AiP Chapter 8

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Hello hello and welcome to Already in Progress As the name implies this story has been going on for a while now. In fact even Chapter 1 isn’t really Chapter 1 since by the time I got around to writing anything up the founder was long dead and her oldest child was already an elder. You can read the older chapters if you haven’t already and get an idea of what’s going on. We’ll start by looking in on two college students. Aren Fuchs pronounced “Fewkes” thank you is in his sophomore year at I.S.I. and has just moved into off-campus housing. His best friend since childhood and kinda-sorta-almost cousin Rosalie Sanders is just starting college and has decided to forgo the dorm experience to help him out with the rent. We now return to our story… Already in Progress…

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AREN: Ro is that you snicker My Esme what are you wearing ROSIE: Hi Aren. It’s good to see you too. Thank you for the warm welcome – I’m very happy to be here. And what’s wrong with what I’m wearing AREN: What – you colorblind or something Come on in – I got your room all set up already. You hungry ROSIE: When am I not Deliberate plumbbob – Rosie loves school and was thrilled to go to college but she didn’t grow up showing that.

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ROSIE: So Aren. I just want to say thanks. AREN: For what ROSIE: For letting me move in with you instead of having to stay at the dorms. You wouldn’t believe what I’ve heard about their bathrooms. shudder AREN: Hey I got your back yo. ROSIE: I know you do. You’re the best guy I’ve ever met. Really. You’re…great.

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Oh boy. This is complicated because of the whole debatable relationship thing. clears throat Let’s check in with Aren’s family who last we saw were getting on with life.

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And they’re still just getting on with life. Here’s Aren’s little sister Kitty. Her big brother’s still rather protective of her – how do you think he’d feel about her reading Man Maid Lust KITTY: I’m sure he’d rather I read about it than actually try it out for myself. …Point.

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Aren’s fathers are both doing well also. Peter’s become an elder but that doesn’t seem to have slowed him down any does it And Hunter is now the Chief of Police. Somehow you’d think that would rate a nicer uniform wouldn’t you Maybe something with a hat

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Peter’s been promoted too: He’s now a Top Secret Researcher. The poor man’s wanted to be a Mad Scientist ever since Hunter met him – he’s even locked the want himself – but he’s climbing the ladder so very very slowly. At least he’s enjoying his work and making friends. Hunter is the reason for Aren and Rosie’s kinda-sorta-almost-cousin relationship. You see Hunter’s mother Marie was the sister of Rosalie’s father Marcel. This makes Hunter and Rosie first cousins. Aren is Hunter’s son by adoption which on paper makes him Rosie’s first cousin once removed but there’s no actual blood connection there. Technically Aren and Rosie are different generations but for lots of reasons involving relative ages and reproductive choices they’re only a year apart. And as long as we’re checking on fathers…

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Rosie’s are doing well also although there’s not too much in the way of excitement. Marcel spends a lot of time on the phone making the friends that are oh-so-necessary for promotion. He’s getting close to his goal of becoming Education Minister.

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Zeeshan was promoted to within sight of his LTW of becoming a Media Mogul. This gave him an extra day off and he used it to wash the dog. Snuggles is perhaps a little too enthusiastic about baths. And how are our college students doing

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Not too well apparently. Let’s listen in… AREN: Ro – Rosalie – I am so so so sorry. You know what cow mascots are like…I didn’t do anything to encourage him I told him where he could stick his Sweet Talk and if he ever comes around here again I will punch him right in the middle of that stupid mask of his. I don’t understand why you’re so mad at me but can you please forgive me ROSIE: frostily: Don’t you understand Well then why should I accept your apology AREN: Maybe if you tried explaining – ROSIE: No. Oooo-kay. Let’s give them a little space shall we Let’s see how Lucky is doing. Last we saw he had just become engaged to Caryl Cwik right before graduation. Now that he and his twin brother Byron are safely graduated it’s time for wedding bells… I hope.

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Hooray Caryl Cwik is now Caryl Miller. For those of you playing along at home Lucky and Byron and Stacey are cousins to both Hunter and Rosalie.

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CARYL: I am so happy right now I could just cry. sniffles Love being in love is the best thing in the whole world don’t you think Toby TOBY: Yeah. Of course I’m a little bit prejudiced. Stacey is… LUCKY: Whoa whoa hold up Little brother at the table here. TOBY: “Wonderful” is what I was going to say Mr. Smart Alec. CARYL: Root have you met anybody yet ROOT: Well I…Not exactly… CARYL: Oh we are going to have to do something about that aren’t we Lucky We’ll find someone for Root and someone for Byron. I want all my friends to be in love And Caryl’s not the only one interested in Byron’s love life…

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STACEY V.O. archly: So who was that guy you were talking to at Lucky’s wedding You seemed to be getting along real well. BYRON V.O.: “That guy…” Oh Jerome He’s a friend from college. STACEY V.O. still arch: Lucky said you asked for him to be invited BYRON V.O.: Wha - Oh hey no Lucky asked who they should invite and I suggested Jerome because we were friends in college. All of us. We were all friends – me Jerome and Lucky. You know I don’t go in for that kind of thing. Mushy touching- people stuff. Ick. STACEY V.O. knowingly: Mmm-hmm… Which reminds me: have Rosie and Aren worked anything out yet

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AREN: Ro… ROSIE: I don’t want to hear it Apparently not. Moving right along…

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CARYL: violent retching noises Lucky Luck – huk… LUCKY: Oh my Esme Caryl are you okay Was it the chili I knew I shouldn’t have used the sour cream I knew it didn’t smell quite right oh Esme I’m so sorry. Do you want me to call an ambulance CARYL: No silly. urp Just pass me a damp washcloth will you It’s not food poisoning – I’m pregnant Lucky faints.

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CARYL: Sweetheart I just cannot tell you how happy I am about having this baby with you. This is going to be the best experience of my whole entire life. LUCKY: Even better than getting married CARYL: Yes because that was one day but this is going to be for years and years. LUCKY: Even though we’re living in my parents’ house Sleeping in my sister’s old room CARYL: It’s our room now. And I think babies should grow up knowing their grandparents. This is going to be so wonderful Now if only we could find someone for Byron…

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BYRON: Heads up JEROME: Haha nice one Ow… BYRON: What What’s wrong JEROME: I think I pulled something in my shoulder catching that. You should be more careful. flexes shoulder experimentally Ow.

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BYRON: Here let me help you with that. Is that better JEROME: Yeah lots better. Thanks. BYRON: Well you know since it’s my fault and all…

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CARYL: Lucky The baby wants mac and cheese Right now LUCKY: I’m on it honey. Guys sorry I need the kitchen. BYRON: Sure. JEROME: No problemo. I should be going anyway. Good to see you Byron. BYRON: …Yeah you too.

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LUCKY: It’s so cute the way you two flirt. When are you going to ask him out BYRON: Wha - No I don’t…I…He…He doesn’t like me like that. And anyway I – LUCKY: “Don’t do all that mushy touching-people stuff” Sure you do. You touch people all the time: me Mom Dad Stacey… BYRON: That’s different and you know it. That’s family. LUCKY: You gave Jerome a backrub today. BYRON: Well I…That… BYRON: Do you really think he likes me LUCKY: Why don’t you ask him

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JEROME: Not when you’re all logical like that I don’t. This isn’t a math equation. Loosen up will you BYRON: But…but Mr. Spock is logical… JEROME: Yeah and didn’t you listen to McCoy’s big speech to him in “Bread and Circuses” He’s totally cutting himself off from life. And anyway you’re human not Vulcan. If I wanted to date an unfeeling calculating machine I’d go buy myself a servo. BYRON: …So you have been thinking about dating and me in the same uh thought JEROME: Call me when you’re less into analyzing everything okay

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YVONNE: …He really compared him to a robot Oh that’s awful. Funny. Accurate. But still awful that someone would say that to my little boy. CARYL: They’re not so little anymore Mother Miller. YVONNE: Yes I know. Given that you’re about to make me a grandmother I suppose they are men now. But still a robot CARYL: I think it was just the kick in the patootie Byron needed me. You know he’s actually asked Jerome on a date tonight indrawn hiss YVONNE: Are you okay CARYL: I’m fine Mother Miller. It was a Branson-Hicks contraction I think. I’m not due for another week and a half. Are you going to finish that

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YVONNE V.O.: So Byron a little bird told me you went on a date with Jerome tonight. How did that go BYRON V.O.: Oh…okay. YVONNE V.O.: Just okay Scream from upstairs YVONNE V.O.: Dear Esme what was that

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Those contractions weren’t Branson-Hicks. CARYL: Luckyyyy I don’t think I can do thisss

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Sure you can Caryl Everyone this is Tyrone Miller. Tyrone this is everyone. TYRONE: Goo

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CARYL whispering so as not to wake the baby: I did good LUCKY ditto: You did real good honey. He’s perfect. And you’re perfect. And I love you both to bits. Whispering. …What Babies need a lot of sleep. Awwww. Well Rosie has been to the eye doctor and yes she is indeed colorblind. Fortunately her sister Cassie is not and she helped pick out a new wardrobe. Throw in a cute new hairstyle and you have a whole new Rosie. New enough to forgive Aren for the crime of being attractive to the cow mascot Let’s find out.

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Hooray So how’s life been treating these two

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ROSIE: Aaaaarennnn…There’s a naked man in my bedroom AREN calling: Yo That is really not something I needed to know ROSIE: I’m trying to work on my term paper Come get rid of him for me Pleeeeease

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AREN: Okay you really need to leave now. Go on scram. STREAKER: Dude your girlfriend’s so uptight. What’s wrong with being natural AREN: Off the top of my head Trespassing. Unlawful entry. Indecent exposure. Harrassment. Sexual assault. One of my dads is a cop – I can call him and ask what other charges I should bring if you want. STREAKER: Chill dude I’m leaving. AREN calling after him: And she’s not my girlfriend yo College takes so long to play through…While term papers and homework and classes go on let’s see how Cassie’s big date with Root went.

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CASSIE: Well this is a complete waste. Look who’s here: one teenage girl two gay guys one married guy one guy who can’t keep it in his…kilt one royal witch and the Komeinator. Now in blonde Um Cassie Weren’t you supposed to be on a date with Root CASSIE: The schmuck Yeah and in the middle of the date I asked him what he wanted and he told me he wanted to marry Shelby. The Diva CASSIE: She’s got money apparently. Way to rub it in. Schmuck. Wow. I’m sorry to hear that. Maybe if you called the matchmaker… CASSIE: Tried that. And

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CASSIE: Well he seemed nice enough. Kind of unemployed-backpacking-permastudent but we had stuff to talk about. Nothing special but he might’ve been fun you know And

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CASSIE: And the schmuck thought it was okay to come into my house when I was on a date – which was my business – and accuse me of cheating on him. Me Cheating on him Mr. I-Want-To-Marry-Shelby-Now-Please …Go away will you Just leave me alone. Oh dear. Is there anyone who isn’t having troubles I’m almost afraid to see how Andrew and Opal are doing…

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ANDREW: What are you boys doing up It’s two in the morning. Go back to bed. JASPER: You’re awake Daddy. CHALCEDONY: And Amy’s awake. JASPER: So we’re having a pillow fight. ANDREW: No you’re not. You’re going back to bed just like Daddy. JASPER: Amy’s still awake. ANDREW: Amy is two years old. She doesn’t have school in the morning. Go back to bed. Jasper opens his mouth to protest ANDREW: Bed Jasper.

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ANDREW calling from the other room: What part of “Go to bed” didn’t you understand Jasper JASPER: I’m on my bed Daddy. ANDREW: Well get in your bed and go to sleep. Oh what a relief They didn’t lose the children.

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And it’s good to see that Opal hasn’t let the damage to her arm slow her down any. She still makes sure all three kids are fed clean and loved. And that their homework’s done on time of course. The physical therapy is helping but it costs money and that’s not something they have a whole lot of. Jon’s already paying all the medical bills from the original accident and Colin’s been dealing with all the legal issues the maid and the nanny. Andrew just can’t stand the thought of asking his brothers for more money especially when there’s no pain and suffering involved. At least the kids don’t seem to have suffered any permanent ill effects from this crisis.

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JASPER: Mommy you can’t leave food on the floor. If you do the Social Worker will come get you. Maybe I spoke too soon… Would this be something Colin could help with maybe

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Oh…it looks like he has his own problems… COLIN: Is that for me LEE: No. Go back in your coffin. COLIN: Are you sure I get a lot of phone calls. LEE: It’s not for you. And I really don’t want to have to sweep up your ashes. Please bats eyelashes COLIN sulkily: Fine. grumbles I am so sick of being a vampire… LEE into the phone: Go ahead Jon. I’d love to know how he came down with this. You don’t catch it from toilet seats you know.

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JON V.O.: Well we were down at Benevolent Grounds. I mean Colin and I didn’t go there together we were just there at the same time – LEE V.O.: Was he there with anyone JON V.O.: No he was there by himself when I got there. But then this redheaded dead guy in an opera cape came in – LEE V.O.: Kacper. That bastard. JON V.O.: Huh No his name was Sh-something. Count Sh-something. Um… LEE V.O.: Count Kacper Shin. I know who you mean. Go on. JON V.O.: Well this Count guy came in and made a beeline for Colin just grabbed him and sank his fangs right into his neck. And then it looked like Colin had some kind of seizure and there was this purple glow and when it was over he was vamped.

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LEE V.O.: Did Colin seem upset Struggling or anything JON V.O.: No he uh. Um. Er. …You know let’s just say he seemed pretty darn happy okay I’m kind of trying to repress that part. LEE V.O.: Did you talk to either of them afterward JON V.O.: I asked the Count guy what he thought he was doing and he said that Colin had “expressed interest in trying new things.” But I thought Colin wasn’t enjoying being a vampire LEE V.O.: I…think that maybe Kacper misunderstood. He can be kind of clueless sometimes. JON V.O.: Riiiiight. Okay. Do you need money for the Vamprocillin I mean I know the cash flow’s kind of down right now at your place because Colin can’t get to work and the check came in for the cover of that romance novel so I’m flush right now if you need a loan… LEE V.O.: Nah. I got it. Thanks Jon. Say hi to Emmy for me.

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COLIN: What’s this LEE: I know you’re sick and tired of being a vampire so while you hibernated today – and at great threat to life and limb I might add – I went on a quest across the highest mountains and blazingest deserts to bring you the rare unobtainable cure for vampirism. Except I obtained it obviously. COLIN: …You called Samantha Royce the matchmaker LEE: I called Samantha Royce the matchmaker. I bought twenty bottles just in case Kacper gets any more cute ideas.

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COLIN: You are the best boyfriend ever. LEE: And don’t you forget it – Oh and just so’s you know if you ever try to go non- exclusive again without telling me first we are over. We’ve heard from him on the phone…Let’s go see for ourselves how Jon and Emmy are doing with their new addition to the family.

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This is Moonshine. What…you thought I meant a baby No Jon and Emmy are perfectly happy to borrow a niece or nephew when they want to interact with a child.

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Besides a baby would cut into the amount of time they have to spend doting on Moonshine. They still rolls wants for each other like crazy but the first thing they both want to do in the morning is Give Love to Moonshine.

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And the garden is coming along quite nicely. I’d say they seem to be doing okay. Let’s just check on Stacey and Toby real qui – Hang on…Did you hear that…

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No no nonono…Who are you Go away go away go away Wake up somebody Dang it why can’t one of you be a toddler or an alien

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ROSALIE: zzzzz… snork hack keff…Wha…Who… screams AREN

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No He’s going the other way The other way The OTHER WAY you moron You – you stupid – I’m writing to your boss “Dear Chief Sanders: Officer Ramin Centowski is a complete idiot. Please demote him immediately if not sooner.”

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ROSALIE: Thank you Aren. Esme that was so scary AREN: It’s okay Ro. It’s okay. I got your back. …But why did you call for me You’re the one with the body points – you probably coulda kicked his butt. ROSALIE: You make me feel safe. Oh what a relief Everyone’s all right. Where were we Oh right Stacey and Toby.

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Uh-oh. It looks like Stacey maybe didn’t have such a good day at work… STACEY to herself: It’s okay. Screw them. I’ll find a better job. One where they appreciate Louisiana Gumbo. It doesn’t matter that Tobes has been promoted three times in three days and I’ve been busted back to Dish Washer. It doesn’t matter.

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STACY to herself: It doesn’t matter at all. Poor thing…After this Stacey started rolling wants to Stay Home From Work and Quit Job. I hope she can stick it out. Her LTW is to be a Celebrity Chef and once she manages that I’ve got a lovely restaurant built for her to own. I know you can’t hear me Stace but hang in there

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AREN: So Ro what’dya say You me the Happy Rooster out on the turnpike I don’t feel like cooking. ROSALIE: Me neither. But I don’t think I want to go to the Happy Rooster. AREN: Benny’s Seafood then ROSALIE: No not Benny’s either. AREN: But those are the only two restaurants in town yo. How else are we supposed to eat

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ROSALIE: I thought we could maybe just call for a pizza. Later. AREN: …Good idea.

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Okay now I’m confused. Does this mean that they’re a couple or not They have red hearts for each other. They obviously are ahem compatible. They get jealous when someone else shows an interest in the other.

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AREN: Ro It’s that guy who’s got a crush on you Or at least Rosalie does. But last date they were on Rosie’s want panel was Woohoo with Aren First Woohoo with Aren Wooho in Car with Aren Give Backrub to Aren…and Write Term Paper. Every so often one or the other will roll a fear of being rejected for engagement but the only one who’s ever rolled a want to actually Get Engaged was Rosie – and that went away after she had a good breakfast. On the other hand the fear of each other’s death is more-or-less perma-locked. Maybe they’ll figure it out someday. For now I’m going to call them friends. With benefits.

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ORION: So you can make it Great I’ll see you then. Orion What’s going on ORION: What Can’t a fellow invite his family over for a nice visit At three o’clock on Wednesday afternoon ORION: I want to see my son and my grandkids. I’m pretty sure that’s not a crime. Your life bar isn’t looking good. Does that have anything to do with this Do you know something I don’t Ri-ri ORION: smiles I haven’t been called that in years. …You’d know better than I would I think. But it’s probably not long now. And what’s wrong with getting everybody together before the end whenever that happens to be But…I’ll miss you. ORION: I’ll miss everyone. But I’ll get to be with Marie again. lightly And anyway you promised me a suggestively-named drink and hula zombies. I’ll take a Long Slow Comfortable Screw please. With an umbrella in it. You got it Ri-ri.

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So the whole family came over. Mitch hogged the piano as usual. And Orion and Peter had a lively discussion about tennis even though neither of them plays or even really understands the rules. They do share an appreciation for athletes in very short white outfits that show a lot of leg though.

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Orion also imparted some grandfatherly wisdom. Or at least he tried to. ORION: If you love this girl then why are you hesitating Marry her already. Life is too short for that kind of nonsense. AREN: Dad’s upset about it. He says we’re cousins and it’s too close. ORION: Pfffff. You’re not even blood to each other. It’s legal in most jurisdictions including this one. And anyway you’re already sleeping together so obviously what do you care AREN: Granddad ORION: Soon I’ll be dead I can say what I like. Quit sitting on the fence. Just make up your mind.

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It was a wonderful day of family bonding and it went on well into the night. ANDROMEDA: Time to come in Jasmine. JASMINE: Awww but Mom I’m having a snowball fight with Cousin Kitty and Uncle Hunter ANDROMEDA: You have school tomorrow sweetie. Come on. Bath then bed. Yes it was a good day and at the end of it everyone was still alive.

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I wish I could say the same about the next day. GRIM REAPER: .n. Lo.. ..ow Com…ta… …ew as… Ri… wa. .r. .and….

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I got him the hula zombies too. But that doesn’t make me feel any happier about this.

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Orion Curious Sanders lived to be 81 years old and was one-half of my favorite couple. His first day of college he smacked Marie in the face with a pillow and every day for the next fifty-six years he rolled at least one want for her. After she died he never rolled a romantic want for anyone else. He was a dedicated father a loving grandfather and an enthusiastic shutterbug. I’ll miss him something awful. That’s all for this chapter. Please join me next time. Oh and the Grim Reaper said “One Long Slow Comfortable Screw as requested. Right this way Mr. Sanders.”

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