Podcast: Vacancy 1.06 – Particularly Persuasive

Episode 1.06 – Particularly Persuasive

Vacancy is an ongoing web serial. Find out more about it and start reading or listening here.

Vacancy’s Theme is “Planet Bullspit” by Corey Major

Vacancy Episode 1.06 uses these sounds from freesound and soundbible, all of which have been remixed. The inclusion of any sound does not indicate endorsement of this completed work or its author:

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Success Is A Fuckboi

I mused on success recently, and while doing so I had a thought. Success is often personified as a woman, fickle and choosy, mysterious and aloof, other feminine words and synonyms, but I don’t know about all that. Women are only “mysterious” because when we don’t want the thing that men think we should want, they quickly throw up their hands and deem us complicated and irrational, as if we’re actual people or something. So then anything difficult and baffling gets clothed in a slinky black dress, stilettos, and a wink.

Instead of a pearl-adorned, sultry demoness, I, as my post title has already revealed so this isn’t shocking but I needed this sentence to be longer stylistically, like to think of success as a fuckboi.

successisa

There are a number of ways to spell it, but I find “fuckboi” to be the most charming because it really encompasses the meaning of the term: childish, a product of the internet era, and visually both displeasing and appropriate. Fuckbois are the masculine answer, I believe, to thots, and if that doesn’t mean anything to you then we are not exactly in the same boat, but we’re probably rowing adjacent to one another in the ocean that is rapidly evolving internet linguistics.

A fuckboi, as far as I understand, is a boy–specifically not a man by action but likely by legal age–who fucks you, literally and figuratively. He is a “tease” and a “slut” but with a penis (so of course we have to come up with a new term for him), and he also seems to be particularly astute at manipulation with a specialty in gaslighting. A school of naive or historically abused heterosexual women are drawn to the fuckboi despite how poorly he treats everyone else in his life, likely because the fuckboi is often attractive and suffering (see: profiting) from some form of cluster B personality disorder so can reign in his shittier characteristics long enough to convince a sexual conquest that he is “really a nice guy underneath it all” at least long enough to “hit it an quit it,” often multiple times.

Okay, got it? Well, if not, we’re moving on anyway. So I find success similar to the fuckboi, at least in my success-less current state, but having had a few minor highs in the views and likes departments recently (and having one bad experience with a dude who was a fuckboi in every way but looks and name about a decade ago). Both are attractive, especially from afar and in photos. Success has a hard jaw, spends a descent amount of time in the gym, and an impressive “I tried really hard to not look like I’m trying hard” sense of fashion. When he gets a bit closer you might see him stiff a waiter or not hold the elevator for someone clearly running for it, but you excuse those behaviors because god damn, Natalie, have you seen that fucking smirk?

You hear a lot of stuff about Success, how maybe he’s not worth it, he’s had a lot of partners and they didn’t really work out, but your internalized misogyny comes crawling up from the nastier parts of your soul, and you think, “jealousy is a hell of a drug, bitches!” and you put yourself out there. You might even change yourself a little to be more attractive to him. I mean, it’s just a Brazilian blow out, why can’t I reinvent myself, Natalie? God, don’t be so judgmental, you don’t understand how hard it is to maintain curls in this kind of humidity, okay!?

When Success texts you for the first time your heart beats so hard you’re sure he can hear it through the phone even though text messages don’t have sound and no one actually calls anyone else in this economic climate. (I haven’t dated in a long fucking time, so Success probably actually sends you a message on Tinder, but just roll with me okay?) Success isn’t really that funny, but you laugh at his jokes, and he’s not that clever, but you’re willing to dumb yourself down a little for him because God and 8% body fat gave him an inguinal crease to die for, and his profile picture is just a bare torso so it’s not like you can avoid it, Natalie, I mean it’s right there.

But Success is flippant and enigmatic. Everything he says is up for interpretation, and even though the strong, independent woman that you know you are (because Natalie keeps texting you the Venus symbol emoji) is sure you shouldn’t be trying to please him, you find yourself doing things you never thought you would for a boy. Your Instagram feed is somehow both a little racier and also a little more self-loathing than normal, and you get crankier with the other people in your life so when they balk at you, you label them toxic and cut them out. Your normal meter is broken, but you can’t recognize it in all those pieces under Success’s Adidas.

But it all seems worth it when you get a taste of Success (I am so sorry for that image). He’s calling you “babygirl” and “love” and blowing up your phone with so many notifications that you missed when Natalie’s dog had to get surgery because his stomach was actually where all her missing socks were going. You’ve seen what Success can do and you want more, everything else be damned.

Then…it all stops. You don’t want to seem desperate, and frankly neither of you declared yourselves monogamous or that you were in a relationship at all but you’re still you, and you want answers. Looking back at it, Success never really commented on your posts publicly, and his relationship status was already “It’s Complicated” before you even met, but you’ve got proof of something somewhere, don’t you? Are your feelings worth nothing? Success continues to allude you, and when you call him out, he tells you that you’re the crazy one, you’re making this out to be so much more than it was, and you’re not even really that hot, so he was doing you a favor that one time you asked him to come over at 1:00am to “help explain Rick and Morty to you.” And by the way, that photo you posted of yourself on the beach last week isn’t super flattering and you should probably untag him from it.

Now truly alone, you call up Natalie, but she’s too busy with Max the hosiery hound for your inevitable bullshit, so you turn to vaguebooking, quoting song lyrics from when you were a sad-sack teenager, and stalking Success’s social media for a glimmer that maybe he misses you too. Spoiler alert: SUCCESS DON’T MISS NOBODY. (Until it’s convenient for him, but he doesn’t mean it.)

And that’s the clutch, guys. Success really doesn’t miss anyone because it doesn’t need anyone, least of all you or me. Pandering to success long term probably won’t work out, but maybe it’s okay to try because it can be fun and even rewarding if you’re an egotistical fuckhead *clears throat and puts down front-facing camera* Sorry, what were we talking about?

Maybe this analogy isn’t fair because success doesn’t really make choices, that’s the masses (and those controlling mass media to some point, but this isn’t the place for conspiracy theories), but it’s probably as fair as calling success a pretty lady that won’t give you the time of day. The only truth is that success is fickle, but maybe someday if you love yourself enough, you’ll be able to nail down something that suits you better and loves you back. Or something equally mushy and gross.

Also, listen to Natalie every once and a while, okay?

 

Normally I don’t credit the photos I use because I get them from Pexels with specifically no attribution required licenses, but because I’m using this guy’s photo in what can be seen as a negative light, I’d like to say explicitly that I’m not commenting on the subject or the photographer of this photo being an actual Fuckboi™ and would like to credit him. Go give R Fera some love.

Vacancy – 1.22 – More Than Luck

Vacancy is an ongoing web serial. Find out more about it and start reading here.

v 1.22

The knot in Lorelei’s stomach was monstrous and heavy. It was hardly fair, she’d thought, giving Grace an afternoon to do what she imagined nymphs would take weeks to complete, but her fiance’s family was firm in their decision: in order to approve the union of their son, a nymph, to Grace, a satyr, she must receive a blessing from Nature–yes, capital N–itself.

This was rather run of the mill for her husband-to-be’s kind. They would write an appeal, in the form of a poem, and read it aloud to the forest. If acceptable, and according to Andros, there was rarely, if ever, an instance where it had not been acceptable, Nature would display its approval. As the nymph explained it, the onlookers would take almost anything as a sign: rain meant Nature wept with joy, a stiff breeze symbolized the urge to hurry up and get on with it, and there was even a case where the reader was unceremoniously shat on by a bird mid-recitation resulting in the listeners cheering that Nature didn’t need them to finish in order to give its blessing.

Still, Lorelei fidgeted as she stood amongst the tall and lanky nymphs, as much a physical outcast as Grace herself with her short stature and plain clothes. They looked out on the satyr, standing at the edge of Moonlit Shores Manor’s forest. “A poem?” she’d blurted out when they told her, “You want me to write a poem?”

“Iambic pentameter is customary,” Belen had said with a smirk, “but you’re free to stray to dactylic hexameter or whatever you please. I’ve even heard an acceptable free verse or two in my time.”

“I don’t even know what that means,” she’d said worriedly, her eyes bouncing back from Belen to Andros, but her fiance put a hand on her arm, and insisted it would be fine. Never had there not been a sign, as signs were largely whatever the onlookers decided upon. Still, Lorelei feared the worst.

The satyr bit her lip and clenched a torn sheet of notebook paper from her spot atop a rock. They had, begrudgingly, granted her the great advantage of a cheat sheet, but insisted it was tradition for the betrothed to not be present. Ziah had perhaps smartly not allowed any of their other coworkers to attend, instructing Conrad and Grier to serve as protectors while Andros took part in the satyr trial for approval. Oddly enough, however, Ren had accompanied Ziah here to the woods, but Lorelei couldn’t help but think Grace needed a bit more support, and she offered the satyr a smile and a thumbs up.

Grace turned away from them to address the wood, her hooves clanking on the rock. A sound, small and barely audible, floated out toward the trees. It was something like a voice, but the words were ambiguous.

“Project, my dear,” Belen, Andros’s father, instructed her to snickers from a handful of the nymphs. Lorelei sneered at him, but he didn’t notice, and likely would not have cared if he did.

Grace’s shoulders raised and dropped with a deep breath and she cleared her throat:

There once was a girl from Santorini
She weren’t smart, or talented, or pretty
She spent most of her days
Feeling lots of different ways
But not once did she feel love so fiercely

Then she met a boy who made her heart swell
And they knew against all they had to rebel
He swept her off her feet
Only with him she felt complete
And that’s the happy ending she hopes to tell

There was a long moment of quiet when she finished. Lorelei raised her hands to clap, but Ziah grabbed her wrist to stop her. Instead, she glanced at Andros’s family, standing stark still, waiting, but she noted Kasia, Andros’s mother, was smiling.

There was movement in the grass, like snakes slithering across the forest floor, headed for the assembled. Long and brilliantly green, they climbed from the roots of the trees and to the rock that Grace stood atop. She gasped, spinning around, surrounded, and the onlookers did as well, muttering in shock about how this was unprecedented. But the snakes gave way, revealing themselves to be vines, moving of their own free will, encircling the rock and coating it in greenery to the very edges of Grace’s feet.

Then the vines burst forth with blooms, pink, purple, blue, yellow, each brighter than the last and painting the entirety of the rock. A single stem shot upward, reaching just to Grace’s chest where it stopped, the bud at its end twirling as it bloomed brilliantly red before her, illuminating her already blushing face with a warm glow.

The nymphs fell silent, but only for an instant, and then one shouted, the loudest Lorelei had heard any of them, that it was a sign. The others joined in with cheers and approving words, and only Belen’s mouth stayed set in a tight frown, narrowing eyes at the girl. Kasia laid a hand on his shoulder, “Nature has given its blessing.”

Back at the manor, Grace could not stop smiling as the nymphs took turns congratulating her and telling her they had never seen such a display, but she was determined to see Andros. With newly found confidence, she burst into the sitting room where her family stood in a circle. The furniture had been pulled back away from the room’s center, even the sleeping old man’s rocker was nestled up against the wall though he continued to snore as if nothing had happened, and in its place, a single table and two chairs.

Yaya, Grace’s grandmother, sat across from Andros, hunched over the table with a glass grasped in hand. Her mouth drooped and her eyes were hollow, but she snorted at the boy, “Another!”

Grace’s father stood between the two holding a bottle of clear liquid. He hesitated.

“I said, another!” Yaya slurred, banging her glass on the table.

Andros also lifted his, “You heard the lady.” While Yaya looked like she might fall right out of her chair, Andros sat up straight, grinning.

“Yaya!” Grace shouted, stomping toward them, “What are you thinking? How much of that stuff have you had?”

Her father held up the bottle, large enough to hold at least a liter, to show it was only half gone, but then her brother held up another identical but empty jug.

“That stuff’s like poison!” Grace pushed her way across the room to Andros and knelt beside the table, “Are you all right?”

“Sweetheart,” a satyr from the group laughed, “Ain’t no one ever been more all right than your beau here!” The others nodded and bleated.

“I feel great,” Andros held his glass up to Grace’s father again, “If you wouldn’t mind, sir?”

Grace’s father obliged, filling both glasses and stepping back, the color already drained from his face.

Andros downed the cup, eyes closed, and gently placed it back on the table. He took a deep breath and the satyrs held their own, then Andros belched, and they cheered.

Yaya growled, holding her own full glass up to her lips, “Boy, I don’t know how you done this,” she was blinking, but her lids weren’t working in unison, “but I reckon–” she swayed to the left, catching herself on the table. “Boy, I reckon,” again she swayed, this time to the right, barely grabbing hold of her chair to stay upright, “I reckon–” Yaya thrust her glass forward, the liquid in it sloshing, and then she froze. Her eyes crossed, she mumbled incoherently, and collapsed onto the table, the glass spilling and liquid hissing across the wood.

The satyrs cheered, gathering around Andros and grabbing the legs of his chair. Grace jumped back as they lifted him and paraded him about the room. After confirming Yaya was, in fact, not dead, her father scoffed, “Ain’t nobody ever beat Maw,” and he went up to Kasia who had come to check on the racket. “Ma’am,” he offered her his hand, “I would be honored to have your son as part of the Nomia family.”

Kasia giggled, “And I see in your Grace the daughter I always wanted.”

Lorelei could barely believe her eyes and skirted the room to where Conrad and Grier sat on the couch up against the far wall. They both looked a little dazed and when she greeted them, they were slow to respond.

“Oh, hey!” Conrad tried to stand, but his feet slipped out from under him, and he slumped back onto the couch. Laughing, he slapped Grier’s chest with the back of his hand, “Hey, hey, look it’s Lor–” he stopped abruptly, covering his mouth, his eyes suddenly huge.

Grier’s head lolled back and he closed his eyes, “Hi, Laaar.”

“What’s happening?” she glanced about to be sure the satyrs were still preoccupied with Andros.

“It’s fine,” Conrad nodded in slow motion, “You’re going to have to leave us here for a while though.”

Lorelei took a step back from them, “Do I want to know?”

Conrad was shaking his head then, again painfully slowly, as if he were trying to keep his balance though he was sitting.

Lorelei turned and, with a smile, ushered the group out of the room.

By nightfall, Yaya had recovered well enough to begin a shouting match with Belen when they happened upon one another in the upstairs hallway while the rest of their families celebrated together in the dining room. Lorelei happened upon them and shooed them downstairs into the foyer where they continued to rant to one another, declaring their disapproval.

“Then leave,” Grace’s no longer tiny voice sounded from the doorway.

Andros stood at her side, “We gave you more than either of you deserved. We wish you could be happy for us, but if you cannot, then so be it.”

Belen and Yaya fell silent, staring back at the two with stony faces. Yaya opened her mouth, but Grace stopped her, “You heard him–git!”

Belen turned to Yaya and began shouting at her that this was her fault, and she spewed anger right back, but when Lorelei opened the front door, they both stormed out it. Their voices carried on into the night as they stalked across the yard until they could no longer be heard.

***

The wedding was to take place the next morning in the manor’s back garden. Lorelei was pleased with the set up that she helped Ziah put together even with Arista shouting at them the entire time. As the guests took their seats, she and Ziah hurried inside to see if there was anything else Grace needed, but were shocked at what they were met with.

A crying Grace, just like how Lorelei had first found her, sat on the edge of her bed. When they questioned what happened, a young nymph pointed to the far wall and the dress bag that hung there. It had been unzipped and inside instead of a gown, tattered white fabric hung limply from the hanger, spilling out onto the floor.

Lorelei went to the tatters, mouth agape, “There’s got to be someone here who can, like, magic this back together.”

“In time to walk down the aisle?” Ziah was behind her, whispering into her ear, “Doubtful.”

Grace sniffed, “No, it doesn’t matter.” Dressed in a slip, she began digging into her suitcase, throwing skirts and blouses across the room, I’ve got something, I’m sure of it. It doesn’t matter what I wear!”

“I might have something,” the nymph sat back, thinking hard, “It’s mostly pink, but maybe?”

Lorelei stood slowly, “I can fix this.”

“Lore,” Ziah cautioned under her breath, “I really don’t think we can.”

“No,” Lorelei smiled, “I can fix this.” She felt her feet flying before she knew what she was doing. In a flash she descended the stairs and hit the foyer, nearly tripping out the front door. At her car, she threw open the trunk, tossing aside her belongings until she found it.

In an instant she was back inside and thundering up the stairs, catching her breath in the doorway to Grace’s room. She couldn’t speak and instead just held out the garment bag, urging the satyr to take it.

Grace unzipped the bag and white tulle spilled out. Wordlessly, she pulled the wedding gown from the bag and held it up to herself. “How?”

Still panting, Lorelei shook her head with a smile then shrugged.

***

“Okay, how’d you do it?” Ziah was drumming her fingers on the table, eying Lorelei with hawklike intensity. The party had gone on all day and into the evening, and finally the new Aristaeus-Nomia clan had retired leaving Lorelei and her co-workers scattered around a table in the garden amidst empty serving trays and place settings. When she didn’t answer, Ziah leaned in closer, “I know it’s not your forte, magicking up dresses, so how did you do it?” It was clear she was at least a little tipsy.

Hotaru was suddenly staring at her with the same intensity, “What does she mean? Magicking up dresses?” They all learned that Grace’s dress had been shredded by Belen, and similarly the rings had been stolen by Yaya, but only when both Belen and Yaya returned after the ceremony. They two were distraught and after spending the night lost in the woods had seen the error in their ways, confessing to the wedding party. Though Grace and Andros were prepared to be wed in t-shirts and utilizing candy rings, replacements for all had been provided, seemingly, by a miracle.

“Uh,” Lorelei shrank back in her chair, hoping against hope it would not come up.

Conrad and Grier perked up despite the headaches they’d been nursing all day, and even Ren cocked his head so that one long ear was pointed toward her. “Wait,” Grier rubbed at his eyes, his voice hoarse, “So Lorelei did magic?”

“It wasn’t magic,” she said quickly amongst mixed company who knew and did not know her secret, “It was just luck. You know, the same way Grace was able to get Nature to give her blessing or how Andros held his liquor so well.”

Ren reached a long arm across the table and picked a bloom from the centerpiece. He held it before his face between two fingers, and from the stem, roots grew, long and thick, and the bloom itself multiplied. A moment later he was holding a bouquet. Of course, she thought to herself, It’s why Ziah had insisted he go to the forest with them.

Lorelei blinked, turning to Conrad and Grier, “And you two, you were drunk!”

The warlock put a finger to his lips, wincing from her shout, “Transference. It’s complicated, but not difficult with multiple willing subjects.”

Lorelei sighed. She had to tell them. “I had the dress in my car. It was mine.” Lorelei took in their faces, a range of confusion until she saw Ziah’s realization and the woman’s instant regret at having said anything at all. “I was sort of supposed to get married,” she told them, studying the grain of the wooden table with intensity, “but instead I just kinda drove past the church and I ended up, well, here.” When no one spoke she swallowed, “They did think it was really weird I wanted to drive myself, and in hindsight I can see that.”

“You’re a runaway bride.” Grier was grinning from ear to ear, the bastard.

Lorelei cringed, but nodded.

“That’s why,” Ziah was staring past her and up at the manor, illuminated in the darkness. “No,” she smiled, “That was more than luck. That was magic.”

 

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The Need To Be Liked

I talked about the freedom of being phone-less recently, and since I’ve replaced my sad cracked-screen with a much more expensive but narrowly different model, I’ve been trying to limit my use of it. I could do better (damn you, Hogwarts Mystery!), and admittedly it hurts to drop a few hundred dollars on something just to be like “NO, DON’T TOUCH THAT!” but when I am using it, I’m really starting to pay attention to how it affects not just my production, but my mood, specifically my self worth. And it’s…a lot.

I like to think I’m less easily swayed by what I see on social media than the average whoever, not because I’m superior–of course I feel jealousy like any other human, and when I see an ad for pizza I WANT PIZZA–but because 1) I’m actively thinking about how these things are making me feel, and 2) I’ve put in effort to work past that jealousy stage so that mostly when I see someone who is successful, attractive, and happy, I’m inspired. I’m interested in how people that I follow got their ass to look that way, produced such riveting content, managed to smile after heartbreak. It helps that I try to follow people who are very open about their flaws, but I don’t have that sort of control over everything I’m exposed to, and sometimes I’m left feeling, well, let’s say contemplative.

The path to success is shrouded in mystery, especially when your horse is a creative endeavor and your satchel is stuffed with naught but pencils and a thesaurus. Practice, work hard, risk failure, fail harder. These are some of the trials of our hero’s journey, and don’t get me wrong, they make a great journey, but then you bump into the already popular knight brandishing his shiny teeth and stylish but hollow swordplay, and you wonder: WHAT THE FUCK? His troupe consists of a grizzled, retired mercenary who’s universally loved but misogynistic as hell and frankly devoid of any actual personal development, and a sidekick that’s just like always there, and loud, and why is he always there? But sometimes the righteous and pious and good make it to the top, and you’re so happy for them, so pleased, but it’s still so terribly confusing. Success isn’t wholly unfair, so you wonder if there’s a formula, a way to make it all worth it. I’ve only come to the conclusion that luck is playing a role, and that’s not really just to make myself feel better about failure–I just don’t have any other explanation.

I don’t want this post to come off as whiny. I do think the effort is worth it even if you never go anywhere with your work and you die alone, penniless, rotting away from the plague. It’s, you know, the journey or whatever. Plus there’s always the possibility of being posthumously discovered and your words, your art, your music, reaching someone who cares and gets joy out of it all (presumably you’re producing something in order to bring joy to others). I’m just trying to figure out the how (you can’t bring joy to people without reaching them), and trying to govern my own ego along said journey.

the journey

I don’t buy the saying “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” Yes, if you’re doing what you love it’s exponentially less stressful and difficult and soul-crushing than doing something you hate, or something you tolerate, or even something you like, but no one’s creative passion isn’t actual work. If you’ve ever encountered something good, you’re experiencing the result of somebody’s labor and at least one broken mug, a handful of abandonments, and infinite swearing sessions.

It’d just be nice to know it’s all probably leading somewhere.

I see this mirrored in this one weird trick that I’ve been noticing a lot on both Twitter and Instagram. People will follow you, like a handful of your posts, then unfollow you a couple days later. I’m assuming this is done through a bot and they’re doing this to all the users posting under a specific tag and probably get enough people following back and sticking around to be worth it; it’s just so insanely shallow. These are not real views, not real fans, and when I’m trying to promote my actual work I just find it frustrating. Maybe I should be thankful? That’s a handful of likes I wouldn’t have gotten otherwise that might push my post up higher in some reverse-Robin Hood algorithm where the popular get more popular (which is its own bullshit ranty blog post), but it’s not genuine. It doesn’t let me really gauge if I’m reaching anyone, and worst of all these users clutter up the tags we might use to actually reach real readers.

And then I realize I’m guilty of this too when I use tags. Maybe not to the gross extent I’m seeing out there, but if others are playing the game that hard, don’t I need to at least engage to be seen at all? In the end, tags are words, and I love words, and I’m a little pissed at how this makes them lose their meaning.

But in the end it comes down to this, the contemplative self-worth part: maybe I’m just not that good.

That thought it scary and intrusive, but legitimate. I don’t have much else to say beyond that except that I’m actually glad I’m having the thought (not that I haven’t always had this thought, it just takes on a different shade in the world of social media). I think it’s helpful, kind of like seeing a fitspo model’s perfect ass on my Instagram feed. Yeah, I feel bad about my ass, but I might be able to have that ass if I work at it.

Might.

Thoughts While Watching 1999’s “She’s All That” For The First Time In Probably 10+ Years

(Note, I only started taking screenshots at the very end. Sorry.)

No one looks like that in high school. Not in the 90s anyway.

Matthew goddamned Lillard.

Did Usher actually attend this school as a student? Or was he just the school’s hired DJ? Why does a school need a DJ, hired or otherwise?

The things the edgy girls say to Laney in art class are SO FUCKING MEAN that I almost did a spit take. That shit is HARSH and a million times worse than anything Taylor does.

If I wasn’t attracted to women before Mac, I sure as fuck was after.

“Supersize my balls.”

I can’t tell if it’s a wig or not, but Laney’s long hair is weird. It is a wig, isn’t it?

Simon and I know exactly same amount about alcohol.

“What is Shampoo?”

Rachel Leigh Cook coming down the stairs to “Kiss Me” is i-con-ic.

“GIVE IT TO ME BABY!”

Petition to bring back the man-titties-out soccer shirts!

Zack’s blonde friend really takes a turn in the second act. Hey, that’s Paul Walker! Aw, takes a turn…oh no, I made myself sad.

Was Usher actually ever on set with any of the principle cast?

LANEY USES POOL PARTS IN HER PAINTINGS OMG WHAT A SMART FUCKING CHOICE FOR THE PROP DEPARTMENT. ALSO HOW IS THAT NOT A PIECE OF HER IN HER ARTWORK, MS. ART TEACHER?

Zack’s internal struggle is beautiful.

Was this movie sponsored by The Real World?

DO YOU GUYS REMEMBER THE REAL WORLD?

Did anyone go to a school where people freestyled at all let alone about who was going to be prom queen? Do you think they wrote those freestyles and then titled the movie or decided on the title and then wrote it into the rap?

The pube pizza scene was something I had blocked out of my memory 19 years ago, and I am pissed off I’ve been subjected to it once again.

Their one use of “fuck” is spot on.

I really appreciate how they portrayed both Zack and Laney’s dads.

The prom photographer is all of us.

Why is Lil’ Kim in this movie if she doesn’t have any lines??

This guy’s hair:

hair
Inspiration: Pineapple

Taylor is wearing butterfly clips, face glitter, and gold lipstick to prom. Goddess.

taylor
Get on my level, Zack!

Usher implies he taught the students the choreography that the “dance team” performs during prom which suggests he may also be the dance instructor at the school? This weirdly makes sense to me, but I’m pissed off we never got a spin off called They’re All That And A Bag of Potato Chips staring Usher, Lil’ Kim, and Gabrielle Union going to and winning state.

Basically, the concept of the Usher DJ is a really novel idea, and I love it.

usher
WHY WOULD I EVER WANT TO ESCAPE THIS, COMPUTER, WHYYYYYYY???

This guy’s hair again:

this guy
I’m sorry, dancer, you didn’t deserve this.

She’s All That is basically Grease at this point, and I am here for it.

The dancers are wearing dance shoes. No matter what kind of dress they have on, they’ve all got Broadwayesque boxy heels on. I’m also here for that.

They should have made a live action Captain Planet with these guys as Earth and Fire:

cp
RIP Mr. Walker

Unpopular Opinion: Taylor deserved to be prom queen. She’s clearly going to peak in high school, she needed it more.

The race for Laney’s virginity admittedly makes me uncomfortable, but I’m unsure how this could have been written better. At least it works out well with Laney defending her own honor.

Usher is literally credited as “Campus DJ.” This doesn’t answer any of my questions.

Final Thought: This is an A+, high quality, 100% amazing FILM, and I recommend it to all of you right this very instant.

Podcast: Vacancy 1.05 – Alone Into The Woods

Episode 1.05 – Alone Into The Woods

Vacancy is an ongoing web serial. Find out more about it and start reading or listening here.

Vacancy’s Theme is “Planet Bullspit” by Corey Major

Vacancy Episode 1.05 uses these sounds from freesound, all of which have been remixed. The inclusion of any sound does not indicate endorsement of this completed work or its author:

Vacancy – 1.21 – A Long History

Vacancy is an ongoing web serial. Find out more about it and start reading here.

v 1.21

The scene that met Lorelei far outweighed the slight kerfuffle she thought she heard from behind the front desk. Helpless, she stood on the threshold to the dining room looking in on flying cups, plates, and people. There was shouting, glass shattering, tables being upended, and perhaps worst of all, a young woman crying into her hands in the midst of it all.

“I don’t know if I can do it,” Conrad was saying as he rolled up his sleeves, “There are too many of them to stun.”

Ziah ducked, a teacup missing her temple by inches and shattering against the foyer’s hardwoods, “I’ll take whatever you can manage.”

From his pocket, he pulled open a sachet full of sand and tossed its contents into the air, then with a snap, the scene came to a halt.

Like a living painting, the guests were frozen in place, hovering in mid air with hands pulled back into fists. Saucers and bowls were suspended between them, their contents like brush strokes in the air. But Lorelei could see they weren’t entirely frozen; the guests were moving, just barely, at a pace almost imperceptible.

Grier nudged her, “It’s a lot neater when you’re not a part of it.”

The sand Conrad had thrown collected itself above them to mimic an hourglass near the upper frame of the door. “You’ve got about ten minutes,” he told them.

Ziah hurried into the room and began collecting some of the flying cutlery as she chastised the party. The guests, of course, could not respond, but their eyes moved wildly in their sockets and Lorelei remembered the feeling of being frozen herself. It had been unpleasant, the aftermath even more so.

“So what happened here?” Conrad asked, righting a table.

Gathering up a splash of potato and leek soup from the air, Lorelei pointed to the sobbing woman with a spoon, “I’m not sure, but I bet she could tell us.”

With another snap just before her face, the girl came to life, her cries audible now with the ruckus of the room silenced. Her shoulders shook, then she sniffed and sat up, uncovering her face. Blinking, the young woman looked about the room with growing realization. She had dark eyes and a round, sun-kissed face, long, tightly curled amber hair, and to Lorelei’s surprise, a matching amber goatee encircling full lips.

“Oh my,” she sniffed again, worrying the hem of her dress in her hand as she stood revealing legs covered in fur and feet that were not feet at all but hooves, “This has turned out just awful.”

As Lorelei safely piled a stack of dishes on a rolling cart that Hotaru had hesitantly brought in, she took note of the other guests. Many looked like the girl with goat-like lower halves and facial hair indiscriminate of gender, and some even had horns in varying shape and length. The others she recognized from checking them in that morning, remembering how odd it had been there were so many lithe, delicate-featured men and women staying that day. In stark contrast to the horned-guests in their more outlandishly colored coats and intricately braided beards, the others were dressed in lighter, gossamer fabrics and wore their hair long and loose, but the ire on the assorted faces was one in the same.

“What’s turned out awful?” Ziah was adjusting one of the guest’s arms so that it was no longer inches from connecting with another guest’s jaw.

“This was supposed to be a happy time, the happiest day of our lives,” she looked longingly at one of the other guests, “But they just can’t get along, not even for one measly weekend!”

“Oh no,” Ziah nearly dropped the casserole dish she was collecting from the air onto the head of the very guest she was attempting to save, “The Aristaeus-Nomia wedding. Don’t tell me your fiance is–”

“A nymph.” She walked up to a group of frozen guests and slipped her hand around the arm of a thin, tall man who appeared to have been holding back another of his kind. He had skin the color of rich soil and small, pointed features set on a long face.

Conrad came around to them and snapped him back into life as well. He stumbled, then took up his fiance’s hands in his own. “My love, please don’t cry.” The woman nodded, but tears still spilled over her cheeks, and he wiped them away.

Ziah led the couple out in to the foyer, motioning for Lorelei to follow, and closed the double doors to the dining room behind them all. “The manor was booked for two family reunions this weekend and one wedding. I don’t know how I didn’t see it,” Ziah had a hand on her forehead, “What were you guys thinking?”

The man began, “We did invite them here under false pretenses–”

“You booked them under false pretenses too!” Ziah’s lips were drawn into a tight frown.

“We did,” he conceded, “but we needed it to be believable for our families.”

“We really thought that once we had them all together here if we could just talk to them, just show them how much we love one another, that they’d be happy for us.” The woman’s voice was ragged, and they both leaned against each other, hands clasped.

“I don’t understand,” Lorelei glanced back the the dining room door, hoping the others could clean the mess and separate the guests before they became unstunned, “What’s the big deal? You guys seem happy.”

“Nymph,” Ziah pointed at the man and then at the woman, “Satyr. Their kind have a long history of hating one another. We’re talking major rivalry.”

“To be fair, there is a lot of history between our kind,” the man said, “but those things happened thousands of years ago, and everyone has just held onto the hate.”

Ziah crossed her arms, nervously glancing back at the dining room, “Why don’t you two just elope?”

“Our families are important to us. We hated each other when we met too. We thought it was in our blood. But then the stars aligned,” she sighed and looked up at her fiance, “Andros was so brave in the drakon pits.”

“And Grace was our savior in the labyrinth.” He kissed her on the top of her head, “We fell in love, and we hoped our families could see that. The hate they have for one another is baseless, there’s no reason why they can’t be civil for one day.”

Lorelei felt a heaviness in her heart, “There must be something we can do.”

“Us?” Ziah looked at her wide-eyed, “End a millenia-long feud?”

“Well, I mean, not for all of them, but for these two families? Maybe? It means a lot to them, and I can’t imagine Charmed folk can really afford to be so hateful of each other.”

“You’d be surprised,” Ziah rubbed her chin, “They do have the whole place booked, so they won’t be disturbing any other guests.” She rounded on the two, standing a bit straighter, “Lorelei is right: here at Moonlit Shores Manor we strive to serve our guests to the best of our abilities. Our resident warlock is good, and he may be able to hold some of your family at bay long enough for you to talk things out, but I can’t make any promises. Grab any decision makers your might have and we’ll see what we can do.”

***

The white room was set with a long, glass table in its center, high-backed leather chairs lining either side, and bright fluorescents overhead. Lorelei sat beside Grace at one end, eyeing a nervous Conrad at the other. An elderly woman with horns that curled around the sides of her face–the longest and most curled of any of the guests–sat along one side of the table, Grace’s grandmother and the de facto matriarch of the Nomia clan. Grace’s father and brother sat beside her.

Andros entered the white room with Ziah, behind him trailing three willowy beings. Immediately, Grace’s grandmother jumped to her cloven feet, “That’s the one who hit me in the face with lemon tart! Let me at him!” She was not at all frail for an old thing, and she reached into her over-sized bag and flung a container of mashed potatoes at the group.

The spuds bounced off an invisible barrier that lined the center of the white room. Conrad flinched, then smiled when no one ended up covered in food again.

“There will be no fighting on the premises. This is your one chance to make this work,” Ziah warned, taking a seat at the table’s other end.

“We are no longer interested in making anything work with the likes of them.” The tallest of the family turned back to the door.

“Father!” Andros rounded on him, “You said you would at least hear us out!”

The man sighed, “I did, didn’t I?” He took a careful seat across from Grace’s grandmother, sitting stiff and tall. The man clasped his hands before him, long slender fingers coming to rest just under his chin, “You may proceed.”

“Oh, he thinks the sun comes up just to hear him crow, don’t he?” Grace’s grandmother fell back into her chair, snarling, and her family nodded and scoffed in agreement.

Lorelei’s stomach turned over: it was already not going well, and Ziah was eyeing her from across the room with panic.

“Yaya,” Grace put a cautioning tone in her voice as she addressed her grandmother, “This is Andros’s father, Belen. He sits on the Council of Divine Spirits.”

“Whoopdedoo,” Yaya mumbled.

“And his wife, Kasia, also on the council, and?”

Andros cleared his throat, “And Kal, another senior member of the Council,” he finished for her, “Father, this is Grace’s grandmother, the leader of her clan, her father Caleb, and brother Rex. They are her closest family, and she cherishes them.”

The nymphs simply stared back.

“Andros and I are in love,” Grace broke in, “We are not asking y’all to become best friends, we just want a peaceful ceremony with your blessings.”

“Did she just say y’all?” Belen’s lip was upturned.

“Father!”

Belen groaned in the back of his throat, but attempted to reign himself in, “Marrying a nymph means granting great prestige on another being. We are not opposed to intermarriages, but a satyr is unprecedented.”

“Well, it ain’t no disgrace to marry a satyr neither! If that boy wanted to be my granddaughter’s husband, he’d need to prove himself worthy!” Yaya was red in the face as she shouted across the table, but she managed to keep herself seated.

“I think we are not in disagreement about this,” Kasia spoke at last, placing a hand on her husband’s elbow, “Though it has fallen out of favor, traditionally our kind have requested not individual blessings, but blessings from Nature itself when making grand decisions. Perhaps your Grace would be willing to take part in a small ceremony as trial for approval?”

Grace’s father sputtered, “Trial for approval? Grace is the smartest, sweetest, most prettiest satyr this side of the Achelous. She don’t need to prove nothing!”

“Now, wait just a minute,” Yaya waved away her son, “Little Miss Froofroo over here ain’t suggesting the worst idea I ever heard.”

Kasia sniffed, “I’m not sure whether to be offended or not.”

“Trials for both of ‘em is what I’m getting at!” Yaya smirked at Andros, then eyed his father, “I’ll happily marry ‘em myself if your boy can prove he’s a worth satyr suitor.”

Belen too stood, pausing a long moment to look over the family. “This seems acceptable.”

It should have been a joyous moment, but the room felt tense. Belen wore a tight frown and Yaya was smirking with a wicked sort of delight. Only Grace looked to be happy.

Yaya brought her palm up to her mouth and spit on it then extended her hand to Belen. The nymph stared at it, then glanced at Conrad and gave a curt nod. He took the barrier down with a wave of his hand and a flash of light, and the two shook.

 

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