Except I'm pretty sure, not completely but close, that it's not a hydration thing today. So still not good for writing.
Regardless even if I can't write, I don't want everything here to be all, "Woe is me." It especially since people have chipped in to help and now instead of needing $2,000ish that I don't have it's more like $1,500ish and, while that still feels pretty daunting to me, I'm very grateful to help and having more posts about things sucking doesn't seem the best way to demonstrate that gratitude.
So, random scraps of things:
* * *
From future installments of Ash:
El wasn't letting it go, "How many more hints does the universe have to drop Cinderella?"
Ash snorted. "I am not Cinderella,"
"Then why were you cleaning out the hearth?" El asked.
"Because I got stuck with all of the chores for a month and somehow 'cleaning the fireplace' became a chore instead of 'that thing we never even consider doing,'" Ash said. Do you want me to list the ways that this is not Cinderella?"
"Oh, yes," El said. "Please do."
"My dad is still alive," Ash said.
"You said it yourself, that relationship is dead," El said. "And it dying coincided with..."
"I'll grant you the wicked stepmother," Ash said, slightly angrily. This was mostly fun-bickering, but some memories were best not relived. "There's no prince charming."
"I told you already," El said, as if this were completely obvious, "Zenia will be there."
Ash shrugged, El smiled. A point to El.
"If I'm Cinderella," Ash said, "then that would make you the evil ugly stepsisters. You're not evil, you're not ugly, and you're not plural," Ash said, counting the three points on her fingers,
"Well maybe the production can't support a full cast," El said, "Budget restrictions, a lack of availible talent, whatever, and so they combined the characters of the step sisters with the fairy godmother."
"Because that makes so much sense," Ash said.
El just smiled.
"Just because you're in the drama club doesn't mean everything's a play," Ash said. "Nor does it mean you should look at the world as if that were true."
"But," El countered, "All the world is a stage."
"No one even performs that play," Ash said, "but speaking of Shakespeare, remind me which one the masquerade ball is in?"
El didn't respond to that one.
Ash knew she had, if not a winning one, at least a decent argument, "There's no masquerade ball in Cinderella, but in the play where there is one... well, remind me. How did Romeo and Juliet turn out?"
"We are not in a generational blood-feud with Zenia's family," El said.
"Neither are we in the mythical land of the Middleish Ages in which the only surefire route out of poverty and oppression was to become a monarch-spouse to a monarch who is a decent human being."
"Exactly!" El said. "Exactly..." and then she didn't say anything.
"You just wanted to so say, 'exactly' so it would seem like I was making your argument for you," Ash said. "Didn't you?"
"No, of course not," El said, not even trying to hide the fact that she was lying. "I merely meant bringing Cinderella into a modern day setting necessitates certain changes. We make them all the time when we edit or update a play.
"The most notable one here being that, while it is believable that a prince might not recognize all of his subjects and thus have to resort to something as bullshit as testing shoe size, that doesn't work for two students in the same high school so it only makes sense if--"
"Just give up on this one, El" Ash said. "You're tangling yourself in--"
"I deal with knots the Alexandrine way, thank you very much," El said, though she was visibly relieved to be out of that explanation. She didn't admit to that, of course, she said, "Besides, how do you know that my recognition of this as a total Cinderella situation--"
"Which it isn't," Ash said.
"is because I'm in the drama club?" El said. "Did you ever consider that maybe I took a class on Chinese folklore and that's what allowed me to see the obvious parallels?"
"Did you?" Ash asked.
"No," El said, "but--"
"And how do you know that Cinderella has roots in Chinese folklore?" Ash asked.
El gave an impish grin. "Drama club."
"I rest my case," Ash said.
"You may have won today," El said, "but it'll be overturned on appeal!"
Ash laughed. "You're such a doof,"
"The only reason I can't refute that," El said in a completely serious tone, "is because neither one of us knows what a doof is."
Then they both laughed.
* * *
Jacob, last seen in this though I think I've aged him down since then and am considering making his boss female:
Dramatic moment: "Release the mongeese!"
Nothing happens. Into radio, "Yes I know that's not the proper plural ... because mongeese sounds like a million times better. ... Look, there are heroes here trying to destroy our work and possibly blow up our home, so I really don't think ... fine."
Dramatic Moment: "Release the mongooses!"
* * *
Mongeese scattered, security forces routed, everything falling apart
"I told myself I would never do this, but you leave me no choice," *Jacob points to a place behind the heroes* "Monkey Ninjas! Attack!"
The highly honed reflexes of the heroes had them spun around and in defensive positions in the blink of an eye.
Boss said, "I didn't know we had--" before Jacob grabbed boss by wrist and ran for the bolt hole, hitting the self destruct button on the way out.
There were no monkey ninjas.
* * *
"Release the octopi!" pause "We talked about this." pause "Look, we really don't have time for..." *sighs* "Release the octopodes!"
* * *
(the next year)
"Monkey Ninjas! Attack!"
The heroes weren't distracted, which allowed the monkey ninjas to take them completely by surprise. Once safely clear of the blast radius Jacob stopped, caught his breath, and looked at the boss. "I love that trick," he said, "but it only works twice."
* * *
[the band story]
"Come on, we go our separate ways tonight." *pause* "I know, but when are you going to get another chance to play live in concert? Come on, give it a chance. You pick the song, I'll help you hit-"
"Isa, your mic is still on," Angela said.
"Oh shi--" and Isa turned the offending microphone off.
Angela looked out and saw a lot of confused fans in the audience. The concert was over, after all.
When Angela heard notes she knew by heart coming over the speakers, in the unmistakable sound of Isa's glass armonica, she decided that maybe the concert wasn't over. Even though they'd never preformed this song before.
When the time came, she started to sing, "Now the seats are all empty // Let the roadies take the stage // Pack it up and tear it down..."
Cassy and Kaki, who had been packing things up because they didn't actually have roadies, came running back on stage, Kaki actually vaulted over ... something or other, to get back by her mic and ready to play.
* * *
From "The Princess Story"
Actually this is the part where I get distracted for several hours.
"Ok, so," Melitta said, "we have no money, no supplies, no identification, and people who are presumably trying to kill us in the general vicinity. Plus, if anyone hears me speak they'll assume I'm a spy or worse."
"Pretty much," Lara said as she carefully rolled the wounded carpet.
"Any ideas on what to do now?" Melitta asked, fairly sure she didn't want to hear the answer.
"Get food," Lara said, putting the carpet into its case.
"No money," Melitta repeated.
"I know that, now let's get food," Lara said, standing up with the case strapped to her back, "the market's this way."
* * *
Melitta picked up a karaba, and looked it over. It was a twisted tuber that looked more or less like any any other karaba. She'd picked it, though, because it showcased a problem that all of the karaba at the stand had, only moreso: it was too white.
"I'm not impressed," Melitta said to Lara, showing her the karaba.
"What would an Eray know--" the merchant said.
"They royal kitchens employ people from all regions," Lara said, "and you would do well to respect those who work in them if you wish to maintain your contract."
Melitta wasn't sure this ploy would work, but there was a sudden change in the merchant's demeanor.
"I was just taking this one out," Lara said, "because some of the newer staff have been buying ... substandard," Lara said the word like it was some particularly hideous and unmentionable disease, "karabas of late."
"Certainly not from me," the merchant said. "I grow the finest karabas in the islands. I only bring the best to market, the rest can be given to livestock."
Melitta raised an eyebrow and showed the karaba to Lara again.
Lara took it, looked at it, and then the others in the merchant's offerings.
"Honestly," Lara said, "this was merely meant to be a trip to train this one," she gestured to Melitta, "but I'm strongly considering recommending that the kitchens look to other vendors if these are your best."
"It's been a hard season for karabas," the merchant said. "I can't control the weather."
"Perhaps," Lara said, "you might show us evidence of what you can control. If you've tilled your soil properly, it should be visible in the state of your," and then Lara started a list of a dozen crops, each of which was to demonstrate the merchant's supposedly exemplary cultivation practices.
The merchant gave them all of the requested food. For free.
When they'd taken their spoils to a secluded spot on the island's coast where they could eat, Melitta finally asked, "How did that even work?"
"Who supplies food ingredients to the royal kitchens is a closely guarded secret," Lara said, "to reduce the chance of would-be assassins poisoning it."
"It can't be guarded well enough that just mentioning a contract with the kitchens automatically means you must work there," Melitta said.
"No, but it raises the possibility," Lara said. "As does the fact that I have the accent of the royal court."
"Whatever, I'm just glad we managed to get juice-fruit out of the deal," Melitta said, taking a huge bite out of a slice she'd cut.
"That's disgusting," Lara said.
"What is?" Melitta asked, genuinely confused.
"You're getting it all over your face," Lara said. Melitta noted that there was juice dripping from her chin, but that was to be expected. Juice fruit was many things; clean was not one of them. "Didn't anyone teach you manners, honey bee?" Lara asked.
Melitta took an inventory of the seeds in her mouth. The soft ones she'd already eaten. The hard ones though... she got the first in position and said, "Oh you'll pay for that, seagull," and spat a seed at Lara.
Then another. And another.
"Wait!" Lara shouted. Melitta fully expected the other princess to say something about decorum or the like. Instead Lara said, "I'm unarmed," and lunged for a slice of the juice fruit.
After Lara took a bite Melitta had to dodge incoming fire.