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Opposites Attract, pt. 5

(The story so far: Alice and her caravan (Jack, Arbuck and Marie) are stranded on a floating rock. A giant lizard lies in wait in the sand below, ready to eat them. When they find out Brock, the man stranded on the rock, has stolen their food, all hell breaks loose…)

What goes up…

Brock looked at them in disgust. “Hey! That’s unfair!” He wanted to rush over to her, but Alice grabbed him and held him back.

“I wouldn’t”, said Alice.

Brock pulled himself loose. “Why does she get all the food and we don’t?” He took a few steps towards Marie, snatched an apple from the floor and hurled it at her. The piece of fruit bounced off her tiny frame.

Marie stopped.

Jack, Arbuck and Alice looked at each other. They spoke; it was the same word at the exact same time. “Duck.”

They jumped behind the treasure chest. Right on time to watch Marie’s body burst out of its seams. In mere seconds, her shoulders grew three times in size. Her arms and legs exploded with muscles. She turned around. As she stood up straight, she was twice the size of Brock and towered over him. Her eyes were shining brightly, and her lips were pulled to slits. Her cheekbones looked like they could cut a man in half.

With a swift swoop, she lunged for Brock. The balding fat man screamed and scurried backwards as Marie crashed down onto the ground. The rock trembled; Alice, Jack and Arbuck grabbed onto each other.

Marie rushed towards Brock again. Brock tried to dodge her once more, but he was too late. Her large hand wrapped itself around his waist. Brock wriggled as Marie pulled him up from the ground like an annoying hamster. Which, judging from his desperation to hoard as much food as possible, he kind of was.

“What is this?!”, he yelled at Jack.

“We warned you about Marie”, Jack explained.

“Marie, honey”, Brock pleaded. “It’s me. Your biggest admirer.”

Marie said nothing. She sniffed at Brock. He trembled.

“Don’t eat me! Whatever you do, just don’t eat me!”

“Don’t worry”, Arbuck said matter-of-factly, “she’s full.”

Brock looked back at Marie. He tried on his best, non-scared-seeming smile. “Put me down.”

Marie grunted.

“Please?”

Marie snorted.

“Down.”

Marie groaned.

Panic took hold of Brock. He slammed her hand and cried: “Put me down!”

Marie looked him dead in the eye, grunted once more, took a few steps forwards and jumped down from the rock.

Alice sprang to her feet and hurried to the ledge. She was just in time to watch Marie land right squarely onto the Ladder Lizard’s eye. The beast yelled out, thrashing its massive tail. Marie responded by growling right back at it. The lizard opened its mouth and snapped at Marie. Marie snapped back. The beast opened up wide again and roared. Marie shut it up by throwing Brock into its throat. The lizard coughed, swallowed, caught its breath and then lunged for Marie, who fought the beast with all of her uncontrollable force. And there was a lot of uncontrollable force.

“We have to get down”, Alice said, and once again stopped Jack from jumping at the last possible moment.

“I think she’s got this”, said Arbuck.

Alice focused. How could they get down? Marie survived the jump – maybe they could too? But then what? They wouldn’t as much as scratch the lizard and its impervious skin.

A sudden shockwave went through the rock, forcing Alice and Jack to their knees – and Arbuck to the ground entirely. Alice looked at her surroundings. There was no doubt about it. Jack tried to get back to his feet, but another rumble went through the ground and forced him back down.

“We’re shaking!”, said Arbuck.

“Rocking!”, corrected Jack.

The rock violently shook left and right. Jack, Alice and Arbuck were flailing around and held on for dear life. Brock’s words echoed inside Alice’s head: What goes up, must come down. Then, the force of the crumbling rock swung her towards the edge and over it. She could barely hold on as Jack and Arbuck rushed in. They grabbed her hands and tried to pull her back up, but the shaking was too violent and they couldn’t.

“It’s no use, guys!”, Alice yelled. “It’s going down!”

“No, it’s not!”, Jack cried out. “It’s a floating rock!”

“Rocks don’t float!”

Alice looked down. Twenty meters lower, Marie and the lizard were still wrestling. Soon, she would be joining them, crash down into the sand, and if the fall didn’t kill her, then the lizard would. Or Marie, for that matter. She could see the cook grab the lizard into a chokehold and yank it to the right. The rock shook violently. Alice frowned. Her hands slipped further and further down. Marie now dragged the beast towards the left and slammed it into the sand. The floating rock swerved in the same direction.

Alice assembled the puzzle inside her head with lightning speed. The swerving of the rock. The constant presence of the lizard, even three days later. And the strange way Arbuck’s gun had swerved back towards the ledge. It hadn’t been a miracle. It had been…

“Let me go!” Alice cried out.

“You can’t die!”, Jack yelled. “Who will do all the thinking?”

“I am doing the thinking, Jack! Right now!”

“What are you thinkin’, chief?” asked Arbuck.

“Run towards the other edge and jump up and down. Both of you. At the same time.”

“Why?”

“Because you’re going to flip the rock!”

Alice could see Jack and Arbuck exchange glances. Then came nods. They let go of Alice and disappeared. Alice braced herself. She heard Jack count down from three. Thud. The rock leaned forward, allowing Alice to fasten her grip; then it came back to level again. Down below, the lizard had Marie pinned down. If this didn’t work, they were all dead. Alice could hear Jack count down again. The second thud was bigger. The rock rose until it was almost vertical, then slowly leveled itself once more. Then, Jack counted down a third time –

And the third time was a charm.

Alice yelled from the top of her voice: “Hold on! We’re going down!”

A large rumble went through the rock. It flipped all the way sideways, hung suspended vertically for a second; then, like a clockwork gear, something clicked into place. The rock forcefully flung itself on its back; the trio scrambled on top of it and held on for their lives as the rock started its breakneck descent towards the ground. The wind ruffled through Alice’s hair. She pressed her eyes shut. Braced herself.

The force of impact rumbled through her like lightning.

Opposites Attract, pt. 4

(The story so far: On a trip through the desert, Alice and her caravan (Jack, Marie and Arbuck) come across a flying rock and a ladder. On the rock, they meet a stranded traveler named Brock, and find out the ladder was actually a giant lizard’s tongue in disguise. Now they are stranded on a rock with no way down. And the worst part: Their food fell down…)

Nothing but Parcheesi…

And Alice did think about it, but even as night was beginning to fall, no solution had come. First, she had considered constructing a ladder out of their clothes, but Marie was wearing too little of them for it to work. Then, she had figured they could use Brock to lure the Ladder Lizard, but Jack would probably not go for it. When her thoughts had ended up circling around building a human ladder to get them down, she finally gave up. They were stuck on a floating rock, six hundred feet up in the air, with the only way down the tongue of a creature that had no intent of waking up.

In the end, she gave up and joined the group. They were sitting in a circle on the ground around the Parcheesi board. Brock had given Marie his sweater and his pants and was sitting in his underwear, teeth clattering loudly. Arbuck was swaying left and right, already halfway drunk. Jack was, through some form of random luck that seemed to cling to him like a fly to honey, winning.

Alice sat down between Arbuck and Jack. She looked at Brock. “How did you get up here?”

Brock cocked his head towards the treasure chest. “Oh, you know. Walking through the desert, when all of a sudden I see that baby on a rock in front of me.”

Alice frowned. “This rock? In the sand?”

“No, another rock I just randomly mentioned. Is she always like this?”

Everyone nodded.

Brock shrugged. “Of course it’s this rock. How else would I get up here? Besides. I wouldn’t be able to see the treasure from below. It’d just be a regular floating rock. Why would I get up that?”

Alice eyed Jack, who moved one of his pawns and sent one of Arbuck’s back to the stable. Why would you, right?

“So anyway. I walk towards the treasure chest. Only that’s when old Lizzy down there wakes up. Pokes her head out of the sand, opens wide towards me. I can see three rows of pointy teeth and my life flash in front of me. But then I think: No, Lizzy. Not today. I came here for treasure. Not to get eaten. So I jump aside, she slams her teeth down into the rock, swallows half of it in one swoop and sends the other half flying. So I hold on for my life and I brace myself for the fall.”

Brock grabbed the dice and played. Alice looked at him, waiting for the rest of the story, but it didn’t come. “So what happened next?”

He looked over to her. “I’m here aren’t I?”

“That’s impossible”, said Alice.

“Well”, Brock shrugged, “What goes up must come down, right?”

“And the treasure?”, asked Jack.

“You’re playing it”, said Brock, watching Jack boot one of his pawns from the game. “And winning.”

Suddenly, Arbuck jumped up. He drunkenly swerved backwards, almost went over the edge, then stumbled forward again. He looked around, eyes confused and panicking.

“Arbuck? Everything okay?”, Alice asked.

“What’s the matter boy?”, Marie grinned as she flipped one of Arbuck’s pawns, “Sore loser?”

Arbuck looked behind the treasure chest. “It’s gone.”

“What’s gone?,” asked Jack.

“The backpack!”

Jack shrugged. “Oh, that. Monster ate it.”

Arbuck looked at the group, slouched his shoulders and leaned down on the treasure chest defeatedly.

Brock got up from his spot and walked over to Arbuck. He wrapped his arm around him. “Come on. Let’s just play.”

Arbuck shook his head. “I’m hungry. And alcohol gives me the munchies”, explained Arbuck. Then, he pulled out his harmonica, turned his back towards the group and started playing the blues completely off-key. Everyone cowered like someone had just dragged a fork down a blackboard. Then, it got even worse: Arbuck started singing. “The man took my yums.” A few equally terrible tones from the harmonica. “No food in my tums.”

“Arbuck!”, Marie yelled, “It’s not going to get better by singing about it!”

“And you’re not my mum”, Arbuck sang.

Marie got to her feet, stepped over to Arbuck and snatched the harmonica. “No more singing.”

Alice sighed. “Guys!”

They didn’t listen and kept fighting over the harmonica. Alice looked over to Jack. “Do something about it, will you?”

But Jack just leaned back, grinned and watched the spectacle unfold.

Arbuck tugged at the harmonica. Marie slapped his hand. There was some back and forth, and while Arbuck, who was a man, was generally stronger than Marie, he was also pretty drunk. He grabbed Marie by the arm. Marie yanked him towards the group. Still sitting on the chest, Arbuck lost his balance. He toppled backwards, let got of Marie, tried to grab the chest at the last possible moment, but he was too heavy, and the chest just flipped together with him. Brock cried out. Jack and Alice jumped to the side (Jack laughing uncontrollably) as Arbuck crashed loudly onto the Parcheesi board. The chest fell to the side, flipped open the lid and smashed hard onto the rock. A stream of food rolled out of it and slid over the ground.

All eyes were fixed on Brock. Angry eyes, too.

“About that…”, he started. Then, he broke down completely. “Okay, okay! While you were busy looking at the Lizard, I switched out your food for rubble and put your backpack on the edge so it would fall down! Then, I figured I’d bore you guys to sleep with a dumb game and eat everything I wanted.”

“Hey!”, Jack said decidedly, “Parcheesi is not a dumb game.”

“We could’ve shared”, Alice said.

“And last for what, two days? Alone, I could last for weeks. All the way up to the next town!”

“I say we throw him down”, said Jack.

“Agreed”, Arbuck confirmed.

“Guys, we’re not throwing anyone down”, Alice said.

Arbuck rolled his eyes. “What do you say, Marie?

They all looked over to Marie. She was on the floor, squatted, in the middle of the food, her back to the group, and was eating. Correction: She wasn’t as much eating as she was shoving entire chickens down her throat without chewing.

Jack, Arbuck and Alice froze in their tracks, looks of horror on their face.

Who’s the worst? – You’re the worst

Before you start thinking this is the blog post in which I finally snap, pull out my mile-long shit list and start insulting everyone who’s ever wronged my poor snowflake writer’s soul, let me put your mind at ease: You’re the worst is a delightful romantic comedy series with a twist:

The couple (pictured above) in question are absolutely horrible.
Which is saying a lot because they live in LA.

Jimmy’s a failed British writer who’s written more about death than Goethe, Gretchen’s a ruthless PR agent who can spin words around faster than the hadron collider (Actually- Does the hadron collider spin? Or do I need to go for a more collidey comparison?). They meet crashing a wedding, have an insane one night stand and then… start seeing each other. What follows are the ups and downs and the what-and-how of two assholes who fall in love and absolutely hate.

I know what you’re thinking – it’s not exactly an attractive pitch. And to be honest: I postponed watching the first season for ages because it felt like a cynical comedy that I just couldn’t like.

But the thing is: I’ve actually grown to like these assholes. The scripts don’t pawn the protagonists off as unlikely – rather, they find hilarious ways to explore what makes a person the way they are, and what happens when people who are out of touch with their emotions are steamrolled by love. Moreover, this approach is wonderfully supported by Chris Geere and Aya Cash, who manage to play their characters tough-as-nails and totally vulnerable at the same time.

You’re the Worst boils down to one of the most realistic and honest portrayals of love. It showcases the give-and-take of a fresh relationship using two characters who don’t know how to do either.

Oh and I almost forgot to mention through all the sappiness: It’s hilarious!

Check it out. You might just like it.