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r/NFL Top 100 Players of the 2019 Season - #20-11

Welcome to the reveal for players ranked 20-11 for this year’s NFL Top 100 Players for the 2019 Season!

Players whose average rank had them land in places 20-11 are on this portion of the list revealed today. Players are associated with the team they finished 2019 with.
Below you will see write-ups from rankers summarizing the players' 2019 season and why they were among the best in 2019. Stats for each player are from this season and are included below. Additionally, their previous ranks in this long running series are also available for all of you.
Methodology
LINK TO THE HUB POST WITH A MORE DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE METHODOLOGY
  1. A CALL FOR RANKERS just after the Super Bowl.
  2. Rankers for each team nominated players to rank. 10 Games Played Minimum Threshold. Players are associated with the team they finished the 2019 Season with.
  3. The Grind. Utilize ranking threads for individual rankers broken up by positional group. Users were tasked with ranking players within the following tiers based on their evaluation: T-25, T-50, T-100, T-125 based on 2019 regular season only. There were no individual case threads. There were no arbitrary position limit caps. Just questions and rankings.
  4. Users submitted their individual Top 125 list. Ranking out to 125 is new for this year.
  5. User lists were reviewed for outliers by me with assistance from two former rankers. Users were permitted to correct any mistakes found. Once complete, lists were locked.
  6. Reveal the list… right now.
So now, without further ado, here are the players ranked 20-11 in the NFL Top 100 Players of the 2019 Season!

#20 - Danielle Hunter - EDGE - Minnesota Vikings

Previous Ranks
2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
N/A N/A N/A N/R N/R N/R 32
Written By: uggsandstarbux
Khalil Mack. Von Miller. JJ Watt. Those are the names that come up when you mention edge players in the NFL over the last half a decade. Yet none have as many sacks as Danielle Hunter in the last two years. Hunter is continually passed over in the conversation of edge rushers. Even among young edge rushers like the Bosa brothers, TJ Watt, Myles Garrett, and Bradley Chubb, Hunter is forgotten. He only received 4 All Pro votes from AP (of a possible 50). He failed to make PFF’s All Pro team. Is it because he wasn’t a 1st round pick? Is it because the Vikings defense was already dominant before his arrival?
Hunter has improved every year he’s gotten into the league (88 pressures this year vs 67 last year vs 55 in 2016). His first couple years in the league, he rotated in behind Everson Griffen and Brian Robinson. Yet he holds the record for most sacks before his 25th birthday and was one of only a handful of players in 2019 with double digit sacks and 15+ TFLs last season. He earned an 89.0 overall grade from PFF and forced 3 fumbles this year.
Beyond the numbers, Hunter is a unit. He came out of LSU as one of the more raw pass rushers in his draft. However, under the tutelage of the mighty Andre Patterson, Hunter has become one of the most athletic, versatile, technical, dominant edge defenders in the game. He can beat you with a pure bull rush, but he can also beat you with his speed and agility. He’s picked up Everson Griffen’s deadly spin move and has the motor to work through double teams. He can win with an inside move, or he can play pure 3T for an entire game (a la vs NO). He’s got a great understanding of the game and is a force to be reckoned with. If you’re placing bets for DPOY in 2020, don’t waste your money on the big name guys like Aaron Donald (+750) or Khalil Mack (+1100). Don’t spend it on young up and comers, lke Nick Bosa (+1300) or TJ Watt (+1500) either. Place it on Danielle Hunter (+2300). He’s going to continue dominating as he gains more recognition and climbs toward stardom.

#19 - Chris Godwin - Wide Receiver - Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Previous Ranks
2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/R N/R
Written By: MysticTyph00n
At the beginning of the 2019 NFL season Bruce Arians said:
"I think Chris Godwin is going to be close to a 100-catch guy, especially because I think he can play in the slot,"...."He's never coming off the field."
Bucs fans thought this could be very well true in BA's system, especially with the departure of Desean Jackson which only really left Mike Evans as the only other real target on the team.
The 3rd round pick from Penn State showed up big time this year after having two relatively quiet seasons. Through 13.5 games (missing the final 2.5 due to a hamstring injury) he amassed 86 receptions for 1,333 yards, 9 TDs and only one drop(In fact he's only had 2 drops total in 2018 & 2019)He very well could have gone over 100 receptions , 1,500 yards as well as double digit TDs, but that's just projecting right?
According to PFF he was an absolute monster in the slot with an outstanding 96.5 grade, which shows he can line up anywhere on the field and still produce big time for the Buccaneers.
In 2020, I honestly expect Chris Godwin to have close to the same production, and possibly even better with how much he produces from the slot.
Please don't leave us…

#18 - Quenton Nelson - Offensive Guard - Indianapolis Colts

Previous Ranks
2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 70
Written By: Zzyzx8
Selecting a guard 6th overall was a bold movie for second year GM Chris Ballard, even one as highly touted as Quenton Nelson. Casual fans hated it, while draft junkies loved it. Two years later, it’s become clear that the pick was a home run. Nelson’s selection single handedly turned around a unit that was largely responsible for a slew of injuries to Andrew Luck into one of the best units. Nelson’s second year was only better, cementing himself as one of the best guards in the league, a true road grader. He spent the past year terrorizing nfl defensive lineman en route to his second pro bowl and all pro selections. Plus, he pulled off what was by far the best touchdown celebration of the season

#17 - Jamal Adams - Strong Safety - New York Jets

Previous Ranks
2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/R 18
Written By: the_fuzzy_stoner robdog1330
I would just like to start with a moment of silence for the fans of the New York Jets after Jamal Adams recently demanded a trade from that inept organization with a dumpster fire of a coach in Adam Gase.
Anyways, after an incredible sophomore season, Adams has kept up with his awesome play in his third season as one of the NFL's best and most versatile defensive players as well as the clear-cut best player on a football team that somehow won seven games. Adams, also known as President 'Mal, recorded an interception (which was returned 61 yards to the house), 7 passes defended, 11 hurries, and 36 stops, but that's not all! Adams also garnered 6.5 sacks (which is amazing for a DB) and forced two fumbles (like this one he returned to the house on my guy Daniel Jones 😔). With his exceptional play, the star safety was named to the 1st Team All-Pro as well as his second Pro Bowl selection (an honor which none of his other Jets teammates got this year).
What makes Adams so special is that he is exceptional against both the running and passing game. Whether he's with Gang Green or another franchise next year, I'd expect another stellar season out of Jamal Adams in 2020 (assuming there is one) and even as a Giants fan who watched him dominate my team this past season, I really appreciate the guy's play.

#16 - Derrick Henry - Running Back - Tennessee Titans

Previous Ranks
2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
N/A N/A N/A N/A N/R N/R N/R
Written By: broccolibush42
DERRRRIIIICK HENRY!!!
This part man part tractor was the plow that turned our barren field into a bountiful wheat field full of Nashville Hot Chicken. This beautiful muscly man with a poop rat tail decimated opponents and General Sherman'd the AFC South. Totaling at 1540 yards and 16 Touchdowns in 15 games, with 6 coming from a slow start in a Mariota lead offense, he caught fire and dragged his nuts all over teams like the Chargers, Chiefs, Jags, Colts, Texans, Raiders and was showing just absolute dominance on the field. (Sadly we arent able to take the playoffs into account otherwise i'd gush over how he embarrassed a couple of scrub one and done teams).
Henry has this certain tenacity and a godlike level of endurance that just makes him an absolute beast in the 2nd half. He is just able to keep going, and going, and going, until finally, players get tired of it and turn into lead blockers for him. He is extremely hard to tackle to. Take a look at this play against the Chiefs in week 10, guys just bounce off him like he's running through toddlers. Derrick Henry is so hard to tackle that, according to PFF, Henry had over 1200 of his 1540 total yards after contact. Like this dude was getting hit at the line of scrimmage and he is just like, fuck this shit, i aint no dion lewis, and keeps going. How is this guy even real???
Another thing about Henry is his speed! Henry is a 6'3" 240 pound dude running 20+ MPH down the field when he breaks the open one. Like look at this speed he gets vs the Browns in week 1. Or this one against the Jags where he outruns guys and stiff arms the ones who barely managed to keep pace. Speaking of stiff arms, Derrick Henry has one of, if not, the BEST Stiff Arm in the league. If I had to pick a way to die, I think I would like Henry to stiff arm me in the face running at me at 21 miles per hour with this face, because there would be no greater honor to a titans fan than death by Henry. That concludes my Henry jerk fest. Here are some more highlights. and here are the real link.

#15 - Travis Kelce - Tight End - Kansas City Chiefs

Previous Ranks
2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
N/A N/R 84 N/R 28 31 13
Written By: DTSportsNow
Travis Kelce was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2013 draft. He wound up missing his rookie season due needing to receive microfracture surgery on his knee over the offseason and dealing with a bone bruise during the season. Since then he's received 4 All-Pro designations and was named to the NFL 2010s All-Decade team. He's also become the 1st TE in NFL history to have 4 straight 1,000+ yard seasons. Not bad considering how his career got started.
In 2019 he finished his 2nd straight season of 1,200+ yards and 3rd straight season leading the league in deep receiving yards by a tight end (274). He finished top 4 in overall TE grade for the 4th straight year (85.1), and was named to his second 2nd-team All-Pro designation. In the Sunday Night Football contest against the Chicago Bears he caught his 500th career reception, becoming the fastest TE in NFL history to reach that mark.
There's no doubt that Kelce is one of the best tight ends in the game, and winding up in the top 20 proves many believe him to be one of the very best players in the league. Since Gronk's decline it's essentially been between him and George Kittle for the top player at the position. He's a key component of what Andy Reid and the Chiefs like to do on offense, even as stacked as the offence is. With a Super Bowl victory and a few records to his name already his legacy will be decided by how long he can keep up his premier play. His partnership with Patrick Mahomes should take him to a locked up Hall of Fame bust.

#14 - Ryan Ramczyk - Offensive Tackle - New Orleans Saints

Previous Ranks
2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 100 74
Written By: Dahki
In 2017, sb nation wrote an article claiming that Ryan Ramczyk wasn't a first round talent at LT. The site went so far as to say he would benefit from a switch to RT. In short, they ended up nailing that on the head. The three-year vet has spent almost the entirety of his career anchoring the right side of the Saints O-line after being picked at 32 overall, and boy, has it worked out for both the team and the Wisconsin alum.
Ram makes the /nfl top 100 list for two reasons. First, he was really good. Second, we really wanted to hammer in the idea that the Saints O-line as a whole was really good. Most notably, Ram exits the 2019 season with his first first-team all pro, and he was more than deserving of it. Similar to teammate Terron Armstead, Ram refused to allow Brees or Teddy to be touched, giving up no sacks on the season. Even better, Ram kept his QBs almost squeaky clean in the pocket, allowing just one hit on the entire season, good for 2nd best in the league among nominated tackles. And Ram didn't just do well in pass pro; he was PFFs top graded OT when run-blocking, showcasing his power and quickness from his spot. In total, Ram spent the 2019 season as the biggest challenge for opposing D-lines to overcome when facing the Saints.

#13 - Julio Jones - Wide Receiver - Atlanta Falcons

Previous Ranks
2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
32 93 23 8 2 21 17
Written By: CokeZ3ro
It's a bird, it’s a plane, no it's Jet Jones! In his 9th season Julio continues to be one of the most dominant receivers in the NFL, and the undisputed best player on the team. He’s a force that defenses must give their full attention, and even then he can explode. Even when he doesn’t get the ball, his influence and abilities still shape the play, and better everyone around him. This past offseason Julio agreed to a three-year contract extension worth $66 million, making him the NFL’s highest paid WR, and extending him to 2023. Even though 2019 was a down year statistically, Julio continued to show why the money is worth it. In a “down year” Julio was 2nd in reception yards, 3rd in Yards/Game, and 1st in Scrimmage Yards/Touch, and made his 6th consecutive Pro-Bowl.
But stats can hardly capture the elite combination of athleticism and skill that makes Julio so great. A combination perfectly captured here where Julio is able to jump over the coverage of CB Leodis McKelvin and then tiptoe to complete the coverage on the way down. Later that same game, with the Falcons against the wall, Julio showed that no man can catch him in a 53-yard burst (shoutout to Jake Matthews for the Pancake Block). Julio utilized his route skills to make CB Pierre Desir eat turf before making a 34-yard reception; which likely would have been much more if Ryan didn’t underthrow it. He’s pretty good at catching too, exhibited as reaches over CB Quincy Wilson and manages to hold onto the ball through tackles from Wilson and SS Clayton Geathers to score. Doesn’t matter who you are, Luke Keuchly, Marshon Lattimore, AJ Bouye; doesn’t matter. bUt hE dOEsn’T gET tOUchDoWnS I hear the Fantasy owners say. Watch this and notice how often in the redzone Julio is serving to support his team (blocks, inside presence, taking double defenders), or is just ignored. He’s open more often people realize.
Even in a disappointing season for the Falcons, Julio continues to shine through as one of the NFL’s premiere combos of athleticism and skill. Julio is and will continue to be an absolute force for the offense.

#12 - Chandler Jones - EDGE - Arizona Cardinals

Previous Ranks
2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
N/R N/R N/R N/R 60 24 100
Written By: Beehay
In my write up of ChanJo last year, I mentioned that the return to the 3/4 (even if it's under Vance Joseph) will be huge for his stats. And boy howdy was it! At 30 years old and after double digit sack totals for 5 straight years, Jones set a career high of sacks at 19 this year. He had 8 Forced Fumbles, 53 Tackles, and 26 QB hits. Most of his stats improved from 2018, some more drastically than others. His pass coverage marginally improved but why the hell would you really want him to cover guys? (Don't say it Niners fans, DON'T SAY IT)
Chandler Jones is the prototype for edge defenders. He is what all other Defensive Coordinators wish they had. Strong, fast, smart, consistent. Here's a guys opinion and a breakdown. Here's some highlights because not everybody watched all 16 Cardinals games last year and I don't blame them. I think he will rank even higher next year if he stays healthy because he will finally get to settle into a defense again. Even if it's Vance Joseph's.

#11 - Ronnie Stanley - Offensive Tackle - Baltimore Ravens

Previous Ranks
2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
N/A N/A N/A N/A N/R N/R 97
Written By: Letsgomountaineers5
Where to begin with Ronnie Stanley? Oh, how about a nearly minute long clip of him absolutely bullying First Team All Pro and NFC DPOY Chandler Jones. You like that? (Sorry Cards fans, but hey we all know Chandler Jones is a beast). Ronnie Stanley was the best LT in the league. No wait, actually he was the best overall tackle in the league. Actually, Stanley was the best lineman in the league, bar none. I truly believe Stanley was a top 5 player in the NFL last season and even tried (and failed/came to senses) to argue Stanley as a top 2 player. His dominance on the left side of that line was unprecedented.
I know stats don’t paint the entire picture, especially for OL, but I have to start there because his stats were unworldly as a blindside protector facing the best pass rushers the NFL has to offer. Going against the likes of TJ Watt twice a year, Carlos Dunlap twice a year, Myles Garrett, Chandler Jones, Nick Bosa, Shaq Barrett (need I go on), he allowed zero sacks and six pressures on 445 pass blocking snaps. Of tackles with at least 400 pass blocking snaps to allow 6 pressures or less, he was the only one. Wait, the only one? Let’s expand. 10 pressures on 400 snaps? Hmm. Only Ronnie Stanley. 15? Hmm only Ronnie Stanley. 20 and no sacks? Only Ronnie Stanley. Unreal.
So how does he do it? Well for starters, he has an elite pass rusher’s explosion as an offensive lineman. He can pack a pop that will knock the best rushers off line or on their ass without overextending. Just ask Nick Bosa. Refer back to the Chandler Jones lowlight reel for a second and check out how often he simply beats Jones (one of the most explosive and best bending edge rushers in the game) to his spot time and time again. Stanley is out of his stance so fast it looks like he’s false starting and, be it film review/sixth sense/sheer athleticism (my money is on all three), he hits the pass rushers’ marks before they do. Sometimes, he even chips defenders to the ground he doesn’t have a responsibility for. Because of these reasons, he’s basically the only lineman in the game not playing catchup and is tremendously equipped to react to counters. In the run game, he was a driving reason behind that team’s record setting running success. He can be a mauler, but with his speed also can pull like the best guards in the game and lead block for some of the fastest players in the game.
At the end of the day, his dominance in both pass blocking and run blocking makes him a worthy top 15 player, and if not for a tendency to underrate linemen, I believe he should’ve been a shoe-in for the top 10. If you read this far, thank you. Now I need to go puke after that glowing endorsement for a Raven.

LINK TO 2019 POSITIONAL GROUPING TRACKER

LINK TO 2019 RANKER SHEETS

LINK TO HUB

Schedule Change

Unveiling of ranks 10-6 will take place Monday, July 6 instead of Tuesday. Unveiling of ranks 5-1 will take place on Thursday, July 9. Thank you!
submitted by MikeTysonChicken to nfl [link] [comments]

Lynn Bowden Jr is a Problem

With each year that goes by, it seems as if we’re inching closer and closer to position-less football. In this draft class, the “hybrid players” that seemingly get the most attention are Laviska Shenault and Antonio Gibson. Though his profile is tantalizing, the question of health surrounds Viska. With a very questionable offense, will Gibson be able to shine?
If one can hit on a hybrid player in dynasty, there’s not many more stocks that are more fun to watch go up. For my money, this year, that guy isn’t Viska or Gibson - it’s Lynn Bowden Jr.
Let’s go over a few points:
1) Production
2019 stats:
1,235 rushing yards 11 Rushing TDs 330 Passing Yards 2 Passing TDs 348 Receiving Yards 1 Receiving TD 200 Kickoff Return Yards 53 Punt Return Yards
To add, he accounted for a third (literally, 33.3%) of all Kentucky’s rushing and receiving yards. This is SEC competition folks. Florida, SC, UGA themselves are typically among the most stout of defenses (the East typically doesn’t have the most high octane offenses, but, traditionally, their defenses have been superb).
To cap it all off: he won the Paul Hornung Award (nation’s best all purpose/most versatile player), was 1st team All-SEC...and a consensus 1st team All-American.
In terms of production and displaying his talent, he was nothing short of special in 2019.
2) Fit with the Raiders
Prior to the draft, GM Mike Mayock had a very interesting line:
"You start looking at guys on the offense that can play in the slot, play at RB, be H-backs, there’s not really a label for them. They’re just either dynamic players, or they’re not."
Sure enough, Lynn Bowden Jr was the pick weeks later.
It’s odd to me how many folks still have him listed as a WR. Mayock, after the pick, was pretty clear about his intentions with Bowden...as he explicitly stated that he’d be mostly a RB/Joker type of role. Moving him around is assumed, due to the obvious nature of Bowden’s talent, but it’s nice for a GM to call out his primary role.
Mayock has shown he is as good of a scouting GM as there is in the NFL. There’s little reason to doubt they don’t have a plan (that will end up paying dividends for dynasty owners) for Bowden.
3) 2020 Outlook
Suddenly, the Raiders have a lot of mouths. Since Bowden will be lining up in multiple places, let’s look at things at a high level:
Jacobs Waller Ruggs Edwards Renfrow Richard T Williams
There’s more, but these are the ones that matter.
Let’s go down the list:
I do not believe Ruggs will be “fed” in 2020. I truly believe Ruggs will do the Raiders wonders, both in stretching the field and kick returning. He’ll have his game breaking plays, but he will not be filling up stat sheets on a weekly basis.
Bowden was the plan.
I think Lynn Bowden can easily get 70 carries and 40 catches. There are a lot of names here...but the opportunity for Bowden is clearer than one would expect.
Remember, he’s superior to Tarik Cohen as a prospect, has the higher draft cap, and has the hardware to show that he can line up anywhere. That raiders offense will also move the ball more effectively than the bears.
4) The Conspiracy Theorist in Me
Play along with me here. Derek Carr has been in the crosshairs of many trade rumors for multiple years. There’s a strong argument that the raiders are a QB away from being a significant threat in the AFC (that division is hell...with the chargers being a crazy D on paper, Broncos O being as loaded as it is, and KC being KC).
Mariota got paid, to say the least. IF Carr flames/gets hurt....and IF Mariota subsequently flames/gets hurt (very possible, much more so than Carr)...what happens?
Lynn Bowden Jr, right?
I’m willing to bet this scenario, or even just having Lynn pass a few times a game, played a factor in this pick. Lynn Bowden Jr is flat out dangerous with the ball, regardless of where he has it. If Gruden can figure out a way to make Bowden dangerous from the QB position in the NFL...watch out.
The point is: he’s an OPTION
To close, I think people are sleeping on Lynn Bowden Jr. He doesn’t have any business going in the 4th round of a rookie draft. He has the talent to be a star in the NFL, and the amount of names in the Raiders offensive room has spooked people. These names aren’t as robust as one may think, and we may see a 3rd round gem blossom into a game breaker.
Draft Lynn Bowden Jr and enjoy the ride. We haven’t seen many players like this man.
submitted by BigBankBilly to DynastyFF [link] [comments]

[MISC] Results of the Clash of Clans survey

Here are the results of the survey I conducted a few days ago. Keep in mind that there may be some bias since I only posted the survey on Reddit (especially in the demographics section). There were 317 responses. Below the survey results, I listed all the responses to "My favorite memory..."
Here are graphs and pie charts for each question (the percentages on the bar graphs are incorrect. Please see below for correct percentages on all the questions): https://photos.app.goo.gl/ts63k2mZ8QoSJ4K39
Survey from 2 years ago for comparison: https://www.reddit.com/ClashOfClans/comments/7pt3my/misc_results_of_the_survey

Demographics

What gender are you?

• Male: 305 responses (96.2%)
• Female: 12 responses (3.7%)

How old are you?

• Below 10: 1 response (0.3%)
• Teens: 191 responses (60.3%)
• 20s: 93 responses (29.3%)
• 30s: 18 responses (5.7%)
• 40s: 9 responses (2.8%)
• 50+: 5 responses (1.6%)

What country are you from?

• United States of America: 188 responses (59.3%)
• Canada: 22 responses (6.9%)
• United Kingdom: 21 responses (6.6%)
• India: 21 responses (6.6%)
• Australia: 11 responses (3.5%)
• Netherlands: 11 responses (3.5%)
• Germany: 7 responses (2.2%)
Other: 36 responses (11.4%)

Player

How often do you play the game?

• Attack a few times a week: 16 responses (5%)
• Attack 1-2 times a day: 52 responses (16.4%)
• Attack 3-4 times a day: 84 responses (26.5%)
• Attack 5+ times a day: 165 responses (52.1%)

What Town Hall are you?

• Levels 1-4: 36 responses (5.3%)
• Levels 5-6: 56 responses (8.2%)
• Level 7: 54 responses (7.9%)
• Level 8: 65 responses (9.5%)
• Level 9: 107 responses (15.7%)
• Level 10: 115 responses (16.9%)
• Level 11: 106 responses (15.5%)
• Level 12: 83 responses (12.2%)
• Level 13: 60 responses (8.8%)

What Builder Hall are you?

• Have not gone to Builder Base: 20 responses (3.6%)
• Level 2: 24 responses (4.3%)
• Level 3: 37 responses (6.7%)
• Level 4: 58 responses (10.5%)
• Level 5: 66 responses (11.9%)
• Level 6: 83 responses (15%)
• Level 7: 62 responses (11.2%)
• Level 8: 51 responses (9.2%)
• Level 9: 154 responses (27.7%)

What trophy league are you in?

• Not in a league (grey): 19 responses (3.2%)
• Bronze: 30 responses (5%)
• Silver: 91 responses (15.2%)
• Gold: 109 responses (18.3%)
• Crystal: 151 responses (25.3%)
• Masters: 80 responses (13.4%)
• Champions: 57 responses (9.5%)
• Titans: 29 responses (4.9%)
• Legends: 31 responses (5.2%)

How many accounts do you have?

• 1 account: 108 responses (34.1%)
• 2 accounts: 105 responses (33.1%)
• 3 accounts: 45 responses (14.2%)
• 4 accounts: 21 responses (6.6%)
• 5+ accounts: 38 responses (12%)

What style of game play do you like?

• Wars (CWL, Regular, and Friendly): 143 responses (45.1%)
• Farming: 143 responses (45.1%)
• Trophy Pushing: 18 responses (5.7%)
• Builder Base: 2 responses (0.6%)
• Other: 11 responses (3.5%)

What is your favorite activity to participate in?

• CWL: 142 responses (44.8%)
• Clan Games: 67 responses (21.1%)
• Clan Wars: 62 responses (19.6%)
• Season Challenges: 18 responses (5.7%)
• Special Events: 16 responses (5%)
• Builder Base: 5 responses (1.6%)
• Other: 7 responses (2.2%)

How often do you buy the Gold Pass?

• Never: 103 responses (32.7%)
• Once every few months: 59 responses (18.7%)
• Every other month: 30 responses (9.5%)
• Always: 123 responses (39%)

How long have you played the game? (Not including breaks)

• Less than 6 months: 30 responses (9.5%)
• 1 year: 30 responses (9.5%)
• 2 years: 46 responses (14.5%)
• 3 years: 64 responses (20.2%)
• 4 years: 36 responses (11.4%)
• 5 years: 40 responses (12.6%)
• 6 years: 53 responses (16.7%)
• Since release: 18 responses (5.7%)

Clan

What is your highest role in the clan?

• Leader: 41 responses (13.1%)
• Co-Leader: 120 responses (38.3%)
• Elder: 95 responses (30.4%)
• Member: 57 responses (18.2%)

What level is your clan?

• Levels 1-3: 25 responses (8%)
• Levels 4-6: 46 responses (14.7%)
• Levels 7-9: 50 responses (16%)
• Levels 10-12: 50 responses (16%)
• Levels 13-15: 52 responses (16.6%)
• Levels 16-18: 37 responses (11.8%)
• Levels 18+: 53 responses (16.9%)

What Clan War League is your clan currently in?

• Bronze: 14 responses (4.5%)
• Silver: 43 responses (13.9%)
• Gold: 85 responses (27.4%)
• Crystal: 103 responses (33.2%)
• Masters: 52 responses (16.8%)
• Champions: 13 responses (4.2%)

How active is your clan?

On a scale of 1-5 with "1" being Dead (almost no activity) and "5" being very active (almost non-stop activity).
• 1: 3 responses (1%)
• 2: 24 responses (7.7%)
• 3: 68 responses (21.7%)
• 4: 131 responses (41.9%)
• 5: 87 responses (27.8%)

How many people are in your clan?

• Below 10 people: 7 responses (2.2%)
• 11-20 people: 15 responses (4.8%)
• 21-30 people: 33 responses (10.6%)
• 31-40 people: 72 responses (23.1%)
• 41-50 people: 185 responses (59.2%)

Does your clan use out of game apps?

• Yes: 141 responses (45%)
• No: 172 responses (55%)

Is your clan part of a family of clans? Is so, what is it called?

• My clan is not part of a family of clans: 233 responses (75%)
• FWA (Farm War Alliance): 11 responses (3.5%)
• RCS (Reddit Clan System): 6 responses (1.9%)
• My clan is part of a family of clans that is not listed here: 61 responses (19.6%)

What type of clan are you in?

• War: 233 responses (74.4%)
• Farming: 46 responses (14.7%)
• Donation: 6 responses (1.9%)
• Clan Games: 6 responses (1.9%)
• Trophy Pushing: 2 responses (0.6%)
• Other: 30 responses (9.6%)

Clash of Clans Stories

One of the questions in the survey was to share a favorite memory you have of playing Clash of Clans. Some people wrote a lot, others a little, and some did not share at all. I found a lot of the responses really heartwarming and I decided I want to share all of the stories. I broke them into categories to make it easier to read. I suggest to read them all if you have the time

Best Overall Story

One day I was chillin in global chat just vibing. There was like 10 players that were actively chatting in global with me. We had all been chattin for nearly an hour when I said,” Yo bois we should make ourselves a clan” we all were like,”Honestly I’m down” I made the clan, and we joined forces. We were anywhere from th 6-10, me being a th 10 at the time. We had an amazing run and lead a great clan to many war victories. Slowly our clan began dying but in 1 last dying effort to revive the clan I sent out a mail begging for the clan to reactivate itself, I wasn’t ready to give up our incredible clan we built from a small group of homies from global. 1 of the OG global chat players said,” you know what? Your right. Ima be active. I ain’t ready for this to end” or something to that effect. Slowly everyone began to come back and we were at our peak level of activity. This was back in the day when you could change clan settings without it saying so in chat. One day I logged in to find that our clan description had been changed. It said and I quote,” F*ck you *my username”. I was the leader. The only people in the clan that were Co-Leader and could change the clan description was the OG people that had started it. There was basically a war amongst our clan leaders. People accusing others of being the one ruining the clan, and the saddest part was it was one of the OG people so none of us really wanted to accuse anyone because we all thought we were homies. The clan discription continued to change to more vulgar and racial sayings. After many many members left, including many of the OG creators, the person finally confessed. His name was PuffyApple. He had been such a homie and a great person for so long but he had been the one doing all. He apologized and said sorry i dont know why I did it. It was too late. Everyone that was once loyal left the clan but a few. I didn’t know what to do so I went to raid while I decided. I decided i would kick him. When I got back he had kicked the remaining players and left a message to me saying,”Sorry dude” and left. My amazing clan was gone. But it’s ok I still remember the glory days of that clan. It will live on forever.

General Stories

Probably my th7 push to t2 2 years ago. It took a lot of time and I spent something like 6 months up in titans but I really enjoyed it. I would typically spend 4+ hours a day online searching for bases. Most of the bases I found that I would attack were th9s and 10s with either a lot of snipable buildings to get a 50% 1 star or an anti 3 star which I usually got 2 stars off of. The occasional th8 that I found was typically a three star. Something else interesting is the fact it took me three hours of boosting to get through all of the masters.
When I first joined the game (4+ years ago) I joined a small clan. It grew and we all had fun together. Everyone was nice and it was amazing. Unfortunately an a-hole convinced the leader so he can have leader for a bit and kicked everyone.Left the game for 4 years... I started playing again and I get the thought to recover my old account. It works and the memories flood back. Coc was a major part of my childhood and to find the account back meant a lot.
I still remember my first few good clans I've joined and the fun banter I'd get in. I found some screenshots recently of some weird conversations we've had and I still am friends with some of the guys on facebook and snapchat. My most favorite memory is when I mentioned liking some boy (im a girl) and some guys was like "oh... girl or gay?" I also liked having arguments about who was going to kick next
It’s not that amazing but back in the day i used to play with my friends in primary school just before the clan war update, and we talked for hours and hours how clan war could be a thing. Ideas came up such as all clan members donate troops to the clan leader and he/she does one massive attack with a thousand or so troop space. This memory will stick with me for a long time
I love recruiting, so every time I bring new members to my clan that’s a good memory. I also just really enjoy chatting with all the friends I’ve made over the years on this game, talking to my clan mates, winning wars. Memorably, my clan recently went on a 31 war win streak we put our heart and soul in. That was great. This game has brought me a lot of joy over the years.
I remember when I was a rushed TH6, had to be in 2014 or something like that. The old days with crack head Goblin and pervert Giant. The stars to indicate troop levels. You had to train in each individual barracks. Global chat was filled with BD clans, and "Any Girl?". When the max Town Hall was TH10 with blue walls. The simpler times were the truly the best times.
Back in the 5th grades years ago, me and my friends would bring our tablets to school and would play clash together. We would schedule the wars so that we could attack together at school so we can be as coordinated as possible. It also resulted in me ruining my iPad by dropping it while my friends were attacking for me while I was holding it. Good times lmao
My friends from school would start playing clash of clans for about 2 weeks but then stop playing. This happened every year and every few months and since I enjoyed the game I would grind and have the best base out of all my friends. Now I feel a sense of pride and accomplishment when I show them my strong base.
Either getting excited at school knowing that I had more trophies than everyone in the country or at 10pm sitting there reaching legend league on my th8 account. If not those, it was certainly a great moment when the squad gathered round to watch me upgrade to th13 at school when it just came out
Staying up the night to loot dark elixir at TH7 to upgrade barb king and hogs. Also to generally making new friends, learning new tactics, and getting better at the game. Also to admire the valks from TH8 coz they are the most aesthetically pleasing troop to look at🤭
There was a super rushed th11 that was in the same clan as me. A year and a half later that player was #1 in Canada I now realize that it probably wasn’t the same person and it was probably someone with the same same
Honestly, after a long time of leaving and coming back to the game and finally reaching th9. I feel like the game truely starts at th9 and i'm really into the game now.
Town hall 9 was the best town hall because there were so many unique strategies and I'd consider it the first time I actually became a successful competitive attacker.
In 2016, me and cousin thought someone was backing but it turns out that they weren't hacking and we took it so seriously lol.
That one cold winter night in my bed while I had a training boost on and grinded while on my tv watched YouTube
It gives me the option if I want to play, I can. I can also put it down for a few days and jump back into it.
When you got attacked and your army camps was destroyed you lost your army too and had to retrain
Discussing our wat strategies back when me and my high school class mates had a clan together
Global chat and an active clan chat where i know all the people. Also 2014 req & leave clans
Staying up until 1 am pushing to titan league with my best friend.
Helping a legend league clasher in global find a top level clan.
town hall sniping to get to masters as a th7 on my main account
Just farming or pushing and talking to random people in global
My favorite memory is absolutely annihilating my friend’s base
That feeling when you went back to the game after years.
I'm not sure, every moment playing it was fun:D
The tutorial in my new account.
My friend introducing it to me
North 44 and Jorge Yao
When i first got it
Global chat ofc
The funny bases
Global chat
Global Chat
Being lit

Progress/Upgrade Stories

When I maxed my TH9 in my main account. I took a 6 month break and downloaded clash again when I went to visit my cousins in Bakersfield. My base was rushed asf, level 6 walls, level 4 defenses and no king or queen. That’s summer when I visited them was the hottest it’s been in years so I stayed inside for the majority of the time so I had a lot of time to farm. Long story short I maxed out by the time I came back home and was really happy
My first time unlocking the barb king and a couple of teslas on th8. This was back in around 2013-2014, I remembered I was hyped on getting my own hero. I was also glad upon unlocking the teslas because back then it dealt twice dps damage or so to pekkas (back then, 14 year old me thought pekkas were the ultimate badass troops), so I thought; oh here it is, the ultimate defense buildings at that level back then.
When I finally maxed out TH9 (excluding heroes). I was very rushed (gold walls and level 5 heroes) when I upgraded to TH9. I returned to the game about a year later and began to play consistently. After about 4~5 months I fully maxed TH9 excluding heroes.
One of my favorite times in the game was finally getting to th9 since i was eager to get all the new stuff (Xbow, Queen) so i smacked a hammer of building on my town hall and i was at th9, the town hall that was the max one when i heard about the game
I’m not too involved with the game, I picked it up with the intention of just relaxing and playing it, so probably when I got my heroes to 50/50/20
When I came back a few months ago after not playing since 2016 and everything was so cheap, and so many collector raids were available
When I got the barbarian king, I was incredibly excited. One of my best memories.
Getting my queen to 30. Or generally maxing out any th is pretty satisfying to me
Getting dark elixer for the first time
maxing out my th9 when th9 was the max
When I unlocked my dragon in th 7
Donating max troops with th10

Friendship Stories

I was in a mediocre clan that had a couple really active members (2-3 hours playtime a day on average), but most just logged in like twice a day. I added one of the active members on kik and we chatted for quite while every evening for like a month, their birthday was coming up and they reminded me like every day of it and made kind of a big deal about that I shouldn't forget about it. I told them I wouldn't (and didn't) and told them my birthday too (which was like 8 months later) then after a while they quit the game and we lost contact, but after I hadn't spoken to them in like 5 months they still congratulated me on my birthday, which was a big surprise and very much appreciated.
I was in band class when this game first came out around December of 2012. I would’ve been 12 or 13 years old in 7th grade. My friend had just told me this new game had came out and he was trying to get me to play it. It was booming with popularity and I thought it looked fun enough, so I downloaded it during my class and played in between practicing my trumpet and listening to my teacher talk. I quickly became addicted to it and eventually I was the best player at my school. I kept playing all throughout high school, and even into college where I am now almost graduated. That game was clash of clans and I haven’t stopped playing for more than a week or so since.
My most favorite memory of the game. Ya know there’s so many to choose from. But one that most likely stands out to me is when I built a clan from lvl 1 to lvl 10 with a friend. It brought us closer in real life. And with discord it brought the clan from just clan mates to friends who share memes and such. I have gotten to know so many people that used to be “just clan mates” but are now game friends that I talk to daily on discord. That just has to be my favorite memory from the game because it means so much to me. There’s just a lot of satisfaction from growing a clan like that. Dedication and trusting people.
one of the main reasons I still play this game is because of the friends I have made with the players in my clan. I've been in the same clan for 4 years and not only do we all take the game seriously we truly treat one another like family. many of us have met up in person and we've gone hiking and played football together, just to name a few. the social aspect of this game is really big and I'm not too sure if I'd still be playing today if it weren't for my clan.
My favorite memory of the game was the friends I made. I was young and stupid and rushed my base to th9. It was when I joined my “ex-clan” that I finally realized how much this game would impact me. There were many friendships made that I feel will last a long time. My favorite memory was not necessarily about the game, but rather the connections I made with it.
Being in middle school about 6-7 years ago and joining clans with my friends, then having someone kick everyone out and making a new clan. It was annoying at the time but now I look back on it very fondly.
Getting back home from school and having a good time with my friends ( this was like 5 years ago and they all quit a long time ago) We would play for hours, sometimes to 2am on school nights
Leading my first clan at release with a bunch of high-school friends. We all played during school or athletic events and I remember rushing to townhall 7 to donate dragons for everyone.
not really a good memory but definetely one of my favourites. Long story short, i talked someone out of suicide, i joined their clan and talked with them and got them help.
Being in my second clan in general. Made some really good friends who were in their high teens when I was barely 12. Felt part of a family really. It sucked to leave them:(
Made some friends in USA and when I visited USA met with them. They hosted a dinner for me. It was amazing experience. Moreover got a nice tour of Detroit with them.
I had a clanmate who was terminally ill the clan had around 13 total members and we where all friend but hadn't met in real life. So most of us all went to visit him
Just being able to play with my friends and family and having fun and chatting outside the game too. Fun way to keep together online
Chilling with friends during my teens just to plan out a war attack and together watching it succeed or fail horrendously
My co-leader came to visit from another country and we had an absolute blast visiting wineries and playing clash.
I just enjoy having conversations with my clan mates
Playing with my school friends as a kid
Playing it with my friends every summer

Clan Stories

Starting my own clan has been one of my best experiences in the game. It has actually helped me develop some life skills like leadership, marketing and persuasion (to try to get people to join). I remember when I was a new th8 trying to build my clan with a guy I met from Reddit. We messaged back and forth trying to come up with a name, rules, how often we should declare wars etc. Once we made the clan, we slowly managed to get like 10 people to join. A BD from global joined and asked for coleader. I assumed he wanted to kick everyone in the clan once he had Co. Acting like an idiot, I promoted EVERYONE to Co so that way he wouldnt be able to kick them. However, I was also a Co at the time and was unable to demote them back to where they had been. I regretfully had to ask the Leader to come on and take care of everything. Luckily, he didnt kick ME too lol. After a few months the leader grew inactive and he gave me Leader. I have built the clan to level 15 and it has been a great learning experience
My favorite memory was creating my first successful clan. I was TH8 at the time and my brother and I were in Wisconsin Dells. I must’ve been no older than 11. (I’m 16 now) I would play on my moms iPad and when creating this clan we focus on getting as many people as possible. We got 50 people within an hour. Then we kicked some of the bad people and then bam TH10’s we’re joining (max th). Then by the end of the week we gave one guy co and he kicked the entire clan. Pretty sure this is where my trust issues started lol.
Back when I was a th7, I joined a new clan, I was fairly rushed back then, so I had difficulty finding a clan competent clan in the first place, let alone long term. I joined this clan, expecting to be kicked at some point, but no. The leader was kind, and told me that I could stay, if I fixed my rush. This guy was like a teacher to me, and still is. I wouldn’t be as good at the game as I am now without any of this guys help.
Back when we were all TH 5 or 6, this person joined our clan who was top town hall, maybe th10 at the time. He donated all these fantastic troops and made us feel pretty lucky. He stayed with us for a couple months then moved on, maybe to do the same for another clan. I think his or her name was joj*o. Many of us are TH12 or 13 now, but those were fun times.
Right now, I'm in a great clan that's always active. We just created a new clan for our mini accounts so that we have more room for people in the main clan. This has made it way easier to play my mini accounts and I think every clan should do this.
When I saw a th11 join our clan back when th11 was max. We were a clan with the highest member being th9, so it was a pretty big deal
Making a clan with some buddies and just messing around together
Being promoted to elder and then to co-leader a year later
Building up a clan from only random people met on global
Joining a clan from reddit, was fun while it lasted
Getting promoted to Co-Leader in my beloved clan
Creating my own clan for the very first time
first few months of joining my clan
Starting a clan with all your friends
Getting promoted in my clan.
Finding a good clan finally
Being the leader of a clan
When the clan turned lvl10

War Stories

Back before friendly wars, or SC really supporting competitive play, the competitive scene was home grown and self organised. New players wouldn't know a time where you had no option to challenge a certain clan. To make that happen it would take two clans coming together, contacting each other out of game and communicating a plan. Every player would have to calculate their war weight, spreadsheets were creating mapping out each clans war weight. You would have to make sure your clan mates didn't upgrade or drop a new defense at the wrong time to create an unfair match up... and then all the cats are herded, and both clans are ready... the clan leaders would press 'search' at the same time and hope for the best. The first time we pulled off a match with the clan we wanted to compete with, 30 v 30, it was glorious. It was something we all wanted to do from the beginning - challenge the clan you wanted in a contest that was totally balanced. From here, community organised leagues were born - something that gave Supercell the push to start the CWL. I'll always remember when we matched that first time. The chat blew up and we were so psyched. It was beautiful.
I joined a clan called GOBS LIMITED, where we only upgraded barracks to level 4, and only upgraded goblins in the lab. It was the most fun I’d had in years. Then SC introduced three anti engineering patches that completely killed us for about two years. I always looked back on that time as the funnest and most memorable thing to happen to me in a game. Then, level 8 goblins happened. All the dead players saw it, and dusted off their gob accounts. Some of us had kept going over the years, in our own clans or hopping around looking for a new home that wanted a goblin. But we all got back together and started finding war matches. Our years of effort had not been in vain, and we continue to win our wars. We’re currently undefeated with a 16-0 score since GOBS LIMITED has been raised from the dead. We are still growing, so if you’d like to join us search up our new feeder clan GOBS INC™️ (Use the emoji or the search algo can’t find us). We’d love to have another goblin in our horde. You won’t regret it. -Frozen Goblins
Joining a clan called Darker Knight for the first time 5 yrs ago. I was in a really bad clan my with my friends who were all rushed or th3. I noticed the clan sucked ass so I left and went to global. I talked to this th10 (which was the highest th at the time) and ig he saw something in me because he recruited my th4 lookin ass to his clan. The clan was amazing. I got max troops for the first time and it was truly amazing. I'm still in the same clan (but its like a feeder clan) and the clan has gone passed its glory but its still solid. One of my favorite memories from the clan was when I first unlocked dragons and needed to get a star on a th9 to win the game. The clan helped me strategise for 50%. I went in and nervously placed down my dragons. In 2 minutes of tension filled placements I got 50% and won the war! Good memories
About 4-5 years ago now my current clan used to be our school clan. we were in a war, probably one of our first, and i was the only person in the clan with a dark barracks. like 4 people had attacked their number 2 and no one could get a star. the leader at the time said, “can someone please take out number 2.” i responded “i got this” and then proceeded to 3-star him with a minion swarm in less than a minute
I was TH6 (in 2015) and the two stock attacks at the time were Giant/HealeWiz or Loons. We ran into a difficult base where the loons circled around the AD and got picked off. The giants pathing was in a way where they missed a cannon and time failed. I made a small change (everyone was taking healer and wiz in CC, I took minions to take out the cannon). My first 3 star which I made a plan myself.
I used to have a th 9 account before it got banned. My favorite story was when my entire army died against a th8 cause of a valkyrie in the cc that brutalized my giants. My queen walk took down half the base and the town hall, and got me a 2 star instead of a loss. It was also first time queen walking.
Usually war wins or getting 2 x 3. I guess my favourite was doing the last attack with less than a minute left knowing I needed a 2 with >78%. I had to attack a town hall higher and clinched it with 79%. Loads of spectators and I know they would not have expected me to get it done.
The first time I 3 starred in war back in 2016 as a town hall 9. It was much harder back then and I'll never forget how happy I was that I was able to 3 star another base.
I remember the first time I three starred a Th9 with GoHo on my Th9. I felt like I was a legend then, but I can do it pretty consistently now. The first time was the best.
going over a 3 star plan, skitching it, talking live on discord, then watching the new guy clutch a 3 star in the last minute of war to win it for us.
when my th8 account gave me a th4 account matchup and i beat him with a barb king and 3 balloons
Hitting late in a war, and getting back to back 3 stars to win it for my clan.
Not specific but I like the nail biting finishes to wars or comebacks in wars
When I 3 starred a TH12 as a TH11 which helped secure the win in a CWL war!
Attacking in the war while in school during breaks with my friends
I have had the most fun during very close and competitive wars.
When I won an attack with only archers against a max th9 base
Betting with friends on clan wars not money but snacks
Winning a clan war by the skin of our collective teeth
Getting the last second triple is always up there
Close war wins. Clutch 3 stars
When wars first game out
Clan wars being added

Funny/Wierd

On my then mid-th9, I would leave my clan and go into global asking for a clan. I'd wait until a really low clan invited me, and then I'd join that clan. Clans with younger players and no players at or above my level works best. I'd then do the whole "Thanks for the invite" and "Is this an active clan?" routine. Then I'd request wall breakers, and 9 times out of 10 would get lvl 2 wizards or giants. I'd then say something along the lines of "This clan is horrible! I asked for wall breakers and got (whatever I got)!" And then I'd leave. Probably not the nicest thing ever but whenever a clan actually donates wall breakers I stick around for a bit longer and make small talk. I'll miss global.
definitely when I tricked my clan that my 2 accounts were 2 people for a few months. I even had a couple of conversations with my self, and had everyone convinced that I am me and my friend. I exposed myself and they were so close to kicking me, great times
back when global was a thing i named myself defnotahopper and would hop bases like a mf 😂😂 and i remember how hype i was when the lava hound was released
Not a fond memory but when I was younger some guy in global chat told me Santa wasn’t real. That ruined my life back then.
When I was in war and some one donated me all wall breakers. I literally left
Teaching my clanmate in how to change the sheets of his bed!
Getting head while attacking in a war
You ;)
Penis
submitted by Schuckman to ClashOfClans [link] [comments]

OBLIGATORY FILLER MATERIAL – BAR FIGHT? NOT WITH DOC BIONICFINGERS! Part two.

Continuing…
“You asshole”, Roy muttered into his beer.
I was having a large time. Es was right. This is just what the Doctor’s wife ordered.
I was now trying to explain to Zac American Football.
“So, let me get this straight. These huge cousins of yours, kitted out in all that heavy protective gear, basically smash into one another, up one side of the field and down the other. They can run, throw the ball, and jump on each other.” He observes.
“That’s the gist of it.“ I reply.
“Sounds like Rugby with more padding. Must be a bunch of pansies; don’t want to get hurt.” Zac laughingly laughs.
I chuckle. I guess after my cricket fiasco, I deserved that.
The drunk Kiwi, now 3.5 sheets to the wind wanders by, hears the tag-end of the conversation again and says:
“Yeah. Fucking American pussies. Stupid game. Not a one would last a second against the All Blacks. All Americans are pussies. ”
I turned slowly, looked at this weaving retard, and said:
“You should feel honored. I’ve never done this for another person. Yet.”
I slowly turn and extend my kevlar-coated middle finger right in front of his face. You could almost hear the micro-stepper motors whine.
“Oh, yeah?” He counters, “Well. Fuck you.”
“Eloquent little miscreant”, I mention to Roy and Zac.
Then he makes a slight misstep.
He reaches out and grabs my left hand.
I swear. It wasn’t intentional, but his grasping of my hand triggered my reflexes. That is amped and amplified by this fine Japanese technology.
My hand opened near-instantly, caught his, and flexed back down.
Hard.
There were a couple of audible cracks.
They weren’t from me.
The hammered Kiwi went down on his knees in an instant. Evidently he was feeling some pain.
“Sorry mate; but you shouldn’t have done that. Automatic reflexes. I’m still getting used to the power curve.” I said.
“ARRGH!” he wailed, “Let me go, you motherfucker!”
Suddenly, a dark shadow arrives. Sandeep enters and looks over the situation.
He sees Zac behind the bar, who gives him the high sign.
“Doctor Rock? This bag of shit giving you a hard time?” Sandeep asks me.
“Well, he was being the most antisocial of creatures, Sandeep”, I calmly replied.
Sandeep grabs the Kiwi by the scruff of the neck and rear belt. He then picks him up like a scrap of dogshit-smeared day-old newspaper as I let go of his slightly mushed hand.
Sandeep carries the Kiwi, physically, to and out of the front door.
Zac smiles at me and says:
“If that’s not worth another round, I don’t know what is!”
Even Roy tried just a little of the vodka. He had to as the bottle was almost empty.
He groaned audibly as Zac returned with a fresh one.
Roy wandered over to an unoccupied booth. He sat down, leaned his head back and started snoring loudly.
A buxom waitress, but not the one from earlier, came over and began to complain.
“How am I supposed to make any tips with this birk snoring away like this?” she haughtily asked.
Zac and I look around the bar. It’s nearly deserted.
I ask her to step over to the bar. I explain that Roy is with me and he’s just a bit tired from driving all day in the hot Dubai sun.
Then, I hand her a random assortment of notes from off the bar.
She accepts them and her demeanor swings 1800.
“Is there a problem?” I ask.
“Oh, no. No sir. He can sleep there all night for all I care.” She smiles.
The other buxom waits-person from before sees the transaction, and emits an audible “Harrumph!” She throws down her towel and makes it rapidly for the kitchen door.
“Hmm”, I say, “What’s eating her?”
Zac just smiles and doesn’t even bother to ask if he should pour us another.
Zac, Sandeep, and I were going through the bar’s taped collection of sporting events, trying vainly to find something we could all agree upon.
It seems that time, as it’s wont, had passed and the bar was closed.
At least, to other patrons. As long as I was happy buying everyone rounds, Zac and Sandeep had nowhere else to be.
We stumbled across some sport fishing show from years and years ago. We all decided that yes, we all liked fishing, and this would serve a fine counterpart to our MST3K-like riffing of the show.
We had a fine time. Zac, Sandeep, and I swapping fishing lies and Roy snoring away like a buzz-saw over in the booth.
But, as the sun crept through the windows, I decided it was time for me to vamoose. I settled up my bar tab with Zac, leaving both him and Sandeep a couple of cigars and healthy tips.
Sandeep rouses Roy and after a bit of cajoling, Roy joins me at the bar.
“Looks like you’ve got a driver for the next two weeks”, Roy sorrowfully laments.
“Nahh…I was just funnin’ ya’.” I said.
“No. A bet’s a bet. I lost. You are something else. What? I don’t know, but I do know you’ve won this bet.” He admits.
“I just hate to lose”, I smiled back.
Roy looks at me a bit unsteadily. He has severe booth hair.
“Roy”, I say, “You look like what we in the business call a ‘Go Devil”. It starts out spiffy but comes out looking like hell. You need coffee. In fact, so do I. Go throw some cold water in your face and I’ll ask Zac to set us up.” I offered.
I didn’t need to tell Roy twice. He toddles off to the euphemism, and I ask Roy for two black coffees.
Roy returns and sips at the hot beverage. He stops short and asks:
“There no booze in here, is there? I can smell booze.” He notes.
“It’s a bar, Roy”, Zac laughs.
“Yeah, Roy”, I reply, “Only booze fumes are from my coffee.”
“Over the evening, I told Zac how to prepare a Greenland Coffee. One with whiskey, Kahlua and Grand Marnier; hold the schlag.”
“You are drinking one now?” Roy asks, incredulous, “After all that last night?”
“After all what?” I reply, “Yep. Best eye-opener in the world.”
“You’re fucking inhuman,” Roy says, deep into his mug of Joe.
“Never claimed I was anything but.”, I smiled and waved my cybernetic fingers in his direction.
“What did I do to deserve this?”, Roy muttered.
Well, we finally, around 0600 depart the Quantum Sports Bar.
I was a bit peckish as the pub grub available was just a bit too amuse-bouche cutesy for me. I want Luigi’s gut bomb pizza; with extra cheese, Italian sausage, and anchovies.
Alas, none were to be found in Dubai at this hour.
Roy deposits me back at the hotel and I pay him his due, with a smart tip. He makes certain I have his business card and that if I ever need a Dubli driver, to call him first.
Up in the room, Es is sawing lumber. I decide not to wake her and grab a quick drink or five out of the mini-bar. I run a luxuriantly foamy hot tub in which I can relax my cares away once I disconnect my digits and set them in the charger.
Esme and I were later at lunch after I tubbed for a while then decided to grab a few hours’ sleep.
Es was up and puttering around the room when the doorbell rang.
I went to grab something other than sleeping clothes as Es answered the door.
“Rock! It’s for you” Esme called.
“Probably the fuzz. The Kiwi narked on us and now I’m in Dutch.” I thought.
It wasn’t. It was a local Emirati, one Mr. Abdul Jabbaar el-Abdalla, from the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development.
“Yes?”, I said to the dishdasha-clad individual at the door.
“You are Dr. Rocknocker, late of the Sultanate?” he asks.
“Yes,” I replied. I’m not letting anything on past name, rank, and serial number until I get the lowdown on this character.
“Ah. Wonderful”, he smiles back, “Might we have a chat?”
“Regarding?” I ask warily.
“The upcoming Late Summer or Early Fall Dubai Shopping Festival.” he smiles like a cheetah back at me.
“Weird”, was the only thing I could think.
“Most certainly. Won’t you come in?” I ask.
“Thank you”, he says and sweeps into the hotel room.
We take seats near my work desk. I introduce Esme as my wife and they exchange pleasantries.
“Could I get you something? Coffee? Tea?” Esme enquires.
“I could go for a cold one, dear,” I say. Arab or not, this little piece of Dubai real estate is dogma-free.
Mr. Abdul surprises me and asks for a cold beer as well.
“I may look Emirati, but I’m really, by family, Omani.” He smiles broadly and goldly.
“Well”, I reply, “That explains it. Yes, dear. A couple of Balticas, please.” I say. “Care for a light or dark beer, Mr. Abdalla?”
“Oh, light please.” He remarks.
“A number 3 and one 9, please,” I say to Esme.
Over his light and my very dark Russian beer, he lays out the program.
“Yes, at the conclusion of the festival, we want to mark the passing of the occasion after the virus pandemic with a special finale.” He noted.
“Such as? And why me?” I ask.
He smiles and actually chuckles a bit.
“We plan on Tchaikovsky’s 1828 Overture as a finale.” He lights up.
“OK. A good piece of solid show music”, I reply, “And this applies to me how?”
“Well, you obviously know of the score”, he says, “And we want to set a record with our rendition of a finale.”
“Really?” I ask, “Let me guess, you asked around and the pyro crowd gave you my name?”
“Precisely.” he laughs. “Every time. We tracked you down from flight records. Imagine our astonishment to find you right here in town. “
“Yep. Yippee. So, if the normal pyrotechnicians can’t supply what you want and you come to me, you must want some really big booms.” I note.
“Exactly. Such a quick study, Doctor”, he notes.
“How big?” I ask and have a swig of beer.
“Record-setting”, he replies.
“OK. What are the previous world’s record for such an endeavor?” I ask.
“The performance by the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force Eastern Army Band, 1st Band, and 1st Artillery Unit in 2010 used M101 105mm howitzers. The final part of the performance of Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture in London 2012 was with live gunfire of HMS Belfast. The Boston Pops in 2015 used a record of 1.5 tons of fireworks. We want to surpass that.” he replied.
“OK. Now I’ve got a basis for comparison. Leave me to it. We’re not leaving any time soon, it appears. Let me cogitate the matter for a while and I’ll get back to you with a plan and procedure. OK? What’s the budget?” I ask.
“Unlimited. But within reason”, he chuckles. “Use your best judgment.”
“I can do that.” I reply, “I’m sort of bored right now so I’ll get right after its wild ass.”
A bit taken aback, he continues:
“Fine. Fine. Most agreeable. As is this beer. Thank you. My card, Doctor. Please call when you have a plan.” he states, rises, shakes my hand, says goodbye to Esme without shaking her hand, and departs.
“You heard?” I asked Es.
“Oh, yes. Damn. Talk about giving Dracula the key to the blood bank.” She smiles.
“Gonna need your help on this one”, I say.
“Oh, yes, oh deaf one. Call me when you need me.” she smiles.
“I always need you”, I reply very truthfully.
After a bit of research, we find that Tchaikovsky’s 1828 overture finale consists of 12 cannon fires. 1-11 are pretty much the same, but #12, El Ultimo, it is the loudest and most sustained.
“We’re setting records,” I say to Esme, “This will not do…”
Two days later, I have a plan and procedure. I call one Mr. Abdul Jabbaar el-Abdalla, from the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development for a second visit.
“Good day, Mr. Abdulla. I trust you’re well amid all this craziness?” I ask.
“Oh, yes. Thank you. You and yours as well?” he asks tangentially.
“We have fully functioning immune systems”, I reply, “We’re good.”
“Excellent! Shall we see what you’ve worked up?” he asks, anxiously.
“Absolutely. But first, a libation?” I ask.
“I wouldn’t say no if it were wet and cold.” He smiles.
Esme returns with our beers and I pull out the pages of procedure and the list of materials with projected costs for Mr. Minister of the Culture and Know-how.
He looks at it and emits a low whistle.
“Well, Doctor, one cannot say you don’t do your homework.” He smiles in appreciation.
“I always try to be succinct, sufficient, and satisfactory. Plus, I always add an additional 25% contingency.” I reply.
“Can you walk me through this?” he asks.
“Most assuredly”, I remark. And I do.
“Based on results from a nine element vertical line array (VLA) with hydrophones spaced 0.7 m apart and an autonomous recording system recording on a multi-channel coherent data acquisition system (Astro-Med, Inc.) for which each channel was recorded at 62,500 samples per second; the initial shock wave can be approximated as decaying exponential with a decay constant h given by Chapman as Ø = 8:12 x 10–5 W13 (W1/3)0:14.
Remembering that attributes of a sound at a particular point are usually obtained by measuring pressure changes as sound waves pass; this Δ detonation pressure equivalent for 1 kilo of C-4, which is composed of 91% RDX ("Research Department Explosive", an explosive nitroamine), bound by a mixture of 5.3% dioctyl sebacate (DOS) or dioctyl adipate (DOA) as the plasticizer (to increase the plasticity of the explosive), thickened with 2.1% polyisobutylene (PIB, a synthetic rubber) as the binder, with a density of 1.58 grams per cubic centimeter, and an explosive velocity of 8,092 m/s (26,550 ft/s) is 257 kilobars.
This is the equivalent of ‘noise dosemeters’, record the Pa2·h (pascal-squared hour) decibel level of an instantaneous 140.”
“Um, yes Doctor. “ Mr. Abdalla says, “A little less theory, and a bit more practical if you please.”
“Oh, yes, certainly”, I say, and proceed right along, “Using the equation ‘Distance = 215(NEQ)1/3, and since 140 decibels is considered as a "safety cutoff" for exposure to impulsive noises without using hearing protection, as per a festival; it’s not a question of how loud do you want the bang, just how far will you have to keep people away to ensure their safety.”
“How is that?” he asks.
“Well, with 10 kilos, you need to be back 463.20m to be safe. 100 kilos? 997.94m or near as hell one kilometer. 1,000 kilos? Just over two kilometers or 2150.00m to be precise. Just for laughs, 10,000 kilos? Nearer to five kilometers, or 4632.03m.”
“I see”, he says and rubs his neatly trimmed beard.
“So, I propose building or acquiring three sea-going barges, 75m x 15 meters, and have them anchored offshore from a kilometer to two distant. That’s easily done as the water here off Dubai is quite shallow.”
“Continue, please.” He says.
“There are 12 cannon shots in the 1812 Overture finale. An initial set of three, a set of four, another set of 4, and the grand finale. I suggest that you build 12 flat-topped wooden platforms where the height of the platform relates directly to the C-4 charge size. If the charge is 100 kilos, then a minimum of 6 meters in height; scaled proportionally. The flat top of wood eliminates missiles if the platform disintegrates, as the blast energy will radiate outward hemispherically and basically just scorch the hell out of the wood platform.”
“Understood. Please continue.”, he asks.
“OK. This way you can scale up the charge, move back the barge, and build your towers just so large.”
He snickers at that and asks me to carry on.
“I suggest three initial charges of 100 kilos. Then four of 250 kilos. Then four more of 500 kilos. For the Grand Finale, I suggest 1,500 to 2,000 kilos. Do that, and the record will be assured.”
“Excellent!” he exclaims, “Anything else?”
“Oh, yes”, I smile, “C-4 is pliable and easily molded. I suggest you form the charges with a flat base, but into an auricular shape. That is, chop off your ear and set it on the table. Mold the C-4 in that approximate shape, aiming the low-side toward the audience. That will maximize the volume, but dissipate the shock wave the fastest.”
“Outstanding!” he clasps his hands.
“But, wait. There’s more!” I say, “The flash from C-4 isn’t that especially bright. You want sight as well as sound. So, mix 15-25% Tannerite, a binary explosive, with the C-4. Also, you can place potassium nitrate/magnesium or potassium nitrate, aluminum, and sulfur flash powder packets into the cavity of the auricular shape. The pyrotechnicians handling the show can rig this no problem. You can mold the C-4 and Tannerite up to 3 days in advance if you cover it with biophane, a breathable bioplastic, and keep them cool and in the dark.”
“Oh, this is wonderful, Doctor. But you’ll not be here?” he asks.
“No, I’m afraid not.” I reply, “Once the quarantine is lifted, my dear wife and I are gone to the Sultanate. We’re packing as quickly as we can and headed back to the states. I need to get to university where I’m pursuing my DSc degree. We also want to get out of the Middle East. 22 years is quite enough, thank you. Of course, no offense intended. We just want to get home to family.”
“I see. That I can understand.” He notes, “Thank you for your time and design. I do appreciate the list of materials, that will make things most convenient. How much do we owe you and the Mrs. for your time and efforts, Doctor?”
“Mr. Minister, nothing”, I say. “We’re stuck here and just working on the preliminaries for my dissertation. It was a welcome respite from Helium exploration and Rb/Os ages of Neoproterozoic biomarkers. Consider it the Rocknocker family gift to the cause.”
“My, my Doctor and Mrs.”, the Minister of the Small and the Silly remarks, “That’s very generous of you. Your names will be mentioned prominently in the proceedings of benefactors to the festival.”
“Mr. Minister”, I said, “We’d rather you didn’t. We neither desire nor require the notoriety, and in this case, we would rather just remain safely anonymous.”
“If that is your wish, then your requests will be respected.” The Minister says as he rises to leave. “How much longer will you be staying with us?”
“Ask your brethren to the south. It’s all up to them” I wearily replied.
“I’ll see what I can do. Once again. Doctor? Mrs. Thank you. Thank you so very much. Good day.” He shakes my hand, ignores Es’ and takes his leave.
“Well,” I relate to my beloved, “That was fun. I’m going swimming. Can you charge up my fingers for me, dear?”
She smiles and says of course. Besides, it’s siesta time for her. I want to get out to the pool before it’s the Skin Bubbling Hour.
A day passes. We’re still bored and waiting for liberation.
The next morning, the doorbell rings.
I’m working on the New York Times crossword and another Greenland Coffee.
“Bloody hell.”, I remark, looking at my watch. “It’s Oh-Dark 30 early. Now, what the fuck?”
After closing my robe, I open the door. I don’t trust those little fisheye peepholes since I saw Hard Target and Leon the Professional. I’d rather see it coming.
“Yeah?” I say to the huge bush of fresh-cut flowers.
“You’re Dr. Rocknocker and Mrs?” a voice asks.
“Yes to the first and no to the second. But she’s here.” I say warily to the talking greenery.
“Gift for you from the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development. Sign here please”, the foliage requests.
I grab the clipboard and scribble something similar to what passes for my signature.
I hand the clipboard back to the mound of sentient vegetation whereupon it asks where I would like it to be set in the suite.
“Anywhere you can find that’s there’s room,” I reply.
Holy shit, it’s not a floral arrangement, it’s a floral shop.
He sets it in the middle of the dining room table. The damn thing extends from one side, parallel to its longest dimension, to the other. The damn thing must weigh in at 50 kilos. Or more.
“Wait here, please”, the now visible delivery person asks.
“Like I’m going somewhere?” I mused.
He returns with three huge boxes of custom, hand-dipped chocolates. Somehow, he finds room for these on the table as well.
I tip him 25 dirhams and he says “Thanks” and bids a hasty departure.
Es hears all the hubbub and wanders down from the bedroom.
“What the hell was all that …What the hell is this?” she asks.
“Let me look at the note,” I say, find it and rip it open.
“A small gesture of our everlasting thanks. Signed, Minister Abdul Jabbaar el-Abdalla, and all of us at the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development.”
“Well, so much for that diet we discussed.” I snickered to Esme as I opened the first box and saw the easily 20 to 25 rows of lovely looking hand-dipped dark chocolates.
“I do so wish I liked chocolate.” I mused aloud.
Esme adores chocolate.
The doorbell rings again. Es hustles upstairs in her nightgown, and I wander over and answer the door.
“What?”
“Dr. Rocknocker?” this new delivery guy asks.
“Yes?”
“Sign here.” He says.
I do. He takes and hands me a yellow flimsy from the triplicate delivery order. He turns and begins to walk down the hall.
“Hey, Chuckles. What did I just sign for?” I ask.
“Look down”, he says over his shoulder, never breaking stride.
“Oh”, I said.
Hey, it’s early. Leave me alone.
There’s a suspicious-looking parcel, approximately 12-7/8” x 9-11/16” x 12-1/2” and weighing in at around 34 pounds or so.
I drag it in and find space for it in the kitchen.
Look. There’s a card. Addressed to me.
I open it.
“Doctor. Best regards and wishes. Abdul Jabbaar el-Abdalla.”
Nice.
I open the case to find a dozen bottle sampler of Chopin Vodka. Four wheat, four rye, and four potato vodka.
Es wanders back down and is almost consumed by the overwhelming pong of the tropical flower shrubbery that has taken up residence in our dining room.
“OK. You can have a few chocolates. As long as I can have some of my present.” I say.
“Deal” Es replies."Gimmee."
Remind me to say something nice about Dubai sometime in the future. But only once; let’s not get carried away.
submitted by Rocknocker to Rocknocker [link] [comments]

JoJo's Bizarre Adventure OC Tournament #5: Round 1 Match 20: Casey Williams and Manta Malaise?

The results are in for Match 18.
The game was lasting quite a long time, with Red Carpet Renaissance’s more aggressive playstyle hardly giving the room to breathe to the carefully-crafted tactics of the Sharp Lookers, but those very same plans at once keeping them from finding themselves getting clicked.
Violet Lange was watching, still, invested in how the hell this could keep on going, what might finally turn the tides, only for her cell phone to vibrate, a text message appearing on it from a contact registered under: “C. Williams”
waiting at docks
we still on?
“Oh, shit, what time is it?” Violet glanced upwards slightly, and cursed again as she realized what hour and minute read. “Yeah, I gotta go. Uh…” She waved at the ongoing game. “See ya ‘round, guys, you’ve been totally great!”
Nobody noticed her walk away.
Nobody wins! For an equal score of 66, everyone’s time was wasted!
Category Winner Point Totals Comments
Popularity Sharp Lookers 19-10 Things seemed even for most of the voting period, with many of the votes being split, but late into it, a modest number of Sharp Lookers votes translated into a massive lead. For the first time, this resulted in votes splitting perfectly by .5s when the division was done, and since it would mean taking a point away from one side to give it to the other, that thirtieth pop point simply vanishes into the aether…
Quality Red Carpet Renaissance 20-22 Reasoning
JoJolity Red Carpet Renaissance 17-24 Reasoning
Conduct TEAM 10-10
Half an hour later…
“Uh… Kisa?” Masa asked, earning his partner’s attention. “You know how I said I’d watch the girl to make sure she didn’t pull somethin’ weird?”
“Hm?” Kitose Saiko turned to face his friend, and noticed the lack of anybody he was standing beside. “Oh my god. How… How, Masa?”
“I dunno!” He answered, sounding similarly bewildered, waving his hands as Kisa, in his frustration, lit up the entire remaining pack of his cigarettes and took a drag from each of them at once. “She just sorta… Was gone when I stopped paying attention.”
“The woman is… Gone.” Dimitri was incredulous as well. “And there goes our hints on this Black Angel! The library is surely closed by now, so we’ve wasted a day and this town knows we’re looking.”
pranked again… violet lange, u r officially… epic
As Nebula’s synthetic voice remarked that and moved to silence, Ace couldn’t help but laugh. “Vitus is gonna be pissed too, that we were dragged off to play some game instead of tailing Peres… Haahhh, man, what were we thinking? This was her job, I bet. She just needed to waste our time awhile, get us heated and fighting each other, throwing piss around and playing dirty… Gave us the slip soon as our attentions were off her. Well played, I must admit… Well played…”
“Distracting us from the Black Angel…” Dimitri stroked his chin. “And also from Peres? But I remember Laverne saying the Black Angel vigilante was banned from the Devil Blue, the hotel she works at. What could the common thread between them be..?”
“Well, I’m annoyed too… Don’t just bail on an agreement you make…” Masa answered, before adding with a slight smile. “But hey, in some good news…” He held up a gift card, waving it between his fingers. “She left the CaraMel’s gift card, 200 USD just like she said, and that place? Not just to die for, from when Ray came back with stuff from there the other day, but I hear the ‘goss’ is ‘hot’ there too, as she said in that super-exaggerated little Valley Girl voice. What say I claim this card and treat you all? Call it a, uh… Ceasefire, for now.”
gonna be annoyed if its stale by the time i can actually eat it
but ok sounds good
The game of assassin was fruitless, but the fruits of an assassination are still born, and two pairs of Stand Users fight to protect their local leaders from them. There’s still about a day to vote in that when this goes up.
Scenario:
South Aurelio - East of the Wormwood
“I am so sorry, I just lost track of time… I got these four roped into this big assassin game, and I didn’t wanna bail, but…”
Not long after Violet Lange officiated that little college game and the evening began to roll in that, again she found a Stand User’s company. Casey Williams, MFA member, sat in the passenger seat of a vibrant purple convertible, occasionally staring either at passing suburban scenery in the transition between the college town and suburban hellscape, or the way her companion’s lavender scarf billowed in the wind.
“Look, I get it, I get it, shit happens, especially ‘round Midnight Sun. You don’t need to explain.” After a few moments of silence, tapping her hands against the outer door of the car as her arm hung over the window, Casey spoke up. “I, uh… Didn’t expect you to call me, but Kirk vouched for you. Why me, for… Whatever this is?”
Violet had, that morning, asked Casey to aid her in an investigation after she finished up with some shit she had to do on campus, and still now, had said very little about what was going on sans its importance. “I trust you… For the same reason I took over the bifrost server, and the same reason I revealed myself to your team. André had faith in you all to do what was best, and, well, I have no idea what to do but follow his lead and use what power I have to do it. As for you in particular… I want to work with somebody my age, basically. No more than that.”
“If you trust me so much,” Casey said, looking to the river to her left as the pair drove along a road opposite it, admiring how the setting sun reflected upon its rippling waves, “why haven’t you told me what we’re doing, then? You sounded like it was important, so I agreed to hear you out, but you’ve still been cagey.”
“I wanted it to be in person, while we were speeding along,” Violet explained, looking out upon the road still, briefly glancing off in the distance and seeing a manor across the water, braking for a moment and pointing towards it. “See that house by the riverbank there?”
She handed Casey a pair of binoculars, and the latter surmised, “looks like a dump.”
“From the outside, and nobody has owned it for thirty years, yet…” She paused, as if she was about to say a name and reconsidered. “My contact - a high-schooler who comes and goes late at night, you wouldn’t know them, and I’m purposefully leaving them out of this, but I can vouch for their reliability - says that sometimes, late at night, delivery trucks bring perfectly good furniture to the bridge just North of here, and by morning, they seem to have just disappeared into the ground. I dunno if you pay attention to the news, but there’s a ‘Serial Killer’ who operates in this town, and besides that… Sixteen people who disappeared in this area are still missing, and haven’t had their bodies identified. The more research I’ve done lately, I’m completely certain of it. That ‘abandoned residence’ must be the ‘lair’ of this killer! It’s certainly big enough to hold that many people and then some… So I plan to break in.”
“Serial killer..?” Casey’s head tilted slightly, then, suddenly, the words hit her as Violet resumed her drive. “Wait, what? So even if you’re right, you’re just gonna bust down this guy’s door without knowing what he’s capable of? Why this? Why you, and so covert?”
“Because I’ve spent my life sneaking and slipping by to survive, clinging to stronger people. Because I used to roll with the kind of scum who would use Stands to do whatever the hell they wanted like we were better than everyone else. Because the last time I tried to get someone to take care of this killer, all she did was kill an innocent man in front of me! I’m tired of just being an ‘extra,’ moving pieces around and waiting in place, Casey. I’ve said that I just want to survive, but a friend of mine, every day, fights tooth and nail to make this place better. I’m going to be an adult and try, goddammit, and if you don’t want to do the same, I can just drop you off, and-”
“Whoa, whoa, whoa,” Casey continued, raising her hand up, and then offering Violet a confident little smile. “When did I say I was going to refuse? Hell, lives are on the line, pedal to the metal! I hear this town has like two cops, and I sure don’t see either of them around!”
“That’s what I like to hear…” Violet’s own lips curled upwards slightly, and she stepped on the gas. “We’re gonna totally tear shit up today.”
They drove along the bridge in silence from there, Casey contemplating things as they sped along, occasionally stealing glances towards the house just what was now South of them. Not long after, though, she began to grow uncomfortable, pulling her shirt’s collar over her nose. “Eugh… What’s that smell now? We pass a dead skunk or something?”
“That’s… I know this smell. That isn’t a skunk.” Violet gave a glance to her rear-view mirror, and her face stiffened. “Casey… Get out of the car, now! Ditch it!”
“What? What is-” Casey stammered, surprised and trying to hurriedly work her seatbelt off as Violet began to jerk the vehicle around, as if intended on steering the thing straight into the river. As she did so, she glanced behind her, and though the rising shape of a figure on the back of the car was hard to make out in the twilit evening, there was certainly a massive, and vaguely humanoid, and there were eyes on her.
There were so many eyes.
Slightly down the Wormwood River…
Ah, the Wormwood River. This massive landmark is a symbol of Los Fortuna in many ways. It came to exist during the city’s foundational years, it runs from the Northernmost mountains into the city itself, and quite symbolically, it splits the affluent Eastern portions of the city, highly regarded centers of culture and quality of life, with the Western, the environmentally unclean, the poorer, the portions of the city in which the greatest safety and stability comes from being within the care of a territorial gang which has earned the ire of countless other districts.
This divide was sharp and clear in the way it split the affluently beloved outer suburbs of the Woods of Aurelio, whose schools, fine homes, esteemed country club, golf course, town hall, and most of the town’s voting centers all sat in the East.
Manta Malaise thought this symbol of all which they sought to destroy a poetic place to take their pollution this evening.
“This Metropolis which is so very very burdensome to me, and this humble hamlet so tantalizingly close to it nearby,” they began aloud, just in the off chance somebody was around to hear it (and if not, rehearsal was always useful), while the diesel-burning gas-guzzling pickup truck they purchased on the resort’s tab began dumping a container’s worth of sand and grit, “I have heard it said that this location in which we are entrapped it on the decline… Yet nay, I say. At least, nary the full picture… This place is but a microcosm of all that surrounds it, a more blatant case of all that is true elsewhere, as well… A fine example for the world, it will make.”
As they spoke, a ripped-away purple car door floated by on the river, distracting them from speaking about how, if they repeat this process for a few weeks (maybe buy a new car every time), they would be able to kill the fish eggs and microorganisms that make up the key bottom of the river life’s food chain, eventually add nitrogen to the mix to toxically increase ugly and deadly algal growth, and aloud, they spoke “curious… That is a recognizable door of a quality automobile… To whom might it belong? Ah, no matter!”
Seconds later, a bloodied figure with several open wounds along its back burst from the water, clinging to dear life to the floating door and beginning to kick in Manta’s direction with surprising strength. He seemed to have tall blond hair, green pants, and a sleeveless shirt, though those all were obviously soaked and stained both with water and blood. As he reached the shore nearby them, within the range of ‘Morgana Courts Danger’, he gasped and turned onto his wounded back.
The young man who floated towards Manta Malaise said nothing, and did not even seem to notice the effects of their proximity as they approached and turned him around to get a look at the other side of the sleeveless shirt-clad figure. The life was fading from the blond man’s eyes, and his lips trembled, a faint grin on them. He did not say a word, but as Manta looked down, they realized that the phrase on the outfit he wore said more about his final feelings, the state of his body, than his voice ever could.
Ouch!
“What… What on this fetid dying earth is going on here?” They weren’t concerned, per se, but curious about the sudden arrival of this man.
He continued not speaking, bringing a trembling hand up and away, pointing softly with a single finger Southwards, slightly - towards a shabby-looking abode.
“Do you… Mean to send me there?”
His strong lips curled into a serene smile, his hand dropped, and his eyes closed.
“Nghh… I had not the time to have his final sounds heard in life a rejection of this quest, perished for naught…” Manta remarked aloud, gritting their teeth. “As if I would simply traipse towards what is not my business… Though, how did he get here through the water? He seemed to appear so suddenly…”
They looked towards their truck. The motor was still running, but it had emptied its load fine. “I am curious,” they remarked, and so, after cranking the heat and AC of the vehicle as high as it could go, they abandoned it, diving into the water to see where this dead lad may have come from.
???
Casey awoke to that same odor again, but less severely so, in an uncomfortable, unsheeted mattress in what appeared to be a bunk room of sorts. As she rose, she had to avoid scraping her arm on a rusty spring, rubbing her eyes all the while.
“Nngh, what’s..?” She looked around, and after glancing past her a few times, saw Violet laying in a similar situation, a bizarre metal collar around her neck poking out behind the scarf, but otherwise looking unharmed. “Violet..! Wake up, Violet!”
“Nnghh… What’s..?” She sat up, feeling around for her beret and putting it on, glancing at Casey. “You’ve got a weird collar on you, Casey…” She felt at her own neck, then. “Oh.”
“Look out for those things,” a casual-sounding, low voice uttered, earning the attention of the pair; a woman with dark, wavy hair and a velvet dress was filing her nails on one of the springs. Nearby her sat a cone-haired, dirty-blond high schooler, built like a football player and a varsity away from dressing like it. “When ‘that person’ brings in a ‘Stand User,’ they get a collar like that… Likes to make up little game rules, and if they break ‘em or leave, uh…” She jerked her thumb towards a far-off wall of the room filled with a few dozen bunks, in which a bloody, smoky outline shaped like a person outstretched was dried against the wall. “Poor bastard didn’t listen because the floor wasn’t literally lava… Hey, don’t jump now, yeah? That’s not the game being played right now.”
“Palmer, you’re scaring the hell out of them, and that really isn’t useful right now… We’re going to get out soon, I’m sure of it,” another young woman’s voice called out, and as the voice seemed familiar, the face confirmed it. Though her long neat hair was short in an uneven cut, the blue blazer’s sleeves were destroyed, and the bowtie was loose, it was absolutely TV personality Jillian Heart.
“Jill..?” Violet asked, tone lightening up immensely.
She took a moment to process that, but then nodded. “Hey, Lange. You and Reed doing alright? And, uh, this a friend of yours?”
“Yeah, hi,” Casey answered, “Casey Williams… College student.”
“She’s cool, yeah,” Violet promised, looking around, “where’s Chad? Not like him to run off…”
“That’s why we’re getting out soon,” Jill answered, happily, “we noticed it when you two were brought in! Broke open this statue in the courtyard and found a waterway that ‘Worm’ - that’s what the killer goes by here - has to have been using to get in and out. They have one of those ‘Stands,’ but we all can see it, so they wear it like a costume and it guards them… But Chad’s the strongest person here, and he’s been our rock through all of this! After Worm left again, he volunteered to go through it and find help, and with him, that means it’s as good as done!”
“I see… So that makes how many people left here, then?” Casey started counting on her fingers.
“Sixteen, minus you two,” Miss Palmer answered, “I’m, uh… Palmer, by the way. Drama teacher at the high school out here. Same story as everyone else here, more or less… Bet the Superintendent’d be happy to hear Elton here and Swift Taylor are still alive, though.”
‘Elton’ said nothing, still, simply sitting there, while Jill took over a bit to talk about the place.
“I think I’m gonna start getting the lay of the land, then…” Casey said, feeling the need to take the initiative. “I’ve still got my Stand with me, thankfully, and if we can’t leave just because help shows up, that means we’re gonna have to fight to get out when this killer shows.”
“Careful,” Jill warned, “there’s traps all over the damn place here… And ‘Worm’ changes them when we’re not looking, just like they change the furniture, or what doors lock how. Makes everyday in this big house hell, and it’s worst of all around the edges. Makes up most of how people die here…”
“I’ll be careful,” Casey said with a nod, stepping out into the halls of the bizarre home.
The underwater corridor Chad had needed to swim through to get out was brutal, and even Manta Malaise had felt tense handling it. Over four meters underwater, less than two meters wide, and the top of the dark, dirty, dank area was lined with rusty nails, blades, and the blood of the man who had attempted it, across a forty-meter stretch of water - slightly shorter than an Olympic swimming pool, but so much more claustrophobic, and with pressure much higher.
They managed it, however, and were they able to speak now, would have commended the amateur cameraman who only swam as a summertime hobby for managing fatally what they were able to get through unscathed carefully. At the end of this gauntlet was a straight shot up, illuminated by moonlight, and so, Manta hurried upwards, taking a breath as they surveyed the area they had come out in.
It was a large fountain on the Eastern end of a long, statue-decorated courtyard full of thorny ground. The crumbled, destroyed remains of such a statue, presumably having once sat atop this passage, was now in pieces, only a pair of outstretched arms on either side of them.
“Look out, you damnable fool! The arms, the arms!!” A theatrical voice called out, and Manta looked its way to see a figure in a top hat, three-piece suit, and black cape with a handlebar moustache and unibrow, and before they could process it, an automated voice emerged from the crumbled head at the fountainside.
Flow 24 Detected
The stone arms seized their neck firmly, and so soon after they had breathed, they could not again. It was no matter for their strong arms to easily smash these damaged ones of stone, however, and soon, they crumbled and descended into the deep. However, Manta felt a new weight around their neck nonetheless; a metal collar.
“So… You are the ‘help’ that damned Kroeger sought? Imposing and impressive-looking for sure, but entrapped like the rest of us now.” The dapper fellow complained.
“Who are you to criticise me, when you yourself are enraptured in this place as well?” Manta asked, spying the man twirling his moustache and moving to do the same with their own facial hairs as if in challenge.
“You dare insult Los Fortuna Parking Lot Magnate Born Bad? I was celebrating turning a GarfieldEATS into one, when I thought I might make my next grand step the transformation of the entire Wormwood River into the world’s largest parking lot as well!” Bad was twirling his moustache hard enough one might have thought it would catch alike. “It would have been a fortune for me, and a record for parking lot-kind!”
“That would destroy the ecosystem of all of Los Fortuna, you know… Ingenious, if more brazen and avant-garde than I might have done,” Manta answered, “tell me now. What have I been caught in?”
Through much villainous posturing, Born Bad explained similar basics of the situation to Manta that Jill had for Casey.
“So my own curiosity has laid me in this ‘Worm’s’ tunnels… Yet, at once, I think it will do to undo this as well. Entrapment here stands in my mission’s way.”
That conversation was cut short by the sound of the Westernmost balcony opening its doors, several meters above them, and a young woman with brown hair, eyes, and skin was looking down at them. She appeared, at once, confused and intimidated by their presence, which was the response Manta generally wanted to evoke.
“Hey, you! Are… Did Chad send you?” Casey asked, clearing her throat. “How is he? Is he alright?”
“If you mean the youth who died luring me here without a word, he is certainly deceased… And has caused for me a definite predicament of a pickle.”
“Wh…” She sounded taken aback. “He’s dead? H-how can you sound so indifferent? That guy risked his life to get help for us, and-”
“And I knew him not, and he got me trapped here. Why should I shed tears for his passing?”
Before this argument could escalate further, a large, pristine-quality monitor which framed the upper Northern wall of the courtyard turned on on its own, and in it, was an image of the entrance foyer of the manor. Slowly, from its floor, that that thing Casey saw before emerged, idly twirling a saber in its hand and lifting it over its head as it leaped several meters into the air.
(Shout-outs to Skelly-tan for this art!)
A voice, both distorted and gargling yet perfectly coherent spoke from its wide maw. “Good evening, everybody, thanks for tuning in! It’s me, you all know me, your hero, the Conqueror Worm! Let’s give it up for our guests tonight… We’ve got a lot going on for our last big ‘game night!’ That’s right, you heard me, last one! Much as doin’ what I have here has been fun, after this, I mean to move onto bigger and better things… But I’ll never forget this place, pinky-promise!”
There was a sort of twisted, uncanny elegance to the way ‘Worm’ paced around, both as if it were limping in agony and gliding effortlessly, the camera focused on it at all times.
“Yep, Aurelio, you heard me right… Conqueror Worm is done bein’ your killer! The lot of you left in here are the end of a generation, and y’all are absolute treats to work with! So, with three Stand Users here, good an’ collared and here to have a time and a half, let’s make this a grand finale for the BOOKS! Stand Users,” it pointed its blade towards a small entranceway behind it, “that door there is locked, but also, in the right circumstance, the one way you’re gettin’ off my property without explodin’ into funny lil’ chunks! See!”
The screen, then, turned into a showing of two maps of the building, with several spaces highlighted. “I just got finished slitherin’ around droppin’ off three ‘chips’ which ya scan against your own specific collars, and then, if you’ve unlocked that mini-foyer behind me, boom! They’re off, and you’re free! I just gotta make sure you die before then, and I can do it with ease! With this body of mine, I can grab anything, put it in there, and pass through any surface I can fit on, see! And to the first person t’get out of it alive? A SPECIAL gift’ll come!”
“Didn’t mention the master key?” Another voice asked.
“Well no I didn’t, but no way they can get that offa-” The camera returned to its view of Worm, though Violet was standing directly behind it, directly waggling a keycard in between her fingers. Not much further back, Jill was covering her mouth with clear amusement. “Wh- Why you!” He swung at her with her blade, and she dodged back, and Worm threw his head back and laughed. “Well, I’ll be… How’d you manage t’pull that off? That’s on MY person, INSIDE here!”
“I started to steal things just for the rush and attention of it when I was seven years old,” Violet said something then, which the audio blurted out and her mouth was off-camera for, but the sound of which shook Worm to his core, his laughing growing slightly incredulous. As she did, she swiped the card over her collar, and it clanked to the ground in pieces. “Yeah, that’s right, I figured out exactly who you are… and now your whole audience knows.”
“I mean sure, think that if y’want!”
“Right… You probably censored it then.” She pouted, then struck a cool and casual pose. “No matter… I’ll just show them your corpse.” A big bushy white hound emerged from Violet’s person, then, ethereal and snarling and beautiful, and she called out, “This is the start of a new me! ‘Forgive and Forget’ is putting you down, Worm!”
As the Stand-dog rushed forward, he chuckled. “Keep runnin’ into white Stand-dogs lately, huh… It’s gonna end for you like it did the last one, too! You shoulda just run!”
F&F leapt into the air, taking aim for the throat underneath Worm’s pungent armor, but he lifted one arm, and as fangs sunk into that, his other swung its blade.
Violet’s face went wide-eyed and pale, and she looked down at herself, clutching her stomach and noticing how red poured out.
“Ooh, did I reach bone there? Tough break…” Worm pulled back the blade, removing it from Forgive and Forget’s midsection as the white dog dropped to the ground before its user, fading away as she fell to her knees. “Aw, y’didn’t realize? This ‘Saber of the Gold Knight’ I perma-borrowed from our local museum ain’t just a conversation-starter… I wouldn’t take it for no good reason at all!”
“Violet..?” Jill asked, stepping back towards another room, too afraid of Worm to rush to her friend’s aid. “What… What even happened? Worm swung at the air, and… And…” Panicking, despite her resolve, Jill ran into the other room, a look of clear terror and guilt on her face.
“…I dunno, blanked out there!” Worm chuckled a bit, shaking off its bitten, uninjured-looking arm and retracting the sword inside its own fetid rolls of rotten off-white flesh. “But whatever happened, that’s ONE down!” He kicked Violet into a corner to the sound of her whimpering and sighed, pacing around a bit as he held up his master keycard and sucked that, too, up in his person. “Won’t cause me much trouble like that, but I know the other two of ya are in my courtyard… Funny startin’ place, since I like to use that place for when a guest wants to just say ‘I give up! End it here!’ Real useful tool for that bit of mercy, y’know? But anyway, the show goes on, and one-on-one is more interesting anyway! First one t’get to the end, I’ll even throw in an EXCLUSIVE interview to make it worth your while! But I’m not gonna keep the viewers at home waitin’ anymore saying more, since this is already goin’ on a little while, and you’re our stars still! So, without further ado…”
“OPEN THE GAME!!! Man is that SATISFYING t’say!”
Location: The estate of the Conqueror Worm, a two-floor building straight out of a Survival Horror. The whole place is hanging with an odd smell, and walls of most of the rooms are dotted with realistic murals of bones and various body parts - given Conqueror Worm’s ability, one must wonder how they were made.
1F MAP, 2F MAP. Due to interests of character limit, the details of each room in the estate can be found here. Most of the rooms are pretty simple, though, so don’t be intimidated by that.
The players are denoted by the circles marked with their character’s initials, with Manta standing in the fountain on the far-East end of the Courtyard of Despair, and Casey standing on the Western second-floor balcony overlooking it. Worm, meanwhile, starts in the first floor’s entrance hall, marked with a question mark. The C marked squares and the M marked squares are the chips that Casey and Manta need respectively, scanning which against their collars will ‘count’ them as read. For what it’s worth, the Violet chips were in the hot tub, freezer, and conservatory, but that is completely irrelevant now.
The circles with numbers in them represent the nonstand-using Survivors present in the area. Exact details on each of them aren’t particularly important, but a list of their names can be found here. The personality blurbs and occupations listed aren’t really relevant for the match’s sake; even the sports stars have been brought to a point where they have the same stats as everyone else.
The X and Y marked rectangles are locked doors and their respective keys are somewhere on the map denoted by the X and Y marked diamonds; these function not unlike car keys; though they can be used to physically lock and unlock the door in person with a turn, it’s much more convenient that one press of the buttons on them can instantly lock and unlock every door on the map marked with the correct letter.
The “F” marked square is the keycard that unlocks the finish line room.
Several of these rooms have traps which Worm knows about, but the players will not be given foreknowledge of all of them. These are already set in stone, however, and it will be up to the attentiveness of the players in following the location descriptions not to fall victim to these; hints are provided, basically, and they’re designed not to be too hard to respond to if you see them coming.
The rooms’ ceilings are generally quite high, three and a half meters above the ground, with about half a meter of space between the ceiling of one and floor above - basically, being a story directly above or below Manta is NOT enough to be within the range of Morgana Courts Danger.
Goal: Casey and Manta, your own survival is priority number one here. Try to get yourself out of this situation alive! In order to do so, you must deactivate your own collar through the insertion of three chips placed around the facility, where labeled on the map. Free yourself and escape alive. That is your priority, and you are under no obligation to help anybody else if you have no desire to. Leaving the map for longer than five seconds without outright moving through the finish space marked on the map will result in the collars detonating, even if all three chips are inserted.
Conqueror Worm, kill Casey and Manta by any means necessary.
A player character will win if their score surpasses that of the Conqueror Worm’s, while receiving less will result in elimination. A tie will be regarded as normal.
This match, thus, has special voting rules. Basically, there are four valid voting options in this: ‘Casey and Manta,’ ‘Manta and Worm,’ ‘Casey and Worm,’ and ‘Conqueror Worm,’ depending on if a voter believes that both players manage to escape, one of them is stopped by the killer, or both of them are.
NPC Information:
‘Conqueror Worm’ Sheet
(Plain Text Version)
Additional Information:
Unless noted otherwise, all doors are wooden.
While there are several unique NPCs throughout the estate, functionally, all of them can generally be expected to act in the same way: they have 222 stats with irrelevant special skills, and generally speaking, do not want to die, and will act in accordance with things they believe to follow that end, though they are not particularly skilled in identifying traps on their own. Manta Malaise frightens them, however, so they may find they require a little more effort to convince people to follow them around than Casey would be able to. Born Bad (“1” on the map), a fellow Dastardly-looking villainous caricature and thus kindred spirit of theirs, is the sole initial exception.
Violet Lange is bleeding and unconscious, and will in no capacity be able to assist, but still alive and should remain so as long as her particular injuries are not aggravated and the game does not take too agonizingly long. The killer has already forgotten about her.
Through review of previous materials, the players do have sufficient information to correctly identify the user of Conqueror Worm, who is, in fact, a character who appeared in the previous Suburb match. They will be allotted one guess, accusation bolded, in the text of the strategy, to name the person. There is no penalty for an incorrect guess, but a correct guess will see ten bonus points awarded; to one side if only they guess it, while both receive five if both do. One hint: they were present at Match 8’s baseball game.
The chips are extremely durable, but if they are rendered inaccessible or removed from the premises, a safety switch will force them to be treated as if they were simply activated and used; Worm isn’t interested in a game where victory or loss is impossible.
The traps themselves will be revealed throughout the first segment of the killer’s strategy, and take up characters in as much, but the existence of these are an indisputable fact which the players must be wise to either avoid or work around.
Though his durability and endurance are exceptional to the point where a fight would be immensely difficult, the killer also possesses a ‘master key’ which, if utilized, can be scanned against the collars to unlock them, unlock the front gate, and unlock any of the electronically-locked doors in the facility.
Team Combatant JoJolity
Masters of Funky Action Casey Williams “No escape, huh? I didn’t want one anyway. That was never part of the plan.” You came here for a reason, even if you’re still trying to define what, exactly, that reason is to you. Whatever you think being a hero might mean in this situation, live up to the standard you define for yourself!
Judecca Highrollers Manta Malaise “The greatest threat to the peace of my heart isn’t Jotaro! It’s him! Josuke Higashikata!” This is an indubitably vexing situation into which you have been brought. While you abscond from this, make certain that you find clever ways to get back at that bastard who has entrapped you here!
???? “Worm” “‘Misconceptions’ are the most terrifying things in the world… And the consequences are even worse if you’re overly confident that your abilities and talents are superior.” You’ve made an absolute deathtrap of your estate here, and it would be a damn shame for any of that to go to waste. The more of your traps successfully go off and seriously hurt someone, the higher your JoJolity rating will go!
Link to the Official Player Spreadsheet
Link to Match Schedule
As always, if you would like to interact with the tournament community and be among the first to get updates for the tournament, please feel free to PM a member of our Judge staff for an invite to our Official Discord Server!
submitted by Dungeon_Dice to StardustCrusaders [link] [comments]

If you hear thunder in a snowstorm, run.

I’d never heard of a thundersnow until I was in college. When you live in the midwest weather can be chaotic, but this particular storm came up quickly, even for us. On Thursday morning there was a normal snowstorm coming, by Friday morning, they were preparing to shut down the city. Businesses began announced early closings. Even the mall was closed by 3pm. The college I attended even ended classes at noon. A group of friends and I decided to take advantage of the early release by going to a restaurant by the mall for lunch. We were only inside for an hour or so, but by the time we got out, there was easily an additional six inches of snow on the ground.
On the way home, every time we stopped, my friends would have to get out and push the car until it started going again, including pushing to get the car going so I could manage to drive off after dropping them off.
I decided to gamble and stop at the gas station closest to our apartment on the way home. If we were getting snowed in I was going to pick up a pack of cigarettes and some basic supplies. I managed to park under the canopy by the gas pumps where a patch of bare concrete would provide enough traction to get going again.
The gas station is a larger chain gas station in the heart of a college business district. Basically it’s bars, clubs, pizza places, head shops, and at least one hipster coffee shop. Locals referred to the whole thing as “The Hill.” My point is, we were at this gas station at least once a day, often two or three times. The same was true for the hundreds of students who lived within blocks of the area.
I wasn’t the only one stopping in for supplies. It was filled with people, most of whom had stories similar to mine. I was standing in line holding some frozen pizzas, soda, and chips when I heard the clerk talking to the other customers about the coming storm. The forecast had escalated significantly.
Behind the counter a small tv was playing. The weatherman came on, standing in front of a map of the midwest that was basically a giant purple blob that covered our entire state.
“Jesus Christ,” I said. The clerk reached over and turned up the volume. A hush fell over the people near the counter as everyone listened.
“ . . . Highway Patrol has issued a statement. Do not leave your homes. Do not travel.”
The interstates and highways had been shut down. Rescuers in snowmobiles were shuttling people trapped in their cars to the nearest rest areas. Plows had been called in for the night.
“Please, everyone,” he said. “Stay home. If you don’t, you will be on your own.”
The silence hung heavy and felt . . . ominous, I guess, would be the right word.
“Well! I guess I better go!” said the person at the front of the line, breaking the tension and prompting a few laughs from the growing number of people in line.
“Well I’m not going anywhere,” said the clerk. “I have to work all night anyway. Besides, my apartment is right next door.” She gestured toward the window, but instead of the blue apartment buildings we should have been able to see, the window was nothing but solid white.
Just then the doors opened and two of my roommates ducked in.
“You guys have the same idea as me?” I said, gesturing at my pizzas and snacks.
“No,” A.J. said, “Blazer’s stuck in the bookstore parking lot.”
“I thought the blazer had four-wheel drive.” I said.
“It does,” chimed in A.J.’s girlfriend Jenna. She’d shared his room for months, and for the most part, she was pretty cool.
“Damn that sucks, let’s get our stuff and I’ll drive us home,” I said.
Even though I’d been in the gas station less than ten minutes, the small patch of concrete I had carefully parked my back tires on was filled in with two inches of snow. The tracks from where I drove in were almost completely filled in with snow. I was glad we didn’t have to go far.
By car, it was two blocks. Most of the time we walked, and from the back door to the gas station it was more like a half a block.
Going slow and occasionally getting out to push, we managed to not only get home, but get the car in the driveway, as well. My third and final roommate, Trevor, got home just after we did, pulling his tiny car in right behind mine. Making our way into the house, the snow was so deep had to walk in each other’s footsteps and try not to fall over along the way. By the time we got inside, we were laughing and happy to be home.
In the foyer that we shared with the apartment upstairs, we paused to stomp the snow off our shoes and brush it off our clothes and coats.
“Holy shit it’s crazy out there!” A.J. said, stepping carefully out of his wet shoes onto the dry carpet in the living room.
“It’s pretty when you look at it from in here,” Jenna said, peering out the window at the houses across the street. It was definitely one of the prettier types of snow. The kind with big fat sticky flakes. Still, the uneasy feeling lurked in the back of my mind. We weren’t strangers to winter or severe weather, but this was unnerving. The weatherman wasn’t even trying to guess how much snow we’d get anymore. He just kept saying it was impossible to predict how much snow we would actually get. Local news was an endless stream of businesses that had closed early and warnings not to travel. At the hospitals, staff were staying over because the replacement staff couldn’t get through.
What else was there to do? We did what every college student does when there are four people in the same room. We played cards.
It was close to 4:3O in the afternoon when there was a knock on our door. One of the guys upstairs poked his head in. We didn’t know the guys upstairs real well, but of the four, he was by far my favorite. His name was Metal, which I had been pretty pleased to find out was his actual last name. He was a bit of a power stoner, but was generally cool to be around. But to be fair, he was also a little bit crazy.
“Guys! Anyone want to go to the gas station with me?” He asked, in a wide-eyed excited tone.
“Not possible,” A.J. said, not looking up as he carefully arranged the cards in his hand. “Roads are all fucked.”
“I’m not driving, dude. I’m walking.” Metal said, as if he had thought of the most innovative weather problem solution of all time. “Anyone wanna come with?”
“What are you getting?” I asked.
“Smokes, certainly. Toilet paper definitely. Beer probably. Pizza possibly.”
I shrugged, “I’m in.”
I got up and rummaged through my room for my warm coat and gloves. When I came back out of my bedroom, my roommates were holding out cash in my directions.
“Hey, would you bring me a pack of smokes?” A.J. said first.
“And me!” Jenna added.
“Yeahhhh, me too,” said Trevor
“No way. You can come with us and buy your own,” I said in a joking voice but he right well knew I was also serious.
“I’ll send enough money for two and you can have the other one,” he offered. The others agreed.
“Uno, dos, tres, cuatro, cinco, cinco, seis,” Metal sang, doing a strange little dance in the kitchen by the back door.
“Good enough,” I said, taking their money. Of course, at this time smokes only cost $1.87 a pack. So the “payment” wasn’t as big as it would be today. We frequently made deals like this, especially when the weather was bad.
Now before you chastise me for going out, you need to remember a few things.
First, it was only about 7pm, so it wasn’t overly late.
Second, if we walked through our backyard, the gas station was only about a half a block away.
Finally, we walked this route not only to go get smokes and snacks, but also to get to classes. I’d personally walked this route in every possible state of mind and influence. This was twice as true as Metal because he’d lived upstairs for twice as long I had and had definitely done twice as many drugs.
It was because of all this, that I didn’t worry too much about making the trip. It’s also why none of my roommates worried too much for us. Honestly, I thought it would be kind of novel. I’d never seen a storm like this, and I was kind of looking forward to checking it out. Nothing about going to the gas station felt unsafe, to any of us.
Just as we were getting ready to go, an odd yet familiar sound rumbled through the house. My brain couldn’t quite register what it was right away, because it was so out of place.
“Was that . . . thunder?” Jenna asked.
“I think so. I heard it too,” A.J. confirmed.
“That’s crazy,” I said. I didn’t think much of it at the time. I do remember looking over at the window where Jenna had been marking the rising snow by scratching lines in the frost on the window. They were low on the house, so the fact that we saw snow at window level wasn’t alarming, but I was a little surprised to see that the snow was now about an inch above the line she’d drawn not five minutes earlier.
When you’re 20 and in college, well, you’re damn near immortal, or at least you think you are, so we finished getting ready and made for the back door.
“If we’re not back in 30 minutes send the sled dog,” Metal said laughing, referring to our landlord’s dog Charlie, who was a notoriously aggressive ankle-biting chihuahua.
The back steps were a mound of snow so we just sort of trudged our way blindly through it until we were on the ground level. The snow wasn’t actually too bad. It was up to just above our knees which required us to lift each leg up out of the snow to take each step forward, but it was doable. We paused when we got to the alley at the end of our back yard. The snow had gotten noticeably thicker. I looked up at the security light up over our heads. The light was visible through the snow but I couldn’t make out the details of the fixture at all. Across the alley from us was the chain link fence that bordered one of the houses we walked between. It would be helpful to hold onto as we walked through the snow. Only about a foot and a half of it stuck up out of the drift, but we were able to keep moving.
The whole time we walked, Metal chatted away, generously peppering stories and observations with top shelf profanity as we made our way through the deep snow, with the help of the chain link fence.
We were losing visibility, but we could still see individual street lights lining The Hill, like glowing orbs in the night.
Suddenly the snow around us filled with a barrage of flashing light followed by the unmistakable sound of a thunderclap. The glow of the streetlight faded away as we were suddenly hit with the weight of a massive amount of snow from out of nowhere.
“Fucking wind!” Metal shouted at the sky as we shook the snow off of our shoulders and hats. It had blown off of something nearby and directly down on top of us. Or at least that’s what we thought happened. At that point, why would we have thought it was anything else?
One big step at a time, we followed the chain link fence until we made it to the front yard of the house. From here, all we had to do was cross a small street, walk around the bank, and the gas station would be right across the street.
I didn’t say anything to Metal, but I was starting to get a little nervous. He didn’t seem to notice as he yammered away about all the things he always yammered about. Music. Drugs. Pulp Fiction. Music and drugs. Drugs and music. Drugs and music, and Pulp Fiction. All we could do was keep moving and get back as soon as we can. I was kind of regretting the trip, but we were already half way there, it would be stupid to turn back at this point.
From here I could just make out the overhead glow of the streetlights again just on the other side of the bank.
The snow on the street was as deep as the snow by the chain link fence, but here there would be nothing to hold onto. We’d just have to walk in the direction of the bank. I could tell Metal was starting to feel uneasy too, when he got quiet and walking closer to me. I didn’t mind. It was getting harder and harder to see and that was unnerving enough. The thought of being out here alone, was more than a little unpleasant.
We began to make our way across the small road. Halfway across the lightning flashed again, followed by a crack of thunder that ushered in another “blanket” of snow that fell heavily on our heads and shoulders. There was nothing we could do but stand there until it eased off. It took longer for the snow to lighten this time. When the streetlights came back into view, it seemed like they were softer and farther away.
We didn’t hesitate, just continued moving toward the bank, straining to make out its shape in front of us somewhere. Even though it was dark outside, the snow seemed to have its own sort of light. It swirled around with the snowflakes and dazzled your eyes. Almost hypnotic. But if it was actually as light as it seemed, we’d have been able to see more than we could.
Just as I was pretty sure we were almost at the bank the wind began to howl. I’d heard the expression before, but I’d never truly understood how real it could be. It was a terrifying scream that seemed right next to me, making me shudder not from the cold, but from a deep, penetrating fear.
“What the fuck!” Metal shouted and started pushing harder toward the bank. I had to struggle to keep up with him, but I knew he couldn’t go far.
The bank didn’t have a parking lot. It was a small building with just enough room for one car to drive around to the drive-thru. It served mostly college students who were almost always on foot.
Metal was getting farther ahead of me and I could barely make out his black parka.
“Metal!” I shouted, but the words seemed muffled by the snow and swept away by the wind. I kept moving in the direction he had gone, even though I couldn’t see his coat anymore. He wanted to get to the bank and I didn’t blame him. I knew feel a whole lot better when I was touching that wall, too.
Another flash of lightning and another shriek. This time it sounded like it was right in front of me. I cried out in fear. The thunderclap hit, and the snow that followed knocked me off my feet. I came up sputtering, trying to clear the snow from my mouth and nose.
“Metal!” I shouted again and this time I thought I heard him reply from up ahead of me. I kept moving in the direction of the bank, and after a dozen or so trudging steps, I was blindsided by an arm that darted out of the swirling white wasteland, grabbed my shoulder, and yanked me hard in their direction.
It was Metal. He was standing with his back against the wall of the bank. If he hadn’t grabbed me, I’d have probably kept walking. Who knows what would have happened if I’d have missed the bank.
It wasn’t easy navigating around it. On this back side where we were, the snow had blown up against the wall, so it was deeper and harder to walk through, but neither of us wanted to leave the reassurance of the wall, even though the snow was harder to get through.
I tried to shout to Metal that we needed to head for the foyer with the ATM machine, but I don’t know if he heard me. The snow was quiet but also took the words out of your mouth as soon as you said them. It was just like talking underwater. Muffled, and dull.
Metal’d had the same idea as me though. On the other side of the bank, there was a 24 hour ATM that was located inside a small glass foyer that was always unlocked. We could stop there and get out of the snow for awhile. By this point, we were fighting for forward momentum. It had been a bad idea to try to walk to the gas station, and I regretted it with every step.
God it was great when my gloved fingers found the front corner of the bank building. I was way beyond wanting to be home or at the gas station. All I wanted was to be inside and not in this storm. I’d have climbed in a doghouse if we’d come across one.
The door to the foyer was covered in snow. Metal and I had to spend five minutes kicking the snow out of the way before we could get the door to open enough for us to squeeze through, but inside felt like a paradise. I didn’t realize how all of that snow around my face had made me feel like I was suffocating. I ripped my scarf off and opened my coat so I could “breath” again.
I was so preoccupied with that, it took me a minute to notice Metal was frozen in place, staring into the corner of the little foyer.
“What is it?” I asked, my eyes following his gaze.
“I thought I saw something,” he said, in a puzzled voice.
The snow in the corner swirled in and out. But for a second I did see something. I think I did. Something like a face, but gray skin, gray eyes. You mean snow colored? It was not a stretch to see things in the swirling snow, especially after straining to see in the storm.
Metal shrugged and began foraging inside his coat, pulled out a pack of smokes and a lighter. He pulled out a cigarette and then offered me the pack. I took one.“We probably shouldn’t smoke in here,” I said.
“Extraordinary circumstances call for extraordinary measures,” he replied lighting his cigarette and sitting down in the middle of the room. He was quieter and more serious than I had ever seen him. When he finally made eye contact, I could see that he wasn’t just serious, he was scared.
I’m sure he saw the same look on my face, too.
The bank foyer wasn’t warm, but it wasn’t nearly as cold as it was outside. I took off my gloves so I could smoke less awkwardly. We smoked that first cigarette in silence. As soon as I stubbed out the first one, I fished out my pack and offered one to Metal, which he took.
He lit it carefully and then said in a quiet voice, “What are we gonna do, man?”
I shrugged. “We could keep going,” I said. “We could go back or we could stay here. That about sums up our choices.”
“If we keep going, we’re staying at the gas station until tomorrow,” he said, lights flickering overhead.
It wasn’t ideal, but I had to agree with him. I couldn’t imagine making the whole trip back after getting to the gas station.
“Either way, I think we need to stay together,” I posited.
He nodded slowly. “Maybe we should stay here.”
I couldn’t deny it was tempting. It felt good to be out of the storm. But though it was warmer in here, it wasn’t fully heated. “We feel warmer now,” I said. “But is it actually warm enough to stay here? And if we wait too long, will we even be able to get anywhere else?” I asked.
Overhead the light flickered again, ominously.
Metal considered this. “If we head back home, we could probably make it to the chain link fence but after that, I’m not sure. The backyard was uphill. We may not be able to get to the back door. If we can’t, we’ll have to go around.”
“So we are stuck deciding if we should try to camp down here or keep going to the gas station where at least we would have food and bathrooms . . . and cigarettes,” I concluded.
In the end it was the flickering light, threatening a power outage, that made our decision for us. Without power, the foyer would become cold dangerously quickly. As we bundled back up, a gap in the snow revealed a bright glow in the direction of the gas station before the storm rushed back in again and it disappeared in the swirling chaos.
It bolstered both our moods. I was glad we were leaving the foyer. The longer we sat, the more the swirls against the glass seemed to resemble faces, staring with dead eyes of white swirling snow. Dead eyes that looked at me. Dead eyes that saw me.
I don’t know if Metal’s eyes were playing the same tricks on him. I thought about asking, but he suddenly stood up, pulled his last smoke out of the pack. He lit it with a flair, zipped up his coat, and saluted, cigarette hanging from of the corner of his mouth, just below one squinted eye.
“Soldier!” He shouted. “We will go out in that snow! We will walk across this street! We will acquire snacks! Those are our order’s maggot, get your ass out there!” He threw his scarf over one shoulder with a flourish and kicked open the door.
The jovial moment ended as the snow hit us like we’d never left it. Metal grabbed me before I could start walking and I realized he was standing with his back to the bank window to orient himself so we walked in the right direction. It was smart, because the gas station was catty corner from where we were standing.
The road we had to cross had two lanes with parking on both. From the bank to the door of the station wasn’t more than 60 feet.
Even though it was dark outside, the swirling blizzard creates the illusion of visibility, but that’s all that it is, an illusion. The reality was that we could not see more than a couple of feet in any direction. We knew there was a car parked in front of the bank, but beyond that, it would be the last physical landmark until we made it to the pumps of the gas station.
We moved carefully forward to the parked car, edging our way around it to the right. Something in the snow banged against my leg causing me to jump back and fall on my ass in the snow. When I got back up I reached out to find a parking meter buried in the snow next to the car. That was going to hurt later, and probably leave a pretty nasty bruise, too.
I thought at first Metal hadn’t noticed that I fell. I shouted his name and felt the panic start to rise up, when his outstretched hand appeared in front of me. We clasped hands and started moving forward again. I felt no shame in holding a guy’s hand at this point. I just didn’t want to be alone.
It’s hard for your senses to cope in that sort of environment. Sound is muffled, directions become elusive, you can see but you are also blind. But even though everything is hidden to you, you can’t stop trying to see and to hear just in case, for one brief moment, you can get your bearings.
I’ll be honest. I was starting to get pretty freaked out. The panic I felt was threatening to boil over. Being in the storm felt like being underwater, slow and foreign. Pretty, but deadly.
I ran into something again, this time with my right leg. “What the fuck,” I said, reaching down to see what I had hit this time, but after fishing around for whatever it might be, I came up empty.
“You okay?” Metal said, shouting with his head close to mine. Even a few inches away he sounded muffled and distant.
“Yeah!” I shouted back and we continued trudging forward.
There was no point pretending we weren’t pretty thoroughly run down at this point. I mean, we were both young, but we were also smokers. We were much more likely to be found playing guitar on top of the student union, than in an intramural football game. At this point, the snow was closing in on waist deep and it was almost impossible to step over it anymore. I worked to make a simple rhythm of it. Pick up your leg, like you’re marching. Pull it up and slide it back down in the snow. Then bring your other leg up to meet it. I would lead with my right foot for awhile then alternate to my left.
We walked and walked and time stretched out behind us.
Any sense I had of our position and pace was long gone. How long had we been walking? We left the house around seven, but neither of us were wearing watches. The more I thought about it, the harder it was to figure out. I decided it had probably been a half hour or so when you factor in the two cigarettes they had at the bank. How long would it take to get to the gas station?
I concentrated on my footsteps. How many steps would it have taken me on a regular day to get from the bank to the gas station? I tried to pace it off in my head as I forced my legs to push through the snow. It was maybe six steps from the bank to the car, eight steps around the car to where I got whacked by the parking meter. Probably about fifteen steps if we went directly across the street. So cross-ways across the intersection would be, say thirty, maybe even thirty-five paces. From the curb to the gas pumps would add another fifteen or so.
If I counted two snow steps for every good weather regular step, that would put me at about 130 snow steps to get to the pumps. But you see, I honestly thought my snow steps were larger than regular steps based on how I had to put my foot down, but I was trying to be as conservative as possible.
Was Metal doing the same? I hoped so, because at this point, any energy I had left after walking was being used to keep me from losing my shit.
I counted in my head as we went. “One . . . and . . . two . . . and . . . three . . . and . . .”
When I got to 150, I knew something was very, very wrong. I was about to try to ask Metal what he thought when lightning flashed all around us, revealing swirls of blues and whites in thick patches like clouds, but with no visible boundary between the falling snow and the snow on the ground. Thunder cracked loud overhead and seemed to echo around us. Like the thunder before, the snow that followed landed on us like a blanket. It was up to our waist now.
We fought to shake it off our arms and shoulders, but we could both feel it. The storm was gaining on us. I moved in front of Metal and took the front for awhile. He had been forging the path for long enough. He had to be exhausted. I leaned in and shouted in his ear, “We should have been there by now!”
I got a quick glimpse of his eyes, a few inches from mine. He only gave a small nod. There was nothing we could do but keep walking.
“157 . . . and . . . 158 . . . and . . .”
Just then I tripped over something and fell forward, face-first into the snow. I panicked and flailed. The snow was packed in my mouth and ears. It was hard to breath and for a second I couldn’t get away from it. It was like being underwater without any buoyancy.
Metal’s hand had been ripped out of mine when I got knocked over. I finally found my feet and felt around with my arms until I bumped into him and we clutched each other in the darkness.
Before I could take another step I ran into something else and suddenly realized, I wasn’t running into something. Something was running into me.
This time it was Metal’s turn to fall on his ass, and my turn to help him up. But as I was pulling him onto his feet, the snow rippled around us and without warning, Metal’s hand was torn out of mine and he disappeared back down into the snow. I felt wildly for his hand and managed to get ahold of it it, but Metal hadn’t fallen. Something was pulling him. I could hear his thin terrified screams being swallowed by the wind and snow.
“Don’t let go!” He cried. I pulled my right glove off with my teeth and got my bare hand up under his sleeve, wrapped around his bare skin for traction. His warm skin felt hot and prickly against my cold fingers and but I held on as hard as I could. Even when I knew that it had to hurt him like hell where I was pulling.
Whatever had his legs yanked harder. The storm thickened. I could hear Metal screaming but I couldn’t see his face. Whatever had him pulled over and over, until I felt like my arm was going to get ripped out of its socket. Lightning blew up the sky around us. For a moment, I could see Metal in front of me, his face pale with exertion and pain, his eyes wild with fear. I wish that was all I had seen, but the flashes of lightning showed so much more.
Around us, in the layers of the light bursts, huge pale eel-like creatures swirled through the falling snow like water, the snow swirling like eddies in their wake. I could tell that Metal had seen them too. Then I felt it again, the movement under the snow, bumping hard against my leg. Jesus Christ there was something alive out here with us.
The next time the lightning flashed, I watched as white tendrils of snow slithered up from the snow behind Metal and wrapped themselves around his arms and then around his neck. The force of it made his eyes bulge and his skin began to turn purple.
I shouldn’t have been able to see any of it. Or at least not as much as I saw. I know it sounds crazy but it felt like the lightning kept flashing to make sure I saw the thing taking Metal. To make sure I saw him die.
Because there’s no way he could have lived. I wanted to believe he could, but deep down, from that moment I knew.
The thunder cracked and the storm went black and Metal’s hands were violently ripped from mine in a white hot sheet of pain that tore through my shoulder as my grip on his arm was broken. All I saw after that was a flash of black as Metal disappeared into the ocean of snow.
I clutched my now useless arm against my chest and tried to look around. Tried to see anything in the darkness. The snow was deeper now. In a little while it wouldn’t matter what was out there, I wouldn’t be able to keep going.
My good hand was numb and my feet felt like blocks of stone I had to drag along underneath me. My eyes were tired from squinting and trying to make out anything in the darkness.
For awhile, every time I contemplated giving up, the things in the snow would nudge me, toying with me, like a cat with a mouse.
But a person can only keep moving for so long in those conditions. no matter how determined they are. I just kept pushing forward in the direction I thought the gas station was. By that point I had stopped counting steps. I could only concentrate on one step at a time now. If I could just keep going, I still had a chance, right?
A wild shrieking suddenly whipped in the wind around me just as something struck me hard in the face, nearly knocking me off my feet. A hot wetness trickled down my cheek and onto my coat. Suddenly brilliant white light flashed and flooded the world around me, followed by a turbulent slithering around my legs and waist under the snow. But this time, the lightning revealed something else. The gas station. Metal and I had gotten off course and I had nearly missed it. I lunged in the direction of it had been in great flailing strides, that felt like running underwater, a slow-motion escape more frustrating than any nightmare.
But I had seen the gas station. I knew I could make it.
Instead, I was knocked violently forward, face first in the snow. Before I could get my knees under me, an ice cold tendril wound around the wrist of my bad arm and yanked it back, brutally, causing pain to cut through my consciousness like a white hot blade. The adrenaline gave me just enough energy to take a few more steps. Blood was pouring down my face, and I was dragging my now useless arm behind me in the snow.
The thunder boomed right above me and I knew the snow was coming and that would be the end. I knew deep down, I could not shrug off another dumping of the heavy snow. Not that I didn’t try, but as it hit me, I fell forward, limply.
The things swirled around me in the snow, rubbing against my legs, then disappearing, only to be replaced by another one. Then a sharp pain bit through the haze I was in. Something had sliced the back of my leg.
The jolt of surprise and the new pain helped me to get to my feet again, even as I could feel more of them swimming through my legs and around my waist. The lightning flashed one last time, and there, in front of me, were hands and arms that reached out to me, pulling me out of the snow.
Behind me, I felt the tendrils wrapping around my legs and ankles, the sharp slicing of the skin on my thighs and calves. I screamed in pain from the cuts and being torn in two.
I kicked at the things swirling around my feet and suddenly, my foot made purchase with something hard and resistant. Very much like packed snow. But I felt it give, and then the thing holding my feet loosened its grip just enough to allow the hands and arms to tear me free of it. Human hands and arms that were real and warm and alive. It was there, on the concrete just outside the door of the gas station that I closed my eyes and everything went quietly, mercifully dark.
It was around 3am when I woke up and found myself lying on the floor behind the counter of the gas station my head resting on a package of toilet paper.
I tried to sit up and was instantly blinded by white hot pain like I had never felt before. I cried out and was quickly surrounded by the clerk and two other girls. All three had extremely concerned looks on their faces.
“Are you ok?” The clerk said nervously.
“Of course he’s not okay,” said the girl on the left.
“He’s inside and he’s alive. That’s ok enough.” The girl on the right said grimly. She screwed the cap off a bottle of Captain Morgan and handed it to me. “Take these,” she said holding up two pill and then putting them in my mouth. I was too surprised to really resist. “Drink,” she said, pushing the bottle of rum toward my face.
I washed down the mystery pills with the rum and while it burned going down, it was warm and everything warm was good. “My friend. He was with me. Have you seen him? Did he make it here?” I asked.
The two girls shook their heads. “You’re the first one, since we got here. Our car got stuck. It wasn’t bad then. But we were going to try to get it unstuck, only we didn’t get to the car.” The girls looked at one another and were quiet.
“There are things in the snow,” I said. No use pretending it wasn’t true. Tears rolled down one of the girls cheeks.
“I need to call my roommates,” I said.
“Phones are out,” the clerk replied, frowning, then she shrugged.
The four of us sat behind the counter for the rest of the night. The girls names were Sarah and Braden. The clerk was Jill. I told them some of what happened, but not all.
It turned out the pills Braden gave me were serious pain killers she took for “monster cramps.” The slices on my legs were wide but not dangerously deep. I was able to move around once the pain ebbed a bit.
“What time did I get here?” I asked, at some point, trying to pin down the sequence of events.
Jill brought over three hot chocolates from what my roommate called the crappuccino machine. Braden topped all three off with rum. “7:15,” she said.
“That can’t be right,” I said. “We didn’t even leave until seven. And we stopped at the bank for at least ten minutes, probably more.”
“No, that’s right,” Sarah said, taking a sip of her hot chocolate. “When we got you inside, I looked at the clock so I would know how long you were out. I know it was 7:15ish because I remember thinking my sorority sisters would all be in the tv room watching Friends.”
“It can’t be right,” I said quietly and the girls didn’t contradict me. For the rest of the night, we stayed behind the counter on the floor.
It was better not have the windows to look out of. Better not to be where you can be seen if something was looking in. Sarah and Braden eventually fell asleep. Jill and I smoked and endured the flashes of lighting and thunder in the snow. I tried not to think of what was out there, but I never succeeded.
I guess we all must have fallen asleep eventually. When I opened my eyes the light from outside was bright and clear. The snow had drifted halfway up the window, but above the snowline I could see the bars and pizza places half buried in a fine powdery snow that was perfectly smooth and flat and glittered like diamonds.
We still couldn’t go anywhere, but we did eventually get phone service back. When we did, I called my roommates to tell them I was ok and to ask if Metal was there, but he hadn’t returned to the house. I even made them look upstairs.
Over the next few days, there would be a lot of questions, and a lot of heartache. I tried to tell people what happened, but I couldn’t get anyone to take me seriously. They nodded and gave me a pitying look. To them it was just my traumatized mind making up a story to cope with the horrific event I had lived through. And who knows, maybe I am.
But there’s one thing that makes me think I do remember things the way they actually happened. They eventually found Metal. Found his body, anyway. The day after the storm, the owner of the bar across the street went to drop his deposit at the bank. The dropbox is in the foyer by the ATM. As he turned to go, he noticed, down in the corner window, by the floor, he could see a pale face, with white that stared off into nowhere. It was Metal. He was found lying next to the window with his face pressed up against the glass, completely frozen.
The authorities declared it was death by exposure, but I’m betting they found a lot more in that autopsy than anyone was ever told. Once the storm had cleared, four people had gotten “lost” in the storm and suffered the same fate as Metal. I wonder how many of them suffered the same fate.
I’ve never really been one hundred percent ok, since then. Physically I’ve recovered as much as I am going to. My right arm is moderately functional but I’m a leftie now.
I transferred to University of Arizona for my junior and senior year. After graduation, I did outreach work at the equator. I don’t go where it snows any more and I’m ok with that. But a few weeks ago I happened to run across a headline about thundersnow predictions in the midwest this winter. I know midwesterners are brave and sometimes reckless, but this is not a normal kind of storm. As one midwesterner to another,
If you hear thunder in a snowstorm, run.
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Betting $100 on EVERY SINGLE WEEK 1 COLLEGE FOOTBALL GAME!! (Made at Las Vegas sportsbooks! Football Betting Strategies - Using Mathematical Models for Football Betting Tips Understanding NFL Betting Odds Football Stats - (Excel) - Introduction (1 of 3) Sports Betting: How to Read Point Spreads

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Betting $100 on EVERY SINGLE WEEK 1 COLLEGE FOOTBALL GAME!! (Made at Las Vegas sportsbooks!

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