFA, 26 years old
Coaches and front offices love to tout that "defense is half the game!" That is, until it's time to actually pay a defensive player. Or draft a defensive player. Or even invite a defensive player onto the roster for a fully guaranteed contract.
Shaq Harrison has been dealing with that struggle for his entire professional career. Coming out of Tulsa, Harrison always had the chops defensively. He's long and agile enough to guard 1s and 2s and even some 3s. The trouble is: shooting was never his strong suit. Even as a senior, he only hit 19.5% from deep in the NCAA. Yikes. That's a surefire recipe to go "undrafted," which is exactly what Harrison did.
Since then, Harrison has been trying to improve his shot, the key for him to stick on an NBA roster. This past season, we've started to see some glimmers of progress there. He shot a career-high 38.1% from three, and a career-high 78.0% from the line. Now to be fair, those were both extremely small sample sizes (16-42 from three, 39-50 from the line), but it's still encouraging nonetheless. Because if Harrison can become a passable shooter, then his defensive abilities give him inherent value. He's legitimately one of the better perimeter defenders in the league. ESPN's real plus/minus listed his impact as a +2.5 on defense, which ranked as the 9th best player in the entire NBA (out of 503 qualifiers.) If a coaching staff feels confident in their player development and their shooting coaches, then Harrison would be an intriguing investment to make.
clearance rack
John Konchar, Memphis Grizzlies, 24 years old
Last year, I included Philadelphia PG-SG Shake Milton in this column, causing Sixers fans to riot and demand that I mention the team had the right to extend his two-way contract if they wanted. The team did, and Milton will prove to be a bargain for them over the next few years. Similarly, the Memphis Grizzlies will have that opportunity to keep two-way player John Konchar on the team should they want. But if they don't, I'd be eyeing Konchar as a possible roster addition.
No doubt, there are reasons to doubt John Konchar's NBA prospects. He comes from a school that's so small that they didn't even know what to name it (shifting a few times before settling on "Purdue Fort Wayne"). And at the risk of being politically incorrect, we should also mention that he's white. NBA GMs don't exactly sit up and salivate when they see an undersized (6'5") white wing player walk into the gym.
All that said, Konchar has been productive time and time again. As you'd expect, he can hit the three pointer. But what's most intriguing about Konchar is his playing strength. He may be only 6'5" (6'7" wingspan) but he plays much bigger than that. As a college senior, he grabbed 8.5 rebounds a game and blocked 0.9 shots to boot. He also converted 62.9% of his field goals in two-point range. It may have been low level competition, but he flat-out bullied his opponents.
Naturally you'd presume: there's no way he can do that in the pros! But so far, so good. Konchar put up similar numbers in the G-League this season, hitting 56.5% from the field and grabbing 8.3 rebounds per game (in 30 minutes a night.) From there, you'd presume: there's no way he can do that in the actual NBA! Well, in his 160 minutes of NBA action, Konchar shot 65.7% from the field and averaged 9.9 rebounds per 36 minutes.
Clearly, it's too early to take this as gospel. But eventually, we're going to have to presume something else: maybe this dude is actually good. If I ran an NBA team, I'd want to run that experiment with Konchar in our uniform and not someone else's.
99 cent store
Josh Jackson, Memphis Grizzlies, UFA, 23 years old
Like most of us on this sub, I have moments when I watch the NBA, watch the roster moves, watch the draft, and think: I could do that. Not play, of course, but perhaps build a team and winning roster. I've had a long and successful career in fantasy sports, so naturally a GM job would be the logical next step.
The 2017 NBA Draft was one of those moments for me. Prior to the draft, I wrote a few posts on here, explaining why consensus top prospect Markelle Fultz wouldn't have been my personal # 1 pick. Clearly, I am a genius operating on a higher plane than the Bryan Colangelos of the world. Unfortunately, the alternative prospect that I advocated for wasn't Jayson Tatum. Or De'Aaron Fox. Or even Lonzo Ball. Instead, I thought the # 1 prospect in the class was... Josh Jackson. Whoops. Turns out, Jackson became an even bigger bust than Fultz (for his original team), causing the Phoenix Suns to dump him and wash their hands clean. Turns out: I have no clue what I'm talking about after all.
But while I may have given up on my hidden genius, I'm still not ready to give up on Josh Jackson as a player. After all, no one expected Jackson to be a finished product. Back at Kansas, his shot looked funky and in need of an overhaul. Still, he had athleticism, defensive tenacity, and flashed some ball skills and passing ability. All in all, I thought he may develop into a player in the mold of a Jimmy Butler in time.
Unfortunately, his NBA career stumbled out of the gates. If you're going to be the next Jimmy Butler, you need to work at it. Jimmy Butler may be a polarizing media presence, but he's undoubtedly a hard worker. In contrast, Josh Jackson had some issues off the court that made you doubt his dedication. His shooting hadn't improved much either. Even now, he hit on only 31.9% of his threes (29.8% career.)
Still, if you're a stubborn Jackson optimist like I am, then you can see some flashes of progress here. After being humbled by a trip to the G-League and a trade to Memphis, Jackson has started to be effective again. This past season for the Grizzlies, he averaged 19.0 PPG, 5.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.8 steals, and 0.9 blocks per 36 minutes. He's never going to be Kawhi Leonard as a shooter, but there are ways he can be effective offensively. He converted 77.5% of his field goals inside (0-3 feet), which was up from 55% in the past, showing how improved strength and bulk may aid his game. He also shot 34.8% on corner threes -- still below-average, but better than before.
So where do we go from here? What can Josh Jackson become? If he continues to work on his craft without any problems behind the scenes, he looks like a good prospect again. After all, this is a kid who's still 23 (younger than rookie teammate Brandon Clarke.) Maybe it's too optimistic to think he can be the next Jimmy Butler, but maybe he can be a solid starter in the mold of a young Wilson Chandler. There's still some risk involved here, but it's worth an investment and gamble in the right circumstance (and for the right price.)
possible fits
MEM. Jackson staying in Memphis is the most likely scenario. While the Grizzlies are in the 8th seed right now, they're still a young team. Ja Morant is 20. Jaren Jackson in 20. Jackson can fit into their timeline. The only question here is whether they already have a similar (and better) player in house in Justise Winslow.
CLE. The Memphis Grizzlies are a good young team. The Cavs are a bad young team. They need to add some more talent, especially at the wing. In theory, Jackson would be a nice complement to their undersized bomber guards like Darius Garland and Collin Sexton.
CHA. The Hornets need to find a star, somehow, some way. It's unlikely Josh Jackson becomes that star, but it's worth a shot. He's comparable to current forward Miles Bridges in terms of his worth/upside.
Daulton Hommes, San Antonio Spurs, 23 years old
Marial Shayok, Philadelphia 76ers, 24 years old
NBA general managers have a lot in common with Chris D'Elia: they like 'em young! They tend to dismiss college veterans as "over-aged" and salivate over teenagers instead. And to be fair, there's some logic there. A 22 or 23-year-old rookie likely doesn't have as much upside as a 19 or 20 year old. At the same time, not every NBA players needs to ooze with Giannis Antetokounmpo upside. Sometimes, you set the bar lower; you're just looking for a serviceable role player.
To my eye, Philadelphia's Marial Shayok is trending in that direction. He spent 5 years at college (gross!) -- the first 3 at Virginia, before transferring and playing for Iowa State in 2018-19. That last season, Shayok looked solid -- averaging 18.7 PPG with great shooting splits (50-39-88). The 6'6" wing also sported a 7'0" wingspan, which naturally makes you consider him as a potential 3+D prospect.
Still, the "age" issue prevented Shayok from going high -- landing at pick # 54 last season and earning only a two-way deal. That leverage puts the Sixers in the catbird seat here; they can bring Shayok back on a team-friendly deal, and likely will do just that after he played very well in the G-League. In fact, he averaged 27-7-5 per 36 minutes, hitting 36% from three and 89% from the line. Teams don't just let players like that go, especially when their depth is an issue already. However, if the Sixers decide to cast him aside, then Shayok should wash ashore on another team in a hurry.
Marvin Williams, Milwaukee Bucks, UFA, 34 years old
Chris Boucher, Toronto Raptors, RFA, 27 years old
Frank Kaminsky, Phoenix Suns, 27 years old
Bonzie Colson, 24 years old
Back in college at Notre Dame, Bonzie Colson felt like an anomaly. Here was a stocky 6'5" player who largely played as a smallball 5. He utilized his strength and wingspan (7'0") to bully opponents, averaging 19.7 points, 10.1 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks as a senior.
Still... a 6'5" PF/C? You didn't play like that in the NBA.
Or do you...? The Houston Rockets are changing the paradigm with heavy minutes for P.J. Tucker (also 6'5") at center. Zion Williamson (6'6") will likely play a good amount of center as well for New Orleans. It may not ever be the norm, but it's not a ridiculous concept anymore. If you're an NBA team, it makes sense to at least have a lineup like that in your back pocket to break out in case of emergency.
Colson can capably fill that role (on the back-end of a roster) due to his natural savvy and his passable shooting (34% from 3 in the G-League.) Better still, he'd be dirt-cheap after some G-League and overseas stints. In fact, he may not cost much guaranteed money at all. If he shows up at camp in good shape, then there's a chance he sticks around. And let's be honest, the NBA -- and all of our lives -- are better off when there's at least one Bonzi/e around.
Nerlens Noel, Oklahoma City Thunder, 26 years old
Jakob Poelte, Mason Plumlee
Ekpe Udoh, 33 years old
Ivan Rabb, 23 years old
Langston Galloway, Detroit Pistons, UFA, 28 years old
submitted by ZandrickEllison to romoadventureclub [link] [comments]

Universal Universal Tale: Mk 1

Wrote this for a university publication last year. Figured I'd give back to this sub.
My story began on a long stretch of barren country road, with what appeared to be complete isolation. I was on quite the drive, with nothing to keep my mind occupied except for the thought of home cooked shrimp scampi and the sound of my own off key singing along with the radio. The emptiness of the road in either direction was only matched by the complete and utter vacancy of the rolling hills of pasture around me. It was in such isolation, when in my headlights I spied a craft the likes of which I have never seen before. A long tubular object, made of a grey metal, laid sideways across the road, blocking my travel. At first I didn’t know what it was, and my confusion only grew as a door on the side opened up and let out what can only be described as a mob of about a dozen creatures.
They were distinctly alien, tall and hairy, with long slender limbs, their faces looked somewhere between a dog and a human in structure. Short, squat snouts with rows of blunt teeth, eyes on either side of their protruding head. They were clothed in armor, a heavy metal similar to their ship, only a pale yellow color. It wrapped around their torso and spiraled down in elegant patterns down to their “ankles”, where their legs ended in what seemed like two hooves side by side per leg. In each of their hands they wielded a large, intricately patterned shield made of the same metal, and a large elegantly designed sword. The shield was yellow, the same shade as the armor, but was painted over with blue designs and symbols so beautiful my soul weeps at the very memory of them. It is only now, much later that I know that the designs I saw was just the Chihm Hegemony’s written language, and the shields actually had the words “Universal Universal Strike Blocker” written on the front. The swords they carried were a sleek grey, just like the ship. The swords also had a pattern painted on, but it was just a “W”, which I now know to be the symbol meaning “The object with which we stab people, places, and most definitely things, the Universal Universal Cutter Mk. VIII.” Of course I did not know this at the time, and instead found myself entranced at the strange sight before me.
My wonder and curiosity turned to dread as they surrounded my now stopped car, forming a shield wall I had no chance of escaping. Despite this, they seemed nervous, hands similar to our own gripped their weapons and held them at the ready. After what seemed an eternity, a final figure stepped out of their ship. Wearing clean red robes and carrying a device, it clopped forward to the outside edge of the circle and then began to speak into its device. The device itself was a box made of what looked to be a curiously dark color of wood, with a tube bent along the top. If the device was strange, the speech of the creature was even more so. Clicks and chirps, similar to that of a cricket, went into the box. The box whirred, clicked, and then began to make a noise almost exactly like that of a car honking. After several seconds of silence -seconds I spent still buckled and gaping- the box began to cycle through several different tones of honking, engine revving, and even at one point the beeps of a reversing truck. This went on for about two minutes, until finally the robed figure threw the box in disgust, and cracked the windshield of my car. It then let out a series of furious clicks, and with that the mob of creatures started to attack my car.
They swept their devilishly sharp swords through the side panels, cutting through them like butter and even hitting the seats. One of them stabbed downwards into the engine block, seizing the engine and breaking the creature’s sword and arm. Another tried to slash the tire, but the explosive force of the air caused the sword to leave his grip and fly through the air, narrowly missing the robed figure, who let out a tirade of clicks and chirps to which the mob of fighters ceased their attack.
At this, I decided it would be best to put on my best diplomatic face, and attempt to remedy the situation, and perhaps even seek recompense for the damages done to my car. As I opened the door to step out, the mob leapt backwards and cowered. Even the leader seemed a bit taken aback by my sudden appearance. After a moment to let them become acquainted with my presence, I tried my hand at speaking.
“What is wrong with you guys? Who do you think you are, hacking and slashing at my car like that? Do you have any idea how much that’s gonna cost to fix?” Not the best start to diplomatic relations, but it was a situation I was wholly unprepared for. The device, which was now sitting on the road, dented slightly from bouncing off of my windshield, began to whirr and click, then finally chirp. The group of extraterrestrials seemed taken aback by this, but the robed one picked up the device and let out a hasty series of chirps and clicks. After a brief moment of whirring, the machine let out a pleasant female voice with a faint British accent.
“You are that which is called dirt dweller?”
Now how was I supposed to take that? After a moment’s thought, it seemed obvious they confused our using of the words “Earth” and “dirt” synonymously.
“Yes, but we call it Earth, not dirt.”
The machine went through its usual whirring and eventual chirping, to which the group seemed to be overjoyed, throwing their still shield and sword laden arms into the air and chirping with exultation.
The machine picked up all of this, and interpreted it back in a long string of joy, proclaiming in its canned voice, “at last our search is over, long live the grand earth, praise be to its attendants, may they forgive our brazen attack!”.
Finally the robed figure spoke into the device, “We would be honored if you would come with us.”
What was I supposed to say? I was already planning on how I would tell the story to the eager crowds upon my return, what I would like to be served at the banquet in my honor, and on what day my international holiday should land.
“I would be honored to accompany you.”
The device gave my response, but after the chirping settled, a new round of whirring began.
“We would like you to bring Earth with you.”
My confusion could not be put into words, but I tried my best.
“I don’t understand you.”
“Bring Earth into ship with us.”
Now I knew I was going to be a bigshot that people would be forced to write long winded and asinine essays about someday, but at that moment I was about as close to a nobody as anybody can be, an undergrad student. Realizing my eventual importance and status, I decided to reply as tactfully as possible.
“How about just me for now, and then if you make a compelling case the Earth can come along too, okay?”
As soon as the box finished its chirping, I was pushed along by a mob of aliens, who were ushering me with all due haste onto their ship. I was all but carried up its ramp into a dark interior. I was no longer able to see anything without the aid of moonlight, but the aliens seemed to have no such issue. Before I knew it we were off, and the sickening feeling of motion without seeing it crept through my system. Just when I composed myself -blowing chunks all over an extraterrestrial delegation is no way to be remembered- I was pushed to the floor by the invisible hand of g-force. I must have blacked out, because that's the only way we could have traveled so far in what seems to be such a short amount of time.
When I awoke, there was an acute pain in my head, just behind my ear. The discomfort of unknown cause was almost as bad as the searing pain of watching the door to the shuttle open into a brightly lit room. Waiting for me at the end of the ramp, in a room that looked eerily similar to a garage, was a trio of aliens wearing red and blue striped robes. They were standing on a an old piece of cardboard, covering an old oil spill. Behind them were stacks of boxes, with everything from Christmas lights to pogo sticks spilling out of them. Rows of flickering hanging bulbs illuminated the scene, with the ship behind me as dark as ever. A door was in the far left corner, but between it and me were the three robed figures. The center one greeted me first.
“Welcome dirt dweller!”
My surprise at being able to understand him, and it was most definitely a him by the voice, was only just shy of my indignation at being called a dirt dweller again. After all, didn’t these people know I was going to be famous as soon as I could contact a news crew? Regardless, my response was as cool and level headed as they have all been to this point.
“Thank you, but I already told who’s-his-bucket I don’t like being called that, we call it Earth. Also, how am I able to understand you without the box thingy?”
“Ah yes, the Universal Universal Translator Mark II. Well one of our scientists, Doctor Chirp implanted you with the Universal Universal Translator Mark III while you were asleep. You should be able to understand all spoken language now, except Norwegian. Allow me to introduce us, I am called Chirp, to my right is the esteemed Chirp, and to my left is an old friend of mine, Chirp.”
That explained the pain in my neck, and my newfound ability to speak in tongues. Looking back I really wish that the translator would’ve translated their names too. But there were more questions to be asked, just not by me apparently.
“If you don’t mind my asking, where is your Earth?”
“You tell me, I left it behind.”
“Well, yes but we were under the impression that it would accompany you.”
“You expected all of Earth, to fit it in that?” I gestured and looked back toward the shuttle, it was big, maybe enough to fit a school bus or two, but all of Earth?
“Ah, you suspect the accomodations weren’t suitable for your Earth?”
At this, the robed figure to the left spoke up. “I told you we should have sent a temple with the ship. But nooooo, let’s listen to Chirp, he knows how to deal with these creatures, they would be okay with the temple being here. By the way, I’m still not entirely certain you recreated it right anyway.”
The middle one seemed perturbed by this development, and answered back with authority. “Oh so you think you’re so special don't you chirp? Just because you were right about the Earth's development alongside a symbiotic predator. You think you’re so smart don’t you? Well news flash, this temple is set up perfectly. All the various forms of incense are present, from 0W-20 to 05W-40. Even the offerings of winter decorations and recreation equipment is perfect.”
The one on the right took notice of the rising tensions between the other two, and interposed himself between the pair.
“Get ahold of yourselves, you’re acting like children in front of an ambassador. In fact, if it bugs you that much, ask her what she thinks of the temple.”
Now this was more like it, I was getting the respect I deserve, except for that one thing...
“Well, first, I’m actually a he. Male. Dude. Second, I don’t understand what you mean by ‘temple’. If you were shooting for a garage you hit the nail on the head.” The one on the left took this as a triumph, and began to move its arms in what could only have been a gloating dance. The middle one took only a moment to stare ruefully, before returning its attention to me.
“But, we’ve spent decades observing your culture, watched countless hours as you placed your Earths into the temples, gave offerings, and defended their honor whenever they were attacked!”
It was finally starting to click with me; it seemed so obvious! How could I, a brilliant ambassador and future world-renowned celebrity, not have seen this earlier? “When you say ‘earth’, do you mean ‘car’?”.
The middle one seemed exasperated at this, “First we called them ‘dirt’, but noooo that wasn’t right, so we called them ‘earth’, and now your telling me we have to start calling them ‘cars’?”
“Well that depends, do you mean the big blue orb we all live on, or do you mean the metal things we drive around in?”
“The second one, the beings you attach to. Tell me, what is your function anyway? Do you defend it from predators? Or are you just a parasite?”
I felt quite insulted, accused of being a parasite. I figured it was now time to put the record straight in the most diplomatic and elegant matter.
“Listen here booger-breaths, I have no idea where you’re coming from, accusing me of being a parasite and acting like my car is above me. By the way, one of you is either paying me a pretty substantial amount of money to fix the engine, or you’re going to fix it yourself. Newsflash, those things are tools, vehicles, objects, same way that shuttle behind me is, and I don’t appreciate having mine sliced and diced.”
The trio seemed to laugh, a high pitched grating noise, similar to tossing a handful of staples and Tic-Tacs in a blender. The middle one once again spoke for the group. “Oh you make us laugh. There’s no way a boorish brute of a species like your own could ever become civilized enough for space travel. Everyone knows that predators are too vicious to cooperate with each other and achieve true enlightenment. Don’t try acting like you’re not one either, it's quite plain, with your hideous flat face and forward pointing eyes, you even have the bare beginning of a pair of fangs! It’s clear your species was just uplifted by the ‘cars’, as you call them, to function as a servant species, probably to defend against other predators. Besides, we know you’re lying, for we met a ‘car’ in the vacuum of space. It tried with its dying breath to tell us its story. Sadly, the translator could not be set up in time.”
“Hold up. You met a car, in space, and it talked to you?”
“Why yes, is that unusual? The car and its human symbiote were apparently very famous on your planet. After much research, we’ve concluded that the car was called Tesla, and its human symbiote, who we found very much dead, was named Nikolai.”
This entire debacle, from being captured by aliens, to imminently becoming famous, to not getting some monetary compensation for my now trashed car was starting to weigh on my nerves. Not to mention the fact that I was probably going to be late for dinner, and would have to have the shrimp scampi leftover instead of fresh. Now I had to take time to figure out what it was they were even talking about. That being said, I was able to use my superior intellect to piece together exactly what they thought they knew, and compared it with reality. Relying on my eloquence, I informed them of their errors.
“Listen up you pug-faced idjits, I’m going to spell this out nice and slow. Cars are not people, they are machines. A Tesla is a type of car a guy named Elon Musk shot into space because it’d be cool, or something, never really knew why he did that actually. Also Nikola Tesla is a famous, human scientist from a hundred or so years ago.”
“Do you take us for fools? We will take your cars, and we will enslave them if we must. Your honeyed words can’t keep us from the truth! Chirp, ready the invasion force!”
And with that, the walls of the garage like room we were sitting in fell backwards, revealing a very large, hangar like room that was full of soldiers in the same bright yellow armor milling about, wielding the same sword and shield combo as before. Ships similar to the one that brought me were loading groups of forty or so. The main speaker of the trio must have caught my stares, “I see you noticed our invasion force.”
My silent and opened mouth nod was my only response.
“Yes it is rather small, only 400 brave soldiers, but we believe with our clear technological superiority, we shall have the day won rather handily. General Chirp, would you come here for a moment and demonstrate our might to this puny parasite?”
A creature with armor like the other soldiers -except for a purple stripe wrapping its way up his right leg and torso- walked toward the trio and me, sauntering a little, flourishing his sword. The general stepped between me and the trio.
“Noticed the ‘W’ have you? Yes it’s a wonderful piece of fighting technology, light for parrying, strong for stabbing. Not to mention sharp. This is the only weapon in the known universe capable of piercing the chordolome armor we wear. Go on give me a punch.” He struck his own chest with a hearty closed fist, too which I responded with a light tap.
“Go on, you can do better than that. If you break your hand I’ll let you spare a human of your choice.”
Well with an offer like that, how could I resist? So I wound up a mighty right hook and punched with all of my strength, making a loud gonging noise, throwing the general off balance, but sadly, not breaking my hand.
“Well, I see your hand is still in one piece. So you’ll have to watch your entire planet be put to the sword.”
With a sore hand and an even more wounded pride, I summoned my response, a last ditch attempt to avoid war.
“Listen here you Renaissance Fair dropout, how exactly do you expect to conquer the entirety of Earth with nothing but swords?”
“What? Do you know of anything that can puncture this armor? You saw for yourself how strong it is. Only a well placed ‘W’ strike can truly injure a mighty soldier of the Hegemony, and even then the sword must be a mighty ‘W Mk. VIII’, or even a ‘W Mk. IX’, but that’s not in production yet.”
“Well, yeah if you get up close and personal. But what about things that come at you from a distance ...”
“I’ll stop you right there, you clearly don’t understand, probably due to your inferior predator intellect. Nothing can puncture this armor from range, not thrown daggers, spears, dirks, not even a thrown battleaxe has a chance. Even a thrown ‘W’ would have issue piercing our armor”
“But what about other kinds of ranged weapons, don’t you have any of those? Lasers or something?”
“Ah yes. We would, if these swords weren’t so expensive to make. The hilt itself costs more than an entire planet’s yearly output, but it's a small price to pay for making sure the Chihm Hegemony troopers are the best armed in the galaxy!”
“Uhm... but what if the people you’re fighting don’t use swords, what if they use guns instead?”
“Ah, a good question. Well, you see, guns aren’t particularly sharp, and no matter how hard you swing them they will be useless at puncturing our armor. We are completely invulnerable to all that your stupid, backwards planet can throw at us, and there is nothing you can do to stop us! You are practically unarmed, and your stupid race will make a pleasant squelching sound underneath the boot of the mighty Chihm Hegemony!”
“Okay, first of all...”
“Enough! We march on humanity, and you shall witness in awe as we bathe your puny civilization in a river of its own blood!”
At that the trio of robed aliens pushed me back into the shuttle I came from.
“Come, we shall watch the gruesome undertaking from the safety of this Universal Universal Shuttle! Would you care for a jihn-en tonix? It’s a specialty on our home planet.”
I was once again locked in complete darkness, with nothing but my own thoughts to keep me company, and even those disappeared when I blacked out for the second time in the space of what felt like an hour (which, medical experts will agree, is not a good thing). When I awoke a panel on the side was displaying a high definition image of Earth. How impeccably realistic the screen looked took my breath away, until I realized that it was actually a window. The trio of Chihm were jostling each other, taking very uneven turns looking through a telescope pointing out the window, when one of them spoke up.
“This is ridiculous, why don't we just put it up on the Universal Universal Multi-Spectrum Display Mk. IV, that way the human can watch too.”
This was agreed upon as a good idea, and a monitor was slowly lowered over the window. It lit up to show the same image of Earth that it was blocking, but then slowly zoomed in to show the invasion underway.
The Chihm army landed on what looked like to be a Los Angeles freeway, and seemed to be having quite the time hacking and slashing cars to pieces, their occupants have clearly long since fled.
“Look you insufferable little brat! Look at how easily our troops are cutting through your precious ‘cars’.”
I just slowly nodded, wondering where the nearest military base was, and how much longer it would be to turn that section of overpass into a knee high pile of rubble. “Out of curiosity, how long have they been on the ground?”
“Ha! Our glorious shock troopers have completed the wrath before you in a mere ten minutes!”
“How about a friendly bet, I wager that your entire strike force will get destroyed in about six minutes.”
“Ha! You’re on, what could possibly destroy a mighty army such as ours?”
For the casual reader, the nearest military base to this particular Los Angeles freeway was, in fact, Los Angeles Air Force Base. At the time, there were plenty of planes capable of carrying more than enough munitions to really rain on someone’s parade in the worst way imaginable. The particular planes chosen for this mission though, carried six one ton bombs, with the lead aircraft also carrying an excited weapon systems operator, and a steadily more and more irritated pilot who had to stop eating his evening burger to go fly.
“I’m telling you man, this is the opportunity of a lifetime. Extraterrestrials! Here! In L.A.! and we’re the ones that get to blow them up!”
“Just drop it man. Focus.”
“No! Are you kidding me? The question everyone has been asking since forever, ‘are we alone?’, has finally been answered!”
“Dude, just drop it.”
“There are aliens! They are intelligent! They even came to us! Shame we have to blow them up though.”
“Jackson. Drop. It.”
“For the last time no! I understand you’re ‘hangry’ and all, we’ll find a burger joint after the debriefing, okay?”
“I meant the load. Drop the load.”
“Oh, whoops.”
With the press of a button, the aircraft became twelve thousand pounds lighter, and banked away, with the three other aircraft in this particular strike following suit. The bombs fell with little resistance, guided to their targets by computers so advanced they could have blasted through a car window if they so choose. They didn’t though, the 24 bombs just flattened that particular section of overpass and turned all of the Chihm Hegemony’s plans of world conquest to dust in the wind. Ironically enough, that’s exactly what it did to the soldiers on the ground too.
The fireworks were impressive, even more so when viewed from a Universal Universal Multi-Spectrum Display Mk. IV, the way the trio and I looked at it. I had to check my watch to see how close I was to being dead on.
“Six minutes and forty-two seconds. I was just a little off really.”
The silence was beautiful, golden really. I basked in the feeling of superiority, the knowledge that I got to personally watch an entire race of snobs get put into their place. I, in complete humility and respect for the gravity of the situation, held my tongue and let my captors speak first.
“Oh great and terrible human! We seek forgiveness for our transgressions! We humbly beg that you... you...”
Being distracted by watching the pride and joy of his species’ military get turned into a fine powder, the middle one was finally at a loss for words. The one standing to the right of him, though, was not.
“That you choose to not ‘kaboomify’ us. In fact we would like to offer recompense, reparations if you will, just name your price.”
I weighed this tempting and potentially fruitful offer in head, feeling the delicious taste of jihn-en tonix swirl around in my mouth, along with the growling in my stomach, and the sudden memory that nobody has even offered the name of a good auto shop for hacking my car to bits.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how I ended up here, in front of my mother’s house, with nothing but a Tesla Roadster with a few million miles on it, a delicious jihn-en tonix and a story to tell. I’ll get around to telling it to the world later though, right now there’s the delicious scent of shrimp scampi which is my new immediate concern.
submitted by crusader2017 to HFY [link] [comments]

The Commanding Heights Are No Laughing Matter (Jonah Goldberg's G-File)

Dear Reader (including those of you don’t get the jokes),
Andrew Yang began an answer last night, “Now, I am Asian, so I know a lot of doctors…”
Personally, I liked his Asian joke from the second debate better:
“We need to do the opposite of much of what we're doing right now, and the opposite of Donald Trump is an Asian man who likes math…”
I tend to come from the school of thought that the only test for whether a joke works is whether relatively normal and decent people laugh at it. I offer that caveat because the audience matters. What passes for a knee-slapper in the Aryan Nation’s corner of the prison yard is not necessarily funny at Presbyterian Old Age Home.
The funny thing about humor is that it is at war with reason, which is why when you explain a joke, you ruin it. (Exception to the rule: When Dug in Up explains, “It is funny because the squirrel gets dead.”) Reason alone should dictate that if racial stereotypes are bad for one race, they should be bad for all races. But audiences do not laugh by reason alone—or by reason at all. They intuitively get where the lines are, and often laugh precisely because they didn’t recognize the lines in the first place.
So Yang can play on stereotypes about Asians, in part because they’re positive stereotypes and in part because he’s, you know, Asian, and members of specific groups have more leeway on such things. If Biden had turned to Yang and said, “Andy, you’re Asian, you must know a lot of doctors…” some might have laughed, but not in a way that’d help Biden much.
Everybody Yang Fun Tonight
Still, as I struggled to fight the soul-leaching ennui of last night’s debate, I thought how wild it would be if everyone on the stage began an answer about healthcare (or anything else) by first invoking an ethnic stereotype.
Joe Biden: “Now, I’m Irish so I know a lot of people with cirrhosis.” Or, “Now, I’m Irish, so I know a lot of people who end up in the E.R. on St. Patrick’s Day.”
Bernie Sanders: “Now, I’m Jewish, so I know only suckers pay retail.”
Kamala Harris: “Now, I’m Asian and African-American, so I know lots of doctors too, but I also know the patients those Asians overcharge.”
Elizabeth Warren: “Now, I’m, uh…Can I take a pass on this one?”
The Funny Thing About Funny
I haven’t followed the latest developments in the war over comedy too closely. I haven’t seen Dave Chapelle’s new show or Bill Burr’s either (though I did read Kyle Smith’s excellent dissections of each special). But I’ve followed it enough to know there are people who argue with a straight face that there’s such a thing as post-comedy:
Comedians and comedy writers are increasingly pushing the bounds of what it means for something to be a comedy in the most basic sense, rewiring the relationship between comedies and jokes. So what is comedy without jokes? It’s post-comedy.
Remember the old joke:
Q: “How many feminists does it take to screw in a lightbulb?” A: “That’s not funny!”
Post-comedy would change the punchline to: “One. Because feminists are just as capable of changing lightbulbs as anyone else. Shame on you for thinking this is something to joke about.”
It’s still the same joke; it’s just that now the joke is on the “comedian.”
Still, looked at from a certain angle, it’s not all as idiotic as it seems on first blush. I just think people are trying way too hard. Basically, post-comedy humor is a modern form of satire, which has never required laughs. Jonathan Swift’s call to eat the Irish isn’t full of guffaws, but it’s literally a foundational work of satire.
The Commanding Heights Are No Laughing Matter
What I find interesting is the sociology of all this.
There are lots of kinds of comedy. The Three Stooges were very different from Bob Newhart who was very different from Eddie Murphy or the Coen Brothers or Amy Schumer. It’s telling that the folks going to war against comedy aren’t against comedy per se. Though I’m sure someone has written a brilliant-12,000 word essay on the heteronormative normalization of male violence in the Stooges (“…the consequence-free impact of the bowling ball on Larry’s skull demonstrates how violence is the currency of patriarchical discourse…”). But in general, they’re angry about a particular type of comedy: “politically incorrect” comedy (to use a hackneyed phrase).
So, here’s a theory. Ever since the age of court jesters went out with the Divine Right of Kings, “stand-up comedy” or “political humor” subverted or transgressed authority (and even before that, there was a long tradition of esoteric rebellion in comedy). In other words, politically incorrect humor made fun of the Powers That Be or The Man. What made it politically incorrect wasn’t necessarily its orientation toward conventional politics, but its willingness to tease, test, or tear down taboos. This is why sex and race have always been such rich veins of stand-up comedy, like the old vaudeville humor of the Burlesque, Redd Fox, Lenny Bruce, George Carlin, Joan Rivers, et al.
This is also why, for most people over the age of 40, comedy was vaguely associated with progressivism. I think this was deeply tied to American religiosity. It may not always be obvious, but jokes about sexual taboos are usually at the expense of The Prudes, and until the day before yesterday, prudery was almost synonymous with religious devotion.
What’s changed is that a variant of the ancient American Puritan tradition has shed its religious doctrine and orthodoxy and emerged on the left. This isn’t to say that the Puritan tradition is dead on the right—one might even argue it’s undergoing a renaissance, as some folks metaphorically throw the Constitution into the trashcan fire, the brightening light of the embers making it easier to spot the Drag Queen Storytellers in our midst.
But it hardly takes a lot of imagination to see the woke Twitter brigades and campus Comstocks as modern day Puritans, furious that someone somewhere is living or thinking wrong. And just as the prudes of old controlled the newspapers, the mainline churches, the Harvards and Yales and, let us not forget, the television networks and movie studios, the new prudes and puritans control the same commanding heights of the culture. What makes it all so confusing to them is that they don’t realize they’ve won the culture war (though in fairness, no one ever thinks he’s won a culture war).
When historians write about this period, I suspect they’ll look at the mid-2000s as the inflection point. About 20 years ago, I wrote a piece for NR arguing that The Simpsons—already TV’s longest running sitcom!—constituted a victory for the right in the culture. It wasn’t that the show was conservative, but that it aimed at all of the “false pieties” of the culture:
What should dismay liberals about this is that so many of today’s pieties are constructs of the Left. Conservatives are accustomed to being mocked constantly in the popular culture. But the experience must come as something of a shock for hothouse liberals. For example, Homer Simpson’s mother is a ’60s radical still on the lam. How did she dodge the feds? “I had help from my friends in the underground. Jerry Rubin gave me a job marketing his line of health shakes. I proofread Bobby Seale’s cookbook. And I ran credit checks at Tom Hayden’s Porsche dealership.” Some important pretensions are being punctured here—but not the usual ones.
Around the same time, Andrew Sullivan and Brian Anderson were making the case that South Park represented the same dynamic. Sullivan called it “the best antidote to PC culture we have.” Anderson noted that “Lots of cable comedy, while not traditionally conservative, is fiercely anti-liberal, which as a practical matter often amounts nearly to the same thing.” He quotes Matt Stone, South Park’s co-creator: “I hate conservatives, but I really f**king hate liberals.”
What fascinates me is the way that, in the years since, the enforcers of political correctness, perhaps not entirely consciously, recognized the threat of anti-PC humor and cracked down on it. This is exactly what Joseph Schumpeter, borrowing from Nietzsche’s Genealogy of Morals, would have predicted. What Schumpeter called the New Class of intellectuals (and what Nietzsche called the priestly class) undermine virtues that don’t benefit them by turning them into vices. For Nietzsche, Christianity overturned the old virtues of pride, bravery, and strength and turned them into vices, elevating humility and meekness. For Schumpeter, the new intellectual classes turned industry and entrepreneurialism into rapaciousness and greed.
Even if you don’t buy all that, it is remarkable how angry the wokesters are at Dave Chapelle and co. I think it stems from the fact that, even though they prudishly want to police comedy, they don’t want to give up on the vital myth that to be left-wing is to be rebellious. The problem is they can’t have it both ways. They can’t control the commanding the heights of the culture and also claim to be the cultural subversives and rebels.
But they can try. Which brings me to…
Some Rank Punditry
A new peer-reviewed paper—written by eight(!) researchers—published in the Journal of Archeological Science had some bad news. It turns out that you cannot fashion a blade from frozen human feces. From the abstract:
The ethnographic account of an Inuit man manufacturing a knife from his own frozen feces to butcher and disarticulate a dog has permeated both the academic literature and popular culture. To evaluate the validity of this claim, we tested the basis of that account via experimental archaeology. Our experiments assessed the functionality of knives made from human feces in controlled conditions that provided optimal conditions for success. However, they were not functional. While much research has shown foragers to be technologically resourceful, innovative, and savvy, we suggest that this ethnographic account should no longer be used to support that narrative.
What does this have to do with last night? No much. But I bet you’re glad that, from now until you die, you’ll know that you can’t freeze your crap and hone it into functioning knife. Note to Paul Manafort, plotting that daring jailbreak: You can take your Tupperware out of the prison kitchen freezer now.
Anyway, where was I? Oh, right. Last night. Like the unveiling of that paper, it was a cerebral sh*tshow. With the exception of Joe Biden, everyone on that stage seemed to believe that the country is hungry for more ass-over-tea-kettle political upheaval. Even Klobuchar, who wants to be seen as a moderate alternative to Biden—should they find him one morning in his pajamas eating dirt—isn’t actually promising policy moderation. She says she’ll be more moderate in tone, for the most part.
I’ll leave it to others to do all of the nitty-gritty stuff, though interest in these debates has a shorter half-life than a frozen fecal blade left on your dashboard on a hot day. With the exception of Kamala Harris’ giggly tut-tutting over concerns that her agenda would be unconstitutional, the most vexing thing to me was how much their core assumptions mirrored some of the worst assumptions of Trump.
Trump has a tendency to think that his supporters—“my people”—are really the only Americans who fully count as Americans, which is one reason why he constantly talks about how he’s so popular with Republicans. Trump also impugns the legitimacy of any institution, rule, or constituency that is not supportive of him or his agenda. He doesn’t oppose rigging the system (see all the cancelled GOP primaries); he just opposes any system that stands in his way.
The Democrats last night did the same thing. Again and again, they worked from the assumption that the cheering crowd in the room was a representative sample of America. All of the forces that disagree with what they want to do aren’t fully part of America; they’re problems to be solved. Bernie Sanders last night said:
…I have taken on virtually every powerful special interest in this country, whether it is Wall Street, whether it is the insurance industry, whether it is the pharmaceutical industry whose corruption and greed is killing people today, whether it is a military industrial complex or a prison industrial complex…
This is not a list of “virtually every powerful special interest in the country.” This is a list of the powerful special interests Bernie doesn’t like. Teachers unions, environmentalists, Hollywood, the trial lawyers, Planned Parenthood, the higher education lobby, et al. are all powerful special interests too.
The underlying assumption beneath everything—the gun confiscation, the eradication of private insurance, the disdain for the filibuster or constitutional restraints on executive power—is the idea that, after an election, the 51 percent of the voters who cast ballots for the winner should be allowed to pee in the cornflakes of the losers.
Forget the fact that this is a hate crime against the constitutional order and republican government; it’s the frozen fecal knife of electoral strategies. At least Biden understands that, while Trump may be unpopular, what’s really driving a lot of Americans nuts is that politics is becoming a zero-sum game that no one is allowed to escape from.
Yes, many Americans crave change. But for millions of them, the change they’re looking for is less drama, less revolution from above, less demonization of dissent, and more normalcy. If you spend your days in an insane asylum trying to stop some dude from having sex with a light socket and explaining that she can’t put her cat in a blender, you might crave change, but the change you’re looking for would probably manifest itself as quietly eating a nice bowl of soup while watching Wheel of Fortune.
They all talked about unifying the country, but in every regard unification would be entirely on their terms, the law and the Constitution be damned. It’s like they think an election is a contest to cut the Gordian knot of our differences by achieving total victory and implementing literally impossible ideas. Every time they promise revolutionary stuff they can’t deliver, the knot gets bigger and tighter, because the other side sees the stakes grow larger. Medicare for All and the Green New Deal, on fiscal terms alone, are bullsht. And bullsht won’t cut the knot, even if you freeze it and sharpen it to fine point.
Various & Sundry
Canine Update: The girls are doing great. Thanks to the cooler weather, even Zoë is letting her fur down. In fact, they’ve been playing with each other quite a bit. Zoë even let Pippa chase her, an incredibly rare occurrence. But we did have a bad setback the other morning. Pippa usually tries to keep her tennis ball in her mouth while provisioning the base materials for a frozen fecal blade. But sometimes she drops it, before she drops the other stuff. The other morning she ended up, well, pooping on her own tennis ball. It was not her best moment. But to Pippa’s credit, she will not go near a ball that is even close to that stuff. And it was okay, because I had a backup ball. But then we lost that in the tall grass. Zoë was horrified by the whole affair.
submitted by Sir-Matilda to tuesday [link] [comments]

A fan-fiction story I wrote called "Morty's Life Fulfilled." Something to fill the void until Season 4 comes around.

“Hey Rick, this isn’t funny anymore.”
“What are you talking about, Morty? You’re suspended in a bubble of space-time and that little pea brain of yours couldn’t figure out how to get out if there was a playboy bunny hopping around saying ‘come get me, Morty, pleasure me, pleasure me, Morty.’” Rick laughed and sat back in his chair.
“Seriously, Rick, I need to get out of here.”
“Why? What could you possibly need to do on a Thursday morning? Tell me, Morty, cause my super genius brain can’t think of a single useful thing you'd be doing. 'Useful,’ you catch that Morty?”
“Yeah, I heard it. Maybe that brain missed one important thing that every child should be doing on a Thursday morning. That's school, Rick. Your super genius stupid brain think of that?”
“A brain can't be stupid and genius Morty, that's just stupid. Why would you even think that… oh, right.”
Morty pressed his hands against the bubble and it pushed back. Outside, the world turned wavy. Like Starry Night in motion, swirling and shifting. Morty couldn’t keep his focus, it all moved so splendidly. So hypnotic. But he also had shit to do.
“Get me out of here, Rick!” Morty punched and the bubbled punched back.
Morty was being a little bitch because today he decided he was going to stop being one and ask Jessica out again. They were going to go on a date and she was going to like it. This was going to be the start of something magical. Their lives were waiting to begin. Or… or something like that.
“You tell me one reason why I should let you out and I'll—burp I'll consider it.”
“Because I don't want to be part of this stupid experiment. Now, let me out!”
“Jeez, think at your age you’d know another synonym for stupid. Fine,” Rick popped the bubble, “maybe you'll actually learn something at school. Maybe ask the teacher for a thesaurus while you're at it. In case you didn't know it, 'thesaurus’ is a real word.”
“I know it, Rick. I'm not dumb—”
“—there you go—”
“—you know.”
Morty stomped his feet. His eyes took a moment to readjust to the world. The cement felt solid. Good. Rick looked drunk and hungover. Good, good. Everything was good. Morty took a deep breath and thought back to his training last night.
He trained himself to be confident. Some Shia Dubeouf and Elliott Hulge videos riled him up real good. He was no beta, not even an alpha, he was the omega male and he wouldn’t even have to ask Jessica to go out with him, she would want to. She wouldn’t be able to resist him. Still, he was going to ask, to be courteous or something.
Morty turned to Rick. “Open that door,” he said. The newfound confidence shocked Rick.
“Uh, sure, I got that.” Rick stood. “But you know, in the time you asked me to do this and by the time I finish, you could’ve opened the door and walked out. In fact, you would’ve actuall- burp actually been out faster.” Rick pressed the garage door opener.
Morty began walking out.
“Wow,” said Rick, “not even a thank you? Jeez, that’s some cold hard ego you got going on there, Morty. Just what every woman wants, huh? You hear that?! You’re totally going to get laid tonight, Morty!” Morty kept going.
“You hear that, Morty?! You’re going to get laid, as long as that paper-thin confidence doesn’t crumble away. Yeah, crumble from the slightest pressure. Even a fart could knock that over.” Rick lifted his leg and farted. “You see that Morty?! I did that into the garage. I wouldn’t want to destroy that fragile ego you built yourself, because that fart totally could have. Morty. Morty!”
Morty was gone, down the street without ever looking back.
Rick grabbed a beer.
The bell hadn’t even rung before Morty Smith burst through the doors of Harry Herpson High School. The school boys and girls turned their heads. There’s a sense in the air when things are about to go from ‘meh’ to ‘holy crap, shit’s about to go down!’. It’s a stench common in adolescence, declining in the 20’s, and decreasing even more until about 40. The difference then is at 40 there aren’t so many people around to smell it and the results are more psychotic than alluring. Here, the smell burst through the air, trailing Morty like a good crop dusting.
Morty marched up to locker 123 and scanned to the left and then to the right. Jessica wasn’t there. No problem, not one at all. Morty would wait. Seconds, minutes, it didn’t matter. She would come at some point and the end would be the same.
Morty rehearsed this line, inside and out:
“Jessica, you better dress up something pretty tonight because I’m taking you out. Yeah. I’mma treat you to some froyo and we’re gonna make magic. Tonight. 7pm. I’ll be there. I’ll be getting you. Tonight.”
Morty waited, and waited. The first bell went. Then the second. Mr. Goldenfold walked down and saw Morty standing by the Locker 123.
“Morty Smith!” he yelled. “You weren’t in first period today! I had to call your mother and ask her where you were! Why aren’t you in class?!!”
Morty looked Mr. Goldenfold dead in the eye.“I have something to take care of first,” he said. “You can call my mother back and tell her I’m okay.” Then his eyes narrowed. “Can you do that Mr. Goldenfold? Can you handle that? Cause if you can’t handle that, Mr. Goldenfold, maybe you shouldn’t be teaching me math. It’s an essential skill I’ll need for the rest of my life and maybe you’re not good enough to teach it if you can’t do this. Maybe you shouldn’t teach anything. Maybe you should go home and figure out something else to do with your life. Start with something useful. Something useful and something you can do. So can you handle that, Mr. Goldenfold? Can you?”
Mr. Goldenfold clenched his buttcheeks and scurried towards the office where he would call Morty’s mother and tell her everything was fine. Morty stayed, his eyes scanning both ends of the hallway. His determination would not fail. Though the day carried on, Morty waited for her to come.
It was noon when the bell rang and the children filled the hallways for lunch. The children, once questioning what Morty was up to, now pondered the idea that he’d gone mad. Morty stood there as if on guard; a Buckingham Palace guard, just begging to be toiled with. A few kids indulged, waving their hands in front of his face, telling him he was a “loser”, and shooting spitballs, most missing by a few inches. Then, the moment Morty was waiting for came.
Around the corner came a princess in a purple sundress. Her red hair bounced with each step, as did another area, but Morty kept his eyes away from there—no distractions. This was it, a time to tell this beautiful—what happened to her face?
Jessica held her head low as she drifted to her locker, not noticing Morty standing right there. Her cheeks were swollen and the face, usually masked with makeup, was blotched with zits and pimples. She looked sick, or ill, or something. As Morty stared, nerves crept up through his skin. This wasn’t how he pictured it… but… but he waited so long.
The hallway lights dimmed low and a dope beat began dropping.
“Look,” said a tremulous and nasally voice. A purple boot appeared from the corner of the hallway. It carried a small man in white tights, with magenta underwear and a matching mask shadowing his eyes. A purple cape, a shade brighter than his boots trailed his steps. One of his eyes hung lower, droopy, and not a single hair could be found on his body. He carried a mic and a spotlight shined somewhere from the ceiling.
“If you had one shot, one opportunity. To seize everything you ever wanted—in one moment… Would you capture it, Morty? Or just let it slip away?”
Noob Noob stared, his eyelids twitching and his hand shaking. “You can do anything you set your mind to, man. God damn!” The beat faded as fast as it came and Noob Noob was gone.
“What the fuck?” said Morty.
Jessica lurched back. “What? Oh, Morty, how long have you been there?”
“Uh, I’ve just been here, you know.”
“Oh… wait, what did you say?” Jessica brought her hand up to her face, covering her cheeks.
“Oh, I wasn’t to you, that was…” Fuck, this was going wrong, she was throwing him off. Common Morty, refocus here. Remember what Noob Noob said. It doesn’t matter that it’s the first time you’ve seen her like this. Common.
Morty straightened his back and took a deep breath in. “Jessica, you-you better dress in something tonight. Pretty, be-because I’m out—I’m taking you out. We’ll get froyo at 7 and make magic cause I’ll be there, tonight. I’ll get you.”
“Well, froyo would be good for this...” She took her hand away from her face, showing her two puffy cheeks.
“W-what happened?”
“I got my wisdom teeth out, Morty, that’s why I look like…” she pointed shyly to her face.
“Oh. Oh, I didn’t notice that but…”
“But that’s really sweet of you, Morty. You know, when I looked in the mirror this morning, I almost couldn’t bring myself to come.” She gazed down at her shoes, a pair of lilac sandals. “The medication helped the pain but nothing can hide this.” Again she pointed to her face.
“Y-you know what Jessica, y-you’re more than just the skin on your face,” said Morty. “Or, or that dress on that fine… figure-tur..?” Nice save, Morty. “You can’t let your looks let you decide what you’ll do, you have to decide what you want to do. Then do it. You do you, Jessica, you do you.”
“What if I want to do you, Morty?”
“Uh, wuh?” Morty felt the blood suddenly leave one head for another. Morty shifted his hips back and bit his cheek. He needed clarification. Like now.
“Well, you were asking me out, right?” she continued. “And looking like this I want to stay inside. What if I want to go out with you, Morty? Give dating you a second chance.”
“Oh, oh. Is that what you said? Okay—”
“And do me,” she whispered.
Morty began to sweat. He needed out, or to sit down. Sit down with his legs tucked in. But then he’d be looking up. Looking up... Maybe up that sundre—
“I’ll see you at 7!” yelled Morty, and he sprang for the nearest washroom. He crashed in, shoving the door into someone before sprinting to the stall. He locked the door and sat on the toilet.
“Yo, what the fuck?” said a deep voice from the other side. “Who the fuck was that?”
“Looked like that queer, Morty,” a gravelly voice answered. “Man, is that blood?”
“Shut the fuck up.” A knock came at the door. Morty tried to ease his erection by crossing his legs. “Yo, you make me bleed, I make you bleed. Hammurabi law, yo. See you after school, Morty.”
“Ah, yeah, man. Hammer law,” said the other one.
“Yo, shut the fuck up.”
The outside door swung twice and Morty was alone. His chub throbbed and his hands shook. Whatever those kids said didn’t phase Morty; he never heard what they said. He was in a state of euphoria, self-actualization, all his planning worked out. He did it, he asked her out and she said yes. All those self-help books really did help, all he had to do was believe. All he had to do was be sure he believed and fate followed.
As his pants loosened, Morty began to see the pale blue walls that housed him. The lunch bell rang. It was time to get to class. He already missed his morning periods, he couldn’t miss the afternoon ones too. After all, he did spend all that time telling Rick education was the most important thing for a child. He would be a huge hypocrite if he skipped out now.
Two kids leaned by the entrance of the school, their feet in the front gardens and backs against the brick. One dressed in a baggy black sweater and jeans, the other in a baggy grey sweater and jeans. Both had beanies matching the colour of their sweaters. They watched as the school emptied after the final bell rang, looking for Morty Smith to appear in the crowd. A flash of yellow came into sight. There he was, walking casually as if he didn’t know what was coming, like he didn’t know what happened in the bathroom.
The boys walked their way through the crowd and shoved Morty in the back.
“Hey Porty,” said the one in black. He had a deep voice.
“Ha, you called him Porty,” said the other. “Nice one, maaaan.”
“Yo, shut the fuck up.”
“Are you talking to me?” asked Morty. “W-why’d you push me?”
“Yeah, Porty. Remember what I told you? Hammurabi law, motherfucker.”
“Yeah, Hammer law, bitch.”
“Yo, shut the fuck up.”
Morty raised his brow. “What? H-hey, I don’t got beef with you. What’s Porty even mean?”
“It,” the one in black paused, “uh… It’s your name and…”
“And Porty.”
“Yo… yeah, Porty.”
“Ah, haaaa. Haaaaaaa.” The one in grey threw his hands up, twisting them into dated gang-signs.
“Yo, shut the fuck up.”
“Okay, well, I’m gonna go home now.” Morty began to walk away when the one in black grabbed his shoulder and pulled. As Morty rounded, a light blur came towards him. What could it be? Perhaps Morty should turn all the way around and see. And then—
Morty’s body hit the floor. The knockout was clean. Morty wouldn’t feel a thing until he woke up. The commotion raised the interest of Mr. Vagina who charged out as the two older boys ran away. He found Morty limp and impotent, so Mr. Vagina took him and cradled him inside until Morty was awake and erect. By then his mother had arrived and took him home to finish the job. When all was said and done, Morty needed an ice pack. He placed in on his face.
“What did you do to piss them off?” asked Beth.
“I don no,” Morty muttered, then groaned. “I eeing Essi-a oo-night. I ant ike is.”
“Oh Morty, just ask her another day.”
Morty slammed his hand on the kitchen table. “Oh! Oo-day! I ated oo ong.”
“Whoa, they teaching physical abuse in school these days, Morty?” Rick said walking in. “Or are you just beating yourself up cause you realized all that, burp, all that crap you said earlier was just a misdiagnosed pile of horseshit.”
“Dad!”
Rick grabbed a beer from the fridge. “Sorry, baby, y-you know what he told me early. Y-you know what he said?”
Beth sighed. “What Dad?”
“Education is important.” Rick laughed and opened his beer. “Ha! It still makes me laugh.” After one swig that finished off the whole bottle, Rick found Beth and Morty staring at him and shaking their heads.
“What? You still don’t burp agree. Fine, stay unwoke.” Rick flipped them deuces. “Bet he couldn’t do what I’m doing with that ‘education’,” he added before leaving for the garage.
Morty sunk his head down and lay it on the wet ice pack. Beth walked over and took a seat behind him, rubbing his back.
“It’s okay, honey. Maybe… maybe she won’t notice.”
Morty looked up at her with his pitiful, disgustingly swollen face. It was like a botched botox injection. She turned around and tried to cover her laughing face. Morty rolled his eyes and sunk his face into the table again.
“I’m sorry, Morty… What time’s your date?”
“Even,” muttered Morty.
“Eleven?”
“Even!” Morty sat back up and shoved five fingers and two thumbs at Beth.
“Seven? Oh, that’s plenty of time. Here, I’ll make you a smoothie.”
Morty rested his head again facing away from the kitchen. He heard his Mom open the fridge a few times, a drizzle of that, a sprinkle of this, a pop of something, and a grinding. The blender roared as it mixed everything into one pink slurry. Morty took it and slurped it back. It was good—better than good—it was great. He turned his head to the side, keeping it away from his swollen cheek and finished it in a minute flat.
“Hanks, om.”
“You’re welcome, sweetie. Now, go rest up, I’ll come get you at 6:30.”
Morty hugged his Mom and made his way to bed. He ignored Summer as she said, “oh my god!” and tried to snap a photo of him. When his head hit the pillow, Morty tried to imagine what his date would be like but sleep took him faster than usual. Much faster.
“Time to get up sweetie.” Beth was dragging him out of bed. “Don’t want to be late for your Date!” She emphasized date like it was important. Why did she say it so loud?
Morty’s eyes opened slowly. When did his room become so kick-ass? Like, he had so many yellow shirts and they were all so damn fucking perfect.
“Honey, you have to try walking.”
“I am. I’m... I’m float-walking,” said Morty, a dopey smile on his lips.
“Oh, crap. I used too much, just... Just hold on Morty.”
“I’ll hold on to you,” said Morty. With no one there to support him, he fell to the ground. But damn, did the ground ever feel nice. And taste nice too.
“Shit,” said Beth, back from downstairs. “Morty, stop licking that.” She took Morty’s head off the carpet and cradled it in her arms. “This is a bad idea, this is a bad idea,” she repeated while Morty gazed up, licking his lips. She jabbed the needle in his leg and Morty shot up like a rocket.
“Mom! What the—what the…” His eyes were swollen with fright. Morty’s arm crept up to his chest, then he fell back on his bed.
Beth sat, horrified at what she had done. The adrenaline should’ve just woke him up, not… not. She grabbed Morty and ran downstairs to the garage. Rick was working on some sort of chamber of sorts but for now he tweaking something at his workbench.
“Dad, you have to do something.”
“Huh, what? Jeez, Beth, what-what the hell?! Is he?” Rick raised one of Morty’s arms and let it drop. Rick lurched back. “What-what did you do to him?” He turned around and began mixing an assortment of liquids.
“I don’t know, I just put in some painkillers into his drink. He… he was so bummed about his date and… I think I used too much.”
“Uh, yeah, maybe.”
“And he woke up so drowsy… he couldn’t go on a date like that.”
“No, much better as a corpse.”
“I was trying to do my best, okay?”
“Okay, sweetie.” Rick poured his brew into an empty syringe and stuck it into Morty’s arm. As it squeezed in, Morty rocked slowly to life. What a hero.
“Huh, wuh?” uttered Morty, re-aligning himself after the afterlife.
Beth put him down on his feet and hugged him. “Oh, Morty, I’m so sorry.”
“What happened?”
“Oh, you totally passed out and almost missed your date,” said Rick. “Had to, burp, had to drug you just to wake you up.” He winked at Beth.
“What time is it?” asked Morty.
“6:45, Romeo. Better get going.”
Morty sprinted off to his room to get ready.
Beth walked up and hugged Rick.
“Thanks, Dad.”
“Anytime, sweetie. Just be sure I’m around the next time you do that. He’s a little turd, but he’s the best I got.”
Morty raced up to his room, throwing off his yellow T and throwing on an identical yellow one. He checked the mirror, brushing his hand through his hair. The brown puff stayed put. He was ready. Inside his drawer, he drew his secret weapon—a corsage with a purple rose, the same colour as her dress. He raced downstairs where Beth was waiting.
“You ready?” she asked.
“Mhmm!”
“How’s your face?” She reached over and pushed his face to the side.
“It’s okay. It doesn’t hurt so that’s good.”
Morty rose his thumbs in the air, the one hand holding the corsage. Beth took it.
“No… No.” She threw it into the hallway and placed her hand on Morty’s back. “Let’s go.”
“Hey, but—”
“We’ll talk about it in the car.”
“Ooo, a corsage,” said Jerry walking into the hallway. “I know one pretty lady who’s going to be pretty happy I found this.” The door slammed.
“Hey… Mom?”
“Yes, Morty?”
“Why’d you throw out that corsage?”
Beth slowed for a stop sign. “Morty… You just can’t…. You just can’t give too much too quickly,” she said. “This is the first date, right?”
“Second, and I’m going to show her the best time of her life.”
“See, you can’t do that, Morty. She’ll just... feel overwhelmed, like she has to stay or go. She just… she just wants to see how things will go, you know? Let the time go on and see if her feelings are really the same—have opportunities to prove it. I mean, if you make them choose, again, then it won’t end in your favour. So don’t make her, that’s my point, Morty.”
“Okay, was that for me or was that for Dad?”
Beth gripped the steering wheel tightly. “The corsage is stupid.”
“Yeah, well, no other guy would do something special like that,” he said.
They’re probably not losers.
“What was that?”
“They’re probably not thinking so hard.” Beth sighed. “Morty, just promise me you’ll be yourself and you won’t try to be some Casanova.”
Morty crossed his arms and looked out the window. “Make a left at the next sign.”
The rest of the drive was silent, aside from Morty muttering “left” or “right”. The corsage was his secret weapon. You don’t take away someone’s secret weapon, that’s like emptying a country’s nuclear arsenal. Then what’s so special about them after that? They’re just like the other ones now.
“It’s the one with the yellow wreath,” said Morty.
They stopped at a small bungalow with trimmed hedges, yellow lilies, and purple dahlias in the garden. The porch light was on, despite it being an hour from sundown. Morty felt his chest tighten and his armpits bead with sweat.
Oh God, his face. He forgot about his face. How would he explain the giant bruise? He would seem weak. A weak, pathetic Morty. He had to come up with some other reason for it. “You should see the other guy,” he could say. Yeah, yeah, that would work.
“You have to open the door to go,” said Beth lightly.
“Oh, uh, yeah.”
“You still didn’t promise me. Promise me you’ll be yourself.”
“Fine, I promise. I’ll call you later.” Morty opened the door and stepped out. Beth sped away. Oh boy, he was committed now. That testosterone from earlier had to be somewhere, somewhere or he was doomed. Common Morty, get up there.
Morty knocked twice. There was a clamor on the other side, some yelling, some stomping and then it was quiet. Morty raised his hand to knock again when the door swung open. A plump man in a sweater vest looked down at Morty. His brown moustache smiled at him.
“And you must be the boy taking my daughter out tonight,” said Jessica’s father. “And what’s your name?”
“Uh, Morty.”
“Why Morty, why don’t you come—”
“Don’t Morty, I’ll just be a second,” yelled Jessica from inside the house.
“—inside and get to know us. I’m sure there’s lots to talk about. We just learned your name! Oh.” He cocked his head back. “What happened to your face?”
“Umm.”
“No, Dad,” said Jessica, showing up to save the day. “I’ll call you on my way home.” She grabbed the door and exchanged an “I love you” before closing.
“Sorry about that,” she said, “I'm glad you found my place. I thought maybe I sent the message too late.”
“Huh?”
“The message over Faceplace.”
Morty checked his phone. 1 new message at 6:56 pm.
“Oh yeah.” Oh yeah was right. He didn't get her address from her, he knew from being some little creep watching her walk home. He didn't stalk her per se but, let's say, it wasn't his normal route home.
“Hey, what happened to your face?”
Morty paused. “Ummm, you-you should see the other guy.”
Jessica laughed. “Uh huh. I'm sure.” She covered her mouth as she giggled. “I know what really happened.”
“Y-you do?”
“Yeah, Morty. Oh, that's so sweet of you. You got your wisdom teeth out too.” She blushed and wrapped one of her arms underneath Morty’s. “No guy would do something so special. They’d probably think it was too much. But I like that.”
Morty screamed in his head, out to his Mom through the psychic wave highway. “See Mom, see!” he yelled, “the corsage would've been perfect!”
They began walking to Go-Go’s Froyo next to the cinema. It was only 5 minutes away, 10 minutes if they took the path by the creek. Morty steered them towards the creek.
Morty was glad he didn't have to act tough, he could relax and be himself. Sure, those self-help books told him toughness was like a jacket of pheromones that made panties drop, but it just wasn't him. It gave him tummy aches and when he tried to fake it, he choked up; a weak facade ready to crumble. It was just like Rick said.
The creek serpentined through willows and oaks, creeping their branches out over the soft flowing stream. Frogs called out for sex, as did the crickets, as did most of the creatures surrounding them. To them, it sounded like music, natural and calming.
“I still can't believe you asked me out like this…” said Jessica. “You know what Tobey did?”
“Tobey, the all-star quarterback? The one voted most handsome student by the students, parents, and teachers?”
“Yeah… he asked me out last week. To go out tonight.” Jessica stopped and held Morty’s hands. “When I came in today, he wouldn’t even look at me.”
“W-w-well…” said Morty, “h-he’s an idiot. Be-because he doesn’t know what he’s missing out on.”
Jessica smiled as a gust of wind blew through. It swept her rosy hair as if she were an angel flying through the air. She was so beautiful. And that top, so open.
Oh, Morty, time to get going, you don’t want the raging salmon upstream yet. Turn and walk away. Morty turned and walked away. Jessica held on, walking next to Morty’s side.
“You’re right,” she said quietly and they continued walking through the orchestra of sexual melodies.
“You can’t mix peanuts with pineapple, that’s just gross!”
“Oh yeah, haha, watch me!” Morty scooped another spoonful of peanuts onto his pineapple froyo. Pineapple, how thoughtful.
Jessica stepped towards the pump dumping a plump dollop of cherry froyo, then a strawberry dollop next to it. She grabbed the chocolate syrup and divided the two with a thick brown line. It came to $13.62; Morty’s came to $18.42. Morty handed off his cash to the cashier, even tipped her though she did nothing but open the register.
The balcony was empty despite it being a rather warm October day. Morty sat down, across from Jessica, then picked up his chair and dropped it beside her.
“How is it?” asked Morty.
“It’s cool,” she said with a smile. “Just what I needed today.”
“It is cool, like chill, I just…” Morty used his spoon to push away the clump of peanuts at the top of his yogurt. “I just wish I didn’t put so many peanuts on.”
They both laughed.
“You know, Jessica, I’ve thought of this moment so many times.” Oh God, Morty, what are you doing? Are you being honest?! “And I gotta say, this is better than I expected. For one, it’s real.”
Jessica laughed. “You know, Morty. I always thought it was cute you had a photo of me in your locker. And I’m glad to be with the real you this time.”
“Ha, can-can we forget about that time? I-I don’t even remember it very well.”
“It was pretty toxic.” Ha, detoxed Morty was toxic. What a clean joke.
Morty gazed into Jessica’s eyes. For the first time, he wasn’t seeing her in a post-pubescent fog. His dick wasn't screaming to get inside and lock this relationship in a bind. He really just wanted to be with her, to let the sunset cast its golden rays on them and let the moments of the evening sink into his memory. And what could make the night better? Dancing, of course.
Morty finished off the last of his froyo and stood up. The outdoor speakers began playing You Never Can Tell by Very Chuck and Morty began twisting his heels and swinging his hips.
Jessica watched, bedazzled. “Were you always such a good dancer?”
“Ahh, heeey, hey hey hey!” cheered Morty, shaking his hips. “Ah, ha ha!” He kicked one leg out and scooped it back. That kid sure loves to dance.
Jessica swayed, and rose to her feet, moving in closer. They jigged and jingled as the sun set over the hills. In the dying light of day, Jessica moved in with her arms smoothing over Morty’s back. She pulled him in.
“You… Morty. You’re wonderful,” she said. Her wild eyes peered into Morty and roped him closer… closer until his lips met hers.
Over the speakers, the song sang it’s final line, “‘Qu'est ce que la vie?’ asked the old folk, it goes to show you never can tell.” And the speaker cut as the shop closed.
“Wow,” said Morty, his lips still pressed against hers. She giggled and pulled away. “Oh, no, you don’t have to stop.”
“I have to breathe, Morty.”
“Oh, haha, me too.”
Jessica rolled her eyes and smiled. Their lips joined again and Morty died and went to heaven—without the dying part.
“We should do this again,” said Jessica. And they did.
One date turned into several, which turned into an exclusive agreement not to date others, even if their name began with Tobey or Brad. In the hallways, they were seen holding hands. At lunch, they sat outside under a maple tree until the months turned cold and the canopy of leaves had to be replaced by a canopy of steel and concrete. Under the stairwell, they discovered each other. Not completely though, they were still holding out for a bed and a night alone at one of their houses.
When the night seemed to come, Morty’s feelings were a mix of nerves and excitement, like stepping through the door of a new life. By now, he had forgotten Jessica’s whispers when he asked her out. He would “become a man,” as some would say. Life was turning out okay.
“So you’re going to her house, to study?” asked Rick. He was still working on the same device from months ago. He wouldn’t tell Morty what it was for yet but it was taking forever to finish.
“Yeah, her parents aren’t home, so it’ll be quiet.”
“Her parents aren’t home?” Rick stopped working and stared up at Morty. “Her parents aren’t home?!”
“Yeah, so what? It’ll be quiet.”
“Yeah, quiet enough to hear a squeaking bed.”
“Hey, I didn’t say we were doing that!”
“Of course not, that would be admitting that you were.” Rick got up and emptied one of his boxes on the shelf. A small white pill bounced along the floor and Morty picked it up.
“Take that,” said Rick. “If… you know… you’re nervous, pop that in. You’ll have the place buzzing like a hummingbird.”
Morty stuffed it in his pant pocket. “Thanks.”
“And wear a condom for fuck’s sake, Morty. God forbid you end up like your father and entrap the life of a promising young woman to a lifetime of regret and disappointment. Will, burp, will you hand me that wrench beside you?”
Morty took it and handed it to Rick. “Wait, that means I’m a disappointment!”
“You know, Morty, when you’re right you’re right. But you’re wrong. You were the best thing that came out of it.”
“Oh.”
“Now, scat, Morty! You got a lady to please! Get that P in V, Morty! Go! Morty becomes a man! Woo!”
Morty didn’t imagine that he would be so nervous as he lay in bed with Jessica. He didn’t imagine that nerves played a greater hand than attraction at such a time in his life. This time though, his secret weapon was not deprived of him. Excusing himself to the washroom, he took the pill Rick gave him and paused a moment, as it only took a moment. Then he was out and the house was rocking in minutes. Like Rick said, the bed hummed like a hummingbird. The neighbours closed their windows, people crossed the street to the other side while walking their dogs and children, and a noise complaint was almost called in before the caller realized what they were calling in. When it was over, the night was ethereal, calm and silent, like the deafness after a loud explosion. The two teenagers had a night they wanted to never forget; the neighbours felt otherwise.
College came and went. The distance between their schools sowed the earth for a future to rise. The sleepless nights reminded them of the comforts to lie next to one another again. When it was time to move in together, the world felt in their hands but they chose to let it go so they could hold each others. It didn’t matter that Morty could teach Astronomy at any Ivy league school, high school was enough; it didn’t matter that Jessica could rival the designers in New York or Milan, her small shop in town would do. Their life would grow but Morty was hit with one last blow.
“He’s… he can’t be,” said Morty.
“I’m sorry, honey,” said Beth between sniffles. “He’s really gone.”
“But…” Morty didn’t have a ‘but’. Rick always came up with the ‘but’. If they were about to die, there was always a ‘but’. “But what if I do this?” And then he would save them. With him gone, who could save him?
“Morty, he left us something. It flew down on the doorstep today. I think you should come home.”
“I’ll be there.” Morty hung up and collapsed on his bed.
Jessica rolled over and took his hand in hers. “What’s wrong, Morty?”
“Rick… he’s…”
“It’s like Thanksgiving came early,” said Jerry. The family crowded around the dining room table with a small metal box resting in the middle. They all ignored him.
“So? Does it do something?” asked Summer.
“It-it must do something,” said Morty. “Did it come with a note?”
“No, it just… it just came,” said Beth.
Summer turned to her. “So we don’t even know if it came from grandpa?”
“Who else would it come from?”
“Maybe it’s from Phoenixperson,” said Morty. He rose from his seat and touched the box. It shot a pulse wave out, sending Morty back to his seat. A laser scanned the room and the box opened up, projecting a hologram above its surface.
Burp. Well, looks like it finally happened, huh? Jeez, you know you always know it’s going to come but wubba-lobba-ding-dong, it actually did.” Rick snickered. “I’m just glad those Citadel blowtards never got me. I don’t really have much else to say. It’s not like we can have an actual conversation anymore, so I’ll just keep it short. I love you guys, sorry grandpa got himself killed. And Jerry, since you’re still around, I just want to say I’m surprised you’re still around. And, I guess you have your garage back. Congratulations.” The hologram disappeared.
The family sunk their heads low, wishing there was more for the departure of their loved one. A brief eulogy could not replace the pain.
The hologram reappeared. “Oh, and Morty. Grandpa finished that thing he was working on finally. It’s in the basement garage. Go in when you’re ready, but not before.” The hologram disappeared again and the box slowly turned to dust. It filled the room with the scent of beer; it smelled like grandpa.
“Well, we should go see what he left you, right Morty?”
“I don’t want to see it,” said Morty. “I just… I just don’t.” Morty stormed out and into the backyard.
Rick was really gone. He left Morty something but he was really gone. Morty would never venture out into the universe again. Rick was his protector, his guide, and hero. With all Morty learned, he still couldn’t measure up to the brilliant, masterful ways of his grandpa. The world suddenly felt so small. Morty left that night, the empty garage was too much. The house was too quiet without Rick. Life had to go on, his life, with Jessica. When the time was right, he would go back and see what Rick left him but he knew it wasn’t now.
Morty’s life continued as life must after the loss of a loved one. He became the favourite teacher at Burchbounce High School and Jessica earned enough to close up shop in the summer. They traveled the world, eating poke in Hawaii, summiting Machu Picchu, circumventing the coast of Australia and so much more. When the summer of 2032 came, Jessica returned to her shop, still lean but with something small growing inside. 8 months later, their baby boy was named Rick in memory of grandpa. Two years later came a little girl that they called Annie. Morty really liked that name for reasons he couldn’t remember.
As time went on, Jerry went first, then Beth and though Morty didn’t want it, he lost touch with Summer. Then one morning, Morty felt a pull in the pit of his stomach and then a searing pain. He raced to the hospital to find, what he thought was heartburn, was a tumour. It had grown and infected the surrounding areas: the lungs, liver, pancreas, and heart. It was time.
“I’ll be seeing Dr. Sergo today,” said Morty as Jessica readied herself for work.
“I don’t have to work today, I can drive you.”
“No, no,” said Morty, “I’ll be okay. I—” he winced in pain, “I’m alright, it’s better than normal.”
“You call me when you make it. You promise me that.”
“I promise.” The first lie since they started dating. They kissed and Jessica left. As her car pulled away, Morty called in a taxi. He couldn’t drive, he couldn’t focus on anything but his pain. The taxi took him to the airport where he flew home.
The old house looked the same. New siding, painted grey, but it was the same. The owner, looking to be in his early 20’s, was in the garage, fixing their bike when Morty walked up.
“H-hello there,” said Morty.
“Oh, hi there, are you from across the street? We just moved in here.”
“No, no, I just used to live here.”
“Oh,” the man said and smiled. “It’s a great home.”
“Yes, lots of good memories,” said Morty. “Do you mind if I have a moment here by myself? A lot of magic happened in this here garage.”
“Umm… I guess that’s okay. Just don’t steal anything, I don’t want to beat up an old man.” He laughed and Morty smiled. It wasn’t worth laughing at. The man kept his word and left.
Morty spat on the ground and an elevator rose from the concrete. Rick always had such great ways to hide things in plain sight. “Who would spit in their own garage?” he told Morty when he was installing the elevator. “No one, that’s who.”
At the bottom, a short tunnel led to a large metal door. As Morty stepped towards it, a hologram of Rick appeared.
“So, you finally made it, eh? What’s that, 15 years? You know, you could’ve come any time,” he said. “But hey, if it’s your right time, it’s your right time.”
Morty began to tear up. He really missed him…
“Well, go on, Morty, everything you need to know is beyond that door.”
Morty walked towards it, passing through the hologram of his grandpa. He grabbed hold of the door and struggled against the latch. The metal had sat too long. Through the pain, Morty pressed with all his might and it opened.
Morty landed on the ground, his insides burned. His phone began to ring, it was Jessica. Morty watched as the phone rang, then the messages came after.
“Morty? Where are you?”
“Morty, please pick up. Please tell me you’re okay.”
Morty left the phone on the floor and used the door handle to help himself up. Jessica would understand. He would tell her all about it after. Through the door, a bright white light shone through.
“Go on, Morty, go to grandpa.”
Conclusion (It was just over the 40,000 character limit, so it couldn't all fit)
submitted by It_s_pronounced_gif to rickandmorty [link] [comments]

Rick and Morty Fan-Fiction: Morty's Life Fulfilled

“Hey Rick, this isn’t funny anymore.”
“What are you talking about, Morty? You’re suspended in a bubble of space-time and that little pea brain of yours couldn’t figure out how to get out if there was a playboy bunny hopping around saying ‘come get me, Morty, pleasure me, pleasure me, Morty.’” Rick laughed and sat back in his chair.
“Seriously, Rick, I need to get out of here.”
“Why? What could you possibly need to do on a Thursday morning? Tell me, Morty, cause my super genius brain can’t think of a single useful thing you'd be doing. 'Useful,’ you catch that Morty?”
“Yeah, I heard it. Maybe that brain missed one important thing that every child should be doing on a Thursday morning. That's school, Rick. Your super genius stupid brain think of that?”
“A brain can't be stupid and genius Morty, that's just stupid. Why would you even think that… oh, right.”
Morty pressed his hands against the bubble and it pushed back. Outside, the world turned wavy. Like Starry Night in motion, swirling and shifting. Morty couldn’t keep his focus, it all moved so splendidly. So hypnotic. But he also had shit to do.
“Get me out of here, Rick!” Morty punched and the bubbled punched back.
Morty was being a little bitch because today he decided he was going to stop being one and ask Jessica out again. They were going to go on a date and she was going to like it. This was going to be the start of something magical. Their lives were waiting to begin. Or… or something like that.
“You tell me one reason why I should let you out and I'll—burp I'll consider it.”
“Because I don't want to be part of this stupid experiment. Now, let me out!”
“Jeez, think at your age you’d know another synonym for stupid. Fine,” Rick popped the bubble, “maybe you'll actually learn something at school. Maybe ask the teacher for a thesaurus while you're at it. In case you didn't know it, 'thesaurus’ is a real word.”
“I know it, Rick. I'm not dumb—”
“—there you go—”
“—you know.”
Morty stomped his feet. His eyes took a moment to readjust to the world. The cement felt solid. Good. Rick looked drunk and hungover. Good, good. Everything was good. Morty took a deep breath and thought back to his training last night.
He trained himself to be confident. Some Shia Dubeouf and Elliott Hulge videos riled him up real good. He was no beta, not even an alpha, he was the omega male and he wouldn’t even have to ask Jessica to go out with him, she would want to. She wouldn’t be able to resist him. Still, he was going to ask, to be courteous or something.
Morty turned to Rick. “Open that door,” he said. The newfound confidence shocked Rick.
“Uh, sure, I got that.” Rick stood. “But you know, in the time you asked me to do this and by the time I finish, you could’ve opened the door and walked out. In fact, you would’ve actuall- burp actually been out faster.” Rick pressed the garage door opener.
Morty began walking out.
“Wow,” said Rick, “not even a thank you? Jeez, that’s some cold hard ego you got going on there, Morty. Just what every woman wants, huh? You hear that?! You’re totally going to get laid tonight, Morty!” Morty kept going.
“You hear that, Morty?! You’re going to get laid, as long as that paper-thin confidence doesn’t crumble away. Yeah, crumble from the slightest pressure. Even a fart could knock that over.” Rick lifted his leg and farted. “You see that Morty?! I did that into the garage. I wouldn’t want to destroy that fragile ego you built yourself, because that fart totally could have. Morty. Morty!”
Morty was gone, down the street without ever looking back.
Rick grabbed a beer.
The bell hadn’t even rung before Morty Smith burst through the doors of Harry Herpson High School. The school boys and girls turned their heads. There’s a sense in the air when things are about to go from ‘meh’ to ‘holy crap, shit’s about to go down!’. It’s a stench common in adolescence, declining in the 20’s, and decreasing even more until about 40. The difference then is at 40 there aren’t so many people around to smell it and the results are more psychotic than alluring. Here, the smell burst through the air, trailing Morty like a good crop dusting.
Morty marched up to locker 123 and scanned to the left and then to the right. Jessica wasn’t there. No problem, not one at all. Morty would wait. Seconds, minutes, it didn’t matter. She would come at some point and the end would be the same.
Morty rehearsed this line, inside and out:
“Jessica, you better dress up something pretty tonight because I’m taking you out. Yeah. I’mma treat you to some froyo and we’re gonna make magic. Tonight. 7pm. I’ll be there. I’ll be getting you. Tonight.”
Morty waited, and waited. The first bell went. Then the second. Mr. Goldenfold walked down and saw Morty standing by the Locker 123.
“Morty Smith!” he yelled. “You weren’t in first period today! I had to call your mother and ask her where you were! Why aren’t you in class?!!”
Morty looked Mr. Goldenfold dead in the eye.“I have something to take care of first,” he said. “You can call my mother back and tell her I’m okay.” Then his eyes narrowed. “Can you do that Mr. Goldenfold? Can you handle that? Cause if you can’t handle that, Mr. Goldenfold, maybe you shouldn’t be teaching me math. It’s an essential skill I’ll need for the rest of my life and maybe you’re not good enough to teach it if you can’t do this. Maybe you shouldn’t teach anything. Maybe you should go home and figure out something else to do with your life. Start with something useful. Something useful and something you can do. So can you handle that, Mr. Goldenfold? Can you?”
Mr. Goldenfold clenched his buttcheeks and scurried towards the office where he would call Morty’s mother and tell her everything was fine. Morty stayed, his eyes scanning both ends of the hallway. His determination would not fail. Though the day carried on, Morty waited for her to come.
It was noon when the bell rang and the children filled the hallways for lunch. The children, once questioning what Morty was up to, now pondered the idea that he’d gone mad. Morty stood there as if on guard; a Buckingham Palace guard, just begging to be toiled with. A few kids indulged, waving their hands in front of his face, telling him he was a “loser”, and shooting spitballs, most missing by a few inches. Then, the moment Morty was waiting for came.
Around the corner came a princess in a purple sundress. Her red hair bounced with each step, as did another area, but Morty kept his eyes away from there—no distractions. This was it, a time to tell this beautiful—what happened to her face?
Jessica held her head low as she drifted to her locker, not noticing Morty standing right there. Her cheeks were swollen and the face, usually masked with makeup, was blotched with zits and pimples. She looked sick, or ill, or something. As Morty stared, nerves crept up through his skin. This wasn’t how he pictured it… but… but he waited so long.
The hallway lights dimmed low and a dope beat began dropping.
“Look,” said a tremulous and nasally voice. A purple boot appeared from the corner of the hallway. It carried a small man in white tights, with magenta underwear and a matching mask shadowing his eyes. A purple cape, a shade brighter than his boots trailed his steps. One of his eyes hung lower, droopy, and not a single hair could be found on his body. He carried a mic and a spotlight shined somewhere from the ceiling.
“If you had one shot, one opportunity. To seize everything you ever wanted—in one moment… Would you capture it, Morty? Or just let it slip away?”
Noob Noob stared, his eyelids twitching and his hand shaking. “You can do anything you set your mind to, man. God damn!” The beat faded as fast as it came and Noob Noob was gone.
“What the fuck?” said Morty.
Jessica lurched back. “What? Oh, Morty, how long have you been there?”
“Uh, I’ve just been here, you know.”
“Oh… wait, what did you say?” Jessica brought her hand up to her face, covering her cheeks.
“Oh, I wasn’t to you, that was…” Fuck, this was going wrong, she was throwing him off. Common Morty, refocus here. Remember what Noob Noob said. It doesn’t matter that it’s the first time you’ve seen her like this. Common.
Morty straightened his back and took a deep breath in. “Jessica, you-you better dress in something tonight. Pretty, be-because I’m out—I’m taking you out. We’ll get froyo at 7 and make magic cause I’ll be there, tonight. I’ll get you.”
“Well, froyo would be good for this...” She took her hand away from her face, showing her two puffy cheeks.
“W-what happened?”
“I got my wisdom teeth out, Morty, that’s why I look like…” she pointed shyly to her face.
“Oh. Oh, I didn’t notice that but…”
“But that’s really sweet of you, Morty. You know, when I looked in the mirror this morning, I almost couldn’t bring myself to come.” She gazed down at her shoes, a pair of lilac sandals. “The medication helped the pain but nothing can hide this.” Again she pointed to her face.
“Y-you know what Jessica, y-you’re more than just the skin on your face,” said Morty. “Or, or that dress on that fine… figure-tur..?” Nice save, Morty. “You can’t let your looks let you decide what you’ll do, you have to decide what you want to do. Then do it. You do you, Jessica, you do you.”
“What if I want to do you, Morty?”
“Uh, wuh?” Morty felt the blood suddenly leave one head for another. Morty shifted his hips back and bit his cheek. He needed clarification. Like now.
“Well, you were asking me out, right?” she continued. “And looking like this I want to stay inside. What if I want to go out with you, Morty? Give dating you a second chance.”
“Oh, oh. Is that what you said? Okay—”
“And do me,” she whispered.
Morty began to sweat. He needed out, or to sit down. Sit down with his legs tucked in. But then he’d be looking up. Looking up... Maybe up that sundre—
“I’ll see you at 7!” yelled Morty, and he sprang for the nearest washroom. He crashed in, shoving the door into someone before sprinting to the stall. He locked the door and sat on the toilet.
“Yo, what the fuck?” said a deep voice from the other side. “Who the fuck was that?”
“Looked like that queer, Morty,” a gravelly voice answered. “Man, is that blood?”
“Shut the fuck up.” A knock came at the door. Morty tried to ease his erection by crossing his legs. “Yo, you make me bleed, I make you bleed. Hammurabi law, yo. See you after school, Morty.”
“Ah, yeah, man. Hammer law,” said the other one.
“Yo, shut the fuck up.”
The outside door swung twice and Morty was alone. His chub throbbed and his hands shook. Whatever those kids said didn’t phase Morty; he never heard what they said. He was in a state of euphoria, self-actualization, all his planning worked out. He did it, he asked her out and she said yes. All those self-help books really did help, all he had to do was believe. All he had to do was be sure he believed and fate followed.
As his pants loosened, Morty began to see the pale blue walls that housed him. The lunch bell rang. It was time to get to class. He already missed his morning periods, he couldn’t miss the afternoon ones too. After all, he did spend all that time telling Rick education was the most important thing for a child. He would be a huge hypocrite if he skipped out now.
Two kids leaned by the entrance of the school, their feet in the front gardens and backs against the brick. One dressed in a baggy black sweater and jeans, the other in a baggy grey sweater and jeans. Both had beanies matching the colour of their sweaters. They watched as the school emptied after the final bell rang, looking for Morty Smith to appear in the crowd. A flash of yellow came into sight. There he was, walking casually as if he didn’t know what was coming, like he didn’t know what happened in the bathroom.
The boys walked their way through the crowd and shoved Morty in the back.
“Hey Porty,” said the one in black. He had a deep voice.
“Ha, you called him Porty,” said the other. “Nice one, maaaan.”
“Yo, shut the fuck up.”
“Are you talking to me?” asked Morty. “W-why’d you push me?”
“Yeah, Porty. Remember what I told you? Hammurabi law, motherfucker.”
“Yeah, Hammer law, bitch.”
“Yo, shut the fuck up.”
Morty raised his brow. “What? H-hey, I don’t got beef with you. What’s Porty even mean?”
“It,” the one in black paused, “uh… It’s your name and…”
“And Porty.”
“Yo… yeah, Porty.”
“Ah, haaaa. Haaaaaaa.” The one in grey threw his hands up, twisting them into dated gang-signs.
“Yo, shut the fuck up.”
“Okay, well, I’m gonna go home now.” Morty began to walk away when the one in black grabbed his shoulder and pulled. As Morty rounded, a light blur came towards him. What could it be? Perhaps Morty should turn all the way around and see. And then—
Morty’s body hit the floor. The knockout was clean. Morty wouldn’t feel a thing until he woke up. The commotion raised the interest of Mr. Vagina who charged out as the two older boys ran away. He found Morty limp and impotent, so Mr. Vagina took him and cradled him inside until Morty was awake and erect. By then his mother had arrived and took him home to finish the job. When all was said and done, Morty needed an ice pack. He placed in on his face.
“What did you do to piss them off?” asked Beth.
“I don no,” Morty muttered, then groaned. “I eeing Essi-a oo-night. I ant ike is.”
“Oh Morty, just ask her another day.”
Morty slammed his hand on the kitchen table. “Oh! Oo-day! I ated oo ong.”
“Whoa, they teaching physical abuse in school these days, Morty?” Rick said walking in. “Or are you just beating yourself up cause you realized all that, burp, all that crap you said earlier was just a misdiagnosed pile of horseshit.”
“Dad!”
Rick grabbed a beer from the fridge. “Sorry, baby, y-you know what he told me early. Y-you know what he said?”
Beth sighed. “What Dad?”
“Education is important.” Rick laughed and opened his beer. “Ha! It still makes me laugh.” After one swig that finished off the whole bottle, Rick found Beth and Morty staring at him and shaking their heads.
“What? You still don’t burp agree. Fine, stay unwoke.” Rick flipped them deuces. “Bet he couldn’t do what I’m doing with that ‘education’,” he added before leaving for the garage.
Morty sunk his head down and lay it on the wet ice pack. Beth walked over and took a seat behind him, rubbing his back.
“It’s okay, honey. Maybe… maybe she won’t notice.”
Morty looked up at her with his pitiful, disgustingly swollen face. It was like a botched botox injection. She turned around and tried to cover her laughing face. Morty rolled his eyes and sunk his face into the table again.
“I’m sorry, Morty… What time’s your date?”
“Even,” muttered Morty.
“Eleven?”
“Even!” Morty sat back up and shoved five fingers and two thumbs at Beth.
“Seven? Oh, that’s plenty of time. Here, I’ll make you a smoothie.”
Morty rested his head again facing away from the kitchen. He heard his Mom open the fridge a few times, a drizzle of that, a sprinkle of this, a pop of something, and a grinding. The blender roared as it mixed everything into one pink slurry. Morty took it and slurped it back. It was good—better than good—it was great. He turned his head to the side, keeping it away from his swollen cheek and finished it in a minute flat.
“Hanks, om.”
“You’re welcome, sweetie. Now, go rest up, I’ll come get you at 6:30.”
Morty hugged his Mom and made his way to bed. He ignored Summer as she said, “oh my god!” and tried to snap a photo of him. When his head hit the pillow, Morty tried to imagine what his date would be like but sleep took him faster than usual. Much faster.
“Time to get up sweetie.” Beth was dragging him out of bed. “Don’t want to be late for your Date!” She emphasized date like it was important. Why did she say it so loud?
Morty’s eyes opened slowly. When did his room become so kick-ass? Like, he had so many yellow shirts and they were all so damn fucking perfect.
“Honey, you have to try walking.”
“I am. I’m... I’m float-walking,” said Morty, a dopey smile on his lips.
“Oh, crap. I used too much, just... Just hold on Morty.”
“I’ll hold on to you,” said Morty. With no one there to support him, he fell to the ground. But damn, did the ground ever feel nice. And taste nice too.
“Shit,” said Beth, back from downstairs. “Morty, stop licking that.” She took Morty’s head off the carpet and cradled it in her arms. “This is a bad idea, this is a bad idea,” she repeated while Morty gazed up, licking his lips. She jabbed the needle in his leg and Morty shot up like a rocket.
“Mom! What the—what the…” His eyes were swollen with fright. Morty’s arm crept up to his chest, then he fell back on his bed.
Beth sat, horrified at what she had done. The adrenaline should’ve just woke him up, not… not. She grabbed Morty and ran downstairs to the garage. Rick was working on some sort of chamber of sorts but for now he tweaking something at his workbench.
“Dad, you have to do something.”
“Huh, what? Jeez, Beth, what-what the hell?! Is he?” Rick raised one of Morty’s arms and let it drop. Rick lurched back. “What-what did you do to him?” He turned around and began mixing an assortment of liquids.
“I don’t know, I just put in some painkillers into his drink. He… he was so bummed about his date and… I think I used too much.”
“Uh, yeah, maybe.”
“And he woke up so drowsy… he couldn’t go on a date like that.”
“No, much better as a corpse.”
“I was trying to do my best, okay?”
“Okay, sweetie.” Rick poured his brew into an empty syringe and stuck it into Morty’s arm. As it squeezed in, Morty rocked slowly to life. What a hero.
“Huh, wuh?” uttered Morty, re-aligning himself after the afterlife.
Beth put him down on his feet and hugged him. “Oh, Morty, I’m so sorry.”
“What happened?”
“Oh, you totally passed out and almost missed your date,” said Rick. “Had to, burp, had to drug you just to wake you up.” He winked at Beth.
“What time is it?” asked Morty.
“6:45, Romeo. Better get going.”
Morty sprinted off to his room to get ready.
Beth walked up and hugged Rick.
“Thanks, Dad.”
“Anytime, sweetie. Just be sure I’m around the next time you do that. He’s a little turd, but he’s the best I got.”
Morty raced up to his room, throwing off his yellow T and throwing on an identical yellow one. He checked the mirror, brushing his hand through his hair. The brown puff stayed put. He was ready. Inside his drawer, he drew his secret weapon—a corsage with a purple rose, the same colour as her dress. He raced downstairs where Beth was waiting.
“You ready?” she asked.
“Mhmm!”
“How’s your face?” She reached over and pushed his face to the side.
“It’s okay. It doesn’t hurt so that’s good.”
Morty rose his thumbs in the air, the one hand holding the corsage. Beth took it.
“No… No.” She threw it into the hallway and placed her hand on Morty’s back. “Let’s go.”
“Hey, but—”
“We’ll talk about it in the car.”
“Ooo, a corsage,” said Jerry walking into the hallway. “I know one pretty lady who’s going to be pretty happy I found this.” The door slammed.
“Hey… Mom?”
“Yes, Morty?”
“Why’d you throw out that corsage?”
Beth slowed for a stop sign. “Morty… You just can’t…. You just can’t give too much too quickly,” she said. “This is the first date, right?”
“Second, and I’m going to show her the best time of her life.”
“See, you can’t do that, Morty. She’ll just... feel overwhelmed, like she has to stay or go. She just… she just wants to see how things will go, you know? Let the time go on and see if her feelings are really the same—have opportunities to prove it. I mean, if you make them choose, again, then it won’t end in your favour. So don’t make her, that’s my point, Morty.”
“Okay, was that for me or was that for Dad?”
Beth gripped the steering wheel tightly. “The corsage is stupid.”
“Yeah, well, no other guy would do something special like that,” he said.
They’re probably not losers.
“What was that?”
“They’re probably not thinking so hard.” Beth sighed. “Morty, just promise me you’ll be yourself and you won’t try to be some Casanova.”
Morty crossed his arms and looked out the window. “Make a left at the next sign.”
The rest of the drive was silent, aside from Morty muttering “left” or “right”. The corsage was his secret weapon. You don’t take away someone’s secret weapon, that’s like emptying a country’s nuclear arsenal. Then what’s so special about them after that? They’re just like the other ones now.
“It’s the one with the yellow wreath,” said Morty.
They stopped at a small bungalow with trimmed hedges, yellow lilies, and purple dahlias in the garden. The porch light was on, despite it being an hour from sundown. Morty felt his chest tighten and his armpits bead with sweat.
Oh God, his face. He forgot about his face. How would he explain the giant bruise? He would seem weak. A weak, pathetic Morty. He had to come up with some other reason for it. “You should see the other guy,” he could say. Yeah, yeah, that would work.
“You have to open the door to go,” said Beth lightly.
“Oh, uh, yeah.”
“You still didn’t promise me. Promise me you’ll be yourself.”
“Fine, I promise. I’ll call you later.” Morty opened the door and stepped out. Beth sped away. Oh boy, he was committed now. That testosterone from earlier had to be somewhere, somewhere or he was doomed. Common Morty, get up there.
Morty knocked twice. There was a clamor on the other side, some yelling, some stomping and then it was quiet. Morty raised his hand to knock again when the door swung open. A plump man in a sweater vest looked down at Morty. His brown moustache smiled at him.
“And you must be the boy taking my daughter out tonight,” said Jessica’s father. “And what’s your name?”
“Uh, Morty.”
“Why Morty, why don’t you come—”
“Don’t Morty, I’ll just be a second,” yelled Jessica from inside the house.
“—inside and get to know us. I’m sure there’s lots to talk about. We just learned your name! Oh.” He cocked his head back. “What happened to your face?”
“Umm.”
“No, Dad,” said Jessica, showing up to save the day. “I’ll call you on my way home.” She grabbed the door and exchanged an “I love you” before closing.
“Sorry about that,” she said, “I'm glad you found my place. I thought maybe I sent the message too late.”
“Huh?”
“The message over Faceplace.”
Morty checked his phone. 1 new message at 6:56 pm.
“Oh yeah.” Oh yeah was right. He didn't get her address from her, he knew from being some little creep watching her walk home. He didn't stalk her per se but, let's say, it wasn't his normal route home.
“Hey, what happened to your face?”
Morty paused. “Ummm, you-you should see the other guy.”
Jessica laughed. “Uh huh. I'm sure.” She covered her mouth as she giggled. “I know what really happened.”
“Y-you do?”
“Yeah, Morty. Oh, that's so sweet of you. You got your wisdom teeth out too.” She blushed and wrapped one of her arms underneath Morty’s. “No guy would do something so special. They’d probably think it was too much. But I like that.”
Morty screamed in his head, out to his Mom through the psychic wave highway. “See Mom, see!” he yelled, “the corsage would've been perfect!”
They began walking to Go-Go’s Froyo next to the cinema. It was only 5 minutes away, 10 minutes if they took the path by the creek. Morty steered them towards the creek.
Morty was glad he didn't have to act tough, he could relax and be himself. Sure, those self-help books told him toughness was like a jacket of pheromones that made panties drop, but it just wasn't him. It gave him tummy aches and when he tried to fake it, he choked up; a weak facade ready to crumble. It was just like Rick said.
The creek serpentined through willows and oaks, creeping their branches out over the soft flowing stream. Frogs called out for sex, as did the crickets, as did most of the creatures surrounding them. To them, it sounded like music, natural and calming.
“I still can't believe you asked me out like this…” said Jessica. “You know what Tobey did?”
“Tobey, the all-star quarterback? The one voted most handsome student by the students, parents, and teachers?”
“Yeah… he asked me out last week. To go out tonight.” Jessica stopped and held Morty’s hands. “When I came in today, he wouldn’t even look at me.”
“W-w-well…” said Morty, “h-he’s an idiot. Be-because he doesn’t know what he’s missing out on.”
Jessica smiled as a gust of wind blew through. It swept her rosy hair as if she were an angel flying through the air. She was so beautiful. And that top, so open.
Oh, Morty, time to get going, you don’t want the raging salmon upstream yet. Turn and walk away. Morty turned and walked away. Jessica held on, walking next to Morty’s side.
“You’re right,” she said quietly and they continued walking through the orchestra of sexual melodies.
“You can’t mix peanuts with pineapple, that’s just gross!”
“Oh yeah, haha, watch me!” Morty scooped another spoonful of peanuts onto his pineapple froyo. Pineapple, how thoughtful.
Jessica stepped towards the pump dumping a plump dollop of cherry froyo, then a strawberry dollop next to it. She grabbed the chocolate syrup and divided the two with a thick brown line. It came to $13.62; Morty’s came to $18.42. Morty handed off his cash to the cashier, even tipped her though she did nothing but open the register.
The balcony was empty despite it being a rather warm October day. Morty sat down, across from Jessica, then picked up his chair and dropped it beside her.
“How is it?” asked Morty.
“It’s cool,” she said with a smile. “Just what I needed today.”
“It is cool, like chill, I just…” Morty used his spoon to push away the clump of peanuts at the top of his yogurt. “I just wish I didn’t put so many peanuts on.”
They both laughed.
“You know, Jessica, I’ve thought of this moment so many times.” Oh God, Morty, what are you doing? Are you being honest?! “And I gotta say, this is better than I expected. For one, it’s real.”
Jessica laughed. “You know, Morty. I always thought it was cute you had a photo of me in your locker. And I’m glad to be with the real you this time.”
“Ha, can-can we forget about that time? I-I don’t even remember it very well.”
“It was pretty toxic.” Ha, detoxed Morty was toxic. What a clean joke.
Morty gazed into Jessica’s eyes. For the first time, he wasn’t seeing her in a post-pubescent fog. His dick wasn't screaming to get inside and lock this relationship in a bind. He really just wanted to be with her, to let the sunset cast its golden rays on them and let the moments of the evening sink into his memory. And what could make the night better? Dancing, of course.
Morty finished off the last of his froyo and stood up. The outdoor speakers began playing You Never Can Tell by Very Chuck and Morty began twisting his heels and swinging his hips.
Jessica watched, bedazzled. “Were you always such a good dancer?”
“Ahh, heeey, hey hey hey!” cheered Morty, shaking his hips. “Ah, ha ha!” He kicked one leg out and scooped it back. That kid sure loves to dance.
Jessica swayed, and rose to her feet, moving in closer. They jigged and jingled as the sun set over the hills. In the dying light of day, Jessica moved in with her arms smoothing over Morty’s back. She pulled him in.
“You… Morty. You’re wonderful,” she said. Her wild eyes peered into Morty and roped him closer… closer until his lips met hers.
Over the speakers, the song sang it’s final line, “‘Qu'est ce que la vie?’ asked the old folk, it goes to show you never can tell.” And the speaker cut as the shop closed.
“Wow,” said Morty, his lips still pressed against hers. She giggled and pulled away. “Oh, no, you don’t have to stop.”
“I have to breathe, Morty.”
“Oh, haha, me too.”
Jessica rolled her eyes and smiled. Their lips joined again and Morty died and went to heaven—without the dying part.
“We should do this again,” said Jessica. And they did.
One date turned into several, which turned into an exclusive agreement not to date others, even if their name began with Tobey or Brad. In the hallways, they were seen holding hands. At lunch, they sat outside under a maple tree until the months turned cold and the canopy of leaves had to be replaced by a canopy of steel and concrete. Under the stairwell, they discovered each other. Not completely though, they were still holding out for a bed and a night alone at one of their houses.
When the night seemed to come, Morty’s feelings were a mix of nerves and excitement, like stepping through the door of a new life. By now, he had forgotten Jessica’s whispers when he asked her out. He would “become a man,” as some would say. Life was turning out okay.
“So you’re going to her house, to study?” asked Rick. He was still working on the same device from months ago. He wouldn’t tell Morty what it was for yet but it was taking forever to finish.
“Yeah, her parents aren’t home, so it’ll be quiet.”
“Her parents aren’t home?” Rick stopped working and stared up at Morty. “Her parents aren’t home?!”
“Yeah, so what? It’ll be quiet.”
“Yeah, quiet enough to hear a squeaking bed.”
“Hey, I didn’t say we were doing that!”
“Of course not, that would be admitting that you were.” Rick got up and emptied one of his boxes on the shelf. A small white pill bounced along the floor and Morty picked it up.
“Take that,” said Rick. “If… you know… you’re nervous, pop that in. You’ll have the place buzzing like a hummingbird.”
Morty stuffed it in his pant pocket. “Thanks.”
“And wear a condom for fuck’s sake, Morty. God forbid you end up like your father and entrap the life of a promising young woman to a lifetime of regret and disappointment. Will, burp, will you hand me that wrench beside you?”
Morty took it and handed it to Rick. “Wait, that means I’m a disappointment!”
“You know, Morty, when you’re right you’re right. But you’re wrong. You were the best thing that came out of it.”
“Oh.”
“Now, scat, Morty! You got a lady to please! Get that P in V, Morty! Go! Morty becomes a man! Woo!”
Morty didn’t imagine that he would be so nervous as he lay in bed with Jessica. He didn’t imagine that nerves played a greater hand than attraction at such a time in his life. This time though, his secret weapon was not deprived of him. Excusing himself to the washroom, he took the pill Rick gave him and paused a moment, as it only took a moment. Then he was out and the house was rocking in minutes. Like Rick said, the bed hummed like a hummingbird. The neighbours closed their windows, people crossed the street to the other side while walking their dogs and children, and a noise complaint was almost called in before the caller realized what they were calling in. When it was over, the night was ethereal, calm and silent, like the deafness after a loud explosion. The two teenagers had a night they wanted to never forget; the neighbours felt otherwise.
College came and went. The distance between their schools sowed the earth for a future to rise. The sleepless nights reminded them of the comforts to lie next to one another again. When it was time to move in together, the world felt in their hands but they chose to let it go so they could hold each others. It didn’t matter that Morty could teach Astronomy at any Ivy league school, high school was enough; it didn’t matter that Jessica could rival the designers in New York or Milan, her small shop in town would do. Their life would grow but Morty was hit with one last blow.
“He’s… he can’t be,” said Morty.
“I’m sorry, honey,” said Beth between sniffles. “He’s really gone.”
“But…” Morty didn’t have a ‘but’. Rick always came up with the ‘but’. If they were about to die, there was always a ‘but’. “But what if I do this?” And then he would save them. With him gone, who could save him?
“Morty, he left us something. It flew down on the doorstep today. I think you should come home.”
“I’ll be there.” Morty hung up and collapsed on his bed.
Jessica rolled over and took his hand in hers. “What’s wrong, Morty?”
“Rick… he’s…”
“It’s like Thanksgiving came early,” said Jerry. The family crowded around the dining room table with a small metal box resting in the middle. They all ignored him.
“So? Does it do something?” asked Summer.
“It-it must do something,” said Morty. “Did it come with a note?”
“No, it just… it just came,” said Beth.
Summer turned to her. “So we don’t even know if it came from grandpa?”
“Who else would it come from?”
“Maybe it’s from Phoenixperson,” said Morty. He rose from his seat and touched the box. It shot a pulse wave out, sending Morty back to his seat. A laser scanned the room and the box opened up, projecting a hologram above its surface.
Burp. Well, looks like it finally happened, huh? Jeez, you know you always know it’s going to come but wubba-lobba-ding-dong, it actually did.” Rick snickered. “I’m just glad those Citadel blowtards never got me. I don’t really have much else to say. It’s not like we can have an actual conversation anymore, so I’ll just keep it short. I love you guys, sorry grandpa got himself killed. And Jerry, since you’re still around, I just want to say I’m surprised you’re still around. And, I guess you have your garage back. Congratulations.” The hologram disappeared.
The family sunk their heads low, wishing there was more for the departure of their loved one. A brief eulogy could not replace the pain.
The hologram reappeared. “Oh, and Morty. Grandpa finished that thing he was working on finally. It’s in the basement garage. Go in when you’re ready, but not before.” The hologram disappeared again and the box slowly turned to dust. It filled the room with the scent of beer; it smelled like grandpa.
“Well, we should go see what he left you, right Morty?”
“I don’t want to see it,” said Morty. “I just… I just don’t.” Morty stormed out and into the backyard.
Rick was really gone. He left Morty something but he was really gone. Morty would never venture out into the universe again. Rick was his protector, his guide, and hero. With all Morty learned, he still couldn’t measure up to the brilliant, masterful ways of his grandpa. The world suddenly felt so small. Morty left that night, the empty garage was too much. The house was too quiet without Rick. Life had to go on, his life, with Jessica. When the time was right, he would go back and see what Rick left him but he knew it wasn’t now.
Morty’s life continued as life must after the loss of a loved one. He became the favourite teacher at Burchbounce High School and Jessica earned enough to close up shop in the summer. They traveled the world, eating poke in Hawaii, summiting Machu Picchu, circumventing the coast of Australia and so much more. When the summer of 2032 came, Jessica returned to her shop, still lean but with something small growing inside. 8 months later, their baby boy was named Rick in memory of grandpa. Two years later came a little girl that they called Annie. Morty really liked that name for reasons he couldn’t remember.
As time went on, Jerry went first, then Beth and though Morty didn’t want it, he lost touch with Summer. Then one morning, Morty felt a pull in the pit of his stomach and then a searing pain. He raced to the hospital to find, what he thought was heartburn, was a tumour. It had grown and infected the surrounding areas: the lungs, liver, pancreas, and heart. It was time.
“I’ll be seeing Dr. Sergo today,” said Morty as Jessica readied herself for work.
“I don’t have to work today, I can drive you.”
“No, no,” said Morty, “I’ll be okay. I—” he winced in pain, “I’m alright, it’s better than normal.”
“You call me when you make it. You promise me that.”
“I promise.” The first lie since they started dating. They kissed and Jessica left. As her car pulled away, Morty called in a taxi. He couldn’t drive, he couldn’t focus on anything but his pain. The taxi took him to the airport where he flew home.
The old house looked the same. New siding, painted grey, but it was the same. The owner, looking to be in his early 20’s, was in the garage, fixing their bike when Morty walked up.
“H-hello there,” said Morty.
“Oh, hi there, are you from across the street? We just moved in here.”
“No, no, I just used to live here.”
“Oh,” the man said and smiled. “It’s a great home.”
“Yes, lots of good memories,” said Morty. “Do you mind if I have a moment here by myself? A lot of magic happened in this here garage.”
“Umm… I guess that’s okay. Just don’t steal anything, I don’t want to beat up an old man.” He laughed and Morty smiled. It wasn’t worth laughing at. The man kept his word and left.
Morty spat on the ground and an elevator rose from the concrete. Rick always had such great ways to hide things in plain sight. “Who would spit in their own garage?” he told Morty when he was installing the elevator. “No one, that’s who.”
At the bottom, a short tunnel led to a large metal door. As Morty stepped towards it, a hologram of Rick appeared.
“So, you finally made it, eh? What’s that, 15 years? You know, you could’ve come any time,” he said. “But hey, if it’s your right time, it’s your right time.”
Morty began to tear up. He really missed him…
“Well, go on, Morty, everything you need to know is beyond that door.”
Morty walked towards it, passing through the hologram of his grandpa. He grabbed hold of the door and struggled against the latch. The metal had sat too long. Through the pain, Morty pressed with all his might and it opened.
Morty landed on the ground, his insides burned. His phone began to ring, it was Jessica. Morty watched as the phone rang, then the messages came after.
“Morty? Where are you?”
“Morty, please pick up. Please tell me you’re okay.”
Morty left the phone on the floor and used the door handle to help himself up. Jessica would understand. He would tell her all about it after. Through the door, a bright white light shone through.
“Go on, Morty, go to grandpa.”
Conclusion
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Let's Beat The Bookies- Horse Racing Bets 1 A Method that finds you winner in ALMOST every UK Horse or Dog Race How To Trade Greyhounds On Betfair - Explanation How to Bet: How To Read the Race Program How To Learn Odds And Win

Once the betting is closed the track will deduct their share to cover taxes, dues to the Racing Association, overhead expenses, purse money, and the Breeders’ Fund. For example at the Pimlico track in Baltimore (home of the Preakness stakes) the track will deduct 17% to 25% depending on the type of wager. Decimal odds – a type of odds shown in decimal format mostly used in Europe. Dime – betting slang terms for a $1000 bet. Dog (aka Underdog) – the term dog represents a team or a player who is expected to lose a game. Double – An accumulator bet which involves two selections.Both selections must be successful to win the bet. Double Chance – one of the basic soccer bets. Binary betting (see also Fixed-odds betting, Spread betting) A combination of spread and fixed-odds betting with only two outcomes 0 or 100, with the bet struck against a bid or offer somewhere between the two, for an agreed unit stake. Board price. The price available to bettors from bookmakers who operate trackside at horse or greyhound Dog - In sports betting, the team perceived to be most likely to lose. Dog Player - In sports gambling this term refers to one who mostly plays the underdog. Dollar - $100, in sports wagering. Horse racing involves a somewhat boggling collection of colorful phrases and terms for putting your money down on a horse and hoping to come away with a lot more money when the horse wins.Racing can also provide a comparatively gentle way of wagering—you don't have to bet that the horse will come in first.

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Let's Beat The Bookies- Horse Racing Bets 1

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