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Romancing the Apocalypse Chapter 21 - Business Time

Romancing the Apocalypse Chapter 21 - Business Time

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  • Hey Lorin, I finally got back online and around to catching up on my favourite Romance. Great story! And the glitches were hilarious - take it from someone who's had enough of them herself. I think Ratna really WAS responsible.
    Good job and congrats on lifting the Apocalypse.
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Romancing21 Romancing21 Presentation Transcript

  • Romancing the Apocalypse Chapter 21 – Business TimeWelcome back to Romancing the Apocalypse! In Episode 20, a very young Kai met his father for the first time and later missed histeen birthday party, Jenny Craig came out as a couple and Jenny adopted two puppies that are now expecting, Juno went on ahandful of dream dates and got engaged to a bikini-clad Lucy, and Rhea got her first business to level 10 and then activated her prideand joy, a Servo she named Bender. But now... it’s business time!For the most complete set of rules for Pinstar’s diabolically wonderful Apocalypse Challenge, as well as the Apoca-borg’s proposed set ofrules for the FreeTime and Apartment Life expansions, take a gander over to http://apocalpysechallenge.boolprop.com.Note: I have installed and am playing this Apocalypse through the Bon Voyage expansion only, so none of the new Borg rules apply.
  • After the relatively easy success of her first business, Mask, the next one on Rhea’s list was the small downtown restaurant called One-Twenty-Five Café.
  • “One-Twenty-Five, One-Twenty-Five... what does that mean? One hundred twenty-five ways for your customers to die of boredom, orone hundred twenty-five ways to kill me with boredom? Dull, dull, dull.”
  • Much better! Only the booths were a bit of a bust because no more than one customer at a time would sit at them. Also, I have a badhabit of redecorating midway through my play sessions, so if the tables change throughout this little business jag, OOPS.
  • “Thank you for calling Rhea’staurant, the new downtown dining experience with a spicy new menu and a spicy new décor!”
  • Server Kai was in the kitchen inspecting glasses while Bender familiarized himself with the commercial-grade stove. An Iron Chef, if youwill.<<I decline the title of Iron Cook and accept the lesser title of Zinc Saucier, which I just madeup.>>
  • Jenny was also a server, with a dash of sales thrown in.
  • Juno, the host with the most, was again put in charge of welcoming customers.“Thanks for coming, Mom.”
  • The best part of running a business from a player’s standpoint is seeing old familiar faces. Squeee Corey! Squeee Kate!
  • Squeee Jake and Mel!
  • Why, hello Nemo and Kathi (Dellyo)!
  • Even the socialites came and mingled with the masses.
  • “We can’t keep my brother’s fiancée waiting now, can we? I’ll get you a table in just a minute.”“Oh, I don’t need a table, thanks, Juno invited me over for a date.”Rhea withdrew her hand. “A date?”“... Is that a problem?”“No problem at all, I just could’ve sworn he was here to work.”“Ehrm...”
  • “Lucy! Am I glad to see you!”“I can come back if you’re busy.”“The only thing I’m busy with right now is getting our date started.”Lucy glanced quickly back at Rhea and said, “Outside, okay? I don’t want to be in the way.”Juno nodded and said quietly, “Okay. I have to tell her something first, then I’ll join you.” He raised his voice and said, “Rhea, did you spillsomething on your outfit?”“What? Where?”“I’ll be out in just a sec, Lucy.”
  • “Where? I don’t see anything.”“Right here...” Juno said, reaching out to touch a phantom spot. “Oh... my mistake. Must’ve been a shadow or something.”Rhea brushed his hand aside. “Way to throw a false alarm.”“Do you have a problem with Lucy?” Juno asked without missing a beat.“If she doesn’t keep you from your work, no.”“This isn’t a one way street, Rhea. I’m happy to help you, and the only thing I ask is that you support me in return.”“Except when it interferes with running my business!”“I’m going out to join Lucy,” he said and headed for the door.“Yeah?” Rhea called after him. “Why should you have all the fun?”“The only thing stopping you from having fun is you,” was his parting shot before he joined Lucy.
  • Easy for him to say. She would never admit to Juno or anyone that running a restaurant was hard, and not half as fun as selling masks.
  • No one could say Rhea wasn’t a trooper though, and she took over greeting her customers with a smile so big, the unpracticed musclesin her cheeks started to ache.
  • “Wow, I don’t recognize the place now,” Robin said approvingly. “So much brighter and more fun.”“Our sister has an excellent head for business,” Jenny agreed.“Why yes, I’d be happy to make a reservation for you!” Rhea said brightly. “And I guarantee you’ll find plenty of activity should you feellike indulging other... appetites.”
  • After which, dating outside began to pose its own set of problems for Juno and Lucy. Well, mostly Lucy...
  • “What can I get for you today?” Rachel asked for what seemed like the zillionth time.“Rach? Hello-o-o...”“Robbi, hi! How are you?”
  • “I’m fine. I’m pregnant.”“How sweet! I mean, if it was it planned?”“We, er, timed it right, so no fears whatsoever. Got five woohoos in the bargain, so it’s all win.”Rachel laughed. “You!”“Me,” Robin beamed. “So, how is everyone?”“We’re all good, really good. Really busy.”“And everyone is still... around?” Robin asked deliberately.“Mmhmm.”“Okay, I didn’t say anything before because I didn’t want to upset you when it was still... fresh, but do you think that’s wise?”“He’s only been out once, a long time ago. He isn’t bothering anyone.”“I still don’t...”“Look, Kai wants his father around and really, I don’t see the harm. If that ever changes, I won’t hesitate to move him off the lot, I promise.”“Okay, if you say so.” Robin sighed and let the subject drop. “What do you recommend to someone craving sweets?”“Cheesecake?” Rachel teased.“Mmm, better have cake cake.”
  • Rhea was none too happy to hear a customer, a tackily-dressed one at that, begin dissing the food... her flawlessly prepared food.
  • “Ugh, this pie is positively raw, Christy,” Pink Sweater griped. “Or maybe it’s burnt. Whatever it is, it’s terrible!”Make up your mind, biatch, Rhea thought to herself. Or maybe she just thought did.“Did you hear what she just called me?”Rhea had to literally bite her tongue before it gave Pink Sweater more of the lashing she deserved.
  • Too bad the kitchen wasn’t the sanctuary from irate patrons that she had thought.“Hmph! No wonder my pie was such a disaster! You call that a chef?”<<Watch it, youre pending for a bending!>>“ *Gasp!* He can’t... are you going to let that... a machine insult a paying customer like that?”“I’m sorry, what is your name?”“Whitney.”“Nice name.”“Well?”“Might I suggest, Whitney, if you can’t take the heat, get out of my kitchen.”<<Or you could drop dead. That’d show us.>>“That’s the last straw, you just lost yourself a customer!”Moral of the story: it doesn’t pay to cross two zero-Nices.
  • Who cared if she lost one measly loyalty star?Well, Rhea did. She was working her butt off making sure everything was perfect – quick service, perfectly prepared food, no lag time inclearing away dirty dishes, even deigning to do the grunt work herself...The only thing stopping you from having fun is you.“Bender, come here!”
  • “Now, about what happened in the kitchen...”<< I dont tell you how to tell me what to do, so dont tell me how to do what you tell me to do.>>“No, you misunderstand! I do not operate under the premise that obnoxious customers are always right.”<< Hasta la vista, meatbag!>>“Exactly, who needs her!” Rhea whipped a screwdriver seemingly from out of thin air. “I’ll bet all that steam has stiffened your joints,and as you know, I am capable of giving great tune-ups.”<<Great is OK, but amazing would be GREAT.>>“Juno? You’re in charge!”
  • “Oh yeah, Im Bender, baby, please insert liquor *blip* screwdriver!”“Hang on, Scruffy!”
  • <<Rrrrr... its so cold, my processor is running at peak efficiency!>>“Really? I am getting hot...”
  • <<Sweet photons. I dont know if youre waves or particles, but you go down smooth.>>“Not so neutral now, are you, Sweden?”
  • “Hey, Gordon, what’s new?”“Got some new clothes, Rachel’s friends are getting ready to move out, Robin’s expecting... other than that, we haven’t been played in awhile.”
  • “Juno, my darling angel!”“Hi, Lorin! Can I get you a table, Contessa?”“Bleh, no thank you. I’m looking for someone.”
  • “And here you go, Mr. Pinstar... the best seat in the house!”
  • Lucy and Juno were able to sneak a couple of kisses, but mostly they tried to keep the dating clobber-proof.
  • “If we hurry we can sneak one outside.”
  • “What’s the matter, Kai?”“One, I’m tired. Two, all work and no play is making me a dull boy. Three, this is taking forever.”“I know,” Rachel sympathized. “What if you don’t have to help with the others?”
  • Even perma-plat Rachel was almost at the end of her rope. Maybe she would sit the next one out, too...
  • Knowing he didn’t have to do this three more times gave Kai a much needed boost in spirits and he helped with the final push to level10.
  • “Stick a fork in me, I’m more than done,” said Jenny.“I’m sure it won’t be too much longer,” Rachel said, washing her hands yet again.“That’s what you said twenty meals ago.”
  • Months later Hoop realizes he is still standing there, repeating the same nonsense!
  • “Are we agreed, no more restaurants?” I asked.“Agreed. Although now that I’m done, I’m glad I did one.”“Agreed.”
  • With a spring in her step and a glitch in her pants, Rhea’staurant finally reached the top level.Stats for Rhea’staurant:Picture for proof: Lost, if one was taken at allTime: 8 effing RL hoursJuno: Just a handful of dream dates, thanks to Mrs. C
  • <<Were back, baby!>>Everyone agreed it was good to be back home again.For those who haven’t guessed, I was uninspired on how to write a Servo, so 99% of Bender’s dialogue are quotes from Futurama.
  • After his impressive performance at her restaurant and with that bleeping Whitney in particular, Rhea suddenly got it into her head thatshe wanted to sell a masterpiece.
  • “Drat, not quite a masterpiece again! Too bad, guess I’ll have to hang it and make another one.”
  • “I will not require your help at my next business.”<<Are you displeased with how Bender has performed his services?>>“Quite the contrary. In fact, you were superb at the restaurant. No, this one is much smaller and there won’t be enough for you to do.”<<There are many chores to keep me busy at the home lot.>>“Very good. Just, um, lay off the dessert-making while I’m gone.”
  • “This is way worse than you described.”“Yeah, no wonder they call it the Sucky Shack.”“Oh, shut up.”
  • “The staircase is still sound.”“Good, because everything else looks like hell. We have our work cut out for us!”“The Three Musketeers strike again!”
  • “Are you the new owners?” inquired Brooke Patch (or her double).“I am the new owner.”“Why are you still in your pajamas?”“Look, this place needs a lot of work and I don’t have time to jibber-jabber. Come back when we’re open, I think you’ll be pleasantlysurprised.”“Psh, I’d like to see that.”That’s the point, nit-not.
  • “The first thing we have to do is fix these bars on the door.”“I can see that.”
  • “It doesn’t look like anyone has been here for a while.”“Really, Sherlock? Look at this place, can you blame them?”
  • “How are the chairs?”“A little rickety. Want to help me test the chips?”
  • “Excuse me, what are you two doing?”“Seeing if we need a new poker table,” Juno replied.“Do we?”“No,” said Jenny.“Then stop goofing off and get to work, both of you!”
  • “You don’t have to grump at us about everything...”“Hey, don’t take it personally, I just want to get this show on the road.”“.....”Rhea rolled her eyes and sighed. “Okay, how can I make it up to you?”“Why are you wearing your pajamas?”“Because Lorin’s an idiot!”
  • To make a long story short, I read in the Build a City Challenge Chat thread at boolprop.com that it was possible to get a venue-typebusiness to the top level while meditating, and I thought it would be funny to show Rhea in her PJs doing nothing while the businessworked its way up to level 10. Only, I spaced that Sims don’t meditate in their pajamas. Plus, I had set all the seasons to Spring for Juno’sdream dates, which meant a lot of thunderstorms, which meant a lot of these nice trees caught fire, which meant Rhea kept poppingout of meditation, which meant... so much for meditating.I like how the place turned out, though!
  • “It looks pretty good now!”“I sure wouldn’t mind hanging out here. In fact, I think I’ll invite Lucy over...”
  • Back at the house, it was the first time one of the expensive TVs went on the fritz, though admittedly it was only recently that the familyhad started watching TV.
  • You got metal fever, baby, metal fever! Bender hummed contentedly.
  • “I don’t see why they have to give you so much homework.”“I’m taking advanced classes.”“Why would you... unless... did you use the Senso-Orb?”“... Just once.”“And you chose Knowledge?”“... What if I did? Lorin rolled Romance on my birthday, but that wasn’t what I wanted... I don’t care how cute she thinks I am.”“What do you have against Romance?” Rachel asked.“What do you have against Knowledge?” Kai retorted.“... Okay, but none of that trying to get yourself killed just to be ‘saved’ from death nonsense, that’s just plain crazy.”Kai rolled his eyes. “Yes, Mother.”“Don’t ‘Mother’ me.”
  • “It’s because of your father, isn’t it?”“What is?”“I don’t think it’s a good idea, Kai.”
  • “Maybe if anyone in this house had told me something about him other than Celebrity Chef this, Celebrity Chef that, I wouldn’t have tofind out on my own.”“What do you want me to tell you?”“I don’t know! Just tell me something!”“Do you really think I haven’t racked my brains trying to find something more to tell you, Kai? Why would I keep something like thatfrom you?”“I don’t know,” he answered sullenly.
  • “You’ve always been smart, and I’m sure you understand the saying ‘if you can’t say anything nice about someone, don’t say it at all.’”“You don’t have to beat around the bush, Mom, I get it. He wasn’t nice.”Rachel shook her head. “He wasn’t nice,” she whispered in agreement.Kai shrugged. “I can accept that, in fact I’m not surprised. He once said you always brought out the worst in him...”
  • “When did he say that?”“.....”“Oh my God, you’ve seen your father’s ghost, haven’t you, and not just in passing?”“.....”“When, Kai?”“...Not long after you found me catching butterflies by his grave?”“When you were still little?!”“Yeah, you were at work and I was trying to catch some fireflies. The next day you quit your job.”“What else did he tell you?”Kai shrugged. “He was all worked up about a bed.”
  • “Where are you going?”“Bus just got here.”“Okay, but I don’t like this, Kai, not one bit.”“I left a flyer for Private School on the table,” Kai called on his way out the door.
  • Rachel sighed and went over to the bookcase, still trying to digest what Kai had just told her. Her heart went out to him, poor kid, hedeserved so much better than his Rat of a father.She mindlessly grabbed a romance out of the bookcase and immediately shoved it back in.Now that she didn’t need to find good things to tell him, she mentally began picking out the lesser of the bad ones and decided it wouldbe best to keep them as general as possible.With her plan in place, now what?That’s right, Private School. She went over to the table and picked up the flyer...
  • Back at the Sucky Shack, that wasn’t sucky at all anymore, it was officially business time!
  • And it kept going...
  • And going (hi, Sara!)...
  • And going (hi, Haley!)...
  • Lightning got Rhea, and not even her army of snapdragons could help a hygiene level in such dire straits.
  • Gary Charvat wasn’t there very long before he got vamped, and after that I kept a close eye on command queues.
  • And all the while Juno and Lucy dream dated...
  • And dream dated...
  • And dream dated...
  • And dream dated...
  • And played strip poker...
  • “Ahem, Lorin!”Does the hot tub ring any bells?“That’s different!”All right, so they aren’t playing strip poker.“Not here anyway...”*Gasp* Lucy?“I’m no prude and Juno certainly isn’t one...”“Yes, I was just trying to be chivalrous!”
  • “She never should have said anything about stripping.”“Juno Jones! Are you thinking what I’m thinking?”“What I’m thinking has nothing to do with thinking, Lucy...”
  • Oho, man! So much for chivalry.“To grab a husband, one mustnt put out. Haha, duly noted.”
  • “I thought I wanted to before, but I can’t wait to marry you now, Lucy.”
  • “When will this happy occasion take place?”“Not soon enough, but soon,” Juno said, giving Lucy his best hug ever.
  • “I’m happy for you, bro. I’m glad Lucy was able to get her, um, house in order.”“What house? What are you talking about?”“The husband? Remus? Just glad she got that all straightened out.”“I’m not married to Remus,” Lucy said quietly.“You aren’t? I could’ve sworn I read...” Rhea stopped when Juno glared at her. And Lucy... she was standing so woodenly. In theuncomfortable silence that followed, Rhea realized that not only had she stumbled into a plot hole, she had committed a rather seriousfaux pas.
  • “You know, Rhea, I’ve put up with an awful lot of your sh...”“Don’t, I know what you’re going to say. And I wasn’t trying to stir up... trouble.”“That would be a first.”“But... I want you and Lucy to be happy.”“Really, Rhea?”“Of course, you’re my brother.”“Just go away. Leave me alone.”“That’s it, I’m done groveling.”“Good.”“If you’re going to be like that, who needs you?”
  • “You know, sometimes I really like your sister and sometimes I...” Lucy looked down at the floor and sighed.“You aren’t really married, are you?”“No.” She peeked up at him and said, “You believe me, don’t you?”“Yes, I believe you, but I have to know, who is Remus?”“Remus is married to Lucy.”
  • “But not me Lucy, another Lucy just like me. Me Lucy wants to marry Juno.”“Does she? Really?”“Of course. Everyone can see that.”
  • “In that case, as long as I get to marry you, Remus can have any other Lucy he wants.”“I love you, Juno.”“And I love you, you Lucy.”
  • Phew! Now that they were past their little plot hurdle, the dream dating was able to continue...
  • Along with the business.
  • And on it went...
  • And went. It was great seeing Dellyo and BlueBerryPie360 get reacquainted.
  • Yes... so many Dream Dates, so many fun Sims to watch, SO many pictures taken...
  • Wait... WTF?!
  • Vanessa, are you out of your blood-sucking cotton-pickin’ mind?“You thought I forgot about your pledge, didn’t you? You did eventually get a handle on your AGS! I know it, because I feel him in theneighborhood now.”Excuse me, but I’ve been a little busy with this generation.
  • “Then here’s a little... push.”
  • “I’ve got news for you, you blonde blood-sucking bint... nobody uses me as a means to their own end! Consider yourself eighty-sixedeffective immediately!”
  • Contessa Vanessa Hart wandered aimlessly around the Sucky Shack lot until she stumbled and landed hard in the sand next to the pond.She was indeed going out of her mind...
  • ... from loneliness.Sevvyyyyyyyyyy...
  • “Rhea, I apologize for what I said back there with Lucy. Everything is straightened out now, so can we let bygones..?”“Bleh, yes, yes, whatever.”
  • “Oh wow, how did that happen?”“Blame your infernal dream dates. I was being completely ignored until this happened.”“Shouldn’t you call the Gypsy or something?”“You don’t think maybe... black sheep?”“You’d rather work on becoming a black sheep than run an H&M Store?”
  • “What do you mean I can’t call a Service Sim from my own community lot? Are you people trying to kill me?!”
  • “Oh, for crying out loud, the coffin too?”
  • “Ixnay on the Gypsy and coffin.”“We’d better get you home then.”“Screw that, we are not jumping ship after twelve real-life hours with only ten loyalty stars left to go!”“Are you crazy?”“Do I look crazy?!”“Uh, yeah. Ya do.”
  • “Why is she being so reckless, Juno? Does she want to die here?”“Are you going to stop her?”“... No.”
  • “That’s it, babe, fry ’til you die!”
  • What do you know? The Sucky Shack reached level 10, and looky who was meditating after all.
  • “What are you looking at?”
  • “Business hours are over, baby.”“Got everything? I grabbed your coffin.”“Bleh, worthless piece of crap. Hold on, I did forget something.”
  • “You are a sucky little business, but I like you.”
  • Final stats for the Sucky Shack:One poker and mahjong table (should have had more)Time: 14, count ’em, 14 RL hours (2 + 12) – ugh!Juno: Woo! got 34 dream dates, which means just 8 remaining
  • “Don’t forget, we left the house right after lunch.”
  • Sure enough, it was just after lunchtime when the trio got back home. Rhea eyed the coffin with contempt and told Juno to sell it. Shebided her time until the sun went down, then she made a quick call to the Gypsy and Presto Chango! that was the end of her brief stint asa vampire.
  • Rachel had just put the finishing touches on her salmon when Headmaster Jitmakusol (Headmaster J, for short) arrived.“Would you like a tour before or after dinner?”“I’ll leave that up to you, Mrs. Jones.”
  • “Thank you for the tour, Mrs. Jones, and my compliments to the chef.”“Thank you, but it’s Ms. Jones, and please, call me Rachel.”“Very well... Rachel. We have reviewed Kai’s transcript and found his academic performance to be more than adequate. Is thereanything you would like to add for our consideration? Kai’s interests, perhaps?”“He’s always liked nature.”“Would you care to give an example?”“Well, Kai has been a big help to his uncle with growing our own fruits and vegetables. And bugs... what’s the term for that again?Enty..? Ety..?”
  • “Entomology. But I’m not into insects so much anymore.”“Tell me, Kai, what are you interested in these days?” asked Headmaster J.Kai closed his eyes and said quietly, “My interests are more... paranormal in nature.”Oh dear, not another one, thought the headmaster. “I’m well aware that witchcraft is all the rage these days, but we have no interest incompeting with Hogwart’s, son.”
  • “Witchcraft?” Kai shot back incredulously. “No... cliché much? I mean, there’s nothing wrong with it, it’s just that I was referring toghosts, because, you see, my father is... he’s...” His hand dropped along with his voice.
  • He tried hard not to wince under the headmaster’s somber scrutiny. “I’m deeply sorry for your loss, but I’m afraid we don’t offer coursesin that area either. Do you have any interests that are more... of this world?” he pressed gently.The last thing Kai wanted was for sympathy to be a factor in getting accepted into Private School... if he made it, that is. He thought fora bit longer and ruled out confessing his interest in becoming a Game Designer because, like, a headmaster wouldn’t hear that one allthe time...Kai hoped he conveyed an adequate level of enthusiasm when he finally answered, “Journalism. I’m also interested in Journalism.”
  • “Very good! Our school paper could use another inquisitive mind.”“... Great.”“In fact, it is my privilege to welcome you to Private School, Kai.”“That’s it? I’m in?”“You’re in. You are a fine candidate and a credit to your family.”“... Thank you, sir.”
  • “I’m sorry about that gaff about witches earlier, I had no idea about the late Mr. Jones.”“Actually, his father wasn’t a Jones, he was Ratna Miguel.”“The Ratna Miguel? Of course, now I remember. How awful for Kai.”“It’s a downright shame, but he copes.”“I hope I didn’t overstep my bounds, pushing him like that.”“You’re going to find that Kai is very resilient as well as resourceful, and he thrives on challenge.”“Challenge we can give him, and I promise, he’ll have fun, too.”
  • The following day, it really sunk in for Kai... one of his biggest wishes had come true! It was Saturday, but that was okay.“I can’t believe I’m going to Private School, Aunt Jenny!”“Woo, celebration Smustle!”
  • Later that afternoon, Jenny decided it was high time to give her dogs a bath.“Oof. Thanks a lot, Grover, you just ensured I’ll need one now.”Ripley was more cooperative, and after praising her for being so good, Jenny headed to the downstairs bathroom.
  • Jenny had just spun out of her shower when Ratna popped through the wall.“Where is it?”“R-Ratna? I-I... W-where is what?”“Jenny... and I considered you my friend.”“W-we were f-friends...” she stammered, wondering if ghosts could read your mind and fervently hoping they couldn’t.“Friennnnnds? Then where is my bed, Jenny?”“I-I-I d-don’t kn-now w-what you’re... I d-don’t know anyth-thing about a bed..?”“What, are you stupid? The bed! The bed I shared with that sister of yours!”Jenny gulped, her heart really pounding uncomfortably now.“She changed the house and got rid of the bed and you, friend, did nothing to stop her!”
  • “I-I’m s-sorry, R-Ra...” Jenny tried but was unable to choke out his/its/whatever-it-was’s name. “I-I r-really didn’t know...” Her initialshock was wearing off fast and she nervously started inching away from him. “I’m sorry,” she repeated, her hand going up to herheaving chest. “I’m sure R-Rachel d-didn’t know either...”“No, of course she wouldn’t. Stupid women, the lot of you!”
  • “Stop, please! Just please, leave me alone!”“Oh, I’m just getting started, friend...”“RACHEL? SOMEBODY!” Jenny screamed when she felt her knees start to buckle.
  • “Now do I have your attention, little girl?”Jenny was nodding frantically when Rachel arrived on the scene.“Good, now be a real friend this time and tell her about the bed!”Rachel’s eyes narrowed. “I assume you mean me? Really, Ratna, the bed is the best you can come up with? You do mean our bed?”“Can you get it for him?” Jenny squeaked.Rachel put a comforting hand on Jenny’s shoulder and said, “I’m really sorry, his beef shouldn’t be with you.” She glared at Ratna and gaveJenny’s shoulder another reassuring squeeze, but Jenny was too frightened to take her eyes off of him. “His beef is with me,” she continued,“because why would I want to do that when it was the first thing I got rid of? I mean really, couldn’t stand the sight of it anymore...”That got his attention. “How dare you show such little regard for me after all I...”Rachel choked back a bitter laugh. “Go away, before Jenny hears all about how utterly worthless you were in our bed.”“I’ll show you worthless, you undermining..!”“Do you really want me to elaborate?” Rachel interrupted in a bored tone. She calmly stood her ground (though she was quaking on theinside) as he started to drift menacingly toward her. “I’m guessing not, since you’re starting to turn pink and I haven’t even started yet...”
  • Why, Ratna, what brings you out here? I gathered you were rather enjoying yourself inside...“I demand to know why you continue to mock my manly prowess!”Ratna, Ratna, Ratna... that lovely shade of PINK positively exudes embarrassment, so please, do continue bringing up the bed...“Is there no limit to how low you’ll stoop to stick it to me?”Lemme think... mmmmnope.
  • “Do you suppose he’s done for the night, Rachel?”“If he wants me to keep quiet, he is.”“You really got rid of your bed knowing he’d be like that?”“No, a ghost and his bed never crossed my mind, but after tonight... if I had it to do over, I would so do it again just to piss him off.”Jenny giggled. “I think I would too... now,” she agreed shakily.“Oh, Jenny, you don’t know how good it felt to finally stand up to him!”“You were really brave. I totally get now why you wouldn’t ever want him in Kai’s life.”“Kai... that’s the only hard part now.”
  • “As a warning, Ratna’s officially been inside the house. He caught me in the downstairs bathroom.”“Not with your pants down, I hope?”“No!” Jenny laughed then added soberly, “It’s nothing to be flip about, Juno.”“I’m sorry, I just don’t like thinking about ghosts and don’t forget, my bedroom’s down there too. Can he come up the stairs?”Jenny shrugged. “No idea. He was having a field day with me and I don’t think he bothered trying.”“How bad was it? Just so I know what to expect.”“Very scary. He was terrifying, in fact. Ratna was, is...” Jenny checked for signs of Kai before continuing in a whisper, “not a nice man.”“He never said ‘boo’ to me, pardon the pun, when he was alive, so I wasn’t impressed with him.”“Count your blessings. You should’ve seen Rachel stand up to him, though! Looking back, I was almost as proud of her as scared ofhim.”“Will you be moving out now?”
  • Jenny hadn’t considered that. There was nothing stopping her, but there were things she wanted to do before she moved out andstarted a family with Craig, not the least helping Rhea with her businesses. And now, after the incident... darn it, this was her house, nothis, and she refused to let that... that rat chase her off before she was ready. Which reminded her, she really wanted to call Craig...
  • “Does this mean I’m finally out of the doghouse?”“I love you.”
  • Jenny was also waiting with anticipation for the first litter of puppies, and it wasn’t long before Ripley gave birth to Lassie, on the left,and her brother Laddie.
  • She giggled softly in delight as Ripley sniffed and nuzzled little Lassie.
  • “Good job... you da man, Grover!”Suddenly Ripley started whining softly and Jenny turned in her direction. “What is it, girl?”And then she did a double-take.
  • She approached as quietly as she could and was dumbfounded by what she saw. Tentatively she gave Ripley’s ears a gentle scratch andasked softly, “Do you mind, girl?” before bending down to pluck the puppy off the candle holder thingy.
  • Only it came right up with Lassie. Jenny gingerly examined the puppy from different angles and could see it wasn’t stuck to her like shehad first thought, but rather the base went clear through her, and yet at the same time didn’t seem to be causing her any pain. Lassiestarted squirming to be let down and Jenny watched her walk to the food bowls.
  • In the excitement of the birth and... weirdness, Jenny had forgotten to check the bowls for food and hastily filled them, for Lassie’sHunger bar was getting dangerously low, and then feared Lassie wouldn’t be able to step up to the bowl with that... thing impaling her.
  • To Jenny’s relief (and mine!), she could!
  • Once Lassie settled down to sleep, hopping into the doghouse every bit as easily as her brother, Jenny finally felt comfortable leavingher to return to the house.
  • The next morning she took Rachel to show her Lassie’s bizarre affliction.“Hmm, I wonder where she is?”“Do you think she’s hiding?” Rachel asked.“She must be, she definitely can’t get out of the pen.”“Is that a new outfit you’re wearing?”“No, I’ve worn it a few times. It’s pretty comfortable and my H&M outfit seems to have gone missing.”“That’s funny, I can’t find my black H&M dress either.”
  • “Look, there she is!”“Oh...my...God. That’s... oh! Do you think it hurts?”“It doesn’t seem to.”“It looks absolutely dreadful!”“Look, Rachel, I understand Kai is your first concern, and I don’t know if this is Ratna’s doing and I really don’t care, but it can’t be a goodsign. Please, you’ve got to do something about him.”“I know, I’m going to.”“When?”“Tonight, I promise.”
  • Little Lassie wasn’t the only strange occurence at the house lately. It may or may not have been a coincidence, but there were two firesin as many days, followed by the IKEA and H&M stuff going missing. Rachel couldn’t help wondering if someone was trying to get herattention.
  • She kept her word and that night went out to find Ratna, but first she peeked in on the puppies and wondered if he was capable of doingsuch a bizarrely cruel-looking thing. Like Jenny, though, she felt that the situation with him had reached the saturation point whetherhe was responsible or not.
  • “Neat trick,” she said to the headstone dancing eerily above the ground. “Come out, I know you’re there.”
  • “Rachel... how nice of you to stop by. I would invite you to join me for a spot of tea, but we don’t drink tea here.”
  • “I... stopped by, because I would like to call a truce.”“Without the bed, there can be no truce!”“I didn’t get rid of it deliberately. If I could, I would get it back for you.”
  • “Did you do that to the puppy?”“.....”“Did you?”“How very like you and Lorin to pin the blame for that freak of nature on me.”“Is that a yes or no? What about the fires? The disappearing Stuff Packs?”“.....”“... I need to know if there is any way for us to peacefully co-exist for the sake of our son.”“Ah, the boy.”“He’s hell-bent on knowing you, and frankly I don’t know what to tell him.”
  • “So, if you would... if Kai approaches you... he’s just a boy with a natural curiosity.”
  • “Will you do that for him?” she called after him.“.....”“Be his father for once!”“.....”“Did you do that to the puppy?!”“.....”“Ratna, I am not going to stand for this anymore!”“.....”Rachel shook her head in exasperation. Nothing ever changes. She was going to have to have a tough talk with Kai, and sighed at theprospect as she started making the long trek back to the house. Facing Ratna again had been easier than she’d expected, though theresult was far from satisfactory. He was much calmer than the night he had terrorized Jenny, almost docile in comparison. Was hethinking about it? What if Kai could turn him around, even if it was only an infinitesimal bit...
  • “What makes you think you could get away with it?”Rachel paused and shivered as an icy draft played uncomfortably across the back of her neck. The low, ominous words kicked her flee!instinct into gear, but only for a second. She would never, ever back down to him, ever again. And to prove it, she turned deliberately toface him.“What now?” she asked as frostily as the air around her.
  • “You’ve obviously forgotten who you’re dealing with!”“Ratna, for once, think of someone besides yourself!”“TRUCE? Are you kidding?”“Not for me, for our son!”“Your concern is not with me and the boy, your only concern is getting our bed back!”“I told you, that’s impossible!”“Then rest assured, my darling Rachel, you will continue to pay dearly for your lack of foresight, you stupid...”
  • Kai had heard voices outside and used the orchard for cover as he snuck back to the dark, quiet corner where the fireflies chose tocongregate each evening. His parents’ voices carried along the night breeze and he listened intently, for he was on a fact-findingmission.So far what he’d learned was he didn’t like the way his father always called him “boy”... He didn’t believe his father wouldn’t know hisown son’s name, so why didn’t he ever use it? He also didn’t like the way he spoke, always so harsh when compared to his family, eventhat time when he was just a small kid...The jar hit the ground with a soft thud, the fireflies forgotten as they had been on another night many years ago.
  • “HEY, DON’T TALK TO MY MOM LIKE THAT, SHE ISN’T STUPID!”
  • “Kai?” Rachel whispered in disbelief, peering intently through the darkness. “Kai, NO!”
  • “What did you just say, boy?”“I-I said, she isn’t stupid.”“Now see, defending your mother can be an admirable quality. You have a lot to learn about women, though. Lesson One: Nevertrust them not to disappoint, and in particular that one.”
  • “Oh yeah, I see lots of quality father-son time in our future...”“Kai, get away from him!” Rachel shouted frantically.“Are you going to let her boss you around?”“I... no?” Kai croaked, the teen in him reflexively balking at the suggestion he was being “bossed around,” especially by his mother. “I’mfine, Mom!”Ratna saw an opening and continued chipping away. “Atta boy! This is you and me, just as it should be.”“Don’t listen to him, Kai!”“You’re the heir, stand up to her! Don’t let her undermine you like that!”“Baby, please!” Rachel sobbed.“Do your old man proud and show her who’s boss.”“No,” Kai whispered.“Speak up, what did you say?!”Kai gulped, but said surprisingly firmly, “I said, ‘No.’”“... Not ready to be a real man yet, eh? I’m very disappointed in you.”
  • “W-what happened to you? How did you die?” Kai asked doggedly, desperately wanting an answer to the question that had alwaysplagued him most.“She didn’t tell you?”“She wouldn’t tell me.”“Well, see, they drove me to the Scissors!”“You did this... to yourself?”“I was their number one chef for generations! No one fires Ratna Miguel, you hear me? NO ONE!”“W-why did they fire you?”“RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!”
  • Kai got what he had thought he wanted, what a child naturally craved.His questions were finally answered. And now, how to deal with the disillusionment that came with those answers...He turned from his father’s grave for the last time and walked numbly over to his mom, letting her hug him fiercely before seeking thecompany of the one person he could talk to about anything, them both being the only guys and all...
  • “I saw him tonight and finally got my answers,” Kai told his uncle listlessly. “He didn’t die of a heart attack like you said, Uncle Juno.”Juno felt absolutely terrible and tried to explain the best he could. “I thought you were too young so I stretched the truth because, you know,your heart will eventually stop when you Run with Scissors. Essentially, though, I lied to you and for that, Kai, I am sorry. I always knewsomething was off with your mother and father, and heck, he never said one word to me, which made the situation weird for me, too.”“He, I guess strongly is the word, wants me to take charge, stop my mom from bossing me around. Stop her from undermining me.”“Undermining? Isn’t that just a tad dramatic?” Juno stifled a laugh that was anything but amused. “Excuse me, are we talking about the samemom? Your mom? Since when has she ever bossed you around?”“Well, she...”She what, exactly? Nagged him to do his homework, to be an overachiever? Nope, Aunt Rhea was the one who had kept him at Bs and Cs inelementary school, and since his switch to Knowledge, he liked doing homework. He never studied for skills unless he wanted to and in facthardly ever used the bookcase. Well, maybe he was using it now, but only because he had recently developed an interest in Cooking...“Tell me you know better than to believe that rubbish,” Juno asserted, quietly amused that Lucy’s vocabulary was starting to rub off on him.“No, Uncle, I don’t believe it. But why? Why would my mom want to be with someone like him?”“... Life can be complicated, Kai. Sometimes there are no easy answers.”
  • “Which is why going for the simple pleasures works for me, and as for you... ghost hunting makes you hungry, no?”“I could stand to eat.” Juno began rummaging through the cabinets. “We haven’t had Chef Salad for a while, would you like some?”“I haven’t made a Chef Salad before. You could be my test subject.”“Okay then, here’s a knife to get you started.”
  • Kai needed no further convincing that his father’s grave had to be relocated, and it was decided that the final resting place would be theoutermost, uppermost corner of the old devastated downtown area. The move was a quiet affair – no family, no mourners, no eulogy...only silence greeted Ratna Miguel at the end of his road.
  • And for Kai...
  • ... his was just beginning. >>>
  • Whew! The Ratna storyline is over, baby, and I have to admit I had a blast writing such a despicable character, and laying the blame for myglitches squarely at his snakeskin-shod feet was an added bonus. Couldn’t have happened to a nicer Sim. :pMy Apocalypse is completely lifted in my game, though I still have more to play to wrap up the story.Credits:References to “Business Time” are LOOSELY based on a very funny song by that name from Flight of the Conchords.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f4O4-09qVecAnd a shout out to LadyLarkRune for helping me get my IKEA and H&M stuff packs back in my game.Until next time, thanks for reading and happy simming!