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2020.09.25 04:59 Erutious For Your Talent

I looked at the number written on the paper, and my eyes grew large.

That was way more money than I made in a year, more money than I'd made in my life, and this guy was offering it to me for…

"So, you want to pay me for...what, exactly?"

The man in the black suit stared at me, hollowly, from behind his mirrored glasses. He sat, nonchalantly, across the table at the small coffee shop I had written in for the last four years. I liked the ambiance here, as did many other local writers it seemed. It was a great place to read and write, and I had been coming here for the past year and a half. I could see many others around me, plinking away on their MacBooks or their off the shelf Walmart laptops, as they wrote the next great American novel or the next hit screenplay.

The longer the man sat there, the more I wished he had approached one of them instead.

"It's straightforward," he said, his voice and cadence reminding me of Agent Smith in The Matrix movies, "we want to pay you for your Talents. You come to our office, let us see your Talent, and pay you for your time and effort. Sound like something you might be interested in?"

Then he smiled, his lips sliding away from his perfectly artificial teeth, and I couldn't help but cringe all over.

It was like a dog who's been taught to smile, unsettling, and a little alarming.

But it was a lot of money.

"Let me think about it." I hedged, and the smile slid mechanically from the man's face.

He produced a business card, rising suddenly and holding it out.

"Let us know if you change your mind. The offer is valid whenever you're ready."

He left then, making his way for the door like a shark hunting his next meal.

I looked at the card and wrinkled my eyebrows.

It was a plain white business card, nothing fancy, with the words, "Libras Talent. Because your Talent should never go to waste." printed on it.

I stared at it for a while as my laptop screen went into sleep mode, darkening and allowing me to see myself as I sat in contemplation.

How very curious.

I've been writing in some form or another for my whole life.

When I was a child, I drew pictures and created games for my friends to play. My pictures, my mother swore, always told a story, and my games were never the haphazard mess that my friends often concocted. People who weren't even part of my friend circle often came to join our games, as they were both fun and engaging in a way that was hard for a child to explain. My teachers praised my creativity and expected they would see great things from me someday.

As I grew, so grew my stories. By the time I was in middle school, my works of fantasy were often entered into writing contests and local student works projects. My playground games had evolved into role play games and pieces of interactive fiction. When I was twelve, I discovered the world of Dungeons and Dragons. This began a lifelong love affair with the game, and I quickly took to the role of Game Master. My campaigns were immersive, my characters engaging, and my adventures never fell victim to the usual problems others seemed to encounter. I wrote well, and, again, the adults in my life often praised me, expecting great things from me in the future.

It was a no brainer for me to study writing after high school. I had soared through what is usually a very trying time for teens by channeling my churning emotions into my medium. I had gotten more than one scholarship for writing, and as college loomed, I put all my efforts into my work. I spent the next four years working on a BA in English and Literature. In the end, I felt I had the tools to begin plying my craft professionally.

Now, I was trying to figure out how to turn that Talent into a paycheck so that I could pay my bills. Magazines liked my work but wanted writers with more experience. There were people online who would pay for stories, but not enough to live off of. Agents were interested, but they didn't want to take a chance on someone so young. My writing was always well received, but there was always the ever-present But hanging at the end of all that praise. A few interested publishers had approached me, but it was always the sort that buried the line about price amidst all that talk. I was twenty-six, four years out of college, self-published, untried, and no one was willing to take a chance on me.

Everyone, except Libras Talent, that is.


I Googled them, of course. I had been burned too many times before and wanted to see what was in store if I decided to take their offer. Their website was professional but soulless. Their credentials were numerous but were presented without any real pride. This soulless corporation wanted another book for their accolades, another pet writer for their trophy case. If I signed on with them, I would be just another soulless shill who writes for nothing but a paycheck.

My phone buzzed, jarring me out of my contemplation. I looked down and sighed as I saw the message from the power company. My check had bounced again, and they were going to shut my power off at the end of the month without some kind of immediate action. That likely meant that Mr. Kapish, my boss at the gas station, had given out bad checks again. He would never admit it, and this likely meant that I wouldn't get paid until the end of the month.

I glanced at the card as it sat propped against my monitor.

Or maybe I'd be able to keep the lights on after all.


I nervously checked my phone to make sure I had come to the right place. I had come to a flat looking building, a two-story white stucco number that looked more like a distribution center than a publishing house. I had dressed in my best interview clothes, a polo, and a pair of slacks, and I already felt underdressed and unsure about the situation. The outer facade bore a simple sign, white and stark, just like the business card.

Libras Talent

I thought about leaving, but the call of the money was too much to resist.

I tried the door, and when it opened, it was almost too good to be true.

The woman behind the counter wore a broad smile as I stepped inside. She was looking at the door, as though expecting me. Her pants suit and quaffed hair made her look assembled rather than styled, but I was taken aback by her smiling regard. The waiting area was as stark as the facade, and the receptionist's regard made me feel like I was marked.

Had she been staring at the door the whole time, just waiting for someone to come in?

"Hi," I said shyly, "I'm looking for…"

"Welcome." she said cheerily, "Mr. Sereph is waiting for you in the back. Please go right ahead."

She pointed to a door to the left of the waiting room, and I walked hesitant towards it, a strange feeling growing with every step.

Beyond the door was a long hallway of offices, names neatly printed on the doors.

Mr. Sereph's office was the third in line.

I knocked, and a voice from the other side invited me in.

Mr. Sereph sat behind his desk, the too-wide smile stretching his lips painfully.

"I'm so glad you decided to accept my generous offer."

I sat across from the grinning man, feeling like Faust as he met with the Devil.

"It was too good a deal to pass up, I suppose," I offered lamely.

"Why yes, the money is a fine incentive, isn't it?"

I shuffled in my seat, not liking the man's regard.

"So, how does this work exactly? Do I have to write something for you or…"

I blinked, startled as looked back at Mr. Sereph, and found a contract had appeared on the desk. Mr. Sereph was leaning over the desk, that too wide smile stretching his face, as he handed me a weighty silver pen. Had that contract been there the whole time? I shrank back a little, the too-wide smile putting me off as the man leered at him.

"What's wrong? I thought you were ready to sign?"

"I am," I insisted, reaching shakily for the pen, "but I'm curious to know what this involves?"

"You show us your Talent, and we pay you for it. Couldn't be simpler."

I looked at the contract, unsure of whether to sign or not. I'd heard of writers getting sucked into these unfair contracts before, and I didn't fancy being kept as someone's pet writer. I looked down at the contract, but it wasn't particularly helpful either. They offered to pay me for my "Talent," but that was all it really said. It was very vague, not really saying anything other than that, with a lot of industry, speak in between.

I hesitated, reading over it again and again, as the money loomed up in my mind. That was a lot of money, enough to live comfortably for quite a while if I was careful. No matter what they had me do, that kind of money could change my life. And even if it were repetition or degrading, I'd still be doing what I loved, right?

I signed the contract and pushed it back to the smiling Mr. Sereph, my own smile looking lame next to his.

Mr. Sereph made it disappear before the ink seemed to be dry, and I was left holding the bulky silver pin in numb fingers.

"Excellent, now come with me so we can access your talent."

Mr. Sereph rose from the desk and led me out into the hall. I followed wordlessly, still not quite sure what was expected of me, as Mr. Sereph clacked along on his hard-soled boots. The long corridor slid past as we walked, the sameness a little disorienting. Mr. Sereph stopped outside another nondescript door and held it open for me to enter. Inside was a stark white room, cluttered only by a desk and a pen held in one of those ornate holders you often saw at weddings. Mr. Sereph nodded to the desk, indicating that I should sit.

"What do you want me to do?" I asked, hovering in the doorway.

I wasn't sure I wanted to enter that unblemished space.

"Just take up the pen; it will know what to do from there." Mr. Sereph said, still grinning that troubling smile.

I hesitated a moment longer before walking inside. I had nowhere else to go really, not unless I meant to break the contract. The room seemed to hum around me as I stepped in, and I could almost swear that the same fluorescent lights were present in the walls as well. The whole room seemed to glow softly around me, and when I turned back, I could see Mr. Sereph push the door shut.

The door slamming like a coffin lid behind me, and I was left alone in the room.

I walked to the desk and took a seat. A single piece of paper lay on it, unblemished and waiting for me. As I looked at it, I could swear that the surface moved. I didn't want to touch it, but it seemed to beckon to me none the less. I reached out for the pen, that instrument of creation, and it felt very right in my hand as I lifted it from the holder. I set the tip against the paper, and, again, I thought it moved almost hungrily beneath the tip. What was I meant to do here? What was I meant to write? Show them my Talent? How was I meant to do…

The pen came down on the paper, its tip blotting the surface as though through magnetism. As though some signal had been given, the pen began to move across the page. Suddenly, I was writing. I wrote words, crafted stories, spilled ideas as the paper drank them down before my eyes. I wrote days, weeks, years worth of stories onto the paper as I wrote. My hand cramped, and my wrist ached, but still, the merciless pen took my words. The paper drank greedily, swelling as I worked, growing as it gobbled my ideas. My vision swam as I felt my words dragged out of me. They were sucked from my body, and I felt sure that I must die.

The paper swelled as I wrote. The single-page became sheets, a novel, a towering juggernaut of pages. The room began to fill with pages, pressing against the ceiling and bulging against the walls. I was powerless to stop my hand from writing, and soon the pages began to block out the lights. I wrote in a state of darkness, my hand guided by its own insane engine. The pages pressed at me from all sides, entombing me in the written word. Still, I wrote.

When I finally passed out, it was a blessing.

I saw the pages topple onto me and closed my eyes as I prepared to be crushed beneath them.

The next thing I knew, I was waking up in my bed in my one-bedroom apartment. My arm throbbed, the fingers and hand feeling like rubber. When I tried to move them, I found them asleep and attributed the feeling to that. I shook them, thinking about the weird dream I had just woken up from. I had written himself into a literal tomb, and as I looked at my arm, I almost thought I could see small blisters on my fingers. I sat down at my computer, looking through my emails for job offers to see how I might manage to keep the lights on this month. When I came across a new email from Libras Talent, I thought I had misread it. It was a strange coincidence that I'd been dreaming about them, and now they were sending me a message. Still, I figured they wanted to make me another offer for my Talent, whatever that meant.

I had to read the email a few times, going over its contents a few times before the meaning finally sank in.

Greetings

We would like to thank you again for your Talent. Please find enclosed the agreed-upon payment for your Talent. We hope you are satisfied with your transaction.

Regards
Mr. D Sereph

I read the email repeatedly, still not quite believing it, before opening the app on my phone linked to my bank account. My eyes went wide when I saw the amount that had been deposited there. I goggled at it in disbelief. It hadn't been a dream, after all. I had sold my Talent! I grinned as I thought of the possibilities. Mr. Sereph had been right.

This amount of money could be life-changing.


I sighed as hI stepped back through the door of my apartment. It had been a great two-week vacation to the Bahamas. I'd spent those weeks in the lap of luxury and still hadn't made a dent in the amount of money Mr. Sereph had put in my bank account. It was an exhilarating feeling, being able to do whatever I wanted, living a life few dreamed of.

Now that I was back, though I supposed it was time to get back to work.

The money was nice, but it wouldn't last forever.

The news feed on my computer pinged to let him know that I had a new alert. I smiled as I saw that one of my favorite authors had just released a new book. I opened the link to look at the article but felt a surge of confusion as I read over the synopsis. It was a new novel, not like anything he'd ever written before. A world of high fantasy, a tale of adventure set in the world of Erudar, where the lord of the hunt sought the princess of…

I stood, astonished at what I was reading. That was MY story! I had been fleshing that concept out for years, and my manuscript was almost ready for submission. I had been so close to sending it off...well, maybe in a couple of years, I would have. I just had to be sure that it was ready before I just sent it off like that. Maybe after a few more re-reads, it would be okay to send it. I didn't want to embarrass myself by sending off...

The manuscript.

I had the manuscript saved on Google docs! I flipped on my computer and banged the mouse on the desk. I furiously opened the browser as the screen came up, putting in my information as the log in screen flashed. It would be time-stamped, dated. I could take it to the proper people and prove that this work had been stolen. As I filled in the required fields, I couldn't believe that something like this would happen. You read about this sort of thing happening online, but I never dreamed that it would happen to me. It was unthinkable, it was impossible, it was…

My google doc profile was empty.

The screen was devoid of content. Someone had scuttled my entire account. Nothing was left but an old resume' that was years out of date. Not a short stories or half-finished works. There was nothing here to signify that I had ever done anything at all.

My hand flew to the drawer and pulled it open. The drawer next to my desk was full of thumb drives that I used as a backup. Should the internet ever fall, I wanted something to fall back on, something to begin anew. An odd worry to have, I know, but we writer are often worried about losing our work to unforeseen circumstances. I searched feverishly;y through the drawer, but I needn't have bothered.

The drawer was empty. My hand scraped the too clean bottom of the drawer as my hand scrabbled through it. No note, no thumb drives, no dust, no trash. Nothing! The drawer was maddeningly clean, and I found myself sobbing as I continued to find nothing.

I searched my computer for any trace of my manuscript, stories, and anything, but it had all been erased. I searched my desk for any notes or leavings of my work, but also found nothing. I looked for my drawings, my sketches, but it was as though they had all disappeared. There wasn't a shred of evidence that I had ever created anything. Even the books I had self-published had vanished from my Amazon account, the hard copies absent from my shelves.

That was when I began to panic. What was happening? Someone had been in my apartment. Someone had stolen my work. Someone had taken my whole life and left me with nothing but the fading memories. Someone had stolen...

My blood ran cold.

My Talent.

I combed through my emails, searching for the email from Sereph. If I could find it, I could prove that he had spoken with him, I could get some help finding my works. The police would find prints or evidence that someone had been there, and they could help me get my things back. Money or not, theft was still a serious crime and...

The email was gone, nowhere to be found.

It was as though I had never spoken with him at all.

That was the day I set about finding Mr. Sereph. It became my all-consuming desire, my only goal in life, and I went about it with surgical precision. I had gone down to the building that had been Libras Talent, but it had been abandoned. The doors were locked, the sign removed, and the building looked empty and forlorn. It had been too big an operation to simply close up overnight, and I had asked the people in the buildings around them if they had seen them packing up. All of them only shook their heads, saying they didn't know anything about a talent agency or a publishing house. I went to the internet, searching for the sites I had used to track them down before, but any email I sent them was either returned, the email address closed, or ignored. It seemed my search wouldn't be as easy as tracking down the company and getting my Talent back.

I don't know when I started thinking of my thumb drives and notes as my Talent, but eventually, that was the word I began to use as well.

That was when I had taken to staking out the coffee shop. The place was always packed, and if Sereph was looking for other writers to swindle, I thought he might come back here. I had brought my laptop the first few times but had stopped after the first week. I was too distracted to write these days, after finding out my life's work had been stolen, and all I thought about was having my work returned to me. I'd spent the last three weeks drinking coffee and keeping my eyes peeled as I held down the corner booth near the bar. I arrived when the place opened and didn't leave until the final customer had shuffled out.

I found Mr. Sereph after the third week of staking out the coffee shop.

Well, that's not really true.

It was just after sunset on a Tuesday when he found me.

I had been sitting in the corner, listening to the sound of keys clacking and drinks being slurped, when I heard his oily voice ooze through my consciousness.

"What we're looking for is your talent."

I swung my head around sharply. The man was at a nearby table, talking to a blond girl that I had seen hanging around lately. She was working on a screenplay it seemed, working hard it seemed, and she had gained the interest of Libras Talent, it seemed. She looked over the business card and told him she'd think about it before leaving in a hurry. As she passed, I saw her face and could tell that she was as put off by the smiling man as I was.

The man sat for a moment, watching her leave, before turning to look at directly at me, smiling his shark's smile.

"I hear you've been looking for me."

I jumped, not yet sure what I would say to him. Mr. Sereph came sauntering over to my table, taking the empty seat as that too wide smile still made me cringe. He took a sip of the cold cup of coffee I had been ignoring for the last hour and seemed to be waiting for me to speak. He had caught me flat-footed, though, and I was utterly incapable of speechless. In my head, I had always been indignant, downright angry, but now, as I stared into that too-wide smile, I felt unsure of what I was doing.

"I assume that you're here to talk about your Talent. I must say, when it hit the bestseller list, I was shocked. I suppose we could reassess your price if you're looking for more money."

That lit the fire in me.

"I want to know exactly what the hell you think you're doing. You break into my apartment, steal my work, clean out my hard drive, and just think you can bribe me with more…"

"I did none of those things." Mr. Sereph said with a roll of his eyes, "We paid you for your Talent. Your Talent was writing, and we took that which we paid for. You signed a contract and were compensated handsomely."

"Wait...you mean you paid me for my stories?"

Sereph scoffed, "Stories? You think we paid you for the rights to your stories?" He laughed, drawing a few looks from the people near us, "I must ask, have you tried to write since you woke up in your bed?"

I had to think about that. Had I written anything for the past two weeks? Felt compelled to write anything? I had signed my name to a few things, maybe written a text message or two. Other than that, I hadn't written so much as a sentence creatively. I had been having too much fun to think about writing. That should have been weird too. The writing was what I did. Without it, my life would be pointless.

"That's right." Sereph said, taking a long sip of the cold coffee, "You sold us your Talent, rather cheaply too, but your kind usually does. You cut your golden goose open too quickly and find nothing as valuable as what you had."

"So, what is Libres Talent? You sell ideas to other writers?"

Sereph scoffed, "Ideas? You're still thinking too small. Do you think that Talent is something that just lasts forever? Talent is a finite resource. It flows and ebbs. Some people are lucky enough to have a large tidal pool, but some people have to buy others Talents to supplement. Libres Talent finds those in need of Talent, literary, athletic, political, what have you, and we get Talent for them."

My blood ran cold.

"So...I'll never write again?"

Mr. Sereph looked a little sad, "Sorry, kiddo, it looks like you'll just have to live like all these other talentless shlubs. But, hey, if you ever decide you want to buy some talent, do keep in touch."

He left a business card on the table and made his way out.

He left me sitting there, my head in my hands, as the sound of raw creativity clicked and scribbled around me.

I had to stop myself from sobbing.

I didn't even write this story. I haven't written anything more than my name or a shopping list since that day. I haven't heard the call to create or thought about anything besides what to watch on tv or what to eat or dinner since that day I woke up in my bed. I told this story to a friend, and he transcribed it for me so I could post it here. I fear it will be the last thing I ever have a hand in creating. I tell you all of this as a warning. There are people out there who will take advantage of simple human greed to cheat you out of your highest calling. Do not do as I have done, do not trade your Talent for a fist full of silver.

And if you see that bastard with the shark's grin, tell him no.

Whatever he offers is not worth your Talent.
submitted by Erutious to u/Erutious [link] [comments]


2020.09.25 04:58 Erutious For Your Talent

Readers will note that i have already published this in the third person on wednesday. Having re-written it in the first person, i like how it reads better. So i invite you to be the judge and tell me what you think. Hope you enjoy.
J. Campbell

I looked at the number written on the paper, and my eyes grew large.

That was way more money than I made in a year, more money than I'd made in my life, and this guy was offering it to me for…

"So, you want to pay me for...what, exactly?"

The man in the black suit stared at me, hollowly, from behind his mirrored glasses. He sat, nonchalantly, across the table at the small coffee shop I had written in for the last four years. I liked the ambiance here, as did many other local writers it seemed. It was a great place to read and write, and I had been coming here for the past year and a half. I could see many others around me, plinking away on their MacBooks or their off the shelf Walmart laptops, as they wrote the next great American novel or the next hit screenplay.

The longer the man sat there, the more I wished he had approached one of them instead.

"It's straightforward," he said, his voice and cadence reminding me of Agent Smith in The Matrix movies, "we want to pay you for your Talents. You come to our office, let us see your Talent, and pay you for your time and effort. Sound like something you might be interested in?"

Then he smiled, his lips sliding away from his perfectly artificial teeth, and I couldn't help but cringe all over.

It was like a dog who's been taught to smile, unsettling, and a little alarming.

But it was a lot of money.

"Let me think about it." I hedged, and the smile slid mechanically from the man's face.

He produced a business card, rising suddenly and holding it out.

"Let us know if you change your mind. The offer is valid whenever you're ready."

He left then, making his way for the door like a shark hunting his next meal.

I looked at the card and wrinkled my eyebrows.

It was a plain white business card, nothing fancy, with the words, "Libras Talent. Because your Talent should never go to waste." printed on it.

I stared at it for a while as my laptop screen went into sleep mode, darkening and allowing me to see myself as I sat in contemplation.

How very curious.

I've been writing in some form or another for my whole life.

When I was a child, I drew pictures and created games for my friends to play. My pictures, my mother swore, always told a story, and my games were never the haphazard mess that my friends often concocted. People who weren't even part of my friend circle often came to join our games, as they were both fun and engaging in a way that was hard for a child to explain. My teachers praised my creativity and expected they would see great things from me someday.

As I grew, so grew my stories. By the time I was in middle school, my works of fantasy were often entered into writing contests and local student works projects. My playground games had evolved into role play games and pieces of interactive fiction. When I was twelve, I discovered the world of Dungeons and Dragons. This began a lifelong love affair with the game, and I quickly took to the role of Game Master. My campaigns were immersive, my characters engaging, and my adventures never fell victim to the usual problems others seemed to encounter. I wrote well, and, again, the adults in my life often praised me, expecting great things from me in the future.

It was a no brainer for me to study writing after high school. I had soared through what is usually a very trying time for teens by channeling my churning emotions into my medium. I had gotten more than one scholarship for writing, and as college loomed, I put all my efforts into my work. I spent the next four years working on a BA in English and Literature. In the end, I felt I had the tools to begin plying my craft professionally.

Now, I was trying to figure out how to turn that Talent into a paycheck so that I could pay my bills. Magazines liked my work but wanted writers with more experience. There were people online who would pay for stories, but not enough to live off of. Agents were interested, but they didn't want to take a chance on someone so young. My writing was always well received, but there was always the ever-present But hanging at the end of all that praise. A few interested publishers had approached me, but it was always the sort that buried the line about price amidst all that talk. I was twenty-six, four years out of college, self-published, untried, and no one was willing to take a chance on me.

Everyone, except Libras Talent, that is.


I Googled them, of course. I had been burned too many times before and wanted to see what was in store if I decided to take their offer. Their website was professional but soulless. Their credentials were numerous but were presented without any real pride. This soulless corporation wanted another book for their accolades, another pet writer for their trophy case. If I signed on with them, I would be just another soulless shill who writes for nothing but a paycheck.

My phone buzzed, jarring me out of my contemplation. I looked down and sighed as I saw the message from the power company. My check had bounced again, and they were going to shut my power off at the end of the month without some kind of immediate action. That likely meant that Mr. Kapish, my boss at the gas station, had given out bad checks again. He would never admit it, and this likely meant that I wouldn't get paid until the end of the month.

I glanced at the card as it sat propped against my monitor.

Or maybe I'd be able to keep the lights on after all.


I nervously checked my phone to make sure I had come to the right place. I had come to a flat looking building, a two-story white stucco number that looked more like a distribution center than a publishing house. I had dressed in my best interview clothes, a polo, and a pair of slacks, and I already felt underdressed and unsure about the situation. The outer facade bore a simple sign, white and stark, just like the business card.

Libras Talent

I thought about leaving, but the call of the money was too much to resist.

I tried the door, and when it opened, it was almost too good to be true.

The woman behind the counter wore a broad smile as I stepped inside. She was looking at the door, as though expecting me. Her pants suit and quaffed hair made her look assembled rather than styled, but I was taken aback by her smiling regard. The waiting area was as stark as the facade, and the receptionist's regard made me feel like I was marked.

Had she been staring at the door the whole time, just waiting for someone to come in?

"Hi," I said shyly, "I'm looking for…"

"Welcome." she said cheerily, "Mr. Sereph is waiting for you in the back. Please go right ahead."

She pointed to a door to the left of the waiting room, and I walked hesitant towards it, a strange feeling growing with every step.

Beyond the door was a long hallway of offices, names neatly printed on the doors.

Mr. Sereph's office was the third in line.

I knocked, and a voice from the other side invited me in.

Mr. Sereph sat behind his desk, the too-wide smile stretching his lips painfully.

"I'm so glad you decided to accept my generous offer."

I sat across from the grinning man, feeling like Faust as he met with the Devil.

"It was too good a deal to pass up, I suppose," I offered lamely.

"Why yes, the money is a fine incentive, isn't it?"

I shuffled in my seat, not liking the man's regard.

"So, how does this work exactly? Do I have to write something for you or…"

I blinked, startled as looked back at Mr. Sereph, and found a contract had appeared on the desk. Mr. Sereph was leaning over the desk, that too wide smile stretching his face, as he handed me a weighty silver pen. Had that contract been there the whole time? I shrank back a little, the too-wide smile putting me off as the man leered at him.

"What's wrong? I thought you were ready to sign?"

"I am," I insisted, reaching shakily for the pen, "but I'm curious to know what this involves?"

"You show us your Talent, and we pay you for it. Couldn't be simpler."

I looked at the contract, unsure of whether to sign or not. I'd heard of writers getting sucked into these unfair contracts before, and I didn't fancy being kept as someone's pet writer. I looked down at the contract, but it wasn't particularly helpful either. They offered to pay me for my "Talent," but that was all it really said. It was very vague, not really saying anything other than that, with a lot of industry, speak in between.

I hesitated, reading over it again and again, as the money loomed up in my mind. That was a lot of money, enough to live comfortably for quite a while if I was careful. No matter what they had me do, that kind of money could change my life. And even if it were repetition or degrading, I'd still be doing what I loved, right?

I signed the contract and pushed it back to the smiling Mr. Sereph, my own smile looking lame next to his.

Mr. Sereph made it disappear before the ink seemed to be dry, and I was left holding the bulky silver pin in numb fingers.

"Excellent, now come with me so we can access your talent."

Mr. Sereph rose from the desk and led me out into the hall. I followed wordlessly, still not quite sure what was expected of me, as Mr. Sereph clacked along on his hard-soled boots. The long corridor slid past as we walked, the sameness a little disorienting. Mr. Sereph stopped outside another nondescript door and held it open for me to enter. Inside was a stark white room, cluttered only by a desk and a pen held in one of those ornate holders you often saw at weddings. Mr. Sereph nodded to the desk, indicating that I should sit.

"What do you want me to do?" I asked, hovering in the doorway.

I wasn't sure I wanted to enter that unblemished space.

"Just take up the pen; it will know what to do from there." Mr. Sereph said, still grinning that troubling smile.

I hesitated a moment longer before walking inside. I had nowhere else to go really, not unless I meant to break the contract. The room seemed to hum around me as I stepped in, and I could almost swear that the same fluorescent lights were present in the walls as well. The whole room seemed to glow softly around me, and when I turned back, I could see Mr. Sereph push the door shut.

The door slamming like a coffin lid behind me, and I was left alone in the room.

I walked to the desk and took a seat. A single piece of paper lay on it, unblemished and waiting for me. As I looked at it, I could swear that the surface moved. I didn't want to touch it, but it seemed to beckon to me none the less. I reached out for the pen, that instrument of creation, and it felt very right in my hand as I lifted it from the holder. I set the tip against the paper, and, again, I thought it moved almost hungrily beneath the tip. What was I meant to do here? What was I meant to write? Show them my Talent? How was I meant to do…

The pen came down on the paper, its tip blotting the surface as though through magnetism. As though some signal had been given, the pen began to move across the page. Suddenly, I was writing. I wrote words, crafted stories, spilled ideas as the paper drank them down before my eyes. I wrote days, weeks, years worth of stories onto the paper as I wrote. My hand cramped, and my wrist ached, but still, the merciless pen took my words. The paper drank greedily, swelling as I worked, growing as it gobbled my ideas. My vision swam as I felt my words dragged out of me. They were sucked from my body, and I felt sure that I must die.

The paper swelled as I wrote. The single-page became sheets, a novel, a towering juggernaut of pages. The room began to fill with pages, pressing against the ceiling and bulging against the walls. I was powerless to stop my hand from writing, and soon the pages began to block out the lights. I wrote in a state of darkness, my hand guided by its own insane engine. The pages pressed at me from all sides, entombing me in the written word. Still, I wrote.

When I finally passed out, it was a blessing.

I saw the pages topple onto me and closed my eyes as I prepared to be crushed beneath them.

The next thing I knew, I was waking up in my bed in my one-bedroom apartment. My arm throbbed, the fingers and hand feeling like rubber. When I tried to move them, I found them asleep and attributed the feeling to that. I shook them, thinking about the weird dream I had just woken up from. I had written himself into a literal tomb, and as I looked at my arm, I almost thought I could see small blisters on my fingers. I sat down at my computer, looking through my emails for job offers to see how I might manage to keep the lights on this month. When I came across a new email from Libras Talent, I thought I had misread it. It was a strange coincidence that I'd been dreaming about them, and now they were sending me a message. Still, I figured they wanted to make me another offer for my Talent, whatever that meant.

I had to read the email a few times, going over its contents a few times before the meaning finally sank in.

Greetings

We would like to thank you again for your Talent. Please find enclosed the agreed-upon payment for your Talent. We hope you are satisfied with your transaction.

Regards
Mr. D Sereph

I read the email repeatedly, still not quite believing it, before opening the app on my phone linked to my bank account. My eyes went wide when I saw the amount that had been deposited there. I goggled at it in disbelief. It hadn't been a dream, after all. I had sold my Talent! I grinned as I thought of the possibilities. Mr. Sereph had been right.

This amount of money could be life-changing.


I sighed as hI stepped back through the door of my apartment. It had been a great two-week vacation to the Bahamas. I'd spent those weeks in the lap of luxury and still hadn't made a dent in the amount of money Mr. Sereph had put in my bank account. It was an exhilarating feeling, being able to do whatever I wanted, living a life few dreamed of.

Now that I was back, though I supposed it was time to get back to work.

The money was nice, but it wouldn't last forever.

The news feed on my computer pinged to let him know that I had a new alert. I smiled as I saw that one of my favorite authors had just released a new book. I opened the link to look at the article but felt a surge of confusion as I read over the synopsis. It was a new novel, not like anything he'd ever written before. A world of high fantasy, a tale of adventure set in the world of Erudar, where the lord of the hunt sought the princess of…

I stood, astonished at what I was reading. That was MY story! I had been fleshing that concept out for years, and my manuscript was almost ready for submission. I had been so close to sending it off...well, maybe in a couple of years, I would have. I just had to be sure that it was ready before I just sent it off like that. Maybe after a few more re-reads, it would be okay to send it. I didn't want to embarrass myself by sending off...

The manuscript.

I had the manuscript saved on Google docs! I flipped on my computer and banged the mouse on the desk. I furiously opened the browser as the screen came up, putting in my information as the log in screen flashed. It would be time-stamped, dated. I could take it to the proper people and prove that this work had been stolen. As I filled in the required fields, I couldn't believe that something like this would happen. You read about this sort of thing happening online, but I never dreamed that it would happen to me. It was unthinkable, it was impossible, it was…

My google doc profile was empty.

The screen was devoid of content. Someone had scuttled my entire account. Nothing was left but an old resume' that was years out of date. Not a short stories or half-finished works. There was nothing here to signify that I had ever done anything at all.

My hand flew to the drawer and pulled it open. The drawer next to my desk was full of thumb drives that I used as a backup. Should the internet ever fall, I wanted something to fall back on, something to begin anew. An odd worry to have, I know, but we writer are often worried about losing our work to unforeseen circumstances. I searched feverishly;y through the drawer, but I needn't have bothered.

The drawer was empty. My hand scraped the too clean bottom of the drawer as my hand scrabbled through it. No note, no thumb drives, no dust, no trash. Nothing! The drawer was maddeningly clean, and I found myself sobbing as I continued to find nothing.

I searched my computer for any trace of my manuscript, stories, and anything, but it had all been erased. I searched my desk for any notes or leavings of my work, but also found nothing. I looked for my drawings, my sketches, but it was as though they had all disappeared. There wasn't a shred of evidence that I had ever created anything. Even the books I had self-published had vanished from my Amazon account, the hard copies absent from my shelves.

That was when I began to panic. What was happening? Someone had been in my apartment. Someone had stolen my work. Someone had taken my whole life and left me with nothing but the fading memories. Someone had stolen...

My blood ran cold.

My Talent.

I combed through my emails, searching for the email from Sereph. If I could find it, I could prove that he had spoken with him, I could get some help finding my works. The police would find prints or evidence that someone had been there, and they could help me get my things back. Money or not, theft was still a serious crime and...

The email was gone, nowhere to be found.

It was as though I had never spoken with him at all.

That was the day I set about finding Mr. Sereph. It became my all-consuming desire, my only goal in life, and I went about it with surgical precision. I had gone down to the building that had been Libras Talent, but it had been abandoned. The doors were locked, the sign removed, and the building looked empty and forlorn. It had been too big an operation to simply close up overnight, and I had asked the people in the buildings around them if they had seen them packing up. All of them only shook their heads, saying they didn't know anything about a talent agency or a publishing house. I went to the internet, searching for the sites I had used to track them down before, but any email I sent them was either returned, the email address closed, or ignored. It seemed my search wouldn't be as easy as tracking down the company and getting my Talent back.

I don't know when I started thinking of my thumb drives and notes as my Talent, but eventually, that was the word I began to use as well.

That was when I had taken to staking out the coffee shop. The place was always packed, and if Sereph was looking for other writers to swindle, I thought he might come back here. I had brought my laptop the first few times but had stopped after the first week. I was too distracted to write these days, after finding out my life's work had been stolen, and all I thought about was having my work returned to me. I'd spent the last three weeks drinking coffee and keeping my eyes peeled as I held down the corner booth near the bar. I arrived when the place opened and didn't leave until the final customer had shuffled out.

I found Mr. Sereph after the third week of staking out the coffee shop.

Well, that's not really true.

It was just after sunset on a Tuesday when he found me.

I had been sitting in the corner, listening to the sound of keys clacking and drinks being slurped, when I heard his oily voice ooze through my consciousness.

"What we're looking for is your talent."

I swung my head around sharply. The man was at a nearby table, talking to a blond girl that I had seen hanging around lately. She was working on a screenplay it seemed, working hard it seemed, and she had gained the interest of Libras Talent, it seemed. She looked over the business card and told him she'd think about it before leaving in a hurry. As she passed, I saw her face and could tell that she was as put off by the smiling man as I was.

The man sat for a moment, watching her leave, before turning to look at directly at me, smiling his shark's smile.

"I hear you've been looking for me."

I jumped, not yet sure what I would say to him. Mr. Sereph came sauntering over to my table, taking the empty seat as that too wide smile still made me cringe. He took a sip of the cold cup of coffee I had been ignoring for the last hour and seemed to be waiting for me to speak. He had caught me flat-footed, though, and I was utterly incapable of speechless. In my head, I had always been indignant, downright angry, but now, as I stared into that too-wide smile, I felt unsure of what I was doing.

"I assume that you're here to talk about your Talent. I must say, when it hit the bestseller list, I was shocked. I suppose we could reassess your price if you're looking for more money."

That lit the fire in me.

"I want to know exactly what the hell you think you're doing. You break into my apartment, steal my work, clean out my hard drive, and just think you can bribe me with more…"

"I did none of those things." Mr. Sereph said with a roll of his eyes, "We paid you for your Talent. Your Talent was writing, and we took that which we paid for. You signed a contract and were compensated handsomely."

"Wait...you mean you paid me for my stories?"

Sereph scoffed, "Stories? You think we paid you for the rights to your stories?" He laughed, drawing a few looks from the people near us, "I must ask, have you tried to write since you woke up in your bed?"

I had to think about that. Had I written anything for the past two weeks? Felt compelled to write anything? I had signed my name to a few things, maybe written a text message or two. Other than that, I hadn't written so much as a sentence creatively. I had been having too much fun to think about writing. That should have been weird too. The writing was what I did. Without it, my life would be pointless.

"That's right." Sereph said, taking a long sip of the cold coffee, "You sold us your Talent, rather cheaply too, but your kind usually does. You cut your golden goose open too quickly and find nothing as valuable as what you had."

"So, what is Libres Talent? You sell ideas to other writers?"

Sereph scoffed, "Ideas? You're still thinking too small. Do you think that Talent is something that just lasts forever? Talent is a finite resource. It flows and ebbs. Some people are lucky enough to have a large tidal pool, but some people have to buy others Talents to supplement. Libres Talent finds those in need of Talent, literary, athletic, political, what have you, and we get Talent for them."

My blood ran cold.

"So...I'll never write again?"

Mr. Sereph looked a little sad, "Sorry, kiddo, it looks like you'll just have to live like all these other talentless shlubs. But, hey, if you ever decide you want to buy some talent, do keep in touch."

He left a business card on the table and made his way out.

He left me sitting there, my head in my hands, as the sound of raw creativity clicked and scribbled around me.

I had to stop myself from sobbing.

I didn't even write this story. I haven't written anything more than my name or a shopping list since that day. I haven't heard the call to create or thought about anything besides what to watch on tv or what to eat or dinner since that day I woke up in my bed. I told this story to a friend, and he transcribed it for me so I could post it here. I fear it will be the last thing I ever have a hand in creating. I tell you all of this as a warning. There are people out there who will take advantage of simple human greed to cheat you out of your highest calling. Do not do as I have done, do not trade your Talent for a fist full of silver.

And if you see that bastard with the shark's grin, tell him no.

Whatever he offers is not worth your Talent.
submitted by Erutious to Erutious [link] [comments]


2020.09.25 04:55 Erutious For Your Talent

I looked at the number written on the paper, and my eyes grew large.

That was way more money than I made in a year, more money than I'd made in my life, and this guy was offering it to me for…

"So, you want to pay me for...what, exactly?"

The man in the black suit stared at me, hollowly, from behind his mirrored glasses. He sat, nonchalantly, across the table at the small coffee shop I had written in for the last four years. I liked the ambiance here, as did many other local writers it seemed. It was a great place to read and write, and the coffee was an added bonus. I could see many others around me, plinking away on their MacBooks or their off the shelf Walmart laptops, as they wrote the next great American novel or the next hit screenplay.

The longer the man sat there, the more I wished he had approached one of them instead.

"It's straightforward," he said, his voice and cadence reminding me of Agent Smith in The Matrix movies, "we want to pay you for your Talents. You come to our office, let us see your Talent, and pay you for your time and effort. Sound like something you might be interested in?"

Then he smiled, his lips sliding away from his perfectly artificial teeth, and I couldn't help but cringe all over.

It was like a dog who's been taught to smile, unsettling, and a little alarming.

But it was a lot of money.

"Let me think about it." I hedged, and the smile slid mechanically from the man's face.

He produced a business card, rising suddenly and holding it out.

"Let us know if you change your mind. The offer is valid whenever you're ready."

He left then, making his way for the door like a shark hunting his next meal.

I looked at the card and wrinkled my eyebrows.

It was a plain white business card, nothing fancy, with the words, "Libras Talent. Because your Talent should never go to waste." printed on it.

I stared at it for a while as my laptop screen went into sleep mode, darkening and allowing me to see myself as I sat in contemplation.

How very curious.

I've been writing in some form or another for my whole life.

When I was a child, I drew pictures and created games for my friends to play. My pictures, my mother swore, always told a story, and my games were never the haphazard mess that my friends often concocted. People who weren't even part of my friend circle often came to join our games, as they were both fun and engaging in a way that was hard for a child to explain. My teachers praised my creativity and expected they would see great things from me someday.

As I grew, so grew my stories. By the time I was in middle school, my works of fantasy were often entered into writing contests and local student works projects. My playground games had evolved into role play games and pieces of interactive fiction. When I was twelve, I discovered the world of Dungeons and Dragons. This began a lifelong love affair with the game, and I quickly took to the role of Game Master. My campaigns were immersive, my characters engaging, and my adventures never fell victim to the usual problems others seemed to encounter. I wrote well, and, again, the adults in my life often praised me, expecting great things from me in the future.

It was a no brainer for me to study writing after high school. I had soared through what is usually a very trying time for teens by channeling my churning emotions into my medium. I had gotten more than one scholarship for writing, and as college loomed, I put all my efforts into my work. I spent the next four years working on a BA in English and Literature. In the end, I felt I had the tools to begin plying my craft professionally.

Now, I was trying to figure out how to turn that Talent into a paycheck so that I could pay my bills. Magazines liked my work but wanted writers with more experience. There were people online who would pay for stories, but not enough to live off of. Agents were interested, but they didn't want to take a chance on someone so young. My writing was always well received, but there was always the ever-present But hanging at the end of all that praise. A few interested publishers had approached me, but it was always the sort that buried the line about price amidst all that talk. I was twenty-six, four years out of college, self-published, untried, and no one was willing to take a chance on me.

Everyone, except Libras Talent, that is.


I Googled them, of course. I had been burned too many times before and wanted to see what was in store if I decided to take their offer. Their website was professional but soulless. Their credentials were numerous but were presented without any real pride. This soulless corporation wanted another book for their accolades, another pet writer for their trophy case. If I signed on with them, I would be just another soulless shill who writes for nothing but a paycheck.

My phone buzzed, jarring me out of my contemplation. I looked down and sighed as I saw the message from the power company. My check had bounced again, and they were going to shut my power off at the end of the month without some kind of immediate action. That likely meant that Mr. Kapish, my boss at the gas station, had given out bad checks again. He would never admit it, and this likely meant that I wouldn't get paid until the end of the month.

I glanced at the card as it sat propped against my monitor.

Or maybe I'd be able to keep the lights on after all.


I nervously checked my phone to make sure I had come to the right place. I had come to a flat looking building, a two-story white stucco number that looked more like a distribution center than a publishing house. I had dressed in my best interview clothes, a polo, and a pair of slacks, and I already felt underdressed and unsure about the situation. The outer facade bore a simple sign, white and stark, just like the business card.

Libras Talent

I thought about leaving, but the call of the money was too much to resist.

I tried the door, and when it opened, it was almost too good to be true.

The woman behind the counter wore a broad smile as I stepped inside. She was looking at the door, as though expecting me. Her pants suit and quaffed hair made her look assembled rather than styled, but I was taken aback by her smiling regard. The waiting area was as stark as the facade, and the receptionist's regard made me feel like I was marked.

Had she been staring at the door the whole time, just waiting for someone to come in?

"Hi," I said shyly, "I'm looking for…"

"Welcome." she said cheerily, "Mr. Sereph is waiting for you in the back. Please go right ahead."

She pointed to a door to the left of the waiting room, and I walked hesitant towards it, a strange feeling growing with every step.

Beyond the door was a long hallway of offices, names neatly printed on the doors.

Mr. Sereph's office was the third in line.

I knocked, and a voice from the other side invited me in.

Mr. Sereph sat behind his desk, the too-wide smile stretching his lips painfully.

"I'm so glad you decided to accept my generous offer."

I sat across from the grinning man, feeling like Faust as he met with the Devil.

"It was too good a deal to pass up, I suppose," I offered lamely.

"Why yes, the money is a fine incentive, isn't it?"

I shuffled in my seat, not liking the man's regard.

"So, how does this work exactly? Do I have to write something for you or…"

I blinked, startled as looked back at Mr. Sereph, and found a contract had appeared on the desk. Mr. Sereph was leaning over the desk, that too wide smile stretching his face, as he handed me a weighty silver pen. Had that contract been there the whole time? I shrank back a little, the too-wide smile putting me off as the man leered at him.

"What's wrong? I thought you were ready to sign?"

"I am," I insisted, reaching shakily for the pen, "but I'm curious to know what this involves?"

"You show us your Talent, and we pay you for it. Couldn't be simpler."

I looked at the contract, unsure of whether to sign or not. I'd heard of writers getting sucked into these unfair contracts before, and I didn't fancy being kept as someone's pet writer. I looked down at the contract, but it wasn't particularly helpful either. They offered to pay me for my "Talent," but that was all it really said. It was very vague, not really saying anything other than that, with a lot of industry, speak in between.

I hesitated, reading over it again and again, as the money loomed up in my mind. That was a lot of money, enough to live comfortably for quite a while if I was careful. No matter what they had me do, that kind of money could change my life. And even if it were repetition or degrading, I'd still be doing what I loved, right?

I signed the contract and pushed it back to the smiling Mr. Sereph, my own smile looking lame next to his.

Mr. Sereph made it disappear before the ink seemed to be dry, and I was left holding the bulky silver pin in numb fingers.

"Excellent, now come with me so we can access your talent."

Mr. Sereph rose from the desk and led me out into the hall. I followed wordlessly, still not quite sure what was expected of me, as Mr. Sereph clacked along on his hard-soled boots. The long corridor slid past as we walked, the sameness a little disorienting. Mr. Sereph stopped outside another nondescript door and held it open for me to enter. Inside was a stark white room, cluttered only by a desk and a pen held in one of those ornate holders you often saw at weddings. Mr. Sereph nodded to the desk, indicating that I should sit.

"What do you want me to do?" I asked, hovering in the doorway.

I wasn't sure I wanted to enter that unblemished space.

"Just take up the pen; it will know what to do from there." Mr. Sereph said, still grinning that troubling smile.

I hesitated a moment longer before walking inside. I had nowhere else to go really, not unless I meant to break the contract. The room seemed to hum around me as I stepped in, and I could almost swear that the same fluorescent lights were present in the walls as well. The whole room seemed to glow softly around me, and when I turned back, I could see Mr. Sereph push the door shut.

The door slamming like a coffin lid behind me, and I was left alone in the room.

I walked to the desk and took a seat. A single piece of paper lay on it, unblemished and waiting for me. As I looked at it, I could swear that the surface moved. I didn't want to touch it, but it seemed to beckon to me none the less. I reached out for the pen, that instrument of creation, and it felt very right in my hand as I lifted it from the holder. I set the tip against the paper, and, again, I thought it moved almost hungrily beneath the tip. What was I meant to do here? What was I meant to write? Show them my Talent? How was I meant to do…

The pen came down on the paper, its tip blotting the surface as though through magnetism. As though some signal had been given, the pen began to move across the page. Suddenly, I was writing. I wrote words, crafted stories, spilled ideas as the paper drank them down before my eyes. I wrote days, weeks, years worth of stories onto the paper as I wrote. My hand cramped, and my wrist ached, but still, the merciless pen took my words. The paper drank greedily, swelling as I worked, growing as it gobbled my ideas. My vision swam as I felt my words dragged out of me. They were sucked from my body, and I felt sure that I must die.

The paper swelled as I wrote. The single-page became sheets, a novel, a towering juggernaut of pages. The room began to fill with pages, pressing against the ceiling and bulging against the walls. I was powerless to stop my hand from writing, and soon the pages began to block out the lights. I wrote in a state of darkness, my hand guided by its own insane engine. The pages pressed at me from all sides, entombing me in the written word. Still, I wrote.

When I finally passed out, it was a blessing.

I saw the pages topple onto me and closed my eyes as I prepared to be crushed beneath them.

The next thing I knew, I was waking up in my bed in my one-bedroom apartment. My arm throbbed, the fingers and hand feeling like rubber. When I tried to move them, I found them asleep and attributed the feeling to that. I shook them, thinking about the weird dream I had just woken up from. I had written himself into a literal tomb, and as I looked at my arm, I almost thought I could see small blisters on my fingers. I sat down at my computer, looking through my emails for job offers to see how I might manage to keep the lights on this month. When I came across a new email from Libras Talent, I thought I had misread it. It was a strange coincidence that I'd been dreaming about them, and now they were sending me a message. Still, I figured they wanted to make me another offer for my Talent, whatever that meant.

I had to read the email a few times, going over its contents a few times before the meaning finally sank in.

Greetings

We would like to thank you again for your Talent. Please find enclosed the agreed-upon payment for your Talent. We hope you are satisfied with your transaction.

Regards
Mr. D Sereph

I read the email repeatedly, still not quite believing it, before opening the app on my phone linked to my bank account. My eyes went wide when I saw the amount that had been deposited there. I goggled at it in disbelief. It hadn't been a dream, after all. I had sold my Talent! I grinned as I thought of the possibilities. Mr. Sereph had been right.

This amount of money could be life-changing.


I sighed as hI stepped back through the door of my apartment. It had been a great two-week vacation to the Bahamas. I'd spent those weeks in the lap of luxury and still hadn't made a dent in the amount of money Mr. Sereph had put in my bank account. It was an exhilarating feeling, being able to do whatever I wanted, living a life few dreamed of.

Now that I was back, though I supposed it was time to get back to work.

The money was nice, but it wouldn't last forever.

The news feed on my computer pinged to let him know that I had a new alert. I smiled as I saw that one of my favorite authors had just released a new book. I opened the link to look at the article but felt a surge of confusion as I read over the synopsis. It was a new novel, not like anything he'd ever written before. A world of high fantasy, a tale of adventure set in the world of Erudar, where the lord of the hunt sought the princess of…

I stood, astonished at what I was reading. That was MY story! I had been fleshing that concept out for years, and my manuscript was almost ready for submission. I had been so close to sending it off...well, maybe in a couple of years, I would have. I just had to be sure that it was ready before I just sent it off like that. Maybe after a few more re-reads, it would be okay to send it. I didn't want to embarrass myself by sending off...

The manuscript.

I had the manuscript saved on Google docs! I flipped on my computer and banged the mouse on the desk. I furiously opened the browser as the screen came up, putting in my information as the log in screen flashed. It would be time-stamped, dated. I could take it to the proper people and prove that this work had been stolen. As I filled in the required fields, I couldn't believe that something like this would happen. You read about this sort of thing happening online, but I never dreamed that it would happen to me. It was unthinkable, it was impossible, it was…

My google doc profile was empty.

The screen was devoid of content. Someone had scuttled my entire account. Nothing was left but an old resume' that was years out of date. Not a short stories or half-finished works. There was nothing here to signify that I had ever done anything at all.

My hand flew to the drawer and pulled it open. The drawer next to my desk was full of thumb drives that I used as a backup. Should the internet ever fall, I wanted something to fall back on, something to begin anew. An odd worry to have, I know, but we writer are often worried about losing our work to unforeseen circumstances. I searched feverishly through the drawer, but I needn't have bothered.

The drawer was empty. My hand scraped the too clean bottom of the drawer as my hand scrabbled through it. No note, no thumb drives, no dust, no trash. Nothing! The drawer was maddeningly clean, and I found myself sobbing as I continued to find nothing.

I searched my computer for any trace of my manuscript, stories, and anything, but it had all been erased. I searched my desk for any notes or leavings of my work, but also found nothing. I looked for my drawings, my sketches, but it was as though they had all disappeared. There wasn't a shred of evidence that I had ever created anything. Even the books I had self-published had vanished from my Amazon account, the hard copies absent from my shelves.

That was when I began to panic. What was happening? Someone had been in my apartment. Someone had stolen my work. Someone had taken my whole life and left me with nothing but the fading memories. Someone had stolen...

My blood ran cold.

My Talent.

I combed through my emails, searching for the email from Sereph. If I could find it, I could prove that he had spoken with him, I could get some help finding my works. The police would find prints or evidence that someone had been there, and they could help me get my things back. Money or not, theft was still a serious crime and...

The email was gone, nowhere to be found.

It was as though I had never spoken with him at all.

That was the day I set about finding Mr. Sereph. It became my all-consuming desire, my only goal in life, and I went about it with surgical precision. I had gone down to the building that had been Libras Talent, but it had been abandoned. The doors were locked, the sign removed, and the building looked empty and forlorn. It had been too big an operation to simply close up overnight, and I had asked the people in the buildings around them if they had seen them packing up. All of them only shook their heads, saying they didn't know anything about a talent agency or a publishing house. I went to the internet, searching for the sites I had used to track them down before, but any email I sent them was either returned, the email address closed, or ignored. It seemed my search wouldn't be as easy as tracking down the company and getting my Talent back.

I don't know when I started thinking of my thumb drives and notes as my Talent, but eventually, that was the word I began to use as well.

That was when I had taken to staking out the coffee shop. The place was always packed, and if Sereph was looking for other writers to swindle, I thought he might come back here. I had brought my laptop the first few times but had stopped after the first week. I was too distracted to write these days, after finding out my life's work had been stolen, and all I thought about was having my work returned to me. I'd spent the last three weeks drinking coffee and keeping my eyes peeled as I held down the corner booth near the bar. I arrived when the place opened and didn't leave until the final customer had shuffled out.

I found Mr. Sereph after the third week of staking out the coffee shop.

Well, that's not really true.

It was just after sunset on a Tuesday when he found me.

I had been sitting in the corner, listening to the sound of keys clacking and drinks being slurped, when I heard his oily voice ooze through my consciousness.

"What we're looking for is your talent."

I swung my head around sharply. The man was at a nearby table, talking to a blond girl that I had seen hanging around lately. She was working on a screenplay it seemed, working hard it seemed, and she had gained the interest of Libras Talent, it seemed. She looked over the business card and told him she'd think about it before leaving in a hurry. As she passed, I saw her face and could tell that she was as put off by the smiling man as I was.

The man sat for a moment, watching her leave, before turning to look at directly at me, smiling his shark's smile.

"I hear you've been looking for me."

I jumped, not yet sure what I would say to him. Mr. Sereph came sauntering over to my table, taking the empty seat as that too wide smile still made me cringe. He took a sip of the cold cup of coffee I had been ignoring for the last hour and seemed to be waiting for me to speak. He had caught me flat-footed, though, and I was utterly incapable of speechless. In my head, I had always been indignant, downright angry, but now, as I stared into that too-wide smile, I felt unsure of what I was doing.

"I assume that you're here to talk about your Talent. I must say, when it hit the bestseller list, I was shocked. I suppose we could reassess your price if you're looking for more money."

That lit the fire in me.

"I want to know exactly what the hell you think you're doing. You break into my apartment, steal my work, clean out my hard drive, and just think you can bribe me with more…"

"I did none of those things." Mr. Sereph said with a roll of his eyes, "We paid you for your Talent. Your Talent was writing, and we took that which we paid for. You signed a contract and thus the fruits of your talent became ours. We did not steal them, we merely repossessed our property."

"Wait...you mean you paid me for my stories?"

Sereph scoffed, "Stories? You think we paid you for the rights to your stories?" He laughed, drawing a few looks from the people near us, "I must ask, have you tried to write since you woke up in your bed?"

I had to think about that. Had I written anything for the past two weeks? Felt compelled to write anything? I had signed my name to a few things, maybe written a text message or two. Other than that, I hadn't written so much as a sentence creatively. I had been having too much fun to think about writing. That should have been weird too. The writing was what I did. Without it, my life would be pointless.

"That's right." Sereph said, taking a long sip of the cold coffee, "You sold us your Talent, rather cheaply too, but your kind usually does. You cut your golden goose open too quickly and find nothing as valuable as what you had."

"So, what is Libres Talent? You sell ideas to other writers?"

Sereph scoffed, "Ideas? You're still thinking too small. Do you think that Talent is something that just lasts forever? Talent is a finite resource. It flows and ebbs. Some people are lucky enough to have a large tidal pool, but some people have to buy others Talents to supplement. Libres Talent finds those in need of Talent, literary, athletic, political, what have you, and we get Talent for them."

My blood ran cold.

"So...I'll never write again?"

Mr. Sereph looked a little sad, "Sorry, kiddo, it looks like you'll just have to live like all these other talentless shlubs. But, hey, if you ever decide you want to buy some talent, do keep in touch."

He left a business card on the table and made his way out.

He left me sitting there, my head in my hands, as the sound of raw creativity clicked and scribbled around me.

I had to stop myself from sobbing.

I didn't even write this story. I haven't written anything more than my name or a shopping list since that day. I haven't heard the call to create or thought about anything besides what to watch on tv or what to eat or dinner since that day I woke up in my bed. I told this story to a friend, and he transcribed it for me so I could post it here. I fear it will be the last thing I ever have a hand in creating. I tell you all of this as a warning. There are people out there who will take advantage of simple human greed to cheat you out of your highest calling. Do not do as I have done, do not trade your Talent for a fist full of silver.

And if you see that bastard with the shark's grin, tell him no.

Whatever he offers is not worth your Talent.
submitted by Erutious to nosleep [link] [comments]


2020.09.24 06:28 memesandcommunism LETTER TO REDDIT CEO

Open Letter to Steve Huffman and the Board of Directors of Reddit, Inc– If you believe in standing up to hate and supporting black lives, you need to act
Open Letter to Steve Huffman and the Board of Directors of Reddit, Inc – If you believe in standing up to hate and supporting black lives, you need to act
Dear Steve,
On June 1, you shared a letter on Reddit’s blog “Remember the Human – Black Lives Matter”. In this letter, you claim “as Snoos, we do not tolerate hate, racism, and violence, and while we have work to do to fight these on our platform, our values are clear.”
As of today, neither you nor any other Reddit admins have shared this letter anywhere on reddit.com. However, the response to this message was swift on Twitter, where you were rightfully labeled as hypocritical based on your long and well-recorded history of defending racism and white supremacy on this site.
Among the many responses was this message from former CEO of Reddit, Ellen Pao.
I am obligated to call you out: You should have shut down the_donald instead of amplifying it and its hate, racism, and violence. So much of what is happening now lies at your feet. You don't get to say BLM when reddit nurtures and monetizes white supremacy and hate all day long
Many others shared links and screenshots of your past statements saying “Open racism and slurs are fine to post on Reddit”.
The problem of Reddit’s leadership supporting and providing a platform for racist users and hateful communities has long been an issue. Nearly six years ago, dozens of subreddits signed the original open letter to the Reddit admins calling for action. While the Reddit admins acknowledged the letter and said it was a high priority to address this issue, extremely little has been done in the intervening years.
On June 5, you shared this update on /Announcements, Upcoming changes to our content policy, our board, and where we’re going from here. In the post, you stated that there is a need for continued adjustments of Reddit’s content policy to address racism and that this remains a priority. These continued statements that you hear us, that this is a priority, or that you are working on it are not enough. It has been five years since your return as CEO and this still remains Reddit’s most glaring problem.
Steve, if you and Reddit genuinely care about the values of standing up to racism and hate, then you need to back it up with real action. As moderators on this website who have dedicated countless hours to keeping this site running, we call on Reddit to take the following steps:
At /AgainstHateSubreddits, we have laid out the many failures of Steve time and again to stand up to white supremacy on this site time and time and time again.
With a website with the impact of Reddit on the broader conversations being held in communities around the world, this website needs real leadership and real action.
We hope that Reddit will not just share empty platitudes — but will take a meaningful stand against hate, and take these recommendations to heart.
This letter is co-signed by more than 200 300 350 430 550 650 800 communities representing well over 200 hundreds of millions of subscribers:
If your subreddit is not listed and would like to sign on, please leave a comment below
/AgainstHateSubreddits
/2cb/
/2mad4madlads
/3dsFCswap
/9M9H9E9/
/ABCDesis
/AbsoluteUnits
/AbyssRium/
/AccidentalBoobGrazes/
/AccidentalComedy
/AceAttorneyCirclejerk/
/ACNHGardening
/AfricanAmerican
/androiddev
/animalsbeingbros
/ANormalDayInAmerica/
/anormaldayinrussia
/AntifascistsofReddit/
/antifastonetoss
/arizona/
/arrow
/ArrowAndTheCanaries
/Art
/AsABlackMan
/Asexual/
/askaustin
/AskBibleScholars/
/AskHistorians
/AskMen
/AskMenOver30
/askphilosophy
/AskPhotography
/Asktransgender
/AskWomen
/askwomenadvice
/asoiaf
/atheism
/autism
/awwducational
/babybigcatgifs
/badUIbattles
/BAMEVoicesUK
/BatwomanTV
/BDS
/Beautevil/
/beautyguruchatter
/BestOfReports
/BethMidrash/
/BiggerThanYouThought
/biggerthenyouthought/
/BikiniBottomTwitter
/blackhair
/blackladies
/blacklesbians/
/BlackLightning
/blacklivesmatter
/blackmagicfuckery
/BlackPeopleGifs
/BlackPeopleTwitter
/Blerds
/bodegaboys
/books
/bootlegtoys/
/boottoobig/
/bostontrees
/brakebills
/BritishAirways
/brownbeauty
/BrownPeopleGifs
/BudgetExotics
/buycanadian
/California
/CallMeKevin
/cat
/catan
/CatInTheHatMemes
/Catslaps
/catswithdogs
/Charlotte
/cheese
/chicago
/Chonkers
/chvrches
/civbattleroyale/
/CK2GameOfthrones
/CocosClassics
/coldshowers
/ComedyBuddhism/
/Contrapoints
/copyright
/CoreCyberpunk/
/Corvids
/coys
/CPTSDmemes/
/CreateA/
/creepypms
/CrewsCrew
/cringe
/cringepics
/CritterFacts
/CrowBro
/Crystals/
/curlyhair
/cursedpipes
/Dachschaden
/dankmemes
/DarkJokes
/dataisbeautiful
/dating
/DatingHell/
/DCTV
/deals/
/DebateAVegan
/deerhunter
/democrats
/DenverProtests/
/DescriptionPlease
/didntknowiwantedthat
/digital_manipulation
/dixiequeer
/DIY
/DnDGreentext
/docproduction
/DogeMine
/DragRace_Canada
/DrawForMe/
/DynastyCW
/eagles
/elliegoulding
/EmulationOnAndroid
/entitledkids
/entitledparents
/entitledparentsmemes
/entitledpeople
/espressobin
/euphoria
/explainlikeimdog
/eyebleach
/facepalm
/fakealbumcovers
/Fantasy
/FastFood
/fatlogic
/Feminism
/Feminisme/
/feminisms
/femmesofdesoto
/FemmeThoughts
/Fitness
/fixtagram
/FlashTV
/Florida
/FloridaMan
/Food
/formula1
/fosterit
/foundthemobileuse
/FragileMaleRedditor
/FragileWhiteRedditor
/freecompliments
/FriendsofthePod
/ftm/
/FuckTheAltright
/gallifrey
/GamerGhazi/
/gaming
/gaming4gamers
/Gamingcirclejerk
/gaminggifs
/garlicbreadmemes
/gatekeeping
/GatekeepingYuri/
/gay
/geckos/
/GenderCynical/
/genderfluid_irl
/Girlsmirin
/GODZILLA
/goodseals
/GreenAndPleasant
/Gryffindor
/guitarlessons
/Gunners
/GunsAreCool
/Hair
/happy
/happycowgifs
/harrypotte
/Hasan_Pike
/Hindi/
/HipHopHeads
/hisdarkmaterials
/HisDarkMaterialsHBO
/HistamineIntolerance/
/HistoricalJesus/
/hitboxporn
/hockey
/HoldMyNip
/House
/Hufflepuff
/humansbeingbros
/humor
/iamatotalpieceofshit
/idontworkherelady
/im14andthisisdeep
/indianmuslims
/industrialengineering/
/insanepeoplefacebook
/instantkarma
/InternationalDev
/intersex
/ios13beta/
/IRLEasterEggs/
/isitbullshit
/jewellerymaking
/joebiden
/JohnCena/
/JUSTNOMIL
/JustNoSO
/Kashmiri
/KerbalSpaceProgram/
/KingkillerChronicle/
/kittens
/kpop
/kpoprants
/kpopthoughts
/LandlordLove
/leagueofmemes
/LeopardsAteMyFace
/Letterkenny
/LGBT
/LGBTnews
/LibDemMemes/
/librandu
/lifehacks
/LifeProTips
/London
/LosAngeles
/loseit/
/Louisville
/mademesmile
/madlads
/MakeMeSuffe
/MakeMoatsGreatAgain
/makeupaddiction
/malefashion
/malefashionadvice
/MarchAgainstNazis
/marchagainstrump
/marijuanaconcentrates
/MarkMyWords
/marvelsavengerproject
/mcdonalds
/MeditationPractice
/mediumformat/
/Menslib
/menwritingwomen
/mfa_irl
/mfacirclejerk
/Miami
/Michael
/Military
/mimirecipes
/minipainting/
/Minneapolis
/Minnesota
/MirrorForSale
/mississippi
/MLS
/ModelUSGov/
/MonstaX
/MUA3
/muacjdiscussion/
/Music
/MuslimMarriage
/NASCAR
/naturalhair
/NewOrleans
/NewPatriotism
/News
/Nextfuckinglevel
/NFL
/nicegirls
/NikeSB
/nj4nj
/NJmeetup
/NJr4r
/NMS_Zoology
/noburp
/NomSaying
/nonbinary
/nonmonogamy
/Nottheonion
/Nr2003
/nsfw_gifs
/NYCFC/
/NYCtrees
/Obama
/OCPoetry/
/OCPoetryCirclejerk/
/oddlymesmerizing
/Oddlyterrifying
/offmychest
/Offroad/
/OKState/
/Omaha
/OnGuardForThee
/orcas
/orlando
/Overseas_Pakistani
/PaidForWinRAR
/PanPorn
/paofacts
/partyparrot
/peoplefuckingdying
/Pete_Buttigieg/
/Phillylist
/philosophy
/phoenix/
/PlayingGuitar
/PledgeToImpeach
/PlusSizeFashion
/Poetry/
/poetry_critics
/popheads
/powerlifting
/pregnant
/progressive_islam
/progresspics/
/punchablefaces
/pupliftingnews
/queers
/racism
/rage
/rant
/rape
/rarepuppers
/ravenclaw
/ravens/
/RebelGalaxyOutlaw
/relationships
/relationship_advice
/rigtours/
/RoastMe
/roosterteeth/
/RPDR_UK
/ryangosling/
/rupaulsdragrace
/SandersForPresident
/ScienceFacts
/sciencegifs
/sciences
/Screenwriting
/self
/selfies
/sexpositive
/ShitRedditSays
/ShittyLifeProTips
/shittymoviedetails
/shouldercats
/Showerthoughts
/silhouWHAT
/skitswedditsager
/skyrimmods/
/skyrimvr
/slytherin
/soccer
/socialjustice
/software
/Solocampingandhiking
/spaghetti/
/SPLCenter
/SpoiledDragRace
/spotify/
/squaredcircle
/StargirlTV
/StayingAtHome
/streetwear
/Strongman
/supergirlTV
/SupermanAndLois
/survivor
/svihs/
/tangsoodo
/TerfsWritingTrans
/thanosdidnothingwrong
/thathappened
/thatsabooklight
/thatsthejoke
/TheArtifice
/theocho
/Tim
/timecrisis/
/ToiletPaperUSA
/traaaaaaannnnnnnnnns/
/trans
/TranscribersOfReddit
/transgender
/transgenderteens
/transpositive
/transspace
/transtimelines
/trashy
/TwinCities
/TwoXChromosomes
/Unexpected
/unitedkingdom
/unpopularkpopopinions
/unsentletters
/vaxxhappened
/vegancirclejerk
/VeganDE
/videos
/Volumeeating/
/voteBLUE
/voteDEM
/watchandlearn
/wearethemusicmakers
/weddingplanning/
/weightroom
/WeirdLit
/whiskey
/whitepeoplegifs
/wholesomeBPT
/wholesomecomics
/wholesomehaiku
/WitchesVsPatriarchy
/wnba
/women
/womenshealth
/WorldNews
/WWE/
/YesFap
/Yiddish/
/turtlefacts
Added as of 6:30 PM US Eastern, June 8, 2020
/EarthPorn
/assholedesign/
/DevUnion/
/ADHD/
/Swimming/
/OpenWaterSwimming/
/onionheadlines/
/dangerousdesign/
/behindthegifs/
/chelseafc/
/ITZY/
/straykids/
/red_velvet/
/GeschichtsMaimais/
/neoliberal/
/TrueCrime/
/TrueCrimeDiscussion/
/UnresolvedMysteries/
/serialkillers/
/DelphiMurders/
/RedditCrimeCommunity/
/nonmurdermysteries/
/mystery/
/FoxFiction/
/RepublicanValues/
/nasa/
/Breadit/
/HoustonF1/
/FairytaleasFuck/
/Instagramreality/
/Botchedsurgeries/
/Portland/
/freefolk/
/cheapguitarporn/
/Babylon5Gifs/
/Hijabis/
/Squidbillies/
/coronavirusAL/
/Aquariums/
/shittyaquariums/
/AquaSwap/
/Goldfish/
/Koi/
/AquariumMemes/
/MonsterFishKeepers/
/AquariumsTestSub/
/KnifeFish
/fishshaming/
/Awwquariums/
/Koi_Keepers/
/Bichirs/
/ContagiousLaughte
/AnarchoWave/
/Lima_Peru/
/Spiderman/
/MakingaMurdere
/TheQuibble
/Hogwarts
/ImSorryScout/
/UtahJazz/
/PublicFreakout/
/peloton/
/AmateurRoomPorn/
/RimWorldPorn/
/carolinekonstna
/breathwork/
/saltlakemetro/
/service_dogs/
/service_dogsofReddit/
/ShingekiNoKyojin/
/sounddesign/
/PromoteYourMusic/
/SpotifyPlaylists/
/musicproduction/
/WrestleWithThePackage/
/Austin/
/alcohol/
/RedditsMuseumofFilth/
/chickflixxx/
/Stellaris
/eu4
/paradoxplaza
/victoria2
/Imperator
/KillerQueen/
/TyrannyGame
/saltierthancrait
/kawoshin/
/SapphoAndHerFriend/
/falcons/
/anime_titties/
As of 1:00 PM US Eastern, June 9, 2020
/Jokes/
/skyrim/
/2meirl4meirl/
/MildlyVandalised/
/HolUp/
/Wreddit/
/SCJerk/
/cannabis/
/hearing/
/German/
/lfg/
/dndnext/
/BaldursGate3/
/SampleSize/
/FireEmblemHeroes/
/fireemblem/
/Splintercell/
/RadicalChristianity/
/RussiaLago/
/WormMemes/
/MHOC/
/GroupMovies/
/littlebritishcars/
/Iamnotracistbut/
/ClassicBabes/
/filk/
/ainbow/
/genderquee
/bisexual/
/PuppySmiles/
/lyftdrivers/
/beigeonly/
/Smithtown/
/boyslove/
/heat/
/Detroit/
/BodyAcceptance/
/ConspiracyII/
/ImpactWrestling/
/Splatoon_2/
/ARMS/
/Snek/
/Mario/
/casualnintendo/
/nintendo/
/cleanagers/
/TheMorningShow/
/borns/
/gwent/
/sleepnomore/
/Philippines/
/OneTrueGary/
/circlebroke2/
/circlebroke/
/SRDBroke/
/kflay/
/Musicthemetime/
/HouseChickens/
/poledancing/
/csharp/
/ESL_Teachers/
/GayTeensVerified
/PrincessesOfPowe
/collared/
/knitting/
/Adoption/
/Delaware/
/productivity/
/NewYorkIslanders/
/sewing/
/BlatantMisogyny/
/mendrawingwomen/
/legosaga/
/thewalkingdead/
/MuslimLounge/
/StressFreeSeason/
/ladybonersgonemild/
/wow/
/worldofpvp/
/Blizzard/
/woweconomy/
/ControlProblem/
/Cinemagraphs/
/angula
/Python/
/americandad/
/Anarchism/
/badeconomics/
/budtenders/
/FiftyFifty/
/mbti/
/mtf
/cdramas/
/nyjets/
/pureasoiaf/
/testoviron/
/spicypillows/
/Denve
/StarWarsCantina/
Update as of 1:30 PM US Eastern 6/8/2020
/science
/505Nerds/
/acturnips/
/ACTrade/
/ACVillage
/ACQ
/HogwartsWerewolves/
/AskEconomics/
/TURKS/
/egg_irl/
/blaulicht/
/AFD/
/Weltraum/
/Stormlight_Archive/
/brandonsanderson/
/Cosmere/
/Mistborn/
/MHOC/
/union/
/RedshirtsUnite/
/Judaism/
/DebateAnAtheist/
/FantasyPL/
/ASOUE/
/socialskills/
/Snowblowers/
/arabs/
/WormFanfic/
/cauldron/
/Barca/
/PeterExplainsTheJoke/
/carscirclejerk/
/begonias/
/antidiet/
/ultrachrist/
/thenewcoldwa
/PresidentialRaceMemes/
/NoahGundersen/
/bassnecta
/ColoradoAvalanche/
/LetsNotMeet/
/tattoo/
/MinusTheBea
/kansascity/
/FoodDiaries/
/belgium/
/belgiumgonewild/
/ik_ihe/
added as of 5:30 PM US Eastern June 9, 2020
/india
/AprilKnights
/dobro
/Ireland
/ptsd
/happyrelationships
/Utilitarianism
/wec
/USCR
/forza/
/portishead/
/azerbaijan
/talkingheads
/Umphreys
/ColdCaseUK
/ActiveMeasures
/skyrimrequiem
/freefolk
/Equestrian
/islam
/ColCraftOfficial/
/ElderGuardianRights/
/GenZ/
Added 10:00 AM US EDT 6/10/20
/BotanicalPorn
/WaterPorn
/SeaPorn
/SkyPorn
/FirePorn
/DesertPorn
/WinterPorn
/AutumnPorn
/WeatherPorn
/GeologyPorn
/SpacePorn
/BeachPorn
/MushroomPorn
/SpringPorn
/SummerPorn
/LavaPorn
/LakePorn
/CityPorn
/VillagePorn
/RuralPorn
/ArchitecturePorn
/HousePorn
/CabinPorn
/ChurchPorn
/AbandonedPorn
/CemeteryPorn
/InfrastructurePorn
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submitted by memesandcommunism to copypasta [link] [comments]


2020.09.24 01:19 Erutious For Your Talent

Ted looked at the number written on the paper, and his eyes grew large.
That was way more money than he made in a year, and this guy was offering it to him for…
"So, you want to pay me for...what, exactly?"
The man in the black suit stared at him, hollowly, from behind his mirrored glasses. He sat, nonchalantly, across the table at the small coffee shop Ted had written in for the last four years. Ted liked the ambiance here, and many other local writers seemed to think it was a great place to read as well. Tim could see many others around them, plinking away on their MacBooks or off the shelf Walmart laptops, as they wrote the next great American novel or the next hit screenplay.
The longer the man sat there, the more Ted wished he had approached one of them instead.
"It's straightforward," he said, his voice and cadence reminding Ted of Agent Smith in The Matrix movies, "we want to pay you for your talents. You come to our office, let us see your Talent, and pay you for your time and effort. Sound like something you might be interested in?"
Then he smiled, his lips sliding away from his perfectly artificial teeth, and Ted cringed all over.
It was like a dog who's been taught to smile, unsettling, and a little alarming.
But it was a lot of money.
"Let me think about it." Ted hedged, and the smile slid mechanically from the man's face.
He produced a business card, rising suddenly and holding it out.
"Let us know if you change your mind. The offer is valid whenever you're ready."
He left then, making his way for the door like a shark hunting his next meal.
Ted looked at the card and wrinkled his eyebrows.
It was a plain white business card, nothing fancy, with the words, "Libras Talent. Because your Talent should never go to waste."
Ted looked at it for a while as his laptop screen went into sleep mode, darkening and allowing him to see himself as he sat in contemplation.
How very curious.
Ted had been writing in some form or another for his whole life.
When he was a child, he drew pictures and created games for his friends to play. Ted's pictures, his mother swore, always told a story, and his games were never the haphazard mess that his friends often concocted. People who weren't even part of Ted's friend circle often came to join their games, as they were both fun and engaging in a way that was hard for a child to explain. His teachers praised his creativity and expected they would see great things from him someday.
As Ted grew, so grew his stories. By the time he was in middle school, Ted's works of fantasy were often entered into writing contests, and local student works projects. His playground games had evolved into role play games, and when Ted was twelve, he discovered the fantasy world of Dungeons and Dragons. This began a lifelong love affair with the game, and he took to the role of game master quickly. Ted's campaigns were immersive, his characters engaging, and his adventures never fell victim to the usual problems his friends seemed to encounter. Ted wrote well and, again, the adults in his life often praised him, expecting great things from him in the future.
It was a no brainer for Ted to study writing after high school. He had soared through what is normally a very trying time for teens by channeling his churning emotions into his medium. Ted had gotten more than one scholarship for his writing, and as college loomed, he put all his efforts into his work. Ted spent the next four years working on a BA in English and Literature, and in the end, he felt I had the expected tools to begin plying his craft professionally.
Now, Ted was trying to figure out how to turn that Talent into a paycheck so that he could pay his bills. Magazines liked his work but wanted writers with more experience. There were people online who would pay for stories, but not enough to live off of. Agents were interested, but they didn't want to take a chance on someone so young. Ted's writing was always well received, but there was always the ever-present But hanging at the end of all that praise. A few "Interested Publishers had approached him," but it was always the sort that buried the line of price amidst all that talk. Ted was twenty-six, four years out of college, self-published, untried, and no one was willing to take a chance on him.
Everyone, except Libras Talent, that is.
Ted Googled them, of course. He had been burned too many times before and wanted to see what was in store if he decided to take their offer. Their website was professional but soulless. Their credentials were numerous but were presented without any real pride. This soulless corporation wanted another book for their accolades, another pet writer for their trophy case. If Ted signed on with them, he would be just another soules shill who writes for nothing but a paycheck.
Ted's phone buzzed. He looked down and sighed as he saw a message from the power company. His check had bounced again, and they were going to shut his power off at the end of the month without some kind of immediate action. That likely meant that Mr. Kapish, his boss at the gas station, had given them bad checks again. He would never admit it, and this likely meant that Ted wouldn't get paid until the end of the month.
He looked at the card.
Or maybe he'd be able to keep the lights on after all.
He nervously checked his phone to make sure he had come to the right place. He had come to a flat looking building, a two-story white stucco building that looked more like a distribution center than a publishing house. Ted had worn his best interview clothes, a polo, and a pair of slacks, and he already felt underdressed and unsure about the situation. The outer facade bore a simple sign, white and stark, just like the business card.
Libras Talent
Ted thought about leaving, but the call of the money was too much to resist.
The woman behind the counter wore a similar smile as he walked inside. She was looking at the door, as though expecting him, and her pants suit and quaffed hair made her look assembled rather than styled. Ted was taken aback by her smiling regard, and he almost left. The waiting area was as stark as the facade, and the receptionist regard made him feel like he was marked.
Had she been staring at the door the whole time, just waiting for someone to come in?
"Hi," Ted said, "I'm looking for…"
"Welcome, Mr. Dreff. Mr. Sereph is waiting for you in the back. Please go right ahead.
She pointed to a door to the left of the waiting room, and Ted walked hesitant towards it, his strange feeling growing with every step.
Beyond the door was a long hallway of offices, names neatly printed on the doors. Mr. Sereph's office was the third in line.
Ted knocked, and a voice from the other side invited him in.
Mr. Sereph sat behind his desk, the too-wide smile stretching his lips painfully.
"Mr. Dreff, I'm so glad you decided to accept my generous offer."
Ted sat across from the grinning man, feeling like Faust as he met with the devil.
"It was too good a deal to pass up, I suppose," Ted said
"Why yes, the money is a fine incentive, isn't it?"
Ted shuffled in his seat, not liking the man's regard.
"So, how does this work exactly? Do I have to write something for you or…"
Ted blinked as a contract appeared on the desk. Mr. Sereph was leaning over the desk, that too wide smile stretching his face, as he handed Ted a heavy silver pen. Had that contract been there the whole time? Td sat back a little, the too-wide smile putting him off a little as the man leered at him.
"What's wrong? I thought you were ready to sign?"
"I am, but I'm curious to know what this involves?" Ted asked.
"You show us your Talent, and we pay you for you. Couldn't be simpler."
Ted looked at the contract, unsure of whether to sign or not. He'd heard of writers getting sucked into these unfair contracts before. He didn't fancy being kept as someone's pet writer; his Talent milked for god knew what. Ted looked down at the contract, but it wasn't particularly helpful either. They offered to pay him for his "Talent," but that was all it really said. It was very vague, not really saying anything other than that, with a lot of industry, speak in between.
As Ted hesitated, though, the money loomed up in his mind again. That was a lot of money, enough to live comfortably for quite a while if he was careful. No matter what they had him do, that kind of money could change his life. And even if it were repetition or degrading, he'd still be doing what he loved, right?
Ted signed the contract and pushed it back to the smiling man.
Mr. Sereph made it disappear before the ink seemed to be dry, and Ted was left holding the bulky silver pin in numb fingers.
"Excellent, now come with me so we can access your talent."
Mr. Sereph rose from the desk and led him out of the office. Ted followed wordlessly, still not quite sure what was expected of him. The long corridor slid past as they walked, the sameness a little disorienting.
Mr. Sereph stopped outside another nondescript door and held it open for Ted. Inside was a stark white room, cluttered only by a desk and a pen held in one of those ornate holders you often saw at weddings. Mr. Sereph nodded to the desk, indicating that he should sit.
"What do you want me to do?" Ted asked, still hovering in the doorway.
Ted wasn't sure he wanted to enter that unblemished space.
"Just take up the pen; it will know what to do from there." Mr. Sereph said, still grinning that troubling smile.
Ted hesitated a moment longer before walking inside, the door slamming like a coffin lif behind him.
Ted took a seat. On the desk was a single piece of paper, unblemished, and as he looked at it, he could swear that the surface moved. He didn't want to touch it, but it seemed to beckon him to none the less. He reached out for the pen, that instrument of creation, and it felt very right in his hand as he lifted it from the holder. He set the tip against the paper, and, again, he thought it moved. What was he meant to do here? What was he meant to write? Show them his Talent? How was he meant to do…
The pen came down on the paper, its tip blotting the surface as though through magnetism. Suddenly, Ted was writing. He was writing words, crafting stories, spilling ideas as the paper drank them down before his eyes. He spilled days, weeks, years worth of stories onto the pape as he wrote. His hand cramped, and his wrist ached, but still, the merciless pen took his words. The paper drank greedily, swelling as he worked. Ted's vision swam as he felt his words dragged out of him, sucked from his body, and he felt certain that he must die.
The paper swelled as he wrote, becoming sheets, a novel, a towering juggernaut of pages. The room began to fill with pages, pressing against the ceiling and bulging against the walls. Ted was powerless to stop his hand from writing, but soon the pages began to block out the lights, and he wrote in a state of darkness. The pages pressed at him from all sides, entombing him in the written word, but still, he wrote.
When he finally passed out, it was a blessing.
Ted woke up in his bed. His arm throbbed, the fingers and hand feeling like rubber, but when he tried to move it, he found it asleep. He shook at it, thinking about the weird dream he had just woken up from. He had written himself into a literal tomb, and as he looked at his arm, he almost thought he could see small blisters on his fingers. He sat down at his computer, looking through his emails for job offers when he came across a new email from Libras Talent. He thought it a strange coincidence that he had been dreaming about them, and now they were sending him a message, but he figured they wanted to make him another offer for his Talent, whatever that meant.
He opened it and read through the email, confused as he read over the contents.
Dear Mr. Dreff
We would like to thank you again for your Talent. Please find enclosed the payment for your Talent, and we hope you are satisfied with your transaction.
Regards Mr. D Sereph
Ted read the email repeatedly before opening the app on his phone linked to his bank account. Ted's eyes went wide when he saw the amount in his account. He goggled at it in disbelief. It hasn't been a dream, after all. He had sold his Talent he guessed. Ted grinned as he took thought of the possibilities. Mr. Sereph had been right.
This amount of money could be life-changing.
Ted sighed as he stepped back through the door of his apartment. He had been on a two-week vacation to the Bahamas, spent those weeks in the lap of luxury, and still hasn't made a dent in the amount of money Mr. Sereph had put in his bank account. It was a sobering feeling, being able to do whatever you wanted, living a life few even dreamed of.
Now he was back, though, and he supposed it was time to get back to work.
The money was nice, but it wouldn't last forever.
The news feed on his computer pinged to let him know that one of his favorite authors had just released a new book. Ted opened the link to look at the book but felt a surge of confusion as he read over the synopsis. It was a new novel, not like anything he'd ever written before. A world of high fantasy, a tale of adventure set in the world of Erudar, where the lord of the hunt sought the princess of…
Ted was astonished. That was his story! He had been fleshing that concept out for years, and his manuscript was almost ready for submission. He had been so close to sending it off...well, maybe in a couple of years, he would have. He just had to be sure that it was ready before he just sent it off like that.
The manuscript.
Ted had the manuscript saved on Google docs! Ted furiously opened the browser, putting in his information as he brought up his account. It would be time-stamped, dated. He could take it to the proper people and prove that his work had been stolen. He couldn't believe that something like this would happen to him. He had read about this sort of thing happening online, but he never dreamed that it would happen to him. It was unthinkable, it was impossible, it was…
His google doc profile was empty.
The screen was devoid of content.
He pulled open the drawer next to his desk, searching desperately for the thumb drives I kept as a backup.
The drawer was empty.
Ted searched his computer for traces of his manuscript, stories, and anything, but it had all been erased.
Ted had begun to panic then. What was happening? Someone had been in his apartment. Someone had stolen his work. Someone had taken his….
His Talent.
Ted combed through his emails, searching for the email from Sereph.
It, too, was gone, nowhere to be found.
It was as though he had never spoken with anyone.
He found Mr. Sereph after the third week of staking out the coffee shop. He had gone down to the building that had been Libras Talent, but the building had been abandoned. The doors were locked, the sign removed, and the building looked empty and forlorn. It had been too big an operation to simply close up overnight. He had asked the people in the buildings around them, but all of them only shook their heads, saying they didn't know anything about a talent agency or a publishing house. That was when he had taken to staking out the coffee shop. The place was always packed, and if Sereph was looking for other writers to swindle, he might come back here. He had brought his laptop the first few times but had stopped after the first week. He was too distracted to write these days, after finding out his life's work had been stolen, and all he thought about was having his work returned to him. He'd spent the last three weeks drinking coffee and keeping his eyes peeled. He arrived when the place opened and didn't leave until the final customer had shuffled out.
It was just after sunset on a Tuesday when he found him.
"What we're looking for is your talent."
Ted swung his head around sharply. The man was at an adjoining table, talking to a blond girl that Ted had seen hanging around lately. She was working on a screenplay it seemed, working hard it seemed, and it seemed she had gained the interest of Libras Talent. She looked over the business card and told him she'd think about it before leaving in a hurry. The man sat for a moment, watching her leave, before turning to look at Ted.
"Mr. Dreft, I hear you've been looking for me."
Ted jumped, not yet sure what he would say, as Mr. Sereph came sauntering over to his table. He sat in the empty seat that too wide smile still making Ted cringe. He took a sip of the cold cup of coffee Ted had left there and seemed to be waiting for Ted to speak, but Ted still wasn't sure how to begin this encounter. In his head, Ted had always been indignant, downright angry, but now, as he stared into that too-wide smile, he felt unsure of what he was doing.
"I assume that you're here to talk about your Talent. I must say, when it hit the bestseller list, I was shocked. I suppose we could reassess your price if you're looking for more money."
That lit the fire in Ted again.
"I want to know exactly what the hell you think you're doing. You break into my apartment, steal my work, clean out my hard drive, and just think you can bribe me with more…"
"I did none of those things." Mr. Sereph said with a roll of his eyes, "We paid you for your Talent. Your Talent was writing, and we paid you for it. You signed a contract and were compensated handsomely."
"Wait...you mean you paid me for my stories?"
Sereph scoffed, "Stories? Mr. Dreff, have you tried to write since you woke up in your bed?"
Ted thought about it. Had he written anything for the past two weeks? Felt compelled to write anything? He had signed his name to a few things, maybe written a text message or two, but other than that, he hasn't written so much as a sentence creatively. He had been having so much fun that the need hasn't arisen, and that should have been weird too. The writing was what Ted did. Without it, his life was…
"That's right. You sold us your Talent, rather cheaply too. But, your kind usually does. You cut your goose open too quickly and find nothing as valuable as what you had."
"So, what is Libres Talent? You sell ideas to other writers?"
Sereph scoffed, "Ideas? You're still thinking too small. Do you think that Talent is something that just lasts forever? Talent is a finite resource. It flows and ebbs. Some people are lucky enough to have a large tidal pool, but some people have to buy their Talent to supplement. Libres Talent finds those in need of Talent, literary, athletic, political, what have you, and we get Talent for them."
Ted's blood ran cold.
"So...I'll never write again?"
Mr. Sereph looked a little sad, "Sorry, kiddo, it looks like you'll just have to live like all these other talentless shlubs. But, hey, if you ever decide you want to buy some talent, do keep in touch."
He left a business card on the table and made his way out.
Ted just sat there, hearing the click of the keyboard and the creation of raw ideas, and put his head in his hands.
submitted by Erutious to u/Erutious [link] [comments]


2020.09.24 01:18 Erutious For Your Talent

Ted looked at the number written on the paper, and his eyes grew large.
That was way more money than he made in a year, and this guy was offering it to him for…
"So, you want to pay me for...what, exactly?"
The man in the black suit stared at him, hollowly, from behind his mirrored glasses. He sat, nonchalantly, across the table at the small coffee shop Ted had written in for the last four years. Ted liked the ambiance here, and many other local writers seemed to think it was a great place to read as well. Tim could see many others around them, plinking away on their MacBooks or off the shelf Walmart laptops, as they wrote the next great American novel or the next hit screenplay.
The longer the man sat there, the more Ted wished he had approached one of them instead.
"It's straightforward," he said, his voice and cadence reminding Ted of Agent Smith in The Matrix movies, "we want to pay you for your talents. You come to our office, let us see your Talent, and pay you for your time and effort. Sound like something you might be interested in?"
Then he smiled, his lips sliding away from his perfectly artificial teeth, and Ted cringed all over.
It was like a dog who's been taught to smile, unsettling, and a little alarming.
But it was a lot of money.
"Let me think about it." Ted hedged, and the smile slid mechanically from the man's face.
He produced a business card, rising suddenly and holding it out.
"Let us know if you change your mind. The offer is valid whenever you're ready."
He left then, making his way for the door like a shark hunting his next meal.
Ted looked at the card and wrinkled his eyebrows.
It was a plain white business card, nothing fancy, with the words, "Libras Talent. Because your Talent should never go to waste."
Ted looked at it for a while as his laptop screen went into sleep mode, darkening and allowing him to see himself as he sat in contemplation.
How very curious.
Ted had been writing in some form or another for his whole life.
When he was a child, he drew pictures and created games for his friends to play. Ted's pictures, his mother swore, always told a story, and his games were never the haphazard mess that his friends often concocted. People who weren't even part of Ted's friend circle often came to join their games, as they were both fun and engaging in a way that was hard for a child to explain. His teachers praised his creativity and expected they would see great things from him someday.
As Ted grew, so grew his stories. By the time he was in middle school, Ted's works of fantasy were often entered into writing contests, and local student works projects. His playground games had evolved into role play games, and when Ted was twelve, he discovered the fantasy world of Dungeons and Dragons. This began a lifelong love affair with the game, and he took to the role of game master quickly. Ted's campaigns were immersive, his characters engaging, and his adventures never fell victim to the usual problems his friends seemed to encounter. Ted wrote well and, again, the adults in his life often praised him, expecting great things from him in the future.
It was a no brainer for Ted to study writing after high school. He had soared through what is normally a very trying time for teens by channeling his churning emotions into his medium. Ted had gotten more than one scholarship for his writing, and as college loomed, he put all his efforts into his work. Ted spent the next four years working on a BA in English and Literature, and in the end, he felt I had the expected tools to begin plying his craft professionally.
Now, Ted was trying to figure out how to turn that Talent into a paycheck so that he could pay his bills. Magazines liked his work but wanted writers with more experience. There were people online who would pay for stories, but not enough to live off of. Agents were interested, but they didn't want to take a chance on someone so young. Ted's writing was always well received, but there was always the ever-present But hanging at the end of all that praise. A few "Interested Publishers had approached him," but it was always the sort that buried the line of price amidst all that talk. Ted was twenty-six, four years out of college, self-published, untried, and no one was willing to take a chance on him.
Everyone, except Libras Talent, that is.
Ted Googled them, of course. He had been burned too many times before and wanted to see what was in store if he decided to take their offer. Their website was professional but soulless. Their credentials were numerous but were presented without any real pride. This soulless corporation wanted another book for their accolades, another pet writer for their trophy case. If Ted signed on with them, he would be just another soules shill who writes for nothing but a paycheck.
Ted's phone buzzed. He looked down and sighed as he saw a message from the power company. His check had bounced again, and they were going to shut his power off at the end of the month without some kind of immediate action. That likely meant that Mr. Kapish, his boss at the gas station, had given them bad checks again. He would never admit it, and this likely meant that Ted wouldn't get paid until the end of the month.
He looked at the card.
Or maybe he'd be able to keep the lights on after all.
He nervously checked his phone to make sure he had come to the right place. He had come to a flat looking building, a two-story white stucco building that looked more like a distribution center than a publishing house. Ted had worn his best interview clothes, a polo, and a pair of slacks, and he already felt underdressed and unsure about the situation. The outer facade bore a simple sign, white and stark, just like the business card.
Libras Talent
Ted thought about leaving, but the call of the money was too much to resist.
The woman behind the counter wore a similar smile as he walked inside. She was looking at the door, as though expecting him, and her pants suit and quaffed hair made her look assembled rather than styled. Ted was taken aback by her smiling regard, and he almost left. The waiting area was as stark as the facade, and the receptionist regard made him feel like he was marked.
Had she been staring at the door the whole time, just waiting for someone to come in?
"Hi," Ted said, "I'm looking for…"
"Welcome, Mr. Dreff. Mr. Sereph is waiting for you in the back. Please go right ahead.
She pointed to a door to the left of the waiting room, and Ted walked hesitant towards it, his strange feeling growing with every step.
Beyond the door was a long hallway of offices, names neatly printed on the doors. Mr. Sereph's office was the third in line.
Ted knocked, and a voice from the other side invited him in.
Mr. Sereph sat behind his desk, the too-wide smile stretching his lips painfully.
"Mr. Dreff, I'm so glad you decided to accept my generous offer."
Ted sat across from the grinning man, feeling like Faust as he met with the devil.
"It was too good a deal to pass up, I suppose," Ted said
"Why yes, the money is a fine incentive, isn't it?"
Ted shuffled in his seat, not liking the man's regard.
"So, how does this work exactly? Do I have to write something for you or…"
Ted blinked as a contract appeared on the desk. Mr. Sereph was leaning over the desk, that too wide smile stretching his face, as he handed Ted a heavy silver pen. Had that contract been there the whole time? Td sat back a little, the too-wide smile putting him off a little as the man leered at him.
"What's wrong? I thought you were ready to sign?"
"I am, but I'm curious to know what this involves?" Ted asked.
"You show us your Talent, and we pay you for you. Couldn't be simpler."
Ted looked at the contract, unsure of whether to sign or not. He'd heard of writers getting sucked into these unfair contracts before. He didn't fancy being kept as someone's pet writer; his Talent milked for god knew what. Ted looked down at the contract, but it wasn't particularly helpful either. They offered to pay him for his "Talent," but that was all it really said. It was very vague, not really saying anything other than that, with a lot of industry, speak in between.
As Ted hesitated, though, the money loomed up in his mind again. That was a lot of money, enough to live comfortably for quite a while if he was careful. No matter what they had him do, that kind of money could change his life. And even if it were repetition or degrading, he'd still be doing what he loved, right?
Ted signed the contract and pushed it back to the smiling man.
Mr. Sereph made it disappear before the ink seemed to be dry, and Ted was left holding the bulky silver pin in numb fingers.
"Excellent, now come with me so we can access your talent."
Mr. Sereph rose from the desk and led him out of the office. Ted followed wordlessly, still not quite sure what was expected of him. The long corridor slid past as they walked, the sameness a little disorienting.
Mr. Sereph stopped outside another nondescript door and held it open for Ted. Inside was a stark white room, cluttered only by a desk and a pen held in one of those ornate holders you often saw at weddings. Mr. Sereph nodded to the desk, indicating that he should sit.
"What do you want me to do?" Ted asked, still hovering in the doorway.
Ted wasn't sure he wanted to enter that unblemished space.
"Just take up the pen; it will know what to do from there." Mr. Sereph said, still grinning that troubling smile.
Ted hesitated a moment longer before walking inside, the door slamming like a coffin lif behind him.
Ted took a seat. On the desk was a single piece of paper, unblemished, and as he looked at it, he could swear that the surface moved. He didn't want to touch it, but it seemed to beckon him to none the less. He reached out for the pen, that instrument of creation, and it felt very right in his hand as he lifted it from the holder. He set the tip against the paper, and, again, he thought it moved. What was he meant to do here? What was he meant to write? Show them his Talent? How was he meant to do…
The pen came down on the paper, its tip blotting the surface as though through magnetism. Suddenly, Ted was writing. He was writing words, crafting stories, spilling ideas as the paper drank them down before his eyes. He spilled days, weeks, years worth of stories onto the pape as he wrote. His hand cramped, and his wrist ached, but still, the merciless pen took his words. The paper drank greedily, swelling as he worked. Ted's vision swam as he felt his words dragged out of him, sucked from his body, and he felt certain that he must die.
The paper swelled as he wrote, becoming sheets, a novel, a towering juggernaut of pages. The room began to fill with pages, pressing against the ceiling and bulging against the walls. Ted was powerless to stop his hand from writing, but soon the pages began to block out the lights, and he wrote in a state of darkness. The pages pressed at him from all sides, entombing him in the written word, but still, he wrote.
When he finally passed out, it was a blessing.
Ted woke up in his bed. His arm throbbed, the fingers and hand feeling like rubber, but when he tried to move it, he found it asleep. He shook at it, thinking about the weird dream he had just woken up from. He had written himself into a literal tomb, and as he looked at his arm, he almost thought he could see small blisters on his fingers. He sat down at his computer, looking through his emails for job offers when he came across a new email from Libras Talent. He thought it a strange coincidence that he had been dreaming about them, and now they were sending him a message, but he figured they wanted to make him another offer for his Talent, whatever that meant.
He opened it and read through the email, confused as he read over the contents.
Dear Mr. Dreff
We would like to thank you again for your Talent. Please find enclosed the payment for your Talent, and we hope you are satisfied with your transaction.
Regards Mr. D Sereph
Ted read the email repeatedly before opening the app on his phone linked to his bank account. Ted's eyes went wide when he saw the amount in his account. He goggled at it in disbelief. It hasn't been a dream, after all. He had sold his Talent he guessed. Ted grinned as he took thought of the possibilities. Mr. Sereph had been right.
This amount of money could be life-changing.
Ted sighed as he stepped back through the door of his apartment. He had been on a two-week vacation to the Bahamas, spent those weeks in the lap of luxury, and still hasn't made a dent in the amount of money Mr. Sereph had put in his bank account. It was a sobering feeling, being able to do whatever you wanted, living a life few even dreamed of.
Now he was back, though, and he supposed it was time to get back to work.
The money was nice, but it wouldn't last forever.
The news feed on his computer pinged to let him know that one of his favorite authors had just released a new book. Ted opened the link to look at the book but felt a surge of confusion as he read over the synopsis. It was a new novel, not like anything he'd ever written before. A world of high fantasy, a tale of adventure set in the world of Erudar, where the lord of the hunt sought the princess of…
Ted was astonished. That was his story! He had been fleshing that concept out for years, and his manuscript was almost ready for submission. He had been so close to sending it off...well, maybe in a couple of years, he would have. He just had to be sure that it was ready before he just sent it off like that.
The manuscript.
Ted had the manuscript saved on Google docs! Ted furiously opened the browser, putting in his information as he brought up his account. It would be time-stamped, dated. He could take it to the proper people and prove that his work had been stolen. He couldn't believe that something like this would happen to him. He had read about this sort of thing happening online, but he never dreamed that it would happen to him. It was unthinkable, it was impossible, it was…
His google doc profile was empty.
The screen was devoid of content.
He pulled open the drawer next to his desk, searching desperately for the thumb drives I kept as a backup.
The drawer was empty.
Ted searched his computer for traces of his manuscript, stories, and anything, but it had all been erased.
Ted had begun to panic then. What was happening? Someone had been in his apartment. Someone had stolen his work. Someone had taken his….
His Talent.
Ted combed through his emails, searching for the email from Sereph.
It, too, was gone, nowhere to be found.
It was as though he had never spoken with anyone.
He found Mr. Sereph after the third week of staking out the coffee shop. He had gone down to the building that had been Libras Talent, but the building had been abandoned. The doors were locked, the sign removed, and the building looked empty and forlorn. It had been too big an operation to simply close up overnight. He had asked the people in the buildings around them, but all of them only shook their heads, saying they didn't know anything about a talent agency or a publishing house. That was when he had taken to staking out the coffee shop. The place was always packed, and if Sereph was looking for other writers to swindle, he might come back here. He had brought his laptop the first few times but had stopped after the first week. He was too distracted to write these days, after finding out his life's work had been stolen, and all he thought about was having his work returned to him. He'd spent the last three weeks drinking coffee and keeping his eyes peeled. He arrived when the place opened and didn't leave until the final customer had shuffled out.
It was just after sunset on a Tuesday when he found him.
"What we're looking for is your talent."
Ted swung his head around sharply. The man was at an adjoining table, talking to a blond girl that Ted had seen hanging around lately. She was working on a screenplay it seemed, working hard it seemed, and it seemed she had gained the interest of Libras Talent. She looked over the business card and told him she'd think about it before leaving in a hurry. The man sat for a moment, watching her leave, before turning to look at Ted.
"Mr. Dreft, I hear you've been looking for me."
Ted jumped, not yet sure what he would say, as Mr. Sereph came sauntering over to his table. He sat in the empty seat that too wide smile still making Ted cringe. He took a sip of the cold cup of coffee Ted had left there and seemed to be waiting for Ted to speak, but Ted still wasn't sure how to begin this encounter. In his head, Ted had always been indignant, downright angry, but now, as he stared into that too-wide smile, he felt unsure of what he was doing.
"I assume that you're here to talk about your Talent. I must say, when it hit the bestseller list, I was shocked. I suppose we could reassess your price if you're looking for more money."
That lit the fire in Ted again.
"I want to know exactly what the hell you think you're doing. You break into my apartment, steal my work, clean out my hard drive, and just think you can bribe me with more…"
"I did none of those things." Mr. Sereph said with a roll of his eyes, "We paid you for your Talent. Your Talent was writing, and we paid you for it. You signed a contract and were compensated handsomely."
"Wait...you mean you paid me for my stories?"
Sereph scoffed, "Stories? Mr. Dreff, have you tried to write since you woke up in your bed?"
Ted thought about it. Had he written anything for the past two weeks? Felt compelled to write anything? He had signed his name to a few things, maybe written a text message or two, but other than that, he hasn't written so much as a sentence creatively. He had been having so much fun that the need hasn't arisen, and that should have been weird too. The writing was what Ted did. Without it, his life was…
"That's right. You sold us your Talent, rather cheaply too. But, your kind usually does. You cut your goose open too quickly and find nothing as valuable as what you had."
"So, what is Libres Talent? You sell ideas to other writers?"
Sereph scoffed, "Ideas? You're still thinking too small. Do you think that Talent is something that just lasts forever? Talent is a finite resource. It flows and ebbs. Some people are lucky enough to have a large tidal pool, but some people have to buy their Talent to supplement. Libres Talent finds those in need of Talent, literary, athletic, political, what have you, and we get Talent for them."
Ted's blood ran cold.
"So...I'll never write again?"
Mr. Sereph looked a little sad, "Sorry, kiddo, it looks like you'll just have to live like all these other talentless shlubs. But, hey, if you ever decide you want to buy some talent, do keep in touch."
He left a business card on the table and made his way out.
Ted just sat there, hearing the click of the keyboard and the creation of raw ideas, and put his head in his hands.
submitted by Erutious to libraryofshadows [link] [comments]


2020.09.24 01:18 Erutious For Your Talent

Ted looked at the number written on the paper, and his eyes grew large.
That was way more money than he made in a year, and this guy was offering it to him for…
"So, you want to pay me for...what, exactly?"
The man in the black suit stared at him, hollowly, from behind his mirrored glasses. He sat, nonchalantly, across the table at the small coffee shop Ted had written in for the last four years. Ted liked the ambiance here, and many other local writers seemed to think it was a great place to read as well. Tim could see many others around them, plinking away on their MacBooks or off the shelf Walmart laptops, as they wrote the next great American novel or the next hit screenplay.
The longer the man sat there, the more Ted wished he had approached one of them instead.
"It's straightforward," he said, his voice and cadence reminding Ted of Agent Smith in The Matrix movies, "we want to pay you for your talents. You come to our office, let us see your Talent, and pay you for your time and effort. Sound like something you might be interested in?"
Then he smiled, his lips sliding away from his perfectly artificial teeth, and Ted cringed all over.
It was like a dog who's been taught to smile, unsettling, and a little alarming.
But it was a lot of money.
"Let me think about it." Ted hedged, and the smile slid mechanically from the man's face.
He produced a business card, rising suddenly and holding it out.
"Let us know if you change your mind. The offer is valid whenever you're ready."
He left then, making his way for the door like a shark hunting his next meal.
Ted looked at the card and wrinkled his eyebrows.
It was a plain white business card, nothing fancy, with the words, "Libras Talent. Because your Talent should never go to waste."
Ted looked at it for a while as his laptop screen went into sleep mode, darkening and allowing him to see himself as he sat in contemplation.
How very curious.
Ted had been writing in some form or another for his whole life.
When he was a child, he drew pictures and created games for his friends to play. Ted's pictures, his mother swore, always told a story, and his games were never the haphazard mess that his friends often concocted. People who weren't even part of Ted's friend circle often came to join their games, as they were both fun and engaging in a way that was hard for a child to explain. His teachers praised his creativity and expected they would see great things from him someday.
As Ted grew, so grew his stories. By the time he was in middle school, Ted's works of fantasy were often entered into writing contests, and local student works projects. His playground games had evolved into role play games, and when Ted was twelve, he discovered the fantasy world of Dungeons and Dragons. This began a lifelong love affair with the game, and he took to the role of game master quickly. Ted's campaigns were immersive, his characters engaging, and his adventures never fell victim to the usual problems his friends seemed to encounter. Ted wrote well and, again, the adults in his life often praised him, expecting great things from him in the future.
It was a no brainer for Ted to study writing after high school. He had soared through what is normally a very trying time for teens by channeling his churning emotions into his medium. Ted had gotten more than one scholarship for his writing, and as college loomed, he put all his efforts into his work. Ted spent the next four years working on a BA in English and Literature, and in the end, he felt I had the expected tools to begin plying his craft professionally.
Now, Ted was trying to figure out how to turn that Talent into a paycheck so that he could pay his bills. Magazines liked his work but wanted writers with more experience. There were people online who would pay for stories, but not enough to live off of. Agents were interested, but they didn't want to take a chance on someone so young. Ted's writing was always well received, but there was always the ever-present But hanging at the end of all that praise. A few "Interested Publishers had approached him," but it was always the sort that buried the line of price amidst all that talk. Ted was twenty-six, four years out of college, self-published, untried, and no one was willing to take a chance on him.
Everyone, except Libras Talent, that is.
Ted Googled them, of course. He had been burned too many times before and wanted to see what was in store if he decided to take their offer. Their website was professional but soulless. Their credentials were numerous but were presented without any real pride. This soulless corporation wanted another book for their accolades, another pet writer for their trophy case. If Ted signed on with them, he would be just another soules shill who writes for nothing but a paycheck.
Ted's phone buzzed. He looked down and sighed as he saw a message from the power company. His check had bounced again, and they were going to shut his power off at the end of the month without some kind of immediate action. That likely meant that Mr. Kapish, his boss at the gas station, had given them bad checks again. He would never admit it, and this likely meant that Ted wouldn't get paid until the end of the month.
He looked at the card.
Or maybe he'd be able to keep the lights on after all.
He nervously checked his phone to make sure he had come to the right place. He had come to a flat looking building, a two-story white stucco building that looked more like a distribution center than a publishing house. Ted had worn his best interview clothes, a polo, and a pair of slacks, and he already felt underdressed and unsure about the situation. The outer facade bore a simple sign, white and stark, just like the business card.
Libras Talent
Ted thought about leaving, but the call of the money was too much to resist.
The woman behind the counter wore a similar smile as he walked inside. She was looking at the door, as though expecting him, and her pants suit and quaffed hair made her look assembled rather than styled. Ted was taken aback by her smiling regard, and he almost left. The waiting area was as stark as the facade, and the receptionist regard made him feel like he was marked.
Had she been staring at the door the whole time, just waiting for someone to come in?
"Hi," Ted said, "I'm looking for…"
"Welcome, Mr. Dreff. Mr. Sereph is waiting for you in the back. Please go right ahead.
She pointed to a door to the left of the waiting room, and Ted walked hesitant towards it, his strange feeling growing with every step.
Beyond the door was a long hallway of offices, names neatly printed on the doors. Mr. Sereph's office was the third in line.
Ted knocked, and a voice from the other side invited him in.
Mr. Sereph sat behind his desk, the too-wide smile stretching his lips painfully.
"Mr. Dreff, I'm so glad you decided to accept my generous offer."
Ted sat across from the grinning man, feeling like Faust as he met with the devil.
"It was too good a deal to pass up, I suppose," Ted said
"Why yes, the money is a fine incentive, isn't it?"
Ted shuffled in his seat, not liking the man's regard.
"So, how does this work exactly? Do I have to write something for you or…"
Ted blinked as a contract appeared on the desk. Mr. Sereph was leaning over the desk, that too wide smile stretching his face, as he handed Ted a heavy silver pen. Had that contract been there the whole time? Td sat back a little, the too-wide smile putting him off a little as the man leered at him.
"What's wrong? I thought you were ready to sign?"
"I am, but I'm curious to know what this involves?" Ted asked.
"You show us your Talent, and we pay you for you. Couldn't be simpler."
Ted looked at the contract, unsure of whether to sign or not. He'd heard of writers getting sucked into these unfair contracts before. He didn't fancy being kept as someone's pet writer; his Talent milked for god knew what. Ted looked down at the contract, but it wasn't particularly helpful either. They offered to pay him for his "Talent," but that was all it really said. It was very vague, not really saying anything other than that, with a lot of industry, speak in between.
As Ted hesitated, though, the money loomed up in his mind again. That was a lot of money, enough to live comfortably for quite a while if he was careful. No matter what they had him do, that kind of money could change his life. And even if it were repetition or degrading, he'd still be doing what he loved, right?
Ted signed the contract and pushed it back to the smiling man.
Mr. Sereph made it disappear before the ink seemed to be dry, and Ted was left holding the bulky silver pin in numb fingers.
"Excellent, now come with me so we can access your talent."
Mr. Sereph rose from the desk and led him out of the office. Ted followed wordlessly, still not quite sure what was expected of him. The long corridor slid past as they walked, the sameness a little disorienting.
Mr. Sereph stopped outside another nondescript door and held it open for Ted. Inside was a stark white room, cluttered only by a desk and a pen held in one of those ornate holders you often saw at weddings. Mr. Sereph nodded to the desk, indicating that he should sit.
"What do you want me to do?" Ted asked, still hovering in the doorway.
Ted wasn't sure he wanted to enter that unblemished space.
"Just take up the pen; it will know what to do from there." Mr. Sereph said, still grinning that troubling smile.
Ted hesitated a moment longer before walking inside, the door slamming like a coffin lif behind him.
Ted took a seat. On the desk was a single piece of paper, unblemished, and as he looked at it, he could swear that the surface moved. He didn't want to touch it, but it seemed to beckon him to none the less. He reached out for the pen, that instrument of creation, and it felt very right in his hand as he lifted it from the holder. He set the tip against the paper, and, again, he thought it moved. What was he meant to do here? What was he meant to write? Show them his Talent? How was he meant to do…
The pen came down on the paper, its tip blotting the surface as though through magnetism. Suddenly, Ted was writing. He was writing words, crafting stories, spilling ideas as the paper drank them down before his eyes. He spilled days, weeks, years worth of stories onto the pape as he wrote. His hand cramped, and his wrist ached, but still, the merciless pen took his words. The paper drank greedily, swelling as he worked. Ted's vision swam as he felt his words dragged out of him, sucked from his body, and he felt certain that he must die.
The paper swelled as he wrote, becoming sheets, a novel, a towering juggernaut of pages. The room began to fill with pages, pressing against the ceiling and bulging against the walls. Ted was powerless to stop his hand from writing, but soon the pages began to block out the lights, and he wrote in a state of darkness. The pages pressed at him from all sides, entombing him in the written word, but still, he wrote.
When he finally passed out, it was a blessing.
Ted woke up in his bed. His arm throbbed, the fingers and hand feeling like rubber, but when he tried to move it, he found it asleep. He shook at it, thinking about the weird dream he had just woken up from. He had written himself into a literal tomb, and as he looked at his arm, he almost thought he could see small blisters on his fingers. He sat down at his computer, looking through his emails for job offers when he came across a new email from Libras Talent. He thought it a strange coincidence that he had been dreaming about them, and now they were sending him a message, but he figured they wanted to make him another offer for his Talent, whatever that meant.
He opened it and read through the email, confused as he read over the contents.
Dear Mr. Dreff
We would like to thank you again for your Talent. Please find enclosed the payment for your Talent, and we hope you are satisfied with your transaction.
Regards Mr. D Sereph
Ted read the email repeatedly before opening the app on his phone linked to his bank account. Ted's eyes went wide when he saw the amount in his account. He goggled at it in disbelief. It hasn't been a dream, after all. He had sold his Talent he guessed. Ted grinned as he took thought of the possibilities. Mr. Sereph had been right.
This amount of money could be life-changing.
Ted sighed as he stepped back through the door of his apartment. He had been on a two-week vacation to the Bahamas, spent those weeks in the lap of luxury, and still hasn't made a dent in the amount of money Mr. Sereph had put in his bank account. It was a sobering feeling, being able to do whatever you wanted, living a life few even dreamed of.
Now he was back, though, and he supposed it was time to get back to work.
The money was nice, but it wouldn't last forever.
The news feed on his computer pinged to let him know that one of his favorite authors had just released a new book. Ted opened the link to look at the book but felt a surge of confusion as he read over the synopsis. It was a new novel, not like anything he'd ever written before. A world of high fantasy, a tale of adventure set in the world of Erudar, where the lord of the hunt sought the princess of…
Ted was astonished. That was his story! He had been fleshing that concept out for years, and his manuscript was almost ready for submission. He had been so close to sending it off...well, maybe in a couple of years, he would have. He just had to be sure that it was ready before he just sent it off like that.
The manuscript.
Ted had the manuscript saved on Google docs! Ted furiously opened the browser, putting in his information as he brought up his account. It would be time-stamped, dated. He could take it to the proper people and prove that his work had been stolen. He couldn't believe that something like this would happen to him. He had read about this sort of thing happening online, but he never dreamed that it would happen to him. It was unthinkable, it was impossible, it was…
His google doc profile was empty.
The screen was devoid of content.
He pulled open the drawer next to his desk, searching desperately for the thumb drives I kept as a backup.
The drawer was empty.
Ted searched his computer for traces of his manuscript, stories, and anything, but it had all been erased.
Ted had begun to panic then. What was happening? Someone had been in his apartment. Someone had stolen his work. Someone had taken his….
His Talent.
Ted combed through his emails, searching for the email from Sereph.
It, too, was gone, nowhere to be found.
It was as though he had never spoken with anyone.
He found Mr. Sereph after the third week of staking out the coffee shop. He had gone down to the building that had been Libras Talent, but the building had been abandoned. The doors were locked, the sign removed, and the building looked empty and forlorn. It had been too big an operation to simply close up overnight. He had asked the people in the buildings around them, but all of them only shook their heads, saying they didn't know anything about a talent agency or a publishing house. That was when he had taken to staking out the coffee shop. The place was always packed, and if Sereph was looking for other writers to swindle, he might come back here. He had brought his laptop the first few times but had stopped after the first week. He was too distracted to write these days, after finding out his life's work had been stolen, and all he thought about was having his work returned to him. He'd spent the last three weeks drinking coffee and keeping his eyes peeled. He arrived when the place opened and didn't leave until the final customer had shuffled out.
It was just after sunset on a Tuesday when he found him.
"What we're looking for is your talent."
Ted swung his head around sharply. The man was at an adjoining table, talking to a blond girl that Ted had seen hanging around lately. She was working on a screenplay it seemed, working hard it seemed, and it seemed she had gained the interest of Libras Talent. She looked over the business card and told him she'd think about it before leaving in a hurry. The man sat for a moment, watching her leave, before turning to look at Ted.
"Mr. Dreft, I hear you've been looking for me."
Ted jumped, not yet sure what he would say, as Mr. Sereph came sauntering over to his table. He sat in the empty seat that too wide smile still making Ted cringe. He took a sip of the cold cup of coffee Ted had left there and seemed to be waiting for Ted to speak, but Ted still wasn't sure how to begin this encounter. In his head, Ted had always been indignant, downright angry, but now, as he stared into that too-wide smile, he felt unsure of what he was doing.
"I assume that you're here to talk about your Talent. I must say, when it hit the bestseller list, I was shocked. I suppose we could reassess your price if you're looking for more money."
That lit the fire in Ted again.
"I want to know exactly what the hell you think you're doing. You break into my apartment, steal my work, clean out my hard drive, and just think you can bribe me with more…"
"I did none of those things." Mr. Sereph said with a roll of his eyes, "We paid you for your Talent. Your Talent was writing, and we paid you for it. You signed a contract and were compensated handsomely."
"Wait...you mean you paid me for my stories?"
Sereph scoffed, "Stories? Mr. Dreff, have you tried to write since you woke up in your bed?"
Ted thought about it. Had he written anything for the past two weeks? Felt compelled to write anything? He had signed his name to a few things, maybe written a text message or two, but other than that, he hasn't written so much as a sentence creatively. He had been having so much fun that the need hasn't arisen, and that should have been weird too. The writing was what Ted did. Without it, his life was…
"That's right. You sold us your Talent, rather cheaply too. But, your kind usually does. You cut your goose open too quickly and find nothing as valuable as what you had."
"So, what is Libres Talent? You sell ideas to other writers?"
Sereph scoffed, "Ideas? You're still thinking too small. Do you think that Talent is something that just lasts forever? Talent is a finite resource. It flows and ebbs. Some people are lucky enough to have a large tidal pool, but some people have to buy their Talent to supplement. Libres Talent finds those in need of Talent, literary, athletic, political, what have you, and we get Talent for them."
Ted's blood ran cold.
"So...I'll never write again?"
Mr. Sereph looked a little sad, "Sorry, kiddo, it looks like you'll just have to live like all these other talentless shlubs. But, hey, if you ever decide you want to buy some talent, do keep in touch."
He left a business card on the table and made his way out.
Ted just sat there, hearing the click of the keyboard and the creation of raw ideas, and put his head in his hands.
submitted by Erutious to Erutious [link] [comments]


2020.09.23 18:45 adamjocon First time wedding guest (as an adult), what are some things I need to know?

So I just got invited to two weddings, both in early 2021 (but potentially moved to later for pandemic safety purposes), and both for friends. One I'll be traveling to Austin, Texas for, and the other is local. I'm really excited as it's the first time I've been invited to a wedding not as an extension of my family, or the first time I haven't been a kid/teen at a wedding.
What are some tips I should know for wedding guest etiquette? How early should I buy a gift/how does a registry work? How early should I book a flight/room for an out of town wedding? If I don't have a date, should I just forgo my plus one (there will be lots of friends at both weddings, so I'm not worried)? Anything specific I should know about dress? I'm 23M, and so far the only dress code I've been given is "semi-formal" for both. I hate plain, boring suits so I always try and add a pocket square, a lapel pin, a collar clip chain, etc, but I don't want to be overdressed. Any tips or things to remember about proper guest etiquette would be appreciated!
submitted by adamjocon to Adulting [link] [comments]


2020.09.23 05:33 Fireflair_kTreva Anne Q&A Part 2

Question: Anne, so many comments have been made about Surreal’s personality change in the latest book. I look at it as she went through the spooky house, and had the one time in bed with the Sadist that left her well, miserable. So going through the rut with the Sadist and actually coming to terms with herself wanting to have sex, instead of it being her business is hard for her to cope with. Can you shed light on why she was so terrified of sex with Daemon after that night in rut?
Anne: First part of the answer, the undercurrents of that night when the Sadist as lover invited Surreal to play were about a lot more than sex. Surreal can handle sex with Daemon Sadi. But that isn't all he is. Second part of the answer is in The Queen's Weapons.
Question: I have had a question about the Black Jewels books for many years. I started to notice that Jaenelle is never shown alone, but only through her interactions with others. I was wondering why we never see her in her moments of solitude.
Anne: The writer's answer is it felt intuitively right that we never experience any interior dialog or thoughts from Jaenelle. You're right; she is seen through everyone else's perceptions and interactions with her. Also, the three men--Saetan, Daemon, and Lucivar--and how their lives intertwined with hers was the driving force for me to tell the story.
Question: Is or was there a plan to make the Black Jewels trilogy into a movie(s)?
Anne: No plans for a movie at this time.
Question: Are scelties the only kind of canine kindred? Would there be different varieties of canine kindred based on topography? Huskies/Malmutes in areas with a lot of snow. Basenji in desert areas…
Anne: Going with many breeds would have been a crazymaker in terms of creating the world. So the Scelties are the only ones who are Blood. Same with the horses. Only a couple of breeds in Scelt have some bloodlines that are kindred. That doesn't mean there aren't other breeds of dogs or horses in the Realms, just that they don't have kindred.
Question: Hello! I'm so glad I can talk with everyone and ask questions to my favoutie author! Since I have a great passion for Daemon, I would like to know what his favorite book genre is and if you can give any recommendations about books with characters like him. Also, could you give us an idea of ​​how the old language sounds like?
Anne: Daemon is an eclectic reader. If you look at some of the books he discusses with Jillian, you'll see some of the genres. As far as books with characters like him, you would have to get recommendations from the folks here. For me, he's one of a kind. Can't tell you what the Old Tongue sounds like.
Question: The Black Jewels would make a great simulation game! What encourages your muse to write? What is the difference between uncut and cut jewels? Are jewels recycled: after one of the blood dies and becomes a whisper in the darkness will their jewels be given to another blood during their birthright or offering ceremony?
Anne: "No one knew where the Jewels had come from. If one was destined to wear a Jewel, it simply appeared on the Altar after the Birthright Ceremony or the Offering to the Darkness. Even when he was young, receiving an uncut Jewel—a Jewel that had never been worn by another of the Blood—was rare. His Birthright Red Jewel had been uncut. When he'd been gifted with the Black, it, too, had been uncut. But to receive an entire set of uncut Jewels . . . Saetan leaned over and tapped the Yellow Jewel with the tip of his nail. It flared, the fire in the center warning him off. He frowned, puzzled. The Jewel already identified itself as female, as being bonded to a witch and not a Blood male, but there was the faintest hint of maleness in it too. Jaenelle wiped the tears from her cheeks and sniffed." (Daughter of the Blood)
Question: I’ve always had a hard time imagining Eyrien wings. I never thought they were feathered, but do you have a comparison to what they look like?

Anne: Yes, Eyriens have dark, membranous wings. Calling an Eyrien a bat is an insult. Not as bad as calling one a Jhinka, but close.
Question: What do Jhinka wings look like?
Anne: Leathery. I don't see the Jhinka looking as physically well-formed as Eyriens.
Question: So, when I was reread the short story about the spiders, I realized that afaik, it's not mentioned whether or not they have a jewel. So, do the dream weaving spiders have/get jewels?
Anne: I don't think they need Jewels. They're not the same as the Blood in the way they came into being.
Question: Invisible Ring came after the trilogy, but Daemon/Jaenelle use the events from the trilogy to take out dorothea's taint. Did you already have that whole story in your head? Was it originally going to be part of the trilogy but cut for space?
Similar (but less desperately needed) question about Marian. Was her meeting Lucivar originally intended as part of Heir to the Shadows, or did you always plan it as a separate novella?
Anne: As I began writing the trilogy, I had made notes for the story that became The Invisible Ring. In fact, I had a couple of notes for the story that eventually became The Shadow Queen. I wrote Daughter of the Blood and Heir to the Shadows, and my agent was shopping it around, but it wasn't like anything else out there at that time so it wasn't an easy sell. My agent suggested writing a standalone book in that world, so I began writing The Invisible Ring. I think I was close to finishing first draft when BJT sold. Suddenly there were revisions to do on the first two books, Ring to finish drafting, and an accelerated due date for Queen of the Darkness, which I hadn't started writing! Yikes? Ring was drafted and Lia's solution fit the story. Using webs of power to wipe out Dorothea's taint was the solution in Queen. So the logical sequence, since Jared and Daemon knew each other, was that Jared left an account of what happened and left it at the Keep for Daemon. Which made a warm fuzzy author moment when I could see the connection in the two stories.
As for Lucivar and Marian's courtship, that was vague background story when I was writing Queen, and it simmered below the surface for several years before I wrote the story about how they got together. Love that story. Lucivar makes me laugh.
Question: Can Blood make the Offering if they have a broken Birthright?
Anne: No. If the Birthright Jewel is broken, that severs that person's potential in terms of power.
Question: Surreal was relieved to see that Jaenelle Saetien gained a jewel at her birthright (after initially coming back empty handed). But what about the children who do not gain a birthright? Are they able to obtain the White, Yellow, or Tiger Eye at their offerring? Also what caste is baby Andulvar?
Anne: Children who are not strong enough to acquire (that is, need a reservoir for their power) a Birthright Jewel can obtain a White, Yellow, or Tiger Eye at the Offering. At that point, a blood female would be a witch and have the title of Lady, and a blood male would be considered a Warlord. Note: the other castes would require the person to have a Birthright Jewel, even if it's a White.
Baby Andulvar is a Warlord Prince. Pity Marian.
Question: In the Shadow Queen Saetan glances at Daemon and thinks of him as a “strong adult male in his prime”. After reading The Queen’s Bargain I am confused why Saetan would not realize Daemon had not reached his prime yet?
Anne: If a man in his prime in our world is fully adult (think mid 20s) to the time when he reaches middle age (what the Blood refer to as the autumn years), Daemon was just coming into his prime when he met Jaenelle (at 1700 years). He'll be in his prime for a lot of centuries. (And, no, I'm not going to try to guess how many. My brain will blow up. :) )
Question: I just love Tersa, her efforts in holding Daemon's sanity before Jaenelle Angeline is ready to remember him and bring him back from Twisted Kingdom and all her efforts to take care of the Boy. My question is, is it known to the Caste that they can regain some of their lost craft in Twisted Kingdom? and is there someone else aside Tersa who crossed the Twisted Kingdom to regain lost craft?
Anne: To my knowledge, Tersa is an exception to a lot of things, and no one else has been able to regain their craft by sacrificing their sanity.
Question: Do the Witches who came before Janelle ever whisper their stories to you? It's always been in my head, the hall of paintings of those who were Witch, dreams made flesh. That maybe they whispered a bit of themselves to the writer.
Anne: No, they never have. But they have to compete with Daemon and Lucivar, so…
Question: In Queen of Darkness (chapter 13, part 9) Luthvian is killed by Hekatah. Luthvian had already transitioned to demon-dead but didn’t have enough strength to hold on. We see Luthvian’s internal dialog “Her Self would soon become a whisper in the Darkness. Perhaps, someday, when it had rested and regained some strength, the Self would leave the Darkness and return to the living Realms. Perhaps.”
Question 1: Does this mean that Luthvian’s Self could be “born” again? Does this world have reincarnation?
Question 2: If the answer above is yes, has any of the characters we love (or even hate) Self been born again? (I would especially love to hear that Char, the leader of the cildru dyathe, will have a second chance at a full life.)
Question 3: In the Queen of Darkness (chapter 2, part 6) we learn that “When kindred young are born, a Black Widow makes that mental sidestep into the dreams and visions. Sometimes she sees nothing. Sometimes she names one of the young according to the visions.” In The Queen’s Bargain (example: chapter 13, page 123) we see two Scelties, one named “Morghann” and one named “Khary”. Did they get their names from a Black Widow vision? Are they Morghann’s and Khary’s Selves returned to the living Realm, and/or are they named after them in memory, as Jaenelle Saetien was?
Question 4: Could either Titian or Andulvar actually be their namesakes “Self” returned to the living Realms?
Anne: I don't think they have reincarnation. I've never had that sense. That's why being demon-dead is considered a second chance to do the things a person regretted not doing when they were among the living.
As for the Sceltie Morghann and Khary, since humans didn't name them, you can assume a Black Widow saw a reason to give those pups those particular names.
Question: I know that some authors have Patreon accounts where they might write things for subscribers that:
- the publishing co hasn't asked for but is rambling around in their brain
- deleted or behind the scenes things
- advanced looks at things
- roughs, artwork, recipes that connect to their works, etc
Is this something you've ever considered doing?
Anne: No, i haven't, mostly because all my creative time and energy goes into the book/story I'm writing, and I would have to choose between doing one thing or the other. I prefer to write the story.
Question: Does the body determine Jewel strength (as the dragon scales fell on individuals)? Is Castes determined by the Self inside the body?
Anne: I don't know. I look at a character and say, "Who are you?" They tell me caste and Jewels and I write them down.
Question: As far as Saetan knew, Peyton vanished during the war 50,000 years ago... Is there a chance he survived long enough to have had a child/children?
Could he have used the war as a means to vanish from the realms, and live a quiet life?
Anne: No, they lost all of him. Complete and final death.
Question: Can someone (not a natural Black Widow) come to the hourglass later in life?
Anne: Natural Black Widow or Healer means the girl has an intuitive knowledge of at least some aspects of the Craft used in that caste. Jaenelle Angelline was a child with no official training when she was healing people at Alexandra's estate. But someone who was going to study to be a Black Widow would probably be in their mid to late teens (or equivalent) before they would start training.
Miscellaneous:
Question: Do you have a favorite World? Not to write about, but that YOU would want to visit? Do you want to travel the realms, visit the Landscapes, maybe relax in Tir Alainn? Or maybe visit a Courtyard?
And, while visiting said World, who would you want to be your "tour guide"?
Anne: Well, I'd visit all of them. :) But for a vacation? I'd like to spend time in Riada or be a guest at the Hall. (And you can guess who I'd like the tour guides to be.) I'd like to visit Howling Good Reads in Lakeside, and visit The Jumble (although I would stay with Ineke at the boarding house since she cooks). The Landscapes? Sometimes I think I did cross one of those bridges to find my way to where I am.
Question: Do you have a favorite tea to drink while the Muse speaks to you?
Anne: There are no liquids on the writing desk. Wee bit paranoid, don't ya know. In the winter I drink a variety of mint teas. In the summer, mostly water. The Muse enjoys weeding the garden more than drinking tea. :)
Question: Who are some of your favorite cosplays from your characters? Are there characters that you'd like to see cosplayed more?
Anne: I'm not familiar enough with cosplay to say. I know people have been my characters, and some have been stunning that I've seen at conventions. But my brain doesn't go there.
Question: Have you ever considered merchandising? I'm sure I'm not alone in saying that I would LOVE to be able to purchase any kind of memorabilia!
Anne: I have not considered it. I want to write stories, and I'd have to give up one to do the other. That said, check out redbubble.com and look up Anne Bishop for lots of different things that are mostly for the Blood or the Others.
Question: All of your stories have interesting and distinct gender dynamics at the heart of the worlds you create. Is this something that you have done intentionally?
Anne: When it comes to writing stories, I don't seem to color inside the lines, so I'm always looking at something and seeing what happens if you turn it around. With the Blood, it was sexual mores and double standards and the penalties for things like adultery for men vs. women. That was some of it. So do I consciously throw a stone into the creative well? I guess I do. But what is created out of the ripples in terms of the world, culture, or characters is part of the dance I do with the Muse.
Question: What do you like most about being an author?
Anne: The fun of thinking "what if?" and taking a journey with characters I like (some of them, anyway) to find out what happens. It's creating something out of mist and dreams that feels real to me -- and, hopefully, to you.
Question: Are there some little details stories that you are told that they wish weren't said? i.e. something silly or embarrassing or a secret that they wish hadn't been shared to you that ends up shared with us?
Anne: That's not how the relationship between writer and character works. Story is about revealing the character as that person makes a journey.
Question: What's your favorite dessert?
Anne: depends on the season, but plain milk chocolate is always good.
Question: Of your “bad guys”. Which one was the most difficult to write. Just because of how evil/bad they were and you had to write what they were doing and what they thought?
Anne: Adolfo in the Tir Alainn books was the most difficult, even more than Hekatah and Dorothea. Adolfo scared me, and that took a toll on my health by the time I had finished writing THE HOUSE OF GAIAN.
Question: Have you ever had a fan interaction that made you emotional, or really stuck with you in some way?
Anne: Quite a few of them, but they are not something that can be shared.
Question: Is there a favorite author you would suggest reading?
Anne: I like Patricia Briggs, Louise Penny, C.S. Harris.
Question: How are you managing in the current climate? Are you finding it difficult to be stuck in?
What is the oddest/ strangest thing you've had happen as a result of being a writer / fan interaction?
Anne: It's taken a couple of weeks to get my brain wrapped around the World As It Is Right Now, but I'm trying to get back to my work routine, which means being home. The strangeness comes when I have to go out for anything. Things are changing so fast in terms of protection(s) in place, which is good but does have a Twilight's Zone feel.
Question: Anne Bishop is this kind of experience likely to transfer to writing? Or because the characters tell their own stories do they miss out on these "real world" influences?
Anne: Since everything has the potential to be part of the warp and woof (not sure if that's the correct spelling for those) of a story, I'm sure the current "real world" experiences will find their way into a story somehow. But what it will look like in that story is something I won't know until I'm there.
Question: My question is and please forgive me if it has been already asked: what is your inspiration for the stories/characters?
Anne: I dance with the Muse. That's the best answer I can give. I play "what if...?" and "who would...?" and "what would happen if...?" and "why would...?" games all the time. Sometimes those questions don't go anywhere and sometimes they're the spark that is the start of a characters or a place or a storyline. Dozens of those sparks have to come together in the right way for a story to begin to develop.
Question: For my first question I would like to ask if you could nominate some actors or models that physically resemble the main characters in the trilogy or if you could indicate from what country would they be, as I see the fandom trying to imagine them. My second question is how big is the hall and if the building was inspired by any building in reality. I'm sorry for my bad english and i'm very thankful you chose to share your stories with us.
Anne: My brain doesn't work that way, so I don't try to fit actors and characters together. The Hall is very big, but I can't point to a real building and say it's like that because I didn't start out with anything real.
Question: Do you have any words of wisdom for someone who hopes to have a book published some day?
Anne: Write your story to the best of your ability. write another one. And another. Then look at the first one again and discover what you have learned that will make that story better. Beyond that, first write for the love of writing. write because you would rather do that than any other hobby. Write for the challenge and fun of creating characters and getting them into trouble. Then remember that the creative side of writing is different from the business side of writing, and it can take years of work and effort and honing your craft before you have a story that is ready to be published. So write first for the writing, and then work on learning what you need to do to get published.
Question: How's the garden doing?
Anne: Things are green and growing, giving me a reason to wander outside and observe plants and birds and other critters.
Question: What's your favorite coffee and how do you take it?
Anne: I'll order a mocha as a treat if I'm out somewhere. Otherwise, it's basic coffee with a creamer.
Question: I'd love any of the "children's books" mentioned in any of her series to become real. My son would love them.
Anne: I will never say never, but that world has a lot of possibilities--including some you don't know about yet.
Question: Is there a specific time period or style that you envision the people of the Realms' clothing to be?
Anne: I always think of Daemon wearing Armani, regardless of what anyone else is wearing. The women? Everything from dresses with embroidery and bugle beads to the more ethereal, "witchy" kind of gowns with long sleeves and modest trains of flowy material. No jeans, though, so casual wear was more of a challenge.
Question: During the winter holidays there always seems to be gift sets of series such as Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones. Will there ever be a gift set released of The Black Jewels?
Anne: That is something the publisher decides, so I don't know.
Question: Do you have a favorite character and if so who is it?
Anne: Daemon Sadi
Question: What jewel do you think you would have if you made the offering to the darkness?
Anne: Since I have to immerse in the story and the characters, I am everyone and everything, so my brain can't think outside of that.
Question: I’ve notice a theme in some of the series, mainly The Others and Black Jewels ( I reread them most) the theme seems to be most humans are destructive and easily swayed into selfishness, greed, or evil ( my own interpretation of the theme) there seems to be the Others / Kindred who will deal with a select few, trust those that are attached to the select few but the rest of the humans are just prey/ meat and are evil. Was this theme intentional? Did it just work out that way with powerful predators and human interaction, or was there a specific reason this theme has shown up?
Anne: A bumper sticker I saw many years ago said: One earth, one chance. It made an impression on me.
The Others
Question: In The Others Series, the first time that Meg calls Tess for help reading a prophecy, Tess wonders if it is knowledge that causes Meg to call her, or ignorance. Tess concludes that's it's ignorance, and it's this first interaction where "Speak Prophet, and I will listen" is introduced. What is the history between Harvesters and Blood Prophets that causes Tess to make this comment?
Anne: I don't know. I can only tell you the story that is revealed to me.
Question: In Wild Country Jana gets a phone call from “someone” telling her she should go to the Lakeside Courtyard. Is that someone Julian Farrow?
Anne: Yes, it's Julian Farrow.
Question: So one thing I’ve always wondered if the Man that Montgomery kills to save a wolf was the same guy that Meg miss led in the 2 nd prophecy he paid for that got him killed and her punished that let to her escape in Written in Red?
Anne: No, they were different men.
Question: So much time was spent on Abigail Burch in the story, but I never figured out what her storyline really contributed to the over all story. Could you help me understand?
Anne: In some ways, she showed us how the Blackstones worked their cons because she'd played everyone in Prairie Gold. And she was the point where Intuits like Jesse Walker and Intuits like Parlan Blackstone collided, with devastating results.
Question: Are the Harvesters more powerful than all the other terra indigene, and possibly even the Elementals?
Anne: I would say Harvesters could hold their own against any of the shifters, and an Elder if there was only one. But they would have no impact on the Elementals.
Question: Are there plans for exploring other, non US areas in that world in detail? If so, where are some of the areas you'd like to explore?
Also, what are the life spans of the different types of Others?
Anne: When a new gard comes into being, is it a gradual thing, like we may be seeing with Simon or more of a 'hey, here's 50 Others who are switching over'?
Not sure about how much detail there is compared to the novels, but we do see another part of their world in the short story that will hopefully come out in 2021. Life spans? I'm human, so that's not something the Others discuss with me. It would probably be a gradual thing combined with some spontaneous leap along the lines of "hey, these thumb things come in handy!"
Question: Did Skippy ever successfully change? Was it because of a) the chamomile cookies and b) Sam or Meg?
Anne: Right now, I only know what happened in the Courtyard up to the end of Etched in Bone. When the time is right, I'll go back and find out what comes next for them.
Question: I love Lake Silence. Thank you so much for Vicki. I share many of her issues. Do she and Julian become a couple?
Anne: We'll have to wait and see. :)
Question: I remember in The Others, they made mention of disposing the males born from the Blood Prophets since they were considered useless. Thinking in relation to bloodlines though, wouldn't they let some of them grow up in order to breed "purer" lines by re-introducing the recessive genes from the males? Perhaps a Blood Prophet does in fact have a brother somewhere? Also... would a male Blood Prophet also smell of not-prey because the gene is recessive or would they smell like prey since visions didn't swim in their blood?
Anne: Right now, Joshua Painter is the only answer I have. I'm sure they would have kept some males for breeding, but someone like Joshua would have become too dangerous to handle.
Question: When writing The Other series, which character(s) were the funniest and the most difficult to write? - and which character(s) "talked the most" during the writing process?
Anne: Jimmy Montgomery was the most difficult to write. Loved Grandfather Erebus. As for talking the most? The Wolves. The Crows. The female pack. :)
Question: Did you do research into women with aspergers when you wrote Meg? I feel so seen when I read her character
Anne: I'm glad you feel a connection with Meg, but no, I didn't do any research on aspergers to create the blood prophets. I just thought about Meg and who she was and what impact the outside world would have on someone who was sensitive.
Question: How do the shark guard and Others from the sea live? Coastal towns, floating city, or full on underwater communities like little mermaid!?
Anne: The Sharkgard live anywhere they want to. :) Probably islands that are populated by Others or Intuits for those who can change to a two-legged form. Same with the other forms who live in water, unless they're like the Lady of the Lake, who is made of water.
Question: Love the Others books and I read somewhere that the courtyard was partly inspired by the Market Square in Victoria BC, where I live. I think of the Others ever time I walk through it. Are there other locations that have inspired you?
Anne: I think of the Others whenever I visit Forest Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo, NY. If you look at the earlier author photo of me on a bridge overlooking a small lake? That's in Forest Lawn, and that's the lake where Winter and her kin live in the Courtyard. :)
Question: Can Meg and Simon have children?
Anee: No. Even when they look human, the terra indigene are a different species. That means they can’t produce offspring with humans—even humans like Meg.
Question: Why is Mel (the horse) not prey?
Anne: He is prey to almost every predator that looks at a horse and sees a potential meal. However, Mel is a cow pony, which means he’s fast, he’s agile, and he’s smart. Also, he was bred and raised on the Prairie Gold ranch, so he would have had some proximity to the Wolfgard pack that lived in that part of the Elder Hills. Do the Wolfgard smell a little different than regular wolves? Maybe they do to a horse. Whatever the reason, Mel recognized the dogs that were attacking the horses as enemies and Virgil and Kane as allies—or at least not enemies. And Virgil acknowledged Mel’s courage by referring to him as the horse that is not meat. (Note that Virgil calls him that. Mel would still be a snack to an Elder.)
Question: Monty got into trouble for killing a pedophile who preyed on girls. Meg was punished when she lied to one of the Controller’s clients, who was also a sexual predator, about which girl he could take and not get caught. Was the man Monty shot and the man Meg lied to the same person?
Anne: No. The man Monty shot lived in Toland and had the bodies of several girls hidden in his residence. The man who was the Controller’s client was wealthy (had to be to afford the fees for a cut), traveled for business, and preyed on girls in different cities to avoid being caught.
Tir Alainn
Question: Have you ever had a story idea that would follow on your Tir Alainn trilogy?
Anne: That will depend on the Muse and the Bard calling me back there.
Question: What were some of the inspirations for the spiral dance in The House of Gaian?
Anne: I don't remember all the bits and pieces because those things transform in the writing. Part of that was the image of the Wiccan spiral dance, but the rest came from the Muse.
Question: In the Tir Alainn books, those of the fae who were Death's Servants took the spirits of the dead to the gate that would lead them on to the summerland. Toward the very end of The House of Gaian, Ashk stated that she thought Morag's spirit would return one day soon in a daughter of Ari and Neil. Is reincarnation something common to all of the fae or is it something specific to those like Morag who were Death's Servants or Death's Mistress? If it's common to all the fae or even the humans in that world, does that mean that other characters that were lost could return as well, and if so, would they remember anything of who and what they were before? Would Morag for example remember the people she had left behind...Morphia, Ari and Neil, Ashk etc.?
Anne: It's been too long since I was in Tir Alainn to remember exactly, but my memory says that all Fae spirits rest and return. That might be true of humans, too, but that wouldn't be part of their own beliefs. As for what a returned spirit would remember...? That is something to wonder about.
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2020.09.22 08:04 hereiamtosavetheday_ Oh, this is snot going to go well...

Nice big update to the BS that’s been brewing for months now. And boy am I relieved, this has been a fucking roller coaster.
'Y'all know ME, my story's been feeding your llamas!"
Pink Flag: Classic Conman Approach. Quick check finds:
MIL is staying in some rental lodge for $180/week.
MIL found that rental lodge in less than two weeks. During a pandemic starring global evictions and people desperately looking for cheap lodging.
So for the first part. We are breaking our apartment lease. Myself, BF and LO are moving in with my parents. My Bf will be working in the same industry he was up here, but wot my dad, who owns his own business. This way my BF can continue to go for his license to grow his career and help my dad expand the business. This will allow us do pay down debts and save up. We really want to buy a home. I’ll continue my schooling.
They're both in their 30's. They're choosing to put their entire future in the hands of elders who raised a daughter who will let herself be bled white despite having a child to care for. At least OP knows ALL the ways to use The System to get revenge... oh, the phone calls and reports she makes!
Secondly part, shit hit the fan with MIL. She called last Monday saying she forgot to transfer her Doordash money and it wouldn’t hit her account until Wednesday, but she had to pay rent within the next 45 mins. It was like $213 for the week. We paid it, she said she’d pay us back Wednesday. Wednesday rolls again, she claims it never hit her account and she will pay us Friday. Same thing Friday. He tried to call her and she didn’t answer. He told me his mom is a major bullshitter and a liar.
Where is the adulting in this scenario? "Wut? No. Never. Grab that phone and text her those exact words all by yourself, big boi." No coupley discussion; instead, DH fails to mention his opinion of his mother's stated intention to return the money BEFORE they emptied their piggy bank into her off-stage pocket, to vanish forever like all the other loans they've made. I haven't peeked, but its dollars to donuts this playlet has been performed more often than they've cleaned behind the fridge.

ProTip: Don't save people. Let them fail and let the consequences kick them in the fork. Then don't save them again. Its best for all concerned.

Also note, we had an arrangement for her to give us money every week so we could make sure the car and car insurance got. It was apart of helping her take accountability. She was supposed to give us that Monday Friday and Friday night I messaged her asking about it and got left on read. Next day I told her she needed to pay this because if the insurance lapsed again, I’d cancel the registration and notify the lender and authorities of what’s happening. She said she would pay it.
Come Monday, today, still nothing. So I looked over the car insurance info she sent me last month and noticed the due dat with the 9th. I called and was able to verify that the car insurance was canceled today due to non payment.
I sent her a text and let her know what was happening and canceled the registration and notified the authorities. She sent me a nasty text and told me to come get the car.
Oh. My. Fucking. God. Get out of that woman's life. Now. There's enmeshment, and then there's 'set the dogs on OP before she escalates-- ah. Too late. One thing a Critical Reader can always count on after the writer throws a whole bunch of confusing detail at them-- the escalation being trumpeted into the narrative will strain credulity like Bill Shatner strains his girdle.
Rod Stirling voice: What you are about to read will seem unreal--
So I did. Her and her trail park friends mocked me and said stuff like how I live off my mommy and daddy (I don’t. My BF and I afford our own bills. We’ve only had to ask my parents for help when we needed it due to helping her).
Being unable to get to work is a fantastic way to make sure MIL can stay employed and pay those bills you were hyperfocused on just two minutes ago, OP. Hmm... remind me what happens if, after moving out of YOUR place into that conveniently vague rental lodge, she loses her job?
DH made it clear to me that as long as he is alive and paying the rent, if she is homeless, she has a place to stay in his home.
We all remember where OP and The-Man-She-Didn't-Talk-This-Escalation-Over-With are moving after they run out on their lease, right?
Myself, BF and LO are moving in with my parents. My Bf will be working for my dad, who owns his own business. This will allow us do pay down debts and save up. I’ll continue my schooling.
Is yet another iteration of the Most Common Trope On The Subreddit worth writing all those dull arguments about what you're entitled to, OP? The slow degredation of being under the Clan thumb, pizza topping wars destroying all empathy and goodwill between the generations. Is this really the only option, OP?
BF approached me a few weeks ago and said we aren’t really tied anywhere, and we talked about different places to move to. He has a buddy that lives in a really good area, good schools, low crime, inexpensive housing. We could afford to live there and pay off our debt within a year, two at most, and just live comfortably.
So why is OP taking Diddums home to mummie? Do this thing, it sounds great!
Last night he started second guessing moving because his mom. His excuse was she was evicted and is living in a lodge...
... WELL, you can't argue with that, can you? Right, so-- d****amn MIL, who is to blame for OP and her multiple meat anchors moving in on the parentals! It'll be fine, they'll enjoy having you.
DH brought up that my dog has accidents in the house too like hers. Only difference is, I clean it up. She let piss and shit stains stay in the carpet for weeks/months and it stunk so bad. It was disgusting.
But... I'm sure Mom would love to have an incontinent pitbull. So, this happened in the rental where you're breaking the lease which you, OP, are not on because you basically shoved your way in to live with the BF's family without paying rent. Where your child has been living, and you claim you were the only one cleaning which means you didn't... /speechless/ Let us move on.
So after the tow truck came and left with the car, I drive off and they were all staring at me so I smiled and waved.
Not gunna lie, after I left I start crying.
Of course you did dear. Fifteen posts in five months. Five months ago,
After about 2 months of us dating, my bf and his mom and the two kids [late teens] found their own house to rent. About a month later, in April 2019, I moved in. My bf wanted me to continue to goto college to become an RN and to save any money I made for our future, but I did help buy household groceries
OP, an unemployed single mother, moves into someone else's home and agrees not to pay rent. But she's got the cash on hand to set up a Doomed!Plot. Naturally the writer will make it all as complicated as possible, throwing buckets of vague and off-topic details at her readers so no one will notice the various plots and characters are straight out of the courtroom of Judge Judy.
One thing lead to another and I agreed to help her by going in on the loan. I was added as an owner of the car too, but I didn’t him find that out until more recently. Keep this in mind for later.
I'll... keep in mind... that a tell-all MIL failed to share the fact that OP - for some unstated reason - ended up on the paperwork for MIL's car and that OP chose to literally hid that pertinent fact from her DH. For later. Maybe months later, when you use that signature to strand his mother and do a Boyfriend Test!
So how did repossessing MIL's transport and kicking her over a financial cliff play with the DH, OP? She and his siblings moving in with your parents?
My BF hugged me when I got home ...
Of course he did. And we're done here.
submitted by hereiamtosavetheday_ to LegitJustNoMIL [link] [comments]


2020.09.21 19:53 SkyBruceLee23 Iced

Iced
by
Skyler Woods
Jared could hear people screaming outside the elevator doors. It all started when the power went out. Jared had his 4-year-old daughter, Abigail, on the elevator with him. The young man had to be brave for his little girl. Something terrible was happening. At first, Jared felt lost, until he pulled out his phone and saw the news headlines.
(A woman killed her fiance at a local nightclub. Witnesses say the woman decapitated him with her fingernails and teeth. Authorities shot the woman, killing her. But she came back to life hours later during an autopsy. The medical examiner escaped, but the woman killed his assistant.)
(A woman turned into an albino after consuming an alcoholic beverage. She attacked two pedestrians and was shot down by police, but came back to life a few minutes later.)
(Four women attacked a daycare center after leaving a local bar. Witnesses say the four women had snow-white skin and hair. The daycare’s security guards shot all four women, but now their bodies are missing from the Saint Augustine mortuary.)
(A woman gets attacked by a deformed woman while out jogging. The victim reported that the woman had white skin and hair with black eyes. Doctors found traces of an alcoholic substance on the victim’s neck where the attacker bit her. The victim’s wounds were treated at the Saint Augustine hospital, but her hair and skin turned white as snow a few hours later. The infected victim became irate. She killed a nurse and two doctors before breaking out of the hospital.)
These were the surreal news reports Jared read on his phone. He almost dropped his phone when he read the first news report.
“Daddy, what’s going on?” Abigail’s sweet voice broke her father out of his frightened daze.
Jared unglued his eyes from his phone screen. “I don’t know, Sweetie,” the man spoke to his daughter through a distressed half-whisper. Jared had his daughter in his arms while sitting on the elevator’s floor. It was dark in the elevator, but Jared could still see his daughter’s dollish face and the little sunflowers on her dress.
“Is mommy gonna be okay?” Abigail mumbled. She held her daddy’s hand while laying her head against his chest. The little girl found comfort in listening to her father’s heartbeats.
“Yeah, Baby, your mommy’s gonna be fine,” Jared assured his daughter. He tried to shut out the screaming by focusing on keeping his daughter comforted. “You wanna play Pattycake like we did last night,” Jared whispered excitedly to his daughter. The father did his best to take his daughter’s attention away from the screams. He laughed softly when his daughter nodded her head.
The father and daughter quickly went into their Pattycake game. Jared tried to block out the screams while playing with his daughter. He also tried to block out the unreal news headlines he saw on his phone. Jared felt like he was in a horror movie.
“Can you rap for me, Daddy? Abigail asked. The little girl loved it when her father would rap to her while playing Pattycake. Abigail’s father was an Australian rap star who sold three albums over the last five years. Instead of having a bedtime story read to her, Jared would rap to his daughter after tucking her into bed. Abigail enjoyed the last bedtime story her father told her the night before through his rapping style. The story was about a queen who fell in love with an imprisoned ninja warrior.
“You want Daddy to rap for you?” Jared chuckled. The young man’s whispering and his Aussie accent soothed his daughter. “Pretty baby with the sunshine smile. Brighter than a star with your explosive style. Your eyes like butterflies in the spring. Daddy can’t believe God blessed him with this cute little thing. You make a diamond jealous of your sparkling hair. Your pretty face is like porcelain and your skin is so fair. When you grow up, girls are gonna hate. Their boyfriends are gonna chase your beauty, constantly asking for a date. When you grow up, you’ll find a guy and he better treat you right. If he doesn’t, your Daddy’s gonna hunt him down and beat him in a fight. If you choose to have babies, you’ll be a wonderful mother like your mom, who loves you. She loves you more than anything in the world, and your daddy does too. Like a blooming flower. From a princess to a queen. You’re gonna always be Mommy and Daddy’s little goddess supreme.” Jared watched as his daughter gave him a glowing wide grin of approval. He loved how his little girl would give him the biggest smile every time he’d rap to her. Jared received a kiss on his curly beard from his daughter and he returned the favor, kissing his little girl on the tip of her nose.
Jared wanted to keep playing Pattycake with his daughter, but his phone kept interrupting him. He kissed his daughter again while pulling his phone out. More news headlines blew up Jared’s phone.
(An 11-year-old girl escaped from her house after her mother attempted to kill her. The girl says that she found her mother in the basement naked and eating their dog. The girl also says that she found her father’s body in the bathroom with his throat ripped open. The girl’s mother became deformed after drinking a fruit-flavored beer called Iced. The girl says her mother’s eyes were pitch black. She also reported to authorities that her mother’s body became anorexic and her skin and hair looked like snow.)
(Police arrested the CEO of a Moscow beer manufacturer called Iced for unlawful human experiments. 43-year-old Russian businesswoman, Svetlana Ivanova, was apprehended by authorities this morning after underground laboratories, housing dead bodies, were discovered beneath factories and shipment companies owned by Ivanova. Authorities also found cultic artifacts and documents on black magic inside the laboratories. The factories producing the Iced beer were shut down immediately by authorities and shipments to the U.S. and other countries were terminated. The government has issued a worldwide recall of early Iced shipments to store retailers. Millions of stores across the U.S. and other countries are moving quickly to remove the Iced beer brand off their shelves. Authorities are advising people, especially women, not to consume the Iced beverage if they’ve already purchased it. If you have consumed Iced, report to the nearest hospital for treatment as soon as possible.)
Jared was so distracted by the freakish news reports that he couldn’t feel his daughter’s little fingers touching his nose ring. The young man kept reading one strange news report after another.
(A teenage girl attacked a worker at a grocery store. Witnesses say the girl bit a store employee in the neck before throwing the employee through a window. People evacuated the store when the girl started chasing customers. One witness reported that the girl looked like a Whitewalker from Game of Thrones and that her mouth stretched open abnormally while she was screaming at customers and employees.)
(A 14-year-old boy reported to police that he awoke to see a pale-skinned woman standing in his bedroom. The teenager told police that the woman stood at the foot of his bed with blood covering her blouse and jeans. The teen also told the authorities that the woman pointed at him and said, “the fresh meat of a baby is the best meat.” The teen reported that the woman’s skin and hair had no pigmentation. He said she had the body of a bony elderly woman and that the whites of her eyes were blacker than ink. The boy barely escaped with his life, but he believes the blood he saw on the woman’s clothes was the blood of his father and his older brother.)
Jake had to take his eyes away from his phone for a minute. He had to allow his brain to process the news reports. What unnerved Jake was that he no longer heard the screams coming from the hospital floor’s upper level. It was dead silent outside the elevator.
“Daddy, I think the screaming stopped,” Abigail whispered while still holding her father’s hand.
“Yeah, I don’t hear anything,” Jared said. There was a fearful undertone in Jared’s voice. The young man’s pierced ears tried to detect an ounce of sound from behind the elevator doors, but he received nothing but an unearthly silence. Jared waited to hear something and after three long minutes, he finally heard a sound. The ringing of his phone almost caused him to jump out of his skin.
Even Abigail let out a brief scream when she heard her daddy’s loud ringtone.
“Goddamn,” Jared whispered out forcefully while struggling to answer his phone. The young man breathed deeply when he saw that it was his wife calling him. “Hello, Angela? Baby, are you okay?” Jared waited to hear his wife’s reply, but instead, he was greeted by what sounded like a woman letting out a low growl. The young man snatched his phone away from his ear in horror. “No,” Jared whispered down to his phone before releasing a heartbroken gasp. He brought his phone back up to his ear only to find out that the person on the other end disconnected the call.
“Was that Mommy?” Abigail whispered with her fingers touching her daddy's long dreadlocks. Within a second, her question stirred up tears in her father.
Jared turned away from his daughter, catching a tear with his thumb before it could drip down his nose. “No Sweetie, that wasn’t Mommy. It was a wrong number.” Jared didn’t want to lie to his daughter, but he felt that he had to. He didn’t have the heart to tell his little girl that her mom was a monster. Jared knew what happened to his wife. He heard it on the other end of his phone. That low growl burned deep into Jared’s psyche. The thing he heard on the other end of his phone was no longer his wife. Jared didn’t want to think about that disconcerting low growl that emerged out of his phone. He wanted to hear his wife’s voice again. Desperate to hear his wife’s voice, he played her last voicemail.
(“Hello Sugar, it’s your wife calling to see how your hospital visit is going. I still can’t believe you wanted to visit a guy who bullied you in high school, but whatever. Anyway, I’m so excited about your Grammy nomination for best rap album! I know you didn’t want me to type up your acceptance speech, but I did it anyway. You deserve the Grammy because you’re sweet. I know you’re gonna win. We’re gonna have so much fun at the Grammy after-party. I want you to know that if you don’t win the Grammy, I won’t give a damn, because I already have something more beautiful than a Grammy, and that’s you! I love you babydoll and I want you to tell my little angel that mommy said hi. Tell her that mommy loves her and that she can’t wait to see her later on today. Tonight we’re gonna celebrate your Grammy nomination. For dinner, I’m cooking a special Mediterranean seafood dish that you’re going to love. I also found this new fruit-flavored beer called Iced, which I think will go well with our dinner tonight. They have different flavors. I bought a six-pack of a flavor called Morocco Raspberry. It’s an interesting looking beer and it has zero calories. I’m thinking about tasting one now. I need a beer to help me unwind. Your wife is tired! Sitting in a recording studio all day is hellish, but that’s the life of a music producer. I just left the store and I’m on my way home. I got everything for dinner and I got our new Iced beer. I can’t wait to see you and our little girl. I know you drove your Lamborghini Aventador to the hospital. It would’ve been safer to take the Escalade, but that’s alright. All I got to say is don’t drive too fast on your way back home. I know Abigail loves riding in her daddy’s sports car, but I still don’t think that car is safe for a 4-year-old. Just be careful. I’ll see you and Abigail tonight. Tell your former high school buddy that I said hi. I hope his surgery turned out okay. Gotta go! Goodbye, Sugar!”)
Jared didn’t want his wife’s voicemail to end, but it had to. He tried to gather himself as he gazed at his daughter. The young man smiled at his little girl and he told himself not to shed a single tear in front of her. Jared wanted to be brave for his daughter.
“Are you okay, Daddy?” Abigail kept patting her father’s hand and she could sense a sadness from her daddy, even though he was smiling at her.
“Yeah Honey, I’m fine,” Jared answered his daughter before resting his lips on her forehead. He chuckled a little from feeling his daughter’s fingers tickling his beard. Jared still had his daughter, and he didn’t want to lose her like he lost his wife.
The father and daughter held each other while sitting in the dark. Jared used his daughter’s hair as a pillow while Abigail fidgeted with the gold necklace that decorated her daddy’s neck. The little girl loved being between her father’s arms. She would see her father as a superhero because of his Herculean physique. Sometimes Abigail would study the bulky, rigid muscles in her father’s arms and she would count the tattoos on his skin. Abigail didn’t like the dark, but being in her father’s arms made her forget about the darkness.
After six dreadfully long hours, the power finally came back on and the elevator was moving again. It only took a second for the elevator to reach the hospital’s underground parking garage. The dead silence still followed Jared and his daughter after they left the elevator. Jared carried his daughter while tip-toeing between parked cars. He tried not to imagine running into a pale woman. The building’s power came back online, but it seemed like the underground garage was just as dark as the elevator.
Jared needed to find his car and he kept getting a feeling that someone or something was following them. He tried to ignore the feeling. The young man kept peering over his shoulder every second. Jared didn’t like the dead silence. He preferred to hear screaming so he could hear a sound, and this made him feel guilty. All Jared could hear was his heavy breathing and his daughter’s breathing. He could feel his warm sweat saturating his black muscle shirt. Jared couldn’t believe he was sweating so much. He felt like he had just finished doing a live concert. Jared sweated less when he was on stage in front of his fans.
It took forever, but Jared finally spotted his Lamborghini. The gold-metallic sports car was parked beside a Jeep. Jared pulled his car keys out of his pocket. He was about to make his way toward his car, but he heard a loud click behind his head. Jared knew that sound.
“Daddy?” Abigail whimpered when she saw a wounded man standing behind her father with a gun aimed at his head.
“It’s okay, Baby.” Jared comforted his daughter while keeping his cool. “Take it easy, man,” Jared said as he calmly turned around to confront the gunman. He observed the gunman’s biker thug appearance. “If you want my wallet, you can have it.” Jared pulled his wallet out slowly. He saw the man’s injury and it looked like something took a chunk out of his shoulder.
“I don’t want money! I’m sorry, but I need your car!” The man’s deep voice trembled like an earthquake. He glared at Jared and his truck-sized body was more intimidating than his 9mm handgun.
“I can’t give you my car, man.” Jared knew there’d be trouble after he said that. He covered his daughter’s head when the man brought his gun closer.
“My car won’t start and I need to get out of here to see my daughter. You’re a dad, so you should understand!” The man spoke through gritted teeth. “Give me your car keys! Please don’t make me ask you again!” The man tightened his grip on the handle of his gun. His finger rested on the trigger as he brought his handgun even closer to Jared’s bearded face.
Abigail moaned and whimpered as she looked at the light reflecting off the man’s pistol. The girl’s eyes welled up with tears when she thought the man was going to shoot her father. But within a few seconds, Abigail watched her father do something amazing.
Jared made his move and he knocked the gun out of the man’s hand. The man shoved Jared back and he tried to go for his gun, but he fell on his back from a hard blow to his face.
Jared punched the man while securely holding his daughter with one arm. He used all his strength to knock down a guy who was a little bigger than him. Jared went to pick up the man’s gun. When he turned back around, his heart went into his throat when he saw a pale woman standing over the man. The woman’s skin was pulled back over her bones. Her hair and skin were whiter than milk. The woman’s eyes were darker than her black dress. Jared watched as the bony woman revealed her dingy, pointy teeth before pouncing down on the man, taking a bite out of his throat. He could see a beer bottle in her hand that said Iced. Jared also saw a wedding ring on her finger and a rose tattoo on her hand. When Jared saw the tattoo, he knew the monster was his wife.
The End
submitted by SkyBruceLee23 to TheDarkGathering [link] [comments]


2020.09.21 01:01 toskaladwstandardleg Trying to cope with realizing how much my (DX, 28f) partners ADHD affects me (nonADHD, 27f) during the pandemic. Looking for advice and support

So, long story here. Loooong post, warning ahead of time.
My partner (28f) is diagnosed ADHD. I (27f) do not have ADHD. We also both have been diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Clinical Depression, and CPTSD. We’ve been together for 3 years.
My partner believes she is also Autistic, but has not been officially diagnosed. I agree with what she thinks, and don’t believe you HAVE to be officially diagnosed to be on the autism spectrum.
The situation that has led to this is kind of odd because while my partner DID disclose that she has ADHD, it’s clear that she’s sort of tried to avoid focusing on this diagnosis in her recent adult years, she was diagnosed at 5 and has had bad experiences as a child/teen with strings of bad doctors, bad experiences with medication, bad therapists, in addition to (and partially because of) bad and abusive parents. I have dated a few people with ADHD who have told me similar experiences, so I wasn’t surprised by this, and I think in a way I also sort of didn’t focus on this diagnosis.
My partner was in therapy until March, when the pandemic started. However, her 2nd to last therapist who she had for 3 years was not the right fit for her. She got connected to this therapist through resources for uninsured people, and this therapist seemed to be in the business of just like, I don’t know, very bare minimum talk therapy and not helping much with coping mechanisms and tools or addressing longer term issues. My partner got a new therapist at the beginning of the year who seemed like a much better fit... and then that therapist stopped contacting her after COVID started. So she’s been without therapy during this extremely tumultuous time.
My partner was working a customer service job the whole time we’ve been together. Objectively speaking, the job itself fucking sucked. And it sucked even more hearing the specifics of what she dealt with every day. She actively disliked her coworkers, her managers were rude and aloof, she dealt with BS from customers all day, and her body hurt from manual labor and standing for 8 hours. All around, most days I’d pick her up from work and there’d just be this depression and anger cloud above her. It got to the point where when we moved together I offered to pay for everything if she wanted to quit because I was tired of seeing her miserable, it just didn’t seem worth it. She kept refusing my offer, so I just would remind her every month or so that the option was there. When the pandemic hit, coincidentally she got fired. It seemed sketchy and pandemic related, but there weren’t many options to fight it. I was over the moon about it, because finally she had an opportunity to find a better fit for her, or just chill out for a while.
The first couple weeks after her being fired were the most happy I’d seen her in years. We had a lot of laughs, a lot of sweet moments, a lot of sex we hadn’t been having in months.
That abruptly stopped when the reality of the pandemic started to set in. And understandably so. She’s immunocompromised and has chronic bronchitis, so the threat of COVID was really scary, and still is. At that point, she did not want to work outside in the world anymore, and I agreed that I would absolutely not coerce her into doing so, even if it was hard for me to pay for everything on my own. I have an office job and we got shifted into remote working, so I was able to stay safe at home.
Being with each other 24/7 really has started to highlight a lot of things, and more than anything, is all the things relating to her ADHD. It’s been really hard for me, maddening at times, and I’m not sure what to do.
First of all, her sleep schedule is entirely backwards. She’s very unhappy with it, but doesn’t know how to fix it. She goes to bed at 6am-10am and wakes up at 5pm-8pm. I wake up at 9am, and I try not to stay up past 1am because I have to work. Sometimes I stay up too late just to hang out with her, but I need to not do that because it’s bad for my health and sleep debt is a huge issue for me with my own mental and physical illnesses.
Before the pandemic started, my partner told me that if she was out of work at any point and if I was paying for everything that she would do all of the cleaning. I do all of the cooking and don’t want to change that because I’m picky and also love cooking. But I hate cleaning, I have OCPD and it gives me a ton of anxiety every single time no matter what, so I was super excited to hear this. However, this hasn’t happened at all. In fact, it’s been a struggle to get my partner to chip in even say, 30-40% of the share of cleaning, let alone half, let alone more than that.
She also has a lot of emotional outbursts. She’ll wake up at 5pm, and immediately is stomping around the house like an angry child, slamming the refrigerator door, loudly sighing and groaning, and then when she’s done she just grumpily sits and plays video games until 6am.
These outbursts are super hard for me to deal with, because they trigger my anxiety in HUGE ways. I also had a shitty mother who was extremely passive aggressive, and would loudly sigh until you asked her what was wrong so she could yell at you. So this really hits some sore points for me. Often I try to ask “what’s wrong?” or “can I help you with something?” “Can I make your coffee?” Sort of thing. 99.9% of the time she says nothing is wrong. Sometimes I’ll say nothing in the moment and hours later be like “hey, was something bothering you earlier? You were seeming frustrated” and again, most of the time she says nothing was wrong. Half the time she isn’t even aware she was emoting so noticeably.
She also is super sensitive about any perceived conflict, whether or not there actually is a notable conflict. Simple disagreements turn into her getting very defensive and rude. Sometimes we’ll disagree over something as trivial as a video game and she will be visibly upset with me for hours after. She doesn’t do anything super shitty - she doesn’t yell at me, say anything degrading or insulting, or cross any major boundaries. She just gets very very defensive and upset and it catches me off guard and then I get upset.
Our sex life is pretty dead, we have sex probably once every two months if I’m lucky.
She’s also not very physically affectionate anymore, and that’s been hard.
She is generally withdrawn and grumpy, and has very little patience for anything other than what she wants to be doing (video games or scrolling Facebook). Sometimes it’s really frustrating to try and have a casual conversation because I want to connect, and her attention span is just next to nil and all she wants to do is get back on her phone or play games.
I am a very proactive thinker and someone who sees problems and tries immediately to fix them. I don’t say this to sound better or brag about myself. This is actively a problem for me as I frequently overwork myself and take on things I don’t need to, and contributes to my anxiety. Because of this, this creates two issues. 1. It is super hard for me to empathize with how her brain doesn’t have her realizing and analyzing everything all the time to look for solutions and 2. I try to help her with things and then they still don’t get done, because I put in my part to help and she entirely drops the ball on her part. Like for example, when she first lost her job I told her i’d send her links of jobs I think she’d like. She asked me for help with this and I was happy to do it. Did she apply to all the jobs I sent? No. I think I had sent her some 50 jobs over the course of a couple weeks and she ended up applying for one after I asked how the applications were going.
I don’t know what to do. My therapist says that my experience with her is extremely common for couples where both people have depression and anxiety and one has ADHD and one doesn’t. She says my partners behaviors make perfect sense in context, and that she likely needs to be in DBT therapy as well as medicated. She gave me a referral to an ADHD therapist, and I talked to my partner about it and she wanted to pursue it. But then that practice stopped taking new patients due to COVID.
I work full time, my job is very stressful. I am also a mentally ill person, and my anxiety runs me ragged a lot despite being in therapy and medicated and doing my best to cope. The pressure of keeping our lives afloat during this tumultuous time, and not being able to leave the house to not risk getting sick has been really hard on me.
I feel like I live with a grumpy teenager sometimes, and that’s amplified by my being responsible for most of the cooking, cleaning, and all of the bills. I also struggle with feeling like my partner actually wants to be with me, due to lack of overall affection, having weird varied sleep/wake schedules, and her being visibly grumpy 80% of the time.
I guess I am looking for a few things from this post:
Hearing from people with ADHD and depression/anxiety who recognize these behaviors as something they do and patterns they fall into helps me a lot. I adore my partner and I want to spend the rest of my life with her. All the things that I don’t like about her or struggle with are all clear signs to me of struggling with ADHD and depression and anxiety, but of course even though I can understand this, it is hard to feel like this will be our forever and won’t ever get better. Our relationship used to be filled with dates and fun and sex and romance and better balance of responsibilities but life has gotten more and more stressful. I’d say our first year was the above, then her job got worse and then COVID so it’s been getting worse for 2 years now. So I know things CAN be better, but that almost makes it worse because I mourn what I miss. But also it’s super understandable that she would struggle, like I’m struggling, in these very hard times. But ultimately hearing people say “I’m like this” “ i do this” “I struggle with this” makes me feel better because so much of how ADHD works is so antithetical to how my brain works I don’t get it, and hearing it confirm it just somehow helps a lot.
Also looking for advice on how to cope and how to help if possible. Now is a terrible time to find new therapists, especially as my partner is unemployed and we are not married so I can’t put her on my insurance, nor would I be able to afford to even if that was an option. I don’t know how she’s going to be able to get the professional help she needs in this time she needs it more than ever. I don’t know how to cope or help with that, it just fucking sucks. So I guess any tips or advice is appreciated.
I think the hardest part of this is that my partner is always showing so much emotion to indicate she’s having a hard time, but can’t seem to open up about it and seems to have very little self awareness. Every day is a new attempt at me finding ways to ask how she’s doing, offer her space to vent, ask if she wants some affection or something to make her day easier or more fun. Every response is “I don’t know” “nothing” “just a little anxious”.
We have had many check ins about our relationship in that despite issues with affection and mood that she does actively want to be with me, and loves me, and she is able to articulate that she feels too overwhelmed all the time to enjoy life and that affects our relationship but she wants to be with me. And I absolutely want to be with her even when it’s hard. I think the only thing that makes it difficult is that sometimes these actions make her seem SO SELFISH that I end up feeling like there’s no way she can love me if she acts like this. But then I sit, I take a breath, I google whatever behavior is bothering me and “+ADHD” and find a million articles about how this is typical behavior and I feel sad, but better. And another thing I have seen is that she absolutely will not do shit she doesn’t want to do. So I trust that when she IS affectionate, when she tells me she loves me, when she takes initiative to clean, that she is doing itbecause she does want things to be better and she does care, but doesnt always have the clarity.
It’s hard to sit here and remind myself all these things on the days my therapist isn’t helping. I don’t want to vent all of these details to my friends, I know my partner would be so worried they wouldn’t like her and I don’t want to breach her trust even if she doesn’t know. So venting here and asking for solidarity helps me a lot, especially since things are so isolating with the pandemic.
Thank you so much for listening and reading.
submitted by toskaladwstandardleg to ADHD_partners [link] [comments]


2020.09.20 21:03 Mistresspreslie Why sex workers support Donald Trump

Interesting isn't it?🧐
Republicans are conservative, that's just a fact. And sex workers are just . . . Not. Lol! A conservative sex worker is one who conceals their face while posting naughty pictures online.
But why do so many sex workers lean towards President Trump versus Joe Biden?
I was a stripper for nine years, now running an onlyfans site & online webcamming. Throughout my whole career I have been a diehard Republican.
I am from New Jersey which is a very liberal state, but I do come from a Republican county. The area I live in has a lot of wealth and they don't want to see more of it go to taxes. So that has always stuck with me, Democrats will raise taxes. Even if they raised property taxes last year, they will raise them again this year
I started dancing in 2011 under the Obama administration. I was 18 years old when I started, and all of the "older" strippers had told me that before the recession they were killing it. Once the recession hit they had to fight to make money. At this time in 2011 things were slowly getting better. People were getting out of that recession mentality; "save every penny because you could lose your job tomorrow." But the industry had no way recovered to pre-2008 standards.
I had gotten really lucky. I was 18 years old "fresh meat" and I was going to make money just because I was the new girl. But I watched a lot of girls struggle to make $200 on a weekend night that should bring in $600+ easily.
I had two good summers, in 2012 and 2013. I was a new face, I was still a "teen," like I said, "fresh meat" sells better. 2014 was horrible! I was only 21 years old and it was an awful summer, no one was making money. The Jersey shore was dead, rentals were empty. Hurricane Sandy hit in November 2012, most businesses were back up and running in the summer of 2013. Some had yet to reopen in 2013, but by the summer of 2014 All of the businesses had re-opened, all of the rentals have been fixed and open for business. But only half were booked ON WEEKENDS. Weekdays were absolutely dead. Our club being 3 miles from the beach relied heavily on this summer traffic. During 2014 there waa no difference between summer and winter. Both were the same, disappointing. Many of my friends were struggling, needing to work 6 days a week just to get by.
2015 got a little bit better, but not much. And then a big change came in 2016.
2016 was an election year, and yes strippers talk politics. Now 23 years old and dancing for five years I was already a veteran. I was one of the highest earners at the club and people would often come to me for money making advice. I also love talking politics, history, and proving people wrong; so the dressing room hosted A LOT of political debates. "Welcome to debate club, strippers edition." 😂
A lot of the new, younger girls were very excited about Hillary Clinton running for President. They were hoping that she would win, that she would legalize marijuana, that she would "change" this country. But the girls who had been dancing for years, the girls who were making a lot of money. . . They were all for candidate Trump.
"Why would you vote for Trump?" Was a question I was frequently asked.
"Trump wants to make abortion illegal!" "Trump will never legalize marijuana!" Those were the biggest complaints about Trump.
As for abortion, I believe the woman has the right to choose. But I also know politics. I know that Trump is from New York and he's not super conservative, he is not from the Bible belt, he is never going to waste his time making abortions illegal in this country. He knows they are a necessary evil. But will he say he is against it? Absolutely, he needs to please those ultra conservative voters. Something A LOT OF PEOPLE don't understand.
As for marijuana, I think we need the extra revenue so that the Democrats could spend it. But would Hillary Clinton have been able to make it legal with a Republican controlled Senate. (And house at the time I believe). . I don't think so.
And like I stated the girls who were making a lot of money, who had invested in other businesses and were getting ready to retire, or who had owned real estate. . . They were all voting for Trump.
"The Trump girls," did not want to pay more money in taxes in a very high tax state. They wanted to be able to use their extra income to invest in other opportunities, to invest in their kids college education, or go to school themselves. Of course the younger Clinton voters weren't even claiming taxes, so they didn't care how much she raised our taxes. They wanted to collect more welfare because their income was totally off the books.
President Trump ended up winning the election, and very quickly Something Happened. The stock market started going up. As mentioned, we are from a republican wealthy county in New Jersey. A lot of these men work in New York on Wall Street, or are heavily invested in the market. Once the stock market went up, the club was popping! The winter of 2016-2017 was amazing. People felt more secure to spend money, Guys had no problem dropping $3,4,500 in the VIP room. We finally had a huge shower of singles on stage for the first time in forever. And this was only the winter.
Summer 2017 came and it was my best summer ever. It was my best summer even though by mid august I was barely working as I was suffering horrible morning sickness when I got pregnant with my first child. $1500 could be made in 2-3 hours on a weekend night. If you got really lucky it could be made as a tip in a 15 minute VIP room. 2017 was the summer of money!
My life took a turn however. After I had my son I really didn't work that much. I would go in one or two days a month. But it was still enough for me to be able to buy my very first apartment! If I had worked like that during the Obama years, I would have been struggling to pay rent. However I was paying a mortgage and saving money.
I basically call myself semi-retired now. And now I am entering my third trimester with my second baby. But from august 2017-january 2020 on a two day a month schedule, I was able to save enough money to put a down payment on a bigger home.
The taxes in this state are ridiculous, and we will never vote in a Republican governor to lower our taxes. But the last thing I need is higher federal taxes.
Instead of debating The legalization of marijuana, I am now having debates about college education for my kids. Why wouldn't I vote for Joe Biden who believes in free college education? I am going to have two children to put through college. And that answer is very simple. My kids are young. I have 15 1/2 more years to save for my older son and I started saving for him a week after he was born. Even if I only put away $2000 a year, he will have $36,000 once he turns 18; enough to pay for his first year. Invested in the S&P 500 that could easily be $70,000. What if I have a good year and I could invest another thousand dollars?
Joe Biden wants to give us free community college which is what? 5K a year? Even if he did make four year colleges free, would they be only state schools? Im sure private schools wouldn't be free. At rutgers the current tuition in-state is about $10,000/year. 4 years would be $40,000. With what I am saving right now, I would only be $4000 short of covering all four years of college. That is not calculating gains from the market.
But what if my taxes were raised another $2000 a year? That money would be going to the government instead of saving for my son. What if he increased taxes to 50%? Not only would I not be able to save money for my kids I wouldn't be able to save money for short term goals.
I recently became an only fans creator, taking advantage of my pregnancy and the fetish industry. Some of these woman are making $300,000+ a year. I have been much more successful in a month than I ever thought I would.
My reason for starting this work was to help my husband fund our home renovation. I thought I would be able to help with little things, but now I am going to be able to help with bigger things and save money for my kids college fund.
As I am learning more about the online sex worker industry, I see all of the expenses these girls have. They need to buy good cameras and film equipment. Constantly on their phones, you need good service and a lot of data. New content is a must for success, hence new outfits, backdrops, toys, props, and shoes for the foot fetish guys!
All of the money needs to be claimed INCLUDING tips. It's not like being a stripper where the majority of your money goes unclaimed, in fact it can't even be tracked because it's cash tipped to you behind a closed VIP room curtain. Every dime an Only Fans creator makes is carefully logged and must be claimed at the end of the year. And let's not forget Only Fans takes 20% of your earnings off the top, to run their website and because of the high fees credit card companies charge because it is considered a "high risk industry."
So creators lose 20% off the top. I would say they easily spend 10% of their income on work related expenses for making their content better. Some pay for promotions so that their pages grow faster. Others NEED assistants or hire other experts. We employ a lot of other people! But 30% is gone right away.
Then you have to pay taxes, depending on your state and your tax bracket it could be as little as 15% and as much as 40%! Let's say we need to pay 25% in taxes just like a lot of people. That's 55% of our money gone.
Let's say you're doing pretty well on only fans making $5000 a month, $60,000/year. $12,000 you'll never even see. $6000 goes towards all of the expenses and is tax deductible. And now you have to pay taxes on $42,000. $10,500 (25%) and $16,800(40%) doesn't seem like a big difference, but it is when you put in so much hard work. Imagine making $60,000 but only having $25,000 to show for it after taxes. It makes it not even worth it.
Even if you're working 12 hours a day/7 days a week and making $200,000/year on Only fans, having less than $100,000 in your pocket at the end of the day is complete BS!
Some might ask, why not switch sites? Live cam sites take 40% or more of your money! If you're a stay at home mom like me, you can't stream live on camera while your kid is home or awake.
So now that I got into the financials of online sex work, you can understand why so many sex workers support President Trump. Unlike a regular job, we have to pay a fee just to make money. We don't want our taxes raised on top of it!
Then there are the customers. We rely on customers to put their credit card into a Onlyfans, and spend anywhere from $3 to $20 a month on a creator's subscription profile.
Despite many people losing their jobs because of Covid, the site has been busier than ever. Instead of going out to clubs, movies, or taking girls on dates, guys have been going on dates with their favorite online sex worker. but not everybody is able to do that at the moment.
If you are struggling, if you can't pay your bills, you're not going to be spending money on online porn, let's be real. Covid and the impact it has had on jobs is not the Presidents' fault. I'm thinking back to that horrible summer of 2014 when Obama was in office. How slow would Only Fans be if this was 2014. With so many extra creators trying to make money because they also have lost jobs, there would be very few girls making big money, and the majority making nothing. Right now you have a lot of girls making a lot of money, a lot of girls making a decent living, and just a few making pennies.
I think President Trump has given customers confidence that the economy is going to turn around, that jobs are going to come back. He has also given them an amazing economy over the past few years that has allowed people to fill their savings accounts. We are not in the "save every penny mentality," that I saw in 2011 when things were recovering from a big recession.
That's Another reason many sex workers support Trump. He gives clients the confidence to spend their hard earned money.
There are many issues that sex workers do not agree with Republicans on. The biggest I could think of is abortion & the woman's right to choose. Prostitution is another big one, especially for me. I would love to see legal prostitution in New Jersey one day! I would be so proud if my son could own New Jersey's first legal brothel. The reasons why I support LEGAL prostitution is a totally different argument, but Republicans would never support that! Yet I still side with Republicans.
We side with Republicans because we want to have better lives not only for ourselves but for our children. And in this country you need money to have a better life. You need money to move from a tiny two bedroom apartment into a simple townhouse. You need money to invest in your children's future so they don't need to be sex workers. You need money to invest in another business so you don't need to sext all day long. And you need money if you want to clear your head and take a vacation or go to the spa for a day! And that money does better in the hands of individual citizens to choose what they want to do with it, versus in the hands of the government!
If you have the "guts" to be a sex worker you should be compensated. It is a huge industry that makes billions of dollars, and provides jobs for millions of people. (and I say GUTS because not everyone can have the confidence to go online and show their body to strangers. Not everyone could act. Not everyone could stand tall and tell the world, I send nude videos for a living.)
I could stand tall and say it! I am a sex worker! I work really hard for my money! I show my body on camera to random men, and I'm good at it! And I don't want Joe Biden to come in and raise taxes under the farce of "free college." I don't need Joe Biden to make everyday working men lose confidence in our economy. And I certainly don't need to spend priceless time to decipher what the hell Joe Biden is trying to say to me (sorry I had to add that! 😂) And if the day ever comes that I decide I don't want to do this work anymore, I know President Trump has made the economy great and could make it even better, allowing me to find another well-paying job to support my family.
Written by me: -Mistress Preslie 🖤💋
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2020.09.19 23:34 polyanxious How to find women to date, as a poly woman

In my teens and early 20s I dated women almost exclusively, while in poly relationships. I then entered a monogamous relationship. We broke up, and I've been able to explore new connections for the past five years. I've had no trouble getting attention from cis men, but what I'm really missing is a partner who defines as a woman.
Issue is, I have NO interest from women. I consider myself engaging, and average to cute. I'm witty, if not snarky, with a full life. I send first messages always, I've flirted like mad at meets (pre-lockdown) and while I have a male partner we date separately and have no intention of finding 'a third'. He would never be involved and my profile on OKC makes that clear.
Anyone got any tips for getting some female attention? Or any women who like women have tips on what makes them think, "hell yeah!" I feel like an awkward teenager.
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2020.09.19 09:42 ExoticNeo Getting rid of shame

What do you do to get rid of shame, I literally feel toxic shame like a void blowing around inside my head and in my eyes when I try to bring up the trauma and release it in form of tears, I have been successful in crying two-three times now(you need the opposite to sort of resist the trauma and push it out) I guess there is shame for being a human and having human desires like being attracted to a women etc, like I feel I've been dishonoured too much to ever do that like date or ask someone out or just be in the world, like I've been embarrassed so much that it's ruined for me.
I am also confused, if I might add, I have no idea what my relationship with rest of the people are, like I've no idea how to human, but in childhood(before any major trauma happened[child/teen/adolescence/adult abuse] that I can at least remember- if I was even allowed a trauma free childhood - I do remember being normal like everyone else and having friends and everything, even being in love.
Toxic shame and guilt are two factors, shame makes it feel like you can never speak your part always waiting, and guilt makes you feel like you have something to do with everyone, shame makes you back out where personal making it impersonal, guilt makes impersonal things personal.
I also feel a want to reject of withhold from people as if trying to communicate my pain, but stuff like it never would never work, good lord this is hell to deal with.
I am also angering, if you guys have any tips for that, I think anger is our identity, when we get angry defines who we are, it doesn't have to be full like fighting like anger, but can be little frowning to making an angry expression to telling someone off. I think everyone angers like that during a lot of conversations.
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2020.09.17 10:45 JessicaFlemin How Can I Quit Smoking?

Where to Start

Smokers often start smoking because friends or family do. But they keep smoking because they get addicted to nicotine, one of the chemicals in cigarettes and smokeless tobacco.
Nicotine is both a stimulant and a depressant. That means it increases the heart rate at first and makes people feel more alert. Then it causes depression and fatigue. The depression and fatigue — and the drug withdrawal from nicotine — make people crave another cigarette to perk up again. Some experts think the nicotine in tobacco is as addictive as cocaine or heroin.
But don't be discouraged; millions of people have permanently quit smoking. These tips can help you quit, too:
Put it in writing. People who want to make a change often are more successful when they put their goal in writing. Write down all the reasons why you want to quit smoking, like the money you'll save or the stamina you'll gain for playing sports. Keep that list where you can see it. Add new reasons as you think of them.
Get support. People are more likely to succeed at quitting when friends and family help. If you don't want to tell your family that you smoke, ask friends to help you quit. Consider confiding in a counselor or other adult you trust. If it's hard to find people who support you (like if your friends smoke and aren't interested in quitting), join an online or in-person support group.

Strategies That Work

Set a quit date. Pick a day that you'll stop smoking. Put it on your calendar and tell friends and family (if they know) that you'll quit on that day. Think of the day as a dividing line between the smoking you and the new, improved nonsmoker you'll become.
Throw away your cigarettesall of your cigarettes. People can't stop smoking with cigarettes around to tempt them. So get rid of everything, including ashtrays, lighters, and, yes, even that pack you stashed away for emergencies.
Wash all your clothes. Get rid of the smell of cigarettes as much as you can by washing all your clothes and having your coats or sweaters dry-cleaned. If you smoked in your car, clean that out, too.
Think about your triggers. You're probably aware of the times when you tend to smoke, such as after meals, when you're at your best friend's house, while drinking coffee, or as you're driving. Any situation where it feels automatic to have a cigarette is a trigger. Once you've figured out your triggers, try these tips:

Handling Withdrawal

Expect some physical symptoms. If your body is addicted to nicotine, you may go through withdrawal when you quit. Physical feelings of withdrawal can include:
The symptoms of nicotine withdrawal will pass — so be patient. Try not to give in and sneak a smoke because you'll just have to deal with the withdrawal longer.
Keep yourself busy. Many people find it's best to quit on a Monday, when they have school or work to keep them busy. The more distracted you are, the less likely you'll be to crave cigarettes. Staying active is also a good distraction, plus it helps you keep your weight down and your energy up.
Quit gradually. Some people find that gradually decreasing the number of cigarettes they smoke each day is an effective way to quit. But this strategy doesn't work for everyone. You may find it's better for you to go "cold turkey" and stop smoking all at once.
Look into using a nicotine replacement if you need to. If you find that none of these strategies is working, talk to your doctor about treatments like nicotine replacement gums, patches, inhalers, or nasal sprays. Sprays and inhalers are available by prescription only, and it's important to see your doctor before buying the patch and gum over the counter. Different treatments work differently (for example, the patch is easy to use, but other treatments offer a faster kick of nicotine). Your doctor can help you find the solution that will work best for you.

Slip-Ups Happen

If you slip up, don't give up! Major changes sometimes have false starts. If you're like many people, you may quit successfully for weeks or even months and then suddenly have a craving that's so strong you feel like you have to give in. Or maybe you accidentally find yourself in one of your trigger situations and give in to temptation.
If you slip up, it doesn't mean you've failed. It just means you're human. Here are three ways to get back on track:
  1. Think about your slip as one mistake. Take notice of when and why it happened and move on.
  2. Did you become a heavy smoker after one cigarette? Probably not. It happened more gradually, over time. Keep in mind that one cigarette didn't make you a smoker to start with, so smoking one cigarette (or even two or three) after you quit doesn't make you a smoker again.
  3. Remind yourself why you quit and how well you've done — or have someone in your support group, family, or friends do this for you.
Reward yourself. Quitting smoking isn't easy. Give yourself a well-deserved reward! Set aside the money you usually spend on cigarettes. When you've stayed tobacco-free for a week, 2 weeks, or a month, give yourself a treat like a gift card, movie, or some clothes. Celebrate again every smoke-free year. You earned it.
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2020.09.16 16:55 Strong-Ad-9983 Mylol.com and kidschat.net the ultimate pedo lands

These sites are actually disgusting Pedo And CP filled landscapes FILLED to the brim with them Its absolutely disgusting Kidschat is a kids chat website Mylol is a fucking TEEN dating site The admins emails are [email protected] And [email protected] His name is daniel yee and [email protected] his real name is Benoit tessier Its absolute disgusting Report the sites to the FBI and the owners Tips.fbi.gov And missingkids.org Its absolutely disgusting If you don’t believe me Check it for yourself Its absolutely despicable
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2020.09.14 11:07 cantkissthrowaway202 I've forgotten how to kiss.

So, most of my teen years and early twenties, I had a fairly normal sex life. When it came to kissing, it was something I always enjoyed and that occurred without any hiccups. Fast forward to the last few years, and I had an incident with a woman where for some reason - either through chemistry or the kissing part of my brain deciding to reset - I just couldn't make sense of it. It's hard to describe - almost like my brain had lost some information. Typically, kissing was something intuitive and that didn't require thinking, whereas now it has become somewhat robotic and analysed.
I've had normal moments in the last few years - actually, probably more so than not. My mind sort of clicks in and out of this 'mode', but because of mental health problems I've never really taken it seriously, and instead just veered away from intimacy.
Another strange detail, I do psychadelics a bit and at times my mind will "click" back in, and I can actually feel that it's okay and the kissing occurs normally. Either subconscious issues at play, or simply confidence?
I've been going on a few dates of late, and a girl has asked me to go to hers tomorrow. Typically I'd either cancel or want to drink or do drugs to compensate, but I realise it's getting to a point that I need to be an adult and deal with this if I want a healthy sex life in future.
Has anyone dealth with this before? Any tips?
Thanks in advance!
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2020.09.14 03:07 okaysoftie Anxiety surrounding sex

Throwaway because … shame.
I came out as a lesbian when I was around 21 after having an on/off again boyfriend since my early teens. During this relationship, I felt a lot of guilt around my lack of desire for sex and got into the habit of never having sex sober and/or imagining myself outside of my body while being intimate. Since being out as a lesbian I’ve unfortunately continued this trend for the most part - close to all my sexual encounters with women have been one-off flings while drunk/high.
Well, a few months ago (I’m 23 now) I started dating this woman I really like. I’ve never been more sexually drawn to a person or have found myself thinking about sex more often. It's exciting! Only problem is nearly every time we have sex (always sober) I end up feeling a tremendous amount of anxiety/fear in the middle of it and have to stop. While my partner is understanding, it’s absolutely crushing me. I feel incredibly safe with and very attracted to this woman. I've accepted that I need professional help in addressing this issue, but in the meantime I thought I’d come here and see if anyone has experienced anything similar and, if so, if there are any tips in coping with these feelings. Thanks in advance and hope all of you are well <3.
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2020.09.13 22:38 FEshippingBot this is my boba manifesto

Read here
by girlsonthetv
Every day after class, Edelgard gets an earl grey bubble tea latte from Leicester Fine Coffee and Tea, because it is a delicious, refreshing sweet treat. That's the only reason, surely.
Marianne gets excited whenever the girl with white hair comes in to get her earl grey bubble tea latte, because she tips well and is respectful. That's the only reason, surely.
Had a certain mutual friend of theirs not gotten involved, things likely would have stayed this way forever.
Words: 3368, Chapters: 1/1, Language: English
submitted by FEshippingBot to FireEmblemShipping [link] [comments]


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