Gravel delivery newark ohio

Crazy Drug Test Story

2023.05.30 20:35 Slight-Profile4630 Crazy Drug Test Story

So I had to take a drug test for a job that required me to drive delivery trucks. I live in Michigan(a legal state) but the company is based in Ohio(an illegal state). I have been a chronic smoker for the past two years and although I had 20 days being clean before my test, I didn’t want to risk anything so I got one of my clean friends to piss in a bottle for me so I could use his urine instead of mine. I used the thermos method(putting the bottle of urine in a thermos of hot water) to heat the urine to about 98 F and then I strapped it tight to my inner thigh before I went in for my test. I had to wait about 20 minutes before taking my test but I thought everything would be fine and that there was no way it would lose its heat that fast. I was wrong. The temperature was outside of the required range for a urine sample so the guy told me he now had to watch the pee come out and that I would have to pull my pants all the way down and lift my shirt up while going. Luckily, I had peed while pouring the fake urine to make noise and avoid suspicion so I couldn’t piss even a drop. They had me wait in the lobby where I began chugging water and I mean CHUGGING. I couldn’t pee for an hour and when I finally had to, my piss was as clear as water.
I decided to leave in the hands of external powers and just not worry, so that night, and the following day or two, I smoked a LOT of weed including hitting a dab pen. I found out a day after smoking that my test came back dilute(again, extremely lucky) and that I would have to retake the test within the next couple of days.
I panicked pretty hard but got it together enough to go to my local vape shop and purchase Rescue Ice Detox($18 for under 200 lbs and $30 for over). I was barely 48 hours clean(which the drink requires to work) when I started drinking it. It tasted like flavored piss but I was eventually able to get it all down and managed to follow the intense directions I was given(which were don’t eat or drink anything for at least 3 hours before drinking and don’t eat or drink anything after, though, I still hit my vape after drinking it). I pissed 3 times before my test and then held on until I had to go in to take it which, for me, was the hardest part as I have an extremely small bladder. Finally I got to go take it and I pissed for a solid 2 minutes straight. A few days later, my test came back and I PASSED.
I am honestly really shocked that I was able to pass after smoking so close to my test date even with the detox. I would never recommend using fake piss as the margin for error is entirely too big. Just get yourself a detox drink and hold on tight.
submitted by Slight-Profile4630 to drugtesthelp [link] [comments]

2023.05.30 20:02 Centumviri Welcome to Green Valley: 4 Bumpkin Quest Adventures

Welcome to Green Valley

Four Merry Jaunts Through in the Bumpkin Quest Campaign

It’s a big world filled with far off folks who have far off problems. In the quaint farming town of Hills Furrow that has certainly not been the case. Here life is simple, local, and paced by the seasons. There ain’t been a need for “Venturers” and their ilk since your Papaw was just a sprout. However, the winds of change are blowin, and things are about to git just a bit more exciting round these parts.
Welcome to Green Valley, The down-home home of Rural Fantasy Misadventures and Grass-Roots Shenanigans. The Valley is Filled with Colorful Characters, Brimming with Odd Ball Neighbors, and has more than a few Local Yokels. Welcome to Bumpkin Quest. These adventures are intended to be a series of silly adventures that all go awry in some way or another and stir up trouble throughout a peaceful little village that has in many ways been overlooked by the troubles of the world “outside”.
CHAPTER 1: Green Tide CHAPTER 2: A Cartload of Chickens CHAPTER 3: Marvin the Magnificent CHAPTER 4: High Society
ADVENTURE MECHANICS - Target Character Level: Commoners - Level 1 - Target Party Size: Four Players - Average Adventure Playtime: 1-2 Hours - Tone: Rural Misadventures
I’ve also put these adventures into a PDF that includes our Bumpkin Quest: Campaign Guide which fills in the details of Green Valley pretty thoroughly. The quests are simple enough to be run in any setting you choose, but if you're interested in more the Guide as over a dozen Custom Maps, 70+ NPCs, Location Descriptions, 20+ Local Legends, and Scores of Adventure and Event Ideas. You can grab the PDF Free at the link above.

Hills Furrow

At the center of the Valley sits a patch of small grassy hills, through which the Slow Water meanders through. Built into these hills is the Village of Hills Furrow. Celebrated by everyone living in The Valley and boasting a whopping population of almost 150, Hills Furrow is the center of commerce and social importance. Well, at least as far as the locals are concerned. Realistically it would be less than a blip on the grand scale of things, a mere kernel of wheat in the silo of civilization, but to those who live here, there is nothing quite like living in the “city”.
The Village itself, like the Valley, is predominantly Halfling, and their fancy dwellings are burrowed into the hillsides as often as possible. These dwellings have been family owned for generations only becomeing available if there are no heirs to pass them along to. Other folk live in well kept two story shingled buildings, most of which house a business on the lower floor and house the Shopkeepers and their families above their workplaces, though a few live in nearby homes. There aren’t many “rental” spaces in town, as property is usually bought up quickly by the Halfling Families, but there are long term options at either of the Inns in town.
Hills Furrow: Locations 1) The Crocked Crow (Inn and Tavern) 2) The Dancing Lamb (Inn and Tavern) 3) The Moaning Toad (Tavern) 4) Granny's Groceries (General Market) 5) Get Nailed (Hardware and Distilery) 6) Gimdurh's Hammer (Smithy) 7) Brenra's Mechanicals (Tinker) 8) Hjoldren's Home Goods (Carpenter) 9) Standard Industries (Office) 10) Fit to be Dyed (Tailor) 11) The Last Loaf (Baker) 12) The Cloudy Cleaver (Butcher) 13) Nature's Medecine (Apothecary) 14) Sheriff's Office 15) Green Valley School House 16) The Waterwheel 17) The Windmill 18) The Undercloak Estate 19) Truefoot Burrow 20) The Meadows Family Hill
The people themselves are hospitable and friendly enough, but they do not really trust outsiders. Folks from foreign places are good for trade, news, and little else. Those that come through are treated well enough as long as they don’t wear out their welcome. Locals, well, that’s a bit of a different story. The city and area doesn’t operate under a written caste system or social structure, but there is clearly a pecking order, and family heritage matters a great deal to folks in Hills Furrow. Most locals, whether they’ve gotten an education or not, can easily be classified as simple. It isn’t that they are slow of mind or unintelligent, but more that they are unconcerned with matters the outside world considers important. This sentiment has created a general, but friendly, dislike between those that consider themselves Highfalutin and those that clearly are not.
Well now that I've given you the fifty cent tour. Shall we get on to adventure?

CHAPTER 1: Green Tide

We will open our journeys in the Green Valley at Green Tide, the annual celebration of Winter’s End. This adventure is designed to give a tour of Hills Furrow and introduce them to the locals. It will begin with some chores around their house to prepare for the festival and end with a battle involving an enchanted broom. If you did not do Session Zero, this chapter may take a bit longer as we get to know everyone and their characters.

ACT 1: Pre-Festival

The locals spend the week cleaning out their houses and farms. They gather old junk and unused items to be used later in the festival. They also begin preparing what food is left from winter to be used in a celebration and feasts.
Things to do! - Have the Players clean up junk around the house - Have them Find something strange (Perhaps used for a later mystery?) - Have them Decorate their Broom - Have them run a Household Errand (Meet an NPC)

ACT 2: Sweeping Day

A merry festival celebrating Spring cleaning and putting the past behind them. They form a parade, with one member from each house carrying a brightly decorated broom and using it to symbolically “Sweep Away Winter”. The rest of the family marches their winter’s trash and unused goods down to the Fairgrounds. The goods are often traded, while the trash is piled in the fire pit to await burning later. The entire day is filled with fun outdoor activities. Households also symbolically bring their problems to the bonfires to burn them later.
Things to do! - March in the Parade - Carry Junk to the Bonfire - Meet more of the Locals
EVENT: I Love a Parade
The parade will march North from near the Cross Roads in the South up around the hill and back again to the South where it will head for the Fairgrounds. There isn’t anything particularly challenging about this event, but it would be a wonderful place to start leaning into or building local rivalries.
EVENT: Never Seen a Broom Do That… As they come into the home stretch of the Parade one of the local’s Brooms will animate and take off. It will chase folks around the parade. The players can attempt to stop it, but the broom will flee soon after being attacked. It will fly up into the air, attack a flock of geese, and chase them off until it can’t be seen anymore. They can go and collect a fallen goose if they wish. I highly recommend giving it a motorcycle type sound as it flies around hitting folks. Maybe even going as far as giving it a rough gravel angry voice and letting it insult people.

ACT 3: Winter’s End

Winter’s End is a Combination of Groundhog’s Day and Fasnacht, this day gets a little wild. The Festival kicks off at dawn with the Great Gopher Hunt. Gophers are well known spies for The Voice of Winter and thus need to be hunted before they can tell The Voice to delay Spring. Gophers themselves are quite tasty, and are notoriously bad for crops, so this works out economically all around. Throughout the rest of the day families continue to contribute to the Bonfire Pile which often gets quite large. At dusk a large effigy of The Voice of Winter is placed on top of the pile. Once the sun has fully set they light the fire and burn the Effigy. Folk usually dress darkly during the day and brightly at night. After the burning they feast on sweets and treats that were made from goods saved up from winter storage.
Things to do! - The Great Gopher Hunt - Carry Junk to the Bonfire - Meet more of the Locals - The Fairground’s Activities
EVENT: The Great Gopher Hunt The Hunt begins at dawn and takes place all over the Valley. Locals race to collect as many Gophers as possible. It is easiest to kill the Gopher, but there are some that find that distasteful. Instead they live trap the critters. It is a bit tougher to do so, but an option should your players wish. This is most easily played out as a series of appropriate Skill Checks, in which the higher they score the more gophers they obtain.
EVENT: Trash Removal They may find some locals willing to pay them to help cart junk down to the bonfire pile. Not a lot of skill involved in this, but it is a great opportunity to meet locals, and you could throw a runaway cart at them.
Fair Activities They will probably want to take part in Fairground Activities. Players love these types of challenges. Here are a few ideas you can build on. - Axe Throwin: Basic attack rolls on a Round Target. Higher scores equal Higher points. - Bow Shootin: Basic attack rolls on Moving Targets. Higher scores equal Higher points. - Pig Chasin: Catch the greased Pig! Medium DC Challenge requiring three success before three Failures. - Mud Wrastlin: Nothing says bumpkin like a good Mud Wrastlin Pit. Contested Skill Challenges. - Sausage Eating Contest: Increasingly difficult DC Challenge. Eat till you puke! Can also be Pies or Ribs or Little Fish… you know whatever someone wants to stuff dozens of in their gullet. - Tug O’War: Team Strength Challenge. Three to Five Contested Rolls with opposing teams. - Gopher BBQ Cook Off: A Hard Culinary Challenge to see who can BBQ the best Gopher! - Races: Foot and Mount Races based on Three to Five Contested Rolls. I usually include a few odd mounts like a Giant Chicken or some such nonsense.

ACT 4: Day of Ashes

The Day of Ashes is a day of rest, recovery, and reflection. Locals take the ashes from the bonfires and rub their hands in them to symbolize the end of a hard year’s work and hardships of the past. The day ends with a large family feast, typically Pork. Activities this day are light, but many folks head to the Temple for the Calling of Spring Blessings. They put on their fancies and head down to ask forgiveness for over-indulging in the festival and for worship. Well sort of…
Unfortunately, a lot of folks take this as an opportunity to peacock about and practice their one-upmanship over other locals. If you’re looking for inspiration for their outfits look to older photos of the Kentucky Derby. Over the years this troubling practice has caused more than one fight to break out after the service.
*Things to do! * - Go to Temple and Meet More Locals - Pick a Local Patron!
EVENT: Temple Services
The majority of the town comes to Temple on this day. The service is usually longer, and a bit more “Where have most of you been all year?” But otherwise it is a call for the Divine Blessings to touch their crops and protect their lives. It ends with a ceremony in which the locals put their hands into the ashes from yesterday’s bonfire. Once services end they will head outside, where the trouble will begin. Two of the wealthier families will get into it with each other. Starting with a couple of veiled insults, probably before service and continuing afterward. If one of your players is from a local Rich Folk family then they can be right in the middle of it all, otherwise they will have to pick a side. This choice will determine their house Patron moving forward. Tension will increase until folks start drawing up sides, and then someone will throw a rotten tomato at one of the House Matrons. That will blow the lid off the incident and a yokel brawl will break out. For comedy purposes I recommend the instant appearance of several food carts filled with expired products, and maybe a six year old hustler selling big sticks for wacking folks with. As the locals brawl call for perception checks. Who ever rolls highest begins to hear… The Broom returning!
ENCOUNTER: Stick In The Eye
The broom returns ready to whoop some ash. It will be absolutely bent on cleaning anyone and everyone who is even the slightest bit dirty! If it successfully attacks a character they will have to make a Strength Saving throw or be knocked to the ground and swept clean by the broom. As this would be an awful omen for the year folks are terrified and will be running around screaming. Absolute mass hysteria. If the players were lucky enough to hear it coming they can avoid being surprised by the broom. Otherwise the broom will get a full round to attack before they have a chance to do anything. They’ll have to beat the broom into submission any way they can before it sweeps the whole town into chaos!


After defeating the broom things will settle back down again. Bumpkins are quick to return to normal when things go awry. However, they will have gotten the attention of one of the Wealthy Families in the area and be offered jobs. Which family is really, based on what will work best for them and you as the DM. For gags you might be tempted to have the Yokels pick them up, but that is a hard bit to sustain, and you may be better served keeping them on the side as a comic foil rather than up front. Completely up to you. The session should end with them being invited to meet their new patron tomorrow someplace important.

CHAPTER 2: A Cartload of Chickens

After successfully defeating the Enchanted Broom, our Bumpkins have gained the attention of a possible local Patron. This individual has summoned them to a nearby farm to discuss future work. That work includes proving themselves capable and not just lucky.

ACT 1: Meet the Boss

In this Act the players will meet with their new patron, one of the Family Heads, who that is entirely depends on their choices from the last game. This entire side branch is designed to flavor the background of the campaign, but if you’d rather just have them stay freelancing and independent that’s fine as well. There is also the possibility of “competing” offers should they have second thoughts for any reason. Once they arrive at the meeting spot their Patron will ask them some questions about their ambitions (Class Goals), they will then hand them off to their new “boss” who will assign them their task. They will take them to a nearby barn.
NEW NPC: “Boss”
Needs a fitting name for the Family they work for...
Character wise, what we got here is a standard “Ranch Foreman” character. They’re tough, A little mean, and completely loyal to their employer. They almost certainly chew tobacco (by the handful), have a tattoo of the Ranch’s Brand, and know where all the bodies are buried. They also have a huge and obvious scar on the side of their head where a Giant Chicken pecked a hole in their skull, so they’re not as bright as they used to be, not at all truthfully. Nor are they actually the Foreman anymore, but no one has a heart to tell them. They’ve been quietly downgraded to Chicken Handler, which is something they seem to remember quite well, but the brain damage keeps them from realizing all that. They can be found wandering the Farm giving strange orders to other Hands. These Hands nod politely and then go back to what they are doing.
Things To Do! - Meet Their Patron - Discuss Their Future - Meet Their New “Boss”

ACT 2: Chicken Dance

Boss will lead them into the odd looking barn. This building is filled with Giant Chickens. These two-three foot fouls have extremely exaggerated features, spiky looking beaks with sharp tooth like edges, big darting eyes, bumpy cracked skin, long gnarled talons, and dirty mottled feathers. They’re more beast than bird. But, they’re good for eatin! These creatures should have a stat block similar to an Axe Beak. When the players enter into the Barn the Chickens will go nuts, obviously deeply bothered by the intrusion. Boss will throw in some deer haunches and the birds will tear them apart in a feeding frenzy. They will then put on a Chicken Suit and begin a flapping dance. (Google Magnificent Riflebird) It should be absolutely captivating and the chickens will become mesmerized, watching every move. Boss will then load two dozen chickens onto a large wagon and lock it. They will have the players push the wagon out while he keeps the Chickens calm. Once outside they’ll hang heavy tarps on the sides of the wagon, and remove the suit. He will then explain to them that they need to keep the tarps on the wagon, and keep the birds well fed, or the chickens will get restless and become violent. When they do need to interact with them someone will have to wear the suit and dance to keep them calm. The bigger the person in the suit the better. Boss will then give them a Map of Green Valley and instruct them to drop off two chickens at each of the outer settlements. They have two days to get this done.
Things To Do! - Head into the barn - Witness The Dance of The Chicken - Push the Wagon out - Get the Costume and Delivery Instructions

ACT 3: Bumpy Roads

They will be off to deliver the Chickens to various locations. There is no specific order to this delivery, they just need to pick a route and go. If they’re short on time they can take the country roads that lead between the outer settlements, but these aren’t as well kept as the main roads are. Whatever road they take and wherever they decide to stop for the night there are problems they will encounter along the way. You can make them random or pick the ones that best suit your players. Most of these should at some point require someone putting on the suit and dancing for the chickens to keep them calm. I would also increase the difficulty of each event. If they fail a dance the Chickens will become restless and start attacking the cart until they are calmed down. Too many failures and the wagon’s cage will break and the remaining chickens escape. They will then have to be rounded up and the cage repaired.
Things to Do - Decide the delivery route - Deliver the chickens - Keep the Chickens calm
Possible Road Events 1) Rough roads cause problems 2) Yokels attempt to see what’s in the cart 3) Bad Weather swamps the road or scares the chickens 4) Pack of Coyotes causes trouble. 5) Chicken Rustlers! Protect the Flock! 6) Wagon breaks and needs repair 7) Cows in the road, someone’s herd is out. 8) Broken Bridge, not gone, just broken

ACT 4: Final Delivery

They’re now closing in on the final delivery. Something needs to happen here to cause them to put the suit on. Or maybe they never took it off! I love that idea, that one of your players just loves the suit and wants to be a chicken… lol… Anyway I’m a fan of having them need to get out of the suit for some reason, maybe a bathroom break, or they stand on a fire ant hill, or a snake slithers up their leg. You know something silly and fun. BUT the zipper is stuck! So they’ll have to try and unstick it and fast! Whatever happens they’re going to get shot at by some hunters looking for a big score who have mistaken the flailing caused by the stuck zipper to be the chicken attacking. After dealing with the Hunters they can go ahead and make the final drop. And head home.
Things to Do! - Head for the final delivery - Get shot at! - Deliver the last chickens
ENCOUNTER: That’s a BIG Chicken!
Having two hunters in the field is more than enough to cause a problem for the players. The hunters will almost certainly surprise the players, but you can allow them a perception check, if they succeed they’ll see the hunters just before the muskets go off. It would be OK to down the Chicken Player here if the hunters successfully hit it. They’ll have healer’s kits on hand because, well, this seems to happen to them a lot out here. After the initial attack the players can decide to attack back or try and talk the hunters down. A basic Bandit or Scout stat block should do will for the hunters. If you’re looking for a bit more mayhem, if the hunters miss the players you could have them hit the cage, and you know, bust it open. This may be especially tempting if they
So there is a giant frog hiding in the mud down in the creek. If a player takes cover behind the banks there is a good chance that the frog will attempt to nab the player as a snack. If it is successful in grabbing a player with its tongue it will immediately head down river, and they'll have to chase it to get their friend back.


When they return, Boss will reward them. How much will depend on how successful they were delivering the birds. If they did a descent job, they will be paid two day’s wages each. If they were completely successful they can have a bonus. However, if the wagon is in bad shape they might have some money deducted. After they’re paid out, they will be dismissed, and told to expect a new assignment next week.

CHAPTER 3: Marvin the Magnificent

After successfully delivering chickens Boss is going to trust them with a more important task. Their employer has requested an item to be created by Marvin the Magnificent. This is a farming community so having enchanted Farming Equipment is extremely desirable. Marvin has done a lot of basic enchantments over the years, but this new one, an The Stone Skipper, a plough whose blade goes ethereal while in contact with stones too large to push away, has really put him to the test. He needs some help with the final enchantments. The players will have to travel to the Ethereal Plane and hit the Blade of the plow with large rocks. But there’s a problem, they’re going to have mischievous Ethereal Sprites attempting to stop them! If they’re successful, which they should be, they get to take the plough for a test drive, and deal with the strange side effects of the enchantment. Angry goats that blink in and out of existence.

ACT 1: To the Tower

They’ll be summoned out to the Ranch where they’ll meet with Boss again. Once there they will notice a large pile of bent and dinged up plows. Boss will explain to them that a recent land acquisition has become problematic. The Fields are filled with large stones just under the topsoil and they’ve damaged a lot of Plow Blades. The Smithing costs are getting out of hand and so their Patron is looking for an alternate solution to the problem. He is sending them to help Marvin the Magnificent, who has taken the job, but run into some complications and needs some help. They may ask about Marvin. Or perhaps the fields that were purchased, so be ready to answer these types of questions. Once they’re done here they can head to Marvin’s Tower, which is just north of town.
Things to Do! - Meet Boss again - Ask some Informational Questions - Head for the Tower
NPC: Marvin the Magnificent

ACT 2: Marvin the Magnificent

As they approach the tower they should see an explosion at the peak of the structure. It should look similar to a fireworks mishap. When it clears there will be no visible damage to the tower, But Marvin will plummet to the earth just off to the side of them, landing in a small pond. He will then come charging out of the pond, laughing hysterically, and riding on a large turtle. Once he gets a few feet away from the pond the turtle will disappear and he will tumble to the ground right in front of the players. He will leap up quickly and turn toward the players. “Behold Travelers, You stand in the presence of Marvin the Magnificent! And everything you have witness was mostly intended!” He will then strike a cool pose with his wand pointed to the sky! “Now why do you approach my tower!?”
Once Marvin finds out they’ve been sent about the plow he will become more nervous looking. “I see, well follow me. We have work to do.” He will then start walking toward the tower… his boots squishing out water. This should give them a little time to ask a few questions. Marvin will be a little subversive about what they need to do. He will attempt to frame it very mysteriously, saying things like “All will be revealed soon.” and “Save your questions! All Answers await us… in the future!” If they ask him about what they witnessed outside, he will tell them he was working on a mount summoning spell designed for lakes and rivers.
Things to Do! - Head toward the Tower - Meet Marvin - Ask Questions

ACT 3: The Cabinet of Mysteries

The inside of the Wizard’s Tower will be far more mundane than they likely expect. At least on the first floor. It will have a sitting room, dining room, and kitchen, as well as a few odds and ends about. Nothing special at all. The second floor, are Marvin’s personal quarters and some room for study, but it is the third floor, where Marvin will lead them, and it will be more of what one would expect in a Wizard’s tower. There will be books shelves, arcane equipment, and storage for components. In the middle of the room will be a tall cabinet.
Marvin will explain to them that the Cabinet is a transportation device, and that he will need them to enter into it with a plow that he has recently enchanted. They will be taken to the Ethereal Plane, and once there they’ll need to take the plow outside and begin hitting it with large field stones. There is a large pile of stones just on the north edge of the tower. They’ll have to do this quickly, before the “others” show up. Who are the others? Hard to say, but there are things that live in the Ethereal Plane that don’t like intruders. The idea is to imbue the Plow with Ethereal Powers so it can pass through large stones while plowing fields. Once they return with the Enchanted Plow, Marvin will have them load it on a cart, pulled by a very smart Donkey, and send them on their way.
Skill Challenge: Enchant the Plow This skill challenge will require five successes before they’re incapacitated by the others. However they decide to do it, they’ll have to successfully hit the plow with five large stones. Failures will result in strange indiscernible entities attacking them. They do minimal damage but could knock people out if there are enough failures.
Things to Do! - Move Through Marvin’s Tower - Enter the Cabinet - Enchant the Plow

ACT 4: Blinking Goats

Upon returning to Boss with the Plow they will be happily greet and paid. Their Patron will be there and will be very pleased with their success. He will ask them to demonstrate the plow’s abilities. Once they get set up out in the field and begin plowing something weird will happen. Every time they hit a stone and the plow’s power activates an Ethereal Goat will manifest and kick or ram the plow, and then disappear. It will feel very similar to what they encountered in the Ethereal Plane. They’ll have to find a way to deal with the manifestations.
ENCOUNTER: Ethereal Goats These goats should function very similarly to Blink Dogs, but I would trim the HP and AC a little to put them in line with the party’s. They will be intent on breaking the Plow not the party, although they will attack the party if they can’t get to the Plow.
Things to Do! - Deliver the Plow - Drive the Plow - Defeat the Ethereal Goats


Once defeated the Boss will come over to yell at them, but the Patron will find the entire thing amusing and more importantly, another impressive demonstration of the player’s skills. He will invite them to the “House” for an important party next week.

Chapter 4: High Society

They've definitely been noticed now and have impressed with their ability, unconventional as it may be. They are invited to their patron's home, but not as guests. Though, they might think they were actually invited as guests! They have been brought in to help work the event held out at the Party Field. They will have to gather party supplies, help put up the tent, and then serve the actual guests. During the evening’s entertainment a hypnotist “The Great Dr Hypnotika” will mesmerize the crowd and attempt to rob them all. Hopefully the players don’t fall victim to her schemes. And if they do oh well, they’ll be entertained all the same.

ACT 1: Special Delivery

The players arrive at the Patron’s very nice property. They will be greeted by a properly dressed servant with a clipboard, the Party Planner. The Planner will be rigid and direct. They will immediately begin tasking them about. If they mention that they were invited to the party the servant will laugh “You didn’t think you were a guest? Oh dear, how embarrassing. You’re the help! It is still a great honor to be tasked to help at the Party, but you’re not guests. Now as for your current task. Head into town and gather these supplies. Bring them to the field by noon.” After the instructions are given the servant will go back to their tasks and expect the players to do the same. They will have three stops; The Crocked Crow for Food and Beer, Get Nailed for the Tent and Spirits, and Shalana Proud-Breed’s Tailor Shop to pick up the Dry Cleaning. Feel free to make any and all of these go sideways! Its a good place to toss in some shenanigans as well! They should also be introduced to Dr Hypnotika and her associates.
Things To do! - Go to their Patron’s Home - Meet the Party Planner and Dr Hypnotika - Run their Errands
NPC: Dr Hypnotika
Dr Hypnotika and her group will perform for the party. Hypnotica is a Tiefling Mezmerist and illusionist. She has an obnoxiously high charisma and some pretty serious skills to back up her claims. However, she uses those skills to beguile her guests, robbing them blind while they are under her spells. She wears a fine robe with a bedazzled headwrap. She has dark upward spiraling horns, light purple skin, and matching eyes. She wears a monocle and walks with a ceremonially carved staff depicting the "Struggles of the Universe". She is extremely persuasive and even more deceptive. Even if someone were to grow suspicious she can easily talk her way out of trouble.
NPCs: Clapper and Bob Hypnotika brings with her two assistants. Clapper the suit wearing Kenku who will perform wondrous displays of mimicry and slight of hand, and her strongman Bob the Kobold. Bob wears a leopard print strongman's outfit and is amazingly swole, particularly for a kobold, and capable of lifting upwards of 400lbs. Bob doesn't do much else other than get hit with things. in the act.

ACT 2: Put up the Tent

After they finish running their errands they will be tasked with putting up a large party tent. This Act is an ongoing Skill Challenge and should have a constantly distracted feel to it. First they have to unpack the tent. Then they have to realize some pieces are missing, they’ll have to form a solution to that problem. After that wind should cause some problems as the tent is at least being pulled up. This is a great moment for some wondrous tom-foolery.
Things To do! - Unpack the tent - Deal with missing parts - Secure the tent during the wind gusts

ACT 3: Put These On

After they finish putting up the tent they’ll be sent to the Servant’s Quarters to bathe and change. They’ll get a little time to explore and snoop if they wish. Afterward they’ll be tasked with helping in the kitchen, but unfortunately the cooks are going to have been playing a drinking game all afternoon and are no longer fully capable of doing their jobs. This would make a great moment for some sort of mini-game where the players have to determine whether or not the cooks are doing the right things. Once the dinner has been completed they will have to serve the guests. This is a good place to insert gossip and help them meet a few other folks.
Things To do! - Get changed for the party - Deal with the drunk cooks - Serve the guests drinks and food

ACT 4: An Evening to Remember

At some point in the evening things are going to start sliding downhill. Some of the locals will have become extremely inebriated and will need to be encouraged to leave, or just moved off to the side as they’ve already passed out, before the show begins. Once the show begins the locals will become fixated on the goings on. “The Great Dr Hypnotika” will have put an additive in the drinks for the that will make everyone more susceptible to her powers of persuasion. Once the show starts she will have them all doing silly things, those who drank have disadvantage on saves against her powers. She will end the show asking the guests to display their most valuable treasure, a with a hypnotic pattern and then send her assistants out to collect those treasures. The players will have to “do something” about the thieves.
Things To do! - Deal with Drunks - Watch the Show - Stop the Criminals
ENCOUNTER: Hypnotika's Gang This encounter doesn't have to be a fight. If Hypnotika is caught she may claim it was all part of the act and simple return the valuables with a "no harm, no foul" type attitude. This will be he go to in an attempt to avoid a fight, but if the character persist in some kind of retribution or punishment the situation will devolve into a combat. Hypnotica herself is an Illusionist Wizard but is low on spells after the show. Clapper is a low level rogue and Bob a Barbarian, and should play out as such. Even with Skills they are combat adverse and will be looking for an opportunity to flee rather than fight. They do have a getaway wagon out front that they'll be headed for if things go south.


We’re assuming the Bumpkins at least attempted to stop the robbery. This will draw a lot of attention to them. Their Patron will be well pleased with them, and let them know they will be getting much more important jobs in the future. The guests will also take note and will begin treating them all a bit better. They’re all essentially Folk Heroes at this point for secondary backgrounds. Their Patron should reward them with something very nice as the party kicks back in. They will need to finish out the nights work of course.

Quest-line Closing

Congratulations! Your Players have completed their first Quest-line! Hopefully it was a delightful experience. But now that they've finished what comes next? Well, here are some ideas.
*Reward Them! * They've been doing some rather Adventurous things lately, and therefore should now have a Class Level under their belt, so the real D&D world now opens to them! Maybe it is time for some real adventuring gear. No more sticks, stones, and burlap sack armor.
Folk Heroes? There's a good chance that the Valley is Speaking the News about them and their exploits while drinking in the taverns. They may have even earned the actual Folk Hero Feat! Maybe someone would be interested in giving them a task!
Simply Go Exploring! There are a lot of places in Green Valley that we only dipped our toes into. You could have them head down to Stinkmarsh, or maybe climb up the cliffs of Longridge. The world (Well, the Valley) is wholly open to them.
Explore Local Legends There are lots of local legends they can look into! Hopefully they search out something that isn't too far over their heads!
Continue Working for their Patron It would be an easy DM go to simply to have them continue working for their current Patron. They've probably been impressive enough fo a family to be interested in keeping them on.
Establish Themselves as Adventurers! Maybe they want to set up a Adventurers for Hire business? This "Heroes Guild" approach is really appealing to a lot of players and absolutely plays into Bumpkin Quest. Just remember, this is a place of low key problems that locals make really big deals out of. So the idea of slaying dragons shouldn't really be on the table... that is until an actual dragon shows up! Which one day absolutely should.
submitted by Centumviri to amplusordogames [link] [comments]

2023.05.30 15:19 Guilty_Chemistry9337 Hide Behind the Cypress Tree (Part 2)

They didn’t tell us the name of the next kid that disappeared. They didn’t tell us another kid had disappeared at all. We could all tell by the silence what had happened. It spoke volumes. I’m sure they talked about it in great detail amongst themselves. In PTA meetings and City Councils. My parents made sure to turn off the TV at 5 o’clock before the news came on, at least in my home. They’d turn it back on for the 11 o’clock news, when were were in bed and couldn’t hear the details.
The strange thing is, they never told us to just stop going outside. They told us to go in groups, sure, but they never decided, or as far as I could tell even though, to keep us all indoors. I guess that sort of freedom wasn’t something they were willing to give up. Instead, they did the neighborhood watch thing. For those few months, I remember my folks meeting more of our neighbors than in all the time previously, or since. Retirees would spend their days out in their front lawns, watching kids and everybody else coming and going. They’d even set up lawn furniture, with umbrellas, even all through the rains of spring. Cops stopped sitting in ambushes on the highways waiting for speeders and instead started patrolling the streets, chatting with us as we’d pass by. Weekends would see all the adults out in their yards, working on cars in the driveways, fixing the gutters, and so on. They had this weird way of looking at you as you’d ride by. Not hostile stares, but it was like they were cataloging your presence. Boy, eight years old, red raincoat silver bike, about 11:30 in the morning, heading south on Sorensen. Seemed fine.
The next time we saw it, it wasn’t in our neighborhood, and I was the one who saw it first. We were visiting Russ, a sort of 5th semi-friend from school. We rarely hung out, mostly owing to geography. His house wasn’t far as the crow flies, but it was up a steep hill. We spent a Saturday afternoon returning a cache of comic books we’d borrowed. The distance we covered was substantial, as we had decided to take lots of extra streets as switchbacks, rather than slowly push our bikes up the too-steep hills.
The descent was going to be the highlight of the trip, up until I saw the Hidebehind. We were on a curving road, a steep forested bluff on one side. The uphill slope was mostly ivy-covered raised foundations for the neighborhood’s houses. That side of the road was lined with parked cars, and the residents of the homes had to ascend steep staircases to get to their front doors.
I was ayt the back of the pack when I caught movement out of the corner of my eye. Movement, something brown squatting between two closely parked cars. My head snapped as I zoomed past, and despite not getting a good look, I knew it was that terrible thing. “It’s behind us!” I shouted and started pedaling hard. The others looked for themselves as I quickly rushed past them, but they soon joined my pace.
Ralph’s earlier idea of directly confronting the thing was set aside. We were moving too fast, and down too narrow a street to turn around. Then we saw it again it was to our left, off-road, between the trees. Suddenly it leaped from behind one tree trunk to the next and disappeared again. That hardly made sense, the base of the trees must have been thirty feet below the deck of the street we rode down. One of us, I think it was India, let out one of those strangled screams.
There it was again, back on the right, disappearing behind a mailbox as we approached. That couldn’t have been, it must have outpaced us and crossed in front of us. Logic would suggest there was more than one, but somehow the four of us knew it was the same thing. More impossible still, the pole holding up the mailbox was too thin, maybe two inches in diameter, yet that thing had disappeared behind it, like a Warner Bros. cartoon character. It was just enough to catch a better glimpse of it though. All brown. A head seemingly too bulbous and large for its body. Its limbs were thin but far longer, like a gibbon’s. Only a gibbon had normal elbows and knees. This thing bent its joints all wrong like it wasn’t part of the natural order. We were all terrified to wit’s end.
“The trail!” Ralph shouted, and the other three of us knew exactly what he meant. The top of it was only just around the curve. It was a dirt footpath for pedestrians ascending and descending South Hill, cutting through the woods on our left. It was too steep for cars, and to be honest, too steep for bikes. We’d played on it before, challenging each other to see how high up they could go, then descend back down without using our brakes. A short paved cul-de-sac at the bottom was enough space to stop before running into a cross street.
Ralph had held the previous group record, having climbed three-quarters of the way before starting his mad drop. India’s best was just short of that, I had only dared about halfway up, Ben only a third. This time, with certain death on our heels, the trail seemed the only way out. Nothing could have outrun a kid on a bike flying down that hill.
We followed Ralph’s lead, swinging to the right gutter of the street, then hanging a fast wide left up onto the curb, over a patch of gravel, between two boulders set up as bollards, lest a car driver mistake the entrance for a driveway, and then, like a roller coaster cresting the first hill, the bottom fell out.
It was the most overwhelming sensation of motion I’ve ever had, before or since. I suppose the danger behind us was the big reason, and being absolutely certain that only our speed was keeping us alive. I remember thinking it was like the speeder bike scene from Return of the Jedi, also a recent movie from the time. Only this was real. I didn’t just see the trees flashing past it, I could hear the motion as well. Cold air attacked my eyes and long streamers of tears rushed over my cheeks and the drops flew past my ears, I didn’t dare blink. Each little stone my tires struck threatened to up-end me and end it all. Yet, and perhaps worse, half the time it felt like I wasn’t in contact with the ground at all. I was going so fast that those same small stones were sending me an inch or two into the air, and the arc of the flights so closely matched the slope that by the time I contacted the trail again, I was significantly further down the hill.
At the same time, I had never felt more relief, as the thing behind us had no way of catching us now. Somehow, maybe the seriousness of the escape gave us both the motive and the seriousness to keep ourselves under control. Looking back, I marvel that at least one of us didn’t lose control and end up splitting our skulls open.
We hit the pavement of the cul-de-sac below, and didn’t bother to slow down. We raced through the cross-street, one angry driver screeching to a halt and laying on his horn. This brought out the neighborhood watch. Just a few of them at first. Still, we didn’t slow down, our momentum carried us back up the much shallower slope of our neighborhood. Witnesses saw us depart at high speed, and this only brought out more of the watch. We heard whistles behind us, just like our P.E. teacher’s whistle. We figured that was the watch’s alarm siren. Regardless of what happened to that thing, it was behind us. We returned to our homes, shaken, but safe and sound, our inertia taking us almost all of the way there.
Another kid disappeared that Sunday, up on South Hill. We’d suspected it because we could see the lights of the police cars on a high road, surrounding the spot where it would turn out later, one of the kid’s shoes had been found. Russ confirmed it at school on Monday. It was a kid he’d known, lived down the road from his place, went to private school which is why we didn’t recognize his name.
I remember seeing Ralph’s face the next day when he arrived at school. He looked angry. Strong. Like he’d been crying really hard, and now it was over and he was resolved. He said he’d felt guilty because the thing we’d escaped from had gotten the other kid instead. He tried to tell his old man about it, then his mom, then any adult he could. He’d tell them about the monster who hides behind things. They needed to focus on finding and stopping that instead of looking for some sort of creeper or serial killer. Of course, nobody had listened to him. They hadn’t listened to the rest of us either when we’d tried to tell.
So he’d devised a plan. He was calling it the “Fight Patrol,” which we didn’t argue with. If the adults wouldn’t do something, we would. We’d patrol our neighborhood on our bikes, the four of us, maybe a couple more if we could talk others into it. We’d chase it off like that first time, maybe for good, or maybe corner it. Clearly, it could not handle being caught.
Naturally, we brought up the scare on South Hill. He argued that was a bad place. Too isolated, couldn’t turn around easily. We needed to stay on our home turf, lots of visibility, and plenty of the Neighborhood Watch within earshot. Maybe we and the adults working together was the key, even if the adults didn’t understand the problem.
Well, that convinced us. Our first patrol was that afternoon, after school. We watched everybody’s back like hawks. Nothing had a chance to sneak up on us. Nothing could step out from behind a bush without getting spotted. By Friday afternoon there were eight of us. The next week we split up to extend our territory to the next neighborhoods over.
Nothing happened. We never saw anything. Ben thought it was because we were scaring it away. Ralph just thought we were failing, and took it personally. I myself thought the thing had just moved to different parts of town, where the new disappearances were taking place. I told him we should keep it up until the thing was caught.
It was all for naught.
One day, India didn’t show up for school. I asked everybody, the teachers, the office staff, the custodian, my parents. All of them said they didn’t know, and it was so easy to tell that they were lying. That would mark the end of the Fight Patrol.
Ben didn’t show up a couple of days after that. When I got home and collapsed into bed, my mother came in to tell me that Ben’s mother had called. She’d taken him out of school and they were moving elsewhere. I called up Ralph to let him know the news, and he was relieved too.
My last day was Friday, and then I was taken out. Again, I called Ralph so he wouldn’t worry. I guess when there were only two weeks left of school, and it was just grade school, a couple missed weeks don’t amount to much. So I ended up spending the bulk of the summer out in the country, with my grandparents, which was why I brought up my grandpa in the first place.
I suppose I did fine out on their farmhouse. I was safe. There was certainly no shortage of things for a kid to do. I think my mom felt a strong sense of relief too. Things slipped through the cracks.
My grandparents didn’t have cable, too far out of town. They just had an old-school antenna and got a couple of TV stations transmitting out of Canada, Vancouver specifically. I remember one July day, sitting in their living room. My grandmother had just fixed lunch for me and my grandfather and had gone out to do some gardening as we watched the news at noon.
My grandfather was already being ravaged by his illnesses. He was able to get around, but couldn’t do any real labor anymore. He’d lounge in front of the TV in a special lounge chair. He hardly talked, and when he did he’d just mumble some discomfort or complaint to my grandma.
The lead story on the news was the current situation in Farmingham, despite being in the neighboring country, it was still big news in Vancouver, and the whole rest of the region. It seemed the disappearances were declining, but the police were still frantically searching for a supposed serial killer. I didn’t pick up much about what they were talking about, I was a kid after all, but my grandfather was watching intently, despite his infirmity.
He mumbled something, I didn’t catch. I asked him was he said, and as I approached I heard him say “fearsome critters.”
He turned his eyes to me and said again, distinct and in a normal tone of voice, “fearsome critters,” then returned his attention to the screen. “I don’t know why they call them that. Fearsome, sure. But ‘critters?” Makes it sound silly. Like it's some sort of fairy tale that it ain’t. Guess it’s like whistling past the graveyard. Well, they don’t have to worry about them no more, guess they can call them what they like.”
Then he turned to me. “Do you know what it is?” he asked. “Squonk? Hodag? Gouger? Hidebehind?”
“Hidebehind,” I whispered, and he turned back to the TV with a sneer. I had no idea what on earth he was talking about. Remember, this would be years before I learned he spent his youth as a lumberjack. And yet, somehow, I knew exactly what we were talking about.
“Hidebehind,” he repeated. “That will do it. They give them such stupid names. The folk back East, that is. Wisconsin. Minnesota. Ohio. Way back in the old days, before my grandfather would have been your age. Back when those places were covered by forests. They didn’t give them silly names back then, no. Back then they were something to worry about. Then they moved on, though. They all went out West, to here, followed the loggers. So as once they didn’t have to worry about them anymore, they started making up silly stories, silly names. “Fearsome critters,” they’d call them. Just tall tales to tell the greenhorns and scare them out of their britches. Then they’d make them even sillier, and tell the stories to little kids to spook them.”
“Not out here they didn’t tell no stories nor make up any names. It was bad enough they followed us out. I had no clue they even existed until I saw one for myself. Bout your age, I suppose. Maybe a little older. Nobody ever talks about them. Not even when they take apart a work crew, one by one. They just pull the crews back. Wait till mid-summer when the land is dry but not too dry. Then they move the crews in, a lot of them. Do some burning, make a lot of smoke. Drives them deeper into the woods, you know. Then you can cut the whole damn place down. But nobody asks why, nobody tells why. The people who know just take care of it.”
“I guess that’s why they’re coming to us now. All the old woods are almost gone. So they’ve got to. Like mountain lions. I supposed it’s going to happen sooner or later.”
We heard my grandma come into the back door to the utility room, and stomp the dirt off her boots. My grandfather turned to me one last time and said, “Whichever way you look at it, somebody’s just got to take care of it.” Then my grandmother came in from the utility room and asked us how our lunch had been.
Now that I look back at it, that might have been the last time my grandfather and I really had a meaningful talk.
We moved back home in late August. I had been having a fantastic summer. Though looking back, I suppose it could be rough for a still-young woman to be living in her aging parents' house when she’s got a perfectly good husband and house of her own in town.
First thing I did was visit Ralph. He’d been busy. He’d fortified his treehouse into a proper, well, tree fort. He’d nailed a lot of reinforcing plywood over everything. He hadn’t gone out on patrols by himself, of course, but the height of the tree fort afforded him a view of the nearest streets. He’d also made some makeshift weapons out of old baseball bats, a hockey stick, and a garden rake. The sharp rocks he’d attached to them with masking tape didn’t look very secure, but it’d only take one or two good blows with that kind of firepower. He also explained he’d been teaching himself kung fu, by copying all the movies he saw on kung fu movies late at night on the unpopular cable channels. That was classic Ralph.
As for the monster, it seemed to be going away. Its last victim had disappeared weeks previously, part of the reason my mom felt it was time to go back. This had been at night too. What’s more, the victim had been a college student, a very petite lady, barely five feet tall, under a hundred pounds. The news had speculated that their presumptive serial killer had assumed she was a child. I remember thinking the Hidebehind didn’t care. Maybe it just thought she couldn’t run fast enough to get away or put up a fight when he caught her. Like a predator.
At any rate, the college students were incensed. Of course, they’d been hyper-alert and concerned when it was just local kids going missing. Now that it was one of their own the camel’s back had broken. They really went hard on the protests, blaming the local police for not doing enough.
They started setting up their own patrols, and at night too. Marches with sometimes dozens of students at a time. They called it “Take Back the Night.” They’d walk the streets, making sure they’d be heard. Some cared drums or tambourines. They’d help escort people home, and sometimes they’d unintentionally stop random crimes they’d happen across. I felt like this was what the Fight Patrol could have been, if we’d just been old enough, or had been listened to. This would be the endgame for the Hidebehind, one way or another.
I stayed indoors the rest of the summer, and really there wasn’t much left. It doesn’t get too hot in the Pacific Northwest, nobody has air conditioners, or at least we didn’t back then. It will get stuffy though, in August, and I liked to sleep with my window open. I could hear the chants and challenges from the student patrols on their various routes. Sometimes I could hear them coming from far away, and every now and then they’d pass down my street. It felt like a wonderful security blanket.
I also liked the honeysuckle my mother had planted around the perimeter of the house. Late at night, if I was struggling to fall asleep, the air in my bedroom would start to circulate. Cold air would start pouring in over my windowsill, bringing the sweet scent of that creepervine with it, and I’d the sensation before finally passing out.
This one night, and I have no knowledge if I was awake, asleep, or drifting off, but the air in the room changed, and cooler air poured over the windowsill and swept over my bed, but it didn’t carry the sweet smell of honeysuckle. Regardless of my initial state, I was alert pretty quickly. It was a singularly unpleasant smell. A bit like death, which at that age I was mostly unfamiliar with, except a time some animal had died underneath the crawlspace of our house. There was more to it, though. The forest, the deep forest. I don’t know and still don’t know, what that meant. Most smells I associate with the forest are pleasant. Cedar, pine needles, thick loam of the forest floor, campfires, even the creosote and turpentine of those old timey-logging camps. This was none of those smells. Maybe… rotting granite, and the spores of slime molds. Mummified hemlocks and beds of needles compressed into something different than soil. It disturbed me.
So I sat up in bed. I hadn’t noticed before, but I’d been sweating, just lightly in the stuffy summer night heat. Now it was turning cold. Before me was my bedroom window. A lit rectangle in a pitch-dark room. To either side were my white, opened curtains, the one on the right, by the open half of the window, stirred just slightly in the barely perceptible breeze.
Most of the rectangle was the black form of the protective cypress tree. Only the slight conical nature of the tree distinguished it from a perfectly vertical column. To either side was a dim soft orange glow coming from the sodium lamps of the street passing by our house. It was perhaps a bit diffuse from the screen set in my window to keep out mosquitos. In the distance was the sound of an approaching troupe of the Take Back the Night patrol. They were neither drumming nor chanting, but still making plenty of noise. They were, perhaps, three or four blocks away, and heading my way.
For some reason that I didn’t understand, I got up, off of the foot of the bed. The window, being closer, appeared bigger. I took a silent step further. The patrol approached closer. Another step. I leaned to my right, just a bit, getting a slightly wider view to the left of the cypress tree. That was the direction the patrol was coming from.
That was when it resolved. The deeper black silhouette within the black silhouette of the cypress tree. A small lithe frame with a too-bulbous head. It too leaned, in its case, to the left, to see around the cypress tree as the patrol approached. They reached our block,on the other side of the street. A dozen rowdy college students, not trying to be quiet. None of them fearing the night. Each feeling safe and determined, and absorbed in their own night out rather than being overtly sensitive to their surroundings. They were distracted, unfocused If they had been peering into the shadows, if just one of them had looked towards my house, behind the cypress tree, they might have seen the Hidebehind, poking its face out and watching them transit past. But they didn’t notice.
It hid behind the cypress tree, and I hid behind it, hoping that the blackness of my bedroom would protect me. I stood absolutely still, as I had done once when a hornet had once landed on the back of my neck. Totally assure that if I made the slightest movement or made the slightest sound that I’d be stung. I hardly even breathed.
The patrol passed, from my perspective, behind the cypress tree and temporarily out of view. The Hidebehind straightened, ready to lean to the right and watch the patrol pass, only it didn’t lean. Even as I watched the patrol pass on to the right, it stood there, stock still, just as I was doing.
It was then I became aware that my room had become stuffy again. The scent was gone. The air had shifted and was now flowing out through the screen again, carrying my own scent with it. I knew what this meant, and yet I was too paralyzed to react. The thing started to turn, very slowly. It was a predator understanding that it might have become victim to its own game. It turned as if it was thinking the same thing I had been thinking, that the slightest movement might give it away.
It turned, and I saw its face. Like some kind of rotting desiccated, shriveling fruit, it was covered in wrinkles. Circles within concentric circles surrounded its two great eyes, eyes which took up so much of its face. I couldn’t, and still struggle, to think of words to describe it. Instead, I still think in terms of analogies. At the time I thought of the creature from the film E.T., only twisted and distorted into a thing of nightmares. Almost all eyelids, and a little drooping sucker mouth. Now that I’m more worldly, it reminds of creatures of ancient artworks. The key defining feature were the long horizontal slits it had for eyes. You see that in old masks carved in West Africa, or by the Inuit long ago. You see it in what’s called the “slit-eyed dogu” of ancient Japan.
As I watched the wrinkles on the face seemed to multiply. Then I realized this was the result of its eyes slowly widening. It’s mouth, too, slowly dilated, revealing innumerable small razor-sharp teeth. A person, standing in its location, shouldn’t have been able to see in. Light from the sodium streetlamps lit the window’s screen, obscuring the interior. It was no person. It could see me, and it was reacting to my presence. Its eyes grew huge, black.
My own eyes would have been just as wide if not for my own anatomical limitations. I was still watching when it disappeared. It didn’t see it move to the right. I didn’t see it move to the left, nor did I see it drop down out of view. It simply disappeared. One fraction of a second it was there, and then it decided to leave, and so it did. It was not a thing of this world.
There were no more disappearances after that poor woman from the university. I don’t think it had anything to do with me. The media and police all speculated their “serial killer” had gone into a “dormant phase”. There was no shortage of people who tried to take credit. Maybe they deserve it. The thing’s hunting had been on the decline. All the neighborhood watches and student patrols, I think that maybe all that commotion was making it too hard for the Hidebehind to go about its business. Maybe it had gone back to the woods.
Then again, maybe Ralph had been right the whole time. Maybe it really, really, really didn’t like to be seen.
Now I’ve got some decisions to make. I think the first thing I should do is look at social media and dig up Ralph. It’s been a good thirty years since I last talked to him. He ought to know the Hidebehind is back. He’s probably made plans.
Then, there’s the issue of my son. He’s up in his bedroom now, probably still mad at me. Probably confused about why I’d be so strict. Maybe he’s inventing explanations as to why.
I’m not sure, but I’m leaning toward telling him everything. He deserves to know. It’d probably be safer if he knows. I think people have this instinct where, when they see or know something that they’re not supposed to know, they just bottle it up. I think that was the problem with grown-ups when I was a kid. It was the issue with my grandfather, telling me so little when it was almost too late. I think people do it because we’re social animals, and we’re afraid of being ostracized. Go along to get along.
Hell, my son is probably going to think I’m crazy. It might even make him more mad at me. And even more confused. He knows about the disappearances. “The Farmingham Fiend” the media would end up dubbing the serial killer that didn’t really exist. It’s become local “true crime” history. Kids tell rumors about it. It was almost forty years ago, so it probably feels safe to wonder about.
So yeah, I suppose when I say I know who the real killer was, a magical monster from the woods that stalks its prey by hiding behind objects, then impossibly disappears- that I’m going to look like a total nut. I’d think that if I were in his shoes.
Except… people are going to start disappearing again, it’s only a matter of time. The media will say that the Farmingham Fiend is back in the game. Will my son buy that? He’ll start thinking about what I told him, and how I predicted it. Then he’ll remember that he saw the thing himself, he and his friends, even if it was just out of the corner of his eye.
I hope, sooner or later, he’ll believe me. I could use his help. Maybe Ralph is way ahead of me, but I’m thinking we should get the Fight Patrol back together. Father and son, this time. Multigenerational, get the retirees involved too.
Old farts of my generation, for reasons I don’t understand, like to wax nostalgic over their own false sense of superiority. We rode our bikes without helmets and had distant if not irresponsible parents. Yeah, yeah, what a load. I think every new generation is better than the last, because every generation is a progression from the last, Kids these days? They’ve got cell phones, with cameras. And helmet cams. GoPros you can attach to bikes. Doorbell cameras.
It seems the Hidebehind loathes being seen. This time around, with my grandfather’s spirit, my own memories, and my boy’s energy? I think this time we’re finally going to beat it.
submitted by Guilty_Chemistry9337 to Odd_directions [link] [comments]

2023.05.30 07:52 webuyequipment Important Uses of Concrete Mixer Equipment Planet Equipment

Important Uses of Concrete Mixer Equipment Planet Equipment
What are the uses of concrete mixer? A concrete mixer is a motorized equipment that homogeneously mixes concrete, material such as sand or gravel, and water to generate concrete. Concrete mixers range in size from big industrial mixing trucks to small, portable concrete mixers known as micro mixers. A concrete mixer is made up of three main components: a motor, a revolving drum, and, in some cases, a chute. The materials for making concrete spin around inside the drum, mixing uniformly and remaining soft for application and shaping.
For the industrial manufacture of ready-mix concrete, especially precast/prestressed concrete, consistent homogeneity and low mixing times are becoming increasingly important in today’s market. As a result, new concrete-making technologies have emerged. As a result, twin-shaft batch mixers are becoming increasingly vital for high-quality concrete production around the world. They create a lot of turbulence in the mix and achieve 95 percent homogeneity with only 30 seconds of mixing time per batch.
A commercial concrete mixer truck is used to mix and transport huge quantities of concrete for use on a construction site. A portable concrete mixer is sufficient for lesser volumes of concrete, often up to two cubic yards (1.83 cubic meters). A portable concrete mixer is usually powered by electricity and sits on a wheeled platform for easy transportation. The rotating drum can be slanted down to allow for the pouring of mixed concrete into a wheelbarrow.
A spinning drum is used to mix the components in a standard concrete mixer. Portable concrete mixers are frequently utilized for smaller volume projects so that the concrete can be mixed on the job site, allowing the workers plenty of time to use it before it hardens. Mixing concrete Making concrete by hand is an alternative to using a machine. Normally, this is done with a wheelbarrow, but several companies have recently started selling customized tarps for this purpose.
A portable concrete mixer is useful for homeowners doing modest concrete tasks such as a patio, sidewalk repair, or small slab. Because a concrete mixer cannot store concrete ready for application indefinitely, it’s critical to know how much concrete you can pour and finish in a certain amount of time. Different types of concrete cure at different rates, so follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Larger jobs, such as laying a driveway or constructing a basketball court, may necessitate the use of a commercial truck. Commercial concrete mixers require access to the project within a reasonable distance. Swimming pools in the ground are an example of a large-scale project that necessitates truck access.
It’s important to remember that calling a concrete business merely guarantees delivery of the concrete. The price is set at a flat fee per cubic yard ordered, and the truck will only be on site for a certain amount of time. Large projects may necessitate the use of professional concrete finishers to complete the job on schedule. Be sure to have finishers on site and ready to pour before calling a concrete business, and don’t forget to secure any permits required in your location.
At XG Power, you can get a concrete mixer like this one. 9 cubic foot XG Power Concrete Mixer with Subaru Robin 9HP Engine
The drum volume of this heavy-duty concrete mixer is 12 cubic feet, with a 9 cubic foot mix capacity. The Subaru Robin EX27 engine produces 9 horsepower. For reliable mixing, use thick steel drums with rolled reinforced pour lips. Dumping is easier with the reinforced hand wheel, and mix discharge is more controlled. Cowls with ventilation for long-term professional use. Pintile type hitch on a thick towpole.
submitted by webuyequipment to equipmentbuyandsell [link] [comments]

2023.05.30 01:50 OwlAboutIt99 Tips to reward dashers as a customer on the fringes?

Pun intended.
I live at the very edge of our semi rural delivery zone. You also can’t get here directly, and I live at the end of a 1.5 mile private gravel road, 14 minutes from the CLOSEST restaurant on DD.
I’ve only ordered $20+ meals, and have always tipped $8+ (pre-tip), but reading recent posts it seems likes this honestly isn’t enough based on how DD treats things.
Should I just tip $5 initially then add $5+ after the fact to show my appreciation?
If so, should I indicate this in my “delivery notes”?
What else could I do? Cash tip on the table?
I’ve had repeat drivers so at least some find the trip worthwhile.
submitted by OwlAboutIt99 to doordash [link] [comments]

2023.05.29 05:44 puremotives I asked ChatGPT to describe 25 Columbus suburbs and exurbs. Here's what it said:

  1. Asheville: Located in Pickaway County, Ohio, Asheville is a small village with a peaceful rural setting. The village is known for its picturesque landscapes, farmland, and a close-knit community. Asheville offers a small-town atmosphere with a limited number of local businesses and amenities. The surrounding area is characterized by rolling hills, open spaces, and a slower pace of life. It provides residents with a tranquil environment away from the busyness of urban centers.
  2. Bexley: Situated east of downtown Columbus, Bexley is an established suburb known for its stately homes, tree-lined streets, and historic charm. The area is home to prestigious institutions such as Capital University and the Governor's Mansion. Bexley's Main Street offers a mix of boutique shops, cafes, and restaurants, creating a vibrant community atmosphere.
  3. Canal Winchester: Situated southeast of downtown, Canal Winchester is a growing suburb known for its historic district, community events, and proximity to natural areas. The charming downtown area features shops, restaurants, and a community theater. Canal Winchester hosts various festivals and events throughout the year, including the famous Labor Day Festival. The suburb offers a mix of housing options and easy access to parks and recreational facilities.
  4. Circleville is a historic city located in Pickaway County, Ohio. Known for its circular street pattern and vibrant community, Circleville offers a unique charm. The city features a central public park called "The Circle," which serves as a gathering place and the venue for numerous festivals and events, including the famous Pumpkin Show. Circleville's downtown area boasts local shops, restaurants, and historic architecture, contributing to its appealing small-town ambiance. With its rich agricultural heritage and close-knit community, Circleville offers a welcoming and engaging environment for its residents.
  5. Delaware: Located to the north of Columbus, Delaware is an exurb known for its scenic landscapes, historic downtown area, and the presence of Ohio Wesleyan University. The city offers a blend of small-town charm with modern amenities, including a variety of shops, restaurants, and cultural events. Delaware also has a rich history and is home to the Olentangy Indian Caverns, a popular tourist attraction.
  6. Dublin: Located northwest of downtown Columbus, Dublin is known for its upscale neighborhoods, excellent schools, and numerous corporate headquarters. It features a charming historic district, beautiful parks, and a thriving business community. Dublin is also home to the annual Dublin Irish Festival, one of the largest Irish festivals in the United States.
  7. Gahanna: Located east of downtown Columbus, Gahanna is a diverse suburb known for its picturesque neighborhoods, proximity to the Port Columbus International Airport, and the Creekside development. Creekside is a lively entertainment district with restaurants, shops, and a scenic waterfront. Gahanna also features parks, golf courses, and a strong sense of community.
  8. Grandview Heights: Situated west of downtown Columbus, Grandview Heights is a unique suburb known for its walkability, vibrant community, and mix of residential and commercial areas. The suburb offers a blend of historic homes, modern developments, and a bustling commercial district along Grandview Avenue. The area features an array of shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues. Grandview Heights is also home to the prestigious Grandview Heights High School and offers easy access to downtown Columbus and major highways.
  9. Grove City: Located southwest of downtown Columbus, Grove City is a suburban community known for its affordable housing options, family-friendly environment, and strong community spirit. The area offers a range of recreational facilities, including parks, golf courses, and the popular Grove City Town Center, which hosts various events and festivals.
  10. Groveport: Located southeast of downtown Columbus, Groveport is a historic suburb with a small-town feel. It features a charming downtown area with historic buildings, shops, and restaurants. Groveport is known for its canal history and hosts the annual Groveport Heritage Days festival. The suburb offers a mix of housing options and is situated near scenic natural areas like the Three Creeks Metro Park.
  11. Heath: Situated adjacent to Newark, Heath is a smaller city in Licking County. It is known for its strategic location near major transportation routes, including Interstate 70 and State Route 79. Heath features a variety of shopping centers, restaurants, and recreational opportunities. The city is home to the Indian Mound Mall, a popular shopping destination in the area. It also offers several parks and outdoor spaces for residents to enjoy.
  12. Hilliard: Situated to the northwest of downtown, Hilliard is a suburban community known for its family-friendly atmosphere and strong school system. It offers a range of housing options, from established neighborhoods to newer developments. Hilliard features numerous parks, including the popular Heritage Rail Trail, and hosts events such as the annual Franklin County Fair.
  13. Lancaster: Located southeast of Columbus, Lancaster is an exurb with a rich history and a vibrant downtown area. The city is known for its well-preserved architecture, including numerous historic homes and buildings. Lancaster offers a range of recreational opportunities, such as the scenic Hocking Hills region, which is a short drive away. The Ohio Glass Museum and the Fairfield County Fair are popular attractions in the area.
  14. London: Situated to the southwest of Columbus, London is an exurb known for its rural character and close-knit community. The city features a historic downtown area with local businesses and hosts various community events throughout the year. London offers a more relaxed pace of life and is surrounded by farmland and natural beauty, including the Madison County State Nature Preserve.
  15. Marysville: Situated to the northwest of Columbus, Marysville is an exurb that has experienced significant growth in recent years. It offers a mix of suburban and rural living, with a variety of housing options and ample green space. Marysville is known for its Honda manufacturing facility, which is one of the largest employers in the region. The city also hosts the Union County Fair, an annual event showcasing agriculture, entertainment, and local traditions.
  16. Mount Vernon: Located northeast of Columbus, Mount Vernon is an exurb with a small-town feel and a rich history. The city is home to Mount Vernon Nazarene University and features a charming downtown area with shops, restaurants, and historic buildings. Mount Vernon offers a mix of rural and suburban living, with picturesque countryside, parks, and recreational opportunities nearby.
  17. New Albany: Located northeast of downtown Columbus, New Albany is an affluent suburb known for its planned community, expansive estates, and upscale amenities. It features a charming village center, called Market Square, with a variety of shops, restaurants, and community events. New Albany is also home to a renowned golf club and numerous corporate offices.
  18. Newark: Located about 33 miles east of Columbus, Newark is a city in Licking County. It is known for its rich history and architectural heritage. Newark is home to the Newark Earthworks, a complex of ancient Native American mounds and earthen enclosures designated as a National Historic Landmark. The city also features a charming downtown area with shops, restaurants, and cultural attractions like the Midland Theatre. Newark is the county seat of Licking County and offers a mix of residential, commercial, and industrial areas.
  19. Obetz: Situated in Franklin County, Ohio, Obetz is a suburban community located just south of Columbus. It is known for its convenient location, strong industrial presence, and recreational opportunities. Obetz is home to the Fortress Obetz, a versatile outdoor stadium that hosts various sports events, concerts, and festivals. The community also features parks, walking trails, and recreational facilities. With its proximity to major highways, Obetz offers easy access to the amenities and employment opportunities of both Columbus and nearby suburbs.
  20. Pickerington: Located southeast of Columbus, Pickerington is a suburban community known for its family-friendly atmosphere, excellent schools, and strong sense of community. The city offers a mix of housing options, from well-established neighborhoods to newer developments. Pickerington boasts numerous parks, recreational facilities, and a charming downtown area with shops, restaurants, and community events. The city is also home to Pickerington Ponds Metro Park, which provides opportunities for outdoor activities and wildlife observation.
  21. Powell: Situated in the northern part of the metropolitan area, Powell is a rapidly growing suburb known for its affluent neighborhoods and excellent schools. The Olentangy Liberty High School, one of the top-rated public high schools in Ohio, is located here. Powell offers a mix of residential areas, recreational opportunities, and a charming downtown with shops and restaurants.
  22. Reynoldsburg: Situated east of downtown, Reynoldsburg is a suburban community with a mix of established neighborhoods and newer subdivisions. It offers a range of housing options and is known for its affordable real estate. Reynoldsburg boasts several parks, including the Blacklick Woods Metro Park, and hosts events such as the Tomato Festival.
  23. Upper Arlington: Situated to the northwest of downtown, Upper Arlington is a picturesque suburb known for its well-manicured neighborhoods, tree-lined streets, and strong sense of community. The area boasts excellent schools, recreational facilities, and parks. The Scioto Country Club, one of the oldest golf courses in the region, is located here.
  24. Westerville: Located northeast of downtown Columbus, Westerville is a thriving suburb known for its strong sense of community, excellent schools, and historic charm. It offers a mix of housing options, from historic homes in the Uptown area to newer developments. Westerville boasts several parks, recreational facilities, and a vibrant downtown with shops, restaurants, and community events.
  25. Worthington: Located to the north of downtown, Worthington is a historic suburb with a quaint, small-town atmosphere. It features a charming downtown area known as the "Old Worthington," with boutique shops, restaurants, and the popular Worthington Farmers Market. Worthington is also home to several parks and hosts various community events throughout the year.
I reorganized the list into alphabetical order, but everything else was generated by ChatGPT. I had to prompt it a few times to get all 25, because it only listed about 6 at a time.
submitted by puremotives to Columbus [link] [comments]

2023.05.29 00:40 RandomAppalachian468 Don't fly over Barron County Ohio.

The whirring blades of my MD-902 throbbed against the warm evening air, and I smiled.
From 5,000 feet, the ground flew by in a carpet of dark forests and kelly-green fields. The sun hung low on the horizon in a picturesque array of dazzling orange and gold, and I could make out the narrow strip of the Ohio River to my left, glistening in the fading daylight. This time of year, the trees would be full of the sweet aroma of fresh blossoms, and the frequent rains kept small pockets of fluffy white mist hanging in the treetops. It was a beautiful view, one that reminded me of why being a helicopter pilot trumped flying in a jumbo jet far above the clouds every day of the week.
Fourteen more days, and I’m debt free.
That made me grin even more. I’d been working as a charter pilot ever since I obtained my license at age 19, and after years of keeping my nose to the grindstone, I was closing on the final payment for real-estate in western Pennsylvania. With no debt, a fixer-upper house on 30 rural acres all to myself, and a respectable wage for a 26-year-old pilot, I looked forward to the financial freedom I could now enjoy. Maybe I’d take a vacation, somewhere exotic like Venice Italy, or the Dominican Republic. Or perhaps I’d sock the money back for the day I started a family.
“Remember kleineun, a real man looks after his own.”
My elderly ouma’s voice came back from the depths of my memories, her proud, sun-tanned face rising from the darkness. She and my Rhodesian grandfather had emigrated to the US when they were newlyweds, as the violence against white Boer descendants in South Africa spiraled out of control. My mother and father both died in a car crash when I was six, and it had been my grandparents who raised me. Due to this, I’d grown up with a slight accent that many of my classmates found amusing, and I could speak both English, and Afrikaans, the Boer tongue of our former home.
I shifted in my seat, stretched my back muscles, and glanced at the picture taped to my console. Both my parents flanked a grinning, gap-toothed six-year-old me, at the last Christmas we’d spent together. My mother beamed, her dark hair and Italian features a sharp contrast to my father’s sandy blonde hair and blue eyes. Sometimes, I liked to imagine they were smiling at me with pride at how well I flew the old silver-colored bird my company had assigned to me, and that made the long, lonely flights easier to bear.
A flicker caught my eye, and I broke my gaze away from the photograph.
Perched in its small cradle above the controls, my little black Garmin fuzzed over for a few seconds, its screen shifting from brightly colored maps to a barrage of grey static.
Did the power chord come loose?
I checked, ensuring the power-cable for the unit’s battery was plugged into the port on the control panel. It was a brand-new GPS unit, and I’d used it a few times already, so I knew it wasn’t defective. Granted, I could fly and navigate without it, but the Garmin made my time as a pilot so much easier that the thought of going blind was dreadful.
My fuel gauge danced, clicked to empty, then to full, in a bizarre jolt.
More of the gauges began to stutter, the entire panel seeming to develop terrets all at once, and my pulse began to race. Something was wrong, very wrong, and the sludge inside my bowels churned with sour fear.
“Come on, come on.” I flicked switches, turned dials, punched buttons, but nothing seemed to fix the spasming electronics. Every gauge failed, and without warning, I found myself plunged into inky darkness.
Outside, the sun surrendered to the pull of night, the sky darker than usual. A distant rumble of thunder reverberated above the roar of my helicopter’s engine, and I thought I glimpsed a streak of yellowish lightning on the far horizon to my left.
Calm down Chris. We’re still flying, so it must just be a blown fuse. Stay in control and find a place to set her down.
My sweaty palm slid on the cyclic stick, and both feet weighed heavy on the yaw pedals. The collective stuck to my other hand with a nervous vibration, and I squinted against the abyss outside.
I jumped despite myself, as the little Garmin on my panel flared back to life, the static pulling aside to reveal a twitching display. Each time the screen glitched, it showed the colorful map detailing my flight path over the ground below, but I noticed that some of the lines changed, the names shifting, as if the device couldn’t decide between two different versions of the world.
One name jutted out at me, slate gray like most of the major county names, appearing with ghostly flickers from between two neighboring ones.
Barron County.
I stared, confused. I’d flown over this section of southeastern Ohio plenty of times, and I knew the counties by heart. At this point, I should have been over the southern end of Noble County, and maybe dipping lower into Washington. There was no Barron County in Ohio. I was sure of it.
And yet it shown back at me from the digital landscape, a strange, almost cigar-shaped chunk of terrain carved from the surrounding counties like a tumor, sometimes there, sometimes not, as my little Garmin struggled to find the correct map. Rain began to patter against my cockpit window, and the entire aircraft rattled from a strong gust of wind. Thick clouds closed over my field of vision like a sea of gray cotton.
The blood in my veins turned to ice, and I sucked in a nervous breath.
Land. I had to land. There was nothing else to do, my flight controls weren’t responding, and only my Garmin had managed to come back to life. Perhaps I’d been hit by lightning, and the electronics had been fried? Either way, it was too dark to tell, but a storm seemed to be brewing, and if I didn’t get my feet on the ground soon, I could be in real trouble.
“Better safe than sorry.” I pushed down on the collective to start my slow descent and clicked the talking button for my headset. “Any station, this is Douglass Three-One-Four-Foxtrot, over.”
“Any station, this is Douglass Three-One-Four-Foxtrot, requesting emergency assistance, over.”
Still nothing.
If the radio’s dead, I’m really up a creek.
With my hand shaking, I clicked on the mic one more time. “Any station, this is—”
Like a curtain pulling back, the fog cleared from around my window, and the words stuck in my throat.
Without my gauges, I couldn’t tell just how far I’d descended, but I was definitely very low. Thick trees poked up from the ground, and the hills rolled into high ridges with flat valley floors, fields and pastures pockmarking them. Rain fell all around in cold, silvery sheets, a normal feature for the mid spring in this part of Ohio.
What wasn’t normal, were the fires.
At first, I thought they were forest fires for the amount of smoke and flames that bellowed from each spot, but as I swooped lower, my eyes widened in horror.
They were houses.
Farms, cottages, little clusters that barely constituted villages, all of them belched orange flames and black pillars of sooty smoke. I couldn’t hear above the helicopter blades, but I could see the flashes on the ground, along the road, in between the trees, and even coming from the burning buildings, little jets of golden light that spat into the darkness with anger.
Gunfire. That’s rifle fire, a whole lot of it.
Tiny black figures darted through the shadows, barely discernable from where I sat, several hundred feet up. I couldn’t see much, but some were definitely running away, the streaks of yellow gunfire chasing them. A few dark gray vehicles rumbled down one of the gravel roads, and sprayed fire into the houses as it went. They were fighting, I realized, the people in the trucks and the locals. It was horrific, like something out of war-torn Afghanistan, but worse.
Then, I caught a glimpse of the others.
They didn’t move like the rest, who either fled from the dark vehicles, or fired back from behind cover. These skinny figures loped along with haphazard gaits, many running on all fours like animals, swarming from the trees by the dozens. They threw themselves into the gales of bullets without flinching, attacking anyone within range, and something about the way they moved, so fluid, so fearless, made my heart skip a beat.
What is that?
“Echo Four Actual to unknown caller, please respond, over.”
Choking back a cry of shock, I fumbled at the control panel with clumsy fingers, the man’s voice sharp and stern. I hadn’t realized that I’d let go of the talking button and clicked it down again. “Hello? Hello, this is Douglass Three-One-Four-Foxtrot out of Pittsburgh, over.”
An excruciating moment passed, and I continued to zoom over the trees, the fires falling away behind me as more silent forest took over.
“Roger that Douglass Three-One-Four-Foxtrot, we read you loud and clear. Please identify yourself and any passengers or cargo you might be carrying, over.”
Swallowing hard, I eyed the treetops, which looked much closer than they should have been. How far had I descended? “Echo Four Actual, my name is Christopher Dekker, and I am alone. I’m a charter flight from PA, carrying medical equipment for OSU in Columbus. My controls have been damaged, and I am unable to safely carry on due to the storm. Requesting permission to land, over.”
I watched the landscape slide by underneath me, once catching sight of what looked like a little white church surrounded by smaller huts, dozens of figures in the yard staring up at me as I flew over a nearby ridgeline.
“Solid copy on that Douglass Three-One-Four-Foxtrot. Be advised, your transponder shows you to be inside a restricted zone. Please cease all radio traffic, reduce your speed, climb to 3,000 feet and proceed north. We’ll talk you in from there. How copy, over?”
My heart jumped, and I let out a sigh of relief. “Roger that Echo Four Actual, my altimeter is down, but I’ll do my best to eyeball the altitude, over.”
With that, I pulled the collective upward, and tried my best to gauge how far I was by eyesight in the gathering night, rain still coming down all around me. This had to be some kind of disaster or riot, I decided. After all, the voice over the radio sounded like military, and those vehicles seemed to have heavy weapons. Maybe there was some kind of unrest going on here that I hadn’t heard about yet?
Kind of weird for it to happen in rural areas though. Spoiled college kids I get, but never saw farmers get so worked up before. They usually love the military.
Something moved in the corner of my eye, and I turned out of reflex.
My mouth fell open, and I froze, unable to scream.
In the sky beside me, a huge shadow glided along, and its leathery wings effortlessly carved through the gloom, flapping only on occasion to keep it aloft. It was too dark for me to see what color it was, but from the way it moved, I knew it wasn’t another helicopter. No, this thing was alive, easily the size of a small plane, and more than twice the length of my little McDonald Douglass. A long tail trailed behind it, and bore a distinct arrow-shaped snout, with twig-like spines fanned out around the back of its head. Whatever legs it had were drawn up under it like a bird, yet its skin appeared rough and knobby, almost resembling tree bark. Without pause, the gigantic bat-winged entity flew along beside me, as if my presence was on par with an annoying fly buzzing about its head.
Gripping the microphone switch so tight, I thought I’d crack the plastic, I whispered into my headset, forgetting all radio protocol. “T-There’s something up here.”
Static crackled.
“Douglas Three-One-Four-Foxtrot, say again your last, you’re coming in weak and unreadable, over.”
“There’s something up here.” I snarled into the headset, still glued to the controls of the helicopter, afraid to deviate even an inch from my course in case the monstrosity decided to turn on me. “A freaking huge thing, right beside me. I swear, it looks like a bat or . . . I don’t know.”
“Calm down.” The man on the other end of the radio broke his rigorous discipline as well, his voice deep, but level. “It won’t attack if you don’t move too fast. Slowly ease away from it and follow that course until you’re out of sight.”
I didn’t have time to think about how wrong that sounded, how the man’s strict tone had changed to one of knowledge, how he hadn’t been the least surprised by what I’d said. Instead, I slowly turned the helicopter away from the huge menace and edged the speed higher in tiny increments.
As soon as I was roughly two football fields away, I let myself relax, and clicked the mic switch. “It’s not following.”
“You’re sure?”
Eyeing the huge flapping wings, I nodded, then remembered he couldn’t see me. “Yeah, I’m well clear.”
“Good. Thank you, Mr. Dekker.”
Then, the radio went dead.
Something in my chest dropped, a weight that made my stomach roil. This wasn’t right, none of it. Who was that man? Why did he know about the thing I’d just seen? What was I supposed to—
A flash of light exploded from the trees to my right and shot into the air with a long finger of smoke.
What the . . .
On instinct, I jerked the cyclic stick to one side, and the helicopter swung to avoid the rocket.
My world shook, metal screeched, and a dozen alarms began to go off inside the cockpit in a cacophony of beeps and sirens. Orange and red flames lit up the night sky just behind me, and the horizon started to spin wildly outside. Heat gushed from the cockpit door, and I smelled the greasy stench of burning oil. The safety belts dug into my shoulders, and with a final slip, the radio headset ripped free from my scalp.
I’m hit.
Desperate, I yanked on the controls, fought the bird even as she spun toward the ground in a wreath of flames, the inky black trees hurtling up to meet me. The helicopter went into full auto-rotation, the sky blurring past outside, and the alarms blared in a screech of doom. Panic slammed through my temples, I screamed at the top of my lungs, and for one brief second, my eyes locked on the little black Garmin still perched atop my control panel.
Its screen stopped twitching and settled on a map of the mysterious Barron County, with a little red arrow at the center of the screen, a few words popping up underneath it.
You are here.
Trees stabbed up into the sky, the belts crushed at my torso, glass shattered all around me, and the world went dark.
Copper, thick, warm, and tangy.
It filled my mouth, stank metallic in my nose, clogged my throat, choking me. In the murkiness, I fought for a surface, for a way out, blind and numb in the dark.
This way, kleineun.
My ouma’s voice echoed from somewhere in the shadows.
This way.
Both eyes flew open, and I gagged, spitting out a stream of red.
Pain throbbed in my ribs, and a heavy pressure sent a tingling numbness through my shoulders. Blood roared inside my temples, and stars danced before my eyes with a dizzying array. Humid night air kissed my skin, and something sticky coated my face, neck, and arms that hung straight up toward the ceiling.
Wait. Not up. Down.
I blinked at the wrinkled, torn ceiling of the cockpit, the glass all gone, the gray aluminum shredded like tissue paper. Just outside the broken windows, thick Appalachian bluegrass and stemmy underbrush swished in a feeble breeze, backlit by flashes of lightning from the thunderstorm overhead. Green and brown leaves covered everything in a wet carpet of triangles, and somewhere nearby, a cricket chirped.
Turning my head from side to side, I realized that I hung upside down inside the ruined helicopter, the top half burrowed into the mud. I could hear the hissing and crackling of flames, the pattering of rain falling on the hot aluminum, and the smaller brush fires around the downed aircraft sizzling out in the damp long grass. Charred steel and burning oil tainted the air, almost as strong as the metallic, coppery stench in my aching nose.
They shot me down. That military dude shot me out of the sky.
It didn’t make sense. I’d followed their orders, done everything they’d said, and yet the instant I veered safely away from whatever that thing in the sky had been, they’d fired, not at it, but at me.
Looking down (or rather, up) at my chest, I sucked in a gasp, which was harder to do that before.
The navy-blue shirt stuck to my torso with several big splotches of dark, rusty red. Most were clean slashes, but two held bits of glass sticking out of them, one alarmingly bigger than the other. They dripped cherry red blood onto my upturned face, and a wave of nausea hit me.
I gotta get down.
I flexed my arms to try and work some feeling back into them, praying nothing was broken. Half-numb from hanging so long, I palmed along my aching body until I felt the buckled for the seat belts.
“Okay.” I hissed between gritted teeth, in an effort to stave off my panic. “You can do this. Just hold on tight. Nice and tight. Here we go . . .”
Everything seemed to lurch, and I slid off the seat to plummet towards the muck-filled hole in the cockpit ceiling. My fingers were slick with blood and slipped over the smooth faux-leather pilot’s seat with ease. The shoulder belt snagged on the bits of glass that lay just under the left lowest rib, and a flare of white-hot pain ripped through me.
I screamed, my right knee caught the edge of the aluminum ceiling, and both hands dove into a mound of leaf-covered glass shards on the opposite side of the hole. My head swam, being right-side-up again enough to make shadows gnaw at the corner of my eyes.
Forcing myself to breath slowly, I fought the urge to faint and slid back to sit on the smooth ceiling. I turned my hands over to see half a dozen bits of clear glass burrowed into my skin like greedy parasites, red blood weeping around the new cuts.
“Screw you.” I spat at the rubbish with angry tears in my eyes. “Screw you, screw you, screw you.”
The shards came out easy enough, and the cuts weren’t that deep, but that wasn’t what worried me. On my chest, the single piece of cockpit glass that remined was almost as big as my palm, and it really hurt. Just touching it felt like self-inflicted torture, but I knew it had to come out sooner or later.
Please don’t nick a vein.
Wiping my hands dry on my jeans, I gripped the shard with both hands, and jerked.
Fire roared over my ribs, and hot blood tickled my already grimy pale skin. I clapped a hand over the wound, pressing down hard, and grunted out a string of hateful expletives that my ouma would have slapped me for.
Lying on my back, I stared around me at the messy cargo compartment of the MD-902. Most of the medical supplies had been in cardboard boxes strapped down with heavy nylon tow-straps, but several cases had ruptured with the force of the impact, spraying bandages, syringes, and pill bottles all over the cluttered interior. Orange flames chewed at the crate furthest to the rear, the tail section long gone, but the foremost part of the hold was intact. Easily a million-dollar mess, it would have made me faint on any other trip, but today it was a godsend.
Half-blind in the darkness, I crawled along with only the firelight and lightning bolts to guide me, my right knee aching. Like a crippled raccoon, I collected things as I went, conscious of the two pallets of intact supplies weighing right over my head. I’d taken several different first-aid courses with some hunting buddies of mine, and the mental reflexes kicked in to help soothe my frazzled mind.
Check for bleeds, stop the worst, then move on.
Aside from my battered chest and stomach, the rest of me remained mostly unharmed. I had nasty bruises from the seatbelts, my right knee swelled, my nose slightly crooked and crusted in blood, but otherwise I was intact. Dowsing every scratch and cut with a bottle of isopropyl alcohol I found, I used butterfly closures on the smaller lacerations that peppered my skin. I wrapped soft white gauze over my abused palms and probed at the big cut where the last shard had been, only stopping when I was sure there were no pieces of glass wedged inside my flesh.
“Not too bad.” I grunted to myself, trying to sound impassive like a doctor might. “Rib must have stopped it. Gonna need stitches though. That’ll be fun.”
Pawing through the broken cases, I couldn’t find any suture chord, but just as I was about to give up, I noticed a small box that read ‘medical skin stapler’.
I tore the small white plastic stapler free from its packaging and eyeballed the device. I’d never done this before, only seen it in movies, and even though the cut in my skin hurt, I wondered if this wouldn’t be worse.
You’ve gotta do it. That bleeding needs to stop. Besides, no one’s coming to rescue you, not with those rocket-launching psychos out there.
Taking a deep breath, I pinched the skin around the gash together, and pressed the mouth of the stapler to it.
A sharp sting, like that of a needle bit at the skin, but it didn’t hurt nearly as bad as the cut itself. I worked my way across the two-inch laceration and gave out a sigh of relief when it was done.
“Not going to bleed to death today.” I daubed ointment around the staples before winding more bandages over the wound.
Popping a few low-grade painkillers that tumbled from the cargo, I crawled wriggled through the nearest shattered window into the wet grass.
Raindrops kissed my face, clean and cool on my sweaty skin. Despite the thick cloud cover, there was enough constant lightning strikes within the storm to let me get glimpses of the world around me. My helicopter lay on its back, the blades snapped like pencils, with bits and pieces of it burning in chunks all around the small break in the trees. Chest-high scrub brush grew all around the low-lying ground, with pockets of standing water in places. My ears still rang from the impact of the crash, but I could start to pick up more crickets, frogs, and even some nocturnal birds singing into the darkness, like they didn’t notice the huge the hulk of flaming metal that had fallen from the sky. Overhead, the thunder rumbled onward, the feeble wind whistling, and there were other flashes on the horizon, orange and red ones, with crackles that didn’t sound quite like lightning.
The guns. They’re still fighting.
Instinctively, I pulled out my cellphone, and tapped the screen.
It fluttered to life, but no matter how I tried, I couldn’t get through to anyone, not even with the emergency function designed to work around having no service. The complicated wonder of our modern world was little better than a glorified paperweight.
Stunned, I sat down with my back to the helicopter and rested my head against the aluminum skin of the craft. How I’d gone from a regular medical supply run to being marooned in this hellish parody of rural America, I didn’t know, but one thig was certain; I needed a plan. Whoever fired the missile could have already contacted my charter company and made up some excuse to keep them from coming to look for me. No one else knew I was here, and even though I now had six staples holding the worst of my injuries shut, I knew I needed proper medical attention. If I wanted to live, I’d have to rescue myself.
My bag. I need to get my go-bag, grab some gear and then . . . head somewhere else.
It took me a while to gather my green canvas paratrooper bag from its place behind the pilot’s seat and fill it with whatever supplies I could scrounge. My knee didn’t seem to be broken, but man did it hurt, and I dreaded the thought of walking on it for miles on end. I focused instead on inventorying my gear and trying to come up with a halfway intelligent plan of action.
I had a stainless-steel canteen with one of those detachable cups on the bottom, a little fishing kit, some duct tape, a lighter, a black LED flashlight with three spare batteries, a few tattered road maps with a compass, a spare pair of socks, medical supplies from the cargo, and a simple forest green plastic rain poncho. I also managed to unearth a functioning digital camcorder my ouma had gotten me for Christmas a few years back, though I wasn’t sure I wanted to do any filming in such a miserable state. Lastly, since it was a private supply run from a warehouse area near Pittsburgh to a direct hospital pad in Ohio, I’d been able to bring my K-Bar, a sturdy, and brutally simple knife designed for the Marine Corps that I used every time I went camping. It was pitiful in comparison to the rifle I wished I had with me, but that didn’t matter now. I had what I had, and I doubted my trusty Armalite would have alleviated my sore knee anyway.
Clicking on my flashlight, I huddled with the poncho around my shoulders inside the wreck of the chopper and peered at the dusty roadmaps. A small part of me hoped that a solution would jump out from the faded paper, but none came. These were all maps of western PA and eastern Ohio. None of them had a Barron County on them anywhere.
The man on the radio said to head north, right before they shot me down. That means they must be camped out to the north of here. South had that convoy and those burning houses, so that’s a no-go. Maybe I can backtrack eastward the way I came.
As if on cue, a soft pop echoed from over the eastern horizon, and I craned to look out the helicopter window, spotting more man-made flashes over the tree tops.
“Great.” I hissed between clenched teeth, aware of how the temperature dipped to a chilly 60 degrees, and how despite the conditions, my stomach had begun to growl. “Not going that way, are we? Westward it is.”
Walking away from my poor 902 proved to be harder than I’d anticipated. Despite the glass, the fizzling fires, and the darkness, it still held a familiar, human essence to it. Sitting inside it made me feel secure, safe, even calm about the situation. In any other circumstance, I would have just stayed with the downed aircraft to wait for help, but I knew the men who shot me down would likely find my crash site, and I didn’t want to be around when they did.
Unlike much of central and western Ohio, southeastern Ohio is hilly, brushy, and clogged with thick forests. Thorns snagged at my thin poncho and sliced at my pant legs. My knee throbbed, every step a form of self-inflicted torture. The rain never stopped, a steady drizzle from above just cold enough to be problematic as time went on, making me shiver. Mud slid under my tennis shoes, and every tree looked ten times bigger in the flickering beam of my cheap flashlight. Icy fear prickled at the back of my neck at some of the sounds that greeted me through the gloom. I’d been camping loads of times, both in Pennsylvania and elsewhere, but these noises were something otherworldly to me.
Strange howls, screeches, and calls permeated the rain-soaked sky, some almost roars, while others bordered on human in their intonation. The more I walked, the softer the distant gunfire became, and the more prevalent the odd sounds, until the shadows seemed to fill with them. I didn’t dare turn off my flashlight, or I’d been completely blind in the dark, but a little voice in the back of my head screamed that I was too visible, crunching through the gloomy forest with my long beam of light stabbing into the abyss. It felt as though a million eyes were on me, studying me, hunting me from the surrounding brush, and I bitterly recalled how much I’d loved the old Survivor Man TV series as a kid.
Not so fun being out in the woods at night. Especially alone.
A twig snapped somewhere behind me, and I whirled on the spot, one trembling hand resting on the hilt of my K-Bar.
Nothing. Nothing but trees, bushes, and rain dripping down in the darkness.
“This is stupid.” I whispered to myself to keep my nerves in check as I slowly spun on the spot. “I should have went eastward anyway. God knows how long I’m going to have to—”
A groan of metal-on-metal echoed from somewhere to my right, and I spun to face it, yanking the knife on my belt free from its scabbard. It felt so small and useless in my hand, and I choked down a wave of nauseas fear.
Ka-whump. Creak. K-whump. Creak.
Underbrush cracked and crunched, a few smaller saplings thrashed, and from deep within the gloom, two yellow orbs flared to life. They poked through the mist in the trees, forming into slender fingers of golden light that swept back and forth in the dark.
The soldiers . . . they must be looking for me.
I swallowed hard and turned to slink away.
Ice jammed through my blood, and I froze on the spot, biting my tongue to stop the scream.
It stood not yards away, a huge form that towered a good twelve feet tall in the swirling shadows. Unpolished chrome blended with flash-rusted spots in the faded red paint, and grime-smeared glass shone with dull hues in the flashes of lightning. Where the wheels should have been, the rounded steel axels curved like some enormous hand had bent them, and the tires lay face-down on the muddy ground like big round feet, their hubcaps buried in the dirt. Dents, scrapes, and chips covered the battered thing, and its crooked little radio antenna pointed straight up from the old metal fender like a mast. I could barely make out the mud-coated VW on the rounded hood, and my mind reeled in shock.
Is . . . is that a car?
Both yellow headlights bathed me in a circle of bright, blinding light, and neither I nor the strange vehicle moved.
Seconds ticked by, the screech-thumping in the background only growing closer. I realized that I couldn’t hear any engine noises and had yet to see any soldiers or guns pointed my way. This car looked old, really old, like one of those classic Volkswagen Beetles that collectors fought over at auctions. Try as I might, I couldn’t see a driver inside the murky, mold-smeared windows.
Because there wasn’t one.
Lightning arched across the sky overhead, and the car standing in front of me blinked.
Its headlights slid shut, as if little metal shades had crawled over the bulbs for a moment and flicked open again. Something about that movement was so primal, so real, so lifelike, that every ounce of self-control I had melted in an instant.
Cursing under my breath, I lunged into the shrubs, and the world erupted around me.
Under my shoes, the ground shook, and the car surged after me in a cacophony of ka-thumps that made my already racing heart skip several beats. A weather-beaten brown tow truck from the 50’s charged through the thorns to my left, it’s headlights ablaze, and a dilapidated yellow school bus rose from its hiding place in the weeds to stand tall on four down-turned axel-legs. They all flicked their headlights on like giants waking from their slumber, and as I dodged past them, they each blared their horn into the night in alarm.
My breaths came short and tight, my knee burned, and I crashed through thorns and briars without thought to how badly I was getting cut up.
The cheap poncho tore, and I ripped it away as it caught on a tree branch.
A purple 70’s Mustang shook off its blanket of creeping vines and bounded from a stand of trees just ahead, forcing me to swerve to avoid being run over, my adrenaline at all-time highs.
This can’t be happening, this can’t be happening, this can’t be happening.
Slipping and sliding, I pushed through a stand of multiflora rose, and stumbled out into a flat, dark expanse.
I almost skidded to a stop.
What had once been a rather large field stood no taller than my shoestrings, the grass charred, and burnt. The storm above illuminated huge pieces of wreckage that lay scattered over the nearly 40-acre plot, and I could just make out the fire-blackened hulk of a fuselage resting a hundred yards away. The plane had been brought down a while ago it seemed, as there weren’t any flames left burning, and I threw myself toward it in frenzied desperation.
Burned grass and greasy brown topsoil slushed underfoot, and I could hear the squelching of the cars pursing me. Rain soaked me to the bone, and my lungs ached from sucking down the damp night air. A painful stich crept into my side, and I cursed myself for not putting in more time for cardio at the gym.
Something caught my left shoelace, and I hurtled to the ground, tasting mud and blood in between my teeth.
They’ve got me now.
I clawed at the mud, rolled, and watched a tire slam down mere inches from where my head had been. The Mustang loomed over me and jostled for position with the red Volkswagen and brown tow truck, the school bus still a few yards behind them. They couldn’t seem to decide who would get the pleasure of stomping me to death, and like a herd of stampeding wildebeest, they locked bumpers in an epic shoving match.
On all fours, I scampered out from under the sparring brutes, and dashed for the crumpled airplane, a white-painted DC-3 that looked like it had been cut in half by a gargantuan knife blade. I passed a snapped wing section, the oily remains of a turbo-prop engine, and a mutilated wheel from the landing gear. Climbing over a heap of mud, I squeezed into the back of the ruined flight cabin and dropped down into the dark cargo hold.
No sooner had my sneakers hit the cold metal floor, and the entire plane rocked from the impact of something heavy ramming it just outside. I tumbled to my knees, screaming in pain as, once again, I managed to bash the sore one off a bracket in the wall.
My hand smeared in something gooey, and I scrabbled for my flashlight.
It clicked on, a wavering ball of white light in the pitch darkness, and I fought the urge to gag. “Oh man . . .”
Three people, or what was left of them, lay strewn over the narrow cargo area. Claret red blood coated the walls, caked on the floor, and clotted under my mud-spattered shoes. Bits of flesh and viscera were stuck to everything, and tatters of cloth hung from exposed sections of broken bone. An eerie set of bloody handprints adorned the walls, and the only reason I could tell it had been three people were the shoes; all of them bore anklebones sticking out above blood-soaked socks. It smelled sickly sweet, a strange, nauseas odor that crept into my nose and settled on the back of my tongue like an alien parasite.
Something glinted in the beam of my flashlight, and my pulse quickened as I pried the object loose from the severed arm that still clung to it.
“Hail Mary full of Grace.” I would have grinned if it weren’t for the fact that the plane continued to buck and roll under the assault from the cars outside.
The pistol looked old, but well-maintained, aside from the light coating of dark blood that stained its round wooden handle. It felt heavy, but good in my hand, and I turned it over to read the words, Waffenfabrik Mauser stenciled into the frame, with a large red 9 carved into the grip. For some reason, it vaguely reminded me of the blasters from Star Wars.
I fumbled with a little switch that looked like a safety on the back of the gun and stumbled toward a gap in the plane’s dented fuselage to aim out at the surrounding headlights.
The old gun bucked reliably in my hand, its long barrel spitting a little jet of flame into the night. I had no idea if I hit anything, but the attacking cars recoiled, their horns blaring in confusion.
They turned, and scuttled for the tree line as fast as their mechanical legs could go, the entire ordeal over as fast as it had begun.
Did I do that?
Perplexed, I stared down at the pistol in my hand.
A large, inky black shadow glided down from the clouds, and the yellow school bus moved too slow to react in time.
With a crash, the kicking nightmarish vehicle was thrown onto its side, spraying glass and chrome trim across the muddy field. Its electro-synth horn blared with wails of mechanical agony, as two huge talon-like feet clamped down on it, and the enormous head of the flying creature lowered to rip open its engine compartment.
The horn cut out, and the enormous flying entity jerked its head back to gulp down a mass of what looked like sticky black vines from the interior of the shattered bus.
At this range, I could see now that the flying creature bore two legs and had its wings half-tucked like a vulture that had descended to feed on roadkill. Its head turned slightly, and in the glow of another lightning bolt, my jaw went slack at the realization of what it was.
A tree trunk. It’s a rotted tree trunk.
I couldn’t tell where the reptilian beast began, and where the organic tree components ended, the upper part of the head shaped like a log, while the lower jaw resembled something out of a dinosaur movie. Its skin looked identical to the outside of a shagbark hickory but flexed with a supple featheriness that denoted something closer to skin. Sharp branch-like spines ranged down its back, and out to the end of its tail, which bore a massive round club shaped like a diseased tree-knot. Crouched on both hind legs, it braced the hooked ends of its folded wings against the ground like a bat, towering higher than a semi-truck. Under the folds of its armored head, a bulging pair of chameleon-like eyes constantly spun in their sockets, probing the dark for threats while it ate.
One black pupil locked onto the window I peered through, and my heart stopped.
The beast regarded me for a moment, making a curious, sideways sniff.
With a proud, contemptful head-toss, the shadow from the sky parted rows of razor-sharp teeth to let out a roar that shook the earth beneath my feet. It was the triumphant war cry of a creature that sat at the very top of the food chain, one that felt no threat from the fragile two-legged beings that walked the earth all around it. It hunted whenever it wanted, ate whatever it wanted, and flew wherever it wanted. It didn’t need to rip the plane apart to devour me.
Like my hunter-gatherer ancestors from thousands of years ago, I wasn’t even worth the energy it would take to pounce.
I’m hiding in the remains of the cockpit now, which is half-buried under the mud of the field, enough to shield the light from my screen so that thing doesn’t see it. My service only now came back, and it’s been over an hour since the winged beast started in on the dead bus. I don’t know when, or how I’m going to get out of here. I don’t know when anyone will even see this post, or if it will upload at all. My phone battery is almost dead, and at this point, I’m probably going to have to sleep among the corpses until daylight comes.
A dead man sleeping amongst friends.
If you live in the Noble County area in southeastern Ohio, be careful where you drive, fly, and boat. I don’t know if it’s possible to stumble into this strange place by ground, but if so, then these things are definitely headed your way.
If that happens . . . pray that they don’t find you.
submitted by RandomAppalachian468 to nosleep [link] [comments]

2023.05.28 22:20 nopardaz Shipping containers history

Shipping containers are ubiquitous parts of the shipping industry. More recently, shipping containers are being used as storage, habitable buildings and even as building material for larger structures, like restaurants or hotels. But shipping containers were not always the omnipresent cargo boxes that dominate the dockyards as they do today.
In fact, shipping was handled entirely without them for most of oceanic shipping’s history. Shipping containers and the resulting “containerization” of the shipping industry were both relatively recent innovations that transformed the global economy and allowed for unprecedented development, low shipping costs, and a complete reinvention of oceanic shipping.
Let’s break down the history of shipping containers and examine the figures, developments, and decisions that led to the intermodal and worldwide containerized shipping system that all developed nations use to this day.

The First Transported Container

On 26th April 1956 the ‘Ideal X' was the first freighter to transport goods using McLean's new shipping containers. The ship transported 58 of the shipping containers from Newark to Houston. Shortly afterwards the first ship designed purely for carrying shipping containers the ‘Maxton', which could carry 60 shipping containers as deck cargo, was put into service.
In order to ensure that's McLeans new shipping containers could travel across the globe, and be handled at every port, it was necessary for the containers to be built to a specific standard and that every container built the world over met this exact specification. Eventually after many negotiations, an international standard was agreed the ISO (International Organization for Standardization) which set the shipping containers at lengths of 10', 20', 30' and 40', a width of 8', and a height of 8'6”.

Early ISO Shipping Container Designs

Patented in 1956 after numerous tests, the first ISO container was born. It was stackable and built with steel. Reinforced corners made it possible to stack the containers without causing damage. They were uniform in size, theft-proof and easy to load.
Dockworkers at the time, known as longshoremen, went on strike. They realised loading containers onto ships would require a smaller workforce. It was this downtime that enable McLean to refine his designs.
McLeans big new idea was a success. He negotiated with the New York Port Authority to convert the New Jersey side of the harbour into a container port. The business would grow steadily over next ten years.
Rea more: How containers keep your goods safe during transit


A used conex container is all you need if you’re looking for extra storage! Used Conex provides different grades of containers for different needs, and since purchasing shipping containers is sight unseen, we try to provide enough information for our customers to shop confidently. You can read our reviews or check out some of our recent deliveries on our social media channels and choose the type of container that suits you best. After selecting the size and grade of your container, you can check the price and find out the delivery cost by entering your delivery ZIP code in our quoting tool. Our quoting tool will search our inventory of used shipping containers in Richmond, and will give you the total cost, including delivery to your location. For more information, Call us at 1-800-230-7764, and our sales team will be happy to help you choose the best option.
We are a leading retail company supplying and delivering secondhand shipping containers all over the United States.
We work directly with the shipping lines and shipping container manufacturers who bring thousands of containers in the country regularly.
We buy new and used shipping containers in bulk and we store them at some of the biggest depots around the country and that’s how we can provide the best quality shipping containers at the lowest prices in the industry.
Our team works so hard to provide inventory near your city so everyone has access to the best deals available in the market.
We work with owner-operator trucking companies that not only have the best delivery rates, but also know your local area very well, and have years of experience in delivering shipping containers.
All our containers have been inspected by certified personnel at the depot as well as our drivers who inspect the container before pick-up to ensure that the container matches the condition mentioned on Used Conex’s inspection sheet they have on hand.
We also back up our customers with our 2-year leak-free warranty and a 6-year structural warranty as well as discounted container relocation services in case they’d need to relocate their container to a new home in the future.
submitted by nopardaz to u/nopardaz [link] [comments]

2023.05.28 20:47 BeCleve_in_yourself I finally quit Snowrunner

Got into the series back when Spintires was a thing but I couldn't understand that particular indie game. After getting stuck in the initial area for half an hour, I uninstalled it. Then got Mudrunner through an Epic store giveaway, gave that a shot and finally understood the point of the game. Got hooked and completed it.
I'm somewhat of an offroading enthusiast myself and Mudrunner was pretty good at simulating physics. However, everything else that I care about was bad- the graphics, the UI, the UX and the modding scene. So when I discovered Snowrunner I was ecstatic. Except- I didn't know it was going to be the bane of my existence.
When I heard Snowrunner was coming to Xbox Gamepass, I wanted to give it a try because after playing through the prequels, I wasn't sure how much of an improvement Snowrunner would be in the UX department, of all things. And the bazillion DLCs were extremely confusing. For a minute there, it seemed like Snowrunner devs were trying to replicate the Sims 4 model. But I gave them the benefit of the doubt. When I booted up Snowrunner, the game looked extremely pretty but despite having more than a capable rig of running the game, the game ran like ass. The physics was still pretty bad i.e. going fast isn't a thing because all vehicles in this game crawl for no discernible reason, even if you do try going fast (above 20 mph), the small pebbles will annihilate your suspensions because your vehicle has no concept of shock absorbers, mud still feels like quicksand mixed with barrels of glue for some reason, etc. The game was still devoid of ANY other NPCs and broke immersion. There are no cutscenes or even remotely anything resembling a story. The missions were still repetitive and involved taking a hundred different types of cargo from point A to point B. BUT after a while, the low FPS issue solved itself, the graphics were still pretty and I still liked offroading so I put up with it. However, the pace was extremely, tortuously slow. There was just too much to do and slowly but surely, I could see a pattern emerge- the game would try REALLY hard to be difficult just for the sake of being difficult. A lot of these "maps" don't even feel like they're earth locations, it's like trying to colonize Mars or something except with a ton of mud and/or snow. Every single map has this pattern:
  1. You'd want to do a delivery mission in a new area but first you gotta dissipate the fog of ignorance from the map by taking a scout vehicle and activating watchtowers.
  2. Next, you're supposed to clear the roads and build the bridges because apparently, a nuclear war has taken place right before you arrive at each map. Seriously, every single map's main road is broken in at least 5 different places and your missions would all require it to be fixed.
  3. But to fix it, you must travel to a place where the broken road leads to, so you've got to do some offroading. Great! Except that your stock trucks are useless. To upgrade them, you must complete jobs - a fuckton of jobs i.e. grinding for hours on end. See the chicken and egg problem there?
  4. You finally drag your ass winching to trees and whatnot over to the other side of the frickin' map and when you get there, you figure out that your truck has a low saddle/high saddle/2 slot cargobed/whatever and that the cargo you're about to carry requires some other type of config because the game never bothers telling you that. So now you get to spend another 40 minutes dragging your ass back to the other side of the map because there's no garage in this map that you can quickly "Recover" your vehicle to (yes, that's a thing).
  5. You finally get back over to the other side and go to trailer store, buy a new trailer with your piggy bank because that's how little you get paid for completing such frustrating jobs.
  6. You slog through the mud for 40 minutes once again wishing you'd spent an obscene amount of money into the Ultra-Mega-God-Promise-Final-Season-Pass-DLC-thing that gives you access to a gamebreaking monster truck that rolls over everything that the fanboys defend with, "You don't have to use it, I literally completed the game with a unicycle juggling cargo".
  7. You get tired of this because it's not fun and decide to come back and continue later. But the game does not have a manual save system. It only saves when it senses that you're stuck somewhere because the devs are sadists. I'm not even joking. It saves the moment it senses you're stuck somewhere. So much so that some players have even started exploiting it as a way of force-saving the game.
  8. You come back the next day to discover that all your progress is gone despite making sure that the game saved and that you're back to square one.
  9. ??
  10. Loss.
For a long time now, I had been getting this feeling that I'm playing a skinnerbox but I guess I was so distracted by the graphics and hooked on the broken physics that I kept ignoring it. In game development, a skinnerbox is a game that relies on rewarding you in materialistic currency for grinding for hours on end because it inherently fails to provide you with a satisfying, rewarding experience. After Ghost Recon: Wildlands, this was the second game in my life which made me feel guilty of spending so much time grinding for pointless gear that didn't even make me feel good about the time I lost. These are the games you look back at and ask yourself, "What the hell was I thinking sinking that many hours in a shallow game like that?" That's what Snowrunner is.
Yesterday, there was a massive update to the game. Almost 40 gigs. I was so hooked on the game that I had it installed on both my laptop and my desktop. I installed the update on both, played the game for like 5 hours straight trying to reach level 20, force-saved the game thrice, quit to main menu and checked the "Load Game" option just to double check the timestamp of the last save and then closed the game. Came back, all 5 hours of progress was gone. Uninstalled from both machines instantly.
Why didn't I post this in snowrunner? Because that sub, like all other other game specific subs on reddit, is full of toxic fanbase that would downvote and badmouth you for having a grievance. But Snowrunner fanbase is a speshal bunch. I've literally seen even Steam threads mentioning something as obvious as optimization issues of the game and then apologizing for asking the question before other cultists join in and either gaslight the poster in believing that something is wrong with them or their PC or phrasing the admission of the issue in an extremely non-offensive-to-devs manner as if to gloss over it and handwave it away as a non-issue. If someone dares call it out, they inundate them with fallacies to distract the topic from the real issue. As a result, even the posters of such posts can usually be found kicking themselves for not understanding such an oh-so-easy thing because "indie studio".
I'm so glad I got this cancer of a game kicked out of my PC (and that I played it on Gamepass instead of paying for it). The devs are greedy pieces of shits that continue to dripfeed content in DLCs that isn't even included in their Ultra-Mega-God-Promise-Final-Season-Pass-DLC-thing instead of fixing the most basic issues present in the game since it's launch 3 frickin' years ago because the masochistic apologists have taken over the social media discussions about the game. For a game that's about offroading, I don't think the devs have ever driven a vehicle on anything more than gravel. It's a disgrace. And that's not to even mention that the main developer (Pavel), who had a deal with Oovee back in Spintires days, absconded with the source code of the game after it took off, screwing over Oovee, landing them in legal trouble and getting their Spintires taken down while launching Mudrunner with a new coat of paint and barely any fixes (which was still somehow superior to the polished piece of turd that Snowrunner is) and instead of fixing Mudrunner's bugs, started working on Snowrunner and now, instead of fixing Snowrunner's bugs, is continously monetizing the game in the most absurd ways possible for an "indie studio".
/rant over.
submitted by BeCleve_in_yourself to patientgamers [link] [comments]

2023.05.28 13:32 jerilynjellyfish Rubber Ducks gear

Where is the best place to get rubber duck gear? We've been go kohl's, target, and Walmart and it's all browns, Ohio state, guardians gear
Edit: we live in Europe, so we won't be able to wait on post for delivery. Store front is what we're looking for
submitted by jerilynjellyfish to akron [link] [comments]

2023.05.28 04:11 ArchDukeNemesis Every NWA, WCW & WWE world heavyweight championship run from 1904-2023 combined, if every champion held the belt once.

To celebrate the "Return" of the "Big Gold Belt" on Raw, I thought I'd make a history combining all title runs from the first world heavyweight championship, through it's time in the NWA, its two off shoots in WCW and its appropriation by WWE. All lineages combined, all vacancies ignored, all reigns recognized and all champions holding the belt once.

Name Date Location Days
George Hackenschmidt May 4, 1905 New York, New York 1,065
Frank Gotch April 3, 1908 Chicago, Illinois 1,824
Americus March 13, 1914 Kansas City, Missouri 55
Stanislaus Zbyszko May 7, 1914 Kansas City, Missouri 176
Charlie Cutler) January 8, 1915 N/A 178
Joe Stecher July 5, 1915 Omaha, Nebraska 644
Johan Olin December 11, 1916 Springfield, Massachusetts 142
Earl Caddock April 9, 1917 Omaha, Nebraska 1,026
Ed Lewis) May 2, 1917 Chicago, Illinois 34
Wladek Zbyszko June 5, 1917 San Francisco, California 5844
Wayne Munn January 8, 1925 Wichita, Kansas 1360
Gus Sonnenberg January 4, 1929 Boston, Massachusetts 705
Ed Don George December 10, 1930 Los Angeles, CA 1693
Danno O'Mahoney July 30, 1935 Boston, Massachusetts 216
Dick Shikat March 2, 1936 New York, New York 54
Ali Baba) April 25, 1936 Detroit, Michigan 48
Dave Levin) June 12, 1936 Newark, New Jersey 109
Dean Detton September 29, 1936 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 273
Bronko Nagurski June 29, 1937 Minneapolis, Minnesota 507
Jim Londos November 18, 1938 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 2628
Orville Brown July 14, 1948 Des Moines, IA 501
Lou Thesz November 27, 1949 Los Angeles, California 2300
Leo Nomellini March 22, 1955 San Francisco, CA 359
Whipper Billy Watson March 15, 1956 Toronto, ON 609
Édouard Carpentier June 14, 1957 Chicago, IL 153
Dick Hutton November 14, 1957 Toronto, ON 421
Pat O'Connor) January 9, 1959 St. Louis, MO 903
Buddy Rogers) June 30, 1961 Chicago, IL 145
Killer Kowalski November 22, 1961 Montreal, Quebec 254
Bruno Sammartino August 2, 1962 Toronto, ON 16
Bobo Brazil August 18, 1962 Newark, NJ 1239
Gene Kiniski January 7, 1966 St. Louis, MO 1131
Dory Funk Jr. February 11, 1969 Tampa, FL 1563
Harley Race May 24, 1973 Kansas City, KS 57
Jack Brisco July 20, 1973 Houston, TX 500
Giant Baba December 2, 1974 Kagoshima, Japan 373
Terry Funk December 10, 1975 Miami Beach, FL 1350
Dusty Rhodes) August 21, 1979 Tampa, FL 616
Tommy Rich April 27, 1981 Augusta, GA 143
Ric Flair September 17, 1981 Kansas City, KS 355
Jack Veneno September 7, 1982 Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic 122
Carlos Colón January 6, 1983 San Juan, Puerto Rico 487
Kerry Von Erich May 6, 1984 Irving, TX 1238
Ron Garvin September 25, 1987 Detroit, MI 515
Ricky Steamboat February 20, 1989 Chicago, IL 502
Sting) July 7, 1990 Baltimore, MD 257
Tatsumi Fujinami March 21, 1991 Tokyo, Japan 116
Lex Luger July 14, 1991 Baltimore, Maryland 363
Big Van Vader July 12, 1992 Albany, Georgia 21
Ron Simmons August 2, 1992 Baltimore, Maryland 10
Masahiro Chono August 12, 1992 Tokyo, Japan 145
The Great Muta January 4, 1993 Tokyo, Japan 48
Barry Windham February 21, 1993 Asheville, NC 210
Rick Rude September 19, 1993 Houston, Texas 178
Hiroshi Hase March 16, 1994 Tokyo, Japan 123
Hulk Hogan July 17, 1994 Orlando, Florida 42
Shane Douglas August 27, 1994 Philadelphia, PA 85
Chris Candido November 19, 1994 Cherry Hill, NJ 97
Dan Severn February 24, 1995 Erlanger, KY 247
The Giant October 29, 1995 Detroit, Michigan 29
Randy Savage November 26, 1995 Norfolk, Virginia 974
Goldberg July 6, 1998 Atlanta, Georgia 174
Kevin Nash December 27, 1998 Washington, D.C. 78
Naoya Ogawa March 14, 1999 Yokohama, Japan 29
Diamond Dallas Page April 11, 1999 Tacoma, Washington 167
Gary Steele September 25, 1999 Charlotte, NC 57
Bret Hart November 21, 1999 Toronto, Ontario 56
Chris Benoit January 16, 2000 Cincinnati, Ohio 8
Sid Vicious January 25, 2000 Las Vegas, Nevada 83
Jeff Jarrett April 16, 2000 Chicago, Illinois 9
David Arquette April 25, 2000 Syracuse, New York 75
Booker T) July 9, 2000 Daytona Beach, Florida 71
Mike Rapada September 19, 2000 Tampa, FL 6
Vince Russo September 25, 2000 Uniondale, New York 50
Sabu) November 14, 2000 Tampa, FL 12
Scott Steiner November 26, 2000 Milwaukee, Wisconsin 149
Steve Corino April 24, 2001 Tampa, FL 91
Kurt Angle July 24, 2001 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 6
The Rock August 19, 2001 San Jose, California 26
Chris Jericho October 21, 2001 St. Louis, Missouri 55
Shinya Hashimoto December 15, 2001 McKeesport, PA 186
Ken Shamrock June 19, 2002 Huntsville, AL 49
Ron Killings August 7, 2002 Nashville, TN 26
Triple H September 2, 2002 Milwaukee, WI 76
Shawn Michaels November 17, 2002 New York, NY 236
A.J. Styles June 11, 2003 Nashville, TN 401
Randy Orton August 15, 2004 Toronto, ON, Canada 231
Ray González April 3, 2005 San Juan, Puerto Rico >1
Batista April 3, 2005 Los Angeles, CA 77
Raven) June 19, 2005 Orlando, FL 126
Rhino October 23, 2005 Orlando, FL 112
Christian Cage February 12, 2006 Orlando, FL 49
Rey Mysterio April 2, 2006 Rosemont, IL 231
Abyss) November 19, 2006 Orlando, FL 133
The Undertaker April 1, 2007 Detroit, MI 37
Edge) May 8, 2007 Pittsburgh, PA 70
The Great Khali July 17, 2007 Laredo, TX 46
Adam Pearce September 1, 2007 Bayamón, Puerto Rico 303
CM Punk June 30, 2008 Oklahoma City, OK 33
Brent Albright August 2, 2008 New York City, NY) 84
Blue Demon Jr. October 25, 2008 Mexico City, Mexico 29
John Cena November 23, 2008 Boston, MA 196
Jeff Hardy June 7, 2009 New Orleans, LA 296
Jack Swagger March 30, 2010 Las Vegas, NV 110
Kane) July 18, 2010 Kansas City, MO 212
Dolph Ziggler February 15, 2011 San Diego, CA 19
Colt Cabana March 6, 2011 West Hollywood, CA 48
The Sheik April 23, 2011 Jacksonville, FL 148
Mark Henry September 18, 2011 Buffalo, NY 91
Daniel Bryan December 18, 2011 Baltimore, MD 105
Sheamus April 1, 2012 Miami, FL 215
Kahagas November 2, 2012 Clayton, NJ 67
Alberto Del Rio January 8, 2013 Miami, FL 67
Rob Conway March 16, 2013 San Antonio, TX 294
Satoshi Kojima January 4, 2014 Tokyo, Japan 407
Hiroyoshi Tenzan February 14, 2015 Sendai, Japan 196
Jax Dane August 29, 2015 San Antonio, TX 419
Tim Storm October 21, 2016 Sherman, TX 414
Nick Aldis December 9, 2017 Sewell, NJ 266
Cody September 1, 2018 Hoffman Estates, IL 1093
Trevor Murdoch August 29, 2021 St. Louis, MO 167
Matt Cardona February 12, 2022 Oak Grove, KY 273
Tyrus) November 12, 2022 Chalmette, LA 196
Seth "Freakin" Rollins May 27, 2023 Jeddah, Saudi Arabia 1+

submitted by ArchDukeNemesis to SquaredCircle [link] [comments]

2023.05.27 16:36 PritchettRobert506 [HIRING] 15 Jobs in Columbus Hiring Now!

Company Name Title City
Mount Carmel Health DMS Columbus
UPS FT Freight PU and Delivery Driver Columbus
Oculus Search Partners Occupational Therapy Specialist Columbus
Central Ohio Area Agency on Aging Nurse Case Manager Columbus
Bluestone Child & Adolescent Psychiatric Hospital Registered Nurse (RN) Columbus
Columbus Oncology & Hematology Charge/Triage Nurse Columbus
All-Stat Portable Vascular Access Nurse Columbus
The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center Patient Care Resource Manager (Case Manager RN)- Inpatient-The James Columbus
CDR Companies Pool Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) - Columbus, OH Columbus
Columbus Oncology & Hematology Oncology Nurse Practitioner (NP or PA) Columbus
Portrait Aesthetic Nurse Injector Columbus
Help at Home Registered Nurse (RN) Part-Time Columbus
Ohio Surgery Center Registered Nurse Columbus
White Light Behavioral Health Registered Nurse for Inpatient Behavioral Health Full Time Columbus
StaffRx (Talent Search) Registered Nurse Columbus
Hey guys, here are some recent job openings in columbus. Feel free to comment here or send me a private message if you have any questions, I'm at the community's disposal! If you encounter any problems with any of these job openings please let me know that I will modify the table accordingly. Thanks!
submitted by PritchettRobert506 to ColumbusJobsForAll [link] [comments]

2023.05.27 16:20 PritchettRobert506 [HIRING] 25 Jobs in OH Hiring Now!

Company Name Title City
MAHLE, Inc LabVIEW Software Controls Engineer Amherst
Amare Medical Network Travel RN Bay Village
Medus Healthcare Travel RN Bay Village
Cynet Health Travel Nurse Bay Village
DISH DISH Installation Technician Brecksville
DISH Cable Installer Brecksville
DISH Cable Television Technician Brecksville
Jobot Medical Laboratory Technician Bryan
Oculus Search Partners Caseworker Buckeye Lake
Oculus Search Partners CMA Buckeye Lake
DaVita Registered Nurse Cincinnati
DaVita Registered Nurse (RN) Cincinnati
Gifted Healthcare Travel RN Cleveland
E&H Ace Hardware Group Store Lead Columbiana
Mount Carmel Health DMS Columbus
UPS FT Freight PU and Delivery Driver Columbus
Oculus Search Partners Occupational Therapy Specialist Columbus
University Hospitals CNA Conneaut
Dpd Deliveries LLC LTL Driver Etna
Blanchard Valley Hospital Pharmacy Clerk (PRN) Findlay
University Hospitals CNA Geneva
IntelyCare CNA Greenfield
IntelyCare CNA Greenville
Mount Carmel Health Mammographer Grove City
Area Temps Garment Hanger Independence
Hey guys, here are some recent job openings in oh. Feel free to comment here or send me a private message if you have any questions, I'm at the community's disposal! If you encounter any problems with any of these job openings please let me know that I will modify the table accordingly. Thanks!
submitted by PritchettRobert506 to OhioJobsForAll [link] [comments]

2023.05.27 12:00 eZGjBw1Z Daily Discussion - Saturday 5/27/23

Please report and discuss what interesting products you're seeing at stores today.
Many Giant Eagle stores (mostly in Columbus and now in the Northeast) and Ale Wine and Spirits have an arrangement with the state to delay visibility of certain products in their online inventory until Saturdays even if it was delivered to the store earlier in the week. These stores may also hold back some of the rare bourbons that they receive in their weekly delivery to release on Saturday mornings.
Many highly allocated products are still fully hidden on but I don't fully understand the logic behind it yet.
submitted by eZGjBw1Z to OhioLiquor [link] [comments]

2023.05.27 11:23 thefootballfan911 Strange Building : The Basket Building (Newark, Ohio, USA)

Strange Building : The Basket Building (Newark, Ohio, USA) submitted by thefootballfan911 to u/thefootballfan911 [link] [comments]

2023.05.27 07:09 sdlouhy Once again looking for new shows

So I breezed through this rec pile faster than I thought I would (summer craft show prep, background noise), and I managed to work through the list within a month. Looking for indie shows, prefer serialized horror and sci-fi, not opposed to anthologies if there's a good mini series in it. I've included the entire list of shows I've listened to below. As usual, I am not looking for an actual play but have included the ones I have on my list for the sake of completeness. (favorites in both categories are bold and italicized)



submitted by sdlouhy to audiodrama [link] [comments]

2023.05.27 06:09 slyr114 Which of these 3 Ohio F250s should I get?

Which of these 3 Ohio F250s should I get?
I have been looking for a decent truck for about or under 3k or so for weekend yard work projects like hauling gravel, dirt/soil, bricks etc as well as hauling furniture or kayaks or whatever. I found these three F250s on my local Ohio Facebook and was wondering if these prices are okay and if one would be better than the other? I’m leaning towards the higher mileage one that looks like an F150 with the weird wheels with 7 lugs. This would not be a daily driver FWIW and more of a secondary for whatever. Are any of these worth taking a chance on?
submitted by slyr114 to FordTrucks [link] [comments]

2023.05.27 03:28 slyr114 Are any of these good deals?

I have been looking for a decent truck under 3k or so for weekend yard work projects like hauling gravel, dirt/soil, bricks etc as well as hauling furniture or kayaks or whatever. I found these three F250s on my local Ohio Facebook and was wondering if these prices are okay and if one would be better than the other? I’m leaning towards the higher mileage one that looks like an F150 with the weird wheels with 7 lugs. This would not be a daily driver FWIW.
submitted by slyr114 to F250 [link] [comments]

2023.05.26 18:32 TheMarimbaGuy Energy Bills

Well, it's about that time of year and the scammers are out talking about electric bills and trying to sign me up for scams. Which usually tells me it's about time to go over and check out my energy rates
Presently, I have AEP Energy for electric. My bill was 45.61 - AES Ohio Delivery Total 19.17, supply total 26.44
Should I be looking somewhere else? I want to make use of this process, but I don't understand it well enough to actually use it effectively. I would love any guidance someone can offer!
EDIT: If it's helpful, here's my total supplier charges:
258 KWH X $0.1025 = 26.44
submitted by TheMarimbaGuy to dayton [link] [comments]

2023.05.26 13:57 dfr1238 [(FP-POV Miyako)Fanfiction] Big mommy & Little mommy

I looked at him wearing a blue shirt, a blue suit jacket, and black suit pants, with a black belt cinched at his waist.
"What do you think of this?" he asked, seeking my opinion.
"Well, it gives off a steady and reserved vibe." I evaluated his attire from behind him.
He turned around and let out a sigh. "Ah, I hope that annoying producer won't be too demanding. Let's go." he said irritably, adjusting his outfit and his golden hair before putting on his gold-rimmed half-frame glasses.
As he walked past me at the doorway, he lightly held my right hand with his left hand adorned with a ring, planting a gentle kiss on my left cheek, causing a slight smile to grace my face. He then continued towards the door.
Inside the room, sunlight was blocked by white curtains, dimming the light that filtered in, but there was still enough indirect light from the beige floor for me to see my reflection in the mirror.
I gazed at myself, relaxing my expression.
Looking at myself in a black off-shoulder dress that just exposed my slender legs, wearing a pair of black and red high heels. My face had a light layer of foundation, and I had drawn a thin black line with a black eyeliner under my eyes. My rose gold hair partially covered an earlobe, on which dangled a golden teardrop-shaped earring. While tidying my hair, I also took a glance at the bright pink nail polish on my nails. I slightly pressed my lips together, allowing the pink lipstick to evenly coat them.
I looked at the ring on my ring finger, not dissatisfied with my current life.
"Miyako, let's go." he called out to me, returning to the doorway. I picked up my small white handbag and hung it on my left hand, slowly making my way to the door.
I just wonder if this was what I truly wanted.
Under a clear blue sky without clouds, the bright blue buildings disappeared from view, their glass surfaces reflecting a golden, round spot of light. I sat in the passenger seat, looking out at the cityscape through the window.
The car engine rumbled softly on the road, and the radio inside played the morning news, talking about today's weather.
"Good morning, dear listeners! Welcome to Tokyo Radio, I'm Tanaka, and today we'll be broadcasting the morning weather for Tokyo. Let's take a look at today's weather conditions." a man's voice came from the radio. "Yes, Tanaka-San. The weather in Tokyo today is quite stable. Overall, we'll have a sunny and warm morning." a woman's voice followed. "Excellent! This kind of weather really lifts one's spirits. So, what's the chance of rain today?"
The man's voice continued, and I gently turned the radio volume knob slightly to the left.
"Are you sure she'll be okay?" I asked him, gazing out the window.
"There's no choice, after all, the producers sent a last-minute message. If we don't deal with it, the other kids' preparations will be wasted." he replied, then continued, "She's almost an adult, she'll find her own way to deal with it, don't worry too much." He patted my shoulder as he spoke, trying to ease my concerns.
"With her sudden suspension from the performance activities, it has affected the other kids quite a bit. Some of the scheduled announcements got canceled too." he said slowly, and I smiled in response, "After all, she's the most dazzling among those kids." He chuckled lightly after hearing that.
The two of us fell silent for a moment, returning to the scene with only the radio's soft sound, the friction noise of the tires on the road, and the gentle rumble of the engine.
"That's right, Reiko-San! In this fast-paced urban life, sometimes we need moments of relaxation and healing. Today, we've prepared some soothing music to help relieve stress, hoping to bring everyone a bit of peace and tranquility." the man's voice came from the radio again. "In addition to music, we'll also bring you some interesting topics and trivia, such as the latest movie releases, popular restaurants in the city, and some life hacks, hoping to provide some inspiration and entertainment." The woman continued.
After driving for a while, he flicked on the turn signal with a click, and we slowly turned right. A faint friction sound was heard as he straightened the steering wheel, and then he turned off the turn signal with another click.
Thinking about it now, being with him wasn't really about love.
"Do you think it's right for me to let that girl rest and nurture her pregnancy alone in Miyazaki?" He asked, and I slowly turned to look at him, his right hand gripping the steering wheel as he stared ahead.
I smiled and said to him, "You just told me not to worry, and now you're worrying yourself?"
It was just about using his connections to find a younger, more handsome guy.
"I just want to know if this decision is right or wrong?" I looked at him as he furrowed his brows, and I slowly leaned back against the headrest, looking up. "Hmm, both Tokyo and Miyazaki have their own pros and cons, don't they?" I said slowly.
"This thing is a double-edged sword. There's no definitive best option." I continued.
We fell silent for a moment, and then he broke the silence.
"At first, to be honest, I didn't want her to keep the baby." he said slowly.
"Yeah, I remember you were strongly against her keeping the baby at the time." I responded, looking up at the sky.
"Because once it's exposed, we, including her, could be dragged down to an abyss with no chance of turning back. I was scared, scared of losing everything with just one wrong step. All our efforts would go down the drain." he said, furrowing his brow as I tilted my head to the side and listened.
"But now, as time passed, I noticed her occasional genuine smile, one that wasn't practiced or put on for others or for the camera. It was a smile that made you feel it came from the depths of her heart." He relaxed his brow and spoke with a smile.
He paused for a moment.
"I don't have the right to deprive her of the opportunity to be a mother." he said. I slowly shifted my gaze to the dashboard of the radio, listening intently to his words.
At the intersection, he flicked on the turn signal with a click, and we made a slow left turn. There was a slight scraping sound as he straightened the steering wheel, followed by another click as he turned off the signal.
"Now, all I hope for is that she can safely give birth to the child. When I first met her, she told me she grew up in an orphanage and didn't understand what love meant, being loved or loving someone." he said.
"Maybe she wanted to push me away back then, but I could see it. From her eyes, I knew she was telling the truth at that moment." I looked at him and noticed a slight furrow in his brow as he finished speaking.
"Perhaps, this time she really has a chance to experience true love, the love between a mother and a child. She missed out on being loved as a child, but now at least she can experience this love as a mother." he said with a smile.
I pondered for a moment. "I think..." I was thinking about how to say it.
"Hmm?" he asked me softly.
I turned the volume knob of the radio to the left until it clicked, silencing it.
"I think... it would be a dilemma for her." I replied, gazing ahead.
"Well, I suppose she would experience it once the child is born, right?" he responded.
"But here's the question, will she know that what she experiences is real? Will she know that her love for the child is genuine?" I looked at him as I replied.
"Why wouldn't she know?" he asked, puzzled.
"Think about it. For sixteen years, when her family was still around, they only showed her love in the form of abuse. And when her family was no longer there, she was sent to an orphanage without any love. You've also mentioned that she herself has admitted she doesn't understand what love is or what it feels like to be loved." I said, pausing for a moment.
"And you brought her into the entertainment industry, where love is often disguised and superficial." I continued, slowly turning my head to look at him.
"If she doesn't understand what love is, how can she differentiate between real love and the love she pretends to have in front of the camera?" I asked him, posing the question.
"That's easy to distinguish, right?" he asked, puzzled.
"If her first encounter was with genuine love, then it's possible. Otherwise..." I trailed off, continuing to gaze ahead as I answered him.
"I... don't think she would pretend in front of the child." he replied slowly. "No, you misunderstood my question. I meant, she wouldn't know if she's pretending or not." I glanced at him, answering him before turning my head back to face forward.
"...There's a possibility of that." he wanted to say something, but it seemed he agreed with what I said.
But for now...
"And have you ever considered what if one day she starts asking herself the same questions? How will she face herself then?" I looked at him and said.
"Well..." I interrupted him. "And furthermore, think about why she insists on keeping the child. Hasn't that day already arrived?" I continued.
We fell into silence, and I slowly turned the radio knob to the right, increasing the volume louder than when we first got in the car.
"Dear listeners, time flies once again, and we have to say goodbye to this beautiful morning. Thank you all for tuning in. I'm your host, Tanaka. On this vibrant Tokyo morning, we have shared many beautiful moments and experiences together. May these warm memories accompany you, bringing infinite energy and courage for the new day." the radio transmitted the slow narration of that man.
I don't know, is that still what I want?
We continued moving forward.
After finishing our discussion with the producer, it was already afternoon. Ichigo and I walked out from the front entrance of their building.
That producer was difficult to deal with, and he even caused some trouble for me.
But we managed to leave unscathed.
I followed behind him. "Phew, finally finished talking with that jerk." he complained while exhaling. As we walked, I thought about what he mentioned earlier about Ai.
"Do you want to go see Ai?" I asked while walking with him. "No, I want to, but there's still work at the agency. If you want, you can go." he said, seemingly about to take something out of his pocket.
"Alright, then I'll take the—" Before I could finish, he tossed me the car keys. "You'd have to wait forever for a bus in the countryside. You drive there. I'll take a taxi back to the agency." I nodded after catching the keys and saw him walking to the side to call a taxi.
Suddenly, I saw him turn his head and shout at me, "If possible, take her out for a stroll!" I raised my right hand high and waved back at him. I watched as he turned his head again and continued walking.
Then suddenly, I saw him turn his head once more and yell at me, "Hey, don't crash the car, huh!" I raised my right hand high and flipped him the middle finger. He chuckled, smiled, and got into the taxi.
After his taxi left, I got back in the car, started the engine, and drove towards Miyazaki.
Because of the city, I had to take a detour, but eventually, I got back to the same road as the last time I drove her there. As I approached, I decided to call her first.
"Hey Siri, call 'Ai'." I placed my phone on the phone holder.
"Alright, I'm dialing 'Ai' for you." I heard the sound of the phone connecting as I continued driving, waiting for her to pick up.
"Hello~ Meemiko~ Good afternoon~" The voice on the other end of the line mispronounced my name, and she must have just woken up. "Hey, get up, I'll be over there in a bit. Do you want me to bring something to eat?" I said while driving.
"Mmm~ No need, I have beef stew here. You can come and try it! It seems like it's almost ready!" She seemed like she hadn't woken up yet. "What? When did you learn to cook stew? Did you go to someone else's house to cook and their stove got struck by lightning?" I remembered her nearly breaking my stove last time and replied with a laugh.
"What! I really have stew here!" I heard footsteps on the other end of the phone. "The chef made it." she whispered.
"Wait, what chef?" I hadn't finished speaking. "Ah, it seems to be ready, and it smells so good!" She said, and I heard the sound of something rolling.
"No, wait—" Before I could finish, I heard the sound of picking up chopsticks and a bowl on the other end of the phone. "I'll save some for you! I'm eating first~ See you later!" She seemed happy as she spoke.
"Hey, wait a minute!" The call had already ended.
That girl. I continued driving towards Miyazaki.
I drove slowly and arrived at the apartment building where Ai lives. After getting out of the car, I took the elevator up. Ai's apartment is on the sixth floor.
I pressed the elevator button and waited for it to ascend. The elevator door opened on the third floor, and I saw an old woman with white hair - the landlady!?
"Ah, what a coincidence, Yoko's mother!" She walked into the elevator and greeted me.
She only knows Ai's alias. After all, Ichigo and I planned to let Ai stay here secretly while she was pregnant, not wanting too many people to know she was staying here.
"Hello, landlady." I said with a smile. Speaking of which, after she came in, she only pressed the close door button. Could it be...
I saw her holding a large bag of fruits. "Excuse me, landlady, what is that?" I asked while looking at her.
"These are fruits from my hometown, all of them help with constipation! I heard Yoko-chan say that she has severe constipation and her stomach is swollen, so I'm going to take these fruits up for her to eat."
I started to sweat, what the hell! Ai! Where did you learn the term "severe constipation"?
"No need, landlady! You're being too kind!" I said nervously.
"Oh, it's no problem! Yoko-chan is so cute, she reminds me of my granddaughter!" She smiled brightly, and I tried to respond with a smile.
"Then, landlady, let me help you carry it up, no need to trouble yourself!" I said and tried to move closer to the bag, but she moved it further away from me after hearing me.
"No problem! I also want to visit Yoko-chan!" She smiled brightly.
I had a bad feeling. First the chef, now the landlady.
Ai, who exactly did you attract?
The elevator doors slowly opened, and we walked slowly to Ai's apartment door.
While I was thinking about what to do, the landlady had already pressed the doorbell. A moment later. "Coming~ coming! I saved some for you! Lots of carrots and beef!" She shouted from inside, getting louder as she got closer to the door. My heart raced faster.
She opened the door, noticing the landlady was there as well. "Ah! Landlady, you came with Mommy too! I'm so sorry to trouble you!" She smiled brightly, then walked towards me. "Mommy, I missed you so much!" She hugged me and acted spoiled. "Yeah, I came to see you today, Yoko. How's your exam preparation?" I patted her head.
We decided to use the script we discussed before, which we would use in front of others. That's also the reason we told the landlady she was staying here - "Preparing for high school entrance exams."
After I finished speaking, she looked at me affectionately and said, "What exam?"
What the hell! Are you serious!?
She was about to continue talking, and I prepared to remind her from an angle where the landlady couldn't see. "Mom~ You're talking about- AH! AH! AH! AH! RIGHT! RIGHT! RIGHT! HIGH SCHOOL ENTRANCE EXAMS! RIGHT! I'M STILL PREPARING FOR THE HIGH SCHOOL ENTRANCE EXAMS! MOM, I'M DOING GREAT!" She suddenly raised her voice halfway, happily remembering.
Yes, my way of reminding her was to pinch her upper arm.
"Ah, you two have such a great relationship!" The landlady said with a big smile, watching us talk while we both nervously smiled back, cold sweat on our foreheads.
She glanced at Ai's belly, and I sensed trouble–
"Yoko-chan! Have you been eating the fruit I gave you? Your belly doesn't seem to have gotten any smaller, but bigger instead!" She exclaimed in surprise. However, I thought to myself that even regular constipation wouldn't be cured by eating fruit for just a few days.
"Yeah, yeah! I just ate, so my belly looks bigger. The gynecologist said my constipation is–" I listened to her talk and thought – it's over.
Desperate, I called out, "AI!" OH FUCK.
"Ai?" The landlady looked at me with a puzzled expression. It's really over now.
Then Ai slapped my butt forcefully and continued.
"Ha-ha! My mom has a bad memory. Don't be fooled by her slim figure; her big butt gave birth to several sisters for me! She often gets our names mixed up! Really!" She made her signature gesture towards the landlady.
It was kind of annoying to be talked about like that by a girl who always gets people's names wrong.
And who are you calling big butt, brat?!
"Really? You have other sisters?" The landlady looked at her with delight.
I thought we had managed to dodge the bullet –
"Yes, my other sisters are called 'Meimei', 'Ari', 'Kyun', 'Takamine', 'Nino', and 'Watanabe'. I love them so much!" Her words interrupted my thoughts.
She really knows how to act, even coming up with names.
But isn't that too many? She's so cooperative, but those names seem–
Wait a minute, aren't those the names of our B-Komachi group members?!
What are you doing, pulling your teammates into this?!
"Wow, Yoko's mom, I couldn't tell you had eight children!" The landlady looked at me in astonishment. Oh, for crying out loud–
"Yeah, mom and dad are super good at having kids–" Ai was about to continue when I covered her mouth with my hand.
"Alright, alright, don't say anymore, Yoko. Our 'family secrets' are about to spill out, hahaha." I held my hand tightly over her mouth, trying to maintain a smile.
Ai struggled to break free from my grip.
"Ha-ha, it seems like your family is really lively! Oops, I've been talking too long. I won't disturb your mother-daughter date anymore – ha-ha!" The landlady said with a smile, handing the fruit to Ai. We waved to her as she walked towards the elevator.
As soon as she left, Ai and I breathed a sigh of relief, and I brought her into the apartment.
"Seriously, Miyako, what were you– OW! OW! OW! OW!" That's right, I pulled her into the apartment by her ear, which is why she was shouting in pain.
We entered the house. The afternoon sun shone in, illuminating the entire room in a warm orange hue. The wind chime outside swayed gently, but no sound could be heard. The setting sun cast shadows of Ai and me on the kitchen counter.
The only sounds in the room were the ticking of the clock's second hand, the faint dripping of water from the sink, and Ai trying her best to hold in her laughter.
I glared at Ai.
And then she burst out, "HAHAHA! MIYAKO, WHAT KIND OF FACE IS THAT?!" She laughed with her eyes closed and banged the table.
You little brat!
"WE ALMOST BLEW OUR COVER JUST NOW! CAN'T YOU READ THE ROOM?!" I yelled at her angrily, but she only seemed to laugh louder.
"What's the big deal? She's from an older generation; she won't pay attention to idols. You're too uptight, hahaha!" She continued to bang the table as she spoke. I covered my face with both hands.
"It's not like you almost talked about the gynecologist just now... Wait, YOU ALREADY MENTIONED THE GYNECOLOGIST! WHAT WOULD WE DO IF THE LANDLADY KNEW YOU WERE PREGNANT?" I lowered my hands and stared at her as I finished. She suddenly stopped laughing and closed her eyes, deep in thought.
"Did I really say that?" She asked, and after seeing my expression, she started laughing again.
I didn't know what to say, but I thought about how she cleverly saved the situation when I accidentally mentioned her name.
"Thanks for the save just now, though." I said, a little reluctantly.
"No problem, big butt– OW! OW! OW! ALRIGHT, I'M SORRY! STOP IT, MIYAKO! AI-CHAN'S EARS ARE GOING TO FALL OFF!" As soon as I heard her mention 'butt.' I rushed over and pinched both her ears.
I let go, and she quickly checked her ears with her eyes closed and both hands.
I sat back down in the chair, arms crossed, and watched her. She was still giggling.
"Mommy~" She said happily in a sweet voice.
Honestly, this was the first time she called me 'mommy.' and under normal circumstances, I would have been really happy.
"Did you take the wrong medicine or something? You seem especially happy today." I said with a frown, still a bit upset about the earlier incident.
"What's the big deal, Miyako? Today is just– Oh, right!" She didn't finish her sentence before quickly getting up and taking a pot out from the rice cooker. It seemed like I remembered something.
"Is this the stew you mentioned over the phone?" I looked at the pot. "Yes, yes!" She said excitedly, and then opened the lid. The aroma of beef and the sweet and savory smell of the ingredients wafted out.
"Hmm, it looks pretty good." I said, and then saw her bringing a bowl and chopsticks over. It seemed she wanted to serve me. "I can do it myself–" She interrupted me, "No, it's okay! It's okay! Consider this as an apology for earlier!" She said with a smile, serving me a bowl.
I took a bite after accepting the bowl. "Hey, not bad! Did you cook this?" I asked her, and she smiled at me.
I continued to eat, one bite after another.
Then suddenly, I thought of something.
"Wait, who was the chef you mentioned on the phone?" I suddenly remembered and put down my bowl, looking at her. After listening, she touched her chin with her left hand, pondering.
"Hehe! It's a secret!" She said her signature line, opening one eye and sticking out her tongue.
However, fearing I'd pinch her ears again, she tightly covered them with both hands this time instead of doing her signature pose.
"What's wrong? Why can't you tell me?" I asked her. She lowered her hands from her ears, closed her eyes, and thought.
After a moment, she looked into my eyes, as if she wanted to sincerely tell me an important reason.
"I had my ears covered too tightly just now, so I didn't hear you. Can you say it again?" She said.
"I mean, why can't you tell me?" I asked again, and she thought for a moment.
"It's a surprise!" She said with a beaming smile.
I pondered for a moment, "What, did that guy break in and take nude photos of you to blackmail you or–" Before I could finish, she interrupted, "No, no! Amamiya Sensei isn't like that! What are you even talking about?!" She nervously explained, clearly surprised by my wild speculation.
"Amamiya Sensei?" I asked her in a gotcha tone, and she stroked her face.
"Uh... yeah, Amamiya Sensei. Actually, he's the gynecologist in charge of my delivery this time..." She said softly, and I finished the food in my bowl.
"Really? Does he live here too?" I asked, sipping the soup. "Yeah... he lives next door." she said, looking at me.
"Hmm? Isn't that even better? Why do you need to hide it?" I asked, furrowing my brow.
"Well... it's mainly because of the president... He knows Amamiya Sensei is the doctor in charge of me this time, and the three of us have met in the clinic. However, he doesn't know about Amamiya Sensei visiting my home, so I don't know what his reaction would be..." She spoke quietly.
"You don't know? The president? What would he– Oh, oh, I see... I won't tell him." I remembered when Ichigo and I went out with Ai, and when someone tried to hit on her, Ichigo almost tore the guy apart.
To be honest, that was the most fatherly thing I had seen Ichigo do since adopting Ai.
But wait–
"Did the doctor hit on you?!" I looked at her in horror. "No! I'm just not sure what the president would think if he knew the doctor came to my rented place, so..." She spoke softly.
"I...I don't know either, but I'll talk to him when the timing is right." I said, pouting and furrowing my brow as I continued to finish my soup.
After finishing, I put the bowl on the table and thought about what Ichigo had asked me to do earlier – to take her out for a walk. "Where do you want to go? Ichigo asked me to take you out for a walk, so you don't get too bored staying at home." I asked her.
She touched her lower lip with her right index finger, thinking. "Umm... the park?" She suggested.
"The park, huh? Is it far?" I got up and looked at her. "It shouldn't be, I think?" She answered, although it wasn't very helpful.
So i took out my phone and looked up some attractions in Miyazaki Prefecture, finding one that seemed fitting.
"How about the Kitashiroyamagaiku Park? I read online that You can see the Nobeokajō Castle Ruins and also enjoy the city scenery." I asked, and she tilted her head, pondering.
"Ruins? Sounds like a place where people get pushed off and buried? Well, alright." she replied and nodded.
"Let's go then, we'll take a stroll—wait, where did you get that idea from? Don't just blurt things out like that." I said, patting her shoulder.
She went into the room and changed into loose-fitting clothes in a grayish-blue color, slightly revealing her shoulders. The length reached just above her knees, resembling a skirt, and she didn't wear any pants.
After putting on a black cap, we headed out.
We were driving on the freeway - I didn't realize it was such a distance.
"Are we going to arrive there just as the sun sets?" I looked at her as she gazed out the window at the sunset from the passenger seat.
"Maybe, it'll be a great view at night!" I thought about the starry sky in Miyazaki Prefecture, something Tokyo couldn't offer, and it excited me.
"And then we'll be pushed off a cliff—" I saw her turn her head and raise her hands parallel to each other, palms down like a ghost, with a spooky expression on her face, and I interrupted her.
"Where on earth did that ghost story come from?" I frowned and chuckled at her.
"It's a true story, you know! I saw it on YouTube!" She widened her eyes and looked at me. "Oh, tell me about it!" I tilted my head, waiting for her to share.
"So, one day..." She turned on the flashlight on her phone and aimed it from under her chin, creating a cute, spooky effect.
"Tanaka was a doctor. One day, he saw a man in black asking for a deceased patient." She tried to speak in her deepest voice, and I furrowed my brow, watching her.
"So, then the doctor refuted every single word of Article 16 of the Personal Information Protection Act and Article 4 of the Enforcement Rules of the Personal Information Protection Act to that man in black." Sh-What?
"And then the man in black ran into the mountains, and the doctor chased after him. As they ran, a flock of crows flew overhead, and the sound of stepping on branches echoed like the doctor's heartbeat." Ah, it seems like we're getting to the point.
"And then, out of nowhere, the man in black suddenly appeared behind the doctor and pushed him off a cliff." She finished her word, turned off the flashlight on her phone, and resumed her normal position.
After a while, after passing a few exits on the next interchanges, "Uh... what happened next?" I glanced at her and asked.
"He died. The end." She replied.
I swear, if I weren't driving right now, I would pinch her ear— "Look!" She suddenly gestured towards a direction, and I looked over—
"That was terrifying, you just shudder." She looked at me seriously and said, "NO SHIT, WHAT ELSE WOULD YOU EXPECT? DID I DIE OR SOMETHING!? ANYONE WOULD FLINCH IF YOU SUDDENLY SHOUTED IN THEIR EAR! STARTLING ISN'T THE SAME AS BEING SCARED, COME ON!" I responded loudly to her.
She burst into laughter, and after a brief moment of anger, I joined in the laughter.
We exited the freeway.
"Hey, are we there yet?" she asked me."Not yet." I replied to her.
A moment later.
"Hey, are we there yet?" she asked me."Nope." I replied to her.
A moment later.
"Are we there yet?" she asked me."Not yet, okay?" I replied to her.
"Are we th—" "Won't it be faster if you stop asking repeatedly?" I impatiently interrupted her.
"Wanna hear another ghost story?" She turned her head with excitement and looked at me.
"If it's like the one just now, then forget it." I replied, looking ahead.
"Oh..." She turned her head back disappointingly to look at the scenery
After a journey, we finally arrived at our destination, and it was already late at night.
We got out of the car, and she seemed very interested in the ruins of this tourist spot. She was so engrossed that she even forgot to close the car door after getting out.
As I looked up after stepping out of the car, the ruins gave me a contradictory feeling. It was evident that they had been there for a long time, yet they felt incredibly sturdy.
I looked down and noticed the contrasting colors between the grayish-brown gravel at the bottom half of the city wall and the pristine white walls on the upper half. When I looked up from below, the architecture of the ruins towered impressively, estimating several stories high. However, we were still at the parking area, merely observing from there.
After getting out of the car, we walked to the right. With the gravel on the left and well-maintained green lawns, along with the city lights adorning the right side, we slowly ascended the randomly patterned stone steps, accompanied by the reassuring sound of our footsteps. After a short walk, we reached the gate of the ruins.
On each side of the gate, there were two modern antique-style lamps. The pillars of the gate were painted a vivid red, and the door frame was crafted from dark brown timber. Above them, semicircular black stone tiles with textured patterns connected and formed the roof.
The gate itself was made of beautiful grayish-brown wooden panels. It was connected to the frame with black, wavy-patterned hinges. As it was still nighttime, the shadows cast on its surface enhanced the three-dimensional texture of the gate.
I followed her as she walked up, occasionally glancing at the surrounding scenery. After passing through the gate, we encountered another set of stone steps. However, this time there were fewer steps, and the intervals between them were quite large, with sandy soil in between. I closely followed her, worried about her footing, but we successfully reached the main viewpoint.
After climbing up the stone steps and walking a stretch of gravel path, we reached the scenic spot. We noticed a small cabin ahead, not very big but with a paper sliding door.
To the right of the cabin, there was a small roof structure formed by four wooden posts with aged wooden boards at the top, creating a conical shape. Beneath that roof, we could see a gray iron bell hanging from a knotted hemp rope, bearing historical marks. The carvings on the bell represented the art of their time.
On the side, there were two wooden pillars with historical traces, each adorned with a hemp rope for ringing the bell.
I noticed a timetable on top, but it wasn't the time to ring the bell, so I quickly held her back.
Looking to the right, we saw a bench, gazing solemnly at the city skyline ahead.
The trees beside us acted like drawn curtains, allowing us to view the cityscape without being fully affected yet not completely ignoring them.
Unlike the towering buildings in Tokyo, Miyazaki Prefecture had mostly low-rise structures. The stars in the sky and the dim lights emanating from the low buildings below seemed to depict a celestial sea encompassing both the heavens and the earth.
In the middle, when we gazed into the night sky, it appeared dark and slightly dimmed due to light pollution. Only a tall chimney with alternating red and white colors stood out, flickering with a faint light.
We sat on the bench, taking a rest.
"So, what do you think?" I asked her, looking at the cityscape of twinkling stars.
"Well, it's definitely different from Tokyo." she replied.
A gentle breeze rustled the trees, and the only sounds present were the falling leaves and the swaying of branches. We sat at the ancient city ruins, with a city skyline that differed by several centuries before us.
I glanced at her and noticed that both of us instinctively propped our hands on the back of the bench, adopting a shoulder-shrugging posture as we admired the view. Of course, she had her own quirks. Her little feet swung back and forth in a playful manner.
"Will you miss Tokyo?" I asked her, still gazing at the scenery. "Hmm, to some extent, yes. But I'll also miss this place someday." she replied, smiling at me.
We looked at the scenery in silence, and the stars in the sky seemed to shine even brighter.
"It feels like it's been ages since we last came out to see the starry sky, doesn't it?" I asked her.
"Yeah, it does. After all, in Tokyo, the stars are not in the sky but in people's hands." she answered.
We continued to gaze at the starry sky.
"By the way, how did you and Amamiya Sensei find out that you were neighbors?" I asked her.
"Well, I was making eggs at the time." she began, but I interrupted her. "No way!" I exclaimed in surprise.
"Can I finish my story?" she pouted. "After I was done, I was standing on the balcony, looking at the view outside the window. Then I heard someone coming out from the right side, so I turned and saw him." she said with a smile.
"At first, he didn't notice me. After we exchanged greetings, he went inside, and it was only later that he realized it was me, haha." she chuckled, and I laughed along.
We continued to admire the night view, with only the gentle breeze, rustling trees, and the sound of leaves falling and stirring in the air.
No, there was more. The sound of the wind gradually carrying the sand, our slow breathing, the friction between our clothes and skin as we adjusted our positions, the sound of our heartbeat calming down in our hearts, and the sound of swallowing our saliva slowly.
There was more. Oh, here it comes. Hello there.
I thought about what happened in the morning, about her, about myself.
What was it that I truly desired? It might be the same question she was searching for an answer to in her heart.
A girl who didn't know what love meant, a woman who didn't know what kind of love she wanted.
Bombarded by the dazzling lights and pulsating music of the entertainment world on ordinary days, people chose to numb themselves.
And so did we—she numbed herself under the intense lights and music on stage, while I didn't even spare the radio in the car.
I understood what it meant to love and be loved, but now, like her, I was also lost. Even now, I still pondered whether the person I loved was the right one for me.
We ate together, laughed together, talked together, kissed together, went to bed together, and then—we both put on the rings together.
However, I was still confused. Is he the one I desire?
Looking back, the conversation in the morning seemed quite funny. A lost person who still wanted to lead her like a shepherd. To be honest, she and I seemed quite different, yet not so different.
In fairy tales - you fall in love with the person you like, you become boyfriend and girlfriend, you get married, and you live happily ever after. The end.
In reality - the worst-case scenario might be getting stabbed by your ex at the doorstep, bleeding to death for someone you don't love, causing your the one who love to bleed from a broken heart - the end. This is a cruel joke, isn't it? No, welcome to reality. Because it has happened.
I gaze at the stars, and they seem to blur.
She's lost. I think I am too.
Maybe I'm too late, but she's not. Her youth is just beginning.
"Miyako?" Her soft call brought me back to reality. I felt a weight on my thigh, and I looked down to see that I became her pillow.
"Are you being clingy?" I asked her with a smile. "I'm scared." she said.
"What's wrong? You were just telling me ghost stories halfway." I smiled at her, showing my teeth. She closed her eyes and laughed along. After a moment, she opened her eyes.
"Not that kind." she said slowly, and I placed my right hand on her head, trying to comfort her. "I know." I replied.
I gently brushed aside her hair. "You're not alone." I said softly.
"That's why I'm afraid." she replied, and I noticed out of the corner of my eye that she was caressing her own belly.
"We'll be by your side." I extended my left hand, gently stroking the hand she used to touch her belly, as I spoke.
She closed her eyes.
submitted by dfr1238 to OshiNoKoMemes [link] [comments]

2023.05.26 05:33 Pale_Luck_3720 Time for a Kayak

I grew up on a nice lake in northern Minnesota. I regularly paddled several miles around the lake solo in a 17-foot fiberglass canoe. Always a lake and never had any opportunities for rapids.
I'm now in my mid-50s and have an opportunity to go on a multi-day paddle with a friend who has a Wilderness Systems Tempest 170. I started looking for a used one, and he recommended I go for something with a larger cockpit such as the Wilderness Systems Tsunami. From that recommendation my internet shopping has led me to the Tsunami 14.5 or 16.5.
Here's my story:
I'm finding a good number of Tsunamis in the area. I like the idea of a sit-in vs. sit on. My thinking: better to store stuff and less sunburn on my legs.
Is there a kayak out there for me? What should I be looking for?
submitted by Pale_Luck_3720 to Kayaking [link] [comments]

2023.05.26 03:08 -Quad-Zilla- Squat Racks Canada Camber Bar

Squat Racks Canada Camber Bar
Got this about a week ago, and finally can give my opinions.
A bit ago, I tried to order it, and it kept denying me. I don't know what was going on. It processed and refunded my CC multiple times. It went through a week later after trying a 5th time. I don't know what was going on, just letting others know it this happens to them.
Shipping and Delivery
Came by Purolator. Tracking was accurate, and shipping was fast. Driver even called me on delivery, instead of knocking like my sign says. First time that has ever happened. So, that's cool.
Looks like shit, but it worked. It was a bunch of pieces of cardboard, wrapped with plastic wrap. The bar itself was further protected by foam and more plastic wrap. As shitty as it looks, it was well protected, and not a mark on the bar. It was the hardest bar to open that I have ever received.
The Bar
Now onto what most of you wanna know about.
Bar is 95" long, with 16" loadable sleeves. Due to the collars, that leaves you with about 59" between the collars. The shaft is 38mm (or about 1-1/2" in old money.). It weighs in at 60#.
There are knurl markings, similar to a power bar. Then there is a centre mark on the centre knurl. I would say the knurl is somewhere between the Ohio Bar and the OBP.
Had to set my Monos/Jcups about 2 inches lower than my low bar squat setting. Same with my safeties.
It gives you similar leg activation as an SSB, but, wont pitch you forward. Being longer, it does lend itself to being more wobbly, and requiring more core activation. It does take away a lot from your shoulders and elbows. So, if you have issues there, maybe this is a bar for you. Feels great on my back.
I have not used it for bench yet, due to my programming only calling for Comp Bench for the time being. But Chad Wesley Smith recommends to set up the same way you would for regular bench, then use boards so you only end up in about a 1 inch deficit at the bottom of the lift.
Here's a video of me squatting 3 plates, or 330#
It's a good bar, especially at the delivered price of $320CAD.
submitted by -Quad-Zilla- to homegym [link] [comments]