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Scraping the Barrel - Chapter Two

 
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LordoftheNight
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2006 6:01 pm    Post subject: Scraping the Barrel - Chapter Two Reply with quote

Chapter One: New Beginnings

“Where are my handcuffs?” blurted out the short, stocky man standing behind the desk, as he shifted pile upon pile of papers back and forth. The question was directed to a small scrawny man, who lay sprawled across the brown leather sofa. His dark face outlined by more than just a shadow, he exhaled once, before dropping his cigarette into an ashtray and turning to face his fat compatriot.

“Bottom left draw – it’s where you always put it.” He sat up, swivelling his legs in front of him to face his companion. Sliding his hand deep into his inner jacket pocket, he removed his lighter and pack of cigarettes. Striking one up he looked questionably at the other, and waited. With a groan the fat man bent down, removing the silver handcuffs and tossing them into a heavily laden truck. Walking laboriously over to the nearest wall, he took down the leather bull-whip hanging there, and threw it into the truck with relish. Then he stopped, looked down and frowned.

“Just what is this?” he demanded, removing black item of questionable origin from the bag, and holding it up for all to see. The thin man looked up, and stubbed out his cigarette, coughing slightly.

“It’s a ball gag” he replied, the look on his face clearly querying the fat man’s motive for asking such an obvious question.

“But what are these – bite marks? That’s disgusting. You never re-use ball gags – that’s just unsanitary.” With a look of revulsion the fat man tossed it away, the saliva coated object bouncing of the rim of the steel bin, only to land on the wooden floor with a thump. “Listen Jethro, you’re a good kid. I like you, really I do. But I’m not sure you’re really cut out for this type of thing. I hired you because you’re my wife’s sister’s husband’s cousin once removed, and family should stick together. It’s just that…have you ever thought about looking for work in some other line of employment?”

The twenty-two year old man looked up at his…his…relative and sighed. Throughout his whole life he had sought out employment, starting by baby-sitting his next door neighbours kids at twelve (the eight year child had locked him in a cupboard and played video games all night), to a newspaper round when he was fourteen (he had been attacked by the local alley cats while taking a short-cut), to retail at sixteen (his first day he managed to undercharge customers four hundred pounds, and the store had to close).

After failing spectacularly at these ordinary jobs, his father enlisted him in a multi-cultural talent school, determined to discover his boy’s abilities. But even here these appeared to be slightly lacking. He burnt the food he cooked, he broke the musical instruments he so much as looked at, and he couldn’t sing a note in tune to save his life, or what little life he had to enjoy. It was during one of these solo performances as a failure that Astain Matine found the young lad of eighteen, and – seeing his true potential – carried him away that very night.

For the next three years he had trained, honing his body and mind to become the perfect tool. The blade for the Order – the ultimate method for desecration. Clad in black he had crept through the night, breaking into the Hotel Capitale and stealing his way to the ambassador’s quarters. At the end of the night, he disappeared, returning to the Order’s Secret Lair – cunningly hidden in broad daylight – with the bloody knife, and the box of diamonds. It wasn’t until the day later when the news reports about the murdered secretary found sharing the ambassador’s bed remarked upon the fact that the only item stolen was a single case of silverware, and that the ambassador has slept peacefully not one foot away from the murdered girl, that Astain was forced to realise his mistake in choosing Jethro as his holy instrument.

Cast from the Order, Jethro tried his hand at painting, his efforts soon becoming famous among the bums of New York, who used his masterpieces to great effect during the winter nights. Forced to admit defeat, the only job he could get was that working in MacDonald’s. The fact that the fast food store was burnt to the ground after he had only been on the job for two days was none of his fault – even if he was working the grills.

This latest job was merely the last in a long line of failures and disappointments, of being fired and being laid off. It was no big deal really. That was why, when Uncle Bobby (for short) delivered the news, it didn’t cut as deeply as being sacked would have done to most people his age. He gathered up his bags without (much) complaint, and headed out the door, and onto the dark, uncaring streets of New York City.

He hadn’t been sleeping rough for even four days, when he got a lucky break. Swiping food from market stalls to survive – he had trained as a thief for three years, even he was too incompetent to pull off a major heist – and spending the night wherever he happened to fall asleep, he was approached by a woman richly clad in a dark blue velvet dress, lined with fur from a white ermine, and bedecked with jewels.

“Mister? Mister – yes, you there. The one with the white dreadlock. I was wondering if you could help me out.” This being the first time he had been spoken to in four days, and seeing how he was way past beginning to smell, Jethro simply nodded dumbly.

“Do you know Richard’s Street?” Another dumb nod. “Could you take this parcel and deliver it to number one thousand and eighteen?” When he once again failed to reply she removed a scrap of paper from her miniature black handbag and scribbled down a note. Then she handed him the note along with the parcel, and placed a hundred dollar bill on top of it.

“If you take this parcel to that address, and show him that note, the gentleman there will give you another hundred dollars. Could you please do that for me – I’d be eternally grateful.” Then without giving him a chance to reply to she climbed back into her limousine, and was driven away out of sight.

Jethro looked down at the package in his hands, and mentally weighed it up, considering its worth. Picking up the note and turning it over he read…

Darling David.
I am sending you this gentleman, along with the package he has to you. Please give him a meal and a hundred dollars before sending him on his way.

All My Love,
Teresa.

_________________
Punishment leads to Fear. Fear leads to Obedience. Obedience leads to Freedom. Therefore, Punishment leads to Freedom.
Ave Dominus Nox


A Fronte Praecipitium a Tergo Lupi
Blood Bowl
Scraping the Barrel
A Tale of Four Swords
Passion


Last edited by LordoftheNight on Thu May 04, 2006 4:43 pm; edited 5 times in total
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2006 6:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, here it is, my entry for the Red Hot H&E Competion.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2006 6:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice start Lord of the Cold, Dark and Windy Night.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2006 6:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't cold and chilly really go together?
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2006 6:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Of course, which is why, if you look closely I said Windy, and not Cold. Indeed. Ahem.

And even, looking closer still, Cold and not Chilly. Oh yes.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2006 6:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, my mistake - must be the fact that I'm dyslexic.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2006 9:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Entertaining start Lordy - good to see you writing, and a humour as well. Very Happy

Might as well take the package. $200 is pretty damn good for one delivery.

Happy Writing Smile
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 29, 2006 12:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One of the more difficult ideas taken up. Well accomplished Lordy! Very Happy

Just one typo I spotted:

"Please give him and meal and a hundred dollars", in the letter at the end.

Other than that, it's all good. Decent decision point, over the thousand word limit. Just two chapters to go before you can claim your free Barbie & Ken summer-home... I mean, your 75 fables Razz
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 29, 2006 12:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
removing black item of questionable origin


Heh, I wonder...

Interesting start Lordy. Is there a D-point yet? Is it just to deliver the package or not? If so, I think he might as well. I mean, how hard can it be to deliver a package... Surprised
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 29, 2006 1:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Shady

Descion Point - there's lots of things he could do.

Deliver the package, dump the package, open it and try to flog it to someone.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 29, 2006 10:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If we had any competence, subtly open the package to see what is inside. Screw that, do it anyways.

If it's valuable, flog it, if not, wrap it up again and deliver it. Maybe we can get a job working for these people.
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 01, 2006 11:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Aha, I've finally found this again! No SG escapes the Almighty Phang!

Anyway, perhaps we should consider the wording of the note:
Quote:
Darling David.
I am sending you this gentleman, along with the package he has to you. Please give him a meal and a hundred dollars before sending him on his way.

All My Love,
Teresa.

To me, that could be taken as Jethro being part of the gift too.

Then again, would he notice or care? It is for 200 dollars, what's the worst that could happen?
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2006 3:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The package is securely wrapped, he'd have to rip open the tape, and therefore it would be impossible for him to return it to normal.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 04, 2006 10:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do it anyways - if someone will pay you $100 dollars to deliver something, it's probably worth more that that, by common sense, unless its of sentimental value. Let's try and feel for what it is.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 04, 2006 2:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Right then you merry, merry people, have a poll.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2006 4:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is a pretty good chance at employment. It'd be stupid of him to screw it up by doing something like opening the parcel.

Besides... chances are that he won't want to know what it is.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2006 3:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No real point in throwing away the rest of the money. Might want to refuse the meal though...
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2006 3:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chapter Two: An Unexpected Guest

Jethro took the proffered package, and, as the woman in blue began to walk away, he shook it gently. It was hard, rectangular object, with slight indents that most likely formed some sort of pattern. With a shrug, he pocketed the money, and looked around him. $200 dollars was a lot of money, especially to someone who someone whose idea of a good meal was half a left-over burger. But was it worth it to drop off some lousy package? Then he stopped and thought to himself – was it worth it for some lousy package – Hell No! Not unless the package was worth an awful lot to someone. In which case, could it be worth even more on the black market?

Jethro considered his options, on one hand he had already gained $100, and stood to gain more if the parcel was valuable. On the other, he could double his gain just by walking the twenty minutes to the address. Standing still for a few moments he realised just how cold it had become, the biting wind beginning to numb his fingers and ears. The matter decided for him by the immediate need to get out of the cold. And, as a matter of fact, there was a cheap burger joint on the way to Richards Street.

Five minutes later he was walking down Jersey Lane, happily munching on a piping hot burger as he did so. The first warm meal he had eaten in days, is wasn’t long before Jeremy Little noticed him, and appeared, as if from nowhere, by his side. Jeremy was the scamp of the neighbourhood. Everyone knew – and liked – the tyke, whose sole purpose in life appeared to be gathering useless scraps of information and begging food of passers by.

“Galloping goldfish Jeth, where did you get that from?” exclaimed Jeremy, throwing in – as was usual – random remarks of surprise nobody quite understood. “Did you actually manage to rob someone then?” Jethro smiled at the rascal, and generously tore off a fairly large portion of the meaty snack. “Jeepers, thanks awfully,” smiled the rouge, even as he stuffed his face with burger. It may be worth mentioning at this point, that Jeremy – before he ran away from home – used to be an avid fan of old English novels.

“Not for me – all above board this. I’m just delivering a package – they paid me half straight out. One hundred dollars and all.” Upon hearing of the awesome amount, Jeremy stopped dead in his tracks, nearly – but not quite – dropping his burger on the ground.

“Golly, one hundred dollars? That’s awfully generous of them.” Once more it may be worth mentioning, that the books he was especially fond of were mainly written by the novelist Enid Blyton. “By Jove, you know what you should do – splash out! Don’t just buy a burger; buy some ice-cream too. Or an apple pie – my mamma still sells the best apple pies in town. And gosh, does she make the nicest custard.” Jeremy stared at Jethro in evident delight, clearly excited by the prospects of a full bang up meal.

“Hey, sorry kiddo, but I’ve got to keep this. I’m not like you; I just don’t feel comfortable begging food of people I don’t know. I’ve got to save it until I get a better job.” Jeremy didn’t seem to have heard him, a blank look on his face as he stared into the distance, thinking of custard. “Listen mate,” continued Jethro, stopping once more and holding out his hand. “Here’s one dollar. Keep it just in case alright?” A frown crossed Jeremy’s face – it was hard to remember the last time Jethro hadn’t given him whatever he wanted. “Buck up kid.”

“It’s no problem,” the plucky kid replied. “I can get enough food to live on without getting greedy. If I take just one, then an apple a day keeps the grocer away and out of my hair.” He grinned, white teeth shining across his grimy face, the bright red hair.

“That’s the spirit kid. Run off now ‘k?” Jeremy nodded, the boy turning and dashing down an alley. Jethro smiled, then continued along the road towards Richards Street. The darkness continued to close in around him as he drew near to his destination, and as he turned onto the street itself, an icy wind blew down the road, chilling him to the bone.

Knocking on the big brass front door of one thousand and eighteen, he held the parcel loosely in his left hand. He paused, then knocked again. After a few moments, the door swung open, to reveal a smartly dressed man in black evening wear.

“Yes?” drawled the evident butler, in a posh English accent which would have been more in place in the nineteenth century, than down town Manhattan. “How may I help you sir?”

“A lady asked me to deliver this package,” he replied, handing both parcel and note over. Covering his evident distaste at being forced to make contact with such a low-life, the butler reached out and plucked the unknown object from Jethro’s grasp with a shudder. He investigated the note, peering down the length of his nose through ivory spectacles. Then turning to one side he reached out and pulled down on what appeared to be a bell, the noise echoing throughout the house. Seeing Jethro’s puzzlement, he smiled slightly.

“The master will be down shortly,” was all he said. And, soon enough – after a few anxious moments in which Jethro stood shivering in the cold, heavy footsteps thundered down from above, and then a figure appeared from the spiralling staircase. Dressed head to toe in black, he seemed at loggerheads with the interior environment of the house. Clad in black jeans and adorned in a long leather coat, he struck an imposing figure, even before taking into account his gelled platinum blonde hair and dark glasses.

“Well? What have we here then?” he asked, removing his glasses to reveal piercing icy blue eyes, a faint querying smile spread across his face. Wordlessly the butler extended his hand, offering the parcel to his master with barely a grimace. The pale skinned man covered in leather flipped open the note, and snorted in derision. “A hundred dollars, the stupid b*tch. Always thinking of the needy , the poor .” He reached into one of his side pockets, pulling out a worn brown wallet and removing a crisp bill.

With a smile he held it before Jethro’s eyes, withdrawing it even as the beggar reached out for it, before crumpling it into a ball and dropping it into the rain washed gutter. Jethro knelt down, scooping up the now soggy note, and rose once more to his feet, just in time to see the butler nod in response to a whispered order from his master, and turn smartly on his heavily polished shoes, before walking deep inside the house. The Billy Idol wannabe stood before him, and nodded slightly.

“Well, apparently you’re meant to get a free meal out of this deal as well,” he commented. “That package Teresa sent had better be worth something.” The package in question, Jethro noticed with a quick glance, had suddenly disappeared. “I’m Kage. You’d better come in.” Then with barely a shrug, he stepped aside, simultaneously removing a cigarette and lighting up. Blowing a steady stream of smoke into Jethro’s face he looked at him questionably. “Well come on then. I haven’t got all night. Places to go, people to do.”

Jethro looked into Kage’s face, puzzled by the sudden changes in attitude, before stepping over the threshold, and into the dark hall. Kage smiled and gestured Jethro onwards, towards the corridor the butler had disappeared down. Jethro looked anxiously at him, before walking down the passageway. Kage’s face spilt into a smile, before following the beggar.

On entering the kitchen, Jethro stopped with a start. The sudden smell of frying bacon, mixed with the smell of cooked vegetables came as a complete shock to his unprepared senses. Kage draped an arm leisurely over his shoulders, and propelled him towards the table, almost forcing him to sit, before handing him a plateful of steaming food. Reversing the chair opposite him, Kage straddled it and sat facing the tramp, his elbow resting causally on the hand carved teak table.

He remained motionless the entire time, just watching Jethro as he filled his mouth with the piping hot food, the best meal he had eaten in over a year. The icy blue stare was certainly disconcerting, but even so Jethro was able to disregard it, and began to consider his future. Earning two hundred dollars in one night, plus a free meal, could quite easily set him up for life. Get somewhere proper to live, an actual home for once. Good money, free food – there are much worse things to happen to a bloke.

“Here, take this.” Jethro was shocked out of reverie by Kage’s sudden words, looking up to see a small business card being thrust into his face. He took it, glancing at the words inscribed on the small white rectangle, listing an address and two telephone numbers. On the reverse was a two faced person, left half female, right half male, both facing in opposite directions. Beneath the mark was a single phrase, Life – it is only what you make of it.

“I suppose you had better get going now,” Kage continued, his face once again broken with a smile. “The exit is that way – I know you can let yourself out.” He took a swig from a beer bottle which had appeared as if from nowhere. Another plume of smoke streamed towards Jethro, who stood up in alarm.

“You think this is funny? People are out there starving to death, while you just sit in your over-sized mansion, drinking and smoking. One moment you’re feeding me with a warm meal, and the next blowing smoke into my face? What is it with rich people; you seem to think that the world owes you something!” Jethro spat on the ground, globules of saliva flying from his mouth to splash on the oak floorboards. He looked up, only in time to see a fist flying towards his face.

Jethro awoke with a blinding headache, and an angel bending over him. He blinked repeatedly, and as his vision swam once more into focus, the woman standing over him was revealed to be the woman in blue – now wearing a white dress – who had asked him to deliver the parcel in the first place. She shushed him, placing a damp cloth to his forehead, and smiling softly.

“I must apologise for my brother’s behaviour. David can be fairly beastly at times, but he means well I’m sure.” She removed the cloth, and wrung it out over a bowl of water. “How’s your head?” Rubbing it cautiously, he smiled, and nodded his thanks.

“Listen,” she began, sitting down at the side of the bed – which he noticed was also a brilliant shining white, “I would like to propose an arrangement. I quite often need someone to deliver messages and run errands, and whenever I do I can never seem to find anyone.”

“What if you worked for me on a regular basis – with a set wage – but stayed somewhere that I could find you? How does five hundred dollars a week sound to you?”
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Punishment leads to Fear. Fear leads to Obedience. Obedience leads to Freedom. Therefore, Punishment leads to Freedom.
Ave Dominus Nox


A Fronte Praecipitium a Tergo Lupi
Blood Bowl
Scraping the Barrel
A Tale of Four Swords
Passion


Last edited by LordoftheNight on Tue May 02, 2006 8:44 am; edited 2 times in total
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2006 3:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yay - a new chapter - what fun!

The decision point - just in case you can't guess - is what to do now?

How to respond to her offer and exeteria?
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2006 2:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, his first instinct is going to be to go for it. I mean, it's $500 every week! What sort of idiot IS this woman? She could get someone to fetch and carry for her for a fraction of that!

Unless... there's something extremely valuable in the package.

But then... it's $500 a week. Could stealing one package possibly make up for the wages he's likely to get, simply for ferrying packages back and forth?

Unless... it's illegal and sooner or later he's going to be caught? Is $500 a week worth him ending up in jail?

In his position? Yeah, I'd say so. After all that hesitation, sure - take the wage Very Happy
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2006 1:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

He was just saying that he wants to save up and get a job - now that he has an easy one that pays well, why squander it? We can just try and stay out of David's way as much as possible.
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2006 2:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have to agree with Shady here. Take the wage.
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PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2006 3:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes. I can't see a downside here! It's a job! Do it. Just do it.

Nice chapter, I liked it.
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PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2006 4:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Take the job!

Even if he does get thrown in jail, he'll be better off than he was in the beginning. At least he'll have a home and free meals then. As of right now, he's got nothin to lose.

Good chapter.
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PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2006 5:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
with slight indented


Should be 'with slight indents'

Take the wage. Might as well.
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PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2006 8:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cheers - editted.

So no one thinks he should refuse - ah well.

And so it begins.
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PostPosted: Wed May 03, 2006 6:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I say refuse. That David is a bastard. Punch the hell out of him and leave.

Plus its too risky. We know there's something weird going on if they offer 200 for delivering a package 2 streets down. Especially to a random bum.
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PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2006 4:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Woo - the poll is now of the up variety.

Have fun voting.
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PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2006 4:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Voted. Tempted to go for jail cause it's just a funny thought, but I knew that'd be pretty much throwing my vote away on a long shot.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 27, 2006 8:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It has to be take the job, over time he can start to discover more and more about the operation to the point where his options start to increase - blackmail, or selling info about the operation, if he feels he needs to.

Good sg Lordy Smile .
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 19, 2006 4:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Come on! 'Nother chapter!

~Sprays paint around and runs off~
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 20, 2006 7:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It would seem that accepting the job simply falls into what Jethro is used to doing. So I went with that option.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2006 2:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow. Deep, man. The guy having to face the law? Wow.

Anyway, I think he should do as he is told.
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How should Jethro respond?
Accept the woman's offer of a job?
77%
 77%  [ 7 ]
Turn down the job, and live life how he is?
11%
 11%  [ 1 ]
Turn down the job and do something illegal to go to jail?
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
(Author only option, please do not vote here)
11%
 11%  [ 1 ]
Total Votes : 9
Who Voted: Chinaren, D-Lotus, Jack_D.Mented, LordoftheNight, Masterweaver, Shady Stoat, Solomon Birch

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