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Topics - Doktor Howl

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The Richard Nixon school of ballet and the arts / HAHAHAHA *snort*
« on: June 26, 2015, 07:28:56 am »

The ultimate endgame of the MRA page.   :lulz:

The Richard Nixon school of ballet and the arts / Flashmob thread.
« on: June 16, 2015, 02:30:53 am »
This is my personal favorite:

Not bitching, here.  This was rejected because of a misunderstanding as to what content was desired.  But rather than waste it, I'll post it here.

The Politics of the Average Joe.

So, the world's circling the bowl, and it's all the doing of those bankers.  Or Big Gubmint.  Or Big Pharma.  Or whatever it is you think you need to fight.  Now you're all fired up about it, but you aren't sure what to do.  You went to some rallies, but it all seemed a little pathetic.  Hell, most of the signs were about something else entirely...And The Man not only didn't capitulate, he didn't even arrest you.  You didn't even get noticed

So now you're pissed off, and you're wondering how to get your point across.  Yes, I know, we Doktors all go through that.  But before you all crowd into a cramped basement and start building bombs, I'd like to remind you of a couple of things.

First, The Man owns the ball and the ballpark.  If you do something you think of as bold, it will be used to scare the regular folks into accepting more of the same crap, because now there's terrorists running around.

Second, the average person isn't on your side.  This can't be stressed enough.  Sure, they may bitch about whatever it is, but what they really want is for tomorrow to be just like today.  If you "freak the mundanes" enough, it won't be The Man hanging from that lamp post.  It's gonna be you, because you have threatened their comfort bubble.  The Man is inside of that comfort bubble they have.  The Man has to be.  After all, if they didn't want it, they wouldn't pay for it.

Ever wonder why the German and Japanese people fought right to the bitter end in World War II, while the Italians surrendered to just about everyone and got on with their lives?  It isn't because Italians are cowardly; they are not.  But they hadn't been sold on the ideology that Mussolini was pushing, so they dumped him not once but twice.

The Germans and Japanese people needed a little more persuading.  And not just at the end of a gun.

Some dumbass once labeled a pencil "the machine that kills fascism", which is obviously crap.  What kills fascists is tanks and guns and aircraft and eventually a noose.  But then, when the battles are done, you have to win the war, which is done by convincing the average enemy citizen that it's over.

In the one serious burst of brains that the USA has ever had, they decided on the Hershey Bar as the war-winner.  The Axis population had been told that we would rape and murder them when we overran the defenses, but there's this grimy dog-face offering them a Hershey Bar and a Lucky Strike...And there's two messages in there that any activist must understand. 

The first is "We ain't here to hurt you.  Have a Hershey Bar."

The second is "While you were making munitions in your basements and bomb shelters, we didn't even shut the candy factories down.  In fact, they're running three shifts.  And our tobacco got better during the war.  So in case you ever think you maybe want to try this again, you might want to keep that in mind.  Have a Hershey Bar."

So, if you're an activist, the FIRST thing you must sell the population on is that you aren't here to hurt them or turn their lives upside down.  You are here to make things BETTER.  And that isn't done by preaching at them, by haranguing them with the Rightness of Your Cause.  It's done by the metaphorical equivalent of a Hershey Bar.  "Here's the future, here's what we have to offer.  And here's why it's tasty."

The SECOND thing you have to convince them of is that you aren't going away.  You're running three shifts, turning out that Hershey Bar stockpile.  It's easier to go along with you than to fight you, not because you're scary but because you never quit.

So, are we ready to change the world?

Epic Rap Battles:  Shakespeare vs Doctor Seuss.   :lulz:

And they never called to warn us about 911.

The Richard Nixon school of ballet and the arts / Dirtbags, part 6
« on: May 31, 2015, 04:52:44 am »
"Of course it's relevant," Katie said, as we walked down the street.  We were both giggling inappropriately.  "You can't even tell me a story in this town without fucking mayhem going on all around us."

"Well, I can see Tucson being cursed.  You can't leave, and every day the city shits horror all over your boots.  But I can tell you one thing."


"I have to be in Tucson, but I don't have to be at that job."

"Yeah, you say this has been going on for a long time.  Weeks.  And you're still there."

"I'm just picking my moment.  Also, there's bills to be paid.  I have to have the right thing lined up before I bail."

"Yeah, my dad said that about his company, about ten years ago."

"How did that work out?"

"He fell over dead in the break room 2 years ago, still there."

"Oh, shit, sorry to hear that."

"Yeah, well, he said he was gonna quit, that the job was killing him.  But there was always just a bit more to be done, right?  Get the house paid off.  Get the car paid off.  Thank fuck I went on scholarship, or I'd have the tuition hanging around my neck, too...And I don't need that kind of guilt.  But you get my point.  There's always something, and you never actually leave."

I considered that...She certainly had a point.

"So I give myself a firm time limit, calculated to do the maximum possible harm to the boss.  And that day, new job or no, I walk out the door."

"Well, you better do something.  Life's too short."

"You know what else is too short?"


"My attention span.  Let's take the trolley down 4th, and raise some hell on University Drive.  I have a burning need to make fun of people in skinny jeans."


We turned around, and headed back to the trolley, but when we got there, everything went bad.

Katie got on the trolley first, and started swearing.  I jumped up, and there was beardo from Club Congress, burned beard and all.  He was enormously drunk, and staring at Katie.  I swear there was foam on his lips.  Katie had her hand in her purse and was braying laughter in his face.  I wondered what kind of gun she had in the bag.

Beardo lunged forward, and Katie's hand came out of the bag.  She sprayed him in the face with something acrid, and he fell like he'd been poleaxed, screaming worse than when he'd been burned.  The driver stared hollering, and we jumped out.  The trolley had just started moving, and was maybe going 3 miles per hour, but we were drunk and went ass over tea kettle.

We jumped up and ran.  After a half block, we ducked down an alley, over to Broadway, then slowed down.  Katie was blowing like a whale, both due to the adrenaline, and because she's a pack and a half per day smoker.

"What the hell?  You just maced that guy?"

"Mace?  Fuck mace.  That was real, live bear spray."

"ON HIS BURN?"  I busted up laughing.

"Well, I felt that I needed his attention."

"Like you said, I can't even finish telling a story in this town without felony assault."

I offered to buy her some Vietnamese food.  Nothing could go wrong in a nice quiet restaurant.

Nothing at all.

To be continued.

The Richard Nixon school of ballet and the arts / Dirtbags, part 5
« on: May 26, 2015, 04:35:14 pm »
Congress Street

The aging hipster gave a grunt as he collided with Katie.

"HEY! Watch where you're going!"

"You watch where you're going."

"I don't take advice from Food Babe freaks, mister."  Katie was definitely building up to something unpleasant.

"Nothing wrong with Food Babe.  She's got lots of good advice, and she's helping me through things."

"Do tell," I put in.

He looked at me.  "If it's any business of yours, I have advanced intestinal cancer.  I'm trying to purify myself."

"WHAT?"  Katie stared at him.  "You're trying to cure cancer with dietary advice from a blatant fraud like Food Babe?"

"That's not what I said," the hipster said, "It's beyond curing.  I'm just trying to purify my system before I go.  Almost like a religious thing.  Now," he gestured at the sidewalk, "Do you mind?"

Katie stepped aside, and the hipster walked down the street.  Katie looked a little down...Can't say as I blame her, but still; she had no way of knowing.  I grabbed her arm and walked her into the pub on the corner.  It was a sports bar that had long ago stopped trying, and was now a medium-quality watering hole.  We sat down, and I ordered drinks.  I'd already had a few too many, but what the hell?

"This whole fucking town is cursed," Katie said, "Some people say it started with John Baylor, but it goes way farther back than that."

"Wait.  You're a scientist.  You don't believe in curses."

"I do when I'm drunk.  And this is relevant to your story so shut your yap and listen up."

"Okay."  I sipped at my whiskey.

"First people anyone knows about here where the Hohokam.  They were builders, and dug giant canals - that we still use today - from the Colorado River to Tucson.  Pretty soon, some other tribes, the Pima and the Apache, saw what nice land they had developed, and began raiding in an effort to push them off the land."

I knew all of this, but what the hell?  She's a good storyteller.

"Sometime during all of this, the weather had changed in New Mexico, and the Anasazi couldn't grow food to support their rather massive cities.  The last three years there must have looked like something out of a horror movie.  Short story is, we have evidence that they attacked each other at the family level, to eat their victims.  Verrrrry bad medicine.  No Southwestern native American could tolerate that.  The few survivors fled, some elsewhere - which is a whole other story in itself - and some West to the Hohokam.  The Hohokam took them in despite the stigma on them, both because they were famous builders, and because they needed the extra bodies to hold off the encroaching Pima & Apache.

"It didn't help.  The Hohokam were forced into smaller and smaller territory, at a faster rate than before they'd taken in the Anasazi refugees.  There's all kinds of rational explanations for that, but you and I know how useful rationalism is in Tucson or, for that matter, a tribe facing extinction.  Eventually, they built the castle up North at Casa Grande for a last stand, but as far as anyone can tell, the Apache never assaulted the castle.  They just laid sort of a loose siege to it, and waited for the last of the Hohokam to starve to death...Much as the Anasazi had. 

"Now we don't even know the Hohokam's name.  The word is from the O'odham language, and means "all used up, or in a nastier sense, "all consumed".

"Anyway, ever since then, nothing's been right in this area.  Jump forward 410 years, during the American civil war.  John Baylor comes in, and tries to get the Apache to behave.  They aren't having it.  He finally - within a month - gets frustrated enough that he orders a genocide."

I looked up Baylor's command a couple of days later.  It reads "Use all means to persuade the Apaches or any tribe to come in for the purpose of making peace, and when you get them together kill all the grown Indians and take the children prisoners and sell them to defray the expense of killing the adult Indians. Buy whiskey and such other goods as may be necessary for the Indians and I will order vouchers given to cover the amount expended. Leave nothing undone to insure success, and have a sufficient number of men around to allow no Indian to escape."

"Everything since then has followed a pattern.  Massive influx of immigrants - Phoenix and Tucson have two of the highest growth rates in the USA, and have for a long time - followed by horror in just about every form you can think of.  Injured veterans of World War I that had no home of record were sent here to die in the streets.  John Dillinger you know about, etcetera ad nauseum.  Right down to the present day, with some hipster building a religion for himself out of an con woman, so he doesn't feel so bad about the horrible death that's waiting just around the corner from him.

"So you tell me, Dok, you've been here 10 years.  Is this place cursed or not?"

I opened my mouth to answer, but a young man at the next table leaned over and said, "Curses can be beaten with the power of our lord and savior, Jesus Christ.  Do you know the good news?"

Katie snarled and gave him some bad news, right in the face.  I jumped up and put the boot in.  I was pissed.  We're talking about Tucson, and he brings up the God that forgot all about us.  Some do-gooder tried to break it up, and got an elbow in his face for his troubles.  Katie grabbed the interfering bastard by the balls and ran backwards - under the old wisdom that says if you grab them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow - into a crowded table.  Drinks went everywhere, and people stood up and grabbed the guy.  I grabbed Katie by the arm and hauled her out the front door.  Sounds of mayhem increased inside.

Katie lit a cigarette, and we walked calmly down the street.

"So," I said, you said this is all relevant to my situation?"

To be continued.

...after reading one too many shaming threads in a group of otherwise intelligent people.

Let's just face a few facts here. If you have kids, you are a breeder who is overpopulating the planet. If you don't have kids, you are selfish and you'll regret it when it's too late, and you'll start popping out damaged kids like Sarah Palin does.

If you like to have sex, you're a slut, and if you don't like to have sex you're a prude. If you're a woman, you're either a slut or you're a ball-buster who is out to oppress men. If you're a guy, you're either a rapist or a beta.

If you like to drink, you're a lush, and if you don't, you're a square and probably a crypto-theist. If you smoke pot you're a useless lop of shit, and if you don't, you've betrayed the cause and are no longer cool.

If you are fat, you're what's wrong with America. If you're skinny, you must be anorexic. If you're in between, don't worry, the skinny people will call you fat and the fat people will call you bulimic.

If you're poor, it's because you choose to live that way. If you're rich, you're a monster. If you're middle class, you don't exist at all.

If you're THIS, you reek of privilege, and if you're THAT you're a slactivist, and if you're DEAD, it's because you wore a hoodie and couldn't obey the police.

You can't win. You can't break even. You can't even quit the game.

 You should be ashamed of yourself, you awful person.

The Richard Nixon school of ballet and the arts / Dirtbags, part 4
« on: May 22, 2015, 04:11:21 pm »
Unplugged Wine Bar, a little while later...

"So," I said, "As it stands, Ed has not been disciplined, the racist only had to make an apology, and everyone's avoiding this like the plague."  I did not know, that evening, that the EEOC retaliation complaint I had made had been spiked at the top of the HR food chain.

"What do you plan to do?"

"Cause a bunch of havoc, leave for another company."

"You never seemed to me to be the kind of guy to get run off," Katie replied.

"I'm not, not really.  The entire situation is hopeless, and the plant is doomed.  While I'm stubborn, I'm not stupid.  I'm getting out while the getting is good."

She looked at, in the owlish manner of the half-smashed, over her glass.  "I keep forgetting that you're more than a goon."

"And I keep forgetting that you are a goon.  I keep thinking of you as a botanist or whatever it is, a sweet and harmless academic."

Katie laughed out loud.  I was more than a little buzzed, and was slightly dizzy.  I don't get drunk very often at all anymore, so my pacing was off.  This also of course meant no sleeping pills, but so far the evening was worth giving up sleep for a day.

"Well," she said, "I'm sorry your dreams of building the future didn't last.  So allow me to present an alternative."


She killed her drink and leaned across the table, leering at me.  "Let's go fuck some shit up."

"I'm down."

I swallowed the last of my drink, and stood.  Katie lit a smoke, and we headed for the door.  The bartender hollered out "There's no smoking in here!"

"I smoke where I want," she hollered back, "Killing and burning plants is my BUSINESS."

Walking down Congress Street, she looked at me.  "You know, most botanists want to go work for Monsanto or some shit, make a pile."

"I take it that's not your plan?"

"Fuck no.  I don't have a plan yet, but it sure as fuck won't be somewhere like that.  It's not just the corporate culture, either.  You know what I'd really like to do?"


"I'd like to genetically modify kudzu."

"What, to finally kill it off?"

"HAW!  No, to make it drought-resistant and faster-growing."

"What?  That will kill off agriculture in the Deep South completely."

"Exactly.  I'm not a world-saver.  I'm more of a super-villain.  I want to laugh maniacally and explain my entire plan to the hero."

"Short career."

"But FUN.  All I need is a name.  All the good ones are taken."

"I dunno.  How about Doktor Killenplantz?"

"Oh, I LIKE that.  Hey check out what's coming."  A half-block away, a man of about 35 wearing sandals & socks was heading towards us.  He was wearing ratty cut offs and a shirt with food babe's picture on it, and was walking head-down, fucking with a smartphone.  Hell, I didn't know food babe shirts were even a thing, though I guess I shouldn't be surprised.

Katie stepped into his path, and he ploughed straight into her.

Oh, dear.

to be continued

He's standing in James Hetfield's rectum while playing, to teach him a lesson.

The Richard Nixon school of ballet and the arts / Dirtbags, part 3
« on: May 20, 2015, 05:58:57 pm »
Unplugged Wine Bar

The moment we walked in, I could tell Katie had made a mistake.  In her absence, the place had gone from angry pool-playing Hispanics to a joint full of identical people.  I mean identical.  All the men had Captain Haddock beards, all dyed the same color of black, over their identical checked flannel shirts.  All the women had that deliberately frumpy hairdo, thick-framed glasses, and sweaters that were totally inappropriate for the weather.  I felt as if we'd walked into a Tintin story co-starring Velma from Scooby Doo.

Katie looked at me, with an almost apologetic look on her face.

"We're good," I said, "Let's study them."  The gleam in her eye told me I had just made a mistake. 

She grabbed the last table in the place, and I went to the bar.

"Give me a bourbon neat and a vodka gears."

The bartender looked at me like I was speaking Russian.  "Sir, this is a wine bar.  We have wine and we have coffee."

"Do you have PBR?"  I didn't want PBR, I just wanted to see what would happen.

He sneered.  "PBR is SO first term."

"First term?"

Another sneer.  "As in, Obama's first term.  A million years ago."

I smiled, and pointed behind the bar.  "There are well drinks down there.  I can see them."

"Wine and coffee only, sir."  At this point, I could open a beer bottle with his sneer.  I didn't feel that Katie should do all the heavy lifting tonight.  I leaned in close.

"Listen, Trevor or Blake or whatever the name is this week, I am here with the world's meanest lesbian, and we are going to have our drinks.  In addition, I advise you to adjust your face, because it's hard to sneer with no fucking teeth.  Now, you can choose to throw me out of here, and we'll go, but you'll see us at closing time.  Or you can shut your pie hole and do your damn job and serve us some fucking drinks."

The sneer was gone, but he hated me.  I could sense it.

"You're a fucking fascist," he said.

"You don't know the half of it, son.  I am Mussolini's great grand-nephew and there is NOTHING I like more than stomping on writers and artists and other sensitive types.  But she," I jerked a thumb over my shoulder, "says I have to try being NICE first, instead of going straight to the horrible beating.  This offends my sense of order, but what can I do?  Now, you may feel like we do not fit in at this bar.  You are more right than you know.  But we will sit here and tell stories to each other while we drink PROPER DRINKS, even if we stand out like the inappropriate arse of a dead walrus while we do so."

I suddenly realized my voice wasn't as low as I thought it was.  The whole place was silent.  I looked around.

"Sorry folks, this is what happens when a bar changes hands while you're out of town."  Surprisingly enough, there was general laughter.  I turned back to the bartender, who was sullenly lining up the drinks.

"Ten bucks", he said. 

I dropped a twenty.  "Keep it, and let's just forget our little misunderstanding."

I walked to the table with the drinks.  On the table in front of Katie was a napkin with a number written in it on eyebrow pencil.  I raised my eyebrows.

"Well," she said, "since you were busy sweet talking the bartender, I got the number of the little Korean girl over there.

I laughed, sat down, and resumed my story.

to be continued

The Richard Nixon school of ballet and the arts / Dirtbags, part 2
« on: May 19, 2015, 04:25:45 pm »
Club Congress

I took sip of my drink.  "Well, it's like this, Katie...Until a couple of months ago, I had the dream job.  Then my boss was caught schtupping the scheduler, by his wife.  They were both given a chance to retire.  Jim did, Lillie - the scheduler - did not, thinking she'd tough it out.  She's clearly doomed, but in the meantime, she's making life hell on everyone.  Then, a week ago, one of her direct reports made an insanely racist comment in mixed company.  I called him on it, and he thought it was funny.  Lillie had not been present, so I reported it to her per the rules. "

"Sounds reasonable so far."

"Yeah, well, the next day she tried to fire my best employee."

"Retaliation?  Really?"

"Yep.  And the racist got 'punished' by having to make an apology.  That's it.  In any case, I wound up getting a call from HR, who had not heard of the racism thing, and I called it retaliation."

"So, they're going to fire her?"

I keep forgetting how young Katie is.  She still has smooth curves that haven't been smashed into jagged edges.

"No.  In fact, I was called back by HR after I'd submitted a written statement, and very improperly asked to remove the word 'retaliation', and told there was no indication that such was taking place.  I refused to remove the word.  I haven't heard from them since, and Lillie has after a few days of quiet, stepped up her game."

"That's bullshit."

"Damn right it is.  But the boss's boss has postponed his visit, the HR department all took sick days, then vacations, and neither the boss's complaint against my employee nor my complaint of retaliation has been acted on.  Nor, for that matter, has the racism issue.  It's like there's this huge ball of flaming shit just hovering in the sky, and there's no way to tell where it's going to land.  Nobody wants to go near it."

"So what are you going to do?"

"I'm going to make it worse, of course.  There's no reason I should feel anxiety if nobody else has to."

Katie laughed.  "You have a habit of doing that."

"Well, I don't LIKE to..."



I got up to go to the men's room, and to grab another round on the way back.  When I came back out, some guy with a beard and deliberately crappy Italian shoes was standing next to the table, talking to Katie.  Shrug.  I walked on over and set the drinks down.  Beardo looks at me and says "Do you mind?"

"Yeah, actually, I do."

"What, are you her dad or something?"

Katie and I laughed.  I looked at Katie.

"This stud doesn't seem to be communicating well," she said, "He would like to buy me a drink, but I do not want one of his drinks.  He would like to get me out of here and into something more comfortable, but doesn't seem to understand that 'I'm Gay' doesn't mean 'come cure me, big daddy'."

I snorted laughter.  "Fuck off, kid, before something bad happens."

"What are you gonna do about it, grandpa?"

Okay, that's a first.  It had to happen eventually.  Still, it could have waited a few more years.

"What makes you think HE will do something about it, kid?" Katie asked, lighting a cigarette.

"Oh, now the dyke is going to beat me up?"

"Oh, dear.  Something bad just happened,"  I said, leaning back in my chair.

"What?"  Bearded guy looked at us, with a suspicion going through his drunken head that maybe someone WAS going to get fucked tonight.  Just not the way he planned.

Katie leaned forward and burned his face with her cigarette, right through the beard.  The smell was ungodly.  He screamed, and put his hands to his face.  Oh, look, his balls are right there, undefended.  What could I do?  I punched him in the junk.  He staggered backward, into the arms of the bouncer, who hustled him to the gate and heaved him out onto the pavement.

He turned to us.  "You two get to go out the front door, under your own power.   First, last, and only warning."

"We're reasonable people," I said, standing up.

"Yes, no trouble at all," Katie agreed.

The bouncer relaxed, and said, "You guys can come back some other time.  Only it's our policy that anyone involved in trouble is out for the night."

We slammed out drinks, nodded at him, and headed for the door.  The people at the surrounding tables were looking at us like we were animals.  Of course, the young lady's outburst earlier didn't help matters.

As we walked down the sidewalk, still giggling, Katie said "Let's go down a few blocks.  There's a corner bar that serves truly cheap liquor to truly cheap people.  You can finish your story there."

I shrugged, thinking that the night's insanity wasn't over.

I was right.

to be continued

The Richard Nixon school of ballet and the arts / Dirtbags, part 1
« on: May 18, 2015, 06:14:12 pm »
Saturday Night™

No rest for the wicked, they say, so I was wandering around down in the legal district.  It's a good place for people-watching late at night on the weekends, as everyone from the crazies to your garden-variety drunken college student is out on the street, moving from bar to bar or vomiting or preaching the word.  Or, in some cases, a combination thereof.  My last trip down here led to the brutal beating of 2 male college students who were busy tormenting - and perhaps planning worse things - for a young female college student, over in the roofed-off sidewalk area in the construction zone.  I wasn't being a hero, I just wanted something to beat on that wouldn't cause moral qualms.  And those kids were Bad News.  I could feel it, right through the toes and heels of my engineer boots.

I have a stressful job, especially right now, and I believe exceptions to the moral compact should be made accordingly.

I have noticed that I have gone through a distinct shift in values over the last couple of years.  Some of this may be mere age, some may be association with the Science Gestapo.  I am unsure.  In any case, I was feeling like rolling in some filth...Though it's hard to do Tom Waits properly if you don't smoke anymore, and if there is a practical limit to the number of bourbon neats you can pour down your throat.  But being a dirtbag isn't just about cigs and alcohol, you know.  There's also drugs and poor behavior.

"Hey, Dok!"

I turned around, and saw a leggy young brunette lady smiling at me.  Slightly pocked face.  Very familiar...Just when it was becoming awkward, I remembered her.  A young student I knew from around the way.  One of those kids that are born at age 40 in terms of maturity, and permanently 22 in terms of having a good time, and who will spend their life from 18 to 60 looking like they're 30.

"Hey, Katie, how's things?  You graduate yet?"

"Years ago, old man.  Almost done with my doctorate, as a matter of fact."

I offered to buy her a drink so we could catch up, and she agreed.  We walked down to the Hotel Congress, past all the brand new actual clubs that I am too old for, and Katie wouldn't be seen dead in.  I rounded up a bourbon for myself, and a whiskey sour for Katie, and we went out back.  The weather had been threatening, so there wasn't the usual horrible hipster act/band, but hadn't actually started raining.  Perfect.

We sat down, and she started telling me about her graduate work, something concerning botany that I couldn't have understood stone cold sober.  I nodded and made agreeable noises when she seemed to want feedback.  It never fails to dismay me how far behind I've fallen in the sciences, really, though I'd always been hopeless in messy sciences involving life.

A woman screamed, very near by.  Everyone in the area froze up, looking around like dormice that have just heard a coyote.  The scream broke into smaller screams, and continued.

I looked toward the sound of the scream, and two tables away I saw a young lady screaming and pointing.  At me.

"OHGODHESTHEGUYHESTHEGUY..."  The young lady dashed out of the Hotel Congress enclosure via the wrought iron gate opposite from the main drag.  Her companion, a skinny guy with a ridiculous attempt at a beard, glared at me, looked after his fleeing date, glared a bit more, and then chased after her.

I knew that young lady.  She was in fact the young lady that had been bothered by the two male students a few weeks ago.

Katie was staring at me, so I told her the backstory, and expressed puzzlement as to why I terrified her.

"Men are dumb," she said, "You say she hid behind you, rather than running away?"

"Yeah, which was kinda silly on her part.  If I'd lost, she'd have still been in arm's reach of them."

"Yeah, but she stayed.  So her memory of the trauma probably wound up focusing on you.  She had felt that she might be raped.  Violence did in fact occur, and you did it.  Quite thoroughly, according to your description of events.  So you became the monster."

"That hardly seems fair."

"What's fair got to do with it?  In the front of her brain, she knows that you came between her and those goons.  In the back of her brain, you were the promised violence.  There's no logic to it, and for what it's worth, she probably doesn't hate you.  You're just the trigger now, the reminder to access those memories of being terrorized not once but twice."

"Story of my life, Katie.  I bring this on myself."

"Naw.  You're just a trouble magnet.  You're the kind of guy the world happens to."

"You ain't ever lying.  You should see what's happening at my job, these days."

She ordered two more drinks, and looked across the table at me.

To be continued.

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