The Third Annual The Four Star Gaming Awards

Hunter Red is sitting in his office at The Redertainment Corporation Of America.

Hunter- Well, nominations for The Four Star Gaming Awards have been open for about a month now, let's see who's submitted.

Hunter Red checks his email.

Hunter- Huh. No one. No one has submitted their nominations for this years The Four Star Gaming Awards. Huh. So, I guess this year's awards will reflect only my feelings about the best video games of the year. Then again, some would argue that's always been the case. Okay, let's get this started.

The Third Annual The Four Star Gaming Awards

Wii Game of the Year-
Nominees- Epic Mickey, Kirby's Epic Yarn, Metroid: Other M, NBA Jam, Super Mario Galaxy 2

Of all the games released for the Wii this year, two games in particular stood out. These were games that brought classic, iconic characters to new audiences in ways that no one had imagined. These games revolutionized these characters, updated them for the modern day, and, most importantly, brought a whole new level of fun to the gaming public. To say that one game was better than the other is simply disingenuous. Both of these games are award caliber efforts. That is why, the winner of The Four Star Gaming Award for Wii Game of the Year is

Epic Mickey and Kirby's Epic Yarn

Xbox 360 Game of the Year-
Nominees- Battlefield Bad Company 2, Bioshock 2, Fable 3, Mass Effect 2, Red Dead Redemption

In recent years, we've seen a resurgence in the western genre. Movies like 3:10 To Yuma, No Country For Old Men, and True Grit, have brought good, serious, traditional western films back to the forefront. Rockstar Games is known for bringing a cinematic flair to their video games. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is reminiscent of Scarface, the upcoming LA Noir is reminiscent of the film noir of the Twenties and Thirties, and Red Dead Redemption reminds the connoisseur of television series like Gunsmoke, Maverick, and Deadwood. Red Dead Redemption is a game that gripped audiences from the first railcar scene to the final showdown. That is why The Four Star Gaming Award for Xbox 360 Game of the Year goes to

Red Dead Redemption

Playstation 3 Game of the Year-
Nominees- Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, Final Fantasy XIII, God of War 3, Heavy Rain, RUSE

In a year where motion gaming was touted as the next big thing, a game came out that may actually signal where video games are going in the future. This is a game with no heads up displays, driven purely by contextual clues, and is a different experience for every gamer. Some people dismissed Heavy Rain as not really a game but more an interactive movie. This is a comment that can be made about a lot of games. So, to dismiss a great game Heavy Rain for that reason is simply ignorant. Besides, what other game gave us the internet meme "Press X To Jason".

The Four Star Gaming Award for Playstaion 3 Game of the Year is Heavy Rain

Downloadable Game of the Year-
Nominees- Dead Rising 2: Patient Zero, Death Spank, Limbo, Sonic 4, You Will Die

This year was really weak for downloadable games. There wasn't a game the caliber of Shadow Complex, 'Splosion Man, or Flower. Gaming online was more defined by games like Battlefield: Bad Company 2, the Blur Beta, and World of Warcraft: Cataclysm. The best thing I can say about this year's winner of The Four Star Gaming Award for Downloadable Game of the Year is this: It's the kind of emo love story that would make Ian Curtis proud.

The Four Star Gaming Award for Downloadable Game of the Year is Limbo

Best Original IP of the Year-
Nominees- Alan Wake, Bayoneta, Blur, Epic Mickey, Heavy Rain, Limbo

This year was filled with sequels. Seven of the ten games nominated for The Four Star Gaming Awards Game of the Year are sequels. So, I felt it necessary to shine a light on a new game, a new property, a new thing in the realm of video games. The winner of this award not only represent a new intellectual property, it represents a new way to play survival horror games. The idea of attacking someone with light is something that is only seen as a threat to people who suffer from albinism or are made of water. However, the way that this game mechanic is pulled off in Alan Wake amazingly well. Alan Wake is a game that captivated audiences long after the blatant plugs for Energizer left their TV screens.

The Four Star Gaming Award for Best Original IP of the Year is Alan Wake

Gaming Disappointment of the Year-
Nominees- Fallout: New Vegas being mad buggy, Final Fantasy XIII being a B grade game instead of an A grade game, Gran Turismo 5 being delayed AGAIN (Chinese Democracy), Ubisoft E3 Press Conference

Fallout 3 was, for many people, a stunning breakout game of 2008. Upon announcement, Fallout: New Vegas was a hotly anticipated game. The gaming public was expecting somethings that, like Fallout 3, would blow them away. What they got was a game that blows. Fallout: New Vegas is a game so riddled with bugs it's now included in many entomological text books. Even the massive update, released slightly before Christmas, could not cover up the memory that is only reinforced by YouTube videos like this:

The Four Star Gaming Award for Gaming Disappointment of the Year is Fallout: New Vegas being mad buggy

Non-Gaming Thing Most Deserving of an Award-
Nominees- Broken Bells- Broken Bells, Conan O'Brien, The Dead Weather- Sea Of Cowards, Elizabeth Edwards, Inception, Mad Men, The Social Network, Toy Story 3, The Walking Dead, Wikileaks

Danger Mouse came to prominence in 2004 when he released The Grey Album, which combined acapellas from Jay-Z's The Black Album with instrumentals from The Beatles' The White Album. While still dealing with the legal fallout from The Grey Album, Danger Mouse formed Gnarls Barkley with Cee-Lo Green and produced their albums St. Elsewhere and The Odd Couple. He produced the second Gorillaz album, 2005's Demon Days, as well as Beck's 2008 record, Modern Guilt. In 2009 he collaborated with James Mercer of the indie rock band The Shins to form Broken Bells. James Mercer's musical influences include The Smiths, The Cure, Echo & the Bunnymen, The Beach Boys and The Jesus and Mary Chain. These influences are on full display on Broken Bell's self titled first album, released on March 9, 2010. This acclaimed but often overlooked album is the winner of The Four Star Gaming Awards Non-Gaming Thing Most Deserving of an Award.

Game of the Year-
Nominees- Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, Battlefield Bad Company 2, Epic Mickey, God of War 3, Heavy Rain, Kirby's Epic Yarn, Limbo, Mass Effect 2, Red Dead Redemption, Super Mario Galaxy 2

All of the games listed above have received acclaim, from gamers and critics alike, throughout the year. However, one must be chosen to be game of the year. Unlike the other awards, this is one that cannot be shared. There is one game that, upon it's release, stuck out in my mind as something truly special. This is a game that changed the way I thought storytelling can by conveyed in video games. This is a game that changed how I felt characters con be portrayed in video games. This is a game, the only game, that I played through in it's entirety twice. The Four Star Gaming Award for Game of the Year goes to

Heavy Rain

So, there you have it, the third annual The Four Star Gaming Awards. By the way, I added the extra "the" to sound arrogant. How will Heavy Rain figure into next week's Best of the Decade awards? Find out next week on The Four Stars Blog. Or don't. Whatever. You'll all probably care about as much about the Best of the Decade awards as you did about The Black Robin Christmas Carol, which sold all of one copy. Sigh.

(This is a picture of Ian Curtis. If you don't know who Ian Curtis is, go fuck off.)

The Black Robin Christmas Carol: Stave 4: Shawn

Stave 4

At the stroke of four o’clock the alarm clock on Robin’s nightstand started to chime. Robin turned to look at the alarm clock that had awoken her, the same alarm clock that she was sure she had dropped off her balcony and onto her concrete walkway. “I thought I got rid of you.”

Robin threw her covers off, got out of bed, grabbed the alarm clock, and turned around intending to throw the alarm clock against the far wall. When she did so, Robin saw a figure in a long black cloak with a hood on it standing in the corner of her room near the door. Instead of throwing the alarm clock at the wall, Robin threw the alarm clock at the figure. “Cure you vile pest!” The alarm clock made a nice arch in the air, tumbling ever so slightly, untill the dark cloaked figure reached out and caught the alarm clock in his hands.

“You know, this is a really valuable clock. You shouldn’t be throwing it around like this,” said the figure to Robin. The figure bent down and put the alarm clock on the floor beside him. When the figure returned to an upright position, he flipped down his hood and removed his cloak. In doing so the figure had changed from a mysterious figure in a black cloak to a mysterious black man in a black pinstripe suit.

Robin looked at the man and didn’t respond. She didn’t know how. Robin didn’t know if this was a visitation or another hallucination. As Robin looked at the figure she noticed that he wasn’t trying to impress her with an aura of peacefulness like they first angel she saw. Nor was this figure happy and inviting like the second angel she met. The figure appeared not to be making an effort to make an impression with his pressure at all. The figure chose to make that impression with his words.

“Good evening Robin. My name is Shawn, I am the third angel tasked to visit you this evening. I feel the need at this time to apologize for the colleagues that came before me. They disturbed you in ways that left you restless but also clearly aggravated. The fault in this lies in the routine that is usually followed by those like us who are tasked to greatly alter the path a person is travelling upon. A routine that we believed would work in all cases. Clearly we were wrong.”

As Robin continued to listen to Shawn she was impressed with what she thought was Shawn’s honesty this was something Shawn continued to build upon as he continued speaking. What Shawn was saying felt to Robin to be honest and true. “The first angel you encountered, a woman named Celeste, is an angel tasked to remind you what was by showing you visions of your past. The problem with that approach is you do not need to be reminded of your past. I am unfortunately aware that there are times that your past is all you can think of.” Robin slowly nodded her head in agreement. She knew there were times that Robin, sitting alone in her cubicle at work, would spend entire days dwelling on many negative experiences from school.
Shawn continued introducing his colleagues. “The second angel you encountered, a man named Dominic, is an angel tasked to show you what could have been. Dominic is tasked to show you scenes that you could easily have entered if only you had made slight alterations in your life. The problem with that approach is you lack any faith at all that you could have belonged in those scenes. Robin, you resigned yourself long ago to not fitting in, not anywhere and not at anytime. Due to the mindset that you have in life, presenting those scenes to you would only serve to taunt you with what you can never have.” Upon hearing Shawn saying this, Robin got this sullen look on her face. Robin knew what Shawn was saying was true.

Shawn continued on with his speech. “The role that I have been tasked with in this routine is to show you that which will be. Normally I would be taking you to a cold dark place and showing you horrific images of your completely depressing future in the hopes that, if Celeste or Dominic didn’t change your life, I would. The problem with that is it’s fairly clear that you’ve already resigned yourself to a completely depressing future.” Robin’s face became even more sullen as she knew that this statement was true as well.

“Robin, again, I apologize on behalf of my colleagues, and now for myself because I am about to disrupt your slumber even further. If you allow me, I will break from the routine and show you something I feel will be far more compelling to you.”

After he was done speaking, Shawn started walking over to Robin. Robin, at this point didn’t trust Shawn but had a different opinion of him than the other angels she had encountered that evening. Robin stopped Shawn from walking toward her after a couple of steps. “Stop. Just stop. While I do appreciate your honesty, I- I just-” Robin turned away from Shawn and stared longingly at her bed. “I just want to go to sleep. That’s it, just sleep. I want to be done with these hallucinations or visitations or whatever they are and just get some sleep.” After a full night of dealing with something she didn’t understand, Robin was completely exhausted. As she stood there, pleading with whatever was there to allow her to sleep, Robin started to cry a little.

Shawn got Robin’s attention, causing her to turn back toward him, “Robin, I understand. I’m sure you’re exhausted, both mentally and physically. I know a good night’s rest would be bliss to you right now.” Shawn started walking toward Robin again. “Robin, I know you don’t trust me. I wouldn’t trust me, and I’m not sure how to gain your trust. What I do know is that at one time I was in the same position you are in right now.”

Robin, moved by this comment, said to Shawn, “You were?”

Shawn placed his hand on Robin’s shoulder and said, “Yes Robin, I was. I haven’t always been a stylish and well connected angel. I used to be an absolute reject, just like you. At one point in my life I was mere inches away from throwing myself off a high ledge and ending it all in that moment. But in that moment, I was visited by an angel, a man by the name of Anthony. The things I learned from Anthony changed me and I am grateful for those changes. So grateful that upon my death, after a long and fruitful life, I asked if it was possible for me to serve in the same role as Anthony and affect others lives in the same way that mine was. That is what brought me here tonight, Robin. Will you allow me the opportunity to change your life in the way that mine was changed?”

Robin looked into Shawn’s eyes and tried to find a reason to say no to him, but no reasons came. After wiping tears from her eyes, Robin said to Shawn, “Yes. Yes I will.” Shawn gently closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and breathed out long and slowly. By the time he had stopped breathing out, Shawn and Robin was no longer in Robin’s bedroom.

Shawn and Robin materialized in what appeared to be a normal family home. There was a refrigerator filled with magnets, calendars, and semi-good artwork in the kitchen, an alter to all things electronic in the den, and a simple illuminated Christmas tree topped with a simply cute illuminated cherub in the front room. As Robin looked around this house her expression changed from the sullen look she had before to one that was slightly happy. Shawn took note of this, saying, “You seem to be in a good mood now. Care to tell me why?”

Robin, still looking around and growing happier and happier, said to Shawn, “This is my parent’s house. This is the house I grew up in. I remember every year a couple of days after Thanksgiving, I would sit on my Dad’s shoulders and put that cherub on top of the tree, all the while my Mom insisting we get the ladder and do it safely.”

Shawn let out a hearty laugh and said, “Yeah, that’s what mothers tend to do when fathers do fun things with their kids. So, where do you think your parents are right now on this Christmas Eve?”

Robin thought for a second and said, “Knowing them, they’re probably in their bedrooms preparing the Christmas gifts they got for their grandchildren.”

“Well, let’s go up there and look,” said Shawn. Robin led Shawn up the stairs and to the door at the end of a long hallway. The light in the room was on but the door was open only a crack, so Robin carefully crept up and peered into her parent’s bedroom through the crack in the door. Shawn, still upright and making no effort to hide, looked at what Robin was doing and said to her, “Robin, it’s all right for you to walk into their bedroom, you’re not going to disturb them.

Robin, still hunched down on the floor, said, “You mean open the door and close it quickly behind me?”

Shawn replied, “No,” then walked thought the door like Celeste and Robin had passed through the classroom wall earlier, and said, “through the door.”

Robin stood up and walked through the door to her parent’s room just like Shawn had just done. What Robin found was her parents did what she thought they’d be doing, preparing Christmas gifts for their grandchildren on their queen size bed. There were wrapped gifts, stocking, little tinker toys, brain teasers, chocolate, and many other things seemingly designed to thoroughly and efficiently annoy parents. An older gentleman, who can be safely assumed to be Robin’s father, looked over the assorted gifts, and said, “Okay, let’s go over and check that we have everything.”

An older lady, who can be safely assumed to be Robin’s mother, held up a piece of paper and responded, “All right, I’ve got the list right here.”

“Okay, gifts.”

“Yes, seven gifts, wrapped tagged, and ready to go.”


“Yes, seven stockings filled with chocolate and oranges and olives, labeled with cute little tags for each child.”

“You get those tags at that place in the mall?”

“No, that place closed. I had to order these online.”

“Okay, annoying gifts.”

Mom looked at Dad weirdly. “Really? Annoying gifts?”

“Yes,” then Robin’s father picked up one of the tinker toys, and shook it, causing the toy to clink and clank and tinkle for an extended period of time, and said, “You tell me this isn’t designed to annoy parents.”

“Okay, annoying gifts. I got toys like the one you’ve got there for the five younger kids and,” Robin’s mother picked up one of the brain teasers, “and brain teasers like this for the two older kids.”

“Are they sufficiently annoying?”

Robin’s mom tossed one of the brain teasers to Robin’s dad and said, “Here, play with this and see if it annoys you.”

Robin’s dad shook the brain teaser a bit then tossed it by the others and said, “Okay, is that everything on the list?”


“So why does it feel like we forgot something.”

“I don’t think we forgot anything. We got the gifts for Keith and Karen’s kids, we got gifts for Neil and Amanda’s kids, I don’t think we forgot anyone.”

Then a look of realization came over Robin’s dad’s face. “I know what it is. We don’t have anything for Robin’s kids.”

“Yeah, that’s right.” Robin’s mom lowered the piece of paper she was holding, and her spirits seemingly lowered along with it. Robin’s mom slowly walked toward her husband saying, “I keep on waiting for Robin to get out of this funk she’s always been in. I keep in waiting for Robin to cheer up, find someone to share her life with, and just move past that pit of negativity that she’s seemed to have found a home in. We didn’t do wrong by her, did we?”

Robin’s father put his arm around his wife, kissed her on the cheek, and said, “I don’t know. I hope not, but I don’t know.”

Robin watched this scene develop then reacted to it passionately. “No. No mom, no dad, you didn’t do anything wrong by me. You weren’t responsible for what the morons I went to school with did to me. It’s not your fault!”

Shawn stood behind Robin and watched as she pleaded her case to her parents, then said, “You know they can’t hear you, right?”

Robin turned to Shawn and said, “Is this real? Is this really how my parents feel?”

“I’m not making this up. I’m not manipulating this in any way. These are your parents, Robin, and this is really how they feel.”

Robin turned back around and kept on reacting to what she was seeing. “I- I didn’t know. I didn’t know that they felt this way. I didn’t know I was affecting them in this way.” The more Robin looked on as her parents arranged the Christmas presents they had bought, the more sorrowful she felt about how she was making them feel. Shawn placed his hand on Robin’s shoulder and began to breathe deeply again. By the time he had finished breathing out, Shawn and Robin had left Robin’s parents house.

They materialized in what appeared to be another normal family home. This home was built about a decade after Robin’s parent’s house, but the floor scheme was nearly the same. The d├ęcor that filled the house was much different though. Throughout the house there were many various items with religious significance. There was a bookshelf filled with various texts, both ancient and recent, that either spoke of or helped to build up the faith. There was a radio in the den tuned to the area’s only religious radio station and nearby was music that was crafted with the faithful in mind. There was even, near the front door of the house, a print of a piece of artwork that is largely interpreted as Jesus patiently waiting for someone to let them into their home.

Shawn was looking around this house, his smile growing larger and larger, when he said, “I can see the spirit has found a home here.”

Robin was looking around this home, feeling lost but not anxious about being so, when she said, “Can you tell me where we are?”

Shawn stopped looking around long enough to point into the home’s living room and say, “Her house.”

Robin followed Shawn’s finger into the living room. Given the lateness of the hour, this room was dimly lit with only the Christmas tree providing light. The Christmas tree itself seemed to be the exact opposite of audacious and garish. Just a few religious ornaments hung on the tree with a single bright star topping it. In front of the tree was a modest assortment of wrapped gifts and candy filled stockings being arranged by a woman. This woman looked to be the same age as Robin, and was dressed in modest flannel pajamas as if she was about to go to bed.

Robin slowly entered the room the woman was in, this time cognizant that she couldn’t disturb her, and asked Shawn, “Who is this woman?”

Shawn put his finger to his lips and said, “Just watch.”

So Robin did just watch. The woman finished arranging the gifts in front of the Christmas tree, then took a step back to check her work. When she was satisfied with her work, the woman knelt down on the carpeted floor in front of her, folded her arms, and closed her eyes. In a voice soft enough to not disturb the people in the house who were asleep but clear enough to be heard, the woman began to speak.

“Father in heaven, I bow my head on this the night of our Savior’s birth to give thanks. Thanks, o Lord, for the sacrifice that your son gave so that my family and I may enter the kingdom of Heaven. I thank you, o Lord, for the great blessings you have bestowed onto me. I am most especially grateful for my beautiful family, the great health that we enjoy, and the security, in our bodies and in our spirits, that we enjoy. Finally, o Lord, I want to give thanks for the opportunities that you have granted unto me. I know that I was a pretty horrible person when I was young. It’s something that I wholly regret every day. I came to realize the kind of person I was upon reflecting on my treatment of my schoolmate Robin. I know, o Lord, that only by following the path you have set for me have I been able to redeem myself of what I did in the past. I hope someday that I will be able to personally ask for forgiveness from my schoolmate Robin, and, o Lord, I ask for your help in allowing me to do that. I say these things, o Lord, in the name of your son, Jesus Christ, amen.”

As the woman unfolded her arms and opened her eyes, she wiped a tear that she had shed during the course of her prayer from her eyes. Robin watched on as the woman stood up, made her way up the stairs, and went to bed. After the woman closed the door to her bedroom, Robin asked, “Was she referring to me, Shawn?”

“Yes, yes she was.”

Robin was moved by this fact. “Whoa. It makes me wonder who that was.”

Shawn quickly responded, “That was Shannon.”



“The most popular girl in school, who not only tormented me in school but was the leader of the tormenters?”

“That’s the one.”

Robin was again moved by this fact. “Man. I didn’t know that Shannon could feel remorse, much less felt it toward me.” Robin had to hold back a tear at this moment. Robin realized that someone she had completely written off had managed to redeem herself. Shawn placed hand on Robin’s shoulder and began to breathe deeply. By the time he was done breathing, Shawn and Robin were no longer in Shannon’s home.

Shawn and Robin materialized in a much different place than what they had visited before. Gone were any elements that a family of any kind ever had or ever would live in this house. What passed for decoration in this house was racy pinup art, garbages overflowing with takeout containers and beer bottles, and a general state of mess.

As Robin stood in the home’s living room and looked around at this place the more repulsed she became at it. Then Robin’s eyes fell on something, a calendar hanging on the wall sold by a strip club. Robin looked closely at this calendar, not at the picture of the semi-nude surgically enhanced woman that accompanied the calendar, but at the date on it.

“Hey Shawn?”


Robin pointed to the calendar she was looking at. “This looks like it’s a calendar from last year. This isn’t present day, is it Shawn?”

“That’s right Robin. It is Christmas Eve, but Christmas Eve of last year.”

Just then, from the kitchen of the house, the whistle a tea kettle was heard. The whistle was quickly silenced as someone removed the kettle from the heating element and water began to be poured from it. A couple of seconds later a man emerged from the kitchen and was walking into the living room holding in his hands a mug of hot water and a tea bag he was seeping into it. The man slowly walked over to his sofa, occasionally fiddling with his cup of tea, and sat down in what appeared to be a well worn rut in his sofa.

As the man sat there and dipped his teabag in and out of his mug, Robin started walking toward him, staring at his intently while doing so. Shawn took note of this. “What are you doing?”
Robin got closer and closer to the man on the sofa, to the point where if she could have affected the world she was in the man would have felt her breath on his face. “I swear I recognize this guy, but I can’t quite place him.”

“And you think getting that close to him will jog your memory?”

“Maybe, I don’t know.”

Shawn walked over to Robin, pulled her away from the man on the couch, and said, “Do you remember the first ghost that visited you?”

“Celeste? Sure I do.”

“No, not her, the first one. The ghost that visited you before you went to bed for the night.”
Robin looked back at the man on the couch. A second later it hit her. “Oh! That’s the guy who told me that the three of you were going to visit me.”

Shawn nodded his head and said, “Yes, that’s exactly right.”

“Wow, I thought that was a hallucination fueled by gin.”

“Robin, none of us are the production of excess alcohol consumption. Maybe that’s the reason we were born, but that’s not what brought us here to you.”

As Shawn and Robin went through the process of identifying the man on the couch, the man in question had begun drinking his tea. He started with small sips and slowly built up to larger gulps. After every drink of tea that he took the man on the couch grimaced as if he was drinking something bitter. When his mug was about halfway empty, the man held the mug out in front of him, looked at it, then began to talk to himself.

“It’s unfortunate that those people get to win. It’s unfortunate that with every sip I take from this mug, all of those people get that much closer to victory over me. All those people who wanted nothing to do with me. All those people who wanted me to get away, to go away, to be gone from the realm of existence they currently occupied. It’s unfortunate that Shannon, Brent, Dwayne, Rachel, and even Robin get to win.” A smile came over the man’s face as he said that last name. “Robin. Oh Robin, my one last true hope. I thought in you I could find a kindred spirit. A fellow rejected soul. A person with whom I could stand and fight the rest of the world with. That didn’t happen. As much as she strove not to be, Robin was no different from the rest of them.”

The man then put the mug he was holding to his lips and drank the rest of its contents in one long gulp. The man then set the mug on the coffee table in front of him, laid out on his couch, and looked ready to take a long rest. Robin thought what just happened was strange, not the way the man was laying on his couch but by what the man had said. “Shannon, Brent, Dwayne, Rachel and Robin.” Robin, not knowing who else to ask, turned to Shawn and said, “Was that guy referring to me and people who went to school with me?”

Shawn replied, “Yes.”

Robin thought about that for a second. “Does that mean he went to school with me,” Robin asked hesitantly.

“Yes, Robin he did in fact go to school with you. Do you remember who he is?”

Robin looked at the man on the couch, trying again to recognize him. “I wish I did.”

“His name is Eric Berman.”

Robin searched her memory, trying to remember a man named Eric Berman. Then she remembered one of the things that Celeste had shown her. “Eric is the guy. The guy who tried to approach me in high school. The guy that I completely blew off.”

“That is correct Robin.”

“He said that I am one of the people who attained victory over him.” Robin turned back toward Shawn and asked, “What did he mean by that?”

Shawn didn’t offer a vocal response, he merely pointed at Eric, still lying on the couch. Robin looked at Eric, looking for some sign, some clue as to the meaning of what he just said. What she got from Eric was nothing. No clue, no sign, not even any movement. No twitching of his fingers and toes, no rise and fall in his chest, no flaring of his nostrils. Then Robin noticed that Eric’s eyes were open and had been open for several minutes.

Slowly the weight of what Robin was observing hit her. “Is he dead?”


“But he was fine a couple of minutes ago. What happened?”

Shawn walked over to the mug sitting on the coffee table, stuck his nose in it, and took a huge whiff of it. “Usually when people add something to their tea, they mean to make it somewhat sweeter. Some sugar or some honey perhaps. It appears Eric’s choice of additive was for another purpose entirely.”

Robin didn’t want to ask this question but she felt she had to. “Shawn, what did Eric add to his tea?”

“Several doses of ant poison, which is a low concentrated form of cyanide.”

“So he’s dead?”


“Because of me?”

“To say his death is your fault would not be correct, but to say that you didn’t contribute to Eric choosing to commit suicide would not be correct either.”

Robin didn’t say or do anything to express a reaction at first. She just seemed to stare blankly at the floor for some time. Then Robin started walking away from Eric and into the kitchen area. Just as she left the living room, Robin turned back around and looked at Eric, still lying perfectly still on the couch. Robin began to tear up a little but was trying to fight her emotions, a fight she was quickly losing. Rather than having her emotions overcome her in Eric’s apartment, she chose to go running through the kitchen, out the back door to the deck outside in the warm arid air. Shawn followed after Robin and found her crumpled down on the deck. Her head was in her hands, tears were streaming down her face, and she had just started vocalizing her emotions.

“I thought I had done it. I honestly thought I had done it. I thought I could wall myself off from a world that I thought was adamant about not wanting me and have them and I not affect each other at all. I thought I had done it. I thought I could do it, but I was wrong. I now know that not only can I not wall myself off from the world, my attempts to do so ended up hurting people. In trying to rid myself of people, I hurt the people who care for me. I didn’t want to hurt people, but I did. I did more to put myself in this situation than anyone else, and I’m not the only one who suffered for my actions. I need to change. I must change. If only so I can gain a true connection with those who care for me.

Robin continued to cry crumpled on the deck as Shawn slowly walked to her. “This is it. This is why my colleagues and I visited you Robin. I believe the change we wanted to occur has happened.” Shawn placed his hand on Robin’s shoulder, this time to comfort her. “Robin, I wish you luck on your journey through life, I wish you treasures of unimaginable joy, but I also wish you perseverance. The journey you have in front of you will not always be easy and the treasures not always recognizable. But if you keep on moving forward, Robin, you will attain all of the good things in life.”

At the end of his speech, Shawn left Robin’s side. Robin didn’t know this happened at first as she was trying to clear the tears from her vision. Robin didn’t suspect that anything had changed untill the warm arid air that had surrounded her was replaced with a soft cold breeze blowing on her back. Robin opened her red and bleary eyes to see that she was no longer on the deck outside Eric’s house. She was at her house, on her balcony, outside of her bedroom.

Robin did her best to wipe her tears from her eyes as she rose to her feet. For a moment, Robin thought she was going to have to climb down off her balcony, find the potted plant her key is under, and unlock her back door to get back in her house. Then she noticed her balcony doors were unlocked. Robin opened her balcony doors just wide enough for her to squeeze through, then quickly closed them behind her, making sure to lock them this time.

Robin was at that point of tiredness where you are tired, completely so, but can’t get to sleep. Rather than try in vain to get to sleep, Robin chose to walk, nearly on autopilot, to her den to watch TV. Robin slumped down in her chair, and turned on the news. It was the usual fare. Politician sticking his foot in his mouth, well connected company ripping off its customers, and a celebrity only known for getting drunk and getting naked doing exactly that. In her nearly tired haze, Robin’s eyes began to wander around her field of vision, eventually falling on a clock she kept in her den. She read it and realized it was six A.M. on Christmas Day. A thought came to her mind as Robin stared at that clock.

“If I got in my car, right now, I could be at my parent’s house by ten.”

Brassica Oleracea

NO! Updated

Recently, discussions held in the United States Congress has devolved in a way that many people find disturbing. The need for a two thirds vote to end discussion on any subject, whether it's something large like future tax rates or the extension of health benefits to 9/11 responders, is something many pundits, bloggers, and other opinonists have decried. Some have already compared this debate to the debate over the oral consumption of Brassica Oleracea. Here is a short transcript of that debate.

John- Timmy, are you feeling okay?
Timmy- Yes.
John- Okay. Are you done with dinner?
Timmy- Yes, can I have dessert now, please?
John- Have you finished your brussel sprouts?
Timmy- No.
John- Well then you haven’t finished your dinner and so can’t have dessert.
Timmy- But I want dessert.
John- Then finish your brussel sprouts.
Timmy- No.
John- Then you can’t have dessert.
Timmy- No.
John- Timothy, that is the rule. If you don’t finish your dinner-
Timmy- No.
John- -then you can’t have any dessert.
Timmy- No.
John- That’s the rule and if you don’t follow the rule, you can go to your room young man. Look, I'll even make a compromise with you. You see the five brussel sprouts you have on your plate?
Timmy- No.
John- Well, you have five brussel sprouts on your plate. Now, you don't have to eat all of them. Here-

John eats a brussel sprout from Timmy's plate.

John- There, now you have four brussel sprouts on your plate. Can you eat those?
Timmy- No.
John- Okay, I'll compromise further.

John eats a brussel sprout from Timmy's plate.

John- There, now you have three brussel sprouts on your plate. Can you eat those?
Timmy- No.
John- Okay, I'll compromise further.

John eats a brussel sprout from Timmy's plate.

John- There, now you have two brussel sprouts on your plate. Can you eat those?
Timmy- No.
John- Okay, I'll compromise further.

John eats a brussel sprout from Timmy's plate.

John- There, now you have one brussel sprout on your plate. Can you eat those?
Timmy- No.
John- Well, I'm sorry, if you can't eat even one brussel sprout, then you can not have dessert.
Timmy- You’re a fascist.
John- Timothy, that is a very hurtful thing to say to someone, and is, in all likelihood not true. Now, you can either finish your brussel sprouts-
Timmy- No.
John- -and then have dessert or not finish your brussel sprouts and go to bed.
Timmy- No.
John- Those are the choices you have.
Timmy- No!

Timmy then launches into a loud, furious, and violent temper tantrum. This goes on for several hours while John sits at the table, impotent to stop him. Neither Timmy nor John had dessert that night.

Hobbies, Hobbies, And Additional Hobbies!

Heather- Man, video games are a complete waste of time.
David- You know, I don't insult your hobby, don't insult mine.

Bryan- Man, scrapbooking is a complete waste of time.
Morgan- You know, I don't insult your hobby, don't insult mine.

Nate- Man, button collecting is a complete waste of time.
Chester- You know, I don't insult your hobby, don't insult mine.

Ronald- Man, taxidermy is a complete waste of time.
Anna- You know, I don't insult your hobby, don't insult mine.

Sally- Man, collecting Grateful Dead memorabilia is a complete waste of time.
Walter- You know, I don't insult your hobby, don't insult mine.

Joan- Man, dressing like characters in Mad Men is a complete waste of time.
Don- You know, I don't insult your hobby, don't insult mine.

Clarissa- Man, stalking Melissa Joan Hart is a complete waste of time.
Bruce- You know, I don't insult your hobby, don't insult mine.

Julia- Man, collecting, cataloguing, and maintaing a pornography archive is a complete waste of time.
Hunter- You know, I don't insult your hobby, don't insult mine.

Conan: Age of the Masturbating Bear

On Thursday, it was revealed that Paradox Entertainment and Digital Development Management are currently developing a new game based on Conan O'Brien. This game is believed to be a followup to the failed MMORPG launched during the final year of Late Night with Conan O'Brien, before the comedian's move to The Tonight Show, and later his move to Twitter. Included in the story about this game is this picture:

It is unknown what connection this picture has to Mr. O'Brien, but it does imply that the Evil Puppy will be making an appearance in this game.

The Black Robin Christmas Carol: Stave 3: Dominic

Stave 3

At the stroke of two o’clock the alarm clock on Robin’s nightstand started to chime. Robin’s eyes burned from restlessness when she turned to face what had woken her up.

“Stupid broken out-dated piece of junk. Why is it going off now, and whose clock is that? Sure ain’t mine,” said Robin in a groggy and barely audible tone of voice. Robin slowly got herself out of bed, stood in front of her nightstand, and picked up the clock. She turned the clock over and around looking for a dial, a switch, or a button to stop the clock from chiming. She didn’t find one.

“You’ve got to be kidding me. I can’t sleep with this thing chiming like this,” said Robin in a slightly more lucid but still groggy tone of voice. “Maybe if I put this in the closet, the door will muffle this thing enough so I can sleep.” Robin turned around and started walking toward her closet. With every step Robin took she became slightly more awake, a state she hoped to soon rid herself of.

Robin stepped into her walk-in closet expecting to find a shelf she could set the alarm clock on. This is not what she found, not at all. What Robin found was an open air courtyard, so small that a crowd of people couldn’t fit comfortable but big enough that a sea breeze passed through with relative ease. As Robin looked around what was supposed to be her closet she saw things she had only read about or seen in movies. Renaissance era Venetian architecture, beautifully handcrafted stained glass windows, and framed works from the masters da Vinci, Uccello, and Masaccio.

As Robin looked around and marveled at all the beauty that surrounded her, she felt a weight disappear from her hands. Robin looked down and saw that she was no longer holding the alarm clock that had awoken her. Robin turned around to the door she had entered this courtyard from and found not the closet door but a hand chiseled artistic piece of wood that served as a door. Robin scanned across the courtyard looking for a way back to her bedroom and back to her bed. Instead what she found was a man sitting at a table with two chairs at it.

Robin hesitantly approached the table in middle of this courtyard. She couldn’t see the face of the man, in a tailored tan suit sitting at the table, engrossed as he was with his newspaper. Robin stood next to the empty chair and said to the man, “Excuse me.”

The man sitting at the table turned down his newspaper, smiled and said, “Hello Miss Robin,” in a cheerful tone of voice with a slight Italian accent to it. “Please, sit down. I’ll have the waiter bring you something to drink.”

As she hesitantly sat down in the empty chair at the table, Robin said, “Actually, I’m, not thirsty.”

As he was folding up his paper and setting it aside, the man said, “How about something to eat then? The chicken alfredo here is quite excellent.”

“Actually sir, I’m quite tired. Can you tell me how I get out of here and back to my bedroom?”

The man sitting at the table said, “You can’t go home untill you talk to me.” He may not have had the intention of doing so but Robin took what the man said as a threatening statement. Thinking this, Robin started taking a defensive stance toward the man.

“Who are you and what are you doing here?”

The man sitting at the table got a serious look on his face and got down to business. “I believe you met one of my colleagues earlier this evening when the clock that was sitting on your nightstand struck midnight.”

Robin started searching her mind then remembered the previous time her slumber was interrupted. “You mean the encounter I had with an angel who said she was The Ghost of Christmas Past?”

The man replied, “Yes. By the way, how is she? I hope she’s well.”

Robin completely ignored the man’s question and said, “What does that have to do with you, sir?”

“Like I said, I am one of her colleagues. I am an angello. My purpose is to tell the living of what is happening currently. I am, as you might say, the Ghost of Christmas Present.”

Robin listened to what the angello was saying but could hardly believe what she was hearing. Robin swallowed hard and put her head down on the table in front of her. “Oh no. Not again.”
The angello looked puzzled. “Excuse me, Miss Robin?”

“I’m hallucinating again. I had too much to drink, I hallucinated about an angel visiting me, and now I’m hallucination again.”

The angello looked at Robin oddly. “No Miss Robin, I’m not a hallucination. However, if you’re interested in something to drink, there’s a fine bottle of Merlot waiting to be served.” The angello motioned to a young man in a waiter’s uniform carrying two wine glasses and a bottle of, if the angello was to be believed, Merlott.

Now crying a little bit, Robin said, “I just hope I don’t end up driving.”

The angello reached across the table, lifted up Robin’s head, and said, “My dear, I assure you are perfectly safe. No harm will come to you while you are here.” Then the angello put this big smile on his face like you do when you’re trying to get a child to believe everything is all right.

“I wish I could believe you.” Clearly Robin was not impressed as she put her head back down on the table.

“Okay, fine,” said the angello, now a little bit frustrated. “Don’t believe I’m real. Believe all of this is a hallucination, whatever. Wouldn’t it be better to go along with the hallucination untill it reaches its conclusion, rather than stubbornly fighting it?”

Robin lifted her head from the table. The tears had stopped and her face looked slightly optimistic. “You got a point there. Okay mister- What do I call you?”

“I am an angello.”

“Okay angello, show me what you have to show me,” said Robin in an optimistic tone of voice. “Just remember not to show me to my car.”

“Fair enough Miss Robin,” agreed the angello. The angello then motioned to the waiter. The waiter put down the bottles and glasses he was holding, grabbed a stand that was sitting on the floor nearby, walked over to the table, and set up the stand on Robin’s left hand side. Then the waiter plucked one of the paintings off the wall of the courtyard and placed it on the stand. The angello then asked, “Miss Robin, do you recognize this painting?”

Robin looked at the painting for some time then said, “No. Art history was not something we spent much time on in school.”

“Fair enough. This is Annunciation, painted by Leonardo da Vinci with Andrea del Verrocchio sometime between 1472 and 1475. The angel holds a Madonna lily, a symbol of Mary's virginity and of the city of Florence. It is supposed that Leonardo originally copied the wings from those of a bird in flight, but they have since been lengthened by a later artist. What else do you notice about this painting, Miss Robin?”

Robin again looked at the painting, more intently then she had before. “It’s flat. It’s completely flat. This clearly isn’t an original, or even a good reproduction. It looks like the kind of laminated print a college student would hang on the wall of their dorm room.”

The angello grinned joyfully. “Ah, you’re on the right track Miss Robin. This is not an original, nor a reproduction. However this is not something a normal college student could easily afford.” The angello snapped his fingers and the painting changed from Annunciation to a family gathered around a dinner table. This was not a painting of a family, rather-

“This is a video screen,” asked Robin with a glint of wonder in her voice.

“Indeed, it is a video screen. Now, Miss Robin, watch.” The angello pointed at the screen as the two looked on.

The video that played seemed ripped out of a Norman Rockwell painting. It was an idealized scene of a family, husband, wife, kids, and dog, all sitting around the table, just enjoying being together as a family on Christmas Eve. The eldest son was helping his dad carve the turkey, the youngest daughter was entertaining her mom with amusing story from school, and the middle child was feeding table scraps to her dog Scraps.

Then, as Mom and Dad started serving up the turkey and the kids started serving themselves helpings of stuffing, corn, frogeye salad, Dad suddenly remembered something and went into the other room to get it. When Dad came back into the dining room, he was carrying gifts and the kids became even happier. The dad set a present down next to each of the kids and Mom, giving her a quick kiss when he did so. After the family had their fill of the fine Christmas dinner that Mom had taken great care in preparing, each member of the family opened their present, even Scraps. These weren’t big presents, little toys and brain teasers and a chew toy for Scraps, but they served as a fitting topper to a truly wonderful family evening.

As the family began to stand up from the table, presumably to make their way to their beds, the video screen began to transition from the video back to Annunciation. When the transition was complete, the angello lowered his hand and said, “Well, Miss Robin, what do you think?”
Robin had a blank look on her face when she said, “About what?”

“The family. All of them being together and enjoying each other’s company. Isn’t that nice?”

“Yeah, I guess it is.” Robin still had this blank expression on her face, almost as if she had no idea what was going on.

The angello could sense that he was about to have a breakthrough. “Don’t you see yourself in a situation like this?”

Robin thought about this question for a moment, then said, “Not really. I mean I’m too young to fill the role of the mother, too old to be either of the daughters, and me as a guy is just plain ridiculous.”

The angello sighed in frustration. “True, Miss Robin, but can’t you see yourself eventually in this picture?”

Robin answered honestly. “No.”


“No, I don’t. Why do you ask?”

The angello closed his eyes and shook his head in frustration as he motioned to the waiter again. The waiter came over to the table with another stand in his hand which he quickly set up on Robin’s right hand side. The waiter then went over to the Paolo Uccello painting, took it off the wall, placed it on the stand, then went back into the outside wall of the courtyard. The angello pointed to the painting and asked, “Do you recognize this piece, Miss Robin?”

Robin looked at the painting for a second then said, “Does it matter? It’s just a video screen anyway, right?”

The angello looked at Robin sternly pressed forward, “This is The Hunt in the Forest, painted by Paolo Uccello in about 1470. The painting is an early example of the effective use of perspective in Renaissance art, with the hunt participants, including people, horses, dogs and deer, disappearing into the dark forest in the distance. It was Uccello's last known painting before his death in 1475.”

Robin stared at the angello blankly throughout his description of The Hunt in the Forest. When the angello was over, Robin said, “And?”

The frustration was growing inside the angello. “Do you not care about learning about great pieces of art, Miss Robin?”

“Frankly, I’d rather be sleeping right now.”

This aggravated the angello further. Robin wasn’t purposely aggravating the angello but she was doing exactly that. The angello chose not to express his frustration but instead continued to point to the Uccello painting, directing Robin to watch it.

When the painting began to transition to the video, what was revealed was different scene from the one from the one that played before. The scene featured a group of young adults who are about the same age gathered in a front room or den type area. Also different from last time is that this wasn’t some random scene with some random people. As Robin watched this scene play out she saw some of her fellow co-workers. Then Robin saw Erin, the woman who had approached her about going to a party on Christmas Eve. Robin asked the angello, “Is this the party that I was invited to?” The angello nodded and continued to point at the video screen.

The party was beginning to wind down. There were board games that people had been played, gifts that had been opened, and bottles of wine that had been drunk. Erin, the host of the party and the one who had invited Robin to it, called for the attention of her party guests.

“Excuse me,” Erin said, tapping her wine glass with a commemorative fork she had just received as a gift. “I just wanted to tell you all before we leave to be safe out there and have a Merry Christmas.”

The rest of the party guests echoed the Christmas well wishes to all the other guests at the party. As the party guests started putting on their coats and scarves and hats, Erin began cleaning up the board games and wrapping paper and wine glasses. As she did so, Erin noticed an unopened gift sitting on the table where the other gifts were.

Erin picked up the gift, looked at the gift tag, and said, “Oh yeah, this is the gift I got Robin. Too bad she had that family thing, I bet she would have liked this figurine that goes with that other figurine from that show I can’t remember right now. I’ll have to give it to her when I see her at work.”

Erin put the gift back down on the table and went back to the light cleaning she was doing before she was to drift off to bed. As Erin was washing out the wine glasses and putting them in her dishwasher, the video screen began to transition from the video back to Uccello’s The Hunt in the Forest. When the transition was done, the angello said, “Well Miss Robin.”

Robin said, “What,” maintaining the blank look on her face.

“What did you think of that scene I just showed you?”

Robin thought about that question for a second, then said, “That scene made me thirsty. Do you have any of that Merlot you offered me earlier?”

This annoyed the angello but again he chose not express it. “Doesn’t that scene make you feel anything else? This is a party you were invited to, a party you could have gone to. Doesn’t it look like you could have had fun there?”

Robin dismissively replied, “Not really. Do I have to motion to your waiter to get a glass of that Merlot?”

The angello again closed his eyes and shook his head out of frustration as he motioned to the waiter. The waiter came over carrying the two glasses and a bottle of Merlot he was holding earlier. As the waiter set the glasses down on the table the angello said to him, “No. Leave the Merlot and set up the final painting.” The waiter did as he was told, leaving the bottle of Merlot sitting between the two wine glasses and quickly setting up the stand and the final painting directly behind the angello. “I take it you’re not interested in learning about Masaccio’s Madonna and Child with Angels, right Miss Robin?”

Robin plainly replied, “No, but if you could move out of the way a bit, you’re blocking the video screen with your head.” The angello did as he was asked and moved just enough to allow Robin full view of the Masaccio piece transitioning to the video.

The room this scene took place in was dark, illuminated only by a fire in a fireplace. Unlike the other scene where there was a whole group of people, there was only two people here, a man and a woman. The two were sitting on the floor in front of the fire, staring into each other’s eyes, and talking, just talking. They talked about how soft the carpet they were sitting on was, the service at the restaurant they just went to, the way the woman’s hair fell over her ears and down to her shoulders. The man and the woman moved closer to each other. They moved closer, and closer, and closer still. Then the two kissed. They kissed again. They kissed a third time, this time longer.

As the man and the woman began to move closer to each other, and began to get more intimate, the angello snapped his fingers, triggering the video screen to transition from the video back to Madonna and Child with Angels. Once the transition was over, the angello looked kindly at Robin and said, “Well, Miss Robin, what do you think of that?”

The look on Robin’s face was not happy. Not happy at all. As Robin sat in her chair at the table, across from the angello in a small Italian courtyard far from her home, she looked as if she was about to explode. Explode she did.

Robin stood up, sending her chair flying backward as she did so. She grabbed the wine glass closest to her and threw it at Annunciation. The painting cracked and shattered into pieces, falling in a pile like a broken plate glass window. Robin then grabbed the remaining wine glass on the table and threw it at The Hunt in the Forest, causing it to shatter in the same way as the first. Then Robin took aim at Madonna and Child with Angels. She grabbed the full bottle of Merlot by the neck, reared back, and sent it flying, end over end barely missing the angello’s head, right toward the Masaccio piece.

The bottle of Merlot didn’t have the effect on Madonna and Child with Angels the way the wine glasses had on Annunciation and The Hunt in the Forest. The effect was considerably larger. The cracks began at the painting and splintered out like a spider’s web, splintering to the stand the painting was resting on, to the ground the stand was resting on, to every part of the small Italian courtyard Robin and the angello were in. The cracks were so all encompassing that they began to critically affect the structure of the courtyard. Then the structure failed and the whole area started to fall down. Rather than fall in a traditional manner, with huge chunks of the courtyard falling to earth, the courtyard broke down into tiny little fragments, fragments no larger than a snowflake. Slowly these fragments came to Earth, flittering and floating on the ocean breeze that passed through the courtyard. Once these tiny fragments hit the Earth they dissipated, disappeared, and were otherwise wiped from existence. Every part that constituted this courtyard fell away and disappeared untill all that was left of this small courtyard was a cold dark nearly empty space, filled only with two chairs, a table, the angello, and Robin.

The angello looked at Robin with a bizarrely annoyed look on his face. “Well, Miss Robin, do you see what you’re little temper tantrum had done?”

Robin violently turned the table over, then began to yell at the angello. “Why do you insist on taunting me with what I can’t have? I don’t belong in any of these situations. The family, the party, the couple, none of it! Those people don’t want me there and I really don’t want to be there either. There’s no point to showing me those scenes, other than to launch me into a depression or launch me into a rage. Now take me back to my bedroom so I can finally, at long last, get some sleep.”

The angello slowly rose from his chair, straightened his suit, turned on his heel, and started walking, slowly and confidently into the darkness. Robin watched the angello walk for a moment and became angered even further by the angello turning his back on her. “Hey! Where do you think you are going? You’re supposed to take me home.” Robin then started to take after the angello. She started with a fast walk that evolved into a slot trot that evolved into a full on sprint. Robin was running as fast through the darkness toward the angello as her legs could carry her. However, no matter how fast Robin ran him, the angello continued to put distance on her with every step he took.

Robin stopped running after the angello just as he fell out of sight. Robin was exhausted hunched over, catching her breath and yelling at the angello, when she looked up and saw something odd. Well, odd to most people. A crystal. A small crystal orb hanging on the end of a string that extended up into the air. Most people would have looked at such an object oddly, not Robin. This was something she recognized right away.

Robin reached up, grabbed on to the crystal ball, and pulled down on it. The crystal orb attached to a string extending up into the air was attached to a light bulb that began to dull yellow light. Light from this source began to fall upon t-shirts, pants, hats, jewelry boxes, and all the other things that filled the room Robin was actually standing in, her walk-in closet. The light eventually fell on the door that was right in front of Robin’s face. Robin grabbed the doorknob on the door, twisted, then pushed on the door. It didn’t budge. Then Robin grabbed the doorknob again, twisted, then pulled on the door.

When Robin opened the door she saw something expected and yet unexpected. She saw her bedroom, in the exact state she had left it, still dark and moderately warm in temperature. Robin looked around her bedroom and the closet she was standing in, trying to get her bearings. Finally, after a thorough inspection, Robin said to herself, “Well, at least I didn’t drive my car.”
Robin again didn’t think much of what she had just seen, dismissing it as an alcohol fueled hallucination. Robin began to tiredly make her way from her closet to her bed, all the while hoping that this time she could get some much needed rest. As Robin got to her bedside, she glanced over to her nightstand and saw something sitting on it. The alarm clock. The alarm clock that had woken her up. The alarm clock that she couldn’t turn off. The alarm clock she had gone to her closet to put away. The alarm clock she seemingly could not rid herself of.

Unlike previously, where she drifted off to sleep intending to deal with the alarm clock in the morning, Robin was determined to deal with that alarm clock at that moment. Robin took the alarm clock off her nightstand and walked over to the doors that led to her balcony. She unlocked the door, pulled down on the surface bolts that acted as a second line of security, opened the doors and strolled out to her balcony with the alarm clock still in her hands. Robin walked out to the end of her balcony, looked over the cast iron fence at the edge of her balcony, and found the concrete walkway situated underneath the balcony that went from the back door of her house to her rear gate. Robin held the alarm clock out in front of her, taking care not to thoughtlessly fumble the thing while lining it up with the walkway underneath her balcony. Then Robin released the alarm clock and let gravity do its work.

The impact of the alarm clock hitting the concrete and the ensuing destruction wasn’t all too spectacular, but it worked for Robin. This was because she had taken something that had been a bother to her and had it done away with. No doubt she’d have to go down in the morning and clean up the shards of alarm clock that had been scattered throughout her backyard, but that was a problem she could deal with in the morning.

Robin turned around and made her way back to her bed, closing her balcony doors behind her but not locking them. Robin crawled into her bed, found a comfortable place near the middle of her queen size bed and started drifting off to sleep. Before she did fall asleep, Robin turned to look at her nightstand, ensuring that the alarm clock that had previously woken her was there no more.



The Red Interview: Mitch McConnell

A fade in results in the camera seeing two persons sitting in chairs on a soundstage. The two people are pictured above and will be introduced below.

Julia Diana Bobbi- Good evening. Welcome to The Red Interview. I am your host Julia Diana Bobbi. My guest this evening is Mitch McConnell. Mr. McConnell is the senior senator from the state of Kentucky. Senator McConnell lives there with his wife, Elaine, and his three kids. Senator, it's a pleasure to have you here.
Mitch McConnell- Please, the pleasure is all mine.
JDB- Senator, in the last general elections, held in November, the Republican Party took control of the House of Representatives from the Democratic Party. During the run up to this election, your party said that they represent the will of the people-
Mitch McConnell- That isn't exactly what our message was. However, we do feel the election, and the polls that lead up to and have followed the election, reflected the desire of the people for a change. A change away from the decisively left agenda that the Obama Administration took America in, an agenda that has had, as anyone can tell, disastrous effects on our country.
JDB- Yes, but now that the Republican Party has taken control of the House, and continue to wield great influence in the Senate by use of the filibuster, I'm curious as to what, exactly, the Republican Party intends to do with the power they now have?
Mitch McConnell- Well, I can't go into exact details. What I can say is that, unlike the Obama Administration and the Democrats in Washington, we are listening to what the American people want.

Julia is listening to an earpiece. The earpiece is feeding her questions. As she listens to the questions the earpiece is giving her, Julia winces.

JDB- What is that?
Mitch McConnell- The American people want this country to start heading in the right direction. A direction away from the agenda brought to pass by the Obama Administration, and back toward traditional American values.

Julia winces again.

JDB- Can you tell me what you think that is?
Mitch McConnell- The American people want fiscal discipline brought back to Washington.

Julia winces again.

JDB- How do you plan to do that when the Republican Party is insistent that millionaires and billionaires receive, what amounts to, a seven hundred Billion dollar tax credit.
Mitch McConnell- First of all, it is not a tax credit. The current tax rates-
JDB(Wincing)- Put in place by President Bush.
Mitch McConnell- The current tax rates have been in effect for ten years. Businesses can't make plans for the future unless they know what the tax rates are going to be going forward, and it is counterproductive to raise taxes just as we are coming out of this recession. A recession that the policies of the Obama Administration put us in.

Julia listens to her earpiece again. She continues to listen to it for some time.

JDB- Senator McConnell, can you excuse me for a second.
Mitch McConnell- Certainly.

Julia turns toward the camera and says-

JDB- Hunter Red. I know you are watching this from the back. I also know that you are feeding me question via this earpiece I'm wearing. Hunter, I need you to stop swearing. I am not going to ask Senator McConnell those questions in the way that you are phrasing them. Also, stop telling me to tell Senator McConnell that he can blow me. That comment makes no sense coming from a woman.

Julia turns away from the camera and back toward Mitch McConnell.

JDB- My apologies.
Mitch McConnell- No problem, I have to deal with unreasonable liberals all the time.

Just then Hunter Red emerges from the back onto the stage. He gets right into Mitch McConnell's face and says-


Hunter Red then leaves the stage and returns to the back. Julia is left flabbergasted.

JDB- Well. Um- Well.
Mitch McConnell- I also have to deal with unreasonable liberal activists as well.

Hunter Red comes back on stage, this time carrying his iPhone.

Hunter Red- FUCK YOU! If you don't stop fucking lying to these fucking people, I'll- I'll-
Mitch McConnell- You'll what?
Hunter Red- I'll shove this iPhone so far up your ass, you'll be able to play Angry Birds with your small intestine!
Mitch McConnell- Secret Service! This man just threatened.

Five men in black suits enter the stage and physically remove Hunter Red. While this is happening, Hunter Red is continuing to swear and make insinuations that Mitch McConnell is impotent. Julia doesn't quite know what to make of this.

JDB- Well. I bet you wish you could do that with Julian Assange.
Mitch McConnell- Actually, I with I could blow the fuck out of that traitorous Swede.

Julia doesn't quite know what to make of this.

JDB- Well, that's all the time we have here on The Red Interview. I'm Julia Diana Bobbi, reminding you that the internet is not free. You must pay in one way or another. Good night peoples.


Red Theorizes

Theories have been swirling around about the origin of the rape charges levied against Julian Assange. Some people blame the CIA, some people blame the NSA, some people blame MI-6, others see the charges as legitimate. I have another theory.

I first heard of Wikileaks after they posted online several secret Mormon documents(Link to story). These are documents that are given to Bishops in the LDS Church, detailing how many Mormon religious practices are done, that are meant for Bishop's eyes only. These religious practices include baptism for the dead, temple marriage, and the excommunication of members of the church.

After these documents were made public, the LDS Church made a big fuss about it, particularly among media outlets in the Salt Lake area. However, after a while, the controversy over the release of these documents died down. Why would this happen? Why would the LDS Church not pursue the removal of these documents from Wikileaks, and the punishment of the people responsible for the posting? Perhaps they pursued another method to get what they want.

What proof do I have to levy these allegations against the LDS Church? None. What am I basing this on? Rumors and speculation. Do I have any hard evidence to claim what I am claiming? No. So why am I putting this out into the ether? To prove a point. No evidence currently exists to tie the CIA, NSA, or MI-6 to the rape charges currently pending against Julian Assange. Yet, speculation as to their involvement continues swirl around the internet and in the general media. The only reason these rumors continue to exist is the same reason that people generally think that these organizations have nefarious intentions. So, these organizations become the scapegoat for nearly anything that happens. I'm surprised there aren't people saying that the NSA was responsible for the Montreal Screwjob.

The Third Annual Four Star Gaming Awards: Nomination Special

The nomination process is now open for The Third Annual Four Star Gaming Awards, and you the reader can participate! Simply submit your winner in any, or all, of the catagories listed below. You can even submit the reason why you think your choice should win. Nominations for The Third Annual Four Star Gaming Awards will close on Monday, December 20th, with the award ceremony scheduled for Monday, December 27th. You can submit your winner to the following places:

Twitter: @Redertainment
Facebook: Send a message to Hunter Red
Or submit a comment or reply wherever you are reading this.

Award Categories
Game Of The Year
Xbox 360 Game Of The Year
Playstation 3 Game Of The Year
Nintendo Wii Game Of The Year
Downloadable Game Of The Year
Biggest Gaming Disappointment Of The Year
Best New IP Of The Year
Non-Gaming Thing Most Deserving Of An Award

So, this book is for sale. Yay. It's only $7. Yay. The Black Robin Christmas Carol is also on Kindle. It's $3. Yay. Total sales to this point: 0. Boo.

The Black Robin Christmas Carol: Stave 2: Celeste

Stave 2

At the stroke of midnight the alarm clock on Robin’s nightstand started to chime. The strange thing wasn’t the alarm clock going off at midnight, although that in itself is strange, it was the clock that was chiming that was change. The alarm clock wasn’t Robin’s usual digital one, it was analog, complete with a clockface, gears, and a windup key on the back. It looked like something you would buy and put up as a showpiece but not actually use.

The alarm clock did its job, arousing Robin from her slumber. To say she was happy to be woken up would be a boldfaced lie. As Robin rolled over she found an alarm clock she had never seen before. What’s worse is she didn’t know how to turn off. As she turned away from the clock and attempted to dampen the sound of it with her pillow, Robin found another person lying in her bed.

The person smiled and said, “Hello Robin.”

“Aaaah!” The shock of seeing another person in her bed caused Robin to yell and recoil, which resulted in her falling from her bed in a semi-comical fashion. Robin wasn’t filled with a mortal fear like she was with her last mysterious visitor, mostly because this visitor was a woman. A woman dressed in a tattered white dress like you’d see in an old cabaret show. This woman also had this pleasant aura around her that just projected a sense of peace and calm.

The woman got up from the bed, looked at Robin with a concerned look on her face and said, “I’m sorry about startling you like that. Are you okay?” The woman was genuinely concerned, after all, she was sent to visit Robin, not injure her.

Robin began to gather herself up from the floor and said, “I’m fine, it’s just strange people in my bed tend to disturb me. By the way,” Robin looked up into the eyes of this strange woman and said, “who are you?”

The woman found this question odd to be. “Weren’t you told that I was going to visit you tonight?”

Robin thought back and remembered the man she saw before she had gone to bed. “I assumed he was a product of massive gin consumption.”

The woman responded, “No, the product of massive gin consumption usually carries a sickle. What you saw was a ghost.”

Robin was skeptical of what the woman was saying. She expressed that skepticism by saying, “And what are you supposed to be?”

“I am an angel. My purpose is to remind the living of what has happened before. I am the Ghost of Christmas Past.”

The woman, or apparently angel, released a glowing aura that was filled with light and sparkles and all kinds of good things. Most people see a display like this and smile, not Robin. Robin, still being skeptical, said “If you’re an angel, why are you called the Ghost of Christmas Past?”

The aura display suddenly stopped and the angel looked at Robin with this really annoyed look on her face. “It’s just my job title. How many job titles accurately convey who the person is?”

The angel did have a point, a point Robin was in no way interested in listening to. “Will you get out of my bedroom now?”

“But Robin, I’m trying to tell you something important.”

Robin started getting back into bed, saying, “That’s nice. Can you keep the light from your aura down? I’m trying to get to sleep.”

The angel pleaded with Robin, “But you can’t sleep.”

“Watch me.”

That witty little comment aggravated the angel. She had hoped that her aura and her very presence would have compelled Robin to believe her. Obviously she had failed to do so, so the angel decided to take a more direct approach. The angel grabbed the underside of Robin’s bed, mustered up all the strength she could, and dumped Robin out of it. “Are you going to listen to me now,” the angel said in an annoyed tone.

Robin looked up at the angel and said, “Will you leave me alone if I do?”

The angel’s countenance changed from one of annoyance to one that conveyed optimism. “Yes.”

Robin gathered herself up again and said, “Okay. Let’s go.” The angel walked over to Robin and held out her hand to Robin which she took, efforting not to break it when she did so. The angel led Robin over to her balcony windows and, with just a swipe of her angelic hand, flung them wide open. Robin watched this action and said, “I thought I locked those.”

The angel looked at Robin and said, “I just opened the door with a swipe of my hand. You think I couldn’t unlock it at the same time as well?” The angel led Robin forward onto the balcony and said, “Now Robin, I’m going to need you to hold onto my hand real tight.”


“Otherwise you’ll fall.” Then the angel and Robin lifted up off the balcony and into the air. The angel went slowly at first, to ensure that Robin was in fact hanging on to her securely, then faster and faster as they got further into the realm usually reserved for massive airplanes.

Upon reaching this realm, Robin asked, “Where are we going?”

Like a parent on a road trip, the angel responded, “I’ll tell you when we get there.”

“But I want to know now.”

“Robin, trust me, I wouldn’t steer you wrong.”

“Trust you? I don’t know you.”

“I’m an angel, you supposed to trust me.”

“I’ve never met an angel before. How am I supposed to trust a group of people I’ve never met?”

“You would have been a fun person to have around when the settlers met the natives. Hey look, we’re here.” So it was that over the course of a conversation that was not entirely politically correct the angel had taken Robin from Robin’s home to where it was the angel wanted to take her. Robin and the angel dropped from the realm of the aircraft, quickly approached a patch of concrete outside a two story brick building, and slowed up just slightly before safely landing back on Earth. The patch of concrete was not barren, but was littered with playing children and the various things they play on.

Robin looked at the angel and said, “Now can you tell me where we are?”

“Do you not recognize this place?”

Robin shot back in a highly annoyed tone, “Are you ever going to answer any of my questions?”

The angel dramatically swept her hand across the pact of concrete, and said, “This is the elementary school that you attended when you were a kid.”

Robin looked over the environment that the angel had brought her to and, after a second or two, recognized it. “Oh yeah, I did go to elementary school here. Sorry, my mind doesn’t quite remember details like that. I mostly remember what happens at a location not necessarily the location itself.”

The angel asked of Robin, “Do you remember what happened here at this time?”

“I’m sketchy on dates as well.”

The angel dropped her head, an outward expression of her momentary resignation after what Robin had said. The angel lifted her head and said, “Can you at least help me find where you are?”

“Knowing me, as I do because I am me, I can tell you exactly where I was during recess in elementary school.”

“Then lead me there.”

“But first I need to know the year.”

The angel let out an silent groan. “You are five years old.” The angel held out her hand as she did before when she was doing the leading. Robin took the angel’s hand and started walking. They walked past the four square courts, past the jungle gyms, past the tetherball stands, past the basketball courts, past everything every other kid was playing with or on. Robin led the angel all the way out to an nearly empty soccer field and a lone child kicking a red ball without any kind of purpose. This girl was just kicking it from one patch of grass to another.

Robin pointed to the lone girl and said, “That’s me, little Robin Anderson.”

The angel looked at little Robin Anderson and said, “What are you playing?”

“I don’t know. I used to spend many recess periods just kicking a ball on this soccer field.”

The angel then saw something out of the corner of her eye. “Hey look, there’s a group of kids. Perhaps they’ll join you.”

Robin put a dark tone in her voice and said, “Yeah, just watch what they do.”

The group of kids, all about the same age and all dressed alike, approached little Robin Anderson. One of the kids, a boy who was the biggest and the oldest of them, walked up to Robin and said, “We want your ball.”

Robin, with her big glass eyes and cute little face, looked up at the boy and said, “Do you want to play with me?”

The boy, with his group solidly behind him, said, “No, give us your ball.”

Robin picked up the ball with her little arms and said, “No. This is my ball. I brought it from home. If you don’t want to play with me then you can’t play with it.”

The boy took a step closer to Robin, looked at her with a menacing look on his face, then shoved Robin to the ground. The impact of hitting the ground caused little Robin Anderson to drop the red ball she was playing with. One of the other kids in the group, a girl the same age as Robin, quickly picked up the ball and threw it to the group. As the group started to walk away from Robin, the boy who had shoved her down stood over Robin, flashed his menacing face at her again, then went to rejoin his friends.

The angel and Robin continued to watch little Robin Anderson as she didn’t even attempt to get up. Rather the little girl just sat on the ground in that empty soccer field, filling her cute little face with sad little tears. The angel broke the pair’s silence by saying, “That is so sad.”

Robin, with a hateful tone in her voice, said, “That’s not sad, that’s typical.” The angel turned away from little Robin Anderson, and started walking back toward the school building. “Where are you going,” asked Robin of the angel.

“I’m going to the next thing I want to show you. Care to join me?” The angel held out her hand to Robin as she had before.

“I guess so since you’re my ticket home.” Robin took the angel’s hand and they took off. They didn’t go into the realm of the aircraft but rather straight toward the second floor of Robin’s elementary school. The two passed through the wall of this building like light through a pane of glass and came to rest in a classroom filled with kids.

The angel asked Robin, “Do you recognize where you are now?”

“Not really, but since we didn’t really cover much ground, I’m guessing this is a classroom in the elementary school I went to.”

The angel nodded and said, “Do you recognize any of the people here?”

Robin looked out over the classroom. Most of the kids were paying attention to the teacher at the front of the classroom. Some were goofing off or working on other things. One kid, in the desk furthest away from the teacher, was fast asleep. Robin lifted her hand and pointed to one of the kids near the middle of the class. “There I am.” Robin was pointing to an older version of the little Robin Anderson they had seen before. Robin was one of the studious ones, paying close attention to every word the teacher has to say.

The angel remarked, “I wonder why I wanted to bring you here. I mean you were cute as a kid but I don’t see anything going on here.”

Robin replied, in a rather ominous tone, “I know why.”

The angel and Robin watched as this scene developed. The teacher was attempting to teach what was a fairly difficult mathematical concept was, for children of that age. The teacher wrote a math problem on the blackboard, turned to the class and said, “Who wants to come up to the board and do this problem for the class?” The majority of the class became suddenly silent. Most of them put their hands as far down as they could put them, lost eye contact with the teacher, and sat frozen at their desks.

There was one hand, and only one hand, that shot into the air to answer the question, Robin’s. The teacher saw Robin’s hand and said, “Robin, thank you for volunteering.” Robin left her desk, walked quickly up to the front of the classroom, and took the piece of chalk from her teacher. In a matter of moments, little Robin Anderson demonstrated her knowledge of this mathematical concept, as she did the teacher’s math problem confidently and without a single flaw. The teacher looked over Robin’s work and said, “Well done Miss Anderson. That answer is correct and done in the correct way. Good job Robin.”

Robin was delighted by this praise from her teacher, as most people her age would be. As the teacher continued to explain the concept to the rest of the class, Robin began to walk back to her desk with her cute little head held high. The angel remarked on this, saying, “What a smart little kid you were Robin, and cute to match.”

Robin, as if she was foretelling doom, said, “That’s not all that happens.”

Robin and the angel continued to watch the classroom. Little Robin Anderson was still walking back to her desk, her spirits still high from her mathematic success, when she fell to the classroom floor. Robin didn’t fall because of some obstruction or because her shoelace was untied. Robin fell because one of her classmates tripped her. Little Robin, the pain from her fall still stinging her, looked back at the person who she knew to have tripped her. This wasn’t the same sinister little boy who had tormented her earlier. The person who tripped Robin was Shannon. Shannon was the rich girl, the popular girl, the girl who decided what was and what was not cool, the girl the entire social structure was built around.

The instructor took note of Robin’s tumble. “Oh Robin. Goodness you took quite a fall there. Are you okay?” The entire class turned to look at Robin, including Shannon.

Robin said to the teacher, “Yes Miss Carey, I’m fine. I don’t think I got hurt.”

Miss Carey then said, “What happened? Did you stumble? Did somebody trip you?”

At that moment Shannon flashed a face at Robin. Even though this was a different person entirely, the face the girl flashed was one that Robin had seen on the boy that had previously shoved her down and took her ball. It was a look Robin was already thoroughly familiar with. It was an intimidating, menacing look designed to evoke one emotion, intimidation. Robin exhibited that emotion when she responded to Miss Carey. “I- I stumbled. I stepped on my shoelace and fell down.”

Robin’s classmates laughed at Robin after she said this because Robin admitted to being a klutz. Meanwhile Miss Carey continued to look at Robin, particularly at her well kept and securely tied shoelaces. With a small delicate tear rolling down her face, the angel said to the elder Robin, “That is so sad. Why did that happen and why is no one stopping it?”

Robin looked at the angel and her single delicate tear and could only scoff at it. “You’re going to be balling like a baby when you see what else happens to me.”

The angel responded, “Have you no soul?”

“Yes, I have a soul,” said Robin dismissively. “It’s just you’ve only seen a small piece of my past and you’re already crying. If we go any further down the rabbit hole I may be swimming in a torrent of angel tears.” Robin then turned to the window facing the playground and said, “Are we done here, because I have a really nice bed I’d rather be sleeping in right now.”

The angel took Robin’s hand and the two passed through the window and softly fell down to the blacktop outside. Children were playing, much as they were before, but these children were older. Quite a deal older than the first group Robin and the angel observed and slightly older than the group they observed in the classroom. The angel looked over the playground and said, “Do you have a sense of where you might be, Robin?”

Robin quickly scanned the playground, noticing the ages of the children, then she pointed her finger, and said, “There. In all likelihood I’m over there.”

Robin was pointing at a group of kids talking and laughing and looking like they were having a good time. The angel, looking at the group of kids, said, “Aw, isn’t that sweet.”

Robin, with a huge dose of sarcasm in her voice, said, “You’re going to think it’s positively saccharin when we get over there.”

The angel turned to Robin with this stern look on her face and said, “Your sarcasm is incredibly annoying.”

Walking toward the crowd of kids, Robin pushed past the angel and said, “What makes you think I care?”

The angel caught up to Robin just as she got to the kids. The group consisted of girls, all about the same age and with the same general sense of style, all huddled in a circle surrounding one girl who did not follow the same style as the rest. Shannon, still the popular girl in school, was there as well as many of the other girls from the last classroom Robin and the angel observed. Standing in the center was little Robin Anderson. She had progressed in age since she was tripped by Shannon but had not progressed much in social standing.

The girls that encircled Robin each had their own voices but seemed to speak as one. The words that these girls were saying were not kind at all. “That outfit you’re wearing is so out of style. Why don’t you wear something made in this century? What’s the deal with your hair? It’s all stringy and grease and unmanaged. Your hair looks like it was styled by a monkey. You smell like those homeless people who live under the overpass. Are you aware of the concept of soap? You’re so dumb your IQ test came back negative. Ugly! Smelly! Worthless! Poor! Dumb! Unclean!”

The girls punctuated their insults by shoving Robin back and forth in the circle. At first little Robin Anderson could keep up, but the faster she was shoved the more she fell behind untill Robin stumbled and fell in a heap in the middle of the circle. Rather than feeling pity for Robin, the girls in the circle closed ranks and pounced. “What are you too dumb to walk? Ugly, smelly, and uncoordinated, what a combination. Is the little baby going to cry? Come on, cry like the dumb infant you are! Perhaps the tears will help clean your filthy disgusting face.”

After a while of enduring this abuse, little Robin Anderson did in fact begin to cry. Once they got the reaction they wanted from her, the girls that made up the circle went to another part of the playground. This left Robin sitting alone of the blacktop crying. She wasn’t hurt physically but was deeply hurt emotionally. In this emotionally battered state, little Robin Anderson began to sing.

I don’t know why
They keep on forever tormenting me.
I don’t know why
They cannot treat me civilly.
Why can’t they just let me be?
Why can I not just be me?

Little Robin Anderson’s sweet fragile voice did not carry far as she didn’t want the girls who had just tormented her to come back and continue their abuse. Robin didn’t cry for much longer after that, not because she had fully expressed for sorrow at that moment, but because the recess bell began to ring. The iron bell began to ring out and all of the children started lining up in rows, based on what class they were in, so they could go back to class. Robin didn’t immediately respond to the bell. Rather, Robin took a moment, wiped the tears from her eyes and face, and put a different expression on her face. Not an expression of sorrow because she knew her sorrow would be met with ridicule. Not an expression of joy because she had been so sad for so long she didn’t even know how to even fake joy. Robin’s expression was one of nothing. Little Robin Anderson didn’t have an emotional reason for this expression, the reason was logical. An expression of nothing was the one least likely to be met with ridicule from her classmates.

The angel looked on in shock as this whole scene folded out. Her reaction was similar to her previous one but none the less significant. “Oh my god. I can’t believe what I just saw. I can’t believe anyone would to that or even allow that to happen. It’s just so sad.”

Robin rolled her eyes at this comment. “Of course it’s sad, its child abuse. You’d have to be pretty sick to think this is uplifting.”

“True, but I thought the boy taking your ball was sad and the girl tripping you then flashing you that face was sadder still. What I just saw is a whole new level of sad.” The angel looked at Robin, hoping for some emotional support. This is what she got in return.

“You know what else is sad? The fact that I’m supposed to be asleep right now.” The angel didn’t like that reply very much. She grabbed Robin’s hand and abruptly lifted off into the sky. Robin, still as cynical as ever, said, “So, am I going home now because-“

Before Robin could add a faux witty ending to that question, the angel angrily replied, “No!” After a second the angel composed herself and continued. “I’m not taking you home yet because I haven’t shown you all that you must see.”

“But what you’re showing me is my own past and I don’t have any major memory issues. Can’t you just take me home and call it good?”

“No, I have to show you.”


“Because I have something to teach you.”

So it was that over the course of that conversation that the angel took Robin from one school to another school building. Instead of landing on the outside of this building, the angel and Robin passed through the roof this building and landed on the floor of a large open space near one of its many entrances. A space filled with benches, vending machines, and kids with plastic trays filled with a substance masquerading as food.

The angel, now openly expressing her displeasure with Robin’s attitude, turned to Robin and said, “Should I assume from you not recognizing your elementary school that you don’t recognize this place either?”

In a change of pace from before, Robin said, “No, I actually do recognize this place. This is the Lunchroom slash Common Area of the high school I went to. I remember this place because I promised myself I’d never return here. So, thanks for bringing me here angel.”

“I know asking you to cut the sarcasm won’t work, so I’m not going to bother. By the way, don’t most people have a junior high or a secondary school they go to before they go to high school?”

“Usually yeah, but some arsonist torched the junior high I was going to go to. So they combined the junior high and high schools into one building.”

“Ah. Well you recognize where you are, but do you recognize yourself Robin?
Robin quickly scanned the Common Area and said, “No.”

The angel replied, “Of course. It makes sense that you would recognize the location but not yourself.”

Just then a girl passed through one of the entrances to the Common Area. Robin pointed to the girl and said, “There I am. You see it’s not that I didn’t recognize me, it’s that I wasn’t in the Common Area yet.”

The girl Robin was pointing to did look like the little Robin Anderson they had seen before but it was clear the effects of adolescence were beginning to set it. The adolescent Robin had acne, braces, and an absolutely horrendous sense of fashion. The angel took note of adolescent Robin’s fashion sense, saying, “You know, you’d look cute if you weren’t wearing those pants with that shirt.”

Robin, oblivious to what the angel had said, looked at the younger version of her and said, “I remember what happens here.”

The angel became more interested in what was about to happen and watched adolescent Robin intently. Adolescent Robin waited through the lunch line, gave the cashier one of her lunch tickets, and got herself a tray full of a food flavored food-like substance that was as nutritious as it was food. Then the adolescent Robin looked for a place to sit and eat her lunch. She didn’t look for a place near her friends or near a group of people to whom she might relate. Rather, Robin looked for a place that was as distanced from her fellow students as possible. She found such a place at the end of one of the many benches that filled the Common Area.

Robin took her seat at the end of the table and began to eat her “food”. As more and more students began to eat their lunch, the less isolated from them Robin became. Finally a huge group of people sat down near Robin. This group included Robin’s tormenter from elementary school, Shannon. As well as some of her friends from elementary school as well as some new friends they had recently met. Most of the group did not take note of Robin, except for Shannon. Shannon looked at Robin with an absolute sense of scorn.

“We’re sitting here,” said Shannon to Robin.

Robin responded, “Okay,” then went back to her lunch.

Shannon, still expressing hostility, said to Robin, “You should move.”

Robin, calm and confident, said, “I was sitting here first.”

Shannon then motioned to one of her male friends who among the group of Shannon’s friends was sitting the closest to Robin. This guy shoved the tray that Robin was eating from, sending the tray flying off the end of the table and down to the floor of the Common Area. Shannon then smugly said to Robin, “Sitting where?” Then Shannon and her table full of friends began to laugh lightly at what they had done to Robin.

Robin didn’t respond to Shannon and her friend, she had long since learned the folly of doing that. She just went over to where her tray had fallen to clean up the mess she wasn’t responsible for. The tray had fallen in an area that served as a walkway through the common area. Robin couched down and reached into this walkway to grab the lunchtray. When she did this, somebody stepped on the tips of Robin’s fingers. Robin pulled her hand back in pain and looked at the person who had stepped on her. The person who had stepped on Robin’s fingers continued on through their school day, not looking back at Robin, as if nothing had happened.

Adolescent Robin left the tray and stormed off out of the Common Area on the verge of tears. The angel and Robin followed the adolescent Robin to a sparsely used hallway. This was a place where the adolescent Robin get be away from her classmates. The angel and Robin looked on as adolescent Robin began once again to sing.

They’ve never tried
To accept me.
No matter how
I alter me.
If they do not want me
Then I do not want them.

After singing her sad little song, the adolescent Robin curled up into a ball and began to softly weep. The angel could not be more sympathetic toward the adolescent Robin at that point. The angel looked at her and said, “Isn’t just so that sad?”

The elder Robin had an opposite reaction. “Sad? This isn’t sad. This is liberating! This is the day my life started turning around.”

The angel looked at Robin strangely and said, “What do you mean?”

Robin took a dramatic breath and began to explain. “Before this, the way I was living where I was trying to satisfy other people, was sad. Sad because I was always failing at every attempt. I try to be nice to people, fail. I try to wear the same clothes as them, fail. Try to watch the same movies, watch the same televisions shows, listen to the same music, fail. Every single attempt I made to please those people, to conform to their norm, fail, and why was I failing? Not because I didn’t try. I racked my brain and drove myself to tears trying. I failed because those people refused to let me succeed.”

The angel looked at Robin with disbelief written all over her face. “You actually believe that?”
Robin emphatically replied, “Yes, I absolutely do. It only makes sense. If they don’t accept me and I change myself to try to get them to accept me and they still don’t accept me, it’s obvious. The problem is them. They were never going to accept me in the first place. What other conclusion can you draw?”

The angel plainly replied, “That you need to try harder?”

Robin emphatically replied, “Harder? Those people were immovable objects. Trying harder would have been a waste of effort.”

The angel looked at Robin. She didn’t respond, just looked. The angel then walked from the hallway the adolescent Robin was in back into the Common Area. Robin followed the angel just in time to see her snap her fingers. When the angel did this all the students in the Common Area started walking around like they were in hyper speed. Kids quickly walking in and out of the Common Area eating the food-like substance and socializing with one another, all at a very fast pace but looking like nothing unusual was going on.

Robin watched hyper speed in action and said to the angel, “If you could do this, how come you didn’t do it before?”

The angel responded, “I had to change locations before. Here I just have to advance time forward.” The angel snapped her fingers again and the Common Area returned to normal speed. Not much had changed among the students of the high school Robin Anderson had gone to, except that everyone was one year older. The angel said to Robin, “Do you see yourself in the Common Area, Robin?”

Robin quipped, “Am I going to be walking through one of these doors in a second or two?”

The angel replied, “Yeah, probably.” Sure enough, out of the same door she had passed thought when Robin and the angel had first observed her in the Common Area, in came Robin Anderson, or at least the angel thought it was Robin Anderson. This girl had the face of adolescent Robin Anderson but nearly everything else was different. Robin’s fashion sense had changed from completely horrendous to black. All black. Black pants that hung down to her black flat soled boots, a black t-shirt with a menacing chainsaw wielding demon on it, black hair, black eye shadow, black fingernail polish, and finally a black studded belt. The only vibrant color that was a part of this black Robin’s wardrobe was the red blood on the demon’s chainsaw and teeth.

The angel looked at this girl oddly and said to Robin, “Is that you?”

Robin smiled and said, “Yep. That was during my black phase. All black clothing, all the time. I even had black underwear, not that anybody cared.”

The angel looked at what present day Robin was wearing and asked, “How come you aren’t wearing all black now?”

Robin replied, “Because I have money now. Money allows me to buy clothes that fit my mindset that also include color. When I was a teen my parents didn’t have much money and black is cheap.”

The angel turned back to the Common Area, while trying to put the illogical nature of what Robin had just said out of her mind, and watched as this outsider in black got her lunch. The black Robin bypassed the line dishing out the substance masquerading as food, instead going to the area where the stand selling burritos and pizza stood. She got herself a burrito, a fizzy sugary beverage, and darted off for the hallway just off the Common Area where she would be left alone.
The angel looked on as black Robin tore into her unhealthy meal made of real food. She commented, “At least you look happier now than you were back then.” It wasn’t clear if the angel was attempting sarcasm.

Robin turned to the angel and said, “Are you trying to imply that I wasn’t happy during my black phase?”

Then angel responded, “Well, you’re wearing all black, you’re sitting in a hallway alone by design, and you’re eating a nasty burrito and drinking a soda. That doesn’t strike me as happy.”

Robin took a deep breath and began to explain again. The angel suppressed the urge to roll her eyes as she did this. “Are you kidding me angel? These people made my life unbearable. They tore down any sense of worth I had, completely rejected me, basically treated me like I was unworthy to live. What is wrong with wanting nothing to do with these people?”

The angel, then said, “You weren’t completely rejected.”

“What do you mean?”

The angel didn’t respond. The angel merely motioned to a young boy the Common Area and heading toward the hallway black Robin was eating her lunch in. The young boy was dressed in subdued tones, brown and blue but not black, in clothes that were either second hand or passed down from a relative, and his hair was styled like a stereotypical television anchorman. This young boy looked to be about as different from the rest of the boys in his class as black Robin did from the rest of the girls in her class.

The boy sat down in the hallway directly across from Robin. “Hello.” The boy tried talking to Robin. Robin was either really engrossed in her burrito or was actively ignoring the boy. Either way, Robin didn’t respond. They boy pressed on. “Hello, my name is Eric. What’s yours?” Again, no response. “Nice weather we’re having. I’m really glad that storm came through the other day to clear all the gunk out of the air.” Again, no response. “Did you hear the new single from In Bloom? I really love their blues inspired punk rock riffs mixed with strong yet emotionally fragile lyrics.” By this point Robin had finished her burrito and soda and was pulling a notebook from her bag and writing highly articulate insults directed at all she felt had rejected her. All the while Robin was not reacting at all to the presence of Eric.

Dejected, Eric got up and walked back toward the Common Area. Just before entering the Common Area, he looked back, hoping the girl he had tried to get to know would look his way. Robin was too busy rhyming vapid with stupid to even grant him that courtesy.

As this scene involving black Robin came to a close, the angel said to present day Robin, “See, you weren’t completely rejected. One person did try to reach out to you, and you flatly rejected him.”

Robin was completely befuddled by what she saw. “I don’t remember this. Seriously, I do not remember this. I don’t remember that guy, I don’t remember that conversation. I remember that burrito but I don’t remember anything else from that.”

The angel, in a style taken from your garden variety psychologist, decided to delve further into this. “Why do you think that is Robin?”

Robin took a second to gather her thoughts. “I guess it was that I was so divorced from other people’s opinions and so wanted nothing to do with the people I went to school with that this was my normal response to anyone trying to engage me. Because of that, this guy and my reaction to him is not significant and therefore not really memorable.”

At this point the angel saw an opportunity to fulfill her purpose. “Does this make you regret the way you live your life?”

Robin took some time to pour over that question. Finally Robin came up with an answer. “No.”
“No,” the angel asked.

Robin reiterated, “No. I didn’t ask to be put in that situation, those people, my fellow students, put me in that situation and I reacted to it. They could have reached their hand out and-“

The angel interjected, “One of them did.”

“One did,” said Robin in a determined tone of voice, “just one. One is not enough to make me change.”

The angel looked at Robin for a second and saw flashes of not the current day Robin that she had brought to this place but the black Robin that was sitting on the floor writing away in her notebook. The angel started to shake her head slowly as she went back into the Common Area. Robin didn’t bother to follow the angel, so when she snapped her fingers again all Robin saw was the black Robin eating burritos, drinking soda, and occasionally being approached by Eric.

When the angel snapped her fingers to bring the Common Area out of hyper mode very little had changed. The students were older, those that were Robin’s age were near graduation, outside of that things had went along their predetermined paths as they had before. Even the substance masquerading as food had not changed much. The angle chose to comment on this saying, “The lack of change doesn’t inspire much confidence.”

From the sparsely used hallway, Robin replied, “Neither does this.”

The angel walked out of the Common Area and back into the hallway to see what Robin was referring to. Robin was watching black Robin eating what she usually ate for lunch at that time, a bag of potato chips and a large soda. The angel commented on this, saying, “That’s not good.”

“I know. Salt and vinegar chips. What was I thinking?”

The angel again shook her head slowly then continued to look at black Robin. Robin finished her bag of chips then dug into her backpack and pulled out her notebook. Black Robin began to sing and write down what she was singing as she did so.

The time gets closer
Every day.
The clock slowly
Ticks away.
One day soon the day will come
When I’ll be rid of everyone.

Upon hearing this, the angel grabbed the arm of the Robin standing next to her and frantically asked, “You’re not about to try and kill yourself, are you?”

Robin looked at the angel dismissively and said, “You’re the angel here, not me, remember?”

The angel let go of Robin’s arm, calmed down a bit, and said, “I know. It’s just, the song you sang, the lyrics sound like something someone would say when they’re looking forward to death.”

Robin responded, “No. I was looking forward to finally being free of that environment and those people that sought to bring me down.”

The angel commented, “You sound like some sort of conspiracy cook.”

Robin replied, “If the truth is a conspiracy, then yes, I am a conspiracy cook.”

Robin and the angel continued to watch black Robin as she wrote down thinly veiled revenge fantasies involving herself, a chainsaw, and a magic act turned tragic. Then a figure appeared in the hallway. A slowly moving figure, slow moving not because the figure was sneaking around but because the figure lacked the energy for fast movement. This figure was Eric. Like many times before, Eric made his way down the nearly empty hallway, sat down directly across from black Robin, and attempted to engage in conversation with her.

“Hello Robin. I know what your name is Robin. Shannon told me, or rather she was insulting me and said, “You even hang out near that Robin chick no one likes.” Robin gave no response to Eric. “Of course, if you actually spoke to me. You could have told me your name, Robin, and we could share our pain and possibly learn to overcome all those people who perpetually mock us.” Again, no response. “At least Shannon and her friends are motivated enough to make fun of me. You can’t be bothered Robin. You’ve never said one word to me. Not one. Not even to tell me off, Robin.” Still no response. Eric began to slowly get to his feet. “Well, maybe I’ll see you around Robin, or maybe not. Whatever.” Erick then slowly went back the way he came. Just before re-entering the Common Area, Eric looked back at Robin, still holding a small sliver of hope that the girl he had tried to connect to would at least acknowledge he was there. Even a hint of scorn would have satisfied his need for acknowledgement. That hope was dashed as Robin continued to write in her notebook.

The angel looked as if she was about to cry as she watched this scene unfolded. “That is so sad. That boy tried over and over again to try to connect with you and you shot him down every time.” The angel then punched Robin in the arm. “How could you do that to him?”

Robin, rubbing her arm in reaction to the angel’s punch, said, “It wasn’t personal against that guy-“

“Eric! His name was Eric,” the angel interjected.

“Eric,” said Robin, “it wasn’t personal against Eric. I was doing that to everyone at that time.”

The angel persisted, “But you could have made an exception. You could have let one person in, just one. Why didn’t you do that?”

Robin contemplated the angel’s question for a second. She wasn’t trying to come up with a response but rather a good way to phrase it. “I don’t have an answer to your question, other than I feel I did nothing wrong.”

Frustrated, the angel walked away from Robin, out of the hallway and back into the Common Area. Robin let the angel walk for a bit before she followed after her. When Robin turned the corner to enter the Common Area what she saw was not the Common Area. What she saw was an office. An office filled with people sitting in little rooms with walls that only went halfway up to the ceiling. These rooms had everything an employee could need during a workday, save a bathroom and a fountain to get water from. Robin recognized this office right away. This was where she worked each and every day.

Robin looked around her work environment for a bit and found the angel trying in vain to get a cup of purified and absurdly expensive water. Robin said to the angel, “Hey, angel, can you tell me how exactly we got here?”

The angel gave up on getting some nominally refreshing water and said, “We flew through the air, we traveled through solid objects, we even traveled through time. Does it honestly astound you that I can instantly transport us to different locations?”

Robin was dumbstruck by the angel’s response and only said, “It’s just if you could instantly transport people, why didn’t you do it before?”

The angel sighed and said, “Because people are usually awestruck by the fact that I can make them fly. They usually aren’t as hardheaded as you.” The angel then turned out toward that office and made a grand sweeping motion with her hand as she said, “I know that you recognize this place, as you come here on a daily basis, but do you know at what point in your life I have taken you to?”

Robin quickly responded, “July 25th.”

The angel was astounded by Robin’s answer. “Wow. How did you know that?”

Robin pointed into one of the cubicles and said, “There’s a quote-a-day calendar on the desk in there.”

Hearing this, the angel closed her eyes and sighed in utter frustration. “Can you at least tell me what year it is?”

“Nope,” Robin responded. “Things don’t change much in the office where I work. This office could have looked like this a year ago, twenty years ago, or last week.” Robin and the angel watched the office full of busily working people untill the front door of the office opened and they felt air go rushing out the door untill the person closed it. Robin looked at the person who entered the office and said, “Look, that’s me.” The person they saw was Robin, well almost Robin. The black attire that had defined Robin’s teenage years had been left behind with her former classmates. Robin still had black hair but was wearing a modest blue knee length skirt, while blouse, and low heeled shoes. Her dress would be considered business casual but, given what the other people in the office were wearing, in this case Robin was a little dressed up.
The angel looked at the younger Robin, fresh faced and beaming with optimism, and said, “Well, that’s a welcome change.”

A look of realization came over Robin’s face as she looked at her younger self. “I remember this now. This is my first day at work.”

The angel chimed in, “You mean your first day at the place you currently work at?”

Robin corrected the angel saying, “No, I’ve only had one job, and this is my first day at it.”

Robin and the angel looked on as young adult Robin walked up to the receptionist desk and said, “Excuse me, my name is Robin Anderson. I’m here to see David O’Malley.”

The receptionist lifted her head long enough to say, “Sure, just a second.” The receptionist then picked up the phone to summon David O’Malley from his office as Robin politely took a seat and waited.

Shortly after the receptionist hung up her phone, a well groomed man in a sharp business suit came out of one of the only fully enclosed offices in the workplace. The guy walked from his office over to where Robin was sitting and said, “Robin Anderson. David O’Malley, branch manager here at the Midtown Branch, pleasure to have you aboard.” David then extended his hand to Robin which she shook earnestly.

“It’s a pleasure to be here Mr. O’Malley,” said Robin, beaming with optimism.

“Please, call me David.”

“Will do sir,” said Robin, efforting to sound like she was optimistic while not sounding like she was sucking up.

“Follow me Robin, I’ll show you to your cubicle.”

David started making his way through the office with young adult Robin not far behind. As they did so the angel remarked to Robin, “It sure seems you mood has completely changed.”

Robin replied, “Of course it did. Before I was stuck in this perpetual pit of despair around people who were content with keeping me there. At the moment that you’ve taken me to now, I was in a new environment that I thought was ripe with opportunity.”

The angel listened to what Robin had to say and could see doom on the horizon. “There’s a big but coming up here, isn’t there?”

Robin said, “Just watch.”

David, after showing her the break room, the water fountains, and the realistic looking fake trees in the break room, had finally taken Robin to an empty cubicle situated near the center of the office workspace. “And this is your cubicle.”

The young adult Robin said, “Looks nice Mr. O’Malley,” a clear lie that David picked up on.

“Not really. It’ll look nicer once you add some character to it, which you are free to do, provided you don’t put up anything objectionable.”

“Should be an interesting project.”

“Well, I’m going to leave you in your cubicle to get a feel for the space. Beth should be by to start your training in a bit.” David then extended his hand to Robin and said, “Again, it’s a pleasure to have you aboard.”

Robin shook his hand and said, “Likewise Mr. O’Malley.”

David smiled and walked back to his office, fully intending to again tell Robin she could call in David later on in the day. Robin sat down in her office chair and started playing with all the things there are to adjust on a modern office chair. At about the time Robin discovered that she could move the armrests up and down someone began knocking on her cubicle wall. Robin spun around to where the knocking was coming from and found a middle aged woman standing at the entrance to her cubicle.

“Hi,” said Robin with a bright smile on her face.

“Hello,” said this woman with a look on her face like she had eaten some bad fish.

“Are you Beth, I’m Robin.” Robin stood up and extended her hand to this new woman. The woman looked at Robin’s hand like she was an unworthy heretic.

“No, I’m not Beth. I’m Mary.” With the tone in Mary’s voice, it was clear she was making no effort to mask her distain toward Robin. “You’re the new girl David hired to replace Walter?”

Robin cheerfully replied, “I don’t know any Walter, but I am new here. And might I say, it’s a pleasure to-“

“You can cut it right now.” Mary’s blunt statement set Robin back on her heels. “It doesn’t surprise me that David hired you, he’s always looking for a new chickadee to ogle at. What does surprise me is that he hired you to replace Walter. Walter is a great man. Walter is an indispensible worker. Walter is irreplaceable, or at least less replaceable than a bimbo like you.” This insult hit Robin especially hard. Sure she had taken nothing but abuse from her peers up to that point, but an adult of Mary’s age in a workplace environment hurling that insult just floored Robin.

Robin attempted to respond. “I’m sorry, I just-“

“Can it sweetheart.” Mary said this, continuing her insulting tone. “Let me be crystal clear. You don’t belong here. You will never belong here, and none of us will ever accept you. Isn’t that right?”

As if on cue, the other people in the office, sitting in their cubicles working away, began to chime in. “That’s right. You tell her Mary. You should leave. Yeah, go away and never come back.” This hurt Robin more than anything Mary had said. It wasn’t that her new co-workers were saying anything bad. It was that they were all affirming what Mary had just said.

Mary went back to her cubicle, shooting Robin an absolutely filthy look as she did so. Robin sat back down in her office chair and turned herself around so she was facing one of her cubicle walls. Robin’s face didn’t express a sense of frustration at what had just transpired. Nor did Robin express anger. Nor did Robin express sorrow. Robin was sitting alone in her office chair saying nothing, much like Robin did when she was sitting in the hallway at school all alone.
Robin and the angel watched all of this take place. The angel was the first to respond to it. “How? How could grown adults treat someone like that?”

Robin attempted to explain. “I wondered that too, untill I met Walter. He’s a pretty cool guy who I could see people being loyal to. But I will agree that what we just saw was really messed up.”

“Yeah, but that’s no excuse for how you reacted.”

“What do you mean?”

The angel took a breath and started an explanation of her own. “Robin, I think I’m about done playing dumb here. I know what goes on after this. The way that you act at work is just like how you acted in school. People treat you badly, they push you away, you react by shoving them away and lengthening the distance between you and them.”

Robin dismissively replied, “I’m not dumb either. I know about this. I know about all of this. I’ve gone over these memories over and over again.”

“What’s the conclusion you’ve drawn from that?”

Robin replied fully confident in what she was saying. “That they all treated me like crap and I’m right in wanting nothing to do with them.”

“No, that’s not right,” said the angel.

Stunned, Robin said, “Not right? I wasn’t treated like crap?”

“You were but not by all of them. What about Eric? He tried to reach out to you. Eric tried desperately to do so.”

“That was one person. One person out of thousands.”

“One is significant Robin.”

“No it’s not!” The tone Robin put into that last sentence, the complete and unbridled anger than came out, would frighten most anybody, most certainly the angel.

The angel took a moment to compose herself and decide how she should go forward. “Yes it is. Besides, you really can’t judge a person or group of people based on first impressions alone.”

“First impressions are all anybody judges me on.”

“Yes, but don’t you aspire to be better than they are?”

“I am better than they are,” Robin exclaimed adamantly.

“I don’t see it,” the angel replied calmly. “You claim they didn’t give you a chance. Whether that is true or not, the fact is that you only gave them one chance, just one. Then you shut down and became defensive to them to the point of complete isolation.”

Robin boldly replied, “Of course I became defensive, I had to protect myself. If I don’t protect me, who will?”

The angel calmly replied, “Robin, you have to open yourself up and become a little more vulnerable in order to-“

“No. I can’t be vulnerable. I can’t be weak. If I become weak, people will take advantage of me.”

“Not all people.”

“Yes, all people. It’s been my experience-“

“Your limited experience.”

“Yes, my experience. It’s been my experience that if I show any weakness, any vulnerability, people take advantage of that to better themselves at my expense.”

In that moment of heated back and forth discussion, a realization began to wash over the angel. A realization the angel hesitated to accept. “I can’t win. I simply can’t win with you Robin. You are so steadfast, so entrenched in your isolationist beliefs that I can’t bring up any point or make any argument that could move you even a tiny bit. I can’t win. I just can’t win.” Then angel turned her back to Robin and started sullenly walking away.

Robin let the angel walk for a bit before walking after her. Robin didn’t feel bad about what she had said or the argument she had made that put the angel in this funk. Robin stated her motivation following after the angel right away. “Hey, where are you going? You’re my only way home. Hey. Hey!” Robin kept on trying to get the angel’s attention as she navigated her way through the cubicle maze that made up her office.

The angel eventually made her way to the door leading to Mr. O’Malley’s office. The angel passed through the office door like she had the wall of Robin’s elementary school earlier. Robin attempted to walk through the door as well and did what most people do when attempting to do that, she was stopped by the door she was trying to walk through. This caused Robin to become angry and she furiously punched the door, blaming it for the fact that she couldn’t walk through it.

Robin then opened the door in the traditional manner and charged into what she thought would be her boss’s office. That is not what Robin found on the other side of that door. Robin was expecting a brightly lit, slightly cold, modernly styled executive office. Instead Robin found a sparsely lit, moderately warm, comfortably furnished bedroom. Robin looked around for a bit, then turned back to the door she had walked through. What she saw wasn’t the door to her boss’s office. It was her door, her bedroom door. Robin was home in her bedroom.

Robin walked around aimlessly in her bedroom for a while, trying to process what had just happened and all that she had just seen. Robin sat down on the foot of her bed then fell back, hoping the comfortable feeling of her heavy down blanket would help free her mind. Then she remembered her first visitor of the evening and what she had attributed that to, heavy alcohol intake.

“I can’t believe I’ve actually done this,” Robin said to herself. “I’ve heard of people having hallucinations fueled by alcohol, but I thought I was controlled enough to prevent myself from having one of them. This is going to be a rough night.”

Robin got up from her bed, fully convinced that she was hallucinating and needed to protect herself from doing anything too terribly wrong. She checked all her doors, front, back, garage and balcony, and ensured they were locked and secure. She took her car keys and put them in her cupboard next to the coffee cups she never uses. Then Robin went to the bathroom, and splashed some water on her face as a way of calming her nerves. As Robin watched the water slowly drip off her face she wished that, if she did have another hallucination, she wouldn’t do anything that would get her arrested.

Then Robin made her way to her bedroom and tucked herself in for what she hoped would be the rest of the night. As she looked around her bedroom at all the things she could break during the next interruption of her slumber, she saw an alarm clock. The same analog clock that she saw at the start of what she dismissed as a really vivid alcohol fueled hallucination. Robin didn’t pay much mind to the clock, and drifted back off to sleep, fully intending to deal with it in the morning. That is if she made it to the morning.