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8 mos ago
Current From my one thousand year slumber, I have arisen!- Oh JEEZ! I used to use a lot of commas. Did I know periods existed?
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3 yrs ago
I think I swallowed a frog. I hope it wasn't an ancestor!
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Bio

Don't eat metal.

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Mentions: Everybody





The first night was most certainly the worst. After a ten minute magic show which involved Simon being forced to pull a rope of handkerchiefs from his coat, break an egg into his hat, and pretend to decapitate his thumb (he really wasn't sure how that one fooled his Ghost), Perform This Way had shot off like a rocket. Leaving Simon alone. Of course actually sleeping was no better, as they all shared a single tent, and Simon had to utilize his trusted politeness strategy of scrunching up his body to occupy as little room as possible. It was not comfortable, and it was also awkward, as Simon was typically the sort of fella to not even give someone a pat on the back without asking if it was alright first. Going from that to sleeping in a tent during the cold of a desert night with three other people was like whiplash.

Of course, Simon had to adjust quick. He wanted to win the race to exorcise his scary ghost, and use the rest of the money to settle down somewhere quiet. And despite being terrified, he certainly wasn't lazy. Simon knew the only way to get what you wanted was to work towards that goal. So here he was, working. It was day three now, Perform This Way had returned yesterday and informed Simon that Donny was safe. When asked where he was, Perform This Way explained that Simon never told him to bring him back. It figured that he would get the Ghost that operated via extremely specific word choice.

But while Donny's confirmed survival and the group gradually warming up to each other (and being less intimidating overall) were both massive reliefs to Simon, he couldn't bring himself to speak up this particular morning. It was a silly reason, Simon knew. But something was eating at him real bad. The whole area felt too darn familiar. The desert itself was already putting him on edge, but now that it was getting rockier and rockier he couldn't help but compare it to that horrid place he got lost in a few years back. Where Cecilia had saved his bacon, but the stress and trauma were so much he quit his job on the spot. The event that got him haunted in the first place, no doubt by one of the ghosts that perished in that desert.

Of course, Simon knew that the place he had nearly died in was a totally different desert, after all, they didn't just up and move across country. But that didn't prevent him from noticing similarities. Similarities that caused him to act extra cautious, and those actions were certainly causing annoyance towards everyone else. Simon had been going on about making sure everyone stayed extra hydrated and ensuring their horses were well-rested all day. He didn't mean to be so overbearing, but Simon really did not want these fellas to experience what was basically a do-si-do with heat death. It wasn't the type of dance you oughta do at any sort of get together.

He was drawn out of his thoughts by Jules stopping her singing, quite honestly the singing was welcome background noise, it helped distract Simon from his thoughts, but his brain was apparently quick to adapt, since he had managed to get distracted from being distracted and ended up getting nervous anyway. Regardless, he paused to let Jules' words sink in. They were lost? THEY WERE LOST IN A SCARY DESERT!?

"HHHHHHHHOooowie! It sure is mighty hot out. D'you think it's hotter than yesterday? It's all startin' ta blend together for me." Simon was midway through his scream of fear when he managed to transfer that energy into an incredibly mundane statement. His sweat was half from the heat, and half from fear. The panicked 'friendly' look on his face failed to hide his concern. If they were lost in a desert, then it was Simon's worst day ever all over again.

Of course, in his panic, Simon failed to acknowledge that Jules was merely questioning if they were lost. It wasn't that they were absolutely, most definitely lost.


Featuring: @Rai





Danny's eyes briefly widen at her comment about Tetris. Damn, she played it well enough to make note of it? To Danny, a puzzle game, even one as basic as Tetris, was completely beyond him. He just didn't have the mind for that type of stuff. So in his eyes, this weird stage magician must've been some type of genius. Or maybe she was clairvoyant and could see several blocks ahead? Dang, that brought up an entirely new set of questions, namely, were clairvoyants real, and could they use their clairvoyancy to cheat at video games?

Though, before Danny could spiral down an entirely unnecessary rabbit hole of a hypothetical, his attention was drawn back to said stage magician. She had only said one word before pausing, seeming shy? self-conscious? Danny couldn't tell. Reading people's emotions were downright impossible. He was semi-worried he had upset her by talking about that rumor. His dad had always said Danny had all the tact and delicacy of a truck ramming into someone. And while another person added to the list of people who disliked Danny would not be impactful, he was, to his surprise, pretty interested to see if this fortune telling thing was legit or not.

Luckily, she seemed only briefly flustered, and bounced back pretty quick. Danny quite honestly had no idea what the difference between card reading and palm reading was, so her lack of cards did not disappoint him whatsoever, or really impact him in any way. Most people would probably think twice about a palm reading from a borderline stranger, just because it was kind of weird. Danny did not function like most people, his caution was pretty much non-existant. He stretches out his hand, and opens his palm. "Sure, why not?"



Featuring: @Rai





Danny's attention was not drawn away from the information about irrigation farms until the magician lady spoke again. He tilted his head back around towards her, moving just enough to crane his neck, but not enough to fully face her. It was like even Danny's posture had been chosen to expend the least energy possible, what with his constant slouch, and traction-less sandals letting him merely pivot in place. His left eyebrow rose slightly, which had to do more with the lady's gestures than her words. She really did act like a magician what with all those hand-gestures. "Disappointing? I dunno about that, my expectations for irrigation farms aren't exactly high. In fact I can pretty confidently state I have no expectations for irrigation farms, past or present." Danny gave a shrug of his own. He didn't consider it to be some marvel of old technology. Just seemed kinda nifty.

"But if that's disappointing, what're you into? Don't say oil paintings, I'll fall asleep. On my feet." He had done it before, so it was only a half-joke. Maybe only a quarter joke, because man he could not care less about paintings of dead people. Not even if he was held at gunpoint, his life on the line, with a Chili Peppers album for him if he managed to. Actually, nah, he probably could care less. Since someone who cared the least probably wouldn't have thought up a hypothetical like that. Stuff was still boring, though.

Before Danny could spiral into his own mind and debate how few craps he gave about old paintings, he was distracted by the magician laughing. He found herself actually taking in her words and considering them. Amish, huh? Danny wasn't the type of person to actually think ahead in life, he always assumed he'd get lead in one direction or another and end up alright. Or at the very least die in an interesting manner. So stuff as life-changing as becoming Amish had never occurred to him. It'd be pretty peaceful, though. "Ehh, nah. Couldn't pull off the fashion. Plus I like video games." Danny liked video games so much, that he had once managed to steal a Street Fighter 2 cabinet once, and was sadly forced to abandon it because it just wouldn't fit in his room. It was one of the saddest moments in his life.

Hold on, she mentioned 'written into his future' didn't she? That was kinda weird. Guess the rumors were true. "Future, huh? So you actually do fortune-teller-y stuff? I figured it was just a rumor annoying gossip-y people spread, like how people say I got a criminal record." Danny hadn't once been caught for his criminal activities. Those chumps had no base for those rumors, even if they were mostly true. It was just coincidence. But if this rumor had some merit to it, Danny was interested. Why? Total curiosity, and nothing more. Magician-y stuff always seemed bogus to Danny, but he wasn't the type of guy prudish enough to not be interested in it regardless.



Mentions: Everybody





Ahh, shoot. Dagnabbit! That poor little fella, all lost an' on his own. He was so tiny too, even a strong breeze might've blown him away like a tumbleweed. Or maybe a snake bit his horse! There were so many bad things that could've happened and somehow Simon didn't notice anything? He felt like a real..a mutton shunter! Golly, his mama would've been so disappointed if she knew Simon had thought such an unpleasant phrase. But he had it coming! How could he have completely zoned out like that? It was shameful. Simon was feeling all poked up.

So poked up that he only half-acknowledged Neon Ghost floatin' off to go search for Donny. But not poked up enough that he was able to shrug of the scary cowboy's threat-insult combo move. It wasn't like Simon could help his accent, it had been with him his whole life. And this fella had some nerve to act like Simon was some type of bother when he was hunting Jules and had assaulted the majority of the people here.

Not that Simon would say any of that. Confrontation? No sir. No sirree. Thanks, but no thanks.

Where was he?

Oh! Right! Donny. Simon scratched at his beard after mumbling out an apology that he absolutely did not mean at all. When Jules suggested turning in for the night, Simon had an opportunity to do something about it. "Turn on in? I s'pose that's a good idea. Don't want ta get back on th' saddle too tired ta ride. Jus'..lemme get a breath of fresh air first. The campfire's gettin' me a little toasty." Simon very awkwardly excuses himself from camp to go stroll behind some rocks in a very blatantly suspicious manner.

Once behind the rock, somehow confident that his blatant lie had been bought, Simon spoke. "Perform This Way!" And immediately, the strange, metallic ghost manifested in front of him. "Well well well! If it isn't the Sheriff of Pudding. You got a lotta nerve summoning me after manifesting me into that crazy bitch's knuckles, tubby!" Simon frowned. He was bulky, sure, but he certainly wasn't fat. Most of his mass was muscle, but it wasn't like he was about to argue with his aggressive ghost. "S-sorry.."

"Eugh. Your kicked puppy looking face is preventing me from even wanting to yell at you. What do you want, Squirrel Lip?" Squirrel lip? That was- oh, the mustache. Darn, that one stung a bit. "Ah need ya ta see if Donny, the blonde feller from earlier, is alright." Perform This way didn't have facial expressions, but Simon could imagine the smug mug he was wearing right now. "That's all? Pff, that's barely even a challenge. So I won't give you too much of one either. Entertain me, deputy stutters. I want a magic show!"


Featuring: @Rai





Upon completing his victory strut and reaching the early settlers exhibit, Danny noticed one of the people from his class. He didn't tend to pay attention to his classmates on the account of not caring even a little. But he recognized this one as one of the weird ones. Except unlike Danny, who was weird in the sense that people were concerned he was going to attack them in the eyes, this lady was weird in the sense that she was some kind of fortune teller or whatever. Danny only caught bits and pieces of school gossip, so he wasn't sure if he got that right. But that was what he gathered from fragments of conversations heard while hiding underneath the school bleachers and huffing glue.

Other than acknowledging her presence, Danny didn't really make much note of her. Which was why his attention shifted away until it was drawn back by her abruptly talking. He briefly glanced around to try and see who she was talking to, only to find nobody he recognized around. Danny furrows his brows, and scratches his chin. This lady seemed to structure her sentences like she was some type of stage magician. It wasn't until she glanced at Danny that he realized she was talking to him. "Ah, nah. I don't really care about the settlers themselves. With or without the smallpox." Danny strolls over to this stage magician lady, the marbles in his pocket gently clacking together.

"I was actually looking to find this stuff." Danny gestures to right behind her. Pointing right towards the incredibly mundane churning tools, surprisingly. Danny looks dead ahead at the little pedestal things that had information. Did those things have specific names? He nods his head a few times, and then, without looking away, elaborates. "Museums are kinda boring. I don't like looking at historical oil paintings of dead dudes, or anything like that. But seeing how people did stuff without modern technology is kinda cool. I can appreciate people finding shortcuts when they're handicapped." Despite having terrible grades and being considered a slacker, Danny was a big fan of creative solutions to problems. Which was somehow what he took away from old-timey butter churns. It was a weird comparison to draw for sure.

"Whaddabout you? You into uhh.." Danny looks over at the farming tools, as they were the other portion of that particular display. "Early versions of irrigation farms?" Danny's tone was dry and deadpan, only for him to frown immediately after finishing his sarcastic question. "Damn, that's actually interesting."


Featuring: Nobody...yet





Stepping into a gift shop filled Danny with a sense of major nostalgia. He remembered being willing to go through any boring event his parents dragged him to if it meant picking out something cool from a store. Gift shops just happened to be made almost entirely for this purpose, with the rest of the money earned by gift shops coming from tourists. Though, despite having grown up, Danny somehow hadn't become harder to entertain. He was more mature now, sure. But that only meant he was aware that playing hop scotch was about as mindless as fun could go. Not that he liked hop scotch any less now.

So to Danny, the inside of a gift shop was like a den of temptation. His goal? Get in, get the shirt, and get out without wasting all of his money on stickers with crappy puns, or erasers in the shape of old paintings. Shouldn't be too hard, museum gift shops were far from the most exciting, they couldn't even hold a candle to aquarium gift shops. Danny was fairly confident he would not be lead astray-

Woah! twenty marbles for two bucks!? And you could pick whichever style you liked too! And over there, was that a T-Rex plush toy wearing a tiny graduation cap? Dammit! They even had little historical figure paper weights with googly-eyes! Danny takes a staggering step backwards. Sweat dripping down his brow. He had..underestimated this gift shop. Yes, it was clearly more dangerous than anticipated. If Danny wanted to get out with his wallet intact, he'd need a plan.

Danny starts chewing on the nail of his thumb while furrowing his brow. The shirt was what he came in here for, but would he really be satisfied with just the cool dinosaur shirt? But then again, the shirt was the most expensive item. He could get all three of the others for less than the shirt. But it wasn't like he could wear around any of the other prospective purchases..Oh, wait. Danny was missing the easiest possible answer.

Thievery.

The shirt he'd purchase, but the marbles? Logically speaking twenty marbles for two bucks was actually kind of a rip off, regardless of if you could pick the different colors! It wasn't morally bankrupt to rob someone who was robbing others. You could get way more marbles for a tiny price increase. If anything, Danny was more of a Robin Hood type. Except he was both Robin Hood and the poor people Robin Hood was giving to in this instance.

So, Danny takes his coveted shirt off the rack, and while making his way to the counter, 'coincidentally' passes by the marbles. His hand stretches out in a quick and fluid motion, allowing Danny to grab a fistful and pocket them unobserved. Though it wasn't particularly impressive, given that nobody was observing him. He was not in a situation that required a great deal of skill.

Upon approaching the counter, Danny cautiously places the shirt down on it. It was imperative his movements were calm and slow, otherwise the sound of marbles rattling would be totally obvious. "Just the shirt, please." The woman behind the counter gave him a polite but stiff smile. The type of smile most people working a gift shop in a museum would give. It wasn't exactly a dream job after all. She rung him up, and the cash was exchanged.

Danny grabbed the plastic baggie, and took gentle steps towards the exit. Making absolutely certain not to rattle his marble filled pocket. The moment he was out of the gift shop, Danny knew he was home free. He started strolling towards the early settlers exhibit with purpose. No longer afraid to let his stolen marbles rattle. They now rattled freely.


Mentions: Everybody





Simon's concern had not faded whatsoever. Joseppi's statement had raised a lot of red flags, and Jules' response had not lowered any of them. Should he try to find out if she needed actual help? He had paper in his coat, he could certainly write something like 'if he's holding you hostage, blink twice' or something similar. But that would mean going without paper, and Perform This Way might ask him to draw a caricature at some point. It was too darn risky. Still, he'd try to discern if they were in real danger around this feller, just not when said feller was less than ten feet away from him. Simon considered himself the type of person who would help those in trouble, but he also knew deep down he was the type of person who would really really not like to get punched at again.

Simon takes his canteen off his belt, and untwists it. The night was cold, sure, but he had still sweated it out through the day. Some water was much needed. Simon takes a long drink from it, only for the very scary cowboy to start talking as he drank. Upon the realization that not only was one of the people he was traveling with 'following' one of the others. But two more people were also following her, Simon proceeded to choke mid-drink. He promptly lets out a hacking cough that lasts for an embarrassing long time. After about a minuet and a half of just coughing, he attempts to play it off. Though while he was choking on nothing, Simon did manage to catch the rest of the scary cowboy's sentence.

Gut feeling, huh? He got punched out of a bar over a gut feeling? If Simon were a braver man he'd have responded harshly with a very rude word. Such as varmint. But instead he just gave a nervous and obviously fake laugh in response, before re-focusing on the whole potentially being hunted by two other racers. "..If yer right about th' two racers huntin' her, that'll probably jus' stack with us all takin' fairly high places in th' first leg of th' race. Which means trouble is prob'ley comin' our way big time." Simon felt kind of queasy from this talk of being hunted. He mutters a quick 'thanks' that came out as a 'thank you kindly pardner' as the scary cowboy passed him a bowl of soup.

While he and Jules bantered, talking about the people hunting them and also about a bounty, which raised a lot more questions. Simon decided instead of asking what all that was about, which would have been slightly socially awkward, and thus terrifying. He would instead take stock of their assets should the 'hunters' find their camp. Simon had his gun, but also had Perform This Way who was a handicap. Neon Ghost had a sword, Jules had..something, probably. The scary cowboy had a scary ghost of his own, but Simon still wasn't entirely sure if he was with them or holding Jules hostage. And Donny had-

Now hold on a minute...

Just wait one second!

Ahh, shoot!!

"We lost Donny!"


Featuring: Nobody yet, really.





WHAM! Danny woke up with a thud. He was dazed, confused, on his floor, and tangled up in his blankets. The first thing Danny did was to take a few dazed and frantic swipes at the air reflexively, as if anticipating an attack. Once he calmed down, it was apparent that he was not woken up to defend against an attacker, he had just fallen out of his race car bed. This happened most mornings, due to the fact that they didn't really make race car beds for adults, so Danny's bed was considerably smaller than what was convenient. Despite it happening so often, Danny was always just as surprised.

He struggles for an embarrassing amount of time with the covers, until finally getting untangled from them. Danny tosses them back onto his bed, now having nothing but a pair of purple boxer shorts to cover him up, Danny begins getting dressed. Faded blue jeans, white shirt, and Hawaiian print over top. Danny takes a deep inhale to ensure his Hawaiian shirt was one of the clean ones. It smelled like air freshener, which meant it was probably clean.

Making his way downstairs, Danny was greeted by the sound of Mystery Science Theater 3000 playing on his family's incredibly small Television, and the deafeningly loud shout-laugh of his father, Dougie Brando. Danny's mother was nowhere to be seen, likely working the morning shift at one of her several jobs. Like a moth to a flame, Danny was drawn to the TV screen. "Which episode's this?" He asked while popping a squat less than two feet away from the screen. "It don't matter what episode this is, you gotta get ready for school, you know, that thing your mother and I are paying for, that thing you keep skipping." Danny shifted his attention away from the TV and towards his father, just in time to notice the brilliantly blonde and broom-like mustache on his upper lip twitch to the left.

Dougie's mustache was his tell, weird as it was. Danny had learned to read his mood based on how twitchy his mustache was. Currently it seemed like he was in a pretty fine mood. This meant Danny could probably try and weasel something outta him. "Bummer. Fine, I'm gettin' ready." Danny trudged into the kitchen to prepare a bowl of cereal. It ended up being half cereal dust, half actual cereal. Danny didn't particularly mind. For a while, the two Brandos sat in silence, only the sound of the television, and the crunching of cereal to accompany them. Danny decided to break the silence "Can I take the car today?" There was a few seconds pause before a response was given. "What? Why d'you need the car? We live near the subway, you walk there every day."

"I like driving the car. It's a nice car." Dougie let out an immediate grumble, followed by two mustache twitches. "I know it's a nice car, I'm the one who works on that car!" Danny makes his way over to the sink to run some water in his now empty bowl. "Then you're welcome for the compliment. I don't see why you're taking this so negatively. Dougie muted the television. "You aren't complimenting me, you're trying to butter me up so you can drive the car!"

"Well, can I?"

"No! That car is like a child to me, I don't want you breaking it."

"Like a child to you? I am a child to you!"

"Yeah? Well the car doesn't sell lighters to middle schoolers!"

"Alright fine! I won't take the car." Danny couldn't really argue that point without falling into a rabbit hole of bad behavior. Another victory in his dad's corner, damn. He tries not to think of his defeat while grabbing his backpack, and slipping on his sandals. Danny was halfway out the door when he heard his dad call out. "Stay safe." He leans back into the house to check if his dad was facing him. Confirming that he was not, Danny makes a face at him before heading out for real.



The walk, followed by ride to school were both uneventful. Homeroom was similarly uneventful, but also incredibly boring, as homeroom tended to be. Danny found his feet tapping against the ground in impatience as the teacher spoke at the slowest possible pace. Eventually, the topic of the field trip was brought up. Somehow the school thought a good way to keep their students happy and not bored, was to take them to a damn museum. It was dumbfounding, but also slightly better than not going anywhere. Danny unzips his backpack, and takes out the permission slip signed by his mother. There was a bit of a kerfuffle when he handed it over, as Danny had faked several permission slips in the past. But when the teacher saw it was his mother's signature, he knew it was legit. Danny's sloppy handwriting could be mistaken for his father's, but his mother? Not so much.

The bus ride was over quickly. Danny tended to just zone out in vehicles, and this time was no different. He secured himself a window seat and just stared out of it blankly the entire way there. Not realizing that the person sitting next to him had fallen asleep, and drooled on his shoulder. Leaving a wet mark on his shirt that remained as they headed into the museum. After everyone lined up and sounded off, as if they weren't borderline adults capable of fending for themselves, the students were given their leave to wander off wherever.

While most scattered off to aimlessly trudge through various exhibits, Danny moved with purpose straight towards the gift shop. He had seen a t-shirt of a dinosaur with sunglasses that completely entranced him, and using the money he got from selling middle school kids a bunch of lighters, he could probably afford it. Besides, what else was he gonna do? Look at how people cooked mac n' cheese in the 1800s- actually, that sounded pretty interesting to him. But it could wait until after he bought the sweet shirt.



Mentions: pretty much everybody





Simon had, quite honestly, not expected to make any acquaintances or really interact with anyone during this race. It just seemed like it'd be the sort of thing you'd burn through quick as can be. And the idea of interacting with competitors made him a bit queasy in all honestly. He expected them to throw insults his way, call his mustache bad and his hat tacky, and maybe push him over a few times. Getting punched through a bar by a ghost was honestly better than ridicule in Simon's book.

Point being, when, on the way to Cecilia to get the first aid kit from her saddlebag, his new semi-friend maybe acquaintance Jules suggested he stick with her during the desert portion of the race. Well, her exact words were 'stick with us' but he assumed the 'us' likely referred either to her horse, or to the yellow badger man who tended to show up around the same time as her. He responded with silence for a good bit of the walk, not to be rude, but rather because he was completely dumbfounded by the offer. He really hadn't expected such good sportsmanship from this event, especially given his previous interactions.

"I think I'd like that. Ah'm not exactly fond o' deserts, so not havin' ta go it alone sounds good ta me. Thank y'kindly fer th' offer." He finally said as they arrived at his horse. The idea of not having to go it alone and no longer being forced to watch his back 24/7 for any signs of an angry competitor ready to metaphorically or literally stab him in the back was a massive relief.




Nope, never mind. No sirree. The idea of not having to watch his back sure was good in theory, but in practice it just weren't meant to be. Seeing as how the 'us' Jules had referred to was not the yellow badger man, or at least not just him. It was every single person she had talked to at the bar. Including the person who punched both of them right out of it. So instead of being able to metaphorically lean on someone else instead of carrying all of his paranoia by himself, Simon was now considerably more paranoid. After all, the person most likely to beat the crap out of him was riding less than ten feet away.

That alone would've been enough to make Simon ride all the way back to Salt Lake City if there wasn't so much money on the line, but it was honestly the least of his worries. No matter how imposing the Brutal Bartending Cowboy with the violent ghost was, he just hadn't done enough to inflict the same level of trauma on Simon as deserts had. He really thought it wouldn't be an issue, after all, Simon survived, his horse survived, and they made it back home alright when they were stuck in that awful desert.

Simon was wrong. It was a big issue, everywhere he looked he was getting reminders about it. And the worst part was, Simon couldn't tell if it really did look the same, or if it was just because it was a desert, and all deserts had pretty darn similar scenery all things considered. The paranoia was almost enough to distract from the heat that made him back inside his coat until he was forced to take it off and pray no one heard the loud clattering of the baubles and trinkets stored inside it. And, of course, because desert heat wasn't bad enough, now that the sun was setting, it was getting cold fast.

Thankfully, they had agreed to set up camp for the night. Which Simon appreciated as he was both physically and emotionally drained. The atmosphere was quiet, all Simon could hear was the sound of the stew cooking, and the sound of his horse chewing away on the oats he had laid out for her. Some would probably enjoy the type of silent serenity around the camp. Simon only saw it as the calm before the storm. And as if on cue, the imposing cowboy who tried to wallop him spoke up. Simon's eyes practically popped right out of their sockets at his words. Not the only one following this girl? Was he a stalker? Did the others know? Why were they okay with it? WERE THEY BEING HELD HOSTAGE!? Was Simon being held hostage now too?!

Despite the chilly temperature, Simon was forced to wipe nervous sweat off his brow. He takes a moment to steady himself, and then attempts to respond as calmly as possible. "S'at so?" His voice cracked during the immensely brief sentence. Consarn it. That wasn't casual in the slightest.

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